Thursday, June 22, 2017

St. Johns County Commission OKs new direction for farmers’ market at amphitheater (SAR)

Your five St. Johns County Commissioners did not discuss the new contract before approving it as part of the consent agenda, despite more than a dozen people speaking out about the contract and asking questions.

To add insult to injury, County Administrator MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK waited until after 5 PM, long after people had departed, to talk about the future of the arrogance.

What a Putin-like poohbah, the alter ego of egotistical Sheriff DAVID SHOAR, f/k/a "HOAR." Color him gone -- he cannot sustain scrutiny.

Posted June 22, 2017 12:02 am
St. Johns County Commission OKs new direction for farmers’ market at amphitheatre

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CHRISTINA.KELSO@STAUGUSTINE.COM Lesha Corrigan of Frog Song Organics sells produce to shopper Toby Giallucka at the Old City Farmers Market in the St. Augustine Amphitheatre on Saturday, May 27, 2017. Based in Hawthorne, the farm has sold at the market for five years.

More than a dozen people spoke at Tuesday’s meeting of the St. Johns County Commission either in support of the Old City Farmers’ Market at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, as it is currently operated, or warning the county against over-manipulation of the venue.

The county put out a request for proposals for management of the market in April. Six applicants submitted proposals before the deadline this month, but current managers Brian and Carey del Ray were not among them. The current contract, effective Aug. 1, 2007, expires July 31.

Vendors on Tuesday questioned the feasibility of requiring more food vendors and less arts and crafts vendors under a future agreement. Some long-time vendors, including the del Rays, said they already tried creating a more food-centric market at its start, but, over time, the realities called for more arts and crafts products for visitors looking for souvenirs and gifts to take home with them.

They argued the local market for fresh produce just isn’t strong enough on its own to sustain the type of venue the county is pushing.

“Things that don’t work rarely last this long,” one vendor said. “The market has been good for us and we have been good for the market.”

Carey del Ray said she and her husband were never asked for their opinions but that she “didn’t want to start a war” over it. She said she understands the desire for a “true farmers’ market” but also told commissioners up to 145 families could be affected by the changes if the percentages hold.

Nonetheless, commissioners on Tuesday approved entering into negotiations, and, eventually, a contract with Kathyrn H. Provow LLC, the top-ranked bidder, for management of the market. The item remained on the consent agenda and passed without discussion among the board members.

Later, during closing comments, County Administrator Michael Wanchick said amphitheatre management was concerned the venue was shifting from a farmers’ market to a flea market. He said the end goal was to “infuse” the market not only with fresh food and prepared food, but with some educational and entertainment components, as well.

“If we get too many of one or not enough of another, they can change that percentage mix up,” Wanchick said, adding the county has the right of approval.

He said the amphitheatre only wants to retain some quality and control over the venue and that the changes don’t mean the market is going away.

“We are not going to change the farmers’ market,” he told commissioners. “It’s highly regarded; people enjoy it. I think as the one farmer said this morning, ‘If you get too much of one thing it hurts everybody.’ So, there’s an equitable balance that you want to get there and these guys are all over it.”

For more information on the possible changes as well as the contents of the winning bid, see the May 30 edition of The Record, or go to

Wanchick also brought up the ongoing discussion over the fate of the Wednesday farmers’ markets in St. Augustine Beach. The market is held in the parking lot at Pier Park, owned by the county.

He said it’s been more than a month since he sent a letter to St. Augustine Beach “offering the city the opportunity to take over the parking lot so that they can manage that area any way they see fit.” He said he’s yet to hear any response.

“That contract is timing out,” Wanchick said. “Our offer to relocate them, if they want to, is still on the table, as far as administration is concerned.”

The contract for the Wednesday market was due to expire in July, but Wanchick in February granted an extension through the end of the year to allow some time for an agreement to be reached among the involved parties.

Wanchick said the market could “very easily” go to the same location as the Saturday market at the amphitheatre, just on Wednesdays, but said, again, that he’s yet to hear from the city.

“I don’t want anybody coming in at the last moment and saying we didn’t tell them,” Wanchick said.

The subject of the beach possibly taking over the property did come up in a joint meeting between the county and the city in May. During that meeting, Wanchick said he and Beach City Manager Max Royle were already talking about transferring the title for Pier Park over to the city. Wanchick also said that would be done with the understanding the parking lot would stay a parking lot and that the county would maintain responsibility for the pier itself.

The issue of ownership of Pier Park also extends well beyond the Wednesday market and into issues related to parking, accessibility and the bulging costs of maintaining the beaches.


Tom Reynolds
To turn over the Pier Parking lot to the City of St Augustine Beach or turn over anything to St Augustine Beach would be a HUGE mistake. The City of St Augustine Beach CAN NOT MANAGE the 1.87 square miles they have already. There are people who want to dissolve the City for POOR Management and all the Corruption and Unethical Conduct that is going on now.

The City of St Augustine Beach Management has destroyed Public Records (a crime), a Building Official three jobs just came to light, a sexual harassment cover-up, the Mayor s property fiasco, the Mayor s resent fine by the Election Commission, the sneaky Health Insurance fiasco, cash missing from the 2016 Beach Blast, Public Works Department recently got caught charging only 41 cents a week for trash pick-up for Commercial service, and that is just some of the stuff going on here in Dysfunction Junction !

PLEASE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS...............................................................


Which commissioners voted for this?

Tom Reynolds
all on the Fm
none on the turn over


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

So Sheriff DAVID SHOAR "Solved" Michelle O'Connell Case?

