Category Archives: March 2013

South Main/Fire Station Update

By Joe Courter

The purchase of the lots south of the Civic Media Center/Citizens Co-op (between SE 5th and 6th Avenues) for the new Fire Station has not moved forward yet, due to bureaucratic paperwork for the most part. However, during the past month, the stakeholders in this future change have been meeting with City Commissioners and representatives from the City and Fire Department to negotiate an equitable way for this to take place.

The stakeholders, which include Citizens Co-op, Repurpose Project, Civic Media Center, Wild Iris Books, Church of Holy Colors, Sequential Artists Workshop and Display Gallery, are in agreement that our goals are:

1. An arrangement for about 30 parking spaces on 5th Avenue by the Co-op Courtyard gate to replace the current parking lot that will be lost.

2. Preservation of the Repurpose Project building for a future business, even if Repurpose Project has to move.

3. Assistance to the Repurpose Project in finding a new location, if needed or helpful to them.

4. Input on Fire Department landscaping design to keep connectivity on the South Main corridor.

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The Feminine Mystique at 50 – Stephanie Coontz Speaks March 13

By the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program

On Wednesday, March 13, Professor Stephanie Coontz will visit the University of Florida for a symposium, “The Feminine Mystique at 50,” focusing on her groundbreaking research into the history of family policy and women’s activism in America. She will be discussing her book, the highly acclaimed A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s in an afternoon roundtable discussion in Ustler Hall and a public lecture in the evening at Pugh Hall, “Madmen, Working Girls, and Desperate Housewives: Women, Men and Marriage in 1963 and 2013,” which will be followed by a reception and book signing.

The symposium will begin at UF on the afternoon of March 13 at 2:30 p.m., when Coontz will participate in a campus discussion focusing on A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawning of the 1960s in the Ustler Hall Atrium.
Later in the evening, Coontz will give a public presentation in the MacKay Auditorium at Pugh Hall at 6 p.m.: “Madmen, Working ‘Girls,’ and Desperate Housewives: Women, Men and Marriage in 1963 and 2013,” discussing her research into American family policy, women’s activism, and the history of marriage in the United States. This event will also include a reception and book signing. Parking is free.

The week before the event, on March 8 at 1 p.m., Coontz will be featured on WUFT 89.1’s weekly book program, “Conner Calling,” for a live, call-in discussion of her work. Contact the radio show at 352-392-8989 or e-mail

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Support Local Radio: A note from WGOT

By Adam Reinhard, WGOT Volunteer

I am writing this to first thank you, the community, for your support of Gainesville’s community radio station, WGOT 94.7FM. We recently just celebrated our fifth anniversary of broadcasting over the local airwaves. Although we share our frequency with other stations, WGLJ & WVFP, we are now streaming WGOT content over the Internet 24 hours a day. Run completely by volunteers and with little media support, we have created a vibrant, diverse community radio station for Gainesville, and all of this with no studio space.

Due to consistent support from various local venues and bars, a plethora of awesome local musicians, and various businesses and individuals, we have been able to support our DIY enterprise, even without major media attention. It has not been an easy task.

I have been the acting station manager for the last several years, but am unable to continue in that capacity. My passion for the station has not wavered, there are some new positive developments in my life, but I am still committed to WGOT community radio.

Although we are a grassroots project, we do require some centralization. We are declaring an all-call to the Gainesville community to get involved in any capacity you can. Visit our website at, connect with us at, and follow us on Facebook or Twitter @wgotlp.  Please consider becoming a member, underwriter, or volunteer for the station.  We are always searching for new local programming to add to our schedule.

Most importantly, however, is that we are in search of new board members and a station manager. No previous radio experience is required, and it is understood that these are volunteer positions. We have public board meetings every two weeks. We believe we have something else to offer besides traditional radio, media and culture. Check us out.

Forward on Climate Change – Demonstrating in the Capital City

by rain araneda

On Feb. 15, 56 people from northeast Florida, about 20 from Gainesville, packed into a chartered bus and began the overnight journey straight to D.C. to participate in what was predicted to be the largest climate change rally in history: the Forward on Climate Rally. Indeed, the Feb. 17 rally and march to the White House drew an estimated 50,000 people from all over the country.

