Category Archives: January-February 2015

Editors’ picks: the news that didn’t fit …

Ten Reasons Why the TPP Must Be Defeated by Bernie Sanders
by Bernie Sanders
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a disastrous trade agreement designed to protect the interests of the largest multi-national corporations at the expense of workers, consumers, and the environment.

10 Good Things About the Year 2014 by Medea Benjamin
by Medea Benjamin
A much-needed positive outlook on last year and what’s to come in 2015.

The NYPD’s ‘Work Stoppage’ Is Surreal
by Matt Taibbi
In an alternate universe, the New York Police might have just solved the national community-policing controversy.

Jeb Bush v. Hillary Clinton: The Perfectly Illustrative Election
by Glenn Greenwald
“Having someone who is the brother of one former president and the son of another run against the wife of still another former president would be sweetly illustrative of all sorts of degraded and illusory aspects of American life, from meritocracy to class mobility.”

5 Tips for Being an Ally
Video by Chescaleigh

Bike Florida campaign tops $13K to restore Gainesville’s Depot Avenue ‘Share The Road Memorial’ sculptures

by Ron Cunningham, Executive Director of Bike Florida

Following a year-long campaign, Bike Florida, a non-profit 501c3 corporation, announced that it has raised just over $13,000 to restore and enhance six sculptures erected on Gainesville’s Depot Avenue in memory of a group of cyclists who were struck down by a distracted driver on the day after Christmas in 1996 as they were riding from Gainesville to St. Augustine.

Two of those cyclists, Margaret Raynal and Doug Hill, were killed. The other four Lauri Triulzi, Jessica Green, Eric Finnan and Charles Hinson were severely injured.

The sculptures, erected by friends and supporters of the cyclists in 1997, consist of six “rammed earth” structures embedded with bicycle parts salvaged from the accident scene in Clay County. The original information kiosk explaining the story of the sculptures has been removed and some restoration work is needed. In addition to new signage, funding will go toward landscaping, amenities such as a bench and water cooler, and an educational “call to action” exhibit intended to promote the Share The Road message.

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WGOT seeks volunteers after 7 years on air

by Fred Sowder

It’s now been 7 years since WGOT-LP first signed on the air on 94.7FM, providing a grassroots broadcasting voice for the Civic Media Center and the entire Gainesville community. We recently celebrated this milestone with a fundraiser and celebration at The Atlantic thanks to the help of fine local musical acts D.P., The Bill Perry Orchestra, Letters, and Ceramicats.

2015 promises to be a busy and exciting year for WGOT, with immediate goals of getting a permanent studio location and equipment to enable broadcasting 24/7 on 100.1FM, a change the FCC has already granted.

This is where YOU come in. WGOT cannot make these huge milestones happen without your help. Please consider donating time or funds to help WGOT become an even bigger progressive voice in our community.

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Sixth annual Cinema Verde Film, Arts Festival focuses on sustainable solutions, environmental concerns

The Cinema Verde Festival features over 40 films, music and art focusing on sustainable solutions for environmental concerns.

The 6th Annual Cinema Verde Festival runs from 5 PM on Thursday, Feb. 12 through 8 PM Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015. The Paramount Plaza Hotel & Conference Center located at 2900 SW 13th Street, Gainesville, FL 32608 is this year’s venue.

Events include:

Over 40 films (local, national, international, and student – college and high school)
Director discussions
Eco Art Gallery
VIP Opening Night Reception
Local Food Potluck

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In Memory of Hernán Vera-Godoy

by Candi Churchill

Dr. Hernán Vera-Godoy—loving and devoted spouse of 51 years to Maria Vera, father, grandfather, friend, law school graduate and sociology professor and United Faculty of Florida leader—died peacefully at home in November at age 77, surrounded by his family. He will be greatly missed by the UF and Gainesville community and beyond.

I cannot possibly convey all of the love and warmth, humor and history shared in the overflowing banquet room for Hernán at the Vera Family Memorial service last fall.  Please carry on his work in whatever way you can. All I can try to do is convey some of the things I learned from him and why he was so special to so many.

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GRACE Marketplace

by Jon DeCarmine, Director of Operations at GRACE Marketplace

We see homelessness and poverty so much, so often, that it’s easy to be a little bit calloused and jaded about it all. It’s so prevalent that it can start to seem, somehow, normal. We’ve grown accustomed to seeing people sleep on park benches—the woman pushing a shopping cart filled with everything she owns, the guy outside the gas station looking for change. We’re used to looking the other way. We’ve mastered the art of avoiding eye contact—because we have to, because the problem will never go away.

The problem seems so big and insurmountable that it’s hard to imagine that we could ever do anything big enough to really make a difference.

