When I returned home in July 2014 after long years of public service to the country in South Korea, I just wanted to be an "active citizen", able to be an honest broker regarding issues I cared about. That's exactly what I told friends last year when several asked me to run for office. I consistently said, even to my opponent last month when he asked, "why would I want to do that (at this point in my life)?
In addition, as I was no longer bound by Federal civil service or US military rules regarding speaking or writing, I truly enjoyed recovering my "freedom of speech". It was liberating.
What follows here are representative samples of my community activism and writings regarding three major issues dividing our city, the GNV R.I.S.E. high-density infill proposal, the biomass plant, and finally, the need for a change of culture in City governance. I have always focused respectfully on trying to help our elected officials "do the right thing".
In these opinion pieces, all written before my decision to run for office, and with no intention of running for office in the future, my only goal was to raise serious questions of public policy, not go after someone's job. I have not accused any official, past or present of criminal wrongdoing or fraud, although there are certain "red flags" in the case of the biomass plant that warranted further investigation, only failures in leadership and mistakes in judgment. And, for me at least, it was never personal.
A timely cartoon reprinted in the Gainesville Sun on Sunday, February 10, 2019
Unfortunately, some of my most critical advice "fell on deaf ears". That is why I am finally running for office. It is time to hold the incumbents running for reelection accountable for their mistakes, mistakes which threaten to throw my beloved hometown into bankruptcy if not addressed. If not now, when?
Initial analysis of GNV R.I.S.E. and "Affordable Housing" (ultimately defeated on November 29, 2018)(Read More)
My letter as President, University Park Neighborhood Association, expressing our Board's unanimous concerns regarding Department of Doing's proposed Update to the Comprehensive Plan.(Read More)
Another "Special to the Sun" in opposition to the Department of Doing's attempt to sell GNV R.I.S.E. as an "affordable housing"plan.(Read More)
This is one of my letters to the Mayor and the City Commission regarding the "Asset Purchase Agreement" to purchase the biomass plant.(Read More)
Special to the Sun: GREC Buyout "Falling on Deaf Ears"
Now, having ignored my advice, the Mayor and my opponent in District 4 should be held accountable for this folly, which the Gainesville Sun now views as the reason GRU reserves are being depleted in order to "service the debt" ($750 million plus).(Read More)
My last Op-Ed before deciding to run, was published in the Gainesville Sun on Sunday, January 27, 2019. The opinion piece was focused on the failure of the current City government to "put people first", especially in the Department of Doing, and at Commission meetings (Read More)
In this opinion piece published in the Gainesville Sun on Sunday, July 14, 2019, I challenged the Gainesville City Commission's decision to impose higher taxes and utility rate increases, without making a more serious effort to trim the fat in the budget. My comments to the Commission on July 18, 2019 also appear here.(Read More)
This opinion piece appeared in The Gainesville Iguana, Jan-Feb 2020, Vol. 34, Issue 1/2, page two, and was requested of the author by Editor, Joe Courter. It addresses the intersection of affordable housing, gentrification, and the "developer friendly" 2017 Update to the Gainesville, Florida Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code, which threatens to forever change the character of an historically African-American neighborhood.(Read More)