Saturday, May 21, 2016
St. Johns County Budget: The Good, Bad & Ugly --- "MIKEY THE WEASEL" WANCHICK's HAM-HANDED BUDGET HEARING
There were three days of St. Johns County Budget hearings May 18-20, 2016 at the Osprey Conference Room at the County's new $16 million "Gauze Mahal" building, the Health & Human Services Building.
St. Johns County High Sheriff DAVID SHOAR f/k/a "HOAR," a/k/a SHERIFF SPENDS-A-LOT, was a no show.
SHOAR's budget will not be discussed until July! Wonder why? He cannot justify his waste, fraud and abuse.
But for 2.5 days this week, mean, mendacious MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK, our estimable County Administrator for Life, presided at what he called "my hearing." Entitled, embattled, embittered WANCHICK refused to televise the Budget Hearing, despite my requests. Wonder why??
But We, the People televised it, on live streaming video, thanks to videographer Jeffrey Marcus Gray.
We were the only journalists there -- no one from any other publication bothered to show up.
WANCHICK never thanked us for providing video coverage he refused to provide, but I overheard sneaky WANCHICK smarmily say to one political patronage employee, "This guy's a professional agitator and he's taping this meeting." Watch tape here: http://bambuser.com/channel/Public+Records+Access+Matters
Watch YouTube video of MARY KOHNKE here:
The video taken by Mr. Gray will show you the Good, the Bad and the Ugly about St. Johns County.
The good: earnest professionals showing government can work for the people, including health, parks, recreation, libraries, personnel services, risk management and other functions too many take for granted.
News flash: library service hours are being restored to 2015 levels but not enhanced. Without changes by Commissioners, this means still no library service for anyone on Sundays, and none on Sunday or Monday for Anastasia Island. WANCHICK cruelly used libraries as "human shields" in an inept, inartful attempt to coerce a 16.66% sales tax increase last year.
The bad: wasteful spending and dictatorial management attempting to chill, coerce and intimidate First Amendment protected, pompously pronouncing my questions "disruptive." I responded by filing a retaliation complaint with the Justice Department on Thursday, May 19, 2016, noting WANCHICK was retaliating for my May 17, 2016 civil rights complaint about the May 17, 2016 deletion of forty (40) acres of affordable housing for the Nocatee Development of Regional Impact.
Former St. Augustine City Commissioner Sandra Parks (heroic KKK-buster Stetson Kennedy's widow), says "A budget is a moral document."
Vice President Joe Biden's father said, "Show me your budget, and I will tell you what your priorities are."
Here's some examples of what WANCHICK tried to shut me up about:
o Some $5.3 million sought for the Sheriff, hidden in the BCC budget, mostly for his own fancy training center, without justification.
o Corrupt Medical Examiner PREDRAG BULIC, highest-paid county employee ($225,000), who falsely claimed Michelle O'Connell committed suicide based on discredited upside down gun theory, an investigation that "stinks," according to internationally renowned murder investigator Vernon Gebherth. When I asked BULIC questions about his unethical and incompetent autopsy practices, WANCHICK cut me off and a tall mean Sheriff's deputy burst into the room like he wanted to shoot me (and one Commissioner later appeared joke with deputies about how they might wish to shoot me).
o A $250,000 subsidy with tax funds to The Players Championship, a golf tournament.
o A $400,000 annual loss on the county golf course, which some would like to sell or privatize.
o Money given the Chamber of Commerce for economic development -- the local Chamber of Commerce is part of a national lobbying group that has opposed every labor law, every environmental law and every bit of progress in America since the New Deal.
o $16.9 million World Golf Village Convention Center, for which the County is still paying (and for which the County only gets twelve days of free use for its citizens annually, which WANCHICK said he ultimately decides; on March 15, 2005, there was an anti-Gay marriage hate rally there, approved by all five County Commissioners, with all of the County's terms violated on it being open to the public, no merchandise sales and no money collecting, with Sheriff DAVID SHOAR's deputies threatening activists by phone and having a huge presence to "protect" 800 anti-Gay bigots in a hall where they claimed there would be 2400 attendees).
o Moronic advertising to draw more tourists, including paying for ads in Readers' Digest and Better Homes and Gardens.
