Thursday, June 30, 2016

4/4/1968 RFK Speech, Indianapolis, Dedicated to SJC Republican Haters

RFK the night Dr. King was murdered; dedicated to St. Johns County Republican haters MARTIN MILLER and ROBERT THORNTON SMITH and maladroit St. Augustine Beach City Commissioner ANDREA SAMUELS, et. ex, ROBERT SAMUELS.
Maladroit two term St. Augustine Beach Commissioner ANDREA SAMUELS (R-Chamber of Commerce) and her hubristic husband ROBERT SAMUELS, hick hacks from Hades, in two part harmony cut showed their disrespect for public participation. After making citizens wait 200 minutes for public comment, ANDREA SAMELS cut up and interrupted with snide side comments about planning for a new pier park, and then ROBERT SAMUELS hysterically mocked and publicly opposed a civil rights museum, hotel and national park and seashore at the new St. Johns County Pier Park at our June 30, 2016 Special Meeting of St. Augustine Beach  City Commission with Tree  Board and Planning and Zoning Boars.

BOB and ANDREA SAMUELS, you superficial silly people, we wear your scorn as a badge of honor, with or without clothes.

I will always remember the SAMUELS' hospitality when I attended my first Passover Seder (and George McGovern attended his second).

After Senator McGovern left, ROBERT SAMUELS bragged that he had worked for the mafia, buying and selling real estate.

And they invited me to enjoy their hot tub, nude. I modestly declined and left. I later learned they have video camera coverage of their pool and hot tub. Kinky.

A few months later, they appeared at our St. Johns County Democratic Executive Committee, swore a loyalty oath to support Democrats, and voted against the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore, a subject about which they remain irrational.

The SAMUELS are now Republicans, and they remain and will always be, cognitive misers -- uninformed people "who know not that they know not that they know not," in the immortal words of my friend, mentor and former client FBI, HUD and EPA Senior Special Agent Robert E. Tyndall (Retired)


St. Augustine Record Letter: Mobility is about movement
Posted: June 28, 2016 - 7:00pm | Updated: June 29, 2016 - 12:01am

By Joseph M. Rubino
Mobility is movement

Editor: I enjoyed your editorial June 27 regarding the “faint praise” for the mobility study. Your editorial seems to dovetail with many of the comments from the public regarding this issue — comments that seem to indicate some confusion and perhaps bit of bewilderment. So I thought I would throw in my own two cents of bewilderment.

Where I come from, mobility is about the movement of people and other activities related to the movement of human beings. St. Augustine does not have a problem with pedestrians moving around. It has a problem with people in cars moving around. More to the point, when you are discussing urban mobility, you are usually talking about transportation.

If a consultant is brought in, wouldn’t one think that consultant should be one with experience in the transportation sector? It appears that Littlejohn has great experience in engineering, and Mr. Kramer, who has been with the firm two years, has great experience as an urban planner.

My question is this: is this issue about either engineering or urban planning? Are we re-platting downtown? Are we going to somehow physically retrofit downtown to accommodate our needs?

Are we going to make major infrastructure changes that require civil engineers? Or are we actually concerned about the movement of people in, out, and around the city?

In doing a bit of research on both Littlejohn, and Kramer, I see nothing related to mobility. Nothing at all. My research on these folks kind of dovetails with your observation in the editorial that Mr. Kramer’s answers seem to “boilerplate, and almost vacuous.”

Might that be another way of saying he didn’t seem to know much about this whole mobility thing?

St. Augustine

Rubino is a federal transit consultant. He served seven years as St. Augustine’s citizens’ representative on The North Florida Transportation Planning Organization (TPO).

martystaug 06/29/16 - 04:20 pm 20Well Put.
Anyone living with the gridlock will have some very educated ideas of how to fix this traffic mess. I noticed a few people on the committee actually live uptown and in Davis Shores areas. They live with the gridlock, and hopefully will hold someone's feet to the fire when it comes to finding that "fix". But all of us living here already know, you cannot fit that many vehicles into our narrow limited streets and parking lots. It backs up all of the arteries into and out of town. Too many cars! That is the problem. Can anyone guess what the fix to that might be?


Republicans use "write-in" shills to close universal primaries in North Florida. Democrats use "write-in" shills to close universal primaries in South Florida. It is unconstitutional. Enough.


First DCA to review closed primary in State Attorney’s race
Posted Monday, June 27, 2016 6:26 pm
Folio Weekly

Florida’s First District Court of Appeal will take briefs on the “sham candidate” case brought by four Northeast Florida plaintiffs who want to open the Republican primary race for State Attorney to non-Republican voters. Plaintiffs contend that State Attorney Angela Corey colluded with divorce attorney Kenny Leigh to file as a write-in candidate in order to close the primary. Plaintiffs further allege that closing the primary gives Corey a political advantage while excluding the majority of voters in the Fourth Judicial Circuit, which they say violates federal law.

Retired Clay County Judge Richard Townsend, who Chief Judge Mark Mahon appointed to hear the case, dismissed the voter-plaintiffs’ lawsuit on June 17. Townsend wrote that the question of a candidate’s intent in joining a race was not a new issue under Florida law, and that the case has already been settled by precedent. Leigh is the fourth person to enter the race, joining former prosecutors Wes White and Melissa Nelson, and incumbent State Attorney Angela Corey.

But plaintiffs’ attorneys say that Leigh’s candidacy presents a new question for the court. In a message to Folio Weekly Magazine, attorney Betsy White, partner in one of the law firms that filed the suit, explains why the Scott case is different from the precedent Judge Townsend relied on.

“In Brinkman, there was no allegation that the write-in candidate was a total sham, and there was no federal cause of action alleged,” she wrote.

In a later message, White added, “In my opinion, Mr. Leigh has made it clear that his candidacy is a sham to support Ms. Corey's campaign, to which he has made financial contributions.”

In addition to alleging that Leigh’s candidacy is a “sham” and not real opposition under Florida’s Universal Primary Amendment (UPA), the plaintiffs — all non-Republicans — allege they are being denied substantive due process because closing the primary excludes them from voting.

Bill Sheppard, one of White’s law partners, and attorney Sam Jacobson argued in their brief on behalf of plaintiffs:

“Weak candidacies, foolish candidacies, and even futile candidacies genuinely, but hopelessly pursued are entitled deference and respect as real candidacies under UPA. But sham candidacies being carried on not to seek votes, but to suppress voting or divert votes, are entitled to no deference or respect. Such candidacies are in a real sense an attack on the electoral process itself.”

Lindsey Brock, attorney for former Corey campaign manager, Alexander Pantinakis, disagrees, and said he supports Townsend’s ruling. “[Townsend] asked the specific question, ‘How can you be disenfranchised if you’re not first enfranchised?’” (Pantinakis, who is also a Duval County Republican State Committeeman, filed Leigh’s write-in candidacy paperwork for him in Tallahassee on May 5. Along with Leigh and the Duval, Clay, and Nassau County Supervisors of Elections, Pantinakis is a defendant in the suit.)

Pantinakis did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Leigh, who is representing himself in the case, spoke exclusively to FWM.

“I did it because the Democrats should have put a person in, instead of watering down the Republicans,” Leigh said.

“If it’s open then the Democrats can vote and get the most liberal Republican,” Leigh said.

Under UPA, when all of the candidates running for an office are from one party, the primary is opened to all voters, regardless of party affiliation.