Commission Skewers Secretive, Stumbling Sheriff DAVID SHOAR's Budget Flummery and Flimflammery

Photos are screenshots from St. Johns County Commission Government TV website

Spoke twice at St. Johns County Commission about Sheriff DAVID SHOAR. First, I spoke about his obstruction of justice in the Michelle O'Connell case and three time Pulitzer Prize winner Walt Bogdanich's article in Sunday's New York Times. Next, I spoke on SHOAR's proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget, about which few details were presented. Thankful for Commissioner Jeb Smith for asking tough questions of SHOAR, who presented himself as a bumbling fool, not knowing basic budget information and yelling to his staff at the back of the room to yell out answers. We're going to continue to ask questions, demand answers and expect democracy here in corrupt St. Johns County, Florida. Venceremos! As LBJ said to Congress after Selma, "We SHALL overcome!" Good story by Jake Martin in Record:=

Posted June 21, 2017 12:02 am - Updated June 21, 2017 01:11 am
St. Johns County Commission lukewarm to sheriff’s budget proposal

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Walking St. Johns County commissioners through some main points of his proposed $72 million operating budget for next year, Sheriff David Shoar on Tuesday stumbled upon some tough questions and a board in little to no rush to increase spending.

The sheriff is asking for funding for, among other things, 18 new road deputies to add to the 12 he asked for, and received, last year. Also requested are four 911 operators, two corrections deputies and two civilian positions in the corrections department. Altogether, Shoar’s seeking a 7.26 percent increase, compared to the 7.5 percent bump he got in 2016.

In the discussion following his overview, however, some commissioners were already hinting at an expectation he’ll be coming back to them in subsequent years with similar requests until his agency is up to the size needed to deal with the county’s booming population.

Shoar said one of his goals is to get the countywide response time below 5 minutes and 30 seconds, a number he said is really more intuitive than scientific, but one generally agreed upon as achievable and effective by agencies at different levels. While the county’s two southern patrol districts routinely hit the target time, the northwest and northeast districts, which have seen the bulk of new growth, do not.

SEE ALSO  ‘Honestly, we are trying to catch up’: Shoar cites growth as he looks to add 18 road deputies, others with budget proposal

He said there has been a drop in response times in the northern districts with the 12 deputies added last year, although “not enough.”

Shoar spent a good portion of his presentation painting a picture of a growing county facing a new set of problems, namely, an opioid epidemic. The 37-year local lawman said in his 17 years patrolling the streets of St. Augustine, he saw heroin only twice, and that the county is now seeing it on an everyday basis.

He also gave lip service to increased traffic crashes on Interstate 95, a trend he called “out of control,” as well as increases in mental health related issues including attempted suicides and suicides. He said the county is on pace for 40 suicides this year.

“We have to work every one of them like a homicide, until we learn differently, and we know what happens if you don’t,” he said.

Shoar also made reference to the “Jax factor,” elaborating that his agency is seeing more criminal activity on the part of Duval County residents who are coming down in stolen cars and stealing construction equipment and more cars.

All of this after years of austerity and instructions to “do more with less.”

“My honest assessment is that we’re at a tipping point and we need your help,” he told commissioners, adding later that he felt his request is “modest.”

The growth Shoar pointed to in order to make his case for more funding was the same growth commissioners tossed right back at him as one reason they might not be able to give him all he wants. But the scrutiny didn’t stop there.

Commissioner Jeb Smith said some expenses like jail maintenance and beach services come from the county’s General Fund, rather than the sheriff’s budget, and that those costs should also be taken into consideration.

“Those are big, big ticket items that I think the public needs to understand are not included in this line item,” he said.

“Sure,” the sheriff said.

Referencing Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels’s $53 million budget request to his commissioners for next year, Smith asked what difference there was between the two agencies that could amount to $20 million.

“Let’s have that conversation so we can disabuse folks of that notion,” Shoar said. “I’m so glad you brought it up.”

He said in Clay County, the commission pays the workers’ compensation insurance as well as employee benefits costs for the sheriff’s office and that his budget, at the end of the day, is just $1.9 million higher.

Shoar also cautioned against “apples-to-oranges comparisons.”

He said when he looks at counties with similar populations and annual budgets hundreds of millions of dollars lower than St. Johns County’s $673 million budget, he doesn’t ask “What gives?” because he knows the explanation is behind the cover page.

“That’s why I ask the question,” Smith replied. “When I, as a commissioner, simply get a two-page address to that request and then a 24-page addendum to it, that doesn’t answer those questions.”

“Answer what questions?” the sheriff asked in response.

Shoar said he’s coming up with a budget request for his office, not the Clay County office. Smith said when he looks at budget requests he’s also looking for comparisons, to see how the costs measure up with those elsewhere.

“I appreciate the questions,” Shoar said. “It’s just that … you know, we gotta be cautious when we start comparing things because things are not the same.”

Smith said he wanted clarity because, for instance, people can look at news reports coming out of different counties with budgets that are millions of dollars apart and see a “tremendous discrepancy.”

“Difference,” Shoar quickly corrected.

Smith said the “delineation” needs to be noted nonetheless.

“We should ask the hard questions,” Shoar said. “That’s what our public demands and that’s what our public deserves, and we should do it in an open forum like this, although I wish you and I had a chance to speak about this last night, but that’s OK, doing it in public is probably the best place.”

Agreeing, Smith continued with his comments, which entered many more territories.

He said he had also secured the Marion County Sheriff’s Office budget, weighing in at 108 pages, in which he found “very thorough accounting” of every expenditure and revenue source. He said he found the descriptions and details “very helpful.”

“Fantastic,” Shoar said, adding later that he invites any commissioner or member of the public to come to the sheriff’s office and go into as great detail as desired on the budget. “It’s very transparent.”

(Ahead of Shoar’s presentation, Jesse Dunn, director of the county’s office of management and budget, told commissioners he had the line-item budget details, “as always,” if they had any interest.)

Commissioner Jay Morris, citing growth and his satisfaction with the overall performance of the sheriff’s office, threw his support behind the proposed budget. He said the county’s priority, bottom line, is public safety.

“If we have to turn off the lights at the ball field, no one is going to die,” he said, adding he sees no other way around than to cut costs or look for more revenue to meet the growing demands.

