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Winners & Losers 12/15/11

WINNERS

QUINT & RISHY STUDER
The couple had a big week. They announced mid-week, the Pensacola Business Challenge, a contest for entrepreneurs and business owners to win a business startup package valued at over $50,000. On Friday, Dec. 9, the Studers—owners of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos—joined with Cincinnati Reds executives to welcome Jim Riggleman, who managed the Washington Nationals last season, as the team’s manager.

JOHN ASMAR The Pensacola mayor’s chief of staff has been a lightning rod for the haters, almost as much as Quint Studer has been for the Community Maritime Park. Mayor Ashton Hayward will tell you that Asmar has been integral to his administration’s fast start. As chief of staff, Asmar headed the labor negotiations with the firefighters’ union. For the first time in the city’s history, the union unanimously approved the proposed agreement—a testimony to Asmar’s leadership.

SAENGER THEATRE The Grand Dame of Palafox has been a catalyst for downtown’s new entertainment district. Restaurants, bars and retail shops are benefiting from the crowds that the Saenger has been attracting. Due to record sales this past week, a second performance was added to comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s stop in Pensacola. Downtown will be booming when he performs in February.

LOSERS

VEOLIA TRANSPORTATION
The French company that ran the Escambia County Transit Authority lost its management contract on December 8 when the Escambia County Commission voted to award the contract to First Transit. It was Veolia’s heavy-handed tactics in dealing with Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1395, along with transportation employees’ accounts of a dysfunctional relationship with management, that prompted the commissioners to give the company the boot.

BARACK OBAMA More Americans believe the Democrat has not done a good enough job as president to deserve a second term. His overall approval rating remains in the mid-40s, according to a recent CBS News poll, which is lower than the approval ratings of President Obama’s four presidential predecessors at this point in their first terms.

RICK SCOTT President Obama can take some solace in that Florida Gov. Rick Scott is doing even worse. According to Public Policy Polling, Scott’s popularity rating has sunk to a new low—26 percent. His greatest fall has been with his own party, where he is down 22 points since June. If an election was held today, Scott would be beat handily by Alex Sink, or even Charlie Crist. Maybe Obama should move to Florida and take on Scott. You can bet no Republican presidential hopeful wants Scott’s endorsement.