Friday, May 22, 2015

Leonard Pellicer guest column: He likes the 'noise' down at St. Augustine City Hall

Leonard Pellicer guest column: He likes the 'noise' down at St. Augustine City Hall
Posted: May 22, 2015 - 10:31pm

St. Augustine
It has been six months since Nancy Shaver assumed the office of mayor.

During the past several weeks, we have been reading differing points of view in The Record from those who supported Mayor Shaver and those who supported the former mayor, Joe Boles. Clearly there is a marked difference of opinion as to how things are going down at city hall.

Some regard the “noise” surrounding recent commission meetings as a sign that city government is dysfunctional, while others regard the hubbub as proof of progress. Clearly it’s “not business as usual!”

Perhaps we need to think about what drove the most recent mayoral election? Shaver’s victory wasn’t a result of some widespread “throw the bum out,” sentimentality among voters.

Joe Boles was a very popular and effective four-term mayor, particularly when it involved raising the visibility of the city and promoting business development. Boles, along and his fellow commissioners, accomplished a great deal of good on behalf of our city.

So what propelled Nancy Shaver to victory, aside from her extraordinary talent, outstanding skill set and hard work during the campaign? Shaver’s victory resulted from a growing uneasiness that comes with the realization that we need to realign our governmental priorities with our most closely held values or we may lose the essence of what has made our city so special for 450 years.

St. Augustine is special because it is an authentic “living, historic city.” There are strong, vibrant neighborhoods with tree-lined streets and interesting and charming architecture throughout the city.

Many of St. Augustine’s families trace their ancestral roots back centuries. In the telling, retelling, and celebration of the history, one enjoys over and over again incredible stories of triumph and tragedy, along with the architecture, food, music and that special blend of cultures that has simmered together over centuries to make our city unique.

Nancy’s Shaver’s election was powered by individuals and neighborhoods rising up to say, We can’t continue to:

■ Lose any more of what makes us who we are, by continuing to tear down historic houses and cut down centuries-old oak trees to make room for institutional buildings and businesses.

■ Spend hundreds of thousands in bed taxes, to bring growing hordes of visitors to the city to discover a diminished quality of experience that fails to meet expectations.

■ Focus primarily on tourism, while residents are plagued by brown water, poorly-maintained streets and sanitation problems.

■ Ignore our comprehensive plan and zoning laws while issuing PUDs that benefit individual entrepreneurs, businesses and institutions at the expense of residents.

■ Take actions that remove more and more of St. Augustine from residents, while giving it over to tourism and business interests.

Nancy Shaver may be creating noise with her direct personal style, but she is keeping the promises she made to the electorate.

City government has never been more transparent or responsive to citizens. With her fellow commissioners and an outstanding array of city employees, she is moving forward with assessing and addressing infrastructure needs. She is going out into neighborhoods, holding coffees, walking the streets and asking the people what they need from their government.

These actions have made her one of the most accessible mayors anywhere. People who have never before interacted with a mayor are now getting that opportunity. The conversation is being expanded to include many whose voices have long been silenced.

The “noise” we are hearing is coming from folks who haven’t been heard from in quite some time. Frankly, I find that encouraging and refreshing!

CORNEAL Loses Charm "Offensive" PR Campaign -- Stomach-bumping, Cursing, Threatening Thursday

PETER.WILLOTT@STAUGUSTINE.COM David Corneal, owner of the Cordova Inn property in St. Augustine, talks to his consultant Mark Knight and attorney Ellen Avery-Smith outside of the St. Augustine City Hall after a meeting of the St. Augustine Historic Architectural Review Board on Thursday, May 21, 2015.

Speculator DAVID BARTON CORNEAL cursed, threatened and stomach-bumped me directly outside the City of St. Augustine City Commission chambers May 21, 2015 at approximately 1:50 PM before the Historic Architectural Review Boarding meeting. He thought I was "listening" to him. I was.
When millionaires talk, people listen. We have a right to do so.

In public places, I have a constitutional right to listen to developers and their consultants, including fired former Planning Director MARK ALAN KNIGHT, illegally-lobbying ex-Vice Mayor DONALD CRICHLOW, Historic Architectural Review Board member JEREMY MARQUIS, HArB Vice Chair PAUL M. WEAVER, III (who bragged to CORNEAL outside that room at a recent PZB meeting about winning support from nuns, to which CORNEAL replied that WEAVER could "sell ice cubes to eskimos"). During the May 21, 2015, CORNEAL and several of his entourage sat in cushy chairs at tables in the back of the room reserved for City staff; CORNEAL sat in front of a name plate for the Chief of Police. (No non-developer ever sits in those chairs, or would be permitted to do so; I later kidded former Commission candidate John Valdes for sitting there.)

I reported DAVID CORNEAL's assault to SAPD, requesting security for the meeting. I did not ask to press charge.

I reported DAVID CORNEAL'S conversation with WEAVER on this blog, and to HARB yesterday,

SAPD explained to CORNEAL that there is "no reasonable expectation of privacy in a public place."

But CORNEAL, a provincial lawyer from State College, Pennsylvania -- where Bar exams historically did not require passing essay exams -- was poorly rated by his students as a Penn State adjunct Business Law professor. CORNEAL has a history of filing bogus lawsuits, including one against a local government and one against former employees.

Why did DAVID CORNEAL curse, threaten and stomach-bump me? I am no psychiatrist. But I reckon that aterwauling CORNEAL is a bully. The bully was mad as a hatter because my appeal of his illegal demolition has stayed all action on his nefarious plan to privatize the Dow Museum of Historic Homes and turn it, mutatis mutandis, into a $500/night fancy-bears hotel for the idle rich. Oh well. I wear his scorn as a badge of honor.

The last time I was stomach-bumped was by another bully, the late Anderson County Sheriff DENNIS O. TROTTER, circa July 1983. TROTTER went to federal prison in 1984 for four years. When he emerged from federal prison, TROTTER came to Memphis and wrote a check for a five-figure settlement in federal court civil litigation for having his co-felons sue me for libel. (The bogus lawsuit was served on the morning of my first law school exam, retaliation for truthfully reporting on Sheriff TROTTER's criminal activities with bail bondsmen. The bondsmen waived indictment and pled guilty to racketeering and bribery, admitting they paid him $10,633.50 for a near-monopoly on bail bonding business for Interstate Bonding Company, owned by a U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge Technical Information Center manager, managed by his daughter, with solicitation by her husband, a convicted felon working as a dispatcher. A Tennessee Highway Patrolman (THP) driving in a drunk driver from I-75 even told me the convicted felon dispatcher told him on the radio, "Tell the SOB I will make his bond.")

One fine day I asked Sheriff Trotter where the 40 surplus THP cars he bought at state auctions were, and why they were not on the county's insurance rolls. (They were being processed by unpaid jail prisoners in a chop shop located underneath a Baptist Church on U.S. Highway 25-W North of Clinton, Tennessee). In response, Sheriff DENNIS O. TROTTER, stomach-bumping me, with two armed Sheriff's deputies on either side of him (one his stepson), with their hands on their guns. Sheriff TROTTER than and there said, "You're the most dangerous reporter I ever met in my whole life." I think he really meant that as a compliment, but he was hotter than a two-dollar pistol that day, I reckon.

