The Public Record: Jonathan Walker

by Maxwell Chase… Dear Maxwell, I think it’s important for the people of Pensacola to know the story of Jonathan Walker. Please explain. -Tasha P. …………………… Before the start of the Civil War, Jonathan…

Who is Strongest of Them All?


IN Examines The Strong Mayor Showdown. Bare, Hayward, Mack and Wiggins face off to the new CEO of Pensacola in the August 24 primary.

By Sean Boone

For the first time in Pensacola’s history, voters will decide on a sole leader of their government. Last year’s charter revision brought new expectations for a city that for so long has underachieved, and paved the way for one man or woman to be the administrator of a $200-million budget and nearly 800 employees.

At a time in which economic prosperity and morale is at rock bottom, there are several high points that should be embraced by our new mayor.

The $70 million Community Maritime Park has broken ground, new businesses and attractions are popping up downtown, the Port has finally shown signs of life, and the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce has just recruited a reputable new president.

We are now left at a crossroad of leadership. Who has the vision, determination and drive to take our city from where we are and move us to where we hope to be? Who has the ability to walk a tightrope with other officials to get things done? And most importantly, who believes in our future?

This year’s race comes down to four candidates: Chares Bare, Ashton Hayward, Diane Mack and Mike Wiggins. The IN sat down with each this week for a detailed interview to get a glimpse of who they are, why they are running, and what they feel is essential to being the city’s inaugural strong mayor.

Charles Bare, 39, Owner of Catalyst Technology

Charles Bare describes himself as a person “who can work in any environment” and has a broad range of experiences and education that backs up his leadership potential. But more importantly for Bare, he says he knows how government works.

“I lobbied in state government and worked under (then State Rep.) Jeff Miller,” he says. “I know how to get the money at the state level. Nobody really intimidates me.”

Bare moved to the area in 1988 to attend The University of West Florida. He earned his bachelor’s degree in legal administration and a master’s degree in public administration before leaving the area for a few years to work for the U.S. Department of Education in Atlanta. He later served time in Iraq as part of the Military Reserves and today owns his own technology business.

When asked if he thought his young age played a negative part in his campaign, Bare said he felt in some ways it has probably helped him out.

“I’m kind of in touch with the young parents and young professionals I think. We have a lot of younger people who are leaving our city.”

He says he is running for mayor because he feels he simply could “do a better job” than the other candidates and feels the role as the strong mayor should not just focus on the future of Pensacola, but the region in general.

“My focus is more regional than my opponents’. I think we need to have an economic development council…regionally that moves away from the Chamber. We also need to see what educational institutions are seeing a demand for. Our K-12 schools need to have more people come out with a specific skill, like what is happening at West Florida Technical Institute.”

Bare also believes the city needs to find ways to address the funding issue for the City’s fire and police departments as well as the Community Maritime Park, a project he says needs a better economic plan to pay off its bonds.

“We are going to have a huge debt to deal with, but I don’t think a lot of people realize that what’s going in there is not going to repay that debt. We need to create a plan for economic development to pay for it, because the ballpark in its current plan is not going to do that.

“Not a lot of people are going up (to UWF) right now to see a b-aseball game,” he adds. “It’s going to be tough competing with places such as The Wharf (in Orange Beach).”

Bare also believes in an economic development overhaul, stating that the city’s plan should model that of Santa Rosa County’s economic development council — Team Santa Rosa.

“If we get the right cooperation on the county side and that council does an assessment of what job skills we have here, I believe we can retain the people that are here. We must look beyond high-tech jobs that the Chamber has been looking at for some time. As a city, we have to provide tax incentives and work with the county on growth.”

Bare says he’s also in favor of citizen-led government and of making sure the public is aware of advisory councils and boards they can serve on by posting the information on the city’s website. He is also in favor of creating an environmental consultant position on city staff.

