The Gainesville IguanaThe Gainesville Iguana is a semi-monthly progressive newsletter and calendar of events which first began publishing in October 1986. Through its calendar, directory of organizations, and content, it fosters the growth of movement consciousness and community organizing on issues from local to international.
Category Archives: April/May 2015
Thanks, corporate America, for shaming Mike Pence! Now here’s a reality check — Indiana’s also the home of a law that led to a wave of voting restrictions. Here’s why business won’t touch that.
Crops rot as farmworker strike in Mexico continues — As many as 50,000 mostly indigenous farmworkers have gone on strike in the Mexican border state of Baja California in order to demand better pay and working conditions — bringing agricultural production to a standstill.
Rape survivors tell the NRA to stop speaking for them — Activists working to address the rates of sexual assault among college students don’t want gun enthusiasts to co-opt their issue in order to push for more weapons on campus.
The Sting: How the FBI created a terrorist — Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the FBI has arrested dozens of young men like Sami Osmakac in controversial counterterrorism stings.
Study Confirms Tea Party Was Created by Big Tobacco and Billionaire Koch Brothers — This is what progressives are up against; big money creating phony protest groups that the media treat as if legit.
by Markus Alexander
As WGOT prepares to move from 94.7 to 100.1, the station is adding new shows and board members. Since GROW Radio is changing its operation to a podcast-only format, some GROW DJs are making the jump to WGOT.
Joining WGOT is Cramela Mix Show, hosted by Chris Lake, bringing the latest in electronic music ranging from techno to downtempo in a two-hour mix show. Catch a new episode each Monday at 2pm. Also on Mondays is Malum, hosted by Derek Wohlust, broadcasting a new show at 8pm.
The Joe & Craig Music Show checks in on Tuesdays at 8pm with a variety of music from the 1950s through the ’80s along with interesting commentary sprinkled in. Joe & Craig bring a large following, with listeners checking in from all over the globe.
by Joe Courter
One information source not to miss is David Barsamian’s weekly Alternative Radio — www.alternativeradio.org.
Please listen and support this great grassroots enterprise. It is not only cutting edge, fresh and topical, it has unfortunately been cut by many NPR affiliates as that network lurches mainstream.
WGOT 94.7 FM carries it locally at 4pm Saturdays and 1pm Sundays, but it is a weak signal best picked up by vehicle radios. Go take a drive, clean your car or garage, or do yard work near your vehicle during that hour.
You cannot directly stream it online for free (it is how David make his living), but you can find an Internet carried station and see when THEY play it and listen then and there. That station schedule is on AR’s site.
Or if you can actually PAY FOR IT, order an MP3 ($5) or a transcript ($5 mailed, $3 to download). I am sure David would like that.
WUBA 88.1 FM, scheduled to begin regular broadcasting from High Springs by the time this issue of the Iguana reaches your hands, is looking for volunteers, sponsors and donors to build a listener-supported radio station for northern Alachua County.
Launched by members of NUBA (Neighbors United for a Better Alachua), WUBA plans a mix including local news and grassroots musical/cultural shows as well as nationally syndicated programs such as Democracy Now!
The Matheson History Museum’s Songwriters in the Round event returns on Thursday, April 16, from 6-8 pm. Unearth the story of Gainesville’s musical renaissance with a presentation by Little Jake and the Soul Searchers.
These musicians are more than just a band, they were stepping stones to the integration of Gainesville. A never before seen documentary will tell the story of Sarah McKnight, an African American business woman who, in the 1950s and 1960s, ran the Cotton Club and Sarah’s Place. These music venues featured musicians such as Cab Calloway, B.B. King and James Brown. Although Charlie Steadham was white, his quest to learn from the best musicians brought him into Sarah’s Place.
Discover how Little Jake Mitchell desegregated one of the largest music venues in Florida. Trace how advancements in technology changed the course of music history with a presentation by Tran Whitley of Tran Tracks. Admission is $5. Tickets can be purchased at the door.
Gainesville Veterans for Peace will once again set up the Memorial Mile along the Solar Walk on 8th Avenue, east of 34th Street. The display will be set up on May 23 and will stay up through sunset on Memorial Day, May 25. While thoughts of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars are unfortunately forgotten by the American mainstream media, there will still be tombstones added, each one representing the death of an American service member since Memorial Day one year ago.
Volunteers are needed to help set up and take down the more-than 6,700 tombstones. If you’d like to help, contact Scott at 352-375-2563.
by Nancy Deren, on behalf of Gainesville Loves Mountains
Representative Perry’s bill, HB 1325, sounds innocent enough on the surface. It calls for a referendum vote asking yes or no to change our city charter regarding GRU’s governance and create an independent governing board.
However, the other 557 lines of this bill spell out numerous details of this board and its powers, and therein lies the danger. No bill of this nature, with this level of state intrusion into a local matter, has ever come out of Tallahassee.
Even if this bill were pared down to a yes or no question, it would still be an issue of Tallahassee imposing a referendum on us, whether we want it or not.
