Week in review (12-17-16)

I’m starting to publish on here a week in review. It’ll be short snippets of the news that I found interesting throughout the week. It’s not meant to be comprehensive, unbiased, or even well written. 


  • Privatized Medicaid is more expensive and wasteful in Florida. It recently paid $26 million for dead people. Thanks Jeb. And if Obamacare is being repealed and we at least have the conversation about a public option? (link).
  • I helped with a living wage increase for 154 workers for the City of Gainesville. It’s part of a 5 year plan to have the 10 largest employers in Alachua County pay a living wage by 2020. This year has been rough for progressives. It’s nice to end it with a solid win for the working class. (link)
  • The Florida Senate Dems are creating a shadow Democratic party. No really. It’s called the “Florida Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee” and is an “Affiliated Party Committee”. It can do a lot of what the Florida Democratic Party (FDP) does but without a lot of the finance rules and what not. Why would they do this? The next chair of the FDP is likely going to be either Dwight Bullard or Stephen Bittel out of Miami. Bittel is part of another group called the Florida Alliance which is in itself a shadow Democratic party in of itself that butts heads with the Senate Dems.

    To make it even more complicated, Bittel is supported by Rep. Keith Ellison and Bullard by Sen. Bernie Sanders. Rep. Ellison is running for Chair of the Democratic National Committee and is supported by Sanders. Why? Most likely because of Israel/Palestine support. Ellison was in Nation of Islam and Bullard took a trip to Palestine with the Dream Defenders.

    To me it looks like the Senate Democrats and Ellison are expecting Bittel to be the next chair of the Florida Democratic Party. Can someone start a gossip column around Democratic leadership? (link 1 and link 2)
  • The Florida budget is going to take a hard hit next year. Growth isn’t what was expected but the big hit likely going to be to k-12. Schools are set to lose more than $400 million due mainly to an ideological bend in the legislature. Property values are going up and Tallahassee has in the past lowered the millage rate to net the same about of money each year. (link)
  • There’s a new lawsuit against the sweeping anti-abortion law passed in Florida last year and set to go into effect January 1st. The new lawsuit argues that the free speech of abortion counselors is violated since they have to give a state mandated speech about alternatives to abortion. The other two parts of the law being litigated right now are are around patient records being reviewed by the state and the blocking of funding for any organization that has anything to do with abortion. (link).
  • Florida enrolls 16% of 4 year olds who live in poverty and 12% of 3 year olds. The main reason? Its woefully underfunded. Shameful. (link)
  • Workman’s comp insurance jumped 14.5% this year do to a court rulings and this state legislative session will attempt to make some changes to deal with it. Lawyers want more/better fees. Businesses want to pay less. And workers want their damn money. This is a really important and boring item that’s going to be dealt with in 2017 (link).
  • President Obama signed into law the new The Helping Families legislation. This is the biggest overhaul to mental health services in… maybe ever. It creates a Minority Fellowship Program, puts in resources to close the rural mental health gap, and overall is a pretty solid bill. It pass Congress with only 26 voting against and the Senate with only 5. (link).
  • Parks are under attack again in the state of Florida. The director of the Florida Park Service resigned and there’s talk of bringing cattle grazing, timber production, and outsourcing management to for-profit companies. (link)
  • The governor picked conservative Charles Alan Lawson as Supreme Court justice. The somewhat liberal leaning court votes 5-2 on a lot of contentious issues so this isn’t a game changer. The real issue is going to be 2019. Scott will attempt to appoint three more justices on his way out but the Supreme Court is maintaining that the next governor should appoint them. (link)
  • SB82 which would make the Dreamers pay out of state tuition is on the move in the Florida Senate. The first stop is the Education Committee which is chaired by Sen. Hukill. Call her at (386) 304-7630 and tell her to not agenda the bill. (link)
  • I’ll give a better breakdown of some of the bills to watch this session, but here’s a partial list without much analysis.
    • SB70 – would treat attacks on police as a hate crime. It has 5 committee stops so it’s likely not going anywhere.
    • SB72 -Would make it easier to register to vote. No companion in the house yet.
    • SB74 – Restoration of rights for felons.  
    • SB78 – Require recess in schools.
    • SB80 – Makes it harder for lawyers to get fees for violations to public records requests.
    • SB82 – Takes away in-state tuition to Dreamers.
    • SB84 – Memo urging congress to repeal the special treatment of Cubans reaching the USA.
    • SB98 – Anti-fracking bill.  
    • SJR108 – Another anti-fracking bill.
    • SB120 – Anti-immigrant bill that would 1 up any offense an undocumented persons. Would make 1st degree misdemeanors a 3rd degree felony, 3rd felony a 2nd felony, etc.
    • SB128 – More stand your ground immunity mess.
    • SB140 – Open carry bill.
    • SB144 – Would ban phones while driving for those under 18.
    • SB160 – Bill to increase minimum wage $1 plus inflation a year.
    • SB162 – Bans plastic bags.
    • SB176 – Bill to make tampons tax free.