“We need someone in this role because everything we do in the city has an effect on the environment. The person would be working with the EPA or DEP on public works projects.”

NOTABLES
Port of Pensacola: “I believe they need some assistance in marketing. For example, they’ve got the frozen chicken (shipped by Northwest Florida Cold Storage) going to Cuba, and it looks like they will move shipments to Russia soon, but the problem is the shipment comes in for five days and then there is a lag (with no business coming in or out). Until the long-term leases expire at the port, we’ve got to make the best use of what is out there.”

Pension Funding: “I would like to pursue putting people on the Florida Retirement System and bargaining for that (through the fire and police unions). I don’t think there is any quick answer anywhere. It’s over $80 million here, but Jacksonville is over $1 billion. What I want to avoid is a tax increase to cover pensions…when you throw the Maritime Park debt on top of the pensions, you’re faced with a lot of increased cost for the city. That’s the more pressing issue…how much debt can we handle?”

Raises: “I prefer performance-based raises. I’m sure we have people at the city that aren’t pulling their weight…I’m sure it will be the job of whoever is my department head to make sure they are performing. Fire and police we have cut to the bone, and I’m more concerned with keeping people than giving raises. We may have to reduce some services, but I think public services are the most important thing to fund.”

Hot Times: PMA “Suite Soiree”

Pensacola Museum of Art to present 5th Annual “Suite Soiree” Pensacola, FL (July 23, 2010) On Thursday, September 23, 2010, the Pensacola Museum of Art (PMA) will once again present the highly anticipated event…

Self-Help Never Sexier

“Eat, Pray, Love” Opens in Theaters this Weekend

It seems international travel is the new American highway. Kerouac’s road has all but been replaced with Eurail and foreign bistros, no doubt crammed with Americans who are “finding themselves.”

Perhaps it’s no surprise then that travelogues are amassing astounding popularity: the one of the moment being “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Released in 2006, the book made leaps and bounds up the New York Times Best Seller list. This weekend, the film starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem will be released into theaters. Self-discovery has never been sexier.

Big Top on the Beach

 

Covenant Hospice Hosts 16th Annual Evening of Comedy

The big top is on the beach, and its purpose includes a better cause than just making you laugh.

Covenant Hospice is hosting its 16th Annual Evening of Comedy Aug. 14 at the Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front, and this year’s theme is none other than the circus.

Hot Times 8.12.10

Hot Times

THURSDAY 08.12
EVENINGS IN OLDE SEVILLE SQUARE 7-9 p.m. weekly through Aug. 12. Grab a blanket and a picnic basket for the free summer concert series. The Swingin’ Dick Tracys will be taking the stage this week. Seville Square on the corner of Government and Alcaniz streets. 438-6505.

The Last Word: Riannon Morgan

  Riannon Morgan Assistant Art Department Manager, Appleyard Agency What is your chief characteristic? Outgoing What do you appreciate most about your friends? We’re a family. We really love each other. Who is your…

News of the Weird 8.12.10

 

by Chuck Shepard
Woody Allen Joke Come to Life: Shirley Anderson, 71, is suing her son Ken, 46, in Vancouver, British Columbia, for parental support — even though she and his father had abandoned him when he was 15 (having one day just picked up and moved and, as in Mr. Allen’s joke, “left no forwarding address”).

Outtakes: World Class Risk

 

By Rick Outzen

When city leaders list the reasons why someone should live inside the Pensacola city limits, fire protection is at or near the top of that list. At the recent mayoral candidate forum hosted by the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Mike Wiggins, Councilwoman Diane Mack and all the candidates bragged about the city’s fire department.

WIND WARRIOR

 

Since the beginning of July, John MacTaggart has been cycling across the country to promote the idea of wind-assisted vehicles. But the bike he’s been riding isn’t your typical geared road cruiser; it’s a complex cycling contraption he and his father designed called a Pterosail — incorporating a sail that sits on the side of a recumbent trike.



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