I’ve worked with homeless folks in Gainesville for 19 years, and I still struggle with feeling overwhelmed and jaded most days. Mostly, I feel like a cross between Sisyphus and some sort of cut-rate undertaker, moving one person into housing just in time to watch another roll back down the hill to take their place.

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Gainesville production of The Vagina Monologues partners with Alachua County Labor Coalition

The Community of Gainesville’s VDAY campaign, in partnership with One Billion Rising, organizations that aim to end violence against women, are sponsoring a benefit production of The Vagina Monologues to raise funds for Peaceful Paths, a local domestic abuse shelter and advocacy center. This year the theme is One Billion Rising for a Fair Wage. For this reason the Gainesville Production of the Vagina Monologues is also proud to partner with the Alachua County Labor Coalition (ACLC) to raise awareness about the need for a living wage for women and for Alachua County employees.

The Alachua County Labor Coalition is trying to raise awareness about the impact of low wages not only on families but the entire community where they reside. Workers with Alachua County and its contract partners deserve a wage that allows them to support themselves and their families. The Alachua County Labor Coalition is proud to launch a campaign for a Living Wage Ordinance that will set the starting wage at a livable wage.

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History and the people who make it: Hiram Ruiz

Transcript edited by Pierce Butler

This is the 24th in a series of transcript excerpts from the collection of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida. Hiram Ruiz was interviewed by Jess Clawson [C] in 2012.

C: Hiram has brought some photographs that he is going to describe. 

R:  This photo is on the cover of one of the books about the Gay Liberation Movement, taken on the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York. I spent that summer in New York. This was one of the first pride marches.

In junior college in Miami, I started coming out to friends just before I went to Tallahassee, in the autumn of [19]69.

In that era, you really had negative stereotypes: no positive imagery, no groups, there wasn’t anything on TV. So I went up to Tallahassee and some people invited me to a party in Cataloochee, a small town outside Tallahassee. It was the first time I’d gone into a gathering of gay people. And people were dancing. I don’t think I’d ever conceptualize[d] same sex couples dancing, and that in itself was very liberating, my first eye-opener.

In February of 1970, I went to Mardi Gras. There were people holding hands in the street, being very visibly gay. It was really so liberating and inspiring and it was like why isn’t it like this?

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Local libraries provide free help enrolling in health coverage

A certified HealthCare Navigator will be available at six Alachua County Library District locations through February 15, to provide information about health insurance options available under the Affordable Care Act as well as assist with signing up for health coverage.

Anyone wishing to enroll in health insurance, shop for a new plan or renew their health coverage can visit one of these locations for free, unbiased assistance. Information on local resources available for those who doesn’t qualify for the discounts and can’t afford the insurance is also available.

Cone Park Branch, Headquarters Library, Library Partnership and Tower Road Branch will have a bilingual (Spanish-English) HealthCare Navigator at the dates and times listed below. HealthCare Navigators are trained and scheduled by Suwannee River Area Health Education Center and the Epilepsy Foundation.

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Ft. Lauderdale homeless hate laws developments 

by Bailey Riley

Since mid-November, in Ft. Lauderdale, there have been multiple changes in approach and methods of action, both on the legislative end and in circles of those directly participating in the resistance against the homeless hate laws.

When the end of Jillian Pim’s second week of hunger strike was rolling around, over 700 people participated in a one-day solidarity fast, including some international folk. Subsequent to that, at least seven others joined her indefinitely. They all had the same goal in mind: starving themselves until the food sharing ban was either lifted or enforcement was ceased. 

Arnold Abbot, the 90-year-old chef from Love Thy Neighbor, who was the first cited for sharing food under the ban, brought a law suit against the city which resulted in a 30-day injunction against the ban beginning on the third of December.

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Support the Civic Media Center!

Your support of the CMC has multiple options. Membership of course is there, that annual donation in exchange for library check-out rights and the quarterly newsletter. Coming to events is a multiple winner; you get to see something cool, be around community people, and drop something in the donation box. Monthly direct deposit is really great and gives a sustaining income to the CMC. Volunteering to staff a shift gives you time to be in the space, peruse the collection, sit and read or help out with tasks. Inviting friends out to the CMC who have not been there is helpful toward creating new members and supporters. Even subscribing to the Iguana helps, because the Iguana gives a lot of free coverage to the CMC, and it needs to eat, too!

The point is, the CMC is a great resource for the community, but it needs community input to survive. Films in January include “Food Chains” (19th), “Brother Outsider” (22nd), and “In His Own Home” (26th). There is music from Harmonious Wails and Blackfire on the 30th, and the great songwriting and performing of Pierce Pettis on the 24th. Trust me, these are great films, great performers. More is in the works for February. Keep up with the weekly email announcements; contact to get on that list.

