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2010 Election Guide

by IN Staff…
The Independent News is bringing you this special 2010 election guide filled with information from the local candidates and our endorsements for all the Aug. 24 primary races. We asked the local candidates to answer straightforward questions to help you decide which candidate is the best. Not every candidate chose to respond, but at least we tried.

REGIONAL RACES

STATE REPRESENTATIVE (Republican Primary)
District 1

IN: What is your opinion of Florida’s response to the oil spill? What would you do differently?
Greg Brown: The state response was too slow. I have a decade of legislative experience to help fisherman and business owners cut through red tape, provide tourism incentives, address property value concerns, and be reactive to the needs of Northwest Florida.
Ferd Salomon: Our local officials have responded admirably. We could have managed the perception better; the media hype has caused more economic damage than the reality. Doug Broxson: I did not like the response. Turning a regional, Panhandle area, problem over to our centralized government in Tallahassee is symbolic of our problem with government. The money, authority, and planning should have been turned over to the 3 local county governments and allowed them to coordinate the response.

IN: How can Northwest Florida be more competitive in economic development with states like Alabama?
Brown: Address the access to capital issues for existing small businesses; reduce corporate income taxes, and consider tax cuts for businesses in Florida counties, which border other states.
Salomon: Larger state closing fund, sweeten incentives such as QTI, move to Corporate Tax Single Sale Factor, pass Amendment 3, obtain Governor’s support and personal involvement.
Broxson: For many years the folks in Tallahassee laughed at Alabama quest for growth and new business. People and business were moving to Florida by the thousands without invitations. We created laws that burdened existing and new business creation. Now we are chasing Alabama and Georgia for new growth in the economy. In the next few years, we will revamp our efforts to match or surpass the incentives of other states. The reality is simple, given a equal choice, people and businesses would prefer to come to Florida.

IN: What are the ways state lawmakers in Florida will continue to balance its budget with obvious declining revenues from new growth and tourism?
Brown: I believe in less taxes and less government. We must stop wasteful spending on South Florida boondoggles, and eliminate redundancies in government. I have experience working with the state budget and know where targeted cuts can be made.
Salomon: Cut non-essential programs and services, consolidate departments and agencies, review sales tax exemptions, aggressive outsourcing of non-governmental functions and review staffing levels and benefits programs.
Broxson: The leadership in Tallahassee assumed we would never have a extended recession and continued to create new state programs and expanded existing programs, now for the first time in 30 years we are faced with cutting programs, services and overhead in state programs. If there is fat to cut, we will find it, but if we have to cut into the meat of government to balance the budget, we must be willing to have people in Tallahassee who understand the hardships of life and are willing to make tough decisions.

Ricky G. Perritt — Did Not Respond

District 2

IN: What is your opinion of Florida’s response to the oil spill? What would you do differently?
Clay Ingram: The federal response was appalling, the state had a more coherent response but was still lacking. A crisis like this demands a rapid, coordinated response at all levels. I would have demanded that the federal government either immediately engage in cleanup efforts or give state and local officials the resources to do it ourselves.
David Martin Karasek: Good overall. We need to get money to counties faster and dedicate resources to local response, while allowing locals to make decisions.

IN: How can Northwest Florida be more competitive in economic development with states like Alabama?
Ingram: We need to stabilize the tax structure for businesses, reduce the size and scope of regulatory agencies, and provide incentives such as tax abatements to companies that would move to the panhandle.
Karasek: Get rid of useless regulation. Businesses shouldn’t have to wait for months for licenses and they should not have government get in the way of creating jobs.

IN: What are the ways state lawmakers in Florida will continue to balance its budget with obvious declining revenues from new growth and tourism?
Ingram: Many state bureaucracies are overloaded at the costly administrative level. This is where cuts must be made. Also, as a believer in supply-side economics, I believe that reduced taxes and fees will spur growth and encourage new industries to locate in Florida.
Karasek: We must cut the waste at the top of all agencies across the board. We are to top heavy within management statewide.

