Friday, May 20, 2011

IN HAEC VERBA: Mayor Joseph Boles' Speech at Dedication of Civil Rights Foot Soldiers Monument May 14, 2011

(Prepared Remarks of Mayor Joseph Boles, May 14, 2011 at Dedication of St. Augustine Civil Rights Foot Soldiers' Monument -- Speech As Delivered Was Ever Better -- the Mayor Ad Libbed).

Welcome -

First, let me tell you how pleased I am to be the Mayor of the Nation's Oldest City. This is your City and I am your Mayor. There are so many days when I am so proud of this City and its people - but today will be one of our shining moments.

Today, May 14th, will forever stand as the day we say no more will we let ignorance rule the day. No more will hatred hold sway. No more will we stand silent when our brothers and sisters cried out for justice and no more will we be afraid to tell our City's story lest we lessen our reputation. The truth is always the best story.

This City along with our entire country allowed a set of rules to exist that victimized and stigmatized many people we all knew and cared for, but fear held many at bay. In this, the freest country in the world, and in St. Augustine, this Nation's Oldest City, freedom would not be denied.

It is this group of brave Foot Soldiers in the war for freedom and equality, the St. Augustine Foot Soldiers, that we honor today. When the Foot Soldiers monument is unveiled later today we are saying that we recognize and commiserate not only the Civil Rights Movement almost 50 years ago - we are also reminding those that come after us that we shall never pass this way again.

So, our millions and millions of visitors that come to see this monument will know that it represents:

(1) The strength and fortification of the hearts of the Foot Soldiers no less than the fort walls of the Castillo de San Marcos.

(2) They will remember those that passed through the taunts and jeers, rocks, bricks and stones because their hearts were as open to the promise of peace as we keep our City Gates open to the world.

(3) This monument will stand as a shining beacon of struggle and survival of those that risked all with their inner light casting a beacon no less powerful than our own St. Augustine Lighthouse.

(4) Finally, they will see this monument next to the Old Slave Market where evil held forth in the diatribes and hate speech of the KKK during the marches and they will know that this blessed event is designed to exorcise that nightmare.

So, from your City let me first congratulate you on this accomplishment and let me also apologize for the past from every Mayor who came before me and after. Let the healing continue.

ANOTHER DAY OF HEALING FOR OUR NATION'S OLDEST CITY, ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA




DARON DEAN/St. Augustine Record


May 14, 2011 (Saturday afternoon and early evening) began an epic time of healing for the City of St. Augustine, with the first of two civil rights monuments dedicated in our Slave Market Square.


An evocative monument to the Civil Rights Foot Soldiers now stands where angry mobs of bigots cheered KKK and John Birch Society thugs preaching hate against African-Americans.


“Never again,” promised St. Augustine Mayor Joseph Boles, who eloquently apologized for every single violation of human rights by every Mayor of St. Augustine, past, present and future. Mayor Boles spoke of healing and harmony, and about how St. Augustine’s National Civil Rights Museum will accurately retell our history, so that it will never be repeated, and so that everyone will know what courage was shown here and what civil rights victories were one because of the struggles here in 1963-64 .


Our City of St. Augustine was named in 1565 by the Spanish after St. Augustine of Hippo, who is sometimes erroneously referred to as “one of the three founders of the Roman Catholic Church” by licensed tour guides employed by one of the trolley trains in St. Augustine (not the classy one, but the other company).


The irony of Saint Augustine of Hippo himself being a North African man and his City (first European settlement in America) becoming what Dr. King called “the most lawless” city in America was recalled.


Speakers recalled with great eloquence were all the illegal state actions by city, county and state officials (including sheriffs and judges), including all of the illegal arrests, illegal jailings and illegal imprisonments and resulting illegal criminal records. Those criminal records were only recently expunged through the admirable efforts of State Senator Tony Hill and Governor Charles Crist.


Speakers also recounted the actions of racists tolerated by state actors -- including KKK-dominated City of St. Augustine, St. Johns County Sheriff's Department and local courts at the time. Those violent and vile actions including all of the beatings, brickbats, shootings, death threats, attempted immolation, intimidation, blacklisting in response to peaceful picketing and non-violent persuasion, aimed at ending “Jim Crow” laws, which resulted in the daily humiliation of St. Augustine’s African-American residents being forbidden to go to church, buy groceries, eat in a restaurant or go swimming with “white” people” in the ocean (yes, the ocean was segregated too). These harsh “Jim Crow” rules were enforced on pain of harsh incarceration under unjust criminal laws adopted by Florida’s legislature.


“An unjust law is no law at all,” as St. Augustine himself wrote. Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP’s lawyers, strategists and funders worked for decades to undo these unjust laws, ultimately aided by President John Kennedy and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, the Justice Department and President Lyndon Johnson.


Nowhere were unjust laws enforced with such a vengeance as in St. Augustine, Florida which led Dr. King to call it “the most lawless” city in America. This is where courageous civil rights “foot soldiers” marched into the face of their oppressors and shared the love that led Jim Crow to crumble, under the television cameras, which never blinked, showing acid poured into a swimming pool where African-Americans were swimming, people beaten for swimming in the segregated ocean at St. Augustine Beach,


St. Augustine City Commissioner Errol Jones vividly recalled growing up under Jim Crow segregation and the days of 1963-1964, when there were nightly civil rights marches to the Slave Market Square.


The keynote speaker was former St. Augustine resident Hank Thomas, one of the first thirteen freedom riders, who eloquently described Jim Crow and his role in overcoming it. Thomas spoke eloquently to his mother, who prayed for him as he was in a Greyhound bus torched by racists near Anniston, Alabama, recounting how he feared death and was ready to die of smoke inhalation as the bus was in flames – only the gas tank exploding chased away the angry mob that was ready to kill.


Thomas spoke of unity, about how African-Americans were assisted by large numbers of white people, particularly Jewish college students and other supporters. Thomas noted how two of the three civil rights workers murdered in Philadelphia, Mississippi were Jewish, and how of the first thirteen freedom riders, seven were white and four were Jewish.


