Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Genius Steve Schale on Florida 2016 Presidential Race

Thanks and H/T to:

Former Florida Democratic House leader Doug Wiles' campaign manager, former State Senator Dan Gelber's political director, Steve Schale engineered President Obama's 2008 victory in Florida. He is kin to St. Augustine's Herbie and Doug Wiles family.

Steve Schale's political blog handicaps the 2016 Presidential race in Florida:

Everything You Wanted To Know About Florida 2016 But Were Afraid To Ask.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 9, 2016 AT 10:59PM
Florida. Florida. Florida.

The largest battleground state in the country – by a lot.

The tightest battleground state in the country since 2000.

Has been won by every GOP President since Coolidge.

10 media markets – many big enough to be battleground states

20 million residents

9 million voters.

So what makes it work? What is its story? Or more simply, what is it?

Every few years, I get the same question from national media: Explain Florida to me in a nutshell, and what is the one thing that is key to winning?

If only it was that simple.

I’ll get more in to the math and some of the more interesting markets later this month, but this piece is designed to paint a picture of the place I call home, and the funky odd state that picks Presidents.

Let’s start with one key thing: Florida is a state, not a place.

Most states are places. Think about Texas, or even a state like Iowa, there is a sense of place to it, a commonality of experience – or as marketers might say, almost a brand. Most states have it. Florida really doesn’t.

Florida isn’t a place in the same sense. It is a political circle, drawing 20 million people from vast, and I mean vast experiences and cultures into one spot. And almost everyone here has come from somewhere else.

Florida is the new Ellis Island, except our ships come as cars and planes, from inside the borders of the country, and outside.

Over the next 15 years, we might add as many as 5 million more residents, grow to as much as 30% Hispanic, with a total population of well more than 50% coming from what are typically considered ethnic minorities.

The old saying about Florida is you go north to go south. North Florida feels like the traditional south, large rural areas, conservative towns like Jacksonville and Pensacola, liberal college towns, etc., while the rest of the state feels like wherever it came from. Go to Tampa, or most anywhere on the west coast, and there is more of a Midwestern feel – as most who got there, came down the I-75 corridor. The east coast can feel more northeastern in attitude, homage to the I-95 corridor that brought them here.

There is also a coastal/interior split. Stay to the coastal side of the interstate, and the place is busy, almost one continuous city that goes on for hundreds of miles up and down the coastline Go to the interior of the interstates, and with the exception of Orlando – which is its own unique culture, the place is still very much Old Florida, with large expanses of agriculture and open space.

Then there is Miami-Dade, easily one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world. 85% of the population is non-white, and that number is growing rapidly. It is really its own city-state, much more like a Hong Kong, or a Singapore, than it is a city within a state.

Florida as a 5 state commonwealth

People look at Florida different ways – I’ve more or less settled on it being home to 5 states.

North Florida

Home to 3.5 million residents, or 17% of the vote, think of North Florida as the I-10 corridor, running from Jacksonville to Pensacola. It has the lowest Hispanic and highest African American percentages, but is over 2/3rds white. The region is slightly bigger in population than Iowa.

The distance between Pensacola and Jacksonville is roughly 360 miles, along a fairly sparse I-10, home to America's #1 truck stop, the Busy Bee at the Live Oak halfway point. Rural north Florida feels much more like Georgia or Alabama than the Florida that most people think of. Population is growing fairly rapidly on the coasts, creating red counties that are just getting more red. That being said, there are still literally hundreds of miles of rural coastline in this part of the state, mostly through the Big Bend area.

Florida’s two dry counties are located here, as are two of its largest universities, as well as the seat of state government. In addition, the region is bookended by two of the oldest cities in America: St. Augustine and Pensacola. Both ends of north Florida have a large military presence, as well as significant acres of state and national forests.

It is also by far the most conservative part of the state. Mitt Romney won just shy of 60% of the 1.6 million votes cast in 2012, a margin that is north of 300,000 votes. To give a sense of scale, that is almost 100,000 more votes than Obama carried Miami-Dade in 2012. Outside of the two college towns: Gainesville and Tallahassee, there are very few places for Democrats to do well.

Trump will look to grow here, particularly in the Jacksonville media market. The Bush campaign in 2004 won Duval County, home to Jacksonville, by 61.000 votes, a margin that Obama cut to 8,000 in 2008, and about 15,000 in 2012. He will also look to take advantage of population growth in places like St. Johns County, and some of the Panhandle communities between Pensacola and Panama City. For Trump to win Florida, given the changes happening down south, I would suspect he would need to carry this part of the state by about 400,000 votes, stretching Romney’s win in upstate to over 62% of the vote. For Clinton to win, anything between Obama 2012 (40%) and Obama 2008 (42%) would make it difficult for Trump to find the necessary votes elsewhere.


Home to just over 4 million residents, or 20% of the state’s population, Orlando – in this case, defined as the Orlando media market, is the fastest growing market in the state. It is also arguably the place that has seen the most change over the last 25 years. The third largest market in Florida, would alone be the 27th largest state -- roughly the size of Oregon.

Just to provide some perspective, Orlando added about 350,000 new residents between 2010 and 2015, and over 50% of them were Hispanic, largely due to the migration of Puerto Rican families to Central Florida, as well as the growth of existing families. Hispanics have grown from 18.6% of the population to 21.4 of the population – in just five years. Almost all of this is happening in two counties: Orange and Osceola, or more simply, metro Orlando, which sets up some interesting politics in the region.

There is a lot going on here. Drive south from Jacksonville, and you enter the market in Flagler County, a county which boomed in the 90s with a ton of retirement migration from the New York area, then just bottomed out. Volusia to the south, home of NASCAR, and Brevard south of that, home to the Space Coast, both longtime manufacturing economies, have been hit hard over the last decade and a half. Both moved redder in 2012, with Volusia going Republican for the first time since 1988. Not surprisingly, Trump did very well in all three.

