Freedom Letters, Gainesville and Alachua County Candidates
The meaning of freedom
The latest GOP buzzword is “freedom,” because it means so much to so many people and is inherently subjective. Standard definitions are universally familiar, sometimes even banal.
Governor Ron DeSantis likes to talk about “the Free State of Florida” – perfect nonsense for a bumper sticker. Maybe he and his cohorts could answer a few questions. When first graders participate in active shooting exercises, do they feel free? How free are they? How’s it feel to sit down with your 14-year-old son and “discuss” the encounter with law enforcement? When a 10-year-old girl or a 40-year-old woman gets pregnant and realizes parenthood is inevitable, ready or not, are they free?
Filing for bankruptcy because you can’t pay your hospital bill doesn’t happen in a free society. It is the opposite of freedom when thousands of “freedom fighters” use domestic terror to reject the peaceful transfer of power, that crowd having been sprouted, spawned, nurtured and perpetuated by a sitting president. No political figure in our history has given freedom less respect.
The purest meaning of freedom, in my opinion, is that it is a state of mind that brings peace of mind. These days, my mindset is anything but.
Sam Collins, Gainesville
Twelve years ago, Jo Beaty had already sat through hundreds of hours of commission meetings, presenting well-documented evidence before an arrogant city commission that still had time to ditch the fiscally and environmentally unsustainable biomass incinerator. . She continued to present evidence of a flawed contract and objected to the city’s purchase of the factory at the exorbitant price we paid even though an audit was underway.
If the commission had listened to Jo and others, we might not be in the money pit we find ourselves in today. It’s leadership with foresight and Jo is exactly what we need now.
I have known Gary Gordon for 40 years as a pragmatic, highly experienced and successful civic leader who works with all members of the community to solve problems. He is open-minded and empathetic. He loves numbers and bases his decisions on reality, not risky, untested propositions. We have a money problem in Gainesville and we need a mayor who understands accounting!
Christian Newman is a thoughtful, well-rounded candidate whose understanding of sound business and a healthy environment will help Gainesville grow while maintaining what makes us such an attractive and livable community.
Vote for three dedicated community advocates!
Monica Leadon Cooper, Gainesville
A leader and a learner
I have known Harvey Ward for many years and find him to be the kind of non-politician who knows how to lead with dignity. He has compassion, integrity and ability. But more importantly, Harvey is a learner.
He is the most widely read municipal commissioner on issues, policies and governance. He is not the most talkative commissioner, just the most listened to. If he doesn’t know a topic, he’ll gladly share it with you and then start learning.
Gillian, his better half, is an associate dean at UF, giving Harvey deep insight into town/dress issues. In Gainesville, the elephant in the room is always the university, and Commissioner Ward understands the importance of maintaining the relationship with the university as a two-way partnership.
Gainesville faces new challenges for neighborhoods, and Harvey has championed single-family neighborhoods while endorsing programs to encourage affordable housing. We all know about the historic racial inequalities in Gainesville. Still, Harvey was one of the few commissioners to do something about it, including the heirs’ assistance program, the east transfer station, and the east health clinic, among other projects.
I’m voting for Harvey Ward for mayor.
Bob Cohen, Gainesville
Not an ideologue
I support Christian Newman for City Commission District 4. Christian grew up in Gainesville, receiving several graduate degrees from UF (Ecology and Wildlife Conservation, and a Masters in Business Administration). He has taught with Teach for America in the Mississippi Delta and at Eastside High School. He has created and sold environmental and technology companies, and now works for a non-profit energy research organization on endangered species research.
I spoke with Newman several times and found him caring, sincere and humble. He asks questions. He is not an ideologue.
My goal in local politics has been to adopt well-researched and tested policies to address Gainesville’s specific housing and land use issues. I am confident that only one candidate, Christian Newman, has the maturity, wisdom, openness, and scientific and financial background to move Gainesville forward.
I wholeheartedly endorse Christian Newman
Kim Tanzer, Gainesville
As a recently retired teacher from Alachua County with 29 years of experience, here is why I strongly support Kay Abbitt for School District 5. I have watched her over the past eight years as Kay envisioned, created and now runs a highly ranked public charter school primarily serving the underserved. east side students.
Running her A-rated school, Kay works efficiently and successfully with many school district departments. She already knows our county system inside out and has proven ideas that can help improve schools in Alachua.
On the other hand, his opponent is 26 years old.
Our children need Kay.
Kirsten Flamand, Gainesville
The Republican Party seems reluctant to celebrate diversity among its citizens. Locally, our own Congressman Kat Cammack voted against LGBTQ community rights during her entire term in the House (e.g. HR 4176).
Books showing children of different colors are banned, and school conversations about different sexual orientations are banned. I have not heard Cammack speak out against these policies, pushed by his fellow Republican lawmakers.
Your recent coverage of President Joe Biden’s order to protect LGBTQ rights across the country, with a particular focus on Republican-controlled states, was a welcome relief. I was happy to see that The Sun was raising awareness of the LGBTQ community’s need for protection.
We are fortunate to have in Danielle Hawk, candidate for Florida’s 3rd congressional district, someone committed to advocating, supporting and prioritizing marginalized communities. Striving to cultivate an inclusive and diverse community is a promise that Hawk will work tirelessly to uphold.
Citizens of District 3 Florida, you decide. Do you want a world championed by Hawk, encouraging diversity and empowerment for all? Or do you want the fantasy world of Cammack’s fake news? For me, the choice is clear.
For more information on Hawk’s campaign, visit www.daniellehawk.com.
Pamela Paris, Gainesville
Deadline for election letters
The deadline for submitting letters to the editor endorsing candidates for the next election is Sunday, July 31. Send letters of 200 words or less to [email protected]. Please include your full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes (we only print the author’s name and city of residence).
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