Silva: We need an overhaul in City governance

Letter to the editor

Open letter to the Alachua County Legislative Delegation:

State intervention appears the only recourse now to seven years of disastrous mishandling of Gainesville’s budget, assets, resources, planning, and decision-making. The original contract for tree incineration set GRU on a path to its current predicament, but an abrupt overturning of City governance in 2016 left City government unrecognizable, in turmoil, and very costly. A hiring and spending spree began, an echo chamber formed, boards were disbanded, commissioners were told to champion their own issues, and more, all to the detriment of collective priorities.

I’m among Gainesville and Alachua County residents — Democrat, Republican, and, like me, NPA — who thank those who dedicated much personal time and expense to bring the ongoing train wreck to the attention of state officials, in their challenge to citywide upzoning, in audits that commission members dismissed, and in warnings about a utility company deep in debt while incurring more. I’m among those also who appreciate the strong bipartisan response from JLAC and this delegation’s attention at the busiest time of the legislative year.

Since May 2016 under newly top-down governance, a commission faction has shown increasing disregard for the fundamental responsibilities of city government, politicizing and making it chaotic, wasteful, unaccountable, hostile to public participation, and unrepresentative of city interests. A new majority seems to be following the same trajectory, with comments and votes like those last Thursday to privatize prime acreage adjoining wonderfully successful Depot Park, at a loss, with no public input, for an unsolicited bid by two individuals with no redevelopment experience.

The public here, with such tremendous experience and expertise to offer, is largely shut out of and in the dark about City government but living with the consequences of commissioners’ actions. Whatever happens with GRU, I hope awareness of what is going on in Gainesville brings about an overhaul in City governance and government.


Tana Silva, Gainesville

The opinions expressed by letter or opinion writers are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AlachuaChronicle.com. Letters may be submitted to info@alachuachronicle.com and are published at the discretion of the editor.

  • Well said Tana. Our leaders must first understand their duty is to govern with responsibility and reality. Gainesville ‘leaders’ seem incapable of this.

    • Hollye, they don’t know what responsibility is. Thanks to their fiscal incompetence, budgetary irresponsibility and state intervention, hopefully they’ll find out what accountability is.

  • Perfectly stated in the letter. The Alachua Chronicle is the only real news source in the County.

  • I agree 100%! This city commission only listens and acts on behalf of the university and developers. You really have to question who is paying our elected officials to ignore the people and destroy our City.

  • State bipartisan intervention and what that means doesn’t seem to dent the facade of governance by council members who still assert only they, not the state, know what’s best for Gainesville when all the evidence points to the contrary.

    The appeal for ‘local control’ by this group is like a drunk demanding the keys to the wine celler.

    Tana Silva is being kind in a tar-and-feather sort of way……

  • one must remember that this malfeasance has been going on for years and the voters of Gainesville continue to vote for these communist! the majority of voters are of the same mindset. it will never change. examples Austin Tx, San Francisco Ca, Portland Or,
    you have to vote with your feet and get out now, it is only going to get worse!

    • Look around gainesville at the make up of the voters it’s easy to see why they keep voting like they do

    • What do you expect when we can only get a 10 to 11% turnout for local elections … I know they organize the heck out of the students who only live here for a short time and then leave not caring that their votes are bankrupting us.

    • Labels such as “communist” are not helpful. Real problems include amateurs hiring professionals, micro-managing them and not allowing them to say what they think. It’s not just GRU. Look at the turnover of charter officers. The DEC and its allies do their best to restrict public debate and to use public funds to promote their views.

  • A lot of what the city gov’t does only represents the 3% of the population who’s voted for the winning city comm. or mayors the last 20 years. That was by design, spring elections to ensure a circle jerk with a revolving door among funded NGOs who parrot what the DC PACs and UN-elected lobbyists tell them to do at national networking conventions. It’s all become a stepping stone for poli-sci grads and wannabes who are term limited, with college loan debt so pay off.
    The 97% of people didn’t matter.

