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FEATURED WITHIN:

4WATER CODE CONTROVERSY POLLUTES COMMUNITY RELATIONSHIPS

4ADVOCACY

TOOLS FOR STUDENTS

4IMPACT OF

HURRICANE IRMA LINGERED IN ALACHUA COUNTY

4THE 2018

GOVERNOR'S RACE: IS IT TOO EARLY TO CARE?

4UF COMMUNITY REACTS TO SELF-DRIVING BUSSES THAT WILL CONNECT UNIVERSITY AND DOWNTOWN GAINESVILLE

SPRING 2018

4PUBLIC-

PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP HELPS FUEL

GAINESVILLE RTS

LET'S TALK GNV IS A PUBLICATION PRODUCED BY THE BOB GRAHAM CENTER STUDENT FELLOWS4VIEWS EXPRESSED WITHIN DO NOT NECESSARILY MIRROR THE STANCES OF THE BOB GRAHAM CENTER BY ZIQI WANG

4 COVER ILLUSTRATION

4MAGAZINE DESIGN BY CAROLINE NICKERSON


LET’S TALK GNTHE EDITORS4GLORIA LI4 AUSTIN YOUNG LETTER FROM

How much do you REALLY know about Gainesville? Most students are temporary residents who call Gainesville home for four years. But Gainesville houses roughly 130,000 people – many of whom who call this city home for much more than four years. It takes a lot of planning, debate, and cooperative effort to give all of those people access to a high quality of life. The decisions made by our local institutions have huge effects on our lives no matter how long we reside here. At Let’s Talk GNV, we strive to inform students on local policy issues in a simple, succinct format. Our last edition was rife with information and commentary surrounding the March 2017 Gainesville city elections. This edition takes a closer look at the rich community that surrounds the University of Florida campus and the different issues that are, or should be, of interest to college students like you. These issues range from local policies to hurricane recovery to state politics. As always, we encourage students to be civically engaged. Knowing what’s happening around you is the first step to generating tangible change. In our democratic society, knowledge is power. We hope these pages leave you inspired to go out and have your voice heard. Let’s Talk about what’s new in the 352. All the best, Gloria Li, Editor Third Year; Environmental Science and Philosophy Austin Young, Assistant Editor

Fourth Year; Political Science and Religion

If you have any comments, suggestions, or ideas for future topics to cover, please feel free to contact us at: letstalkgnv@gmail.com


Some controversy is brewing in Alachua County over proposed amendments to its water quality code, aimed at reducing pollution in local bodies of water. According to the Gainesville Sun, county commissioners have decided to move forward with public hearings on at least one amendment, which is intended to protect county wetlands from harmful development. These proposals have prompted outcry from various local public officials. Concerns include the question of whether smaller communities would be able have their voices heard on the issue, with many suggesting the option to “opt-out” of the new policies. The Newberry City Manager has objected over fears that the costs to residential development in the area would outweigh potential benefits. Others suggest alternatives to the proposed amendments.

According to Dr. Lusk, the western part of Alachua, which feeds into the Floridan aquifer that supplies much of the southeastern U.S. with drinking water, is an area where pollutants can very easily make their way into the aquifer system. Concerns over potential hindrances to development will likely be weighed against the consensus of water quality analysts when public hearings on the topic start taking place in the beginning of this year.

In all, the proposed policy changes come with the goal of improving water quality within the county. The stormwater amendment would require that developers employ a variety of new techniques to filter water naturally, removing pollutants in the process. The wetlands protection amendment would place limitations on development taking place on wetlands, with some exceptions for creating access to already approved developments. As Dr. Mary Lusk, a Regional Water Resources Specialist with UF IFAS, explains, “the proposed amendments are based on well accepted stormwater management practices and will give builders and developers a ‘catalog’ of management options for stormwater management at new development sites.” Part of the impetus for these proposed changes comes from federal law, specifically in the form of the Clean Water Act, which mandates that states identify bodies of water which fail to meet quality standards as part of a National Water Quality Inventory that is reported to Congress. “Impaired” waters in Alachua County include the likes of Santa Fe River and Lake Wauberg, the former having been identified as a water source in particular need of protection from pollutants, and the latter being a particularly popular place of leisure for students at the University of Florida.

