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Thursday, July 07, 2022

Women's group questions city candidates

Women for Wise Growth held a public forum Wednesday evening and questioned Gainesville City Commission candidates on their ideas for energy conservation, development in East Gainesville and homelessness.

The group is known for supporting environmental protection and affordable costs for infrastructure and transportation.

One of the main focuses brought up by the audience was homelessness.

Candidates were asked about their policies regarding homelessness and the one-stop homeless center.

City Commissioner Jack Donovan, who is running for District 3 re-election, said his goals consist of getting the homeless back on their feet and contributing to society.

It takes a compassionate and healthy society to help the homeless as well as reduce the fear of neighborhoods from this one-stop center, Donovan said.

All six candidates in attendance didn't agree with the proposed North Main Terrace location of the center.

The center shouldn't be close to an elementary school and daycare center, said Bryan Harman, District 2 candidate.

However, District 3 candidate Armando Grundy said it's an issue when people don't want the center in their area.

"If it's not in your backyard, what backyard?" Grundy asked.

About 30 people showed up to the forum at the United Church of Gainesville. Beverly Thomas, a founding member of Women for Wise Growth, said the unusually early city election had an effect on forum attendance.

Thomas said they have been inviting city, county and state candidates to participate in a public forum for the past 10 years. District 2 At-Large candidate Robert Agrusa and District 3 candidate Christopher Salazar were not in attendance.

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