Monday, June 30, 2014

Waiting for Decency

Awaiting answers and news coverage on our City of St. Augustine, Florida's Mayor's and ex-Mayor's $1332.21/month sweetheart contract for rental from the City of St. Augustine of 81 St. George Street (Florida Cracker Cafe and Savannah Sweets). Lease expires on July 25, 2014. Next City Commission meeting is July 14, 2014. In the immortal words of the late Alabama Governor "Kissin' Jim" Folsom, "There's nothin' louder than the sound of a hog being pulled off a tit." Let freedom ring. Let the Mayor follow my Irish grandmother's advice and kindly "drop the oyster and leave the wharf" after 25 years of a no-bid subsidy from every resident and tourist.

Why are WFOY and WFOY-FM Still Foisting Off Hate Radio on St. Augustine, Florida? No imagination.

Hobby Lobby Emotionalism on Both Sides

The decision only applies to closely held corporations -- mostly very small mom and pop businesses, other than this Hobby Lobby.
As a matter of First Amendment, statutory construction and corporate law, it may be correct, although I can understand the passion of both the dissent and the critics.
Great that we debate these issues in America, and that they are closely watched, constantly litigated, and carefully, even lovingly decided.
The justices who agree with you today may grow to disagree on another issue, even a similar issue. Compare Hardwick v. Bowers with Lawrence v. Texas.
I'd rather live here than in so many other countries, where there is no independent judiciary, no lifetime tenure for judges, no free speech, no freedom of religion and no free press. God bless America!
No, I do not intend to boycott Hobby Lobby. Never shopped there anyway. Why would anyone boycott a store for winning a religious freedom decision from SCOTUS? Too much anger on this one -- as they say on Cape Cod, "some people make their own bad weather."
Majority opinion leaves 16 of 20 FDA approved contraception methods available to Hobby Lobby employees. The four it objected to are described in the opinion. There is less to this decision than some liberal groups would have us believe. Indignation may be undeserved and undesired -- shedding more heat than light.
It seems both sides had written their indignation/victory statements before the decision was issued, and did not possibly have time to read/absorb/think before issuing their ukases/eulogies/ululations. How trite on both "sides." Someone with a funny name (Reince Preibus, RNC Chair) was one of the first, doing the political equivalent of a football end zone ball spiking about his pathetic putrid political party's putative "victory." In fact, this decision probably brings us closer to single payor health insurance -- Medicare for all! Bring it on! Thank you, GOP, for this day.

DC Tour Guide Exam Requirement Held Unconstitutional
What do y'all reckon?

Transformative leader?

When I applied to the University of Florida Levin School of Law Environmental and Land Use Planning Law (ELUPL) program five times, commencing in 2010, I thought a UF LL.M. would help to make me a "transformative leader." No interview, no meeting, no answers, despite nearly 50 letters of recommendation from law professors, retired judges, activists, former clients, journalists, community leaders, retired judges who are former clients, etc. Apparently, I am just too old, too Gay and too pro-environmental to be admitted to the program. That is why the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights will investigate UF for pattern and practice age, disability and retirement discrimination. We shall overcome!

University of Florida Independent Alligator: University of Florida President BERNARD MACHEN "accused of racism, homophobia in UF law dean search"

Machen accused of racism, homophobia in UF law dean search

Beatrice Dupuy, Alligator Staff Writer | Posted 3 months ago

An anonymous letter names homophobia and racism as factors in UF President Bernie Machen’s controversial decision to end the search for a new Levin College of Law dean.

The letter was addressed to Machen, Provost Joe Glover, Director of Employee Relations Kim Czaplewski, Gainesville Sun reporter Jeff Schweers and the Alligator. It states “the students and faculty are very upset about the continued perception of racism and homophobia at the College of Law.”

Although the letter was unsigned, some faculty, staff and students have expressed similar sentiments.

In a private meeting for faculty and staff on Tuesday, Machen addressed concerns about diversity in the dean search.

The finalists from the search were black University of Kentucky College of Law dean David Brennen, openly gay former U.S. ambassador David Huebner and Georgia State University College of Law professor Samuel Donaldson.

UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes said Machen responded to outside views that his decision not to select any of the deans “might be seen as a racist or homophobic.”

“He made his decision based on that he did not believe that the transformative leader was in the pool of candidates,” she said.

For Matthew Christ, a 24-year-old second-year UF law student, the three candidates met Machen’s qualifications for a transformative dean. Christ said Machen should have a meeting with students and explain his definition of “transformative.”

“What is transformative if both of these candidates transformed the institutions they’ve been involved with?” he said.

By not selecting a dean, Machen will have to temporarily place an interim dean once current dean Bob Jerry leaves his post in June.

Machen has proposed UF law professor George Dawson as interim dean.

Jeffrey Harrison, a UF law professor, said faculty members feel Machen did not consider diversity the defining factor in his decision-making.

“I just think he honestly believed these three candidates were not what we needed regardless of diversity,” Harrison said.

After paying a Los Angeles firm $90,000 to narrow down applications to a pool of 24 candidates, three were left for Machen and the Provost to chose from.

Darren Hutchinson, a UF law professor, wrote in an email that Machen’s decision to not select one of the more diverse candidates in the search will stunt the growth of the law school.

“President Machen gave up a perfect opportunity to move the University of Florida beyond its history of racism and homophobia,” Hutchinson said. “Most of the highly regarded public law schools have hired women or minority deans. Doing so signals openness and growth. Rejecting talented and overwhelmingly favorable candidates who could expand diversity signals stagnation and exclusion.”

In the near future, another search will be held to find the new dean.

But with Machen soon to leave his position as president, law professor Pedro Malavet said he is hoping Machen does not stick around for the second search.

“We sent him a list of three candidates, and he chose to completely ignore us,” he said. “He decided to not consider them at all, and in process of that rejection, he sent a message that we as an institution are not prepared for diversity.”

[A version of this story ran on page 1 on 3/20/2014 under the headline "Machen accused of dean-search racism, homophobia"]

Newspapers or Press Release Organs?

Tomorrow's St. Augustine Record (and today's Record online) finally carries the news we shared with you last week -- Carlos Eduardo Mendoza was confirmed as a U.S. District Court Judge by the U.S. Senate last week by vote of 94-0. The story, like that in Historic City News, was based on a press release, with no original reporting.
Omitted from the Record's and Historic City News' website stories was any mention that Senate Republicans blocked the nomination, requiring cloture to be invoked by vote of 53-31. We brought you the news. Six days ago. Gang Journalists did not. Why?

You tell me.

