A Written Warning to College Spring Breakers

by April 28, 2008 • 30 comments

Mark Canfora, in his effort to reduce the harm brought by college spring break has requested that a “Disclaimer and Warning” be placed in all hotel rooms, condos, convenience stores, etc. as long as college spring break is promoted by the TDC.

He wrote a letter to the Mayor of Panama City Beach requesting that this issue be officially legally assessed on the ability of the city to actually carry out this plan, the letter reads:

Dear Mayor and Council Members, April 25, 2008

I believe the city of Panama City Beach will be legally liable if the future children and visitors of Student/College Spring Break are not warned of the serious danger to their safety and well being while they are here during the time period known as Panama City Beach “student/college spring break.”

I am officially requesting a legal opinion of the possible liability to the city in this regard. The city definitely has prior knowledge of the past and present dangers of student/college spring break in the city that has lead to the deaths, rapes, attempted murder, assaults and thousands of crimes to innocent visitors to the city.
The unsuspecting public have not been adequately warned of those inerrant dangers.

Attached is the warning and disclaimer I presented to the TDC Marketing and TDC Board members in April 2008. I am presenting this document as “official notice” to the city of Panama City Beach and the TDC that you stop ignoring the disaster and “event failure” of student/college spring break.

During one Spring Break, one of our own, Officer Kight, was brutally murdered and is one example of the tens of thousands of tragedies, rapes, assaults and crimes in Panama City beach over the last two decades.

The total number of victims are presently being gathered from public information sources.
I will provide you the results upon completion

*Disclaimer and Warning

PCB College Spring Break may be hazardous to your health, safety and well being.

Dear valued students and guests,

There have been hundreds and thousands of reported (and unreported) rapes, injuries, hospitalizations, arrests and many, many unfortunate deaths over the last 20 years.
(20 year actual stats to follow here: #: deaths__, rapes__, arrests__, injuries__, DUI’s,etc)

We plead with you to exercise extreme caution during your stay here in PCB and heed the following advice:

Never, ever get separated from those you came with or be left alone at your hotel or place of entertainment;

Never, ever accept any drink you did not see poured or opened fresh from a bottle or can because of the extreme possibility of a date rape type substance or drug that has been added;

Always have a designated member of your group that stays sober to oversee the group you are with and to act as your own security and protector from those desiring to rape, assault or hurt you or anyone in your group. There method of operation is to separate and control;

More warnings to be added;

TDC also is requested establish a 3-Digit 24/7 emergency hotline handled by “trained professionals” and a budget for advertising for future “Breakers and victims in desiring help, in trouble or immediate danger…”
(Cell phones do not give 911 their exact locations on the beach and time is of essence.)

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1 Charles April 28, 2008 at 5:15 pm

Hi Everyone,

I love Mark’s passion and from what I have seen he is a very knowledgeable and kind person. Just not sure why he thinks that Spring Break is the root of all evil.

The facts remain, these “tragedies” happen, during the summer, fall, winter, all times of the year. In Wewa, Destin, Atlanta, Orlando, and everywhere. They happen, period, and only God knows why or for what reason they occur. With or without Spring Break.

What’s the driving force behind this “Kill Spring Break.” Being that he is selling Condos does leave one wondering if there is more of a monetary driving force then a personal one. He son passed away a few years ago and really sorry to know this, but it had nothing to do with Spring Break. So what’s the driving force behind the “Kill Spring Break” Mark?

Spring Break happens, unless we convince the colleges not to release the Students or get the federal government to pass a law that states, “If you are over the age of eighteen and going to college you will be considered a minor.” Spring Break will take place!

With that, lets put this IMPORTANT FACT at hand, if the Students don’t come to Panama City Beach, guess what… they will go to Mexico, as they currently are! So by killing Spring Break in Panama City Beach, we would be sending our kids to a third world country with a drinking age of 18, over the counter prescription drugs, corrupted police force, regular kidnappings and substandard emergency help and hospitals. Can you live with this? Why not have the kids in your back yard so you can monitor them, versus a stranger’s? This attitude of “Don’t want them here, lets kill spring break, now they aren’t bothering us anymore.” Simply put them in a worse situation! Again can you live with this, knowing that we would be driving our kids to an even greater evil?

Now the real question is, How can we make Spring Break better and safer? Eager to read everyones thoughts on this.

Regards,
Charles

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2 jamnolfin April 28, 2008 at 9:32 pm

Spring Break is just plain out bad publicity. I travel alot and when I tell people Im from PCB, the 1st thing out of their mouths is, SPRING BREAK! We will never get and keep a upscale crowd until we get rid of it. That being said, if it wasnt for my investments I wouldnt have a problem with it. Theres nothing like seeing that 1st thong of the year in late February, it lets you know Spring is in the air.

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3 Ed April 29, 2008 at 8:39 am

Spring break is not good for the area, low budget tourists chasing away high budget tourists. With developments like pier park and many new events coming ( eg jazz festical) PCB leadership should be actively trying to change the tone of the city. The condos could be filled with high buidget tourists and their families during spring break and not kids high on cheap beer urinating in elevators.

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4 Bryan Durta April 29, 2008 at 11:51 am

The “attack the opposition’s motives” game is not accomplishing anything. It is just diverting attention from the real issues. It is especially silly when someone who clearly makes money promoting college spring break is doing the attacking.

Charles, your questioning of Mark’s motives is especialy poor after what Mark did for you at the TDC/CVB board meeting last month. Mark went out of his way to support you when you were wrongfuly attacked by the Y Partnershp representative. Mark didn’t remain silent just because you are a college spring break supporter. He deserves better.

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5 c April 29, 2008 at 3:42 pm

It is apparent that mark doesnt think that spring break is the “Root of all Evil”. Whether his son passed away on spring break or not, he is speaking out for all parents that have lost their child, and many many parents have lost a child due to the events that take place at PCB spring break. Mark isnt trying to stop the whole world from having spring break, but if he can try to stop it in his town, where his children are growing up and living, and cant even go down the street during spring break because of all the underage/ irresponsible drinkers down there, then atleast he is doing more to keep his and other families safe.