STATE SENATE (Republican Primary)
District 2

IN: What is your opinion of Florida’s response to the oil spill? What would you do differently?
Greg Evers: Counties and local governments in the Panhandle have been restricted by the Federal Government from doing all they can to help Northwest Florida recover, and had the Federal Government let local first responders do their job from the get-go, we would have had a much smoother recovery. Going forward I think our state resources need to be focused on preparation and containment of the current disaster in the gulf and preventing and minimizing damage from this leak.
Mike Hill: The immediate response of our current government institutions and politicians was pathetic. Whenever government did get involved, they impeded, intruded, and slowed down progress of getting the oil spill stopped. From day one, a real leader (Governor, Senator, Representative, or other) would have been knocking down the roadblocks, and making the fast, right decisions leaders make.

IN: How can Northwest Florida be more competitive in economic development with states like Alabama?
Evers: We must work to aggressively promote tourism in the Panhandle in order to compete with the other Gulf states in terms of economic development and bringing more tourism dollars to our region, particularly in the short term. In addition, we must to streamline our permitting processes so as to attract new and diverse manufacturing and defense contracting facilities.
Hill: First, we must streamline the permitting process for all the businesses, whether for expansion or beginning a business. Second, we must reduce the corporate tax rate over the next 7-8 years. This will quickly allow our current Northwest Florida businesses to hire more people and invest more capital in growth and expansion. It will also attract many new businesses into our area to expand our economic base. Third, we must build vibrant partnerships between our higher education, our military and our high-tech businesses.

IN: What are the ways state lawmakers in Florida will continue to balance its budget with obvious declining revenues from new growth and tourism?
Evers: I believe the first step is to take meaningful steps to address the Medicaid fraud crisis and continue to look for ways to reduce waste in government. I would start with repealing the $1.2 billion high-speed rail and commuter rail boondoggle sent to Central Florida.
Hill: The first step is eliminate the duplicity, waste, and fraud in government. For example, we already know that Medicaid in Florida wastes billions of taxpayers dollars every year — we know where the fraud lives (mostly in Miami), we know how it happens, yet the incumbent Tallahassee politicians have done nothing to stop such waste. Also we must implement the valid suggestions we receive from our friends at Florida Tax Watch such as reduce the number of goods and service exempted from competitive bidding requirements.

CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE (Non-Partisan)
Group 3

IN: What areas of law do you specialize in?
Kenneth L. Brooks, Jr.: For Twenty years I have handled thousands of cases involving all of those matters a Circuit Judge traditionally hears, including Family Law and serious Felonies.
Alishia W. McDonald: Criminal Defense and Family Law.
Clint Davis: Specialize in criminal and family law, with additional experience in injury, mental health, and juvenile law.
Mike Lawson: My practice focuses primarily on business law and property law.

IN: What is your professional background?
Brooks, Jr.: Prior to practicing law I was a decorated Law Enforcement Officer in Florida. I received high marks from colleagues in a recent Bar Association survey.
McDonald: Former Attorney at Northwest Florida Legal Services, Former Circuit Felony Prosecutor in the First Judicial Circuit, currently an Attorney in private practice.
Davis: Professional background: B.A. Political Science, magna cum laude, from UWF; Law degree from University of Florida. Over ten years practicing in Circuit Court.
Lawson: I have an MA in War Studies from King’s College University of London and spent over nine years as a defense contractor working on nuclear and biological weapons proliferation. Since law school I have been in private practice.

IN: What will be your top priority?
Brooks, Jr.: I am committed to insuring that our local court dockets continue to move expeditiously along even in light of our current budget constraints.
McDonald: If elected, I seek to do all in my power to ensure that the courtroom is fair and impartial in the administering of justice.
Davis: Top priority: Ensuring fairness, impartiality, and efficiency in court proceedings.
Lawson: Strictly applying the law to the facts without legislating from the bench or interpreting the law to achieve a “desired” outcome.

