Category Archives: May-June 2014

Forage plans School’s Out Fest to celebrate the start of summer!

by Forage Farm

Forage will hold the 2nd Annual School’s Out Festival on June 7 from 11 am through 5 pm. The event, a fundraiser for Forage, will be held at Prairie Creek Lodge and Forage Farm. The event will feature interactive opportunities to explore nature, music and art. There will be live bands including Nook and Cranny, Bears and Lions, Michael Claytor. Local organizations will host nature-based activities and crafts for the kids. Humble Pie Pizza, Sweet Dreams Ice Cream, and other local food vendors will be onsite. Bring your bathing suit to enjoy the water fun too!

Forage’s mission is to be a center for educating and inspiring people to value healthy food, land, and community by growing, supporting and sustaining the local food movement. As a small farm nestled on conservation land, Forage seeks to preserve natural habitat in order to maintain the balance that is essential for our long-term sustainability and that of the earth we share. The staff approach the farm from an ecosystem perspective, working to restore topsoil and meadows to create a truly sustainable food web that feeds people’s hearts, minds and bodies as well as wild plants and animals.

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See “Targeting Iran”

by Joe Courter

One of the side benefits of the Civic Media Center’s SpringBoard event in March was that David Barsamian had with him copies of a new film “Targeting Iran,” which is based on the book of the same name by David and frequent collaborator Noam Chomsky. In late April the CMC had a screening of the film, and it was very well received; so much so that it was suggested the CMC get copies of it for the library. That has been done, and there are six copies available for check out with your membership. Granted the sabre-rattling toward Iran has not been as prominent, what with the uproar over Cold War style arm waving regarding Ukraine covered elsewhere in this issue, but with the increased Iranian influence in the Middle East region since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the “Iranian problem” is bound to resurface.

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Local elections are coming in August

by Joe Courter

Regarding local elections, it will be an interesting year. Ted Yoho, the Tea Party favorite Congressman from District 3 will have a Republican challenger in Jake Rush, recently interviewed by Stephan Colbert and who promises to make thing a bit more fun than usual, and the winner of that will face a real grassroots and high quality Democrat in the person of Marihelen Wheeler.

The state Representative for our district has Repub. Keith Perry facing a strong challenge from Springs and education advocate Democrat John Uman, who should prove a strong and worthy opponent. No primary there, but a hell of a race for November.

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Alachua County Animal Services: Be part of the challenge

by Jane Grantman
ACAS Shelter Supervisor


The ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge is a contest in which 50 shelters across the country compete to break their own records saving the lives of animals. Throughout the months of June, July and August 2014, each competing shelter must save more dogs, cats, puppies and kittens than they did during the same three months in 2013.

Alachua County Animal Services, (3400 NE 53rd Avenue in Gainesville) is one of the 50 shelters chosen to participate. Grand prize is a $100,000 grant. We need to save approximately 2,500 dogs and cats during this time. WOW!

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Citizens Co-op Board election, June 24

by Joe Courter

As a result of the situation at the Citizens Co-op, the Board of the Co-op has decided to move their scheduled September elections up to June.

The fired and striking workers (5 and 2 respectively) who were the alarm clock in bringing to light the increasingly non-democratic practices at the Co-op have had their case heard by the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) in Jacksonville.

The concerned investors, members, shoppers and former workers have held a number of productive meetings to try and bring a solution to the controversy, but the existing Board was unwilling to bend except for moving the election forward.

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In-state tuition for immigrant students passes Florida legislature

by Philip Kellerman

After contentious debate House Bill 851 was passed by the Florida legislature granting state universities and colleges the ability to waive out of state fees to eligible undocumented students. Governor Scott has pledged to sign it.

In order for an undocumented student to establish residency for in-state tuition they must meet the following requirements:

1) Attended a secondary school in the state for 3 consecutive years immediately before graduating from a high school in Florida;

2) Apply for enrollment in an institution of higher education within 24 months after high school graduation; and

3) Submit an official high school transcript as evidence of attendance and graduation.

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Death of the Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act

by Jeannette Marie Hinsdale

Senate Bill 1576: Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act “died in messages.”

That means after the bill passed its three Senate committee of reference hearings and was voted favorably on the Senate floor, it was sent to the House of Representatives where even a gutted and watered down bill was DOA. House Speaker Will Weatherford never even scheduled the House companion bill, HB 1313, for a hearing saying that he hadn’t had a chance to look at the bill.  

Word from the House on Springs Protection is “Wait!” But can the Springs afford to wait another year?

The 2014–15 state budget appropriated (prior to vetoes) $30 million for springs. That works out to $25 million for springs protection initiatives and $5 million for agriculture best management practices (BMPs).*

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History and the people who make it: Fred Pratt

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. This is Part 1 of 2.

Fred Pratt was interviewed by Jessica Clawson [C] in 2012.

P: I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1956.

C: When did you move to Florida?

P: 1967 or ’68. I have a disability, and there was no education for children with disabilities in Pennsylvania at that time, at least our part of Pennsylvania. And there was in St. Pete, where my grandparents were, so we moved down there so I could have an education. Stayed for college, stayed for the whole thing.

I’m a gay man. I’ve been gay, I’ve always known it, felt since I was little, for as long as I could remember, that I’ve been attracted to guys.

C: You went to undergrad at USF, University of South Florida?