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6 Christina Durta April 29, 2008 at 4:55 pm

Maybe the pro-Spring Breakers and the anti-Sping Breakers need to come to some type of compromise. I think the main problem is with the type of activities our businesses (and government by their participation)promote.

Is there a way to have a Spring Break where the businesses do not promote the drinking and sex aspects? What would happen if we left that to the kids to do on their own?

Can we come up with current, cool activities that the Spring Breakers will be interested in? Maybe if we take the focus off the rowdy/raunchy side, it won’t seem so bad.

Are any of the pro-Spring Break people doing any research about what happens at higher-class Spring Break venues? Maybe there are places that have a better marketing approach that we could adopt. It just seems like we have been promoting the same old activities for years and it is no longer attracting the most desirable Spring Breaker. It’s kind of embarassing that we’re still pedaling the same old free beer/foam party/wet-T thing. How many years has this been going on? Isn’t it about time to do something new? Can we come up with something that appeals to a more sophisticated student?

I think more people could live with Spring Break if our businesses didn’t play to, and profit from, the lowest common denominator.

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7 Mark Canfora April 29, 2008 at 8:14 pm

Charles,
Please stop diverting attention away from the facts. Like Mr. Durta said “you should be saying thanks to me for defending you at the TDC meeting when you were called a “dooshbag” by the Y Partnership group.”
I defended you and the rep was soon fired for his public outburst against you.

Until the Lord takes me home, I always will speak up for victims of abuse, those who are severely wounded, afraid, unable to or fail to have enough strength left to speak out for truth and justice for themselves, their deceased or injured loved ones.

Victims want 3 things for true closure and healing: The truth told, the abuse to stop and a policy in place to never let it happen again to themselves or others.

I have no alterior motives here…read and re-read my posts. Profiting off the pain, misery and death of people is not who I am. or how I was raised.
I pray for you and the men who put money in place of families and lives. You all really should read “Lazarus and the rich man” from the Bible.

You see Charles…the wife of a murdered police officer or the parents & the 18 year old girl assaulted, raped and thrown from that building to die.. use every ounce of their limited strength to make it through just one more day.(If you have a heart or an ounce of compassion you would feel their pain and understand where I really am coming from)

You have me confused with the businessmen, hotel and bar owners who choose profits at the expense of others pain and suffering.

In your case I felt pity for you. You refused to stand up like a man and speak up for yourself about the verbal abuse you had just taken from the
Y Partnership rep…….you refused to get up and speak for yourself when I asked you to.
You suggested I do it for you.

You see Charles, “kill spring break mark” (as you called me) feels it is better to kill colllege/student spring break than to have even one more visitor assaulted, raped, tortured or KILLED. The numbers, no human beings, children and families that are victims in the last 20 years, number in the tens of thousands.

You, TDC and everyone will see these facts very shortly. I hope your SB profits and your friends profits enable you to sleep peacefully at night. Because I assure you the victim’s, their families and survivors do not.

Is the $30,000,000 SB dollars worth one life…how about $300,000,000?

What number did you sell your soul for as you cowardly and selfishly look the other way?

Imagine the gathering here in PCB of 20 years worth of PCB SB victims, their friends & families speaking very loudly in one in one voice: NO MORE!

Maybe you and the pro SB hotel owners can book their rooms to add to their bottom line? Shame on you and them.

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8 Charles April 30, 2008 at 10:16 am

I will be address everyone here one by one.

Bryan,

First off, I am NOT attacking Mark! Mark took on this crusade and thus, should expect to be questioned about his motive! Just as you stated Bryan, “It is especially silly when someone who clearly makes money promoting college spring break is doing the attacking.” Well, guess what… Mark make money selling Condos and Fractional Ownership (ie. Timeshare), so it IS in his best interest to rid spring break from PCB for his own personal monetary gain. And as I have stated, to everyone, I am MORE then willing to REMOVE spring break off PanamaCityBeach.com when someone provides me with a business plan that will maintain a similar state of economy during March that spring break bring in. Hence, my last sentence in my comment, “Now the real question is, How can we make Spring Break better and safer? Eager to read everyones thoughts on this.”

And Bryan, please re-read your paragraph,

“Charles, your questioning of Mark’s motives is especialy poor after what Mark did for you at the TDC/CVB board meeting last month. Mark didn’t remain silent just because you are a college spring break supporter. He deserves better.”

First off, as for Mark defending me, it is called “Professional Courtesy”… What does professional courtesy have to do with questioning his motive??? I would have done the same for him. I am VERY sure that Mark and I agree on the state of Y Partnership and thus there will be many items that we need to discuss.

“Mark went out of his way to support you when you were wrongfuly attacked by the Y Partnershp representative.”

Yes, Berry call me a name, personally I simply thought it was silly, but professionally I knew that Berry just shot himself in the foot, the second that Mark confirmed that he heard it and especially considering the situation. I wasn’t going to say anything because it would have been finger pointing. And Mark originally ask if I was going to say anything, to which I replied, “I can’t” (back to that finger pointing)… So Mark said something, and would have perfered to say this in person, but “Thank you, Mark.” I wasn’t at the last TDC meeting to personally say that and didn’t have contact details for him. This will be address shortly.

I do not have any personal or business issues with Mark and probably a lot in common. But again, Mark took on the crusade and thus Mark should realize that his motive will be questioned, period.

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9 Charles April 30, 2008 at 10:34 am

Christina,

THANK YOU, THANK YOU AND THANK YOU!!! I have ALWAYS stated that we I WANT to improve the image of Panama City Beach, thus on the spring break section of PanamaCityBeach.com you will NOT find references to the, and I quote “same old free beer/foam party/wet-T thing”. There has been MANY of times that I stated let see what we can do to change it.

I have been personally working on a spring break event to pitch to the TDC and yes it does take into consideration higher scale markets and what can be done to improve the image and spring break. It DOES take into consideration safety factors and tries to addresses the needs of almost everyone. No it does kill spring break, nor does it promote the old spring break. It is a very fine line but I feel that it can be created.

BUT this is also a two way street… the Anti-Spring Breaker must be willing to accept that spring break is something that we can simply remove/kill/end. It would have such a negative economic effect on BAY COUNTY, it would be felt to our very core. Just because we kill spring break isn’t going to sell condos… look at the rest of Florida that doesn’t have spring break, they aren’t selling condo either. So killing spring break isn’t simply overnight make PCB and number one place to buy a condo in Florida!

