This is quick and sloppy but it gets the point across. I’m working too many hours trying to reimagine a GOTV campaign in the time of pandemic for Labor in North Central. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to volunteer and make calls to make sure people vote. Oh, and 49 people had evictions filed against them last week in Alachua County (hit up the Alachua County Tenants Association at email@example.com to get involved in the fightback), UF is deciding to furlough workers instead of spending down their $2 billion endowments (get involved here), and COVID-19 is ripping through our communities. So yes, this is short and a little more bitter than a usual voter guide. Leave a comment and I’ll respond for clarification. And I don’t want to hear it about not voting. Just freaking vote.
Top of the Ballot
President of the United States
Vote for Biden. I know. I know. He’s not my first (or second) choice but just vote for Biden. One of the few ways we can avoid something really scary is if Biden wins in a blowout. That would keep this election away from the packed courts and remove as much doubt as possible.
Representative in Congress (District 3)
Vote for Adam Christensen. Yes, I also saw him on Fox News and yes, like most of you I saw that coming a mile away. But still, vote for him. Maybe the census won’t be screwed and Florida will get one or two more congresspeople with one of the new districts having to be in North Central Florida because of the sheer size of CD3. And maybe the Republicans won’t try to challenge the constitutionally required Fair Districting with DeSantis’ new Florida Supreme Court. And maybe Alachua County will get a new district without Clay County, and maybe this seat will be competitive in 2 years. That’d be nice, but until then vote for Adam Christensen.
State Representative 21
Vote for Kayser Enneking. If you live in HD 21, which is Western Alachua, Gilchrist, and Dixie, you should get all your neighbors, friends, and whoever else you can drag to the polls to vote for Enneking. This is one of the few competitive seats in Florida and we could really, really use more friends in Tallahassee.
Alachua County Commission Districts 1
Vote for Mary Alford. She’s a badass and deserves your support. I’m sorry I’m not writing more on Alford but honestly, if you’re reading this and not voting for Alford you’re in the wrong place.
Alachua County Commission Districts 3
Vote for Anna Prizzia. I cannot express to you how excited I am to have her on the commission. Yes, this is short but like before, you wouldn’t be reading this blog if you weren’t already voting for Prizzia.
To my knowledge, no Judge in Florida has ever not retained their office. And if one of them does lose their seat Governor Ron DeSantis gets to appoint someone who will most likely be younger and more conservative. That said, I will be voting YES for Scott Makar and Joseph Lewis and NO for everyone else. As far as I can tell these are the most reasonable conservatives on the bench and would be the only ones DeSantis could replace with worse people.
Florida Amendment 1: Citizen Requirement for Voting Initiative
This is silly and racist. The Florida Citizen Voters are leading this campaign and are very, very conservative. This does nothing. Only US citizens can currently vote and the purpose of this amendment is to drive anti-immigrant voters to the polls, hoping that they will also vote for Trump and his cronies. Vote no against the anti-immigrant crusaders.
Florida Amendment 2: $15 Minimum Wage Initiative
Amendment 2 would increase the state minimum wage from $8.56 in 2020 to $15.00 in 2026. It will go up to $10 on September 30th, 2021, and go up $1 every September 30th until 2026 where it’ll be adjusted annually for inflation. It’s slower than I’d like but it’s still good. Vote yes unless you hate low wage workers.
Florida Amendment 3: Top-Two Open Primaries for State Offices Initiative
This doesn’t do what many people think it’ll do. What’s being proposed isn’t an open primary, this is a jungle primary. The short and long of it is that it’ll keep progressives from being able to win state office. Vote no on this bullshit.
Florida Amendment 4: Require Constitutional Amendments to be Passed Twice Initiative
Because the districts are gerrymandered the politicians don’t represent the will of the people, so the people have to pass progressive initiatives themselves. This is being proposed to stop progressive initiatives like Felon Rights Restoration, the $15 minimum wage, medical marijuana, and others. Vote no on this attack on direct democracy.
Florida Amendment 5: Extend “Save Our Homes” Portability Period Amendment
This is the baby of Sen Brandes. You don’t need to know anything about him except that he sucks (official Straw Hat position). This is a tax cut that goes mostly to the rich, but increasing the transfer from 2 years to 3 does make it more inclusive. The reason most people are supporting this is that it’s very popular and might be politically hard to publicly advocate against. Vote yes.
