Pensacola, Florida
Monday October 14th 2019


The Buzz 10.14

Mack Joins Team Wiggins City Councilwoman and former mayoral candidate Diane Mack gave Mike Wiggins her stamp of approval for the November election.

Mack said that there were four things she looked for a successful mayor: strength of character, knowledge of how cities work, work ethic, fiscal conservatism, vision and a plan for Pensacola and a commitment to the forgotten. She says Mayor Wiggins has exemplified almost all of those in his political career.

“Of the six criteria given above, Mayor Wiggins measures very high on the first four,” she writes. “The decision to endorse him would have come more quickly and more easily if his performance on the final two criteria were better. So my endorsement does not come without reservations.”

Mack says in her blog that she isn’t completely against Wiggins’ opponent Ashton Hayward, stating “There are good things about Mr. Hayward, but they are not nearly enough to make him acceptable as the strong mayor of Pensacola and they do not compensate for the serious deficits.”

The vocal Councilwoman tells IN the key issue that has her on board with Wiggins is his integrity—something she’s been able to see first hand by working with him on Council.

“I truly believe it is his strength of character and integrity and I think he’s got somewhat of a bum wrap (for not having that). I find him someone that is reserved. The thing that Ashton does so well… is he’s a salesman and a closer. Mike does not sell himself.”

Mack says she’s done research on past issues with Council, such as the re-naming of South Alcaniz to Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., and confronted Wiggins about them—who was willing to admit his faults.

“He said ‘we all make mistakes.’ If he did it again he said he would vote differently. People make mistakes.”

Steen Suit In November? Aaron Watson, the attorney for the family of Victor Steen, tells IN he will likely file a civil suit against the City of Pensacola next month.

During the early morning hours of Oct. 3, 2009, 17-year-old Victor was hit and killed by Pensacola Police officer Jerald Ard while riding his bicycle in the Brownsville neighborhood. Steen reportedly failed to stop after numerous commands by Ard, who believed the teenager to be trespassing on a construction site.

The controversial incident later led to a Coroner’s Inquest in April, which cleared Ard of any wrongdoing. A day later, Watson held a press conference in response to the inquest and told media he would seek justice for the family.

Watson had previously filed a notice with the City in January stating the family planned to sue for $10 million. The City is only entitled to pay out $200,000 under state statutes, but the amount can be overturned by the Legislature.

Oily Oysters The Emerald Coastkeepers are awaiting the results of an extensive testing operation with the University of West Florida that is examining the tissue of area oysters to see if oil and dispersants exist.

Chasidy Hobbs Fischer, Emerald Coastkeeper, says the tests have been conducted in oyster beds from Perdido Key to Destin and one sample of snails near Fort Pickens.

“(We’ve tested) just inside all three passes and at Deadman’s Island,” she says. I hope to have results in a couple weeks.”

UWF’s Environmental Remediation Department has been testing area waters for oil counts since July.

City Spent More Than $70k In Airport Suit According to and e-mail from City Attorney Rusty Wells, $71,000 was spent on attorney fees in a fight with the PNS Hotel Group over a 2008 approved land deal.

The fee does not reflect the final meditation amount.

The City met with Sandspur Development (who received the land deal) and PNS last month to reach a settlement.