2016 Election Journal

Election Journal: Day +3

What is there left to say? What is there left to do? How did this happen?

It certainly was not the doing of one man, or one election. Trump is the result of years of right-wing resentment and organizing. A lesson we cannot afford to ignore.

It started with the Tea Party. Led by Obama, the Democrats took the White House, Senate, and House in 2008. In 2010 the Tea Party wave danced with racist ideals like birtherism and brought right-wing fringe anti-establishment people such as Congressman Yoho into the fold (background on the Tea-Party). These guys caused a lot of headache for the Republican establishment but were thought of as a necessary faction of the party to win the White House in 2012. The Obama team won though. The Republican Party took a long hard look at itself and decided that they need to appeal to more minority voters. Their plan was to bring in conservative Latinos with “traditional values” via immigration reform. It might have worked, but the Tea Party blocked these efforts as they made their move for power in 2014 and effectively took over the party in 2016.

When you dance with the devil; the devil leads. Every time.

But it wasn’t taxes or Obamacare that united the new wing of the Republican party. It was white fear. When Trump talked about building a wall, deporting people, being politically correct, etc. it resonated because white people feel threatened. Their perceived place in society is being challenged. Most Trump voters think life was better 50 years ago while most Clinton voters think it’s better now (pew poll). The 60’s were the good ol’ days… for white people. Segregated fountains and schools. Leave it to Beaver on the air. Cross burnings every Saturday.

Not everyone who voted for Trump is a racist. But every goddamned racist voted for Trump. How many votes was that? Enough to put a racist in the White House.

Clinton lost Florida by some 120,000 votes with 74% Turnout. Obama won Florida in 2012 by some 75,000 votes with 72% turnout.

I haven’t gotten too into the numbers yet but I think the main reason Florida went to Trump is because North Florida was ignored. I-4 and SE Florida did their part but there was nothing happening in North Florida to stop Trump from running up the numbers. A last minute push in Duval County made them perform better than Obama in ’12 but it wasn’t enough. The same thing happened in 2010 and 2014 in Florida. Conservative democratic candidates don’t appeal to North Florida voters.

But  that’s just part of the story. White fear didn’t find an outlet in the Democratic party. The Dems pushed Clinton down our throats which alienated the progressive wing during an anti-establishment year. People of Color, especially African American youth were reluctant to vote for a woman who called them super predators two decades before. Hell, white union workers in the rustbelt remembered the Clinton role in NAFTA and voted against their union!

But in all Clinton lost because of her and the Democratic party. The ground game, data, etc. was all right on point but what can you do when the candidate is flat? When the party doesn’t speak to the working class? A major lesson here is that fear against an opponent is not enough.

The Democratic party needs to be taken apart and put back together or abandoned as an avenue of struggle. I’ve been asked by a lot of people what the next steps are. It’s simple: Organize and resist.

Some people are going to go into their Democratic Executive Committee’s and try to fix them. Good on you. Please send us progressive candidates to vote for as opposed to moderates who are only slightly better than the Republicans.

But for most of us the work will be about grassroots resistance to the Trump agenda. It will be about doing all we can to stop his backwards march of racism, attacks on the environment, and roll backs to worker protections. It’ll be about street marches and soft locks, bodies in the streets to stop deportations, resist police brutality. and clog up his rabid brand of capitalism. We’re going to make the GOP scream. And when we’re done, we’ll have a diverse coalition of working class people that’ll be unstoppable.