Florida Amendment 6: Homestead Property Tax Discount for Spouses of Deceased Veterans Amendment
Like Amendment 5, it would be almost impossible to publicly stand against this. It’s a tax cut for the surviving spouses of deceased veterans. It won’t cost much and doesn’t really do much. But people can feel good about supporting veterans instead of, you know, supporting veterans in a substantive way. Vote yes.
Renewal of the Existing One Mill Ad Valorem Tax for School District Operating Expenses
This is an extra tax ($1 per $1,000 taxable value of a home) that pays for ~320 nurses, councilors, etc. Some of the specifics on how this works and how it can be more equitable will be revisited when the new School Board is seated. Please vote yes for this.
County Charter Amendment Establishing County Growth Management Area
This is a major charter amendment that will help us preserve wild spaces and encourage infill growth. An issue with growth has been when large property owners annex themselves into rural municipalities in order to get more favorable zoning changes and lax environmental standards. This is the cheaper and more environmentally damaging way of developing as opposed to following the Alachua County Comp plan which encourages more sustainable development in urban clusters. This amendment would help put a lid on that nonsense. Vote yes on this amendment.
Relationship Between County and Municipal Ordinances for Protection of Certain Natural Resources
Like the above proposed amendment, this one would help preserve environmental standards. Simply put, if there is a conflict between a city and the county over an environmental ordinance, the stricter one would apply. This amendment would prevent municipalities from trying to pass lax environmental regulations to circumvent more comprehensive programs. Vote yes on this amendment.
Identification and Elimination of Racial and Gender Bias in Alachua County Policies
This would require a comprehensive review of all current and proposed policies for racial and gender bias. I’m not sure what enforcement mechanism there is for it, but I think it’s a good proposal. Vote yes to mandate this review.
County Charter Amendment Establishing Alachua County Affordable Housing Trust Fund
This doesn’t do everything that it should, but it does lay the groundwork. The Trust cannot legally be funded in the charter but this would establish it. We need a bucket full of cash to address the affordable housing crisis in Alachua County and this amendment is the bucket. When the new County Commission is sworn in, it’s up to us to get them to fund it with linkage fees, a new tax, or transfers. Vote yes on creating the framework for the Alachua County Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
County Charter Amendment Concerning Candidate Treasurer Report Requirements
Currently, candidates have to submit a paper and an electronic copy of their treasurer reports. It’s a minor inconvenience to have to submit a paper copy but there’s no way to do away with this requirement except for updating the charter. Vote yes.
County Charter Cleanup Amendment Removing Unconstitutional Provisions
There’s some really queerphobic stuff in the County Charter that should be taken out. They’re not in effect because they’ve been ruled unconstitutional but they’re still there. And like above, the only way to take them out is by voting on them like this. Vote yes.
City of Gainesville Charter Amendment Changing the Name of the Charter Officer “Clerk of the Commission” to “City Clerk”
This doesn’t matter. It makes no difference but the only way to change the name is to vote on it. Vote yes.
City of Gainesville Charter Amendment Eliminating Restrictions on Construction of Paved Surfaces on City-Owned Land
This is the only prosed City charter change that actually does something. In 1998 when the City was building up parks along Hogtown Creek, a group of angry White people started a movement to prevent the accessibility of these parks. It was done because they didn’t want Black people in or around their backyards. Sorry for the bluntness in this analysis, but I don’t have time to lead you to this conclusion in a less jarring way. What they did was change the charter to prevent the use of funds to make paved paths along Hogtown Creek. This prevented us from expanding the park (ADA compliance requirements for federal/state grants) and directly led to the over development of the area around the corner of University Avenue and W 34th Street. If not for these White people’s fear of Black people, the Publix and much of the plazas and apartment complexes would be a large nature park instead of one of the most polluted bodies of water in Gainesville. Vote yes to undo this mess.
City of Gainesville Charter Amendment Limiting Commission Authority to Dispose of Certain Utility Systems
This would make it harder to sell off parts of GRU. We do a lot of new things that we didn’t do way back yonder, like GRUcom (city fiber), and we need to update our charter to make sure that the utility owned by the people stays with the people. Vote yes.
City of Gainesville Charter Amendment Creating a Preamble to the Charter
Sure. Why the hell not? We’re voting on a lot of cosmetic changes to the City and County charters, what’s one more. Vote yes.