Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday March 19th 2019


Winners & Losers 9/18/14

Ashton Hayward
If someone ever needed some good news, it was Pensacola’s mayor and he got it in bunches last week. On Tuesday, with unanimous approval of the City Council, the mayor signed a lease with VT Mobile Aerospace Engineering that will bring 300 jobs to Pensacola. The next day the council approved the 2014-15 budget. On Thursday, the council approved an EDATE for a $50 million project that will bring 300 apartments to downtown.

Burr Family
The University of West Florida has announced a legacy gift totaling more than $770,000 from the estate of John Thayer and Joan Ames Burr. More than $500,000 of the gift will support high impact and undergraduate research initiatives in the College of Science, Engineering and Health. The remaining $250,000 is designated for UWF football and constitutes the largest gift to date. In recognition of the Burr’s legacy gift and its impact on UWF, the UWF Field House Lobby will be named in their memory.

Bob McLaughlin
Mayor Ashton Hayward has hired the former Escambia County administrator to oversee projects related to the April 2014 flood event. McLaughlin will be paid $2,000 for 20 hours work a month to help the city identify and secure state and federal funds to address infrastructure deficiencies related to the flooding. He was the county administrator for 2008-2010.

Judy Bense
The University of West Florida Faculty Senate voted “No Confidence” in the UWF president. The vote was 17-2, with one abstention. The teachers’ union has been battling the UWF administration over its collective bargaining agreement. The UWF Board of Trustees responded with its own vote of confidence in Bense the following Monday.

Escambia School District
For months, the school board grumbled about law enforcement talking to students about possible crimes without the parents being present. Now we hear the district’s own investigators interrogated Escambia High football players without notifying parents and ordered them not to tell their parents about the questioning. One lawsuit has been filed. More may be coming.

U.S. Sugar
The large privately owned agricultural business based in Clewiston, Florida has big plans. The Tampa Bay Times has uncovered them. U.S. Sugar and its allies are not just interested in influencing an upcoming water policy debate in Tallahassee. They are quietly pursuing big development plans for 67-square-miles of sugar land southwest of Lake Okeechobee, land the state has an option to buy to protect the Everglades. How big is the proposed development? 18,000 homes and 25-million-square-feet of commercial space in Hendry County, which only has 39,000 people. No surprise the company has been hosting secret hunting trips to Texas for Gov. Rick Scott and top legislators.