Web surfers getting more online access to city government

Published: Monday, January 24, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 23, 2005 at 10:50 p.m.
The Gainesville city clerk's office is in the process of putting the contents of its electronic legislation tracking system online, giving residents access to all the items that go before the City Commission at the click of a mouse. The system, still in an "incubation stage," can be accessed from the "Legislative Information Portal" link on the City of Gainesville's Web site - www.cityofgainesville.org.
While Gainesville previously posted agendas and other information online, the new system, paid for with funds left over in the clerk's budget at the end of last year, will provide a more comprehensive look at city documents.
Right now, the system only contains a limited number of items from City Commission meetings and the commission's committees, but eventually information on items before advisory boards and other groups will be available, said Toni McVay, executive assistant to the commission.
"The public is more than welcome to go in and look at it and play with it and give us feedback on what it needs," McVay said.
  • Election update: Gainesville City Commissioner Tony Domenech is the latest candidate to register for the March 29 city elections.
    Domenech faces a challenge from Jack Donovan, a chaplain for Hospice of North Central Florida who opposed him in 2002, and Michael Belle, a University of Florida student and former mayoral candidate.
    The qualification period for city candidates ends Feb. 11.
  • Developers return: With temperatures in Gainesville cooling to a winter chill, many may consider the Southern Hemisphere, where it's currently summer, an ideal vacation spot.
    Of course, few would choose a destination where the summer temperature was 30 degrees.
    Ken and Linda McGurn, the Gainesville developers best known for the downtown Union Street Station and Sun Center, returned last week from a trip to one of the least developed places on the planet: Antarctica.
    The two-week excursion, led by a tour company, had the McGurns traveling with researchers from Harvard and Yale, talking about global warming with scientists at Palmer Station and enjoying "gorgeous" weather and beautiful vistas.
    And penguins. Lots of penguins. "There was this one place - we walked up this hill and when we looked on the other side there were tens and tens of thousands of penguins in one view," Ken McGurn said.
    With Antarctica under their belts, the couple said they have now visited every continent, a hobby they said sometimes helps provide architectural inspiration for their developments.
    But there's no need to worry about plans for a polar Union Street South.
    "It's pristine," Linda McGurn said. "There's no need for development or re-development."
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