Robert E. McGill III — Did not respond
Michael A. Flowers — Did not respond

ESCAMBIA COUNTY RACES

Escambia County Commission (Republican Primary)
District 2

IN: Do you support functional consolidation? If so, how would you implement it?
George Touart: Not as presented by the last charter commission. I believe we should start with five or six departments and prove to the voters that it can work.
Gene M. Valentino: Yes. Functional consolidation is underway now. Seventeen departments have been reduced to seven bureaus. The county commission hopes that Constitutional officers, SRIA, and ECUA will eventually implement functional consolidation.

IN: What is the role of the County Commission in economic development?
Touart: I do not believe the county commission should have a direct roll. I believe they should play a support role in funding and economic development should be a separate identity and not under county commission control, except for funding.
Valentino: The commission should establish the economic development structure separate from the Chamber of Commerce and County Commission. This, while simultaneously remaining arm’s length from day to day operations; thus protecting anonymity and confidentiality of prospects.

IN: What are specific ways to diversify Escambia County’s economy?
Touart: The commission should develop more light industrial and commerce parks ready to meet the needs of economic development projects brought to them.
Valentino: The 2005 TIP Strategies analysis targets some 14 industry categories essential for Escambia County growth. I incorporated those targets in my 2007 Economic Development Ordinance adopted by the County Commission. We will expand financial incentives for jobs and business through this ordinance.

IN: What are the top transportation needs for Escambia County?
Touart: The four-laning of major North/South, East/West roads in the Southwest part of Escambia, such as Blue Angel Parkway and Sorrento Road.
Valentino: The final adoption of the Regional Transportation Finance Authority (RTFA). The governor has authorized and approved the study of my idea and is prepared to go forward approving a creative funding mechanism to jump start road construction delays. This initiative also helps my proposed Economic Development Authority further incentivizing businesses and jobs.

Dave Murzin — Did not respond
Karen Sindel — Did not respond

District 4

IN: Do you support functional consolidation? If so, how would you implement it?
Dennis Green: Yes. I do support functional consolidation. There are many duplicate services that both the city and the county provide. An example would be the communication centers at The County Emergency Management Center (EMS), County Fire, City Fire, Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and the Pensacola Police Department.
Grover Robinson: Yes, Animal Services, EMS and mass transit are already consolidated. Implementation will require cooperation. I will work with the new mayor to look for other opportunities.

IN: What is the role of the County Commission in economic development?
Green: The role of the county is to provide monetary support to various entities to help attract business to Escambia County. However we need better ethical fiscal accountability.
Robinson: Provide an environment conducive to business growth through low, stable taxation, investment in roads (Beulah interchange) and incentives, and prudent planning (sector plan).

IN: What are specific ways to diversify Escambia County’s economy?
Green: We need to highlight the strengths of our county and region in order give businesses and people a reason to move here. We need to retain our young educated population, support innovation and “out of the box” thinking.
Robinson: Provide an environment conducive to business growth through low, stable taxation, investment in roads (Beulah interchange) and incentives, and prudent planning (sector plan).

IN: What are the top transportation needs for Escambia County?
Green: For me, and others in District 4, Davis Hwy during rush hour can be a nightmare. An easy, low cost solution to help with traffic flow is to time the lights on Davis Hwy. Also taking the lights off of a cycling system and allowing them to register when vehicles are present would keep the light from turning green when there is no traffic present.
Robinson: Regional collaboration across county and state lines, leverage strengths such military, medical and education and invest in growth by offering incentives and infrastructure (roads).County-wide: North-South connector with Beulah/I-10 interchange. District 4: Safety and turn lane improvements on Olive Road.

Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (Republican Primaries)
District 2

IN: What is your position on fluoridation?
Lois Benson: The scientific community, from the CDC to local dentists, overwhelmingly supports fluoridation, as do I. I will consider any new information from recognized scientific sources.
Stephen Burand: ECUA’s water fluoridation practice should be suspended, so data from medical authorities can be evaluated, and then a decision made on whether fluoridation should continue.
James Kirkland: Hydrofluorosilicic Acid is a toxic chemical. It has been linked to cancers, autism, and ADD, among other illnesses. It should not be in our water.

