Alfredo Espinosa: Bringing a fresh perspective to our City Commission


Published: Friday, February 22, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 2:42 p.m.

I'm the candidate for city commissioner with a vision for making Gainesville safer, more affordable and more business friendly. As a University of Florida student and a resident, I understand the special challenges posed to a small city with a large university in its center. I will work with the City Commission to find innovative solutions to create a better environment for students and permanent residents.

When I was a child, my family moved to Florida from Venezuela to pursue the American dream. My father had a vision for a software company that he built from the ground up through hard work and ingenuity, something he never would have been able to accomplish in Venezuela. I grew up being instilled with my father's values and a true appreciation for the opportunities available to me. My background is what drives my passion to increase and protect these opportunities.

My vision starts with keeping our utility providers accountable. Residents of District 4 have seen about a 10 percent hike in utility costs in the last year, making even a simple comfort like air conditioning a luxury that many families and students have to live without. I will work with Gainesville Regional Utilities to avoid rate hikes and instead encourage the use of advancing technology to make living in Gainesville more affordable.

For the sake of the safety, I have authored a plan to implement the soft closing of bars. Currently, bars are legally mandated to close at 2 a.m. sharp. This pushes crowds of inebriated young people onto the streets all at once and creates a large array of safety hazards, especially for women traveling alone and those who find themselves driving alongside drunken drivers. Soft closings would mean that bars would stop serving alcohol at 2 a.m., but could stay open to serve food and nonalcoholic beverages. This would stagger the flow of bar traffic and give patrons time to recover and take the time to figure out how to get home safely.

Furthermore, I want to expand the accessibility of public transportation, but realize that this will not be enough to solve the traffic problem. Many of our major roads regularly operate at 150 percent capacity. I will work with the state to pursue solutions involving adding lanes or developing alternate routes, allowing commuters to spend more time on what is really important to them.

Finally, I will pursue every route possible to encourage small businesses to open and grow. This means making sure that every regulation currently in place is truly necessary and does not favor some businesses over others. The more barriers that can be broken down, the more local businesses will be able to thrive to the benefit of the entire community.

Electing me will bring a fresh perspective to our City Commission and open up dialogue about how to best meet the needs of all Gainesville residents. Through making smart changes that favor innovation, together we can make Gainesville not just a place to live, but a place to flourish!

Alfredo Espinosa is one of three candidates for the District 4 City Commission seat.

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