Viewpoint from Mayor Ashton Hayward: Building a sense of optimism

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings tells a story about asking a successful investor whether, in trading parlance, Dallas was a buy, a sell or a hold. It came to him as no surprise that the investor enthusiastically replied, “A buy”.

Looking back at all that we have accomplished in the last six years and seeing what is happening all around the city I am not surprised that people say the same thing about Pensacola. When city residents were asked in the most recent Haas Center survey, “Is the city on the right track?”, their answer was a resounding “yes”.

The signs of success are all around us – the successful opening of the new downtown YMCA, our designation by Where to Retire magazine as a top retirement destination and our being home to one of the nation’s top-rated high schools are just a few. That’s impressive stuff, but it’s the projects and possibilities on the horizon that give me a real sense of optimism for Pensacola. In the next two years the physical landscape of our city will be enhanced by a number of projects:

  • The VT MAE Hangar at the Pensacola Airport will open for business and create over 400 jobs.
  • Corinne Jones Park will be transformed into an innovative park and stormwater management facility, ensuring future generations will have access to a beautiful green space west of downtown.
  • The Gulf Islands National Seashore Ferry project will provide people with an alternative means to travel between the City, Pensacola Beach and Fort Pickens
  • Hundreds of blocks of city streets will be resurfaced.
  • Fire Station #3 and Bayview Community Center will be replaced with new facilities.
  • Planned private development throughout the city will add new office space, new businesses and new residences.

And there’s so much more to be proud of.

We have so many reasons to be optimistic about Pensacola’s future. Not complacently optimistic like a child waiting for presents. Our optimism is what economist Paul Romer calls conditional optimism, the feeling of a child who wants a treehouse and realizes that if he gets some wood and nails and persuades other kids to help him, he can build one.

So what’s next?

We need to take our sense of optimism and put it to work on the things that will keep Pensacola on a positive trajectory.

In 2017 we will make sure that our voice is heard in Tallahassee and that our needs are addressed. There will also be opportunities to establish priorities and outline projects that can be funded from our area’s share of the $1.5 billion Triumph Gulf Coast Fund. Our priorities are projects that maximize economic value, projects that complement an existing asset or that complement a private sector development – projects like a downtown parking garage, repairs to Berth 6 at Port Pensacola and construction of additional flood mitigation measures.

We enter 2017 with the wind at our backs and the opportunity to expand on a number of positive trends and developments in our community. I am thankful for all of the citizens and businesses who have acted on their sense of optimism about Pensacola and stepped forward to invest in our shared future. Your positive attitude and your concrete actions are what have taken us this far.

Let’s continue to work together to make this year safe, healthy, and prosperous for everyone in Pensacola.



3 thoughts on “Viewpoint from Mayor Ashton Hayward: Building a sense of optimism

  1. Dallas has a Council-Manager form of government. Its Mayor is a voting member of the Dallas City Council.

  2. Rick,

    Just a couple of questions:

    1. Does anyone REALLY think the Mayor wrote this viewpoint? NO.
    2. Does anyone think the Mayor has read economist Paul Roemer? No, but he DID just plagiarized and misrepresented Roemer thoughts on “conditional optimism.”
    3. Does the Mayor even read and understand what his “ghost authors” are writing as evidence of HIS “brilliance and leadership?” Obviously not and I doubt he even understands basic economic theory and development strategy.

    What the “Mayor’s Viewpoint” tries to convey to and persuade the readers in this writing is that, “he is an economic genius” and “we just don’t get it.” However, he has once again displayed his ignorance and lack of ethics and integrity. (FYI Ashton, – I do understand economics and governance)

    In fact if he had read actually the article that his “ghost writer” cites he would know, Roemer wrote about the subject in an article written in a July 2016 article where Roemer stated the following:

    “Martin Stuermer presented a thought provoking paper (written jointly with Gregor Schwerhoff.) It takes an important and puzzling fact seriously, then uses some credible theory to work out the implications of the fact. In the discussion afterwards, a challenge to the paper’s apparent optimism yielded an insight that might have practical implications for ongoing policy debates. It was a wonderful illustration of how science works.

    The practical insight is that there are two very different types of optimism. Complacent optimism is the feeling of a child waiting for presents. Conditional optimism is the feeling of a child who is thinking about building a treehouse. “If I get some wood and nails and persuade some other kids to help do the work, we can end up with something really cool.”

    What the theory of endogenous technological progress supports is conditional optimism, not complacent optimism. Instead of suggesting that we can relax because policy choices don’t matter, it suggests to the contrary that policy choices are even more important than traditional theory suggests.”

    In other words, “conditional optimism” means that “policy choices” are more important to generate “optimism” and bad “policy choices” hurt “optimism.” As Rick has demonstrated in HIS survey that covered the marginalized citizens of Pensacola – optimism is low and the Mayor’s “policy choices” are to blame.

    Clearly, the Mayor’s “policy choices DO MATTER” and given the clearly poor record of governance, municipal administration and basic ethics and transparency – the Mayor has failed horribly and has to resort to “commissioning” a Haas Survey that lacked full representation of ALL of Pensacola’s citizens but, was purely designed to provide a “positive result” based upon the Mayor’s desire.

    Also, the Mayor is trying his usual “spin” short on details, facts and reality – however, LONG on fluff and propaganda that has ;little basis in facts.

    See Ashton some people DO read and see the BS.

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