The Repurpose Project seeks funds for expansion

by Chelsea Carnes

The Repurpose Project, a 501c3 junk shop and arts hub, has been so successful in its mission of helping folks rethink what they throw away, that the shop is running out of space. 

Consider: when we purge our closets of old clothing, we don’t usually trash it – we donate to a thrift store. But where does one send old kitchen cabinets after a remodel? Old garden pots? Used crayons? There are few easy options for repurposing goods such as building materials, art supplies, metals, furniture, appliances, and fabrics. 

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Court Services: a program in despair

by Cristina Cabada Sidawi, Alachua County Labor Coalition

 The ACLC’s Criminal Justice Committee is focused on reforming the Alachua County Court Services into an institution that helps keep people out of jails/prisons. Our committee published a white paper on Court Services with recommendations on how to make it a powerful tool in our criminal justice system, the full version can be found at our website www.laborcoalition.org.

The Alachua County Court Services is a broken system which for years has failed to live up to their goal of reducing incarceration and recidivism. This institution could be a powerful tool for progressive criminal justice reform in Alachua County, but, as it stands, has limited positive impact and often acts as a regressive ingredient in our broken criminal justice system. This is most evident by the shockingly high 78 percent of cases for whom this agency recommended monetary bonds. 

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From the publisher: Big truths we can’t forget

by Joe Courter

We are here on this planet at an absolutely stunning time of knowledge and awareness. In all the vastness of time past, our present science and technology give us a clear window of understanding into the timescale itself, the mechanics of living organisms, and the components that make up our physical world, that of the other planets and galaxies beyond. 

Never in history have we humans been able to know so much, have the tools and ability to enhance our lives and life experience. Yes, we are making an environmental mess, but damn, what a time to be alive. 

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Elections recap

Desmon Duncan-Walker takes City Commission’s District One 

by James Thompson

In a historic race for Gainesville’s City Commission District One seat, public arts and community history advocate Desmon Duncan-Walker unseated incumbent Gigi Simmons with 52.5 percent of the vote. Commissioner Simmons earned 47.5 percent. In the At-Large Commission seat, incumbent Gail Johnson handily defeated her opponent. 

The precinct totals for the Duncan-Walker/Simmons race were not nearly as even keeled as the overall results, as each candidate won by about a 60-40 split in all but one of the nine precincts. 

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Stop Asian Hate! Alachua County folks gather in rage and grief

by Jyoti Parmar

On March 16 a gunman targeted and killed six Asian women in Atlanta – the latest attack on people of Asian and Pacific Islander origins in America. 

On March 27 the people of Alachua County gathered in rage and grief to build a unified response to these horrific killings and the escalating violence against Asians and AAPI. 

About 200 of us marched from Bo-Diddley Plaza to Depot Park and about 400 A/AAPI/BIPOC and allies gathered at the Vigil at Depot Park. 

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April 2021 Gainesville Iguana

The April 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.

Update on the Civic Media Center

by JoJo Sacks

While the Civic Media Center hasn’t yet opened up, volunteers have been engaged in significant mutual aid efforts that are helping our community in these difficult times.

Organizers from the Free Grocery Store and Food Not Bombs have used the CMC as a home base for serving hundreds of folks each week. Books to Prisoners has been operational for the past two months, sending books to prisoners throughout Florida and the southeast. Groups like Florida Prisoner Solidarity and Dream Defenders regularly use the space for staging for actions and protests.

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Saving McCarty Woods Conservation Area

By Allison Wodar and Scott Eisenstark

The McCarty Woods Conservation Area is a 2.9-acre preserve located between Museum Road and McCarty Drive and is a mere stone’s throw away from the heart of the UF campus and Reitz Union. 

As the name implies, the woods are a conservation area, providing a small respite for nature, and a place where students can just simply exist away from the hustle and bustle of campus. It is also an important habitat for wildlife and provides many environmental benefits to Gainesville. 

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Eden Maria Faelnar, rest in power

by Tim Tia, Jeremiah Tattersall, and Fi Stewart-Taylor

Eden Faelnar, a beloved member of our Gainesville radical community, passed away in Philadelphia on Jan. 12. Eden organized with the IWW and the Alachua County Labor Coalition, including organizing an exceptional May Day with the IWW, and working on ACLC’s campaign to end abuse of the OPS, or Other Personnel Services, classification system at the University of Florida. 

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Safe and affordable housing, renters’ rights update

by Jason Fults, Alachua County Labor Coalition

In September, amid the pandemic, the Alachua Count Labor Coalition celebrated one of our largest local victories in the history of the organization. A multi-year campaign we dubbed “Safe & Healthy Housing for All” culminated in a 7-0 vote by our City Commission in support of a “Renters Rights and Responsibilities” ordinance.  

Thanks to ACLC member advocacy and some stellar work by our Commissioners (particularly Adrian Hayes-Santos and Reina Saco), we overcame fierce, continuous opposition by the local Realtors Association and passed one of the strongest, most comprehensive sets of protections for renters that you are likely to find. 

