Category Archives: October 2023

CMC celebrates 30 years of community, education

by  F. Stewart-Taylor and J.D. Schmidt

Oct. 13 marks the 30th anniversary of the Civic Media Center, Gainesville’s beloved radical library and organizing space. To celebrate, the CMC is launching a fundraiser and inviting community members to share stories from their time at the Center. 

The CMC’s #30for30 campaign requests that community members share their favorite stories from the CMC, accompanied by a $30 donation to support the Center’s future.

With three decades of organizing, art, and education in the heart of Gainesville, the CMC has seen a lot of history, and even played a role in making some. 

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History and the people who make it: Scott Camil (Part 1)

Scott Camil is a Gainesville activist, veteran, honored hero, and friend of SPOHP. He is also a member of the Gainesville Eight: the group of seven Vietnam War veterans and one civilian who were caught in a conspiracy by the FBI, which attempted to frame them for terroristic threats. (See last month’s Iguana for more on the Gainesville 8) 

In this 2005 interview with John Aversono (A), Mr. Camil (C) describes his upbringing, and his Marine Corps training, and touches on how he became an antiwar activist. Be advised that there is profanity. Transcript edited by Donovan Carter.

A: I want to start with some background information. Where were you born?

C: Brooklyn, New York.

A: What year?

C: 1946. When I was about four years old my parents moved from New York to Hialeah [Florida]. I grew up in Hialeah. I went into the Marine Corps afterhigh school and then went to Dade Community College. I graduated there and transferred up to Gainesville in 1970.

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DeSantis: The anti-education governor

Approved expenses for homeschooled students: Foosball tables, skateboards, kayaks, dolls, stuffed animals

by  Pierce Butler

When Ron DeSantis became Governor of Florida in 2019, the state had about 2,000 unfilled teaching positions in its public schools. As of August this year, according to the Florida Education Association, Florida now needs around 8,000 more teachers (plus 6,000 more support staffers).

The governor’s (and legislature’s) “War on Woke” has not just driven out many progressively-minded educators, but has scared away many moderate and apolitical teachers. Sweeping but vague laws limiting what students can hear and read have left schools and school boards guessing about which words and books, on topics from slavery to LGBTQ+ issues today, might get them fined, fired, and/or arrested. 

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Take it to the streets! But maybe not that street

What’s going on with Gainesville’s open container ordinance

by Danny Hughes, Loosey’s Downtown

A few weeks ago, the City Commission voted to reinstate the old open container ordinance, which had been repealed during Covid to let outdoor service exist. The vote was 4-3 in favor of returning to a pre-Covid version of the open container ordinance, which is rather selectively enforced, and effectively no alcohol on the streets, anywhere, ever. So this solution was proposed: an entertainment district (the idea has been dubbed ACE for the time being: Arts-Culture-Entertainment).

Yeah, it’s weird, but it certainly is a solution that we can work with. Essentially what this means is that there will be a defined area in downtown where you can have and consume alcohol in public spaces between certain hours and within a few specific constraints like how big your drink is or what your drink container is made from (the reality is everyone involved really wants to discourage glass and I agree with that). 

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Help Alachua County’s Human Rights Coalition combat anti-immigrant legislation’s negative effects

by Liz Ibarrola and Veronica Robleto Human Rights Coalition of Alachua County

A community ID is a pocket-sized example of how small innovations can have enormous impacts. 

Identification is an essential tool, unlocking access to fundamental resources like education, housing, and banking. Local IDs not only fill a gap overlooked by government-issued identification programs, but work to dismantle the systemic barriers which produce and reinforce marginalization. 

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NWL’s ‘Abortion on the Ballot!’

This horrific backlash on our rights won’t let up without an organized, strong and visible feminist movement making demands’

by Danielle Johnson, National Women’s Liberation

National Women’s Liberation (NWL) is hosting their 9th annual fundraiser show themed “Abortion on the Ballot!” at The Backyard at Boca Fiesta & Palomino on Sunday, Oct. 15. Doors are at 5:30pm and the all-ages show kicks off at 6:30pm. 

The event will feature local bands Wax Wings, Uncle Mosie, Parker Road, and DJ Wild Creatrix; raffles and surprise swag bags with gifts from local businesses; and information on getting involved in the feminist fight. Ticket price is a sliding scale donation of $10 to $20. 

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Movement to repeal WEP-GPO penalty grows: Tell Congress to pass ‘The Social Security Fairness Act’Movement to repeal WEP-GPO penalty grows:

by Mary Savage

Retirees, labor union leaders, and others in the American body politic are stepping forward to say now is the time for the 118th Congress to pass The Social Security Fairness Act, H.R. 82/S. 597. In 1977 and 1983, Congress enacted legislation reducing Social Security benefits of certain public sector employees through the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).

Today, those who worked at the local, state, and federal levels in all 50 states are experiencing retirement with less money to live on after contributing to the Social Security system but having been penalized by the WEP-GPO.

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WGOT’s last stand: Is community radio sustainable?

By Fred Sowder, WGOT Station Coordinator 

Here at your community radio station, fundraising has been our top priority as of late. We had quite a successful Facebook fundraiser and would love to finally have a proper 15th birthday party benefit, should the right situation arise with interested bands and a venue. 

