Category Archives: July-August 2014

Emergency Action: Solidarity with Gaza

gaza flierThis Wednesday, rain or shine, join UF SJP , UF Students for a Democratic Society and the Gainesville community in a march from the Alachua County Court House to City Hall. As of today, over 100 Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israeli air strikes, with close to a thousand injuries. The death toll keeps rising, the home demolitions keep rising, and we say NO!

RSVP via Facebook here:

Labor Daze Fest — Aug. 31

by Mama Trish (AKA Trisha Ingle)

Greetings! My name is Mama Trish, and have I got a deal for you. First of all, it’s free. FREE! Fun. Family friendly. Socially conscious. By Locals, For Locals, About Locals! And the music is jam up! (I’m not just saying that because my band is playing…)

It’s Labor Daze Fest, at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza (111 E. University Ave.) on Sunday, Aug. 31, from 4-10 p.m. It’s for the people who work too long and too hard for too little. Just need to catch a break? We have FREE services for folks who need them, from education and a Resume Re-do Tent, to women’s interview clothing and HIV testing. There’s a free rock wall, kid’s activities, and fun food. It’s always on Sunday, the day before Labor Day. Tire out the kids and sleep in on Labor Day!

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Citizens Co-Op election

by Joe Courter

The election for the Citizens Co-op Board is underway. If you are a member, please vote. If you want the store to survive, please shop there. If you are sick of the whole mess it is understandable. It has been a tragedy of idealism gone wrong, festering problems ignored, boneheaded decisions, entrenched positions, and like a dysfunctional family, the root of the problems and the bigger picture gets lost in the more recent affronts. As a person who helped and worked to get the Co-op there next to the CMC, and so much enjoyed the symbiotic relationship the CMC had with them—the potlucks, films and discussions, music in the courtyard benefiting both organizations—it has been hard to watch the unraveling. I am sorry; you do not fire five workers with an email at 7:45am. They need a new Board and new start, but the murky financial records and the severe drop in business may kill it anyway. So sad.

People invested a lot of money in a Co-op. What we got was something that for a variety of reasons evolved into more of a store. With a new Board, with replacing Lucian Kraigel, who seemed to be the key person in undoing the Co-op-ness of the endeavor, MAYBE we can get back to what we had. We were living a dream to some extent, but to keep a dream going, to keep it real, it takes work. The workers who organized and were fired for it were an alarm clock. That they filed a grievance with the National Labor Relations Board is logical. If that decision comes down against the Co-op, they should not be blamed. Co-ops need to evolve, and perhaps out of this, something new can grow.

Voting is open until July 8th, one vote per membership, you can do it online or at the store.

Alachua County’s marijuana problem

by Robert “Hutch” Hutchinson
Alachua County Commissioner

Last year, the Alachua County Sheriff’s office arrested 237 people for simple possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana. These people were booked into jail and had their mugshots posted to the internet.

At first appearance, bail was set, and some were released while others who couldn’t post bond sat in jail a month or more until arraignment, when they would be fined and sentenced to time served.

I sat through more than a dozen such arraignments recently, and all of the defendants were African American. Indeed, those arrested for marijuana are five times more likely to be African American despite the rate of use between blacks and whites being essentially the same.

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The Repurpose Project: Buy USED! It’s good for the planet

by Sarah Goff, Co-Founder of The Repurpose Project

Buy USED! Many people are familiar with the benefits of buying local, but The Repurpose Project is working hard to promote the environmental benefits of buying USED. Everyday valuable materials are thrown away. We all see it piled on the side of the road. Some of us see it when our curiosity pushes us to peek into a dumpster and sometimes even jump in to retrieve a treasure that was tossed out. The Repurpose Project is encouraging everyone to ask: “Why buy new stuff when there is so much perfectly good USED stuff in our own communities!” When you buy something used, you eliminate all that goes into producing a new product. The raw materials don’t have to be harvested or mined from the planet. The water needed for manufacturing isn’t used. The energy needed to harvest/mine, produce, and ship the product isn’t used. The packaging is eliminated. Plus, you save money. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to buy used whenever possible!

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History and the people who make it: Fred Pratt (Part 2)

This is the 22nd in a series of transcript excerpts from the collection of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida.

Fred Pratt was interviewed by Jessica Clawson [C] in 2012; the first part of this transcript was featured in the May-June 2014 Iguana.

P: We need to fight for each other.

I see it in the African American community, I saw it, I don’t see it too much now, in the disabled community. When we have something that’s really shaking, we do come together.

In the African American community, being gay is becoming accepted but it’s still not as accepted as it should be. I blame the churches. There are a lot of black ministers who are still preaching homosexuality is a sin. 

They didn’t want to acknowledge AIDS in their community, in the African American community. For years they were like, “No, no, no, we don’t have any people with HIV or AIDS.” And I think that that’s changing, and that is changing the churches. And if that changes the churches, I’m seeing but I’m hoping I’m seeing it right, that it will change the perspective of LGBT members in that church.

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Southern Lesbian-Feminist Herstory 1968–94

by Kate Ellison, Gainesville community member and participant in Womonwrites

“Although I am a lifelong Southerner, and have been involved in feminism since the 1970s . . . I had no idea of the significance of Gainesville in the women’s movement” says Rose Norman about the project she is involved with, the Southern Lesbian Activist Herstory Project.

