Vote Nov. 5!
Another full blown presidential year is upon us and this will be your last Iguana before the election on November 5th. What follows will be the Iguana's picks, by no means meant as the absolute definitive, but, based on our basic beliefs of social justice and personal freedom, a guide for you to factor into your choices. We especially encourage your listening to, and, when possible, participating in, the many political forums and debates which pop up in the last couple weeks before the election. This is a good opportunity to ask good questions, not just to create pressure on the candidates to take good stands, but to educate the audience. Some are noted on the calendar, others may have slipped by us. There's nothing like personal contact with candidates and seeing them in action to give you a read on them. TV's little blips and the often pro-developer Sun are not quite a full picture. Here goes:
County Commission District 3: Penny Wheat, an extremely competent, extremely articulate, and extremely dedicated advocate of the people will be branded by the Sun and opponent Tom McKnew as--guess what--an extremist. She is, and we like her a lot. While on the City Commission, McKnew voted to abolish the Commission on the Status of Women and the Human Rights Advisory Board, voted for the anti-gay hate amendment, and took the developers sides in many instances. NOW supports Wheat, as does People for Alternatives to Landfills (PALS). If you oppose the cement plant, you should vote for Wheat.
School Board District 4: Barbara Sharpe has a strong record, and we were impressed by her talk at the King holiday program at Citizens Field this year. Her Republican opponent (oops, it's non-partisan now) also ran against her last time. He supports school prayer. Sharpe has NOW's endorsement.
School Board District 2: Marilyn Lowe has challenged Judy Brashear and can bring a lifetime of educational experience to the job. Scuttlebutt last year was that this race was the reason for the push for the nonpartisan nature of the School Board elections now. Brashear, who was elected as a Democrat, is a member of a prominent Republican family and it is doubtful she could beat Lowe in a Democratic primary since she advocates school 'choice' & vouchers--both methods for chipping away at the public school system, and Lowe has strong Democratic connections. Another stealth bites the dust, we hope. Lowe has NOW's backing, also.
Sheriff: Democratic candidate Freddie Dampier was not our favorite challenger to Republican Sheriff Steve Oelrich, but he's our choice now. Local labor activist and Central Labor Council President Elsie Allen, whose organization endorsed Dampier, relayed that Dampier said to her, "You know, if I didn't come from a small southern town and talk this way, people would say I was a progressive." Dampier has the Central Labor Council's endorsement for his strong support of collective bargaining. NOW also backs Dampier in this election.
Alachua County Judge: Phyllis Kotey is our choice, even though she was Pete Self's prosecutor in the Reggae Massacre lit table case. Well, Self was acquitted by the jury, and we'd rather see her as a judge, anyway. NOW supports Kotey.
State Representative, District 23: Cynthia Chestnut has been a great voice and representative of her district, and her opponent is a self-financing crank from McIntosh who resides somewhere to the right of Newt and his ilk. No contest.
State Representative, District 22: Betsy Styron is challenging Republican incumbent Bob Casey. Styron is strong on education and health care. Casey is not your typical Republican, he's a kind of fuzzy loose cannon who has supported the mushroom workers on strike in Quincy, a very un-republican stand. With the Florida House at a deadlock between Republicans and Democrats, this is a hot race attracting a lot of money and interest. We'd like Styron to win, and Casey won't be easy to beat; he surprised Rob Denson last time around. Labor did not endorse in this race; NOW supports Styron.
US House District 5: Karen Thurman has been very well and should get a win over newcomer (but not new to us) Dave Gentry. Gentry was a right wing activist at UF following his undergraduate work at Jerry Falwell's Liberty College in Lynchburg, VA. He was around the fringes of the White Student Union and was a founder of the inappropriately-named First Amendment Coalition, which he attempted to spread around to many campuses backed by much right wing corporate money. Later he published the right-wing newspaper Declaration, then, briefly, a lurid photo-crime magazine. We hope this self-labeled "small businessman" gets the business from Karen Thurman and the voters come November 5th. He's had a make-over and some coaching, but it's the same old Dave in terms of his politics.
President: Green Party candidate and consumer advocate Ralph Nader is running a write-in campaign in Florida. (He's on the ballot in California). Nader has been using the little bits of time he's gotten in the media to focus on one issue: getting the influence of big money out of politics. We do strongly recommend that you not vote for Perot or Bob "Senator for Sale" Dole.
Amendments to the Florida Constitution:
No on 1 (as usual). If passed, this would negate any efforts to make the sugar industry pay in amendments 4, 5, and 6.
Yes on 2. Constitution Revision Commission. This appears to be a house keeping measure, and, according to the League of Women Voters, "There seems to be no opposition to its passage."
Yes on 3. Deals with filling judicial vacancies, providing for a process allowing larger numbers to be nominated. Also provides for a wider range of disciplinary sanctions against judges and attorneys.
Yes on 4, 5, and 6 all sponsored by Save Our Everglades. These come as a package. 4 is the penny per pound tax on Everglades Agricultural Area-raised sugar; 5 states that the polluters shall be primarily responsible for pollution clean-up and 6 sets up a trust fund.
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