Braddy attends Democratic Black Caucus debate, Lowe does not
Published: Monday, April 8, 2013 at 10:05 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, April 8, 2013 at 10:05 p.m.
Monday evening brought a one-candidate debate in the runoff race for Gainesville mayor.
Challenger Ed Braddy attended the Alachua County Democratic Black Caucus event and talked about his campaign for roughly an hour and a half while seated next to an empty chair set aside for incumbent Craig Lowe.
Lowe also did not attend the organization’s debate before the March 19 regular election, citing a family emergency for that absence.
Democratic Black Caucus members criticized Lowe and the county’s Democratic Executive Committee for his absence on Monday.
Charles Goston, a past president of the organization, described Lowe’s absence as “disrespect to all African Americans and the other voters we represent.”
On Monday evening, Lowe attended a fundraiser hosted by Evelyn Foxx, the president of the Alachua County branch NAACP and the vice chair of the Democratic Executive Committee, and her husband, George Foxx.
Black Caucus members and Lowe offered conflicting accounts of when the organization notified Lowe of the event. In an interview earlier Monday, Lowe said he learned of the event at the April 1 African American Accountability Alliance candidate forum. He said that, by that time, the fundraiser was scheduled and invitations had gone out.
Ermon Owens, the current president of the Black Caucus, said the Lowe campaign was notified a few days after the March 19 regular election.
In early February, Braddy missed the majority of an African American Accountability Alliance forum to attend a campaign event but did show up toward the latter part of the forum to field questions and discuss his campaign.
On Monday, Goston’s questions to Braddy frequently included criticism of Lowe. Goston said, “We have been exposed to the lack of leadership for three years,” and asked Braddy what he would do differently.
In reply, Braddy said he would start by loosening up the restrictions on public comment at City Commission meetings.
The tone toward Braddy was more positive.
“Have-nots in the city of Gainesville that lie east of Waldo Road, how do you motivate them to know what I know, that you are for people?” Goston asked at one point.
Throughout the event, Braddy hit on much of his platform. He said he wanted to ensure that Gainesville is affordable to residents and businesses. He said City Commission decisions such as the approval of the biomass contract will drive up the cost of living and doing business here.
He said there needs to be a focus on basic infrastructure — fixing roads and installing streetlights — and improving current bus service instead of pursuing a long-term plan for a bus rapid transit system.