Since 2004, Independent News’ tradition is to give holiday gifts to our elected officials, leaders and newsmakers. We work long, hard hours to find unique, quirky gifts that will have special meanings for both the recipients and our readers. For the 2010 gift recipients, please enjoy your gifts and remember that it’s the thought that counts. If you already have the gift we’ve given you, sorry, you’re stuck with it. We didn’t save any of the receipts.
ASHTON HAYWARD, Pensacola Mayor-Elect
These handy new IT gadgets have been installed in the White House and our new mayor might find one handy on his computer. Using technology initially developed by a group of soccer moms concerned that their 10-year-olds were developing short attention spans while cruising through the many Justin Bieber websites, the “Rouse Mouse” prevents political lollygagging by limiting the user to only three irrelevant searches before pop-ups appear, reminding the user of his agenda, where his staff is, who his staff is and who got him elected. If the user attempts to log on to GoPensacola.com, alarm bells ring and if he attempts to look at any pictures of drunk girls at the Cabana Lounge, the computer blows up.
ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION
To help them pick a few current bands for next year’s concert lineup.
DAVID MORGAN, Escambia County Sheriff
Cool and deadly, when you offer guests to “The Tower” water you will get their attention if you serve drinks with bullet-shaped ice. You will ice them quick and dare them to break the ice. Okay, enough puns. The ice tray itself is shaped like a magazine from an AK-47 and is fully food-safe and so simple to use, even a deputy can use it.
JOHN JERRALDS, Pensacola City Council
LEROY BOYD WEATHERVANE
This handcrafted weathervane is especially made for those wishing to carry on the legacy of the civil rights leader, Leroy Boyd. Jerralds will happily know which way the wind is blowing each morning as he leaves the house.
DEREK COSSON, ProgressivePensacola.com founder
IRISH POLITICIANS’ CLUB MEMBERSHIP
Bring your stogie, Jack Daniel’s and a case of Tab and you’ll fit right in…until Mr. Reeves finds out you’re not part of the wait staff.
GENE VALENTINO, Escambia County Commissioner
Because Gene has absolutely nobody, at least nobody with a good throwing arm and vast experience with indictments, to be on his team for the 2011 Mullet Toss.
JANE BIRDWELL, Public relations & marketing executive
See Gene Valentino’s gift. Maybe he will share.
BRIAN SPENCER, Pensacola City Council-elect
ELMO’S SESAME STREET “BUILD A HAPPY STREET” GAME SET
Brian can spend Christmas morning practicing for District 6! This durable plastic kit will allow Brian, with the help of local contractors, like Big Bird and Ernie, to build a happy district, free of unsightly trash, dangerous traffic hazards and bizarre and antiquated zoning. Set comes complete with a talking Oscar the Grouch who will argue with Brian the whole time that he likes his garbage.
LUMON MAY, Community leader
Use this simple playground toy to measure how equally city services are distributed west and east of Ninth Avenue.
MAREN DEWEESE, Pensacola City Councilwoman
RUBBER BAND SHOOTER
This little gadget fires elastic bands with surprising accuracy and range. Now far be it from us to insinuate that you mete out rubber band firestorms to overly loquacious council members or city staffers, but just so it’s abundantly clear: if they don’t get shut up after five minutes, it’s rubber band war. And you’ve got the guns to back up the mandate.
MALCOLM THOMAS, Escambia County Superintendent of Schools
“MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE” BOX SET
The title character of the series, Malcolm, was a genius, and because of this, is placed in a class for gifted students, known as the “Krelboynes.” His intelligence, as well as feelings of not fitting in, and his ego are the primary causes of most problems he faces throughout the series. No one liked this Malcolm either.
BENTINA TERRY, Gulf Power executive
A gift certificate for Neiman Marcus in Buckhead for when you visit Susan Story.
GROVER ROBINSON, Escambia County Commissioner
Sometimes it takes a big stick to get BP, federal officials and Tallahassee to listen. You can remain soft-spoken, but don’t hesitate to take a few swings.
BEVERLY ZIMMERN, Gulf Breeze mayor
It looks like chocolate, it smells like chocolate, but hang on—it’s actually a calculator—and no slouch as a calculator either. It’s fully functional, complete with an authentic-looking chocolate wrapper. You can tease your sweet tooth while trying the 2011-12 budget.
MARK O’BRIEN, News Journal columnist
This brain-boosting chewing gum contains a combination of herbal extracts including ginkgo, rosemary and peppermint that are believed to increase mental performance and stimulation. Think Gum is a thoughtful little gift for anyone about to take an exam or driving test, write a newspaper column or for someone who simply doesn’t always pick the right side of an issue.
RANDY OLIVER, Escambia County Administrator
You still haven’t found where all the “bodies” are buried.
MARTY DONOVAN & JACK NOBLES, leaders of the Tick Tock Gang that is still trying to deliver its petition signatures
The Bobbsey twins of political intrigue need this clock that really does go back to the future. It looks like a classic-style clock, but it is arranged back to front, making telling the time at a glance much trickier than it has any right to be. A must-have for the next petition drive.
SARAH PALIN, GOP icon
ASS-WHOOPIN’ REDNECK BBQ SAUCE
The perfect condiment for Rudolph, Blitzen or Donner or whichever of Santa’s reindeer one of her young-uns manages to shoot this Christmas.
LARRY B. JOHNSON, JR., Pensacola City Councilman
“OFFICIAL TIGER BEAT 2011 ASHTON HAYWARD CALENDAR” (Gannett Press, $19.95)
2011 is almost here and we wouldn’t want our Larry to miss a single day of Ashton Hayward’s first year in office. Comes with a colorful set of Ashton Silly Bandz.
