Saturday, September 24, 2016

HERE, WE RIGHT A WRONG: Dr. Robert S. Hayling Freedom Park; Time to Right Another Wrong

From 1905-2010, the City of St. Augustine treated Lincolnville as a dumping ground, home to illegal solid waste and sewage dumping.

We, the People remedied it.

Today, a wonderful park was dedicated at the confluence of two rivers, a beautiful spot that reminds me of Thomas Jefferson's favorite spot, the south end of Harper's Ferry, W.Va.

Today, the wrongful conduct of the City merged with the righteous wrath of the people, who threw out Mayor JOE BOLES in 2014, electing Mayor Nancy Shaver, and resulting in naming of the onetime illegal landfill as Dr. Robert S. Hayling Park. Dr. Hayling's college friend, former School Superintendent Dr. Otis Mason, spoke, eloquently as did members of the Hayling family and Mayor Nancy Shaver. Dr. Mason talked about how happy he was that Dr. Hayling chose to locate to St. Augustine and work for equality.

Working to end Jim Crow segregation in the town that Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would call "the most lawless" in America, Dr. Hayling and four other men were nearly killed by the Ku Klux Klan at a time when the KKK ran our county, ran our city, peopled our local police and sheriff's departments and were rightly called "the most lawless city in America." Dr. Hayling's dog was killed, his hands were broken, his dental practice was destroyed and he and his family left town after having organized the St. Augustine Movement, and recruiting Rev. Dr. King to help work for civil rights in St. Augustine.

Also speaking were City Manager JOHN REGAN and Commissioner LEANNA FREEMAN. FREEMAN disgraced herself with her haughty hauteur and deep insensitvity, insulting Dr. Otis Mason (calling him Mr. and not Dr.), insulting Mayor Shaver, sibilantly and petulantly saying that REGAN would give an "accurate" history (which he did not)(see chronology below). Neither FREEMAN nor REGAN named any of the citizens who made this wonderful day possible. How gauche and louche.

The morning was marred by FREEMAN's adolescent grudge-bearing: time to right another wrong -- it's time for FREEMAN to go. Vote for Susan Rathbone for City Commissioner to continue the healing.

FREEMAN is the City's delegate to the all-white St. Augustine Sister Cities Association, run by ex-Mayor LEN WEEKS a/k/a "CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS, Jr."

My mother said, "time wounds all heels." FREEMAN is an unjust steward a defender of no-bid corrupt deals who opposed 450th contract audits.

FREEMAN is a spoiled brat, a low-energy energumen who doesn't do her homework, a misanthropic, unfriendly, unkind, uncouth, entitled f(r)iend of tortfeasors like ex-Mayors JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. and CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS, JR., partners in the 81 St. George Street no-bid, below market rate rent that will continue to rip us off for another thirteen years. It's time for her to go.

Meanwhile, here's what I wrote about Dr. Hayling after his memorial service, and the excellent Record coverage by reporter Jake Martin:

I always cry when I hear our former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Jackson Young speak about the civil rights movement here in St. Augustine, and yesterday was no exception.

One of my heroes (Ambassador Andrew Young) spoke at the memorial service for one of my other heroes (Dr. Robert S. Hayling, D.D.S.) yesterday Saturday, February 20, 2016
I first met Dr. Robert S. Hayling over beers on Washington Street some nine or ten years ago, with my late activist friend David Thundershield Queen. He was a mensch who helped galvanize the St. Augustine Movement, which helped LBJ overcome the filibuster and enact the 1964 Civil Rights Act. he loved our idea for the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore, with a Civil Rights Museum.

The last time I saw Dr. Hayling was on February 28, 2015, the night of the last Menendez Noche de Gala, at the rally for Michelle O'Connell outside the Lightner Museum and City Hall, as he, Commissioner Leanna Freeman and Flagler College President William Abare were walking past the statue of Menendez. I briefly told Dr. Hayling about the Michelle O'Connell case, and he said, "Let me know if there is anything I can do." Now he belongs to the ages.  As Dr. Hayling always signed his signature, "Never Give Up."

DARON.DEAN@STAUGUSTINE.COM Flanked by Dr. Frederick Humphries, left, and Tony Hill, right, Rev. Andrew Young speaks during a memorial service for Dr. Robert Hayling at St. Paul AME Church in Lincolnville on Saturday, February 20, 2016.
DARON.DEAN@STAUGUSTINE.COM Flanked by Dr. Frederick Humphries, left, and Tony Hill, right, Rev. Andrew Young speaks during a memorial service for Dr. Robert Hayling at St. Paul AME Church in Lincolnville on Saturday, February 20, 2016.

DARON.DEAN@STAUGUSTINE.COM A giant American flag is raised in-between two City of St. Augustine fire trucks outside of St. Paul AME Church, 85 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, before a memorial service for Dr. Robert Hayling.
DARON.DEAN@STAUGUSTINE.COM A giant American flag is raised in-between two City of St. Augustine fire trucks outside of St. Paul AME Church, 85 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, before a memorial service for Dr. Robert Hayling.

Dr. Hayling, left is the first Black Dentist, in Florida, to be elected to local, regional, and state components of the American Dental Association. He served as an adult advisor to the NAACP Youth Council and for eleven months as the head of the St. Augustine Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC).Dr. Hayling and the Black Community, in St. Augustine, were confronted with many prevailing acts of discrimination. He fought in the Civil Rights Movement alongside such notable Civil Rights Activists as the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Nobel Prize Laureate), Reverend Ralph Albernathy (SCLC), Reverend Thomas Wright, the Late Mr. Henry Twine (Former St. Augustine City Commissioner/Vice Mayor, NAACP President & Great Floridian Recipient), his wife Mrs. Katherine 'Kat' Twine (Civil Rights Activist/Recipient of the St. Augustine De' Aviles Award), Reverend Andrew Young (former Mayor of Atlanta, GA & Ambassador to the United Nations, under President Jimmy Carter), Reverend Hosea Williams (Chief Lieutenant of SCLC), Ms. Dorothy Cotton (Director of the Citizenship Educational Program, Highlander School in Tennessee, the base in which the whole civil rights movement was built), Mr. J. T. Johnson (SCLC), Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth (SCLC's Vice-President), the Late Reverend Goldie Eubanks, Reverend C. T. Vivian (SCLC), Mr. Clyde Jenkins, Mr. James Hauser, Mr. James Jackson (Civil Rights Activists), and others to lead non-violent civil rights demonstrations to desegregate St. Augustine's white business establishments who practiced such discriminatory practices as refusing to serve blacks at their lunch counters, restaurants, and hotels.
Dr. Hayling, left is the first Black Dentist, in Florida, to be elected to local, regional, and state components of the American Dental Association. He served as an adult advisor to the NAACP Youth Council and for eleven months as the head of the St. Augustine Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC).Dr. Hayling and the Black Community, in St. Augustine, were confronted with many prevailing acts of discrimination. He fought in the Civil Rights Movement alongside such notable Civil Rights Activists as the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Nobel Prize Laureate), Reverend Ralph Albernathy (SCLC), Reverend Thomas Wright, the Late Mr. Henry Twine (Former St. Augustine City Commissioner/Vice Mayor, NAACP President & Great Floridian Recipient), his wife Mrs. Katherine 'Kat' Twine (Civil Rights Activist/Recipient of the St. Augustine De' Aviles Award), Reverend Andrew Young (former Mayor of Atlanta, GA & Ambassador to the United Nations, under President Jimmy Carter), Reverend Hosea Williams (Chief Lieutenant of SCLC), Ms. Dorothy Cotton (Director of the Citizenship Educational Program, Highlander School in Tennessee, the base in which the whole civil rights movement was built), Mr. J. T. Johnson (SCLC), Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth (SCLC's Vice-President), the Late Reverend Goldie Eubanks, Reverend C. T. Vivian (SCLC), Mr. Clyde Jenkins, Mr. James Hauser, Mr. James Jackson (Civil Rights Activists), and others to lead non-violent civil rights demonstrations to desegregate St. Augustine's white business establishments who practiced such discriminatory practices as refusing to serve blacks at their lunch counters, restaurants, and hotels.
DARON.DEAN@STAUGUSTINE.COM                 From left, Florida Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll talks with Dr. Robert Hayling, James Jackson and Earnestine Martin before the start of the 2011 Distinguished Lecture Series in the House Chambers at The Capitol in Tallahassee on Wednesday evening, February16, 2011.  DARON DEAN
DARON.DEAN@STAUGUSTINE.COM From left, Florida Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll talks with Dr. Robert Hayling, James Jackson and Earnestine Martin before the start of the 2011 Distinguished Lecture Series in the House Chambers at The Capitol in Tallahassee on Wednesday evening, February16, 2011.

