Underhill: ‘Vagina hat’ comment creates a stir

Escambia Commission chairman Doug Underhill created a social media controversy when he asked one of his critics whether she was “one of those people walking around wearing a vagina hat and screaming in the streets.”

Underhill had taken to Facebook to respond to the Aug. 14 Transit Town Hall, where 430 people spoke out in favor of Emerald Coast Transit Authority. He described ECAT as one of the “sacred cows of government handouts.” He said the attendees at that town hall were merely fighting “hard to keep their seat at the trough.”

When his statements were challenged, the commission chairman replied, “Twelve out of 22 bus routes run 10 or fewer riders per hour. The $13M system only collects $1M in revenue. It is funded with a gas tax that was levied on the people without their consent.”

When Jacquita Stokes-Dykes fired back with “Lies! ” the District 2 county commissioner said he was stating “hard cold facts” from the Escambia County Mass Transit Advisory Committee report.

“You scream, ‘Lies!!’ Are you one of those people walking around wearing a vagina hat and screaming in the streets?” he asked Stokes-Dykes. “Is it really that hard to have a conversation with someone who disagrees with you?”

Over the weekend men and women came to the defense of the African-American female. They commented on Facebook that they were offended that a county commissioner would make such a statement.

Inweekly contacted Stokes-Dykes, who said Underhill’s comment shocked and disappointed her.

“I felt it was very inappropriate and a bit sexist,” she said. “We all elect officials into office with the understanding that they will carry class and have an unbiased opinion even if the person doesn’t agree with them.”

Underhill appeared to miss the point of the criticism.

“All of the crap you see going on here. Nothing but tactics designed to make me stop going after the liberal sacred cow of public transportation,” he wrote on Facebook.

He argued that the county should fire First Transit, the company that runs the bus service.

Underhill wrote, “Many of our routes are wasteful. The management team needs to be fired. It is a government service that should be done by government employees. That’s what we should be talking about, not vagina hats.”

As more people questioned whether it was Commissioner Underhill who made the “vagina hat” comment, he responded that he was using “the exact term used in our mainstream press for the actions of liberals in the marches against Trump.”

“Yep, that is me, and I standby every word of it,” he wrote. “Liberals, sheesh. They can wear offensive costumes in public and expect respect, but if someone calls it what it is, you flip out.”

But was Stokes-Dykes ever screaming in the streets wearing a “vagina hat” costume?

No. She told Inweekly, “I’ve never wore such a thing.”

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22 thoughts on “Underhill: ‘Vagina hat’ comment creates a stir

  1. Doug Underhill should be disqualified from holding any public office. He demonstrates that he harbors unhealthy social biases based on his own inaccurate and illinformed perspectives of the citizens in the community, and he seems to feel victimized by those he considers to be ‘beneath’ him. He is simply not qualified to hold a leadership position.

  2. i was also in a disagreement on the size of the county on there being models out there to study,he claimed that there was only 57,000 in county and there wasnt a model county to look at ,well there is 357,000 in county so he dosent even have a clue ,just getting a over paid chek like the rest ,we pay these clowns way to much money

  3. Well said Rick. Very disappointed in the commissioner and expect better from him. Not sure what he is talking about in regard to the “extreme” and/or the “extreme liberal left” attacking the community.
    Most people I know want to improve this community. He obviously must not agree with what some think are improvements he should be working toward. Hate to see that disagreements on changes needed and/or solutions become a rationale for him to name call and attack his fellow citizens.

  4. Doug Underhill has not better defense than to attack people who don’t agree with him. I have been on the receiving side of his attacks. He is a mini-Trump.

  5. I am deeply disturbed by Doug Underhill’s inappropriate outburst at ECAT Town Hall. I am “one of the people who got him elected” and I expect courage not anger. Valentino showed contempt for homeowners on Perdido Key, wasted funds on asphalt, and put fire station in flood zone. Underhill presented himself as concerned about environmental issues in his District. When I attended ECUA meeting, he was organized and polite. I am appalled by his recent rude language.

  6. Underhill rails about the “extreme liberal left” of our community like they are wild in the streets. Who are they? Where are they? I have lived here 30 years and wish that I could meet them for a drinK.
    What a disgrace he has become—introducing Trump into a local discussion where it has no place. I am forwarding this article to all my friends and organizations so everyone can see the true colors of who they elected.

  7. Doug Underhill, you are conflating various actions to “liberal leftist” that are “Anti-Trump”, in an attempt to “explain” your own communication missteps, including your biased comments regarding Confederate statutes. Clearly, it seems as if you support the Confederate statutes “staying” and you have NO understanding of the CSA ideology that would desire to oppress the minority constituents of your district that have supported your election. Talk about a disservice to YOUR constituents. Clearly, you support the “Trump” doctrine of racial division that has been clearly evidenced over the last 2 weeks.

