Buzz: Hayward courting black leaders

July 11, 2017

Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward has asked Councilwoman Jewel Cannada-Wynn to help set up face-to-face meetings with leaders in the city’s African American community.

Hayward ignored the black voters during his 2014 campaign and held no political rallies on the west side of Pensacola. He hasn’t held a town hall meeting in District 5, 6 or 7 since December 2013.

This lack of personal attention to those districts has lost Hayward much of the support among black pastors and other leaders that helped him defeat Mayor Mike Wiggins in 2010.

However, the mayor has come to realize that he can’t win a third term without the black vote, especially if County Commissioner Grover Robinson gets in the race. The face-to-face meetings allow the mayor to use his personal charm without anyone else in the room to check his facts or compare the conversation with others he has had.

Robinson’s political weakness in African American neighbors is his vote to return the Confederate flag to Pensacola Bay Center after the board had voted 4-1 to remove it. He can expect Hayward, who removed the flag from city buildings in June 2015, to play that up in his one-on-one conversations with black leaders.

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  • Cindy Martin July 12, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    Mayor Ashton Hayward has not done anything in the black community but make promises. What exactly has he done on the Westside of Pensacola? I hope the black preachers DO NOT fall for this TRICK. I have a big mouth, so I will start putting the word out in the black community starting NOW! Thanks Rick!

    • George Hawthorne July 13, 2017 at 7:23 am


      You are so correct. He has repeatedly lied and taken actions that have harmed the Black community since he took office. Unfortunately, he has black people like Jewell Canada-Winn and Lumon May that have supported him and will “carry his water” throughout the black community. Stay woke!

  • CJ Lewis July 11, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Hayward did not win himself any friends with anyone except the GOB network the way he abused Police Chief David Alexander. With a stroke of a pen, Hayward could have kept him on for one or a few more years. Of note, Alexander’s only full year as Police Chief was 2016. Yet, in the city’s June 17, 2017 press release about the 2015 to 2016 drop in the UCR crime statistics, a type of statistical crime reporting that requires a lot of caution because the data has to be viewed with many caveats as described in a 111-page guide,, the one person not mentioned was Alexander, the Police Chief at the helm when the drop took place. Hayward did not attend Alexander’s retirement ceremony and a later event thrown in Alexander’s honor at the Sanders Beach community center. Hayward got his way but acted like a sore winner.

    On the other hand, at least in the city’s District 1 where I campaigned in 2016 against Wu, I was very surprised by the number of especially older voters to include those who wanted to tell me that they had known Robinson’s parents who had nothing good to say about Robinson. They perceive him as a career politician controlled by his rich real estate and hotel backers. Robinson is seen by many as a tool of the rich doing their bidding. I watch the board meetings and it is blatantly obvious that the others are eager to see him go. In one particularly memorable scene in 2016, an elderly lady living in the Eau Claire subdivision north of I-10 went back into the house and gave me a copy of a code enforcement letter that “County Chairman” Robinson had sent her not satisfied with how fast she was cleaning up her property after the tornado. She was especially irked that he did not even know she lived “in the city.” If Robinson runs, I may campaign for Hayward in my District 1.

    On the other hand, I have found not just in my District 1 but citywide that there is lots of support for Sherri Myers. I have regularly been asked if I know her. She is perceived as someone who cannot be bought off and who will fight for the people. If she were to run for Mayor as many have told me they hope she will, two decisions by City Clerk Burnett may help Myers offset the campaign war chest advantages of Hayward and Robinson. First in 2012 and then again in 2016, Burnett interpreted the City Charter to allow direct partisan political party support to candidates. Absent a dissenting view from the Attorney General or a Court, that is how it will be in 2018 too. I was involved in the 2012 issue as the person reporting what I thought were violations of the City Charter. The candidate involved in the 2016 issue approached Burnett at my recommendation and later told me that Burnett said that so long as she did not use a “D” after her name on the ballot, she could accept direct partisan political support from the Democratic Party as she did, just as three other candidates (Hall, Terhaar and Bare) did in 2012 from the Republican Party. Myers would seemingly have broad support among Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Dog lovers, Cat lovers and Tree lovers too. I also think that Myers is the only candidate of the three who would energize people to canvass neighborhoods for her.

  • George Hawthorne July 11, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    The Mayor has not helped the “black community of Pensacola during his entire term, and has actually harmed the black community. His discriminatory practices are well documented … just look at the “do nothing” MBE program introduced after years of delays and then it was never fully implemented in any form or policies that would be effective in meeting its desired goals. The Black leaders and pastors that he would meet with should be ashamed to be a part of such a political charade to help the Mayor. They should be rallying support for his opponents and expose his lies and contempt for the iactions of the Mayor during the last 7 years.

    • Skip vogelsang July 11, 2017 at 6:41 pm

      Well said George

  • Moose July 11, 2017 at 11:07 am

    It seems like, in the course of 7 years, a mayor would have ample opportunities to court people of all backgrounds through actions. It would seem if there have been any actions over that span of time that were of any consequence, he wouldn’t need an introduction. In other news, Quint Studer is not looking for introductions to developers, Sherri Myers is not looking for introductions to environmental protection organizations and Grover Robinson is not looking for introductions to individuals throughout Florida and in D.C. who know something about the RESTORE Act.

  • Skip vogelsang July 11, 2017 at 10:51 am

    He has alienated most white leaders so this certainly seems to be his only hope