But any opposition candidate filing to run – even a write-in – closes the primary. The voter-plaintiffs contend that Leigh’s write-in candidacy is a “perversion of UPA’s purposes,” and allege collusion between Corey and Leigh. After filing as a write-in, Leigh told The Florida Times-Union: “I am absolutely an Angela Corey supporter.”

“I gave money to Angela Corey,” Leigh told FWM. “She’s the first one who came to me.” But he maintains he did not join the race to give Corey an electoral advantage she wouldn’t have otherwise had if the primary had remained open to non-Republicans.

“I haven’t spoken to Angela Corey since — I would say since I was a prosecutor in 2002. Not two words,” Leigh says, though he admits he might have run into her at Republican events, and says he and his son also ran into her at a local restaurant. He says Corey didn’t recognize him but complimented him on his “cute son.”

Leigh said that before the lawsuit, he’d “never met” Pantinakis. As for the paperwork that Leigh filled out to qualify as a write-in candidate, which Pantinakis filed on his behalf, he said:

“I literally sent it to my friend who sent it to the Republican committee in Duval County. It’s a comedy of errors that he [Pantinakis] filed it.”

When asked in a follow-up text who the friend was, Leigh replied that he would not answer the question. “I don’t want his name in the paper. He just did me a quick favor and this would turn his world upside down.”

When asked if Leigh would deny the friend was Matt Justice, a political consultant of Corey’s, Leigh replied, “I am not going to confirm or deny any names.”

Fellow candidate for State Attorney, Wes White, has charged that the write-in primary closure plan was the “handiwork” of Justice, who is ostensibly good friends with Leigh.

Leigh said he had “no idea” that Nelson would be running at the time he decided to become a write-in. Nelson filed her candidacy on May 5, the final day of qualifying and the same day Leigh’s paperwork was filed.

“No agent, no friend, no anything asked me to be a write-in candidate,” Leigh said. Instead, he said he wanted to run to talk about LGBT rights.

Leigh identified himself as a “pro-gay” Republican, remarking, “The party is getting ruined by the far-right wing.”

But Leigh acknowledged that people would doubt that this was his true motive, “especially since I don’t know any gay people.”

“I know how it looks,” Leigh said. “I don’t care how it looks because it doesn’t hurt my business.” After hearing this quote read back to him, he surmised that the controversy could hurt his business in the future.

Leigh admitted that he did file with the specific purpose of closing the primary but denied doing so to support a specific candidate.

Leigh did, however, concede that he opposes White’s candidacy because he said White acted like a “badass” at a campaign event.

“We can’t have a state attorney who wants to be a badass.”

Florida Politics reported that Pantinakis implied that he filed for Leigh for the exact purpose of closing the primary:

“I received and submitted Kenny Leigh’s documents on Thursday, May 5th solely in my capacity as the Duval County Republican State Committeeman,” Pantinakis wrote in a prepared statement. “Throughout my time as State Committeeman, I have always been a proponent of ensuring that only registered Republicans select Republican nominees for office and would question any Republican candidate who would reject that idea.”

The clock is ticking in the case because primary ballots must be printed and mailed forty-five days prior to the August 30 primary.

Betsy White did note that courts have “broad powers in fashioning remedies” for elections violations, including ordering new elections if necessary. The electoral “cure” for excluding non-Republicans from the primary presumably would be to include them as voters.

The First DCA granted the case expedited consideration last Friday. Sheppard and Jacobson filed their brief that day. Brock and Leigh both plan to file answer briefs by tomorrow, June 28. The plaintiffs, in turn, expect to reply to the answer briefs by June 29.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016



St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID SHOAR's polished published resume omits his entire time of service at the Palatka Police Department.

In effect, Sheriff SHOAR's polished published resume is his job application for re-election as Sheriff, and it omits his Palatka service.

In fact, it falsely states SHOAR went to work in St. Augustine in 1981.

That's false.

SHOAR He did not go to work for St. Augustine in 1982.

While paperwork does not reflect it, some witnesses heard SHOAR say that he was fired in 1981 after a few months as a dispatcher and a patrolman in Palatka.

Records prove beyond cavil that controversial Sheriff DAVID SHOAR, then known as "DAVID HOAR," worked for four months at Palatka Police Department as a dispatcher and patrolman before he was terminated in December 1981, at age 20.

Employment records in Palatka show that Patrolman DAVID HOAR resigned in November 1981 to accept a job with the St. Augustine Police.

HOAR's St. Augustine application gives a two word answer on why he was terminated from Palatka: "Another job."

Buy HOAR did not supply for the St. Augustine position until January 15, 1982.

So HOAR claimed to have resigned from Palatka P.D. in 1981 to accept a job that he did not even apply for until 1982.

And HOAR claimed on his St. Augustine job application that he had never before applied to "any public safety agency, police or fire department prior to this."

Other than the Palatka P.D. job, the only other jobs HOAR had ever held were work as a waiter at a Friendly Ice Cream Store in Springfild, Massachusetts and work in shipping and receiving for Deltona Corporation here in St. Augustine, Florida, giving "school" as the reason for his termination.

On his St. Augustine Police Department application, Officer HOAR claimed to consume only one six pack of beer per week, and never to have tried any drugs within 12 months of applying.

HOAR spelled his middle name as "BERNERD," when other documents state that it is "BERNARD."

HOAR's St. Augustine Police application was sworn to under oath before a notary.

Any material misrepresentations would have been grounds for termination and could still be grounds for revocation of his certification by the Florida Criminal Justice and Standards Commission, to which Governor RICHARD LYNN SCOTT has appointed by Sheriff DAVID SHOAR and his ex-boss and current henchmen, former St. Augustine City Manager WILLIAM BARRY HARRIS.