Move down I-4 from Daytona into metro Orlando, and you see a different story. The economy is humming along, growth has returned, though there is still real income pressure. You also in these counties can see just how much the demographic changes have impacted the politics. Consider this, Bush won the three metro Orlando counties by 9,000 votes in 2000 and 35,000 in 2004, while President Obama won both times by about 100,000 votes. To put that further in perspective, about 20% of the total change in margin between Bush’s 2004 win and Obama’s 2008 win happened in just these three counties.

But it isn’t all great news for Dems, further north is the Villages, a fast growing heavily Republican retirement community, largely of retired Midwesterners, and Ocala, which is home to Florida’s horse country. And what is interesting, when you combine the “Villages metro area” with the old manufacturing counties on the east coast, you find the Republican trends there almost balancing out the Democratic trends in the metro Orlando area. In fact, since 2000, Republicans have increased their margins in these counties by nearly 75,000 votes – and the change between 2008 and 2012 allowed Romney to sneak a small win the market in 2012.

To win the state, Trump needs to continue to grow those margins in the counties to the north and east of Orlando, and hope that the Clinton margins in the metro Orlando area don’t grow. Realistically, he would need to get to at least 52% of the two-way vote to meet a Florida win goal, or carry a margin of 75,000 votes or so. For her to win, the opposite needs to happen – run up the score – drive the margins in metro Orlando up closer to 125,000 or even higher, and stem the tide outside of the area, hence Tim Kaine’s first stop being in aforementioned Volusia County, with the goal of breaking even in the market. She does that, and there is almost no math for Trump to win.

Tampa and SW Florida

The biggest “state” in Florida, almost 30%, or 6 million residents live in Tampa and SW Florida. The Tampa media market alone is the size of Louisiana, but when combined with the SW Florida counties, you are looking at a region the population of Missouri, equal to 10 electoral votes.

Drive down coastal US 19 and 41 from Citrus County in the north to Naples at the far south, and with very few exceptions, it is one now one urban area stretching well over 200 miles. Interstate 75 runs through here, and thus, there is a distinctly Midwestern feel. In fact, 25-30 years ago, before the area really earned its own identity, if you went to a Tampa Bay football game against then division rivals Green Bay or Chicago, and it felt like a home game for the away team. It is not quite as bad today, but you will still see large contingents in their hometown garb.

The region is as “white” as North Florida, and has the smallest African American population in the state. There is a fast growing Hispanic population, which is starting to impact politics, particularly in Hillsborough County (Tampa), but outside of the traditional Cuban population in urban Tampa, the Hispanic population here is much more “Latin” (particularly Mexican) than the eastern and central part of the state, which meant a larger delta between Hispanic residency and voting. However, that is changing. Since 2008, of 43% of the voter registration growth has been Hispanic, though that trails the state overall of 53%. Also by comparison, 33% of the registration growth here has been white, compared to 18% statewide.

As you move south from Tampa towards Sarasota and beyond, it gets more Republican and you see more wealth. Sarasota is a funky political place, quite Republican in registration, but culturally more progressive. Obama nearly won the county in 2008, something that hasn’t been done since FDR. But in all of these counties, life out by the interstate is quite different than life close to the Gulf. Take Lee County, home to Fort Myers, and during the financial crisis, home to the largest foreclosure crisis in the country – with many communities still underwater. Travel further south into Collier County, and out east of the interstate, you will encounter massive Hispanic populations, including the neat community of Immokalee, a place that feels like almost no place else in the state.

Romney won this “state” by about 5%, driven by a robust performance in the Fort Myers market, where his win margin matched Bush’s in 2004. Hillsborough is the traditional bellwether here, though in recent years, demographics have moved into more of a base blue county. To win Florida, Trump will need to really drive up numbers, which in a perfect world would be doable. The population is older, and more white, and tends to come from many of the same states where Trump hopes to expand the map. But thankfully for my side, Trump has been a complete mess. Realistically, to make up for what he is going to lose in SE Florida, Trump would need to win the region by 3% more than Romney, taking Romney’s 150,000 vote margin and pushing it well over 200,000.

For Clinton, the task is pretty basic: Just keep it where it was for Obama, and try to ride a more Democratic Tampa to a win in the Tampa media market, and a slightly smaller loss than overall region. And trust me, they understand it, as she has made two trips to the Tampa media market in just over two weeks.

Keep an eye on this on election night. Pasco County, a large bedroom community north of Tampa, reports its early and absentee returns right at 7:00PM EST on the Supervisor’s website. If Clinton is ahead, or only behind by a few thousand votes, I think you can call Florida for her. If she is down more than few thousand, then hang on for a close one.

SE Florida

State four – moving back east across the state to the Palm Beach and Broward county areas, we find a region as big as Orlando, home to almost 4 million voters (20% of the state), and actually a slightly bigger voter block (about 21% of the statewide vote). Like Orlando, think Oregon when describing this size of this market. This state is defined as the Palm Beach County media market, as well as Broward County. I’ve always tended to find Broward more aligned with Palm Beach than it is with Dade, with whom it shares a media market. However, that might not be the case for long, as Broward’s demographics change before our eyes. More on that later.

This is the hub of the traditional Democratic base in Florida. Before Miami burst onto the scene in 2008 as a place where Democrats could run up the score, Democratic wins were defined by how you did in this area. In Bush v Gore, Gore won this area by over 300,000 votes. The only other region he won was Miami, by just under 50,000. He lost everywhere else. Today’s vote model for Democrats is more balanced with Dade, but it is still critical to do well here.