Election Journal: Day 0

In less than 24 hours this election will be done (barring a recount).

I had to make a tough call today. I’ll have maybe 25 people working for labor tomorrow and had to calculate the validity of a KKK threat at polling locations. Just rumors, nothing credible.

But how many people do I take off the Get Out The Vote (GOTV) operations to run voter protection programs? Every person I take off  GOTV means a couple dozen voters missed. Am I diverting resources chasing ghosts? Is that what they want?

Do I want to send people to these polling locations despite even the slightest chance there could be a confrontation, or even violence?

I shouldn’t have to be dealing with this shit. It’s 2016 and I’m trying figure out how these ass-hats can still intimidate voters like it 1956.

Oy vey. Go fucking vote already. You’ve been called a thousand times and told to vote. Hell, even Queen Bee told you to vote. Here’s a voting guide to help. Need a ride to the polls? Call the NAACP at 352-870-7013. Message or call me if you need to know where to vote. Just go vote already so we can get on with pushing these shit politics like voter intimidation back into the trashcan of history, where they belong.


Election Journal: Day -4:

We knocked on nearly 4,000 doors with 140 canvass shifts this week.

We had 2 canvassers called racial slurs in Western Alachua County. While not unexpected it is disappointing and embarrassing.

There are three pillars to win an election in Florida:
1) Have a big turn out in SE Florida. Using this strategy alone cost Crist the governorship in 2014.
2) Engage the Latinx vote in the I-4 corridor. The new Puerto Rican residents, if they vote, could carry the state.
3) Contain the dumpster fire that is North Florida.

Pillar three is the weakest and most apt to crumble. The amount of time and resources spent on 1 and 2 is understandable but alone probably won’t be enough to carry the state. Over the last month my team has been begging for resources and people from everyone we could think of. Union presidents, old friends in different states… everyone.

One leader told me “I can’t send my people to Klan county”.

Another one said “let Trump take North Florida, we’ll take Central and South”.

I refuse to cede anything to Trump or the Klan.

I understand the sentiment that we’re just some backwards fools that need to be left to our own demise. I get it. But progressives in the South know that operating in this area tempers us. It’s hard, hard work. It’s discouraging at times but it’s important work that empowers communities under attack.

We’re running voter protection programs.

We’re going through the gauntlet to knock on doors everyone else has forgotten about.

We’re containing the dumpster fire the best we can.

And after this election mess dies down we’re going to keep building the progressive movement that pushes these backwards politics to the fringes where they belong.


Election Journal: Day -7:

I ran a canvass today in Palatka – precinct 39. It’s a predominately African American district in a gentrifying neighborhood. The first 4 houses I went to said they couldn’t vote because they’re felons. Outside the 5th house a group were sitting around, playing dominoes when I was asked to leave the neighborhood. Not because I’m a white dude in the black part of town but because “we’re all felons here, you’re in the hood” and that “they done forgot about us, go somewhere that still matters”.

Fuck. Heart. Broken. I remember when Gov. Scott stopped the automatic restoration of rights. Elections have consequences.

I go on and the houses get nicer. More middle class African American households. Talk to a few people. Get them rides to the polls. Talk a black Sanders supporter out of voting for Trump and for Clinton or Stein. I’m being followed.

A white lady wants to know what I’m doing. She owns a business nearby and wants to know if I’m helping with the voter fraud. We talk for a little and she tells me how Clinton has killed people. How she’s a closeted homosexual. How she is using mind control. I bit. I ask her “if she can use mind control then why is she having trouble in the polls right now”.

Her response. “It doesn’t work so well on white people.”

Rage headache. FEC compliance report. A beer with my wife. Prep walk packets for tomorrow. Staff a phone bank. Organize snacks for 29 release staff. 7 days.

2016 GENERAL ELECTIONS GUIDE – Alachua County

Update: 11/2/16: After a lot of conversations about Jill Stein I’d like to correct the record. Stein believes in vaccines and has a much more nuanced critique of the health effects of Wi-Fi. That said I still think she’s not speaking out against these and other conspiracy theories because she doesn’t want to lose their votes. This is dangerous but different than the way I presented her below. 