o $5000 per Commissioner travel budgets.
o Sexist terminology ("WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION, not "WORKERS' COMPENSATION, in every single budget -- though the term was changed to non-sexist terminology two decades ago, something that eluded the all-white, all-male good-ole-boy budget manglers in St. Johns County).
o Cancellation of the University of Florida's agricultural extension contract as a result of its invidious discrimination against agricultural agent Keith Fuller.
o Wasteful spending on line classified advertising in The St. Augustine Record, half of which is not legally required -- like line classified advertising for routine regular meetings not involving taxes or rezonings (instead of the Record running a column with dates and times of local government meetings as a public service, which real newspapers do in other places). Commissioner PRISCILLA ("RACHAEL) BENNETT (R-HUTSON COMPANIES) defended the practice, saying it was for "transparency." It's actually a thinly-disguised subsidy to a right-wing failing newspaper chain that supports BENNETT and other Republicans. Bumptious beastly BENNETT is most noted for saying nothing to support video of the Budget meeting, and for having run interference for the likes of ex-Mayor LEN WEEKS' historic building destruction and for the Visitor and Convention Bureau's attempt to evade Open Records laws. BENNETT has stated she's not for sale (for rent, maybe?)>
o Failure to assure compliance with OSHA standards (governments were exempted under Governor Jeb Bush);
o Failure to assure $15/hour living wage for all County and County contractor employees.
o Ripoff $3.50 surcharge ATMs at St. Augustine Amphitheater (previously only $3.00, and non-ADA compliant, illegally placed there without a contract or a lease by prior Amphitheater management, which in 2014 County Attorney PATRICK McCORMACK promised would be replaced with free ATMs as part of a switchover to Bank of America as the county's bank -- McCORMACK hardly ever keeps his promises).
o Illegal destruction of one acre of forest by the St. Augustine Ampitheatre -- in violation of the County's lease from the State of Florida Anastasia State Park and its management plan, and in violation of the City of St. Augustine tree ordinance, for which no permit was asked.
o Failure to provide adequate library hours and Sunshine bus service (no bus or library service is available on Sundays; Former Commissioner Dr. MARY F. KOHNKE, Ph.D. opined we should all "stay home" and "pray."
o Failure to provide Inspector General or Ombuds.
The ugly: several hick hack sad sacks whom County Administrator WANCHICK permitted to dominate, allowing them to shout down and intimidate questions, by activists and by Commissioner William McClure, a candidate for Congress. WANCHICK's mutant clown posse consisted of:
Dr. MARY F. KOHNKE, Ph.D
(Photo from videographer Jeffrey Marcus Gray)
Former County Commission Chair Dr. MARY F. KOHNKE, Ph.D. (R-Ponte Vedra), a retired English professor from NYC deposed mid-term as Commission Chairman for being mean to residents, author of books like Murder in Ponte Vedra Beach, a cranky kooky old crock who has reportedly been Baker-acted three times, who said people should stay home and "pray" on Sundays and did not need Sunday Sunshine bus service;
Dr. WILLIAM McCORMICK, Pharm.D.
(St. Augustine Record)
State Democratic Committeeman Dr. WILLIAM McCORMICK, Pharm. D., former Dean of the Pharmacy Schools at the University of Houston and University of Florida, father of Washington, D.C. Real Estate Roundtable lobbyist RYAN McCORMICK, and an "undercover Republican" who attacks activists and defends Election Supervisor VICTORIA OAKES' Fifteenth Amendment violations, while serving with his wife on ex-Mayor LEN WEEKS' all-white St. Augustine Sister Cities Association; and
Flagler Hospital lobbyist and County Commission candidate JERRY CAMERON, former Assistant County Administrator, WANCHICK's once and future hey-boy, who illegally ordered a little dog killed in 2010, who refers to WANCHICK as "boss,' as in "Boss Hogg."
Upon arriving at the $16 million County Health and Human Services Building on the morning of Wednesday, May 18th, there was the indication that paranoid MICHAEL WANCHICK feared a riot.
Some seven (7) police officers and security personnel, all friendly, were there, including my all-time favorite police dog, Chino.