Bio - David B. Shoar, Sheriff
 Born October 28, 1961 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
 Married on May 2, 1987 to the former Laura Giannotta.
 Father of Emily Elizabeth and Matthew Lawrence.
 Member of St. Anastasia Catholic Church, St. Augustine, Florida.
 President and Valedictorian of Police Academy Class, 1981.
 Patrol Officer, St. Augustine Police Department, 1981-1991.
 Sergeant, St. Augustine Police Department, 1991-1997 (road patrol & records/information
 Administrative Services Commander, St. Augustine Police Department, 1997-1998.
 Operations Commander, St. Augustine Police Department, 1998-2000.
 Chief of Police, St. Augustine Police Department, 2000-2004.
 Elected Sheriff of St. Johns County Florida, 2004.
 Re-elected Sheriff in 2008 (unopposed).
 Re-elected Sheriff in 2012 (unopposed).
 Graduate of the 193rd session of the prestigious FBI National Academy at Quantico, Virginia,
 Graduate of the 46th session of the prestigious FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development
Seminar (LEEDS) at Quantico, Virginia, 2003.
 Graduate of the 35th session of the Chief Executive Seminar (CES) sponsored by the Florida
Criminal Justice Executive Institute, 2004.
 Attended numerous professional/police related schools since 1980/1981.
Civilian Education
 Graduated Cathedral High School, Springfield, Massachusetts, 1979.
 Graduated Cum Laude (with honors), St. Johns River Community College (Associate of Arts
Degree), 1987.
 Graduated Summa Cum Laude (with highest honors), University of North Florida (Bachelor of
Arts Degree, Criminal Justice), 1996.
 Graduated Summa Cum Laude (with highest honors), University of North Florida (Master’s Degree, Public Administration), 2001.
 Scholastic Memberships – Gold Key National Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, Student Criminal Justice Association, and the Pre-Law Society.
 Adjunct Professor, St. Johns River Community College and Flagler College, 2002-Present.
 Awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Flagler College, 2005.
Military Education
 Twenty-four (24) year veteran of the Florida Army National Guard.
 Graduate of Basic Recruit Training, 1979.
 Graduate
 Graduate FL, 1988.
 Graduate
 Graduate
 Graduate
 Graduate
of Air Force Security Police Specialist School; Lackland AFB, TX, 1979.
of Florida National Guard Military Academy Officer Candidate School, Camp Blanding,
of Engineer Officer Basic Course, Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, 1990.
of the Engineer Officer Advanced Course, Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, 1999. of the Combined Arms, Services and Staff Course, Jacksonville, FL, 2001. of Warrior 2000 Leadership Seminar.
Military Awards (Not all listed)
 Good Conduct Medal
 Humanitarian Service Medal
 Southwest Asia Service Medal
 Liberation of Kuwait Medal (awarded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)
 Army Commendation Medal (two times)
 Overseas Training Ribbon
 The Florida Commendation Medal
 The Meritorious Service Medal
Military Assignments and Leadership Experience
 Enlisted soldier from 1980 through 1987
 Unit Commander, 221st Explosive Ordinance Disposal Detachment, 1988
 Platoon Leader and Executive Officer, 269th Engineer Company, 1988 – 1992
 Platoon Leader, 269th Engineer Company, in Southwest Asia during Operation Desert
 Executive Officer, 269th Engineer Company, during Operation Andrew relief operations
 Staff Officer, Directorate of Engineering and Housing, Camp Blanding, FL, 1992-1995
 Unit Commander, 653rd Engineer Detachment, 1995 – 1997
 Unit Commander, 653rd Engineer Detachment, during Operation Opal relief operations
 Staff Officer, Florida Army National Guard Facility Management Office, 1997 – 1999
 Operations Officer, Florida Army National Guard Office of Plans, Operations and Military Support to Civilian Authorities, 1999 – 2001
 Law Enforcement Liaison for the Assistant Adjutant General for Army (FLANG) Joint Task Force, 1999 - 2005
 Public Information/Affairs Advisor to the Command Section of the Florida National Guard, 2001- 2002
 Provost Marshall, 53rd Infantry Brigade, Tampa, FL 2002-2003
 Public Information/Affairs Advisor to the Command Section of the Florida National Guard, 2003-
 Retired in 2005 from the Florida Army National Guard after 24 years of service
Civilian Awards
 University of North Florida In-Service Academic Excellence Award, 2002
 Juvenile Justice Award, 2002
 Criminal Justice Award from the Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency (FCCD), 2005
 Establishment of the “David B. Shoar Award for Academic Achievement” at Flagler College
 Recipient of the National “America’s Most Wanted First Responder All Star” award, 2006
 Recipient of the “Top Law Enforcement of the year 2007” from the Florida statewide American
 2008 received the two most prestigious awards in St. Johns County for civic involvment, the
Catholic Charities, "Good Samaritan" Award and the Salvation Army's, "Gus Craig" award
Professional Affiliations
 Florida Sheriff's Association (served as Chairman in 2011 and elected Treasurer for 2011/2012)
 St. Johns County Juvenile Justice Council
 St. Johns County Task Force on Domestic Violence (former co-chairperson)
 University of North Florida's advisory council for the Institute of Local Government
 Northeast Florida Law Enforcement Executive's Association (past vice president and president)
 St. Augustine/St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce
 Member, Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)
 Member, International Association of Chiefs of Police, Florida FBI National Academy Associates
 Member, Florida Police Chief’s Association
 Member, Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency
 Life member, Veterans of Foreign Wars
 Member, Epic Board of Directors
 Member, St. Johns County's Law Enforcement and Private Security Council
 Member, Rotary Club of St. Augustine
 Board of Directors for the North Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA)
 Member, National Guard Officers Association
 Member, Knights of Columbus
 Member, Masonic Lodge
 Board Member, elected to serve on the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors (2006)
 Appointed in 2003 by Commissioner Tom Gallagher (State of Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services) to a 4-year term on the Division of Licensing Advisory Council for Private Security.
 Served on the St. Augustine Beach Police Chief selection committee, 2003
 Appointed by the Governor of Florida to serve as a Commissioner on the Florida Criminal Justice
Standards and Training Commission (2009-2010)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016



On August 31, 1994, legal counsel for St. Augustine police officer DAVID BERNARD HOAR,  his wife and his two children filed a name change petition with the St. Johns Clerk of Courts, paying a fee of $75.50.  The attorney for HOAR/SHOAR was Robin Conner, Bennett & Bledsoe law firm.

The petition asserted HOAR had never been convicted of a felony, not adjudicated bankrupt, had no money judgment against him, asserting that his petition was "not filed for illegal or ulterior purpose and the granting will not invade the property rights of others in any manner, whether partnership, patent, goodwill, privacy, trademark or otherwise."

The name change petition said that Officer HOAR had worked for the St. Augustine Police Department for five years.

The petition did not state why Officer HOAR wanted to change his name, his wife's name or his two children's names.

Only twelve (12) days the petition was filed -- on September 12, 1994 -- then St. Johns County Circuit Court Judge Richard O. Watson granted the name change petition in a signed order, changing the officer's name from "HOAR" to "SHOAR," the name by which HOAR "shall be known hereafter."

The St. Johns County courthouse complex is now named for  Judge Richard O. Watson.

DAVID SHOAR, the name-changing police officer formerly known as "HOAR" is now an internationally infamous Sheriff of St. Johns County.

Faced with opposition to a fourth term by Debra Maynard, Shoar's rebarbative Republican apparatchiks have gone to extraordinary lengths closing the August 30, 2016 universal primary to Democrats and independents.

SHOAR/HOAR is a coverup artist, noted for having covered up the September 2, 2010 shooting of Michelle O'Connell in the home of Deputy Sheriff JEREMY BANKS.

Primary-Closing Republican Operative's Criminal History

St. Johns County Republican political provocateur ROBERT THORNTON SMITH does not deny plotting to close four (4) universal primaries with five (5) write-in candidates.

ROBERT SMITH has volunteered and been paid to work on Republican campaigns, including a Volusia County judicial candidate Joseph Horrox, whom Smith once alleged in eviction defense court papers had promised to pay  him $2500 for political conslting.

Our local prosecutor, 7th Judicial Circuit State's Attorney Ralph Joseph Larizza recused himself in 2012 from one of SMITH's criminal cases because SMITH worked on his campaign, requiring Governor RICHARD LYNN SCOTT to appoint 18th Judicial Circuit State's Attorney Norman R. Wolfinger as special prosecutor.

Local court records show that SMITH has a history of alleged domestic violence and evictions.

Rebarbative Republican apparatchik BOB SMITH has bragged of organizing political sign-stealing and challenging minority voters at polls in Florida.  

SMITH has not denied his role in organizing the five (5) candidates to file to run as write-in candidates, closing four universal primaries for St. Johns County Sheriff, Clerk of Court and two of three County Commission races.

-----Original Message-----
From: Hathaway, Spencer
To: easlavin
Sent: Tue, Jun 28, 2016 10:17 am
Subject: RE: Request No. 2016-267: ROBERT THORNTON SMITH

Good morning Mr. Slavin,

Please find attached a copy of CF1203021A03 (Worthless Check > $150). This case was assigned to the 18th Circuit SAO, but I have attached the casefile that we have.