So I agree with you Christina, let work on improving this versus a definitive YES or NO on spring break.

Again, thank you for address this as it should be addressed.

Regards,
Charles

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10 Charles April 30, 2008 at 10:42 am

Edit to the above, on the third paragraph, starting with “BUT” on the second sentence, it should have stated;

“the Anti-Spring Breaker must be willing to accept that spring break is something that we can NOT simply remove/kill/end.”

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11 Mark Canfora April 30, 2008 at 1:21 pm

Charles,
Charles said: “Well, guess what… Mark make money selling Condos and Fractional Ownership (ie. Timeshare), so it IS in his best interest to rid spring break from PCB for his own personal monetary gain.”

Our project is yet to be built and we will market to families and not high school and college spring breakers. Much like the 90% majority of the responsible developers and businesses who choose not to profit off such a sick venue.

We are a Christian run company and choose to promote family and moral values while we earn our living. We have yet to sell a fraction or Condo while investing over $9,000,000 in this local economy…(FYI:since money is the huge motivator in your life)

But you are not dealing with me a a businessman…I am here first as a Believer in Christ, a husband, father and concerned citizen speaking the truth about the “historical facts” of the pain, misery, death and destruction PCB spring break has caused this whole community and unsuspecting visitors and children for the last 20 years.

Charles, Answer this and stop ignoring these points:

1)How have you and your spring break profiteers handled “Ocean Force” (The TV show showing PCB as a drunken, partying and sex filled town) The show airs 12 months/year- nationwide with constant negative exposure you, the TDC, etc. has given our community?

We suffer as a community as you give the whole community a black-eye.

2)MTV Music has promoted killing police and the abuse of women as you profit and TDC pays them $200,000 to come here. Then police are killed and women raped!
(Please answer this one with murdered PC Police Officer Kight in mind)

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12 Christina Durta April 30, 2008 at 3:50 pm

Charles,

Thank you for agreeing that change needs to happen and actively trying to come up with new ideas. Are any of the other pro-Spring Break businesses of the same mind-set? Are they working on anything right now? I’m asking you since I assume you know them.

Do you think that any of the main players would be willing to discuss major changes to their spring break marketing approach? Would any of them being willing to form a consortium of sorts to work on coming up with new spring break activities as a replacement for the traditional ones? Would the pro-Spring break businesses as a group be willing to adopt a code of ethics saying what is and what is not acceptable?

Would any of the main spring break businesses (listed in alphabetical order) be willing to step forward and pledge to change their marketing approach in the spirit of compromise:

Beach TV
Boardwalk
Hammerhead Fred’s
Harpoon Harry’s
Hooters
LaVela
MTV
Panamaniac Card
Rock Star Card
Sandpiper Beacon
Sharkey’s
Spinnaker

and any other spring break business that is not listed above.

Thanks,

Christina

Reply

13 Charles April 30, 2008 at 5:08 pm

Mark,

First off, I didn’t get a chance to say, “Thank You” in person, you left immediately after the comment was made but “Mark, thank you for saying something and providing me with the professional courteous. I really do appreciate it and again, Thank you!”

While I am sure that we don’t see eye to eye on this topic, we do have a lot in common and we both have a passion to improve spring break and PCB for the long term.

– “Please stop diverting attention away from the facts. Like Mr. Durta said “you should be saying thanks to me for defending you at the TDC meeting when you were called a “dooshbag” by the Y Partnership group.” I defended you and the rep was soon fired for his public outburst against you.”

I do appreciate your bearing witness to the unprofessional act. Please do understand that I would have provided you with the same professional courtesy.

Just for the record, Berry wasn’t fired, he was removed from the account, which was deserved and glad he wasn’t fired.

Back on topic, my original comment is NOT diverting from the facts, that I was addressing, what is driving your zest for ridding spring break in PCB?

– “Until the Lord takes me home, I always will speak up for victims of abuse, those who are severely wounded, afraid, unable to or fail to have enough strength left to speak out for truth and justice for themselves, their deceased or injured loved ones.”

I can appreciate you emotionalism for helping other. However, moving spring break from PCB doesn’t stop spring break. It simply relocates the problem. If you truly want to help the victims, let work together on a plan to manage spring break right here in PCB. Again, putting on blinders to the root of the problem doesn’t solve the problem.

– “Victims want 3 things for true closure and healing: The truth told, the abuse to stop and a policy in place to never let it happen again to themselves or others.”

I agree that victims do need some of those items. Moving spring break from PCB to another location isn’t providing closure, it simply moves the problem from us to other locations. Case in point the Natalee Holloway case… if she were in PCB, quit sure that Bay/Beach would have found the persons involved. So moving spring break away doesn’t allow for us to address the roots of the problem, we need to mange it versus it managing us. By having spring break in PCB allow for us to assist in provide healing/closure by prosecuting the offenders and allow an outlet for the victims to reach out to.

– “I have no alterior motives here…read and re-read my posts. Profiting off the pain, misery and death of people is not who I am. or how I was raised.
I pray for you and the men who put money in place of families and lives. You all really should read “Lazarus and the rich man” from the Bible.”

No body in Bay County is profiting from, “the pain, misery and death of people.” That is an effect of spring break not being managed, lets not be naive moving spring break from PCB to another location does not rid spring break altogether or an of its future victims. So by having spring break here allow us to provide the needed guidance that the children deserve.

– “You see Charles…the wife of a murdered police officer or the parents & the 18 year old girl assaulted, raped and thrown from that building to die.. use every ounce of their limited strength to make it through just one more day. (If you have a heart or an ounce of compassion you would feel their pain and understand where I really am coming from)”

I do feel saddened for both and for the victims of crimes during non-spring break time. But moving spring break from PCB to Mexico helps these victims how? So you simply don’t want victims in your back yard and to move them for someone else to deal with… lets work together and deal with it here.

– “You have me confused with the businessmen, hotel and bar owners who choose profits at the expense of others pain and suffering.”