The general theme of the rally was climate change; the goal was getting legislative change. Climate change may be debated in the corporate media to save political face; however, from the perspective of citizens all over the country who are seeing the impacts of climate change now, the debate was over long ago. Some have been gradually feeling the effects of sea level rise and increased drought conditions, while others have had to rebuild after sudden storm surges with increased intensities. Many of these communities are acutely aware of the impact that large, nonrenewable-energy projects around the world are having on the rapid rate of increase in climate change impacts.

As a result, a range of U.S. energy projects were protested against, especially the proposed Keystone XL pipeline by groups such as the Tar Sands Blockade. Other projects of concern were: the more than 500 mountains destroyed for coal extraction in the Appalachia region using processes such as mountain-top-removal; and the more than one million hydraulic fracturing wells dotting the countryside, from Colorado and Pennsylvania, who are already fracked, to New York, where citizens are fighting to keep fracking effects out of their water supply and communities.

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History and the People Who Make It: Pat Fitzpatrick

transcript edited by Pierce Butler 

This is the thirteenth in a continuing series of transcript excerpts from the collection of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida.

Pat Fitzpatrick [F], long-time Gainesville community organizer and subject of the documentary Civil Indigent, was interviewed by Isht Vatsa [V] in 2011.

F: I was born in DeLand, Florida in 1949. We moved to Orlando in 1950 when I was one year old, and I stayed in Orlando till I was 19 and joined the Air Force, came back for a couple years to go to college but have been gone for 40 years now.

I went to high school in Orlando, I graduated in 1968. At that time, I ran track and got some scholarship offers. I went to a small school in North Carolina called Brevard. Two things got me. I started smoking – when you run long distances that’s not very good. There were mountains, I had never seen anything higher than a mole hill in Florida,  so I didn’t end up being very successful. I quit after one semester and joined the Air Force. Came back and went to college, when I got out in 1974. Got a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Central Florida, a master’s degree in 1982 from the University of Florida, and a master’s in social work in 1986 from Florida State.

When I got out of college, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. I joined Vista, like the domestic Peace Corps. This is 1976, I had just gotten a divorce, had just graduated, had nothing to do, was actually sitting on a dock fishing sometime so we can eat, it was terrible. Living in my car. I joined Vista because you got a hundred and twenty dollars every two weeks. I also wanted to help people. I spent a year down in the Everglades, working in Immokalee, Clewiston, Morehaven, all around Lake Okeechobee with the migrant farm workers. It was a life-changing experience.

We can go without seeing poverty all our lives because of the segregation of the rich and the poor in this country. I got down and saw this deal with the migrant farm workers. I saw how little they paid them, how hard they worked, and then they had company stores that they went to. You had a lot of people from a lot of different countries I worked with. Guatemalans, Haitians, a lot of Mexicans, people from El Salvador, people from Cuba, people from the other Caribbean islands, St Lucia and all. I saw the situation, and it’s horrifying. I call it brutal poverty.

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The Fight for Florida’s Real History

By Joe Courter

“Viva Florida 500 is a statewide initiative led by the Florida Department of State, under the leadership of Governor Rick Scott, to highlight the 500 years of historic people, places and events in present-day Florida since the arrival of Juan Ponce de León to the land he named La Florida in 1513. While Florida’s Native American heritage dates back more than 12,000 years, Spain’s claim in 1513 began a new era.

“2013 marks 500 years of history and diverse cultural heritage in Florida—a claim no other state in America can make—and Viva Florida 500 promotes the place where the world’s cultures began to unite and transform into the great nation we know today as the United States of America.”

So says the State of Florida’s Website. Nice turn of phrase there—“promotes the place where the world’s cultures began to unite and transform.”

What happened in April of 1513 was a conquistador from Spain arrived on land where native people had been living and developing their own mix of cultures for 12,000 years and said, in effect, “we now own your land, we demand you do what we say, adopt our beliefs, or we will kill you.”

Is that too harsh a paraphrase?

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Buffer Zone for Bread and Roses

By Bread and Roses Women’s Health Center

Bread and Roses Women’s Health Center has asked the Gainesville City Commission Public Safety Committee to review and authorize a full Commission hearing on adopting a buffer zone (35 feet from the property) and a bubble zone (8 feet around a person entering a facility within 100 feet of said facility) for reproductive health care facilities in Gainesville. The request came due to harassment of patients by the protestors in front of the clinic but particularly after the City of Gainesville issued a permit for “40 Days for Life” (an anti-choice organization) to congregate on the leeway between the street and sidewalk in front of Bread and Roses. There were specific restrictions on the permit and the clinic was told that violation of said restrictions would result in the permit being revoked. There were numerous violations—including trespass on clinic property, graphic signage, and more—but the permit was never canceled.