The following case files were disposed of pursuant to our public records retention policy:

MM0218868A03 (Worthless Check < $150)
MM0508546A03 (Issuing a Worthless Check)
MM0508547A03 (Issuing a Worthless Check)
CT080122503 (Driving with License Suspended)
MM09-00442 (Issuing a Worthless Check)

All my best,

Spencer S. Hathaway
Assistant State Attorney / Public Information Officer

Bogus write-in candidates -- closing what would have been our St. Johns County universal primary for Sheriff, Commissioner and Court Clerk -- were apparently recruited by ROBERT T. SMITH, a/k/a "GOP BOB," a St. Johns County Republican Executive Committee who may be reached at, or at 904-803-2170. No response to my e-mail four (4) days ago.

-----Original Message-----
From: Ed Slavin
Cc: vanita.gupta ;
Sent: Fri, Jun 24, 2016 3:47 pm
Subject: Fwd: URGENT: Northeast Florida Voting Rights Violations -- Suppression of Minority Vote by Closing Universal Primaries on August 30, 2016

Dear Mr. Smith:
Please call me to discuss your efforts to recruit write-in candidates to close what would have been [four] universal primaries, violating civil and constitutional rights, and at an added cost to taxpayers of some $250,000.
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

Replacing the St. Augustine Beach Pier: Here's How.

Our St. Johns County officials are wondering how to get the money to replace the County Pier in St. Augustine Beach.

Here's how:

1. Support the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore (, with a public-private partnership to build a new pier, including restaurants, a fish market and a farmer's market and a civil rights museum honoring the wade-ins at St. Augustine Beach, where the ocean was segregated until Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired wade-ins in 1964 by African-Americans. (Currently, there is only a small sign by the bocci courts). What a teachable moment in an historic place -- today's young people find it inconceivable that under Jim Crow segregation in Florida -- American Apartheid -- even the Atlantic Ocean was segregated. As a result of the wade-ins and other creative nonviolent St. Augustine Movement activism, LBJ was able to defeat the Senate segregationists' filibuster and signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act on July 2, 1964 -- two civil rights monuments are in our St. Augustine Plaza de la Constitucion a/k/a "Slave Market Square."

2. Use tourist bed tax funds to pledge to sell bonds, at 1.25% interest over 30 years. Florida Statute 125.0104(5a)(5b) & (5d) provide:

(b) Tax revenues received pursuant to this section by a county of less than 750,000 population imposing a tourist development tax may only be used by that county for the following purposes in addition to those purposes allowed pursuant to paragraph (a): to acquire, construct, extend, enlarge, remodel, repair, improve, maintain, operate, or promote one or more zoological parks, fishing piers or nature centers which are publicly owned and operated or owned and operated by not-for-profit organizations and open to the public. All population figures relating to this subsection shall be based on the most recent population estimates prepared pursuant to the provisions of s. 186.901. These population estimates shall be those in effect on July 1 of each year.
(c) A county located adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean, except a county that receives revenue from taxes levied pursuant to s. 125.0108, which meets the following criteria may use up to 10 percent of the tax revenue received pursuant to this section to reimburse expenses incurred in providing public safety services, including emergency medical services as defined in s. 401.107(3), and law enforcement services, which are needed to address impacts related to increased tourism and visitors to an area. However, if taxes collected pursuant to this section are used to reimburse emergency medical services or public safety services for tourism or special events, the governing board of a county or municipality may not use such taxes to supplant the normal operating expenses of an emergency medical services department, a fire department, a sheriff’s office, or a police department. To receive reimbursement, the county must:
1. Generate a minimum of $10 million in annual proceeds from any tax, or any combination of taxes, authorized to be levied pursuant to this section;
2. Have at least three municipalities; and
3. Have an estimated population of less than 225,000, according to the most recent population estimate prepared pursuant to s. 186.901, excluding the inmate population.
The board of county commissioners must by majority vote approve reimbursement made pursuant to this paragraph upon receipt of a recommendation from the tourist development council.
(d) The revenues to be derived from the tourist development tax may be pledged to secure and liquidate revenue bonds issued by the county for the purposes set forth in subparagraphs (a)1., 2., and 5. or for the purpose of refunding bonds previously issued for such purposes, or both; however, no more than 50 percent of the revenues from the tourist development tax may be pledged to secure and liquidate revenue bonds or revenue refunding bonds issued for the purposes set forth in subparagraph (a)5. Such revenue bonds and revenue refunding bonds may be authorized and issued in such principal amounts, with such interest rates and maturity dates, and subject to such other terms, conditions, and covenants as the governing board of the county shall provide. The Legislature intends that this paragraph be full and complete authority for accomplishing such purposes, but such authority is supplemental and additional to, and not in derogation of, any powers now existing or later conferred under law.

ODD TODD Suggests Another Unconstitutional Rule

During the June 27, 2016 City Commission meeting, the "CYA CPA," controversial St. Augustine City Commissioner TODD NEVILLE (R-Proctorville) suggested yet another corrupt, unconstitutional rule -- favoritism for borrowing from "local banks" -- a violation of the Constitution's dormant commerce clause if ever there was one. Naturally, none of ODD TODD's colleagues, and certainly not his running dog, JOHN REGAN, CITY MANAGER/MANGLER, or their lapdog, ISABELLE LOPEZ, City Attorney, said boo about it. Sick.

Taxi rules, fire fee changes advance in St. Augustine: SAR

Taxi rules, fire fee changes advance in St. Augustine
Posted: June 27, 2016 - 11:53pm | Updated: June 28, 2016 - 6:52am


Changes to St. Augustine’s taxicab standards and the city’s fire assessment fee are moving forward.

St. Augustine commissioners moved to second reading, the adoption hearing, two ordinances on Monday that address those issues.

The taxicab ordinance would set a 10-year age limit and a 250,000-mile limit for the vehicles, with time allowed for existing cabs to adjust.

Thomas Strickland, who drives a taxi in St. Augustine, said the proposal is unfair.

“My vehicle is 14 years old, it has 215,000 miles on it ... and it’s as clean as any other taxi in the city,” Strickland said.

Strickland also said that old cabs serve a need. They can provide lower fares to people who need it. He also said cabs in bad shape should be fixed up or taken off the road.

Officials discussed where the proposal came from, after a question from the public.

City Attorney Isabelle Lopez said a business owner reached out, but an ordinance wasn’t drafted based on that. Assistant City Attorney Denise May said the changes came from the City Commission’s request.

Strickland said James Howard, owner of St. Augustine cab company Sax Taxi, is trying to put other cab companies out of business.

Howard said in a phone interview after the meeting that he “didn’t have anything to do with these changes” and that the city is behind them.

Responding to Strickland’s comments, Howard said, “If he’s upset about the regulations on the mileage of the vehicles, then that already says that he’s part of the problem. ... Vehicles have as shelf life.”

Howard has voiced support for the changes and submitted suggested changes to the city that were presented in January. Those suggestions included the age and mileage restrictions. The current ordinance includes other regulations as well.

The ordinance also defines and sets standards for pedicabs and low-speed vehicles.

Both Mayor Nancy Shaver and Commissioner Todd Neville agreed the age and mileage requirement seemed arbitrary.

Commissioner Leanna Freeman said later, “I don’t want to put our local ... drivers out of business, but I think the goal has always been that we have standards that will protect our riders,” she said.