Thomas spoke of universal brotherhood and about how and other African-Americans fought in wars to secure others’ freedom even when their freedom was not secured. Thomas said that if he were nineteen in 1865 or 1917 or 1941 he would have fought for his country, just as he fought in Vietnam; he also said if he were nineteen in 1948, he would have fought for Israeli independence.


Thomas mentioned the election of President Barack Obama as the inevitable result of the struggles for equal rights seen here in the City of St. Augustine.


The singing of several beautiful songs was led by Carolyn Fisher and Carrie Johnson.


Other eloquent speakers included County Commission Chairman J. Kenneth Bryan, former Mayor George Gardner and Council on Aging Executive Director Cathy Brown. The idea of the monument took root at the Council on Aging and organizational meetings were held there.


Barbara Vickers, a leader in the civil rights movement then and now, who spearheaded the drive to raise $70,000 for the monument, spoke eloquently and briefly, saying succinctly she was ready after years of work for this day that she was ready for a beer.


Historian David Nolan told the history of slave-selling in the Slave Market Square (absurdly denied by former City Attorney Geoffrey Dobson in a notorious St. Augustine Record column). David Nolan’s history gave details of slave-selling in the slave market, eliciting laughter at the local equivalent of Holocaust deniers, who would deny that any slave-selling ever occurred in the market (whose historic signage is most noted for pointing out how America’s first system of weights and measures was created their during Spanish colonial rule).


“It takes a village” to make something as wonderful as the Civil Rights Foot Soldiers Monument to take place. Indeed, as playwright Tony Kushner’s words, in Angels in America, “only in politics does the miraculous occur.”


In December 2005, some 75 people turned up at the St. Augustine City Commission to request permission to put a monument in the square. The City staff had told the 40th Accord civil rights group that there would never be a civil rights monument there, and that such monuments were limited to colonial history (even though there are memorials to Confederate and later soldiers).


City Commissioners righteously overruled our misguided, then-City Manager William B. Harriss, allowing construction of the monument in the Slave Market Square (but adopting Harriss’ crabbed and crabby requirement that there be public fundraising for the monument, and no city funds).


In the end, under new management (City Manager John Regan) our City of St. Augustine did pay for construction of the sculpture’s base. Our City hosted a fine celebration, a day of healing in St. Augustine, Florida – a long time coming, and something of which we are all justly proud as Americans and St. Augustinians.


Other major donors and fundraisers included Nena Vreeland, Barbara Allen and Phil McDaniel, who helped bring about the full funding required for sculptor Brian Owens to take his inspiration into metallic reality.


The monument shows four heroic busts of civil rights workers, three African-Americans and one white college student, against a bas relief background of civil rights marchers and the Slave Market Square.


As Ronald Reagan would say, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”


I reckon that St. Augustine will soon be the center of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. There will be a large, world-class Civil Rights Museum here, telling the arc of our story, including the first slaves brought to what is now the United States of America (on September 8, 1565, the day St. Augustine was founded); the establishment of the first free black settlement in America (1740 at Fort Mose); hundreds of Menorcan indentured servants heroic trek from New Smyrna Beach, voting with their feet in 1777; the end of slavery; Jim Crow segregation and the end of Jim Crow segregation, brought about when President Lyndon B. Johnson broke a Senate filibuster based upon what happened here in St. Augustine, brought to us by the courageous people of St. Augustine (inspired by what the KKK and its sympathizers still call “outside agitators,” e.g., Nobel Prize laureate Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Andrew Young and Rev. Ralph David Abernathy).


We have every right to expect that the St. Augustine Civil Rights Museum will eventually become a part of the St. Augustine National Historical Park, National Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway. http://www.staugustgreen.com/


“Home is the place where, when you go there, they have to let you in,” to paraphrase the poet Robert Frost.


For centuries, St. Augustine treated African-Americans unjustly here in their own homes, despite that African-Americans were here on the first day our City was founded (September 8, 1565).


European colonial powers and successive American territorial and Florida state governments were guilty of first enslaving African-Americans with chattel slavery, then writing “unjust laws” to perpetuate slavery (as St. Augustine would call them).


The Civil War and the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution ended chattel slavery (as well as indentured servitude, of which the Menorcan people were victims, voting with their feet and fleeing to the City of St. Augustine).


White people then enslaved After passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, African-American people again with yet another web of “unjust laws,” Jim Crow segregation. In many ways, Saturday was a homecoming for St. Augustine’s African-American people, who are finally being treated as first-class citizens by the government of the City of St. Augustine.


African-American people here helped to change the law to where they are now welcome here in their own home, St. Augustine, Florida where once they were banned from housing, public accommodations and employment by an evil set of written laws written by the Florida legislature (Jim Crow segregation). In Jim Crow Guide to the USA, a book that first published in France by Jean Paul Sartre, the scope and methods of Jim Crow segregation were well documented by our local civil rights hero, author Stetson Kennedy, 94, who proudly watched along with his wife, Sandra Parks. Kennedy was arrested here in 1952 when he was running on an anti-segregationist ticket for United States Senator.


Were it not for the struggles here, women, other minorities and Gay and Lesbian people would not have equal rights in this country. The 1964 Civil Rights Act protects not only African-Americans, but also prohibits discrimination against women and against other ethnic minorities and also outlaws discrimination on the basis of their religion or irreligion. Inspired by the Civil Rights laws, Gay activists have won victories from sea to shining sea. It all started here, in St. Augustine, Florida.


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


Now there is a fitting permanent monument in the civil rights foot soldiers’ honor – respecting African-Americans at last here in their home of St. Augustine, Florida. When the Civil Rights Foot Soldiers Monument dedication was over, we all joined hands and sang, “We Shall Overcome.”


And we have!


Meanwhile, racists from the “League of the South” (a hate group listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center) published a screed in local right-wingers’ deceptively named website, Historic City News, on December 30, 2010, urging that Florida secede from the Union, while defending slavery as good for African-American people. That hate speech was published by none other than failed City Commission candidate MICHAEL GOLD f/k/a “MICHAEL TOBIN,” who operates racist, homophobic websites (shamefulpeople.com and plazabum.com).