The two issues at play are privacy and safety. The protestors violate the privacy of someone seeking medical care at a medical facility when they yell at, engage, and/or take photos of that person. A bubble zone will not put an end to these privacy violations, but will at least force the protestors to not violate the personal space of someone entering or exiting a health care facility. The protestors also create unsafe traffic conditions when a dozen or more congregate in front of the building and on the sidewalk around the driveway, blocking the view of traffic for anyone trying to enter or exit. In addition, the protestors approach and engage people in cars stopped in the middle of the street. A bubble zone will keep protestors a safe distance from the driveway so that entering and exiting can occur safely and without impediment. The buffer zone will not stop the protestors from engaging vehicles stopped in the street, but that is up to the Gainesville Police Dept. to enforce.

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Energy Conservation Makes Gainesville Stronger: New Initiative from Gainesville Loves Mountains

By Travis Atria, on behalf of Gainesville Loves Mountains

By now, most people know the story. Our planet is changing, a balance we barely understand has been disrupted, ice caps are melting faster than scientists predicted, sea levels are rising, crops are threatened by record temperatures in America’s breadbasket, the ocean grows more acidic by the day, and 100-year storms happen almost every year.

We must act. Gainesville Loves Mountains is a group of local volunteers who are doing just that. One of our current campaigns is to pass an Energy Conservation Ordinance (ECO) aimed at reducing energy consumption and costs for rental properties in Gainesville. We hope to propose the ECO to the City Commission and have it passed early next year. Our proposal is influenced by dozens of similar ordinances all over the country—places as diverse as San Francisco, Ann Arbor, Las Vegas and Burlington, Vermont.

Every ECO is set up differently to affect different sectors; some apply to residential housing, others to commercial buildings. We have chosen to focus on rental properties for two main reasons. First, they are prevalent in our college town. Second, we feel they have the most room to improve efficiency, due to the “split incentive” involved with renting, where the tenant has little reason to make improvements to the property, and the landlord has a financial incentive to spend the least amount of money possible to keep the property habitable. In this way, rental properties end up consuming more than their share of energy and releasing more than their share of carbon dioxide.

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Wild Iris Is Coming

Save the dates for our grand opening events.

The construction is progressing, and we’re getting closer and closer. We don’t have an exact date, but stay tuned to our blog and facebook page for the latest updates. We hope to be open by late February at our new location by the Civic Media Center, Citizens Co-op and SAW on South Main Street.

We do know the dates of our opening celebrations, so mark your calendars and invite your friends. All events will be happening in the Courtyard, CMC and Wild Iris Books. More details to follow, but we’d love to see you at one or more events and introduce you to the new space.

Thursday, March 21 – Equinox and Spring Planting Festival, 5:30-8p.m.
Friday, March 29 – Artwalk and Open House Reception, 6-10p.m.
Saturday, March 30 – Co-Sponsoring 4th Annual Very Queer Variety Show, 7p.m.
Monday, April 1 – Invisible War, Movie Screening, 7p.m.
Saturday, April 6 – Local Author Fair, 12-6p.m.

Don’t forget we’re still open online in the meantime, and we’re offering free shipping on any orders over $25. Visit to browse millions of print and e-reader titles, view recommended reading lists, check out recent indie bestsellers, volunteer with Wild Iris, and more.

We miss you all, and we can’t wait to settle our roots on the new block. Until then, know we are working hard behind the scenes making changes, building new systems and selecting new inventory for YOU!

It won’t be long now until Florida’s only feminist bookstore is back in the mix.

Author Sylvia Giagnoni to Speak at Civic Media Center’s SpringBoard – March 22

By Sylvia Arnold and Joe Courter, CMC Board Members

On Friday, March 22, the Civic Media Center will present the annual SpringBoard fundraising event with guest speaker Silvia Giagnoni, author of “Fields of Resistance,” addressing “The Coalition of Immokalee Workers: Grassroots Politics in the Age of Corporate Media.”

Silvia is an assistant professor of Communications and Dramatic Arts at Auburn University in Montgomery. Her book, “Fields of Resistance,” chronicles a seven-month period between November 2007 and May 2008, during which she visited the community of Immokalee, Fla. The narrative revolves around seasons, harvest, holidays and other celebrations of special significance for the community and seeks to show the various cultural and social realities that coexist today in this part of Florida: the farmworking community, the Seminole reservation and Ave Maria Town.

