Thursday, October 18, 2018

City proposes Plaza demonstration ordinance, Rev. Rawls threatens lawsuit re: First Amendment

The City of St. Augustine is considering a Plaza de la ConstituciĆ³n demonstrations ordinance, with enactment likely before the Nights of Lights commence next month.

Unless I'm missing something, I think the Ordinance 2018-16 is fair and wise, preventing groups opposing each other from having physical contact in the historic St. Augustine Slave Market park.

Great work by Assistant City Attorney John Cary, who's Commission-delegated mission is to renew the City Code and update our ordinances in the Ancient City.

Last year, anti-monument demonstrators stomped their way through a happy crowd to "disrupt" our civic life at the commencement of Nights of Lights, an annual event each November.


REV. RONALD RAWLS, JR. accompanied by "New Black Panther Party," an SLPC-designated hate group, inveighing against 1879 Ladies Memorial Assn. monument to local Confederate war dead.  (Photo credit: Flagler College Gargoyle).

"Disrupt" is the stated intent of racist minister Rev. Ronald Rawls, Jr, Gainesville minister, whose. unhinged attack on local monuments to Confederate war veterans has diverted attention from developers destruction of our history and nature.  Rev. Rawls is still demanding removal of memorials to dead Confederate veterans, on city and state property.  More on his first hate rally here.

"You need a better leader," City Commissioner Leeanna Sophia Freeman publicly told St. Paul A.M.E. parishioners about Rev. RONALD RAWLS, JR,, racist "Gainesville Grifter" who destroyed Echo House after promising to restore it.  RAWLS demands to erase history and remove/destroy Confederate war dead monuments on city and state land in St. Augustine.
City Commissioners voted 5-0 last year to reject his demand about the 1879 monument.  Earlier this year, the University of Florida's St. Augustine board rejected his demand to remove the Loring monument west of Government House.

Rawls invited Doug Russo, an extremist white racist preacher to his church to speak in favor of slavery to inflame his troops -- Ron Rawls and Doug Russo are like two peas in a pod, black and white racists who feed off each other to whip people up into hatred.  Be not afraid, for as Burke Marshall said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall catch hell from both sides."

Rev. Rawls told HARB that his "business" is St. Paul A.M.E. Church.  Rawls demolished historic 1926 Echo House in Lincolnville after getting control of it from the City and promising to preserve it.  He breached his fiduciary duty to City residents.  He told his flock that God told him to tear down Echo House for parking.  He threatened HARB that if he did not get a demolition permit, he would move his church, his "business," out of town.

So when Rawls claims a constitutional right to "disrupt" and to march right through throngs of residents and visitors on the lighting up of Nights of Light.   Pushing, shoving and stepping on peoples' toes at a concert and light-up ceremony is not acceptable.

Police need a bright line to protect public safety and free speech at the same time.

Ordinance 2018-16 is a simple, elegant exercise of our home rule right to protect public safety and regulate the "time, place and manner" of free speech

Ordinance 2018-16 is drafted to protect public safety and the First Amendment.  It's (unfortunately unnumbered) "whereas" clauses contain citations to federal court decisions.  It's well-drafted.

Ordinance 2018-16 also adopts simple rules for demonstrations, to wit, demonstrators and counter demonstrators will remain on the periphery of the Plaza and will be separated to prevent violence.

Courts have upheld restrictions on "time, place and manner" of First Amendment rights.

Ordinance 2018-16 looks like a constitutional law to me.

No repetition of racist violence in Charlottesville is desired or required here.

On August 28, 2017, St. Augustine Police did an admirable job.  Ironically it was the 452nd anniversary of our Nation's Oldest (and oddest) City being named by Pedro Menendez de Aviles after an African Bishop, Saint Augustine.

Angst-ridden August 28, 2017 was a date without violence.  Police did their jobs, while Confederate monument hysteria reigned at City Commission on , with some 82 speakers for and against removing the 1879 Confederate monument.   (Vice Mayor Todd Neville told a Tea Party last year that there were some 150 law enforcement officers within three blocks of City Hall that night, out of sight nearby, ready to react.  We will not be "Charlottesvilled' by white or black racists.

Footnote: Ordinance 2018-16 would also ban horses and livestock from the Plaza, which solves a problem that does not exist.  Did someone fear that Rawls or the KKK would abandon their large internal combustion vehicles and ride into town on geldings?  (Stranger things have happened: this is St. Augustine).

For 453 years, St. Augustine has survived fires, hurricanes, religious-colonial wars, chattel slavery, indentured servitude, genocide of indigenous people, pirates, Confederates, Jim Crow segregation, corruption and corporate greed.  We're going to survive Rev. Rawls, a/k/a the "Gainesville Grifter."

Two readings are required for Ordinance 2018-16.  Nights of Lights begins November 17, 2018.

Commission meets Monday, October 22, 2018 at 5 PM, 75 King Street, Alcazar Room, First Floor.

