Are Spring Breakers ruining our Beaches?

by March 14, 2008 • 45 comments

Spring Break is in full swing and along with that comes droves of college kids looking for a good time that mostly includes drinking endless amounts of alcohol, walking around our streets with open containers, and leaving their garbage all over the place.

Click the “more” link for pictures and a comment about how PCB is being ruined as a family spot.


In the Bryan’s review about the 2008 TDC/CVB Spring Break Marketing Plan someone posted the following comment (sorry for the all-caps):

It looks like the TDC got screwed and in the process they are killing PCB as a family vacation spot. How sad is this for all the investors. Read the email below from a renter canceling next year’s reservation:
WE ARE SORRY TO DO THIS TO YOU. WE HAVE DECIDED THAT PANAMA CITY BEACH IS NOT A PLACE WE WANT TO SPEND OUR VACATION. AFTER SURVIVING 4 DAYS OF THE SPRING BREAKERS AND ALL THE DRINKING, DRUG DEALING AND WILD PARTIES IT IS NOT TO BE TOLERATED. THE YOUNG PEOPLE DO AS THEY PLEASE NO POLICE PRESENCE OR BEACH PATROL. THE CONDO AREAS ARE A MESS. WE ARE CLOSE TO THE OCEAN VILLA AND HAVE HEARD ABOUT ALL THE GOINGS ON. SORRY WE WANT TO SPEND OUR HOLIDAY WHERE PEOPLE OBEY THE LAW AND HAVE RESPECT FOR OTHER PEOPLE AND PROPERTY. IN DESTIN LAST YEAR THIS DID NOT HAPPEN. THERE WAS NO DRINKING IN PUBLIC AREAS. SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE. WE WOULD LOVE TO HAVE BEEN AT OCEAN VILLA IT IS A PERFECT SET UP. BUT THE CITY HAS GONE WILD

Has the city gone wild? Can anyone speak into the policing? I stopped by the MTV Village today and saw one Sheriff officer and thousands of spring breakers. I couldn’t tell you how many I saw that could barely walk carrying cans of beer and open-topped cups.

As I was walking back out to my car, 4 drunk girls in bikinis approached me (with my camera) and asked if I wanted to take their picture. I said no, and they called me a dirty word that I would rather not repeat.

By catering to the college spring break crowd, are we driving off the families that want to be here for their spring break as well? How many years away will it take for the people mentioned above to forget about their experience and give Panama City Beach another chance? Will they ever come back? What are they telling their friends?

This is the kind of stuff we need to be aware of.

As of this post, I am officially starting a “Do you support College Spring Break” poll. It is up at the top right of the site. Do you support College Spring Break? Or would you rather we figure out how and put more emphasis on getting families to our beaches during spring break.

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1 Jennifer March 14, 2008 at 12:43 pm

Hi Jason,

Thanks so much for posting so many great things about PCB. I own a condo down there, but live in Ohio, and greatly value all of your information. I check your web site all the time.

I think it is so sad to see PCB trashed during spring break. It has such a great future ahead of it, if only people respected the properties and the beach…

I am wondering if you have contact information for the TDC? I would like to personally send them my thoughts on spring break. If everyone takes 10 minutes and emails them and voices their opinion, maybe we can make a difference and keep PCB progressing in the right direction. There are so many individual property owners in PCB, I know they can’t please everyone, but they should be working to please the majority.

It just seems to me, from what I’ve read about the area, that most people would like to see spring break as we know it today, gone forever, in order to genuinely change the image of PCB. If that’s true, then why does PCB continually spend money marketing to rude, drunk college kids who have very little money to spend, when we could be bringing couples and families in who actually have money and respect for the way of life down there?

Just so you know, I am not against college spring breakers having a good time. I am against purposely setting up PCB as the ultimate wild party. Bringing in MTV only makes this worse.

I’ve been to many beaches in Florida over my lifetime during spring break, and have always found college kids there, but never acting out like they do in PCB. Of course, those beach towns did not do the big marketing campaign and set themselves up for the craziness. Why can’t the families and college kids coexist on the beach? This can only be done if PCB stops the WAY they market to the college crowd. In fact, maybe they should stop marketing to them altogether and see what happens.

I’d also really like to know if the TDC has ever done a study to find out how much money it costs every single property owner to replace broken items, hire extra police offers, hire condo security, repair and pick up trash on their property, etc… How about if they take into account potential lost revenue because of the reputation that precedes the PCB name? I bet in the end we’d find out that if they did away with the whole spring break/MTV culture, and spent that extra marketing money directed toward couples, families, etc…that the town could make a lot more money in the month of spring break with a lot less “mature” people down there that actually respect the beach and the properties.

I would urge everyone to voice their opinions to the TDC. Every voice can make a difference!

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2 Michele March 14, 2008 at 1:32 pm

Jennifer,

I completely agree and am opposed to the TDC’s supporting this kind of Spring Break. I thought they were intending to make changes to attract more families and make PCB more of an upscale travel destination. I live in Illinois and I also own a condo on the beach in PCB. I have 2 children in elementary school. I would NEVER think of bringing my family or friends to PCB during Spring Break. How sad! I would love to take my family to PCB for a week in March, for a nice relaxing break. However, it is not family friendly during Spring Break. We choose to spend our money elsewhere during Spring Break.

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3 Bryan Durta March 14, 2008 at 4:48 pm

Jennifer,

You can write to Mr. Dan Rowe, Executive Director of the TDC and President of the Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, at drowe@800pcbeach.com I have already checked with Mr. Rowe and he welcomes any comments you may have. Thank you.