The officers and the beautiful Belgian Malinois dog "Chino" were all called in by maladroit mendacious mealymouthed manager MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK.
Insecure, authoritarian self-aggrandizing narcissists like WANCHICK respond to all First Amendment protected activity and criticism by saying "I'm calling the cops."
It's in their mutant DNA, like a preference for swaggering, bad food and bad grammar.
Naturally, Sheriff SPENDS-A-LOT's big buddy, MICHAEL WANCHICK, employed a fascistic intimidation tactic right out of Richardson, Texas, where WANCHICK was Republican Lord of All He Surveyed before being duked in as St. Johns County Administrator at the behest of developer-driven politicians commencing in July 2007.
I noticed that there was no podium in the Osprey Conference Room. I asked staff of the County Office of Management and Budget staff where the podium was located. They looked at me with a mixture of wonder and fear, asking me why a podium was required. I said, "for public comment." So I went out in the hall and enlisted help from trained law enforcement personnel who know how to help people. One of the officers graciously explained to me that a podium had been delivered several days before, unlocking the locked closet in the Osprey Conference Room and moving out the podium, in two pieces. I did not know how to set it up and asked staff for assistance. They claimed the podium would be "in the way" and locked it back in the closet, presumably along with their ethics and conscience. (The last two days, I brought my own antique small wooden podium -- just as "We, the People" brought our own videographer: we know how to use creativity to respond to miscreant managers like MICHAEL WANCHCK).
WANCHICK would make a good prison warden (or federal prisoner with the right evidence).
WANCHICK's weasly all-hat-and-no-cattle bumptious bullying tactics might get him a role in a Hollywood movie, the same way that the late Fred Dalton Thompson was cast as himself in the movie Marie, with Cissy Spacek as Tennessee Pardons & Paroles Board Chair Marie Ragghianti.
Meanwhile, not one moment was spent on getting sewers for West Augustine.
Meanwhile, during Emergency Operations Center testimony about disaster planning, WANCHICK tried to shut me up when I asked about environmental injustice in Florida Power & Light's slow post-hurricane restoration of power to Lincolnville, West Augustine and Flagler Estates, while swiftly restoring power to wealthy gated communities. I responded, to WANCHICK, "You don't care about poor people." Note to snooty, snobby, simpering WANCHICK: Patty O'Connell (Michelle's mom) hopes you might move to a poor country "without electricity."
Meanwhile, WANCHICK and his insane clown posse tried to shut me up, as when he falsely accused me of being "disruptive" as when I asked about why our dozens of St. Johns County lifeguards were all white, and had been for at least sixteen years. WANCHICK's feeble response was that "they" don't apply. I responded that this was a function of the "recruitment pattern."
Only one African-American employee (Benjamin Comey) was in the room during the 2.5 days.
WANCHICK repeatedly attempted to rule out "policy" questions, but only by me, not the insane clown posse, the tedious tendentious trio of KOHNKE, McCORMICK and CAMERON, who were even permitted to tell lengthy war stories, eating up the available time.
Four Commissioners attended -- Chairman Jeb Smith, Vice Chair James Johns and soon-to-be departing Commissioners William McClure and Priscilla Bennett.
The fifth Commissioner, Jay Morris, was absent after minor surgery. Morris, brags of his business acumen as former EVP of fraudfeasor RPM International, which settled a $60 million False Claims Act with the U.S. Department of Justice. Morris publicly stigmatized me at the June 16, 2015 6 pm Commission meeting for not attending the 2015 budget hearing. How gauche and louche, as if that disqualified me from working with diverse residents, conservatives and liberals, in halting an effort to raise sales taxes by 16.66% (3-2 vote on June 16, 2015 6 pm Commission meeting, with Commissioners Johns, Smith and McClure protecting our pockets from being picked by wastrel WANCHICK).
Taciturn, laconic Commissioners Smith and Johns held their own counsel, but looked appalled at WANCHICK's outrageous overbearing antics. Commissioner Bennett could not resist putting down Commissioner McClure, whose earnest questions and bringing prior years' budget books gave him the distinction of being the most alert and best prepared.
On the third day, May 20th, mean MARY KOHNKE even tried to shut up Commissioner McClure, demanding that McClure's questions about a $7 million transfer item be answered "privately." I calmly responded, "He's a commissioner, Mary."
