There are two dates to remember regarding the Spring elections. One day is Feb. 16, and the other is March 15. Wednesday, Feb. 16 is the last day to either register to vote or change your party affiliation so you can participate in the presidential primary election, which is on Tuesday, March 15.
Since the presidential primary is limited to the voters registered to that party, anyone who is registered as No Party, Green, Libertarian or whatever, does not get to vote in the Bernie vs. Hillary race.
There is nothing that limits switching your affiliation. And nothing to keep you from moving your registration to Gainesville from wherever you are now, to have an impact in the City races.
Feel the Bern and be heard. Wherever you are in Florida, even if for just this balloting, be a Democrat and vote for Bernie Sanders! There are over 39,000 registered voters without major party affiliation; these independent-minded people are a big block that can boost Sanders’s challenge to the status quo.
If you are a Gainesville city resident, you get to vote for one or maybe two candidates on March 15. Everybody in the City gets to vote in the Mayor’s race, and those in District 4 also get to vote for the replacement of Commissioner Randy Wells, who is term-limited.
These races are pretty clear cut from our perspective, and attending any candidate forum will make that clear. Current Mayor Ed Braddy is a real piece of work; flip, glib and gonad-deep in questionable behavior, most notably his sharing in the largess of his buddy Jeff McAdams, who is accused of stealing over $50,000 from the Fraternal Order of Police, an organization he headed until the theft was exposed. This included many bar tabs and hotel visits, as well as a $156 strip club visit they shared. Citizen Rob Brinkman has filed an ethics complaint against Braddy.
Opponent Lauren Poe is a decent, liberal/progressive committed to addressing pay equity, improved transportation systems, and issues that help youth in both education and parks and recreation.
A third candidate on the ballot – the well-meaning citizen activist Don Shepherd – is spending no money and currently is in his own hot water in a car ownership situation where he is accused of vehicle theft, which may or may not be a simple misunderstanding.
The District 4 race has Adrian Hayes-Santos going against Jim Konish. Hayes-Santos is by far our preferred candidate. He grew up in Gainesville and has a long record of community service on various boards and volunteer work. He is well equipped to do the liaison work with the County Commission and School Board to get thing done based on his positive personality and knowledge of and love for the City of Gainesville.
His opponent Jim Konish is a lawyer and landlord, and an ally to the small group of folks who seem devoted to bashing the city commission and the city-owned utility company. At a recent forum, he was evasive when questions dealt with diversity and discrimination, and his temperament leaves something to be desired in a Commissioner who has to deal with all sorts of people.
Ads from Poe and Hayes-Santos contain contact information so you can get a sign for your yard, a bumpersticker, or be more involved with money and/or sweat and work for them to multiply your vote.
Questions about voter registration can be addressed to the Supervisor of Elections office, which has moved to 515 N. Main St. Their website is www.votealachua.com.
People died for the right to vote. Exercise your right, it’s the least you can do.