COUNTY LINES, CITY LIMITS

Field for 2012 is shaping up, for one party at least


Published: Sunday, May 1, 2011 at 9:56 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, May 1, 2011 at 9:56 p.m.

Ed Crapo, who has been the Alachua County property appraiser since 1981, filed to run for re-election last week, as other 2012 contenders for local posts have joined the fray.

For the three County Commission seats up for election in 19 months, three Republicans have signed up: former Hawthorne City Commissioner (and former Democrat) John Martin for District 1, Walt Boyer for District 3 and Brandon C. Kutner, the president of the North Central Florida chapter of the Florida Police Benevolent Association, for District 5.

All three positions are currently held by Democrats — Mike Byerly in District 1, Paula DeLaney in District 3 and Rodney Long in District 5 — but none of the incumbents has filed to run.

The GOP will be trying to ride the wave of recent success.

In November, political newcomer Susan Baird became the first Republican elected to the County Commission since 1988 after defeating incumbent Cynthia Chestnut, a Democrat.

In April, a Republican, Todd Chase, was elected to the nonpartisan City Commission for the first time since 2005.

In 2012, there also will be two Gainesville City Commission spots — District 1 and an at-large seat — up for election, though no candidates have signed up.

The city election date has yet to be set, though it will likely be held along with the state’s presidential primaries.

Last meeting: Thursday marks the final Gainesville City Commission meeting for Lauren Poe, who was voted out in a District 2 runoff in April, and Warren Nielsen, a former commissioner who was appointed back to his old role to serve the remainder of Jack Donovan’s term in District 3.

Their successors, Todd Chase and Susan Bottcher, respectively, will be sworn May 19 at a noon ceremony at the Thelma Boltin Senior Activity Center, 516 NE Second Ave., before taking the dais for their first meeting at City Hall.

At the end of Thursday’s meeting, Poe, Nielsen and their colleagues will talk about their time on the commission in what’s called a sine die ceremony.

Also, the commission will vote whether to charge the county more for Regional Transit Service routes into the unincorporated area — from $59.49 per hour to $71.37 per hour — which County Commission Chairman Lee Pinkoson has opposed.

Commissioners also will vote on the first reading of an ordinance to bar the outdoor burning of “boxes, books, magazines, (and) printed materials,” fleshing out its open-burning laws after the Dove World Outreach Center threatened to burn hundreds of copies of the Quran in September.

Though the fire department was able to deny Dove World’s request for a permit and stood ready to douse any flame on the church’s property, it wanted stiffer penalties and less vague definitions on the books, said Gene Prince, the city’s fire chief.

“That event brought to our attention that there were some weaknesses in that ordinance that needed to be addressed,” Prince said.

seventh-greenest city: To coincide with Earth Day earlier this month, the news website The Daily Beast put together a list of greenest cities in the United States based on residents’ behavior and attitudes toward the environment, and Gainesville ranked seventh alongside some of the country’s biggest cities in the Top 10.

“Given all the environmental focus, The Daily Beast wanted to find out where cities stand on their green record the rest of the year, beyond Earth Day,” the site wrote.

New York ranked first, followed by Las Vegas; San Francisco; Washington; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Boston.

For more on local politics, read the County Lines & City Limits blog at citylimits.blogs.gainesville.com and follow @SunCityBeat on Twitter.

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