Our city and our county commissions unanimously opposed this bill, as does our legislative delegation chair, Representative Clovis Watson.
Our city attorney has noted that this bill has so many legal infirmities that it would result in a great deal of litigation and would threaten the city’s financial stability for multiple reasons. It constitutes a takings of our utility.
It imposes an inflexible governance structure that would claim absolute power over our city owned utility, with no accountability to anyone but itself.
HB 1325 designates an appointed committee of only business and commercial interests. This is not reflective of our community with its broad and diverse range of expertise. Our community should get to decide who the members of any advisory committee should be.
HB 1325 would do away with many policies and practices that have made us a successful city such as our aggressive conservation and efficiency programs and programs that help our most vulnerable citizens reduce their bills.
This bill usurps our authority as citizens and undermines our elected commissioners’ ability to govern responsibly and retain the flexibility necessary to deal with the increasingly complex economic and environmental challenges that lie ahead.
Our elected officials and we citizen shareholders of GRU would not be able to decide what qualifies someone to be on the new board, what powers they would be granted or what policies that board could make. We would have no way to remove someone or make changes if problems arose. Tallahassee will have decided for us what happens with our multi-million dollar city owned asset that provides more than 30% of our city budget.
Over the years, elected commissioners have been responsive to ideas, concerns and criticisms offered by citizens and our Chamber of Commerce about utility-related issues.
Commissioners, with a great deal of community input, have been actively moving forward to address current policies and procedures that need improvement or revision and researching governance structures that include a representative advisory board to review rates, policies and other GRU matters and make recommendations to the City Commission.
Representative Perry’s bill is an insult to our community and would jeopardize Gainesville’s financial viability. It does not reflect our capability and character as a university city that attracts national recognition on many fronts, including accolades for our utility. We have much to be proud of and obviously have the capability and capacity to determine what changes we want to see, and exercise good governance locally.
Please sign the petition, and tell Tallahassee to respect and protect Home Rule and oppose HB 1325.
GAU is making moves. After a successful “Spring Broke” Rally on March 13, we’ve kept up the pressure on administration by directing our action towards the Board of Trustees.
On Thursday April 2, the first day of their meetings, our co-presidents Kevin Funk and John Hames did an excellent job representing Graduate Assistants during the public comment portion of Board of Trustees Meeting. They spoke eloquently about the issues GA’s at UF face, due to the impact of having to pay fees, and made a strong case for why UF should provide Fee Relief as a way of reaching our collective goal of making UF a Top 10 research institution. Several trustees approached them afterwards to congratulate them on their presentation.
The next day, we held a tabling event called, “A seat at GAU’s Table” outside of Emerson Hall, as the second day of meetings continued to invite trustees to join us in crafting a collective solution to improve the lives of GA’s. We believe the easiest way to achieve this would be to provide us with Fee relief. Simply put, this would alleviate the financial burden (average of $1,400 a year) for many GA’s who are already struggling to make ends meet. We’ve made our voices heard, now it is up to the University of Florida to join in the conversation and propose a meaningful solution to improve the working conditions of some of the hardest working members of the Gator Nation.
Pillars of Peacebuilding: A Community Dialogue
Racial and Ethnic Disparity in the Juvenile Justice System
Thursday, May 7 at 6:30 PM – 322 SW 4th Avenue, Gainesville
Join with retired Gainesville Police Department Captain Will Halvosa, Jeffrey Weisberg and members of the Dream Defenders as they discuss the disproportionate contact that minority youth have with law enforcement and share information about their joint cutting edge program of bringing together law enforcement and youth in dialogue. Community members are encouraged to participate in the discussion as together we seek to continue to repair the harm of this national epidemic and prevent continued occurrences.
Transcript edited by Pierce Butler
This is the 26th in a series of transcript excerpts from the collection of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida.
Medea Benjamin was interviewed by Derick Gomez [G] in 2014; the first part of this transcript was featured in the March 2015 Iguana.
B: I moved to Washington, D.C. about five years ago after my children finished college. I put most of my focus onto issues of war and peace. But I also am involved in local things, like gentrification, where so many black families that have been there for decades are getting priced out of their own city.
Just this week, people came to town from around the country who were involved in fracking, and I went out at 7 [AM] to their demonstrations to say, right on! It was a lot of young people, and it made me cry to see them blocking the entrances of the Federal Energy Commission, locking arms and getting arrested. I think, that’s our future.
On April 18, Wild Iris Books will feature “Viva La Vulva,” an art collaboration presenting interviews and images from the community, at Wild Iris Books located behind the Civic Media Center. Doors open at 7pm, music starts at 9pm.
The exhibit will display photographs of vulvas of people from diverse backgrounds who have shared their stories. Local poets and local singer/songwriter Maria Carter will take the stage at 9pm. Wine and beer will be available by donation.
