The issue that most consequentially separates the mayoral candidates is the question of whether or not to have a city manager. Mr. Begos sees the position as a frill we cannot afford, and pledges to eliminate it. Mrs. Webb sees professional city management as a necessity we cannot afford to do without, and supports the position’s continuance. Who is right?

History is helpful. Prior to the hiring of the current city manager, Apalachicola had conducted an extended experiment in city management by part-time elected officials. The result: a default of more than three quarters of a million dollars on our debt payments, and the city on the brink of insolvency. Under the stewardship of our current (relevantly trained and experienced) city manager, Apalachicola has been returned to financial stability, and the bleeding has been stopped. To revert to a prior failed practice would surely be a grave mistake.

While her position on this critical issue alone amply warrants supporting her, it is also worth noting that the depth and selflessness of Valentina Webb’s service to the Apalachicola community, down the years, is exactly what we have in mind when we speak of a candidate earning our vote, rather than merely asking for it.

Hampton Howard