Category Archives: September 2020

The time for tenant power is now

By Cristina Cabada, Alachua County Labor Coalition Coordinator

It’s no surprise that Gainesville has been suffering from a housing crisis for decades. However, the almost radioactive effects of the covid-19 pandemic and the resulting economic recession have led to the worst housing crisis of the century. 

The statewide eviction moratorium has effectively delayed hundreds of evictions from being filed. In spite of this, as soon as Governor DeSantis’ order expires on Sept. 1, hundreds in our community will be facing wrongful evictions. 

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History and the people who make it: Gainesville Women for Equal Rights – Part 2

Jane Hiers [H], Jean Chalmers [C], Cora Roberson [R], Vivian Filer [F], and David Chalmers [DC] speak in April 2009 with interviewer Steve Davis [D] about their time working with Gainesville Women for Equal Rights (GWER), one of the first integrated organizations in Gainesville. 

This is the 61st in a series of transcript excerpts from the UF Samuel Proctor Oral History Program collection; part 1 of this excerpt appeared in the July-August Iguana.

Transcript edited by Pierce Butler.

C: Alachua General Hospital, of course, was owned by the county. And the county government was fighting with the doctors. Two county commissioners: G.M. Davis and Sid [Martin], were friendly to our cause. The two of them said, “We’ll get even with those doctors. We’ll appoint Jean Chalmers to the Board of Trustees.” [Laughter] Here was this committee member who’d caused so much trouble, and they put me on the board. You should’ve seen the faces of the men when I walked in. And I stayed on that board until 1982.

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Community mourns loss of Dr. Patricia Hilliard-Nunn

by Linda Cue, Alachua County Library District

As a librarian, developing programs for the Alachua County Library District, and helping to provide many services, I’ve witnessed how information can empower an individual and even an entire community. However, it wasn’t until I met and worked with Dr. Patricia Hilliard-Nunn that I truly began to understand that community service demands passion, commitment, and dedication.

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Remembering Jack Price

by Ronnie Lovler

Jack Price’s passing is everyone’s loss. He was an inspiration to me and probably to most people who knew him. Often when we call someone an inspiration, it is an empty word. But that is not the case when referring to Jack. 

Jack died of COVID-19 early in the morning hours of July 15. He had become frail and weak, at almost 91, with both his eyesight and hearing failing. He died in his sleep and that was a blessing. 

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Civic Media Center update

by JoJo Sacks, CMC Coordinator

This has been an unprecedented time for the Civic Media Center, as we have remained closed for the last few months during the pandemic. It is our first and most important goal to keep our community safe, and make sure the CMC does not become a place where the people we care about can get sick. 

This is the first time that we coordinators and volunteers are asking you to help us keep our doors “closed.” And, they stay closed, except that we are the staging area for a weekly food distribution, which gathers and distributes food to hundreds of people.

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Updates on the battles for the Santa Fe River

by Mike Roth, President, Our Santa Fe River, Inc.

For the second time this year, the Suwannee River Water Management District had on its agenda a scheduled vote on the Seven Springs Water application to draw about a million gallons of water a day from the already impaired Santa Fe River so that they can sell it to Nestle Waters to put in plastic bottles to sell to the rest of the world.  At maturity, company documents show the plant is capable of producing almost 6,000 bottles per minute. That’s a lot of plastic – and a lot of water!

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Scott Camil receives national recognition for anti-war organizing, justice work

Gainesville local Scott Camil was honored by the U.S. Peace Memorial Foundation in July for his antiwar organizing over the last half decade. The U.S. Peace Memorial Foundation honors Americans who stand for peace by publishing the U.S. Peace Registry (, awarding the U.S. Peace Prize, and fundraising for the U.S. Peace Memorial in Washington, DC. 

They recognize thoughtful and courageous Americans and U.S. organizations that have taken a public stand against one or more U.S. wars or have devoted their time, energy, and other resources to finding peaceful solutions to international conflicts. 

They celebrate these role models to inspire other Americans to speak out against war and to work for peace.

UF Law: a crisis averted, questions remain

by Curran Butcher

Professor Michelle Jacobs started her twenty-eighth year of teaching at UF’s Levin College of Law as planned this week, after a week of frantic organizing by students. But things almost turned out very differently. 

Last Monday, the law school announced that it would not permit Professor Jacobs, who lives in Washington D.C., to teach remotely. It also announced that her Police Practices class and Critical Race Theory seminar would be cancelled, a week before the start of the semester. The announcements caught just about everyone by surprise, especially the students, many of whom had been enrolled in the courses for months and had already purchased the required materials. 

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A teacher’s view

by Kendra Vincent

I know that as a teacher I am supposed to be all positive at this point. The whole “we got this” and “I just can’t wait to see my students” and “I will give it my all and my best will be good enough.” But, y’all, I am not feeling it. 

Do I want to see my students? Absolutely. But that’s the only question I can really answer. My students will see a happy, positive teacher on Monday. I will present our challenges as opportunities. I will make sure they know that I am happy to see each and every one of them and that I can’t wait to get to know them. And that will all be true, but it won’t be the whole truth, and getting there by Monday will require a lot more work. And a lot more continued work. Much more than my usual extra time that I spend. 

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Message from Mary Alford: Democratic candidate for Alachua County Commission District One

I’m still amazed, humbled, and excited for the journey ahead and working hard for a victory on November 3.  

I’m grateful for the amazing help during this campaign. It was truly a grassroots effort, supported by many modest donations. There are simply too many people to thank but know that I am enormously grateful for every single person that supported me in any way, and I am honored and humbled to have your trust and confidence.  I’d especially like to thank Mike Byerly, who I greatly admire, for showing me so much respect during this race and for running a positive and informative campaign. Mike has been a vociferous defender of Alachua County and I know I’ll have big shoes to fill.