P: Yes. From ’77-’80. It was closest, and I was living with my grandmother and she wasn’t doing very well, and I didn’t want to move her anywhere. And they had a political science program, which I was interested in.

I worked for 16 years as a public assistance specialist for the state of Florida, including food stamps, Medicaid, food, AFDC. I do a lot of phone banking for local candidates. Some state and national candidates, too.

Now I’m on disability retirement, and have been for the last 11-12 years.

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Iguana Editorial Board — Reading Recommendations

Fight for Fifteen Spreads Out and Zooms In —
An overview of the actions that fast food workers are taking throughout the county in a struggle for fair working conditions.

Lessons from corporatized college: Even PhDs are being squeezed out of the middle class —
Experienced, degreed, accomplished adjunct college professors are often part of the working poor, with no job security, and relying on food stamps to eat.

Wheelering and Dealing at the FCC —
Amy Goodman explains the concept of net neutrality, and how the Internet will fundamentally change, for the worse, if net neutrality is eliminated.

The Change Within: The Obstacles We Face are not Just External —
A discussion of cultural-historical obstacles and challenges in dealing with climate change.

Gainesville’s one-stop homeless services center – GRACE Marketplace

by Theresa Lowe
Executive Director of Alachua County Coalition for the Homeless and Hungry

GRACE Marketplace, the current iteration of the long awaited one-stop assistance center, opened its doors on May 5. Limited services, such as issuing bus passes, access to restrooms, a place to receive your mail and an air conditioned friendly spot to have a cup of coffee and relax for a bit, are currently being provided Monday through Friday, 9 am until 4 pm.

On Sunday, June 1, additional services will kick off with a barbeque. Call to Action will be bringing out their grills, and we’ll be hosting the first of our daily dinners on campus.

We will also open a secure area where homeless persons can store their belongings, a lending library, church services in our chapel and host an NA meeting. Services will be provided daily from 7 am to 7 pm.

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Memorial Mile, May 24–26

by Gainesville Veterans for Peace

Gainesville Veterans for Peace will once again set up the Memorial Mile along the Solar Walk on 8th Avenue, east of 34th Sreet. The display will be set up on May 24 and will stay up through sunset on Memorial Day, May 26. While thoughts of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars are unfortunately forgotten by the American mainstream media, there will still be at least 89 additional tombstones added, each one representing the death of an American service member.

“When we started this project in 2007, we could not imagine that we would still be fighting in Afghanistan in 2014, it is way past time for us to bring our troops home,” says Scott Camil, president of Gainesville Veterans for Peace.

Veterans for Peace encourage the public to stop by and walk the stunning mile at any time, believing this is the best way to take in the reality of these wars. Each tombstone representing individual Americans also represents the friends and family of the deceased who were and still are affected by these wars.

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Santa Fe United Workers Organize at Santa Fe College

by Joseph Brenner, Deputy Chief Of Staff
SEIU-Florida Public Services Union

Citing concern over withheld overtime pay, a general lack of transparency and openness in decision-making, and the lack of meaningful worker input at the College, workers at Santa Fe College in Gainesville have begun an effort to organize the College’s first labor union under the name Santa Fe United.

Workers have been meeting and discussing ways to fix problems at the school for years, but felt that management largely ignored their concerns. Believing that the only way forward is to organize their own independent organization outside the College’s “shared governance” structure, workers have been meeting with members of Gainesville’s larger labor community.

After several months of discussion, they’ve decided to work with SEIU-Florida Public Services Union, which represents college non-instructional staff at Hillsborough Community College in the Tampa area and 19,000 public workers across the state of Florida.

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From the Publisher: Organizing and Disappointment

by Joe Courter

For those who choose to go beyond the work, eat, sleep, family, play activities in life there is the realm of civic activity; doing something to be an active participating citizen trying to make the world, or at the micro scale your neighborhood or community, a better place. Some of these options offer a commitment to a social issue or organization in which progress is measured over time. Other options involve a campaign which has a finite end; you work toward it, then there is a decision whether you win or lose and it is over, and either done or at least needs to regroup and start again.

Campaign (electoral or issue based) organizing is often a roller coasted of highs and lows — it’s got deadlines and mounting intensities. Losing is a bummer, and winning has its joys, but then sometimes it’s a real let down later on as all the hopes invested in the campaign may over time prove empty. You kinda peel the bumper sticker off and move on.

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Plum Creek’s Smoking Gun

by Stand By Our Plan

What are Plum Creek’s real intentions for their 60,000 acres in Alachua County?

Should the Alachua County Commission grant their request to rezone their timberland to allow for urban development?

The friendly local people they’ve hired say they have a fifty-year plan, and they’re in it for the long haul.

Their boss says something different.

In an interview with financial analysts in Atlanta on April 28, Plum Creek CEO Rick Holley had the following to say about the company’s investment strategy.

“One of the key incentives for the company over the past several years has been the entitlement of our most valuable development properties. Through the pursuit of these entitlements, we change the very nature of these assets and create long term value for shareholders. We do not intend to pursue vertical development [construction], or invest a significant amount of capital into these properties. Rather, our strategy is to spend time and effort to move these properties up the value chain through entitlement and capture that value.” 

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May/June 2014 Gainesville Iguana

iguana coverCan’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 May/June issue here for your perusal.