GOLD was at the event on Saturday, writing a trite story with his own name in the lede, here – GOLD was often glowering during the dedication, for hours using a large long lens to take photos of everyone and everything, posting some of the photos on his Historic City News hate website, which recently printed his hate speech directed against Andrew Young’s monument. Yes, GOLD wrote another hate screed lambasting the City (and Rev. Andrew Young) over the Andrew Young memorial, mocking and trivializing the history and the courage of Rev. Young and the other people who struggled (and bled) to secure our civil rights here.


Pray for the soul of MICHAEL GOLD -- as Adlai Stevenson once said (upon being spat upon by a Dallas mob in October 1963), "I believe in the forgiveness of sin and the redemption of ignorance."


Our City of St. Augustine will dedicate the Andrew Young monument on June 11, 2011 – the healing power is enormous and well worth the miniscule cost ($5000) which is de micromis (a microscopic amount, much smaller than “de minimis”).


The Gospel of Matthew says, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”


As it says in Ecclesiastes, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”


This is our City of St. Augustine’s (and our Nation’s) “time to heal,” starting with the National Civil Rights Museum and St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore. http://www.staugustgreen.com/


This is our place and our time, and we're going to reconcile diverse people for the betterment of everyone, working toward John Winthrop's goal of America as "a shining city on a hill."


What do you reckon?

Watch Hank Thomas' Inspiring Speech At Saturday's Foot Soldiers' Monument Dedication in St. Augustine, FL

Click link above to hear inspiring speech from dedication of Civil Rights Foot Soldiers' Monument (part 1).

Click here for part 2.

Click here for part 3.

"SAVING ST. AUGUSTINE" -- Folio Weekly Backpage Editorial by Faye Armitage



St. Augustine’s small-town Spanish Colonial charm is in
danger of being ruined by schlock. We love St. Augustine
and must preserve the beauty of endangered Matanzas Inlet
sunsets, Anastasia Island beach mice, nesting leatherback
turtles, soaring families of bald eagles and frolicking schools
of manatees and whales. Florida’s First Coast deserves a first
class National Park for the 500th anniversary of Spanish
Florida (in 2013) and 450th anniversary of St. Augustine
(in 2015).
The late U.S. Speaker of the House
Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill and Edward
Boland of Massachusetts made history in
1958, courageously working to protect
Cape Cod’s charm forever. Boland returned
in 1958 from a trip to Cape Hatteras
National Seashore. Within a fortnight, the
two Massachusetts Democrats introduced
the Cape Cod National Seashore Act
(backed by John F. Kennedy only after he
became president).
Commercial interests thought that a
national seashore would be bad for business.
They were wrong. Today we scoff at
the quaint story of O’Neill and Boland
being hung in effigy and booed in the Cape
Cod towns of Wellfleet and Truro, where
citizens, in their annual town meetings,
voted against the bill.
Even JFK, the Pulitzer Prize-winning
author of “Profiles in Courage,” feared local
commercial interests in Massachusetts
when it came to proposing a national
seashore. JFK later came aboard as president,
to consider the National Seashore the
best thing he ever did for Massachusetts.
Today’s visitors to Cape Cod come from
around the world to partake of its charm,
marshes, woodlands, beaches and towns
that were saved thanks to the vision of
Congressmen O’Neill and Boland.
A St. Augustine National Park was first
proposed before World War II. The idea is
five years older than President Harry S Truman’s
national health insurance proposal.
And as with national health care, Congress
too often resembles a herd of turtles trying
to write a symphony. It’s somewhat understandable
that our two busy U.S. Senators
(and Representative John Luigi Mica)
haven’t introduced a National Historical
Park, Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway.
Legislation moves glacially, except in emergencies.
We have one now.
Our local economy is in a state of emergency.
Businesses are dying. We’re ready for
Congress to stimulate our economy and
preserve our way of life by enacting a St.
Augustine National Historical Park,
Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway Act,
supported by a diverse group of citizens,
from octogenarian environmental activist
Robin Nadeau to former Republican
County Commission Chairperson John
Sundeman to St. Augustine Democratic
Club Chairperson Jeanne Moeller, among a
growing group of people concerned about
the declining quality of the tourist experience
in St. Johns County.
A National Historical Park would preserve
and protect St. Augustine’s historic
downtown with the dignity and experience
of the National Park Service, just as parts of
Boston, New Bedford, Philadelphia and
other historic cities are preserved. It would
step into the breach left by the Florida legislature,
Secretary of State, University of
Florida and city of St. Augustine, all of
whom have been unable to repair crumbling
buildings and historic monuments. A
national historical park would preserve
downtown streets and reduce congestion,
improving the tourist experience and making
it one that longer-staying (and biggerspending)
historic and environmental
tourists will enjoy.
A national historic park managed by the
National Park Service would portray history
and nature accurately, as done in Virginia’s
Colonial Williamsburg and the
Colonial National Historical Parkway.
There could also be a National Civil Rights
and Indigenous History Museum, aimed at
telling the region’s story of 11,000 years of
human history, honoring Native Americans,
African-Americans and the Civil
Rights movement here, which helped win
adoption of national antidiscrimination
laws in 1964. The struggles on St. Augustine’s
streets and beaches, including the
arrest of Massachusetts Governor Endicott
Peabody’s mother and Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr., need to be retold and told well.
soldiers monument in St. Augustine’s Plaza
de la Constitucion, paying tribute to Civil
Rights Era activists whose efforts helped
break the Senate logjam and enact basic
nondiscrimination laws.
A national seashore and coastal parkway
designation would protect the coast from
uglification, as at other national seashores.
We have 61 miles of coast here, and the
transfer from county to federal jurisdiction
would save local tax monies and make environmental
protection a priority on beaches
where turtles land to give birth, and where
beach mice and other critters scamper.
In September, watch Ken Burns’ PBS
documentary “Our National Parks: America’s
Best Idea.” Think of how uplifting it
will be to be able to drive from Ponte Vedra
to Marineland as a tourist or resident,
secure in the knowledge that the beaches
will survive and not be turned into some
unreasonable facsimile of Miami.
Think of the economic efficiency and
environmental benefits of entrusting city
and county parks, seashore water management
district land and at least five state
parks (including Anastasia and Guana-
Tolomato-Matanzas National Estuarine
Reserve) to one world-class organization
(the National Park Service) to protect, preserve
and interpret, rather than allowing
the land to be ripped apart by greed.
Think of the good jobs that will encourage
young people to stay here, working as
National Park Service employees and contractors.
Think of historic interpreters and
environmental tour guides who are
rewarded with a federal showcase, inviting
the world to a world-class destination.
Let’s enlist Congress and the president
to help us tell our region’s rich history —
including the story of the Indians, African-
American slaves and Minorcan and Greek
indentured servants (who escaped to St.
Augustine from New Smyrna Beach, “voting
with their feet” against slavery by contract.
Indentured servitude was outlawed
along with regular slavery with the 13th
Amendment in 1865.
Think of how our tourist economy will
be stimulated and jobs created and preserved
by preserving the stunning vistas
that draw people here, not uglifying them
with massive high-rises, suburban sprawl
and unsafe homes built in wetlands.
Think of how fourth-graders now and
in the future, from all over Florida, will be
rewarded for their studies of Florida history
by helping preserve “the real Florida” — St.
Augustine and St. Johns County — forever.
It is up to us to learn from the young
and to protect Northeast Florida for families,
flora, fauna and the future. Visit
staugustgreen.com for more information
and let your neighbors and national and
local leaders know what you think. 

