Voice of the Voters: Gainesville City elections
Published: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 4:30 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 4:30 p.m.
Doug Macklin: Graig Lowe has failed us
I am pleased that Monica Cooper is challenging city commissioner Craig Lowe for Gainesville Mayor. Lowe wants remain on the commission after three terms in which he has demonstrated recklessness with taxpayer dollars. Lowe voted with the commission majority for both the purchase of a private restaurant at below the market value (formerly “Mom’s Kitchen”) and wasted large amounts of our money on Ironwood Golf course, which loses money and forces lower and middle income citizens to subsidize a game that only the wealthy can afford. I cannot even afford golf clubs, much less the greens fees.
Both of these money losing decisions were opposed by City Commissioner Jack Donovan, the commission’s reliable fiscal conservative, who expressed outraged and dismay at the time, as did the majority of taxpayers who wrote letters to the Gainesville Sun.
In the Sun article concerning Monica Cooper’s run for mayor she was quoted as saying that she wants to “promote fiscal conservatism.” That was refreshing to read. She also mentioned advocating sensible solutions to the homeless problems. Craig Lowe would not even second a motion by Commissioner Donovon when the homeless were evicted from tent city and forced to unsafely disperse into the community. Donovan’s modest motion just asked city staff to consider city-owned land sites (of which there are many) where the homeless could live, at least temporarily and bring suggestions back to the commission for consideration. Donovan’s motion was lauded by police, other public safety professionals and homeless advocates, but Craig Lowe refused to even second it for discussion, so it died for lack of a second. It sounds like Monica Cooper will guard our tax dollars and act in the public interest as Jack Donovan has done and sadly, as Craig Lowe has failed to do.
Mike Walker: Don Marsh lacks leadership
It was with dismay that I read in the Gainesville Sun that Don Marsh is planning to run for mayor of Gainesville. I would like to encourage all citizens of Gainesville to examine with due care the backgrounds and objectives of all those who are running for this office, and certainly Marsh.
Don Marsh has been a vocal advocate of placing an additional Wal-Mart Super Center in Gainesville and has been against GRU installing a biomass power generating station. While Marsh questions the science behind global warming and the need for the biomass plant, I have to question his own understanding of science. Unlike Mayor Hanrahan who was a professional environmental engineer prior to being elected mayor, or Craig Lowe, who comes from an academic background in soil sciences and zoology, Marsh appears to have little formal education in the sciences, yet questions the wisdom of those who do have such expertise.
Marsh seems to think that adding another large, chain-based, retail store like a Wal-Mart Super Center will benefit Gainesville simply because it will create jobs. I would like to recommend to Marsh a book called "The American College Town" (by Blake Gumprecht, 2008) which explains how college towns like Gainesville differ from other, larger, cities and also from smaller rural communities. We do need a pro-business approach in Gainesville, but we also need to retain the good work towards better environmental stewardship that Mayor Hanrahan and others have advocated for our city and the surrounding region. Gainesville's problems, insofar as attracting businesses are concerned,
Please start considering who you want for our mayor now, and consider the education, experience, and insight of those who aspire to this office. Marsh may have useful talents to contribute to our community, but his vision is not at all progressive and seems to counter the very goals that Mayor Hanrahan fought for over her two terms as our mayor. More than ever,
we need strong leadership that is sensitive to the unique qualities of our great city.