Commission Chair Jimmy Johns said he appreciates the resources the sheriff has used to stretch the dollars he’s gotten. He said faster response times and better overall services are important, but that those needs have to balance out with the monies actually available.

Following up on Johns’ comments, Smith recalled the county spent some amount of money out of reserves last year in order to fulfill the sheriff’s request for the 12 additional deputies.

He also told fellow commissioners to bear in mind those positions are now a recurring expense and that any other additional hires would similarly affect future budgets.

There was no immediate answer from county staff exactly how much came out of reserves to get last year’s request done.

Smith said he didn’t enjoy asking the questions he asked but said it was part of his job. Shoar said he understood the need for scrutiny and that he was well aware the commission’s task was often a thankless one.

During public comment, the county and the sheriff’s office both took some criticism from residents for not having a more fleshed-out budget available online for scrutiny of line-item details. An executive summary of the proposed budget is available from the sheriff’s office home page,

There is no line-item detail in the 24-page summary. Seven pages of the document are maps of the county outlining patrol zones and districts, residential building trends and population estimates.

There are, however, several charts and graphs illustrating various justifications for hiring additional employees. This includes a brief history of calls for service, which shows they went up 40 percent between 2010 to 2016, as well as a breakdown of the law enforcement-to-population ratio, which has dropped from 1.55 deputies per 1,000 residents in 2008 to 1.18 deputies per 1,000 residents in 2017.

The U.S. Department of Justice, in the meantime, recommends 1.9 officials per 1,000 residents, but Shoar said he’s just aiming to get the ratio to 1.25.

“I’m not proud of that,” he said. “We have to reverse that. It puts us in the bottom third in the state.”

Smith said he took some issue with the ratio data as presented by the sheriff’s office because he felt it was not exactly an “apples-to-apples” comparison.

While the ratio as described by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is supposed to identify the total number of officers per 1,000 residents in unincorporated areas, the sheriff’s office used the countywide population, which includes incorporated areas, in calculating its annual ratios.

Tuesday’s agenda item was just a presentation. No formal action was taken by the board on any of the sheriff’s requests, which will be incorporated in the county’s overall budget talks that will continue through the summer.


Tom Reynolds
The Sheriff was unprepared and IT SHOWED BIG TIME !

Or was Shoar just trying to hide things in his budget ?

More SECRET St Johns County GOVERNMENT !

To know Shoar and Kline (under-sheriff) are leading County Wide Law Enforcement is VERY SCARY !

AFTER THE PRESENTATION, Sheriff Shoar and Under Sheriff Kline ran for the DOOR !

Why fellas ?

What kind of Sheriff and Under Sheriff would run out the door instead of staying and listening to the Public during Public Comment ?

The kind that lacks courage ......................................................



Mindy Joy
HOW CAN THERE NOT BE A Line Item Accounting for his own budget makes No Sense and only adds to the numerous shady aspects of his activities. This is Real Government stuff and needs to be treated and handled and Respected as such, not just with vague and hidden information. Hopefully, he will be held to account to resubmit with open and honest accountability for these monies.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Thank you, New York Times, Walt Bogdanich, St. Augustine Record, Craig Richardson & Jared Keever for Exposing Sheriff DAVID SHOAR

Kudos to the St. Augustine Record for interviewing retromignent St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID SHOAR f/k/a HOAR and three time Pulitzer Prize winner Walt Bogdanich of The New York Times. SHOAR lied when he said he did not read The New York Times article. Rebarbative Republican political boss DAVID SHOAR showed his ass when he attacked Mr. Bogdanich. DAVID SHOAR is a vulgarian. His sins have found him out.

Posted June 20, 2017 04:38 am - Updated June 20, 2017 10:44 am
NY Times: Shoar conducted ‘scathingly personal’ campaign against FDLE agent

Sheriff questions reporter's objectivity, relationship with agent
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An exhaustive front-page story published in the Sunday edition of The New York Times has once again put the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, and its handling of the Michelle O’Connell death investigation, on a national stage.

The story, this time though, is not about what did or did not happen in a bedroom in the home of Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Banks, where, on Sept. 2, 2010, his girlfriend, the 24-year-old O’Connell, was found dead of a gunshot wound.

Instead, in a five-page story, just short of 7,000 words, three-time Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist Walt Bogdanich focuses on what he portrays as a disinformation campaign waged by Sheriff David Shoar that sought to cast doubt on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s investigation of the case.

At the center of the story is FDLE Agent Rusty Rodgers who was assigned to the case after O’Connell’s family raised concerns about the original investigation — conducted by the Sheriff’s Office — that ultimately concluded the death was a suicide.


‘Honestly, we are trying to catch up’: Shoar cites growth as he looks to add 18 road deputies, others with budget proposal

The gun that killed O’Connell was Banks’ service weapon, and her family has said that she wouldn’t have harmed herself. Banks, who placed the 911 call the night she died saying that she shot herself, maintains his innocence.

The case, which has since been reviewed by multiple medical examiners, remains classified as a suicide, and at least two special prosecutors have looked at it and found there is not enough evidence to bring charges against Banks.

It was that initial criticism from the family, though, that spurred Shoar, just a few months after the death, to call in the FDLE to review his agency’s handling of the case.

During his investigation, Rodgers found two female witnesses who said they heard screams coming Banks’ home the night O’Connell died.

Not long after, the original medical examiner in the case changed his opinion on the manner of the death from suicide to “shot by another” and wrote a new death certificate but never filed it.

It was around that time that Seventh Judicial Circuit State Attorney R.J. Larizza recused himself from the case and Gov. Rick Scott assigned the first special prosecutor, State Attorney Brad King of the Fifth Judicial Circuit, to the case.

The case was closed when King didn’t bring charges.

“And for a year, that’s where the case stood — closed, if not forgotten,” Bogdanich writes in Sunday’s story.

“Then, in 2013, I flew to St. Augustine and asked the sheriff for files related to the shooting,” he continues, launching into the bulk of the narrative of his most recent piece.