WATER CODE POLLUTES COMMUNITY RELATIONSHIPS4ARTICLE BY WILL PETRO4 ILLUSTRATION BY GLORIA LI


ADVOCACY TOOLS FOR STUDENTS4ARTICLE BY ELLIOTT WELKER4 ILLUSTRATION BY GLORIA LI

“THE DEATH OF DEMOCRACY IS NOT LIKELY TO BE AN ASSASSINATION FROM AMBUSH. IT WILL BE A SLOW EXTINCTION FROM APATHY, INDIFFERENCE, AND UNDERNOURISHMENT.” ROBERT MAYNARD HUTCHINS

Are you frustrated or angry with your elected representatives? Do you wish to bring attention to issues important to you? Are you passionately driven for a cause beyond yourself? Engaging government to advocate for political action on issues important to you is part of effective citizenship, but it is difficult to know where to start. The following are my suggestions to you for hitting the ground running with your advocacy efforts. First, if you haven’t registered to vote or haven’t updated your address for your local residence, you can do so online at RegistertoVoteFlorida.gov. This process only takes a few minutes of your time and will get you on the way to impacting your community by enabling you to actively vote. Now, find out who your representatives are and

their contact information. The Alachua County Supervisor of Elections records your elected officials by municipality, county, state and federal, with corresponding contact information, on their website www.VoteAlachua.com. Identify and define the issue that is motivating you to engage government. Do some research, collate credible analysis and data, and identify possible solutions. It is important to define the issue in a compelling way to elected officials and their constituents. This will take some work; you might need to interview others that are concerned about this issue to better understand and define it in public terms.


Next, find out which level of Government and which of your representatives can assist you with resolving the issue, meeting your goal or promoting your cause. Becoming knowledgeable of the institutions and who to target is an important part of engaging government. To determine which level government is involved might require some research, but you can begin by asking whether the issue concerns a municipality or county government, state legislators or state agencies, Congress or federal agencies. It is time to reach out to the target representatives via U.S. Mail, facsimile, telephone, email or social media (most elected officials now have a Twitter account and/or Facebook page). If possible, try to meet your representatives by making an appointment at their local office or introducing yourself to them at a public event; elected officials are usually very happy to speak with students. If your messages to your representatives are not returned, do not be discouraged. They often receive hundreds, even thousands, of messages each week. Staff informs the elected officials of the issues that constituents have contacted them about and the corresponding volumes, so reach out repeatedly. Consider joining an organization that advocates for issues concerning students or offers programing that gives you the opportunity to meet your elected officials and other community leaders. I strongly recommend attending events hosted by the Bob Graham Center for Public Service, which often has programing that includes public officials, influencers, or advocates. In addition, joining a student organization, like the Graham Center Student Fellows or The Andrew Goodman Foundation Ambassadors, can help you gain access to decision makers and other students engaging government (there is strength in numbers). Kevin M. Baron, Ph.D., Civic Engagement Coordinator for the Bob Graham Center for Public Service, offered the following sage advice to students and adults practicing advocacy: “Democracy and citizenship is a dynamic. Learning these skills or tools and what is meaningful is important. You are not as effective at doing something unless you practice . . . Spend some time online; try googling “policy advocacy,” you

