Winners & Losers 9.2.10
KAREN SINDEL The rookie candidate fell just 152 votes short of beating incumbent Escambia County Commissioner Gene Valentino. With little money or name recognition, Sindel received more votes than State Rep. Dave Murzin and former County Administrator George Touart. Nice guys and gals might not always finish first, but they don’t finish last.
JIM MELVIN While the BP oil disaster revived the political careers of the Escambia County commissioners who were up for re-election, the media attention didn’t save Santa Rosa County Commission Chairman Gordon Goodin. Retired accountant Jim Melvin started campaigning early and beat Goodin by 1,421 votes.
AREA PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICTS Sometimes having failing schools can be profitable—very profitable. Escambia and Santa Rosa school districts will receive over $10 million of Florida’s Race to the Top grant, which is worth up to $700 million. Half of the grant will go to the Florida Department of Education Department and half will be divided among school districts based upon their percentages of Title 1 funds. Escambia County will receive up to $8.3 million and Santa Rosa County will receive up to $2 million over the next four years. Yes, there’s money in those failing grades.
TALMADGE NUNNARI For the second consecutive year, the Pensacola Pelicans manager has led his team to the American Association playoffs. Despite slow starts both seasons, Nunnari has patiently guided his team through the four-month season.
GOOD OL’ BOYS The defeat of George Touart in the Escambia County Commission District 2 race puts one more nail in the coffin of the McNesby “Good Ol’ Boy” political machine, which is beginning to look more like a toaster. In 2008, two-term Sheriff Ron McNesby and Commissioner Mike Whitehead suffered two of the most embarrassing defeats in Escambia County history—until now. The 2010 GOP primary was to be Touart’s redemption and McNesby’s buddies’ entry back into the county power. The voters thought otherwise.
FLUORIDATION The hottest issue within the Escambia County Utilities Authority was supposedly fluoridation. The incumbents, Dale Perkins and Lois Benson, were said to be vulnerable because groups wanted the utility to stop adding fluoride to its drinking water. The uprising never materialized. Perkins won with nearly 74 percent of the vote in a four-person race, while Benson garnered 66 percent of the votes in her district.
ANTI-STADIUM CLIQUE After being told repeatedly by a small band of naysayers that four out of five Pensacola citizens don’t want the multi-use stadium at the Community Maritime Park, the anti-stadium candidate, Charles Bare, finished last in the non-partisan primary for Pensacola’s first strong mayor. To date, this clique has lost every election, referendum and petition drive against the park. Tick, tock.
BP Please stop running the ads about how you are cleaning up the mess your Deepwater Horizon explosion has created. They are insulting.