  • Yes Tana Silva, we need an overhaul in City governance.—The GNV CC worrying about the color of the rainbow with DEI and trying to
    comply with UN Climate change agenda finished us off. The State of Florida needs to get involved because the GNV CC is absolutely useless…they can’t even agree on something like stopping open container. They are allowing vagrants to accumulate downtown & midtown and they are turning the city into a sh!thole with their “come one, come all” bum & felon magnet Grace Marketplace. The city managers’ castration of GPD with the K-9 unit and wokeness is adding to the “drug, violence, vagrant, & crime crisis” we are experiencing. I am not going to conduct commerce at any business that allows vagrants to panhandle, or sleep in front of it. Our city is deteriorating under democrat leadership. The sooner the State comes in to fix things, the better.

    • Social Justice, wokeness, and cultural Marxism has ruined our city and that’s what the new world order, one world government totalitarian commies want…”you will own nothing and be happy”…
      They ruined the dollar, they ruined the economy…they are printing dollars…after the system crashes, their plan is digital cash & vaccine passports, and if you are alive, you will be in a smart sustainable city…”the prison planet”..you’ll be eating crickets & Bill Gates lab grown meat from cancer cells that are used to make those mandatory vaccines.

      • Yes, but look on the bright side. The black one world order helicopters hovering over your house will provide a delightful refreshing cooling from the not man made global warming.

  • I am STUNNED by GRU and the CC. The one CC who said she would only work 20 hours per week and STOP. What does she think this is Middle School? The $1.7 billion (with a B) owed? I would be working non stop to figure out why this continues! Governor DeSantis should step in because obviously it’s “No big deal” to the people who don’t understand repayment and working like grown ups!

  • Sure, all our problems can be handled by a strongman leader, like Mussolini – he made the trains run on time – Hitler, and DeSantis. Who needs democratically elected leaders when we have a governor who even takes over a board of a business and asks them to change it’s products?

    Why don’t you losers win some local county and city elections that aren’t gerrymandered with voters from Macclenny and Trenton? Then let Gainesville and it’s voters face the music for whatever screw ups they get into. That’s how democracy works. This isn’t Russia, though maybe you wish it was.

    • Gainesville is facing the music. Problem is, it’s like scraping your fingernails down a blackboard.
      It’s offensive and unpleasant.
      Difference is, people suffer. Get out and listen to the people complain about the taxes and utility rates. Those people liked the sound of the music until the tune changed.
      Just like some people shouldn’t have firearms, some shouldn’t vote either.

    • We’d probably be better off as unincorporated Alachua County. I’ve lived in an unincorporated part of a different county. There was no deficit of public services, as a legal, English-speaking resident not living in a homeless camp. If that happens, the state might need to make some special terminations and appointments at the county level.

    • The governor democratically won his election. It is his job under 218.503 to take various actions to remedy a financial emergency. 218.503(2)(G) says this may include appointing a board to oversee the city.

      Maybe city commissioners would not be so unhappy if there was a democrat in the governor’s office, but city would be just as broke and still be marching quickly toward receivership.

    • Mussolini and Hitler don’t have much relevance to the budget issues of the little city of Gainesville, Florida. Are you the mirror image of our commissioners who seek to save the world? It is a shame to have to turn over the governance of GRU to DeSantis. Sadly it may be the best choice. I have experienced silencing from groups such as the “Florida” Free Speech Forum (what a pretentious name for a non-free speech organization in little Gainesville!) and the League of Women Voters. In the case of the League of Women “Voters” it was an effort to ask whether a Gainesville City Commissioners meant it seriously when he said it doesn’t matter whether people can vote–elections are determined by donations.

      • Dr. Denslow….your the best! You were my first economics professor as a freshman at UF in 1980! You’re brilliant!!!

  • I believe that much of what has been expressed about our city government applies to our county government. That is, citizen’s being irrelevant in our county government doings. Thanks to citizens like Ms Silva positive changes can be made.

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