Bryan

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4 Chris Plyers March 14, 2008 at 5:18 pm

Jason,

Having worked a couple of years at a spring break hot spot, I finally got to the point that no matter how good the money… the utter filth, the degrading of females and disgusting behavior by vast throngs of underage drinkers that I could no longer tolerate Spring Break. If you want to get a true picture of spring break, take your camera (video and/or still) and go to the clubs from mid-night to 5 am (when clean up begins). Go back stage at the “Wet T-shirt” contest and Foam Parties where 30-50 year old men (usually workers at the sponsoring beer company or club employeed bouncers) “help” these stumbling drunk 18-20 yo girls squeeze into their t’s. Follow the “runners” as they offer free drinks and $100 bar coupons to pretty girls in order to get them on-stage to dance and almost without fail “accidently” lose their clothing. Be there when the throngs leave and you can see the 1000’s of bear cans, the vomit, feces, used feminine hyigene products (yes, I said used), 100’s of used condoms, all mixed in tons of soupy trash. Trust me, it will turn your stomach.

Don’t take my word for it….go see yourself! If the TRUE story of spring break ever came to light, I believe the community as a whole would rise up against it just as Ft Lauderdale did (and won). See the story at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23565992/from/ET/

If we do nothing, we deserve all the chaos we get.

Chris

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5 Nigel March 14, 2008 at 9:05 pm

Keep the spring breakers coming to Panama City Beach. Just increase the security to make the bad apples are kept in line. Dont persecute all the students for a few bad apples. These students are the families of the future. You want them coming back in the future with their kids. Yesterdays hippies are todays conservatives.

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6 Dennis March 14, 2008 at 10:50 pm

The TDC was replaced to make changes to begin a “family spring break” at Panama City Beach. They have not succeeded. The destruction of property and tourists stating they will not come back next year is not what we were promised and is most discouraging. As an owner at PCB, I am very encouraged by the CRA plans, Pier Park and the new airport to name a few. We must all work together to make PCB a desired family destination.

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7 Bryan Durta March 15, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Nigel,
I agree that some college spring breakers here today will come back in the future with their kids. However, I also believe that some college spring breakers here today will make the decision that PCB is no place to bring their family due to the party atmosphere they remember. Unfortunately, the TDC does not seem very interested in completing the research necessary to determine what the long-term effects of college spring break are. They instead seem to concentrate on the money it brings in today.

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8 Steve March 15, 2008 at 11:12 pm

PCB has been pimping herself out to college kids for decades. It’s gonna take some time to transition into what it seems like everyone agrees PCB should be.

Give the TDC some credit for making sure our local economy got a boost of income during a time of slow economic growth.

If you don’t enjoy Spring Breakers, you’ll have to continue to avoid PCB in March for a few more years. But she is a changin!

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9 Kristi March 17, 2008 at 3:58 pm

I have lived in Panama City for over 20 years. I am 34 now and have never had any problem with the Spring Breakers. I even worked on the beach right in the middle of it all and the only complaint I ever had was the traffic but I expect it. I personally feel the Spring Breakers or much more polite than all the old Snowbirds that come down here. They are so rude and act like we owe them something. Sure you have your few rude Spring Breakers but I’d much rather them here. This town is turning into a town I don’t much care for anymore. It’s like they don’t want anyone to have any fun anymore. They keep taking away all the fun spots and putting up more condos that no one are staying at that’s why they are going bankrupt. This town does not think before it acts. Spring Breakers need a fun place to go and have fun It’s just up to the City to enforce the laws fairly and take care of the few bad ones. This City use to have a lot of fun things for familys to do but they closed them to make room for more condos like we need them. I use to love this beach but since all the construction it has just ruined the beach I blame it not the Spring Breakers.

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10 Lori March 18, 2008 at 4:25 am

I have several condos that are rented and we don’t rent to anyone under 25, but there sure must be a load of owners who do. I think that Spring Break is for everyone. I agree with one readers opinion that some of our northern guests are rude and had the “you owe me” attitude. We have made a limited few exceptions to the under 25 rule and so far have had no problems. We also tell our guests that if they get out of control, they will be evicted with no refunds. So far, that has worked. There has to be a happy medium to this problem, maybe someone will figure it out!

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11 Butch Metcalf March 18, 2008 at 6:15 am

Although the breakers do party and have a good time they typically only effect the east end of the beach around Thomas Dr. My office is there and I live there and as a Realtor in the area it is an inconvenience to deal with them but on the flip side of that these college kids are our future property owners. I have talked to and sold properties to many folks over the years that came to PC in college 20 years ago to party and loved it and that is why they came back to buy property.
I am 56 and back in the late 60’s we would drive down from Atlanta to party all weekend.

So before we through all these future property owners in the ditch think of the long range effect, not to mention the economic income they bring to our slumping economy. Yes they could act better but if most folks would think back to when they were in college I’m sure they would remember a wild time or two. These are soon to be college graduates that will go on to corporate jobs and bring that money back here for years to come. Some will even go off to the military soon and this may be their last big unwind before they leave to protect our country.
Spring break has been a part of PC for decades and it only last a month in March when the local income needs the income to survive. I have had more issues with the snowbirds than the breakers.

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12 Catherine March 18, 2008 at 7:34 am

I have lived in Panama City/Bay County for 32 years.
I remember spring break at Carl Gray Park..when local radio stations set up there and passed out t-shirts!
Now..Panama City Beach is “Beaches Gone Wild”. I totally agree with most of the comments about under-age drinking …no security/police. It feels like the police are told to “look the other way” with under-age drinking unless it becomes a problem. Let’s not spoil the kids week off..they deserve to come to PCB and “break” the laws…and Panama City Beach officials promote it! I have 3 children that I have raised in PCBch…now in late teenage years and early 20’s. Last year I almost lost one to “local” friends serving her alcohol at a local spring-break hangout (everyone under-age was being served alcohol..I know..I went to the bar to find her)..the police sat in the parking lot and played on his labtop…she was only 18. I found her 2 hours later passed out and someone I do not know house.

