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Gainesville Sun Got it Wrong

 

[An update: The Sun finally published an updated version of this rebuttal as a paid political advertisement in the Issues Section of the Sunday, March 17, 2019 edition.]

Draft Special to the Sun: City Commission Candidate Robert Mounts Rebuts Sun Endorsement of Opponent (which Nathan Crabbe now refuses to publish).

Sadly, the Sun continues to get it wrong.

In its editorial Sunday, March 3, 2019, the “Editorial Board” endorsed my opponent. Yet when I appeared for an interview by the “Editorial Board” on February 19, 2019, the interview was solely about 20 minutes with Editorial Page Editor Nathan Crabbe, not the full Editorial Board. I never was offered a chance to talk with the publisher, James Doughton, the Editor and General Manager, Douglas Ray, the former Editorial Page Editor, Ron Cunningham, or James Lawrence, the stalwart proponent of GNV4All, who have participated in past screenings. I would like to have had that opportunity to look each one in the eye and make my case.

Sadly, Nathan Crabbe’s endorsement concentrates on issues where my opponent and I agree, such as the “zero waste” initiative and “renters rights”. It goes “off the rails” when it endorses my opponent’s advocacy for decriminalization of use and possession of small amounts of marijuana; just ask the State Attorney. We both support decriminalization; the difference is that my opponent wants the State Attorney to do so immediately, without appropriate changes in the law. It is not a City Commissioner’s job to run the State Attorney’s office, as they must “faithfully execute” the law as it is. Even so, State Attorney Bill Cervone and Public Defender Stacy Scott have worked well together to ensure lives are not ruined by criminal convictions for use and possession of small amounts of marijuana. I applaud that.

Then Crabbe misrepresents my record on affordable housing, claiming I failed to “recognize the need to expand the availability of affordable housing throughout Gainesville”. Yet from the beginning of the fight against the “GNV R.I.S.E” high-density infill plan which hundreds of my neighbors successfully opposed, I said I wanted to be part of a real solution for affordable housing. I made good on that pledge when as Chair, College Park University Heights Redevelopment Advisory Board (one of the four CRA districts), I urged the joint City-County Commissions to approve Commissioner Ward’s proposal to merge the four CRA districts, as that would allow us to shift funds from the west side where it is not needed, to the east side, where it is needed. I said some funds generated should be used as “seed money” to jumpstart a Community Land Trust that would actually build affordable housing, as done in Winter Park.

Lastly, despite candid admissions that GRU is heavily in debt ($1.6 billion, of which about $658 million is due to the purchase of the biomass plant, per Andrew Caplan article in the Sun), and that GRU is proposing a tax increase, higher utility rates, and reductions in the GRU transfer, just to service the debt, Crabbe claims I was wrong to say this was caused by the purchase of the biomass plant. Tell that to the ratepayers; tell that to the taxpayers who now must suffer the consequences of years of mismanagement. Visit robertmounts.com to find out why.



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