The region, for all purposes, is basically one big city, at least east of Interstate 95. While there are some less dense areas in Martin County and Indian River, if you drive down US #1 from Melbourne to Homestead in Miami-Dade, you probably aren’t going to go more than a mile or two without passing a gas station, and it might take you three days with all the traffic lights. Certainly from the Palm Beach County line, it is just one continuous city all the way to the Keys. That being said, out west in the Palm Beach County market, things get pretty rural. There are still large areas dedicated to agriculture, and when you get out towards Lake Okeechobee, you’ll find communities that are as different from the town of Palm Beach as we are to Mars.

At the southern end of the area, Broward County is pretty close to built out. Growth here runs right up to the Everglades. For many years, it was called the 6th Borough of New York, and for good reason, literally everyone you met came from the northeast – moving right down I-95. It is home to the state’s largest Jewish population, and Democratic wins here were based on a coalition of liberal Jewish voters and African Americans. Not anymore. Broward is exploding with diversity, driven by both forward leaning Hispanic and Caribbean Black populations. In fact, in just five years, Broward County has actually seen a decrease in the white population of nearly 40,000, with Hispanics growing by 93,000 and Blacks (both African American and Caribbean American) growing by nearly 70,000. In Palm Beach County, the story isn’t much different, with the white population growing by less than 10,000 over the last five years, with the bulk of the growth among the Hispanic and Black populations.

This trend is what is bad news for Donald Trump. Broward County is actually getting more Democratic as it gets more diverse, driving opportunities for larger margins. Where he has room to grow upstate and on the Gulf Coast side, he has to hold on here. Obama carried this region with 58% of the vote. Given Trump’s absolute struggles in the Black and Hispanic communities, not to mention the demographic growth, and while he really needs to keep Clinton at the same level of support that Obama won in 2012, it is hard to imagine Clinton [words missing?] her share of vote to 60%. If she gets any higher than this, he’s pretty much done, as there just [aren't] that many more places for him to make it up.


Last but not least, Miami, which in this scenario also includes the Keys.

Roughly the population of Nevada, Miami is one of the most diverse areas in the world. It is becoming what London is to Europe, and what Singapore and Hong Kong are to Asia, that critical hub that serves as both an economic and political point of entry for Latin America, and about the only thing it shares in common with the rest of the state is the common border. It is also exceptionally complicated. According to the 2010 census:

At just under 14% of the statewide population, nearly 85% of this “state” population is made up of people of color. In terms of voter performance, the area makes up just under 11% of the statewide vote, a difference which points to the sheer number of non-citizen residents in Miami.

Today we consider this base Democratic territory, but that definition really only applies to the last eight years. In the disputed election of 2000, and again in 2004, Gore only carried the two party vote by 6 points. Fast forward to 2008, and the margin grew to nearly 16%. In 2012, the number grew to 23%.

What is driving that change?

Let’s start by looking back.

The key factor driving the relative competitiveness of Miami was the strength of the Republicans with exile-era Cubans. As recently as 2000, 56% of Hispanics in Dade were Republican. In 2006, the number had dropped to 49%. In January of this year: 36%. In terms of raw voters, the GOP advantage among Hispanics has dropped from about 130,000 in 2004 to about 40,000 today. It would not surprise me if this number was close to parity by Election Day 2016. Over the same time, the percentage of Dade County voters who are Hispanic has risen from 44% in 2000 to 57% today. Over the same time, non-Hispanic white has dropped from 31 to 19%. In other words, the largest share of the Miami vote is getting bigger, and more Democratic. Even Donald Trump could do that math.

Looking at it just since the 2008 election, Democrats have added more than 31,000 Hispanics to their Miami area rolls, while another 65,000 have signed up without party affiliation? Republicans: They have lost nearly 11,000 Hispanic voters. It boils down to this, Republicans are failing to replace their aging exile-era Cuban base, as later generations of Cubans are not as loyal to their elder’s party affiliations AND Miami is rapidly diversifying within the Hispanic population, and those non-Cuban voters are performing much more like non-Cuban Hispanics elsewhere: overwhelmingly Democratic.

So what does this mean? For Republicans, absolutely nothing good.

Two things separate things are happening on a collision course: demographic inertia is pushing the area more Democratic. One could argue that if Democrats did nothing at all, the Clinton margin of victory would probably push towards 28-30%, which would increase her margin of victory by 50-60K votes.

But combine this with Trump, and now you have the chance for a truly generational change in Miami, one that could change the look of the county, not just at the top of the ticket, but at all levels of the ballot. Let’s say the Trump factor pushes Clinton to carry the two party vote in Miami Dade county by a margin of 70-30 (keep in mind Obama won Miami Dade with 61%), now she carries the county by 350K votes or more – a significant increase over 2012. Two things happen: She wins Florida, no questions asked, and lots of local Republican office holders go home. For Trump to win, he needs to keep the Miami margin under 30 points, which means he needs to find his footing with Hispanics, and stem demographic energy – two really tall tasks.

So how does this plane land?

This piece is long, but Florida isn’t simple. I wanted to show in a traditional election, how the two main candidates should approach the state to win. I understand that nothing about this election is traditional, and that multiple candidates in this race will change win goals in each of these markets.

But for all the different scenarios, the basic premise of Florida doesn’t really change.

Politically mine is not a state that is moved by what happens in a number of battleground counties – these days, I am honestly not sure I could list more than 2 or 3 such counties, but instead the state is like a scale, balancing on the fulcrum of the I-4 corridor. Candidates will work to influence where the scale tips in how they manage the margins – how much you win or lose different areas – Dems keeping it closer in Duval versus Republicans running up the score somewhere else. At its most basic level, for Trump to win, he needs to tip that scale to the north, running up big numbers, more than she runs up South Florida. For Clinton to win, the math is reversed. There aren’t many reasonable experts on either side who at this point wouldn’t give her the advantage.