PETER.WILLOTT@STAUGUSTINE.COM            Robert Hayling walks down the newly renamed Dr. R.B. Hayling Place after the street in the west St. Augustine Rollins subdivision was renamed in his honor.  Hayling, a dentist and civil rights activist, lived on the street, then named Scott Street, in the 60s.
PETER.WILLOTT@STAUGUSTINE.COM Robert Hayling walks down the newly renamed Dr. R.B. Hayling Place after the street in the west St. Augustine Rollins subdivision was renamed in his honor. Hayling, a dentist and civil rights activist, lived on the street, then named Scott Street, in the 60s.

Civil rights leader Dr. Robert Hayling remembered by family, friends, colleagues
Making history
Posted: February 20, 2016 - 11:16pm | Updated: February 21, 2016 - 12:11am

A crowd gathered in Lincolnville on Saturday to say farewell to Dr. Robert Hayling, a dentist who was hailed as the father of St. Augustine’s civil rights movement in the 1960s.

Friends and colleagues said Hayling, at age 86, was an ordinary man continuing to do extraordinary things and acting each day on the belief there was still work to be done.

Hayling died at his Fort Lauderdale home in December, but if Saturday’s memorial service at St. Paul AME Church is any indicator, he has already secured his place in history.

“We’re here to celebrate,” former Florida Sen. Tony Hill told attendees at the beginning of the ceremonies.

Among prayers, songs and presentations were words of tribute and remembrances from those who knew Hayling best.

Local historian and author David Nolan said future historians would be likely to name three dominant figures in St. Augustine’s history since the Europeans arrived: Pedro Menendez, Henry Flagler and Hayling.

“I prefer Dr. Hayling’s contribution because it was to make St. Augustine a decent place,” he said.

Nolan said what was going on in the streets of St. Augustine in the early 1960s played an indisputable role in the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and that Hayling put himself on the front line.

“In all of our centuries of history, there has never been a time when the St. Augustine tail wagged the national dog like that,” he said.

On a more personal note, Nolan said you could rarely come out of a conversation with Hayling without a list of reading recommendations and that it didn’t quite yet feel like Hayling had departed.

Those were sentiments shared by many, as several family members and friends of Hayling found Christmas packages from him on their doorsteps after his passing.

Making history

There’s also Hayling’s legacy to consider.

James Jackson of St. Augustine was on the front line with Hayling, having met him shortly after high school and joining the NAACP Youth Council.

“If you saw Dr. Hayling, you saw me,” he said.

Jackson described Hayling as someone who never talked down to anyone and was hard to anger.

He spoke of an event in September 1963 in which he, Hayling, James Hauser and Clyde Jenkins went to eavesdrop on a Ku Klux Klan rally in St. Augustine and were found and beaten.

“We went through our initiation, but we never got a card,” he joked.

Jackson said although it was a frightening night in his young life, there is still humor to be found in any situation and that, ultimately, it didn’t deter him or Hayling from continuing work.

Friend and former neighbor Barbara Vickers said she asked Hayling just three months ago what his greatest fear was during the civil rights movement.

“Fear, my dear?” Hayling had replied. “You don’t have fear when you have a job to do.”

Vickers had remembered coming home the night in February 1964 when Hayling’s home was shot up and the bullets had killed Hayling’s beloved boxer dog and narrowly missed his pregnant wife.

She said she still has Hayling’s voice on her answering machine, telling her he’d call back later. But it was a call that never came.

“I play it and cry and play it and cry,” Vickers said.

Irvin L. Brunson of St. Augustine said he had recently asked Hayling if he noticed a difference between the activism of the 1960s and the activism of today.

He said Hayling had replied there are plenty of people riding the wagon these days but few who are willing to get out and push.

The Rev. Andrew Young, a former United Nations ambassador who had worked alongside Hayling in St. Augustine in the 1960s, said Hayling was in St. Augustine just a week or so before he died.

In passing some of the graves of those who had persecuted Hayling, he had asked his colleagues if they could pull over so he could get out of the car. Young said those who were there saw Hayling bow his head before the graves.

“Everybody is entitled to prayer and forgiveness,” Young quoted Hayling as saying when he returned to the car.

Young said it’s quite possible Hayling’s final public act in St. Augustine was one of reconciliation.

“I think that’s the message I want us to take from Dr. Hayling’s life, his service and the blessing he has been to us,” Young said. “This was a complex, complicated problem, and we can’t just simply dismiss it as black versus white.”

He said the gift Hayling gave others is one they cannot keep but, instead, must share.

Dr. Frederick Humphries, retired Florida A&M University president, said he would like to establish a place of honor for Hayling, a distinguished graduate, at A&M’s campus.

He also proposed building a partnership with St. Augustine to bring more students down to Lincolnville to learn about Hayling’s and St. Augustine’s place in the civil rights movement.

Awards and honors

A family funeral for Hayling was held in Fort Pierce on Jan. 18, which was also Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Saturday’s service was organized by Hayling’s family and Anniversary to Commemorate the Civil Rights Demonstrations.

Mayor Nancy Shaver, on behalf of the city of St. Augustine, declared Feb. 20, 2016, Dr. Robert B. Hayling Day. St. Johns County Commissioner Jeb Smith presented Hayling’s family with the county’s recognition of his “monumental” efforts.

These were just the latest honors bestowed upon Hayling.

In 2003, the St. Augustine street where he once lived was renamed Dr. R.B. Hayling Place. The city also bestowed upon him its two highest honors, the de Aviles Award and the Order of La Florida. In 2014, Hayling was inducted into the Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame. On Feb. 8, the City Commission voted unanimously to name a future park in Lincolnville as Dr. Robert B. Hayling Freedom Park.

But friends say the recognitions only scratch the surface of Hayling’s true impact on St. Augustine, the civil rights movement and the people whose lives he touched.

The Rev. Ron Rawls, pastor of St. Paul AME Church, said Hayling could have easily lived a quiet, comfortable life and, instead, sacrificed for a greater good.

He also spoke to the extensive collaboration behind the memorial service.

“Everybody came forward,” Rawls said.

Before the congregation sang “We Shall Overcome” to close out the ceremony, Hayling’s sister, Yvonne Hayling Clarke, thanked the crowd and reiterated the most important lesson her parents had passed on to their children: “Never give up.”


Mediator Terrence Edward Schmidt

A July 3, 2017 jury trial is set in the case of Bruce Kevin Bates, et al. v. City of St. Augustine (Bates II).

But for 3.5 hours on Friday, September 23, 2016, federal court appointed mediator Terrence Edward Schmidt met with the City Manager of St. Augustine, four artist plaintiffs who have won yet another injunction against the City for violating their First and Fourteenth Amendment in their second lawsuit against the City of St. Augustine since 2009.

Mediator Terry Schmidt will schedule a second mediation session after the City of St. Augustine City Commissioners hold yet another shade meeting to discuss legal issues outside the Sunshine -- a full court reporter transcript will be available after the litigation is resolved.

Mediator Schmidt spent 3.5 hours with Bruce Kevin Bates, Elena Hecht, Kate Merrick and Helena Salas, the four visual artist plaintiffs, St. Augustine City Manager John Patrick Regan, P.E., plaintiff attorneys William Sheppard, Bryan DiMaggio and Thomas Elijan Cushman and Assistant City Attorney Denise May.

Mr. Schmidt was a naval officer in charge of nuclear and other weapons, on the USS William M. Wood (DD 71 5), was Duke University Law Review Editor, worked for the Florida Bar in its successful effort to disbar F. Lee Bailey a/k/a "Flea" Bailey, and has since 2001 worked exclusively as a respected mediator, arbitrator and special master.

Mr. Schmidt's law firm biography states:

Mr. Schmidt received his B.A. degree from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio in 1967 and his law degree from Duke University Law School in 1973 where was an editor of the Duke Law Journal. He was an officer in the United States Navy from 1969 to 1972, serving as Lieutenant and Weapons Officer on the USS William M. Wood (DD 71 5) at the time of his discharge to return to law school. He joined the firm of Mahoney, Hadlow, Chambers & Adams (then the oldest firm in the State of Florida) in Jacksonville in 1973 and became a shareholder in that firm in 1978. On January 1, 1979, he left the Mahoney Hadlow firm to start the firm of Bledsoe, Gallagher, Mikals & Schmidt, the predecessor of the Firm. He has practiced continuously with the Firm since that date specializing in civil litigation. In 1997, he became a Florida Supreme Court certified circuit court civil mediator and a Federal court certified mediator. In 1999, he qualified as an AAA arbitrator and mediator. Since 2001, his practice has been limited to providing alternative dispute resolution services as a mediator, statutory and AAA arbitrator, and special master.

