GOV. RICK SCOTT Since the BP tar balls began hitting its shores, Northwest Florida has asked the state government for help. Millions of BP dollars have been eaten up by the state bureaucracy with very little of the money making it to the counties that have battled this economic and environmental nightmare. Gov. Rick Scott is listening to local officials and maybe we will see a new attitude out of Tallahassee. The governors of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama have been very vocal in defending their coastal counties. Scott appears ready to do the same. Let’s hope so.
REP. DOUG BROXSON Though his district contains less coastline than the other state representatives that represent Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, Broxson has been our biggest advocate against BP and the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. Not in recent memory have we seen a state representative take such a leadership role so early.
CONGRESSMAN JEFF MILLER Our Congressman from Chumuckla has fired off an angry letter to Ken Feinberg, administrator of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. “As of yesterday, there have been roughly 107,000 claims in the 1st District of Florida, and less than 43,000 have received funds from these claims,” wrote Miller. “A payment rate of only 40 percent is deplorable.” Miller made it clear that he believed Feinberg is neither independent nor neutral. “For you or others to refer to yourselves as such is an outright falsehood.”
CITY OF MOBILE The loss of the $30-billion Air Force contract for air tankers is another blow to the city that was once considered the economic superstar on the Gulf Coast. The entire region had joined forces to help Northrop Grumman/EADS win the contract, but it wasn’t enough to keep Boeing from getting the business.
MIKE HARIDOPOLOS The Florida Senate Rules Committee voted unanimously to admonish one of its own, Senate President Mike Haridopolos (R-Merritt Island) for failing to record a $400,000 home in 2004 and not disclosing the source of a $120,000 payment to his consulting firm. The mistakes occurred between 2004 and 2008. Haridopolos said he thought he did not have to report the home purchase until the following year.
JOHN WYCHE The Pensacola businessman was sentenced to more than six years in state prison for defrauding a charter school program. Wyche was the director of the Life Skills Center charter school for underprivileged children, which closed in 2008, and was the political darling of the “old Guard” of African-American leadership. He had been found guilty of misusing more than $750,000 in state education money for his charter school to sustain the failing Maison de Ville apartment complex. In 2007, Wyche ran for the House seat vacated by Holly Benson, despite the Escambia County Black Caucus voting to support Rev. LuTimothy May. The older African-American leadership backed Wyche and went back on their earlier pledge to May.