DAVID BARTON CORNEAL reminds me a lot of truculent Sheriff TROTTER, whom our Appalachian Observer newspaper reported on relentlessly. (I like that word, relentless -- ACLU's Washington lobbyist once called my Government Accountability Projectboss Tom Devine and I "relentless," and did not intend it as a compromise because we would not "sell out" the way ACLU frequently did on national security clearance whistleblower rights).

Entitled, embittered, steatopygous developer stereotype DAVID BARTON CORNEAL looks a little like Luca Brasi, reminds me a little of Bella Lugosi, with a touch of the corrupt Florida Sheriff from the Porky's movies. CORNEAL is from State College, Pennsylvania, the misstate region, a rural place that has led James Carvile to say that Pennsylvania has Pittsburgh on one end, Philadelphia on the other, with "Alabama in the middle."

CORNEAL and his entourage have contempt for the rule of law, with his new lawyer reportedly kvetching (below) that "one person" can stand in the way of a "good project."

Not "one person" -- it takes a village to save a village! As LBJ said after Selma, "We SHALL overcome!"

Footnote: the only other time I recall being stomach-bumped was as a fifth grader, touring the White House with my mother: a gross fat man behind us on the tour kept bumping into my back with his stomach! Each of these three stomach-bumping events is memorable. The one with TROTTER and the one with CORNEAL reveal deep-seated anger on the part of authoritarians.

As they say in East Tennessee, DAVID BARTON CORNEAL "bears watchin'." If you engage in First Amendment protected activity criticizing CORNEAL, expect him to curse, threaten and stomach-bump you. That's okay. I've been stomach-bumped before, and I know what it betokens: the loss of a "charm offensive," the failure of public relations, and the beginning of the end of a corrupt regime in St. Augustine City Hall, whose louche City Manager actually said he was "delighted" by CORNEAL's purchase of the Dow Museum of Historic Homes (one already destroyed illegally, without even waiting for the demolition permit appeal time to expire).


From "The Rake's Progress," by William Hogarth

From "The Rake's Progress," by William Hogarth

From "The Rake's Progress," by William Hogarth

"The Countesses' Morning Levee," by William Hogarth

Thursday, May 21, 2015


HARB vote on Cordova Inn sidetracked by appeal
Posted: May 21, 2015 - 11:44pm

PETER.WILLOTT@STAUGUSTINE.COM David Corneal, owner of the Cordova Inn property in St. Augustine, talks to his consultant Mark Knight and attorney Ellen Avery-Smith outside of the St. Augustine City Hall after a meeting of the St. Augustine Historic Architectural Review Board on Thursday, May 21, 2015.
PETER.WILLOTT@STAUGUSTINE.COM David Corneal, owner of the Cordova Inn property in St. Augustine, talks to his consultant Mark Knight and attorney Ellen Avery-Smith outside of the St. Augustine City Hall after a meeting of the St. Augustine Historic Architectural Review Board on Thursday, May 21, 2015. 

The latest public meeting involving the controversial issue of the Cordova Inn Planned Unit Development (PUD) was stopped Thursday before anyone was able to address the issue.

On the advice of City Attorney Isabelle Lopez, the members of the St. Augustine Historic Architectural Review Board agreed to continue the discussion of the appropriateness of the PUD at a later meeting. The delay was due to the filing of an appeal to an April 16 board decision, which was to issue a certificate of demolition of the “carpenter’s house” on the historic property.

Property owner David Corneal, who purchased what used to be the Dow Museum of Historic Houses of St. Augustine, had requested permission to take down the structure. He cited the fact that it could not be legally occupied in its current state and that it was not feasible to restore it. The board agreed in a 2-1 vote, and the building was taken down that week.

At Thursday’s meeting, Corneal was seeking the blessing of the board for his plan to turn the historic property into an inn. Work has been going on for months to restore the houses.

Corneal’s plan has already received a recommendation of approval from the city’s Planning and Zoning Board.

But there was no vote on the PUD on Thursday because the HARB members decided to wait for the City Commission to hear the demolition appeal.

Lopez said that as she interprets the law, city boards cannot go through with the proceedings for the Cordova Inn project until the appeal is heard.

She read from a document on city policy in explaining her reasoning. She said an appeal causes the stay of all administrative proceedings until “such time as final determination has been made by the City Commission on such appeal. And no action shall be taken by the applicant or the Planning and Building Department during such time which would change the status of the matter being appealed.”

Attorney Ellen Avery-Smith, working for Corneal, argued that the appeal of the demolition has nothing to do with the PUD application and shouldn’t cause the continuation of the request. She also poimted out the fact that the building in question has already been demolished.

However, the board, which included just three members because two recused themselves, decided to follow Lopez’s advice and voted 3-0 for a continuance.

It’s unclear exactly how long it will take to get the appeal resolved because the item must be given proper advance notice to the public. Lopez said she was not sure when the City Commission would address the issue.

Corneal and his associates were obviously frustrated by the delay. He said he can always make the property into apartments if the PUD is denied or filibustered for an indefinite period.

Avery-Smith said she would simply like to move forward in the process and that it’s a shame the appeal has caused further delays.

“One person can put a stop to a very good project,” she said.

The appeal was filed by Ed Slavin, who has been vocal in his opposition to Corneal’s project.

“My problem is there was undisputed testimony from the building inspector that it was safe,” Slavin said. “It was part of our history. I thought it was erroneous to grant a certificate of demolition. I think the City Commission needs to review it. HARB should not be granting demolition certificates like they’re handing out lollipops.”

PETER.WILLOTT@STAUGUSTINE.COM St. Augustine resident Ed Slavin sits in the audience of the St. Augustine  Historic Architectural Review Board on Thursday, May 21, 2015.
PETER.WILLOTT@STAUGUSTINE.COM St. Augustine resident Ed Slavin sits in the audience of the St. Augustine Historic Architectural Review Board on Thursday, May 21, 2015.

PETER.WILLOTT@STAUGUSTINE.COM St. Augustine  Historic Architectural Review Board members H. Randal Roark, Toni Wallace and Matthew Armstrong meet in St. Augustine's City Hall on Thursday, May 21, 2015.
PETER.WILLOTT@STAUGUSTINE.COM St. Augustine Historic Architectural Review Board members H. Randal Roark, Toni Wallace and Matthew Armstrong meet in St. Augustine's City Hall on Thursday, May 21, 2015. 