Though nothing is easy here. The state is absurdly expensive, and winning Florida means navigating different cultures, languages, and economic realities. It requires both turning out your base and persuading an ideologically and culturally diverse swing voters. When folks ask me, what is the key to winning Florida, the answer is everything, which can be a hard concept to understand. But the reality is Florida isn’t competitive because of its unique nature, like an Iowa, but it becomes competitive in sum when you add up all of its many parts. Furthermore, the state seems to be growing in such a way that even as the state grows and gets more diverse, the competitive nature of it isn’t really changing. Honestly, that is why I love working in this state.

I am not as blindly optimistic as some in my party are about what demographics mean, I do know this, in 2016, I’d much rather be her than him at this point, by a long shot.

Dirty tricks at League of Women Voters Sheriff's Forum?

What is to be done about the St. Johns County League of Women Voters?

I've been watching the League of Women Voters' election fora since 2000.

They're dull.

Controversy is avoided.

Citizens' questions are censored.

Politicians' canned answers are tolerated.

They're awful, taking place in the County Auditorium, using county staff and county government television (GTV), inflicting a smug pseudo-sophistication while imparting almost no information.

Tough questions about developers and corruption were censored for years, with then-Record Editor Peter Ellis long co-chairing the debates and secretly rejecting meaningful public questions in favor of misguided, meaningless education questions, of interest to his late wife, a schoolteacher, in election races with no influence or control over education or education funding.

A few years ago, one county-wide elected official was told by the League of Women Voters not to "say anything controversial" at the League of Women Voters' irrelevant dull-as-dishwater, soporific, vapid voter indoctrination team.  The candidate complied, and won anyway, but is still shocked that anyone would presume to tell a political candidate what to say.

It's our County Auditorium.

It's our money.

We have the right to "rock the boat" -- it's our boat.  We have the indefeasible right to ask questions, to demand answers and to expect democracy.

LWV was founded by suffragettes who were arrested, beaten, jailed and tortured for working to give women the right to vote (19th Amendment).

To whom does the St. Johns County League of Women Voters think it's talking?

After eight (8) years of raising my concerns patiently, and my concerns falling on uncaring ears of local LWV officers, I complained to the national and state LWV organization in 2014.

Result: one fair forum: the debate between Nancy Shaver and then-Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. in October 2014.  Nancy Shaver won by 119 votes.  Information is power.  Suppression of information is just wrong.

But once again, the League of Women Voters in St. Johns County is up to its old dirty tricks, depriving citizens of fair debates. This time, the St. Augustine Record is no longer participating, after fired Director of Audience/Editor KATHY NELSON showed her animus, and her assinity, in smirking and laughing during the 2014 fora. The St. Augustine Record is no longer participating in the LWV fora. Fired, tired or quit?

At the 2016 St. Johns County Sheriff's forum, written questions were collected and disposed of, at the behest of agents of Sheriff DAVID SHOAR f/k/a HOAR.

LWV board member Ann Palmquist apologized in-person to Sheriff's candidate Debra Maynard, running a spirited race against three-term incumbent SHOAR.

But no response since August 7th from LWV's St. Johns County chair, Dr. PATRICIA GILL, Ed.D., or the Florida League of Women Voters or the U.S. League of Women Voters:

-----Original Message-----
From: Ed Slavin
To: pgill70
Sent: Wed, Aug 24, 2016 12:18 pm
Subject: Re: LWV Forum August 3, 2016 -- Citizen Questions Seized and Trashed by Sheriff's Deputies at St. Johns County Administration Building Auditorium
Dear Dr. Gill:
1. I am both mystified and disappointed by the St. Johns County League of Women Voters' flawed election fora, eschewing citizens' questions, and by LWV's refusal to communicate with me about reported seizure, censorship, disposal and destruction of meaningful citizen questions at the August 3, 2016 Sheriff's forum -- a fraud upon our democracy the people of St. Johns County.
2. Habitual St. Johns County LWV censorship of citizen questions would appear to be both a crime against democracy and possible theft under Florida law. 
3. Censorship and disposal of citizen questions at LWV fora is indefensible, and must be ended at once.  May I please have the League's word on this?
4. Please respond to my prior e-mails about the badly botched August 3, 2016 Sheriff's forum, held in the St. Johns County Administration Building Auditorium and broadcast and archived on St. Johns County Government TV (GTV).  
5.  One former elected official told me that LWV advised candidates not to "say anything controversial" at its fora.
6. Since St. Johns County government resources are involved, this may constitute an actionable federal civil rights violation under the First Amendment and 42 U.S.C. 1983, violating our known rights.  
7. Please call me this afternoon to discuss.
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

-----Original Message-----
From: Ed Slavin <>
To: pgill70 <>
Sent: Tue, Aug 9, 2016 1:44 pm
Subject: Re: LWV Forum August 3, 2016 -- Citizen Questions Seized and Trashed by Sheriff's Deputies at St. Johns County Administration Building Auditorium
Dear Dr. Gill:
Please respond today.
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

-----Original Message-----
From: Ed Slavin <>
To: pgill70 <>
Sent: Sun, Aug 7, 2016 1:10 pm
Subject: LWV Forum August 3, 2016 -- Citizen Questions Seized and Trashed by Sheriff's Deputies at St. Johns County Administration Building Auditorium

