Sunday, February 05, 2017
BEACH FARMER'S MARKET UPDATE: County Administrator WANCHICK Dropped Bomb, then SABCA President JONES Dropped Ball On Farmer's Market
Last month, in a St. Augustine Record Guest Editorial and on this blog, I reported St. Johns County Administrator MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK's December 1, 2016 letter to St. Augustine Beach Civic Association WILLIAM JONES, ukase purporting to the Wednesday morning St. Johns County Ocean Fishing Pier Farmer's Market this summer.
This decision was kept secret for six weeks by the County and St. Augustine Beach Civic Association.
WANCHICK dropped the bomb.
JONES kept it secret.
For some six weeks.
WANCHICK violated Due Process rights to notice and an opportunity to be heard of some 80 vendors and their families, who depend upon weekly earnings from the wonderful local gathering, which has become a popular tourist attraction.
Two dozen people spoke out against this outrage at the St. Johns County Commission meeting on January 17, 2017. I was one of them.
The matter is on the agenda for the St. Augustine Beach City Commssion for Monday, February 6, 2017 at 6 PM.
It will also be on a future County Commission agenda.
1. St. Johns County Administrator MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK won't get away with attempting to end the Wednesday Beach Farmer's Market at Pier Park -- no one supports him and he was nearly fired, 3-2 at the January 17, 2017 meeting..
2. St. Augustine Beach Civic Association President WILLIAM JONES won't get away with his twisted attempts to bully First Amendment protected activity and to euchre St. Augustine Beach City Commission to vote a "resolution" endorsing SABCA (as opposed to the vendors themselves), that would eliminate procedural safeguards for contracting like Requests for Proposals, Requests for Qualifications, audits, which SABCA seeks to avoid.
3. We in the "reality-based community" will not be misled.
4. Farmer's Market vendors will no longer be kept in the dark treated as strangers in the County's lease contract terms (currently there is a clause saying there are "no third party beneficiaries," depriving them of legal rights to notice and the right to rely upon contract terms.
5. Farmers' Market vendors and other tourism worker rights will be respected and not neglected.
6. Lease contracts will be enforced, utilities will be paid, cash-only, no-recept collection of weekly vendor fees will end and an audit and investigation will ensue -- we have a Right to Know. It's our government and our county park. SABCA may even stop charging vendors extra money for parking without contractual right to do so. SABCA may also stop discouraging vendors from taking EBT.
7. Messrs. WANCHICK and JONES will bear near-equal responsibility for this cluster-kluck. Will they be investigated by an outside agency? Will they and their lawyers be hearing from the FBI Corruption Task Force? Will we finally get an Inspector General and Ombuds in St. Johns County?