Readers comment on Gainesville City Commission candidates and more – Gainesville Sun

A few years after I served on the Gainesville City Commission, Cynthia Chestnut was elected. Cynthia was easily the best friend of neighborhoods, residents, students and our rank-and-file workers while serving on both city and county commissions. She always asked the hard questions at commission meetings, ones that management preferred to avoid. And she got the answers, in public.   
Whenever a citizen or neighborhood expressed a need or concern over a troubling commission plan or management proposal, Cynthia reached across the dais, through the invisible wall separating government from the governed, by asserting the citizen’s concerns in clear, forceful and understandable terms.  
She worked with her colleagues in the county to create a robust environmental program. She spoke truth to power and earned the wide respect of our citizenry by requiring that the city and county work together on a comprehensive planning process that protects neighborhoods, small local business and the environment. Intergovernmental cooperation has dimmed since then.
I can testify because I was there at city and county meetings and have always admired her persistence, courage and high expectations for all who exercise power. Let’s vote to get Cynthia back.
Mark Kane Goldstein, Gainesville 
As a long-time environmentalist, I’m shocked to see Cynthia Chestnut back on my ballot. Drive down Archer Road to see the results of her years voting pro-developer and anti-environment on the city and county commissions. Thousands of acres of pristine environmental land in the west are now strip malls because of the “urban boundary” changes and loose approvals to zoning she championed in the ‘80s and ‘90s. 
We environmentalists tried to fight her and the developers she backed but lost. The resulting destruction to our environment and the greenhouse gas has been terrible. 
Her environmental record should be disqualifying to environmentalists in this city. I don’t know who I’ll be supporting yet for this election, but it won’t be Chestnut. 
Sarah Jones, Gainesville 
More letters:
Matt Howland is the city commissioner that Gainesville needs. I’ve known Matt for over six years. He is trustworthy, dependable and a gentleman of high moral character.  Our commission would benefit from his perspective and ability to listen and clearly communicate with his future constituents 
I encourage my fellow Gainesville residents to visit Matt’s website and decide for yourself. Better yet, send him a message and have a conversation. I can promise that Matt will listen and hear you out even if there is not agreement on an issue. 
This is the type of person we need on our commission. I’ll be voting for Matt Howland in this special election. I encourage all of my fellow Gainesville residents to do the same. 
Jim Radtke, Gainesville 
Well, no surprise that the promise the extra half-cent cent sales tax for education in Alachua County was safe from misuse by greedy folks turned out to not be true. The real estate agents of note appear to be preying on a bunch of  incompetent members of an oversight committee that forgot to oversee the millions of dollars assigned to be their responsibility.
It seems that Alachua County is once again distinguished by bureaucrats who promise much and deliver oh so little.
Wayne N. Dixon, Alachua 
Bird populations have decreased by as much as a third in my lifetime. The primary cause is mankind. The book “A World on the Wing” by Scott Weidenaul explains this clearly.
Joyce Burrows, Gainesville 
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