I want to thank all of you for your dedicated support during our recent campaign. We made many new friends. We shall live to fight another day.
On February 7, 2019, I formally announced my candidacy for Gainesville City Commissioner, District 4, as well as my three campaign goals. The election was March 19, 2019 and unfortunately, we lost. However, these were, and still are, my goals:
First, change the culture of city governance;
Second, ensure fiscal responsibility as new projects are proposed; and
Third, faithfully "protect neighborhoods".
My plan was summarized as follows:
Three Point Plan for Reform
Change the culture of city governance
More than a change of policy, this requires a change of attitude that will put residents and citizens first, especially in decisions impacting the place they live or work. Our elected officials work for the citizens, not the developers, not the staff.
As a private citizen, I will continue to work to ensure greater transparency in the decision-making process, consistent with Open Meeting and Sunshine laws, to include General Policy meetings, which are not televised, and one-on-one Commissioner meetings with Charter officers. The Commission needs to set a tone in public meetings that welcomes public comment before motions are put on the floor and Commissioners "telegraph" how they will vote.
Ensure fiscal responsibility as new projects are proposed
The Gainesville Sun recently acknowledged that GRU reserves are being rapidly depleted and that the GRU transfer must be reduced. This leaves the City with only three options: raise taxes, raise utility rates, or cut services. We are in this predicament because of the two incumbents' 2017 decision to acquire the biomass plant.
In my recent campaign, I asked voters to hold the incumbents running for reelection accountable. However, the voters decided to reelect the incumbents and the chances of anyone being held "accountable" are slight.
A timely Jake Fuller cartoon reprinted in the Gainesville Sun, Editorial page, Sunday, February 10, 2019
Faithfully "protect neighborhoods"
The Gainesville Sun recently recognized that development decisions must be carried out in a way that protects the essential character of our historic neighborhoods.
While my former opponent has long promised this, he backed the GNV R.I.S.E. high-density infill plan sold to the public as a way to incentivize "affordable housing" (nearly to the end). Many of you knew it would destroy neighborhoods and benefit developers.
Seeking a “vibrant” downtown, he proposed an outdoor amphitheater at Depot Park (and backed off again in the face of opposition).
He also tried to eliminate limits on the frequency of loud, amplified music events that will make life miserable for nearby residents (then seeing massive opposition, backed off again and moved to"vote it down" and revamp the entire ordinance when challenged). These efforts continue, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2018, I helped stop GNV R.I.S.E and pledged to work with all stakeholders to develop a serious comprehensive plan for affordable housing. I still firmly oppose making downtown Gainesville a full-blown party center at residents' expense.
Although the incumbents have been returned to office, we all have reason to be extremely concerned that the city will not be able to afford new spending, even to raise employee pay, or to incur more debt without serious consequences.
I have over 45 years of public service to my state and country and have spent much of the past five years back home in Gainesville heavily engaged in public policy as an "active citizen". I will continue to stay engaged, both as a neighborhood leader, and as a monthly contributor to the Gainesville Sun. Visit the "Issues" section to see the positive impact my common sense writings have made.
NewsSaturday, April 3, 2021 9:22 PM
This opinion piece was posted online Friday, April 2, 2021 and will be published in the Gainesville Sun's Issues Section on Sunday, April 4, 2021. It is yet another attempt to challenge the assumptions behind efforts to eliminate single-family zoning, especially in a small college town with over 70,000 students willing to rent apartments by the room at market rate. However, it is clear from renewed efforts to update the Comprehensive Plan in pursuit of "equity" that some form of inclusionary zoning is once again on the horizon.
Saturday, March 20, 2021 11:54 AM
This opinion piece was published last week in the Gainesville Sun. Since the recent Terry Gross interview on NPR with Dexter Filkins, Pulitzer-prize author of "The Forever Wars", there has been a flurry of news items about the former administration's agreement with the Taliban to pull all remaining troops out by May 1, 2021. The issues are examined here.
Saturday, February 27, 2021 9:19 PM
Returning again to GRU, this opinion piece published February 10, 2021, addresses the renewed proposal by GRU to spend over $47 million in the next two years in order to replace every meter with new "smart" meters, despite the ever-present massive debt caused by past borrowing and the 2017 purchase of the biomass plant.
Saturday, February 27, 2021 9:13 PM
In this January 7, 2021 opinion piece, I provide my take concerning how to resolve the many allegations of wrongdoing against outgoing President Donald J. Trump through the legal system. I trust the career prosecutors and the courts to sort all this out and believe it will be done very professionally. It was written before the events of January 6, 2021 in which we saw the U.S. Capitol overrun by a mob intent on stopping the certification process, which I believe was clearly incited to violence by the former President.
Saturday, February 27, 2021 9:09 PM
This opinion piece, published in the Gainesville Sun on December 16, 2020, addresses the issue of "conspiracy theories", many of which are based upon fear. Fear of generational change. Fear of losing one’s job to globalization or innovation. Fear of having one’s guns taken away, and yes, weapons some believe they need in order to protect themselves from the government, even a democratic government.