Dear Mayor Shaver, et al.:
1. Enclosed please find a state spreadsheet evidencing most of the $2 million our State of Florida has invested in the Dow Museum of Historic Homes. Please note that this was received today and would have been entered into evidence at the PZB hearing had it been received timely -- it corroborates my sworn testimony before PZB. My request was made to the Florida Secretary of State on April 2, 2015, seven (7) weeks ago today. This delay is extraordinary, in my experience.
2. The PUD proposal is contrary to public policy and an improper conversion of Kenneth Worcester Dow's legacy for private profit of DAVID BARTON CORNEAL, et al.
3. One building has already been wrongfully destroyed before the appeal deadline ended. I have appealed the HARB order to the City Commission.
4. Our HARB is a disgrace, with members repeatedly taking money from developers.
5. HARB members' conflicts of interest may violate both state and federal laws, including 18 U.S.C. 666.
6. Please reject the DOW MUSEUM PUD, ten year tax holiday and any other applications sought by DAVID BARTON CORNEAL.
7. This historic museum must not be privatized.
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Carpenters House Appeal Filed: Regulatory Capture in St. Augustine -- Two of Five HARB Members Work for DAVID BARTON CORNEAL

Today I appealed from the April 20, 2015 demolition order for 105-year old CARPENTERS HOUSE BY April 16, 2015 2-1 Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) vote (two members recused due to regulatory capture by Temple Destroyer DAVID BARTON CORNEAL. The issue will be heard by our City of St. Augustine City Commission. Let justice be done. CORNEAL did not even wait a day before destroying the building. In fact, he jumped the gun, against specific advice from City Attorney Isabelle Lopez, not waiting for the 30 day appeals deadline to pass. Shameful.

Carpenter House, which survived 70 years with its unique lean, did not survive the 2-1 vote of the St. Augustine Historic Architectural Review Board -- two members recused themselves because they are consultants paid by "developer" DAVID BARTON CORNEAL, who wants to put a Planned Unit Development and hotel for the wealthy in the last remaining primarily residential historic area, HP-1.

DAVID BARTON CORNEAL, of State College, Pennsylvania, patronizes neighbors.


RHONDA LEON HICKS,  B.S.. Accounting, FAMU, 29-year veteran Florida Public Service Commission employee, Bureau Chief, Bureau of Consumer Assistance, she testified under oath that during July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2012 there were 19,434 complaints against Florida Power and Light:
"Of the 19,434 complaints, staff determined that four appear to be violations
of Commission rules."
Probability of PSC staff ruling in favor of an FPL consumer equal 0.0002058.
Mean, mendacious Ms. Hicks and her maladroit, rude staff are no friends of consumers. They are in our long experience overtly hostile and insulting and pressures consumers not to pursue complaints, once referring in a conference call to FPL as "our company." How louche.
I have today requested the Inspector General of our Florida Public Service Commission, Steven Stolting, investigate this unjust steward for her lack of responsiveness and violations of official conduct. Enough case-fixing. Administrative law must work for the people, not fix cases for FPL and other giant corporations. This not-so-subtle corruption of our government is indefensible, and must be ended at once.

FPL One-percenters hold Annual Meeting in Colorado Springs, Colorado Tomorrow at 11 AM Our Time -- Why?

NextEra Energy, Inc. Annual Shareholder Meeting
Thursday, May 21, 2015 9:00 a.m. MT  
Webcast Presentation
Click here for webcast
Event Details
TitleNextEra Energy, Inc. Annual Shareholder Meeting
Date and TimeThursday, May 21, 2015 9:00 a.m. MT  
LocationDoubleTree by Hilton
Colorado Springs, CO 

3-2 Vote for Costly Ballot Initiative to Raise Your Sales Taxes Nearly 17%

County Commissioners JEB SMITH, JOHN H. "JAY" MORRIS and PRISCILLA BENNETT A/K/A "RACHAEL BENNETT provided the 3-2 margin yesterday seeking to schedule an expensive off-year special election to raise our sales taxes -- hundreds of thousands of dollars for one proposition. Commissioners William McClure and James Johns voted against. SMITH voted with the County Administrator and the machine, disappointing supporters who thought he would be a fresh voice -- he is yet another Judas Goat. There will be two public hearings in June.

As long as we're voting, let's vote to install an independent Inspector General and an Ombuds and an elected County Attorney to speak for us.

Let's end the oppression of the all-Republican political machine in St. Johns County, which perpetrates waste, fraud, abuse, misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance, flummery, dupery and nincompoopery -- not to mention covering up for rebarbative Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR, perpetrator of civil rights violations, e.g., First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendment violations, including the coverup of the Michelle O'Connell shooting.  As LBJ said after Selma, "We SHALL overcome!"

"Dissembling" vs. "Disassembling": Record Editors Don't Know the Difference (But "We, The People" Do!)

gerund or present participle: dissembling
  1. conceal one's true motives, feelings, or beliefs.
    "an honest, sincere person with no need to dissemble"
    synonyms:dissimulatepretendfeignactmasqueradeshamfakebluffposture, hide one's feelings, put on a false front
    "she's being honest and has no need to dissemble"
    • disguise or conceal (a feeling or intention).
      "she smiled, dissembling her true emotion"

A photo caption (cutline) in today's print edition of the St. Augustine Record inaccurately describes construction workers "dissembling?" (sic) scaffolding at Flagler College.
How disturbing to have a local newspaper whose editor does not know the difference between "dissembling" and "disassembling!"
Construction workers don't usually "dissemble," but they frequently "disassemble."
None of those workers were "dissembling" -- they were "disassembling" the scaffolding."
No, "dissembling" is what Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR does when he ducks and coverts and utterly refuses to answer questions about the Michelle O'Connell case, or lies as he did to NBC.
"Dissembling" is what tatterdemalion St. Augustine City ex-Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. did when he refused to answer questions about his no-bid low-cost lease of City property at 81 St. George Street (Florida Cracker Cafe), deferring questions to his little biddy business partner, buddy ex-Mayor CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS, Jr."
"Dissembling" is what WEEKS did when he tried to explain his destruction of a 211-year old building without a permit.
"Dissembling" is what the SHOAR-ostitutes and BOLESIANS do in trying to explain the inexplicable or defend the indefensible (like the proposition that guns discharge forward or that Michelle O'Connell committed suicide).
"Disassembling" is what "We, The People" are doing with corruption in our town.
It takes a village -- and a Special Prosecutor, the FBI and local public officials and public servants with ethics brains, spines and backbones.
As LBJ said after Selma, "We SHALL overcome!"