will find that there are thousands of advocacy organizations. These organizations present many strategies, none of it is perfect. Choose [the] best strategy for you at the time … Think about policy change as a long game. It is going to take longer than you think. Relish the small wins, don’t be discouraged by the losses, keep fighting … Focus locally, city and county politics is accessible and there. You feel you have a bigger impact, which you do.” The following are some resources that I have used to stay informed and engaged. Be notified of upcoming elections by creating an account at TurboVote.org, which will always notify you of when elections are happening and the issues on the ballot. Track your elected officials voting records with Countable.us, which also offers clear summaries of legislation, notifications of how your congress people and senators voted on recent bills, and allows you to submit “Yea” or “Nay” votes to inform your representatives how they should vote to best represent you. Also, you can use Resistbot (resistbot.io) to send free faxes to your congress people, just text RESIST to 50409; it only takes a couple of minutes to draft and send a message. Stay up to date with Florida’s State government news with The Sayfie Review, which collects links to important Florida political news and information. Subscribe to your local newspaper, The Gainesville Sun, and listen or watch local news at Florida’s WUFT-FM 89.1 and WUFT Channel 5, to stay informed about local issues. In addition, you can download The Gainesville Sun’s and the Independent Florida Alligator’s free mobile apps where you can read and be alerted about breaking local news. Above are just a few recommendations to get you started. For a deeper dive into citizen led advocacy, try out America the Owner’s Manual, You Can Fight City Hall – and Win, by Senator Bob Graham and Chris Hand, which has been an indispensable guide for me. You can pick up a copy of this text at UF’s Library West, Alachua County Library, UF Bookstore and online at Amazon.com. Best of luck with your advocacy! Elliott Welker UF MBA Candidate


IMPACT OF HURRICANE IRMA LINGERS IN ALACHUA COUNTY4ARTICLE BY NARRELLE GILCHRIST4 ILLUSTRATION BY GLORIA LI


Three months after Hurricane Irma swept through Alachua County, recovery efforts continued. Hurricane Irma had more of an impact on Alachua County than any storm in the last decade, says Jeffrey Bielling, assistant director of Alachua County’s Emergency Management team. While most hurricanes create debris that takes only a few weeks to clean up, Hurricane Irma left behind damage that is still being picked up in early November, nearly two months after the hurricane passed. Bielling estimates that more than 2300 people sought safety in one of the county’s shelters during the hurricane, many of them evacuees from other Florida counties. Comparatively, when Hurricane Matthew passed through the county last year, Alachua’s shelters served only around 250 people. Crucial to the shelters’ success is a strong relationship between county officials and those responsible for running the shelters – namely, the Health Department and School Board. Fortunately, with each storm, that relationship is strengthened. Every local agency was involved in the storm preparations and recovery. While the Solid Waste Authority has taken the lead on debris cleanup, the Gainesville Fire and Police Department were responsible for maintaining public safety during the storm and overseeing rescue operations in its aftermath. In many of these agencies, these roles have meant large amounts of overtime for employees. As Irma blew through the county, firefighters and police officers were asked to work up to 48 hours overtime, and workers from the health department and school board were on the clock for three days to staff the shelters. In Alachua County, perhaps the most apparent lingering impact of Irma has been on U.S. 441 in Paynes Prairie. Flooding has intermittently forced the closure of one or more lanes heading both directions, a problem that has persisted into January. All 4 lanes were closed for a whole week in mid-October when floodwaters rose. U.S. 441’s closure has caused significant inconvenience to commuters and has backed up