Dear Dr. Gill:
1. I am writing you in your capacity as the leader of the League of Women Voters in St  Johns County, Florida. 
2. This message will confirm LWV's sincere apology, through Ms. Ann Palmquist in a telephone call, to Sheriff's candidate Debra Maynard for the official oppression that took place at the League of Women Voters forum for St. Johns County Sheriff's candidates on Wednesday, August 3, 2016 at the St. Johns County Administration Building Auditorium.  Thank you for apologizing for the illegal unAmerican activities of armed, uninformed sheriff's deputies, who allegedly stole, intercepted, seized and threw away cards with citizen questions for Sheriff's candidates, throwing them in the trash.  The League of Women Voters did not authorize this theft.  Who did?  Please help investigate.
3. I have requested the County Administrator to preserve and protect the surveillance video to document possible federal civil rights violations and possible state law theft crimes.  F.S. 812.014.
4. Please convene a special LWV meeting, consult with legal counsel and kindly consider filing a federal civil rights action action for injunctive relief against Sheriff David Shoar, et al.  
5. Please vote to issue a public statement denouncing the deputies' possible illegal, tortious, criminal interference with our right to ask questions of candidates.
6. Please vote to invite Sheriff David Shoar and Ms. Debra Maynard to return for another LWV forum, with public questions asked and answered -- not trashed.
7. Please vote to request a federal investigation of possible violations of civil rights by the deputies in quo.
8. Please vote to request that Florida Governor Richard Lynn Scott appoint a special prosecutor, because 7th Judicial Circuit State's Attorney Ralph Joseph Larizza is a close friend, ally and contributor to Sheriff David Shoar. 
9. I hereby volunteer to help LWV and you to assure the integrity of the process and to sit with you at the table at future fora.
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

Record turnout for illegally closed primary

The corrupt, developer-driven, coverup-prone St. Johns County political machine is angry and angst-ridden today.

The St. Augustine Record reports a record turnout for the August 30th primary, both in mailed-in votes and early in-person votes.

Many people changed their voting registration to "Republican" months ago, planning to vote for Debra Maynard for Sheriff, knowing that seedy, sadistic, shambolic satraps, led by Sheriff DAVID SHOAR and his henchmen, including ex-City Manager WILLIAM BARRY HARRISS, ROBERT THORNTON SMITH and the sere remnants of the corrupt Sheriff NEIL PERRY political machine, would likely close the universal primary to benefit crooked Sheriff DAVID SHOAR, f/k/a "HOAR," Governor Richard Scott's hand-picked Court Clerk imposter HUNTER CONRAD, and developer-backed County Commission candidates.

Yes, there is a record voter turnout despite customary developer money bombs and double doses of illegal voter suppression -- denial of votes to Democrats and independents in the illegally-closed universal primary for Sheriff, Court Clerk and two Commissioner spots and denial of any early voting location within the territorial limits of the City of St. Augustine.

Here's the Record story:

Early voting turnout numbers strong
Posted: August 22, 2016 - 11:51pm | Updated: August 23, 2016 - 12:05am

If early voter turnout in St. Johns County is any indication, there’s high interest in the primary with ballot numbers to prove it.

Although early voting began Saturday and continues until Aug. 27, Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes said the numbers are already much higher than they have been in previous primary elections.

“The first day of early voting we had 1,306 people vote compared to the past, where around 700 people would come out for the opening day,” Oakes said. “I think we’re going to see a really good turnout with the elections.”

Requests for vote-by-mail ballots totalled around 23,000 this year, a huge uptick in numbers compared to past primary ballot requests of 5,000 to 7,000, Oakes added.

More than 8,000 ballots have been mailed to voting locations while 3,000 have participated in early voting.

Oakes said she believes the high turnout is connected to several “hot races” such as the sheriff, clerk of courts and three county commission contests. Federal elections tend to increase voter turnout, as well.

“With our county commissioners alone, that’s three of our five commissioner seats and that could set the direction of the board,” she said. “It could change a lot, depending on who’s elected.”

Oakes said vote-by-mail ballots should be sent by Thursday, otherwise they might arrive too late to be counted.

“But just because a person has received a ballot in the mail does not preclude them from voting in person,” Oakes said. “So they can still go in for early voting or wait for general election day.”

Early voting will take place at the Supervisor of Elections Office, Julington Creek Annex, Ponte Vedra Branch Library, Southeast Branch Library, St. Augustine Town Hall and Hastings Town Hall from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Saturday. Polls will be reopen 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 30 for the general election.

Illegally placed signs speak volumes of their progenitors

St. Augustine Record Letter: Illegally placed signs speak volumes of their progenitors
Illegally placed campaign signs: Consider the source
Posted: August 24, 2016 - 12:00am | Updated: August 24, 2016 - 9:37am

By Jon Hazel
Illegally placed campaign signs: Consider the source

Editor: As voters evaluate those running for office, considering which candidates have the integrity not to systematically violate state, county and city laws by cluttering intersections and roadways with illegally placed campaign signs?

The laws of Florida, St. Johns County and our two municipalities are consistent and simple: Campaign signs placed in public rights-of-way are prohibited. Period. Yet the proliferation of illegally placed signs is over the top this year. The rules are provided to all candidates by the Supervisor of Elections. It’s on her website:

Look around. Who are the chief violators? Which ones are respecting the rule of law and which are running with the herd of scofflaws? They are asking for our trust and our sacred vote, yet some campaigns knowingly violate three levels of law.

So what’s the big deal about a few little signs ... wink, wink? If only it were a few. For starters: Visual blight now, then irresponsibly abandoned signs that linger; using taxpayer-purchased property for private purposes; and cheating — yes, choosing not to play by the rules.

But most important, if we can’t trust candidates to abide by even the simplest laws, with their violations right out in the open, what about issues that matter much more ... done behind the scenes?

By law (state, county, city), campaign signs may legally be placed on private property with the consent of the property owner. Repeat: Private property, owner’s consent. So, a good number of the signs you see in yards and from the roadways are legal. But it’s easy to spot the illegal jab-and-runs randomly littering roadsides, walkways in busy areas and sprouting around intersections like wild mushrooms.

A few errant signs? It happens. Systematically disregarding simple laws ... failure to exercise leadership over supporters ... justifying “if he gets away with it, I can, too.” Is that the integrity and self-accountability you’re looking for? Haven’t we had enough of that already? Voters, look around. Those signs can be quite revealing.

St. Augustine Beach

Are we another paradise lost?