Bogdanich said in a phone interview with The Record on Monday that it is the first time in his career that he has ever used the first person in his reporting.

It was unavoidable, Bogdanich said, noting that he had become “part of the story,” and he and his editors decided putting him in it was necessary “to make it clear as to what happened.”

From that first flight to St. Augustine, Bogdanich lays out what he did to gather information for his first story that ran in The Times in November 2013.

He paints a picture of Shoar growing frustrated with an out-of-town reporter “poking around” in a closed case and requesting documents. According to the most recent story, things hit one of many low points when Shoar learns that Bogdanich has requested an interview with Rodger’s supervisor and then assumes the agency is behind the reporter’s presence.

“His answer was a scathingly personal yearslong attack on Agent Rodgers — a campaign that put the outsize powers of a small¬town sheriff on full display and ultimately swept up nearly everyone in its path,” Bogdanich writes.

“He embedded his accusations in the public consciousness through a cascade of press releases, phone calls, letters, interviews and online posts,” he continues, adding later that what he “came to learn was that the sheriff had tried to destroy the investigator with accusations that were often nothing more than innuendo and unverified rumors.

“Even so, they went virtually unchallenged for years.”

Which is why Bogdanich said Monday that he came back.

“I think the reason I decided to revisit it, was, that now, a fuller story could be told,” he said. “Because until now Sheriff Shoar was the one telling the story.”

Bogdanich called the story “document driven,” though he did visit the area twice while doing his reporting for the Sunday story. Using transcripts from interviews and documents from Banks’ pending federal lawsuit against Rodgers, he pieced together a story that he said provided an important counterpoint to the one Shoar has been offering about the case.

In it, and to bolster his narrative, Bogdanich quotes County Judge Charles Tinlin, Shoar’s former undersheriff Joel Bolante and St. Augustine Beach Police Chief Robert Hardwick.

“I thought it was important for people in St. Augustine and St. Johns County, and frankly for others who have followed this case, to get a different perspective on what happened, based on the words of the people who were actively involved,” Bogdanich said.

The one voice that isn’t in the story, though, is Shoar’s.

Shoar, who has never sat for an interview with Bogdanich, told The Record on Monday he hasn’t read the new story.

“I don’t read things by people like Bogdanich,” he said, calling him “one of the most dishonest men I’ve met in my life.”

Shoar said he had originally viewed the reporter’s arrival in the area four years ago as a “blessing” because it would give him a chance to take an honest look at his own agency and gain a better understanding of what went wrong in the original investigation.

But, Shoar said, Bogdanich refused to look at anything “that had to do with the culpability of Rodgers.”

Shoar maintains that Rodgers manufactured and exaggerated evidence during his investigation (claims that are at least partially substantiated by FDLE’s own internal review of Rodger’s conduct in the case) and that he came to the case with the assumption that Banks was guilty of homicide. (Shoar, on more than one occasion, and for different reasons, has also raised concerns about the two female witnesses.)

Which is much the same opinion, he said, he came to hold of Bogdanich’s handling of the stories.

“Bogdanich, the day he showed up here, already had his stories written and his mind made up on everything,” Shoar said.

“The guy’s a narcissist, he’s full of himself, and when he came down here I didn’t kiss his ass,” he added.

Shoar said he now believes that Bogdanich and Rodgers knew each other before the first story and the reporter is now working to protect a friend months before the civil case is set to go to trial.

“The second thing that’s happened, in my opinion, is he’s developed a very unhealthy obsession with me,” Shoar said.

But Bogdanich, on Monday, denied knowing Rodgers before the first story, saying that he first came to St. Augustine after getting interested in officer-involved domestic violence, a topic that figured into his first piece and a subsequent documentary from PBS’ Frontline.

Bogdanich said he was at first surprised by Shoar’s animus back when he was working on the stories, but said, now, he has grown somewhat accustomed to a man that he describes in his story as “mercurial.”

He said Monday that, at times, Shoar was “overly complimentary” and at other times “the other Sheriff Shoar shows up and starts saying that I am worthless and that I am not be trusted.”

Bogdanich said that he sent Shoar at least three sets of questions for the recent story.

“Never heard a word back from him, even acknowledging that he received them,” he said.

Nevertheless, Bogdanich said he is happy with his reporting and has given Shoar more than enough opportunity to put his voice in the stories.

“I’ve tried over and over to get his answers in the paper,” he said.

“You can reach your own conclusions to why he didn’t want to talk to me.”

Go to to read an online version of the New York Times story, “A Mother’s Death, a Botched Inquiry and a Sheriff at War.”


Chris Topher
Followed this from the beginning and the stench of a cover up is overwhelming, poor girl was murdered and what's happened since has been lies and coverups by the Sherriff and his cronies.

Tom Reynolds
Shoar needs to step down. For Shoar to think that we the residents are going to believe he didn't read the story is an insult to our intelligence. To know that the St Johns County Sheriff s office investigates itself is VERY SCARY !

This will never end until this goes before a Grand Jury and the whole trial process. However the local State Attorney Larizza DOES NOT DO HIS JOB PROPERLY ! For Larizza to recuse himself is weakness at its best. ,Not only did Shoar and Larrizza FAIL, but they continue to double and triple down on their Dereliction of Duties ! How many more cases like this did this same thing happen in the History of these PROVEN TWO FAILED LAW MEN ?


Steve Carswell
I don'the expect anything to come of this of significance. It is an irritant to Shear and it might keep him out of higher offices. Both are good.

Keeper of the Loot
Shinagians.... total cover up and abuse of power. Watch Front Line story on the criminal processing of this case that violated department procedures. I want to always support the police but it's cases like this that make me go hmmmm and look at police with trepidation and concern. Is he or she a good one or a bad one? So sad...…

Diane Martin
If he didn't read the story in the NYT , he is either a LIAR or an IDIOT !!