traffic on alternative routes. Emmanuel Posadas, traffic operations manager for Gainesville, told the Gainesville Sun, “My guess is there are about 13,000 to 14,000 vehicles diverting daily, many of them heavy trucks.” Apart from U.S. 441, Bielling estimates that Irma caused $11-12 million worth of damage to the county’s infrastructure, mostly involving bridges, roads, and traffic lights. Millions of dollars in federal assistance for both individuals and businesses have been sent to Florida since Irma passed, and Alachua County has been fortunate to be one of the countries receiving substantial support from the federal level. From the week the storm passed until the beginning of November, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was on the ground in Gainesville. Through its Disaster Recovery Center, FEMA took the burden off the local government in helping those most affected by the hurricane apply for emergency assistance. Disaster Survivor Assistance and Individual Assistance teams in some cases went door to door to offer resources and case management to individuals in hard-hit neighborhoods. In addition, workers from the Small Business Administration have been distributing loans to local companies to mitigate the damage of the hurricane on the county’s economy. On a smaller scale, students, faculty, and staff at the University of Florida have benefited from the Aid-A-Gator initiative started by the Office of Student Financial Affairs. Eligible applicants could receive as much as $500 from the emergency fund to cover storm-related costs, with those demonstrating greater need able to receive more on a case by case basis. The money could be used to cover a range of expenses, such as the cost of hurricane shutters or groceries spoiled by power outages. For Bielling, the combined local, state, and federal response to Irma was largely a success. With every hurricane, the recovery is smoother and fewer mistakes are made. Overall, Alachua County weathered the storm well and is on the way to a return to complete normalcy.


THE 2018 GOVERNOR'S RACE: IS IT TOO EARLY TO CARE?4ARTICLE BY SARA HENLEY

4 ILLUSTRATION BY ZIQI WANG

November 6, 2018. In less than one year, the 2018 election will determine a new Governor for the state of Florida. Many candidates have already started dropping their names in the hat. These candidates include Republican candidates; Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam, U.S. Representative Ron DeSantis, and State Senator Jack Latvala*, and Democratic candidates former U.S. Representative Gwen Graham, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Winter Park businessman Chris King, and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine. More candidates are expected to enter the race, but it remains unclear who will win the primaries. According to The Sun Sentinel, the Democratic Party is currently trying to determine whether to reinvent their party entirely. They have two choices: either to take a more progressive path or to stick with more traditional campaign tactics. Considering the loss the Democrats took in the 2016 presidential election, it is important for them to reevaluate their strategies. Alachua County has voted primarily Democratic in past elections. According to the Alachua Supervisor of Elections Office,he turnout rate for the 2014 Governor’s race was around 50.20%, while the 2016 presidential race had a significantly higher turnout of 73.60%. Why do the Presidential races get higher turnout rates and how can we get the turnout rates for governor’s races to increase? Lower turnout rates in Alachua County could be related to lower student turnout on- campus and off-campus. First, we must encourage students to understand who they are voting for and educate them on the candidates. Increasing public engagement and knowledge on the candidates for elections can help motivate more people to vote on election day. Second, we must ensure students that their vote matters and that they are making a difference in the community by casting a vote. Student turnout is so important in Gainesville due to the large presence that the University of Florida plays in the community and in the state. This gubernatorial election crucial to our generation because the 2018 gubernatorial election will determine the nature of our state’s leadership as many student’s progress through their years in college and enter the workplace.

The two front runners on this race are Gwen Graham and Adam Putnam. Graham, who is the daughter of former Governor of Florida Bob Graham, focuses her platform on promising more money to education and on protecting Florida’s environment. Graham hopes to diversify the State’s economy beyond tourism and agriculture, and is a strong component of “putting families first.” Adam Putnam, who is a fifth-generation Floridian from Polk County, grew up in a family of ranchers and citrus growers. He serves as the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Putnam is a principled conservative, who hopes to focus on building the economy,expanding agriculture, and enlarging our education system by providing stronger career training programs. Recently, with Representative Ron DeSantis entering the race, this will lead to more competition among the Republican candidates. Desantis, a Yale and Harvard graduate, veteran, and strong conservative was endorsed by President Donald Trump and could be a potential front-runner. I asked two UF students about their thoughts on the upcoming race, Hunter Clary, a 3rd year Political Science and Telecommunications major who is involved with UF College Republicans, and Ben Lima, a 2nd year Political Science major who is involved in Gators for Gillum. Clary says that the UF College Republicans are always trying to get their members “plugged into internships with various campaigns.” He invites campus representatives to come speak at their meetings so that the members can get to know the field of candidates better. When asked how to get more students out to vote for this race, Clary stated that “educating students on how state and local government affects their lives is a way to motivate students” and notes “it’s difficult to get people passionate about public policy when they don’t know much about it!” Increasing awareness and holding forums with candidates and open discussions could lead to a higher turnout on election day. “The economy and education” are two things Clary said would be important issues in the upcoming election.


