Thursday, June 12, 2008

Alachua's C.A.P.'s: Myth & Make Believe?

Stafford Jones, Executive Director of the Alachua County Republican Executive Community insists that members of the ALA, the chief opposition movement in Alachua are nothing more than loons and discounts any notion of a neighborhood watch that operates by shadowing the APD - Alachua Police Department.

Still, piecing together comments by the opposition, between the Grapski documentary, ocmments to the High Springs Herald, and at public functions, it seems that someone or something, be it CAP's, cops, or 'snitch squads' may be using police elements keep a lid on an organization that once controlled the City Government that today they fear has turned grossly against them.

I continue to investigate.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Alachua's Alleged CAP's

I've been hearing about a small group of concerned citizens in the City of Alachua, Fl for nearly a year. Even when I lived in Florida, I attended several Alachua City Commission meetings and spoke with several top leaders of that City's government, prominent citizens, and even the largely marginalized opposition.

Alachua is the town made famous by political scientist and theorist Charles Grapski and his struggle to oust a city regime he believes to be corrupt. But aside from his legal battles, Grapski has risen to the top of the city's most powerful opposition movement, the Alachua Leadership Alliance, an organization that once boasted of two hawkish Commissioners and control of the City Government. Although largely a point of contention today, embattled City Manager and Grapski nemesis, Clovis Watson, could not have secured his key post without the backing of the now [arguably] defunct ALA.

I was always amused by just how many rumors were born in the small town just ten miles north of Gainesville and just how quickly they spread all over Florida. In fact, Governor Jeb Bush appointed the current Mayor, Madam Jean Calderwood to her post some years ago, and today she enjoys her post for the third time (two of which were won by electoral means).

But one rumor that's always kind of stuck with me is the one pertaining to ALA houses being staked out, their vehicles being tailed, their phones bugged, and their mail & trash being dissected. One alleged member of the Alachua CAP's is Hal Brady, a man key members of the ALA claim drives through their communities reporting suspicious activities to APD. This rumor was received in early 2007, this was the first of many.

Through 2007 and as recent as June 9th 2008, CAP-related emails have been sent into my inbox, claiming the group now boasts of moonlighting-APD officers and thanks to a "expanded budget" are now using rental cars to further throw off the ALA.

Hugh "Bud" Calderwood, a prominent Alachua political activist and husband of Mayor Jean Calderwood told that: "the Canney's live on a busy street that hundreds of people drive by daily," and categorically denied allegations that ALA Homes were being watched.

But rumors abound and in a city with as much development as Alachua, some believe that local business and the City Government would turn a blind eye to an a group like C.A.P., so long as it remained as it arguably has, quiet and largely invisible. Still, activists like Grapski, Canney, McCoy, Rothseiden, et. al. are marked for their political and denying at least that, would be highly unfair - of anyone in the game at this point.

Others claim that the C.A.P.'s will become more visible with the departure of the city's police chief. It was believed that Jernigan was one city official not on board with the idea of tolerating any kind of autonomous neighborhood watch program. As you see with this video the Guardian Angels, such groups have always been greeted by skepticism and even contempt by local police departments. Given the fact that Grapski forced a tense showdown between APD and the Alachua County Sheriffs Office, led by Democrat & Grapski-pal Sadie Darnell ( a showdown that forced both chiefs to later dialogue ), Jernigan was probably in no way, shape, or form willing to relinquish further control of Alachua's security to anyone but his men and women in blue.

The last CAP-related email contained details of a "completed Rob Luna dossier" allegedly
"to be handed over at the Maude's Cafe", a coffee shop in downtown Gainesville. Question, who would they hand this alleged set of documents to, in Gainesville?
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