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Gainesville City Commission meeting canceled due to threats against commissioners

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 6:36 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - The Gainesville City Commission canceled its regular Thursday meeting, citing threats of violence.

A City of Gainesville spokesperson tells TV20:

“The City Commission Meeting previously scheduled for Sept. 16 has been canceled and agenda items from that meeting will be scheduled for a future date. The emotionally charged events of the last several days have left tensions running high and has culminated in threats of violence against our elected officials. We take these threats seriously and the decision was made to cancel the meeting out of an abundance of caution.”

According to a spokesperson with the Gainesville Police, they are looking into comments made on Facebook by activist Chanae Jackson toward commissioner Reina Sacco. However, they are not aware of any other comments or threats made to city commissioners.

The reference to the “emotionally charged events of the last several days” could apply to a number of stories covered recently by TV20.

RELATED STORY: Gainesville mayor, commissioner react to resignations

The city’s vaccine mandate for all employees sparked protests over the course of the last month, and earlier this week Governor Ron DeSantis held a press conference in Alachua County to announce a $5,000 state fine for every instance of a local government enforcing a mandatory vaccine policy. Those fines are set to start on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Gainesville’s charter officers have been controversially in flux. Days after the city attorney and city clerk announced their resignations, Gainesville’s polarizing City Manager Lee Feldman announced his intention to resign as well, dictating severance pay and barring future lawsuits in the process. The city agreed to those terms on Monday.

Also in their Monday meeting, city commissioners withdrew the motion to fire Ed Bielarski, General Manager of the embattled city-owned Gainesville Regional Utilities. Mayor Lauren Poe and city commissioners backed off of the plan to oust Bielarski after many supporters spoke on his behalf during the public comment portion of the meeting, pushing it into the early morning hours on Tuesday.

Stay with TV20 for the latest on the threats against Gainesville’s elected officials, and the future state of Thursday’s canceled meeting.

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