Lima helps lead Gators for Gillum, an organization that supports Mayor Andrew Gillum with his campaign. “Gators for Gillum has been holding strategy meetings, hosting small fundraisers, and engaging students with Mayor Gillum himself in the pre-election stages,” Lima reveals. The strategy for their campaign on campus is to work in a grassroots fashion. Ben is working with Gators for Gillum because he asserts that “Mayor Gillum has the most progressive ideas that will make Florida a state that works for everyone.” The issue that Lima believes will be the most important in this upcoming election is healthcare, due to the future of the Affordable Care Act being uncertain, as well as the future of education policy in Florida. The gubernatorial election will determine the

nature of our states leadership, “UF students will play a huge part in determining the future of Florida and strongly encourages students to vote as it allows us to have an active role in shaping our representation.” Lastly, Lima proclaims are “democracies work best when we vote, stay informed, and speak up on our opinions.” Both Republicans and Democrats can agree that students who are more informed are more likely to vote. As the election comes closer, students have many opportunities to get involved by holding open discussions, discussing candidate platforms, volunteering on campaigns, and registering students to vote. This election has the opportunity to impact not only Florida but UF students significantly. It’s important to remember every vote matters and every voice can make a difference.

*Jack Latvala resigned from the FL Senate in late 2017 following allegations of sexual misconduct, causing Tampa Bay Times and other media outlets to describe his efforts for governor as doomed


UF COMMUNITY REACTS TO SELF-DRIVING BUSSES THAT WILL CONNECT THE

UNIVERSITY AND DOWNTOWN GAINESVILLE4ARTICLE BY MAYA PUNJWANI4 ILLUSTRATION BY ZIQI WANG Greeting your bus driver when you hop on a bus may soon become an obsolete concept in Gainesville, Florida. The City of Gainesville, University of Florida and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) have partnered to develop an autonomous vehicle (AV) shuttle that will transport people to and from the University of Florida and Gainesville’s downtown area. UF and the Transportation Institute are currently working to gather traffic data from traffic signals on the road right now, which will then be used to expand the program, said Chip Skinner, a Gainesville Regional Transit System (RTS) spokesperson. “Places like California, Las Vegas and Madison, Wisconsin, are currently hotbeds for this kind of technology right now,” Skinner said. “We want Gainesville to be on the forefront and either be on par or surpass these places, especially since we have the University of Florida.” Skinner said that the City of Gainesville distributed a request for a proposal, which discusses a cost estimate and the resources needed for the project, on Aug. 28. He said that the projected award date for this proposal is Nov. 28. Afterwards, there will need to be a City Commission approval in the beginning of January 2018, and the projected contract will start on March 1. “This does not mean the vehicle will be here on March 1, but it means the agreement will be in place and they can start producing that vehicle if they already don’t have one on hand,” Skinner said. “Now if they have one on hand, then we get that much sooner.” Skinner said that they are planning on running the AV shuttle bus on Monday through Friday and possibly on the weekends for 10 consecutive hours. Each vehicle has a capacity of 8 to 15 passengers. The round-trip will be less than three miles, and the shuttle bus will run on Southwest 2nd Avenue and Southwest 4th Avenue. The project is fully funded by the Florida Department of Transportation. There will not be

