Sunday, August 02, 2015

Perfectly Vapid Editorial in This Morning's Record on Dodgy Developer DAVID BARTON CORNEAL's Demand to Turn Dow Museum of Historic Homes into $500/Night Hotel in St. Augustine's Most Protected, Most Historic Neighborhood (Old City South, HP-1)

"I hate shallowness." -- Hal Holbrook, as Washington Post confidential source Mark Felt, in "All the President's Men."

Dodgy developer DAVID BARTON CORNEAL's controversial proposed Dow Museum of Historic Homes Planned Unit Development is the subject of an inane editorial in this morning's St. Augustine Record. Enough vapidity -- here's why the Record editorial is not worthy of belief.

Longtime Anderson County, Tennessee District Attorney General James Nelson Ramsey characterized the editorials of longtime Oak Ridger editor Richard D. Smyser as "not withouts" -- sweet nothing-balls written to please everyone, with zero impact, never taking a position, so namby-pamby as to be laughable, and often using a litotes, leading him to call them "not withouts."
The St. Augustine Record editorial writer Jim Sutton once did an admirable job as a reporter and editor, and in 1999 he published a real newspaper, which really investigated wrongdoing -- one of the last afternoon dailies in the USA, something we looked forward to reading.
The Record then fell on hard times and disinvestment by Morris Communications.
Jim Sutton was retained as a treasured Record fishing columnist and promoted after Peter Ellis' departure as the writer of fishy editorials for what locals have long called "The Mullet Wrapper."
Jim Sutton's heart, soul and brains are not focused on the work at hand. His editorials reek of flummery, dupery and nincompoopery, non compos mentis exercises in tolerating waste, fraud, abuse, misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance, no-bid contracts, discrimination, corruption, self-dealing, conflict of interest and other features of local and other governments.
As an editorial writer, Jim Sutton's now asleep at the switch.

No, Jim Sutton, Record Opinion Editor, you're wrong AGAIN:
1. Community sentiment is not evenly divided.
2. 102 Bridge Street is not on "the West side."
3. CORNEAL is not anyone's savior.
4. There are "bad guys," to wit, CORNEAL, and purchased "public servants," Messrs. CRICHLOW, WEAVER, KNIGHT and MARQUIS.
5. Buying public officials is corruption: CORNEAL bought 40% of the votes on HARB, requiring two recusals (WEAVER, MARQUIS), using their influence before HARB, PZB and Commission, with possible Sunshine violations by two members of his "team" -- there is no "recusal" exception to Florida Sunshine law -- these two purchased "experts" obviously talked to each other. Criminal investigations are required.
6. Prejudging quasi-judicial hearings is wrong: Commissioner "ODD" TODD NEVILLE's wife's opinions assumedly reflect his own.
7. The Dow Museum of Historic Homes should stay a Museum and not be privatized.
8. Whatever happened to my 600 word column on galloping privatization? You afraid of printing it?
9. Editorial writers are supposed to increase knowledge, not decrease it.
10. DAVID CORNEAL's court dog hostility to renters makes for Fair Housing violations.
11. Threats and lawbreaking by developers are always wrong.
12. CORNEAL appears undercapitalized and lacks financing -- why he now wants some rentals.
13.  Record's utter lack of unbiased investigative coverage of the Daytona Museum of Arts and Science's works and pomps created this mess -- why was Dow Museum downgraded and sold?.
14. You're capable of good investigative reporting, as in 2000 on six corrupt local businessmen and lawyer Jeffrey Dobson, who tried corporate legerdemain to steal the American Legion building on Avenida Menendez.
15. Record needs to practice investigative reporting, or else outsiders (e.g., New York Times) will do what the Record has a duty to do -- Now).
16.  Record never did apologize for Stuart Korfhage's shallow, libelous July 4 article on page one.
17.  Record still recovering from Reign of Error of Kathy Nelson, who committed age discrimination and fired all the best employees, including Peter Guinta.
18. Record should no long knuckle under to "movers and shakers" with which it likes to "rub elbows."
19. Record's ineptitude is a stench in the nostrils of our  Nation's Oldest City.
20. Corruption is wrong and it is the duty of newspapers to uncover it, not enable it and make excuses for it.  Declining circulation is the direct and proximate result of the Record's not investigating anything. Please review December 7, 2010 Planning and Zoning Board meeting minutes, showing that CORNEAL's court dogs, including then-Commissioner DONALD CRICHLOW, then-PZB member JOHN VALDES, PZB members CARL BLOW and JERRY DIXON, and neighbor MARLENE PIRIZ -- every single one of them -- opposed a PUD for five (5) nightly rentals at 268 St. George Street. Those same people now support CORNEAL's demand for thirty (30) night rentals at the DOW. Funny how a dodgy developer's money makes shallow people change their minds and turn from neighborhood protectors into hick hack attack dogs, insulting our intelligence and spreading bogus arguments.
21. Congratulations to Will Morris, IV on becoming Morris Communications CEO at only 55 --- looking forward to reforms, starting with telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about how $2.1 million in State of Florida funds were spent/misspent on Dow Museum and how Kenneth Worcester Dow's gift was sold to dodgy developer for $1.7 million after developer met secretly for hours with then-Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, Jr., and developer ended up hiring four other present and former government officials -- MARK ALAN KNIGHT, DONALD CRICHLOW, JEREMY MARQUIS and PAUL M. WEAVER III!