Faye Armitage lives in Fruit Cove. In 2008,
she ran against nine-term Congressional
incumbent John Mica, receiving nearly 150,000 votes.

Letter Rebuts Commission Jay Morris' Attack on Sunshine Laws

Letter: Morris wrong about Sunshine Laws

By Rick Mansfield http://analytics.apnewsregistry.com/analytics/v2/image.svc/RWS/MAI/2723/E/prod

Created 05/14/2011 - 12:01am

Summary:

Editor: Reading Pattie Hunt's article regarding mental health services: I am not surprised she felt that the County Commissioners minds were already made up when it came to approving funding for county mental health services. Hunt doesn't know how right she is.

Editor: Reading Pattie Hunt's article regarding mental health services: I am not surprised she felt that the County Commissioners minds were already made up when it came to approving funding for county mental health services. Hunt doesn't know how right she is.

Editor: Reading Pattie Hunt's article regarding mental health services: I am not surprised she felt that the County Commissioners minds were already made up when it came to approving funding for county mental health services. Hunt doesn't know how right she is.

In a recent front- page article in the Ponte Vedra Recorder, St Johns County Commissioner Jay Morris expressed his displeasure with the Florida Sunshine Laws, calling them the dumbest laws he has ever heard of. He went on to state that his preferred method of business is a small private group meeting in the morning and implanting decisions in the afternoon.

This man's attitude reminds me so much of former County Commissioner Tom Manuel.

Morris is from Ponte Vedra, home of fat cat businessmen living in big houses. Men like this didn't get to retire rich by thinking about the sick or the poor or their employees. Let's face it to them it's about making the stockholders happy and when the time comes take the golden parachute and get out of town.

The most astounding thing about Morris's statement is there has been no public response. Here you have an elected county commissioner expressing public disdain for Florida open government laws and he is allowed to continue to serve.

No doubt Morris will be pressing the flesh during the Players Championship, probably sitting comfortably in some high roller area.

The question is, will he be illegally discussing county business? You make the call. I promise you this; he will not be entertaining anyone from county Mental Health Services.

Morris is Ponte Vedra's personal County Commissioner.

Ponte Vedra

Readers Want to See A Peter Guinta Column in St. Augustine Record

Wants a Peter Guinta column on opinion page

Summary:

Editor: I enjoy The Record. I think it does an excellent job of covering local news, which is what a small city paper should do. However, your editorial/opinion page is rather dull. I realize you are trying to give both liberal and conservative viewpoints, but some of the columnists you have chosen leave much to be desired. Take Monday for an example. Ann Coulter seems more interested in being ridiculous and misleading. Amy Goodman is laborious and in desperate need of a good editor.

Editor: I enjoy The Record. I think it does an excellent job of covering local news, which is what a small city paper should do. However, your editorial/opinion page is rather dull. I realize you are trying to give both liberal and conservative viewpoints, but some of the columnists you have chosen leave much to be desired. Take Monday for an example. Ann Coulter seems more interested in being ridiculous and misleading. Amy Goodman is laborious and in desperate need of a good editor.

Here's a suggestion. Why not drop both of them on Monday and have some of your more talented reporters do the opinion page? It would be more interesting to read. Peter Guinta used to do some columns and I really enjoyed reading his take on local issues.

I realize newspapers are having a hard time financially and opinions always run the risk of alienating advertisers, but please be brave and give it a try.

Does Republican Governor, Legislature Voter Suppression Scheme VIolate Voting Rights Act, Fifteeenth Amendment?nth Amendment?

Early voting days reduced

Official: Locals will see 'little effect'
Summary:

TALLAHASSEE -- Critics say a new Florida election law that went into effect Thursday with Republican Gov. Rick Scott's signature will discourage some likely Democratic voters, including minorities and young people, from registering or casting ballots.

TALLAHASSEE -- Critics say a new Florida election law that went into effect Thursday with Republican Gov. Rick Scott's signature will discourage some likely Democratic voters, including minorities and young people, from registering or casting ballots.

The law reduces early voting days and adds new regulations for voter registration drives. It also requires voters who make address changes at the polls to cast provisional ballots that may not be counted.

Sponsors in the GOP-controlled Legislature argued the law, similar to proposals that have been introduced by Republicans in about 25 other states, is needed to prevent election fraud.

"It is paramount to our democracy that we protect the credibility of Florida elections," House State Affairs Committee Chairman Seth McKeel, R-Lakeland, said in a statement. "Each unlawful ballot takes away the vote of a Florida citizen casting a legal ballot."

Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith called it a "voter suppression" law and "nothing more than a power-grab by Republicans."

Scott signed the bill (HB 1355) without ceremony or comment, but it drew a firestorm of reaction from Democrats and other opponents, including some nonpartisan groups, saying it's an assault on voters.