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Exhumation, independent autopsy for Michelle O'Connell: GOOD NEWS! Fiat justitia ruat caelum

The family lawyer for Michelle O'Connell's family, Benjamin Crump, has arranged for an independent autopsy.
Good news -- no longer will justice be delayed or denied by junk science.
No longer will the case be stymied by obstructionism by our $225,000/year Medical Examiner, PREDRAG BULIC.
Michelle O'Connell was shot to death with Deputy JEREMY BANKS' service pistol in BANKS' residence 1721 days ago, on September 2, 2010.
The St. Augustine Record, our local newspaper, and our local law enforcement failed to perform their "watchdog" functions.
The case was never taken to a Grand Jury.
Evidence was not preserved and destroyed -- spoliation.
The O'Connell case was badly botched by inept incurious investigations by St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR, State's Attorney RALPH JOSEPH LARIZZA, Assistant ROBERT KEITH MATHIS and another State's Attorney BRADLEY KING, with enough defects to make this an international scandal.
But thanks to the persistence of the O'Connell family, the majesty of the First Amendment -- and the will and skill of editor Anne Schindler, Folio Weekly, three-time Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter Walt Bogdanich, The New York Times, investigative producer Glenn Silber, PBS Frontline, Dateline NBC, First Coast News, Dr. Phil, investigator Clu Wright, reporter Susan Cooper Eastman and O'Connell family attorney Ben Crump, the case remains alive.
Michelle O'Connell died 1721 days ago tonight.
Florida Governor Richard Lynn Scott responded to some 180,000 petitions last October by appointing Special Prosecutor Jeffrey L. Ashton, the well-respected Orlando State's Attorney.
Our Federal Bureau of Investigation is also investigating.
Special Prosecutor Jeffrey Ashton's criminal investigators have interviewed more than one dozen new witnesses.
In 112 days, St. Augustine will commemorate our Nation's Oldest European-founded City's 450th anniversary of founding by Pedro Menendez de Aviles on September 8, 1565.
Let justice be done though the heavens fall. (Fiat justitia ruat caelum.)
Let justice flow like a mighty river, in the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., quoting the prophet Amos.
Keep asking questions.
Demand answers.
Become involved.
It's our town and our time and we're defeating corruption.
No more coverups.
Ed Slavin
Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085

The New York Times, "Two Gunshots on a Summer Night" by Walt Bogdanich & Glenn Silber (November 24, 2013):
PBS/Frontline, "A Death in St. Augustine (November 26, 2013): NBC News Dateline, "Two Shots Fired" (April 18, 2014):
Folio Weekly: Jeff Billman, "Somebody's lying -- An activist accuses the St. Augustine Record of bowing 
to pressure from Jeremy Banks' attorney. The paper accuses her of spreading misinformation" (September 17, 2014),,10912
Dr. Phil, "The Mystery of Michelle O'Connell" (November 3, 2014):
Folio Weekly, "Murder, He Wrote," by Susan Cooper Eastman (November 19, 2014),
Folio Weekly, "The Proxy War," by Derek Kinner (March 4, 2015):

Photo credit: The New York Times

The Thick Plottens

City Hall has still not e-mailed City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN's sweetheart contract or his expenses since 1998. Wonder why?


Previously Important Person (PIP)?
Self-identified ex-Mayor of "a California city."
Sharing ill-informed loopy opinions about our government in the St. Augustine Record.
States he was formerly Mayor of "a California city," but does not say which one.
The unnamed city was Nevada City, California with barely 3000 souls.
Served on the largely-ceremonial St. Augustine Civil Service Board since January 2012.
Lists his address on City website as 137 1/2 King Street (above the Butterfield Garage Art Gallery) and on February 4, 2013 sent a letter asking to be appointed to a City Commission seat from that address (Apt No. 5).
Owns homesteaded property at 317 FIRST ST, SAINT AUGUSTINE, FL, 32084-7301 (VILANO OAKS) purchased for $639,000 on March 24, 2006 on the unnamed barrier island south of Ponte Vedra Beach.
He is Treasurer of VILANO OAKS, where his wife DIANNA LYNN DANNER COTTRELL has hosted a block party exclusively for residents that cost more than $5022.81 for 120 attendees ($23.89 per person)(That's some party).
The author of e-book, "21 TIPS FROM AN IRISH BARTENDER," STEVEN COTTRELL boasts of working in California bar tending for two decades.
STEVEN LEE COTTRELL has declared a fatwa against St. Augustine's reform Mayor, Nancy Shaver.
STEVEN LEE COTTRELL calls our Mayor's position "ceremonial."
I don't recall ever seeing COTTRELL at any City Commission meetings.
I don't recall ever seeing COTTRELL speak at any City Commission meetings.
Dodgy Civil Service Board member STEVEN LEE COTTRELL demands we re-amend our City Charter to require that City Commissioners -- not the people -- elect our Mayor.
St. Augustine residents have been electing our Mayor for decades, having rejected the good-ole-boy system twice.
The first Charter Amendment was after our Commissioners elected and unelected (in evident Sunshine violation) our first woman Mayor in the 1980s.
The second Charter Amendment was in 2006, because voters had to "Vote twice," once for Commissioner and once for Mayor, making it confusing. Voters now vote every two years for the Mayor, who occupies seat three.
COTTRELL wants to yank Mayoral elections away from the voters and hand it to Commissioners. Why?
Voters would again get the shaft, as they have so often in our past.

This land is your land -- disgraceful clear cutting of Anastasia State Park land leased to St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners for St. Augustine Ampitheater

See photos below, which might have been illegal if I had taken them on public land in the State of Wyoming.

Monday, May 18, 2015

"When government becomes a lawbreaker"

Justice Brandeis was right -- "when government becomes a lawbreaker," it "promotes anarchy."
Whether the federal government for decades at nuclear weapons sites, or our City of St. Augustine and St. Johns County governments at the St. Augustine Amphitheater, too often governments are environmental wrongdoers, never held accountable.
The whole world is watching.

32 Years Ago: AO Broke Story of Largest Mercury Pollution Event in World History

On May 18, 2015, our Appalachian Observer weekly newspaper broke the story of the world's largest mercury pollution event.
The direct and proximate result was the beginning of the end for "classified" secret unfettered nuclear weapons pollution and claims of immunity and the right to pollute with impunity.
As recounted by then-Manager Joe Ben LaGrone of DOE Oak Ridge Operations in an oral history, it was also the beginning of the Environment, Safety and Health Program at nuclear weapons sites in eleven states.
Since that time the U.S. Department of Energy and its contractors have spent tens of billions on cleanup at DOE sites around the Nation. By 2057, my 100th birthday, it is believed that the cleanup MAY be complete, at a cost of some $300 billion.
It's our money.
In the immortal words of the late Senator Edward McKinley Dirksen (R-Ill.), "A billion dollars here, a billion dollars there, pretty soon you're talking about real money."

Illegal Tree-Killing Outbreak Covered Up By City, State -- County Administrator Culpable?

