Crist spokesperson: No timetable on when we'll get $25 million from BP

But there's no money from BP yet for any type of ads.  So what's the deal with the hold-up on that?

A spokeswoman for Governor Crist's office, Jessica Freud, told CL today that

We have not executed an agreement with BP or received the grant money yet.  In anticipation of receiving the funds soon we are looking at ways the money can best be used to showcase Florida and reaffirm that Florida is open for business.  Our beaches are clean and we continue to be the greatest vacation destination in the world.

Panhandle area Republican Marti Coley tells the Fort Walton Sun that the Governor must decide what to do with the $25 million before BP will hand it over.

When CL inquired about that, spokesperson Jessica Freud said, "We don't have a definitive time frame for when the MOU will be complete and/or money received."

As tourism has slumped in the Pandhandle region as fears have grown nationally that Florida's beaches are somehow not as pristine as they have been, legislators like Gaetz have becoming increasingly frustrated, and the senator from Niceville became not so nice in expressing his specific problems he has with Governor Crist not saying more clearly to national media reporters that the state is, as the saying goes, open for business.

From Dara Kam's post on the Palm Beach Post site, Gaetz went off on the Governor:

“The governor of Florida is a national media figure by virtue of his position. And Charlie Crist is a national media figure by virtue of the way that he’s used the media and his political positions. My question would be, if I was a reporter, show me the number of requests that Gov. Crist has made to be on national media to talk about the fact that Florida is open for business. I think the bully pulpit ought to be used. It’s in days like this that I miss Jeb Bush,” Gaetz said.

Thirty five days since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig blew up in the Gulf of Mexico, and over two weeks since BP announced it would give $25 million to  Florida for a marketing campaign, state lawmakers and others in the Sunshine State are expressing frustration about what's the hold-up with that $25 million, which they say is needed now on advertising to inform the rest of the world that Florida's white sand beaches have not been affected by the spill.

Visit Florida, the state’s marketing agency, is using $2 million in state emergency funds to create spot ads, but Republican State Senator Don Gaetz says the state needs to get that BP money.  According to the Palm Beach Post, Gaetz said today:

“I’ve been getting confusing answers out of the governor’s office for days. There’s been no response to President Atwater’s letters asking for specificity. Where’s this money? How’s it being deployed?

We’ve not seen a timely response. We’ve not seen an effective response. And jobs are being lost as a consequence."

And Gaetz said he wasn't happy with the Visit Florida ads.

“It’s day 35. We have not had an effective, timely response yet to deploy resources that the state has now…Instead we have two poorly crafted ads that were thrown together it seemed to me at the last minute in somebody’s basement."


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