St. Johns reaction

St. Johns County Supervisor of Elections Penny Halyburton said the new law would have little effect.

"We have 143,000 registered voters," Halyburton said. "The latest census puts our population at 190,000. Our registration is right on. There may be more effect in smaller, more rural counties."

Prospective voters can register "almost anywhere" now: online, at banks, public assistance offices, libraries and the Department of Motor Vehicles, she said.

But, she added, the law is more restrictive overall.

"When people run for legislative office, they immediately become election experts and manipulate the laws to help them with the next election," she said. "But they were candidates. None of them have conducted an election."

Voting attack charged

Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, said, "If the law weren't so grotesquely un-American, you'd almost want to congratulate them for the audacity and efficiency of the attack. With just one bill, they made it harder to register to vote, harder to cast your vote and harder to have your vote counted."

Secretary of State Kurt Browning said the law will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice for preclearance under the federal Voting Rights Act to determine if it discriminates against minority voters. If U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder determines that it does, the law cannot be enforced.

Until the Justice Department makes a decision the law will be in effect everywhere except five counties for which preclearance is required, Browning said. That includes a special election Tuesday in Miami-Dade County for several office. A lawsuit has been filed in Miami-Dade challenging the county's decision to cancel early voting Sunday to comply with the anticipated new statute before Scott signed it.

-- St. Augustine Record reporter Peter Guinta contributed to this story.

Record Editorial Rightly Condemns Voter Suppression Law Enacted by Florida's Repoublican Governor and Legislature

Our view: Voter sign-up will suffer without League of Women Voters

Summary:

The League of Women Voters on Monday announced its suspension of voter registration efforts unless Gov. Rick Scott vetoes an elections overhaul bill the Florida Legislature approved last week.

The League of Women Voters on Monday announced its suspension of voter registration efforts unless Gov. Rick Scott vetoes an elections overhaul bill the Florida Legislature approved last week.

House Bill 1355, sent to Scott last week by the Legislature, makes it harder for third-party groups, including the respected and nonpartisan League to register people to vote. Suspicions of voter fraud were raised by the bill's supporters to justify the changes. A May 3 story in the St. Petersburg Times about criticism of the bill by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, reported on recent fraud cases. A spokesman for Secretary of State Kurt Browning said that between January 2008 and March 2011 in Florida, 31 cases of alleged voter fraud were referred to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for investigation. The spokesman said only three resulted in arrests.

The elections proposal is to tighten up voter registration provisions to make it harder for people to vote, in our view. Shortening deadlines for turning in voter registrations to the election office within hours rather than days of registration, and requiring additional documentation about the third-party registrant, has forced the league into a battle with Scott and the Legislature.

While other groups by nature of their names may have a vested interest in getting people out to vote, the League's intention is purely to help people step into democracy, by registering to vote.

League President Deidra Macnab, said in a news release, "the Legislature has declared war on voters."

"While the League remains committed to empower an active and informed citizenry, we cannot and will not place our thousands of volunteers at risk, subjecting them to a process in which one late form could result in their facing financial and civil penalties," Macnab said.

Scott hasn't weighed in on HB 1355 yet but we hope that when he does, he will use it his veto pen.

We also hold out hope that the U.S. Department of Justice will not clear the bill either. The federal agency has to clear any changes in election laws under the Voting Rights Act in several states including Florida where racial discrimination in voter registration was prevalent in the past.

Cutting back early voting from two weeks to one week and making voter registration harder to accomplish reverses the push that elections offices and voter-minded groups have made for decades to get Americans voting.

That's enough reason for the governor to veto the bill. It disenfranchises everyone, not just minority parties.


Justice Department Press Release: First Conviction at Trial Under Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Arkansas Jury Finds Man Guilty of Federal Hate Crime Related to the Assault of Five Hispanic Men
First Defendant to Be Convicted at Trial Under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act

WASHINGTON –Frankie Maybee, 20, of Green Forest, Ark., was convicted today by a federal jury today of five counts of committing a federal hate crime and one count of conspiring to commit a federal hate crime, announced the Justice Department. This is the first conviction at trial for a violation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which was enacted in October 2009. Maybee faces a maximum of 55 years in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000 per violation.

On May 16, 2011, co-defendant Sean Popejoy, 19, of Green Forest, pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of committing a federal hate crime and one count of conspiring to commit a federal hate crime in connection with this matter.

Evidence presented at trial established that in the early morning hours of June 20, 2010, Maybee and Popejoy conspired to and did threaten and injure five Hispanic men who had pulled into a gas station parking lot. The co-conspirators pursued the victims in a truck. When the co-conspirators caught up to the victims, Popejoy leaned outside of the front passenger window and waived a tire wrench at the victims, and continued to threaten and hurl racial epithets at the victims. Maybee, driving his truck, rammed into the victims’ car repeatedly, which caused the victims’ car to cross the opposite lane of traffic, go off the road, crash into a tree and ignite. As a result of Maybee and his co-conspirators’ actions, the victims suffered bodily injury, including one victim who sustained life-threatening injuries.

“The defendants targeted five men because they were Hispanic, and today’s verdict shows that the Justice Department is committed to vigorously prosecuting individuals who perform acts of hate because of someone’s race or national origin,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “We will continue to use the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and every other tool in our law enforcement arsenal, to identify and prosecute hate crimes whenever they occur.”

“ We thank the jury for their careful consideration, and for their verdict. It is horrific that acts of violence are committed against complete strangers because of their race,” Conner Eldridge, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas. “In this case, five Hispanic men stopped to fill up their car with gas and were violently run off the road, causing severe injuries and nearly causing death to one of them. In the Western District of Arkansas, we will continue to prosecute acts of violence that are motivated by hatred of another’s race. ”

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Fayetteville, Ark., Division in cooperation with the Arkansas State Police Department and the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Edward Chung of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyra E. Jenner for the Western District of Arkansas.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

University of Florida Environmental History Prof. Jack E. Davis/MIAMI HERALD: Masterpiece on the Environment



Masterpiece on the environment

Filed under Op-Eds on Sunday, November 11, 2007.