University of Prejudice

University of Florida (UF) Levin College of Law ELUPL has been avoiding and evading admitting me, meeting with me, answering questions or providing meaningful documents since 2010. Anyone who knows me knows I am persistent, trained as a diplomat by Jesuit-inspired Georgetown University, and "won't take 'no' for an answer."
Looking forward to the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights investigating, and perhaps bringing a class action, pattern and practice age discrimination against UF and its graduate schools for pervasive discrimination against seniors. This is a state university in Florida, where millions of seniors retire. At 57, I am not "too old" to learn and earn an advanced degree.
UF should not conduct itself as if it were a "Youth Ghetto," where experienced people are unwelcome and laughed at -- as Ms. Sikes laughed at me. Enough flummery, dupery and nincompoopery from UF, its Levin College of Law, and its Environmental and Land Use Planning Law (ELUPL) program. I have nearly 50 letters of recommendation from retired judges, law professors, public officials, journalists, former clients (and even retired judges who are former clients).
UF only admits young people to its ELUPL graduate program, and they typically go to work for Establishment employers like the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Akerman Senterfitt --- not the most environmentally-friendly employers! I have requested a graduate fellowship to work on the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore legislation.
As an environmental activist and former whistleblower lawyer I am evidently unwelcome, and to be treated diffidently and disrespectfully by UF, apparently because I am "too old."
We shall overcome!

University of Florida Levin College of Law Environmental and Land Use Planning Law (ELUPL) -- Age Discrimination and Retaliation Coverup Continues

At UF, a public relations person, Assistant Vice President JANINE SIKES, just interrupted her vacation to get on her Blackberry and emit illegal orders to a UF lawyer (AMY HAAS) to coverup my simple request of June 16, 2014 for the ages of applicants, admittees and graduates to the UF Environmental and Use Planning Law (ELUPL) program.
See JANINE SIKES' 11:47 AM E-mail, stating inter alia, "Amy: will you respond that we are not required to compile statistical information for him? Otherwise, it will have to wait until I get back next week. Janine

Since when do PR flaks give orders to lawyers to stiff our Florida Open Records law requests?
UF's legendary constitutional law professor Joe Little drafted -- and 3.8 million Floridians adopted -- Article I, Section 24 of our Florida Constitution in 1992 -- our Sunshine and Open Records laws. That was 83%. We, the People, have spoken -- it is constitutional law.
UF and JANINE SIKES brandish contempt for those constitutional rights.
UF presumes to order a lawyer to violate the law. Why?
UF reckons itself above the law.
UF is a liberal state university whose right-wing president, BERNARD MACHEN, publicly endorsed JOHN McCAIN for President in 2008.
UF is a place that refused to admit African-Americans to law and other graduate programs until after lengthy litigation.
UF is a place where age, race and gender discrimination is allegedly rampant.
UF needs to produce the age data that I requested.
No more flummery, dupery and nincompoopery is either desired or required.
The United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights will investigate UF.
Yes we can!
We shall overcome!
From: easlavin
To: jysikes ; flournoy ; jerryr ; machen
Sent: Mon, Jun 30, 2014 12:04 pm
Subject: Re: UF Levin College of Law Environmental and Land Use Planning (ELUPL) LLM program discriminates against older applicants and retaliates against protected activity

Dear Janine:
1. Respondent UF's Levin College of Law Environmental and Land Use Planning Law (ELUPL) program has the statistics. You are wrong. It won't wait. I have already waited a fortnight. Enough flummery and dupery from UF, please. UF is a land grant institution and federally-funded. Its age discrimination and retaliation is a serious matter. Attempting to deny me student age statistics is so inculpatory.
2. The whole world is watching. How would your E-mail look in The New York Times?
3. Thanks for copying everyone on your E-mail -- it speaks volumes about UF's coverup and retaliatory, discriminatory animus.
4. Enjoy your vacation. I look forward to meeting with you, the Deans and President Machen to resolve this discrimination case.
Thank you again.
WIth kindest regards,
Ed Slavin

-----Original Message-----
From: Sikes, Janine
To: easlavin ; Flournoy,Alyson Craig ; Jerry,Robert H ; machen
Sent: Mon, Jun 30, 2014 11:47 am
Subject: Re: UF Levin College of Law Environmental and Land Use Planning (ELUPL) LLM program discriminates against older applicants and retaliates against protected activity

Amy: will you respond that we are not required to compile statistical information for him? Otherwise, it will have to wait until I get back next week. Janine

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

Sent: Monday, June 30, 2014 10:41 AM
To: Sikes, Janine; Flournoy,Alyson Craig; Jerry,Robert H; machen@UFL.EDU
Subject: Re: UF Levin College of Law Environmental and Land Use Planning (ELUPL) LLM program discriminates against older applicants and retaliates against protected activity

Dear Dean Flournoy, Dean Jerry, President Machen and Ms. Sikes:
1. I have still not received any statistical information on age of ELUPL graduates, which I requested on June 16, 2014. Why?
2. Please send all statistical data on age of ELUPL graduates, my application file (including all of the nearly 50 letters of recommendation and my published writing samples and essays), and documents on UF losing letters and on any UF investigation of my civil rights concerns today, to:
Ms. Jammie Randolph
Senior Investigator
U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
61 Forsyth Street, Suite 19T10
Atlanta, Georgia 30303,
(404) 974-9399 – Direct Line
(404) 974-9471 - Fax
3. Please send me a paper or electronic copy of what you send to the Department of Education Office of Civil RIghts.
Thank you.
We shall overcome.
Thank you.
WIth kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

-----Original Message-----
From: easlavin
To: jysikes ; flournoy ; jerryr ; machen
Sent: Wed, Jun 25, 2014 4:45 pm
Subject: Re: UF Levin College of Law Environmental and Land Use Planning (ELUPL) LLM program discriminates against older applicants and retaliates against protected activity

Dear Ms. Sikes, Dean Flournoy, Dean Jerry and President Machen:
1. What is total number of ELUPL LLM graduates?
2. How many were 40 years of age or older?
3. Zero, right?
4. Is that so hard to answer?
5. I am glad Ms. Sikes gets to laugh at this -- because UF Levin College of Law won't pass the laugh test or the smell test.
6. This is age discrimination and retaliation.
We shall overcome.
Thank you.
WIth kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

-----Original Message-----
From: easlavin
To: jysikes ; flournoy ; jerryr ; machen
Sent: Tue, Jun 24, 2014 4:39 pm
Subject: UF College of Law Environmental and Land Use Planning (ELUPL) LLM program discriminates against older applicants and retaliates against protected activity