St. Augustine Record Guest Column: Are we another paradise lost?
Posted: August 22, 2016 - 12:00am | Updated: August 22, 2016 - 6:33am
By Dan Pfaff
St. Augustine

In early 1950, my Dad was transferred from Jacksonville to Miami. He was comptroller for the P&O Steamship Company (a Flagler Company). The ship ran from Miami to Havana, Cuba.

When I arrived in Miami it was love at first site. It had a beautiful climate and was a very clean city, with coconut palms and mango trees everywhere, The uncrowded beaches were to die for. A short distance to the south were the Florida Keys. Wade out into the waters off the beach, pick up a live Florida conch, bully net at night for as many Florida lobster as you could catch. There were only a few hundred thousand people in all of Dade County. It was paradise.

In our last 30 years we could not wait to get out of South Florida. It became gridlock, with no quality of life!

My wife and I retired to St. Augustine in 2001, not by accident. I have had a connection to this area since I was a young boy.

In the short time we have lived here the growth has been staggering. Take a ride now to West Palm Beach; go east off I-95. You won’t see the beaches anymore all the way to South Miami. Hotels and condominiums line the coast. Go west now and it’s urban sprawl all the way to Homestead, and west to the protected Florida Everglades. Only the Everglades, like our St. Johns River, would stop the rampant growth.

As for the Keys — no more Florida conch. It’s limits on all fishing and wall-to-wall people.

When you go to vote for your local politicians this year, please check the St. Johns County election website. See who is financially backing the candidates. If you see developers, builders or political activist groups, think twice about voting for these politicians, unless you like uncontrolled growth in our county.

I urge you, do not let developers get into the pockets of our politicians or you will see another paradise lost in beautiful St. Johns County.


Firstcoaster 08/22/16 - 09:07 am 51 Excellent Advice!
Well said, Mr. Pfaff.

sponger2 08/22/16 - 04:06 pm 51Well said but sadly,
Too late. The train left the station when all the DRI's were approved in the last decade and there is a 70,000 unit backlog of yet to be built houses. But, the approvals continue unabated by commissioners and soon to be commissioners who are financed by the development community or those closely related to the development community. The Disneyfication continues, including the prices increases...for everything.

EDWARDATKINS 08/22/16 - 05:43 pm 42Totally agree
II too witnessed what happenned to Miami. Scenes right out of "Scarface" and "Blow" . Drugs and crime were rampant and the criminals hid amongst the masses. Time magazine even wrote a cover story entitled "Paradise Lost"...Now I see the same thing happening here. With the crowds come rudeness . Before you wouldnt flip someone off because you know you would see them at church or little league. Look at the developement on SR 210..all the upwardly mobile Duval County people who are fed up with the crime and conjestion move a few blocks in our county to take advantage of our great schools and services, We cant give our sports teams bats and balls becase we are building new schools by these disgruntled migrants. I took a wrong turn the other day off 207 and discovered hundreds and hundreds of acres clear cut for thousands of lookalike homes on lookalike streets. These arent homes for our children...they are products of developers greed built for people who didnt like where they grew up...usually from much colder climates...all for the sake of profit and misguidance of the people we elected to keep the good in our county, Its happenning real fast here and I dont think we can stop it. Our woods are being cut down, our wildlife habitat diminished and our aquifer drying up.. Perhaps Trump should forget the wall on the mexican border and lets put it up around St Johns County.

martystaug 08/23/16 - 02:29 pm 31No longer off-the-beaten path
St. Augustine was once an off-the-beaten-path town with some historical interests, ie: an old fort and lots of centuries old buildings. But the efforts of the TDC and many years of compromise, where the residents compromised, and the business interests grabbed all they can get. Not since before they took Francis Field for parking has there been any focus on quality of life for residents and tax payers. It is an absolute shame. Newcomers probably can't wait for the next parking plan or new tourist trap to open, but most long term residents hate all this "progress". This paradise is lost.

PASmith 08/23/16 - 09:52 pm 02Dad was born in St Augustine
Dad was born in St Augustine in 1915. Dad, his family, cousins left because it was a small, boring town. It was said that they roll the sidewalks up at night. There was nothing to do. Only recently have some of my relatives come back home. Now, there's much to do and too many people! I know several people who were on the SJC comprehensive land use plan in the 1980's. What they planned was changed over the years because others wanted bigger and better. We're finally there! Why should one land owner be allowed to build a house and another not? If you want paradise move to Putnam County! Or, better yet, to north Georgia (where it, to, is becoming over crowded).

Just because a developer donates to a politician, doesn't mean the politician is influenced. Some development, planning, and rules have been in place long before the current board of county commissioners were elected. If you really want to know ALL they encounter, run for the office yourself! Then, tell me why Paradise was lost!

LINCOLNVILLE: Not your parking lot or pollution peninsula

For years, in the words of ex-Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR., "we dumped our garbage south of town."

No, Joe, Lincolnville was always part of St. Augustine, but subjected to solid waste and sewage pollution by ignoramuses who long ran Our Town.

We reported their illegal sewage and solid waste emissions to federal and state authorities.

Lincolnville is now a vibrant place.

Yet the BAYFRONT MARIN HOUSE and its their lawyer (SIDNEY FRANKLYN ANSBACHER, UPCHURCH, BAILEY & UPCHURCH) demanded to make Lincolnville a parking lot for a guest house, with a 4750 route through Lincolnville. Our Planning and Zoning Board (4-2) and our City Commission (4-1) rightly rejected this plea.

Lincolnville -- once the City's "pollution peninsula" -- must not be abused by business owners as their "parking peninsula."