Commissioners sent the draft to second reading to get public comment on the issue. People who spoke on first reading Monday spoke during general public comment, as first reading ordinances don’t have public comment.

Changes to the city’s fire assessment fee also got rolling Monday.

Commissioners voted 4-1, with Neville dissenting, to move forward on changing how the fee is assessed. Commissioners are expected to vote on the rates in July.

A special meeting earlier Monday focused on the fee, and the ordinance was discussed at the regular commission meeting.

Neville voiced concern about charging residential and nonresidential buildings differently. Other commissioners agreed with charging more for buildings that demand greater services.

According to the consultant’s presentation, nonresidential buildings request more services, based on call data.

The city charges 6 cents per square foot of enclosed building space regardless of the type of building — though some government buildings are exempt. The recommendation to the City Commission, after an analysis by consultant Government Services Group, was to increase the fee to 7 cents per square foot for residential buildings and to about 12.7 cents per square foot for nonresidential buildings.

The increase would mean a $15 per year increase for a 1,500-square-foot residential building and a $135.40 increase per year for a 2,000-square-foot nonresidential building, according to data in the consultant’s presentation.

That would raise the amount of the St. Augustine Fire Departments’ budget covered by the fee to about 53 percent. That would be more than an estimated $1.68 million in revenue, according to the consultant.

In other business

■ Neville, saying he didn’t “want to sound like a broken record,” cautioned Shaver against speaking publicly in a way that reflects the whole commission. He’s done that before.

Shaver recently spoke to Action News Jax about her concerns with the city’s mobility plan project. She has said a detailed work schedule had not been delivered to the city as specified in the contract with Littlejohn Engineering Associates.

Neville said, “I know that there are First Amendment rights here, but I also ask you to remember that the perception is you’re speaking on behalf of all of us. And it’s detrimental to our projects and to our city when you go off of that will and ...

“I believe that is a completely incorrect characterization of how I hold this office, and how I speak to the public,” Shaver said. “I said nothing in that interview that was not already in the public record at this commission meeting. In no way do I represent myself in any other way. I am always quite frankly operating at an extremely high level of professionalism and respect for this office, for the people I serve with, and I believe that it is beginning to sound like a broken record. I appreciate your concern. We do this every meeting. But I’m not sure it’s really helpful.”

“I just disagree with your interpretation. ...” Neville said.

“I realize you do, and I think I’ve heard that before. OK? Thank you.” Shaver said.

The story focused on the project being delayed, though officials with the city and consultant have said it’s on track. City officials plan to meet with Littlejohn on Wednesday and will discuss the work schedule.

■ Chuck Bromirski, a St. Augustine resident, called for City Manager John Regan’s contract to be re-negotiated.

He said he’s a former member of the military and General Motors employee. He said, “I believed in checks and balances, and I believe our country was founded by this principle. And I believe currently our city does not have this. I believe ... I as a citizen am not being adequately represented by the city manager, John Regan, and wish to ask his contract with our city be re-negotiated. I further state that the Littlejohn contract to be a dog-and-pony show with [no] good result except $108,000 of our money being spent, and of course more dollars are at stake. ... This contract and more were not a good-faith representation of money spent.”

Regan said he’d be happy to sit down with Bromirski. He also said nothing has been paid yet to Littlejohn Engineering Associates. The consultant is paid as work is done and city officials have been waiting on a bill from the consultant. Regan said after the meeting that he’d given Bromirski his business card, and that he is “always looking to be a better city manager.”

■ Commissioners gave consensus to move forward with getting a loan with Capital City Bank to pay off 2005 water and sewer revenue bonds. The principal amount is $4.71 million, according to Mark Litzinger, director of financial services. A resolution making the deal final is expected to come in July on the consent agenda. The new debt would have a fixed interest rate of about 1.4 percent, according to a memo from the city’s financial adviser, Public Financial Management.

Monday, June 27, 2016

SIKES-KLINE: Oppose Waterfront Condos Destroying Working Waterfront

Kudos to Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline for opposing on first reading conversion of part of our historic working waterfront to fancy-bears condos.

The proposal passed first reading June 27th by vote of 4-1 (Commissioner Sikes-Kline dissenting).

It will go to second reading, where it will be hashed out with a public hearing on July 11, 2016.

Please come join us, in support of preserving and protecting our comprehensive plan and City's history, culture and nature.

Commissioner Sikes-Kline pointed out that the comprehensive plan change would alter the character of our "precious" and limited working waterfront, asking whether her colleagues supported "condos with yachts," instead of current working waterfront with industrial uses.

The shrimping and boat-building industries have long been a backbone of St. Augustine's economy for more than a century -- providing jobs and nautical flavor.

Vice Mayor Roxanne Horvath concurred with Commissioner Sikes-Kline and Mayor Shaver said she made good points.

Commission's decision will be cited as a precedent for those who want to convert Ribertia Street into homes for millionaires and billionaires.

I strongly agree with Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline and Vice Mayor Roxanne Horvath. The Sebastian River is a working waterfront, as our comprehensive plan requires.

The nature and character of our City are at stake.

Come speak out on July 11, 2016.


Mayor JOE BOLES and his four Bolesian hick hacks hired ISABELLE CHRISTINE LOPEZ in 2014 as City Attorney.

Other-directed Commissioners NANCY SIKES-KLINE and LEANNA FREEMAN saying in two-part harmony, "She protects us."

From whom?

For whom?

 Should louche lawyer IZZY LOPEZ be sent "back to law school for retreading" or is it time for her to go?"

At minimum, inept, maladroit, other-directed St. Augustine City Attorney ISABELLE CHRISTINE "needs to go back to law school for retreading."

I said that at tonight's (June 27) City Commission meeting.

I actually borrowed the immortal words of my mentor, former Chief Judge of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB)(1977-1979) and Department of Labor (1979-1995) concerning a Harvard Law School CAB General Counsel who wanted to violate the Due Process rights of America's airlines under the reign of CAB Chair Alfred Kahn, who pursued a deregulatory agenda under President Jimmy Carter.

City Attorney ISABELLE LOPEZ and her office never researched Fifth Amendment taking issues or due process issues and never briefed Commissioners about them before presenting a dopey, half-baked, anti-competitive draft city ordinance that would have subjected our City to civil rights lawsuits by taxicab owners -- it would have banned cabs older than ten years old or with more than 250,000 miles. (See below).

City Attorney ISABELLE LOPEZ signed and "approved as to form" a maladroit consulting contract with LITTLEJOHN ENGINEERING ASSOCIATES, INC. waiving our City's right to jury trial and waiving our right to seek attorney fees.  City staff refuse to identify other contracts waiving such rights without being paid. "Bring extra money," in the words of Jimmy Breslin, is the reign of error of LOPEZ and City staff in an attempt to chill, coerce, restrain and discourage Open Records requests.

It's time for LOPEZ to go back to work for developers -- she's incompetent, costing our City money, waiving our rights, violating artists' rights and proposing unjust laws.  As Saint Augustine said, "An unjust law is no law at all."

Comm'r FREEMAN Yields on Anti-Competition Law

Louche City Commissioner LEANNA FREEMAN heard local taxicab drivers, landlord Wolfgang Schau, Commissioner Todd Neville, Mayor Nancy Shaver and I speak against her plans to implement the anti-competitive agenda of SAX TAXI owner JAMES HOWARD to pass a law that would ban taxicabs older than ten years or with more than 250,000 miles on it.

