Author Archives: admin

Ben Sasse and the War on Freedom at UF

by Aron Ali-McClory

On Tuesday, Nov. 1, a Republican senator from Nebraska, Ben Sasse, was appointed unanimously by the University of Florida Board of Trustees to be UF’s 13th president.

However, as much as this story has centered around Ben Sasse himself in the past month, it’s deeply important to consider the context in which his coronation happened. 

As the right-wing Tallahassee regime has flexed its muscle in Alachua County, the university has responded by falling into lockstep with their demands. Under the administration of UF President Kent Fuchs, the DeSantis-appointed Board of Trustees has all but made it their mission to wipe out the notion of academic freedom at the University of Florida. 

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Blue dot report: What they did, how we did, and a look ahead

by Joi Rose

All over Florida, Democrats are scratching their heads and wondering what is happening to the state they have lived in for decades and what this means for their future here. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t cut and dried. Many factors played into the state’s devastating red takeover: low registered Democratic voter turnout, lack of Florida Democratic Party enthusiasm and structural organization, a deficiency in field coordination and Get Out the Vote volunteers, lackluster candidates, further gerrymandered districts, and massive amounts of Republican funding further bolstered by dark money Political Action Committees. 

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November-December 2022 Iguana

The November-December issue of the Iguana is now available, and you can access it here! If you want to get your hands on a hard copy, check out our distro locations here.

Editors’ picks: News that didn’t fit

• Abortion is a bread-and-butter economic issue. We need to treat it that way
by Rebecca Solnit | The Guardian | Nov 3 | tinyurl.com/Iguana1481
Parenthood, criminality or death: these are now the all-too-expensive options for many women in the wake of the Dobbs decision. Abortion is an economic issue, a labor issue, a human rights issue and a healthcare issue.

• Abortion rights won in every state it was on the ballot. Let’s keep doing that
by Joan McCarter | Daily Kos | Nov. 10 | tinyurl.com/Iguana1489
Abortion rights are six for six in 2022, with voters in three states ensconcing the right and three fighting off efforts by Republican lawmakers to further restrict them.

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CMC to celebrate 29th anniversary and you’re invited

WHEN: Sat., Oct. 15 , 7-9:30pm
WHERE: Matheson Museum, 513 E. University Ave.
SPEAKER: Dr. Robert Cassanello
COST: $15-20

by Joe Courter

The Civic Media Center will mark its 29th anniversary on Saturday evening, Oct. 15, at 7pm in the Matheson Museum, 513 E. University Ave. The guest speaker will be Dr Robert Cassanello, an associate professor at the University of Central Florida, and the head of the UCF faculty union. He has served on the board of the Florida Historical Society, and has a research background on voter suppression and the Jim Crow era.

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History and the people who make it: Sue Gunzberger

During the contentious Bush/Gore presidential election of 2000, Sue Gunzberger served as county commissioner for Broward County Florida. On Dec. 19, 2001, Julian M. Pleasants, as representative for the University of Florida’s Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, interviewed Commissioner Gunzberger about her experiences as part of the historical ballot recounts. The following excerpts are part of that interview. 

To read the full interview, visit the UF digital collections at tinyurl.com/Iguana1447 and click the document image on the upper right. Use the double arrow keys to advance pages.

JP: Give me some idea of what Election Day was like for you.

SG: It was the longest day of my life, because I was on the canvassing board. I started with a commission meeting at 10 [a.m.] and by 7 [p.m.] I had to be at the warehouse to start supervising the counting of all the ballots. Usually on an election that large, it is finished by 2 in the morning. We finished at around 7 in the morning, knew that there was less than [a] one percent margin of difference and that we would have to have a recount. We had to be back at the warehouse by about 1 p.m., I believe.

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Introduction to screenwriting

WHEN: 5 Monday classes from 7-9:15pm
WHERE: SF NW Campus, C-122 INSTRUCTOR: Gary Gordon
FEE: $69

Learn about screenplay structure, to think about your protagonist and antagonist, to plot your story in a screenplay format, and to avoid some classic mistakes made by beginning screenplay writers. You may even achieve writing the first ten pages (or the first act).

Bring a laptop/notebook. It’s helpful to already have an idea of the story you wish to write. 

Write a paragraph or a page about your favorite movie – what it is and why, and bring any writing you’ve done or started if you have previously taken the class; we’ll work on continuing to develop your script.