I believe our bars/restaurants/spring break hang-outs owners and promoters should be responsible for monitoring under-age drinking..pay the clean up fees for the beaches and pay the City of Panama City Police and Bay County Sheriff Department for the mess we have to clean up in April every year. I own condos and homes in Bay County…. I know the damage spring-breakers do. As a multi-property tax payer I do not get a penny for Spring Break but my TDC tax $$$ that I pay each quarter goes for the promotion. Send the breakers somewhere else. As you know by now, the news yesterday of the girl being pushed off the balcony. Do we citizens of Bay County want to pay the lawsuit that will come from this?
Come on TDC and Bay County Commissioners…if spring-break continues..tax the profit recipients or send the college kids packing!
Sincerely,
Catherine

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13 Dan Conley March 18, 2008 at 8:14 am

As a newcomer to the Beach, (moved here last year at Spring Break), I live 1 block from Front Beach and 1 block from 79. I live on the quiet end of the beach so we don’t get as much as the Thomas drive area. I am a little concerned after what happened at the Beacon Beach Resort two nights ago!!! I do think the TDC and CVB should be working to bring more families in. I can’t tell you how much talk I heard when people found out MTV was coming back. NO ONE wanted them back in town!!! I feel for those who live here and want a familiy style atmosphere and I personally would love that myself. But, I also believe we should offer up our beautiful area to anyone who desires to be here. Now for the zinger – We should also be able to provide enough oversight (police, security) to keep things in line. I beleive that if we are prepared before they start arriving, things would be much calmer. Up the oversight and it will be a good start!!!!! V/R

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14 ann March 18, 2008 at 8:33 am

come on people,SHUT UP! There is room on this beach for everyone. Know your facts before you speak. Way to go Butch Metcalf now there is someone with a brain.
Catherine daughter didn’t passout because of Spring
Break. She is a kid! look at your parenting skills.
If you don’t know where your child is, that’s your fault. as far as the girl getting thrown off the balcony that was an employee not a spring breaker.
He could have been your next door neighbor.

Have fun Kids!

Ann

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15 Bryan Durta March 18, 2008 at 9:01 am

Ann,
Most everyone here is just trying to have an educated discussion about important issues. Are “SHUT UP!” and “someone with a brain” really necessary?

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16 Catherine March 18, 2008 at 9:09 am

Ann: About the girl being thrown off the balcony was because she was a springbreaker..and taken advantage off. Where are your morals? Are you a mother?

In fact…about my daughter..I knew exactly where she was…that is why I knew where to look for her..duh? read my blog again.

And the employee…did you know he was wanted for two priors? Is Bay County hiring “security” without a background check? Are we really doing justice to college kids to come down here without a secure authorized government and community to do our part in making sure they are safe when they are here. We want the breakers here, right Ann? Well..if we welcome them and take their money…let’s do the right thing and police and secure the beaches more than we are doing.

Also…kids who spring break on PCB ..and grow up to come back with their families….maybe 30%. I’d rather my TDC dollars go to a marketing group that feeds all of Bay County..especially PCBch and unicorporated Bay County Thomas Dr.

Daytona did not want them? Maybe we should learn from their mistakes.

Also…Bay County School’s having FCAT and mid-terms in the middle of all this choas on the Beach. I feel sorry for Arnold High/Surfside and Patronis families.
That is another story for the Bay County District School Board…stay tuned.

Thanks Ann for your input….Butch has some good points ..but in reality…breakers do not come back to buy or live here in Bay County…why would they?

Catherine

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17 ann March 18, 2008 at 9:39 am

FYI Bryan The TDC has NO plans of funding Spring
Break next year. That expenditure is history.
Everyone knows that when a business is sued it
is the property owner responsabilty. Yes, I’m a
mother and I don’t blame my kids bad choices on
their friends,school,or Springbreak. I’m all about doing the right thing. I’ve been here more than 32
years and I know for a FACT that Spring Breakers
come back with their families. Ya’ll complain
about EVERYTHING.This is a tourist town there
should be room for everyone. If you don’t like Spring Breakers come sometime within the other 11 months.
Heck! Ya’ll even complain about the old folks.

Time to move on to another subject this horse is DEAD
Ann

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18 Eric T Henderson March 18, 2008 at 9:47 am

Jason, I am a Realtor here and I cant tell you how many times I get a “Sale” due to the buyer telling me that he/she had visited PCB for spring break many years ago and wanted to have a condo here. Spring break is something that Panama City Beach has been known for for many many years now. So, these “Distraught” property owners and visitors are telling us that they had no idea that it was spring break? And that they were caught off guard by the frenzy of spring breakers? Come on. They have to be smarter than that. Spring Break is something that an awful lot of businesses rely on to make it until the summer season hits. They need every penny they can get to survive here sometimes. When I plan a trip somewhere for vacation, my wife and I want to know how busy it is going to be, the weather, and any inside info that can make the trip easier and stress free. You know the deal. Its no escuse saying that you were stunned by what spring break is all about. Grow up people.

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19 Bryan Durta March 18, 2008 at 10:10 am

Ann,

It sounds like you are in the know about what the TDC is going to do when they take up the issue next month. I hope you are right that PCB is going to stop governmental promotion of college spring break. I believe a private funding model will improve our image since the TDC will not have to defend the expenditure to the press. Hopefully will be like Daytona: plenty of college spring breakers, but little mention of it in the national press.

