Gainesville City Commission Elections, Tuesday, March 11, 2014
District Three: In Tuesday’s Gainesville’s City Council elections, the uber-progressive incumbent, Susan Bottcher, was defeated by a margin of 53% to 47% by conservative business owner and political newcomer, Craig Carter. I believe the voters of District Three expressed their disgust with the biomass plant, GRU’s bringing its rate payers the highest electric bills in the state, an anti-business attitude and an unrealistic view of what transit should look like in the City of Gainesville.
Alachua County residents (you can’t separate city and county when it comes to transportation) want good roads, roads with smooth surfaces and enough lanes to move freely to their jobs, schools and wherever they want to go and on their own schedules, without bureaucrats dictating what’s best for them. Sure, there’s a need for buses, bicycles and pedestrian sidewalks in appropriate places, but not to the detriment of citizens’ preferred mode of transportation, their cars. Sorry Susan, the people have spoken – that’s just the way it is. And trying to sugar coat (disguise) Bus Rapid Transit by calling it Express Park and Ride is not only a charade, it is condescending and indicates a disdain for the voters.
In a May, 2013 poll in the Gainesville Sun asked: “Do you support the decision to narrow NW Eighth Ave.,” the answer was a resounding NO by a margin of 682 to 65. Less than nine percent of the respondents wanted NW Eighth Ave. narrowed. But the progressives on the commission stubbornly marched forward with their agenda.
According to WUFT, after the election Ms. Bottcher said that: “The broader message that I brought forth did not get communicated.” I disagree; I believe it was communicated and the voters strongly rejected it.
District Two: This one is short and sweet.
Incumbent Todd Chase received a comfortable 57% of the vote to retain his seat. Obviously he communicated his message to the voters as well, but in this case, they liked it. I guess there’s something to be said for fiscal responsibility, living within your means and accountability. I’m sure Todd’s mom, may she rest in peace, is very proud of her son, indeed.
At Large Seat Two: The race included five candidates. Two political newcomers, Helen Warren and Annie Orlando will face off in a runoff on April 8th. Both are Democrats but much of their similarity seems to end there.
While liberal on social issues, Ms. Orlando is a long time local business owner and is much more conservative/moderate on others. For example, she is vehemently opposed to the biomass plant. Orlando has been endorsed by the Builders Association of North Central Florida (BANCF), the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), Gator Lodge 67, Gainesville-Alachua County Association of Realtors, IAFF Local 2157 Gainesville Professional Firefighters and the Suwannee – St. Johns Group Sierra Club .
Warren’s campaign website is a poster board of utopian jargon. It contains buzz words pushing sustainability, environmental and social justice issues, and of course incentives (code word for crony capitalism using your money). Some say that you can judge a person by the company she keeps. Is it true that you can judge candidates by their donors? Well, Warren’s donor list seems to be a Who’s Who of local progressives. According to the Gainesville Sun: “… Some contributors include current city commissioners Lauren Poe and Susan Bottcher, former Mayor Craig Lowe, former city commissioners Jack Donovan and Warren Nielsen, County Commissioner Robert Hutchinson, former city and county commissioner Paula DeLaney and former Alachua County Democratic Executive Committee Chairman Jon Reiskind…”