WANCHICK never restored order at any time when Dr. KOHNKE and Dr. McCORMACK acted up. But he pretended like I "disrupted" what he called "My hearing" as I asked questions focused on fraud, waste, abuse, misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance, flummery, dupery and nincompoopery. WANCHICK even interrupted when I complimented the County GIS Department for making available aerial maps that enabled us to detect longstanding City of St. Augustine sewage pollution of our saltwater marsh (now Dr. Robert S. Hayling, D.D.S. Freedom Park).
WANCHICK has emotional problems with national parks, as demonstrated by his intentional lackluster failure to have any staff memo prepared for the November 1, 2011 County Commission meeting where we presented the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore proposal, for which Assistant County Administrator JERRY CAMERON recruited shills to make gun noises, gun gestures, go armed without wanding, x-rays or searches, calling proponents "Nazis and Communists" and comparing me to "Hitler, Stalin and Goebbels." All of this violent hate speech. provocation and disruption was without WANCHICK's then Commissioner puppets MARK MINER, et al. or County Attorney PATRICK McCORMACK ever once saying anything about "civility" or "disruption" of the meeting.
Several times in discussion of county beaches, parks and the crumbling old St. Augustine Beach Pier -- for which there are no replacement plans -- I mentioned the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore, first proposed by then-Mayor Walter Fraser in 1939 and sponsored by Senator Claude Pepper, et al. www.staugustgreen.com
Each time, WANCHICK rudely interrupted me talking about intergovernmental cooperation that could preserve our quality of life here. Once he said, "We've already discussed that, Ed," referring to that abortive November 1, 2011, discussion disrupted by JERRY CAMERON's Tea Party cronies, after which CAMERON warned me never to bring up the park and seashore again, claiming it was taken off the table for all time.
To whom do they think they're talking?
St. Augustine Beach citizen Thomas F. Reynolds, Jr. noted that not one (1) person from the City of St. Augustine Beach government attended the hearing, during which Mr. Reynolds repeatedly scored the lack of youth recreation and other services for St. Augustine Beach.
Toward the end of the budget hearing -- during a discussion of Personnel Services, WANCHICK's insane clown posse interrupted, urging adoption of a 16.66% sales tax increase, which Commissioners voted 3-2 on June 16, 2015 not to place on the ballot.
MARY KOHNKE and WILLIAM McCORMIK yammered on for several minutes, after which I said, "Could we please get back to Personnel Services?"
Senile McCORMICK said, "Shut up, Ed!"
WANCHICK did not intervene. He's mean, biased and lacks management and sensitivity skills.
Not once did WANCHICK or his understudy, DARRELL LOCKLEAR, so much as unbutton their jackets. They're stiffs, unsophisticated and uninteresting, uninterested in the democratic process -- but skilled in developer-coddling.
For all of their "Management and Budget" mumbo-jumbo, there's none of the elegant sophistication that St. Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver has brought to bear on budgeting, prioritizing capital improvement projects and other spending priorities. It's a mishmash at the County, inelegant, unsophisticated, nasty, brutish and short-tempered -- iconoclasts need not apply, and thoughtful questions are ignored or stigmatized.
Unsmiling, uncouth, unkind, unChristian WANCHICK is as lugubrious a goober as ever made a chair squeak, rebarbative reliable redneck peckerwood with two Master's degrees and no class, a gauche louche lout.
WANCHICK is working at the behest of all-white developers disdaining affordable housing, requires a mafia nickname.
WANCHICK shall henceforth be known as "MIKEY THE WEASEL," his new mafia nickname.
For the record, being from Southern New Jersey originally, I already have a mafia nickname: "Fast Eddie," dubbed by employees of Senator Ted Kennedy for the lightning speed and accuracy with which I did my chores as a freshman and sophomore intern. Yes, MIKEY, in physics, power is defined as "the ability to do work," and your days of domineering public policy debate will soon be over. Perhaps Flagler College will let you teach "Public Administration" full-time, instructing the Future Fascists of America how to inflict, waste, fraud, abuse, misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance, flummery, dupery and nincompoopery on unsuspecting citizens.