Dear Ms. Sikes, Dean Flournoy, Dean Jerry and President Machen:
1. Each application contains a birthdate.
2. Each applicant provides a c.v.
3. UF has the data. UF ignored my request for a week. Then UF made a knowing material false statement that it does not have the data on LL.M. graduates' ages.
4. It is a simple request. Please respond with data today.
5. Derision and denial are unhelpful. Ms. Sikes, your rudely laughing at me twice on the telephone this morning -- and UF evading and evading this simple request -- is pregnant with the admission that older applicants are not welcome at the University of Florida Levin College of Law.
6. There is a prima facie case of age discrimination by the Levin College of Law, based upon statistical evidence gleaned from the photographs and biographies of your graduates. Yet you adamantly refuse to provide those statistics because they would be helpful to me. Your protestations about not having the data are, at best, facetious. They are an admission of guilt.
7. Please cease and desist from further avoidance, evasion, disrespect, retaliation and discrimination.
8. Will UF agree to an interview?
9. Will UF agree to open records mediation by the State Attorney General's office?
10. I am still waiting for retiring UF President Machen and retiring Law School Dean Jerry to respond to my May 15, 2014 E-mail on your UF mailroom losing letters of recommendation, including those from New York Times Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Walt Bogdanich, who sent an original and two copies by regular mail, which disappeared. The lack of interest by Dean Jerry and President Machen and their offices speaks volumes -- UF is insouciant about violations of my civil rights. UF does not give a fig that several letters of recommendation were lost over the years. For a publicly funded land grant university to act this way is a stench in the nostrils of the Nation.
11. The U.S. Department of Education has my June 21, 2014 age and disability discrimination and retaliation complaint and will be in contact with you soon.
Thank you.
WIth kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

-----Original Message-----
From: Sikes, Janine
To: Ed Slavin
Sent: Tue, Jun 24, 2014 4:02 pm
Subject: RE: UF ELUPL LLM program -- ages of the applicants, admittees and some 20 graduates since program was founded circa 2008

Mr. Slavin:

As I mentioned before, there are no college records responsive to your request. Institutional Research compiles universitywide age data which can be found in Table I-5 here:


Janine Sikes
Assistant Vice President
Media Relations and Public Affairs
University of Florida
Office: 352-846-3903
Cell: 352-214-6807

From: Ed Slavin []
Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 1:50 PM
Cc: Sikes, Janine; @ UR Public Record Requests; Hass,Amy Meyers; Flournoy,Alyson Craig; Klein,Christine Ann;;
Subject: Re: UF ELUPL LLM program -- ages of the applicants, admittees and some 20 graduates since program was founded circa 2008

You provide demographic data to US Department of Education, correct?

Sent from my iPhone

On Jun 24, 2014, at 10:38 AM, wrote:
Dear Ms. Sikes:
Your laughter on the telephone is neither responsive nor respectful. Please have the General Counsel's office call me concerning your attempt to avoid and evade this simple request, and about the lack of any response concerning loss of letters from New York Times reporter Walt Bogdanich, et al.
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

-----Original Message-----
From: Sikes, Janine
To: easlavin
Sent: Tue, Jun 24, 2014 9:38 am
Subject: FW: UF ELUPL LLM program -- ages of the applicants, admittees and some 20 graduates since program was founded circa 2008
Dear Mr. Slavin:

Your public records request was forwarded to me for handling. The college does not track or compile that information and therefore there is no record responsive to your request.

Janine Sikes
Assistant Vice President
Media Relations and Public Affairs
University of Florida
Office: 352-846-3903
Cell: 352-214-6807

From: []
Sent: Monday, June 16, 2014 1:40 PM
To: Klein,Christine Ann
Subject: UF ELUPL LLM program -- ages of the applicants, admittees and some 20 graduates since program was founded circa 2008
Please send data. Thank you.

$1332.21/month sweetheart lease for 81 St. George Street

Still waiting on Mayor BOLES and ex-Mayor WEEKs to share their sublease(s), which will reveal how much profit they make each month from their sweetheart lease deal, up for renewal for another five years on July 25, 2014. It's our money.

The City of St. Augustine needs to request a copy of the sublease. Now.


From: easlavin
To: mayorboles ; lweeks
Sent: Mon, Jun 30, 2014 11:16 am
Subject: Re: 81 St. George Street subleases -- please provide copies in preparation for public hearing

Please respond. Thank you.

-----Original Message-----
From: easlavin
To: mayorboles ; lweeks
Sent: Sun, Jun 15, 2014 12:50 pm
Subject: Re: 81 St. George Street subleases -- please provide copies in preparation for public hearing
Dear Messrs Boles and Weeks:
1. Please send me a copy of your sublease agreements for 81 St. George Street.
2. Will you agree to pay fair market rent as a condition of any lease renewal?
Thank you
With kindest regards,
Ed Slavin

Saturday, June 28, 2014

We shall overcome!

I have now lived in three civil rights battlegrounds in my life -- Clinton, Tenn., Memphis, Tenn. and St. Augustine, Florida. The first and last I had no idea were civil rights battlegrounds till after moving in. Memphis I knew was a civil rights battleground before moving there for law school.
Taking the 50 bus from Memphis State to downtown twice a week as a second and third year law student, I passed the Lorraine Motel, which was then abandoned. Who would have thought that it would rise, like a phoenix from the ashes, into such a wonderful civil rights museum! One of my law professors, later Judge, D'Army Bailey, et al deserve great admiration. We hope to have something like that here in St. Augustine, FLorida eventually.
Next week, on July 2, 2014, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, made possible by activists here, and supporters from everywhere, including the six of sixteen rabbis arrested here with MLK in 1964 who visited here last week. We shall overcome!

Friday, June 27, 2014

IN HAEC VERBA: This just in -- City of St. Augustine Public Affairs Director Issues Press Release Four (4) Days Late

This was four days ago.
Like a herd of turtles.

On Jun 27, 2014, at 3:58 PM, Paul Williamson wrote:

June 27, 2014
City Commission approves funding and plan for Visioning 2014 & Beyond
The St. Augustine City Commission voted unanimously last Monday, June 23, to accept the recommendation of the Visioning 2014 & Beyond steering committee to accept the plan and fees proposed by Herb Marlowe of Analytica, the committee’s facilitator, for the completion of the visioning initiative.
The next step will be for Marlowe to meet with city staff and outline a work plan and calendar since the remainder of the visioning initiative is expected to take several months. Discussions will also include specific areas of responsibility for Analytica, the committee and city staff. Until the work schedule is developed, no meeting date may be set for Marlowe to meet and start work with the steering committee, but it is expected before the end of July and, once the process starts it is expected to move at an aggressive pace with many opportunities for public participation.
The portion of Monday’s City Commission meeting regarding the proposal may be seen by clicking here.
The accepted proposal and fee schedule are available by clicking here.
For additional background information on Visioning 2014 & Beyond visit, and to receive regular email updates on the activities of the initiative, send a request to
Department of Public Affairs / City of St. Augustine
P. O. Box 210 / St. Augustine, FL 32085-0210
P: 904.825.1004 / F: 904.825.1096
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
You have received this email because of your request to receive information regarding the City of St. Augustine’s visioning initiative. If you no longer wish to receive this information, please reply to with REMOVE FROM VISION LIST in the subject line.