By the way, not all of us who have a problem with college spring break complain about everything. I have no problem with our winter visitors and am even OK with Thunder Beach because of the fact that it benefits the entire tourist economy.

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20 Bryan Durta March 18, 2008 at 10:25 am

I’m still hoping Ann is right, but I just received the agenda for Thursday’s TDC/CVB Marketing Committee Meeting which includes an agenda item for SB 2009.

The Committee is scheduled to “Discuss Preliminary Plans For FY 2009 Spring Break Marketing Campaign”. The meeting will take place at 1:30 PM on Thursday March 20, 2008 at the Panama City Beach City Hall. The meeting is open to the public and will allow for audience participation.

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21 Tina March 18, 2008 at 10:27 am

Apparently the citizens of Bay County are not supposed to speak their mind about Spring Break according to some of the people who post here. We will continue to write about our opinions. Sorry if it makes you have to face some hard questions about your business ethics.

The businesses and individuals who profit off of Spring Break need to take a lesson in corporate responsibility and good ole caring about your neighbors. I understand that it is important to your pocketbook to continue Spring Break and the year long party attitude, but don’t make the citizens of Bay County pay for your good fortune.

I respect your right to earn a living. Respect my right to make my community a better place for my family to live.

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22 Sandy March 18, 2008 at 10:58 am

I first was a spring breaker then I moved to PCB later in life because I loved the area and beaches. I live on the beach year round and I have no problem with the spring breakers. Most of them are very polite and just having a good time and they bring a lot of money to our area. It brings back memories and I smile when I see them buying Ramon noodles in the grocery store. I do see the police patroling the beach all the time. Usually when laws are broken it is from older people. The 18 yr old girl that was molested by a 29 yr. old security guard and then thrown off the balcony. He wasn’t a spring breaker. He was a trusted employee of the hotel where she was. The police office wasn’t shot by a spring breaker a few years ago he was an older man from another state.
I have more of a problem with the cheap, rude snow birds. They complain about everything and want to get something for nothing. Heaven forbid we have something free or an early bird special. They knock you down getting there. I went to a community affair for charity. You paid 10.00 for dinner and entertainment. The organization ran out of food but still had $1.00 beers and had pizza delivered for the people who didn’t have food. After eating the pizza & beer they wanted their money back (they were snowbirds). The food had been donated and the money was going to charity. I would much rather see a young student having a good time for a few weeks than these rude snow birds. I am sorry to the winter guest who are nice but the majority of the ones I deal with aren’t.

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23 Jennifer March 18, 2008 at 12:20 pm

I just want to say, I am 42yrs old. I came to PCB when I was kid every summer, it was ALWAYS a FAMILY place to be. I came to PCB as a teenager out of high school, I came for springbreak…I partied with the best of them. It has been 20yrs since I have been to PCB and I plan to bring my family there this year, I have 2 teenagers. I understand the complaints about springbreakers but I think the problem is within the bars, hot spots, condo’s, motel and hotel owners. If the owners would step up to the plate and beef up security and protect their properties maybe some of the problem kids that come to PCB would find somewhere else to go. Make rules in PCB especially during March and April and make these rules STICK!! If a bar is letting in under age kids, then the state of Florida should shut them down permantly, its illegal to sell or contribute to a minor. These bars think because they put a wrist band on someone that they aren’t going to drink…hello, snap into reality…yes they will drink. So as far as the bars go…don’t ALLOW anyone in under the age of 21 regardless of spring break or any other event. Watch the fake ID’s…c’mon people…most of them you can tell are fake, take a good look at the ID and person. Stop alcohol from being consumed on the beach PERIOD…even by adults, I have seen some adults that were much worse than young kids. Beef up beach patrol during springbreak….check coolers, check cups, etc…rent vans and haul these kids to jail. As far as condo owners go…don’t rent to anyone under 25 yrs old, make plans yourself to be in PCB during those weeks and keep control of what is happening in your condo…if there are adults allowing kids to drink…have them arrested…again its illegal to contribute to minor, then kick them out of your condo complex for good. You can stop smoking in public places and you seem to be able to control that….STOP the drinking and you would be amazed at how these springbreakers will find somewhere else to go. How do you think Palm Beach, Daytona, Clearwater, etc got rid of the springbreakers? They quit allowing these things to happen to their city, they stepped up to the plate and regained control. Talk to your city people, tell them you don’t want PCB to allow MTV, wet T’shirt contests, etc. The city can stop them from coming in!! They chose not too because they think they are making money when in reality they spend just as much money if not more money to host the springbreakers. I’m worried about coming to PCB I’m afraid I will end up in a place that the springbreaker ruined.

I will tell you, where I am from this would never be allowed or tolerated. You have the police cite these people lots of money of their bad conduct…once a few of them have had to pay or spend some time in jail, they will either straighten up and be nice and respectable or they will find somewhere else to go.

My husband and his friends went to Gatlinburg Tenn one time, (when he was alot younger)they drank, they got loud, they basicly ruined the place they stayed at the 1st day they were there, they were kicked out and arrested. They had to pay for the whole weekend even though they were kicked out, and they had to pay the fees for being arrested. To this day my husband and his friends cannot stay at this hotel and that was over 20 yrs ago…taught him a lesson, they never acted up again after that because they were afraid of being kicked out for life.

I hope everyone has a great day and I am interested in anyone’s feed back.

Thanks, Jennifer

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24 Joe March 19, 2008 at 8:44 am

Bay County always thinks in the short term. We need to look at the big picture and into the future. Dothan is doing a much better job promoting itself and it has no beaches. TDC is only concerned with filling motel rooms and selling liquor. Very short sighted.