Mindy Joy
it fits who shoar is at his core: dishonest, defensive and ohhh..double on the dishonest. (also: check out the article related to shoar in today's historic city news)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Power Causes Brain Damage (The Atlantic Monthly)

The Atlantic Monthly:
Power Causes Brain Damage
Over time, leaders lose mental capacities—most notably for reading other people—that were essential to their rise.

Justin Renteria


If power were a prescription drug, it would come with a long list of known side effects. It can intoxicate. It can corrupt. It can even make Henry Kissinger believe that he’s sexually magnetic. But can it cause brain damage?

When various lawmakers lit into John Stumpf at a congressional hearing last fall, each seemed to find a fresh way to flay the now-former CEO of Wells Fargo for failing to stop some 5,000 employees from setting up phony accounts for customers. But it was Stumpf’s performance that stood out. Here was a man who had risen to the top of the world’s most valuable bank, yet he seemed utterly unable to read a room. Although he apologized, he didn’t appear chastened or remorseful. Nor did he seem defiant or smug or even insincere. He looked disoriented, like a jet-lagged space traveler just arrived from Planet Stumpf, where deference to him is a natural law and 5,000 a commendably small number. Even the most direct barbs—“You have got to be kidding me” (Sean Duffy of Wisconsin); “I can’t believe some of what I’m hearing here” (Gregory Meeks of New York)—failed to shake him awake.

What was going through Stumpf’s head? New research suggests that the better question may be: What wasn’t going through it?

The historian Henry Adams was being metaphorical, not medical, when he described power as “a sort of tumor that ends by killing the victim’s sympathies.” But that’s not far from where Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor at UC Berkeley, ended up after years of lab and field experiments. Subjects under the influence of power, he found in studies spanning two decades, acted as if they had suffered a traumatic brain injury—becoming more impulsive, less risk-aware, and, crucially, less adept at seeing things from other people’s point of view.

Sukhvinder Obhi, a neuroscientist at McMaster University, in Ontario, recently described something similar. Unlike Keltner, who studies behaviors, Obhi studies brains. And when he put the heads of the powerful and the not-so-powerful under a transcranial-magnetic-stimulation machine, he found that power, in fact, impairs a specific neural process, “mirroring,” that may be a cornerstone of empathy. Which gives a neurological basis to what Keltner has termed the “power paradox”: Once we have power, we lose some of the capacities we needed to gain it in the first place.

That loss in capacity has been demonstrated in various creative ways. A 2006 study asked participants to draw the letter E on their forehead for others to view—a task that requires seeing yourself from an observer’s vantage point. Those feeling powerful were three times more likely to draw the E the right way to themselves—and backwards to everyone else (which calls to mind George W. Bush, who memorably held up the American flag backwards at the 2008 Olympics). Other experiments have shown that powerful people do worse at identifying what someone in a picture is feeling, or guessing how a colleague might interpret a remark.

The fact that people tend to mimic the expressions and body language of their superiors can aggravate this problem: Subordinates provide few reliable cues to the powerful. But more important, Keltner says, is the fact that the powerful stop mimicking others. Laughing when others laugh or tensing when others tense does more than ingratiate. It helps trigger the same feelings those others are experiencing and provides a window into where they are coming from. Powerful people “stop simulating the experience of others,” Keltner says, which leads to what he calls an “empathy deficit.”

Mirroring is a subtler kind of mimicry that goes on entirely within our heads, and without our awareness. When we watch someone perform an action, the part of the brain we would use to do that same thing lights up in sympathetic response. It might be best understood as vicarious experience. It’s what Obhi and his team were trying to activate when they had their subjects watch a video of someone’s hand squeezing a rubber ball.

For nonpowerful participants, mirroring worked fine: The neural pathways they would use to squeeze the ball themselves fired strongly. But the powerful group’s? Less so.

Was the mirroring response broken? More like anesthetized. None of the participants possessed permanent power. They were college students who had been “primed” to feel potent by recounting an experience in which they had been in charge. The anesthetic would presumably wear off when the feeling did—their brains weren’t structurally damaged after an afternoon in the lab. But if the effect had been long-lasting—say, by dint of having Wall Street analysts whispering their greatness quarter after quarter, board members offering them extra helpings of pay, and Forbes praising them for “doing well while doing good”—they may have what in medicine is known as “functional” changes to the brain.

I wondered whether the powerful might simply stop trying to put themselves in others’ shoes, without losing the ability to do so. As it happened, Obhi ran a subsequent study that may help answer that question. This time, subjects were told what mirroring was and asked to make a conscious effort to increase or decrease their response. “Our results,” he and his co-author, Katherine Naish, wrote, “showed no difference.” Effort didn’t help.

This is a depressing finding. Knowledge is supposed to be power. But what good is knowing that power deprives you of knowledge?

The sunniest possible spin, it seems, is that these changes are only sometimes harmful. Power, the research says, primes our brain to screen out peripheral information. In most situations, this provides a helpful efficiency boost. In social ones, it has the unfortunate side effect of making us more obtuse. Even that is not necessarily bad for the prospects of the powerful, or the groups they lead. As Susan Fiske, a Princeton psychology professor, has persuasively argued, power lessens the need for a nuanced read of people, since it gives us command of resources we once had to cajole from others. But of course, in a modern organization, the maintenance of that command relies on some level of organizational support. And the sheer number of examples of executive hubris that bristle from the headlines suggests that many leaders cross the line into counterproductive folly.

Less able to make out people’s individuating traits, they rely more heavily on stereotype. And the less they’re able to see, other research suggests, the more they rely on a personal “vision” for navigation. John Stumpf saw a Wells Fargo where every customer had eight separate accounts. (As he’d often noted to employees, eight rhymes with great.) “Cross-selling,” he told Congress, “is shorthand for deepening relationships.”

Is there nothing to be done?

No and yes. It’s difficult to stop power’s tendency to affect your brain. What’s easier—from time to time, at least—is to stop feeling powerful.