Action News Jacksonille: Michelle O'Connell Family Asks for Autopsy, Inquest

Posted: 5:20 p.m. Thursday, June 26, 2014
Michelle O'Connell's family wants coroner's inquest

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — The family of a woman found dead inside a St. Johns deputy's home is requesting the state perform an autopsy.
Michelle O' Connell was found dead inside her deputy boyfriend's home in St. Johns County back in 2010. Investigators say O' Connell used her boyfriend's service revolver to commit suicide.
However, her family believes her boyfriend killed her.
They created an online petition that calls on Gov. Rick Scott to open a coroner's inquest into her death.
- See more at:

IN HAEC VERBA: 81 St George Street Lease to Mayor and Ex-Mayor of the City of St. Augustine at Below-Market Rates -- NOTE TO COMMISSIONERS AND STAFF

What is status, please? Has Mayor Boles recused himself yet? Is cancellation of lease and conflict of interest on the agenda for July 14, 2014 meeting yet? Please send latest documents. Thank you.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Saving St. Augustine, Florida

Guest column: The Bohemians have won
St. Augustine Record
Posted: May 3, 2014 - 12:01am
St. Augustine
Nine years ago, on April 11, 2005, I spoke for the very first time to the St. Augustine City Commission, talking about civil rights concerns. Then-City Manager William B. Harriss spoke to me after the meeting, saying “I could have you arrested for disorderly conduct!”
Mr. Harriss is gone, replaced by new, enlightened management, John Regan. But Mr. Harriss’ words inspired activists to organize.
There have been a few victories:
1. Cleanup of city’s illegal dumping of 40,000 cubic yards of contaminated solid waste in the Old City Reservoir by consent decree.
2. Cleanup of city’s former contaminated landfill at the end of Riberia Street, by consent decree.
3. Cleanup of city’s sewage dumping in saltwater marsh at south end of Lincolnville, by consent decree.
4. Proper paving of Riberia Street for the first time in St. Augustine history.
5. Shutdown/prosecution of M&M Market at 102 Bridge Street (regional crack cocaine market).
6. Protection of neighborhoods from tree-killing, wetland-destroying developers.
7. Two civil rights monuments in our Slave Market Square.
8. The city’s “Journey” African-American history VIC exhibit.
9. Rainbow flags on Bridge of Lions, by federal court order, vindicating the First Amendment and Equal Protection.
10. Protection of visual artists, by federal court order, vindicating First Amendment rights.
11. Adding “sexual orientation” as protected class in St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach Fair Housing ordinances.
12. Employment nondiscrimination ordinance for both government and private employment in St. Augustine Beach.
13. Equal pension benefits for survivors of gay and lesbian St. Augustine retired employees.
14. Disapproval of inappropriate building across from St. Augustine Cathedral Basilica.
15. Protection of two historic neighborhoods from FSDB eminent domain.
16. Rejecting 7-Eleven’s 12 gasoline pumps at May Street and San Marco.
17. Cancellation of $1.8 million no-bid mosquito control helicopter. Winning deposit refund.
18. Ending rampant sunshine and open records violations by local governments.
19. Cancellation of illegal $25,000 sunshine-violating “business” trip by four city commissioners to Spain.
20. Ending First America Foundation (given $275,000 of city funds to run 450th celebration), winning refund of most of money.
21. Defeating proposed county charter twice.
22. Halting efforts to fire St. Augustine Beach policemen and delegate law enforcement to Sheriff David Shoar.
23. Resolutions opposing offshore oil drilling by St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach.
24. Resolutions opposing offshore sonar exploration by St. Augustine, St. Augustine Beach and St. Johns County.
25. Reporting of Sheriff David Shoar’s mishandling of Michelle O’Connell shooting case by New York Times and PBS Frontline.
26. Initiation of a diverse St. Augustine “visioning” committee in the sunshine.
27. Designation of St. Augustine as a “Compassionate City,” first in Florida and 20th in the world.
28. Encouraging diversity, equality and human rights.
29. Successful federal criminal prosecution of developer for cutting down of a bald eagle nest tree.
30. Encouraging our government officials to listen and to do the right thing.
We, the people, are everywhere! Our leaders are listening, as we “force the Spring.” As the late St. Augustine City Manager, Joe Pomar, once reportedly said, “the Bohemians have won.” Here in St. Augustine, we stand up for equal rights. We take care of our own. In John Winthrop’s words, we are building a “shining city on a hill.”
During our 450th next year, we look forward to sharing St. Augustine’s history and natural beauty with Pope Francis and other visitors from around the world.
Let’s preserve and protect what we love by enacting the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore (


SAPD arrested the late artist GREG TRAVOUS (and his dog) some twelve times, illegally detaining them and then releasing them. This ends now. NEVER AGAIN!

Dear John, Timmy and Ronnie:
Please cease and desist from all arrests and intimidation of street musicians and artists. See the Supreme Court's decision today in McCullen v. Coakley.
The whole world is watching.
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

SAPD arrested the late artist GREG TRAVOUS (and his dog) some twelve times, illegally detaining them and then releasing them. This ends now. NEVER AGAIN!