EXPERIENCE: I have specialized in litigation since 1974. My practice included litigation in the areas of breach of contract, fraud, employment discrimination, mechanics liens and construction defects, real property, probate, state and federal antitrust and restraint of trade, securities fraud, maritime, bankruptcy, ERISA, CERCLA, RCRA, trademark and copyright, medical and legal malpractice, and personal injury, representing both plaintiffs and defendants. E.g., Jaffe v. Grant, 793 F.2d 1182 (11th Cir. 1986); Woodman v. U. S., 764 F.Supp 1455(M.D.Fla) rev=d 121 F.3d 1430(11th Cir. 1997); VKK Corp. v. National Football League. et al., 55 F.Supp 2d 196 (S.D.N.Y. 1999); Connecticut General Life Insurance Co. v. Jones, 764 So.2d 677 (Fla. lst DCA 2000). I also served as special counsel to The Florida Bar in the F. Lee Bailey disbarment proceeding. The Florida Bar v. F. Lee Bailey, 803 So.2d 603 (Fla.) ce/f. den/ed 122 S.Ct. 1916 (2002).

REPRESENTATIVE CASES HANDLED AS MEDIATOR: I have mediated more than 4.000 cases in state and federal courts and for the American Arbitration Association over the past 19 years, including, among others, a breach of contract claim in the telecommunications industry involving a claim of more than $400 millions a commercial breach of contract and breach of warranty case involving claims of over $30 million; a first party bad faith insurance claim for over $25 million; a consolidated action involving multiple securities fraud and negligent supervision claims in excess of $20 millions a dispute between FDIC and a borrower and a subsequent dispute between the borrower and a third party involving real property valued in excess of $20 million; a dissenting stockholder’s rights dispute involving claims in excess of $15 million; a catastrophic burn case involving claims in excess of $10 million; a dispute between a sponsor and a cigarette manufacturer over a NASCAR promotion involving a claim in excess of $5 million; numerous condominium construction disputes involving claims in excess of $5 million; and numerous personal injury, employment discrimination, construction, and other commercial cases involving claims in excess of $l,000,000.

REPRESENTATIVE CASES HANDLED AS ARBITRATOR/SPECIAL MASTER: I have been a panel arbitrator in arbitrations involving breach of contract, construction disputes, a cable service agreement, and termination of an insurance agency in which awards were entered. I have also been the sole arbitrator in breach of contract, consumer fraud, employment, construction and Unfair Trade & Deceptive Trade Practices Act disputes in which awards were entered. Finally, I have served as special master and as statutory arbitrator appointed by the circuit court in commercial disputes .

MULTI-PARTY DISPUTE RESOLUTION EXPERIENCE: As an attorney representing a party to multi-party cases, I have been involved in numerous multi-party mediations or settlement conferences, including litigation involving antitrust and tort claims filed by a former National Football League team owner against the National Football League and others in which the claimed damages exceeded $450 million; an insurance insolvency case in which the claims exceeded $20 million; an ERISA class action against the trustees of profit sharing plan involving a claimed loss exceeding $10 millions a toxic tort case in which 43 families sued a major waste hauling company and the United States Government for personal injuries arising out of a contaminated landfill which was settled by one defendant for $8.5 million and was tried against the other defendants and construction litigation by a condominium association against the developer, architect, and contractor for damages exceeding $3.0 million. As a mediator, I have been involved in over 500 multi-party disputes involving all kinds of claims, including major construction cases.

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION TRAINING: National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals (NADN) 8/2012 Advanced Mediation Training Retreats ADR Section of Dispute Resolution (JBA), Fifth Annual CME Seminar (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015); NADN Advanced Mediation Training Retreat 2011; Fourth Annual Institute on Advanced Mediation-Advocacy Skills Training: 2005; DRC 1 3th Annual conference for Mediators and Arbitrators: Framing Our Future, 2004; AAA Advanced Mediator Skills for Court-Based Settlement Program, 2003; ABA Section of Dispute Resolution: New Vistas in Dispute Resolution, 2002; ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Collaboration in the Capital: The Power of ADR Program, 2001; AAA Commercial Arbitrator ll – Advanced Case Management Issues Workshop, 2001; Florida Bar sponsored Private Judges, Mediation and Arbitration Seminar, 2000; AAA Commercial Arbitrator Training Workshop, 1999; Florida Bar CLE Course on Alternate Dispute Resolution, 1998; Florida Dispute Resolution Center, 40-Hr. Mediation training, 1995.

PROFESSIONAL LICENSES: Admitted to the Bar: Florida, 1973; Admitted to United States Supreme Court, Ninth and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeal, and United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS: American Bar Association (Section on Dispute Resolution); Florida Bar Association (Section on Dispute Resolution); Jacksonville Bar Associations Florida Academy of Professional Mediators; National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals; Chester Bedell Inn of Courts The College of Master Advocates and Barristers.

AWARDS AND HONORS: Master, Chester Bedell Inn of Courts Senior Counsel, The College of Master Advocates and Barristers; listed in The Best Lawyers in America (2001 — present); listed in Florida’s Super Lawyers (2006 – present); listed in “Jacksonville’s Best Lawyers” by Jacksonville Magazine( 2001 – present); honored in 2002 with a Resolution by The Florida Bar for pro
bono service as Special Counsel to TFB in the F. Lee Bailey disbarment proceeding.

PUBLICATIONS AND SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS: Speaker, Eighth Annual N.E. Florida CME Seminar for Mediators, “ls There Anyone Who is Not Subject to Cognitive Dissonance… Except Me?” (2015); Speaker, 2nd Annual N.E. Florida CME Seminar for Mediators “Local Issues Facing Mediators and the Ethical Implications” (2009); Panel Member on alternative dispute presentations to the Chester Bedell Inn of Court (2004) and Florida Coastal School of Law (2005); Panel member, Winning Without Trial: The Mediation Roundtables Raymond Ehrlich Trial Advocacy Seminar (2003); Speaker, “The Florida Bar v. F. Lee Bailey: A Cautionary Tale”, Raymond Ehrlich Trial Advocacy Seminar (2002); co-author with Kenneth W. Starr: Inspection Rights of Corporate Stockholders: Toward a More Effective Statutory Model”, 42 Florida Law Review 173 (1974).

James A. Bledsoe, Jr.
Samuel S. Jacobson
Terrance E. Schmidt
Kenneth B. Wright
Stephanie A. Sussman
501 Riverside Ave., Suite 903
Jacksonville, Florida 32202
Tel: (904)398-1818

As I wrote on February 23, 2016 on United States District Judge Brian J. Davis' injunction:

Artists Win New First Amendment Victory in Bates v. City of St. Augustine (Bates II)

Bruce Kevin Bates, lead plaintiff in 2009 and 2016 victories in First Amendment cases by artists against City of St. Augustine

Artists win again! Artists won another federal court victory against First Amendment violations criminalizing plain air art in St. Augustine. ]

United States District Court Judge Brian J. Davis of the Middle District of Florida ruled for artists today and against City ordinances criminalizing First Amendment protected activity on pain of 60 days in jail and $500 fines.

Our City's namesake, Saint Augustine, wisely wrote: "an unjust law is no law at all."

Several anti-artist City ordinances were found unconstitutional today.

In a 77 page order, United States District Court Judge Brian J. Davis ruled February 24, 2016 for the four visual artists suing the City of St. Augustine over criminalizing art in our historic downtown.

Mayor Nancy Shaver asked fellow Commissioners to join her in a workshop to rework the ordinance. They refused. The suit was filed. The City has lost on the Order Granting Preliminary Injunction on its First Amendment violations, finding irreparable harm, a high probability of prevailing on the merits.

The Order Granting Preliminary Injunction Findings of unconstitutional laws include:

1. Peddler's Ordinance allowing City to reject applicants summarily, based upon supposed lack of "good moral character," a standardless delegation run riot. Since there is no "severability" clause, the entire ordinance is unconstitutional.

