Chamber forum observations

Last night was the final political forum for the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. It was on the mayor’s race. WUWF-TV televised it, 1620AM broadcasted it. I was the moderator.

Being the moderator, I focused primarily on time and moving the forum forward. The candidates, Mike Wiggins and Ashton Hayward, answered 24 questions over a 90-minute period. Though I didn’t take notes, here are some of my observations:

Hayward said that he wants to rollback the property tax rate. Wiggins said that it couldn’t be done without cutting services.

Wiggins handled questions about Wells and the firefighters very well. I asked if there was a double standard because the council gave Wells a vote of confidence, but tabled a vote to do the same for the firefighters. Wiggins said that he didn’t vote for either vote of confidence and that the investigation of the firefighters is not complete.

Pensacola Promise appears to be dead. Wiggins said that he will not support it because there is no money in the budget. Hayward said that he would look into to how to pay for it, but sounded less than enthusiastic.

Disparity study – Hayward will do one. Wiggins was less enthusiastic on this and talked a little about getting others to help pay for it.

Off-shore drilling – both opposed it.