Guidelines

I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory. Although this is not my campaign site for re-election--sometimes campaign related information will be discussed, therefore in an abundance of caution I add the following : Political Advertisement Paid for and Approved by Jeff Bergosh, Republican, for Escambia County Commissioner District 1








Thursday, February 22, 2024

Work At Perdido Key Beach Access #2 Commences

Crews with the county's parks and recreation department have commenced the project to add additional parking spots to Beach Access #2 and to pave the parking lot and add outdoor showers and portable restrooms.  These changes will be completed before the start of the busy Summer season, and the demolition and renovation of Access #3 will ocur next winter ahead of the 2025 Summer season.

See the pictures of the renovation of Access # 2 in progress, below.








Monday, February 19, 2024

Election Ugliness Begins

 

People that play stupid games will win stupid prizes....

This August 20th, the date of the Republican Primary election, will be my 7th contested election in Escambia County for local office.

And each cycle that I have been through, the nastiness and ugliness intensifies. 

Whether in the school board races or more recently for county commission—it never ceases to amaze me the depths of cowardly depravity folks will go to in order to smear their opposition or artificially manipulate an election outcome.

It’s nasty, it is ugly, and frankly it is the reason lots of folks never run for office.

This election season is off with a bang, and the Election Ugliness has officially begun.

DYSFUNCTION JUNCTION

You know folks are desperate when they bring in surrogates to do their dirty work.

Clerk of the Court Pam Childers actively encouraged at least two existing county employees to run against me.  One has, and I am told the other is considering it. She’s mad we are suing her to compel her to do her job.  Ho hum.

Sitting commissioner Mike Kohler’s recently departed secretary, Steve Stroberger, is one of these that was encouraged to run by Childers, and he is running.  Good for him.  But is it really helpful to have a sitting commissioner get his secretary to run against another sitting commissioner on the same board?  (Check with disgraced former commissioner Doug Underhill and his former secretary Jonathan Owens on that).  Worse, this commissioner, Kohler, on a recent trip to Tallahassee pulled aside a friend of mine and started trashing and slandering me and making false statements about the contents of my stolen data files. (Oh yeah—someone stole those from the county and guess who ended up with them?  Answer, the guy I beat by 17 points in the last nasty election I was in, Jonathan Owens).    As soon as he, Kohler, was done shooting off his mouth, of course my friend called and told me everything Kohler said.  Wow, what a desperado.

Interestingly—these comments made by Kohler in Tallahassee were made before the county released the redacted version of the stolen county records.….Although the files do not contain what he lies and says they do—there are some things he mentioned that he would not have known had he not seen a copy.  So that will be looked at and questions will be asked during depositions.  This information will also be passed along to the investigators looking into the criminal conduct surrounding this theft of county files.  Did Pam Childers, who has and does possess at least one copy of my unredacted stolen data file—did she give Mike Kohler a copy?  Did she give it to the candidate she encouraged to run, Steve Stroberger?  Did Doug Underhill give it to Mike Kohler?  Too many questions.  But we will get to the bottom of it all as we commence depositions here in the next few months as the county's replevin case moves forward.  The Old Bull is walking down the hill, not running.  And all of these individuals must know by now that mere possession of these files, unredacted and without authorization, is a Felony under state law, right?  Yeah, that’s right.

Meanwhile, I have conducted polling for this race. 

And the numbers are about what I expected them to be.  This scientific polling indicates there is one heck of a battle for the bronze medal between Stroberger and Owens, and I’m comfortably ahead of both of these individuals by double digits.  But those two, each more than 20 points behind me, are within 6-8 points of each other for the Silver Medal…..

Interestingly, though, another creepy, sleazy thing happened during the time this poll was recently in the field.  Apparently, according to another friend I have that contacted me, Johathan Owens and Alex Arduini attempted to get people on the internet to “stuff the ballot box” and send bogus responses in on my poll for my opponents and against me.  My friends forwarded this to me, below.




 

How desperate do these desperados have to get?  Stealing my files, slandering me, and trying to disrupt elections communications and polling??  Sitting elected officials attempting to unseat incumbents on the boards upon which they sit?  The clerk of the court actively encouraging sitting county employees to run against us??  It’s weird, surreal, and dysfunctional.  Why can’t these folks just compete, straight up, on the issues?  Why the sleaziness and sliminess and anger and vitriol and weirdness? These guys are almost as bad as our local newspaper, the PNJ, who argue they have absolute, complete immunity to have my son’s stolen tax forms and my daughter’s stolen bank account information—even though neither of these items is a public record nor a matter of public interest and the possession of this data unauthorized is criminal under Florida Law. 