From Historic City News:

Commission affirms planning board denial of far-away parking

Maurice Morissette told members of the St Augustine City Commission tonight that he has been trying to sell the odd-shaped pink building at the corner of Bridge Street and Riberia Street for years; saying that tenant situations have not worked and previous buyers have backed out due to an odor caused by the city’s installation of a sewer lift station across the street.
Morissette received approval to demolish the vacant commercial building located at 149 Riberia Street, at the May 19, meeting of the city’s Historic Architectural Review Board, and his plan was to turn the lot into private parking 
Historic City News reporters listened as Morissette and attorney Sidney F. Ansbacher, representing hoteliers Sandy and Mike Wieber, presented an appeal of a June 7, Planning and Zoning Board denial to use the 149 Riberia Street location as permanent parking required by a 2001 Planned Unit Development for the Bayfront Marin House located at 142 Avenida Menendez.
The bed and breakfast is zoned Planned Unit Development, and the PUD requires the business to provide one (1) off-site parking space for each of the fifteen guest room.
A preliminary site plan of the off-site parking lot at 149 Riberia Street indicates it can be designed for 14 parking spaces, however, a final parking lot design has not been provided.
The PZB also denied a variance to allow this off-site parking to be located more than 400 feet from the business location. The approximate distance between the business at 142 Avenida Menendez and the proposed parking lot at 149 Riberia Street is approximately 2,720 feet in a straight line distance and 4,750 feet in driving distance.
After nearly an hour of testimony from the public and arguments from the attorney, the commission found that the Planning and Zoning Board had properly followed the law, provided proper notice, heard competent and substantial evidence, and therefore found no reason to reverse their decision.
Only commissioner Todd Neville voted no, wanting to allow the nearly mile-long intrusion into Lincolnville as guests were shuttled back-and-forth to the proposed new parking lot. The Mayor, Nancy Shaver, and three commissioners voted to support the PZB ruling.
For now, the demolition permit stands, but, the bed and breakfast will have to make other arrangements to park its guests cars.

Next School Supt: No More Politicians, Please

In selecting the next School Superintendent, a word of wisdom: no politicians, please.

The current School Superintendent, Dr. JOSEPH JOYNER, Ed.D., actually endorsed corrupt St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID SHOAR f/k/a "HOAR," refusing requests to explain himself as to what possessed him to endorse "TWO SHOTS" SHOAR.

This stinks.

In Night Comes to the Cumberlands, Harry Caudill writes of Eastern Kentucky "school dictators" who abuse school superintendent gigs to build corrupt political machines, using teachers and school employees as bullets in their guns. Enough flummery, dupery and nincompoopery from the St. Johns County School Board, whose failure to report to federal and state antitrust law enforcement officials possible bid rigging (one bid for Aberdeen K-8 School) is noteworthy.


Here's the St. Augustine Record article on the selection of the next School Superintendent -- notice that the inside track is held by political insider TIMOTHY FORSON, ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT, whose expertise is nickeling and diming teachers and other employees, union-busting, buildings and transportation, not education.

Superintendent selection narrows, three names stand out
Posted: August 23, 2016 - 11:16pm | Updated: August 24, 2016 - 6:39am

The list of superintendent candidates thinned once again during the St. Johns County School Board workshop Tuesday with seven out of nine applicants advancing into the semifinalist stage.

But the list wasn’t without debate. Several board members preferred as few as three candidates and spent an extensive amount of time discussing whether less popular selections should make the cut.

“I, for one, have already made my mind up,” said school board member Bill Mignon.

Mignon voted to advance internal candidates Tim Forson and Brennan Asplen as well as national candidate Elizabeth Alves.

Bev Slough made the same selections and said she felt many of the other candidates lacked experience.

School board chair Patrick Canan also favored Forsen and Alves, but did not vote for Asplen.

“At some point I’m going to have to choose between the two,” Canan reasoned.

Although all board members expressed respect for both district applicants, Forson’s name was the one that triumphed.

“We need someone to pick up where Dr. Joyner left off,” Mignon said. “Tim Forson has worked with Dr. Joyner very closely for several years.”

Both Forson and Alves received five votes from board members, while Asplen received four, Key West candidate Mark Porter received two and remaining names received one.

Board members Kelly Barrera and Tommy Allen made seven selections and encouraged the others to “keep an open mind.”

“When it comes to interviewing anyone, it comes down to their judgment. Their knowledge is important, their experience is important,” Barrera said. “But when you’re in a leadership position, it comes down to judgment. So for me, that’s why I want to do all the candidates.”

Collectively, the board agreed to send all seven candidates the six-question semifinalist survey which is due Sept. 2. The board will review the surveys and choose finalists for the interview phase at the Sept. 6 board workshop.

The school district is offering, at minimum, a three-year contract with a salary range of $165,000 to $195,000 plus benefits. Interviews will take place the first week in October and the finalist will be selected Oct. 11.

Banana 08/24/16 - 07:12 am 20Is anyone else surprised?
Oh look at who has "favor." Surprised? Yeah. Me neither. Follow the (tax referendum) money. The good ol' boy network is alive and well. Where are the change agents and the advocates for taxpayers? Shut out of the conversation, that's where.

Monday, August 22, 2016


-----Original Message-----
From: Ed Slavin
To: dshoar ; mcline ; cmulligan ; wharriss
Sent: Mon, Aug 22, 2016 4:00 pm
Subject: Re: Disclosure of All of Sheriff DAVID SHOAR's Medical and Psychiatric Records

Dear Sheriff Shear:
1. Regarding the current state of your physical and mental health and your increasingly bizarre and grotesque overt acts, the facts are well-nigh irrefragable.  See below.  
2. You have also admitted those facts by silence -- an adoptive admission and admission by silence. 
3. Please provide the long-ago requested documents -- your medical and psychiatric files.  Now.
4. We, the People have a Right to Know.
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

-----Original Message-----
From: Ed Slavin <>
To: dshoar <>; mcline <>; cmulligan <>; wharriss <>
Sent: Sun, Aug 21, 2016 3:00 pm
Subject: Re: Disclosure of All of Sheriff DAVID SHOAR's Medical and Psychiatric Records

Dear Sheriff Shoar:

1. Please disclose all of your medical and psychiatric files by close of business on August 22, 2016. I first requested this information on January 27, 2016 -- seven months ago.  No response.

