I am writing to ask you to vote for Democratic challenger Lauren Poe for Mayor of Gainesville. Even if you are not a Gainesville resident, you are likely affected by the decisions made by the Gainesville City Commission.
Lauren is a man of integrity whose character we can trust. His vision for our city is one of inclusion and smart growth. His previous tenure on the City Commission was conspicuous for its fairness, its embrace of the innovation economy, and its progressive agenda.
On the other hand, his opponent, Tea Party-backed Republican Ed Braddy, likes to pretend that he invented all the above since he was elected three years ago. It all started much earlier.
Braddy’s scandal-ridden term as mayor has been an embarrassment to all decent citizens.
Does anyone believe it is ethical to accept money for restaurants, strip clubs, and hotel bills? All public officials are bound by law to undergo annual ethics training. Where was Ed Braddy? Perhaps he thinks ethical standards don’t apply to him.
In a recent forum, Mayor Braddy boasted that he has restored civility to the City Commission. Not true in my case.
When I appeared as a citizen before the commission in December, I was attacked by two commissioners whose vitriol and sarcasm was allowed by the Mayor to continue unabated until I walked out. You see, they did not like hearing the truth about an injustice the Mayor allowed to take place. The Mayor is a bully and tolerates bullies.
Please vote! When good people don’t show up at the polls, bad things happen. Bad things are happening in Tallahassee due to voter apathy. Clean water, health care, and public schools are all in jeopardy.
Gainesville is a beautiful and precious place. Don’t let bad things happen here. Vote Lauren Poe for Mayor! Pass it on!
Gainesville resident and Alachua County School Board Member D
Proposed amendments to the county’s Comprehensive Plan are first considered by the Planning Commission, a citizen advisory board appointed by the Alachua County Commission, before going to the County Commission. After public hearings in November, the Planning Commission over-rode staff objections and voted 4-2 to recommend approval to the County Commission. The staff had recommended DENIAL. The circumstances surrounding the Planning Commission hearings are now raising serious questions about the fairness of the process.
The chair of the Planning Commission is Jennifer Springfield, a local attorney who has been hired by Plum Creek to assist with their development plans. Plum Creek has now annexed a part of their land into the city of Hawthorne, where it will be exempt from the county’s environmental safeguards. Springfield did not recuse herself from the planning commission vote, nor did she disclose her relationship with Plum Creek before voting to approve their application.
Posted in Articles, January-February 2016
Tagged alachua county planning commission, anthony lyons, Eileen Roy, eric drummond, evan pitts, jennifer springfield, plum creek, rose fagler, susan mcquillan, tim rockwell
BY EILEEN ROY, DISTRICT 2 ALACHUA COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER
The Florida Legislature is hard at work implementing an ideological agenda to defund, demonize, and demoralize traditional public schools. But why, you may ask?
The answer is that they are government institutions and the Florida legislators believe that private is better than public. Never mind that our public schools have been the great equalizer in America, enabling the most humble among us to compete on a level playing field. Never mind that they have made this country great.
The move now is to enable for-profit charter schools, for-profit virtual schools, and publicly funded private schools to take over. Students will certainly get the shaft as private companies work to squeeze a profit out of the pitifully small amount the state allots per student. Profit, not educational excellence, is the motive.
Here are some recent developments taking place in Tallahassee:
1. The corporate voucher bill gives tax deductions to corporations on the condition that the corporations use this money to fund vouchers for private schools. Of course, this tax break is paid for by taxpayers, so it is an end run around the Florida Supreme Court ruling outlawing public money to fund vouchers for private, including religious, schools. This year the amount given to this program is $250 million, and the bill stipulates that the amount be increased by 25 percent each year hereafter. This is money denied public schools and private schools will gradually usurp their role.
Amendment 8 on the 2012 ballot asks voters to approve “religious freedom.” However, the real purpose is to permit taxpayer funded vouchers for private, religious schools.
2. The state, in opting out of the federal No Child Left Behind Law, has agreed to changes that will dramatically increase the number of failing schools in the state. They do this by making the FCAT significantly harder and by requiring the FCAT scores of English language learners to count in the school’s grade after their first year in this country. (Research shows that it takes 2-5 years to achieve enough mastery to compete with native speakers.) I would love to see our legislators personally accomplish this. Disabled students’ scores would also count in the school grade.
3 . The so-called “parent trigger” bill would allow a majority of parents in a low-performing school to “put the trigger” to close the school (remember, there will be more failing schools See #2.) and turn it over to a for-profit charter school corporation. The new charter school may be no better than the one it replaced, and in fact, studies show that charters perform no better than traditional public schools. In California where the law is in effect, charter schools advertise constantly for parents to “pull the trigger.”
The Florida legislature already requires all students to take and pass a college prep curriculum to graduate as well as an end-of-course exam for every subject taught (without providing funding for test development). The student must pass the exam to pass the course. These actions will undoubtedly increase drop-outs as not all students are interested in taking chemistry or physics. (Only 30 percent of Florida’s students ultimately complete college.)
The Florida Legislature is hoping you will not notice their schemes to hijack public schools. By handing down unfunded mandates and passing unfair laws to undermine or destroy public schools, they think they will convince the public to abandon public education and settle for a system that rewards stockholders at the expense of children.