Howard Henry Baker, Jr. died today.
Few people appreciated who he really was. I did.
CBS News Radio at 2 PM just called him a "Texas Republican." They were half right. He was a Tennessean. An East Tennessean. A lawyer, called "old two to ten" for his ability to win light sentences for people convicted of murder.
During the Watergate hearings, high school classmates said he reminded them of me (or I resembled him). I thought it was a compliment.
Then I read reporting by the Washington Post's Woodward & Bernstein, about how Baker helped Nixon behind the scenes.
Then I went to East Tennessee as a journalist, and saw strip mines on his land -- coal mined and burned at TVA's Kingston power plant -- destroying streams and lives. The article that I wrote has not yet been published. At age 20, the Fund for Investigative Journalism supported me, a Nashville Tennessean Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter advised me, but the full story of Baker and East Tennessee coal may await my memoirs.
Suffice it to say that Baker and his cronies benefitted from TVA coal contracts. A lot. They ripped off ratepayers to the tune of more than $300 million dollars, including coal quality fraud later confirmed by the U.S. General Accounting Office. In 1975, Ben A. Franklin reported in the New York Times that people became millionaires selling slag piles to TVA. In 1978, the plant superintendent told me TVA was obliged to use dynamite to remove slag from the boilers. This is the same plant whose liquid coal dam collapsed December 23, 2008 after decades of lax oversight (including the six days of overnight hearings chaired in 1975 by Former Senator Howard Henry Baker, Jr., which excluded testimony by Save Our Cumberland Mountains about the Kingston plant). The TVA coal waste inundated homes and destroying creeks and groundwater with 5.4 million gallons of liquid coal ash. See photos below.
One time, in Baker's Senate Republican Leader press conference, I asked Baker a long boring question about coal oligopolists turning the table on TVA coal purchasing monopsonists and electric utility monopolists. Always charming, Baker looked at me, winked and replied, "Perhaps."
He knew.
In 1977, at age 20, I had watched from the U.S. Senate staff gallery as 8Baker successfully amended the Clean Air Act to protect the pollution at TVA's power plant, and his coal contracts, without disclosing to Senators that he had an interest in the power plant's coal -- his former partners owed him $1,000,000, to be paid out of proceeds from TVA coal contracts.
TVA quickly ruled that Baker had no conflict of interest, because he had no privity of contract -- is contracts were with the mining companies, not TVA. Whitewash?
In six days of TVA oversight hearings in 1975, chaired by Baker as the TVA expert, East Tennessee environmentalists from Save Our Cumberland Mountains were the only group forbidden to testify. SOCM had WBIR-TV video of coal quality fraud, involving "layer loading" by companies mining on Baker's family land. Another whitewash?
An earlier hearing by a Tennessee Congressman saw testimony admitting that small coal operators used common sales agents to raise prices, with Rep. Joe L. Evins joking with one, "You believe in collective bargaining for your industry." Price-fixing was tolerated and testified about, with no penalty. No pain for big gains.
With Baker's influence, no fraud or antitrust indictments were ver brought against Tennessee coal operators, although the evidence supported it.
Howard Baker is the reason.
Howard Baker exemplified conflict of interest in American environmental and politics.
Howard Baker was a walking conflict of interest, albeit a very short one.
If he wasn't poking holes in the Clean Air Act, he was weakening wetland protections. His two staffers on environmental matters -- Rick Herod and Jim Range -- were from his corporate law firm, and went back there.
Howard Baker, like some of our crew of leaders in St. Augustine, Florida today, was guilty of using government as a cash register for his business -- both coal and law.
Howard Baker got away with it for eighteen years in the U.S. Senate.
Howard Baker always enjoyed good press -- he ran for President and few saw through him.
Other than United Mine Workers' Journal and reporters Robert Schackne of CBS and Jon Margolis of the Chicago Tribune, most journalists believed Howard Baker's cover story as a righteous dude. Jon Margolis wrote that Baker and other East Tennessee businessmen and politicians were in pari delicti: "They rip off taxpayers together."
Baker's flak, Ronald McMahan, said to me when I first arrived in East Tennessee investigating coal in 1978, "I KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU ARE!" Rebarbative Republican Ronald McMahan was later editor of the Knoxville Journal, where he covered Baker's assets.
As a young newspaper editor, I investigated endemic corruption, including TVA, Anderson County government and the U.S. Department of Energy, which emitted 4.2 million pounds of lethal mercury into the creeks and groundwaters and into workers' lungs and brains, without fences, warnings, respirators or decent respect for human life. Then-Rep. Albert Gore, Jr. held investigative hearings, but there was nothing from Senator Howard Henry Baker, Jr., who grew up just a few miles from Oak Ridge and long served on the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy.
After two years as editor of the Appalachian Observer, in a corrupt county in the middle of Howard Baker country, I left East Tennessee in 1983 for Memphis and went to law school. Then I served as a law clerk for the Chief Judge of the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C., and then I labored as an AFL-CIO foundation lawyer and then as a whistleblower lawyer. I learned more about Baker and his law firm.
I saw and photographed large lighted ads inside Nashville airport advertising his law firm's influence in Japan for Gibson Guitars, at a time when he was U.S. Ambassador to Japan. How louche.
Then Baker's corporate law firm, now Baker Donelson, actually sued the Department of Labor, using Department of Energy, seeking to crush and deny any whistleblower investigation to Oak Ridge physician Dr. William K. Reid, M.D., an ethical oncologist, hematologist and internal medicine physician who found high levels of heavy metals and cancers in his patients, connecting it to workplace and community exposures from polluting Oak Ridge plants. Yes, our federal government paid Baker's law firm to harass another federal agency, USDOL, in a bogus attempt to deny Dr. Reid justice. The lawsuit failed but the tactic worked, distracting our efforts with federal funds.
Howard Baker's corporate law firm client in the case in quo was Martin Marietta, later Lockheed Martin. My clients and I helped deny contract renewals by DOE to Lockheed Martin at five badly polluting and contaminated nuclear plants with 20,000 workers in three states.
At one of those Oak Ridge plants, the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Plant, the largest mercury pollution event in world history took place. Howard Baker long served on the Joint Congressional Atomic Energy Committee, but barely uttered a peep about the pollution, which our Appalachian Observer newspaper and then-Rep. Albert Gore, Jr. labored to expose. Another of those Oak Ridge plants (K-25 Gaseous Diffusion uranium enrichment plant) -- once the largest building on this planet -- has ceased to exist. It is being decontaminated, deconstructed and subsidiary, with subsidiary buildings scheduled next for d,d & d.