2. Mobile Vendor Ordinance curfew on sales after 6 PM.

3. Fees for Mobile Vendor licenses.

4. Bonds for Mobile Vendor licenses.

5. Liability insurance for Mobile Vendor licenses.

The Court noted several times that neither party presented enough data about tourist visits and flow in the City to rule on other counts.  These include the location for public art and the equal protection claim. A trial is now required.

The City's noisome anti-artist ordinances were pushed by commercial landlords (including the Whetstone family), ex-Mayors JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. a/k/a "JOE BOLES" and CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS, JR. a/k/a "LEN WEEKS" and former City Manager WILLIAM BARRY HARRISS, a/k/a "WILL HARASS." They were long opposed by artists, including Roger Jolley and the late Gregory Travous, both of whom were arrested by SAPD.

Plaintiffs Bruce Kevin Bates, Elena Hecht, Kate Merrick and Helena Salas are the prevailing parties under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and are entitled to seek attorney fees under 42 U.S.C. 1988.

William Sheppard, Bryan DeMaggio, Thomas Elijah Cushman, et al. were the attorneys.

They have won a Order Granting Preliminary Injunction, with a jury trial, damages and city-paid attorney fees to follow.

Three cheers for the artists, their lawyers and the federal court system. We, the People, won another public interest victory today.

City Attorney ISABELLE CHRISTINE LOPEZ neither returned a telephone message nor shared the order timely with Mayor Nancy Shaver, Vice Mayor Roxanne Horvath, or the other City Commissioners. At the preliminary injunction oral argument on August 21, 2015, the estimable Ms. LOPEZ wanted to sit in the spectator seats until invited to sit at the table by fungible Florida League of Cities insurance defense counsel from MARKS GRAY.

Judge Davis's February 23, 2016 Order Granting Preliminary Injunction is subject to modification after an epic jury trial and on appeal to the liberal United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta.

Proponents and perpetrators of the artist-is-a-crime ordinance may be questioned before a jury. They include:

WILLIAM BARRY HARRISS, a/k/a "WILL HARASS", supported City ordinances criminalizing art

CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS, JR., a/k/a "LEN WEEKS," ex-Mayor, supported City ordinances criminalizing art

JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. a/k/a "JOE BOLES," ex-Mayor, supported City ordinances criminalizing art

JOE BOLES (photo credit: Hans Holbein the Younger and the late Gregory Travous)


Parks have a long history beginning with English nobles creating boundaries around green spaces to keep deer in for hunting and regular people out.

That’s a long way from what this park means to all of us and all the people who will visit after today for decades into the future.

This space is proof of what Margaret Mead said

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

For me this has a special meaning—as one of the founding members of keep Riberia Pointe Green –this was my start on the road to public service. This small group managed to change the direction of the City’s development plans for this space. (Yes, governments do make mistakes—but they can also correct them)

Those efforts to keep this space green pale next to the monumental achievements of the committed citizens led by the thoughtful, persistent and graceful Dr. Robert B Hayling for whom this green space is named, and who along with many others from this neighborhood and beyond changed the course of our country through immense courage and personal bravery.

Dr. Robert B Hayling Freedom Park will serve us all as not only a respite, a place to find our better selves again , and to contemplate the immense god given beauty of nature but as a reminder that not only can we all change the world for the better. But that we must. And that like Dr. Hayling—we must never stop working for the betterment of our fellow man and for freedom—There is more to do.


Adlai Stevenson said, "As scarce as truth is, the supply seems greater than the demand."

Almost ruining a healing moment in the 451 year history of St. Augustine, City Commissioner LEANNA FREEMAN (R-PROCTORVILLE) set up City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E. to be a bullet in her gun -- neither one of them mentioned by name any of the active citizens responsible for turning a former illegal garbage dump into a park. How gauche and louche.

Not mentioned were Mayor Nancy Shaver, Susan Agresta, Judith Serapin, Cash McVay, Blake Souder, Rosamond Parish, the late David Thundershield Queen, Dr. Dwight Hines, Ph.D., Jerry and Diane Mills, Anthony Seraphin, B.J. Kalaidi, or me.

Insulting Mayor Shaver, et al., FREEMAN was mistress of ceremonies, following Mayor Shaver's healing moment (above) with an inappropriate political attack, saying that REGAN would present an "accurate" history. FREEMAN's tone of voice was disrespectful. And REGAN lied. People walked out.

REGAN omitted the City's illegal dumping of solid waste and sewage, its dumping a landfill in a lake, its being reported to federal and state law officials, its being exposed by residents and by this blog, its being repeatedly fined by the State of Florida, its consent decree that called for hauling 40,000 cubic yards of waste back to Riberia Street in 2000 truckloads, seven of us stopping this environmental crime (Judith & Anthony Seraphin, David Thundershield Queen, Dr. Dwight Hines, Ph.D., Jerry and Diane Mills and me) by a petition to FDEP assigned to DOAH. See chronology below.

REGAN omitted his spending $60,000 on engineering studies in support of dodgy developer projects -- a coral growing enterprise, an aquarium and a children's museum -- exposed by the Keep Riberia Pointe (sic) Group and then private citizen Nancy Shaver, Susan Agresta, Judith Serapin, Cash McVay, Blake Souder and Rosamond Parish.

REGAN omitted the 4-1 vote to designate the land as a park forever (mendacious developer-directed mossback DONALD CRICHLOW dissenting).

FREEMAN is opposed for reelection by Susan Rathbone.

See the chronology below for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.


(updated on September 24, 2016)

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.”
— the late U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.)

"Justice delayed is justice denied." – Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

Starting circa 1905
■ Dumping of household trash, sewage sludge and industrial trash in the historic Lincolnville community, from the present location of the Willie Gallimore Center south. This and other dumps in St. Augustine and St. Johns County are never remediated.
■ Location of City’s sewage treatment plant in Lincolnville at south end of Riberia Street.
■ Location of Atlanta Gas Light coal-to-gas plant in Lincolnville at north end of Riberia Street.
■ Location of polluting boatyards in Lincolnville.
■ Location of City’s garage and water treatment plant in West Augustine

June 12, 1964
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. writes letter from jail to clergy, calls CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE “most lawless” city in America. President Johnson signs 1964 Civil Rights Act in July 1964.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established after first Earth Day.

CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE ceases using Old City Reservoir, still backup water supply.

■ Environmental Justice (EJ) movement begun to remedy low-income and minority communities bearing disproportionate share of dumping and pollution.
■ No evident effort by CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE to examine the legacy of decades of dumping decisions affecting low-income and minority communities of Lincolnville and West Augustine.
Then-City Manager WILLIAM POMAR writes and promises Army Corps of Engineers to dispose of all refuse properly in the creation of an artificial wetland at the south end of Riberia Street.

■ EPA holds public hearings in St. Augustine before approving cleanup of old coal-to-gas plant at location planned for Sebastian Inner Harbor.
■ AKERMAN SENTERFITT lawyer WILLIAM L. PENCE represents the CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE as its environmental counsel and is at all times since available to answer questions by City officials on environmental issues..
■ PENCE, asserts that the cleanup of the Sebastian Inner Harbor Project was “successful.”

September 27, 2005
City Manager WILLIAM BRUCE HARRISS, signed $200,000 contract for hauling for Riberia Street site, without any City Commission approval sought or required.

December 9, 2005
St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) biologist, at the Old City Reservoir site, tells CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE officials not to dump without permit. City starts illegal dumping the next day, without ever calling lawyer PENCE at AKERMAN SENTERFITT..

December 10, 2005
Illegal dumping of some 60,000,000 pounds of contaminants – including arsenic, thallium and vinyl chloride – begins in the Old City Reservoir, in secrecy, without public notice.

January 9, 2006
■ Certified letter from FDEP responds to permit application, tells St. Augustine not to dump without a permit.
■ Illegal dumping continues in Old City Reservoir.

February 17, 2006
■ Illegal dumping reported to National Response Center in Washington, D.C.. (Report 788280)
■ Illegal dumping continues in Old City Reservoir.

February 24, 2006
■ Mayor GEORGE GARDNER defends illegal dumping, says it’s only “clean fill.”
■ “There are no bedsprings in clean fill” as EPA expert John Marler explains.
■ Former EPA Region 4 Regional Administrator John Henry Hankinson states that the coquina pit lake where the illegal dumping took place is an “open sore going straight down to the aquifer and the groundwater.”
■ City Public Affairs Director Paul Williamson claims that the City’s $30,000 document camera/podium will be unavailable to members of the public February 27 to show any documents or videos.
■ City Manager HARRISS, when asked about whether he had permit, responds: “I’ll get one.“ He never does. Illegal dumping continues in Old City Reservoir.

