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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Landlord and politically active Gainesville resident Jim Konish said he is filing for District 4 Commissioner today, just a few months ahead of city elections.

An outspoken and consistent presence at City Commission meetings, the 61-year-old often gives passionate speeches on local issues — much to the annoyance, interest and amusement of commissioners.

"He has been a real, I would say, bulldog on the issue of our utility rates and calling attention to the rate escalation back under the previous commission," Mayor Ed Braddy said.

A strong opponent against Gainesville Regional Utility rates, Konish said his campaign will focus primarily on working with other commissioners and the mayor to lower GRU bills through a five-part plan.

The initial parts of the plan include a forensic audit into the city’s biomass plant contract, which he strongly opposes and is adamant about getting out of. The plan also involves transferring the garbage and stormwater fees on utility bills over to tax bills, among other steps.

Additionally, Konish said he wants to curtail funding for — and eventually privatize — Dignity Village and Grace Marketplace.

"It’s just been a complete failure in terms of the results delivered," he said. "And they just want to expand on it."

He said he would firmly send the message that there won’t be any more increases in the funding, and current funding would slowly reduce. Lastly, Konish said he will work to install buffer zones between high-density and low-density, single-family neighborhoods.

Commissioner Charles Goston commended Konish for his research into and knowledge of local issues.

"A lot of times people don’t like to hear what Jim has to say, but 90 percent of the time, Jim is telling the truth," Goston said.

A longtime District 4 and Gainesville resident, Konish joins the race against Adrian Hayes-Santos, the director of the Entrepreneurship Master’s Program at UF, to fill the seat currently held by Randy Wells.

Contact Hunter Williamson at hwilliamson@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @hunterewilliam

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Jim Konish

Landlord and longtime Gainesville resident; very active in city politics. Platform focuses on:

  • Lowering Gainesville Regional Utility rates.
  • Defunding Dignity Village and Grace Marketplace and using those funds to improve infrastructure.
  • Establishing buffer zones between low-density and high-density neighborhoods.

Adrian Hayes-Santos

Director of the Entrepreneurship Master’s Program at UF; holds undergraduate and master’s degrees from UF; held positions on Gainesville City Beautification Board, Regional Transit System Board, Downtown Community Redevelopment Agency Board and Alachua County Business and Economic Growth Task Force. Platform focuses on:

  • Protecting neighborhoods
  • Ensuring an economically vibrant downtown
  • Preserving the environment
  • Making a transportation system that works for everyone
  • Expanding affordable high-speed broadband in the community
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