Then I saw my Tennessee law license suspended in 2004. A panel of the Tennessee Supreme Court's Board of Professional Responsibility found First Amendment protected activity in criticizing the Department of Labor and unfair judges. But that finding was reversed by Howard Baker's specially-appointed cousin, Judge Richard Ladd of Kingsport, Tenn., who was the son of the Anderson County, Tennessee Purchasing Director, A.B. "Blye" Ladd, who had received gifts from government contractors in violation of Tennessee law, a fact that I and my counsel had revealed in response to declaratory judgment action brought by school bus contractors trying to defend their contracts. The Tennessee Supreme Court upheld the suspension, and Judge Ladd's questioned refusal to recuse himself, even after he wrote angrily about my work as a journalist ("monsters in Oak Ridge") and filed a self-serving affidavit trying to excuse what he said from the bench and in writing. I was then disbarred two years later.
My Tennessee Bar complaint against Howard Baker and his conflicts of interest was inexplicably lost and never acted upon by the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Tennessee Supreme Court.
Howard Baker Highway survives him. A Republican lawyer once told me it was so named because "it's so crooked."
Howard Baker did not President want Ronald Reagan to say, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." Reagan said it anyway, thank God.
As Reagan's White House Chief of Staff, Baker was always the diplomat, protecting Reagan's reputation, and making contacts useful for his law firm.
Again, Howard Baker died today.
Let the hagiography begin, from the usual sources of such fluff and stuff.
The New York Times reports that "Mr. Baker said his biggest contribution to the environment was the creation of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, a 125,000-acre national park that overlaps Tennessee and Kentucky and protects the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River. The park was created by Congress in 1974." UMWA Journal reported how the park made big profits for Baker's cronies, including the likes of Ted Q. Wilson, who founded the "Southern Labor Union," a "company union" designed to keep workers from joining real unions. Howard Baker was a union-buster, and that is part of his legacy. No mention of that in any reports thus far.
At least The Washington Post reports that Baker was "raised in a feudal setting," much like the "lord of the manor" -- 40,000 acres of family land called "Brimstone," which he later sold. Baker's grandfather was a judge, his grandmother was Tennessee's first woman Sheriff, and both his father and stepmother preceded him in Congress. In Tennessee, he was the first Republican ever elected to the U.S. Senate. Baker became s Republican lord of all he surveyed, with two of his apt pupils -- Lamar Alexander and Fred Dalton Thompson -- both succeeding him in the United States Senate.
How cool is that!
He was Senate Republican Leader for eight years, following in the steps of his civil-tongued first father-in-law, Everett McKinley Dirksen, for whom a large marble Senate office building is named.
As one who worked for three U.S. senators during Baker's tenure, I can emphatically agree with Baker's one statement that there were two things he didn't understand: "The Middle East and the House of Representatives."
Howard Baker was, unlike so many of today's politicians, willing to listen and willing to compromise (even if some of those compromises were unethical, and hurt people, like those suffering in Appalachia from strip-mining).
He supported the Panama Canal Treaty, and supported some progressive legislation.
He supported Fair Housing, and he inspired some African-American support, after initially campaigning against civil rights laws. But he also tried to inspire an African-American to run for President in 1972 to pull support from the Democratic nominee. He grew up in a culture of dodgy Tennessee politics, and loved to tell stories.
He grew in the job, whether as Senator, White House Chief of Staff or lawyer.
He was a photographer, and had a sense of humor and self-deprecating wit.
Nearly everyone liked him.
Rest in peace, Howard Henry Baker, Jr.
Most Americans hardly got to know him.
Even though I saw his faults, firsthand, I still admire Howard Baker.
"What did the President know and when did he know it?" Great line. Great delivery. Smooth politician.
Baker blew a chance to be on the United States Supreme Court, as John Dean revealed in his book, "The Rehnquist Choice." Nixon liked Baker, who was slow to get back to him, flying to Tennessee to meet with his banker, apparently concerned about his coal deals. Some of the pertinent tapes were withheld due to financial privacy, but will now will likely be unsealed -- the world will learn more about Baker's coal deals, at last.
If only Howard Baker weren't so crooked.
If only Howard Baker had cared about the grinding poverty of Appalachia, and done something besides help corporations and the wealthy. He could have been more of a healer, and less of a wheeler-dealer. His life would have made more of a difference to average Tennesseans, like the poor people in Appalachia, who were the subscribers to our Appalachian Observer newspaper.
I do forgive Howard Baker, although at times he reminded me of The Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil." Most of the time, I remembered him as a Coal Man. (In fact, while investigating him in East Tennessee, staying with friends, the Top 40 radio station woke me up every morning at the same time with the hit song, "I'm a Soul Man." Upon hearing it the first groggy morning, I thought it might easily 4be re-written about Baker: Heart and soul, Howard Baker was a Coal Man (even as United States District Judge Robert Taylor once remarked to me in the Clerk's office, circa 1978, "This is turning into a coal court!")
An apt question for future writers: "what did Baker know and when did HE know it?"
Howard Baker leaves a widow, former Senator Nancy Landon Kassebaum, his second wife (daughter of 1936 Republican nominee Alf Landon). He also leaves a 125-year old multinational corporate law firm bearing his name, one that is highly sophisticated and computerized, now with 650 lawyers in 20 cities, with clients that include the Royal Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the world's largest arms merchant, Lockheed Martin.
The United States Courthouse in Knoxville, Tennessee was long ago named the Howard Henry Baker, Jr. Courthouse, with an oil painting in the lobby showing Howard Baker as if he were larger than he was in life. (He stood about 5'2").
Imagine, if you will, being an ethical physician suing a nuclear weapons contractor or other party defended by the Howard Baker law firm, entering the Howard Baker Courthouse, with judges chosen by Howard Baker, who chose a Chief Clerk who was the lawyer for Lockheed Martin (who refused to shake my hand upon representing the first whistleblower at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1991). How would you feel? That's East Tennessee -- a beautiful place run by tyrants, a place where the workers and their lawyers are afraid, very afraid, to blow the whistle on the likes of Oak Ridge, Tennessee nuclear weapons plants to this day.
Thanks to Howard Baker and his legacy, East Tennessee remains a third world country, an anti-labor tyranny, a place where they renamed "Labor Day" in Knoxville as "Boomsday," in hopes of erasing labor unions. As Juan Ortega y Gassett said, "I am me and my surroundings." ("Yo soy yo y mis circunstancias.")
That repressive environment is NOT one of the legacies of Howard Baker you will likely read in the obituary-hagiographies. It remains to be written in investigative reporting, biographies and my memoirs.
Rest in Peace, Howard Henry Baker, Jr., wherever you are!
"We, the People" hardly knew you.