Yes, the Iguana toots the horn for the CMC a lot. It is because the Iguana roots for the underdog, and trying to get coverage in the Sun, the Alligator, or on TV and radio is hard, partly because this great little town has so darn much other stuff going on. Do what you can as you can to help the CMC survive; there are no grants, no foundational support, just you.

Gainesville city elections preview

by Joe Courter

City Commission elections are coming up on March 17, and they will be for two seats. One is an At-Large seat that all city residents vote in, the other for District 1, which is for those in that district only to vote in. Both races will have a number of candidates contesting, and if one candidate doesn’t get over 50 percent of the vote, a run-off will occur in April.

The At-Large race will feature all new candidates, as there is no incumbent. In District 1, Yvonne Hinson-Rawls will be attempting re-election.

The Supervisor of Elections website has a lot of information on the candidates, as well as their financial reports. The field of candidates won’t be closed until January 26. Count on the Iguana to have more information in the March edition, as well as endorsements. As of now we will say we like both Adrian Hayes-Santos and Harvey Budd in the At-Large race. There’s a lot of time between now and then, watch for candidate forums, and of course register to vote.

“Food Chains” returns to Gainesville

The Alachua County Labor Coalition, the Civic Media Center and the Interfaith Alliance for Immigrant Justice will host a screening of the documentary “Food Chains” at the Civic Media Center, 433 S. Main St., Monday, January 19, at 7pm. This showing is to accommodate the over 50 people who were turned away at the inaugural screening because of the unanticipated overwhelming community response and the previous venue selling out days in advance.

“Food Chains” weaves together the stirring true stories of an intrepid group of farmworkers working to defeat the $4 trillion global supermarket industry, revealing the rampant abuse of farm laborers in the United States. “Food Chains” exposes the human costs in our food supply chain and the complicity of the supermarket industry. The film focuses on the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a highly inspiring group of farm workers in the tomato industry from Immokalee, Florida who are revolutionizing the food industry.

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Rockstar Farmer Tour features Curtis Stone, Jan. 28-29

Two-day event focuses on building a profitable farming venture

Florida Organic Growers and East End Market are excited to bring the Rockstar Farmer Tour: Farming in the City to Gainesville for an exciting two day event.

The Rockstar Farmer Tour features Curtis Stone, a Canadian farmer who has continually produced $50,000 on his quarter-acre micro farm in Kelowna, British Columbia.

On Wednesday, January 28th from 6 to 8 p.m., Stone will give a free lecture and virtual tour of his urban farming operation, and describe how, despite having no previous experience and only a shoestring budget, he turned a profit of more than $20,000 his first year and double that profit every year since.

The event is free and open to the public. To register, visit

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From the publisher: Fundamental change and fundamentalism

by joe courter

It was profoundly moving to see the broad national response and outrage over the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. That one-two punch to our sensibilities seemed to mark a tipping point in the status quo for many. It also demonstrated the power of our new forms of communication, so many people having cameras, and the ability to spread news outside the old media channels and in fact force the media to recognize and air what otherwise would have been unnoticed and forgotten.

These protests were about a lot more than two incidents. It was about a lot more than police violence. It was about questions right at the heart of our system.

How is it we tolerate a system which decade after decade has people in a poverty situation they can’t get out of? Poor schools. Lack of job opportunity. Ensnared in a legal system for minor offenses which act like a sticky web. Even the cops are trapped, having to work in areas which, in a sane and caring society, wouldn’t exist.

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Update: Bo Diddley Plaza

by Joe Courter

In the interest of long-range improvements to the Bo Diddley Plaza, there will be a major change to the cultural life of Gainesville that will affect many people. As it stands now, the Plaza will be completely closed as of March 1. This is occurring to allow construction of a new backstage area to accommodate storage of sound equipment and dressing rooms for performers, but also to run plumbing and electric to the NE corner, which will then have some sort of business constructed on it.

This will mean the thriving Wednesday Farmers Market will have to shift to the parking lot across from the former Market Street Pub (now Loosey’s) at SE 1st Ave. and 2nd St. The likewise successful Free Fridays Concert Series, and all the other events that annually use the Plaza, are in a bit of limbo. According to David Ballard, it is his hope the City will invest in a portable stage that can be used there, and as well other locations. That would put the concert series and other events at that location, too. The city needs to move on this soon, as the booking for the series needs to happen now.

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January/February 2015 Gainesville Iguana

jan-feb 2015 iguana cover webThe January/February 2015 issue of the Gainesville Iguana is now available online, and it’s got lots of good stuff (city election preview, community calendar, gay marriages in Gainesville, and more!). You can also pick the issue up at any of our distribution spots, which you can find here.