I wonder what President Paul Broadie thinks?
About the despicable, no-fingerprints, filthy-money driven campaign to deceive African-Americans.
Into voting for an initiative that both the local NAACP and prominent African-American leaders insist is bad for African-Americans.
I do not ask just because President Broadie is himself a respected African-American leader and prominent local educator.
But rather because one of his top administrators is elbow deep in the muck of this campaign of lies.
State Rep. Chuck Clemons isn’t “just” a politician. That’s only his part-time job.
His full-time job is executive director of the Santa Fe College Foundation. As such his actions and conduct ought to reflect on the values of the college that employs him.
The college that launched the East Gainesville Initiative in order to better serve the same African-Americans that Clemons and his fellow Republicans want to deceive.
The college that landed a $30 million donation based in large part on outreach efforts like the East Gainesville Initiative.
The college that just opened the impressive new Blount Center strategically sited to better serve Gainesville’s historic Black neighborhoods.
In his part-time job, Clemons is also the legislator who put the single-member county commission district initiative on the general election ballot.
Essentially it is an attempt to elect more Republicans in a county that historically elects Democrats.
Clemons got the Legislature to put it on the ballot presumably because local Republicans couldn’t be bothered to go through the tedious signature-gathering process normally required to try to amend the county charter.
Naturally, a “Vote for this so we can elect more Republicans” campaign doesn’t figure to be very effective in Alachua County.
So a network of shadowy, dark-money funded PACS have been using text messages, mailers and hand-outs to spread the lie that this initiative is supported by prominent Democrats and African-Americans because it will make it easier to elect African-Americans to county office.
Electing African-Americans has never been a problem in this county. Electing Republicans has.
If Clemons isn’t personally hands-on in this orchestrated campaign of lies, neither has he spoken out against it nor tried to stop it.
Which means Alachua County’s senior House member is either a patsy in his own party (“Just shut up while we do your dirty work Chuck”) or he is complicit.
So I have to wonder if President Broadie has spoken to Santa Fe administrator Clemons about his role in this campaign of lies.
And if so, what Clemons might have told him.
“Gosh chief, there’s nothing I can do about it.”
“My lies are the Legislature’s business, not Santa Fe College’s.”
Either way, I hope that President Broadie will himself take a public stand on this issue. That he will stand up and help counter the lies.
As a prominent African-American leader.
As a distinguished educator.
As the president of a college that has made much of its commitment to reach out to African-Americans.
Because the best counterpoint to distortion and lies is education and truth.
And isn’t that what Santa Fe College stands for?