Copyright 2014 Edward Adelbert Slavin, Jr. All Rights Reserved
Ed Slavin
Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3084

"Did you know that coal provides 64.8% of Tennessee's power? Almost half of the electricty we use everyday comes from coal. The average retail price is 6.97 cents per kilowatt hour. This ranks Tennessee with the 15th-cheapeast electricity in the nation."


Golden Fleece Award to St. Augustine Florida Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. et pal. for $1332.21/month City Lease for 81 St. George Street Commercial Property

1. The "Golden Fleece Award" in our City of St. Augustine goes to two distinguished gentlemen, longtime public officials -- our St. Augustine, Florida Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. and ex-Mayor LEONARD CLAUDE WEEKS, JR..
2. Messrs. BOLES and WEEKS have a no-bid $1332.31 lease deal from the CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE of 81 St. George Street. which they sublease to FLORIDA CRACKER CAFE and SAVANNAH SWEETS.
3. The truth is out. Now. After years of cold responses to Open Record requests, and obsessive City government secrecy, "we force the Spring."
4. This $1332.31/month commercial lease (and still-undisclosed sublease terms) to "insider" tenants -- Messrs BOLES and WEEKS -- is below fair market rates. This $1332.21/month lease represents a multi-million dollar subsidy over the past 25 years to Messrs. BOLES and WEEKS.
5. It appears to be "unjust enrichment," paid for by every single resident -- man, woman and child -- and by every City business customer, property and sales tax payer, tourist and visitor.
6. Two Fortunate Sons, two "crony capitalists," two privileged officeholders, are being subsidized by the rest of us. This subsidy is unfair. It is a stench in the Nostrils of the Oldest City. It is morally, ethically and legally wrong. It must end.
7. This no-bid lease deal stinks. It expires on July 25, 2014.
8. The below-market rate lease must be ended at once. Let the City contract directly with the restauranteur and candy store, preserving their business and reasonable expectations.
9. Let's eliminate the middlemen's profiteering.
10. Messrs. BOLES and WEEKS refuse to provide me with a copy of their sublease. Wonder why? They ignore my request, as does City Attorney RONALD WAYNE BROWN. Wonder why?
11. Because they can -- because Mr. BOLES is Mayor, and Mr. WEEKS is his friend, the ex-Mayor, Chairman of the Historical Architecture Review Board and Chairman of the Parking and Traffic Committee, appointed by Mayor BOLES to both positions..
12. Messrs. BOLES and WEEKS co-own the leasehold interest, but they no longer own or run FLORIDA CRACKER CAFE and SAVANNAH SWEETS. They built the building, which the City owns. Once upon, they agreed to provide bathroom cleanup.
13. Now, ex contractu, ex nihilo, without effort, 25 years later, BOLES and WEEKS still make (an undisclosed) amount of money from subleasing. They profit monthly from the sweat of the brow of the restauranteur and store owner and their employees. They profit monthly from all of the rest of us -- every single one of us here in a very small City of fewer than 14,000 souls, located in a small patch of land area 2/3 the size of Manhattan. We all subsidize their lifestyle with this no-bid City lease.
14. The technical term for this "insider" lease is "rent-seeking" behavior.
15. Our Libertarian friends speak about it all the time -- "rent-seeking" is what distinguishes increasingly rare free market competition from "corporativism," and what distinguishes free enterprise from "corporate socialism for the rich" (or the 1%).
16. This "rent-seeking" deal hurts us all. Call it an "obsolescing bargain."
17. Knowledge is power. As James Madison said, "Knowledge will forever govern Ignorance."
18. Messrs. BOLES' and WEEKS' acquaintances -- local business people paying market rate rents -- are understandably offended by these two Fortunate Sons and their ability to convert public service, mutatis mutandis, into private gain for the two, some of the few who are privileged "insiders" here.
19. These small business owners are being victimized and violated by two officeholders, two "insiders."
20. Hence, we award Messrs. BOLES and WEEKS a Golden Fleece, out of respect for those who pay higher rents, and in tribute to the late Senator William Proxmire, who gave a monthly "Golden Fleece" award.
21. This is one "sweetheart deal," in the words of my mentor, former U.S. Department of Labor Chief Administrative Law Judge Nahum Litt.
22. Mayor BOLES must recuse himself from Commission discussion and voting on this deal, and let Vice Mayor Nancy Sikes-Kline preside at all discussions.
23. I have asked our Vice Mayor Nancy Sikes-Kline and the three other St. Augustine City Commissioners -- Leanna Freeman, Donald Crichlow and Roxanne Horvath -- to examine this $1332.21/month lease with a gimlet eye.
24. Otherwise, there is a possible breach of fiduciary duty by all.
25. Otherwise, there is a possible violation of legal ethics by both Mayor BOLES and City Attorney RONALD WAYNE BROWN and Assistant City Attorney ISABELLE LOPEZ.
26. Otherwise, we are subsidizing Messrs. WEEKS and BOLES, and disadvantaging every single other small business in St. Augustine..
27. The decades-long campaign by Mr. WEEKS, et al. to harm other small businesses --- especially struggling street artists and musicians on St. George Street, takes on a new tinge.
28. It was total hypocrisy and conflict of interest.
29. Mr. WEEKS, et al. kept saying that street musicians and artists weren't paying rent and were taking advantage of small businesses that did.
30. How much were BOLES and WEEKS paying for a lease from the City of St. Augustine?
31. As little as $100 a month to start? Only $1332.21/month now.
32. For what reason? Government contacts and elected office?
33. Was it a conflict of interest? Yes. Is it now? Yes.
34. Would the CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE ever have given you such a deal? Or me? Or the person behind that tree? Or any other "outsider?" Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.
35. What written City policies govern such loosey-goosey lease deals for insiders? None.
36. After 25 years of this "insider" deal, our City of St. Augustine must enact strict ethics and lobbying legislation to end such "insider" transactions. end no-bid contracts and reform government purchasing and lease rentals as we know it.
37. Messrs. WEEKS, BOLES et al. must explain themselves. Now.
38. Messrs. WEEKS, BOLES, et al. must answer questions, under oath at the July 14, 2014 City Commission meeting. The City must hire special outside counsel uncontaminated by conflicts of interest and loyalties to Messrs. WEEKS and BOLES..
39. Messrs. BOLES and WEEKS have the right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment.
40. But we have the right and duty to keep asking questions, and to be "nudniks demanding justice" -- "pests for justice" -- in the June 18, 2014 words of one of the sixteen rabbis who were arrested with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. here in St. Augustine fifty years ago this month.
41. We need courageous leaders to say "no" to the greedy. We need more leaders like the late U.S. Rep. H.R. Gross (R-Iowa) and the late U.S. Senator William Proxmire (D-Wisc.), legislators who are not afraid to say when government has fleeced us. Sen. Proxmire wrote the book, "Can Small Business Survive?" (Regnery Publishers., 1964). One of Sen. Proxmire's major points was the prevalence of antitrust violations, monopoly power and anti-competitive government subsidies -- they hurt small businesses and threaten their survival.
42. Long the chair of the Senate Small Business Committee, Senator William Proxmire would award a "Golden Fleece" to those who ripped off the government. In Senator Proxmire's honor, the "Golden Fleece" is awarded to Messrs. BOLES and WEEKS.
43. As U.S. Senator Gary Hart (D-Colo.) asked his staff, in examining every legislative proposal, "Is it based on need, or greed?"
44. Mayor BOLES, ex-Mayor WEEKS, how do you justify below-market rates charged by the CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE for 25 years -- a quarter of a century? Please answer in this space. _________________________________________
