Category Archives: Articles

Alachua County at turning point: Repair bureaucracy

by Pierce Butler

Way back in early August, uncountable Trump scandals ago, the Alachua County Commission voted 4-1 to fire then-County Manager Lee Niblock. One of the final straws provoking that decision was a budget proposal for $50,000 for bonuses to help retain the six Assistant County Managers that Dr. Niblock had hired, while rank-&-file staff pay had stagnated for years.

Another precipitating cause had occurred in July, when a Board of Commissioners morning meeting had acknowledged twenty-five years of work on the part of training manager Suzanne Clausier – and that evening considered Niblock’s budget plan terminating her position (and that of a county horticulturalist, with neither named and the firings obscured by bureaucratic jargon).

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Morris Dees speaks at SLC’s 40th Anniversary

by Renaud Lajoie

Two days after white nationalists and protesters faced off at UF, one of the country’s most successful civil rights attorneys, Morris Dees, spoke just blocks away at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center.

He served as the keynote speaker for the Southern Legal Counsel’s 40th anniversary event. The Florida nonprofit law firm, headquartered in Gainesville, has litigated pivotal changes in public policies for the public’s interest against corporations, state and local governments.

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Voting Rights Restoration Amendment: Homestretch for making the 2018 ballot

by Jack Kulas

BALLOT TITLE: Voting Restoration Amendment

BALLOT SUMMARY: This amendment restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. The amendment would not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the Governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case-by-case basis.

December 31 is the deadline to submit signed and completed Voting Restoration Amendment petitions to Supervisor of Elections offices around the state to get items on the November 2018 ballot.
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From the publisher … Winding down 2017

by Joe Courter

Thinking back a year I am reminded how shocked and apprehensive (to put it mildly) we were with the harsh reality of the election outcome. When I got out a sweatshirt the other day I saw it had a safety pin on it, something that was suggested people do to make immigrants or other threatened or at risk people know that we were a friendly person to trust. We had groups mobilizing, lots of meetings. Thankfully some of those have persisted, Indivisible, Women’s March and off shoots like Second Chance voting rights. We are, I believe, more “woke,” but the level of resistance seems to have diminished, as the forewarned normalization has occurred.

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Spencer Takeaway

by Joe Courter

Background: On Oct. 19, self-styled “Alt-right” figurehead Richard Spencer came to Gainesville to speak at the Phillips Center on the UF campus. 

His organization (National Policy Institute) was charged about $11,000 for use of the building, Governor Rick Scott called it a State of Emergency, and taxpayers paid about $500,000 for security outside the building.

Spencer had two or three dozen supporters sitting up front in their white shirts and khakis. About 250 people who got tickets outside from NPI sat and stood in the rear of the hall with empty rows between them.

A number of people of color and people with disabilities were excluded. A vast majority of the audience were anti racists, who were raucous but peaceful.

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November-December 2017 Gainesville Iguana

The November-December 2017 issue of the Iguana is now available! If you want to get your hands on a hard copy, check out our distro locations here.

Come Fest with the CMC October 27 – 28

Once again Gainesville’s Fest will be on the last weekend of October, with over 300 bands at over a dozen venues all over downtown Gainesville.

And in pursuit of the good times that that many bands provide comes the other part of the equation that makes the Fest what it is—people from all over the country (and world) who spend the money to come here. A wide variety of people, and they seek their favorite bands, discover new bands, seek out old friends, and find new ones, too. 

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History and the people who make it: Vanessa Carlo-Miranda

Vanessa Carlo-Miranda [C], UF graduate & co-founder of La Casita, was interviewed by Genesis Lara [L] in October, 2013.

This is the 43rd in a series of transcript excerpts from the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program collection at the University of Florida.

Transcript edited by Pierce Butler.

C: I was born in Puerto Rico and I had a great childhood. My older sister came to study in the States, then I came to the University of Florida, and my younger sister went to FIU. We were very privileged, that we went to a school where they expected women to go to college.

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A bit of Iguana history: looking back 30 years

You are reading the Iguana right now. For some it is a well established practice, for some it is a new or occasional experience.

Here’s some background on the Iguana:

The Gainesville Iguana was first published in October of 1986. During that period the political situation in Central America was very hot, with a proxy war against Nicaragua’s Sandinista government being waged by the Reagan administration. Local political organizing against US policy in Nicaragua was at a high level, as was the anti-apartheid movement and the campaign for UF to divest its holdings in South Africa. Local churches were providing sanctuary for refugees fleeing violence in the homelands of Guatemala and El Salvador, the ongoing battle for abortion rights and woman’s rights in general, the protest of the Trident missile system, health care issues, and the like.

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Dismiss the myth, superstitions at Bat Fest 2017

Lubee Bat Conservancy is excited to welcome everyone to their 13th Annual Florida Bat Festival to be held Saturday, Oct. 21 from 10am to 5pm. Our Flying Giants are ready to dispel the myths and superstitions surrounding these gentle animals.

Admission is $5 for children ages 5-12 (kids 4 and under free) and $8 per adult. The beer garden at Bat Fest is $25 online/$28 at gate (includes festival entry).

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