Lowe receives praise, criticism at meeting

Published: Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 9:10 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 11:36 p.m.

Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe received a mix of praise and criticism Thursday evening at the first City Commission meeting he has attended since his drunk driving arrest and the last regular meeting before the April 16 mayoral runoff.

Lowe was arrested in the early-morning hours of March 21 after a one-vehicle crash in northeastern Alachua County and he missed that day’s City Commission meeting.

On Monday, he entered a deferred prosecution agreement with the State Attorney’s Office.

Wearing a “Lowe for Mayor” T-shirt, Duane Gildea, the recording secretary of the Democratic Executive Committee, said it was “great to have you back” and told Lowe that “your acceptance of the responsibility for your actions is inspiring.”

Lowe has not answered media questions about the DUI but has issued multiple statements apologizing and accepting “full responsibility for my actions.”

Lowe faces former two-term City Commissioner Ed Braddy in the mayoral runoff.

Wearing a “Braddy for Mayor” T-shirt, Gainesville resident Wilbur Holloway said Lowe has not been straightforward in the wake of the DUI charge and did not “come clean with the law about how many beers you had.”

Mark Venzke, who received 128 votes in the March mayoral race, criticized Lowe. He said that, instead of crashing into a ditch, Lowe could have hit another vehicle and “killed someone.”

Venzke requested that Lowe undergo an addiction evaluation and make the results public before the runoff.

At each meeting, commissioners have the opportunity to respond to public comment. Lowe did not respond to any of the comments of support or criticism.

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