45. The lease in quo must not be renewed.
46. The City must deal directly with the restauranteur and candy store, charging market rates, or else put the lease up for bid or the property up for sale.
47. The original July 24, 1989 lease approved by City Commission provided for a base rent of $100/month. Then lease terms were amended by an April 24, 1994 "Addendum," which was signed by Mayor Gregory Baker and was "approved as to form" by City Attorney Geoffrey Dobson. The Addendum provides for automatic renewal for three additional five year periods, with increases of $250/month for first five years, $500/month for second five years, and $750/month for third five years.
48. Thus, the lease expires on July 25, 2014. There must be full transparency and accountability.
49. Never again must our Nation's Oldest City engage in such no-bid leases and no-bid contracts with "insiders."
50. We must cease and desist from tapping the taxpayers "like a cask tapped at both ends," as Alexander Hamilton once said (about the State of New Jersey, located between Philadelphia and New York City).
51. For years, "crony capitalists" like Messrs. BOLES and WEEKS have plundered our Nation's Oldest City, on a smaller scale than arms merchants like LOCKHEED MARTIN, but noisome nonetheless.
52. It's our money.
53. Never again must our Nation's Oldest City let exploiters ruin our historic downtown.
54. Look at St. George Street today. Do you like what you see?
55. Never again must we let our town be pushed around by developers and commercial landlords who see government as their cash register -- a small group of willful men who would prefer to proliferate obscene t-shirt shops and ruin our historic ambience.
56. Never again must the business of the City of St. Augustine be making obscene, lavish profits for holders of "sweetheart" City leases.
57. Never again must the business of the City of St. Augustine be an illegal enterprise that uses police officers in an illegal scheme, running away from St. George Street the artists, musicians and artisans whom we love, and whom tourists came to see for decades.
58. The motto of the City of St. Augustine, Florida must no longer become, de facto, as journalist Mike Royko wrote of Chicago under Mayor Richard J. Daley, "UBI EST MEO?" ("Where's mine?").
59. This is a "Compassionate City," one of the first 20 in the world.
60. Our motto must now become, "We stand up for our own. We stand up for our rights."
61. Let freedom ring. Let every voice be heard. Let everyone speak out on the future of St. Augustine -- for honesty and transparency and against graft and greed.
62. Let the word go forth from this time and place that St. Augustinians, imbued with liberty, are on the march once again.
63. People here famously stood up for their rights in 1964, against implacable odds, with nationwide support. They helped win adoption of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which we celebrate in our Slave Market Square on July 2, 2014 with a suitable birthday party.
64. A united City is standing up for our rights now, 50 years later, in 2014. JFK said in 1963, "Ich bin ein Berliner" ("I am a Berliner.")…. Let them come to Berlin."
65. We are St. Augustinians. As the September 2, 2010 Michelle O'Connell shooting case proved, "the whole world is watching" our city and our county. The New York TImes, PBS Frontline and NBC News Dateline have all investigated our St. Johns County Sheriff, formerly the St. Augustine Police Chief Thera are more than 162,000 signatures on a petition for an inquest into the death of Michelle O'Connell. Meanwhile, not one (1) local public official has dared to speak out for justice. Not yet.
66. "The times they are a-changing," in folk singer Bob Dylan's words.
67. We "outsider" St. Augustinians -- the 99% -- will no longer tolerate the flagrant misconduct of the 1%, the "insiders" who rule like kings and keep the rest of us in the dark about their self-dealing in our government.
68. We "outsider" St. Augustinians have had quite enough of Messrs. BOLES and WEEKS. et al. and their flummery, dupery, nincompoopery, waste, fraud, abuse, misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance, no-bid leases and no-bid contracts. Enough already.
69. As the Supreme Court said famously in United States v. Mississippi Valley Generating Company (the "Dixon-Yates" case), all conflict of interest laws are based upon Matthew ("A man cannot serve two masters"), particularly one is his own personal profit.
70. SCOTUS said conflict of interest laws are aimed at conduct that "tempts dishonor." 71. St. Augustine needs a conflict of interest ordinance with teeth, to prevent, detect and deter more "Golden Fleeces" in the future.
72. In the immortal words of my Georgetown University School of Foreign Service Political Theory Professor, Jose Sorzano (later Deputy UN Ambassador under President Reagan and Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick): "IDEAS HAVE CONSEQUENCES."
73. If the $1332.21/month lease for 81 St. George Street is not reformed, if answers are not given, if self-dealing "business as usual" prevails benefitting "insiders," we can expect consequences.
74. Four (4) potential consequences come to mind immediately. On the line in the August 26, 2014 City of St. Augustine, Florida Primary Election are four (4) powerful positions: (1) the Mayor's job for Mr. JOESPH LESTER BOLES, JR. and thereby, indirectly, three (3) different City positions (two of them City board chairmanships), to which Mr. BOLES has appointed Mr. CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS, Jr., who is simultaneously: (2) Chairman of the PARKING AND TRAFFIC COMMITTEE, (3) Chairman of the HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD and (4) Member of the City's VISIONING COMMITTEE. (Ed's note: in fact, Mr. CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS, Jr. is a legal resident of -- and registered voter in St. Augustine Beach -- Mr. WEEKS recently served on the St. Augustine Beach Charter Review Committee).
75. Mr. WEEKS recently was required to recuse himself as HARB Chairman on the case of 80 Markland Place, for which he was the consulting general contractor for a proposed demolition permit. The demolition permit was rejected by the HARB on a vote of 4-0 and by the City Commission by vote of 5-0 on June 9, 2014. The self-serving nature of WEEKS' service on government boards is apparent. He is a large commercial landowner in the historic downtown, HARB Chair and Parking and Traffic Chair. Bill Clinton said, if you're driving down the road and you see "a turtle on a fence post, you know that somebody put it there." Mr. BOLES put Mr. Weeks in each of those three (3) important City volunteer roles. This concentration of power and influence in one non-resident Ex-Mayor, the current four-term Mayor's City lease business partner is, at best, facetious, unseemly, and an appearance of impropriety. There are 14,000 people in our City, and they deserve representation, not total exploitation and domination by the 1%.
76. It is time to halt the BOLES-WEEKS $1332.21 no-bid lease for 81 St. George Street.
Why not sell the property? Why not rent directly on fair terms, to the restaurant and candy store, thereby preserving their small business values and reasonable expectations? This would eliminate the staom pf BOLES-WEEKS "insider" self-dealing., thereby serving the public interest.
77. It's our government. It's our town. It's our time. It's time for an ethical government, "of the people, by the people and for the people," in Lincoln's words, here in Our Nation's Oldest City. It is time to stop the "insiders" and what our Founders would call their "long train of abuses." It's time to end the "gravy train" at our expense., even "if it takes all summer," in the words of MLK
78. Let's cancel the expiring BOLES-WEEKS $1332.21/month lease for 81 St. George Street.
79. Let everyone be heard about the best options -- sale, lease reformation, etc. The next St. Augustine City Commission meeting will be held on July 14, 2014 at 5 PM at 75 King Street, first floor meeting room.
80. "Decisions are made by those who show up. " What do y'all reckon?
Ed Slavin
Box 3084, St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3084






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