.Here's the full text of the proposed Plaza ordinance for discussion and comments:

ORDINANCE NO. 2018-16
AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA, REPEALING AND REPLACING CHAPTER 22, SECTION 22-4 OF THE CODE OF THE CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE; PROVIDING FOR FINDINGS AND INTENT; PROVIDING FOR DEFINITIONS; PROVIDING FOR REQUIREMENTS AND PROHIBITED CONDUCT FOR EVENTS, PROTESTS AND COUNTER-PROTESTS IN THE PLAZA DE LA CONSTITUCION; PROVIDING FOR PENALTIES; AMENDING SECTION 22-5 OF THE CODE OF THE CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE; PROHIBITING MOTOR VEHICLES, HORSES AND OTHER LIVESTOCK, WITHIN THE PLAZA DE LA CONSTITUCION; PROVIDING FOR INCLUSION IN THE CODE OF THE CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE; PROVIDING FOR REPEAL OF CONFLICTING ORDINANCES; PROVIDING FOR SEVERANCE OF INVALID PROVISIONS; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
WHEREAS, § 166.041, Florida Statutes, provides for procedures for the adoption of ordinances and resolutions by municipalities; and
WHEREAS, St. Johns County receives over 6 million visitors per year, millions of which come to downtown St. Augustine; and
WHEREAS, the City of St. Augustine has many events in the Plaza de la Constitucion that draw hundreds or thousands of residents and visitors into a small, public plaza, including the Fourth of July, Light Up! Night, and Concerts in the Plaza; and
WHEREAS, the City of St. Augustine is a small city of approximately 14,000 residents with only 53 sworn police officers; and
WHEREAS, the City of St. Augustine recognizes that protests, events, outdoor public assemblies, or other gatherings are activities that are protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution; and
WHEREAS, the City of St. Augustine can adopt and enforce regulations of behavior that implicate First Amendment activity when the regulations only effect the time, place, and manner of expression, are content-neutral, are narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest, and leave open ample alternative channels of communication; and
WHEREAS, the City of St. Augustine has a significant interest in providing a safe and pleasant environment and in eliminating nuisance activity, Smith v. City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 177 F. 3d 954, 956 (11th Cir. 1999); and
WHEREAS, the City of St. Augustine may issue permits for parades and other assemblies, but does not control the message of the speaker, Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston, 515 U.S. 557 (1995); and
WHEREAS, the City of St. Augustine has experienced a number of confrontations between different protest groups that have the potential to escalate to physical assaults, melees, or riots; and,
WHEREAS, the City of St. Augustine has a significant interest in ensuring the public safety and order and in promoting the free flow of pedestrian traffic in city parks, streets, sidewalks, and other public fora. Ayres v. City of Chicago, 125 F. 3d 1010, 1015 (7th Cir. 1997); and
WHEREAS, the city may require a permit for those wishing to hold a march, parade, or other public gatherings, in order to regulate competing uses of public forums.Cox v. New Hampshire, 312 U.S. 58 (1941); and
ORD 2018-16 (CA) Page 2 of 7
WHEREAS, the City Commission finds that regulation of protests, events, outdoor public assemblies, or other gatherings in the Plaza de la Constitucion, based on the time, place, or manner of the activity, is a content neutral and narrowly tailored way to promote public safety, and protect residents and visitors in public parks, streets, sidewalks, and other public fora of the City of St. Augustine; and
WHEREAS, the City Commission finds that regulations of protests, events, outdoor public assemblies, or other gatherings in the Plaza de la Constitucion still provides ample alternative avenues of communication and are narrowly drawn to addressthe City’s substantial interests; and
WHEREAS, the City of St. Augustine has a significant interest in promoting the safety and convenience of its citizens on public streets and fora. Madsen v. Women’sHealth Center, 512 U.S. 753, 768 (1994); and
WHEREAS, the City of St. Augustine has a significant interest in the safety and convenience of citizens using public fora such as parks, streets, and sidewalks. Heffronv. International Soc’y for Krishna Consciousness, 452 U.S. 640, 650 (1981); and
WHEREAS, the City of St. Augustine has a significant interest in maintaining the public order. Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western New York, 519 U.S. 357, 358 (1997); and
WHEREAS, the City of St. Augustine, in order to protect the free speech rights of multiple individuals or groups, may protect and/or separate speakers from potentially hostile crowds in order to maintain the public order. Bible Believers v. Wayne County, 805 F. 3d 228, 254 (6th Cir. 2015); and
ORD 2018-16 (CA) Page 3 of 7
WHEREAS, the Plaza de la Constitucion of the City of St. Augustine is of rectangular shape, approximately 400 feet long from east to west, and approximately 130 feet wide from north to south, and is surrounded on all four sides by an adjacent sidewalk that is wide enough for at least two typical-sized people to walk abreast, or for those using wheelchairs or other assisted mobility devices; and
WHEREAS, the size of the Plaza de la Constitucion ensures that both visual and audible speech can be seen and heard from the interior of the plaza to the sidewalks surrounding the plaza; and