Again, no one in Bay County is “profits at the expense of others pain and suffering.” How is anyone, “profits at the expense of others pain and suffering” in Bay County or PCB?

If Bay County or PCB did, “profits at the expense of others pain and suffering” we wouldn’t be a popular resort now would we? Yet, more then three million (increasing year or year) families, couples and retirees would come to our area.

What do you do if something does happen at your project, do you quit operations, close shop and move it to another location or do everything to solve and address the problem, then do everything to assist the victims, friends, and family? Does that make your project, “profits at the expense of others pain and suffering”?

– “In your case I felt pity for you. You refused to stand up like a man and speak up for yourself about the verbal abuse you had just taken from the
Y Partnership rep…….you refused to get up and speak for yourself when I asked you to. You suggested I do it for you.”

I am not even sure how to address this, talking about making this personal. :-0 Resulting from the fact that I just sat down from the podium would have been finger pointing. Picture me just seating down and then getting back up to say, “Berry called me a dooshbag.” Boy, talk about sounding immature or child like, everyone would have had a chuckle at me. I was smart enough to encourage you to say something, to make it a third party confirmation situation, and all I had to do was shake my head, “yes” once you pointed it out. In short, I pass on your pity and one day I won’t have to return it.

– “You see Charles, “kill spring break mark” (as you called me) feels it is better to kill college/student spring break than to have even one more visitor assaulted, raped, tortured or KILLED. The numbers, no human beings, children and families that are victims in the last 20 years, number in the tens of thousands.”

My quote was exactly, “So what’s the driving force behind the “Kill Spring Break” Mark?” Notice the quote (” “) marks. I wasn’t calling you a name, it was a question. True, I should have had a comma after the last quote, sorry for the poor grammar.

Very eager to see your numbers, where you obtained them, and how you calculated them. Again let address the real issue, moving spring break does not stop the harming or “one more visitor assaulted, raped, tortured or KILLED.” It simply moves the problem. Why haven’t you address my FACT that students, our children, are going to Mexico for their spring break and pushing spring break away from PCB only encourages them move to Mexico? Why are you turning a blind eye on the real issue and allow the students to come to us and let us address, teach, help, assist them? This even allows us to convert non-Christians to Christians! We have a collective herd of sheep to be shepherd, and you want to run them off to Mexico?!

– “You, TDC and everyone will see these facts very shortly. I hope your SB profits and your friends profits enable you to sleep peacefully at night. Because I assure you the victim’s, their families and survivors do not.”

Again, eagerly awaiting your facts, where they are coming from, and how they are calculated.

What does SB profits any different from summer or fall profits? Pamela Biggers is still missing from January 28, 2008, and what about Clint Malone from Oct 16, 2007, and the many more… What about their remaining family and survivors, don’t you care about them? Why aren’t you reaching out for these people? Why aren’t you attacking these fall/winter profiters, and ask them whether their, “profits enable you (them) to sleep peacefully at night.”?

You are cherry picking the crimes that are convenient for you and your cause, strange isn’t it?

– “Is the $30,000,000 SB dollars worth one life…how about $300,000,000?”

We both know that you cannot put a price on ones life. You reference spring break as it is the root of the problem, yet, I provided you with two sample of other victims that you are neglecting, so it is you that is putting a price on a life, not me.

– “What number did you sell your soul for as you cowardly and selfishly look the other way?”

Mark look in a mirror, it is YOU not addressing the issues and simply want to move the problem versus addressing it. Which one is more cowardly, moving the problem or addressing it?

You are using “fear tactics” to scare future people, that we can help, to go to another location were we have no jurisdiction… and cannot provide any assistance for the victims, family’s, or survivors. Don’t hide behind that you want to educate people, you have made it clear that you want to eliminate spring break altogether.

– “Imagine the gathering here in PCB of 20 years worth of PCB SB victims, their friends & families speaking very loudly in one in one voice: NO MORE!”

Great, I am all for a gathering of ALL victims in PCB and Bay County, not just for the spring break ones. I am MORE then willing to promote an event that reaches out to the victims, families, and friends of any crime in the area, but just PCB and Bay County.

– “Maybe you and the pro SB hotel owners can book their rooms to add to their bottom line? Shame on you and them.”

Mark, as mentioned we do not promote drinking, drugs, free alcohol, wet t-shirt contest, girl gone wild, etc on our site. Shame on you for not wanting to protect the student/kids and to simply run them off.

Mark, why don’t we have trollies running at night to rid DUI’s during spring break? Why not have camera along the beach to monitor actions along the strip? Why not introduce a spring break tax to allow for more law enforcement? How about enabling decency laws for march that states no print material reference free drinks? etc. etc. etc.

To end, Many hotels require an arm band to enter the property, and do NOT allow guest without the band. Many check licenses for age when entering with alcohol! Many have off duty police officers to address problems or non-law-abiding guest on their property. It isn’t like the pro-spring breakers are encouraging any illegal activities.

Again, the real question is, how can we make Spring Break better and safer? Let see if we can get some real constructive solutions versus hiding from it.

Sincerely,
Charles

Reply

14 Charles April 30, 2008 at 5:36 pm

Ok Mark, I will addresses these…

– “We are a Christian run company and choose to promote family and moral values while we earn our living. We have yet to sell a fraction or Condo while investing over $9,000,000 in this local economy…(FYI:since money is the huge motivator in your life)”

Glad to hear that you are a Christian run company, then it should be in your best interest to convert non-Christians to Christian, right?

Mark it is you that brought up the “profiters” of spring break and make it sound as if they are the one causing the problems. Yet, you mention your companies investment into the community and “We have yet to sell a fraction or Condo” it sound as if you are using spring break as an escape goat. So now we are getting to the real reason that you are pushing to remove spring break… you’re losing money… nine million dollars of money and need something to blame.

– “1)How have you and your spring break profiteers handled “Ocean Force” (The TV show showing PCB as a drunken, partying and sex filled town) The show airs 12 months/year- nationwide with constant negative exposure you, the TDC, etc. has given our community? We suffer as a community as you give the whole community a black-eye.”

Mark, the profits for the bed tax collect during spring break, pays Y Partnership PR, over “$20,000 per month” to addresses the image of PCB that is how it is handled. And you should know that “Ocean Force” and the likes are people from outside pcb that are spinning this to get ratings. I hope that this isn’t your source for stats!