Wild Iris will hold additional gallery hours on Sunday, April 19, from 12-4pm. Tickets are available in advance at the store, online, and the day of the event at a sliding scale of $5–$10.
by Mark Watson, Three Rivers Legal Services
Recently there’s been a lot of talk about Gainesville’s homeless community. With the building of a new shelter on 39th Avenue called GRACE Marketplace, the closing of Tent City, the creation of Dignity Village, the closing of Bo Diddley Plaza, and recent efforts to create laws that directly affect the unhoused, there’s surely a lot to talk about. However, if we put aside the controversy and look for simple solutions to old dilemmas, I’ve noticed a real need that has an easy fix. For the last few years while working within the unhoused community, I’ve noticed that often times, folks are not able to obtain social services, apply for jobs, access public benefits, or surmount so many other obstacles, due to a lack of necessary documents needed to open the door to improving their current situation. What if they had a safe free storage space that could be accessed anywhere? Like on the Internet? Cloud-based storage!
We’re here to serve you a cup you can feel good about. We offer espresso and coffee from locally roasted Strongtree coffee, teas from Eco Prima and Starwest Botanicals, shop-made soda and lemonade, and vegan baked goods from Karma Cream. Jon Church, former chef for Grooveshark and The Citizen’s Co-Op (our next-door neighbor), is whipping up sandwiches, wraps, salads, and more.
Local non-homogenized dairy milk from Wainwright Farms will now be an option for our coffee beverages. Our milk options have always been researched, and we do our best to minimize harm and buy from companies that source and conduct business ethically.
by Joe Courter
South Main Street’s got a lot of activity going on these days, and in the future it can be expected to be a hub of activity for all of Gainesville. The new traffic circle is open at Depot and South Main Street, and south of there will soon be a streetscape project in preparation for the construction and opening of the Cade Museum of Innovation. South of there, at the old Eddie C’s/Backstage Bar location, will be the new home of “The Doris,” an art space that was formerly up on North Main Street until landlord issues forced their temporary closing.
Just North of the new Doris and east a block on Veitch Street, First Magnitude Brewing Company is going great and has become a frequent host to benefit events for the community. Being one block from the Gainesville Hawthorne Bike trail, it is a super location.
The Freewheel Project is an exciting new addition to the blooming S. Main area. They will host an open house on Saturday, May 9, and volunteer days are Sundays and Mondays from 11am to 10 pm.
The Freewheel Project is our way of giving back to the cycling community. We believe that Gainesville has the potential to be the cycling epicenter in the South and it needs The Freewheel Project as one of the key leaders to help it reach that potential. We plan on doing that by advocating and facilitating for cycling education, accessibility, and infrastructure.
Our goal is to expose as many people as possible to cycling and help empower the culture that already exists. We’ve seen firsthand the incredible impact it has on people’s lives and we want to share that with everyone. That’s why we’re going to put bicycles in the hands of the people and provide the means to maintain them.
by Jeremiah Tattersall
The 60-day legislative session is just over halfway over, but there’s still a lot of things that can happen until May 1, the last day of session. Below is a partial summary of some of the more interesting bills working their way through the legislative process.
Budget: The Florida House has passed their $76.2 billion budget, but it’s about $4 billion off from the proposed Senate budget and is almost entirely due to health care. Florida has continued its refusal to expand Medicaid due to Obamacare, which will now result in a loss of $2.2 billion hospital funding for the Low Income Pool (LIP) program. The LIP funding is crucial for hospitals that treat large populations of the working poor. The Senate budget has allocated money to fill this shortfall as well as $2.8 billion to expand a Medicaid-esque program in Florida. What’s more important for the Florida House — to help the working poor or to spite Obama?
Chances: Both budgets must be identical before the end of session. If LIP and Medicaid expansion isn’t fixed, there might need to be a special session called.
The Civic Media Center held a successful SpringBoard fundraiser on, appropriately, the first day of Spring, March 20. The Wooly was the location again, and they provided a great spread of food, sound system, tables and chairs to accommodate the approximately 110 people who came to support the event. The picking of raffle winners and a silent auction closed out the evening.
Thanks are due to the artists and businesses that donated to the event, the CMC coordinators and Board who organized the event, the staff at the Wooly and Arrows Aim Records, and McIntyre Stained Glass for selling advance tickets. Video highlights of the event should be posted on the web soon, if technical difficulties can be resolved.
by June Littler
The centennial (100th) birthday party for the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom will be held Tuesday, April 28, at the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship, 4225 NW 34th St., Gainesville from 7:30-9 p.m.
It is co-sponsored by WILPF, Code Pink, Vets for Peace, Society of Friends, UUF and others interested in world peace with racial, social, and economic justice for everyone, everywhere. WILPF was organized during World War I with Jane Addams as its first president. It works to achieve through peaceful means world disarmament, full rights for women, racial and economic justice, an end to all forms of violence, and to establish those political, social, and psychological conditions which can assure peace, freedom, and justice for all.
Everyone is invited. The Honorable Jean Chalmers will be the presider, Dr. Barbara Oberlander with give a short history of the organization, and certificates of appreciation will be presented to organizations whose programs have forwarded the cause of peace. A vocal group and local folk dancers will offer entertainment that is performed in other cultures’ festivals and celebrations. Admission is free, donations welcomed.