Escambia County Pensacola

Weekend buzz: Rule by viewpoint, more taxes on horizon, Underhill gets unexpected boost

June 30, 2014

Mayor Ashton Hayward chose a viewpoint in the daily newspaper to explain his firing of Council Executive Lila Cox and defend the charter –unamended or, more accurately, only as he wanted it amended. The News Journal added a note after Hayward’s viewpoint: “After the City Council voted last week, Mayor Hayward declined multiple invitations from a reporter to discuss the decisions.”

Last October, Mayor Hayward launched “Mornings with the Mayor” to improve communication with the media and let them ask him questions about his decisions and the overall direction of the city. He said that they would be done on a weekly basis. Thirty-six weeks have passed since the first session. Guess how many “Mornings with the Mayor” that we have…three. The last one was at the end of January before the ice storm.

We hear that Hayward expects to be governor of Florida one day…not if he is afraid to face the media.

More Taxes
There is a battle brewing behind the scenes at the county over adding an fifth-cent to the bed taxes — the one collected by hotels and condos. Hoteliers want it for beach renourishment. Others would like to see fund history, arts & culture capital projects. Watch this one closely.

Hoteliers back Underhill
The hoteliers, at least Julian MacQueen, are backing the rookie candidate Doug Underhill against two-term incumbent Gene Valentino for the Escambia County Commission District 2 seat. Time is short for the challenger to best Valentino in the August GOP primary, but there are no other Republicans in the race. Meanwhile there will also be a Democratic primary for the seat – a rarity. Ray Guillory and Deb Moore are facing off. The next two months will be interesting.

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