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Last updateTue, 22 Jul 2014 9pm

Define a better High Springs

LTE2012In the last few weeks a so called non political group formed to make High Springs better. They organized and announced the membership of former ousted commissioners and their supporters.  They neglected to invite some prominent community organizers. They did make statement that they want a Better High Springs. So, I am left wondering what their definition of better is.

I am not sure if that means more debt, higher taxes, removing the dispatch and going back to the county or running the city budget back up to the old days. And back to funding more pet bike rack projects.

And of course the Alachua County Today wrote about it.

But I want to tell you this. High Springs is better than you have been led to believe.

High Springs population growth and real estate sales are doing well.

High Springs has had 5-7 new businesses open in the last month.

High Springs last week hosted almost 5,000 people at Camp Kulaqua which is a partner for progress and promotion for the springs and rivers in High Springs.

High Springs will be having its 3rd Annual Veterans Day event to honor our Veterans on Nov. 11.

The Farmers Market is expanding and the project that was almost killed by bad paperwork has been rescued and the new Farmers Market Pavilion is back on track with USDA funding.

Our Fire Department’s new truck will be arriving very soon.

And the donated grant for a new Fire Station that has been sitting on the books, and the project that was delayed and plagued with bad administration for almost five years will break ground in late October next few weeks, because of correction in paperwork and get the job done attitude by Mayor Dean Davis.

Commissioners Davis, Barnas and Gestrin have endured lies of charter violations, lies of sunshine violations and lies of firing staff. The truth and facts are that no government agency has found any wrongdoing.  And no civil suit has resulted in finding any accused commissioner did wrong.

Mayor Dean Davis, Vice Mayor Barnas and Commissioner Gestrin voted to have a debt limit charter amendment on the ballot to protect taxpayers against commissioners that want to take loans and spend your money on bad investments and bad decisions.

And most of all remember this; we did not raise real estate taxes, fire assessments or sewer and water fees. And we found that records need fixing, and your money needs better watching than has been done.

This November you will be faced with a choice to return to the spend, tax, and make bad money management style with no accountability of the past. Or to keep the belt tightening and tax watch management in place.

Bob Barnas

Vice Mayor High Springs

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Neutralize a toxic commission

LTE2012

High Springs has everything needed to ensure a thriving and prosperous City. The City charter is strong, under penning ordinances and guides ensure a solid foundation.

In an effort to tweak our City into a more productive Municipality, last election, we voted into office a Troika, that has misapplied some conservative governing principals.

A wanton approach cannot be used to chop, what Commissioners perceived as fiscal excess in the budget. Neither can they ignore what they consider tedious Charter procedure to implement personnel changes. A careful review, with an explanation to the public would have been correct.

Attempts to micro mange any departments within the City generally yield undesired results.  When the City Manger demanded the Police Chief give constant updates on his location and activity, the Chief is no longer Chief of Police. The position has been reduced to senior information liaison for the City Manager.

I believe of myself, I am socially liberal and ethically conservative. Empirical observation has confirmed one Neo-conservative truism. Implementation of flawed and unsound strategies to solve a crisis, will not yield a solution to the problem.

Our current municipal malady is painful and embarrassing. Not beyond a correction.  November 6, neutralize Bob Barnas and Linda Gestrin.  Commission hijinks will stop, and by summer 2013 we’ll be a respected Municipality again.

 Ronald K. Wilson

High Springs, Fla.

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Know your town and who is in charge

LTE2012To the people of Archer, first of all I would like to say that it is very important to know your candidates, know what they intend to do to help your town move forward and thrive. Attempt to elect someone in this upcoming election who has enough education to understand the process and want to learn all they can about the budget, laws and what it will take to govern a city.

What is so disturbing is that people do not vote on the issues and concerns at hand and most do not even know what the issues are because the people in this town do not attend meetings. They believe what they are told about a candidate because they have not been involved and do not know the real truth. They vote for people they have a friendly relationship with, or they are being told who to vote for.

Some people do not know the name of the city manager or who works in the office. City staff should also make every effort to introduce the staff to the people, sponsor city workshops to address many of the issues and concerns affecting the people in the community. When workshops are held it eliminates a lot of questions when important decisions are to be decided by the commission and the citizens will have a much better understanding.  