IN: What do you think should be done with the ECUA’s downtown property once the Main Street plant is demolished?
Benson: I envision a vibrant blend of mixed-use housing, public buildings, and commercial spaces to create a more livable downtown and attract good jobs.
Burand: ECUA cannot control this property, however I would like to see the property developed into a convention center or added to the Maritime Park development.
Kirkland: The ECUA should sell it to the highest bidder and put the money towards paying for the CWRF. This will lessen the burden on ratepayers.

IN: How can ECUA be more transparent to the public?
Benson: We continue updating our website with information about programs, FAQs, agendas, etc. We will televise meetings in our new building. My phone number is listed.
Burand: ECUA needs more community involvement. ECUA should be out testing the waters at our beaches and waterways, for pollutants from the Oil Spill Disaster.
Kirkland: Agendas should be posted online before meetings. Meetings should be videotaped and placed on the ECUA website. This will be a cheap and effective solution.

District 4

IN: What is your position on fluoridation?
Stuart H. Brown: I am for it based on research and discussions with dentists/physicians that support it.
Ryan M. Fendt: If I am elected I will vote for the immediate suspension of fluoridation until new studies are conducted and released to the public so that the citizens are aware of what is being added to the water.
Dale Perkins: I fully support fluoridation based on the expert advice of medical and dental professionals and the citizens’ referendum approving fluoridation.
Ronald Ward: I am searching for information that Fluoride is harmful to humans. I will review any information related to the subject as long as it has factual information and references.

IN: What do you think should be done with the ECUA’s downtown property once the Main Street plant is demolished?
Brown: It shouldn’t be demolished. Let’s use about 5 acres, private money and create an aquarium/fish hatchery of some type. Demolition equals travesty.
Fendt: ECUA should dispose of the property in the way that is most profitable to ECUA, the profits can then be used to make needed upgrades to equipment, or if possible reduce consumer rates to help ease the burden of a sluggish economy.
Perkins: I think ECUA should sell the property and reduce debt service in order to keep our rates as low as possible to our ratepayers.
Ward: The best use of the property is a convention center and first class hotel.

IN: How can ECUA be more transparent to the public?
Brown: I am for displaying the meetings on the website. This would solve all transparency issues.
Fendt: The board meetings must be moved to a time that suites the majority of the public, not the board members.
Perkins: I have voted to televise meetings and favor trying evening meetings again (although when tried in the past evening meetings reduced attendance).
Ward: Video all meetings, replay on ECUA website and update the ECUA Website to make it user friendly.

Escambia County School Board (Non-Partisan)

District 1

IN: The state legislature wanted to tie teachers’ compensation to test scores, but Gov. Crist vetoed the bill. What is your position on this issue?
Jeff Bergosh: I believe the legislature must work with all education stakeholders to craft intelligent, meaningful, and effective policy.
Luke Keller: Test scores are a poor way of judging how a teacher is instructing, but teachers need to be held accountable. Independent teacher reviews are needed.

IN: The School District has surplus property, including the old Brownsville Middle School. What is your plan for disposal of these properties?
Bergosh: The district school board will continue its practice of making below appraisal land/facility purchases as necessary while continuing to sell our excess properties at prices that are at or exceed appraised value.
Keller: They should be evaluated for future or other county government use, and sold off or leased if not needed.

IN: What is your position on the Zero Tolerance policy?
Bergosh: I believe the term is synonymous with stupidity. We pay our administrators well enough, and they are trained well enough, to dole out punishment where it is necessary while utilizing common sense when appropriate.
Keller: Zero tolerance is ridiculous. All rules should be enforced. Violent or unlawful actions should be punished, not an otherwise peaceful student with a nail file.

D. Hosea Pittman — Did not respond

District 2

IN: The state legislature wanted to tie teachers’ compensation to test scores, but Gov. Crist vetoed the bill. What is your position on this issue?
Gerald W. Boone: As a retired teacher with 35 years of experience in Escambia County, I think his veto was the smart thing to do. So many factors play in to how well students perform. Putting so much of the responsibility on the teachers’ shoulders is outrageous.
Virginia R. White: I opposed Senate bill 6 that Gov. Christ vetoed. Students test scores are affected by what is happening in that child life and attitude towards school.