  8. HA! HA! HA!! I love the way Underhill attempts to demean all those that do not see things his way by claiming the “Extreme Liberal Left”. We live in Pensacola where there is no extreme liberal left to speak about. Leaders don’t resort to attempts to demean or degrade their constituents. You represent the Liberal Left as well Mr. Underhill and just because your views are not the same as all your constituents does not mean you get to act like a bully and insult them with your childish name calling.

  9. Commissioner,

    I never considered verbally attacking a woman – or a man for that matter – personally an act of courage, regardless of her views or comments. Civility is not cowardice or capitulation. Courage is keeping a cool head in the face of “fire” and pressing one’s points without rancor or ad hominem attacks.

    -Rick

  10. Rick, the extreme liberal left is attacking our community in the most uncivil of ways. They want to tear down monuments, they file lawsuits instead of discuss the waste involved in our bus system. They sceam, “Lies!” as this woman did without providing any contribution whatsoever to the public discourse.You claim that you are calling for civility, but what you’re really asking for is cowardice and capitulation. The people that elected me expect courage. It is my job to ask the questions on the day us that they would ask if they could, and it is my job to say the things in the press that they would say if the press cared enough to ask.

  11. Patti,
    You were definitely part of the thread and he may have intended to lump you into his “vagina hats” post, but Commissioner Underhill’s remark was a direct response to Ms. Stokes-Dykes comment of “Lies.”

    Here is what the county commissioner posted directly after her comment: “I state hard cold facts straight out of the MTAC report. You scream, “Lies!!”. Are you one of those people walking around wearing a vagina hat and screaming in the streets? Is it really that hard to have a conversation with someone who disagrees with you?”

    The only one who said “Lies” was Ms. Stokes-Dykes.

    -Rick

  12. Doug,
    We agree that this wouldn’t warrant a peep if you didn’t mention it. The “stunt” is of your making. It’s unfortunate the chairman of county commission can’t argue his points against a female without trying to personally belittle her.

    -Rick

    PS Not everyone who disagrees with your statement is a liberal. Civility is still appreciated in Northwest Florida.

  13. Doug Underhill’s attitude and poor choice of words is a disgrace to his district.
    I regret voting for him.
    Alan McMillian has my vote and I will be volunteering with his campaign.

  14. Jeez. I’m pretty sure this is some of that fabricated leftist outrage we have come to see so often. That term was used extensively by the press, lefty outlets used slang terms for women’s body parts…but it doesn’t warrant a peep from these citizens until I mention it? Come on, Rick, call this what it is. Diversion tactics. “Women’s March? It was an anti Trump March, and most women I know were offended by the stunt.

  15. I am the one who Doug Underhill was attempting to shame and embarrass with the “vagina” hat question. I commented on his post and my profile picture is of me and my daughter wearing “vagina” hats. I rarely go back to read comments, but I had a lot of friends who texted me to tell me what the misogynist, Mr. Underhill wrote. Unfortunately, Ms Stokes-Dykes was caught in the crossfire of his cliché rhetoric. If you go back and read the thread, you’ll see the full sequence of events.

  16. The Commission has surely regressed since Mr. Underhill took on the role of Chairman. Instructive to see that he thinks so little of the right of the people to assemble, and feels the need to insult them. Even more enlightening that he considers a knitted representation of a uterus to be offensive. Snowflake!

  17. A minimum wage worker in the US can afford a one bedroom apartment in only 12 COUNTIES in the United States, and Escambia County FL is not one of those counties. The Escambia County Commission needs to fix that instead of standing around watching parades 😐

  18. Commissioner, if you want to keep low wage earners off of welfare, you need to keep the buses running for them. Most of them Can barely afford shelter. The working poor cannot afford automobiles, Insurance, or gasoline.
    Now, go wash your mouth out with soap.

  19. Well, now you know what lives in his head. He has revealed that he is not competent to serve in a position that influences public infrastructure, public service, or rules and regulations that support a community of citizens that seeks to be informed and respectful of the lives and needs of citizens from all walks of life, and as a public servant to set an example of civil behavior. His glaringly obvious bias toward his opposing political party in and of itself reveals that he is unqualified for the position that he now holds. He deserves nothing less that to live only among his like-minded folk. Crude, rude, maladjusted.

  20. “But was Stokes-Dykes ever screaming in the streets wearing a “vagina hat” costume?
    No.”

    Why does that even matter if she was at the march or not? Underhill was dismissing the entire Woman’s March and movement in his comment, but SHE’s the one having difficulty discussing. He reverted to name calling in seconds!

    “Yep, that is me, and I standby every word of it,” he wrote. “Liberals, sheesh. They can wear offensive costumes in public and expect respect, but if someone calls it what it is, you flip out.” Doug Underhill is an ass.

  21. Underhill is my commissioner and I have generally been impressed with his performance. But with this comment and his recent reversal on Confederate symbols, I can only conclude that he will soon be seeking some other elective office in the area. He seems to think he needs to broaden his appeal to the Matt Gaetz wing of the local electorate. Well done.

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