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Problems with Publix: why we’re boycotting

by Pierce Butler

A spontaneous boycott of Publix supermarkets has begun, sparked by several missteps linked to the grocery chain:

• A week after Publix donated $100,000 to the political action committee “Friends of Ron DeSantis,” the governor — who has taken major pandemic decision-making away from local health officials and into his own office — declared that Publix would be the only Covid-19 vaccine distribution venue for all of Palm Beach County (where the chain concentrates its stores in affluent, mostly-white neighborhoods).

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The climate change solution that nobody is talking about

by Sarah Goff, Co-Founder & Executive Director of The Repurpose Project

Overconsumption is destroying the planet. Harvesting, mining, manufacturing, packaging, and shipping ALL have tremendous carbon footprints. 

The problems with overconsumption run deeper than just carbon dioxide emissions. The manufacturing process requires material input, and this material input is the limited resources of this planet. This squandering of resources is responsible for much of the deforestation, destructive mining, and habitat loss that are causing an alarming loss of biodiversity. Many of the factories that manufacture material are deliberately placed in low-income areas, disproportionately harming the most vulnerable. Consumption and waste don’t just result in dumping valuable resources in the landfill. They are causing catastrophic human, animal, and environmental harm.

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Veterans for Peace offers college scholarships

Deadline for Applications from Alachua County students/residents: April 23

by Paul Ortiz

Gainesville Veterans for Peace Chapter 14 is excited to announce our 7th annual Peace Scholarship Program for the spring of 2021. We are awarding three college scholarships of $1,000 each for high school seniors, college students or adults with a commitment to activities including: social justice and peace, Black Lives Matter, conflict resolution and/or nonviolent social change. 

Veterans for Peace created these scholarships to give financial support to students in Alachua County, Florida who are planning careers in pursuit of a world of social justice and equality.

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The Alachua County Tenants Association: Updates

By Adolfho Romero
Alachua County Labor Coalition

Since the early summer of 2020, the Alachua County Labor Coalition started helping tenants by developing the Alachua County Tenants Association. A group of five has now grown to more than a dozen, volunteering and offering services and resources to alleviate those facing financial and legal hardships. 

With the assistance of Socialist Alternative, ACTA has been working closely with Evictions Lab to create a database of evictions in the county. 

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Working toward food justice in Alachua County

Our demands: value workers, local enterprises, environment over corporate profits

By Dmitry Podobreev, Alachua County Labor Coalition

The Alachua County Labor Coalition has partnered with Working Food, the Agricultural Justice Project, the Farmworker Association of Florida, theNatural Resource Defense Council, and the Gainesville YDSA to work toward food justice. So far, we have worked to get Alachua County and the City of Gainesville to sign on to the Good Food Purchasing Program, which is a certification standard for fair food. 

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Say NO to Nestle!

Nestle permit was approved by the Suwannee River Water Management District.

Our response? We’re getting right to work with our attorneys and experts. The public interest must be protected in this, and all future permitting decisions.

To support the cause, visit the Florida Springs Council website at www.floridaspringscouncil.org. Donate to help us keep fighting.

We’ll send you:

  • A 3-inch sticker for every $5 donation,
  • A 7-inch vinyl Kayak sticker for every $30 donation,
  • And an insulated stainless steel MightyMug bottle (it won’t leak or fall over) for every $100 donated to the cause.

All sport the message Say No to Nestle and keep fighting. 

‘Don’t destroy our homes!’

For those concerned with protecting low-income students and the environment, the CMP stinks

by the Save Maguire/UVS Team

“Don’t destroy our homes!” is the cry of scores of graduate students as they fight to save their historic and idyllic affordable housing complex from being torn down along SW 34th Street on the west side of the University of Florida’s campus.

For anyone concerned with protecting low-income students or the environment, the proposed 2020–2030 UF Campus Master Plan (CMP) has more than its share of bad ideas. 

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WGOT can only exist with your help

By Chris Lake, WGOT Board Member

We want to thank Gainesville for all the local support from our community (and beyond, thanks to the magic of Al Gore and the internet). Gainesville is truly a unique place and we wholeheartedly thank all of our listeners and supporters who value both the arts and truly independent media. 

As mentioned in last month’s Iguana, WGOT is in desperate need of IT help to install a new server. We’ve reached a critical stage where we will cease our internet streaming service to the community unless we find a volunteer with the skills to install our new server within the next four weeks. 

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From the publisher: A toxic harvest

by Joe Courter

Just as we were getting the Iguana done for the Jan/Feb issue, the nation’s Capitol came under attack by a mob of people misled into thinking their side had not won the election because of it being “stolen.” I believe we actually got away lucky, it could have been very different. 

Suppose there had been fully armed riot police guarding the Capitol and they’d opened fire, killing and wounding dozens of people. 

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City election, Tuesday, March 16: Our recommendations

by Joe Courter

The City of Gainesville is having an election for an at-large seat and a district seat. Early voting begins March 5, election day is March 16. 

For the at-large seat, Gail Johnson is seeking re-election and we strongly endorse her bid to stay in office. Gail grew up in Gainesville and graduated from UF. After a brief stay in Brooklyn, NY, she returned home and got involved in our community. 

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