IN: The School District has surplus property, including the old Brownsville Middle School. What is your plan for disposal of these properties?
Boone: I would hope that any surplus property owned by the School District would first be considered for use by the district, being doubly sure that the best option is advertising the sale of those properties.
White: I would like all properties to be placed on the market for sale and proceeds used to build some new schools.

IN: What is your position on the Zero Tolerance policy?
Boone: There are infractions to rules or policy for which there absolutely must be zero tolerance. The district is looking very closely into how these matters are handled.
White: I am not a fan of Zero Tolerance, all children make mistakes and their actions should be considered on an individual basis.

District 3

IN: The state legislature wanted to tie teachers’ compensation to test scores, but Gov. Crist vetoed the bill. What is your position on this issue?
Charlie Nichols: I agree with the governor. The proposed legislation, best known as Senate Bill 6, would have based more than 50 percent of teacher pay on student performance and not take into account years of experience, higher degrees or special certification.

IN: The School District has surplus property, including the old Brownsville Middle School. What is your plan for disposal of these properties?
Nichols: I would first review the district’s current policy. If we do not have one, I would recommend that we form an advisory committee on surplus properties.

IN: What is your position on the Zero Tolerance policy?
Nichols: My position on zero tolerance is that we allow the school district discretion in dealing with this issue. One alternative being currently practiced by our district offers a non-traditional way in dealing with day-to-day rule violations and disruptive behavior in schools.

Linda F. Moultrie — Did not respond

SANTA ROSA COUNTY RACES

Santa Rosa County Commission (Republican Primary)
District 2

IN: How effective do you believe TEAM Santa Rosa has been? How would you change it?
Robert “Bob” Cole: I believe in the work of Team Santa Rosa. It has brought industry and jobs to our county. We must continue to explore new opportunities.
Claude Duvall: Team Santa Rosa rating: fair. The Commission should give Team more guidance. They spend time now on things that just don’t bring better jobs here.
Ron Scott: Performing poorly. Top management within TEAM needs to be changed. Incentive guidelines need to be restructured. Need to consider small business enhancements.
Clifton Wheeler: Team Santa Rosa, in my opinion, does not bring enough business to the area for the amount of monetary support that the county funds them each month. It would make much more sense and save more money to absorb Team Santa Rosa functions back within regular BOCC departments.

IN: What is your opinion of Santa Rosa County’s response to the oil spill? What would you do differently?
Cole: Our response was outstanding. It would have been better if BP and the Federal Government had turned over response control to the local government sooner.
Duvall: A lot of lip service. We should appoint one person to be in charge. Not necessarily a government employee or politician.
Scott: Slow to start. County had no response plan in place for an oil spill of any type but oil rigs have been in the Gulf for decades.
Wheeler: The BP Horizon oil spill was a disaster. My commissioner did not represent the county to the best of his ability. There were meetings with BP regarding allowed reimburses and my commissioner did not show.

IN: If revenues continue to decline, where can Santa Rosa County make cuts in its budget?
Cole: We must eliminate duplication of services, apply user fees, and look into more outsourcing. We must also fight unfunded state mandates on local government.
Duvall: We have to look at operating cost first, then where we can, not replace anyone who leaves. Everything should be on the table.
Scott: Restructure county departments. Combine 5 departments into 4. Reduce top management through attrition. We currently have 1 supervisor for each 5.5 county employees.
Wheeler: Organizational contributions made monthly would be reviewed and re-evaluated for just cause.

