Tuesday, July 19, 2011

St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore Raised Before Federal 450th Commission; Record Omits the News on Public Participation

PAUL WILLIAMSON, City of St. Augustine PR Director -- Propagandist With Anti-Democratic Agenda, Publicly Embarrasses our Nation's Oldest City Once Again (In the words of President Clinton, "Nothing great was ever accomplished by being small," Paul).

The federal St. Augustine 450th Commemoration Commission took public comments at its inaugural meeting on July 18, 2011. At least nine people spoke, including an appeal for a St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore and an appeal to keep the Spanish Quarter Village open with federal help. There was applause on both questions, and a rapt audience for other citizens’ suggestions. What a wonderful day! The most delightful part was that the public comment period proved the St. Augustine Record wrong, again.

Disinformation from the local mullet wrapper

Twice on Sunday the St. Augustine Record relied on disinformation from City Public Relations Director PAUL WILLIAMSON to state that public comment was not allowed and not required-- once in a putative Legal Note at the end of Peter Guinta's story and once in an editorial. Ignoring the journalistic "two-source rule," the WRecKord once again a disservice to its readers. The WRecKord and PAUL WILLIAMSON were wrong in their predictions.

The people were allowed to speak. Thank you, Chairman Jay Kislak, 450th Commissioners and Department of the Interior and other federal officials for rejecting PAUL WILLIAMSON's erroneous notion that democracy is a spectator sport. This is our country, and our government, thank you.

The WRecKord never told us this morning it was wrong in its prediction about public comment, or why. Though at least nine of us spoke our truths, the WRecKord barely quoted any of us. That is typical of the WRecKord, whose incurious reporters have been known to write personal letters while attending meetings, and to look spacily into space when citizens exercise our God-given right to speak in a democracy -- knowing their editors don't want to quote what citizens say in meetings.

WRecKord editors know more than they're telling. They take "spin" and handouts from PAUL WILLIAMSON, who barely conceals the contempt with which he has long viewed civic activists. Under a former autocratic City Manager (WILLIAM B. HARRISS), the dour WILLIAMSON would respond to public comment with practiced haughtiness: PAUL WILLIAMSON would sneer, glare, make haughty remarks to other overpaid white male city managers, and often call WRecKord editor MARGO POPE on his City-owned cellular telephone, emitting nastiness directed at those who wanted the City to remove 40,0000 cubic yards of contaminated solid waste from the Old City Reservoir. WILLIAMSON is one of the main reasons the WRecKord's news coverage was so weak about anything WILLIAM B. HARRIS perpetrated.

WILLIAMSON also interfered with public comment at the May 24, 2011 pre-meeting on the 450th Commission, shushing me when I raised my hand to answer Mayor Boles’ question – which none of the federal officials present knew the answer to about whether he could legally talk to Andrew Young (yes he can, under the Federal Advisory Committee Act). WILLIAMSON was snippy.

WILLIAMSON stuck the 450th Commission meeting at Flagler College, where no live TV coverage on cable television was available.

WILLIAMSON’s lack of transparency is notable in a City Administration that is now dedicated to transparency and openness.

WILLIAMSON and the mullet wrapper are like two peas in a pod.

As Peter, Paul and Mary asked: "When will they ever learn?"

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