County Commission candidates debate at Tiger Bay, and Ken Hagan's under fire

10/01/10 Joshua Lee Holton
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Republican Ken Hagan received a firestorm of criticism at today’s debate at the Tiger Bay Club in Downtown Tampa. The Hillsborough County Commission Chair is running for the countywide District 5 seat. He was supposed to debate former Tampa City Council member, Democrat Linda Saul-Sena, and her no-party affiliate competitor Jim Hosler. But Hagan didn’t show up, a habit which Saul-Sena says should cost him his seat.

Jim Hosler berated party politics and criticized Hagan’s poor attendance at important debates and meetings.

Saul-Sena’s campaign literature claims that despite the unemployment rate, Hagan hasn’t showed up to any meetings of the Workforce Alliance. Saul-Sena supports the transportation investment, because she says it will provide immediate investments in the economy.

Hosler pointed out that Hagan’s stance on the one cent sales tax referendum has not been consistent.

Hosler said he’d be a nuts and bolts kind of guy, and that he thinks County Commissioner should be a boring job.

His experience in planning covers both public and private sector projects. But Saul-Sena said that her work has been more community-oriented than Hosler’s experience with what she calls 'theoretical planning'.

She also claimed that Hagan lost the county millions in federal money by missing 80% of the Affordable Housing Advisory Board meetings, and mismanaging the housing program. Hagan also garnered criticism from Linda Karson, who is with the Salvation Army. She asked the candidates how they would help the area’s homeless population.

Saul-Sena also criticized Hagan for voting against a proposal by Catholic Charities to set up facilities to help the homeless in Hillsborough County, a proposal she says that she would support. Absentee ballots have been mailed out and early voting for the November 2nd election begins October 18th.

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