A community conversation

Published: Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 02:44 PM.

When Eugene Raffield speaks I have found it best to listen.

Sure, a good chew on words has never been an aversion for Eugene, but behind that big-man Southern drawl is a mind at work, one of ideas and common sense in a package that typically cuts to the chase.

And last week during a meeting of the Port Authority of Port St. Joe, of which Eugene is a board member, he said something about the RESTORE Act process that cut to the marrow.

Paraphrasing here, Eugene’s point was that many segments of the community — in short the community as a whole — needed to be in the conversation concerning how the county handles and spends what commissioners have described as a potential windfall in the tens of millions of dollars.

There are plenty of buts here, as have been pointed out in meetings of the Board of County Commissioners, Port Authority, Port St. Joe City Commission and School Board.

The amount of money is an unknown. There is a formula in place for dividing it among states and, in Florida, among counties, but at this point they could be dividing Pi instead of a dollar pie and it would make no difference.

If there is payout of fines by BP, would it come after a long, drawn-out trial or in a settlement with the federal government? This could be a court case that lasts past the lifetime of many of us.

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