Insofar as it affects the way we think, power, Keltner reminded me, is not a post or a position but a mental state. Recount a time you did not feel powerful, his experiments suggest, and your brain can commune with reality.

Recalling an early experience of powerlessness seems to work for some people—and experiences that were searing enough may provide a sort of permanent protection. An incredible study published in The Journal of Finance last February found that CEOs who as children had lived through a natural disaster that produced significant fatalities were much less risk-seeking than CEOs who hadn’t. (The one problem, says Raghavendra Rau, a co-author of the study and a Cambridge University professor, is that CEOs who had lived through disasters without significant fatalities were more risk-seeking.)

“Hubris syndrome,” Owen writes, “is a disorder of the possession of power.”
But tornadoes, volcanoes, and tsunamis aren’t the only hubris-restraining forces out there. PepsiCo CEO and Chairman Indra Nooyi sometimes tells the story of the day she got the news of her appointment to the company’s board, in 2001. She arrived home percolating in her own sense of importance and vitality, when her mother asked whether, before she delivered her “great news,” she would go out and get some milk. Fuming, Nooyi went out and got it. “Leave that damn crown in the garage” was her mother’s advice when she returned.

The point of the story, really, is that Nooyi tells it. It serves as a useful reminder about ordinary obligation and the need to stay grounded. Nooyi’s mother, in the story, serves as a “toe holder,” a term once used by the political adviser Louis Howe to describe his relationship with the four-term President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whom Howe never stopped calling Franklin.

For Winston Churchill, the person who filled that role was his wife, Clementine, who had the courage to write, “My Darling Winston. I must confess that I have noticed a deterioration in your manner; & you are not as kind as you used to be.” Written on the day Hitler entered Paris, torn up, then sent anyway, the letter was not a complaint but an alert: Someone had confided to her, she wrote, that Churchill had been acting “so contemptuous” toward subordinates in meetings that “no ideas, good or bad, will be forthcoming”—with the attendant danger that “you won’t get the best results.”

Lord David Owen—a British neurologist turned parliamentarian who served as the foreign secretary before becoming a baron—recounts both Howe’s story and Clementine Churchill’s in his 2008 book, In Sickness and in Power, an inquiry into the various maladies that had affected the performance of British prime ministers and American presidents since 1900. While some suffered from strokes (Woodrow Wilson), substance abuse (Anthony Eden), or possibly bipolar disorder (Lyndon B. Johnson, Theodore Roosevelt), at least four others acquired a disorder that the medical literature doesn’t recognize but, Owen argues, should.

“Hubris syndrome,” as he and a co-author, Jonathan Davidson, defined it in a 2009 article published in Brain, “is a disorder of the possession of power, particularly power which has been associated with overwhelming success, held for a period of years and with minimal constraint on the leader.” Its 14 clinical features include: manifest contempt for others, loss of contact with reality, restless or reckless actions, and displays of incompetence. In May, the Royal Society of Medicine co-hosted a conference of the Daedalus Trust—an organization that Owen founded for the study and prevention of hubris.

I asked Owen, who admits to a healthy predisposition to hubris himself, whether anything helps keep him tethered to reality, something that other truly powerful figures might emulate. He shared a few strategies: thinking back on hubris-dispelling episodes from his past; watching documentaries about ordinary people; making a habit of reading constituents’ letters.

But I surmised that the greatest check on Owen’s hubris today might stem from his recent research endeavors. Businesses, he complained to me, had shown next to no appetite for research on hubris. Business schools were not much better. The undercurrent of frustration in his voice attested to a certain powerlessness. Whatever the salutary effect on Owen, it suggests that a malady seen too commonly in boardrooms and executive suites is unlikely to soon find a cure.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

"GET A LIFE," MAC McLEOD Ululates, as Secretive Sheriff SHOAR hides detailed line item budget and budget justification

Here's the e-mail I sent Friday -- the only response is from JEREMY BANKS' lawyer, ROBERT LESTER McCLOUD, II, who wrote everyone that I should "GET A LIFE."

-----Original Message-----
From: Ed Slavin
To: mmcleod
Cc: bcc1jjohns ; bcc2jsmith ; bcc3waldron ; bccd4 ; bcc5hdean ; mwanchick ; pmccormack ; jdunn ; executiveinvestigationscomplaints ; RickSwearingen ; pam.bondi ; nick.cox ;
Sent: Fri, Jun 16, 2017 5:59 pm
Subject: Re: Request No. 2017-281: St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID SHOAR's budget proposal for FY 2018 lacks details or justification or comparisons

Dear Mr. McLeod:
You stated, "Get a life."  
As Sigumnd Freud would have asked you, "what do you mean by that?
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin
-----Original Message-----
From: Mac McLeod <>
To: Ed Slavin <>
Cc: bcc1jjohns <>; bcc2jsmith <>; bcc3waldron <>; bccd4 <>; bcc5hdean <>; mwanchick <>; pmccormack <>; jdunn <>; executiveinvestigationscomplaints <>; RickSwearingen <>; pam.bondi <>; nick.cox <>...
Sent: Fri, Jun 16, 2017 5:53 pm
Subject: Re: Request No. 2017-281: St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID SHOAR's budget proposal for FY 2018 lacks details or justification or comparisons

Get a life.

