CLIMATE CHANGE & ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
Gainesville is already the statewide #1 leader in renewable energy. As Mayor I will continue to pursue a roadmap for GRU to reach our goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045, but we are not going to wait twenty years to take action on climate. We will focus on creating science-based targets for carbon reduction across the entire city by 2025 through 2030. Our work will center the communities and ecosystems that can be harmed the most. Earlier this year I proposed a new Environmental Justice subcommittee to address these issues in detail. Read more about our platform to take action on climate change.
- Purchased over 700+ acres of conservation land in the City of Gainesville in partnership with Alachua County and the Alachua Conservation Trust.
- Denied the redevelopment of 1,700+ acres of Weyerhaeuser Company silviculture property located in NW Gainesville.
- Opposed all new natural gas pipelines and fossil fuel infrastructure in our area.
- Applied for statewide grants for community education for Community Rooftop Solar in partnership with NAACP and Alachua County.
- Create science-based carbon reduction targets citywide for 2025 through 2030
- Set high performance energy standards for pre-existing government buildings
- Set goal for net zero carbon emissions for all new government buildings
- Create sustainable industrial practice incentives to promote energy positive buildings that create more energy than they use.
- Guarantee access to residential weatherization to expand energy conservation
- Conservation and sustainability education in schools and community at large
- Inclusion of citizen and environmental justice activists in decision-making process
- Increasing pedestrian and bicycle accessibility
- Robust racial equity analysis for climate action decisions
- Create a circular economic plan to keep a strong local economy
- Preservation and inclusion of historically Black neighborhoods
UNIVERSAL ZERO WASTE
Gainesville is developing a long-term Zero Waste Master Plan to make Gainesville fully sustainable by 2040. This year we will pass the Zero Waste Ordinance which is one of the key elements of that plan by requiring residents and commercial properties follow the plan. Here are some of the future goals we will pursue in the Mayor’s office.
- Develop a Circular Economy Plan in Gainesville of sharing, reusing, refusing, recycling, and repairing rather than buying new. Many businesses like the Repurpose Project represent the local circular economy. I want to support them and supplement their hard work.
- Complete and make available citywide residential curbside food waste collection
- Require business food waste separation from garbage collection
- Deflect student apartment complex waste during move-in and move-out
- All grocery stores, restaurants, and other food vendors divert their food waste from garbage streams.
- All multi-family residences have indoor recycling containers.
Gainesville Regional Transit System (RTS) is one of our city’s most important services. Everyone no matter their age, ability, or income should be able to use RTS to get to work, visit their physician, or just meet up with friends at the park. Every rider reduces their carbon footprint and congestion on our busy streets. That’s why the Commission passed fare free riding for minors (under age 18) and seniors (over age 65) with ambitions to pass fare free rides for everyone by 2026.
- Our on-demand First Mile Last Mile shuttle service should be expanded to every corner of Gainesville.
- RTS must become a true County wide service since it is the only public transit system in Alachua County. Expanding partner contracts to include more service throughout the urbanized area will be critical to achieving this goal.
- Continue to fund electric vehicles – we have already purchased two electric buses that will save RTS money and carbon emissions.
BIKE & PEDESTRIAN ROADWAYS
As Mayor I will create a stand alone bicycle roadway system that connects all of Gainesville’s bike trails and is separate from car traffic. This idea was originally called the Infinity Line and was brought to the City Commission as a UF graduate project. It will be a multi-year project, but will eventually connect East-West Gainesville as well as North and South trails to make it possible to get everywhere in the city using just bicycle trails.
- This investment will reduce conflict points between cars, bicycles, and pedestrians across the city.
- Reducing speed limits throughout the city will educate drivers on how to share the road in neighborhood roads and thoroughfares.
- Advocate for complete street makeover of West and East University Ave where pedestrian deaths have occured.
- Address speeding concerns near neighborhoods with added enforcement.
QUEER & GENDER INCLUSION
Gainesville celebrates our LGBTQ+ community in many ways. We support legal rights through our Human Rights Ordinance prohibiting any discrimination by local businesses or governments. We sponsor Pride Month in October (and enjoy the usual celebration in June). As Mayor I will continue to foster inclusivity and pursue more policies to achieve that.
- Sponsor resolution supporting gender transition health care as an approved service under Gainesville’s employee health plan.
