Tuesday, May 13, 2008

SRO Beach Meeting

It was standing room only last evening at the all-residents' beach meeting called by the Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce. Nearly everyone was there except the media and county politicians. At its zenith, over 400 business owners, residents, and friends of the beach were present during the two and a half hour session.

If the Pensacola News Journal sent a reporter it isn't evident in today's paper, where the big news reported by Thyrie Bland is that two juvenile detention officers and "12 deputies, four more than usual, will be keeping an eye on things Sunday at the beach." Thousands of Mobile high school graduation celebrants and adult hangers-on are expected to make their annual trek to the beach.

Francesca Maxime from local television station WEAR-TV showed up late. She got the story wrong, but was perfectly coiffed.

The meeting wasn't called "to protest proposed property taxes, for people who now own homes, on leased beach land." It was to give everyone an update on the various tax lawsuits and offer those in attendance a chance to ask questions or make comments.

The speeches, comments, and questions from the floor ranged widely. Among the issues discussed were the status of Escambia County's effort to impose taxes on business and residential leaseholds, strategies for keeping the beach open to public use, alternatives like municipal incorporation, and concerns about over-development and environmental despoilation both on Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key.

We'll have more on the meeting a bit later. For now, what we want to say is that to understand the abysmal state of the media in Pensacola you should read the grimly hilarious "Pepperoni" by Donald Barthelme. The New Yorker has an excerpt. For the complete short story, buy the book.

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