WHEREAS, both visual and audible speech originating from the sidewalks surrounding the plaza can be seen and heard from most areas within the Plaza de la Constitucion; and
WHEREAS, the size of the Plaza de la Constitucion ensures that there are ample opportunities to speak both within the Plaza itself, and on the sidewalks surrounding the plaza; and
WHEREAS, the City Commission for the City of St. Augustine finds that it is in the best interest of public health, safety, and general welfare that the following amendments be adopted consistent with the requirements of Section 166.021(4), Florida Statutes.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COMMISSION FOR THE CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA, AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. Repeal and Replacement of Chapter 22, Article I, Section 22-4. Chapter 22, Article I, Section 22-4 is hereby repealed and replaced as follows:
ORD 2018-16 (CA) Page 4 of 7
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Sec. 22-4. Plaza de la Constitucion, city commons: Events, protests and counter-protests in the plaza.
(a) Definitions. The following words, terms, and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
  1. (1)  Plaza means the area containing grass and landscaping, monuments, a gazebo, a covered market, cannons and other historical objects, and internal walkways of the Plaza de la Constitucion as represented on District No. 5 Official Map of the City of St. Augustine, adopted June 12, 1923, by Ordinance No. 164.
  2. (2)  Perimetersidewalkmeansthesidewalkimmediatelyadjacent to, and encircling, the Plaza.
  3. (3)  Eventmeansalawfulgatheringoffiftyormorepersonsinthe Plaza for the purpose of attending a specific scheduled and permitted program taking place in and around the Plaza.
  4. (4)  Protest means a lawful gathering of persons in the Plaza or Perimeter sidewalk expressing their objection to, or support for, a person, place, or thing.
  5. (5)  Counter-protest means a lawful gathering of persons in the Plaza or Perimeter sidewalk objecting to the Protest.
(b) In order to provide for the public, health and safety of all participants in the crowded and constrained boundaries of the Plaza, Protest and Counter-protest participants shall remain on the Perimeter sidewalk while Event participants occupy the Plaza. Protest and Counter- protest participants may also be lawfully separated from each other by law enforcement personnel at a designated location in order to maintain the peace in the Plaza and Perimeter sidewalk.
(c) Penalties. Offenses under this section shall be punishable as provided in section 1-8 of this Code.
(d) This section is intended to operate in harmony with all provisions of this Code relating to street artists, as defined in section 22-10, including other sections which are cross-referenced thereto, and is in no way intended to conflict, supersede, or otherwise invalidate any such ordinances or resolutions relating to the same.
Section 2. Amendment to Chapter 22, Article I, Section 22-5. Chapter 22, Article I, Section 22-5 is hereby amended as follows:
ORD 2018-16 (CA) Page 5 of 7
page5image2714422400
Sec. 22-5. – Plaza de la Constitucion, city commons: Operation of motor vehicles, horses and livestock.
(a) Motor vehicles, horses and livestock not permitted. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate any motor vehicle, except for authorized government personnel in connection with their official duties, or to allow a horse or other livestock, on any sidewalk or lawn area of the Plaza de la Constitucion or the city commons.
(b) Penalties. Any person found guilty of violating the provisions of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500.00).
Section 3. Inclusion in Code. The City Commission intends that the provisions of this Ordinance shall become and shall be made part of the Code of the City of St. Augustine, that the sections of this Ordinance may be re-numbered or re-lettered and that the word ordinance may be changed to section, article or other such appropriate word or phrase in order to accomplish such intentions.
Section 4. Conflict with Other Ordinances. All ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict herewith are hereby repealed.
Section 5. Severance of Invalid Provisions. In the event that any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, word, term or provision of this Ordinance shall be held by a court of competent jurisdiction to be partially or wholly invalid, unconstitutional or unenforceable or involved for any reason whatsoever, any such invalidity, unconstitutionality, illegality, or unenforceability shall not affect any of the other or remaining terms, provisions, clauses, sentences, or sections of this Ordinance, and this Ordinance shall be read and/or applied as if the invalid, unconstitutional, illegal, or unenforceable section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, word, term or provision did not exist.
ORD 2018-16 (CA) Page 6 of 7
page6image2755982800page6image2755983072page6image2755983344page6image2755983616page6image2755983952page6image2755984224
Section 6. Effective Date. This Ordinance shall become effective immediately upon passage, pursuant to § 166.041(4), Florida Statutes.
PASSED by the City Commission of the City of St. Augustine, Florida, this _______ day of ___________________, 2018.
page7image2717803168page7image2717803440
ATTEST:
________________________ Darlene Galambos, City Clerk
(SEAL)
_____________________________________ Nancy E. Shaver, Mayor-Commissioner
ORD 2018-16 (CA) Page 7 of 7