Dull divorce lawyer FREEMAN yielded to facts and law at last.

Neville said the provisions were "somewhat arbitrary," stating that Casa Monica Hotel, "across the street," has "two vehicles for hire that are over 80 years old."

Mayor Shaver stated that she once drove a 300D with more than 500,000 miles.

Earlier, during general public comment, Wolfgang Schau spoke of a Mercedes taxicab in Hamburg that had more than one million miles and was more than 30 years old and rode like a dream.

FREEMAN looked down and looked pouty during the discussion, but conceded that the regulatory amendments met her goals.

There was no sign of would-be monopolist JAMES HOWARD or his erstwhile lawyer, JAMES GEORGE WHITEHOUSE, one of the satellites in ST. JOHNS LAW GROUP, owned by DOUGLAS NELSON BURNETT.

HOWARD undisputedly intended to put all of the other taxicab companies in town out of business, as cab driver Thomas Strickland quoted HOWARD during general public comment.

During general public comment, I briefly pointed out that the ordinance would be an unconstitutional taking in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, wearing my fish tie because the ordinance is so "fishy."

While the unaltered taxicab ordinance passed on first reading, it will go to public hearing on July 11, 2016 where the two obnoxious provisions are likely to be deleted and defeated. Come join us.


St. Augustine City Commission TODD DAVID NEVILLE speaks at 2016 developer-sponsored event in Nocatee for failed presidential candidate MARCO ANTONIO RUBIO, former lawyer with BECKER & POLIAKOFF (C-SPAN)

Controversial St. Augustine City Commissioner TODD DAVID NEVILLE (R-PROCTORVILLE) a/k/a "the CYA CPA," a/k/a "ODD TODD NEVILLE, confessed, ipse fixit,  June 27th that he "sounds like a broken record," and Mayor Nancy E. Shaver readily agreed.

So do I.

So do we. all

ODD TODD NEVILLE has attacked Mayor Shaver ever since they were both sworn in on December 1, 2014.

Mayor Shaver is unflappable and dignified -- NEVILLE is as lugubrious a goober as ever made a chair squeak.  He has a mean streak.  He shows signs of mental illness -- he acts like a sociopath.

On June 27th, NEVILLE attacked Mayor Shaver (again) for speaking her mind on issues, babbling on incoherently in Commissioners' comments that there was "a perception" that she spoke for other Commissioners.  

NEVILLE was referring to an interview Mayor Shaver gave a Jacksonville investigative reporter about the LITTLEJOHN mobility contract.

Mayor Shaver responded that she said nothing inappropriate or untrue, that her comments were carefully weighed, "reflecting a high degree of professionalism," and agreed with NEVILLE that he "sounds like a broken record."

NEVILLE vainly attempts to argue that government oversight is "micromanagement," acting as an attack dog defending his running buddy, City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E.


Controversial two-term ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH CITY COMMISSIONER ANDREA SAMUELS violated state ethics laws when she voted to appoint her husband, ROBERT SAMUELS, to the St. Augustine Beach Planning and Zoning Board as a junior alternate member.

The Florida Ethics Commission found in response to a complaint by Barry Tuttle that SAMUELS broke the law. As explained by Ethics omission lawyer Caroline Klancke, the Commission found that "a violation of the Code of Ethics had occurred but declining to prosecute further as it was predicated upon the erroneous advice of counsel."

Commission ANDREA SAMUELS was not fined, however, and the complaint was dismissed May 9, 2012 because she relied upon erroneous "legal advice" from DOUGLAS NELSON BURNETT, them City Attorney.

No press release was issued.

No news article was ever published.

Citizens were kept in the dark.

SAMUELS was re-elected in 2012, her only opponent, a Realtor®, having qualified and then withdrawn.

With information on his erroneous ethics advice not shared with the public or Commissioners, estimable St. Augustine Beach City Attorney DOUGLAS NELSON BURNETT, a dodgy developer lawyer, was repeatedly retained and rehired by the City of St. Augustine Beach, as recently as in 2015.   DOUGLAS BURNETT is the son of former Florida National Guard Adjutant General DOUGLAS BURNETT, an appointee of Governor RICHARD LYNN SCOTT to the board of the St. Johns River Management District and onetime Governor CHARLES CRIST appointee to Florida college boards.

Under fire, St. Augustine Beach City Attorney DOUGLAS NELSON BURNETT has since resigned and has since been replaced by JAMES PATRICK WILSON.

Commissioner Andrea SAMUELS was represented before the Florida Ethics Commission by former Florida Ethics Commission Chair MARK HERRON, high-priced Tallahassee elections and ethics lawyer, lawyer for the Florida Democratic Party and other politicians.

MARK HERRON also represented RANDY BRUNSON in his defense of 2008 ethics charges and was one of the lawyers representing VP Al Gore in the 2000 Florida presidential election recounts. (Fired by AKERMAN SENTERFITT for representing Gore, HERRON challenged the soldier vote, a non-starter and a public relations disaster for VP Gore).

The investigation of SAMUELS' NEPOTISTIC violations of ethics laws continues:

-----Original Message-----
From: Ed Slavin
To: comasamuels ; dburnett ; jimwil03 ; mroyle ; comsgsnodgrass ; commengland ; comugeorge ; comrobrien ; mherron ; klancke.caroline
Sent: Mon, Jun 27, 2016 12:54 pm
Subject: Request No. 206-268: Florida Ethics Commission complaint 11-03 re: ANDREA SAMUELS

Good afternoon:
1. Please send all documents re: Florida Ethics Commission complaint 11-03 re: St. Augustine Beach City Commissioner, ANDREA SAMUELS (2008-2016).
2. Please include any disclosures to Commissioners or the public of the finding of violation and dismissal.
3. Please include any remedial actions taken as a result of City Attorney DOUGLAS NELSON BURNETT'S alleged erroneous legal advice.
4. Please include any factual proof of City Attorney DOUGLAS NELSON BURNETT'S alleged erroneous legal advice.
5. Please include any legal bills for City Attorney DOUGLAS NELSON BURNETT'S alleged erroneous legal advice., and any refunds or credits for it.
6. Please include any Bar complaints or referrals for City Attorney DOUGLAS NELSON BURNETT'S alleged erroneous legal advice.
7. Please include any performance reviews mentioning City Attorney DOUGLAS NELSON BURNETT'S alleged erroneous legal advice.
8. Please include any Ethics Commission precedents, briefs or memos ever identifying "advice of counsel" as a defense to an ethics complaint.
9. Please provide any statistics on the number of Ethics Commission complaints ever resolved by reference to "advice of counsel" as a defense to an ethics complaint.
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

-----Original Message-----
From: Ed Slavin
To: comasamuels
Cc: thomasfreynolds ; sheldon.gardner ; news ; jim.sutton ; craig.richardson ; sceastman ; aschindler ; joboyle ; ntaylor ; pat.gleason ; sunshine ; dburnett ; jimwil03 ; mroyle ; comsgsnodgrass ; commengland ; comugeorge ; comrobrien ; klancke.caroline ; mherron ; judgelitt10
Sent: Mon, Jun 27, 2016 2:40 pm
Subject: Re: Request No. 206-268: Florida Ethics Commission complaint 11-03 re: ANDREA SAMUELS

Dear Commissioner Samuels:
Please direct that your former defense lawyer, Mr. Mark Herron, kindly release your entire file, including bills and payments, and the source of those payments.  If you assert any privilege against self-incrimination, or any work product doctrine protection or attorney-client privilege, please bear in mind the adverse inferences to be drawn by a public official engaging in nepotistic appointments and concealing the sequelae.
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

Left to right: Three First Amendment violators: St. Augustine Beach Civic Association (SABCA) President WILLIAM JONES, Commissioner ANDREA SAMUELS, et ux, SABCA VP ROBERT SAMUELS.

