A Sun endorsementt: City Commission District 3: Jack Donovan


Published: Saturday, January 19, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 18, 2008 at 8:02 p.m.

Jack Donovan is the only incumbent running in the city elections. His three year stint on the commission has been a mixed bag. But in the three-way race for the District 3 seat, he stands out as the most qualified candidate. We recommend his re-election.

Donovan is a tireless advocate for the poor, the homeless and the disadvantaged. His passion for protecting Gainesville's environment cannot be questioned. He is an ardent proponent of urban revitalization and east Gainesville redevelopment. He does his homework and he may be one of the hardest workers on the commission.

The downside is that he has a tendency to want to talk issues to death; witness the years-long dialogue over the city's energy future. He seems to think that if one section of the city (i.e. the so-called "urban village") prospers another (downtown) will suffer. At times he seems overly antagonistic toward business interests.

All of that said, neither of his opponents offer voters much reason to make a change on Jan. 29.

The kindest thing we can say about Christopher Salazar, a 20-year old Santa Fe Community College student, is that he is a young man of few words. He seems poorly versed on the issues and has little history of community involvement.

Armando Grundy is a more thoughtful candidate. An 8-year military veteran from Jacksonville, Grundy has positioned himself as the fiscal conservative in this race. But he has only lived in Gainesville for a year, and his platform reflects a poor understanding of the community's history.

For instance, he frequently cites city incentives to build a downtown hotel as an example of "pork-barrel" corporate welfare and says public money should never be given to private enterprise. We remember when downtown Gainesville was a crumbling shell. That was before the city began making targeted investments in revitalization, including incentives to do business there. The story of Gainesville's urban revitalization is the story of public-private partnerships.

Donovan understands that. And there is much revitalization work to be completed. His re-election will help ensure further progress.

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