– “2)MTV Music has promoted killing police and the abuse of women as you profit and TDC pays them $200,000 to come here. Then police are killed and women raped! (Please answer this one with murdered PC Police Officer Kight in mind)”

Mark, you haven’t been to enough TDC meeting to make this statement! I have ALWAYS been against MTV for this reason and MANY more!!!!! See we do agree and see eye to eye on some things! I pushed for more image conscious media outlets.

Sincerely,
Charles

Reply

15 Charles May 1, 2008 at 4:27 pm

Hi Christina,

Thank you for the constructive feedback… it is this type of professionalism and actionable replies that can make a community better!!

– “Thank you for agreeing that change needs to happen and actively trying to come up with new ideas. Are any of the other pro-Spring Break businesses of the same mind-set? Are they working on anything right now? I’m asking you since I assume you know them.”

While I cannot speak with all of them, I can say for PanamaCityBeach.com and some others say, YES! Many are more then willing too up-market Spring Break. I can say that none of the pro-spring break companies that I know wants drug dealers, gangs, rapers, cop killing music, etc in the area.Let’s face it, the upscale market of spring breakers has daddy’s credit card with a $5,000+ limit on it and many of them will already have their own credit cards with these limits on it. So to reenforce it is with everyones best interest to upscale spring break from the drugs and thugs to the primped and pampered.

– “Do you think that any of the main players would be willing to discuss major changes to their spring break marketing approach? Would any of them being willing to form a consortium of sorts to work on coming up with new spring break activities as a replacement for the traditional ones? Would the pro-Spring break businesses as a group be willing to adopt a code of ethics saying what is and what is not acceptable?”

Some changes, yes, but what constitute “major changes”? Please propose what solutions you have in mind. As mentioned, change is needed but we have to be realistic… This is also why it worries me that the TDC is looking to remove spring break from the budget, this would simply allow others to control the image of spring break, is that what the TDC wants? Outsiders to control the image of spring break? Even as Bill Span mentioned, spring break is here to stay, the question is who will promote it, MTV maybe?

Form a consortium… that’s what the RockStarPCB program was all about! Not a single advertisement mentioned free drinks or drinking at all, wet-shirt contest, or promoted crazy nearly unlawful activities. This group included, Holiday Inn (and properties), Beach Tower, Bikini Beach, Chateau, Sandpiper Beacon Resort, La Vela, Tiki Bar, Salty’s, Pineapple Willy’s, Latitudes, Rock’it Lanes, Mellow Mushroom, Beef O’Brady’s, Carrabba’s, California Cycles, Shuck’ums, Shaggy Marlins, Wal-Mart, Zoo World, Gulf World, and support from others. Now with that, we didn’t have a laid out code of ethics or tried to control any of these businesses independent advertising.

We invited Spinnakers, Coyote Ugly’s, Hammer Head Fred’s, Sharky’s and Harpoon Harry’s. These companies are all partial owners of the Panamaniac Card. I cannot speak for them, I understand that Jack Bishop is the point man, here.

– “Would any of the main spring break businesses (listed in alphabetical order) be willing to step forward and pledge to change their marketing approach in the spirit of compromise:

Beach TV
Boardwalk
Hammerhead Fred’s
Harpoon Harry’s
Hooters
LaVela
MTV
Panamaniac Card
Rock Star Card
Sandpiper Beacon
Sharkey’s
Spinnaker

and any other spring break business that is not listed above.”

Referencing above, RockStar Card and it client… yes, to a point. Let’s meet and discuss solutions versus whining and ranting about spring break. Let me talk to a few of some key people and sure we can even arrange for a location. I will have Jason send you my number.

Panamaniac Card is many people you mentioned (see above), ask Jack Bishop or Sparky. I believe these two very smart and professional business men are at least willing to sit and listen to what is to be said, but I cannot speak on their behalf.

MTV, as far as I’m concerned, they like Joe Francis, should be banned from Bay County.

Hooters, they haven’t promoted free drinks or all you can drink. This is a corporate operation and is operated very professionally. Meeting most if not all the ethics that RockStarPCB had.

BeachTV, I cannot speak for them.

Well, we now have a starting point to move forward… I would love to read the constructive input from the anti-spring break people on what would improve the image of spring break and PCB. I want IDEAS that can help all of us!

Regards,
Charles

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16 c May 1, 2008 at 7:34 pm

Charles, have you completely ignored the fact that mark wants to set up a DISCLAIMER to HELP the students and children that come down during spring break so they can be made aware of the dangers that they face in PCB spring break??? I believe he said as long as spring break continues in PCB that the disclaimer should be set up everywhere that the party goers can see them. You have repeated yourself numerous times on how he should focus on helping them. What do you think he is trying to do?? Honestly i believe this has nothing to do with his condo or clientele that he is trying to bring to the community. As many people have stated before, no one really wants to rent during the month of march because of spring breakers. Mark is a smart man. I am sure he already knew that no one would really be interested in buying during that season. It isnt about his business or what he is trying to see and to whom. its about keeping the people in his community safe, and trying to prevent more murders and rapes right down the street from where he lives. If you were a parent…. how would you feel letting your 18 year old daugher loose in PCB spring break?? And how would you feel loosing her in that way? It is simple as that. Reguardless of business and money. Think of the parents that have lost their children. The Brothers that are without sisiters. The Grandparents who have lost a grandchild. Yes it happens everywhere, and off season. You have made that aware, but when it is being promoted and without warning of what could happen? That is his motive. Not money, And deifnitely not selling condos.

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17 Christina Durta May 2, 2008 at 10:00 am

Thanks Charles.

I think concessions from both sides of the table are the only way that spring break can work for the community as a whole. No matter where you stand, there are some things that the majority of people can probably agree on.

With that being said, I think a starting point may be to focus on things that are within the control of the tourist businesses. Alot of the wild spring break behavior is not attributed to the businesses, but comes from the students. We can do some things to help that, but only to a certain extent.

So if you focus only on what the businesses can do, I think it falls into a few general categories:

Recognize that the business activity does burden the residents and non-spring break tourist businesses. Simply acknowledging this would go a long way in relationship building.

