Pensacola, Florida
Friday October 24th 2014

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Winners & Losers 12.23.10

Winners

ASHTON HAYWARD The novice candidate upset incumbent Mike Wiggins to become Pensacola’s first strong mayor with bright ideas, a big campaign war chest and a wide base of support from all facets of the community.

DAVID MORGAN The Pensacola News Journal’s jabs have now become gnats that barely bother him anymore. He has the confidence of the community and has set new standards for professionalism.

GROVER ROBINSON, IV The county commissioner lived up to his family’s rich legacy of public service this past year. Yes, he is a nice guy, but he showed tremendous political toughness and resolve in dealing with BP and federal and state officials. He more than earned his salary.

LONNIE DAVIS WESLEY The pastor of Greater Little Rock Baptist Church has helped revitalize the neighborhood that surrounds his church on A Street. He helped lead the effort to elect Ashton Hayward as mayor of Pensacola. Pastor Wesley is a difference-maker.

PATTY HIGHTOWER The Escambia County School Board is stronger because of her leadership and dedication. Despite being hampered by a superintendent who is less than transparent, Hightower has been open to the concerns and needs of parents and children throughout the school system—not just her district.

ECUA The completion of the Central Water Reclamation Facility and the termination of the old Main Street Sewage Treatment Plant would be the top stories of 2010, if it weren’t for the BP disaster. The utility delivered on its promises.

Losers

GEORGE TOUART & DAVE MURZIN The veteran politicians failed to not only defeat incumbent Escambia County Commissioner Gene Valentino in the Republican primary, but also received fewer votes than political novice Karen Sindel, who ran a remarkable grassroots campaign.

MALCOLM THOMAS Few superintendents have done more to alienate the African-American community in the past 25 years than Escambia County Superintendent Thomas. In his first two years, he has refused to let the students listen to President Obama’s first address to U.S. students, botched the negotiations with Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, sent out a thoughtless, tactless letter to parents about school FCAT grades and refused the two remaining years of the Restorative Justice grant, costing the system over $750,000.

SCOTT DAVISON Talk came easy for the CEO of Land Capital Group and now VP of Development for Maritime Park Development Partners, but fulfillment of his many commitments has been difficult. He has become the maritime park pariah. The next few months will be very interesting for the “face” of MPDP.

STEVE NODINE The former Mobile County Commissioner is a true Pensacola phenomenon: a rising star who soared into Pensacola on the back of a Northrop Grumman Air Tanker and two years later, stood trial for murder, which ended in a mistrial. Nodine once could do no wrong. He was billed as the politician who understood economic development and who would one day be Alabama Lieutenant Governor. Few have fallen so quickly.