Sent from Mac McLeod

On Jun 16, 2017, at 1:41 PM, Ed Slavin <> wrote:

Dear Messrs. Dunn, Wanchick, McCormack, Johns, Dean, Waldron, Morris and Smith:
1. Please instruct St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID SHOAR to provide to you -- as our County Budget Director, our elected County Commissioners, County Attorney and County Administrator -- and to me today detailed proposed line item FY 2018 budget and comparison detailed line item budgets for prior years.  Today, please. 
2. Sheriff Shoar's proposed FY 2018 "budget" (Item 1 in the agenda packet for the June 20, 2017) is woefully incomplete, utterly uninformative, lacking in the level of detail that the County Budget hearings provided over 2.5 days in May.  Sheriff Shoar has insulted your intelligence with a very poor excuse for a "budget."
3. Sheriff Shoar has not provided a detailed budget or justification or line items. His "budget" must not be approved "as is."  "Business as usual" is no longer acceptable in St. Johns County.  The whole world is watching what we do here.
4. Sandra Parks says "a budget is a moral document."  Where is the morality in this immoral Sheriff's alleged "budget?"
5. Sheriff Shoar's putative "budget" lacks any detail about accountability, e.g., police body cameras, with no provision in either County or Sheriff budgets for either an Ombuds or Inspector General.  Why?
5. In the wake of court orders and settlements remedying Sheriff Shoar's constitutional rights violations, and the Sheriff's continuing coverups of the Michelle O'Connell and Andrea Sheldon homicides, I am uncomfortable with this "budget."
6. Please obtain from SJSO a truly detailed proposed line item budget, detailed budget justifications, and prior year comparators. Now.
7. Then lets set a real public budget hearing where the public can ask detailed questions and obtain answers, as several of us did about the County budget during 2016 and 2017, with 2.5 days of budget hearings before the County Administrator.  Don't limit us to three (3) minutes, as at regular BCC meetings. Otherwise, aren't you all guilty of aiding and abetting, and showing Sheriff Shoar blatant favoritism?  Be not afraid.  
8. Who among us could disagree with this reasonable request for a detailed line item budget, justifications and prior year comparisons?  
9. It's our money.  Enough malarkey from Sheriff Shoar, who fancies himself the political boss of St. Johns County and retaliates against people who question his actions.
10. Please call me today to discuss how we can work together to eliminate waste, fraud, abuse, misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance, flummery, dupery, nincompoopery and lawbreaking by St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar.
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

"Honestly," Corrupt Sheriff DAVID SHOAR's Budget Secrecy is Unctuous and UnAmerican.

Dishonest St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID SHOAR's "24 page executive summary" was not provided to Commissioners as part of the agenda packet -- information required to be provided eleven days before Tuesday's meeting. "Honestly," when a dishonest corrupt public official, a hick hack huckster fraudfeasor prevaricator retaliator like Sheriff DAVID SHOAR uses the word "honestly," I just want to laugh at the secretive energumen. "Honestly," this unjust steward obstructs justice with our money.  SHOAR does not know any more about honesty than RICHARD MILHOUS NIXON:

Posted June 18, 2017 02:53 am - Updated June 18, 2017 03:17 am
‘Honestly, we are trying to catch up’: Shoar cites growth as he looks to add 18 road deputies, others with budget proposal

When St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar goes before the County Commission on Tuesday to present his proposed budget for next year, he will be asking for funding for, among other things, 18 more road deputies to add to the 12 that he asked for, and received, last year.

It will be the second in what will likely end up being three requests that Shoar says is necessary to get his agency up to the size it needs to be in order to deal with the county’s growing population.

“Honestly, we are trying to catch up,” Shoar said Monday, seated behind the desk in his office.

“I appreciate the 12 deputies, but I’m coming back again,” he added later. “We’re just to the point where we’ve got to add people.”

Thumbing through a 24-page “executive summary” that he and his staff prepared for county commissioners in order to explain his request for a 7.26 percent budget increase, Shoar ticked off a list of challenges his agency is facing including the growing opioid epidemic being felt here and across the U.S., a deadly stretch of Interstate 95, and a rash of suicides, attempted suicides and, as his summary says, “other mental health issues.”

The Sheriff’s Office’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2017-18 for the “general operating account” — which includes bailiffs, corrections and law enforcement — is about $72 million (Shoar said Friday that that portion of his budget will come in slightly lower than the $72.22 million he submitted to commissioners), compared to last year’s $67.18 million.

Last year the commissioners gave him a 7.5 percent bump.

As Shoar’s letter to the commissioners on the front page of his summary says, this year’s requested increase would add another 18 law enforcement deputies to the ranks, as well as four 911 operators, two corrections deputies and two civilian positions in the corrections department.

Shoar said he knows it’s a steep request, particularly when other agencies and departments in the county are also hurting, but it’s necessary after years of virtually holding steady since the recession.

According to Shoar’s report, the county population is expected to hit 242,140 this year, up from the 181,180 of 2008. During that time of growth, full-time law enforcement positions at the Sheriff’s Office have only increased — with some peaks and valleys — from 280 to 285, a chart in the summary shows.

That’s being felt countywide, Shoar said, particularly in the two fastest growing of the county’s four patrol districts.

To illustrate the need for more manpower on the streets, another series of charts and graphs shows the response times to “Priority 1” calls like suicide threats, disturbances, shootings and home invasions. Such calls require a lights-and-sirens response from at least two deputies and are extremely time-sensitive, the summary says.

“We’ve hit the point in some areas of our county where our Priority 1 response time is unacceptable,” Shoar said.

The agency target response time is five minutes and 30 seconds, but in the northeast and northwest districts that time has crept above six minutes and, in some cases, well over seven minutes in the northwest district in the last five months.

He said there are also far too many serious, and fatal, crashes on Interstate 95, and his office just doesn’t have the people to send out there to patrol it.

“We don’t have a handle on I-95 in our county and that’s a problem,” he said.

The additional deputies, Shoar explained, will allow his staff to add, and redraw, “zones” that each deputy is assigned to. That will cut down on the area covered by a single deputy and travel times to calls.

“We are having to right-size those zones,” Shoar said.

To do so, the Sheriff’s Office partnered with the University of North Florida and the Northeast Florida Planning Council and Shoar said they found that the agency’s current staffing levels fall well-below any accepted model.

The U.S. Department of Justice, for example, he said, recommends 1.9 officers per 1,000 residents.

While Shoar said he doesn’t hold fast to such models, it is a useful tool for comparison.

“Our ratio is 1.1 and that is unacceptable,” he said. “It puts us in the bottom third of all counties in the state.”

