Vote Yes or No on Gainesville City Charter Amendment 2?

Posted by Trish Riley, March 16, 2009

An astute citizen of our fair city sent us an interesting note over the weekend, inquiring about the best approach to take when voting on Gainesville’s Charter Amendment 2 in the election March 24 (polls are open now for early voters).  The letter reads: ”

“I have been looking over the sample ballot for the upcoming local elections taking place on March the 24th.

I am concerned about the City of Gainesville Charter Amendment 2, which directly relates to the sale or conversion of lands currently in a ‘conservation’ state.  My concern is that the wording on the ballot is often misleading and the general public ends up voting erroneously. Since I am pro-conservation of green lands, assuming I’m interpreting the amendment correctly, I would vote “yes”?

Please let me know about this matter as I plan on voting early. I have tried to run a Google search on this, and have had no luck discerning the correct answer to my query.  I can find numerous statements on Charter Amendment 1 and also on both City Commissioners but nothing for this.  I am a little disappointed with the Alachua County Democratic Party for not including their opinion on this Amendment in their “Vote March 24th” box.  Maybe it should be brought to their attention….hint, hint.  :)”

The question led me to try to learn more about Amendment 2, and my search didn’t bring up much more than the writer could find. An opinion blog noted that the Amendment really boils down to: do we trust city commissioners to protect public natural lands? The blog also pointed out that a yes vote would mean that the city would not be able to sell off the Ironwood Golf Course, should it decide the recreational facility is too expensive (which commissioners recently bolstered with a controversial grant of $1.1 million) to maintain.

GoGreenAlternatives is not a political venue, but we are interested in promoting green activities and agendas in the Gainesville area. This amendment could impact the widely valued natural greenspace available in Gainesville. I’ve posted the amendment below and welcome discussion among readers – before we go to the polls. Please weigh in!

CITY OF GAINESVILLE CHARTER AMENDMENT 2
Protection of City-owned Lands Acquired or Used
for Conservation, Recreation, or Cultural Purposes
SHALL THE CITY OF GAINESVILLE CHARTER BE
AMENDED TO REQUIRE THAT THE SALE OR
CONVERSION TO ANOTHER USE OF CITY-OWNED
LANDS ACQUIRED OR USED FOR
CONSERVATION, RECREATION, OR CULTURAL
PURPOSES BE EFFECTIVE ONLY IF APPROVED BY
A MAJORITY OF THE ELECTORS IN THE CITY IN A
CITY-WIDE REFERENDUM ELECTION?

YES – for adoption of the amendment
NO – against adoption of the amendment