District 4

IN: How effective do you believe TEAM Santa Rosa has been? How would you change it?
Mark A. Goode: They may have been effective in some areas, but have been lacking in public relations. Merging TEAM Santa Rosa and the TDC would be an idea that I would like to explore. One’s activities should compliment the other in order to diversify our economy.
Gordon Goodin: Along with the County Commission, TEAM has increased jobs by over 20 percent since 2000. To make it better, I’d involve more young entrepreneurs, listen to their needs, and make certain we are responsive.
Jim Melvin: I do not feel TEAM Santa Rosa has been effective. In my opinion, TEAM is a total waste of tax dollars in its current format. We can do better.
Ruth Dupont Esser: Team Santa Rosa has not show me as great of a result as I think we deserve as to the amount of money we have spent on them at this time. I think we need to give less pay and once we have true results we give bonuses for work accomplished.

IN: What is your opinion of Santa Rosa County’s response to the oil spill? What would you do differently?
Goode: Local officials tend to rely on higher levels of government for our last line of defense. Bad idea for purposes of self-preservation. Fund our Emergency Operations and Management sufficiently to ensure that our county can protect our citizens, visitors, and assets.
Goodin: Considering the limitations imposed by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, very good. We should have ever trusted the Unified Command in the first place. We wanted to believe they could live up to their commitments. We won’t be so trustful in the future.
Melvin: Our response has been reactive, not pro-active…poor planning on our part.
Esser: I think Santa Rosa County response to the oil spill was too much of a campaign trail media blitz and not enough true effort. Put together a program more so like the one Okalossa County has which details a game plan much like we do for hurricanes and such. Even if it doesn’t deal with all of the issues at least it shows an effort rather than a game.

IN: If revenues continue to decline, where can Santa Rosa County make cuts in its budget?
Goode: No more land purchases, sell of excess assets, reduce / eliminate travel budget for county commissioners, and include franchise fees in our general budget.
Goodin: There aren’t any easy or significant places left. It’s best to broaden the tax base by attracting new business, and bolstering existing businesses.
Melvin: We will have to trim our budget to fit our revenues. That means looking at everything from pencils and paper clips on up.
Esser: Santa Rosa will have to cut. We are experiencing a large short fall and we are using our savings at this time to fill the void, which means we are broke. Businesses are strained to say the least and people are scared and over taxed. That only leaves us with going through our county and making decisions on cuts. We need to not cut jobs because that creates more cost with higher unemployment fees but we may see pay cuts.

Santa Rosa County School Board (Non-Partisan)
District 1

IN: What is your opinion of the School District’s response to the ACLU suit concerning prayer at Pace High School?
Shepherd Iverson: As a Ph.D. and a cultural scientist, I will diffuse anger and espouse long-term thinking and good old-fashioned American pragmatism.
Diane Scott: The suit was controversial and diverted resources from our primary job- educating children. The consent decree is a compromise document to comply with the law.
Dale Anderson: The school board surrendered without a fight. Thank God that the parents and students understood their 1st amendment rights and continued to speak their beliefs even though teachers could not even bow their heads when students were praying.

IN: What, if anything, would you do differently?
Iverson: I would balance the budget without jeopardizing students education or alienating teachers. No rubber-stamping. The Superintendent will be under scrutiny if I am elected.
Scott: We couldn’t discuss the case while it was being litigated, but we need to work harder to inform Santa Rosa County citizens about what occurred.
Anderson: About Consent Decree negotiate and make sure teacher rights were protected also. Allow students who were elected by their student body to speak at their commencement, even if God was used in the speech.

IN: The state legislature wanted to tie teachers’ compensation to test scores, but Gov. Crist vetoed the bill. What is your position on this issue?
Iverson: Frankly, I don’t care which side of the isle these government mandates come from. The affection teacher’s have toward their students is incentive enough.
Scott: I support compensation and accountability when evaluations are fair and based upon outcomes that are reflective of teacher work rather than solely upon test scores.
Anderson: No, one test is not reasonable in determining if a student has learning gains. To many varibles in the mix. Did the child have a good night sleep, mom and dad fighting, sick, not good test takers, or to much pressure on the student.

District 3

IN: What is your opinion of the School District’s response to the ACLU suit concerning prayer at Pace High School?
Diane Coleman: The issue was handled in accordance with case law and under strict adherence to Federal law. It was handled soundly to protect everyone’s rights.
Carol Boston: A lack of leadership in SRCSB and failure of SRCSBs basic communication to county employees set conditions for this and a string of other failures.