St. Johns County Amphitheater employees paid more than $9055.82 to kill only four trees?
Don't believe it.
That's the cover story.
We caught the Amphitheater violating the County's lease with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection -- destroying dozens of trees in a bosky wood to the northeast of the amphitheater?
The concert was moved on short notice from Fort Clinch, a 19th century masonry fort in our State Park system and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Fort Clinch is a special place that FDEP improvidently had planned to allow be used for the April 10-11, 2015 concert. The relocated concert was called "Making Lemonade."
Environmental compliance was forgotten.
Under pressure to make a profit or be contracted out, St. Augustine Amphitheater employees -- our County employees -- broke the law.
They were in a hurry and did not obtain a City permit or State approval for a hastily constructed campground for the hastily-relocated Umphreys' McGee and Lettuce "Making Lemonade" weekend (see photos, showing no replacement as of Saturday, May 17, 2015).
The website discusses "Camping Passes" available from the Amphitheater.
The website reported on April 8 that the "fine folks at the St. Augustine Amphitheater have gone above and beyond to make this weekend an incredible experience," bragging "they have really gone out of their way to accommodate our needs."
That's an understatement.
The County employees broke the law.
They despoiled about an acre of Anastasia State Park land leased by the County.
They clearcut the beautiful environment, believed to be home to several endangered species.
It was not "incredible" for the wildlife.
Nor for the nature lovers.
And they violated the rule of law.
County Amphitheater employees violated the County's FDEP lease AND FDEP land use plan AND the City's recently strengthened tree ordinance.
Both the FDEP and the City of St. Augustine Planning and Building Department looked the other way when we reported it.
After we requested records, County employees filed paperwork on April 17, 2015 with the the St. Augustine Planning and Building Department, paying a $400 fee by phoned credit card on April 20, 2015, falsely claiming in paperwork that their "vendor" was confused and that they they only killed four trees on April 13, 2015, paying $400 by phone for retroactive permits.
But invoices from a local nursery and equipment rental firm show the cost of the tree removal was more than $8000!
That's $8000 paid by St. Johns County to Leonardi's Nursery (April 11, 2015 invoice) for the tree removal/replacement, and another $1055.82 to Hertz Equipment Rental of Jacksonville for a Bobcat front end loader rented from March 31 to April 7, 2015, seen by witnesses at the scene of the environmental crime. (Source: County response to my Open Records request No. 2015-82, provided last week).(See photos).
As of Saturday, May 16, 2015, there had been no "replacement" whatever. (See photos above and below, showing clearcutting without permits).
The transaction involving Leonardi's Nursery was apparently separate, there were four trees removed elsewhere.
The tree-hacking in quo was done by County employees, not Leonardi's, which has a good reputation.
It figures that the City and County would be in cahoots.
Both City of St. Augustine and St. Johns County governments are thralls of tree-killing, wetland-destroying "developers."
Both governments provide political patronage to the same well-connected families and unethical no-bid contracts (like Hyperscreens).
Both City and County governments are working together to provide entertainment for the St. Augustine 450th (no contracts provided yet).
The City does not want to embarrass County Administrator MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK, Assistant County Administrators DARRELL LOCKLEAR and JERRY CAMERON, and Ryan Murphy, County Amphitheater Manager, a member of the City's Visioning Committee AND the man in charge of booking the acts for September 4-6 concerts for "Celebrate 450!"
No comment from either the County or the City (whose Planning and Building Department refused to investigate and issued retroactive tree-killing permits for four trees in another area on April 20, 2015, acting as if that resolved the matter).
Both City and County lack -- and urgently need -- Inspectors General, Ombuds or environmental consciousness.
Both City and County badly need investigations -- civil, criminal and administrative.
We need a City Manager and a County Administrator who are ethical.
We need a Governor who cares about the environment, instead of winking at Temple Destroyers, whether government or corporate.
We need an honest Sheriff with an Environmental Crimes Unit worthy of the name.
We need an honest State government that will take action when its lease to the County is violated by unjust stewards like County Administrator MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK, tortfeasor at large.
We need a St. Augustine Amphitheater where our environment is treasured and not trampled.
A grand jury must investigate County Administrator MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK, et al. conspired to violate the FDEP lease and City tree ordinance.
We need just environmental stewards.
We urgently need the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore.
That's how we prevent our beloved St. Augustine from being turned into "St. Philistine" by unjust environmental stewards, hick hacks and corrupt developers.
In 1964, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said this was the "most lawless" place in America.
In 2005, KKK-buster Stetson Kennedy (one of my mentors) was asked what happened to the men who threw bricks at blacks at the Slave Market: he replied, "Well, a lot of them are still around, and they're still working for the City and the County."
Happy 450th.

"Minds are like parachutes, they work best when open."
Lord Thomas Dewar, Thomas Robert "Tommy" Dewar, 1st Baron Dewar (6 January 1864 - 11 April 1930)

Half-baked "clarification" by half-baked St. Augustine Record editors -- City Manager Borrowed My Line, Record Gave Him Credit

In a week of weasely, half-witted editorial decisions by the half-hearted editorial staff of the half-witted St. Augustine Record, there was an online "Clarification" in Saturday's online newspaper (not in print, it appears) about my published March 29, 2014 witticism being mistakenly attributed to City Manager, JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E.-- in case you (probably) missed it, Saturday being a reliably half-read issue:

Posted: May 15, 2015 - 12:08am
In an editiorial titled “7-Eleven deal is the best way out,” The Record correctly quoted City Manager John Regan at Monday’s meeting saying, “Oh, thank heaven there’ll be no 7-Eleven.”

However, the editorial framed it this way: “... Posterity may recall that it was City Manager John Regan who turned the phrase, “Oh, thank heaven ...”

That may have led readers to assume that it was he who founded those words.

According to resident Ed Slavin, he, not Regan, first coined that phrase, and “I deserve the credit over Regan,” he insisted in a phone call Thursday morning. [Phone message -- Record never called back -- may be a paraphrase, not actual quote.]

It was on March 29, 2014 that the Record printed my letter, headlined and stating in haec verba, without the ® symbol for 7-Eleven's registered trademark that appeared in my original letter:

Letter: 'Oh thank heaven' for no 7-Eleven
'Oh thank heaven' for no 7-Eleven
Posted: March 29, 2014 - 12:06am

‘Oh thank heaven’ for no 7-Eleven

Editor: St. Augustine’s history and way of life were preserved and protected March 24, when city commissioners rejected an appeal by a developer to stick a 7-Eleven at the heavily-congested May Street and San Marco Avenue intersection. In the words of 7-Eleven’s own registered trademark, “Oh thank heaven!” History has been preserved, as well as safety and our small town values, ambiance and way of life.

Our city planning director, Mark Knight, HARB and the commission have now thrice upheld our entry corridor guidelines over misleading attacks by Wallace Devlin, whose counsel inaccurately told HARB there were “no sidewalks” in front of the long-vacant property, which the speculator once promised to turn into retail stores to replace those bulldozed on that promise.

Devlin is the failed developer of the bankrupt Sebastian Inner Harbor Project, which still stands flat, after years of unkept, unsworn promises to build a Westin Hotel.

7-Eleven is a publicly-held, government-regulated, Japanese multinational corporation.

Does Japan want its “contribution” to our 450th commemoration to be 12 gasoline pumps, bad PR and accompanying destruction of our historic downtown?