- Require all public restrooms provide menstrual products free to the public
- Fund and fully close the gender pay gap for all positions at City Hall
AFFORDABLE HOUSING & EQUITABLE DEVELOPMENT
This year we will make Gainesville the first city in Florida to center racial equity at the heart of our land development and zoning comprehensive plan. All working families should be free to choose an affordable home anywhere in the city. Those families should also have a right to public workshops that allow them to mitigate impacts of new housing development in their area. We have an inclusive vision for building more affordable housing in Gainesville.
- Pass the city’s first comprehensive plan to center racial equity in land development and zoning
- All new development regardless of zone will require affordable housing
- All new housing must contribute to the newly created Housing Trust dedicated to building new affordable housing
- Inclusive and informative neighborhood workshops for new housing development that affects neighborhoods
- Fund Community Land Trusts for family homes under threat of gentrification
- Expand partnership with Gainesville Housing Authority to build more affordable housing with State, Federal, and local funding.
- Eliminate parking requirements to allow for more space for housing developments to be used for housing and green space.
- Expand GRACE Marketplace Street Outreach Team to contact neighbors living without a home.
- Create funding streams for Alachua County Housing Trust and continue to support Housing First policies.
- Chaired committee that passed Renter’s Bill of Rights with input from tenants and landlords to ensure old rental housing passes health and safety specifications.
Technology is the support structure for better public services and policy, and greater connectivity means our local government can be more responsive to the needs of the city.
- Fund Smart City Bus Benches that include Wi-Fi for waiting passengers
- Expand high speed broadband access to homes that are in underserved, privately monopolized, or rural areas.Funding and partnerships include President Biden’s Infrastructure bill and Alachua County Board of County Commissioners.
- Support Citywide cybersecurity governance body, data security officer, and a cybersecurity risk management program.
- Fund free WiFi in all of Gainesville’s major parks.
- Fund computer labs in neighborhood community centers and host local tech education programming.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on our community even though we were one of the first and most vocal local governments to promote public health measures like social distancing indoors and mask wearing. Rather than rehashing the events of the pandemic, as Mayor I will focus on shining a light on the public health issues that already existed in Gainesville before the pandemic and were exacerbated during.
- Support new UF Health Eastside clinic for after hours
- Expand Community Resource Paramedic program that services frequent 911 ambulance callers
- Sponsored resolution opposing abortion bans in Florida similar to the outrageous law passed in Texas that legalizes private citizens to become vigilantes and report on their neighbors.
- Served on the UF President’s Alcohol Coalition to reduce alcohol related deaths, violence, and other health factors among our young people.
Fire and police departments continue to be the largest parts of our local budget. This is because we prioritize people’s safety, but we must do more. We must also begin to consider dangerous roadways as a threat to public safety. Too often we see tragic deaths on our roads that are preventable with the right public policy and intergovernmental collaboration.
- In the areas of gun violence we have passed a comprehensive gun violence prevention program including: gun buyback sales, police interrupters who identify and work with youth that are in danger of coming into contact with guns
- We sued the State of Florida’s law that prohibits us from regulating the possession of firearms on city property or even having a policy conversation about this rule.
- Voted to raise GPD and GFR salaries in multiple union contracts to ensure our people are taken care of
- Approved renovations and safety upgrades for South Main Street.
For five years on the City Commission I have been a leading champion for issues on labor. Labor issues are not just issues of pay equity, it includes treatment of employees in the workplace. My support for labor will continue unabated when I become Mayor.
- Secured Living Wage increases for our lowest paid employees up to $15/hr
- The original sponsor of the motion to immediately end all prison labor contracts.
- Reached agreement for all local employees unions including pay raises and other working concerns.
- Passed guaranteed Living Wage for all government contractors. We must advocate against a Tallahassee Legislature preemption bill that threatens to undo this local ordinance.
- Advocated for Apprenticeship preference when selecting local contractors for bids.
- Addressed the report recommending the termination of the previous City Manager by attempting to amicably part ways with the employee despite the majority voting to retain the officer.
- Attempted to keep multiple Charter Officers from resigning due to their lack of support from the majority of the City Commission.
PARKS AND RECREATION
Gainesville’s Parks & Recreation features dozens of neighborhood parks and the world class Depot Park. We must continue to create more parks that feature more to do for everyone. Playgrounds for children, fields and courses for athletes, and spaces for families to host birthdays and enjoy their time outside.
- Create a park within a safe 10 minutes walk of every neighborhood in Gainesville.
