Pensacola, Florida
Sunday December 21st 2014

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Winners & Losers 9.30

Winners

PENSACOLA AIRPORT The greater Pensacola area finally got Southwest Airlines—not as an addition to the carriers at its airport, but by the airline buying AirTran, which already flies in and out of Pensacola. Southwest is paying $1.4 billion in cash and stock to acquire the smaller airline. The region had lost a bid last year to get Southwest when St. Joe guaranteed to cover any losses up to $26 million over two years if the airline opened a route to Panama City.

DORICE BRENNAN AND CAROLYN GAMBLES The two elementary school teachers are recipients of the 2010 Excel Award, which is based upon their students making the greatest gains on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) in Math for three consecutive years among students in families with low incomes, among students who are below grade level, and among students with disabilities. Brennan teaches at Pine Meadow Elementary School, and Gambles is a teacher at Warrington Elementary School.

VISIT PENSACOLA The official website for the Pensacola Bay Area Convention and Visitors Bureau received the award for outstanding website from the Web Marketing Association. Web Marketing Association’s annual WebAward competition is the premier award recognition program for web developers and marketers worldwide. Within this competition, 96 sites were reviewed by expert judges from around the world. The best sites were recognized with a WebAward.

Losers
PENSACOLA CITY GOVERNMENT The recent guilty plea by former Pensacola fire captain and fire union president Robert Sumner to grand theft involving his contracting business is another black eye for Pensacola city government. According to depositions taken, Sumner conducted his business while on duty as a fireman. An earlier internal investigation found no evidence to support that claim against Sumner. People are wondering what else is being covered up or ignored in City Hall.

CHARLIE CRIST Florida’s governor is on the ropes and running a distant second in the race to be our next U.S. Senator. Republican Marco Rubio has widened his lead to 12 points, according to Mason-Dixon Polling and Research. Crist jumped out of the Republican primary last spring in hopes of garnering the support of Independents and moderates. Instead, he is losing support from Democrats and unaffiliated voters. Rubio has 40 percent support, ahead of Crist’s 28 percent and Democrat U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek’s 23 percent. Crist will need an “October Surprise” to pull this out.

RICK SCOTT While Marco Rubio is soaring, fellow Republican Rick Scott is struggling in the Florida governor’s race. Mason-Dixon Polling and Research has Democrat Alex Sink at a 7-point lead over Scott. Sink has secured her core constituencies: Democrats (81-11) and women (53-30). Sink is also winning the critical Independent voters (44-37), who will decide this race.