any fares during the three-year demo period of testing the shuttle busses, Skinner said. Gedaliah Dreyfuss, a 21-year-old geography and urban planning major at UF, interned with the Florida Department of Transportation in their roadway and design office in spring of 2017. He said that he thinks that the corridor that connects UF and downtown Gainesville is a good low-traffic area for the AV shuttle to be tested. “The major impact the AV bus will have in society is that without a bus driver, there is no need to employ that one person,” Dreyfuss said. “The major cost in any bus operations is the driver, and not having that responsibility will mean more money to devote to green busses, electric busses and things that would have a positive environmental effect.” Dreyfuss was able to ride in an AV tech bus in Atlanta at the American Public Transportation Association Expo in October. “I think there’s a lot of stigma attached to AV when they’ve been proven to actually be safer,” Dreyfuss said. “They have millions of sensors and the ability to stop on a moments notice . . . They are much more responsive to things that are surrounding the entire vehicle, whereas the driver obviously can only see what is in front of them or behind them.” Dr. Charles Kibert, a professor at UF and a director of the Powell Center for Construction and Environment, said that benefits of self-driving busses include more fuel efficiency, less traffic congestion and safer roads. According to the Florida Department of Transportation’s website, “automated vehicle technologies have the potential to greatly reduce the number of crashes by aiding drivers in making prompt, safe decisions about driving maneuvers… (automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, etc.).” “Many accidents on the road involve falling asleep, drinking alcohol and paying attention to mobile devices, but machines will be attentive 100 percent of the time to what’s going on around and making decisions based on that,” Kibert said. “They are programmed to obey the rules.”


On the other hand, Kibert states that a drawback can be how well the software is able to operate. “Machines can’t detect everything. We are putting our safety in the hands of software engineers basically and also technology manufacturers who are detecting the traffic signals,” Kibert said. Dreyfuss said that he thinks that there is a generational divide when it comes to the reception of AV technology. “People who are older generally feel less comfortable in autonomous vehicles since they are so used to having a driver in the front seat,” Dreyfuss said. “But I think because the main ridership for busses in the city of Gainesville are primarily students, it will be very well received. People our age generally are willing to try new technology like this and willing to get engaged in it and offer their feedback.” Niamh Hays, a 22-year-old environmental science major at UF, agrees that there may be a generational divide with this new technology. “With a lot of college towns, when things develop there has been backlash with locals who think we are changing the city. I can imagine some people not being impressed the busses,” Hays said. Hays said that the mayor of Gainesville, Lauren Poe, visited one of her sustainability classes and

spoke about how the driverless buses in Gainesville will be more reliable than current busses since they keep a more consistent track time. Hays said that she is currently trying to take the bus and not drive her car as much in Gainesville. However, she gets annoyed when the app on her phone says the bus is about to arrive, and it turns out that it has already left. She said that if this did not happen as much with the self-driving busses, then more people would be willing to take them. Hays said that she believes that self-driving busses would get more people to start using public transportation, which would result in many environmental benefits. “I think encouraging public transportation is the biggest way to reduce our carbon footprint,” Hays said. Dreyfuss said that he is worried that people might think that AV tech is the “end all be all” solution for safety on the road. He said that it is important for people to remember that AV shuttle busses are only one component to a safe and sustainable transportation system. There are also other ways to create a safer and more environmentally friendly way to get around such as incentivizing people to walk and to bike, Dreyfuss said.


PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP HELPS FUEL GAINESVILLE RTS4ARTICLE BY CHRISTOPHER BATTISTA4 ILLUSTRATION BY ZIQI WANG

