Pensacola, Florida
Wednesday October 22nd 2014

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Ashton Needs You

Ok, so Pensacola has finally elected our first strong mayor, Ashton Hayward III. Although we’ve given Ashton our two cents, we also wanted to remind him that there’s still a lot on the minds of our fearless IN readers.

So we asked you to tell Pensacola’s first ever strong mayor exactly what you think he needs to do. Or not do. Or both. And boy—did you guys deliver! Mr. Mayor, here are more than enough ideas to keep you busy your entire first year in office. Maybe even your first term. Enjoy!

Check out the Philadelphia Eagles’ Go Green stadium project—which includes wind and solar energy—and encourage something similar for our Maritime Park.

Ashton should spear-head moving the Port of Pensacola, westerly over to the end of “C” Street, creating the most efficient port in the world for moving containerized shipments. It can be done in seven years, creating 70,000+ jobs and bringing in $7 billion per year in revenues. All of this with no congestion downtown!

Don’t turn a blind eye to poverty and racial inequality—we’ve still got both, and they are actually getting worse.

Beware of the Good Ol’ Boy System! And don’t become one!

Increase city limits. Have you seen a map of the “City of Pensacola”? It’s a jagged mess. Annexation would better represent the Pensacola metropolitan area. Pensacola is not just Downtown, East Hill and Cordova Park. It would also increase our population numbers, boosting our city size and possibly attracting more businesses to our area. Market Pensacola as the last frontier for Florida, not a forgotten city next to Mobile.

Ashton needs to get the “Money Pit” Port closed and sell the land to any hotel and cruise ship lines that want it. I’ll gladly take a cruise.

Call to order all the side back-stabbing that goes on during a meeting by the council members. The meetings are not held to see how many “politically correct” ugly comments can be made by elected officials.

Change the format of the meetings and throw away the time clock for public comment. This is the taxpayers’ money and within reason, without repeating, I hope that Mr. Hayward wants to hear from the public.

Look at each pension plan on its own merit, because all three are different, and some groups have more than one pension plan.

Establish a Presidents Council of presidents of all City neighborhood associations to meet once a month with the mayor.

Get a Starbucks downtown ASAP!

I think Ashton should find a way to make it possible for people to support downtown businesses without getting a parking ticket. It just should not cost $15 to go to the post office. I feel like it’s a “hurt downtown conspiracy”, and it makes you want to go to the mall.

I hope to continue to see support of diversity of downtown development and entertainment—including ethnic, socio-economic and gender.

A review of the Architectural Review Board process is needed to make it more streamlined and open minded.

Bring in some jobs and affordable housing, please—so we can help the homeless population get out of parks and get on with their lives.

Expand recycling.

Can you please call the Ninth Avenue White Bag Lady into your office and find out what her deal is and then hold a press conference to reveal your findings. Inquiring Pensacola minds want to know!

Waive fees for gallery nights.

Wrestle TDC (tourist convention group) for funds to promote downtown as a destination, not just the beach. We need to diversify our natural assets and the historic nature of our downtown. If properly marketed, it could bring major, affluent visitors that are not the same visitors we get for the beach–older couples, who like architecture and history who have disposable income versus younger beach-going families.

Creating a sales tax-free district on art goods, created and sold at the same location, would spur destination shopping (see Tiverton Four Corners).

Open one-way streets and open Government Street at Ninth Avenue.

Add signage to capitalize on historic district. Work with Historic Pensacola Village and St. Michael’s Cemetery to create a historic tourist destination.

Learn all you can about the military mission in Pensacola. All services. How many and what they do.

He needs a handler. Someone to get him in and out of rooms smoothly. There will be a ton of people wanting personal favors (just wait, it is always, “I voted for him so I need his personal attention”), and handlers will cut that aggravation way back. They will give things to the appropriate person. Dean Kirschner (Commissioner Gene Valentino) is a genius at this.

Talk to the African-American community and listen, listen, listen. That community is accustomed to being forgotten once the election is over. It can’t happen this time.

There will be a lot of “well, nobody told me” going on and these city workers will use this to throw each other under the bus. If everyone fills out a summary sheet and gets all their superiors to sign off on it, everyone will know what is really happening. Nobody can be attacked unawares.

There will be flotsam in the transition. Don’t hesitate to get rid of secretaries there who can’t type and people who got their jobs because of their relatives. There are people who need to go.

The coolness factor. You are cool, and don’t let the system force you to stop being cool.

Find two people that he can really trust and keep them close by.

Be willing to say “No” when necessary.

Put a “The Buck Stops Here” sign on his desk.

Don’t be afraid to shine a light in all corners of City Hall. The cockroaches will run.
Hold weekly press conferences and televise them online.

Roll back the property tax rate, even if it is only a fraction.

Speak to the Downtown Rotary so they will stop whining.

Form Mayor’s Council that includes the former mayors, and seek their counsel.

Take interest in all the public schools inside the city limits. The stronger they are the more likely people will move inside the city limits.

Dust off the 2007 annexation plan and get moving on the easy parcels, including Mike Wiggins’ business.

Implement Wiggins’ summer job corps idea.

Adopt “conflict of interest” policy for all city employees.

Establish a public information department.

Have auditors review and report on what really happened with sales tax exemptions at ESP.

No more secrets.

Have a task force review all the studies done over the past 10 years and see if they are still valid and can be implemented, such as West Side Development Plan, Port of Pensacola Plan and Annexation Plan.

Don’t read the blogs or PNJ comments.

Figure out functional consolidation.

Don’t play poker with PNJ editorial board, but drinks are fine.

FROM THE KIDS
We asked the Mrs. Martin and Mrs. Hahn’s fourth grade social studies class at A.K. Suter Elementary for suggestions for Mayor-Elect Ashton Hayward.

On North 65th Avenue, I want you to give free Icees to the whole neighborhood every Saturday and Friday.

Get rid of bugs.

Let kids open one present on Christmas Eve.

Send recycling trucks to businesses and apartment complexes so we can recycle everywhere.

Can you please make more sports for more schools and more equipment?

I want someone to build a public playhouse and donate to poor children.

I would like if people could stop littering and stop putting bad chemicals in the air.

More books in schools, better lunch dishes.

I would like you to take homework away, please.

I would like the mayor to make parks with no playgrounds, just trees.

Make the Manna Food Bank give more manna.

I would like a skateboard park and have more skateboard contests.

To have a water park near the maritime park.

Make jobs for teens and more jobs for adults if they need it.

A fun, new Sea World on Pensacola Beach.

Better school supplies and an amusement park.

Can you take away liquor and guns? Please and thank you.

Have our own computers instead of textbooks.

I want my street to be paved.

Lower taxes by a lot.
Make a new U.S. Marine memorial.

To stop pollution, plant more plants and recycling.

I think we should send out groups of people to pick up trash and try to stop throwing trash on the road.

More teachers and more tutors right after school to tutor kids.

Donate money so we can have more books.

To stop drugs and smoking.