JIM HIZER, Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce CEO
The honeymoon may end soon and you don’t want to leave home without one.
RUSTY WELLS, Pensacola City Attorney
“VIDEO PROFESSOR” DVD
Computer training discs covering basic laptop, Blackberry and Facebook applications—so he can quit bugging his grandson. And even if he can’t become a “computer-literate person,” he can at least operate the “delete” function.
RICK SCOTT, Florida Gov.-elect
The world’s largest call center—one that can employ 700,000 people.
QUINT STUDER, Studer Group CEO
“BOUNCE BACK REBUILDING SHAMPOO”
This shampoo keeps that luster, bounce and shine no matter what nastiness is hurled at his head in 2011.
JIM REEVES, CMPA board member, attorney
Single-handedly, Jim has kept the Tab brand alive in Northwest Florida. The man deserves a lifetime supply of his favorite beverage.
P.C. WU, Pensacola City Councilman
WWMWD Magic 8 Ball
Next, P.C. will be flying solo at Pensacola City Council meetings—no Mike Wiggins, maybe no Al Coby. We want him to have a “What Would Mike Wiggins Do” Magic 8 Ball to help him with his positions with handy answers like “Let staff review,” “Let’s hire a consultant,” “Let’s table this” and “Maybe.”
MARCO RUBIO, U.S. Senator-elect
“TEEN WOLF” DVD
Has anyone told Rubio that he looks like the bad guy in “Teen Wolf” (Mick McAllister)?
Past Naughty or Nice Gifts
KEVIN WHITE, Escambia County Commissioner: Santa Rosa County Commissioner Bob Cole’s new book “Commissioning for Dummies,” the comic book edition.
There is a special forward written by fellow commissioner Tom Banjanin.
KEN FORD, Institute for Human and Machine Cognition director: Rock’em Sock’em Robots.
He can pretend the blue one is the University of West Florida administration and the red one is the Pensacola City Council.
JOHN FOGG Pensacola mayor: Triumph the Insult Comic Dog doll.
Forget about coming up with snappy comebacks for those long city council meetings. Sit Triumph next to the microphone and pull the string. Hear such favorites as “Seriously, I like you but then again, I eat my own poop,” and “No, no this is great. I haven’t had this much fun since the doctor chopped my nuts off.” People might actually sit through an entire meeting.
DON GAETZ Okaloosa County School Superintendent and District 4 Florida Senate candidate: Superman cape.
Behind those Clark Kent glasses beats the heart of a champion. He turned around the Okaloosa public school system. Now, watch and see what he does in Tallahassee.
JEFF MILLER, U.S. Congressman: “Napoleon Dynamite” DVD.
Joe Roberts may not have scared you this time around, but there is a “Pedro for Congress”-type candidate out there. And, he has skills. We all know voters dig candidates with skills.
KEN PERKINS, Escambia County Fire Chief: X-Men comics.
You can learn a lot from Professor Charles Xavier as he tries to keep the peace between the mutants and the humans. Remember this Xavier quote, “Mankind isn’t evil, just uninformed.”
KIM KIMBROUGH, Downtown Improvement Board Executive Director: Jenga.
In this game, you take a wooden block from the tower and place it “very gently” on top. Hold your breath and wait to see if the tower falls. It’s sort of like presenting any proposal to expand the DIB to the Pensacola City Council.
JIM PAUL, Escambia County School District Superintendent: “Saved By The Bell” DVD.
Wouldn’t it be great to have schools that only have to worry about whether Screech will get a date to homecoming? Or stopping Zack from playing subliminal messages over the school’s public address system? But you cannot pretend you’re Slater.
PETER PAULDING, Gulf Breeze Police Chief: Life-size Lego Batman.
Gulf Breeze has tried everything to stem traffic problems, such as placing empty patrol cars on U.S. Highway 98, letting citizens drive around in old police cars and putting video cameras at traffic lights. It may be time to call in the Dark Knight. This Caped Crusader can guard street corners. The statue is 6-foot-6 and is made of Lego bricks, with a yellow utility belt and heavy cape fabric. It only cost $27,000.
KEVIN DOYLE, Pensacola News Journal Publisher: Laser.
Any more cuts on Romana Street will need to be precise or you could hit the bone. All Gannett publishers have had to perform bariatric surgery this year. Less is more in the world of the country’s largest newspaper chain. 2008
JAMES OWENS, Public Defender-elect: “The Invisible Man.”
Read this novella by H.G. Wells and you may learn how your predecessor, Jack Behr, stayed below the radar for 32 years.
DIANE MACK, Pensacola City Council-elect: Hillary Nutcracker.
Wave it around and the boys at City Hall will listen. SAM HALL, Pensacola City Council: Balance Beam. You walk on an edge and somehow balance McGuire’s Irish Politician’s Club, Save Our City, Movement of Change and the Pensacola City Council. You may be the best at it since Huey P. Long.
MIKE WIGGINS, Pensacola mayor: WABAC Machine.
Mr. Peabody and Sherman used the WABAC (pronounced “wayback”) machine on “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show” to transport back in time to right the wrongs of the past and help Sherman with his school reports. You might want to set the dial for October 2009 and rethink your opposition to the new city charter.
JUDY BENSE, University of West Florida President: New Car Air Freshener.
You’ve held the UWF presidency for over 18 months and the honeymoon is nearing an end as teachers want pay raises, the tuition climbs and your budget shrinks. We suggest using this can of air freshener in your office as much as possible to rekindle those early days when everything was so new.
CHARLIE FAIRCHILD, No Boss Mayor Leader: Black & White TV.
It will remind you of a simpler time—when the Pensacola phonebook was only 12 pages, when there were only AM radio stations and when white bread was good for you.