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25 mary March 19, 2008 at 3:40 pm

I whole-heartedly agree with Jennifer. The issue here isn’t the ‘kids’ but with the adults that are running these establishments and the lack of police force on the beaches during this period.

Do you think that the difference is that the kids going to Destin are just better kids? NO! It’s the fact that this area does nothing to stop them from getting out of control – it’s like a bad parent blaming their kid for the way they turned out, when it’s the parent that wasn’t doing their job in the first place!

Come on, Jason – let’s think intelligently and look outside this old PCB box and not go the way of the old man scowling at the youngsters just for being young. This was a great way for everyone to jump on the band wagon and point the finger at someone else when we as a collective town are to blame. It’s not just one person or one agency, it’s everyone’s responsibility to get involved and to do something about it, not just point the finger after the fact, when you were never involved in the first place.

While you’re at it, why not just add another article here about the negatives of the Snowbirds coming to town in the winter??? Then another article about the ‘foreigners’ invading the place? Then do a positive spin piece on the how great the place used to be when the ‘good ole boys’ ran it?

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26 Jason March 19, 2008 at 11:21 pm

Gosh, I don’t mean to get down on Spring Breakers. I know they are just kids wanting to go somewhere and have a good time.

It’s funny how things change when you get older, start a family, have kids. My whole outlook on life is 180 degrees different from what it was 5 years ago. 5 years ago, I was driving the strip at night going into the clubs and not acting much different than the way the kids on our beaches are acting now.

I was thinking the other day about how the older I get, the less tolerant I seem to be of the same things that I used to do. The funny thing is, as I become less tolerant, it seems I, for some reason, expect others to be like me. But I realize that everyone is in a different place at a different time.

I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s parade, and I understand that for the most part, it is just a few bad apples that give the rest a bad wrap.

When I was younger, I wanted to see the parties, all the kids. Now I’m growing up and wanting to see families with kids all over our beaches. I don’t think this is a bad thing, and I understand that we will always have spring breakers come here, we’ll never “drive” them away, nor do I want to. I just want to spend more effort attracting families to our area (an effort that is not being made now).

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27 ann March 20, 2008 at 10:38 am

Jason,

What you have described is called the circle of life.
I agree we must promote families but I don’t see them
comming here in the month of March. There is nothing
for them to do the weather is less than perfect and the water is down right cold. I truely wish we could
somehow put a positive spin on Spring Break. What’s
worse than the college kids are the High School kids.
I think those kids should wait until they are in college before they are allowed out of town on their own.

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28 Jason March 20, 2008 at 1:15 pm

You bring up an interesting point that reminded me of something I heard in the office the other day. One of the guys in the office said that he doesn’t usually have a problem with the college kids as much as he does the high-schoolers.

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29 Mary March 20, 2008 at 3:38 pm

I was actually shocked to see the high-school crowd when we moved here, as where I’m from, my parents (nor anyone parents that I knew of) never considered the thought of letting us go out of town on our own for the week without an adult chaperone when we were in high school. Looking back, the most we ever did was spend the night at each other’s houses for a day or two, but nothing like this. But, this is the choice of the parents, so I assumed this was normal for the area.

Jason, your story is funny, as mine is the opposite of yours. I was not the party animal, and in college, I was the one out of my friends who’d always drive to campus and show up for class, while they would sleep through class in their dorm (within walking distance of class). Some would think that would make me less tolerant of the party animal types, but I guess I’m an advocate for education, planning and tolerance.

From my years of project management in the business world, I’ve learned that focusing too closely on the product of a problem never solves the issue. You need to step back, look at the big picture, make a plan to fix the root cause and then follow through.

From my years of dealing with people in general and just living, I’ve learned that just because I don’t agree with someone’s choices or actions, it doesn’t mean that I don’t like them as a person and that we all can’t get along and live together in harmony.

Perhaps this should have been separated into 2 separate articles; the first on how to better attract families to PCB, and the second on creating a plan to better enhance the beach front environment, not only during spring break, but year round. Don’t focus on the negatives as much, but notate the positives that you’d like to see happen and then what the plan would be to achieve those results. And then don’t just talk but do.
There’s nothing worse than hearing someone complain about something and then a year later hear them complain again, when they haven’t done a thing to make change happen.

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30 jd March 20, 2008 at 4:38 pm

How about an article about how the city has allowed developers to create a condo wall of wonder along the beach? If you drive down front beach, you can hardly tell we live near the gulf anymore – there’s just the huge, cold shadow of concrete buildings to look at!

They should have learned from other coastal/beach front cities and made it so the condos could only be built across the street from the beach, so locals and tourists alike would be able to drive along front beach and actually enjoy the sun and the view.

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31 Ann March 20, 2008 at 6:30 pm

I like what Mary has to say. I apologize for being harsh earlier. But I’m so tired of the some ole
conversation about the kids. We need to be posiive
with and about all of our guests. This is a tourist
destination and we should make it a wonderful place to
live,play and WORK. If I don’t make money, I can’t spend it at your place!

Happy Easter to all!

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32 Michelle March 21, 2008 at 2:35 pm

i just do not understand half the post here…..
Chris on post 4 seems to be the only one who truly understands we can not have this nonsense here …
this is not an innocent spring break….this is down and dirty going on here…
Its too much for families to see and THATS the main reason I hear time and time again people say they do not like PCB because of the kids disrespect of everything…

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33 Mary March 23, 2008 at 3:40 pm

Michelle – the kids ‘disrespect of everything’ is made possible by the people who allow it to happen! Again, what is the difference between the kids that go here and the kids that go to other places that do not have this reputation? It’s the rules and boundaries that the city/people of the city establish, and we’ve obviously established none here. The main problem is that all people ever do around here is COMPLAIN about things, but never TAKE RESPONSIBILITY to change anything – it’s always somebody else’s fault, always someone’s responsibility to fix things.