Did you know that your student fees help fund the Gainesville RTS – and that UF and Santa Fe contributions combine for over 50% of its annual operating budget? This is called a public-private partnership, an arrangement where a private entity such as the University of Florida helps fund or administrate a public good. The Gainesville RTS partnership ensures excellent access to public transportation for university faculty, staff, and students, and provides benefits for the community as well, by expanding Gainesville RTS’s financial ability to provide comprehensive city service. Public-private partnerships are a common way to structure services when a fully government-funded and operated model is not feasible. A famous example is the Channel Tunnel between the United Kingdom and France. The “Chunnel” was proposed and authorized by the British and French governments, but constructed and operated by a pair of private firms. Typically, a public-private partnership will follow this pattern, involving a private entity supplying funding and management for a public utility. These arrangements are becoming more popular throughout the United States, ranging from broadband networks to schools, according to accounting firm PwC. The setup is Gainesville is more limited, with UF and Santa Fe only providing funding for RTS. As a result of the partnership, Gainesville’s public transit system is very convenient for students. Campus is crisscrossed with bus routes, such as the 13 separate routes that stop at the HUB, 14 at the Reitz Union, and 10 at Keys Residential Complex. Besides covering campus, the bus system also services many of the popular student apartment areas off-campus. It’s comparatively quick too: according to

a 2011 report by the Florida Department of Transportation, Gainesville RTS’ average headway – the time in between buses arriving at a given stop – is 12.36 minutes, one of the fastest in Florida. How much of this is funded by UF? According to the Gainesville Regional Transit System 2014 Annual Report, 42 of Gainesville RTS’ 48 routes were either fully or partially funded by UF and Santa Fe College. In 2014, students and faculty made up around 80% of Gainesville RTS’ ridership. Today, UF and Santa Fe Collegeprovided funding remains above 50% of the Gainesville RTS operating budget. This funding arrangement allows our RTS to provide better service to the whole city. Many permanent Gainesville residents rely on the RTS to get to work, school and recreational activities. Roughly 4% of Gainesville’s households do not own cars, and it is likely that a significantly larger percentage face challenges related to sharing a car among multiple family members. The young and the elderly are also more likely to utilize public transportation when it is available. For these groups especially, a robust, accessible public transit system is a significant boon. Chip Skinner, Gainesville Assistant Public Information Officer, informs us that RTS staff continuously monitor housing and transport trends, seeking to maximize coverage for Gainesville’s residents. For example, staff attempt to draw connections between where people live and where they perform other activities, such as working or visiting the grocery store. The routes are then optimized to follow these patterns.


Expansion of RTS coverage has been brought up by candidates during local elections. The City of Gainesville government is currently working to enhance service to Gainesville’s east side, with an emphasis on making sure health sector workers have access to their jobs. The biggest obstacle to expansion is financial constraints, but the City is doing what it can. Even within tight budgets, Gainesville has been able to fund special RTS service for most holidays, ensuring that Gainesville RTS offers service 363 days of the year.

The public-private partnership between the City and Gainesville’s institutions of higher learning supports a robust and efficient bus system. Thoughtful expansion continues, to ensure that more and more residents have access to affordable transportation. In the meantime, the additional funding that RTS receives through the higher education partnership allows broader areas to be served than the City could fund on its own. Next time you board an RTS bus, think about the impact that access to transportation makes – and the creative methods Florida can use to fund our transportation of the future.


UPCOMING EVENTS AND MESSAGE FROM THE STUDENT FELLOWS4ARTICLE BY AUSTIN YOUNG4 INFOGRAPHIC BY AUSTIN YOUNG

April 54The Prediction of President Trump

January 184Dead Center: How Political Polarization Divided America and What We Can Do About It

At 6 p.m. in the Pugh Hall Ocora, University of Washington political science professor Christopher Parker will discuss how his prediction of a Trump presidential victory just days before the first presidential debate in late September 2016 was not based on racial bias but on sound social science and a history that has shown periods of racial progress followed by periods of racial pushback.

Former three-term member of Congress Jason Altmire will discuss his book, “Dead Center: How Political Polarization Divided America and What We Can Do About It,” at 6 p.m. in the Pugh Hall Ocora.

4

4 January 254 50th Anniversary of MLK’s Assassination

March 294Northern Ireland and the Good Friday Accords: 20 Years After

The UF African-American Studies Program will welcome University of Kentucky Professor Gerald Smith to speak at 6 p.m. in the Pugh Hall Ocora as part of a series of campus events commemorating the life of Martin Luther King Jr. nearly 50 years after his tragic assassination.