Editorial: No 'bad guys' in Dow PUD fight

Posted: August 1, 2015 - 11:36pm

Editorial: No 'bad guys' in Dow PUD fight
Posted: August 1, 2015 - 11:36pm

While the Dow property planned unit development is at least one city commission meeting from being decided, now seems a good time to say something regarding the process thus far.

The city voted Monday night to move developer David Corneal’s project ahead — on a first reading. The vote was 3-2 — this time. Local politicos will tell you that the commission looks like it has two votes solidly for the project and two against — with a swing voter teetering on the edge.

That’s good. And that, in a way, is the point of this editorial.

From where we sit[at that forlorn, for-sale, White Elephant $5 million Record building -- long without a printing press -- at SR 312 & SR 207], as well, it is a close call on whether or not Corneal’s vision moves ahead.

It is difficult to recall a more defined, defended and opposed issue in this city.

Corneal is clearly a friend (sic) to his new home here. His resurrection of the M&M Market is precisely what he said it would be — and perhaps more. He took a big chance on the single biggest blight on the West side (sic) and made it something productive for that community at a time when it needed a shot of good news.

The city of St. Augustine is commended as well for exterminating the old business and taking over the property until a suitable developer came along. Corneal’s dedication to the Dow property is evident as well. There is no question that he’s resuscitating a splendid slice of our history, and it putting it right.

While we haven’t gone door-to-door to survey them, the neighbors (sic) around (sic) the project seem to be split (sic) about 50/50 (sic) on the project.

What we think (sic) is so significant about this issue is not how passionate the two sides are. We’ve seen plenty of that. What has set this apart thus far is how informed and entrenched each side has become.

Everyone’s (sic) doing their homework and both (sic) sides have rational (sic), educated, arguments for or against the Cordova Inn plan.

Both (sic) camps have handled themselves honestly (sic) and openly (sic), without the sniping so evident in other issues downtown. Although you could classify the issue as residents against tourists, because it does put neighbors next to visitors, that’s not it. And, while it could be cast as residents against big development because the property is being developed, it’s not that either in practice.

What’s so special about this controversy is that the central theme is really preservationists against preservationists. Everybody with a dog in this fight is keenly into keeping the historic quality of the neighborhood.

The neighbors and city commissioners might keep that in mind as this moves toward some sort of end Aug. 24. This is a tough one because there are no bad guys in this affair. And all the good guys should be sure to keep it that way until the public hearing three weeks away.

It’s just that the two sides are taking two different avenues toward their passion. We believe that both sides would completely agree that doing nothing to the clutch of quaint and historic homes so unique even in this city, would be 10 times worse than either end game they seek.

City planning and building director David Birchim said correctly that the tenor of the controversy doesn’t so much divide, but demonstrates the “civic heart of the community.”

The whole issue seems to be distilling down to whether the neighborhood wants a historic inn or historic apartments. And, do the neighbors decide what they want — or the developer who is putting his money where his stewardship is?

Certainly either would be preferred to death by dilapidation of Kenneth Dow’s dream.

We all need to keep that in mind.


Anonymous said...

where are all the (sic)s coming from? makes the text difficult to read. what is the point of your (sic)s ?

Ed Slavin said...

"Sic" is Latin. (It means it was so in the original.( It is my way of signaling readers -- as William F. Buckley, Jr. would do -- that what precedes the "sic" is untrue, illiterate or illogical.