This op-ed appeared Nov. 11 in The Miami Herald.

By: Jack E. Davis
Jack E. Davis, an associate professor of history at the University of Florida, is a specialist in American environmental history and author of the forthcoming book, An Everglades Providence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the Environmental Century.

When Dade County relocated its public library to a new building in 1985, the last several hundred books were moved by a human chain. The Everglades: River of Grass, the last of them all, was carried by a runner like a torch.

Last week marked the 60th anniversary of the publication of Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ classic. When it appeared in 1947, it convinced the nation that a place historically dismissed as a vulgar unvarying wasteland was actually a life-giving river, one that originally flowed 120 untroubled miles on a three-month pilgrimage to deliver sustenance to rare plants and animals and to charge the all-important Biscayne Aquifer. Four weeks after the book’s publication, President Truman dedicated Everglades National Park. Ever since, America’s greatest wetland has been known as the River of Grass.

The book was similarly destined to stay indefinitely in print, a credit to Douglas’ eloquent and enduring warning against civilization’s headlong sprawl into a sensitive environment. She had not intended to write a call to arms, but in the 1960s, after the Army Corps of Engineers ”comprehensive” flood-control project emptied out nearly half the region’s water, activists embraced her book as the green bible of Everglades environmentalism. Comparisons with Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac followed. The book convinced environmentalists to persuade Douglas, who as early as 1959 knew something was amiss with the Corp’s project, to become a full-fledged activist.

At age 79, she scaled back writing projects, organized Friends of the Everglades and leapt into the national consciousness as the most vivid spokesperson for Everglades ”repair.” She continued to head her organization until age 100, gave her last news conference at 104 and died at 108. She was the holder of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and namesake of a national wilderness area (a distinction belonging to only 15 individuals).

If Douglas were alive today and asked to issue a report card on America’s stewardship of the Everglades, the grades would be disappointing. She would praise the state for allocating $2 billion over the past seven years for restoration, much of it going toward the purchase of sensitive land and the partial restoration of the Kissimmee River. But she would penalize the Legislature for postponing pollution limits to the benefit of the sugar industry. Various agencies would earn good marks for giving battle against the diaspora of invasive plants, but to aficionados who release exotic reptiles upon the beleaguered wetlands and to growth merchants who inch development’s rim deeper into it, she would react with schoolmarm reproach.

She would place primary fault for a poor overall grade with the executive branch of the federal government. With President Bush’s recent veto of long-delayed restoration funding — which Congress voted to override — and his Interior Department’s removal of the Everglades from the U.N.’s list of endangered World Heritage sites, one can imagine her retrieving words she intoned against President Reagan’s indifference in the 1980s. He “set us back 50 years . . . I don’t think he gives a damn about the environment.”

But one should be clear: Bush has resisted funding a project she would dislike herself, one with a familiar and ominous boast in its name: ”comprehensive.” Passed by Congress to bipartisan fanfare 20 months after her death, the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan drew a strong rebuke from Friends of the Everglades and the Sierra Club. Both declared it a massive water-management project that awards resource priorities to agriculture and bloated municipalities over the Everglades ecosystem. Restoration thus far has largely centered around the expansion of water-conservation areas, or so-called filtering swamps, and to date they have spurred the growth of native vegetation and the return of animal life.

Douglas, however, never liked conservation areas because they represent a commercial resource for agriculture and developers and they allow bureaucrats to shift water about the Everglades at will. When flooded to keep farms dry and to store water for later use, the conservation areas potentially destroy habitat, alter the breeding capacity of fickle wading birds and drown animals. The plan also allows the perpetuation of the Everglades Agricultural Area, a colossal obstruction in the ecosystem’s natural water flow. The Everglades could not be the River of Grass, she would argue (and did), as long as the hindrance of farming remained. Finally, leaving the Corps — destroyers not restorers — to implement the plan would provoke from her apocalyptic comparisons to the fox’s charge of the hen house.

Sustenance for aquifer

For Douglas, repair — fixing the Kissimmee River, removing the levees, moving out agriculture and the Corps — meant not only the renewed vigor of the River of Grass but plentiful sustenance for the Biscayne Aquifer, the principal drinking-water source for the region’s people.

Douglas was an environmentalist because she was a humanitarian. She valued plants and animals no more nor less than humans. Protecting one over the other was at odds with the great web of life itself. Protecting the whole was the right thing to do. Douglas did a lot of right things in her life, but none so abiding as to write a book 60 years ago that bears lessons for today.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Watch UF Professor Jack E. Davis on Everglades National Park

Click on green link above.

Time to Raise Taxes on the Idle Rich and Large Corporations

Letter: Raise tax rates on incomes over $250K

Posted: May 15, 2011 - 11:47pm

Editor: Common sense tells me that the more income you have, the faster you pay off your debts. Raising taxes on those making over $250,000 a year is logical. Those who say it would hurt the economy dismiss the fact that the majority of the wealthy contribute nothing to the economy. Do the names LeBron James, Alex Rodriguez, Tom Brady and their ilk ring a bell? How about Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lopez, Kevin Costner,etc.? How many more people, occupations or professions can you think of?

As to small business, most do not earn $250,000 per year. If they did the big banks would loan them the money to expand. Instead of outsourcing jobs, I'd give a tax break for each person a company employed. They, in turn, would be off the unemployment rolls, earning an income and paying taxes.

A win/win situation. Congress should start doing what is best for the country and not what is best for their party or themselves. Let's raise the taxes on those earning more than $250,000. Get rid of the loopholes in the tax codes that benefit Big Business. Let's cut out subsidies for those companies that earn billions in profits. Robbin Hoodlum took from the poor and gave to the rich. Let's cut down on government spending, but be rational about doing it. I am not an economist and would welcome ideas from other concerned citizens

A Sense of Place I: Civil Rights Museum, National Park and Seashore Coming to St. Augustine, Florida




DARON DEAN/St. Augustine Record



I am prouder than ever to live in St. Augustine, Florida, which now has a Civil Rights Foot Soldiers Monument, will soon have a memorial to Rev. Andrew Young, and will in the next few years have a National Civil Rights Museum, which will become a part of the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore.