We’ve recently held events such as yard sales to raise funds in addition to the usual online revenue generators (Patreon, GoFundMe, Venmo, etc.). The bottom line is that other sources of funding that we’ve relied on in the past have since dried up and we’re in a desperate need of that revenue replacement. 

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Florida Free Speech Forum speakers: Nathan Crabbe on climate change, Dakeyan Graham on EquityFlorida

The Florida Free Speech Forum has changed the location of  its meetings to the Cone Park Branch Library at 2801 East University Ave., and that is where their upcoming meetings will be on Oct. 9 and Nov. 13.  Lunch is at 11:30am with the speaker portion of the event at noon.

The October speaker will be Nathan Crabbe speaking on ““Communicating about climate change: Informing the public about the threats we face – and what to do about them.” Nathan is editor of The Invading Sea, a website featuring news, commentary and educational content about climate change and other environmental issues affecting Florida. The website is managed by Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Environmental Studies. Nathan worked for The Gainesville Sun from 2005-2022. He served for most of that time as the paper’s opinion and engagement editor. He also covered the University of Florida and environmental beats as a reporter.

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Update on the GRU takeover

Judge says: ‘City lacks standing to challenge this law in court’  

by Wes Wheeler

Republican legislators Keith Perry and Chuck Clemons orchestrated a local bill, HB 1645, in the 2023 legislative session that stripped control of Gainesville’s public utility, transferring GRU governance to the Florida Governor though a gubernatorial appointed “Authority.”

Multiple plaintiffs, including local concerned citizens organized as Gainesville Residents United, Inc., and The City of Gainesville are seeking separate suits, alleging multiple constitutional, statutory, and procedural illegalities and defects. 

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City Commission to vote on future for historic center

The Thelma Boltin Center, 516 NE 2nd Ave. in Gainesville, was known as the Serviceman’s Center when it was built in 1942-43 for WWII soldiers to socialize, rest and relax before being sent to Europe the Pacific theater.  It is the only known building in the State of Florida built as a home away from home for servicemen during WWII by a City. 

Volunteer architects designed the building with two sections, the east wing and the auditorium.  The 1942 City Commission insisted on building both parts of the building. The City did not want the building proposed by Federal government. The City Commissioners won and the building that you see today was constructed with two parts.

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From the publisher… On building stuff

by Joe Courter

October is a month of beginnings for me. In 1969, when I was a freshman in college, it was the October 15 campus shutdowns and teach-ins across the country against the Viet Nam war. Those days elevated my consciousness and was life changing. As other articles in here report, both the Iguana and the Civic Media Center—two other touchstones in my life—made their debuts in October, 1986 and 1993 respectively. It got me thinking.

I remembered a brief moment at the old CMC which is frozen in my memory and relevant here. I was at the back door porch during a music show with others, and the topic came up of the recently arrived next door corporate bar and restaurant who been complaining about our shows and people hanging around out back. A young voice loudly said, “Where do they get off complaining about the CMC, they just got here and the CMC’s been here forever!” There was an implied stability and long-term-ness not quite right for our maybe five-year-old enterprise, but perception is in the eye of the beholder.

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The Gainesville Iguana: A brief history

by Joe Courter

The first Iguana appeared in October 1986. It was an outgrowth of the merging of three activist mailing lists at a time when there was a high level of local organizing stimulated by the world we were seeing unfold during the Reagan administration. 

I was producing a newsletter for the Humanist Society of Gainesville for years and had amassed a solid mailing list for them. The second mailing list had developed from the increased local (and national) organizing activities opposing Reagan’s Central America policies. The third came from a newsletter put out by the local Quaker organization. A merge and purge of duplicates resulted in a list of about six or seven hundred names. For the first five years the Iguana was a mailed-out newsletter only, multipage and photocopied to the people on this list.

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Brain Drain

Fascist state education policy trickling down to UF may be creating a brain drain, while Student Government mirrors draconian shifts in national politics

by Aron Ali-McClory, UF Young Democratic Socialists of America

It’s been around one year since autumn winds whisked Ben Sasse into the president’s office at UF, and yet, many of the uncertainties that loomed at the time still remain. 

In the time since the Board of Trustees pushed him through with a unanimous vote, Florida higher education has weathered a blistering legislative session that gutted funding for diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, criminalized the existence of transgender students by forcing them to use the wrong bathroom, and threatened the existence of public unions like Graduate Assistants United and the United Faculty of Florida.

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October 2023 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

A men’s movement takes reins in a nationwide quest to end abortion
Male-dominated network of militants, academics, attorneys, judges, activists lead drive to restrict, remove reproductive rights
by Sofia Resnick | Georgia Recorder | Sep 14 |
Wendell Shrock, a Tennessee street preacher, doesn’t believe in condoms. “We should leave the uterus to God,” the street preacher from Tennessee says. Overwhelmingly, men are driving the quest to restrict and remove women’s reproductive rights in as many states as possible.

Congress starts trying to figure out how to set AI ‘rules of the road’
Congress should pursue comprehensive standards for companies developing, depoloying AI to ensure consumers are protected
by Jacob Fischler | Florida Phoenix | Sep 13 |
The development of artificial intelligence presents far-reaching challenges for virtually every aspect of modern society, including campaigns, national security and journalism. Political operatives could use AI to impersonate opposing candidates. And there are risks to national security if the United States falls behind China or other adversarial countries in developing AI. 

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