Category Archives: September 2014

The CMC Presents: Radical Rush

Radical Rush has been organized by the Civic Media Center since 1998.

Radical Rush is an organizational fair for progressive and radical activist groups of Gainesville to recruit new members and publicize their work to students. Radical as in getting to the root of problems, Rush meaning entertaining bids for membership.

The Rush is presented in the form of a collaborative tabling effort. Campus and community-based groups participate, with the added bonus of helping to bridge the “town/gown” divide and allow activists working on a wide variety of issues to meet each other, network, and learn about each other’s organizations.

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Primary is over, on to November

by Joe Courter

The August primaries are over, and locally that means the School Board is settled with Gunner Paulson returning and Rob Hyatt coming on board. Lee Pinkoson defeated Harvey Ward, and will only have write in candidate Harry Patterson (I look forward to writing him in) to face in November before continuing his term as County Commissioner. Ken Cornell defeated Kevin Thorpe and will square off against Repub. John Martin for the other County Commission seat.

So on to November. There are a number of clear-cut races of import to local residents. Beyond the above mentioned Cornell-Martin race (we strongly support Cornell), there are some campaigns which merit attention as well as your time and dollars prior to actually voting.

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Volunteers, support needed

by Joe Courter

The GRACE Marketplace is up and running on NE 39th Avenue, trying its best to address the needs of homeless and disadvantaged citizens of our County.

There has been increasing use of the facility, and a growing number of “outdoor citizens” are trying to get established in the safer surroundings out there. On site there are an outdoor shelter, storage, meals and support services.

The Kickstand Bike Project has moved out there, and targets mid September to begin operations, including training on bike maintenance. Personal skills, mechanical skills and transportation for those in need will all come from their efforts. They can be reached at

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GRACE Marketplace Update

by Jon Decarmine

Advocates have been working toward a vision of ending homelessness in Gainesville for over 10 years.

The GRACE Marketplace concept was the centerpiece of the community’s plan to end homelessness in 2005. After nearly a decade of searching for the perfect location, the center opened its doors in May at 2845 NE 39th Ave, the former site of the Gainesville Correctional Institute.

After stripping the site of the razor wire, sally ports, and inmate signs, advocates have found the site to be an ideal fit for providing a wide variety of human services to people in need.  The site features 15 buildings on 25 acres, including four dormitories, a kitchen and dining area, laundry, administrative buildings, and more.

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Alachua County Growth Management recommends DENIAL for Plum Creek Sector Plan/Comprehensive Plan Amendment Application

Below is the conclusion and preliminary staff recommendation of the 137-page report (without exhibits), vindicating the views of Stand By Our Plan, that the request to amend the County’s Comprehensive Plan by Plum Creek should be denied. To learn more about the proposed Plum Creek development in Alachua County, visit

To get involved, visit some of the workshops listed in the box underneath this article, and vote for Ken Cornell for County Commissioner. See the full report from the Alachua County Growth Management Commission at

Staff has reviewed the Envision Alachua Sector Plan application, including the supporting data and analysis, and created this report for the County Commission workshops. Based on the evaluation of the application as submitted, staff is recommending denial of this proposed comprehensive plan amendment.

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African American History Task Force to hold Town Hall Meeting Oct. 26

by Erica Merrell, Wild Iris Books

In the early nineties, a Florida law was passed requiring that school curriculum incorporate “teachings about the history of African Americans, including the history of African peoples before the political conflicts that led to the development of slavery, the passage to America, the enslavement experience, abolition and the contributions of African Americans to society.”

Today less than 10 of Florida’s 67 counties are compliant, and Alachua County is not meeting the standards. (The feminist within us cannot help but mention that the “contributions of women” are also included in this law.) Local activists have worked for over a decade on attempts to broaden the scope and celebration of African American history in our public schools with little permanent change.

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Only human beings have constitutionally protected rights

by Nancy Parkinson

Perhaps the most important issue before the Alachua County electorate on the November 4 ballot is a non-binding resolution which will be found at the bottom of the ballot. This resolution asks whether we should amend our U.S. Constitution to definitively establish that Corporations are not people and Money is not speech

The necessity for this amendment is the result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2010, (Citizens United v. the FEC), in which the majority said that Corporations had the same rights under the Constitution as people. Although corporations are never mentioned in our Constitution, the Court had already bestowed on corporations many of our inalienable rights, pushing the bounds of its legitimacy. Corporations should only be entitled to statutory protection conferred by legislatures.

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Labor Notes Troublemakers’ School comes to Gainesville, September 27

by Diana Moreno

Last April, members of the Gainesville labor community traveled to Chicago to attend the Labor Notes Conference attended by labor organizers from around the country. The energy, ideas, and inspiration our local organizers brought back from their experience led them to do what they do best: Organize our very own Gainesville Troublemakers School!

If you’re tired of getting a headache from reading about the state of working people in the United States, come learn about what local unions and community activists are doing here in Florida to make a positive impact in our communities. If you’re a worker who is trying to “beat apathy” and resist pressure from management to do more with less, get ready to pick up proven strategies to improve working conditions and get fellow workers involved in the process.

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Just Say “No” to Medicare and Social Security Cuts

by Mary Savage

Act Now to say “No!” to the federal Ryan Budget. Tell your elected officials, “No cuts to Medicare! No vouchers!”

It’s no exaggeration to say that this is of an urgent matter.