February 27, 2006
■ Assistant City Manager JOHN REGAN, P.E. tells Ed Slavin that “because of what you [Slavin] have done, it will be a long process.” Ed Slavin tells REGAN that it is the City, not him that did the polluting.
■ REGAN twice asks Ed Slavin for copy of DVD provided to Federal and State environmental crimes investigators.
■ Ed Slavin declines to provide DVD to REGAN, based upon request from Federal and State criminal investigators.
■ REGAN asserts to Ed Slavin that the CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE was “in a hurry” to finish wetland remediation in order to begin the Sebastian Inner Harbor Project.
■ REGAN sends E-mail to CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE PUBLIC AFFAIRS MANAGER PAUL WILLIAMSON, inter alia using pejoratives about questions being asked on Respondent COSA’s illegal dumping in Old City Reservoir:
"Suggested RESPONSE: 'Your request for information has been forwarded to the City Attorney for response.' THE END. - And do not respond to anymore (sic) of his E- mails unless the above is the response.' Any further attempt to 'answer' any of his outlandish (sic) and absurd (sic) questions and accusations only serves to fuel his misguided (sic) filibustering (sic) and empty (sic) threats (sic). He has nothing (sic) else (sic) to do with his life and his only (sic) 'contact' with the outside world is through emails (sic). Suggest allowing Wilson to "handle" the responses.
■ Mayor GEORGE GARDENER publicly promises “answers” to Ed Slavin’s questions. None provided yet.
■ Illegal dumping continues in Old City Reservoir.

March 1, 2006
■ Illegal dumping continues in Old City Reservoir two (2) days later – FDEP’s Brian Durden photographs illegal dumping after criminal investigators arrive.
■ In the presence of AKERMAN SENTERFITT partner WILLIAM PENCE, Esquire, then-CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE Public Works Director WILLIAM LEETCH and other CITY employees told EPA and FDEP criminal investigators that mainly clean materials were dumped at the Old City Reservoir and only 80 cubic yards of “unsuitable” material were dumped. (PX-12). This information was not accurate.

March 13, 2006
■ Then-Commissioner (now Mayor) JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. says he is “tired” of people “trashing” City Manager WILLIAM BRUCE HARRISS, which Vice Mayor and Commissioner SUSAN BURK says is only by “one (sic) disgruntled (sic) citizen” raising concerns about illegal dumping.
■ All five City Commissioners vote unanimously to give HARRISS an honor (a plaque) and vote to express their “confidence” in HARRISS, in he midst of a pending criminal investigation by EPA and FDEP.

27, 2006
Taxpayer-purchased plaque publicly presented to HARRISS by all five City Commissioners, lavishing praise. Mayor GARDNER, Vice Mayor BURK and Commissioners CRICHLOW, JONES and BOLES are photographed with HARRISS, expressing confidence in him, discouraging cooperation with ongoing criminal investigation and may constitute obstruction of justice. The proclamation stated:
WHEREAS, the CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE is extraordinary among places in the world and is fortunate to have William B. “Bill” Harriss as its City Manager, a person whose passion for the City and professional commitment to the City is unmatched; and
WHEREAS, in his more than two decades of service to the people of St. Augustine as Chief Financial Officer, General Services Director, Assistant City Manager and now as City Manager, Mr. Harriss’ philosophy (sic) of administration through strong team-building consistently inspires the City’s more than 350 employees to aspire to do their best, and
WHEREAS, through responsible fiscal planning, Mr. Harriss has ensured the City’s solid financial standing and earned its sound management the highest respect; and
WHEREAS, with honest enthusiasm for the highest level of proficiency in every aspect of his work, Mr. Harriss’ prudent (sic) management has resulted in improved reliability of service for the City’s 10,000 utility customers while continually upgrading infrastructure, and
WHEREAS, by making public safety a high priority, Mr. Harriss has lead (sic) the fire and police departments to create a safe community for the City’s 14,000 residents and millions of annual visitors.
NOW, THEREFORE, it is with great pride (sic) that the St. Augustine City Commission recognizes the outstanding contributions made by William B. “Bill” Harriss to the people of St. Augustine, commends him for his professional commitment, and expresses its full confidence in his management of the City.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, we have hereunto set our signatures and caused the Seal of the CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE to be affixed this 27th day of March in the year of our Lord two thousand six and the four hundred fortieth year of the founding of St. Augustine, the Nation’s Oldest City.
George Gardner, Mayor, Susan Burk, Vice Mayor, Joseph Boles, Commissioner,
Donald Crichlow, Commissioner, Errol Jones, Commissioner

April 14, 2006
Dr. Dwight Hines, Ph.D. files lawsuit against City for Open Records violations involving his requests for records on city trucks, including those haulting contaminants from Riberia Street to Holmes Blvd.

April 24, 2006
City Commissioner JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR., Esquire states that the City needs to seek attorney fees and monetary sanctions against Dr. Hines to make him “pay the piper,” threatening him and anyone else who files an Open Record lawsuit with a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP suit), possibly violating Florida law against government SLAPP suits.. Commissioner and Vice Mayor SUSAN BURK, Esquire amended her motion to hire Upchurch, Bailey and Upchurch to seek attorney fees for supposedly frivolous litigation. City Clerk Martha V. (Nell) Porter later confirms to Dr. Hines and Ed Slavin that Commissioners did not have a copy of Hines’ Open Record lawsuit when they termed it frivolous and voted to seek attorney fees to make him “pay the piper.”

May 23, 2006
CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE Chief Administrative Officer TIMOTHY BURCHFIELD signs affidavit claiming records sought by Dr. Hines do not exist. In January 2007, CITY provides 45 pounds of records claimed not to exist, later providing computer disk that could not be read

August 8, 2006
At initial court hearing in Dr. Hines’ Open Records case where monetary sanctions were threatened, CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE outside counsel Sidney Ansbacher provides Dr. Hines with 45 pounds of documents City previously claimed did not exist on truck use, including hauling of contaminants.

August 22, 2006
CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE CITY MANAGER WILLIAM B. HARRISS writes a “Dear Chief” letter to FDEP Chief of Law Enforcement, GREA BEAVIS, asserting reasons for not prosecuting the CITY, including Messrs. JOHN REGAN, P.E. and WILLIAM LEETCH, P.E., attending “the Florida Chamber of Commerce Environmental Permitting Summer School and short course held at Marco Island this past July.” (PX-10).

August 25, 2006
■ Refusing to bring any criminal charges against the Respondent CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE, GREA BEAVIS, Chief of Investigations, FDEP Division of Law Enforcement, sent a letter to CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE CITY MANAGER WILLIAM B. HARRISS (PX-9), stating he relied upon representations in HARRISS’ August 22, 2006 letter (stamped as being received by FDEP August 24, 2006). No copy of the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s course material or proof of attendance or grades was ever provided to BEAVIS or FDEP. A full-color brochure on the Florida Chamber of Commerce Environmental Permitting Summer School shows that it is lacking in balance, dominated by corporate law firms and consultants.
■ Nothing in FDEP’s undated, unsigned, “CASE CRITERIA” (CX-11) suggests that municipal engineers attending a Chamber of Commerce course is good cause for declining to prosecute the CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE for dumping “solid waste” in a “lake.”
■ No meeting minutes or notes of the meetings between HARRISS and FDEP have yet been provided by FDEP.
■ No report of interview form (or Offense/Incident Report/Narrative form) of any meeting between HARRISS and FDEP has yet been provided by FDEP.
■ FDEP criminal investigators’ records reflect no investigation of perjury, obstruction of justice or any past dumping prior to December 2006
■ In closing a criminal case involving contamination of the Old City Reservoir with arsenic and other toxicants, FDEP’s Bureau of Environmental Investigations (BEI) "investigation" concluded, "No (sic) economic or specific motive for permit violations could be identified."

October 12, 2006
City Attorney JAMES PATRICK WILSON resigns, effective January 31, 2007.

October 13, 2006:
■ Vice Mayor and Commissioner BURK moves to accept WILSON’s resignation immediately, paying him without requiring attendance at work through January 31, 2007.
■ Vice Mayor and Commissioner BURK moves to hire RONALD BROWN and DOBSON & BROWN, P.A. as the City’s temporary attorneys.
■ Neither action was preceded by proper Sunshine notice on the City’s website. No press or public attend the illegal “Special Meeting,” which was not asserted to be an “emergency.” State’s Attorney later refuses to take Sunshine violations to Grand Jury.

