Roberta C. Lopez: Gainesville's ‘anti-business' reputation not without merit

Published: Monday, December 3, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 11:09 p.m.

Ron Cunningham's Nov. 18 column, “Myth buster,” was right on time when it comes to our Gov. Rick Scott.

Cunningham wrote, “one day he is here offering congrats to home grown startup Prioria Robotics. Then, he is back for Mindtree Limited's ribbon cutting.”

Personally, I find Scott's actions out of touch with reality, and especially after reading in The Sun that almost 2,000 prison workers are being displaced and he is outsourcing health care.

The Department of Corrections signed a $230 million contract with Corizon Healthcare of Nashville to provide all health care in Central and North Florida prisons and is negotiating contract terms with Wexford Health Sources of Pittsburgh to take over health care in nine south Florida prisons for $48 million a year.

Cunningham further stated that “Gainesville's supposedly anti-business reputation hasn't been deserved for a very long time. Mostly it is trotted out by wannabe commissioners in need of a provocative campaign slogan, or by disgruntled letter writers whose candidates lost.”

I just happen to be one of those wannabe commissioners. I ran in the Democratic primary and centered my campaign around economic opportunities for all Alachuans, including those in east Gainesville and all other areas of the county, and not just around UF's Innovation Hub.

We must focus on getting new business coming in where it is needed the most. And 8,133 residents voted for me in the Democratic primary because they wanted someone who would vote for the Qualified Targeted Industry program, encourage economic growth and partner with the public and private sector to improve the quality of life for all people.

I applaud what has taken place around the Innovation Hub, but we must continue looking for the same opportunities for people in other parts of Alachua County.

To this day I cannot understand why Commissioner Mike Byerly will not vote for or support the Qualified Targeted Industry program, and I said so at every forum during the Democratic primary election.

It is my hope that the new commissioners will not fall in line with him because Gainesville's anti-business reputation will continue. It is all about jobs for our youth and keeping them here.

Roberta C. Lopez lives in Archer and was a candidate for the Alachua County Commission.

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