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Politics takes place of protests for new Lake Worth commissioner

News ArchiveLAKE WORTH — Over the years, Cara Jennings has taken extreme measures to make her liberal views known.

She helped organize a sit-in during which two people chained themselves to a stairway railing and others dumped rotting fruit and sand in the offices of the Palm Beach County Business Development Board to protest development plans for The Scripps Research Institute. Politics takes place of protests for new Lake Worth commissioner

By Tanya Wragg
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Sunday, April 02, 2006

LAKE WORTH — Over the years, Cara Jennings has taken extreme measures to make her liberal views known.

She helped organize a sit-in during which two people chained themselves to a stairway railing and others dumped rotting fruit and sand in the offices of the Palm Beach County Business Development Board to protest development plans for The Scripps Research Institute.

She has traveled the country fighting for women's empowerment and equal rights through what she called radical cheerleading, a practice that would later become a national phenomenon.

Her philosophies remain the same, but now that the 29-year-old has won a seat on the Lake Worth City Commission, she said her tactics will change.

She plans to connect with her constituents by hosting town hall meetings and street parties, not rallies and protests.

"People can expect to see me as a very hands-on commissioner," she said. "I believe strongly that the community's needs and desires should be reflected through their commissioner."

Even her wardrobe has changed.

Right around the time she decided to run for office, Jennings traded in her trademark cut-off jeans and messenger bag for conservative tees and slacks. At the polls Tuesday, Jennings, a registered member of the Green Party, sported a black suit.

"I think it's important to look presentable, but I'm going to try my best not to lose my fashion sense," she said, laughing.

Jennings, some say, will bring a fresh voice to the city commission. She replaces her polar opposite, eight-year Commissioner C.H. "Mac" McKinnon, 79, a staunch supporter of development, who cast votes to approve the construction of The Lucerne, a six-story condo in downtown Lake Worth and the controversial sale of a downtown parking lot.

Jennings' vision for Lake Worth includes an aggressive affordable housing program, a civilian police review board and fair code enforcement, and alternate energy sources, such as solar power, to lower residents' electric bills.

The Santaluces High graduate also made headlines working with Earth First!, an environmental group that has staged several protests against Scripps, and Lake Worth Global Justice Group, a loose collective that creates coalitions around housing, free trade and immigrant rights.

In 2004, Jennings, along with David Vespo, who also won a seat on the commission Tuesday, were appointed to the city's Stakeholder's Advisory Committee. The board was charged with encouraging public participation in the master plan, but also to make sure that citizens' voices are reflected in the new plan.

Opponents question Jennings' ability to hold office. She's an anarchist, someone who believes in overthrowing government using violence, they say. Her boyfriend, Panagioti Tsolkas, was arrested after climbing onto a bamboo tripod on Dixie Highway during rush hour last year to protest The Lucerne, and two of her girlfriends bared their breasts to protest Scripps in 2004.

Jennings said the textbook definition of anarchism is misleading.

"The more thorough definition of anarchy speaks to the concept that people are equal," she said. Local government can be used to help meet the needs of the people, she said.

Jennings said her first exposure to social justice issues came when she was 14, at Peace Camp.

Run by the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice, it was a "typical summer camp," only it featured speakers and workshops ranging from HIV/AIDS awareness and international policy in Latin America, Jennings said.

Many were shocked by Jennings' victory Tuesday, considering her opponent, Jorge Goyanes, a local businessman and former head of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, blew past her in the March 14 election with 370 more votes.

In Tuesday's run-off, she outpaced Goyanes by about 600 votes.

Jennings thinks she won because she went door-to-door.

"Most people know that government can't solve all their problems, but they want to know that elected officials are accessible to them and share their concerns," she said.

Goyanes said it was the combination of The Post deciding to change its endorsement to support Jennings and a last-minute smear campaign that squashed his chances for a victory.

The Post reported Goyanes started a now-defunct male escort service in 1995.

"How they thought that was news to them considering they ran the article 10 years earlier, almost to the date, was kind of mind-boggling," Goyanes said.

"Longtime resident Peter Timm agrees the talks about the escort service played a big role, but said Jennings also rallied a lot of her supporters to the polls.

"She had everybody on the street. I never saw so many hippies running around in Lake Worth in my life," he said.
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Politics takes place of protests for new Lake Worth commissioner | 11 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Politics takes place of protests for new Lake Worth commissioner
Authored by: Admin on Monday, April 03 2006 @ 12:29 AM CDT
""The more thorough definition of anarchy speaks to the concept that people are equal," she said. Local government can be used to help meet the needs of the people, she said."

Um, sorry Cara, but anarchism is against using *any* form of government to achieve political goals.