November 1, 2006
St. Augustine Chronicle runs cover story by reporter Frank Matzke on illegal dumping, the first publication to publish FDEP staffer Brian Durden’s March 1, 2006 photographs of illegal dumping continuing two (2) days after the criminal investigators arrived.

December 22, 2006
Commissioner BURK moves to hire RONALD BROWN as permanent City Attorney without Sunshine notice of this item (agenda advertised only to discuss tax exemptions for low-income elderly residents).
January 17, 2007
“Basic outline of the City’s settlement proposal” states city will not agree to put solid waste in Class I landfill without a “binding final court order,” stating: “Under no circumstances, except for a final non-appealable court order, will the City agree to remove the fill (sic) material to a Class 1 landfill.” This position never discussed at City Commission meeting first.

March 12, 2007
ST. AUGUSTINE CITY ATTORNEY RONALD BROWN claims the mediation with Dr. Hines was a victory for CITY. No reference is made to “pay the piper” remark, now apparently inoperative.

November 1, 2007
St. Augustine Record editorial (entitled “Let the public speak early”) calls for restoring public comment to start of City Commission meetings. Commissioners had referenced three speakers (B.J. Kalaidi, David Thundershield Queen and Ed Slavin in violating public’s First Amendment rights).

November 6, 2007
Assistant City Manager JOHN REGAN writes City Manager HARRIS, requesting City Commission consideration of proposed Consent Order.

November 9, 2007
At approximately 2:38 PM EST, CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE gives E-mail notice Consent Order will be on agenda for November 13, 2007 City Commission meeting.

November 11, 2007
St. Augustine Record editorial gives public notice of right of public to speak on bringing waste back to Lincolnville at 8 AM meeting on November 13, 2007.

November 13, 2007
■ Consent Order only briefly discussed at meeting that commenced at 8 A.M., the day after Veteran’s Day holiday, outside the ordinary course of business, with minimal notice the preceding Friday (November 9, 2007)
■ Commissioner and ex-Mayor GEORGE GARDNER and Commissioner and ex-Vice Mayor SUSAN BURK left the meeting before dumping is discussed.
■ Commissioners ask no tough questions and learn no new information..
■ Effects upon Lincolnville residents are not discussed.
■ St. Augustine City Commissioner ERROL JONES makes the motion, seconded by City Commissioner DONALD CRICHLOW, to approve the Consent Order sending solid waste back to Lincolnville, giving City 475 days to remove contaminants from Old City Reservoir. Vote is 3-0.
■ Mayor JOSEPH LEROY BOLES, JR. denies the public the right to speak on Consent Order, supported by City Attorney RONALD BROWN, who claims that there was no “advertisement” of a “public hearing.” BOLES threatens arrests, motions to police officers.
■ HARRISS refuses calls to resign, saying “I’ve done nothing wrong.”
■ Later that afternoon, JOHN REGAN tells Messrs. Slavin and Seraphin, et al that it would have taken fifteen (15) minutes or less for AKERMAN SENTERFITT environmental lawyer WILLIAM PENCE to have told Respondent COSA not to dump, if only CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE officials had asked or requested him to do so.
■ REGAN tells Messrs. Slavin and Seraphin, et al. that it would have cost seventy-five dollars ($75) for WILLIAM PENCE to have told Respondent COSA not to dump, if only CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE officials had asked PENCE about the dumping before commencing it.

After seven citizens file administrative complaint and request a hearing, City agrees to pay $31,000 fine and to deposit the contaminated waste in a proper landfill, spending another $1 million, after spending $300,000 on AKERMAN SENTERFITT legal advice and engineering studies aimed at bringing the waste bad to Lincolnville, putting dirt on top and calling it a park.

WILLIAM HARRISS "retires" as City Manager. City employees and residents rejoice. HARRISS receives retirement payments of more than $108,000/year. Goes to work for St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR f/k/a "HOAR."

City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E. spends some $60,000 on engineering studies on successive attempts to build illegal structures on top of old illegal landfill at south end of Lincolnville.

WILLIAM BRUCE HARRISS contributes $200 to MAYOR BOLES' election campaign.

Commission votes 4-1 to preserve south end of Lincolnville as a park forever (Commissioner DONALD CRICHLOW, dissenting).

JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. defeated for re-election by Nancy Shaver.

2015: Dr. Robert Hayling, D.D.S. dies.

City Commission votes to honor Dr. Hayling by naming Robert S. Hayling Freedom Park.

September 24, 2016

Dr. Robert Hayling, D.D.S., honored at dedication of Robert St. Hayling Freedom Park.


How We. the People, cleaned up a landfill and helped create a park (2008 Record column)

Persistence of citizens prevails in dumping order

St. Augustine Record
Publication Date: 05/25/08

I am proud to live in our Nation's Oldest (European-founded) City because of our citizens' character and diversity. Thanks to you, on May 12, City Commissioners unanimously approved a consent decree with Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP): It guarantees that solid waste illegally dumped in our Old City Reservoir will be disposed of properly in a Class I landfill -- it will not be returned to our historic African-American community of Lincolnville. Commissioners unanimously voted Nov. 13 to support Commissioner Errol Jones' ill-advised motion to send waste back to Lincolnville.

On May 12, commissioners heard and heeded hundreds who turned out at the St. Paul's A.M.E. Church on Dec. 13 and January 10, supporting the seven community activists who asked FDEP to stop Lincolnville dumping (Judith and Anthony Seraphin, Diane and Gerald Mills, Dr. Dwight Hines, David Thundershield Queen and me).

The people have won yet another round against City Hall. Your victory bodes well for what our community can do to observe 11,000 years of history (450th anniversary of St. Augustine and 500th anniversary of Spanish Florida).

As Dana Ste. Claire rightly urged, we must celebrate diversity. We need a St. Augustine National Historical Park, National Seashore and National Scenic Coastal Highway, about which County Commissioners may schedule a straw ballot vote.

I agree with former Mayor George Gardner, who rightly blasted the lack of energy and creativity in our city's Heritage Tourism Department.

Our City Hall needs a clean sweep.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead said it best, "A city is a place where there is no need to wait for next week to get the answer to a question, to taste the food of any country, to find new voices to listen to and familiar ones to listen to again."

Mead also said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Margaret Mead visited Oak Ridge, Tenn., and exposed its provincialism, not knowing secrecy perpetrated a massive environmental crime.

Twenty-five years ago, on May 17, 1983, our small weekly newspaper (Appalachian Observer) won declassification of the largest mercury pollution event in world history. Our federal government in Oak Ridge, emitted 4.2 million pounds of mercury into creeks, groundwater and workers' lungs and brains -- more than was dumped in Minimata, Japan.

Oak Ridge's pollution scandal started scrutiny of the entire U.S. nuclear weapons complex -- a cleanup still ongoing.

Then-Rep. Al Gore held an investigative hearing in Oak Ridge on July 11, 1983, swearing in witnesses (a nuclear complex first). I called for criminal prosecution of mercury-dumping Union Carbide and Department of Energy officials.

For decades, Oak Ridge residents were afraid to speak out. As a result, government environmental crimes were never punished.

Contrast that with the free, independent spirit of today's St. Augustinians, who swiftly achieved significant results against one of the worst abuses of power anywhere.

Like Oak Ridge's mindless, maniacal mercury-dumpers, St. Augustine's city manager was never reprimanded for dumping solid waste in the Old City Reservoir -- William Harriss got a pass (and a plaque) in the midst of a pending criminal investigation.

Unanswered questions remain 27 months after St. Augustine dumping was reported. Other local dumps await investigation/cleanup. (To report pollution, call the National Response Center, 1-800-424-8802). The illegal city dump at the south end of Riberia Street awaits a consent decree and cleanup. Our search for truth continues.

With your help and prayers, our city will become a much better place for all of our citizens.

As we sang at St. Paul's on Jan. 10, "we shall overcome."


Ed Slavin earned a degree in diplomacy from Georgetown University and a law degree from Memphis State University; he was recommended for a Pulitzer Prize by Oak Ridge District Attorney Jim Ramsey in 1983.