(Shoar’s packet shows that the ratios for 2016 and 2017 are 1.14 and 1.18 respectively.)

He said he is ultimately shooting to get the ratio to 1.25.

“We are good with that right now,” he said.

Shoar’s summary also provides a brief explanation for the need to add four more 911 operators.

With the growth, the Sheriff’s Office Communication Center has seen a 40 percent increase in calls for service from 2010 to 2016, according to the same summary (a portion of that increase appears to have had to do with internal changes to the ways the agency counts the calls). Because the Communications Center operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with a “12-hour shift structure” the four new jobs represent only one additional position.

Likewise, the 18 new deputies, should he receive funding for them, would only represent a few new patrol positions on the street, he pointed out.

Shoar said Monday that he’s optimistic the commissioners will be receptive to his proposal, but knows that they have tough decisions to make. He also warned that, as the county continues to grow, his agency will have to do so as well in order to keep staffing levels and ratios where they need to be.

“I am probably going to go back next year with an additional request,” he said. “And hopefully that will hold us.”


Carl Buehler
"Honestly" it is hard to believe County Sheriff David Shoar is still sheriff. Intimidating the medical examiner, withholding evidence, attacking the press, and making public statements that are outright lies to cover up his wrongdoing and that of officers. You have to question the competence and responsibility of a law enforcement official threatening the just protection of our community with his unprofessional conduct.
What the agency needs first is an "honest" sheriff.

Tom Reynolds
Well............................................ something very interesting

" Thumbing through a 24-page “executive summary” that he and his staff prepared for county commissioners in order to explain his request for a 7.26 percent budget increase, "

This 24 page "executive summary " is NOT available in the County Agenda back-up ! THAT IS NOT RIGHT !

Question: WHY ?

Answer: Secret Government ! ( no legal authority to hide from Public )


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Abolish City of St. Augustine Beach? So Says Republican Pat Greenfield, Sheriff DAVID SHOAR Supporter

St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID SHOAR is still angry of the November 8, 2016 defeat of his endorsed candidate for St. Augustine Beach City Commission, unctuous two term incumbent ANDREA SAMUELS, whom he illegally endorsed on SJSO letterhead and gave a $500 contribution.   Now that reformers have "breathing space," the Establishment is in panic mode.
What is to be done?
Developers, schnooks and big shot crooks are angry about free speech at St. Augustine Beach.
Imagine: several Commissioners actually seek to do their jobs without fear or favor.

St. Augustine Beach's governmental dishonesty is now being tested by democracy on the march, which developer-direced DAVID SHOAR would naturally abhor. Thus, a threatened county takeover of St. Augustine Beachy could be just a calculated political move to silence dissenting government officials.

Sort of like SHOAR's libelous and potentially criminal attacks on FDLE Special Agent Rusty Ray Rodgers, revealed in a page one article and four inside pages in the New York Times?

One of Sheriff DAVID SHOAR's supporters responded in the Sunday, June 18th St. Augustine Record with an jeremiad, containing oceans of emotions, but unfortunately unencumbered by the facts: abolish the City of St. Augustine Beach, with a provocative proposal to dissolve the City government. If the City of St. Augustine Beach ceases to exist Sheriff DAVID SHOAR f/k/a "HOAR" will control policing and Sheriff SHOAR's developer pals will control development.

Beach residents retained their police department when SHOAR tried to take it over.

Empowered by citizen watchdogs and investigative reporting, residents have a constitutional right to be heard in "our village." as Henry Dean said as a thought leader member of the Charter Revision Commission. (Mr. Dean is now County Commission Vice Chair and lives at St. Augustine Beach, and is the former Chair of the St. Johns River Water Management District who supports national park and seashore protection for our government-owned beaches and forests).

Let's hope more residents speak out, even when they'e not fully informed.

Here's retired teacher, great-grandmother, local Republican club officer and Sheriff DAVID SHOAR supporter, Ms. Peg Greenfield, offering a pejorative harsh trial ballon on abolishing an itty-bitty city, unadorned by any appreciation of the nature, structure and performance of city vs. county government:

Posted June 18, 2017 12:01 am
Time to turn the Beach over to county control?

Pat Greenfield
St. Augustine Beach

I have been a resident of this city for over 20 years. When arriving, my husband and I felt that it was unnecessary for this very small area (4 square miles at the time) to be incorporated with extra manpower and extra taxes to protect the few residents versus the whole population of St. Johns County.

We were told that it was to maintain the “small town” atmosphere and to prevent our small town from becoming “another Daytona Beach” with huge hotels and businesses ruining our beaches by then-Mayor Pacetti.

However, since then, it has become patently clear that all the commissions since have incrementally moved us in that direction and now we have a 45-foot hotel at the entrance of our city and the Mayor’s monstrosities on F Street, both under construction.

,,,Now these “ladies and gentlemen” want a gigantic boost in their income — actually just about doubling it, or a 100 percent pay raise.

Again, when first moving here the commission was purely voluntary. Now again they have incrementally snuck (sic) in pay for themselves and raised it to $7,600 for Mayor and now want to double it in one stroke. Amazing!

Provide them with full insurance coverage? Preposterous. They are not full time, and to say they work 30 hours per week is really stretching it. Like the letter to the editor said — “prove it.” Keep a time chit for six months and show how much actual time you work.

Most have fulltime (sic) jobs of 40 hours per week, so if they put in another 30 hours on commission business, they are working 70 hours per week — a really phenomenal workload. How do they ever have time for their families and their personal business?

Maybe its (sic) time to dissolve our city charter and become a part of St. Johns County — saving this pay raise, and all the extra taxes for the various needs of being a tiny city.

Citizens, consider these questions: What is the benefit to having a city? How do we profit from having this city?

Closer public meetings, yes — but they ignore what we ask them to do anyway.

Ask yourself those very pertinent questions and ponder whether it is worthwhile to pay these folks to keep raising their pay and making our city just another Daytona Beach.