The Good Friday Agreement brought to an end 30 years of sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland. At 6 p.m. in the Pugh Hall Ocora, 20 years after the peace agreements have been signed, a panel of experts will reflect on the peace process and just how far Northern Ireland has come from its darkest days.

4

4 February 74 Tiana Epps-Johnson: Civic Tech

March 274 History of Nationalism and Racism

Tiana Epps-Johnson, founder and executive director of the Center for Technology and Civic Life, will speak at 6 p.m. in the Pugh Hall Ocora.

John Connelly, professor of History at the University of California Berkeley, will speak about the history of nationalism and racism at 6 p.m. in the Pugh Hall Ocora.

4

4 February 224 Felon Disenfranchisement Pippa Holloway, professor of history at Middle Tennessee State University and author of “Felon Disenfranchisement and the History of American Citizenship, will speak at 6 p.m. in the Pugh Hall Ocora.

February 274 Revisiting the Vietnam War

4

This panel discussion at 6 p.m. in the Pugh Hall Ocora and will feature Vietnam War veterans who will give personal accounts of their experiences during the war and reflect on the 50th anniversary of the Tet Offensive.


Students at UF who are motivated to lead, serve others, and improve our society through conversation and cooperation have a home at the Bob Graham Center for Public Service. We are always looking for new students to share our opportunities for internships, leadership, and research in all things politics and service. At the Graham Center we connect students to independent internships in government and nonprofits through tools like the Online Internship Database located on our website. We also run programs ourselves, like our Tallahassee Internship program which assists students in living and working at the state capitol for one semester. If you’d like to stay closer to campus, we also run programs for local and city internships as well as a virtual internship you can complete from home while still enrolled in class. The Graham Center is also here for anyone looking to grow their research experience. Our Civic Scholars program chooses 50 students every spring to write an investigative public policy paper and receive a $500 stipend. In the spring semester of their sophomore year, students can apply to become a Reuben Askew Scholar. Those selected will take several courses in public policy, receive intensive leadership training and $3000 to support a significant civic project, research, or internship for the summer between their junior and senior years. The Graham Center also runs events open to the public featuring nationally and world-renowned authors, politicians, activists, journalists, and other leaders on a regular basis. Events usually begin at 6PM on weeknights or on Friday mornings through our special “Coffee Break” series with local leaders. Every spring we host the Future of Florida Summit, where the brightest and most politically engaged students from Florida’s colleges and universities come together to address pressing issues facing our state. This year students will work to produce solutions for safeguarding Florida’s natural environment. The Student Fellows at the Graham Center are responsible for raising awareness of the opportunities at the Graham Center. In addition to promoting civic engagement, voter registration, and the community service, student fellows receive special access to the many of the Center’s visiting speakers and guests. Applications open every fall and spring and are available to every student at UF! The Graham Center is here to serve you. To learn more, visit us on the second floor of Pugh Hall or online at http://www.bobgrahamcenter.ufl.edu. Peace and respect, Austin Young President, Student Fellows Bob Graham Center for Public Service


A huge thank you to the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at UF for supporting this publication and giving us the freedom to write what we choose. This is truly a student effort, but we couldn’t do it without the amazing support from those great folks at Pugh Hall.

Let's Talk GNV 2018 Issue 2  

FEATURED WITHIN: WATER CODE CONTROVERSY POLLUTES COMMUNITY RELATIONSHIPS; ADVOCACY TOOLS FOR STUDENTS; IMPACTS OF HURRICANE IRMA LINGER IN A...

Let's Talk GNV 2018 Issue 2  

FEATURED WITHIN: WATER CODE CONTROVERSY POLLUTES COMMUNITY RELATIONSHIPS; ADVOCACY TOOLS FOR STUDENTS; IMPACTS OF HURRICANE IRMA LINGER IN A...

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