Pensacola, Florida
Friday August 22nd 2014

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The Buzz 11/29/12

Tallahassee Totem Pole Florida state Rep. Clay Ingram (R-Pensacola) was recently tapped by Speaker of the House Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) to chair the Government Operations Appropriations Subcommittee. The hometown representative—first elected in 2010—also sits on the Appropriation Committee.

Ingram joins a number of Northwest Florida lawmakers holding positions in the house. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach) chairs the Criminal Justice Subcommittee. The Energy and Utilities Subcommittee is chaired by Rep. Clay Ford (R-Gulf Breeze). Rep. Doug Broxson (R-Milton ) is the vice chairman of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee. And Rep. Jimmy Patronis (R-Panama City) chairs the Economic Affairs Committee.

More BP Money Escambia and Santa Rosa counties will be seeing more than $7.5 million pumped into their marketing efforts. The two-county region is receiving a collection of grants stemming from BP’s Gulf Tourism and Seafood Promotional Fund.

More than 100 nonprofit groups and governmental entities were selected to receive a portion of the first round of grants. Pending a settlement deal, BP is expected to pay a total of $57 million in tourism and seafood promotion grants.

During this first round of grants, Florida will be getting $13.4 million spread out over 33 organizations. In Louisiana, 43 recipients will split $15.9 million; Thirteen organizations in Mississippi get a total of $6 million; and Alabama will get $8.3 million shared between 21 organizations.

Local entities that received funding include: Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce, Visit Pensacola, Naval Aviation Museum Foundation, Pensacola State College, Santa Rosa Island Authority, St. John’s Cemetery, National Flight Academy, Pensacola MESS Hall, Sacred Heart Health System, Pensacola Veterans Memorial Park and West Florida Historic Preservation Inc.

City Council and Shakespeare 

After swearing in four new members, the new incarnation of the Pensacola City Council elected its most senior member to lead it for the next year.

“This seems awkward to announce, but the president of city council is P.C. Wu,” said City Council President P.C. Wu.

The newly seated council elected Wu on a 6-2 vote. Recently elected District 7 representative Jewel Canada-Wynn was chosen as the council’s vice-president.

Tuesday morning’s special meeting saw Canada-Wynn, Andy Terhaar (District 3), Gerald Wingate (District 5) and Charles Bare (At-Large B) sworn into office. Wu was also reseated on the council after running unopposed and winning re-election Nov. 6.

Immediately following the swearing in ceremony, the council elected its president and vice-president. Numerous council members vied for each title.

“My experience, my education qualify me for this position,” Bare told his fellow council members, throwing his name in the pool for presidency.

Bare tried for both the presidency and the vice-presidency. As did Canada-Wynn. Council members Megan Pratt and Larry B. Johnson took themselves out of the running for both positions. Councilman Brian Spencer declined consideration for presidency, but ended up losing the VP position to Canada-Wynn in a runoff.

Prior to either selection, Councilwoman Sherri Myers took issue with Wu being considered for president. She pointed to a press conference at which he stood at the side of Mayor Ashton Hayward a day before the council took a vote on the mayor’s budget.

“That conduct did not go unnoticed by the citizens and other professionals in this community,” Myers said, urging the council to choose leaders who were “forthright, honest and transparent.”

The councilwoman—who said she would be supporting Bare’s bid for presidency—also took issue with what she described as the mayor’s lobbying for both Wu and Spencer.

“Why is the mayor so interested in who presides over city council,” she said, requesting that the selection process be reworked in the future.

Newly elected Councilman Wingate asked Wu why he had not shared with the council the reasons he would want the presidency. Wu had chosen not to pitch himself as other members did.

“Councilman Wingate, I’ve been on the council since 2004,” Wu answered. “Folks know me by now.”

Following his selection, the new council president also responded to Myers. He said he had a problem with the councilwoman’s comments on his integrity.

“My father came to this country with a seventh-grade education and 25 cents in his pocket—what he left me was a good man.” he said, wrapping up his remarks with a quote from Shakespeare. “Love all, trust few and do wrong to none.”

Following the council’s business, Mayor Hayward made brief remarks. He called for unity and said it was a “great day for Pensacola.”

“We won’t always agree, and that’s ok,” Hayward said. “Healthy debate is the cornerstone of our democracy…but we also know a house divided cannot stand.”

During a District 4 community meeting the previous evening, Hayward had recited a poem written by a citizen: “City council and the mayor together, work to make Pensacola better/Support the vision everyone can see, actually benefit the entire community/ Bury the hatchet the negative past, the citizen first instead of last/Cooperation is the right way, achieve new goals without delay.”