- Build a new park in Southwest Gainesville to help fit this goal
- Create new Rattlesnake Creek park in central Gainesville
- Remediate Sweetwater Park and daylight full Sweetwater Branch Creek for public enjoyment
- Support the remediation of Boulware Springs into a public park
- Support Cultural Arts Center in East Gainesville for public to enjoy
- Support reauthorization of Wild Spaces & Public Places
- Create a new Disc Golf course in Gainesville
- Create a new Senior Center in East Gainesville for all to enjoy.
- Complete renovations of Forest Park to include lighted athletic fields and additional seating.
- Coordinate renovation of Citizen’s Field with Alachua County Public Schools.
CHILD AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Our greatest treasure is the children and youth of Gainesville. As Mayor I will continue my work to expand Child & Youth services in Gainesville and Alachua County. Our work will both expand the city’s role in supporting our wonderful youth services throughout the region.
- Fully fund the new Child & Youth Services Division within GNV Parks & Recreation
- Hire and train youth with American Rescue Plan funding for a Youth Corps job program within Gainesville. This program would connect youth people with voluntary internships, apprenticeships, and other career oriented jobs.
- Create a community wide system of wrap around services to support the internal and external assets of our children and youth. This partnership will work with private service providers, Alachua County Public Schools, and Alachua County government.
- Fund Eastside Cultural Arts Center with programming for all youth focusing on after-school time and cultural education.
- Create a Mayor’s Youth Council to create a direct line of communication between young people and the Mayor’s Office to prioritize the needs of our youth.
- Cure violence in Gainesville with a comprehensive violence prevention plan. THis includes detecting and interrupting conflict before it starts. We need to identify and treat the highest risk individuals by changing community norms of what opportunities are available and how they can be resilient from accepting violence action as normal.
Gainesville’s local economy continues to be filled with opportunities for jobs and owning a business. I want to create the first Gainesville Economic Development Strategy that centers the individual needs of each local business. Together we can build lasting relationships between City Hall policymakers and our vibrant business community.
- Develop and pass first Gainesville Economic Development Strategy that will guide the city towards attracting more businesses, plans to help businesses get started, and a customized approach to taking feedback for how the city can help businesses and their customers enjoy their experience. This plan will be the first of its kind in Gainesville and will represent a change in the status quo for relationships with the business community.
- Collaborate with Santa Fe College and Alachua County Public Schools to create career and technical training curriculum for in demand jobs in Gainesville.
- Support and improve Gainesville’s start-up business incubator network helping people access space and mentors in their industry.
- Complete the Power District development downtown to turn empty warehouse space into a walkable area for businesses, parks, and the completion of the future Sweetwater Creek greenway
COLLABORATIVE LOCAL GOVERNANCE
I believe in governing responsibility with our partner governments. Recently, however, Gainesville has been the target of Ron DeSantis’ government in Tallahassee. As Mayor I will continue to stand up and fight DeSantis’ overreach on local government. Here are some of the ways we are fighting back.
- Challenging Ron DeSantis’ signature bill ‘HB1’ which restricts First Amendment rights to protest and local government’s authority over their own public safety budgets.
- Speaking in support of academic freedom at the University of Florida for our many resident professors and students
- Support bans on single use plastic bags, straws, and styrofoam (DeSantis is blocking us on bags and styrofoam).
- Supported mask requirements, social distancing, and COVID-19 testing during pandemic while DeSantis was hiding COVID-19 data.
- Continue to fund community testing and preparedness for potential new variant surges.
- Create purchasing and procurement policies that reflect the demographics of our city including more competitive contract opportunities for minority and women owned businesses.
LANGUAGE ACCESS & IMMIGRANT INCLUSION
In 2021 Gainesville launched the Gainesville Immigrant Neighbors Inclusion Initiative (GINI) to develop a new policy approach to language access to local government. I want to fully fund this project to bring Gainesville into a fully language inclusive city. Once we have developed these skills I want us to explore the creation of partnering with the community for an International Center that will house immigrant neighbor services, language access, and a community center for international purposes.
The historic partnership between UF and Gainesville requires mutual accountability and a focus on people driven results instead of profit.. While I oppose all of Ron DeSantis’ interference in the UF Administration through his donors on the Board of Governors, I want to continue building new relationships across UF to focus on our government’s mission of serving our people. Here are some ideas my Mayor’s office will support.
- Support Civic Collaboration Spaces with Reimagine Gainesville to support changemakers in Gainesville by providing professional support and mentorship to connect community ideas to resources.
- Create partnership with Center for Arts and Medicine to create community space for arts and cultural programming located in East Gainesville.
- Support UF Start-Up companies with incubation and acceleration assistance. I envision a strategic plan for incentives and investments Gainesville can make into new companies.