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Out of bounds?



Protestors and counter-protestors sound off during the city of St. Augustine’s Light Up! Night event in 2017. The City Commission will consider an ordinance on Monday aimed at preventing violence by regulating protests in the Plaza de la Constitucion. [FILE/THE RECORD]

By Sheldon Gardner
Posted at 2:01 AM
St. Augustine Record

During the kickoff event to St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights season in 2017, Confederate monument protesters traded shouts with counter-protesters in the city’s core.

No reports of violence came from the protests, which focused on the Plaza de la Constitucion, where the city’s memorial to Confederate soldiers is located.

Still, the City Commission will consider an ordinance on Monday aimed at preventing violence by regulating protests in the Plaza. The Rev. Ron Rawls, a local pastor who helped lead the 2017 protest, said he plans to file a lawsuit if it is enacted.

“They’ll definitely have a fight on their hands,” Rawls said.

The ordinance says that “protest and counter-protest participants shall remain on the perimeter sidewalk while event participants occupy the Plaza. Protest and counter-protest participants may also be lawfully separated from each other by law enforcement personnel at a designated location in order to maintain the peace in the Plaza and perimeter sidewalk.”

Those who don’t follow the rules could face a fine of up to $500 and/or up to 60 days in jail, according to City Code. The ordinance would also prohibit livestock, horses and vehicles from the Plaza, except vehicles of authorized government officials.

Assistant City Attorney John Cary said he wasn’t sure if any specific event prompted the ordinance, but he said it is mainly a public safety issue.

“We can’t and wouldn’t tell (people) they can’t protest at all,” he said. “What we can do is (make sure) that they’re kept separate from others who are trying to enjoy the event.”

The ordinance says that the city “has experienced a number of confrontations between different protest groups that have the potential to escalate to physical assaults, melees, or riots.”

Mayor Nancy Shaver said she couldn’t recall why the ordinance was created, but she said people have complained to her about events being disrupted by protests.

“I have heard from a number of folks saying, hey, we have these events ... and we find a big protest in the middle,” she said.

If enacted quickly — the first of two required hearings is Monday — the rules could be in effect for the next Light-Up! Night next month.

Rawls said the new regulations would take away his First Amendment rights, which is why he plans to sue if the ordinance is passed.

The ordinance says the city recognizes the First Amendment rights to protest, but that the city can adopt rules that deal with such activity with a number of guidelines, including that rules need to be “narrowly tailored to serve a significant government interest.” The ordinance cites public safety among those significant interests.

Rawls said he plans to hold another protest during this year’s Light-Up! Night. He said the protest is against a culture of white supremacy in the city, and he said the monument is just one example of that.

The protest flier, which invites people to participate, reads, “Our objective is to consistently DISRUPT the tourism economy in a city infested by a normative culture of racism and white supremacy. The goal is to become equal partners in the life and opportunities of this community.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Ron DeSantis Rose By Trafficking In Racist, Islamophobic Conspiracy Theories -- He has defended the Three-Fifths Compromise around slavery and said ISIS may be recruiting from Black Lives Matter. (Huffington Post)

Huffington Post Washington Bureau Chief Amanda Terkel blows the whistle on RONALD DeSANTIS, right-wing Republican candidate for Governor of Florida.  Great job.  DeSANTIS is a snooty racist snow jobber.  Vote for Andrea Gillum for Governor of Florida.









POLITICS 
10/16/2018 03:34 pm ET Updated 1 day ago

Ron DeSantis Rose By Trafficking In Racist, Islamophobic Conspiracy Theories

He has defended the Three-Fifths Compromise around slavery and said ISIS may be recruiting from Black Lives Matter.

The morning after Florida’s primaries, Rep. Ron DeSantis ― the state’s newly chosen GOP candidate for governor ― went on national television and used a racist dog-whistle to comment on his opponent.
“The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state,” DeSantis said of his Democratic challenger, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is black. 
The comment shouldn’t have been that surprising. DeSantis tried to be the most pro-Trump candidate in the GOP primary, even running an ad about how he teaches his kids to love everything about Donald Trump, and the president has used plenty of his own racist dog-whistles
But beyond his embrace of the president, DeSantis has made a name for himself by promoting conspiracy theories that are trumpeted by the radical right and play into racial stereotypes. On four occasions, he has spoken at conferences organized by a conservative activist who has touted white Americans’ role in freeing black people from slavery and said that “the country’s only serious race war” is against white people.
“Liberal media are doing everything that can to help Andrew Gillum win this race and that includes writing stories that elicit racially charged fears and emotions. We not only reject your storyline, we condemn your entire narrative,” said Stephen Lawson, DeSantis’ communications director.
Here are some other conspiracies DeSantis has embraced:

ISIS may recruit from Black Lives Matter protests. 

In 2016, DeSantis agreed with Fox Business host Neil Cavuto that he was worried the terrorist group ISIS could be recruiting from Black Lives Matter protests. 
“I do worry about it, in the sense that reaching out to them doesn’t even have to involve brokering a meeting between some terrorist recruiter and somebody who’s disaffected,” DeSantis said on Sept. 22, 2016. “It could simply be exposing people to different propaganda that you see on the internet, on social media sites. ... So it’s definitely a problem, and ISIS I think has proven themselves to be pretty sophisticated at capitalizing on some people who have some underlying issues.”

