Category Archives: 2022 Articles

From the publisher … Had enough?

by Joe Courter

Nothing like the power of Nature to give you perspective. Thank you Ian for avoiding Alachua County. However, a fallen tree on a power line took out my power for a day, minor compared to what so many experienced but still… such a good feeling when power came back on. With its restoration the song “People Have the Power” came to mind, first with humor, then with more significance as I contemplated the need to write this piece.

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UF spends student tuition money on intense political lobbying

by Aron Ali-McClory

There is something deeply broken at the University of Florida. 

According to federal lobbying and tax forms provided by OpenSecrets, since 1998 the University of Florida has used our tuition money, to the tune of over $6.1 million, to build its institutional and political clout at multiple levels of government. 

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Iguana Voter Guide for Alachua County

by Joe Courter

First, be correctly registered to vote. This needs to be done by Oct 11. If you are still registered elsewhere, consider changing your registration to here. We need you. They can help you downtown at the Supervisor of Elections office (call 352-374-5252).

If so moved, early voting is a snap. Here’s the schedule:

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October 2022 Gainesville Iguana

The October 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.

Editors’ picks: News that didn’t fit

Co-founder of election org Black Voters Matter says when it comes to voting, ‘we won’t Black down’
by Rebekah Sager | Daily Kos | Sept 26 |
You may not have heard of Black Voters Matter (BVM). Their work has brought millions of dollars to grassroots election organizations and mobilized countless Black and brown voters in the last six years. The group works year-round to increase voter registration, advocates for policies around voting rights, and funds and inspires civic engagement in marginalized communities nationwide.

Federal judge clears UCF prof Robert Cassanello to sue over DeSantis’s Stop Woke Act’
by FlaglerLive | Sept. 9 |
A federal judge cleared the way for a UCF professor to continue challenging a new state law (Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Stop WOKE Act”) that restricts the way race-related concepts can be taught in classrooms. The professor, Dr. Robert Cassanello, will speak at the CMC’s anniversary event on Oct. 15. See page 24 for details. Cassanello and other plaintiffs argue that it violates First Amendment rights and is unconstitutional vague.

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Tribute to Bob McPeek

Bob McPeek was a founding partner (with Ric Kaestner) of Hyde & Zeke Records, founded Mirror Image Recording Studio, and is a founding partner of Heartwood Soundstage. He is a husband, friend, musician, producer, singer, and social scientist. He has written hundreds of songs and has produced and recorded thousands more. These last few years, Bob has gone through a number of serious health issues, and his current prognosis does not give him much time here with us. His friends, in conjunction with Heartwood Soundstage, are producing a tribute and celebration to Bob’s life and music. Many of his friends and musical associates will participate in song or story in this event. Bob requests that if people want to support his art they go to Below, a few of his friends share some words about Bob as a person and what he means to them.

A Tribute to the Life and Music of Bob McPeek

Heartwood Soundstage

Sunday, October 16, 2022

4:00 pm until 7:00 pm

Music and tributes.

Bill Perry:

I’m writing to let you know I love you, Bob, and that I hope to see you some more. Thank you for being my friend, first and foremost, secondly for hiring me at Hyde and Zeke Records and changing my life forever. Thank you for recording my crazy band, Bill Perry Orchestra, and for contributing to songs. Bob McPeek played awesome guitar on “Shape Of Your Nose.” Hoping you can record again, and get new songs. Tell Nancye that I love her too. Your show at the Heartwood Stage was amazing. I have always loved your music, funny, sarcastic, witty lyrics and beautifully constructed music. Your smile is very important to me and many more.

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Gainesville Latino Film Fest, Sept. 8-18

The Gainesville Latino Film Festival, which is hosted by the Latina Women’s League, returns to in-person attendance from Sept. 8 through Sept. 18 at various Gainesville venues.

Film screenings, speakers, and music and dance performances will be held over a two-week period at The Hippodrome Theatre, The Historic Thomas Center, University of Florida Smathers Library East, Tower Road Branch Library, and Bo Diddley Plaza.

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News from the CMC: Save the Date! Oct. 15, CMC turns 29

by Joe Courter

The Civic Media Center is becoming a place of many activities again; community support carried us through COVID-19 and we seem to be coming out the other side, still encouraging masking, but it is great having people inside again. Thank you to everyone who has supported the CMC.  

Various organizations are using us for meetings on Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. On Mondays Sept. 12 and 19, we will be hosting documentary film screenings at 7pm: (Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982–1992 on the 12th and Lesbian Avengers on the 19th). 

Poetry Jam holds down its usual (perpetual?) time slot of 8pm: Thursday nights. 