The modern feminist movement grew out of the leftist and civil rights movements of the 1960s. Women began to speak for ourselves when we realized we had interests that weren’t being addressed by the rest of the movement. Lesbian feminism grew out of the feminist movement of the late 1960s when we realized we had interests that weren’t being addressed by the rest of the movement. One of the birth-places of modern feminism and lesbian-feminism was Gainesville, where to this day we support one of only a dozen surviving women’s bookstores in the country, Wild Iris Books.

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Alachua County 2014 judicial elections scheduled

By Philip N. Kabler, Esq. – Bogin, Munns & Munns, P.A.

It is well known that one of the principal rights of American citizens is their right to vote.

Voters are used to participating in elections for the President, the Governor, and the federal and state legislatures. In Florida, voters also have the ability to elect Judges, either for “open seats” or to retain sitting Judges. (In certain circumstances, Judges can be appointed to vacant seats by the Governor, following proposals from local Judicial Nominating Commissions.)

The following judicial seats within Alachua County (Eighth Judicial Circuit) are subject to votes during the upcoming 2014 primary (August 26, 2014) and general (November 4, 2014) elections.

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Support the Harkin-Sanchez bill and boost Social Security NOW!

The great federal program, Social Security, turns 79 years young on Aug. 14. In 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law, creating the government program that guarantees a working person some sort of pension when they grow old.

Today, Social Security continues to provide a base income for not only millions of seniors, but also the disabled, and orphaned minors. For millions of seniors, Social Security is their only income source.

But instead of celebrating and strengthening this program that has worked so well for so many for so long, many on the political wrong want to literally destroy the program that assists so many.

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America’s apparent Alzheimer’s

From a retired operative and analyst with decades of first-hand experience who chooses to remain anonymous

Listening to the radio and TV about the current situation in Iraq (and Syria), one is almost appalled at how we forget our cruel and costly war fiascoes and blunders.

I keep hearing that we lost 4,500 killed in Iraq.

And that, because we did go into Iraq and clearly shattered its stability and created the circumstances of the current the civil war, we now have a responsibility not to abandon them.

And, that Iraq is facing a major “humanitarian disaster” which we have a moral responsibility to help minimize.

And that Obama is a wimp for not intervening in Syria and now Iraq, and for pulling out of Iraq.

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Labor Notes ‘Trouble Makers School’ on Sept. 27 in Gainesville

Putting the movement back in the labor movement

by Candi Churchill

Several local organizers attended the Labor Notes bi-annual conference in April and felt fired up with new skills and inspiration to work harder to “put the movement back in the labor movement” (Labor Notes’ slogan).

Joey Brenner, Lauren Byers, Joe Courter, Marie Dino, Kendra Vincent and I attended the conference in Chicago with over 2,000 attendees (the largest ever!).

We learned and shared organizing lessons with dock and fast food strikers, bold teacher unionists and students from Chicago and Portland who are changing the national debate around public education, postal worker union leaders fighting privatization with aggressive tactics like protesting Staples, transportation workers rebuilding their worksite base, and many more ordinary people struggling to make things better.

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From the publisher: Guilty pleasures

by Joe Courter

I got hooked on World Cup soccer almost 30 years ago. There is something wonderful about such a simple game, which is played world wide, and the gathering of teams from all over the planet, with their varied ethnic and cultural differences, going head-to-head (sometimes literally, unfortunately) that make me feel a oneness of humanity. That said, and especially with this year’s tournament in Brazil, there is a huge cost required by the host nation which is borne by its citizens; displacements of poor people, and money and resources, which could have been used for health care, public services and education, being put into stadiums that may only see limited use in the future. I think about this as I watch World Cup (well, not actually during the game); how wrong is this for me to be getting such pleasure from something which has had such a negative impact on the lives of other humans?

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Vote August 26

by Joe Courter

Voting matters. Contrary to all the cynicism and the belittling, it does matter, especially in local elections. Working for candidates and helping in campaigns multiplies your vote. And frankly, party affiliation matters, too. In all my time voting, based on my left-of-center orientation (prioritizing education, healthcare, the environment, peace and justice, etc.), I have rarely seen where a Republican advanced my interests. But I must admit that thanks to all the social pressures of the times, Richard Nixon did some quite progressive things, and in hindsight, and compared to the current crop of Republican, looks in some ways downright progressive. I must also say Obama, and before him Clinton, got away with some horrible policy changes for which they got a free ride from the left. Our bad, but so it goes. It is up to citizens to hold our representatives accountable.

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Gainesville Hobby Lobby Grand Opening Protest — Aug. 1

We will be having a peaceful demonstration on the opening day of the Hobby Lobby in Gainesville, Florida in protest of the Supreme Court decision to allow them to opt out of covering women’s contraceptive healthcare. 

Check the Facebook page here for the latest details:

Here’s a few articles on the Supreme Court’s decision:

July/August 2014 Gainesville Iguana

july august coverHello Gainesville and Gainesville ExPats!

The July/August issue of the Gainesville Iguana is now available here. You can also pick the issue up at any of our distribution spots, which you can find here.