Unchallenged Incumbent Confronts The Controversy by Stacey Samuel
Itâ€™s been a bumpy election
campaign in the city of Alachua. From a
candidate application snafu to a lawsuit filed by of the candidates --all of
whom were initially disqualified-- to city leaders that have come under fire,
the campaign trail has been upstaged by city politics.
The sparks flew last night
as the final weeks before the April 10th election. It was once called off but
now is back on, and one person caught in the middle is the Mayor Jean
Calderwood. Today she speaks out on the controversies.
While Alachua runs its own elections, Calderwood says that city leaders did
talk with the county supervisor of elections about the possibility of the
county overseeing this yearâ€™s elections, a concern that critics of the present
commission persist with. But Calderwood remains unmoved by the many
controversies surrounding this year's election.
"The commission never made a decision to cancel any election we never made
any decision to that effect," says the incumbent mayor, who is now running
unopposed for her dual city commission seat. However, city manager Clovis
Watson did cancel the election and has been persistently under fire as he
remains the constant face to the city.
The election is back on, now that a judge ruled three candidates' application
forms were indeed valid. Another possible controversy-- last night
commissioners voted to certify future elections within 24 hours,Â which
shortens the window of time someone would have to challenge the outcome. This
too has been the source of a lawsuit the city is facing from its lections last
"We always certify the election
results right after the canvassing board met and the election results were
certified at that particular time. I would be cautious in answering any
additional questions regarding that because of litigation," explained
With half a dozen pending law suits against the city --several brought by one
of the candidates, CharlesGgrapski--Â at the center of another suit is
"oversight" of the city's elections, which she explains is guided by
the city's charter. But, to Calderwood this election is no more unusual than
"I think if we look at the nation's, we look at the state of Florida and
we even look at Alachua County and some of the small municipalities I think
over the years I think there have been issues related to many elections,"
Despite the sometimes darker aspects of politics she sees a brighter side.
"Probably the good thing about that is people are paying more attention to
our elections and people are paying more attention to the process itself,"
With the controversy and law
suits still looming Calderwood has one message she is pushing forth this
election season, "...the public needs to make sure they seek all the
There were three candidates now there are two, the election is scheduled for
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