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Prospective city commission candidate denied entrance to City Hall to file qualifying paperwork

Tayari Appiah

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Tayari “Tigh” Appiah is filing a lawsuit against the City of Gainesville and at least 5 other defendants after he was denied entrance to City Hall on the morning of January 29 to file qualifying paperwork for a city commission seat.

According to the prospective candidate, he arrived at City Hall at 9:30 a.m. Friday morning, having set up his campaign bank account. The next step was to file the paperwork to challenge Gail Johnson for the At-Large seat on the Gainesville City Commission.

However, City Hall was locked, and it took some time to catch the attention of a security guard. Appiah asked the guard whether City Hall was open. The answer was, “It depends,” and Appiah explained that he was there to file the qualifying paperwork. The security guard told him that he should come back between noon and 5. Appiah said that qualifying ended at noon, but the answer was still that he should come back between noon and 5.

When Appiah returned at 1:00, he was told that he had missed the deadline. He spent some time talking to City staff, but left with the issue unresolved.

Appiah has hired attorney Raemi Eagle-Glenn, and she went to City Hall today to try to resolve the issue but was also denied access. She said the security guard pointed to a sign saying City Hall is open Monday-Friday, 8-5, but he wouldn’t let her in, instead pointing to a phone number she could call.

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Appiah also went back today, and the security guard pointed to the sign instead of letting him in.

Appiah, a nurse who is an Air Force veteran, said, “I want to get on the ballot to run against incumbent Gail Johnson. I’m quite disheartened that I wasn’t allowed entry by the security officers at City Hall. I hope the City will do the right thing and redress this grievance, since I was there on time and was prevented from qualifying by the actions of their contracted security guards.”

Eagle-Glenn said, “Political underdogs are tired of being pushed around in this town. There comes a day when a simple ‘sorry’ is not good enough. We are taking action. The better part of me hopes this was not intentional. We will use the discovery process to leave no stone unturned. Let Tigh Qualify.”

In response to a request for comment from City Clerk Omichele Gainey (who is in charge of handling the qualifying paperwork), we received the following response from Shelby Taylor, the City of Gainesville Director of Communications: “The City of Gainesville is aware of the affidavit and will respond promptly if a formal complaint is filed. “

  • Government bureaucracy and red tape sure seem to be working hard to make sure that Rahm Emmanuel’s advice is adhered to in this case. The City of Gainesville might not let this Covid-19 crisis go to waste. Wow… We could end up with the same seven ultra progressive commissioners for life, thanks to Covid…
    Or, maybe our progressive, tolerant city which prides itself on equity will apologize to this candidate and allow him to get in the ballot if they hear from enough of us…

  • The timeline conveyed for his application and qualification should allow him to qualify under these Covid restrictions. Again, I’m assuming all aspects of qualifying were met on that business day.

    If Simmons or the guard intervened in creating the restricted access, then the guard should be terminated and Simmons recalled by the Commission. That’s infringement of ones rights to engage in elections.

  • Something isn’t right here. He followed all time protocols, all COVID protocols, and was still denied access on a Friday morning within operating hours? I’ll bet you the other candidate wasn’t denied. I’ll go ahead and say that this gentleman right here probably doesn’t fit their political agenda, and was given the beat around the bush answer until time expired. Wouldn’t surprise me if this is strictly political. Look who’s at the helm of the city commission after all. Appalling behavior by our city officials. I can’t wait until we have a change in power in those seats.

  • City hall is closed on Friday…they
    Are on a 4 day work week. Tigh didn’t qualify in time.
    He should have filed his paperwork earlier…Paperwork used to be filed at the supervisor or elections office along time ago…that must be an
    Old sign outside city hall….he should have qualified days before instead of waiting til the last minute…Murphy’s
    Law.

    • City Hall is not closed on Fridays genius…unless it is as closed as current leadership’s minds.

      • Are you sure? At one time, they were doing the 10
        Hour a day, 4 day a week thing a few years ago with some departments…
        I don’t think it changed…I could be wrong, but usually I’m not…it could be the reason why he &
        Eagle glen were not let in…he had plenty of time
        To qualify before that Friday…I tried to go to the
        City website to see their hours but was inconclusive….Are they having commission meetings again where the public can comment
        Again in person? And I don’t mean calling in by
        Phone or internet zoom…

        • Open on Fridays – for a while now. Seems some people needed to conduct business on Fridays on occasion. Hours are 8 – 5 M – F.
          No in person meetings yet, King Poe still only allowing his jesters in court…commission meetings.

          • People are permitted to attend city commission meetings in person with strict social distancing – so capacity is limited, but I don’t think that’s been an issue yet.

          • I stand corrected although I thought my comment would be found to be more in line. Thanks Jen!

  • Once again we see the hypocrisy in local leadership. Not only do they lock out a minority candidate, they also seek to silence and prevent any opposing views from being heard.
    Don’t hear much from King Poe or the court jesters about allowing the candidate to file the completed qualifying documentation. He’s already trained Simmons and others into saying, “Yessa Massa Poe, whatever you want.”

  • In other breaking government news, the judge threw out the Alachua, Archer and Newberry lawsuit against the county charter amendment. 01-2020-CA-2855
    .
    You Lost Lil Timmy. Boo Hoo how sad. Drink some Springs County whine.

  • Government bureaucracy and red tape sure seem to be working hard to make sure that Rahm Emmanuel’s advice is adhered to in this case. The City of Gainesville might not let this Covid-19 crisis go to waste. Wow… We could end up with the same seven ultra progressive commissioners for life, thanks to Covid…
    Or, maybe our progressive, tolerant city which prides itself on equity will apologize to this candidate and allow him to get in the ballot if they hear from enough of us…

  • In the video on WCJB he is shown trying to enter city hall but is directed to the sign on the door instead. Others have indicated in these comments that he followed all Covid restrictions, however he isn’t wearing a mask. Could the lack of MASK be the reason for denied entry? seems likely. Not hard to wear a mask, dangerous not to. I have little sympathy for a public servant wannabe that can’t get their paperwork in on time (or early).

    • Kind of like one of the sitting city commissioners not paying and/or keeping up with her bills don’t you think?

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