Write, call and ask both Japanese and U.S. governments to tell 7-Eleven to drop this insanity. Please contact:

Ambassador Caroline Kennedy
U.S. Embassy, Tokyo, Japan
Unit 9800 Box 300
APO AP 96303-0300
011-81-3-3505-1862 (fax)

Shirley & Wallace Devlin, Sr.
First City Development LLC
7518 Albert Tillinghhast Drive
Sarasota, Florida 34240

St. Augustine residents are united in preserving our history, nature and beauty.

Environmental and historic preservation, and heritage and eco-tourism, are our future — not ugly buildings and sprawl. For more, please see

St. Augustine

No, Record, I don't just "insist" I coined the phrase -- the irrefragable proof is in the Record. Pitiful. The Record is so sweet on JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E. that not only did you "spike" my April 4, 2015 column about his works and pomps, you pompously attributed my words as his original bon mot, then curdled the correction by making it half-hearted. I forgive the Record's apprentice tortfeasors, for your hauteur and ineptness, and inability to put a simple correction of your editorial lede in the printed newspaper, or to put it online without snark and smirkiness.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

32 Years: Anniversary of Oak Ridge Mercury Pollution Declassification Today

32 years ago today, our Appalachian Observer won declassification of the world's largest mercury pollution event, on May 17, 1983. Much progress, much remains to be done! As LBJ said to Congress after Selma, "We SHALL overcome!"

61 Years: Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas School Desegregation Decision Today

Brown v. Board of Education was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court 61 years ago today, on May 17, 1954. Much progress, much more to do!

SWEETHEART CONTRACT? -- City Manager JOHN REGAN Contract "Automatic" Renewal: Contract Violation of Public Policy?

City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E. Presents Plaque to Retiring City Attorney RONALD WAYNE BROWN, who rubber-stamped sweetheart contract

Five years ago this month, on May 24, 2010, City Commissioners JOE BOLES, LEANNA FREEMAN, ERROL JONES, NANCY SIKES-KLINE and DONALD CRICHLOW unanimously voted a five year contract, renewed automatically without notice one year in advance, with City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E. The contract took effect on July 1, 2010, and was automatically renewed because no one voted otherwise last year. There was no reminder
last year and no vote to allow the automatic renewal.
Automatic renewals require advance notice in Florida consumer contracts.
Other Florida Managers call Commissioners' attention to automatic renewals, allowing them to decide, as in Ormond Beach.
This may be a contract violation of public policy, as it deprived this year's City Commission of a meaningful opportunity to review his conduct (and all his works and pomps).
Was REGAN's automatic contract renewal a contract violation of public policy and a breach of legal ethics by City Attorney RONALD WAYNE BROWN and perhaps even two lawyer-Commissioners (then-Mayor JOSEPH BOLES and Commissioner LEANNA FREEMAN), as it deprived this year's City Commission of a meaningful opportunity to review his conduct?
City Commission minutes for May 23, 2010 reflect:
9.A/ Discussion of Employment Agreement relevant to incoming City Manager.
Mr. Brown advised that a copy of the contract had been provided with the agenda and made available to the public. He detailed the agreement terms as follows:
Five year initial term and renewed automatically unless 12 month advance written notice was provided by the City or Mr. Regan
Duties and authorities would be as specified in City Charter and the Code
$131,000 annual salary
Mayor Boles noted that the salary was comparable to similar cities throughout the state.4
Salary increase or decrease would be comm[en]serate with City policy Benefits were the same as provided to all City employees
Accrued vacation and sick leave according to City policy
Provided an additional weeks vacation
City provided vehicle
Retirement benefits in accordance to City policy
Minimum of three Commissioners vote to terminate
City Charter amended to change the form of government
Reduction of base salary or other financial benefits not in accordance to City policy
Offer of resignation by the Commission
Bre[a]ch of employment agreement
Minimum of 10 months salary
10 months paid insurance benefits
City would not be obligated to pay benefits if convicted of a felony

Mr. Brown stated that the agreement included an annual performance evaluation conducted by the Commission. He explained that it required a written evaluation process and jointly defined annual goals and performance objectives. He noted that if an evaluation was not conducted, it would not be considered a breech of agreement. He added that the agreement provided an indemnification provision, in which the City provided representation in the event Mr. Regan was sued, and if the claim was within the scope of his duties, and he exercised proper judgments and discretion. He concluded that the Agreement would be effective July 1, 2010.
Commissioner Sikes-Kline questioned the evaluation process.
Mr. Brown replied that evaluations were based on whether an employee had maintained the goals and objectives established the previous year, and were generally completed during budget considerations. He added that a written evaluation could be provided 30 days following the performance evaluation meeting for Mr. Regan. He stated that the Commission could determine the evaluation process for the City Manager.
Mr. Regan noted that all City employees were evaluated during the same period.
Commissioner Freeman expressed concern regarding the City Manager’s evaluation being conducted during the same period as all City employees.
Mr. Regan suggested conducting the evaluation in October.
Commissioner Freeman questioned the purpose of excluding arbitration or attorney’s fees clauses within the agreement.
Mr. Brown replied that arbitration as a government was not legal in the State of Florida. He stated that cities had venue privilege and could only be sued within the residing county. He advised that in the absence of the attorney’s fee provision, Florida law required a contract, a statute or a fund be provided; therefore, attorney’s fees were non-recoverable by the City or the City Manager.
Commissioner Sikes-Kline MOVED to accept the Employment Agreement as presented. The motion was SECONDED by Commissioner Jones
AYES: Sikes-Kline, Jones, Freeman
Crichlow, Boles
Commissioner Sikes-Kline suggested developing a similar agreement for the City Attorney and the City Clerk positions.
Mr. Brown stated that he agreed with Mr. Regan’s concept of professionalism provided by the agreement regarding evaluations, goals and objectives.
Commissioner Jones suggested discussing the process individually with the City Attorney and City Clerk.
Commissioner Freeman suggested waiting for a period of time prior to developing agreements.

REGAN with "pipe" (more like a colander) that was leaking semi-treated sewage effluent in our saltwater marsh for years, without public discussion (former City Manager WILLIAM BARRY HARRISS illegally "polled" Commissioners in violation of Sunshine law

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Go Ahead, Make My Day

CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE PUBLIC AFFAIRS DIRECTOR PAUL WILLIAMSON was on this week's City propaganda program broadcast twice on WFCF 88.5 Flagler College Radio​, interviewing City General Services Director JAMES PIGGOTT, the ex-Maine National Guard Lt. Colonel and Flagler College alumnus who some aspire to duke in as the only Assistant City Manager -- without proper search or EEO compliance. Good luck! One more overt discriminatory act and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is likely to be called in to perform a pattern and practice race, age and sex discrimination. Expect pickets at the 450th questioning the City's long history of invidious discrimination (as well as the Establishment's coverup of the fatal Michelle O'Connell shooting on September 2, 2010 at the home of Sheriff's Deputy JEREMY BANKS and the City's long history of First Amendment violations of artists and musicians and suppression and intimidation of truthtellers).