Discourage over-consumption of alcohol by not having free, nominal fee, or all you can drink specials.

Discourage activities that may lead to public indecency and overtly sexual behavior in public places, even if the activity does fall within legal definitions.

Have tasteful advertising that does not encourage negative behavior.

Commit to keeping the area around the business clean, including the beach and road frontage.

I’m sure there are many other issues that can be addreessed, but I think these are the major ones. Improvement in any of these areas would be significant.

Bryan or I would be happy to discuss and brainstorm ideas. I think you might already have Bryan’s email or we are in the book if you want to call.

Thanks,

Christina

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18 Ron May 2, 2008 at 2:03 pm

Mr/Ms C

Okay , Stop right there! I’m tired of ever time Charles or anyone defends having spring break that some one has to paint a picture that he in uncaring and wants only the money, despite the people getting hurt. That is completely ridiculous! Of coarse, he cares about the spring breakers, we all care! Reread Charles comments, he does keep repeating his points:

1) We need to embrace the fact that Spring Break is economically needed for the community.

2) Pushing Spring Breakers away doesn’t help victims, it just relocates them.

3) People who care about the victims of Spring Beaks (which is most of all Americans) need to accepts these facts. Then we can work as a community to make a profitable and safe environment.

4) Spring Breakers are just kids and kids need Guidance. We need to provide that guidance, if we want a safe community.

We can not make Spring Break safe as long as we continue arguing about getting rid of it. Currently many business are doing individual efforts to make it safe, which helps. But they need all of our help. Not to increase profits, but to make a safer community.

What is Mark doing? I believe he just taking another angle to get rid of Spring Break, one that has the impression that he is trying to educate people. In fact, it only scares the people that are already paying attention. I’m not saying to hide the statistics, I also am not for exaggerate the stats as Mark does( “tens of thousands”, the entire State of Florida in 20 years barley makes that stat http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Crime_Statistics and where did he get the info on people being “tortured” on pcb). I would say it is worth doing if it save even one person from tragedy; but I also say it would scare off the people we want to come here. I rather see same money used more effectively and not detour visitors.

Stats are a funny thing with out prospective they really don’t mean anything. Most people don’t know stats of their own community much less any where else. Florida, California, and Texas are all very transient area and have high crime rates (nothing like DC our nations capitol and one of the highest crime areas). So flaunting stats without any comparison really is just a scare tactic.

I ask you, without looking it up, how many people died today from smoking? You see the stats every day. I’ll bet you know that it is high, but ignore it because it either: doesn’t apply to you or you just don’t care. Well none of the Spring Breakers come here planning to be raped or murdered, so most will ignore the stats. They are still bullet proof. People on vacation seem to put their brains on vacation too.

So if you don’t want Spring Break then just say so – don’t hide behind that you just want to help spring breakers. Try some honesty! Stop the personal attacks and focus on the issues. If you want to talk about people loosing loved one during spring break, talk about how you want to change it. Don’t use it to make someone feel guilty and shame them into being quiet and compliant with your wishes.

My work is not related to spring break or even tourism. I don’t like Spring Break or Bike Week for selfish reasons, it always cost me money, restricts where I go and what I do. But have I come to accept is as a fact of life and would like our community to start managing it, rather than it managing us.

I have traveled most every year in March – Snow skiing, cruise ships, out of the country, and even camping in the middle of nowhere. The only “family” place in the country that I have found has been Orlando during Spring Break. Of course, even there it is not exclusive and you have to stay in special areas.

When I travel during Spring Break, I expect to see Spring Breakers. I return to the places that accept the kids having fun but mange the environment.

Listen we are either part of the problem or part of the solution! Ask yourself, which do you want to be?

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19 Mark Canfora May 3, 2008 at 7:44 am

Charles,
I have 30 years sales and marketing experience and am fully aware of your tactics and antics. I just am not sure if it is “calculated and planned” or just pure ignorance…please keep writing…you have me stumped right now.

All,
The pro-student/college spring break promoters are in what is called in marketing “Damage Control”.
Part of “damage control” is “spinning and diverting” the facts away from the most recent “crisis” or event failure while minimizing the seriousness of the problem(Examople: smoking deaths, tolerating the problems with a band aid, etc…makong the issues more palatable and easier to swollow for the community…force feeding us and ignoring the rapes, murders and abuse is no longer working)

In this case the damage control spin is the most recent horror of SB…the brutal rape, “torture” and attempted murder of an 18 year old girl assaulted and thrown from the 6th floor building to die by the hotel’s own “Employee”/Security Guard with a criminal past history. They hired a criminal and now attempted murder.

No background check, a low hourly wage to increase profits while “not hiring” a legitimate security company or police for the guests safety.
Are we as a community supposed to police the hiring and marketing practices of these benefactors of this tragic event failure? Enough is enough.

Why would the TDC board mention Indian Summer as an “Event Failure” (losing attendence and money) and not classify Student/College Spring Break the same way? Because…profits are up, attendence up, even though rapes occur, assaults happen and the death toll rises every year…yet not an “event failure label?

Money is King on this beach…..for now.

Student/College Spring Break is over in this community. There is a move that will not go away until this is finished. It’s not if, but when.

As far as students going elsewhere…I believe if enough truth is told by the media, group’s like Natalie Holloway’s mother and foundation and those th e many vistim’s that speak the truth about the serious dangers of this tradition, parents will stop permitting their children to attend anywhere…here or Mexico….tolerating college/SB anywhere is wrong and the truth of the dangers will follow.

I assure you my children will never be permitted to participate because of the serious risk involved.

Charles/Ron…all,
I’ll release the documented SB tragegy and “event failure” stats very soon…

Charles…Ron,
Thanks for all your comments here.. while actively proving the intentional act of “spin control, minmizing victim’s pain and active damage control”. To see your callousness towards victims and hurting people ceases to amaze me.
Please keep writing…you add credence and validity to my comments.

Witnessing for Christ on the beach…
FYI….I did lead 10 people to Christ last month on the beach and thousands of others during my life.
I don’t need your help or even trust your opinion on how to share Christ with the lost and abuse victims here and their families here. I’ll do it in love…and I do pray for wisdom for you.