The Founding Fathers weren’t racist. 

In 2011, DeSantis wrote a book called Dreams From Our Founding Fathers: First Principles in the Age of Obama. In it, he excuses the Three-Fifths Compromise, which counted a black person as only three-fifths of a whole person to determine congressional representation.
DeSantis defends the Founding Fathers for agreeing to the compromise because “counting slaves as less than a full person for purposes of representation benefitted anti-slavery states.”  
Allowing slaves to be counted as three-fifths of a white person gave slave states extra representation without having to actually allow black people to vote

Islamophobic conspiracy groups have merit.

Over the years, DeSantis has promoted himself with the help of figures who peddle Islamophobic rhetoric and policies. In 2014, he did an interview on Frank Gaffney’s radio program. Gaffney founded the Center for Security Policy, which the Southern Poverty Law Center characterizes as “a conspiracy-oriented mouthpiece for the growing anti-Muslim movement in the United States.” In 2017, DeSantis spoke at the annual conference of ACT for America, another group that pushes anti-Muslim conspiracy theories. 
DeSantis has also pushed to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group, an idea the Trump administration supports and people like Gaffney champion.
As Shadi Hamid at the Brookings Institution has noted, “There is quite literally not a single American expert on the Muslim Brotherhood who supports designation. Moreover, there is no plausible argument to be made for labeling the group a terrorist organization, at least according to the relevant legal criteria, as Will McCants and Benjamin Wittes lay out. They sum it up quite well: designation ‘would be illegal.’”

American values are declining in the “age of Obama.”

In 2008, conservatives seized on a clip of a black woman named Peggy Joseph saying that if then-presidential candidate Barack Obama won, “I won’t have to worry about putting gas in my car. I won’t have to worry about paying my mortgage. You know, if I help him, he’s going to help me.” 

There’s nothing remarkable about Joseph’s comments. People always vote for politicians because they believe they will make the country ― and often, their own personal lives ― better. Certain candidates may have policies that could put more money in their pockets or lead to better representation.
But DeSantis talked about Joseph ― and Obama’s campaign ― as if they were radical departures from “the principles that the country was founded on.”
In a 2011 speech, he said that with the Founding Fathers, “you think of things like, ‘Give me liberty or give me death’” and “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”
But, he added, in the “age of Obama ... you have people like that woman who voted for Obama, who said since Obama was president, she wouldn’t have to worry about putting gas in her car or paying her mortgage.” 
Watch the video (around 4:30):

Obama is a secret communist.

The right wing has long tried to claim that Obama secretly supports communism ― an un-American value, of course. In his 2011 book, DeSantis gives credence to some of these theories. He writes that Obama had a “mentorship” with “Frank Marshall Davis, an African-American communist writer with bitterly anti-American views.” 
“He certainly would not have discussed Davis in Dreams From My Father had Davis’ council failed to make an impact on him,” DeSantis wrote.
The Washington Post looked at Davis and his relationship with Obama, and wrote that Davis “was indeed associated with the Communist Party” but was not a “hard-core Communist who spied for Soviet leaders. He was critical of American society, but not America as a country.”
DeSantis, in his book, also implied that Obama’s mother was a communist. He notes that one of her high school teachers said she would ask questions around the Cold War like “What’s so good about capitalism? What’s wrong with communism? What’s good about communism?” He also cited the fact that one of her classmates referred to her as a “fellow traveler,” which is sometimes used to describe someone who is communist. There’s no proof Obama’s mother was a communist either.

UNCTUOUS MAYOR UNDINE GEORGE: "You do not deserve the 'gift' of my time" -- St. Augustine Beach's "Great Retaliator" Freaks Out.




Talk about a lack of a welcoming spirit.

I just telephoned St. Augustine Beach Mayor UNDINE CELESTE PAWLOWSKI GEORGE at 3:47 PM today, October 17, 2018.  Short call.  I asked her about the agenda prepared by City Manager BRUCE MAX ROYLE for the October 17, 2018 City Commission workshop tonight on land development regulations, with NO public comment until the very end of the meeting, after discussion of the conflicted contractor, Fleet Associates, recommendations.

St. Augustine Beach Mayor UNDINE GEORGE said she'd try to do better.

Mayor UNDINE GEORGE then launched into a heated monologue, shrilly saying that I had "attacked and attacked and attacked" her.  She said she had not supported the reduction of public comment time from three two two minutes.  I told her she did not stand up for our First Amendment rights.

UNDINE GEORGE has lost her cool, again and again and again.  Her September 11, 2018 Florida Elections Commission complaint against Tom Reynolds was found to be baseless by October 8, 2018 letter from FEC's General Counsel.

During our conversation today, I told Mayor GEORGE that, as the St. Augustine Record editorialized November 19, 2006 about the sister city of St. Augustine after its then-mayor blasted me, she needs a "thicker skin ."