The first class is 10/31, no class 11/28, last class on 12/5. Register online starting Oct. 5 at SF Community Ed under Arts-Writing or call 352-395-5193.

 

Gainesville area events

10/6 5-7pm: Oral History Program open house, Pugh Hall Ocora, UF, https://tinyurl.com/Iguana1469

10/7 2-4:30pm: Radical Rush, Civic Media Center (433 S. Main St); civicmediacenter.org

7pm: The Band’s Last Waltz, Bo Diddley Plaza (111 E. University Ave); free; tinyurl.com/Iguana1452

10/8 UF Homecoming – Parade, football (vs Missouri) at noon, partying all over: join in or stand clear!

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Energize Alachua! Energy Justice and Savings Fair 

by Michelle Rutledge & David Hastings

What does a Just Clean Energy Transformation look like in Florida?

Climate change is the defining crisis of our age. Each day brings more news about sea-level rise, extreme heat, and climate change-fueled disasters. 

“The unprecedented scale of climate impacts means that we must quickly transition to a clean energy economy. But this transition must be just.”  – Rep. Yvonne Hayes Hinson, District 20 

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GINI to provide free community resources, important updates on immigrant inclusion

Whether it’s the cutting-edge research at the University of Florida, the food we all eat, new businesses created, or the constant construction our towns are experiencing, our foreign-born neighbors have been playing an integral part in our community for years. 

Making up over 10 percent of our population in both the City and County, the number of immigrants and refugees making their homes here has been on the rise. But a survey (referenced below) of the immigrant population revealed that nearly 80 percent of immigrants wanted more opportunities to participate in our community and 1/3 of respondents did not feel included at all. Despite this, our foreign-born community contributed over $57 million in state and local taxes and nearly 16 percent of the GDP in 2019 alone. 

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Book review: The Battle for Social Security

by Mary Savage

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Americans and the world watched in shock and disbelief as the World Trade Center towers collapsed onto Lower Manhattan. By Oct. 3, among the first to receive monetary benefits from the tragedy were employees and survivor family members of the New York Police Department, the Fire Department and the Port Authority. Those benefits had been quickly organized and managed for distribution by the Social Security Administration.

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From the publisher … Had enough?

by Joe Courter

Nothing like the power of Nature to give you perspective. Thank you Ian for avoiding Alachua County. However, a fallen tree on a power line took out my power for a day, minor compared to what so many experienced but still… such a good feeling when power came back on. With its restoration the song “People Have the Power” came to mind, first with humor, then with more significance as I contemplated the need to write this piece.

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UF spends student tuition money on intense political lobbying

by Aron Ali-McClory

There is something deeply broken at the University of Florida. 

According to federal lobbying and tax forms provided by OpenSecrets, since 1998 the University of Florida has used our tuition money, to the tune of over $6.1 million, to build its institutional and political clout at multiple levels of government. 

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Iguana Voter Guide for Alachua County

by Joe Courter

First, be correctly registered to vote. This needs to be done by Oct 11. If you are still registered elsewhere, consider changing your registration to here. We need you. They can help you downtown at the Supervisor of Elections office (call 352-374-5252).

If so moved, early voting is a snap. Here’s the schedule:

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October 2022 Gainesville Iguana

The October issue of the Iguana is now available, and you can access it here! If you want to get your hands on a hard copy, check out our distro locations here.

Editors’ picks: News that didn’t fit

Co-founder of election org Black Voters Matter says when it comes to voting, ‘we won’t Black down’
by Rebekah Sager | Daily Kos | Sept 26 | tinyurl.com/Iguana1464
You may not have heard of Black Voters Matter (BVM). Their work has brought millions of dollars to grassroots election organizations and mobilized countless Black and brown voters in the last six years. The group works year-round to increase voter registration, advocates for policies around voting rights, and funds and inspires civic engagement in marginalized communities nationwide.

Federal judge clears UCF prof Robert Cassanello to sue over DeSantis’s Stop Woke Act’
by FlaglerLive | Sept. 9 | tinyurl.com/Iguana146
A federal judge cleared the way for a UCF professor to continue challenging a new state law (Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Stop WOKE Act”) that restricts the way race-related concepts can be taught in classrooms. The professor, Dr. Robert Cassanello, will speak at the CMC’s anniversary event on Oct. 15. See page 24 for details. Cassanello and other plaintiffs argue that it violates First Amendment rights and is unconstitutional vague.