Most recently I noticed that a section of town that is dear to my heart and an area where I worked so hard as a commissioner to enhance is now deteriorating again.  People should not have to be told to mow the lawn, paint their house, remove overgrown brush from vacant property, pick up other people’s trash and yes, I said pick up other people’s trash.  There is nothing wrong with helping a neighbor and especially the elderly and the sick. I am a witness that when you help someone blessings will flow.

Citizens of Archer, I am asking that you step up and take charge of your town, attend city meetings that are held the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month. Let City staff know your concerns and get involved by introducing programs to the city that will help our youth. Don’t forget, you pay taxes.

Roberta Lopez

Former City of Archer Commissioner

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Hey Rural Community: You’re on deck!

LTE2012NEWSFLASH: The rural county lifestyle we cherish is under attack.

Unless we ride a bicycle or take “mass transit,” the majority of the Alachua County Commission just doesn’t seem to care what we think.

Need proof?  Here’s a fun fact: Gainesville’s RTS bus system is lavished with over three times more funding each year than all of the 677 miles of county roads we actually use.

County government has waged on all-out assault on our rural communities and the things we love, and they’ve done it without even giving a thought to the way we feel about it.

As the economy goes down, the long-standing majority of county commissioners have defiantly raised property taxes—they keep voting to increase our cost of living.  As they raise our taxes, we watch in horror as our property values continue to plummet.

Another fun fact: despite these troubling times, Alachua County Commissioners have burdened us with the #1 highest property tax rates in the State of Florida.

But the assault on our rural lifestyle doesn’t end with high taxes.  Even as local farmers continue to struggle against a weak economy, high fuel prices, and persistent drought, county government applies ever more pressure.  The hyperactive local Environmental Protection Department wages a daily war on local farmers and the agricultural community, harassing those of us who are desperately trying to make ends meet.

When we try to understand their attacks, they treat us with arrogant disdain and hide behind confusing mounds of regulations.  These regulations, when stacked on a table, are several times thicker than the Bible itself.

If you’re wondering why good jobs are so hard to find in Alachua County, you need look no further than the suffocating business environment created by county government.

Those wanting to start a business in Alachua County had better pony up—our permitting and licensing fees are over 10 times higher than the state average.

If you feel that they’ve gone too far, you’re certainly not alone.

As our county commission has grown increasingly out-of-touch with our challenges, many of us have asked ourselves “is it really worth it to live here?”

Frighteningly, many citizens have recently decided that living here isn’t worth the cost or trouble.  These former citizens were pushed away by a local government that refuses to understand; these folks have “voted with their feet” to leave Alachua County.

But here’s the good part—there is hope.  The election in November presents us with a truly historic opportunity.  In the midst of this tone-deaf assault on our lifestyle by county government, the rural community can and must be the voice that changes the direction of Alachua County.

For the first time in over a quarter of a century, November’s election gives us a real chance to elect a common sense majority to the County Commission—the timing has never been better. It is just now within our grasp— we can elect a majority that actually listens to us.

To be heard, we must act now, and act decisively.  We must rally our friends, our neighbors—even people who have never bothered to vote before—to show up to the polls in November.  If we hope for relief, the communities surrounding Gainesville simply must vote to give the rural community a voice.

My name is Dean Cheshire, and I’m running for Alachua County Commission.  I offer myself as a strong common sense voice for the rural community.  With your help, we will win big in 2012 by building a county government that listens to all of us--not just an outspoken group in downtown Gainesville.

Dean Cheshire

Alachua County

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Make your vote count

LTE2012This is a letter to all unemployed people who lost their jobs due to the economic disaster created by the Republicans.

Governor Romney made a statements saying that 47 percent of the population does not pay taxes and live on government payments, that they do not count and are of no concern to him.  He has also referred to them as leeches.

I am sure that all of you in this condition would prefer to be gainfully employed and pay taxes rather than existing under your present circumstance.

While, to him, you may not count, show the head leech (who refuses to reveal his tax information) that you do indeed count.  Show him how much you do count, and how little he does count.  Do it on Election Day.

Donald E. Gudbrandsen

High Springs, Fla.

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