Mayor GEORGE sua sponte brought up my concerns about her phony filing against Tom Reynolds, rejected on First Amendment grounds by the Florida Ethics Commission.  She said it had "nothing to do" with the City or her role as "Mayor," and that therefore it was not a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP).

Mayor UNDINE GEORGE said her purpose in filing against Tom Reynolds was to keep her from ever being elected.  She said that she had "succeeded."

That's a SLAPP complaint, by definition, Mayor.

I told Mayor UNDINE GEORGE that she should have ignored Mr. Reynolds' name calling posts on the Record website.  I said she needed a thicker skin, and was acting irrationally, as when she used the word "attacked" to refer to First Amendment protected activity.

I tried to calm her down.  Didn't work.

I told her that citizens have a right to the release of her e-mails on City business -- she has persisted in using two private e-mail accounts for City business.

Mayor UNDINE GEORGE then said, ""You do not deserve the 'gift' of my time." She ended the call after three minutes and 50 seconds.   Sounds pretty egotistical for a real estate lawyer whose made a botch of being Mayor.

St. Augustine Beach is beset with problems and yet another angry "Mayor" who personalizes everything -- The Arrogance of Power, as Senator J. William Fulbright called it..

UNDINE GEORGE is one of three successive Mayors who have violated First Amendment protected activity.  I called them all out at the October 1, 2018 City Commission meeting, saying they had given new meaning to the term "Devil's Triangle."

I miss St. Augustine Beach's former Mayor Sherman Gary Snodgrass.

Mayor Snodgrass's three successors -- angry ANDREA SAMUELS, (defeated in 2016 by Maggie Kostka), RICHARD O'BRIEN and UNDINE GEORGE have ALL lacked decent respect for our First Amendment rights.

Mayor Snodgrass, we miss you.  He had humility and class.  Even when he disagreed with you, he would listen.  And change his mind, as he did in voting to save the jobs of some seventeen SAPBD members Commissioners voted to fire for First Amendment protected activity.

Mayor GEORGE: when most people make a mistake, they apologize.  Not only do you NEVER apologize for anything, but you wrote Tom Reynolds and asked him to apologize after you were found by FEC to have filed a "legally insufficient" complaint

Does being "Mayor" of St. Augustine Beach mean "never having to say you're sorry?"



What's next: The November 13, 2018 St. Augustine Beach Commission meeting, and future meetings will shed light on the $100,000 sea oats scandal, SABPD report on thefts from "Beach Blast Off!" and other disasters.  See if Mayor GEORGE changes her tune, or doubles down with the program of City "Manager" BRUCE MAX ROYLE, whose mismanagement she has ratified, de facto, sub silentio with her silence.

Stay tuned, pilgrims.

$T. AUGU$TINE BEACH $EA OAT$ $CANDAL -- RECORD EDITORIAL: St. Augustine Beach City Manager, Commissioners, WASTING $100,000?



1. Great editorial, Jim Sutton! Thank you for dogged research and for finding sea oats farming -- a cheaper and sustainable alternative to St. Augustine Beach City "Manager" Bruce Max Royle's latest dumb project -- wasting $100,000 for 1.25 miles of sea oats!
2. Typical clueless local government boondoggle. Time for economic royalist Royle to go. As Jimmy Carter said, the American people deserve "a government that's as good and decent and honest and truthful and open and compassionate and as filled with love as are the American people. I know it by heart. And I believe if our Government can measure up to the people, we can do that." Yes we can!
3. We need wise, competent. compassionate government managers. Enough of legendary corruption in St. Johns County and Flori-DUH-- enough one-party Republican misrule and resulting waste, fraud, abuse, misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance, flummery, dupery, nincompoopery, nepotism, discrimination, favoritism and no-bid contracts.
4. The City of St. Augustine Beach's silly, seedy, $100,000 sea oats boondoggle reminds me of a louche longtime Boston Mayor, who was finally tossed out on his ear due to corruption, including $20 office trashcans circa 1946.
5. This silly, seedy $100,000 sea oats boondoggle is a pet project of controversial St. Augustine Beach "Mayor" Undine Celeste Pawlowski George, a lawyer educated in Boston.
6. Mayor George's e-mails on her private e-mail accounts for government business need to be scrutinized.
7. (The St. Augustine Beach City Commission has even discussed a "go fund me" project for its sea oats.)
8. To SAB Commissioners: please read and heed Jim Sutton's editorial.
9. Do what Jim Sutton suggests.
10. As my mother would advise, "Save your money!"


RECORD EDITORIAL: Beach takes the easy way out for disappearing dunes

Posted at 5:23 AM
Updated at 5:23 AM
October 17, 2018
St. Augustine Record

Most of us are aware of the phrase, “there are a two ways to skin a cat.” We’re not certain who coined that phrase, or why one might need even one way to accomplish the task. But, that notwithstanding, the metaphor works for our purposes here.

The City of St. Augustine Beach has set aside $100,000 to plant sea oats this season on a stretch of beach — roughly from 10th Street, south to the northern border of Ocean Hammock Park.