Click here to return to story:

© The St. Augustine Record


Without a care about residents' suffering from pothole-laden streets, City Commissioners showed they don't give a fig about you or your concerns.
Our City Commission, adopting its FY 2017 budget and millage rate, in a hurry to go to dinner, clicked their heels and did as they were told, adopting a budget drafted by maladroit City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E., refusing to adopt a small change proposed by reform Mayor Nancy Shaver.
Four BOLESIAN Commissioners showed their contempt for democracy and data-based decisions.
Four weak-minded WEEKSIAN Commissioners showed their smugness, spending less than an hour, a million dollars a minute.
At times, the "Gang of Four" resembles the world's worst deliberative body.
Yes, St. Augustine City Commissioners ignored fifty e-mails and eight resident speakers.
The "Gang of Four" Commissioners -- TODD NEVILLE a/k/a "ODD TODD," NANCY SIKES-KLINE, LEANNA FREEMAN and Vice Mayor ROXANNE HORVATH refused, declined and rejected an 0.5% change in the budget to fix our City's failing D+ streets on Thursday, September 21, 2016.

St. Augustine commissioners overrule mayor on budget, support same road spending
Posted: September 22, 2016 - 11:02pm | Updated: September 23, 2016 - 9:39am

St. Augustine commissioners gave final approval to next fiscal year’s budget, which has been challenged by Mayor Nancy Shaver as not doing enough for street paving.

Commissioners still pushed the budget through 4-1 (Shaver dissenting). Commissioner Todd Neville motioned to approve the budget as discussion lingered.

The budget is more than $49.6 million, with adjustments made for transfers within government. Commissioners also approved a millage rate that will stay at 7.5 mills.

Neville provided a detailed explanation of his support for the budget, and why $525,000 slated for “road rehabilitation” — which Shaver has said is inadequate — doesn’t give the full picture.

“I want to talk about what’s really in our budget so that everyone can have a full understanding of that,” Neville said.

He said more than $800,000 has been moved from general government services, or administration, to transportation and infrastructure. Transportation and infrastructure have gone from 12 to 17 percent of the budget year over year, he said.

That shift came through strategic planning, changing the budget process and community feedback over the past couple of years, he said.

He also said a dozen capital projects, worth more than $5 million, will involve paving outside of the $525,000. And total, with both included, the city will pave seven miles of streets of the more than 70 miles they control, he said.

Nancy Sikes-Kline said the city’s seeing major investment in its infrastructure, including paving along U.S. 1 by the Florida Department of Transportation.

City Manager John Regan said after the meeting that the budget is on pace with a 15-year replacement schedule for streets, and the city’s goal is more than four miles of annual asphalt replacement.

“We’re not going to slip our grade,” Regan said of the overall rating of the city’s roads.

He added that "this budget meets our community priorities.”

A 2015 road analysis put the roads around a D grade, and Shaver had said — and maintained Thursday — that the current budget won’t provide enough funding to maintain roads at the level they should be maintained as detailed by the city’s Capital Improvement Plan.

“Our job is to represent the people we serve and it is to provide oversight when approving a budget,” she said at the meeting. “It is not to rubber stamp a budget.”

Commissioners had previously agreed to meet in a few months to review the paving spending.

While the meeting ended without change in the budget, more than a dozen people came to the meeting and several asked for more to be done for roads.

Among them was Deltra Long, a Planning and Zoning Board member.

She said, “When we were in grade school and we made A’s and B’s on our report card we went home excited. … We should get that same level of enthusiasm for the grades that we’ve been earning for our roads. … If you have the money in available areas, let’s use it for the upgrading of our streets, the pavements and upgrade the sidewalks and whatever needs to be done to make us proud residents in earning A and B grades not D [and lower].”

Thursday, September 22, 2016



Courageous Mayor NANCY SHAVER (center); GANG OF FOUR MEMBER ROXANNE HORVATH (left); not pictured, tedious  ODD TODD NEVILLE

Mayor proves that she is the only voice for the residents
Posted on September 22, 2016
By Michael Gold

Historic City News

If you didn’t already have enough reasons to re-elect St Augustine’s mayor, Nancy Shaver, or to oust the other commissioners, you just got one more. Historic City News editor Michael Gold watched in disgust as the four commissioners stood in opposition to every citizen speaker at tonight’s final budget hearing.

Only the mayor respected the citizen’s pleas at the podium and dozens of citizens who sent e-mail asking that the city not approve the 2016-2017 budget as presented.

Like cockroaches fleeing the spotlight of public scrutiny, within seconds of the roll call and 4-1 vote to ratify City Manager John Regan’s budget, the four commissioners responsible for approving it scrambled for the nearest exit trying to avoid the capacity crowd who were calling for their heads.

The budget approved ignores essential government spending on repaving city streets in favor of unnecessary spending on things like new draperies for the meeting room and construction of a patio and food service area on the southwest knoll at the Bridge of Lions.

Commissioner Todd Neville launched into a four-point dissertation about how nobody in the public understood what John Regan was proposing in the budget; because, after all, the public is uneducated and Neville and Regan are better qualified to make our money-spending decisions for us.

Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline bumbled through some rationalization that Federal, state and county road projects added to the city’s under-budget plan for street repaving. No matter what the TPO, or any other planner or stakeholder spends on state or federal roads has nothing to do with long overdue repairs to city streets which none of those agencies will maintain.

Commissioner Leanna Freeman, in her own inimitable, haughty way, completely disrespected the packed house of concerned citizens assembled to show their support for Mayor Shaver’s plan to budget more for street repaving. “It’s nice of all of you to show up NOW,” Freeman condescended to the audience.

Commissioner Horvath’s brilliant contribution to the discussion was to point out that the other three commissioners had already said what she feels about the staff-drafted budget.

At 6:04 p.m., Neville made the motion to approve the budget, as presented, seconded by Sikes-Kline. Freeman and Horvath voted “yes” and only Mayor Shaver voted “no”, fulfilling her obligation to serve as a representative of the people, not a rubber stamp for staff.


Unrebutted public hearing testimony by all eight public hearing witnesses -- Susan Rathbone, B.J. Kalaidi, Bernard Duross, Deltra Long, Dan Holliday, Jay Jubert, Denise Hammond and me (that would be Ed Slavin) supported increasing spending on City streets. Undeterred, the Gang of Four outvoted Mayor Nancy Shaver, voting to rubberstamp the budget prepared by City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E., which will do nothing to improve the quality of city streets, currently rated by the City as a D+. (more later).

HCN: Budget for City of St. Augustine will be decided tonight

HISTORIC CITY NEWSLocal news for St Augustine and St Johns County

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Commissioners will decide what will happen with budget tonight
Posted on September 22, 2016 by CJRedd
275-cosa-commission-meetingTonight at 5:05 p.m., Historic City News readers will have the opportunity to stand before the St Augustine City Commission and tell them how they feel about City Manager John Regan’s budget for Fiscal Year 2017 — including controversial spending to maintain the city’s mostly below standard streets with many elements approaching the end of their service life.

The mayor, Hon. Nancy E. Shaver, says there is no good reason to maintain city roads at “D+” levels, and blames poor budgeting for the condition of the streets driven daily by local residents.

According to city budget director Meredith Breidenstein, not counting Hypolita Street upgrades, utility, or storm water projects with associated road improvements, the city budgeted the following annual amounts for paving from the general fund:

In 2012 – $90,000
In 2013 – $0
In 2014 – $100,000
In 2015 – $650,000
Shaver says that she receives at least one complaint every week about our street’s condition; deteriorated surfaces, potholes, and flooding due to lack of proper grading.

Todd Neville, the CPA commissioner who ran for office two years ago on the position that “tax dollars belong to the residents who pay them” and a campaign promise “I’ll ensure the City Commission always remembers that“, now seems to want to renege.

Despite letters to the editor from local taxpayers, e-mails from those constituents, and public speakers at past meetings, Neville is supporting Regan’s proposed $525,000 budget for repaving streets within the city limits, and ignoring what the citizens want.

Quoted in The St Augustine Record today, Neville said the city’s 2017 budget already shifts funds from general government services and boosts transportation and infrastructure spending over the 2016 fiscal year.

He said the $525,000 only covers paving and there are separate projects — like water main work on San Marco Avenue — that will include road improvements. “It makes no sense to just pile on more money for these projects,” Neville said.

“It’s either misunderstanding of what our budget is or it’s just political stuff,” Commissioner Todd Neville said of St. Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver’s most recent call for increased paving dollars in the city budget. “It’s one or the other. Our budget is solid.”

The mayor has shown that without the need to raise taxes at all, it is appropriate to shift funds to the priority need of street repaving because of the years of “deferred maintenance” — a fancy term for not doing the work that good management practices demand.