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Charter Review Commission ballot proposals

by Penny Wheat, Chair 2020 Alachua County Charter Review Commission

After significant public debate and discussion, the 2020 Alachua County Charter Review Commission (County CRC) voted to place 4 charter amendments on the November 3rd ballot. Public outreach resulted in numerous published media reports, and during 20 meetings in 9 months, the County CRC considered 80 proposals submitted through the online form – more than any previous charter review commission. The amendments are:

County Growth Management Area  

If approved by voters, this amendment would establish a “County Growth Management Area.” A map of the proposed County Growth Management Area is available on the County CRC website at:

On land within the Area, the County’s comprehensive plan and land development regulations would exclusively govern land development, even if a parcel of land is later annexed into the boundaries of a city. Designed as a compromise, it provides areas outside existing city borders where cities can still exercise land use control after annexation. 

The amendment also allows the County Commission, by a supermajority vote, to remove property from the County Growth Management Area.

Affordable Housing Trust Fund

If approved by voters, this amendment would establish an Affordable Housing Trust Fund to create and sustain affordable housing. The County Commission can fund the Trust Fund from fees on new commercial and residential development and other sources and accept donations of any kind. The County Commission would be required to administer the fund, obtain an annual audit, and spend any funds in the Trust Fund only to support affordable housing. The charter amendment does not itself create or authorize any new taxes or fees.

“Cleanup” Amendment Removing Unconstitutional Provisions

If approved by voters, this amendment would remove two unconstitutional and unenforceable provisions from the County Charter. 

First, the amendment would remove a provision that unconstitutionally prohibits protections based on sexual orientation, sexual preference, or similar characteristics. 

Second, the amendment would remove a provision that imposes unconstitutional residency requirements for Alachua County Commission candidate qualifying. Florida Constitution [Article VIII, Sec. 1(e)] and Florida Law require County Commission candidates to reside in their district upon election.

Candidate Treasurer Reports

If approved by voters, this amendment retains the existing requirement that candidates for county office file campaign treasurer reports electronically — but removes the requirement that they also file the same campaign treasurer reports on paper. Suggested by the Supervisor of Elections, this amendment modernizes the campaign finance disclosure process in Alachua County.

These ballot proposals, in English and Spanish; an explanation of the ballot items; the Final Report; Florida law on County Commission residency requirements; a link to the County Charter; and other documents are available on the CRC website: The Alachua County webpage has a link to a further explanation of County charter amendments and a YouTube video.

2020 Alachua County Charter Review Commission
Doug Bernal, Kali Blount, Scott Camil, James Ingle, Nick Klein, Joe Little, Pradeep Kumar, Stan Richardson, Tamara Robbins, James Thompson, Kristin Young, Penny Wheat

Election reflections: In November, vote: Christensen, Ennecking, Prizzia, Alford

by Joe Courter

First, in writing the elections article last issue there are some things I need to address. I made some mistakes and oversights I want to acknowledge. Being isolated took me away from my normal life of being out with people and talking about issues and candidates, and I did not do as good a job as I should have.

I made a really bad misstatement regarding Sadie Darnell, falsely saying she might have hired domestic abusers to the sheriff’s department. I had heard things and I did not question them. I have talked to her and apologized; she was actually very strong against domestic violence during her long tenure. 

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From the publisher: On Voting

by Joe Courter

Voting is the very least you can do when living in a democracy. It is also quite profound; people fought and died for your right to. That should go through your mind each time you have the opportunity to do it.

Does your one vote matter? Not really amid all the hundreds, thousands and millions of votes cast. Except it might, it might be the one vote that swings an election.

Voting is a small aspect of the process; the real key to voting is the right to magnify your vote. This is done by encouraging other people to vote, and to vote in a way that will better everyone’s life.

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UF’s exploitation of prison slavery: An unfulfilled promise, profit motive, administration in hiding

by Coalition to Abolish Prison Slavery (CAPS) at

On June 18 — following nationwide protests and rebellions against systemic anti-Black racism, murderous police, and the carceral state — University of Florida (UF) president Kent Fuchs made a statement that outlined policies aimed at taking “a step towards positive change against racism” at the university. One such policy is the purported end of the practice of exploiting prison labor at UF/IFAS agricultural facilities, as reported in the preceding Iguana issue. 

Students, staff, and community members responded with a mix of excitement that UF had made this historic move and anger that they had used prison slave labor for so long. Those who learned about UF’s exploitation of prison slavery for the first time on June 18 were particularly irate. 

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Renters rights update

by Sheila Payne, Alachua County Labor Coalition 

One of the Alachua County Labor Coalition’s biggest campaigns in years – our Renters Rights initiative – is nearing a significant victory, but it is under attack by corporate property managers and realtors, and we need your support to push it through. A Realtors Association Pac out of Tallahassee has sent over 25,000 mailers to Gainesville residents and are running ads against this initiative. 

Currently, our City Commission is considering an ordinance which includes:

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August elections favored candidates for social change

by James Thompson

The big winners in the Democratic primaries and “final” races on Aug. 18 were candidates who highlighted strong reform platforms and understood the pulse of justice issues facing our community, state, and nation. 

Although many local races were technically “primaries,” all but two of them likely face impossible Republican challengers in Alachua County on November 3. The strongly contested local and regional November General Election races are Dr. Kayser Enneking (Dem) against property-rights corporatist Chuck Clemons (R) in Florida House District 21, and Adam Christensen (Dem) against the Trumpist, pro-wall, anti-choice right winger Kat Cammack (R) in Florida Congressional District 3.

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September 2020 Gainesville Iguana

The September issue of the Iguana is now available, and you can access it here! If you want to get your hands on a hard copy, check out our distro locations here.