We called Beach City Manager Max Royle to ask the approximate distance that translated into, figuring he’d give us something like “a mile and a quarter, give or take.” But he didn’t miss a beat, with his answer, “6,400 feet.”

We countered, “Can you be more specific?”

At any rate, we wonder if there might be a better way to skin that particular feline. Governments these days are too quick on the trigger to throw money at challenges and allow outsiders to fix the problems.

Every time we turn around, our cities and county are hiring consultants to do work that could conceivably be done at home. And the Beach is now looking for someone to poke seedlings in sand.

Or is this something the Beach and its people might handle on their own?

North Carolina has plenty in common with Florida — both in our beaches’ dependence on healthy sea oats, and the weather that so endangers them. We both have an excess of wind and water and not nearly enough sea oats holding down the fort on beaches dunes up and down our coasts.

David Nash is pursuing his doctorate at North Carolina State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He recently took home a national Best of Coast award from Coastal Living magazine for his work on dune revegetation.


His work has produced a better, cheaper method of growing sea oats on what’s called a float system. The technique is based on tobacco cultivation and Nash believes sea oats can become an alternative income source for the state’s tobacco farmers. But, above that, his research has found that Carolinas’ indigenous sea oats are much more successful than seedlings grown from Florida stocks.

North Carolina also has a Master Dune Conservation Program, along the same lines as our county’s Master Gardener program. Its research shows that more than one plant is optimum for beach stabilization. North Carolina is now growing three: sea oats, bitter panicum and American beach grass.

All along the U.S. Southeast coast, dozens of volunteer sea oat planting programs are in place. If St. Augustine Beach doesn’t feel like looking too far, it might phone Dr. Michael Shirley, director of the GTM National Estuarine Research Reserve.

His crew there knows sea oats and recently completed a local volunteer program, reseeding an area along South Ponte Vedra Beach, east of the former Gate Station.

Our turtle watches and beach cleanups locally attract good numbers of volunteers. The Beach could easily establish volunteer efforts, perhaps in conjunction with its By the Sea Concert series — seed the beach from 3 to 6 p.m. and party on it from 6 to 9 p.m.

The options are wide open. Planting $100,000 worth of sea oat seedlings seems an awful lot like writing a check and wiping your hands of it — a temporary and expensive issue that may never go away.

We have farmers here, looking for alternate crops to seed or grow. They’re doing some crazy cultivating out west in the tri-county area,

We can grow the best seeds here — then use imagination and our communities to establish an ongoing effort to keep the beaches strong. We have an Ag Center, we have an FFA, we have the Extension office, we have IFAS, we have the GTM Research Reserve, we have the Whitney Lab and we have a St. Johns County Environmental Division. We have the means and we have the talent.

The alternative is a never-ending succession of multi-million dollar efforts at pumping sand onto our beaches. We may never see the end of that, but armoring our dunes naturally seems a common sense approach to an increasingly commonplace challenge.


Comments:

Edward Adelbert Slavin

1. Great editorial, Jim Sutton! Thank you for dogged research and for finding sea oats farming -- a cheaper and sustainable alternative than St. Augustine Beach City "Manager" Bruce Max Royle's latest dumb project -- wasting $100,000 for 1.25 miles of sea oats!
2. Typical clueless local government boondoggle. Time for economic royalist Royle to go. As Jimmy Carter said, the American people deserve "a government that's as good and decent and honest and truthful and open and compassionate and as filled with love as are the American people. I know it by heart. And I believe if our Government can measure up to the people, we can do that." Yes we can!
3. We need wise, competent. compassionate government managers. Enough of legendary corruption in St. Johns County and Flori-DUH-- enough one-party Republican misrule and resulting waste, fraud, abuse, misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance, flummery, dupery, nincompoopery, nepotism, discrimination, favoritism and no-bid contracts.
4. The City of St. Augustine Beach's silly, seedy, $100,000 sea oats boondoggle reminds me of a louche longtime Boston Mayor, who was finally tossed out on his ear due to corruption, including $20 office trashcans circa 1946.
5. This silly, seedy $100,000 sea oats boondoggle is a pet project of controversial St. Augustine Beach "Mayor" Undine Celeste Pawlowski George, a lawyer educated in Boston.
6. Mayor George's e-mails on her private e-mail accounts for government business need to be scrutinized.
7. (The St. Augustine Beach City Commission has even discussed a "go fund me" project for its sea oats.)
8. To SAB Commissioners: please read and heed Jim Sutton's editorial.
9. Do what Jim Sutton suggests.
10. As my mother would advise, "Save your money!"


