Pensacola City Council

  The debate over the long-standing practice of opening local government meetings with an invocation has intensified recently after the Pensacola City Council allowed a representative of a local satanic group to offer the prayer.

The issue got national attention. But, locals are also watching closely and candidates for the Santa Rosa County Commission had to deal with it at a recent political forum.

Lindsay Myers

  After weeks of wrangling, a representative of the Satanic Temple of Northwest Florida delivered the invocation at the Pensacola City Council meeting Thursday night. 

Council President Charles Bare gaveled the meeting into session. But as David Suhor, in a black hooded robe, prepared to give the invocation, members of the gallery began drowning him out with Christian prayers.

  The County Commission is expected to revisit debate on handing out revenue from the six-cent-per-gallon levy to the county, Pensacola, and the Town of Century for road paving and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“There’s been a formula between the city and county for a significant amount of time, and that formula every 10 years has to be renewed. We are at the time of that renewal,” said Escambia County Commission Chairman Grover Robinson. 

Lindsay Myers

The Pensacola City Council meets in special session this week, on possible changes to its process of scheduling those wishing to provide an invocation.

At issue is a request, granted earlier this year, for local activist David Suhor to deliver the invocation before the Council’s July 14th meeting, on behalf of the Satanic Temple of West Florida.

City of Pensacola

The Pensacola City Council held a workshop Monday on the 11 charter amendments, which range from minor tweaks to scrapping the charter altogether and returning to the previous council-manager form of government.

“We had a very interesting discussion, some of it very contentious. What came out of it, I think, is that we have a pretty divided Council on most of these issues,” said Councilman Larry B. Johnson, who represents the city’s 4th District.

While some council members argue strong mayor-council hasn’t succeeded, Johnson says the jury’s still out.

City Of Pensacola

Eight months after first going before the Pensacola City Council, a proposed ordinance to set up a lobbyist registry is close to being resurrected.

Mayor Ashton Hayward floated the idea in October of last year, via his digital newsletter.

“Anyone that’s coming down on behalf of another individual or business that wants to lobby the council or myself, we need to recognize that [and] they need to be transparent about it,” said Hayward last January.

A public workshop has been set by the Pensacola City Council, on a proposed non-discrimination ordinance sponsored by Councilman Brian Spencer.

Pensacola’s current non-discrimination ordinance, passed more than 30 years ago, deals only with fair housing. Spencer’s proposal expands it to include employment and public accommodations.

Tamara Fountain resigned Monday as the City of Pensacola’s Chief Operating Officer, 11 months after accepting the position and after weeks of controversy.

A news release from the city says that Fountain is leaving to “pursue other opportunities.”

“After everything she’s been through, I saw the letter she sent to [the] City Council. You know, I think enough of it has taken its toll on her, and she was ready to move on,” said Mayor Ashton Hayward.

Pensacola Police Department

When it meets in regular session Thursday evening, the Pensacola City Council is expected to approve the promotion of David Alexander to Chief of Police.

Chip Simmons is retiring next month after 29 years in the department, the last five as Chief. In that post, he’s overseen significant reductions in crime year-over-year, and the lowest crime rate on record. The PPD also became the first in the Panhandle to equip officers with body cameras: ten of them to start.

Interest in the vacant two-acre property in downtown Pensacola known as “Hawkshaw” has gone from virtually zero to plenty over the past few weeks.

Pensacola’s Community Redevelopment Agency last year issued a request for proposals, or RFP, inviting developers to offer plans and a bid to purchase the property: about 20 years after the CRA acquired it.

Office of the Mayor

If Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward gets his way, those paid to lobby him, the City Council and other city staff would be required to register.

Besides their names and affiliations, the registry would oblige lobbyists to disclose their clients, and the subject matters they want to influence.

Hayward announced through his digital newsletter last fall that he wanted the adoption of such an ordinance. Three months in the making, the proposal is set to go before the City Council in the next few weeks. 

City of Pensacola

  Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward’s second term is underway, having been sworn in last month. As Hayward sat down with WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody, he touches on that victory, downtown renaissance, and the City Council.

DD: Mayor Hayward, you won re-election last month with 65% of the vote. What mandate does that margin of victory carry into your 2nd term?

City of Pensacola

The Pensacola City Council met in special session Tuesday, electing new leadership and overseeing the swearing-in of Ashton Hayward to a second term as Mayor.

The new-look City Council features Andy Terhaar as President and Larry B. Johnson as Vice President for the coming year. Terhaar was selected on the third ballot, fending off challenges from outgoing president Jewell Cannada-Wynn and Charles Bare.

Alan Gray

The Pensacola City Council and Escambia County Commission hosted a stormwater symposium Friday morning, with both promising to cooperate on ways to control flooding. The session was held before a packed room at the Pensacola Bay Center.

Torrential rainfall in late April totaled 27 inches in the Pensacola area in a 24-hour period. The resultant flood caused massive damage to roadways – including four parts of Scenic Highway that were washed out. Flooding also swamped some businesses downtown.

Mikaela Sheldt

Ten scientists from Florida universities are asking Gov. Rick Scott to talk with them about climate change and the impact human-induced global warming will have on Florida. 

Scott, when running for Governor in 2010 initially denied the impact of human-induced global warming, saying that he’s not convinced that there's any man-made climate change. He has since been reluctant to engage on the issue.

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