How about people start posting what they have personally done to make a change here? There’s a great idea for another article – “What have you done to benefit this community?” It could be a pay-it-forward type article, and spotlight different people’s accomplishments every week.

Jason, since you started this, maybe you’d like to spearhead a movement to change things, get volunteers from people who read this, and then do a follow-up article every quarter with the progress that’s been made?

Here’s some suggestions off the top of my head, and then others can join in on their suggestions and how they’d like to volunteer to help:

-Panama City Beach Business petition: put together a petition for every business owner to sign, pledging to keep the area on and immediately surrounded their businesses clean, orderly, etc. (Suggestions from others to be added to enhance the area to the standards of what the residents want). I would think this is the #1 thing to focus on, as isn’t it the actions of the kids that’s ‘out of control’ happening on the property of businesses??? Well, get them to not allow certain things to happen and get out of control.

-Clean Beaches task force: The trash on the side of the road and on the beaches is embarrassing. Maybe have businesses do an ‘adopt a beach’ or an ‘adopt a hwy/road’ program to maintain cleanliness (not just rake over the trash on the beach as is currently done – every time I go to the beach, I see cigarette butts and beer bottles on the beach and I NEVER go during Spring Break).

-Beach Safety committee: Every notice that we are missing sidewalks and crosswalks in too many areas on Thomas/Front Beach? There are tons of kids at La Vela and Spinnakers, yet neither of these exist in that area and there are frequently people crossing the road in front of cars. Not their fault that there’s no designated place to cross or even to walk. A committee can represent these needs to the people that can make it happen. Another suggestion would be to have the appropriate # of police officers assigned to the area when the population spikes for Spring Break and summer tourism. On a side note, ever notice how after a work party (like a Holiday party), there are a ton of people drunk-driving home afterwards? There are issues here that extend beyond Spring Break that need to be identified for this place to be safe for everyone. No open containers of alcohol on public property would also help (this is a law where I’m from, but from what I’ve seen, I’m assuming it’s not here – if it is, it’s poorly enforced).

-Beach enhancements: I’m sure many have suggestions that can be taken to the right people. Like, how about planting palm trees along the beach for shade and for the roots to help stop beach erosion? Sidewalks/walkways also would make the area look better and attract families to get out and walk around with their kids. Shaded/treed areas along the walkways to sit/eat/rest would be nice. The possibilities are endless.

Anyway, that’s just a few, but it’s one of those things that needs to be a community effort – both in suggesting things and in accomplishing things. Change starts with YOU, so my challenge is, are YOU up to it??? If so, let’s get on the ball and start making things happen. If not, stop .

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34 Mary March 23, 2008 at 3:41 pm

If not, stop (complaining).

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35 Jason March 24, 2008 at 7:16 pm

It seems I’ve stirred the pot quite a bit. 34 comments on one post breaks a pcbdaily record.

First I’d like to address Mary, who has so graciously blessed us with her opinion. I appreciate it, I do. This is one of the many reasons I started pcbdaily, to share the opinions of others, even if I don’t always agree.

Mary, rules will always be broken and you can NEVER control everyone with rules. It is all a numbers game. Whenever you mix alcohol and youth you will get some level of chaos. When you have fewer amounts of the alcohol/youth mix, the likelihood of chaos and its severity is not as high. Yet, as you increase that volume, the likelihood of chaos also increases. And as the likelihood of chaos increases, the risk of having more severe cases of chaos will also increase.

We had 40 units rented last week, all were rented to spring breakers and only 4 of them had unusual or extraordinary messes to clean up and three additional had broken/damaged furniture, etc. Statistically, those aren’t terrible numbers, but it still does not lessen the impact of walking into a poop-stenched unit to clean and realize the carpet will have to be replaced with a $1500 deposit.

Now, your next move may be to somehow police these rentals to be sure the renters are not damaging the unit. This is a formidable suggestion, however, after years of being in business, my in-laws decided that it was too costly to pay someone to randomly check each unit throughout each week to decrease the likelihood of damage. It is easy to suggest that we only police the ones that are most prone to damage or the guests most prone to damaging, but this can often be quite misleading. Even the sweetest, most innocent-seeming guests can have a Mr. Hyde effect when alcohol is consumed. If you have any tricks as to predicting bad behavior from this demographic, please let me know.

With local law enforcement, I can’t really speak into that, except that I haven’t seen that many on the beach or on the “strip” when I was there. I know in years past, law enforcement agencies were brought in for the entire length of spring break from all over the state to help the policing. I’m unsure if this was happening this year. Any law enforcement officer will tell you that you can’t have a cop in every possible place that a crime may take place, you can’t even have a cop in every most-likely place a crime will take place.

As far as a movement to change what is happening during spring break, I think this is already happening and I would love to support any additional efforts however:

I would like to remind you – and if you didn’t already know this, inform you – that I don’t just sit around my computer all day and try to come up with stuff to put on pcbdaily and then when I get bored, go to Pier Park and take pictures of restaurants and spend money I don’t have. I have a full time job that often is much more than a full time job. In addition I have three children and a loving wife that like to spend time with me (and the feeling is very much mutual). Pcbdaily has almost grown to a second full time job, and I keep it up because I love it, and I love Panama City Beach. I am ALWAYS open to suggestions, but I have just as much time in my day as you or any of the other readers of pcbdaily and I still have not figured out how to do everything. I used to have the attitude of “give me everything, and I’ll figure out how to get it all done”, but as I’ve gotten older – I don’t know if it is wisdom or fatigue – I’ve become more realistic and more willing to turn work/ideas down in respect of my time and the time of my family.

