Pensacola, Florida
Saturday October 25th 2014

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Winners & Losers 2/20/14

Winners
Nathan Monk
When the “little guy” makes the powerful blink, the Independent News applauds. Rev. Monk started after Winter Storm Leon when he created an online petition for Mayor Ashton Hayward to stop his “no blankets for the homeless” ordinance. Two weeks later, the petition had garnered over 15,500 signatures, the city council passed changes to the law, and Hayward reportedly will appoint Monk to the council’s task force on homelessness.

Sherri Myers
The hero of this no-blanket debacle is longtime advocate for the homeless, Pensacola Councilwoman Sherri Myers. Had she not placed ordinance changes on the council agenda for its Feb. 13 regular meeting, Mayor Hayward would have had to scramble up the votes to get it added to meeting. Myer’s proactive leadership went unrecognized by the mayor in his press release, but the rest of the community should be thankful for her diligence.

Jeff Miller
The Republican congressman from Chumuckla received the AbilityOne Congressional Champion Award in recognition of his support for the employment of people with significant disabilities. The presentation was made on Pensacola Beach during the annual leadership conference for Gulf Coast Enterprises, a Pensacola-based company with federal contracts in 13 states and the District of Columbia. GCE is a program of Lakeview Center that exists to provide employment for people with significant disabilities while ensuring exceptional service for its customers.

Losers
Pensacola City Government
We expect Pensacola city leaders to be bright enough to understand the impact of the ordinances that pass. We expect them to listen when the public challenges their proposals and points out possibly unintended consequences. When Mayor Hayward proposed the no-blanket ordinance, City Administrator Bill Reynolds defended it and Councilman Brian Spencer fought for it, we expected the majority of the Pensacola City Council to recognize how that law could damage the city’s reputation. Sadly, six members, Spencer, Larry Johnson, Megan Pratt, Andy Terhaar, Jewel Cannada-Wynn and P.C. Wu didn’t.

University of West Florida
UWF has been locked out from receiving any of the $40 million in performance funding Gov. Rick Scott has proposed for state universities, according to the State University System of Florida. That fund is to be rewarded based on basic benchmarks and demonstrating improvement. UWF, Florida Atlantic and New College all fell below the 26-point minimum score in a 50-point system. The universities will be hit with 1-percent reductions to their base funding from the Legislature. For UWF, the decrease in base funding will be $675,595.

William Cormier III
It took little more than an hour to convict the man who murdered former PNJ reporter Sean Dugas for his collection of fantasy game cards worth $100,000. The jury found Cormier guilty of  first-degree murder.