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COVER STORY | Vol. 29, No. 5, June 3, 2010
(2010 Power List)

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IN 2010 Power List

More people have influence in what happens

The past year has been a tough year for area power brokers. The collapsing real estate market and financial crisis have greatly impacted the local economy. For many, influence has been tied to their checkbooks, and when the bank accounts slip, so do their influence. The recession has created a shift in power and flattened it out rather than concentrating it in the hands of a few.

Over the past 12 months, there has been a new spirit of activism. Pensacola voters approved a new city charter that gave them more voice in their government by electing a strong mayor. They turned their backs on a petition drive by former City Councilman Marty Donovan to force another referendum on the Community Maritime Park.

Superintendent Malcolm Thomas was caught completely unaware when Rev. LuTimothy May had community-wide support for developing the abandoned Brownsville Middle School into a much-needed community center. Whites, African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians stood together. Thomas refused to budge, and the school still sits empty. The superintendent will have to deal with the issue if he seeks re-election in 2012.

Another factor in the dilution of power is the new wave of independent elected officials that were elected in 2008 and have begun to hit their strides in 2010. Old alliances have faltered, and a new era of transparency and accountability has moved to the forefront. Ideas like Pensacola Promise are building support, despite resistance from African-American council members and city staff if they feel threatened by innovative and creative approaches to long-standing problems.

The IN recognized these factors and expanded the 2010 Power List to 75 names. The IN Power List isn't an exact science and does attract debate and criticism, so enjoy the read and let us know who you think we left out.

IN 2010 Power List - Top 5
IN 2010 Power List
IN Power List Hall of Fame