April/May 2015 Gainesville

apr may 15 iguana cover copyThe April/May 2015 issue of the Gainesville Iguana is now available online, and it’s got lots of good stuff (city election endorsements, state legislative updates, news from UF Graduate Assistants United, updates on South Main Street, and more!). You can also pick the issue up at any of our distribution spots, which you can find here.

Tent City Cleanup – April 11

keep alachua county beautiful

Editors’ Picks: The News That Didn’t Fit

Thanks, corporate America, for shaming Mike Pence! Now here’s a reality checkIndiana’s also the home of a law that led to a wave of voting restrictions. Here’s why business won’t touch that.

Crops rot as farmworker strike in Mexico continuesAs many as 50,000 mostly indigenous farmworkers have gone on strike in the Mexican border state of Baja California in order to demand better pay and working conditions — bringing agricultural production to a standstill.

Rape survivors tell the NRA to stop speaking for themActivists working to address the rates of sexual assault among college students don’t want gun enthusiasts to co-opt their issue in order to push for more weapons on campus.

The Sting: How the FBI created a terroristSince the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the FBI has arrested dozens of young men like Sami Osmakac in controversial counterterrorism stings.

Study Confirms Tea Party Was Created by Big Tobacco and Billionaire Koch Brothers This is what progressives are up against; big money creating phony protest groups that the media treat as if legit.

WGOT Welcomes New Shows

by Markus Alexander

As WGOT prepares to move from 94.7 to 100.1, the station is adding new shows and board members.  Since GROW Radio is changing its operation to a podcast-only format, some GROW DJs are making the jump to WGOT. 

Joining WGOT is Cramela Mix Show, hosted by Chris Lake, bringing the latest in electronic music ranging from techno to downtempo in a two-hour mix show.  Catch a new episode each Monday at 2pm.  Also on Mondays is Malum, hosted by Derek Wohlust, broadcasting a new show at 8pm. 

The Joe & Craig Music Show checks in on Tuesdays at 8pm with a variety of music from the 1950s through the ’80s along with interesting commentary sprinkled in.  Joe & Craig bring a large following, with listeners checking in from all over the globe. 

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Feed Your Mind, Support Alternative Radio

by Joe Courter

One information source not to miss is David Barsamian’s weekly Alternative Radio — www.alternativeradio.org.

Please listen and support this great grassroots enterprise. It is not only cutting edge, fresh and topical, it has unfortunately been cut by many NPR affiliates as that network lurches mainstream.

WGOT 94.7 FM carries it locally at 4pm Saturdays and 1pm Sundays, but it is a weak signal best picked up by vehicle radios. Go take a drive, clean your car or garage, or do yard work near your vehicle during that hour.

You cannot directly stream it online for free (it is how David make his living), but you can find an Internet carried station and see when THEY play it and listen then and there. That station schedule is on AR’s site.

Or if you can actually PAY FOR IT, order an MP3 ($5) or a transcript ($5 mailed, $3 to download). I am sure David would like that.

WUBA 88.1 Community Radio Launches in High Springs

WUBA 88.1 FM, scheduled to begin regular broadcasting from High Springs by the time this issue of the Iguana reaches your hands, is looking for volunteers, sponsors and donors to build a listener-supported radio station for northern Alachua County.

Launched by members of NUBA (Neighbors United for a Better Alachua), WUBA plans a mix including local news and grassroots musical/cultural shows as well as nationally syndicated programs such as Democracy Now!

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Songwriters in the Round: Gainesville’s Musical Renaissance

The Matheson History Museum’s Songwriters in the Round event returns on Thursday, April 16, from 6-8 pm. Unearth the story of Gainesville’s musical renaissance with a presentation by Little Jake and the Soul Searchers.

These musicians are more than just a band, they were stepping stones to the integration of Gainesville. A never before seen documentary will tell the story of Sarah McKnight, an African American business woman who, in the 1950s and 1960s, ran the Cotton Club and Sarah’s Place. These music venues featured musicians such as Cab Calloway, B.B. King and James Brown. Although Charlie Steadham was white, his quest to learn from the best musicians brought him into Sarah’s Place.

Discover how Little Jake Mitchell desegregated one of the largest music venues in Florida. Trace how advancements in technology changed the course of music history with a presentation by Tran Whitley of Tran Tracks. Admission is $5.  Tickets can be purchased at the door.

