Sunday, February 23, 2014

495th birthday of Pedro Menendez de Aviles, the self-confessed murderer who founded the City of St. Augustine in 1565

No other city in America has anything quite like it. Last night was the Noche de Gala, a formal dinner-dance held at the City's Lightner Museum and City Hall.
At the Noche de Gala, in celebration of the birth of Pedro Menendez de Aviles, the 1% celebrate the birth of the man who founded St. Augustine, Florida, our Nation's Oldest European-founded City.
Pedro Menendez, for whom a St. Johns County high school is named, ordered murders.
Florida's first Governor ordered murders, which included the 1566 murder of a Gay French translator of the Guale Indian language. As dutifully recordeed by the brother-in-law of Pedro Menendez de Aviles the order was to kill the man, without trial, by garroting, away from the town where he lived, because Menendez said he was a "Sodomite and a Lutheran."
No trial.
Florida's first Spanish Governor was a murderer.
That particular murder, and the rest of our St. Augustine GLBT history, helped inspire local Gay rights groups to win a federal court precedent providing for flying Rainbow flags on the Bridge of Lions from June 8-13, 2005.
Perhaps Pedro Menndez' bloodthirstiness and the annual fetish-celebration of his birthday, make some of the celebrants a bit insensitive to the blood on certain current public officials' hands.
In particular, I mean to single out St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID SHOAR, Medical Examiner PREDRAG BULIC and States' Attorneys RALPH JOSEPH LARIZZA and BRADLEY KING).
Not one (1) current political, religious, business or journalistic leader in St. Augustine or St. Johns County has said one word about the need for a federal investigation into the shooting death of Michelle O'Connell and sequlae.
Not one (1) has questioned the insolent, inept, maladroit, illegal and insensitive response to the victim's family's demand for justice.

Only former County Commission Chairman Ben Rich was bold enough to send a letter to the St. Augustine Record.
Ben Rich is a mensch. He cares about people.
The current St. Johns County Commissioners -- including some in attendance last night at the Noche de Gala -- have relied on their right to remain silent, their First and Fifth Amendment rights to say and do nothing.
They should all hang their heads in shame.
That includes all five St. Johns County Commissioners.
They have control over the Sheriff's budget.
He owns them.
He is the political boss.
What's murder among friends, they must think.
Blood is on their hands.
Michelle O'Connell's blood, in particular.
Their corruption empowered the coverup.
Tour guides here have been saying for years that "if you want to get away with murder, do it in St. Augustine," harkening back to the events here in 1566 and 1777
Those who danced the night away in honor of a self-confessed murderer last night need to wake up to what their insouciant lifestyle here has brought.
Corruption in St. Johns County has brought us an unsolved shooting death of a deputy's girlfriend, a 3.5 year coverup, and a little seven year old girl who has spent the last four (4) Christmases without her mother, and without adequate answers.
We expect better from our leaders.
For a good time, go look at the photographs of the Noche de Gala people wearng formal attire, on the St. Augustine Record website -- city commissioners, managers, business leaders, investors, contractors and their entourage.
Do they look worried about the future?
They should be.
Sheriff DAVID SHOAR's day of reckoning is near.
He must answer to federal authorities.
I reckon that Anderson Cooper and the Cable News Network (CNN) will weigh in soon on the O'Connell case, as will others in the wake of The New York Times' investigation, "Two Gunshots on a Summer Night" and the PBS/Frontline episode, "A Death in St. Augustine."
Of course, the death was actually in southern St. Johns County, but Sheriff SHOAR was once the Police Chief in St. Augusitne, and our former St. Augusitne City Manager, WILLIAM B. HARRISS (a/k/a "WILL HARASS" helped make him Sheriff, and now is on the Sheriff's payroll, with a gun, a badge a car, running the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office Four Star Association, Inc. and doling out money with the Sheriff's 501(c)(3) foundation "funny money." I bet St. Augustine Beach City Commissioners are glad they didn't turn over their police department to the Sheriff last year, as planned retaliation for officers' First Amendment protected activity.
No one in St. Johns County thinks Michelle O'Connell committed suicide.
Justice for Michelle O'Connell.

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