Mark Herron
Member in Good StandingEligible to Practice Law in Florida
Bar Number:
Mail Address:
Messer Caparello P.A.
Messer Caparello P.A
2618 Centennial Pl
Tallahassee, FL 32308-0572
United States
Office: 850-222-0720
Fax: 850-558-0659
Personal Bar URL:

Douglas Nelson Burnett
Member in Good Standing
Eligible to Practice Law in Florida
Douglas Nelson Burnett
Bar Number:
Mail Address:
St. Johns Law Group, P.A.
104 Sea Grove Main St
Saint Augustine Beach, FL 32080-6308
United States
Office: 904-495-0400
Fax: 904-495-0506
Cell: 904-687-9126
Personal Bar URL:

Douglas Burnett
St. Augustine
Mr. Burnett is president of Doug Burnett and Associates, a consulting firm for major defense contractors. He was appointed to a four-year term to an at-large seat on the Governing Board on May 21, 2013. Mr. Burnett is a retired major general with the Florida National Guard, having served during his 47-year tenure as a tactical fighter and airline pilot, technical and personnel program manager, and a commanding officer. A native of Jacksonville, Fla., Mr. Burnett held several key positions with the Florida National Guard, including Chief of Safety, Group Operations Officer, Director of Operations, Chief of Staff, Assistant Adjutant/Air and Adjutant General. As Adjutant General, he had responsibility for more than 12,000 soldiers and airmen who were engaged in combat operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, as well as responding to hurricanes, wildfires and other major natural disasters. Mr. Burnett served on the Reserve Forces Policy Board, an advisory board to the Secretary of Defense, and was Chairman of the National Guard Domestic Operations Advisory Committee. In addition to his military career, Mr. Burnett was a commercial pilot for Pan American World Airways and National Airlines. He earned a degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi. He is a graduate of the USAF Command and General Staff College and the USAF Air War College. Mr. Burnett is past president of the National Guard Officers Association of Florida and has served two terms as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Guard Association of the United States. Mr. Burnett currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Air National Guard, U.S.

Poor start for mobility effort

Letter: Poor start for St. Augustine's mobility study
Posted: June 27, 2016 - 12:00am | Updated: June 27, 2016 - 4:29am
St. Augustine Record

By Vera Kramer
Poor start for mobility effort

Editor: I agree with Mayor Nancy Shaver raising questions on the work done by the mobility task force. I also concur.

I was very disappointed, and most certainly would never have made the effort to get there had I known all that was being presented was a historical overview of what the city looked like in the past.

When we were finished viewing the video, we were told we could ask questions of any of the staff at the easels, etc. I was interested in the Abbott Tract where I live. But, as I was asking questions, I was shushed.

George Kramer, the director of planning for Littlejohn Engineering, was going over old pictures with new people who had drifted in.

So I asked where the “design charrette” was, which the contract called for. Where was mobility update?

Is the $108,000 going to be well spent, or will it be like others before, with the money going down the drain?


JACOB SIKES KLINE, son of former Vice Mayor and current City Commissioner NANCY SIKES-KLINE, released on $25,000 bond, is set for a felony pretrial hearing before Judge J. Michael Traynor on August 11, 2016 at 1:30 PM.
State of Florida v. JACOB SIKES KLINE, Case No. 16000379CFMA
Prosecutor: Chris Ferrebee.
Defense attorney: Clyde M. Taylor, III.
Charge: PRINCIPAL TO HOME INVASION ROBBERY WITH A WEAPON (F.S. 812.135 2a & 812.135 1 & 777.011).
Records for KLINE and four codefendants may be viewed on Clerk of Courts website search engine, here.
UPDATE: Thanks to friend for questioning this entry. PLEASE NOTE: My lengthy, wordy, discursive, autobiographical prior blog article, urging compassion, mercy -- and calming inflamed, prejudiced residents attacking the Klines and prejudging the case -- is here.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Susan Parker: First pier was a wonder of New Deal era

YES, the first pier was federally-subsidized! Let's get federal funds for the replacement pier by enacting the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore.

Susan Parker: First pier was a wonder of New Deal era

Posted: June 25, 2016 - 8:38pm  |  Updated: June 26, 2016 - 8:54am

Susan Parker: First pier was a wonder of New Deal era
Posted: June 25, 2016 - 8:38pm | Updated: June 26, 2016 - 8:54am

The original St. Augustine Beach Pier extended a quarter mile into the Atlantic Ocean, long enough to stage drag racing on its deck.

The Atlantic Ocean, however, is not kind to such bold intrusions. An August 1939 storm damaged the east end of the brand new pier, less than one month after its completion. The pier was repaired, reinforced and shortened to 800 feet, losing almost 40 percent of its length. How quickly the pier lost the claim made in July 1939 that it extended “further into the Atlantic Ocean than any pier along the Atlantic Coast.”

In May 1935 the St. Johns County Commission had discussed how they might finance the idea of building an “ocean pier or piers” to lure visitors and encourage land purchases at St. Augustine Beach. A few months later the St. Augustine Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) recommended that the county apply for New Deal funds through the Public Works Administration. Other civic groups participated. The Hastings Jaycees offered to fundraise.

In November 1935 the Commission was informed that the pier project was denied because of lack of federal funds. Nevertheless, the commissioners continued work on the new road to the beach and to the hoped-for pier (now the road through Anastasia State Park). The pier project was bounced around by engineering issues, lack of federal funds and a local ongoing debate about where the pier should be located. A site was chosen among the three candidates at the current pier’s location.

Finally on Feb. 8, 1938, St. John County’s representatives in Congress — Sen. Claude Pepper, Sen. Charles O. Andrews and Rep. Joe Hendricks — reported that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had signed the ocean pier project bill. The money was to be used on a bulkhead, boardwalk, pier and parking lot.

The county agreed to provide machinery as its cost share, but at times county-owned mules pulled wagons to haul coquina from a nearby quarry. The County assigned convicts to work in the quarry. In September 1938, five men from the local jail were at work digging coquina. It was history repeating itself because convicts had worked the coquina quarries to extract stone for Castillo de San Marcos in the late 1600s.

It is interesting that New Deal projects were to assist communities with funds for projects and put unemployed people to work. I wonder if a convict could be considered “unemployed.”

Businessmen and leaders doubted that the pier would generate enough revenue to support itself. In October 1938, county leaders decided to build a pair of hotel buildings to flank the pier and help make it financially viable. (The south building still stands.)

The pier had its grand opening on Labor Day weekend of 1940, one year after World War II had begun in Europe. Cars drove under the pier during low tide and beachgoers took refuge from the sun under the pier deck.

Soon, German U-boats would appear off the coast of this county. Enemy submarines torpedoed an American oil tanker off Ponte Vedra Beach in the spring of 1942. Restrictions soon followed on the beaches and the mainland to darken street lights and automobile headlights. The speed limit was lowered for safety in the darker driving conditions.

Yet, artist Carl Austin created a lively oil painting in 1943 of “Pier & Bathers at St. Augustine Beach.” The picture gives no hint of the role of the grim war in their lives, and all appear to be having fun.