Retired University of Florida Professor Ari Lamme writes in his 1989 book, America’s Historic Landscapes, that “human beings have an emotional need to establish an emotional relationship with landscapes,” citing J.B. Jackson.

Lamme writes:

Why has St. Augustine failed to develop appropriately as a historic site? Leaders from all interested constituencies – government at different levels, preservation experts, plus local citizens and business people – were unable to agree on a workable historic landscape compromise. Immediate return on commercial investment seemed more attractive than projected return on more consistent historic landscape interpretation.

….. There is some reason to hope for improvement. Some have claimed that St. Augustine failed to develop a better interpretive program in the past because this was not an Anglo-Ameircan historic townscape. Today a sizeable and growing Hispanic population in the United States, and particularly in South Florida, may rightly demand that this place, with its important vestiges of Spanish colonial heritage, be something more than an above-average tourist trap. There are, after all rights for all Americans to experience authentic, historic landscapes associated with their heritage. Political pressure in the future should promote the continued improvement in St. Augustine’s landscape.

May 14, 2011 (Saturday afternoon and early evening) began an epic time of healing for the City of St. Augustine, with the first of two civil rights monuments dedicated in our Slave Market Square.


An evocative monument to the Civil Rights Foot Soldiers now stands where angry mobs of bigots cheered KKK and John Birch Society thugs preaching hate against African-Americans.


“Never again,” promised St. Augustine Mayor Joseph Boles, who eloquently apologized for every single violation of human rights by every Mayor of St. Augustine, past, present and future. Mayor Boles spoke of healing and harmony, and about how St. Augustine’s National Civil Rights Museum will accurately retell our history, so that it will never be repeated, and so that everyone will know what courage was shown here and what civil rights victories were one because of the struggles here in 1963-64 .


Our City of St. Augustine was named in 1565 by the Spanish after St. Augustine of Hippo, who is sometimes erroneously referred to as “one of the three founders of the Roman Catholic Church” by licensed tour guides employed by one of the trolley trains in St. Augustine (not the classy one, but the other company).


The irony of Saint Augustine of Hippo himself being a North African man and his City (first European settlement in America) becoming what Dr. King called “the most lawless” city in America was recalled.


Speakers recalled with great eloquence were all the illegal state actions by city, county and state officials (including sheriffs and judges), including all of the illegal arrests, illegal jailings and illegal imprisonments and resulting illegal criminal records. Those criminal records were only recently expunged through the admirable efforts of State Senator Tony Hill and Governor Charles Crist.


Speakers also recounted the actions of racists tolerated by state actors -- including KKK-dominated City of St. Augustine, St. Johns County Sheriff's Department and local courts at the time. Those violent and vile actions including all of the beatings, brickbats, shootings, death threats, attempted immolation, intimidation, blacklisting in response to peaceful picketing and non-violent persuasion, aimed at ending “Jim Crow” laws, which resulted in the daily humiliation of St. Augustine’s African-American residents being forbidden to go to church, buy groceries, eat in a restaurant or go swimming with “white” people” in the ocean (yes, the ocean was segregated too). These harsh “Jim Crow” rules were enforced on pain of harsh incarceration under unjust criminal laws adopted by Florida’s legislature.


“An unjust law is no law at all,” as St. Augustine himself wrote. Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP’s lawyers, strategists and funders worked for decades to undo these unjust laws, ultimately aided by President John Kennedy and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, the Justice Department and President Lyndon Johnson.


Nowhere were unjust laws enforced with such a vengeance as in St. Augustine, Florida which led Dr. King to call it “the most lawless” city in America. This is where courageous civil rights “foot soldiers” marched into the face of their oppressors and shared the love that led Jim Crow to crumble, under the television cameras, which never blinked, showing acid poured into a swimming pool where African-Americans were swimming, people beaten for swimming in the segregated ocean at St. Augustine Beach,


St. Augustine City Commissioner Errol Jones vividly recalled growing up under Jim Crow segregation and the days of 1963-1964, when there were nightly civil rights marches to the Slave Market Square.


The keynote speaker was former St. Augustine resident Hank Thomas, one of the first thirteen freedom riders, who eloquently described Jim Crow and his role in overcoming it. Thomas spoke eloquently to his mother, who prayed for him as he was in a Greyhound bus torched by racists near Anniston, Alabama, recounting how he feared death and was ready to die of smoke inhalation as the bus was in flames – only the gas tank exploding chased away the angry mob that was ready to kill.


Thomas spoke of unity, about how African-Americans were assisted by large numbers of white people, particularly Jewish college students and other supporters. Thomas noted how two of the three civil rights workers murdered in Philadelphia, Mississippi were Jewish, and how of the first thirteen freedom riders, seven were white and four were Jewish.


Thomas spoke of universal brotherhood and about how and other African-Americans fought in wars to secure others’ freedom even when their freedom was not secured. Thomas said that if he were nineteen in 1865 or 1917 or 1941 he would have fought for his country, just as he fought in Vietnam; he also said if he were nineteen in 1948, he would have fought for Israeli independence.


Thomas mentioned the election of President Barack Obama as the inevitable result of the struggles for equal rights seen here in the City of St. Augustine.


The singing of several beautiful songs was led by Carolyn Fisher and Carrie Johnson.


Other eloquent speakers included County Commission Chairman J. Kenneth Bryan, former Mayor George Gardner and Council on Aging Executive Director Cathy Brown. The idea of the monument took root at the Council on Aging and organizational meetings were held there.


Barbara Vickers, a leader in the civil rights movement then and now, who spearheaded the drive to raise $70,000 for the monument, spoke eloquently and briefly, saying succinctly she was ready after years of work for this day that she was ready for a beer.


Historian David Nolan told the history of slave-selling in the Slave Market Square (absurdly denied by former City Attorney Geoffrey Dobson in a notorious St. Augustine Record column). David Nolan’s history gave details of slave-selling in the slave market, eliciting laughter at the local equivalent of Holocaust deniers, who would deny that any slave-selling ever occurred in the market (whose historic signage is most noted for pointing out how America’s first system of weights and measures was created their during Spanish colonial rule).