IN: What, if anything, would you do differently?
Coleman: I will continue to be accessible, keep students first, do my homework, be fiscally responsible, and be consistent in my decisions.
Boston: Lead by example, first follow the rule of law and implement current policy firmly and fairly. Hold myself and other members to a high moral and ethical standard for our employees to look up to.

IN: The state legislature wanted to tie teachers’ compensation to test scores, but Gov. Crist vetoed the bill. What is your position on this issue?
Coleman: Merit pay should be tied to several components like daily teacher activity performance, student performance, and school/student composition; the bill was narrow in assessment.
Boston: Merit pay is not always up to the teachers ability. The variables from Advanced Placement classrooms to Special Needs require a broader spectrum of assessment for incentives.

District 5

IN: What is your opinion of the School District’s response to the ACLU suit concerning prayer at Pace High School?
Scott Thomas Peden: The District should have settled the suit when it was filed and not waited five years. The Consent Decree gives up too much.
Tom Naile: I believe the Board found itself at an impasse and wanted to get this behind them and move on. It was becoming a distraction.

IN: What, if anything, would you do differently?
Peden: I believe we should enlist expert help to determine what we can and cannot do, develop a policy and train all employees on the policy.
Naile: I wasn’t there, can’t speculate. I’m sure, if we all had a second chance, we’d try to head it off before it got that far.

IN: The state legislature wanted to tie teachers’ compensation to test scores, but Gov. Crist vetoed the bill. What is your position on this issue?
Peden: Teachers’ compensation cannot be based solely on test scores. Successful education of our children is more than just teaching them to pass a test.
Naile: Good idea. Bad plan. Not a level playing field. Too many good teachers would have been victims of their own expertise.

CITY OF PENSACOLA

Mayor (Non-Partisan)

IN: What is the role of Mayor in economic development?
Charles Bare: I will appoint an Economic Development Council and meet regularly with them to set goals and implement plans for bringing new businesses to Pensacola.
Ashton Hayward: Create a business-friendly environment by cutting red tape, expanding incentives and reforming city contracting to keep local tax dollars going to local businesses.
Diane Mack: The Mayor must be an active and key player in a regional economic development effort in partnership with the new Chamber executive and Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties.
Mike Wiggins: As the strong Mayor, I will recruit businesses, nourish existing businesses and make our city the place where business wants to go to do business.

IN: How will you deal with the current city manager and the department heads if you are elected? Will you keep or replace them?
Bare: I will select a new chief administrative officer and evaluate each of the department heads between my election and the time I take office.
Hayward: Some will retire if I’m elected anyway. Department heads who are on board with my vision for the city can stay. The rest can go.
Mack: I will ask the city manager to stay on until the new chief administrative officer is hired. Department heads will have six months to demonstrate their value to the organization and their commitment to my vision for the City.
Wiggins: Our City administration is composed of professionals. I will assemble a team that shares my vision and is ready to provide legendary customer service.

IN: The 2009 Small Business Enterprise study revealed that minority-owned businesses were awarded only 1 percent of the total dollars expended by the City. Eight African-American firms were utilized. How can you, as mayor, improve this disparity?
Bare: I will revise our procedures for awarding contracts to focus better on local and minority-owned businesses and provide educational programs to assist businesses.
Hayward: We should reform city contracting to ensure that the process is fair and allows a level playing field for ALL businesses to be successful.
Mack: By easing bonding requirements and subdividing projects where possible, offering incentives for majority contractors to use minority subs, and doing a full disparity study if nothing else works.
Wiggins: We can improve this situation with proper training in access to government, in mentoring new businesses, and working toward a partnership between the two chambers.

It’s ok, dear readers, we know some of you haven’t paid much attention to this upcoming election. All those direct mail advertisements from the candidates probably went straight into the garbage, didn’t they? They’re annoying and, hey, who really has the time, right? Luckily, we do, and we’ve done your homework for you.  <Click here to read the IN’s 2010 endorsements.>