Welcome to SANTA ROSA INSIDER, our new opinion blog, where we dish the dirt about political topics that aren’t necessarily newsworthy but certainly worth discussing…

TEACHERS ARE M.A.D!!! Incumbent School Board members Elizabeth Hewey and Charles Elliott better watch out! They’re in jeopardy of losing re-election after the teachers’ bargaining unit, which has around 2,000 educators, reached in impasse with the district over teacher raises. The State of Florida has already paid the district money to give teachers for raises, but the district has been holding on to those funds until salaries are settled and contracts are ratified. Hewey, a Democrat, is being challenged by Attorney Oscar Locklin, whose family has been synonomous with the district for generations since his late great uncle, Radford Locklin, served as Superintendent and was namesake of Lockin Technical College in Milton. Unlike the Superintendent’s race, school board member races are non-partisan, so that explains how a Democrat was able to get elected in Santa Rosa County, a GOP stronghold with a supermajority of voters registered Republican. I doubt many Conservatives who voted for Hewey realized they were casting a vote for a Democrat since that’s not printed on the ballot! Jennifer Tapley, a Republican, is also in that race. Elliott’s sole challenger as of now is fellow Republican Angie Straughn. There’s a school board meeting at 8:30 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 20. We’ll be going live Monday afternoon with Locklin and teachers’ union President David Godwin.

VISITOR LOGS NEEDED AT COUNTY ADMIN Several candidates for public office have been seen consuming a lot of high-paid public servant hours at the county admin building. Sounds like it’s time to start having a visitor check-in sheet to monitor who is coming and going…or, rather, staying TOO LONG. Our senior staff members are busy with important tasks and shouldn’t be spending their pricey time, on our dollar, strategizing with wannabe commissioners. The Sheriff’s Office has a sign-in sheet that requires the visitor’s name, purpose, time in and time out. Hopefully we’ll start seeing such records at countys office sooner rather than later to curb those in-kind campaign consultation contributions!

CALKINS, GET THAT MAGA HAT OFF YOUR HEAD!! So I have this thing about decorum during public meetings. Last year I called out Republican State Committeeman David Farrow for wearing a baseball cap in Milton City council chambers. Soon thereafter, someone tagged me in a photo of Santa Rosa County Commission Vice Chairman James Calkins, who was wearing his Trump hat during a city council meeting. Well, on Monday I caught Calkins red handed, sporting the Trump cap. I kept telling him to take it off, but he just laughed and kept talking about how 2024 is gonna be a great year for America. Let’s hope he’s right…


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