Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Alachua Republican party draws “line in sand”, sets up attack blog

From Renee: I have crossposted this at Daily Kos, My Left Wing, and Booman Tribune. Recommendations would be appreciated. Also, Charlie asks that we share this story, so please post the link anywhere it would be of interest to people.

There is a significant new development in the Alachua saga. For years there have been anonymous attack blogs spreading rumors about those addressing corruption in the City of Alachua.

When they discovered we had created a registration based information site - that cannot be used for anonymous attacks - this Sunday they put up their own new site (registration based).

The difference is - this time they have “outed” themselves rather than hiding behind anonymity.

And it is the Alachua County Republican Party! At first I thought this was a rogue Republican or actor - who was falsely representing their views as the official views of the Republican party.

But I spoke with the Chairman of the Party this morning and he confirmed it to me - the Alachua County Republican Party is responsible for that site and the Republican Executive Committee is sponsoring and financing it.

You can see it at

Also see the new posts at the Alachua Project site:

What the chairman of the Republican Party, Stafford Jones, stated to me was that the Republican Party has decided to “draw a line in the sand” on the issue of the City of Alachua. They claim that it is a model of “pro-job, pro-family” government that should be followed everywhere - in contrast to our claims that it is the epitome of corrupt practices and deference over democracy.

So the Republican Party has laid out the line in the sand - which side will people take - the Republican Party, officially, has staked out one side of that line and demanded people take sides. I wonder how many registered Republicans agree with the officials leading their party?


Monday, May 29, 2006

Charlie, Alachua, and exhaustion

I covered Alachua politics for several years as a journalist. I wrote the novel Tortoise Stew as a way to deal with the drama and traumas of covering the official business of this city. Charlie writes in one of his messages that he is “exhausted” by all that has been happening. That struck a nerve with me because I too felt exhausted every time I had to fight a battle for public records or play the game to get an interview.

Charlie attended a book talk about Tortoise Stew recently with several community members and the mayor of the neighboring community of Newberry. This mayor does not necessarily agree with Charlie’s methods, but at this talk both agreed that government becomes dysfunctional when the side in power refuses to listen to opposing opinions. This has been happening in Alachua probably since Reconstruction. When the ruling party refuses to listen, disenfranchisement occurs and democracy has gone underground.

The best thing about the discussion of Tortoise Stew occurred when Charlie and the mayor exchanged ideas and communicated ways to enfranchise citizens in order to make local government functional once again.

Alachua’s dysfunction needs to be used as an example in this country for how to destroy democracy.

Please feel free to post this email.

Patricia Camburn Behnke