Friday, May 15, 2015

New York Times: Lawyers With Lowest Pay Are the Happiest

From the film, "The Firm" -- Not-so-fictional Memphis mafia corporate law firm of "Bendini, Lambert and Locke"
Naturally! Because lawyers for evildoers hate themselves, hate their meaningless work and many die young.

Why This Blog Is G-Rated (Including Comments)

It has been suggested that I "MUST" enter "the 20th century" (sic) by allowing obscenity on this blog.
In the event my aunt, the Franciscan missionary nun, or any other nuns, or any others who might be offended by obscenity read this blog, they will find it G-rated.
That's right, no obscenity in comments, please.
This is not "Rolling Stone," "Southpark," or Facebook.
We're more like The New York Times -- "All the News That's Fit to Print."
This is my blog, and after some 7015 posts since 2006, it reflects MY values.
In case your proposed comment does not meet these personal prudish hickish sheltered 1950s standards, it will not be published.
No, I will not Bowdlerize comments. does not enable that feature, nor does my free speech Weltanschauung.
So, in the event that you post a comment that is not published, and if it contains obscenity or indecency or falsehoods, you will know why.
No appeals.
No arbitration.
No whining.
No worries.
Please feel free to file any futile fulsome furious fabricated fantastic complaints in quavery quadruplicate to the
St. Augustine Institute for Discouragement and Omission of Obscenity (SAIDOO)
Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085

St. Augustine Vision -- May 18th Meeting Must Be Meaningful -- May 4th Meeting Was Held Without a Quorum (Letter to Vice Mayor Horvath, City Manager John Regan, and Consultant Herb Marlowe)

Dear Vice Mayor Horvath, Messrs. Regan and Marlowe, et al:
1. Please ample allow public comment at the beginning of the "St. Augustine Vision" meeting on Monday (when it will be meaningful). Your have had comment at the end of meetings. Why?
2. Please allow equal time for us to discuss with you the proposed St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore -- equal to the block of time City Manager John Regan afforded in your absence to the Executive Director of the St. Johns County Visitor and Convention Bureau, Inc., whose executive director was given preferential treatment and actually seated at the table at the questionable, possibly illegal "rump meeting" on May 4, 2015 (held without a quorum).
3. Please also discuss global ocean level rise, city service quality and pricing, homelessness, privatization, gentrification, racism, discrimination, City employment policy, GLBT rights, City Charter amendments and ethics reform.
4. Your work is not done, and the current work product is incomplete.
5. Will there be a quorum at the meeting of the "St. Augustine Vision" on Monday, May 18th? Has anyone requested that their attendance be excused? If so, who?
6. The lack of a quorum at the May 4th "St. Augustine Vision "rump meeting" was revealing. It suggests either ennui, indifference or insouciance to our City's future by the "St. Augustine Vision" Committee, a non-diverse group appointed by prior Commissioners, over-representing upper-income people and corporate interests and not representing the diversity of our community.
7. There must be meaningful public discussion and "St. Augustine Vision" Committee line-editing of the proposed document -- not a rush to "finish," for the sake of finishing after a two-year process and tens of thousands of dollars of consultant and staff time.
8. Otherwise, all of your "St. Augustine Vision" Committee's efforts will have been wasted.
9. Thank you for all that you do.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

Michelle O'Connell: Day 1717 Since September 2, 2010 Shooting Death in Home of Sheriff's Deputy JEREMY BANKS

1717 days ago, Michelle O'Connell was shot to death in the home of St. Johns County Sheriff's Deputy JEREMY BANKS, of whom Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR actually said, "Let's give [him] … a hand" to an assemblage of some 600 Sheriff's deputies. Let justice be done, at last. The Special Prosecutor and FBI and U.S. Attorney must subpoena SHERIFF SHOAR and Deputy BANKS to two grand juries, investigating state and federal crimes.

Do guns recoil forward?
That's what Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR, State's Attorney RALPH JOSEPH LARIZZA, Chief Homicide Prosecutor and Ex-Judge ROBERT KEITH MATHIS, and Medical Examiner PREDRAG BULIC would have you believe. The "Gang of Four" needs to be out the door.
Justice for Michelle O'Connell
As Senator Howard Henry Baker, Jr. Said During Watergate, "Coverups Never Work." What do you reckon? Do St. Johns County elected officials coverup for each other?
Justice for Michelle O'Connell.
Ms. O'Connell was shot to death with the service pistol of Deputy JEREMY BANKS in BANKS' home on September 2, 2010, shortly after she told BANKS she was breaking up with him.
The New York Times, "Two Gunshots on a Summer Night" by Walt Bogdanich & Glenn Silber (November 24, 2013):
PBS/Frontline, "A Death in St. Augustine (November 26, 2013): NBC News Dateline, "Two Shots Fired" (April 18, 2014):
Folio Weekly: Jeff Billman, "Somebody's lying -- An activist accuses the St. Augustine Record of bowing 
to pressure from Jeremy Banks' attorney. The paper accuses her of spreading misinformation" (September 17, 2014),,10912
Dr. Phil, "The Mystery of Michelle O'Connell" (November 3, 2014):
Folio Weekly, "Murder, He Wrote," by Susan Cooper Eastman (November 19, 2014),
Folio Weekly, "The Proxy War," by Derek Kinner (March 4, 2015):

Photo credit: The New York Times

PREDICTION: The truth will be revealed to two grand juries and wrongdoers can and will be prosecuted.
Yes we can!

Charter Review

Charter Review: I think we should seek to amend the Charter of St. Augustine by vote next year to require that HARB, PZB and Code Enforcement members be elected, as elsewhere. What do y'al reckon?

Biased, Bigoted, Bought: Basis of Record's Bad, Babbly Misreporting and Bad Editorial Judgments

You cannot hope to bribe or twist
(thank God!) the British journalist.
But, seeing what the man will do
unbribed, there’s no occasion to.
-- Humbert Wolfe

