Q: Describe the system you would like to see the county implement for the collection and disposal of solid waste.
A: Alachua County is becoming a garbage "Superfund"site for North Florida. Alachua County government doesn't know how to collect it and yet, for years, has been inviting other counties to dump it here, including 300 tons a day from Jacksonville. What's the cheapest way to get rid of your toxics? Bring them to Alachua County. For 12 years, my opponent has been telling you that Alachua County is not a regional dumping ground. She lied. Now they're looking for another 1,000 acres. Costs are going up, service is decreasing and our environment is becoming increasingly toxic. The public has a right to be angry.
Smart communities have lowered garbage costs and increased recycling. In the 1994 EPA report entitled "Waste Prevention, Recycling and Composting Options," lower cost and environmentally sound alternatives were presented. We can adopt many of the successful approaches from those communities by responding positively to proven successes and less to the expensive consultants with possible solutions. The most effective methods reduce garbage and waste-disposal fees. However, for reasons that are difficult to understand, the county commission has refused to adopt these strategies, thus resulting in increased garbage collection and landfill costs. This can be changed, but only with a new forward-thinking commission.
Q: In what areas would you like county government to work more closely with the municipalities, particularly the city of Gainesville?
A: Each community in Alachua County is entitled to provide basic services to its residents. It should be apparent that municipal police and volunteer fire departments are more responsive to neighborhoods than a large countywide operation. The county has not proven that it can run its bureaucracy and services as efficiently as local entities now run theirs.
County government and the sheriff must play a role in cooperating with each of our cities, but they should not seek to control or overwhelm the local programs that are already working efficiently.
Q: What specifically would you do to encourage the health of both the economy and the environment of Alachua County?
A: The local economy and environment are inseparable. We are one of very few communities in Florida that receive national recognition for being a great place to live because of the quality of our environment. That's good for our economy because people want to live and work here.
In recent years, the county commission has abandoned its duty to protect the environment with the result that our streams, lakes, neighborhoods and natural habitats are being overrun with strip malls, giant landfills and poorly planned development. The county's comprehensive plan must be reviewed and strengthened before it is too late for the environment and our economic health.
Q: What would you do to improve recreational opportunities in Alachua County?
A: Alachua County is rich in recreational opportunities with streams, lakes, equestrian and bike paths, Paynes Prairie, Devil's Millhopper and San Felasco Hammock, among others. The first thing we must do is not ruin what we have by favoring development in rural areas (Jonesville, Kanapaha Prairie, Paynes Prairie) for the interests of a few influential land developers. We must protect our rural recreational areas and encourage development within the urban fringe.
Also, we must protect our water resources from a county commission that is seeking to place a giant regional landfill in the midst of the Newnan's Lake-Paynes Prairie-Orange Creek watershed. We can do far more by preventing the destruction of existing resources than we can afford to do by creating new recreational opportunities.
Finally, we must protect and expand open areas, parks and recreational facilities within the urban areas. Having places to walk and play is essential for the mental and physical health of children and adults alike.
Click for data on opponent: Leveda Brown
For a story about this race, click on Sun Story
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