Members of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a community-based organization of mainly Latino, Mayan Indian and Haitian immigrants working in low wage jobs throughout the state of Florida, will also speak about their mission, goals and work to improve the conditions for farmworkers.

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Note from the Publisher: “…wrote it all down as the progress of man”*

joe-WEBby joe courter

Over the next month or so, the State of Florida will be hyping the “Viva 500” campaign to mark the arrival of Ponce De León on the Florida coast in 1513. This “celebration” brings back memories of the 1992 Columbus Quincentenary. Both of these events, while having historical significance, are not seen as things to celebrate by anyone with a notion of empathy toward native people. Both of these events marked the beginning of exploitation, degradation, the loss of land and culture, slavery, sickness and virtual extermination for the human beings who were living here in what the Europeans called the “New World.”

No matter how much heroic myth is spun around these European invaders of this continent, that they were culturally arrogant and quite often very cruel to the native people is undeniable. And unfortunately their pattern of behavior persists through the 500-plus years since Europeans started claiming the Americas as their own to profit from.

The person who first raised my awareness of the hidden injustice native peoples have suffered was folksinger Buffy-St. Marie and her 1964 song “Now That The Buffalo’s Gone.” (She is still making great music, too; find “No, No Keshagesh” here).

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Letter to the Editor: Support In-State Tuition for Undocumented Children

Dear Joe and Iguana Staff:

Casualties of this country’s dysfunctional immigration system are the dependent children (those born here and those brought here) of undocumented parents. Fortunately, due to Supreme Court law, all children, regardless of status, are entitled to public education from kindergarten through high school. However, what happens when these children want to attend a community college, state college or university is an injustice in Florida. Even if they have lived in the state for years, they are currently ineligible for in-state tuition and must pay out-of-state rates, making post-secondary education prohibitively expensive. Many of these children have earned high grades, done community service and would make great tax-paying employees of our state if given the chance to afford and attend college. In the upcoming Florida state legislative session starting in March, the issue of in-state tuition for these children will most likely be brought up again. Twelve states currently allow in-state tuition for undocumented students. Three in fact (Texas, New Mexico and California) provide state financial aid as a further boost. New York is considering the same. New York Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver said, “They know no other country, they came as infants, they should have equal access. It’s about fairness.”

I urge you to contact your house and state representatives ( and and encourage them to support in-state tuition for undocumented children.

Philip Kellerman,

President, Harvest of Hope Foundation, Gainesville, FL

200 Miles to Publix: The CIW’s March for Rights, Respect and Fair Food

By Ben Felker-Quinn

For two weeks this March, Florida farmworkers and their allies from all over the country will be bringing the call for food justice straight to Publix. Led by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), an organization of over 4,000 farmworkers in southwest Florida’s tomato country, the March for Rights, Respect, and Fair Food will set out from Fort Myers on March 3 and mark its arrival at Publix Headquarters in Lakeland with a celebratory rally on Sunday, March 17. On the road between lie a host of supportive churches, schools, community centers as well as many Publix stores to mobilize around.

As the CIW puts it, the purpose of the march is two-fold: to celebrate the real accomplishments of the past 13 years and to recall the struggles that must lie ahead for a fair food nation. One of the continuing struggles figures with Publix and other supermarket chains, which have refused to meet with members of the CIW in the face of great pressure from consumers and farmworkers. One year ago this March, 61 farmworkers and allies held a six-day fast at Publix Headquarters, and, in addition to almost regular protests at Publix stores through out the South, this year’s 200 miles back to Lakeland beg the ever-pressing question: why has Publix not responded? To which, in fact, there is an answer.

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Iguana’s Endorsements – Gainesville City Election, March 19

By Joe Courter

The City of Gainesville has an election coming up on Tuesday, March19. So for you voters in the City, or those who are not in the City but care about its leadership, here is our view.

First, the easy one. For those in District 4, re-elect City Commissioner Randy Wells. He is an outstanding, open-minded person and is taking the lead in trying to obtain the old state facility on NE 39th Avenue that can become a great human resource center.

Now the harder one; Mayor. Among the candidates we like two of them. Those two are incumbent Mayor Craig Lowe, and challenger Scherwin Henry.

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March 2013 Gainesville Iguana

webCan’t get into town for the print Iguana? Or did you make it to the box a little late this month?

Well, don’t worry! We have the whole March 2013 issue here for your perusal.