Sometimes i feel like an opossum -- every day I wake up in a new world!
Based on our experience in living in St. Augustine, Florida since November 5, 1999, 5670 days, the St. Augustine Record:
1. Prefers to kiss up, appease and cover up for the influential, rich and powerful, from CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS, JR. a/k/a "LEN WEEKS" and JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. a/k/a "JOE BOLES" (Florida Cracker Cafe, 81 St. George Street, below-market rate commercial property no-bid contract covered with front-page Folio Weekly story), to Flagler College and FSDB destruction of buildings and trees to corrupt no-bid 450th contracts (which it editorialized were "not Watergate.")
2. Prefers its politicians "bought and paid for," silent and not "contentious" -- it can't handle the truth, or dissenting votes.
(Hence its bias against former Mosquito Control Commissioner John Sundeman and Commissioner Jeanne Moeller, reform St. Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver, and past County Commissioners Ben Rich and Ken Bryan and current Commissioner William McClure).
3. Prefers minorities who are disempowered, silent and out of sight (hence its being the only U.S. newspaper that did not have a front page story the day after President Obama's election in 2008, while always ignoring race discrimination issues in employment, housing, public accommodations, as well as Fifteenth Amendment issues on city annexation).
4. Prefers its public officials on pedestals (hence its worshipful, lickspittle approach to endorsing ex-Mayor BOLES, endorsing in haec verb "BUSINESS" as usual" (emphasis added)(was that a Floridian-Freudian slip?) and supporting, no matter what, St. Augustine City Managers WILLIAM BARRY HARRIS and JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E. and crummy County Administrators BEN ADAMS and MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK).
5. Prefers GLBT people to be "in the closet," hence its insipid Christian-rightist approach to the Rainbow flags on the Bridge of Lions.
6. Prefers to ignore the sequelae of wetland-filling, tree-killing developers-advertisers, hence its setting up former sportswriter Stuart Korfhage with the most supercilious beat title -- "Development" -- this side of "Director of Audience/Editor" (Kathy Nelson).
7. Prefers to wear rose-colored glasses wherever conflict of interest self-investigations by Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR are commonplace, even of deputies shooting and killing people, while insulting The New York Times and its nine-month investigation of the Michelle O'Connell case (newcomer Kathy Nelson archly accused three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Walt Bogdanich of "parachuting in," not "making friends" in the SJSO and asked him whether he had any "regrets." How smug. How superficial. How revolting. This is not journalism -- it is hagiography.)
8. Gives not a fig for our community values, eschewing investigative reporting coverage, which readers want.
9. Prefers hate-filled Ann Coulter gibberish and local editor's thumb-sucking columns about personal interests to thought-provoking editorials.
10. Avoids thinking and even proof-reading -- Jay Leno mocked its 1995 headline, "100 Years of Pubic Service" -- and who among us did not laugh when the Record once was obliged to correct a food recipe that did not include eggs!

Photo credit: Watchdog Wire

Thursday, May 14, 2015

City 450th Director High-Fived No-Bid Contractor "Mummy Cat Productions" After 4-1 Vote Not to Seek Royalties

Disgusting. DANA STE. CLAIRE, a/k/a "PRIMA DANA" is in pari delicto with ex-Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. and controversial City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E. in doling out no-bid contracts to their cronies. Call them traitors to the public interest. Go away. Now.

All-White Cultural Exchange Cult, "St. Augustine Sister Cities" Junket Omitted From May 11, 2015 City Commission Meeting Agenda

Wonder why? City Commissioners should hang their heads in shame. Complaint filed with Justice Department. Enough racism. Thank you!

Record editorial on Bridge of Lions flags disappoints -- does not point way forward to restore flags, diversity and does not respect our Federal Court's June 7, 2005 First Amendment ruling in Jensen v. City of St. Augustine, Florida

Editorial: Bridge flags and the several-year itch
Posted: May 13, 2015 - 4:32pm

Bill Duddy’s letter to the editor at the bottom of the page asks a serious question, but not a new one.

Every so often the question arises of returning to a day of flying the American Flag (or the Florida State flag, or a 450th Celebration flag for that matter) atop the columns gracing the Bridge of Lions downtown.

Call it the “several-year itch.”

One of the last times the subject came up was when we were transitioning (forever) between the old bridge and the new bridge, with the temporary bridge in between.

The short answer is this:

According to city attorney Isabelle Lopez, “We lost a case in federal court,” and nothing in the law — or the status of the bridge — has changed since then.

The short story is this:

In the decade between 2000 and 2010 the city allowed an ever-increasing number of celebratory flags to wave over the historic bridge. These ranged from city and U.S. flags, to Flagler College flags, flown around graduation time.

There were many others, including flags of a private mega-yacht company whose clients gathered at the city yacht pier each year for a get-together.

Flying private flags on a public bridge had a pretty wide-open application process back then, and they (up to 49 individual flags) were always a pretty sight to see — different colors, different patterns — all flapping lazily against the blue horizon and cotton ball clouds of the Oldest City.

That is until a very colorful flag tried to join them — that of a rainbow. The city turned the gay pride flags down.

Three years later, U.S. District Judge Henry Lee Adams granted the group a temporary injunction in June 2005 and later a full ruling. (No, it was not a formal vote of the City Commission until May 23, 2005: the federal court ruled 14 days later -- GLBT people sued and won in a fortnight, folks. How do you like them apples?).

The city fathers at the time denied the action had anything to do with the intra-gender bent of the group or its politics, insisting instead that it was turned down because it did not have “historical significance to the city.” (The only group ever turned down was the Gay group, some of whose members "came out" of the closet publicly in 2003 and 2004, were threatened and fired, without even a vote of the City Commission. Those City fathers -- all gone lied and the Record lied -- we GLBT people have history just like everyone else! The Court considered and approved our application attachment and complaint conclusions on 11,000 years of local GLBT history. The rebarbative right-wing Record was on the wrong side of history and ignored our historic research, including the 1566 murder of a Gay man on Menendez' orders because he was a "Sodomite and a Lutheran," the Freddy Francis donation of Francis Field -- now the Special Events Field -- and the Kenneth Dow donation of the Dow Museum of Historic Homes, now sought to be converted into fancy "suites" by developer DAVID BARTON CORNEAL).

The judge was quick to point out that Flagler College, founded in 1960 (sic-- it was 1968), was a little weak in historical significance as well (let alone the boat manufacturer).

The court ruling basically said that the city could fly no flag on the bridge unless it allowed all flags on the bridge to fly — because the bridge had become a public speech venue. (The court specifically ordered rainbow flags be flown on seven flagpoles then on the bay front -- since removed for unstated reasons -- and 42 flagpoles then on the Bridge of Lions, since replaced).

Other cities have ended up in the same place and have attempted to go back to strict governmental use. But the courts have consistently denied these efforts, in essence ruling that once the horse is out of the barn, it stays free. (Another day, another meaningless rural cliche. (What "horse's behind" wrote this galactically stupid dumb 'ole editorial, which treats First Amendment rights like somebody's loose horse escaped from a barn? As my mother would say, "HOW TRITE!")

Any chance of anything changing? Lopez says no.

First and foremost, the bridge is now the property of the state, not the city. The FDOT could attempt to take on the federal court, but has absolutely nothing to gain from the exercise — and plenty to lose. (What? We're talking flags here, people. Fear and smear).

And that’s where we (sic) are today, and why Mr. Duddy will continue to be saddened by the bridge’s symbolic “nakedness” this Memorial Day weekend and beyond.

There are many of us with him philosophically. But we live and learn. And this lesson is one the city and its residents will have to live with for a very long time. (The lesson is We, The People, have a new Mayor and we should ask her and City Commission to restore the flags -- business people have offered to pay for the flags and the poles, and in our diversity there is strength. Let's get our flags back. Now.)

Ed's Note: RECORD PUBLISHER DELINDA FOGEL, RECORD DIRECTOR OF AUDIENCE/EDITOR KATHY NELSON and RECORD OPINION EDITOR JAMES SUTTON were left detailed messages about the error of their ways early this morning. No call backs as of 6:50 PM. Were the distortions deliberate?