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Friday, September 29, 2023

City commission candidates spoke about local issues Wednesday night in one of their last public forums before early voting starts.

Candidates talked about small business, the Occupy movement and what time to close bars.

The forum, held at the Alachua County downtown library, had all three District 1 candidates and six At-Large 1 candidates.

The forum was hosted by The Gainesville Iguana, The Fine Print, Indie Gainesville and the Alachua County Library District.

"It was really interesting," said Eric Brown, 18-year-old UF political science freshman. "They were progressive and talked about the East Side of Gainesville."

He said he thought Dejeon Cain, candidate for the At-Large 1 seat, had the best policy when it comes to helping the East Side of Gainesville.

Brown said James Ingle had the best answer when the candidates were asked about incentives given to small business.

Small businesses are an integral part of the community, said Nathan Skop, candidate for the At-Large 1 seat.

Donna Lutz, candidate for the At-Large 1 seat, said after owning a clothing boutique, she now knows what a small business can do for a community.

When it comes to helping city businesses, Lauren Poe, candidate for the At-Large 1 seat, said he looks for local businesses when going out to eat and has been on multiple commissions helping small business.

Occupy Gainesville is another phase of social reform, said Ray Washington, candidate for the District 1 seat.

Darlene Pifalo, candidate for the At-Large 1 seat, said if it wasn't for big business we all wouldn't have our iPads and iPods. She said she intends to never be in poverty as long as she can work.

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Occupy Gainesville is fed up with corporate greed and represents the lost middle class, said Yvonne Hinson-Rawls, candidate for the District 1 seat.

Armando Grundy, candidate for the District 1 seat, said Occupy Gainesville represents the impoverished local economy and the 99 percent bears the burden of the 1 percent.

"You have to make sure there is a transparent window for everyone to voice their opinion," Brown said.

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