Vote by mail ballots were sent out on Wednesday (10/5) and should be in voters hand any day. You can request or track your ballot here.

You can skip the reasoning/background and see my recommendations here. Whatever you do, make sure you vote. You can vote early from October 24th to November 5th from 9-6PM at:

You can also find your voting location here if you want to vote on election day (Nov 8th).

President:

Vote for Clinton. She’s a flawed, center/center-right candidate, but you should vote for her. Her politics don’t line up with mine but she has my vote because Trump and his brand of politics need to be soundly defeated. If you’re considering a third party candidate please know that Johnson is a far-right ass-hat that can’t name one foreign leader and Jill Stein is an anti-vaxer that thinks wi-fi causes disease. And if you’re considering voting for Trump… how did you find this blog?

US Senate:

Vote Patrick Murphy. He’s another center-right democrat (can we please find a progressive to run for office) who has very little chance of winning. His crowing achievement is that he’s not Marco Rubio.

Congress D-3

Vote for Ken McGurn. This is a very tough one for me. Ken McGurn is yet another center-right democrat with a problematic history. Tom Wells (NPA) has better politics but no chance of winning. None. Don’t tell me this year is somehow made of magic and Wells can win, because he can’t. I don’t fault people for voting for Wells over McGurn. I blame McGurn’s politics and his history of calling homeless people crooks, criminals, and rapist (sound like Trump much?). My recommendation is to vote for McGurn to defeat the far-right Tea Party joke that is Ted Yoho but tell him you have a problem with how he talks about homeless people.

Florida Senate-8

Vote for Rod Smith. This might be the most important race on the ticket as it’ll have major ramifications for state politics for years to come. Smith is a centrist Democrat with a problematic history. Hell, they made a documentary about one of them but he’s good on many other issues. He’s also not Keith Perry who famously tried to take away local wage theft ordinances while his business was being accused of wage theft. Perry also recently slapped a man and there’s a video of it.

Florida Representative-10

Vote for Jerry Bullard. If you live in High Springs you’ll have a chance to vote for Bullard. His wife is a union teacher and he fully supports public education. His opponent, Elizabeth Porter, is a rising star in the Republican Party. If Bullard can pull off an upset it’ll be a major blow to the Republican bench.

Florida Representative – 21

Vote for Marihelen Wheeler. This is the first true progressive on your ballot. She’s a retired union school teacher, environmentalist, immigration rights activist, folksy as hell, and an all around great person. Vote for her. Give her money. Volunteer your time with her. If she gets elected she’ll do amazing things for working people.

Clerk of the Court

Write in Sam Collins. J.K Irby is a good guy that will undoubtedly be elected but the circumstances surrounding his father’s retirement are shady and needsto be called out. A strong write in turnout will show that the actions leading to J.K Irby being the only name on the ballot didn’t go unnoticed.

Sheriff:

Saddie Darnell has terrible politics. She lead the state wide charge against medical marijuana and her constant fighting with the County Commission is tiresome. Jake Jacobs is a Republican. If you can stomach voting for a Republican, go for it. If you can’t and can’t vote for Darnell – write in Pat Fitzpatrick. (Note: This is a insider joke. You can’t actually vote for a write in)

County Commissioners:

Write in candidates names won’t appear on the ballot but you can still vote for them. They are there due to a loophole in the primary law which allowed them to close out the recent August primary. It’s very unlikely that a Republican can be elected to the Alachua County Commission so most of them threw their support behind conservative Democrats. If the primary was open then the Republicans would have voted for these conservative Democrats and they would have won. The write-in candidates made sure that only Democrats voted in the primary election spoiling their plans and protecting the integrity of a Democratic primary.

While this worked well for progressives in Alachua County it also worked well for conservatives in Republican led counties. In Jacksonville a campaign manager closed out the primary of the much despised State Attorney Angela Corey. She ended up losing but the actions of her campaign manager locked out progressive voices and people of color who had major issues with her. In the outlying counties the far-right used this tactic to ensure that only the most reactionary are elected to office.

Write them in as a protest to the broken closed primary system if you want, I’ve considered it. I strongly supported Byery and Hutch in their primaries and will be voting for them again. I don’t know any of them or their reasons for running but Chloe seems to have great politics.