Peace Poetry Reading, May 9

Microsoft Word - Peace Poetry Reading 2015 FLIER.docx

Memorial Mile, May 23-25

Gainesville Veterans for Peace will once again set up the Memorial Mile along the Solar Walk on 8th Avenue, east of 34th Street. The display will be set up on May 23 and will stay up through sunset on Memorial Day, May 25. While thoughts of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars are unfortunately forgotten by the American mainstream media, there will still be tombstones added, each one representing the death of an American service member since Memorial Day one year ago.

Volunteers are needed to help set up and take down the more-than 6,700 tombstones. If you’d like to help, contact Scott at 352-375-2563.

Gainesville Loves Mountains Opposes Tallahassee Intrusion into Home Rule

by Nancy Deren, on behalf of Gainesville Loves Mountains

Representative Perry’s bill, HB 1325, sounds innocent enough on the surface. It calls for a referendum vote asking yes or no to change our city charter regarding GRU’s governance and create an independent governing board.

However, the other 557 lines of this bill spell out numerous details of this board and its powers, and therein lies the danger. No bill of this nature, with this level of state intrusion into a local matter, has ever come out of Tallahassee.

Even if this bill were pared down to a yes or no question, it would still be an issue of Tallahassee imposing a referendum on us, whether we want it or not.

Our city and our county commissions unanimously opposed this bill, as does our legislative delegation chair, Representative Clovis Watson.

Our city attorney has noted that this bill has so many legal infirmities that it would result in a great deal of litigation and would threaten the city’s financial stability for multiple reasons. It constitutes a takings of our utility.

It imposes an inflexible governance structure that would claim absolute power over our city owned utility, with no accountability to anyone but itself.

HB 1325 designates an appointed committee of only business and commercial interests.  This is not reflective of our community with its broad and diverse range of expertise. Our community should get to decide who the members of any advisory committee should be.

HB 1325 would do away with many policies and practices that have made us a successful city such as our aggressive conservation and efficiency programs and programs that help our most vulnerable citizens reduce their bills.

This bill usurps our authority as citizens and undermines our elected commissioners’ ability to govern responsibly and retain the flexibility necessary to deal with the increasingly complex economic and environmental challenges that lie ahead.

Our elected officials and we citizen shareholders of GRU would not be able to decide what qualifies someone to be on the new board, what powers they would be granted or what policies that board could make. We would have no way to remove someone or make changes if problems arose. Tallahassee will have decided for us what happens with our multi-million dollar city owned asset that provides more than 30% of our city budget.

Over the years, elected commissioners have been responsive to ideas, concerns and criticisms offered by citizens and our Chamber of Commerce about utility-related issues.

Commissioners, with a great deal of community input, have been actively moving forward to address current policies and procedures that need improvement or revision and researching governance structures that include a representative advisory board to review rates, policies and other GRU matters and make recommendations to the City Commission.

Representative Perry’s bill is an insult to our community and would jeopardize Gainesville’s financial viability. It does not reflect our capability and character as a university city that attracts national recognition on many fronts, including accolades for our utility. We have much to be proud of and obviously have the capability and capacity to determine what changes we want to see, and exercise good governance locally.

Please sign the petition, and tell Tallahassee to respect and protect Home Rule and oppose HB 1325.

GAU Making Moves

GAU is making moves. After a successful “Spring Broke” Rally on March 13, we’ve kept up the pressure on administration by directing our action towards the Board of Trustees.

On Thursday April 2, the first day of their meetings, our co-presidents Kevin Funk and John Hames did an excellent job representing Graduate Assistants during the public comment portion of Board of Trustees Meeting. They spoke eloquently about the issues GA’s at UF face, due to the impact of having to pay fees, and made a strong case for why UF should provide Fee Relief as a way of reaching our collective goal of making UF a Top 10 research institution. Several trustees approached them afterwards to congratulate them on their presentation.

The next day, we held a tabling event called, “A seat at GAU’s Table” outside of Emerson Hall, as the second day of meetings continued to invite trustees to join us in crafting a collective solution to improve the lives of GA’s. We believe the easiest way to achieve this would be to provide us with Fee relief. Simply put, this would alleviate the financial burden (average of $1,400 a year) for many GA’s who are already struggling to make ends meet. We’ve made our voices heard, now it is up to the University of Florida to join in the conversation and propose a meaningful solution to improve the working conditions of some of the hardest working members of the Gator Nation.