I choose not to share Christ while throwing an annual “Sodom and Gommorah” parties to do so. Rather through sreet minstries, youth ministry to the poor and festivals celebrating life and family.

My real motivation here is to celebrate life and family here on the beach in a safe place for our community and visitors…this will happen sooner than later if the majority in this community speak up.

See you at the TDC meeting.
MarkCanfora@aol.com
markfest.org

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20 RC May 3, 2008 at 11:16 am

Spring break is not economically needed in this area. I would argue the opposite that overall our spring break reputation hurts our tourism more than it helps.

Spring break is heavily supported by a small minority of bars and hotels that thrive on a party crowd. The rest of us pay a price year round but that is going to change.

RC

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21 Marie May 3, 2008 at 3:44 pm

This has certainly been fascinating commentary. I believe that all who have commented have an interest in moving Panama City Beach in a better direction.

I started out thinking it was very admirable that Mark wanted to educate our youth about the dangers of spring break. My professional association includes safety reminders in publications before conventions in larger cities. So, I think that there is absolutely value in educating all of the visitors who come to our beautiful area. Charles, maybe you and others could include some safety tips in websites marketing our beach.

I found it strange that Mark went from suggesting an educational approach to wanting to essentially ban spring break. Mark, I think that it is wonderful that you are helping others to take Jesus as their savior, and you sound like a basically good person. You do come off a bit self-righteous which often turns people off. That’s unfortunate when you have a good message to share. Remember . . . ” Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another.” I think working towards a common goal of facilitating a safe & fun place to visit makes more sense.

As a parent, I hope and pray that the good sense and strong Christian values that my husband and I have tried to instill in our kids will serve them well no matter where they travel during the spring break time frame.

I agree with others who suggest efforts be directed towards making PCB the best and safest place it can be for all who decide to visit.

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22 Ron May 3, 2008 at 4:57 pm

Mark

Thank you for being honest when you said “Student/College Spring Break is over in this community.”

Now your true intentions are shown. Regarding your 30 years in Marketing I can see you are good at “..marketing “Damage Control”. Part of “damage control” is “spinning and diverting” the facts..”

Spin 1 – Have “Disclaimer and Warning”
Supporting Spin – “..Panama City Beach will be legally liable..” Everybody cares about being sued.

Spin 2 – That you have the victims and their families in mind

Spin 3 – Distort the Stats- this is the most common of all spins.

Spin 4 – Appeal to peoples emotions about victims.

Spin 5 – guilt and shame people into being quiet and compliant with your wishes.

Spin 6 – If Spin 5 doesn’t work with Spin 4 Change to religion.

Spin 7 – Exemplify yourself so people will blindly follow you.

Spin 8 – Continue to change the subject!!

Spin 9 – Belittle they people against you and the effect it will have on the community, inflate the people that you represent and their will for change.

Now that you are trying honesty, try sticking with facts. Yes, I know you can bring exception in.

I have heard alot of good reasons not to promote College Spring Break – None have come from you!

You appear to be just another one of the those controlling people who move here and think they know what is best for us. Usually it begins with “Where I came from we ….”

Why did you move to “Sodom and Gommorah”?

Is this a “…”calculated and planned” or just pure ignorance…”?

It is ignorance, ignorance on your part that people would see through your not so clever “Spin”.

What got me in this was that I saw that your letter to the Mayor and Council Members was just a SPIN job.

I’m all for replacing College Spring Break but review the facts, not some recent residents “SPIN”. Mark go ahead and submit your stats after you have had the time to make the proper spin on them. I have a statistics back ground, and I will catch your spin.

You have admitted the real reason for you letter is to end promotion of college spring break. I have shown that all your concerns and writings were just a spin job.

I taught my kids “Who is dumber the idiot or the one arguing with the idiot?”

Thus, I am through arguing with Mark. I will include you in my prayers. I pray that you learn not to deceive people and don’t bear false witness.

I agree with the discussion weather or not to promote spring break. Many of you have very compelling reasons.

Stick to the facts, don’t let some one come in and pull the wool over your eyes using spins with emotion and religion.

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23 c May 3, 2008 at 9:51 pm

ron,

For a seemingly educated man, you are obviously the one with alot of ignorance. I don’t understand your logic in thinking that Marks motives are bad, or negative, in the process of bettering the community. Calling him out on his religion? Telling him he is bearing false witness? Do you know anything of his background, or the type of person he actually is? Just beacuse he talks OPENLY about his relationship with Christ, and is WITNESSING…. not false witness…. you claim he is trying to pull the wool over peoples eyes by using religion?? I am sorry ron, but aren’t Christians supposed to witness to the lost and the hurting? I believe so.
He isn’t the one that is being deceiving.

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24 Ron May 4, 2008 at 7:45 am

C

You seem to be a very good christian. I have never met Mark and have only learned about him through this letter he wrote.

Deceiving – I feel his whole letter to Mayor and Council Members was a deception. Even possible deceiving to Mark himself. He wants to stop promoting spring break not give out warning notices.

“false witness” – yea, your right! I should have left that out. Accusing me of doing “damage control” I felt was wrong and false. I’m sure my anger showed.

I don’t think his motives are bad just the method in this case – I think that “the end doesn’t justify the means”.

“wool over peoples eyes” – probably a bit too far. Yes, I feel he was working an emotional angle and that causes people to agree or take action that the normal wouldn’t. If you study history, you will see that this has caused many communities/countries much unneeded pain and suffering.

Call him out on his religion? I’m not doubting that I did, I just not sure were you are reference it. Marie said it best there “You do come off a bit self-righteous…” That is great that he brought that many people to Christ – does that mean his current antics are okay?

Ron

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25 Mark Canfora May 4, 2008 at 8:35 am

I am a resident on Panama City Beach and have every right to speak forth the truth about what I see and observe as documented and proven over 20 year history of the tragedy, pain and suffering for innocent young visitors and their families.

The death and rape toll here during PCB SB rises every year and no spin or damage control can change those FACTS for the victims.

