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December 2017

Monday, December 11, 11:30 AM – 1 PM

Mark Fenster
Is the government too secret or not secret enough? Why is there simultaneously too much government secrecy and a seemingly endless procession of government leaks? The Transparency Fix argues that we incorrectly assume that government information can be controlled. The same impulse that drives transparency movements—from activists who want stronger open government laws to the digerati who want open data—also drives secrecy advocates like Dick Cheney. They all hold the mistaken belief that government information can either be released or kept secure on command. And when released, both sides assume, this information will have a predictable effect: for transparency advocates, it will give us an authentic democracy and efficient government, while for secrecy advocates, it will make our nation less secure and prevent our government from functioning.

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January 2018

Monday, January 8th 11:30 AM – 1 PM

Rebecca Hale
Rebecca Hale was elected president of the American Humanist Association in 2013. She is co-owner of EvolveFISH.com, the popular online store of atheist, humanist, and pro-science merchandise, and co-founder of the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs.
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February 2018

Monday, February 12th 11:30 AM – 1 PM

Gary Edinger
Gary Edinger is a local attorney and a member of the First Amendment Lawyers Association (FALA), a group of prominent attorneys responsible for litigating many important free speech cases. He is also active on the legal panel for the North Florida Chapter of the Florida ACLU.
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March 2018

Monday, March 12th 11:30 AM – 1 PM

Aaron Sharockman
Aaron Sharockman is the executive director of PolitiFact, the largest fact-checking organization in the United States. Aaron leads the growth and development of PolitiFact, manages its outreach and news partnerships, and oversees new initiatives and product development.
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April 2018

The Joseph L. Brechner Freedom of Information Award is an annual $3,000 cash award, sponsored by The Brechner Center. The award recognizes excellence in reporting about freedom of information, access to government-held information, or the First Amendment.
April 9 @ 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Please register by Thursday, April 5th.

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May 2018

May 14th, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Nathan Crabbe is opinion and engagement editor for the Gainesville Sun. His job includes writing The Sun’s editorials and a weekly column, editing letters to the editor and other content on the daily editorial page, and editing guest columns for the Sunday Issues section. He’s been with The Sun since 2005, previously covering the environmental and University of Florida beats as a reporter for the paper.

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September 2018

Carole Fernandez
September 10th, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Join us for a review of the 13 proposed state constitutional amendments, two Alachua County referenda, and two Gainesville City referenda that will appear on the November 2018 ballot. League of Women Voters president Carole Fernandez will describe the proposed amendments and referenda, give the League of Women Voters’ positions on them, and the general basis for those positions.

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October 2018

October 8th, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

October’s luncheon will be split between two speakers, each taking equal time to present their thoughts on the GRU Authority referendum that will appear on the upcoming midterm ballot.

Dr. David Denslow Jr., Research Economist for the Bureau of Economic and Business Research and Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Economics, is best known at the University of Florida as the effective and popular professor of the televised course Basic Macroeconomics.

Joseph Little is Emeritus Professor of Law at the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida. He obtained his B.S. summa cum laude from Duke University and his J.D. from the University of Michigan. Among the courses he taught at UF was a course in Local Government Law, and is considered to be an expert in this area.

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November 2018

A. Whitney Sanford, University of Florida
November 12th, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Many intentional communities such as ecovillages and cohousing communities form around broad principles such as sustainability, but residents find that social sustainability proves a much greater challenge. In researching Living Sustainably, I visited communities that developed a range of strategies for governance and conflict resolution. These strategies helped residents through difficult dialogues about what constitutes sustainability and, more important, how can we productively translate conflict into creative solutions.

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December 2018

December 10th, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

For our December luncheon, winners of this year’s Buddy Davis Speech Contest will read their entries.
The topic for this year’s contest is: Can schools discipline students for social media use outside of school?

Every teenager knows that he can’t call his principal a vulgar name to his face. But it’s really unclear whether he can go home, get on his computer, and then call him vulgar names online. Is this type of online speech protected by the First Amendment? This important issue is gradually making its way through the lower courts, and will probably be considered by the Supreme Court in the near future.

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