Read 817.5685

Well, the last data point I’ll share from my poll:  When respondents were asked if they believed the area’s only daily newspaper, the PNJ, was fair, balanced, and accurate---the response was 62% NO and 38% Yes among all parties and demographics.  It was worse among only Republicans.

People don’t like and don’t trust the PNJ. 

It’s not just me.

See you all on August 20th  😊


Sunday, February 18, 2024

I'll Be the Leadoff Guest on "Real News with Rick Outzen" Tomorrow Morning at 7:00 AM

I'll be on the area's best, most highest quality, reliable and accurate morning drive news program--Real News with Rick Outzen--tomorrow morning at 7:00.  Listen live on the station with the best talk line up--1370 WCOA


I've been asked to appear tomorrow morning as the lead off guest on the area's best, most trusted, most accurate, most listened-to morning drive radio news talk show, "Real News with Rick Outzen" on WCOA.

I am assuming we will discuss the looming offers on OLF-8, this week's BCC meeting on Thursday, and possibly the county's replevin case against Alex Arduini, Jonathan Owens, and Gannett/PNJ.

It should be an interesting discussion.  Listen live, or catch the podcast here once Rick publishes it.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Show Cause Hearing Held: Jonathan Owens takes the 5th--Refusing to Testify

Does the "press" have the right to possess personal identification information, in contravention to state statutes, when such information neither serves the public interest nor is a public record?

Escambia County's case against Gannett, Jonathan Owens, and Alex Arduini moved forward yesterday with a show cause hearing on Zoom that lasted about two hours.

The county presented its case and called a number of witnesses.  I was first, and I testified truthfully.  Jonathan Owens was called to testify and through his lawyer, he took the 5th amendment and did not testify.  Alex Arduini, initially advised by his own lawyer to also take the 5th amendment actually did answer questions and testified that he has never seen the text file nor has he ever possessed it.  That was his testimony under oath.  Not one (1) person from the PNJ bothered to show up to testify.  Their lawyer informed the court they would not testify and that they would be shielded from testifying about the identity of their anonymous source that gave them their files via a Florida law that protects the media.

The judge was very methodical and allowed all attorneys present to speak and present their cases.

I was allowed to testify to the fact that several of my family members have endured fraud on their accounts in the last 8 months, and I was given space to describe the circumstances under which I needed to have my phone's contents backed up to preserve county records.

At the end of the day where this case goes next is entirely up to Judge Schlechter.  I believe the county presented rational arguments for the return of the stolen files from those who possess it currently.  I believe the county presented rational arguments for the case to continue to discovery so that the county can depose individuals to learn more about who has the files, how such files were obtained, and to whom files have been shared.  This case is much larger than just me.  There are a lot of innocent, unaffiliated individuals who now have their private medical information out in the public--including current and former county employees---due to no fault of their own.  These files were in the care and custody of the county's IT department and we believe it is wholly appropriate for the county to work through the courts to retrieve these stolen county files.

And to the defense the attorney for Gannett put forward, at some point some court, somewhere, will need to rule on this to answer this very important question:  Where is the line for what the media can and cannot do because of the protections they enjoy under the 1st Amendment.  Where is the line?  And when I ask that, rhetorically speaking, I mean--does press freedom and legal precedents from last century allow the media to transcend and violate existing state law?  

The PNJ readily admit they possess the files at issue here, which files contain the personal identification information on more than a dozen local citizens.  The mere possession of data like this is a felony under state law 817.5685.  How does the media's possession of my daughter's bank account number, my son's tax form and my other son's social security number serve a public purpose or the public interest?  Answer: it doesn't.  So if the folks that possess stolen personal information are given leave by the courts to keep such data in contravention to state law---doesn't that serve to encourage more folks to engage in the nefarious conduct of stealing and possessing others' personal identification information?  

Really--where is the line for the "press's" immunity?  Could they have child porn on their computers if they were using such disgusting information for a story?  Could they protect a source if that source admitted committing murder?   Where is the line the press can't cross---and does state law trump the press's right to hold data unlawfully?

Maybe, just maybe, this little case might start to provide an answer to this question.  We will see.

New Playground and Equipment Installed in D1 at Garcon Bayou Nature Park

 Yesterday morning staff sent pictures of the newly constructed playground at the Garcon Bayou Nature Park.  This park now has brand new equipment and is the latest playground to be installed in the county.  My thanks to staff for their efforts to install this new, safe and FUN equipment in this new park for the citizens' children to enjoy.  See the pictures of this new park and equipment, below:








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