Tony D'andrea
I was involved in a beach restoration/erosion prevention project in my small oceanfront town in New Jersey back in the 80's.
Detailed every facet of the project, inclusive of every type of material needed, cost of each, installation plan, etc. for a near two mile stretch of beachfront.
We signed up volunteer town residents to do a portion of the installation of snow fencing and planting of dune grass. Other residents brought lunch to their neighbors working on the project. Went to the County Sheriff with our project plan and asked if he would supply inmates to do a lot of the heavy work. He said they had never done such a thing, but felt it was a great idea and wanted to partake. Arranged for all the restaurants in the town to provide lunch and soft drinks daily for the inmates. Before the project got started, went to the State of NJ with detailed project plan and grant request submission. Pitched it to them and got the entire requested funds. Residents were involved in various ways and the inmates were smiling and proud of having participated in such a unique endeavor. « less




FLORI-DUH: Lakeland Commissioner MICHAEL DUNN Executes Shoplifter -- Watch Video for Yourself. (Orlando Weekly)

Will Governor RICHARD LYNN SCOTT suspend Lakeland Commissioner MICHAEL DUNN pendente lite, as he is empowered to do?   Or will he do nothing in this case of a business-owning elected official "defending" his own business against a fleeing shoplifter by shooting him to death.    This appears to be a homicide -- corporate homicide -- by a City Commissioner, whose life was not at risk.  DUNN shot a fleeing misdemeanant, to wit a shoplifter who had already left his VETS ARMY NAVY SURPLUS STORE.  Gov. SCOTT needs to suspend him immediately, pending investigation and criminal prosecution.

We've had some Commissioners who have behaved like movie cowboys, including former City Commissioner WILLIAM LENNON, who once reportedly waltzed into Christopher's bar (then at 200 Anastasia Blvd.), with a gun on his hip after hearing complaints about the place. While "WILD BILL" LENNON had a gun on his hip at someone else's business at least he didn't unholster the gun.   Not so MICHAEL DUNN.

Footnote: WHEN LAKELAND COMMISSIONER MICHAEL DUNN was 19, he shot and killed a man "by accident."  Initially, police said they were not investigating.


Video shows Lakeland commissioner fatally shooting suspected shoplifter

Posted By  on Mon, Oct 15, 2018 at 1:43 pm




Video shows Lakeland commissioner fatally shooting suspected shoplifter

Posted By Colin Wolf on Mon, Oct 15, 2018 at 1:43 pm
This morning authorities released a disturbing video showing a Lakeland city commissioner killing a suspected shoplifter trying to flee from a military supply store.

The video, which was released Monday by the Lakeland Police Department, shows commissioner and store co-owner Michael Dunn struggling with suspected shoplifter Cristobal Lopez inside the Vets Army Navy Surplus store in Lakeland on Wednesday, Oct. 3.

In the clip, Dunn can be seen holding a handgun in his right hand while Lopez attempts to run out the door. Dunn then fires at least once into Lopez's back, who then falls to the pavement outside. For the rest of the video Dunn appears to walk in and out of the video, while no one provides first aid to Lopez.

A medical examiner later confirmed that Lopez died from two gunshot wounds, reports the Lakeland Ledger.

Lopez, a 50-year-old man who was described by police as a transient, was pronounced dead when responding officers arrived at the scene at 2:30 p.m.

According to police, Lopez attempted to steal a hatchet.

Along with the video, Lakeland Police Department also issued a statement Monday saying the video was released in the "interest of transparency."

"At this time, in the interest of transparency, although the criminal investigation continues to be active, we at the Lakeland Police Department have requested and received the approval of the State Attorney’s Office to release all the videos which show the shooting that occurred on October 3rd," reads the department statement.

No charges have been brought against Dunn.

According to the Ledger, Lopez isn't the first person Dunn has shot and killed. The commissioner accidentally shot and killed someone when he was 19 years old.






PUBLIC SAFETY

‘My brother didn’t need to be killed like some animal,’ says sister of man shot by Lakeland commissioner

LAKELAND — The man who was shot to death Wednesday by a Lakeland city commissioner had a history of arrests, but no convictions for violent crimes.
It remained undetermined whether Commissioner Michael Dunn would face criminal charges in the death of Cristobal Lopez, 50.
"He was not a violent person," Lopez’s sister, Veronica Lopez, said Friday. "My brother didn’t need to be killed like some animal."
On Wednesday afternoon, according to police, the man tried to pocket a hatchet inside the Vets Army Navy Surplus store in Lakeland. Dunn, a co-owner of the business, confronted him, asking if he was going to pay for the item.
Exactly what happened next is unclear. But when Lakeland police officers arrived about 2:30 p.m., Lopez lay dead in the parking lot. Dunn had shot him, police said.
Dunn was not arrested. He and an attorney representing him did not respond to messages left for comment.
Veronica Lopez said police have told her family that Dunn could be charged.
But Lakeland police spokesman Gary Gross reiterated that investigators have not made any decisions about criminal charges.
"They’re still very much in the middle of this investigation," he said.
"The State Attorney’s Office is doing a parallel investigation. They’re interviewing the same people we’re interviewing."
State records show Cristobal Lopez had accumulated more than 25 arrests over three decades on charges that included cocaine possession, shoplifting, and disorderly conduct.
Police described Lopez as a transient. His most recent address was a small house in the rural community of Wauchula, in Hardee County.