Charles Goston doesn’t care if you remember his name in ten years — so long as the effect he had in Gainesville is everlasting.
The 69-year-old incumbent said he’s running to be re-elected as the District 1 city commissioner not to for the hype or recognition, but to further his work to uplift East Gainesville.
He graduated from UF with a journalism degree in 1999. He has run “The Black College Monthly,” a magazine, and hosted “Black College Football Today,” a local radio show.
Getting elected for his first term in 2015 allowed him to help the marginalized citizens of Gainesville, Goston said.
He said he negotiated a revised plan in 2016 with Gainesville Regional Utilities to stop the company from cutting off water and electricity to households that didn’t make payments on time or at all until the start of the business week.
Goston said he is amid negotiations with the fast-food chain Golden Corral to bring a new location east of Waldo Road, which is an area he said lacks food options.
“Now, the east side initiative is real, it’s tangible,” he said.
He said he has faced racial targeting by police. He was charged with driving with a suspended license multiple times in the 1970s and 1980s. Goston said those charges came while he was working two jobs to support his family and police stopped him for being a black man in a nicer-looking car.
Goston said he was also charged multiple times since the 1970s for writing worthless checks to pay for groceries to feed himself and his children.
Goston said he has since not had legal trouble in the last 20 years, and most of his past charges have been dropped.
Todd Chase, a former city commissioner for District 2, said Goston always reminded his peers of the human element in local politics, as well as represented marginalized people.
“We certainly debated over issues,” Chase said. “But in my time serving with him, he opened my mind and eyes at times to things that perhaps I couldn’t fully understand or appreciate.”