I like to consider pcbdaily as my part of contributing to our area. With over 30,000 hits a month (and growing each month) tons of people read pcbdaily from all over the world, keeping up with what is happening here. If you or anyone else, for that matter, want to start petitions, create clean beach task forces, or create beach safety committees, I’m more than willing to SUPPORT it in any way I can through pcbdaily, but I do not have time to create and organize anything else right now. But, again, if someone wants to do the legwork, I can and will do my part to get information to the community and can and will offer any expertise/skills I have to help it move forward.

I’m sorry if that seems like a cheap cop-out, but I don’t get enough time with my family as it is, and I don’t want to decrease that time any further.

For those of you that want me to stop posting on the negativity of spring break, wait a couple of weeks and they will be gone until next year. Right now, I will call it like I see it. I don’t mind your posting comments on whether you like it or not, but if you post something offensive, I have the right to and will delete that comment.

Once again, I’m glad there is so much discussion on this topic. This is what pcbdaily is for and I encourage everyone to comment their opinion. We don’t all have to agree, nor do I expect to agree with all of you. But we all have something in common, we love Panama City Beach.

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36 Catherine March 24, 2008 at 7:54 pm

Jason..Keep up the good work! I appreciate that Bay County has a forum for citizens and guests to our beautiful community to have a say on what questions you may pose.

The problem with Spring Break is the lack of police and PCBch security.

I did not get to attend the TDC meeting for 2009..does anyone know the outcome of this meeting last Thursday?

Jason…again, thank you for what you are doing for
Bay County! I love PCB Daily and I have it as a link on my husband’s website. Finally a place that
gives events, openings, ceremonies..anything..good or bad on Panama City and Beaches.

Sincerely,

Catherine

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37 Mary March 24, 2008 at 9:15 pm

Thanks for your response Jason – here are my comments back:

-First off, your comment about me “who has so graciously blessed us with her opinion” – the way you’ve stated this sounds very condescending and sarcastic, don’t you think? Moving on…

-“Mary, rules will always be broken and you can NEVER control everyone with rules.” Why do we bother having laws then? Because having consequences/punishments for crimes/negative actions deters a lot of people from committing them in the first place. What are the rules that we have here? Does anyone even know them? It seems like there are none. Also, your explanation after this does not explain how other towns manage this so much better than ours. We can learn from other towns by asking – we do not need to reinvent the wheel, but certainly, you can’t have this defeatist attitude that it’s a losing battle before you’ve even made the effort to TRY! By having rules, this is what discourages kids who have no respect for authority or rules to even come here. They’ll go to the next ‘Panama City Beach’ that has no rules… does anyone not get that?!

-What is your point about the carpet needing to be replaced with the deposit? As far as either investing in prevention or taking risks (like deciding not to police units), this is the choice of the business owner, relatives or not. When they did police the units, did they not include this cost into the rent? Maybe they can join forces with other owners in the building and make policing units a building policy and split the cost? Regardless, if you choose to save money and/or effort then the risks associated with that have to be taken into consideration and accepted. That’s just business. It doesn’t make it acceptable, but it’s the risk they chose to take, knowing the things that have happened in the past. If those types of people who do disgusting things like that were discouraged with the appropriate rules/punishments, there’s a good chance that they might not even come here in the first place – they’d rather go to the place that has no rules, where they can do anything and no one says a word to them. Maybe having their parent’s info & credit card on file if not a minimum age would help, as then they’d know that if they did gross acts like that, their parents would be getting a call and a bill. Just some thoughts – you probably could come up with better ones.

The comment about police – What the minimum someone could do is simply ask to see what it takes to get more on duty during this period. Knowledge is power.

Jason – I apologize if it sounded like I assumed you had all the time in the world and thought this was your full time job. It’s obvious that it’s not and I didn’t expect you to take on a bunch of unreasonable responsibility. I did assume this was more than a Pier Park advertisement, though. My suggestions show that there are things that can be done vs. just complaining. I’ve heard complaining about Spring Breakers for almost 10 years now – has anything changed? The complaining sure hasn’t.

My point was also to show how easy it would be if the work were split up among many (using your powers of the ‘pen’). If you’re getting 30,000 hits a month, how many people is that who read this? Let’s say 1,000 people. 10% of them (100) could each take a small piece and you’d see progress. Imagine if that were 10% of Bay County, we’d have 16,000 volunteers. Making an effort does not have to be big or time-consuming, it could be as little as just writing an article asking for volunteers and then have the volunteers meet (with or without you) to organize themselves. How much time would it take to write an article, asking for volunteers and then communicated a time and place to meet? The group can take it from there. OR there are other little things that you can do that don’t take much time – making a phone call to get information, asking friends/church goers if they’d be interested in helping in your course of normal conversation (just getting other people involved/spreading the word/increasing awareness). If you take the amount of effort made complaining and instead use it to take action, how much more time are you really exhausting? (How many conversations have each of us heard/had about this over the years? Add all that up.)

Point being – this is your site and you write the articles, so your voice is the one that can reach the most people with a short, simple statement. You also already have contacts with your sponsors. That’s the power that only you have on this site, as not everyone reads or responds to the comments. I didn’t mean to offend you, but rather I was acknowledging the influence and power that you have.