Fridays and Saturdays host a variety of events: there’s a music show at 9pm: on Saturday, Sept. 9; an Improv Show at 7pm: on Friday, Sept. 16; and on Saturday, Sept. 17, at 6 pm:, a Poetry Book Release with Mike Ostrov. Every 4th Sunday from 4 to 7pm: the CMC Courtyard (or inside if it rains) hosts the 4th Sunday Old Time, Bluegrass and Traditional Acoustic Jam. There were 20 musicians there last time, and at one point five fiddles all sawing away at once!

You can find postings of our events and new events scheduled on the CMC Facebook page or on our modest little website, 

SAVE THE DATE!  On Saturday, Oct. 15, the CMC will celebrate its 29th Anniversary (!!!) at the wonderful Matheson Museum. It will be an evening event, details and speaker to be announced, and for sure it will be in the next issue of the Iguana.

Connie Canney: A life well lived—June 11, 1929 – August 20, 2022

We members of the Peace, Social Justice and International Rights Activists of Alachua County celebrate the life of our Comrade Connie Canney who joined the pantheon of Peace and Social Justice Warriors on August 20, 2022.

Constance (“Connie”) Canney passed away peacefully at home in Lyman, Maine surrounded by her loving family. Connie recently celebrated her 93rd birthday with family and friends. 

Constance June March was born on June 11, 1929, in Rochester, New Hampshire, to working-class parents Clifton March and Ida Junkins. The second of four children, Connie lived in East Rochester, NH, until she graduated Spaulding High School in 1947. Encouraged by her art teacher at Spaulding, Connie applied for a working scholarship to Kansas City Art Institute & School of Design in Kansas City, MO. She was accepted and she moved to Kansas City in 1947 to attend KCAI, graduating in 1951.

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Modern-day Marjories: Three North Florida environmental journalists blaze trail for Florida nonprofit journalism

In 2017, three Florida women alarmed by the lack of in-depth environmental reporting in Florida and the sobering collapse of regional newspapers and local journalism across the nation came together to launch an independent reporting nonprofit, The Marjorie (

Dr. Hannah O. Brown, Becca Burton and Anna Hamilton named the new platform after three “sheroes”: Marjorie Harris Carr, who led the fight to stop the Cross Florida Barge Canal; Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, the Cross Creek author who wrote about people in rural Florida; and Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the former Miami Herald journalist who became an environmental activist at age 79 and helped save the Everglades.

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What’s up with the phosphate mining plans?

by Carol Mosley

The company proposing to mine for phosphate in Bradford and Union counties, HPSII, dropped its nearly $300 million Harris Act lawsuit against Union County. The case was dismissed without prejudice, so they could refile if they feel they have a valid case worth fighting.

But what about Bradford County? As of yet, we are unable to get information about HPS’s intentions for Bradford County. The county commission is afraid to act for fear of legal ramifications no matter what they decide. So they do nothing.

In November 2019, HPS submitted a new Master Mining Plan (MMP) with a statement in their cover letter that they are ready to proceed to the Hearing.

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Gainesville area events

9/8, 8pm: Poetry Jam, Civic Media Center (433 S. Main St;

9/8-9/18: Gainesville Latino Film Festival – see pg 24

9/9, 7–9pm: Free Fridays shows every Fri – Bo Diddley Downtown Plaza (111 E. University Ave) – see pg 9,

9/9, 9pm: Music Show, CMC (433 S. Main St;

9/10, 9:30-10:30am: Plan C Self-Managed Abortion (SMA) 101 Workshop – contact for info

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Sheila Payne awarded Friends of the Susan B. Anthony Award

On August 27, Gainesville labor and fair housing activist Sheila Payne accepted the 2022 Friends of the Susan B. Anthony Award, awarded to a local woman who exemplifies the spirit of Susan B. Anthony. Below is the text of her acceptance speech.

Thank you for honoring me with the Susan B. Anthony Award and I so appreciate all of us honoring the anniversary of Women’s Equality Day and the long struggle for the passage of the 19th Amendment. Especially in Florida, we are constantly reminded that our rights, especially women and civil rights must be continually fought for, including the right to our own body. 

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Local ballot measures: One good – one bad

by Robert “Hutch” Hutchinson, former Alachua County Commissioner

At the bottom of the Nov. 8 ballot are two local referenda that require some understanding before deciding how to vote. It is important to know why they were proposed and what they will do. The first goes by the catchy title: “Wild Spaces/Public Places, road repair, fire stations, and affordable housing one percent sales surtax.”

