Sunday, September 04, 2016

Corporations, developers won the August 30, 2016 Primary


Influential corporations demanding government favors mostly got their way, with little press scrutiny, in the August 30, 2016 St. Johns County Primary, where there was only a 24% turnout. Why?

Candidates spent millions of dollars on advertising, billboards, signs -- selling their wares to the highest bidder, including secretive limited liability corporations (LLCs), with undisclosed owners, including foreigners speculating in real estate.

Four "universal primaries" were illegally closed by five sham "write-in" candidates, cruelly disenfranchising non-Republicans, including African-Americans, in violation of the Fifteenth Amendment and Article VI, section 5(b) of Florida's Constitution. Republicans create one-party fiefdoms in North Florida, while Democrats create one-party fiefdoms in South Florida. Both parties wink at our constitutions, subjecting millions to one-party rule.

No real "debates" were held, with journalists, political parties and our League of Women Voters neglecting their duties to inform citizens.

Little of substance was said by any candidates, eschewing substance for slogans (and lots of signs).

The Record refuses to name large contributors, contrary to its past investigative practice.

Campaign political coverage was inept, maladroit and shallow, with no investigative reporting on Sheriff Shoar et pals -- not what our Founders expected.

James Madison wrote: "A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Was this a coup d'etat by tree-killing, wetland-destroying developers, property owners and their tedious toadies?

It's a "farce or a tragedy," when compliant County Commissioners vote to allow 70,000 homes to be built without paying for infrastructure, one party controls our County government (the "property party"), and government violates our rights in secrecy.

Tragically, St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar adamantly insists that our deputies "don't need to be watched," Sheriff Shoar self-righteously rejects body cameras, which actually protect both citizens and officers. Shoar was found liable for inflicting illegal surveillance on lawyers and clients, by four federal judges in two federal courts (three appointed by Republican presidents). Yet Sheriff Shoar opposes body cameras, based on putative "privacy" considerations.

Extravagantly spending $10.71 per vote, Shoar appealed to our prejudices, as in his incendiary July 8th "I'm mad" YouTube video, in the wake of murders of both policemen and civilians, unadorned by any hint of healing or kindness.


We need open "universal" primaries, police body cameras, an Inspector General, an Ombudsman, vigorous debates, "public access" television on St. Johns County Government TV, local ethics and lobbyist disclosure laws, more thorough reporting and a St. Augustine National Historical Park and Seashore. Now.

It's up to us.

In 1954, CBS journalist Edward R. Murrow, opposing demagogic Senator Joe McCarthy, eloquently concluded: "We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. The actions of the junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn't create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it — and rather successfully. Cassius was right. 'The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.' Good night, and good luck."

Frederick Burr Opper



Warren Celli said...

Great piece Ed!

McCarthyism and his Commie witch hunt was the rich man's "War On Terror" of the day (Lemuel Ricketts Boulware set the stage for it with his earlier Commie bashing in Congressional hearings).

In reality it served the same purpose; union busting destruction of the middle class. Its the same rich against the rest of us class war today with the exception that it is more sophisticated, more evil, and has a far stronger grip on policy — Vanilla Greed for Profit has been co-opted by Pernicious Greed for Destruction. It is that insurmountable hold on policy that creates the catch 22 in implementing your wish list.Ain't gonna happen!

A bottom up approach is required, few will even discuss it.

Anonymous said...

Ed...I normally agree with you, however, I am having a hard time seeing the logic supporting an open primary. The plain fact is that it is not how the primary is run that is the problem....instead the problem is that canidates in St Johns are basically clueless. Lets take Maynard vs surprise that Shoar managed to close the primary..gasp..who could have possible imagined..duh.

Enter huge surprise that Shoar would garnish the support of GOP movers and shakers...big corp money...another would could have guessed..duharoo.

So if Maynard's best hope and chance of winning was in the general election where she could have received minority votes and independent..or Demo votes..another gee whiz bang Ms. to get into the general in the GOP party where you will surely get creamed or drum as a demo or indy where you would have a much better chance of getting to the general election.

Come incredibly stupid to run in the GOP where you know almost 100% you are going to loose? Shoar raised over $200 grand way back in the spring against her meager $5k at the time...there was amble time to switch to the Demo or Indy party back then but nope...she firmly refused common sense. she actually thought her $5k would beat his $250k...or she really hoped some millionaire would drop dead and leave her in his/her Will before 8/30.

Open the primaryt and we are still stuck with idiots runing for office...somebody needs to actually breath O2 vs whatever dreamland gas they are breathing now. Bacon is burning..hello..wake up somebody...please!

Ed Slavin said...
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Ed Slavin said...

Thank you both.

We need both Democrats and NPAs (No Party Affilliation) to organize, active, educate, and identify candidates to run and win.

The legal point about the evisceration of our constitutional rights by phony write-ins is that this must change. Now.

Our St. Augustine City Commissioners plan to back a resolution to ask our legislature to fix the pandemic violations of our rights to "universal primaries" where the only candidates are running are of one political party, something we supposedly solved in 1998 after the constitutional review convention and voters approved Article VI, section 5(b) of our Florida Constitution.

The problem is that crooked former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, South Florida Democrats, North Florida Republicans and devious, dodgy Tallahassee power lawyers like MARK HERRON have made this provision a nullity by misinterpreting the word "opposition" to include phony write-ins, who are no opposition at all.


Anonymous said...

Ed, I wrote the comment regarding running as a Demo or NPA...I do agree with you on the primary being improperly was a bad joke having the write in canidates.

I also agree action must be taken to stop this poor practice...however, my point is also least at the moment when there really is nobody running as a demo or NPA the closed primary could easily be circumvented...example Ms. Maynard..she would have won the Demo or a NPA vote hands down..nobody was really running under either. Had she done so ( same with the Clerk of Court mess) we the voters could have voted for her in the general election and at least there would have been a race/election (I'm registered as a demo..couldn't vote in the GOP primary farce).

It defies logic as to why Ms. Maynard didn't see this coming..I like her but at the moment I am angry...this was 100% PREVENTABLE...without going to court..without big changes. Darn it!

Ed Slavin said...
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Ed Slavin said...
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Ed Slavin said...

I understand.

I'm not angry at Debra, who knew that the primary might be closed illegally but trusted in her party.

But you're right -- NEVER AGAIN!

I'm angry at the Fourth Estate and the Justice Department, which let them get away with closing four universal primaries illegally.

I'm angry at the developers and the Establishment who got away with it.

I'm angry at the electorate -- voters did not turn out -- 24% turnout is pitiful.

James Madison was right.

Edward R. Murrow was right.

More later.

warren Celli said...

"I'm angry at the electorate -- voters did not turn out -- 24% turnout is pitiful."

Misplaced anger here.

Would you be angry with someone who refused to sit and play in a KNOWN crooked card game thereby leading their friends and neighbors to believe that it is not crooked?

Voters who legitimize and validate the crooked system system with their good names are the problem. The fourth estate and the Just-us Department deserve your anger not the good and moral citizens who choose to boycott the scam. Would you be angry with someone who refuses to submit a question to the Neighborhood Council phony filtering of questions Meet The Candidates Night?

Many perceptive citizens who do not vote, almost a majority now, are in a different NEVER AGAIN space. You should respect that space.