Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday August 14th 2018

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The Buzz 2/8/18

No Bruce Beach Plans Two weeks ago, Inweekly dispelled the rumor that an African-American heritage museum was going to be built at Bruce Beach as part of the fish hatchery project (Inweekly, “Bruce Beach’s Place in History, ” Jan.  25). We confirmed that four historic markers are to be erected at the cost of $2,000 each, but the site does not have the room for both a museum and hatchery.

Only one of the markers will be specifically dedicated to the African-American history. The remaining four will cover environmental changes on the site, such as the covering over of Washerwoman’s Creek, the history of the Tanyard neighborhood; and the site’s use as a dry dock.

Another rumor that has been circulated is the Studers, who own the former ECUA site across the street, want to buy the land to build condos. Inweekly contacted Quint Studer.

He said, “We’ve never built a condo project.”

Studer went further. He said he isn’t interested in the waterfront property for any project and has made that known to Mayor Ashton Hayward.

He shared the email below that he sent to Mayor Hayward last week. Studer made it clear he has no plans for Bruce Beach if it were to become available in the Request for Proposal process:

From: Quint Studer <quint@quintstuder.com>
Date: January 29, 2018 at 12:09:29 PM CST
To: Ashton Hayward <mayorhayward@cityofpensacola.com>

Subject: Bruce Beach

Hope all is well with you and your effort to look for an alternative spot for the hatchery. When someone with Jerry Pates knowledge and experience feels that Bruce Beach is not the right spot for the hatchery it speaks volumes. I have great respect for his knowledge and love for the community.

I want to share I have no plans for any of the land that should be made available in the RFP process at this time regarding Bruce Beach. I feel if I did someone could spin that I am against current hatchery location so I could get the land. Not true.

However, when we do move forward on projects I feel we do a good job with quality and local participation. So some may even be disappointed we have no plans.

My best.
Quint Studer

A Break for Ex-Felons The biggest story with a statewide impact last week was a federal judge’s ruling that Florida’s process for restoring voting rights for ex-felons was arbitrary and unconstitutional.

“Florida strips the right to vote from every man and woman who commits a felony,” U.S. District Judge Mark Walker wrote in a 43-page ruling. “To vote again, disenfranchised citizens must kowtow before a panel of high-level government officials over which Florida’s governor has absolute veto authority. No standards guide the panel. Its members alone must be satisfied that these citizens deserve restoration. Until that moment (if it ever comes), these citizens cannot legally vote for presidents, governors, senators, representatives, mayors, or school-board members.”

The state’s clemency board, which is made up of the Florida Cabinet, determines whether rights should be restored. Ex-felons must wait five or seven years after finishing their sentences and any probation or parole before they can apply to have their rights restored. However, restoration is not automatic.

In his ruling, Walker focused heavily on what he saw as the arbitrariness of the system, which he ruled violated First Amendment rights and equal-protection rights under the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment. The judge did not decide how the rights-restoration process should change and gave the plaintiffs and the state until Monday, Feb. 12 to file briefs on the issue.

Gov. Rick Scott’s office disagreed with the ruling, citing the long history of the clemency board.

“The discretion of the clemency board over the restoration of felons’ rights in Florida has been in place for decades and overseen by multiple governors,” John Tupps, a Scott spokesman, said in the statement. “The process is outlined in Florida’s Constitution, and today’s ruling departs from the precedent set by the United States Supreme Court.

“The governor believes that convicted felons should show that they can lead a life free of crime and be accountable to their victims and our communities. While we are reviewing today’s ruling, we will continue to defend this process in the court.”

Regardless of Walker’s ruling, voters will decide in November whether to approve a proposed constitutional amendment on the restoration issue.

The proposal, backed by a political committee known as Floridians for a Fair Democracy, seeks to automatically restore the voting rights of most felons who have served their sentences, completed parole or probation and paid restitution. Automatic restoration would not apply to murderers and sex offenders.

New Port Customer Ocean carrier World Direct Shipping docked M/V Queen B at the Port of Pensacola on Thursday, Feb. 1 as part of its new service between Pensacola and Veracruz, Mexico.

The service will be supported by two vessels, which include the Queen B and a chartered vessel of similar size until World Direct Shipping takes delivery of its second owned vessel in the fourth quarter of 2018. A second port in the northern region of Mexico’s Gulf Coast will be added to the rotation in the near future, according to World Direct Shipping.

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