2. Today is the second day of early voting; votes will be counted August 30, 2016.

3. We, the People have a Right to Know about your health, diagnoses, treatment and sequelae, Sheriff Shoar.

4. Our science-based concern for your health has increased in the past seven months, due to your long history:
A. Fainting spells, work absences and sleeping on the job; 
B. Car wrecks, personal injuries and emergency hospitalizations; 
C. Repeatedly missing scheduled appointments and ducking phone calls, including avoiding County Commissioners' telephone calls after the Ford Street incident (in which you secretly paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in settlements for disrupting African-Americans' high school graduation parties with pepper spray, police dogs and arrests); 
D. Repeatedly canceling meetings for illogical or pretextual reasons; 
E. Refusing to attend several public fora in 2016, abruptly canceling public appearances so as to avoid First Amendment protected activity, all while manipulating "straw poll" results before the universal primary for Sheriff, which was illegally closed by your confederates, including your massage therapist, an ex-jailer, who filed to run as a faux write-in candidate, closing the primary; 
F. After years of coverup, delay, obstruction of justice and denial, hurling insults at the grieving Michelle O'Connell family -- issuing an uncivil, unkind, uncouth ukase -- a paranoid, hateful middle-of-the night May 23, 2016 press release, containing material false statements about the Michelle O'Connell family and exhumation autopsy, unadorned by any decent respect for her family, accusing them of "molesting" Michelle's corpse;
G. Emitting a long, angry, rambling, divisive, provocative July 8, 2016 YouTube video saying that you were "mad" after the Dallas police murders, promoting neither healing nor accountability; 
H. Refusing to provide dashboard cameras or body cameras to protect citizens and our deputies, affecting putative "privacy" concerns, reading rote rodomontade from a prepared script, claiming that law enforcement officers "don't need to be watched," while ignoring Plato's (or Juvenal's) classic question ("Who guards the guardians?") yet:
I. Unlawfully wiretapping attorney-client meetings as a matter of standard operating procedure, resulting in two federal courts and four federal judges (three of four of them Republican appointees) finding in 2012 and 2014 that your policies of videotaping attorney-client meetings without notice or court order violated both our Fourth Amendment and federal wiretapping laws (after you filed an illegal, retaliatory, First Amendment violating Bar complaint against the co-plaintiff, attorney Anne Marie Gennusa, for filing a supposedly "frivolous" lawsuit, the most "frivolous" you had ever seen, you once claimed);
J. Tolerating and touting illegal arrests, including apparent First Amendment violations directed at Jeffrey Marcus Gray and Scott and Marsha Yandell;
K. Avoiding and evading numerous public records requests since 2014, while falsely claiming to be "transparent";
L. Refusing to answer news media questions, including those posed by then St. Augustine Record Editor Peter Ellis about the Tom Manuel case, and The New York Times and PBS Frontline, paying nearly $10,000 for a lawyer to run interference with their work on the Michelle O'Connell case; 
M. Keeping ten armed deputy spouse-beaters on the Sheriff's payroll, including your friend Jeremy Banks, who admitted in a taped interview to abusing the late Michelle O'Connell; and
N. Never apologizing for anything to anyone, while raising a quarter million dollars from dodgy developers and other businesses interested in dominating St. Johns County government, as part of your desperate reelection campaign, spending vast suns to uglify the landscape and plaster your (tainted) surname all over St. Johns County on ugly signs. 

5. As an additional factor bearing on your paranoid, irate emotional state, I am still concerned that you distributed a t-shirt, stating "If you don't stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them."  Whose funds paid for that provocative t-shirt?  What public business purpose justified this expense?

6. While you apologized to me and to others for the provocative t-shirt, it shows a dangerous level of anger toward First Amendment protected activity. It also shows your extremist willingness to do anything to defend your "troops," including hateful defamatory remarks directed at the grieving O'Connell family.

7.  You have deeply disappointed and embarrassed our community in the eyes of the world.  You have put your character at issue by your actions and your health is deteriorating, as you spend lavishly from tainted developer LLC money, seeking a fourth four year term as Sheriff.  We are concerned about your physical and mental health and we have a Right to Know. Please disclose and preserve your medical and psychiatric files. Now.

Thank you.

With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

Grotesque St. Johns County, Florida Sheriff DAVID SHOAR desecrates St. Augustine National Cemetery by campaigning on Memorial Day, 2016.



I agree with Lee Geanuleas, this is a perfect example of burden shifting (see his email below).

The owners, rather than paying the increased costs and passing them on to their customers, seek instead to shift the costs to burden the city residents with increased traffic to and from their business and further burden the residents of Lincolnville with a noisy 24/7 parking lot.

"How far is to far?" Lee asks.

I ask, "Where have we seen this movie before?"


All city Comissioners received last week — as a result of their solicitation of the public — an on line copy of the most recent issue of the "Saint Aug Dog". The issue describes, through parody, satire, and mockery, the shifting of wealth to the city's rich elite (through proximate cause corruption), with the resultant burden shift manifesting in the early deaths of many members of the community and an overall degradation of the social fabric of the city of Saint Augustine.

To continue ignoring this issue of greater burden shifting gross criminal corruption, which empowers you all and provides you all with income, is a perfect example of lies of omission.

Your future, your children's future, and your grand children's future depends on your personal courage and moral integrity in handling this issue.

As a reminder...

Last issue of the "Saint Aug Dog".

Salient issue linked to in the last issue of the "Saint Aug Dog".

On behalf of Intentionally Made Homeless and Oppressed Residents Everywhere Count.
Warren Celli