“It takes a village” to make something as wonderful as the Civil Rights Foot Soldiers Monument to take place. Indeed, as playwright Tony Kushner’s words, in Angels in America, “only in politics does the miraculous occur.”


In December 2005, some 75 people turned up at the St. Augustine City Commission to request permission to put a monument in the square. The City staff had told the 40th Accord civil rights group that there would never be a civil rights monument there, and that such monuments were limited to colonial history (even though there are memorials to Confederate and later soldiers).


City Commissioners righteously overruled our misguided, then-City Manager William B. Harriss, allowing construction of the monument in the Slave Market Square (but adopting Harriss’ crabbed and crabby requirement that there be public fundraising for the monument, and no city funds).


In the end, under new management (City Manager John Regan) our City of St. Augustine did pay for construction of the sculpture’s base. Our City hosted a fine celebration, a day of healing in St. Augustine, Florida – a long time coming, and something of which we are all justly proud as Americans and St. Augustinians.


Other major donors and fundraisers included Nena Vreeland, Barbara Allen and Phil McDaniel, who helped bring about the full funding required for sculptor Brian Owens to take his inspiration into metallic reality.


The monument shows four heroic busts of civil rights workers, three African-Americans and one white college student, against a bas relief background of civil rights marchers and the Slave Market Square.


As Ronald Reagan would say, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”


I reckon that St. Augustine will soon be the center of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. There will be a large, world-class Civil Rights Museum here, telling the arc of our story, including the first slaves brought to what is now the United States of America (on September 8, 1565, the day St. Augustine was founded); the establishment of the first free black settlement in America (1740 at Fort Mose); hundreds of Menorcan indentured servants heroic trek from New Smyrna Beach, voting with their feet in 1777; the end of slavery; Jim Crow segregation and the end of Jim Crow segregation, brought about when President Lyndon B. Johnson broke a Senate filibuster based upon what happened here in St. Augustine, brought to us by the courageous people of St. Augustine (inspired by what the KKK and its sympathizers still call “outside agitators,” e.g., Nobel Prize laureate Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Andrew Young and Rev. Ralph David Abernathy).


We have every right to expect that the St. Augustine Civil Rights Museum will eventually become a part of the St. Augustine National Historical Park, National Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway. http://www.staugustgreen.com/


“Home is the place where, when you go there, they have to let you in,” to paraphrase the poet Robert Frost.


For centuries, St. Augustine treated African-Americans unjustly here in their own homes, despite that African-Americans were here on the first day our City was founded (September 8, 1565).


European colonial powers and successive American territorial and Florida state governments were guilty of first enslaving African-Americans with chattel slavery, then writing “unjust laws” to perpetuate slavery (as St. Augustine would call them).


The Civil War and the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution ended chattel slavery (as well as indentured servitude, of which the Menorcan people were victims, voting with their feet and fleeing to the City of St. Augustine).


White people then enslaved After passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, African-American people again with yet another web of “unjust laws,” Jim Crow segregation. In many ways, Saturday was a homecoming for St. Augustine’s African-American people, who are finally being treated as first-class citizens by the government of the City of St. Augustine.


African-American people here helped to change the law to where they are now welcome here in their own home, St. Augustine, Florida where once they were banned from housing, public accommodations and employment by an evil set of written laws written by the Florida legislature (Jim Crow segregation). In Jim Crow Guide to the USA, a book that first published in France by Jean Paul Sartre, the scope and methods of Jim Crow segregation were well documented by our local civil rights hero, author Stetson Kennedy, 94, who proudly watched along with his wife, Sandra Parks. Kennedy was arrested here in 1952 when he was running on an anti-segregationist ticket for United States Senator.


Were it not for the struggles here, women, other minorities and Gay and Lesbian people would not have equal rights in this country. The 1964 Civil Rights Act protects not only African-Americans, but also prohibits discrimination against women and against other ethnic minorities and also outlaws discrimination on the basis of their religion or irreligion. Inspired by the Civil Rights laws, Gay activists have won victories from sea to shining sea. It all started here, in St. Augustine, Florida.


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


Now there is a fitting permanent monument in the civil rights foot soldiers’ honor – respecting African-Americans at last here in their home of St. Augustine, Florida. When the Civil Rights Foot Soldiers Monument dedication was over, we all joined hands and sang, “We Shall Overcome.”


And we have!


Meanwhile, racists from the “League of the South” (a hate group listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center) published a screed in local right-wingers’ deceptively named website, Historic City News, on December 30, 2010, urging that Florida secede from the Union, while defending slavery as good for African-American people. That hate speech was published by none other than failed City Commission candidate MICHAEL GOLD f/k/a “MICHAEL TOBIN,” who operates racist, homophobic websites (shamefulpeople.com and plazabum.com).


GOLD was at the event on Saturday, writing a trite story with his own name in the lede, here – GOLD was often glowering during the dedication, for hours using a large long lens to take photos of everyone and everything, posting some of the photos on his Historic City News hate website, which recently printed his hate speech directed against Andrew Young’s monument. Yes, GOLD wrote another hate screed lambasting the City (and Rev. Andrew Young) over the Andrew Young memorial, mocking and trivializing the history and the courage of Rev. Young and the other people who struggled (and bled) to secure our civil rights here.


Pray for the soul of MICHAEL GOLD -- as Adlai Stevenson once said (upon being spat upon by a Dallas mob in October 1963), "I believe in the forgiveness of sin and the redemption of ignorance."


Our City of St. Augustine will dedicate the Andrew Young monument on June 11, 2011 – the healing power is enormous and well worth the miniscule cost ($5000) which is de micromis (a microscopic amount, much smaller than “de minimis”).


The Gospel of Matthew says, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”


As it says in Ecclesiastes, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”


This is our City of St. Augustine’s (and our Nation’s) “time to heal,” starting with the National Civil Rights Museum and St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore. http://www.staugustgreen.com/

Racists once said African-Americans and liberals "did not know their place." This is our place and our time and our town, and we're going to reconcile diverse people for the betterment of everyone, working toward John Winthrop's goal of America as "a shining city on a hill."

What do y'all reckon?