After talking to people at the Grayson (US Senate) and Zedalis (Alachua Sheriff) campaigns and community members whose support they’ve earned I’d like to encourage everyone to support them. Their politics are better than their opponents and there’s so much doubt in their domestic violence cases to warrant a support. Thank you to the strong feminist who took the time to talk me through this.
You can skip the reasoning and see my recommendations here. Whatever you do, make sure you vote. You can vote early though Saturday, August 27th from 9-5PM (6PM on Thursday) at:
- Supervisor of Elections Office – 515 N Main Street, Gainesville, FL 32601
- Millhopper Branch Library – 3145 NW 43rd Street, Gainesville, FL 32606
- Tower Road Branch Library – 3020 SW 75th Street, Gainesville, FL 32608
You can also find your voting location here if you want to vote on election day
The easy stuff:
- Hutch vs McDaniel for County Commission 3 is going to be a land slide for Hutch. I like McDaniel and hope he runs for something again. I’ll be voting for Hutch because he’s been a champion for working families and the environment.
- Kim Barton for Supervisor of Elections. While all the candidates are very qualified I think she’ll do the best for outreach which will help drive up voter turnout.
- Yes on Amendment 4. It’ll make solar energy cheaper.
The not so easy stuff:
The US Senate race in Florida became seemingly un-competitive as soon a Rubio decided to use the Pulse Massacre as cause to run for reelection. The sole redeeming quality of the center-right, New Democrat Murphy was that he was electable. Have you seen his polling numbers among Latinos? Grayson’s domestic violence accusations cannot be dismissed simply because he is a progressive firebrand. I’m voting for Pam Keith because I can’t support a wife beater and Murphy’s a dud. I don’t think she’ll win the nomination and I don’t think any of them can beat Rubio.
Alachua County Sheriff:
Darnell vs Zedalis for Sheriff is the least interesting race for me. Darnell lead the state wide charge against medical marijuana and her constant fighting with the County Commission is tiresome. It looked like Zedalis was the obvious alternative until he was fired this year for domestic violence. It’s a complicated case but I don’t feel comfortable advocating for anyone with these allegations lobbed at him. Read up on Zedalis. If you believe his story and don’t mind his pro NRA stance vote for him. If not, write in Pat Fitzpatrick.
The hard decisions:
There are only 2 races that really interest me for the August 30th election in Alachua County. Complicated histories between the Chamber of Commerce, white environmentalist, and the African American community has come to a head. Most of the issues stem from Envision Alachua. If you need to get caught up The Fine Print has a pretty comprehensive read on it. The short and long of it is that African American people in Alachua County, like much of America, are more poor, have less opportunity, and are less healthy than their white neighbors. The mostly white environmentalist opposed the plan which promised economic salvation to the African American community at the cost of sensitive wet lands. The two incumbent candidates in this race are white and have been steadily against Envision Alachua while the two insurgent candidates are African American and supportive.
Byerly vs Thorpe for County Commission 1:
The Gainesville Sun’s endorsement of Thorpe came as a shock to me. What was more shocking though was how they gave him a pass on his anti-gay sermon and his funding sources. I think Thorpe can come back from both of these but hasn’t had the opportunity to because he hasn’t been pushed.
One argument against Byerly that is sticking is that he served 16 years as a commissioner. While hard to unpack concisely- the entire notion of term limits is undemocratic and highly corrosive to a functioning government. If institutional knowledge isn’t kept with our elected officials it will rest in un-elected staff and lobbyist. But the sound bite that Byerly is career politician plays well.
- Byerly founded Stand By Our Plan and was the tip of the spear in the Envision Alachua fight back.
- Byerly pushed through the County’s Wage Recovery Ordinance which has recovered tens of thousands of dollars in stolen wages for working people.
- Byerly pushed through the County’s Minimum Wage Ordinance which has lifted hundreds of workers out of poverty and towards a living wage.
In the end I support Byerly because he has supported the issues that matter most to me.
Note: due to the loophole in Florida’s open primary law only Democrats can vote in the County Commission races on August 30th
Kinsey vs Roy for School Board 2:
The incumbent, Eileen Roy was on the planning board and firmly opposed to Envision Alachua. With her already tainted in the eyes of the African American community she then helped push school Superintendent Dr. Owens out. I was never a fan of Dr. Owens. He brought religion into the school system, took condoms away from youths, and was known for being unsupportive towards teachers. What pushed Roy and two others to ask for his resignation was when he was accused of plagiarizing in his self published book.
The main issue I have with Kinsey isn’t his age or experience. I’m sure he’d do a fine job. It gives me pause that he’s funded by a lot of right wing and reactionary sources. What really worries me is that he seems to be supporting people whose politics I despise. I’ve yet to get a good explanation as to why Thorpe and Kinsey were at Kieth Perry’s campaign kick off (starts at 2:40).
A full listing of candidates can be found here.