While celebrations took place across the USA on July 30 to celebrate the 49th anniversary of Medicare, some politicians and special interest groups are trying to dismantle the federal program the keeps seniors and their families free from a life of poverty due to healthcare costs. The federal “Paul Ryan budget” calls for dismantling Medicare from its current form – which still doesn’t pay all of the healthcare needs of seniors – to a draconian voucher-coupon system.

Essentially, seniors would receive a $5,000 voucher each year to purchase health insurance on their own, privatizing the program and eventually separating the sickest from the healthiest and causing costs to shift more and more to seniors and their families. (Check to see if your representative voted for the budget. If so, your representative voted to end Medicare and cause healthcare costs to increase for seniors and their families.)

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Moral Mondays coming to Gainesville

The Moral Monday movement that started in North Carolina last year is spreading across the country. Millions of people are deciding it’s time to restore democracy to the United States.

On September 8 from 6-7:30 pm, citizens of Gainesville will gather at the Alachua County Courthouse on South Main Street to add our voices to the growing chorus of those who believe that it’s time to make corruption illegal and restore the rights of personhood to flesh and blood human rather than nameless, faceless corporations who are amoral and profit-driven by definition.

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Youth PROMISE Act: Shouldn’t ‘justice for all’ include youth?

By Cheryl Kaplan, Peace Alliance Action Team Leader,
& Radha Selvester, CDS Family & Behavioral Health Services

“When will justice come?  When those who are not injured are as indignant as those who are.” — Leo Tolstoy

The injured are our youth — and because they are young and powerless, they cannot speak for themselves. So it is up to the adults to express our indignation and work for change.

Youth incarcerated in our Juvenile Detention Centers are often damaged by the system. Considering that 80-90 percent of youth commit delinquent acts during their adolescent years, including one-third committing serious crimes, we need to support programs to help young people correct their behaviors.*

We can’t incarcerate our way out of delinquency. Youth are a work in progress and are destined to make mistakes as they grow up. Many youth we label “delinquent” are really survivors of trauma themselves — abuse, poverty, neglect, and addiction. These experiences create youth who break the law out of desperation.

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From the publisher: Rekindling Tribal Feelings

by Joe Courter

When I started thinking about what this next Publisher Note should be, the concept of tribal thinking came to me. Our mass society is very alien to the human behavior and cultural experience we evolved with. We as a species, up to the present, lived in smaller groupings, with quite varied cultural practices and attitudes from regions we don’t even consider far away now. There were rivalries and conquests, but also cross-fertilization and trade, not only in goods, but ideas. Now we are still feeding from the same cultural trough.

But, within that, we still have our tribal differences, ones we consciously or unconsciously select. If you follow cable news, the MSNBC tribe’s news is quite different from the FOX news tribe’s. Wall Street Journal is quite different from Democracy Now. And now with the proliferation of websites, you can plug into all kinds of information silos, some which are spot on in their analysis, some which build mountains of bullshit from scraps of repeated data of dubious merit. I think a lot of people can even lose their sense of tribe; feel lonely, alone, even desperate. But for most people, life is a flow with other more or less like-minded people. We have our musical tastes that we develop, which have a sort of tribal feel, our vicarious ritual tribe of sports and/or religion which give pleasurable structural things to do, and our existential paradigm which can give us a hopefully purposeful life.  And with that, then comes your life, making your way with work, play, family and friends.

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Gainesville Loves Mountains aims to end MTR coal mining

by Jason Fults

As many Iguana readers are already aware, Gainesville Loves Mountains ( has been working for the past few years to end our community’s relationship with mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining.

While Gainesville Regional Utility’s (GRU) overall MTR coal consumption has declined in recent years, they have offered no guarantee that it will continue to do so. As a result, we’ve worked with City Commissioner Lauren Poe to draft a policy for GRU that favors deep-mined over surface-mined coal without negatively influencing ratepayers.

On September 18, the City Commission will vote on this policy. Back in April, we scored an initial victory with all seven Commissioners voting in condemnation of MTR, and all but Mayor Braddy and Commissioner Chase voting to draft such a policy.

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Victory for Graduate Assistants United

by John Hames, GAU Co-President

Graduate Assistants United (GAU), the labor union representing all UF graduate assistants (GAs), continues to fight for the rights of those it represents. By initiating a public campaign against fees and standing up to the administration at the negotiating table, GAU has made significant gains on behalf of GAs in 2014.

At times, this year’s negotiations were tense. As GAU and the administration neared impasse over the issue of healthcare premiums and fees, the administration offered a 1 percent raise for all GAs and an increase in the minimum stipend from $11,000 to $12,000. Considering the significant increase in state funding for UF, GAU regarded this proposal as highly inadequate.

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September 2014 Gainesville Iguana

sept 2014 coverHello Gainesville and Gainesville ExPats!

The September 2014 issue of the Gainesville Iguana is now available online, and it’s got lots of good stuff (the latest on Plum Creek, the recent victory Graduate Assistants United, November election news, and more!). You can also pick the issue up at any of our distribution spots, which you can find here.

Correction for the September 2014 Community Calendar

The opening night for the 10th Gainesville Latino Film Festival on Friday, Sept 12 will take place that the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 315 Hull Road (UF Campus), Gainesville FL, not at the Harn Museum as listed in the print version of the Gainesville Iguana. It will feature Hugo, Paco, Luis y Tres Chicas de Rosa, free, at 7:15 pm.

The fourth/final Alachua County Workshop on the Plum Creek plan is scheduled for Monday, Sept 22, not for Thursday, Sept 18 as listed in the print version of the Gainesville Iguana. It will take place from 5 to 9 pm at the Alachua County Administration Building, 12 SE 1st St, in room 209.