As for me, currently my job requires me out of state too much for me to lead or do much ‘on the ground’ work, but I can certainly make phone calls or send emails to get information to help out. I would certainly volunteer for activities that I was in town for. So whoever the leader will be (if anything gets off the ground here), here I am.
I used to be very involved in community work, which is why I was trying to relay ideas that worked from my experience – I spearheaded it for the company I worked for, on top of my full-time job, which also involved traveling out of town frequently, and then there was my family… The way I handled things was to split the work up among many volunteers and making them in charge different things. People love feeling like they are a part of something good (whatever their motives), and there are a lot who will jump at the chance to be involved, if given the opportunity and acknowledgment. They also love being the leader, which is why it’s good to rotate out, so everyone who wants the position gets the chance to have it. It also keeps ideas fresh and keeps the focus diverse.

Anyway, blah blah blah, I’m sure from your chastising tone that you really didn’t want me to respond any more, so I’ll make this post my last one.

Good luck in the future.
-Mary

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38 Kates March 25, 2008 at 11:18 am

Ok, please with the pity party. Sounds like you don’t have time to do this blog, as that’s all this is – it’s not a full website or a newspaper, it’s a blog. I know for a fact that you are paid a nice sum by your sponsors, so if you chose to take on a 2nd form of income, then I don’t want to hear how you don’t have time, etc… You can always give the job/money to someone else.

For anyone who wants to start a blog of their own, they can see how easy it is on blogger.com. I know many people who are not computer-savvy who have sites of their own on here. Check it out.

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39 Bryan Durta March 25, 2008 at 2:36 pm

The comments on this post have gotten way off track. It started as a thread about whether it is in the best interest of PCB to continue to promote College Spring Break. Rather it seems to be filled with personal attacks and suggested beautification and infrastructure improvements that are not college spring break specific.

The fact is that more than a couple of our College Spring Break visitors have no respect for our city. They see nothing wrong with breaking our laws and trashing our hotels, condos, beaches, and roadsides. The lack of sidewalks and trees has nothing to do with it. Sure the businesses could do more to clean up trash on their own property, but they wouldn’t have to if the students understood the concept that littering is wrong.

On law enforcement, it sure seems like are more concerned about managing illegal behavior instead of trying to stop it. Maybe these students would get the idea better if we arrested more of them rather than just making them pour out their alcohol. If we do not have the law enforcement necessary to control this influx of students, then we shouldn’t invite them. The city claims they take in a significant amount of 1% occupational tax from these students, how much of it is being used to bring in supplemental police forces to enforce the laws? I agree with Jason, there just isn’t much of a police presence in the areas where these students are congregating and breaking our laws.

And just because someone discusses their opinion here does not mean that they are just complaining and not doing anything about it. When I post something here about the TDC/CVB or Spring Break, I am posting it to keep people informed and to try to encourage positive change. It is my hope that other people get involved and contact their government representatives to make their views known. I do not consider my posts to be just complaining.

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40 Bryan Durta March 25, 2008 at 2:42 pm

Catherine,
You can find my report on last Thursday’s CVB Marketing Committee meeting at http://pcbdaily.com/?p=195# I assume that the subject will again be on the agenda at the April 2nd Marketing Committee meeting and the April 8th TDC/CVB Board Meeting.

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41 Grant March 26, 2008 at 11:56 am

Bryan – You might be doing something, but most people aren’t. If you’ve lived here for any length of time, you’d know from your daily conversations at work, at church, on boards like this that most don’t do a thing.

Good for you that you do something – that’s commendable and I wish there were more like you.

That’s the point of calling out complainers – to motivate them to do more than just complain. Most do not step up to the plate and will make up excuses as to why they don’t (like how they don’t have time).

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42 Grant March 26, 2008 at 12:01 pm

And I think the comments on creating walkways and adding trees was supposed to be toward the suggestion of making the place more attractive for families and making it safer.

I’ve had many friends/family from out of town that visit with their families and make comments about the area not being safe to walk around since there are no sidewalks. They also complain about no shade on the beaches compared to other places they visit. So, I get these comments in the sense that families would definitely appreciate these things.

The problem with this article is that it addresses 2 things -Spring Breakers and attracting families to the area.

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43 Bryan Durta March 26, 2008 at 12:24 pm

Grant,

Thanks for making me understand the walkway/tree posts in a different light. It was not my intention to say they were unnecessary. They will be a big help in improving our destination. Unfortunately we might have to wait a while since the early part of the CRA schedule is concentrating on access road improvements.

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44 Thomas Chavers March 19, 2013 at 11:35 pm

I never went to panama city beach for spring break. I use to go and still go to PCB to cruise the strip, have a nice dinner at Pompano’s or Angelo’s Steak Pit, or go to mircale strip amusement park (the original one) or shipwreck island water park. I also love playing a round or 2 of Goofy Golf. I was never disrespectful towards anyone while in PCB and I never damaged any property or anything along those means. I was raised better than that. I know how to have a good time while completely clean and sober. I blame the city of PCB for the spring break madness. They should have never allowed MTV to come to PCB. I, personally, think that is where all of the problems began.

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45 Nita G. March 21, 2013 at 9:26 am

We live in America where public property is available to all. Most people will respect that privilege; some will disrespect the privilege by thinking only of themselves. You find both types of people to be present in ALL ages. We cannot group the college kids or the snowbirds into being entirely disrespectful. I believe those here who are commenting about putting things in place to control the illegal, rude, destructive, etc. behavior is the only way to control the problems which are evident during Spring Break. It would be a costly endeavor to have police or security officers in numbers that would be sufficient. Of course, we’d like to think everyone would be “on board” to make this happen, but unfortunately there are some powerful people who want the money to come to PCB now (while they are here to reap the benefits). Thinking about the future of the beach is not in their radar. So, as long as the Spring Breakers find people so receptive to their coming, they will come.

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