These are real lives devestated and real people harmed. This is documented by our public institutions like the hospitals, coroner’s office, Panama City Beach Police and the Bay County Sherrifs departments….only a few of my sources for the “facts” soon to be released. (Good luck Ron on changing those facts)

The numbers won’t lie and neither will the victim’s and their families’ testimonies.

Their stories will be told. Not individually and alone, but documented with names and faces along with the total of deaths, assaults and crimes during the 6 weeks of PCB SB for the last 20 years.

Marie you wrote earlier,

I started out thinking it was very admirable that Mark wanted to educate our youth about the dangers of spring break.

(The disclaimer and warning will be given to all visitors as long as this promotion continues..at hotels, bars, restaurants and advertised…especially in regional college newspapers…this is the begginning, not the end all answer)

You also wrote:
I found it strange that Mark went from suggesting an educational approach to wanting to essentially ban spring break. Mark, I think that it is wonderful that you are helping others to take Jesus as their savior, and you sound like a basically good person. You do come off a bit self-righteous which often turns people off.
(I agree that sometimes words on paper come across one way and do not always show your heart…thanks for that suggestion…I’ll continue my witness for Christ in love and compassion while speaking forth the truth…Marie, remember when Jesus turned the Temple tables over when the religious turned His Father’s House into a den of robbers and thieves?
He was angered at times also…yet did not sin)

Marie also wrote:
That’s unfortunate when you have a good message to share. Remember . . . ” Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another.”

(Amen…thanks for the Scripture.
Keep in mind..the victims are battling a giant here and for them it is emotional and ugly…In ministry at times it is intense…
just read about Goliath…but fortunately, we are in times of grace and mercy…)

Marie said: I think working towards a common goal of facilitating a safe & fun place to visit makes more sense.
(For events promoting family values and…we cannot trust these businesses to follow “safe and fun” when it comes to their past history of scandalous marketing and abuse, while ignoring the many victims and the death toll that is rising….
I am for ” safe and fun” while promoting “family vacations” during Easter and spring break.
The hotels and bar owners want revenue replaced…none better than the mom, dad, and grandparent’s money spent…not students who borrow daddy’s credit card with a $1000 limit.
No families will come here as long as college/student SB is taking place…even local families leave the area)

We all need compassion for these victims and families…for those that have expressed zero compassion for the victims in their efforts and writings:

Compassion:
–noun 1. a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
2. Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.

Marie,
Certain battles in our Christian walk are intense…in this case there is a 20 year history of serious abuse and a huge stronghold here by a very few powerful financial strong men and families.
Backed by billions of dollars in total unlimited resources, this 3-5% is a minority in our community.
“Safe and fun” is not part of their vocabulary or history as they look the other way as children and people die.
I hope that is not too harsh for you.
Safe & Fun?

Frustration levels run high during these times…especially when you truly feel the pain of the innocent victims.

For any sin I have committed while feeling that pain…I ask for forgiveness of everyone here.

Any error I made or will make will be on the side of the victims and their families.

There is no “safe and fun” for them any longer as long as this tragic event continues.

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26 Mark Canfora May 4, 2008 at 8:53 am

I will always speak the truth as I see it and discover it…

Since Faith and religion has been discussed here I will appeal to the authority on love…

What Jesus says about love:

1 John 3:
16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 19 And by this we know[a] that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. 20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. 22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us[b] commandment.
The Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error

24 Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

1 John 3 & 4
http://www.Biblegateway.com audio

http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/audio/?source=8&aid=22

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27 Mark Canfora May 4, 2008 at 9:17 am

Ron,

You said previously:

Ron said”:
I ask you, without looking it up, how many people died today from smoking? You see the stats every day. I’ll bet you know that it is high, but ignore it because it either: doesn’t apply to you or you just don’t care. Well none of the Spring Breakers come here planning to be raped or murdered, so most will ignore the stats.”

Ron that is the most “passion” I have heard from you when referencing the victims…you agree there are rapes and murders…that is a start…I call it an “event failure” like the TDC Marketing board references their losing venues.

It really lacks compassion..who are you and how do you benefit from spring break continuing…what do you do for a living…just curious?

We all need compassion for these victims and families…
Compassion:
–noun 1. a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
2. Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.

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28 Marie May 4, 2008 at 7:24 pm

Mark,

I am afraid that you missed my intent with “safe and fun”. I think that it IS possible for families and spring break kids to co-exist. I think that as a community we should strive to offer alternatives to the less desirable spring break craze. In the absence of alternatives, kids will turn to whatever is available.

I would love to see Panama City Beach offer some fun and safe alternatives. For example, it would be great to bring in some top name Christian bands. Also, we could market to Christian colleges.

I think that if we really do care about victims and their families, we should work towards some viable and realistic measures to prevent further tragedies.

As an employee of the school system, I have no vested interest in spring break. Believe it or not, it is actually possible to have an opinion and care about something that you don’t profit from one way or another.

For what it’s worth . . .
Marie

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29 Mark Canfora May 5, 2008 at 12:34 pm

Marie,

Sorry for the misinterpretation of your idea of “safe and fun”. I agree with all else you mention….anything SB that includes a family and Christian atmosphere.
Christian bands for 1 week….
Family Reunions (We could become the Family Reunion Capital of the U.S. if we promote that…imagine thousands of families meeting here Easter week…especially with the new airport completion in 2010)
Always have a celebration during Easter week of Christ, family and friends.

Large donations can be gathered for local outreaches such as PC Mission, food banks and outreaches to the poor and battered women’s shelters, etc.
Golf and baseball Tournaments with all proceeds to the local causes, etc…We can fill the 6 weeks of SB with very positive promotions and causes and exceed the gross sales numbers that are received in today’s venues.

No more MTV, Girls Gone Wild, Ocean Force, etc.

I know the owners of the Condos and hotels will agree with this source of family oriented revenue and benefit to the whole community….it will take a year or two to transition…but they must stop the current image and marketing of sex, alcohol and partying which leads to more rapes, arrests, assaults and sadly, deaths.

The Joe Francis types and sexual predatorsiminals will eventually go away if we promote SB properly.

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30 Borderline May 12, 2008 at 1:10 pm

Let’s take all this energy and apply it to the development of a large scale meeting facility. With half as much enthusiasm directed as such, we’ll be welcoming meeting travelers BEFORE the airport gets built.

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