Thanks to Commissioner Maggie Kostka, four other Commissioners (Sherman Gary Snodgrass, Margaret England, Vice Mayor Undine Pawlowski and Mayor Richard O'Brien), wary watchdog Thomas F. Reynolds, Jr., Merrill Paul Roland and other outspoken citizens, St. Augustine Beach defeated a hare-brained plan to increase taxes tonight, July 31, 2017. No increase in taxes is possile now, as the highest "millage" rate is the same as last year.
St. Augustine Beach: safe for democracy since the defeat of Commissioner ANDREA SAMUELS, a sere remnant of corrupt St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID SHOAR's corrupt political regime.
Mean, maladroit St. Augustine Beach City Manager BRUCE MAX ROYLE and putative CFO MELISSA BURNS produced a budget without detailed budget justifications. It's time for them to go.
Their mendacity was exacerbated by a coverup -- retaliatory efforts to charge me more than $405 this morning for documents that I requested over the weekend in some 21 Open Records requests -- information that should have been included in their budget (really a wish list, unadorned by accounting codes or Excel spreadsheet).
These two overpaid, unwise, uncouth, unkind, unjust stewards wanted to increase taxes by nearly 9%.
They wanted to charge me hundreds of dollars for documents -- that dog won't hunt. I told Commissioners about the time when I asked NASA a question in an environmental whistleblower case and NASA wanted to charge me $960,000 to answer it. I refused. A USDOL ALJ ordered NASA to answer, sans the sixteen cartons of documents NASA offered to sell me for $960,000. The answer was NO. Likewise, the answer to my document requests to the supercilious janisseries in the itty-bitty City was a big "NO" -- their effort shroud their budget "draft" in secrecy to euchre a 9% tax increase failed.
Miserably. Shot down in flames.
ROYLE and BURNS have no respect for Open Records.
They have no respect for civil rights under our Florida Constitution's Sunshine provision.
They have no respect for working people.
Raising the bar for hardworking homework and due diligence, first year freshman St. Augustine Beach City Commissioner Maggie Kostka prodded for answers. So did other Commissioners. Past platitudes and shibboleths about the "great staff work" were never invoked -- the City Manager did not do his job. Neither did the staff. Lack of any detailed budget justification is a breach of the standard of care.
St. Augustine Beach City Commissioners waded through the swamp, taking hours to obtain answers that led them to DENY a tax increase.
Not only did they identify some $475,000 in budget cuts, they found in their hearts the ability to provide -- for the first time -- a probable earmark for some $35,000 to $40,000 for youth activities.
But there's more -- throughout the hearing, numerous instances of waste, fraud, abuse, misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance were identified, not to mention flummery, dupery and nincompoopery.
We await answers to questions.
We're going to get answers.
We're going to help make St. Augustine Beach a better place, extirpating corruption and exposing bullies, including the wicked evil developers and unregistered lobbyists who've been getting their way there for far too long -- as demonstrated by the monstrous new too-tall EMBASSY SUITES at the north end of town, too-tall because building official GARY LARSON bought their bogus arguments, misinterpreting the 35 foot height limit engraved in the City Charter in 2014.
There are going to be some changes made.
There's going to be a new way of doing business at St. Augustine Beach.
Yes, we can hold local governments accountable.
Yes we can build trust and build community and take on sacred cows, like economic royalists and entrenched faux-elitist energumen like City Manager BRUCE MAX ROYLE, who is as insipid, insolent and as lugubrious a goober as ever made a chair squeak.
Yes we can!
I am appalled at the unenlightened, unethical, illogical one-percenters who think they own the City, who supposed they could use their cat's paws impose a tax increase, for no good reason, on a community consisting of more than 26% retirees on fixed incomes, with median income of less than $50,000. Their proposal was cruelly unfair, as exposed by Commissioner Kostka's devastating exposition of undisputed facts and statistics. I am in awe.
A political newcomer, Ms. Kostka rode a wave of righteous wrath at the antics of ex-Commissioner ANDREA SAMUELS. SAMUELS a/k/a "CUPCAKE," as cruel a public official as ever greased a chair, who was not only the recipient of a $500 check from corrupt Sheriff DAVID SHOAR, but was also the beneficiary of an illegal endorsement by SHOAR f/k/a "HOAR" on Sheriff's letterhead, a probable violation of the federal Hatch Act because the Sheriff receives federal funds. SHOAR's unethical letterhead endorsement is the subject of a complaint to the Office of Special Counsel by citizen Tom Reynolds, who Monday filed to run against SHOAR in 2020.
Among other likely savings, St. Augustine Beach will likely to take back the air-conditioned garage leased to the SAMUELS' controversial St. Augustine Beach Civic Association for $1/year. Since St. Johns County intends not to renew the lease for the Pier parking lot for the Wednesday Farmer's Market, the building will no longer be needed. The Farmer's Market will likely move elsewhere, likely under new, more ethical and accountable management. Then the building lease, a stench in the nostrils of the City, can be cancelled under the doctrine of impossibility of performance, and for convenience of the government.
At the July 31, 2017 budget meeting, staunch SABCA puppet MAX ROYLE, and Ms. BURNS -- these two inept, overpaid, underworked, hierarchical authoritarian ninnies, boobies, jackasses and cognitive misers were exposed for the conceptually bankrupt bureaucrats that they are -- certified fools and developer tools. They both stared at me with Jimmy Hoffa hate stares as their poor excuse for staff work -- at cost of a third of a million per year in salary and benefits alone for these two miscreants -- was undone by five Commissioners, urged on by informed citizen.
Thank you, everyone.