Vote Mike Byerly for County Commission 1.

Vote Robert “Hutch” Hutchinson for County Commission 3.

Write in Chloe Michelle Goldbach for County Commission 5.

Justice of the Supreme Court and District Court of Appeals:

Vote YES to retain all Judges. I don’t think judges should be able to be recalled. It’s bad for the justice system and democracy.  Here’s a quick read on the topic.

Amendments and Questions:

Vote NO on Constitutional Amendment 1 – the so called solar amendment is backed by the utility companies and would hamper individuals from putting up panels (link).

Vote YES on Constitutional Amendment 2 – this medical marijuana amendment isn’t perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction. It’ll allow people with certain, really debilitating illnesses, to use marijuana legally.

Vote YES on Constitutional Amendment 3 – this amendment would exempt first respondents (police officers and firefighters) who are permanently disabled in the line of duty from ad valorem taxes.

Vote YES on Constitutional Amendment 5 – extends the homestead tax break to poor senior citizens. Poor elderly people in the state need this relief.

Vote YES on Alachua County Question 1 – the one mil for schools tax is really important for Alachua County. This tax goes to pay for art and music teachers, technology purchases, and nurses at every school. If you think kids, especially those who are poor and/or of color, should get a well rounded education then you should vote for this.

Vote YES on Alachua County Question 2 – The “Wild Places Public Spaces” tax goes to purchases conservation land and to build parks. This tax has gone to make Alachua County the unique place of culture and nature that I love.

november-ballot

Alachua County Primary Predictions – 2016

Polls close tomorrow, Tuesday August 30th at 7 PM. If you haven’t voted already please do. You can find your polling location here and my recommendations here.

My predictions:

  • Turnout will be ~23% (for Dems).
  • Hutch, Roy, Barton and Amendment 4 will win in landslides.
  • Byerly and Darnell will win with ~55%.
  • Murphy and Bullard (HD-10) will win decidedly.

Closed Democratic Primary for County Commissioners and Sheriff:

We’re on track for a turnout in the low 20’s. We might break 25% if there’s a major push for turnout on election day.

Dem votes as of 8/28
Voted Early 6202
Voted By Mail 7071
At the Polls 0
Total 13273
Turnout so far 15.41%

Unlikely voters, those who have voted in 0 of 3 or 1 of 3 previous primaries are making up less than 30% of the vote. Note that this doesn’t take into account the newly registered who didn’t have an opportunity to vote in previous elections. There’s a lot of people in Gainesville who are young and/or registered for the first time due to the presidential primary and are voting for the first time during this election cycle. If there was an anti-incumbent surge I’d expect a higher vote share from unlikely voters.

Primary Voting Total People
0 of 3 1,096 8.26%
1 of 3 2,833 21.34%
2 of 3 2,874 21.65%
3 of 3 6,470 48.75%
Total People 13,273

There have been major efforts to turnout the African-American vote the previous Sunday and this past Saturday. The payoff has been good for unlikely voters but the overall effect has been small. African-Americans make up a disproportionately higher share of unlikely voters so far but the total vote share is still low. It seems that the majority of people early voting were regular voters. In fact, the vote share of African-Americans has gone down from 24.5% on Tuesday (8/23) to 22.8% by Sunday (8/28). The total vote share of African-Americans is likely to go down further unless there’s a massive turnout on Tuesday.

Primary Voting
Race/Ethnicity: Voting as of 8/28/16
African American % Asian % Caucasian %
0 of 3 419 38.23 15 1.37 616 56.2
1 of 3 657 23.19 56 1.98 2,000 70.6
2 of 3 608 21.16 29 1.01 2,154 74.95
3 of 3 1,342 20.74 37 0.57 4,996 77.22
Total People 3,026 22.8 137 1.03 9,766 73.58
Primary Voting
Race/Ethnicity: Voting as of 8/28/16
Hispanic % Native American % Total People
0 of 3 41 3.74 4 0.36 1,096 8.26%
1 of 3 112 3.95 8 0.28 2,833 21.34%
2 of 3 67 2.33 13 0.45 2,874 21.65%
3 of 3 82 1.27 12 0.19 6,470 48.75%
Total People 302 2.28 37 0.28 13,273

The early voters so far are the people who put these incumbents into office to begin with. I expect ~6,500 people to vote at the polls on Tuesday. They are likely to be younger and more diverse then those who have already voted; but there would have to be a lot of them to make a difference at this point considering the numbers.