The money from come from the generic budget category of “mobility”, something the city is not prepared to deal with at the moment. So, why does Neville want to protect the “mobility” money?

A reader on a local news blog commented, “At first blush it doesn’t make sense that Todd Neville would argue against moving money from the mobility line in the budget to plus-up the street paving and maintenance line as recommended by the Mayor until you remember that his wife Heather has a for-profit transportation planning business (VRUM LLC). She’s on the Mobility Advisory Task Force and stands to benefit financially from any consulting contracts that come out of the Mobility Study. Of course Todd would argue against anything that diminishes the pot of money from which his wife could profit. Make sense?”

The reader went on to write, “Her presence on the task force and direct financial interest in the outcome makes it impossible to consider Todd fair and objective about ANYTHING related to mobility and transportation in St Augustine. This is why it was so wrong when Heather Neville, as well as others with transportation business interests, were put on the task force.”

Of course the appointment of Heather Neville to the Mobility Advisory Task Force assisting the City’s consultant, Littlejohn Engineering Associates, was made unilaterally by John Regan.

“What’s even more striking is that at neighborhood mobility workshops conducted by the city residents have repeatedly expressed their concerns that poor street conditions are very much part of our mobility problem. Some cited examples of intentionally avoiding certain streets that are in poor condition, even though it resulted in longer trips and wasted gas.”

The reader concluded, “We now have a commissioner whose views must be discounted when it comes to issues associated with transportation and mobility. A shame and completely unnecessary.”

"Ziti" was the codeword for power company bribes in NY Governor's office -- staffers, executives charged with federal crimes

NY Gov. ANDREW MARK CUOMO's best friend charged with bribery, called bribes "ziti."

Ex-Cuomo Aides Charged in Federal Corruption Inquiry
SEPT. 22, 2016

Joseph Percoco, left, with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York in 2013. Mr. Percoco, who is now facing corruption charges, was Mr. Cuomo’s all-purpose body man and political enforcer.
Credit Mike Groll/Associated Press

Federal corruption charges were announced on Thursday against two former close aides to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a senior state official and six other people, in a devastating blow to the governor’s innermost circle and a repudiation of how his prized upstate economic development programs were managed.

The charges against the former aides, Joseph Percoco and Todd R. Howe, and the state official, Alain Kaloyeros, were the culmination of a long-running federal investigation into the Cuomo administration’s attempts to lure jobs and businesses to upstate New York’s limping economy by furnishing billions of dollars in state funds to developers from Buffalo to Albany. Mr. Howe is cooperating with the investigation, according to a 79-page criminal complaint unsealed on Thursday.

The charges stemmed from “two overlapping criminal schemes involving bribery, corruption and fraud in the award of hundreds of millions of dollars in state contracts and other official state benefits,” federal prosecutors said in the complaint.

Mr. Percoco, who had served as Mr. Cuomo’s executive deputy secretary, is accused of soliciting and taking more than $315,000 in bribes between 2012 and 2016 from two companies: Competitive Power Ventures, an energy company that was seeking state approvals to build a power plant in the Hudson Valley, and COR Development, a major developer in the Syracuse area that ended up with several large state-funded economic development projects. The bribes were arranged by Mr. Howe, who counted both companies among his clients.

The energy company and the developer are not named in the complaint, but several defendants charged are among the companies’ top officials.

In addition to Mr. Percoco, Mr. Howe and Mr. Kaloyeros, the complaint charged Peter Galbraith Kelly Jr., who oversaw lobbying and public relations for Competitive Power Ventures, the energy company based in Maryland and Massachusetts; Steven Aiello, the president of COR Development; Joseph Gerardi, another executive at COR; Louis Ciminelli, the founder of LPCiminelli; and Michael Laipple and Kevin Schuler, two other executives at LPCiminelli.

Mr. Kelly, known as Braith, was accused of offering and paying Mr. Percoco bribes in exchange for Mr. Percoco’s help with the power plant. The payments were made to Lisa Toscano-Percoco, Mr. Percoco’s wife, who was ostensibly employed as a consultant to Competitive Power Ventures’s educational outreach arm starting in 2012.

In emails and other correspondence, Mr. Percoco and Mr. Howe referred to the bribes as “ziti,” according to the complaint. Mr. Percoco apparently used the name “Herb” while discussing the arrangement.

Mr. Aiello and Mr. Gerardi were accused of giving Mr. Percoco about $35,000 in bribes to use his position in the governor’s office to “promote” the company’s economic development projects.

They sought Mr. Percoco’s help in reversing a decision by the state’s economic development agency that would have forced COR — Mr. Cuomo’s largest donor in Central New York — to make an expensive labor peace agreement; pushing the state to release payments that it owed to COR; and getting a $5,000 raise for Mr. Aiello’s son, who worked for Mr. Percoco at the governor’s office, according to the complaint.

The charges in the complaint included bribery, extortion under the color of right, wire fraud and honest services fraud.

Mr. Howe had already pleaded guilty to extortion, wire fraud and related conspiracy charges. His lawyer, Richard J. Morvillo, would say only that his client “has accepted responsibility for his actions and will testify truthfully if called upon.”

Todd R. Howe in 2009. Credit Will Waldron/Times Union, via Associated Press
Mr. Percoco and six of the seven other defendants were taken into custody before 8 a.m. Thursday; the remaining defendant was expected to surrender. They are expected to appear in federal courts in Manhattan, Syracuse and Buffalo later on Thursday.

Mr. Percoco’s lawyer, Barry A. Bohrer, characterized the prosecution as “an overreach of classic proportions,” adding that a Supreme Court decision in June that overturned the corruption conviction of former Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia rendered his client’s conduct lawful.

“Mr. Percoco performed services honestly and within the bounds of the law at all times,” Mr. Bohrer said.

Federal investigators from the office of Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, and F.B.I. agents in Buffalo have been examining whether state officials awarded lucrative projects to a few favored developers who had donated to the political campaigns of Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat. One major area of interest was the administration’s plan to inject $1 billion in state funds into Buffalo-area factories, research facilities and other projects, known together as the Buffalo Billion.

The sweeping corruption charges were expected to be announced at a news conference later on Thursday. The expected arrest of Mr. Percoco was first reported early Thursday by The Wall Street Journal.

Virtually all the state-funded projects were shaped under the umbrella of the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute and its subsidiaries, which is headed by Dr. Kaloyeros, a physicist who has become something of an economic development guru in Albany.

Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, announced the charges on Thursday with Andrew Goldstein, the chief of the public corruption unit. Credit Dave Sanders for The New York Times

Dr. Kaloyeros had been given free rein by Mr. Cuomo to conceive of high-tech economic development projects that could create jobs across the state. A lawyer for Dr. Kaloyeros had no immediate comment.

Dr. Kaloyeros will also face charges on Thursday filed by the New York attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, according to a person with direct knowledge of the allegations. Mr. Schneiderman is expected to announce charges of bid-rigging and collusion against Dr. Kaloyeros and Joseph Nicolla of Columbia Development, an Albany-area firm.

Mr. Kaloyeros and Mr. Nicolla are accused of colluding to make sure Columbia was awarded contracts to build multiple SUNY Polytechnic projects, including a campus dorm, the person said.

Until January, when Mr. Percoco left the administration for a job at Madison Square Garden, he was Mr. Cuomo’s all-purpose body man, political enforcer and shadow, an honorary brother who had been at Mr. Cuomo’s side since both worked for Mr. Cuomo’s father, former Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, in the 1990s.

As part of the investigation, investigators had looked into whether Mr. Percoco and his wife failed to properly disclose thousands of dollars they had been paid by at least one company that had business with the state.

Mr. Percoco’s financial disclosure forms, which he was required to file once a year while he worked for the governor’s office, reported that he and his wife had earned a total of $130,000 to $195,000 from two companies since 2012, COR and an entity affiliated with Competitive Power Ventures. Ms. Toscano-Percoco was not charged in the complaint.

Mr. Howe had worked for the elder Mr. Cuomo, and later for the younger Mr. Cuomo during his time as the secretary of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Trading on his relationship with the governor and Mr. Percoco, Mr. Howe later became a lobbyist in Albany and Washington, with a hand in several of the state’s economic development projects in the Syracuse area.

When news of the investigation into the governor’s former aides broke in April, his office quickly cut ties to both men and ordered its own internal investigation. The results of that inquiry have not been released.

Jesse McKinley contributed reporting.

Gov. CUOMO's best friend charged with accepting bribes in 79-page charge, alleging he called bribes "ziti."