Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday August 14th 2018

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Outtakes—Dodgeball at City Hall

By Rick Outzen

Over the past eight years, the most photogenic mayor in the city’s history has dealt with the public and media like he’s playing dodgeball.

Mayor Ashton Hayward has become so proficient at dipping, ducking and diving while repeating hollow catch words like “momentum” and “optimism” that he has an earned a Five Ds certificate from dodgeball legend Patches O’Houlihan.

However, the public is losing out. Hayward has gone from a high-profile politician that once walked Palafox asking people for input and returning the phone calls of reporters to communicating only through written announcements and posts on social media.

When he is cornered on camera by the media like he was last week and forced to answer questions about city operations, his replies are such an incoherent mess that it’s clear the announcements and social media posts were written by someone other than Hayward.

The sad part is Hayward didn’t start out afraid to face the citizens. In his first budget message, he pledged to create a “Citizens First” culture in Pensacola City Hall. He bragged, “…I have made engagement of the citizens a top priority through my ‘Taking City Hall to the Citizens’ town hall meetings.”

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