A fall storm in 1962 rendered the 1930s wooden pier structurally unsound. The current (concrete) pier replaced the New Deal-funded pier, opening in 1984.

Susan R. Parker holds a doctorate in colonial history and is executive director of the St. Augustine Historical Society.

attinson63 06/26/16 - 04:53 pm 00Painting
I've tried googling the painting Pier & Bathers and cannot find it. I'd love to see it.


GOOD issues raised by Bennett, commenters and Jake Martin.

St. Johns County commissioners to revisit bed tax allocations
Posted: June 25, 2016 - 8:41pm | Updated: June 26, 2016 - 8:46am


St. Johns County commissioners plan to re-evaluate the distribution of revenues from the county’s Tourist Development Tax, or bed tax, as well as explore the possibility of tacking on a fifth cent to the assessment on short-term transient rentals.

Commissioner Rachael Bennett during closing comments at Tuesday’s commission meeting requested an item be placed on the agenda for the purpose of reviewing the county’s options.

She explained it’s the County Commission that determines the percentage split of certain money as well as whether it would be appropriate to add another penny to the bed tax.

“It’s starting to be a very significant sum,” Bennett told fellow commissioners. “Do we want to change that distribution? Do we want to initiate an additional penny? What do we want to do about the monies that are coming in from the bed tax?”

The discussion is not without its implications for the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council.

The TDC promotes tourism in the county through programs funded by the bed tax, which is paid by overnight visitors to the county in hotel or motel rooms, campground spaces, condominiums, apartments and even private home rentals that are rented for six months or less.

Revenues from the original 2 percent bed tax established in 1986 are split on a 40-30-30 basis, with 40 percent going to advertising and promotion, 30 percent going to culture and special events and 30 percent going to beaches and recreation. Of the additional 2 percent bed tax that has since been tacked on, 1 percent is dedicated entirely to advertising and promotion while the other 1 percent is dedicated to administration and special uses. This category includes debt service on the St. Augustine Amphitheatre as well as costs for fireworks displays on the Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve and other special events.

According to the administrator’s budget workbook for the 2017 fiscal year, the TDC collected $8,220,259 in bed tax revenues in 2014, an estimated $8,782,820 in 2015, and an estimated $9,233,064 in 2016.

Expenditures have increased from a little more than $4 million in 2007 to north of $11 million in 2016, according to a graph provided in the workbook.

Commissioner Jay Morris, the board’s representative on the TDC, asked Bennett to clarify the fiscal year for which she was seeking input and possible changes.

“You’re looking for some input for 2018?” Morris asked, adding the TDC had already put together its budget for 2017.

“They can’t have done their budget because we approve their budget,” Bennett replied.

“That’s right, but they’ve put a lot of work in it,” Morris said. “You’re looking to change their budget? I think if that’s the case, you better let them know pretty quickly.”

Bennett reiterated that commissioners have final say in the matter and that the TDC is supposed to be providing quarterly updates.

“I haven’t seen someone from the TDC come quarterly at all,” she said. “We didn’t get a proposed budget from them. ... If it’s in the better interest of the people of St. Johns County to redistribute the TDC allocations, the TDC should redo their budget.”

According to the county’s website, the TDC has initial responsibility for the bed tax revenues. Funding proposals are to be submitted to the TDC for review and recommendation before action by county staff or consideration by commissioners. The final authority for revenues and expenditures, however, rests with the County Commission.

County Administrator Michael Wanchick said staff should be able to bring forward some options as to how to proceed at the commission’s July 26 meeting, in which commissioners will also set the millage rate for the upcoming fiscal year.

He told commissioners the bed tax matter came up during the administrator’s budget hearings in that programs in the county’s operating department were given a 5 percent growth cap across the board, which is not projected to be the case for the TDC.

“The TDC funds are growing at such a rapid rate, some of their programs are proposed to be funded at a much higher level,” Wanchick said. “Do they really need to be funded at that higher level or could some of those funds be directed, not so much for encouraging tourism, but offsetting some of the costs to the community hosting that many different tourists?”

He said the second issue of whether commissioners want to explore adding a fifth cent to the bed tax is a whole other discussion.

Commission Chair Jeb Smith said both discussions should be had, with other commissioners speaking at least in general agreement, although Morris did express some doubts as to what those discussions will produce.

“To me, if you’re going to be talking about a fifth cent, and I’ve said this before, it’s like a Band-Aid on a sucking chest wound,” Morris said. “Let’s talk about the sales tax again.”

He said whether the bed tax is four or five cents, it wouldn’t make a dent in what he called a $745 million backlog in county projects.

Bennett said she agreed there was a need for solutions to the county’s big picture challenges but that at least some of the TDC dollars would be better spent on infrastructure before attracting even more visitors.

“Our pressures at the beach for parking, for infrastructure, walkovers, and just infrastructure in general, is phenomenal, and we have so much visitor pressure on that,” she said. “Do we really want to spend $8 million on advertising and only $200,000 on beach infrastructure?”

Wanchick clarified he was only talking about the growth in TDC revenues due to the “tremendous growth in tourism activity” within the county.

“We’re not trying to take anything away from them that they have today,” he said. “We don’t want to hurt anybody. There are just limited revenues countywide and we want to look at the allocation of those revenues in conjunction with everything else that we have coming and going.”

Also to be discussed at the July 26 meeting is a consultant’s study approved by commissioners last year on beach parking and the possibility of charging for off-beach parking.

mach12.1e 06/26/16 - 08:15 am 64Here's the deal.
You keep adding taxes and you will get to the point of diminishing returns, and the animosity of local patrons. Locals want to use the B & B's too. Exempt locals (St Johns County residents) with ID from those taxes if they want to enjoy a night down town. The other monies need no longer be directed toward promotion. Everyone knows we're here and are arriving by plane and truck loads. The TDC doesn't even need to exist any more,. Dump them and their administrative costs, they are parasites. Any extra revenue should go to funding the needed infrastructure (roads) that are overwhelmed by the traffic the increase in tourist brought. No need to raise taxes if this is done. We want a little less crowding, not a little more.

sponger2 06/26/16 - 08:21 am 54I concur with Mach.
Give us a break. You've increased everything and we now even pay to park. If you choose to go down this path, throw the people that actually live here and pay local taxes here a bone, and don't continue to price them out of using our own town's amenities.

martystaug 06/26/16 - 09:31 am 31"...very significant sum,”
With 40% of the original fees going to advertising and now the fee has doubled with 100% of that increase going to advertising and administration, ie: TDC. So now, if my limited math is correct, 15% of the current bed tax money goes to beaches and culture. The vast majority goes back to the TDC advertising and admin costs. Why not end the bed tax and the TDC, let the B&Bs and hotels pocket the money as profits, and stop filling up this town with more visitors than our streets and infrastructure can handle. Why not make a little room for locals to enjoy our amenities as mentioned above by Mach and Sponger. Budget watchers may view this as "free money", but look at what it has done to our town, and you'll see it is definitely not FREE.

CameraGirl 06/26/16 - 02:01 pm 11Finally a commissioner speaks up
It's about time someone points this out. Hopefully she will make some changes happen before her time is done, as others may be too timid. They don't need to spend one nickel on advertisement for an entire year, use the funds for infrastructure and beach improvements and see if our tourism number change. If there isn't a significant drop, well there's your answer on whether or not we need to spend a fortune to bring more people here than we can accommodate. Give the residents a break from the madness!