Alachua County School Board:

This race is seeing a lot of turnout with Republicans and likely voters. For a winning Kinsey coalition there should be a lot of young, African-American, and unlikely voters as well as a high Republican turnout.

All County Voters as of 8/29
Voted Early 8235
Voted By Mail 12195
At the Polls 0
Total 20430
Turnout so far 11.24%

The vote share of African-Americans drops to less than 16% for the School Board but the number of unlikely voters is still disproportionately higher, especially for those who have not voted in any of the last three primaries.

Primary Voting
Race/Ethnicity: Voting as of 8/28/16
African American % Asian % Caucasian %
0 of 3 505 25.12 47 2.34 1,361 67.71
1 of 3 707 17.02 93 2.24 3,163 76.16
2 of 3 643 14.05 51 1.11 3,745 81.84
3 of 3 1,385 14.29 56 0.58 8,116 83.75
Total People 3,240 15.86 247 1.21 16,385 80.2
Primary Voting
Race/Ethnicity: Voting as of 8/28/16
Hispanic % Native American % Total People
0 of 3 87 4.33 7 0.35 2,010 9.84%
1 of 3 178 4.29 12 0.29 4,153 20.33%
2 of 3 111 2.43 23 0.5 4,576 22.40%
3 of 3 115 1.19 18 0.19 9,691 47.44%
Total People 491 2.4 60 0.29 20,430

The vote share of Republicans, who have their own primary for HD-21 right now, is 27.5%. Even if every non Democrat voted for Kinsey (which they’re not) it wouldn’t be enough to carry a winning coalition.

Primary Voting
Party: Voting as of 8/28/16
Democrats % Green % Libertarian %
0 of 3 1,096 54.53 2 0.1 12 0.6
1 of 3 2,833 68.22 6 0.14 12 0.29
2 of 3 2,874 62.81 2 0.04 11 0.24
3 of 3 6,470 66.76 2 0.02 4 0.04
Total People 13,273 64.97 12 0.06 39 0.19
Primary Voting
Party: Voting as of 8/28/16
Other % Republicans % Unaffiliated %
0 of 3 60 2.99 308 15.32 532 26.47
1 of 3 52 1.25 873 21.02 377 9.08
2 of 3 50 1.09 1,394 30.46 245 5.35
3 of 3 24 0.25 3,047 31.44 144 1.49
Total People 186 0.91 5,622 27.52 1,298 6.35

The millennial vote (those under 35) hasn’t turned out in large numbers yet. They do make up a disproportionate share of first time primary and unlikely voters. A phenomenon that’s likely exaggerated due to many of them recently registering to vote for the first time. People over 65 make up just under half of the votes cast so far. This is likely going to go down on election day but the trend will most likely hold. Old people vote much, much more often than young people especially in non-presidential elections.

Primary Voting 18 to 24 % 25 to 34 % 35 to 49 %
0 of 3 198 9.85 301 14.98 404 20.1
1 of 3 354 8.52 520 12.52 689 16.59
2 of 3 105 2.29 264 5.77 619 13.53
3 of 3 44 0.45 195 2.01 711 7.34
Total People 701 3.43 1,280 6.27 2,423 11.86
Primary Voting 50 to 64 % 65+ % Total People
0 of 3 581 28.91 523 26.02 2,010
1 of 3 1,198 28.85 1,392 33.52 4,153
2 of 3 1,452 31.73 2,136 46.68 4,576
3 of 3 2,708 27.94 6,033 62.25 9,691
Total People 5,939 29.07 10,084 49.36 20,430

I know all the campaigns are going to be pulling out all the stops until polls close; but Kinsey and Thorpe have an uphill battle ahead of them.

2016 Alachua County Elections Guide

EDIT: 8/28/16:
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:

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:

US Senate:

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.

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).

The main reason I support Eileen Roy because those that work for her support her (see: Alachua County Education Association).

A full listing of candidates can be found here.

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