"As far as Grapski goes, I find myself of several conflicting minds on the matter. As a very simplistic matter as a mechanical engineering major who is focusing my studies on air conditioning and refrigeration systems, hearing about a part of the jail consistently being that cold concerns me. While I don’t know the specifics of their system, it sounds like the reheat part of the process is broken and/or they have serious control issues going on. Either of these would point to a critical problem with a major capital system in the building that should be addressed by maintenance and design professionals immediately because beyond the discomfort the cold causes, it could also point to problems with (or failure of) the outside-air makeup system. When this fails it causes sick buildings, mold and, fungus problems that can start within the air conditioning ducts and spread throughout the building. Severe cases of this can literally grow entire colonies of deadly mold spores in the system that have in the past killed or incapacitated scores of government employees at facilities where these problems were ignored. While this sounds dire, it is usually relatively trivial to fix these problems as long as they’re addressed by competent professionals in a reasonable amount of time and I hope the jail has repairs in the works.
For the legal/political situation things are much more murky for me. Obviously the public does not intend jails to be palaces, but even the imprisoned (regardless of their adjudicatory status) have a right to a liveable climate and nutrition. However, while the temperature is an obvious problem, things such as food are harder to quantify and comment upon. I am glad upon reading your latest post that it sounds like Grapski’s representation situation is moving forward; the legal system is painfully slow as it is and these kinds of things can really drag out a simple matter unnecessarily.
But beyond the nature of his imprisonment, I really don’t think I know enough to make an educated comment on his guilt or innocence. I’ve read the charges in the papers like everyone and while I am extremely skeptical about what I think frequently in this country amounts to a culture of prosecutorial overreaching, making scenes at public meetings just for the sake of making a scene that disrupts the meeting and breaking and entering are unacceptable behaviors no matter who you are. Yes, you Gator Party folks out there might have your jaws open at my comments about making a scene for the purposes of making a scene, but there’s a big difference between being a properly elected/appointed member of a board or commission raising hell or delaying matters with public pressure or parliamentary tactics and being an average joe showing up at a county commission meeting and losing it so much you get dragged out by the police (which is something Grapski seems to have developed a reputation for doing). The point is as members of the public we have every right to show up at any meeting and express our outrage, and I believe we should have significant leeway in the manner and duration of time we use at such meetings to do so, but eventually government, even corrupt government or misguided government, must carry on. If our elected officials are determined to ignore their constituents we have the duty to express our outrage and bring pressure upon them to stop. But eventually you chalk up the loss, move on to other things, and start preparing the attack ads for the next election cycle to remind voters about the times they’ve been ignored. I think our ability in O&B to fight like hell on the issue at hand, roll with the punches when we lose, yet still effectively remind the voters of the times that Gator has ignored their wishes has proved to be one of our most effective tools to motivate voters to give us a chance to do better with their public trust.
As to Grapski’s mark on the current movement, I think it’s hard to really quantify that. His work was really 15 years ago and with the exception of a late-night meeting at Maude’s we had in the Spring shortly before we filed the SOLVe suit, I only know him through the indie oral storytelling tradition. I haven’t read most of the documents related to the case, though I have read some of the Alligator coverage surrounding it to know what happened. My recent contact with Joe Little has filled in some gaps in that respect too. But with respect to what sort of impact his work 15 years ago has had on O&B’s efforts, I think the connection is tenuous at best. The indies have collapsed and reformed several times since then and while I can see a clear connection between the people and work I’m doing today and those of say Access, going back past that is hard since I’ve never really met anyone who was involved in the 10 years between Grapski and then. That’s not to say that he wasn’t important, I just don’t really know what he did on a policy basis all that much to draw a solid connection. In truth, with the exception of Trimboli, myself, and Tommy there aren’t any guys still involved on our side surviving from even as recently as the 2006 ACTION campaign: most of today’s O&B are a direct recruitment result of Trimboli and my work with Progress in 2007. To me, the most important thing about Grapski isn’t who he is today, but what he did: sue for his rights when UF and FBK played dirty. That one act 15 years ago DID resonate through each subsequent indie party and has given us all hope even in the darkest of days. It was knowledge of his suit that led me to Joe Little’s office with the SOLVe documents in February to timidly knock on his door and ask him if he thought there was anything we could do. It was knowledge of his suit that had other former indies cum law graduates calling offering their services then and still doing so today. It is the knowledge we all have that if UF and FBK go overboard in stopping us that there ARE courts and judges out there that can stop them that keeps us going even as all the levers of power are locked against us.
For that, despite my strong disagreements with his recent behavior and most of his political beliefs, I respect the man because it was his decision to stand up back then that has made it possible and much easier for all of us to continue standing up today. To me the greatest tragedy of Grapski is that he didn’t go on to achieve fame/fortune/flashy success after UF: that is the carrot FBK claims to offer their people and had Grapski achieved that as well, debunking the FBK myth would be far easier today."
Still No Word From Canney
Michael Canney has been by Charlie Grapski's side since day one - in Alachua at least. He's considered a top knotch member of the opposition, whether you choose to use outdated terms like the ALA or if you instead prefer to associate him exclusively with the Green Party, Canney holds a great role to the future of the City of Alachua.
Canney is far more than the camera that follows Grapski around. It will be interesting if his statement will ever be received... though we're not holding our breath.
Some people may be wondering why I chose Joe as the first SBP to speak. The Summer 2004 session was quite possibly the most interesting senate session of the decade. Joe's very election was rumored to have been part of a key Access-powerplay that went bad very quickly. Times were tough, relations were strained, Jamal didn't know from day to day if the hostile majority in senate would topple him...but while he waited Jamal & his cabinet threw jabs at hostile senate leaders by forming executive sub-committees (which overstepped into the Legislative Branch by way of their Access Party members' influence).
In the end Joe proved the most keen. While he planned his rise to the top, Dennis was seemingly caught off guard. The administration's kind and friendly #2 (Puckett was the clear #3), Ngin zealously worked from his office to do his best by the side of the students. It's for this reason when several of us approached him in December, that he still had not made a decision. This indecision, coupled with other internal issue, began to signal The Minority Migration to Gator that would culminate by the Spring elections.
In a very blunt way...even without a Progress or Voice, Dennis (also lacking an Andre Samuels f/t by his side) would have been no match for Joe. Let me expound further. Even with Samuels & the Team [Argento/Harrell/Kassim] in 2005...Dennis still would have been in trouble. The '04 contacts and strategies were outdated and obsolete by '05 -- so much so that Jamal's own last minute, highly publicized endorsement weighed little less than the paper it was printed on.
Oh yeah...back to Joe. I selected him b/c he was a major player at a critical time. His appointments have shaped even your own current SG and his tenure over Senate can also be felt - even today. In terms of legacy-value, Goldberg's has lived longer than Boyles', Moseley's, and dare I say Reilley's ever did or will.