Tuesday, March 06, 2018
ST. AUG BEACH: Critics, defenders line up to speak on O’Brien. (SAR)
THREE CHEERS FOR COMMISSIONER MAGGIE KOSTKA. She does not cower to power, or unethical conduct.
1. No defense on merits to Commissioner Maggie Kostka's reasoned, documented, narrowly-tailored censure resolution. Four authoritarian, pompous prevaricating poobahs--2 ex-Mayors of SAB, 1 ex-Mayor of St. Augustine, 1 Sheriff's Department demoted supervisor--ululated, tried to intimidate Comm'r Kostka with ugly shaming name calling.
2. Undisputed facts support censure of O'Brien. Come speak out tonight, 3/6 at 6 PM.
3. Will SAB allow public comment on censure? Originally set as agenda item, with public comment. Must be put back there, instead of sneaked and snookered on "Commissioner comments."
4. At February 12, 2018 SAB meeting, 5 Commissioners ILLEGALLY voted four (4) items in Commissioner comment,violating F.S. 286.0114, which states: "Members of the public shall be given a reasonable opportunity to be heard on a proposition before a board or commission."
5. Although censure was on the agenda, ex-Mayors Sherman Gary Snodgrass and Andrea Samuels of SAB, ex-Mayor Claude Leonard Weeks, Jr. of St. Augustine, and disgraced demoted Sheriff's Civil Process Supervisor Wm. Jones were ALL permitted to speak in non-agenda public comment Why?
6. Mayor George should NOT have allowed Weeks, Snodgrass, Jones and the Samuels to speak in non-agenda public comment on an agenda item.
7. Rules are still NOT uniformly applied. Moneybags like Rich O'Brien. are walking all over the people. Enough
8. In 2013, Mayor George named Weeks to the St. Augustine Beach Charter Review Commission. In 2017, before becoming a Commissioner Donald Samora supported O'Brien's lawbreaking McMansions special use permit
9. Commissioner Maggie Kostka is RIGHT to question O'Brien's lawbreaking. Question authority.
10. BOTH Comcast and YouTube streaming video malfunctioned during meeting. Wonder why?
11. Not deigning to discuss overt acts, undisputed facts or the draft censure text, a few has-been, haughty angry authoritarians emitted their angry unctuous ukases -- wannabe dictators dictating their dicta:
SHERMAN GARY SNODGRASS: "Absurd... abhorrent ...
WILIAM JONES: "Shameful."
ROBERT SAMUELS: "Just upset."
ANDREA SAMUELS: "Disappointed."
12. The facts are undisputed. "Hypocrisy is the compliment that vice pays virtue." (La Rochefoucault)
13. SAB Commissioners will either censure O'BRIEN, or not, or delay.
14. RICH O'BRIEN demanded delay, saying the censure resolution was not in the provided a week before the meeting.
15. But Commissioners routinely allow wealthy people to demand favors without ANY backup material, (e.g., Dr. James Grimes, M.D., who destroyed what his consultant called a "monstrous obnoxious dune," wasting 55 minutes 12/6/2017, demanding Commissioners support his application for a retroactive FDEP permit. (Led by reform Mayor Undine George, Commissioners rightly said NO WAY).
16. SAB residents are "disappointed" and "upset" with O'BRIEN's pattern of unethical behavior .
17. It's "absurd" and "abhorrent" that RICH O'BRIEN (like John Gotti, "Teflon Don") commands unthinking, unswerving, undeserved loyalty.
18. It's "shameful" is that RICHARD BURTT O'BRIEN has been allowed to get away with filling SLAPP suit; seeking to have a dissenter arrested; violating First Amendment;; destroying dune; polluting; building illegal McMansions; & mailing thousands of illegal, deceptive campaign "postcards from the edge."
19. Commissioners must examine the facts and make a determination on censure, without fear or favor of O''BRIEN and his wife, LAUREN RINGHAVER.
20. Censure motion is narrowly tailored, saying don't do it again!
21. Is that too much to ask?
ST. AUG BEACH: Critics, defenders line up to speak on O’Brien.
By Sheldon Gardner
Posted at 6:19 AM
Updated at 9:30 AM
In response to a call from Commissioner Maggie Kostka to consider reprimanding Commissioner Rich O’Brien, people spoke in support or critique of O’Brien at Monday night’s commission meeting.
Kostka asked for commissioners to consider censuring O’Brien, citing several things such as his arriving late or being absent at meetings or city events, a setback violation on a property owned by him and his wife and a Florida Elections Commission issue stemming from his use of “Republican’s Choice” on campaign materials in the non-partisan Beach Commission race.
While it had been scheduled for its own agenda item, O’Brien asked for it to be removed because backup materials weren’t present. Commissioners decided instead to discuss it during commissioner comments at the end of the meeting.
With the shift in the agenda, several people took time during general public comment.
Former Mayor Gary Snodgrass, who recently resigned and was replaced by Don Samora, called the censure discussion “frivolous” and spoke in support of O’Brien, including his work to put sand at the beach on A Street before Hurricane Matthew to protect the road from flooding.
“That a commissioner, particularly one who ran on trying to bring harmony to the commission would bring forth such an absurd ... discussion topic, I find abhorrent,” Snodgrass said.
Former Mayor Andrea Samuels spoke in support of O’Brien’s work, but was also critical of Kostka.
“This is all petty politics,” Samuels said.
Beach resident Tom Reynolds criticized O’Brien and pointed to a number of controversies involving O’Brein, including when O’Brien unsuccessfully tried to get an injunction for protection against Reynolds — a judge dismissed the case, saying most of O’Brien’s complaints about Reynolds were based on First-Amendment-protected activity.
“Rich O’Brien has destroyed the city’s reputation,” Reynolds said.
In other business:
• Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of several ordinances making updates to flood regulations, fence regulations, fees related to building permits, the building code and changes to Land Development Regulations. All except for building code changes, which were adopted Monday night, are scheduled to come back for a final reading and public hearing April 2.
The building code ordinance, among other things, clarifies how building flood elevations are measured and says, “No provisions shall be deemed to permit an increase of the overall building height limit.”
• Commissioners also moved forward an ordinance that will change the sign code to allow temporary signs at businesses and will allow signs to be placed on city property during early voting through election day.
UPDATE: About 9:41 p.m. St. Augustine Beach commissioners adjourned their Monday night meeting before discussing whether to censure former Mayor Rich O’Brien. They decided to carry the discussion, which is scheduled to be addressed by Commissioner Maggie Kostka in commissioner comments, to an already scheduled 6 p.m. meeting on Tuesday at City Hall. The meeting is mainly for commissioners to talk about a vision for St. Johns County’s Pier Park property.
• Commissioners also agreed on Monday that they want to keep Beach Blast Off, the city’s New Year’s Eve event, but they want to discuss at Tuesday’s meeting possible changes to the event for security and financial reasons.
• About 9:07 p.m. Commissioners unanimously adopted a resolution setting policy for how a harassment complaint against a city manager or police chief would be handled. The policy requires an investigation into a harassment complaint against one of those official