Congrats on your victory.

Chuck0
Politics takes place of protests for new Lake Worth commissioner
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 03 2006 @ 03:57 AM CDT
i'm a Florida anarchist and i wish Cara Jennings would just do her fellow anarchists a favor and disavow any affilations with or advocacy of anarchy.

i feel like her running for and holding public office is contributing to misconceptions about what our movement advocates. i also feel that by seeking a position that involves power over people rather than working to build power with people that she has pretty much sold out the values of our movement anyway.

As far as the quote on her definition of anarchy--in all fairness it's possible that she was misquoted.
Politics takes place of protests for new Lake Worth commissioner
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 03 2006 @ 12:45 PM CDT
"i feel like her running for and holding public office is contributing to misconceptions about what our movement advocates"
I strongly agree.

"The more thorough definition of anarchy speaks to the concept that people are equal," she said. Local government can be used to help meet the needs of the people, she said."

Though I understand that it's a possible misquote, saying things like this is a way of tailoring anarchism to meet potical approval, and thus not anarchism at all, but traditional politics. This recreates, to those who read it, anarchism as "far left" (ie: 1 or 2 steps father than ____) rather than it's own, specifc belief system.

-Mitchell
Apparently she's ashamed of being an anarchist
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 03 2006 @ 04:21 AM CDT
i just looked at her website: NOT ONCE DOES SHE MENTION THAT SHE'S AN ANARCHIST.

Not in the About Cara section.

Not in the A Vision for Wake Worth section.

Not in the 8 Point Platform section.

Not in the 5 Reasons to Vote for Cara Jennings section.

Not on the index page.

And none of the articles in the media section mention that she's an anarchist; they're all about her involvement in community gardening programs.

Apparently she's ashamed or embarassed about her anarchist past, such as her involvement in helping to organize the puppet warehouse in Lake Worth during the FTAA protests, or her involvement in a lawsuit against the city of Miami over ordinances it passed that restricted protest during the FTAA or her invention of radical cheerleading with her sister, Aimee. Or her involvement with FRAN, the Florida Radical Activist Network, which was an anarchist network active in the late '90s-2001. As a Florida anarchist, someone who knows and works with S. Florida anarchists, including those in Lake Worth, i am saddened, dismayed and disgusted with Cara and how she has turned into just another fucking politician.
Apparently she's ashamed of being an anarchist
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 03 2006 @ 07:30 AM CDT
It has been mentioned in various print sources, all of the things you say are left out. While you might advocate going around skulking and sulking, Cara takes an active role in helping her community, she has not run from her past, in which she should rightly be proud. It appears you are a "fucking whiner"
it remains to be seen.
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 03 2006 @ 12:08 PM CDT
the ENTIRE town of lakeworth knows she's an anarchist. she's never denied it in public or private. It remains to be seen weather she is able to use her new found position to reduce power or not. But certainly as a friend of hers i can tell you she is not just another fucking politician. God florida kids are such shit talking negative assholes, almost across the board. But at the very least keep it off the fucking internet. And if you do indeed know her, why don't you give her a call and talk to her about your concerns, instead of posting anonymous comments on the internet based off of articles written by corporate hacks.

god damn,
ick
it remains to be seen.
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 03 2006 @ 02:43 PM CDT

amazing how when it looks like the movement is gaining power
someone uses the the term anarchist or socalist to get elected
disreguarding everthing we know to be true about hierarchy and revoultion/reformism.
it remains to be seen.
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 03 2006 @ 07:39 PM CDT
what do we know to be "true" about hierarchy" and "reform/revolution"...
... that Truth is contextual and that anarchists should not limit the realm of potentialities that exist.. that we should accept a diversity of tactics..
no doubt we should attempt to hold her to her anarchist roots, but we should also work with her to improve life in lake worth and expropriate from the gov't coffers among other things...
it remains to be seen.
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 03 2006 @ 08:07 PM CDT
A diversity of tactics doesnt mean tactics that run counter to everything anarchist thought represents! Maybe she is a nice person and helps out around town, she is still acting like a reformist liberal and not an anarchist.
it remains to be seen.
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 03 2006 @ 10:37 PM CDT

If you took the most ardent revolutionary, vested him in absolute power, within a year he would be worse than the Czar himself. -Bakunin
that takes care of hierarchy. now to reform/revolution : it is generaly accepted in anarchist circles that electing someone ,however nice their rhetoric is not an effective way to fight capitalism or the state.
it remains to be seen.
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 03 2006 @ 03:46 PM CDT
The system will force her to be another fucking politician, or it will force her out of office. That's anarchist theory 101.