Thursday, January 19, 2017

SABCA President Attacks First Amendment Rights At County Commission

Maladroit SABCA President WILLIAM JONES -- Sheriff DAVID SHOAR's civil process server employee -- is angry that I reported his inactions, and County Administrator's actions. "SECRECY IS FOR LOSERS." --- Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Posted January 19, 2017 01:07 am - Updated January 19, 2017 01:39 am
St. Johns County Commission will revist contract for St. Augustine Beach farmers market


Supporters of the Wednesday farmers markets in St. Augustine Beach came in full force to Tuesday’s meeting of the St. Johns County Commission with hopes of saving an agreement that allows the event at the Pier Park parking lot.

The current agreement allows the St. Augustine Beach Civic Association to use part of the St. Johns County Ocean Beach &Fishing Pier parking lot to operate the market from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each Wednesday year-round. That agreement, effective as of Aug. 1, 2007, is due to expire on July 31 in lieu of County Commission action to extend the contract.

As it stands, the civic association, a 501(c)(4), doesn’t pay the county for using the Pier Park lot but has to pay for other expenses and is responsible for cleanup.

Through a rental fee collected from market vendors, the association sponsors the Music by the Sea summer concert series, also at Pier Park. Bill Jones, president of the civic association, has said without this revenue, his organization would have to cut down on the concerts.

On Tuesday, Jones said he approached County Administrator Michael Wanchick about extending the contract about a year ago.

“We had a very productive and polite meeting, and there was all indication that we would be moving forward with an extension of a contract in some way, shape or form,” Jones said.

Acknowledging 2016 ultimately proved to be “a very eventful year,” Jones said maybe the issue didn’t get the attention it would have “under normal circumstances.”

Wanchick on Dec. 1 sent a letter to Jones informing him the county was “unable” to recommend the commission approve a five-year extension of the existing agreement.

Wanchick in his letter said the landscape of the county had “changed dramatically” since the market’s inception.

“Today, the County is confronted with a significant increase in the number of residents and visitors who desire to park at Pier Park throughout the day and evening hours,” he wrote. “Allowing special events to utilize this limited beach front parking has resulted in complaints questioning why the County is permitting special activities in this location at the expense of beach parking which is acknowledged to be in short supply.”

Wanchick had also referenced budget restraints regarding beach services and infrastructure maintenance as well as the commission’s recent directions to staff to explore and possibly implement a charge for off-beach parking at Pier Park and similar locations to offset the growing costs.

However, Wanchick left the door open for discussion of “other available options” that might allow the civic association to lease an alternative county-owned site.

Jones apologized to commissioners for a situation he said had “turned into a circus,” blaming critics of the civic association and one citizen in particular who released a copy of the letter to the media earlier this month.

“We’re looking forward to a productive discussion,” he said, referring to the civic association’s board of directors. “It was our intent to try and do all this within administration and quietly.”

However, Jones also mentioned that since the matter became a public one, an online petition launched by the association had garnered about 2,000 signatures in 72 hours with supporters hailing from 22 states and eight foreign countries.

(According to the “Save the Market — Save the Music” page on, the market and concert series have a direct economic impact of more than $400,000 and an indirect economic impact of $3.5 million on St. Augustine Beach.)

Supporters speaking during public comment said the farmers market was created by locals who saw an opportunity to do something with what had long been considered an underutilized space.

Over the next 18 years, they said, the market and concert series became time-honored traditions within the community that have also kept visitors from near and far coming back for more.

“It’s more than things to do,” resident Gaye Jones said. “It defines who we are as a community.”

Several vendors and supporters said they understood the county’s financial challenges as well as the need to address parking shortages at the beach but questioned what eliminating an event spanning a few hours on Wednesday mornings would accomplish.

A food vendor for the Music by the Sea series, who said she has 10 employees, expressed concerns about what the potential profit loss would mean for her and other vendors who rely on one or both of the events.

She said what few parking spots the county would gain wouldn’t outweigh what the beach would lose as a community.

“Don’t overestimate what you can make from parking in the market’s absence,” another vendor warned.
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1 Comment
Tom Reynolds
The Farmers Market is great, just mismanaged by the Beach Civic Association. The Farmers Market will continue, it is just a matter of where. The Beach Civic Association has NOT paid the electric bill in 10 years. Plus the rumors are rampant about the money being collected from the vendors and not being used properly. Once the County has settled on where they will put it out to bid or just have the County run it. Bill Jones has two Internal Affairs reports against him from his employer the St Johns County Sheriff Department that are very negative. He should of been fired ! In the Private Sector he would have been FIRED !

Beach Civic Association President Bill Jones has also been abusing the handicapped at the Beach Pier. He has allowed vendors and others to park in handicapped spots. Bill Jones also did commit a crime against 73 year old Man. He should of been prosecuted, but gives the St Augustine Beach Police Department gifts. YES GIFTS ! Very odd to the normal thinker.

Plus the Civic Association Vice President Robert Samuels has committed a battery on a disabled vet at the Pier, That is on you tube for all to view. Mr. Robert Samuels is another who should of been prosecuted. Again, he is part of the Gift Givers to the St Augustine Beach Police Department. Shame on the St Augustine Beach Police Chief for accepting the gifts !

The vendors are currently putting together a co-op to run it themselves. Once the highly unethical Beach Civic Association President and Vice President are replaced, things will improve. It is also common knowledge that other groups are going to put in a RFP to run the Farmers Market.






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