If passed, our sales tax (currently at 7%) would go to 7.5% for ten years starting in 2023. It would do this by simultaneously repealing an existing half-penny sales tax and replacing it with a full penny. The current tax provides funding for Wild Spaces/Public Places (WSPP) projects for county and city governments. These funds are used to purchase conservation lands that protect water, provide recreation (“Wild Spaces”), and build and improve parks, trails, and recreation centers (“Public Spaces”). Voters have twice approved WSPP ballot measures.

The grand bargain in this referendum is two-fold:

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Save Maguire Village and University Village South

by the Save Maguire/UVS Coalition

In case you did not hear, historic Maguire Village and University Village South are still on the chopping block next year, and we desperately need your help to change that. 

This peaceful community of 348 on-campus apartment homes for graduate students and their families at the University of Florida have been facing the looming threat of demolition since 2020 when cruel UF Housing administrators pushed for their complete annihilation in the UF Campus Master Plan update.

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Alachua County, Gainesville Neighborhood Voices concerned: Gainesville proposes to eliminate single-family zoning

by Gainesville Neighborhood Voices

On Friday, August 26, Alachua County sent an official comment letter to the City of Gainesville and to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity expressing concerns about the City’s proposed comprehensive plan change that would eliminate all single-family zoning citywide. The proposed change will nearly double the allowable density in all existing single-family areas from eight dwelling units per acre to 15.  

The primary concern expressed by the County is the City’s failure to provide data and analysis of the potential impacts of their proposed actions. The City’s submittal has many deficiencies including no quantification of new households that could result from the profound change, nor impacts to the public infrastructure that would be required to support them. No Gainesville-specific data or analysis supports the City’s stated goal—to provide affordable housing for the City’s residents.

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Birth control access at UF and SFCC: Join campaign for morning-after pill vending machines on campus

by National Women’s Liberation, Gainesville, Florida chapter

In 2017, National Women’s Liberation’s Gainesville chapter campus committee launched a campaign to get the morning-after pill in vending machines on the University of Florida and Santa Fe College campuses. We were inspired by other universities already offering morning-after pill (MAP) vending machines, a number that continues to increase on campuses across the country. 

The need was clear then, as it is now. Despite MAP’s over-the-counter (OTC) status, restrictions remain. It’s costly ($40-50), often in bulky anti-theft containers in pharmacies, or it’s even still behind the counter — though this should not be allowed as it is FDA-approved as an OTC medication. You can purchase MAP at the UF infirmary for $10 — but only if they’re open. Their limited hours are M-F from 8am to 4:30pm in the summer and M-F from 8am to 5pm and Sundays noon to 4pm during the fall and spring semesters.

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From the publisher … Trump the Catalyst

The span of my life on earth has seen all the varied ingredients of the political mess we are in develop into what we are facing today. 

The early 1950s saw the rise of television, and the instant celebrity of one Joe McCarthy raving about Communists. Television also brought to people’s home the Civil Rights Movement, with biting dogs, fire hoses, and anti-integration white people harassing brave Black youth. 

Segregationists like Lester Maddox and George Wallace got fame (and when I was in college in Michigan in 1972, Wallace won the Democratic Presidential primary!). As some of the Democratic Party moved left in support of civil rights (Kennedys, Johnson, Humphrey, etc.), Nixon set up and won with the Southern Strategy, which went after the votes of anti-integration white people, a conservative populist base, which, when later merged with the politicization of evangelical Christians in the late ’70s, formed a powerful bloc that elected Ronald Reagan.

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Micanopy fends off Dollar General

by Homer Jack Moore

It’s Micanopy 3, Dollar General 0. 

With some help from the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners, the scenic and historic little town of Micanopy just sent the Dollar General store packing for the third straight time. 

Dollar General and its developers have repeatedly tried to stand up a mini-box convenience store in Micanopy only to run afoul of a buzz saw of community opposition. 

It’s not as if Dollar General wouldn’t be welcomed at an appropriate site such as the I-75 Micanopy exit. Instead, Dollar General stores metastasize to otherwise pristine countryside and contribute to environmental degradation and rurban (rural-urban) sprawl and blight. 

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The election, primaries over – now the real work begins: GOTV

by Joe Courter

Primaries are over. A look back on them before looking ahead to November …

Thank you to all who took democracy seriously and engaged in campaigning for office. Stepping up to run is a big move, and within campaigning there is stress, and also a lot of side-taking and at times negative criticism lobbed around. 

Within our community there were and still are divisions about the controversial single family/exclusionary zoning proposal among people who otherwise get along well and are generally on the same page (see page 7). It is unfortunate the outgoing commissioners decided to try and ram this through, but now is the time when the big election picture needs to come into focus, even as that divisive proposal lingers.

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