On February 27, 2006, ten years ago today, two environmental lawmen with guns and badges -- an EPA Criminal Investigations Division (CID) investigator and a Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) criminal investigator -- met me at the Old City Reservoir in West Augustine.
In response to my documented complaint to the National Response Center in Washington, D.C., the pair of investigators came to investigate a landfill dumped in a lake by City Manager WILLIAM BARRY HARRISS a/k/a "WILL HARASS." The rest, shall we say, is "history."
HARRISS retired in disgrace in 2010.
Then Assistant City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E. told me on February 27, 2005 that "because of what you have done," it will be "a long process." Ed's note: I never put a landfill in any lake.
No one was ever charged with a crime. No one ever went to jail for their environmental crimes -- crimes against nature. The City wanted to take the contaminated solid waste from one Environmental Justice community (West Augustine) and put it back in Lincolnville (another African American EJ community), put eleven feet of dirt on top and call it a "park." We stopped them.
Our Nation's Oldest (and perhaps Oddest) City learned some manners, and was fined more than $31,000 for illegal solid waste dumping, 40,000 cubic yards worth, enough to fill 2000 truck loads.
The 40,000 cubic yards of contaminated solid waste dumped by our City of St. Augustine in the Old City Reservoir is now in a Class I landfill in Nassau County -- seven of us challenged the City's corrupt deal, enacted under Mayor JOE BOLES in an unusual morning meeting with public comment forbidden.
Those who mocked and insulted concerned citizens on illegal dumping, 2006-2008, are all "done gone with the wind" -- they no longer encumber seats on City Commission.
o Commissioner GEORGE GARDNER, Mayor in 2002-2006, was re-elected to Commission in 2006 and did not run for Commission again after his term expired. He regrets not having more closely questioned City Manager WILLIAM HARRISS, a/k/a "WILL HARASS."
o Commissioner SUSAN BURK did not run for re-election in 2008, replaced by her erstwhile law partner, LEANNA A.S. FREEMAN, who is
o Commissioner DONALD CRICHLOW did not run for re-election in 2010, replaced by WILLIAM LEARY, who resigned, with his place temporarily taken by CRICHLOW.
o Commissioner ERROL JONES disgraced himself with civil and criminal charges and was defeated for re-election in 2012, coming in fourth in the primary at 12%, replaced by Commissioner Roxanne Horvath.
o Mayor BOLES was defeated for re-election in 2014, his clown car antics in suppressing and mocking environmental concerns a key memory of voters who resented his corruption, waste, fraud, abuse, misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance, flummery, dupery, nincompoopery, pollution, prejudice and no-bid contracts.
Folio Weekly editor Anne Schindler (now with First Coast News) called an "environmental hero."
Citizen activists have achieved more than three dozen victories since 2005, and no longer fear City Hall or developer/Establishment disapproval. We are everywhere at the City and County.
The south end of Lincolnville, where so much solid waste was dumped over 100 years (the Establishment's cynical plan was, as elsewhere, PIBBY --"Place in Blacks' Back Yards") is now set aside as an eleven acre park, thanks to Mayor Nancy Shaver, Blake Souder, Cash McVay, Judith Seraphin and the late Patricia Reilly.
It will be dedicated on Earth Day (April 22) as "Dr. Robert B. Hayling Freedom Park."
Citizen sousveillance/surveillance and monitoring of government activities here in co rrupt St. Augustine and St. Johns County is at an all-time high.
See my public comment on this issue at the February 22, 2016 City Commission meeting here.
And the FBI Corruption Task Force is investigating local corruption.