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Tribute to Bob McPeek

Bob McPeek was a founding partner (with Ric Kaestner) of Hyde & Zeke Records, founded Mirror Image Recording Studio, and is a founding partner of Heartwood Soundstage. He is a husband, friend, musician, producer, singer, and social scientist. He has written hundreds of songs and has produced and recorded thousands more. These last few years, Bob has gone through a number of serious health issues, and his current prognosis does not give him much time here with us. His friends, in conjunction with Heartwood Soundstage, are producing a tribute and celebration to Bob’s life and music. Many of his friends and musical associates will participate in song or story in this event. Bob requests that if people want to support his art they go to BobMcPeekMusic.com. Below, a few of his friends share some words about Bob as a person and what he means to them.

A Tribute to the Life and Music of Bob McPeek

Heartwood Soundstage

Sunday, October 16, 2022

4:00 pm until 7:00 pm

Music and tributes.

Bill Perry:

I’m writing to let you know I love you, Bob, and that I hope to see you some more. Thank you for being my friend, first and foremost, secondly for hiring me at Hyde and Zeke Records and changing my life forever. Thank you for recording my crazy band, Bill Perry Orchestra, and for contributing to songs. Bob McPeek played awesome guitar on “Shape Of Your Nose.” Hoping you can record again, and get new songs. Tell Nancye that I love her too. Your show at the Heartwood Stage was amazing. I have always loved your music, funny, sarcastic, witty lyrics and beautifully constructed music. Your smile is very important to me and many more.

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Gainesville Latino Film Fest, Sept. 8-18

The Gainesville Latino Film Festival, which is hosted by the Latina Women’s League, returns to in-person attendance from Sept. 8 through Sept. 18 at various Gainesville venues.

Film screenings, speakers, and music and dance performances will be held over a two-week period at The Hippodrome Theatre, The Historic Thomas Center, University of Florida Smathers Library East, Tower Road Branch Library, and Bo Diddley Plaza.

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News from the CMC: Save the Date! Oct. 15, CMC turns 29

by Joe Courter

The Civic Media Center is becoming a place of many activities again; community support carried us through COVID-19 and we seem to be coming out the other side, still encouraging masking, but it is great having people inside again. Thank you to everyone who has supported the CMC.  

Various organizations are using us for meetings on Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. On Mondays Sept. 12 and 19, we will be hosting documentary film screenings at 7pm: (Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982–1992 on the 12th and Lesbian Avengers on the 19th). 

Poetry Jam holds down its usual (perpetual?) time slot of 8pm: Thursday nights. 

Fridays and Saturdays host a variety of events: there’s a music show at 9pm: on Saturday, Sept. 9; an Improv Show at 7pm: on Friday, Sept. 16; and on Saturday, Sept. 17, at 6 pm:, a Poetry Book Release with Mike Ostrov. Every 4th Sunday from 4 to 7pm: the CMC Courtyard (or inside if it rains) hosts the 4th Sunday Old Time, Bluegrass and Traditional Acoustic Jam. There were 20 musicians there last time, and at one point five fiddles all sawing away at once!

You can find postings of our events and new events scheduled on the CMC Facebook page or on our modest little website, www.civicmediacenter.org. 

SAVE THE DATE!  On Saturday, Oct. 15, the CMC will celebrate its 29th Anniversary (!!!) at the wonderful Matheson Museum. It will be an evening event, details and speaker to be announced, and for sure it will be in the next issue of the Iguana.

Connie Canney: A life well lived—June 11, 1929 – August 20, 2022

We members of the Peace, Social Justice and International Rights Activists of Alachua County celebrate the life of our Comrade Connie Canney who joined the pantheon of Peace and Social Justice Warriors on August 20, 2022.

Constance (“Connie”) Canney passed away peacefully at home in Lyman, Maine surrounded by her loving family. Connie recently celebrated her 93rd birthday with family and friends. 

Constance June March was born on June 11, 1929, in Rochester, New Hampshire, to working-class parents Clifton March and Ida Junkins. The second of four children, Connie lived in East Rochester, NH, until she graduated Spaulding High School in 1947. Encouraged by her art teacher at Spaulding, Connie applied for a working scholarship to Kansas City Art Institute & School of Design in Kansas City, MO. She was accepted and she moved to Kansas City in 1947 to attend KCAI, graduating in 1951.

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