Monday, April 09, 2018

What do you think about St. Augustine Beach Mayor Undine George's Idea: Smartphone Parking App to Pay for Parking?

Good column by St. Augustine Record columnist Bob Tis.  I agree wholeheartedly.   See my comments, below.  Read my 21 questions here 

Also, Mr. Tis makes a very good point about the health insurance debacle.  Did Mayor Undine Celeste Pawlowski George ever apologize for her violation of reasonable expectations of probate by sticking a discussion of healthcare on agenda, then voting to award herself healthcare benefits without adequate public notice?  I don't think so.  Does being Mayor of St. Augustine Beach mean "never having to say you're sorry?"

SMOOTH SAILIN’: Beach parking has makings of a Shakespearean tragedy
By Bob Tis
Posted at 2:01 AM
April 9, 2018
St. Augustine Record

Please allow me to shake off my left flip-flop and use my big toe to draw a line in the sand this morning.

Somebody, anybody, must watch the back of the beachgoer in this community. Why? Because it is hard enough to get to the beach already. First off, you have to carve out the time and hope the weather is cooperative. If you have kids and old people in your life, well you might as well be herding cats if you want to organize a beach trip.

So, let’s just say it is you and maybe a friend who want to step out to the beach for some quiet time ... you know, just a quick mini-vacation on the sand in the middle of the day at St. Augustine Beach. Well, if your knees and back are anything like mine you are going to need a chair. And you know what, if you are going to be spending a few hours by the ocean you will be a lot more comfortable with an umbrella. And who doesn’t want to have a little lunch at the beach? And if you are going to go to the trouble of making a sandwiches you will require some salty chips. Which means you are going to have to pack the cooler with some ice cold drinks. I love having my stuff at the beach, so if I know a few friends will be able to join me I usually bring my unwieldy dome tent. You can get crispy out there even with sunscreen on.

One special beach tip from me this morning is to bring a small pit shovel, if you can. It is handy to dig a little hole in the sand for your umbrella. I like to bring my putter and few golf balls to the beach and use the hard sand as a putting green. Digging golf holes is just another of the many jobs your pit shovel will be handy for. It is true I sometimes lug more toys than some to the beach but not as many as others. I don’t go to the beach without my boogie board and a Frisbee in the car. So yes, it takes a bit of planning.

The last thing any of us beach people need is to make this seasonal dance any more complicated. Many of us in the Crescent Beach area noted that Butler Park East parking lot absolutely filled up with cars during a recent Spring Break weekend. This happens on Memorial Day and sometimes on July 4, but this kind of jam up in the lot, so early in the season, was startling. Beware the ides of March the soothsayer warned us.

But that parking kerfuffle was nowhere near as scary as the St. Augustine Beach Commission talking about charging for public spaces by the beach last week. Like I said, it is hard enough to get there already. Even the new mayor, Undine George, spoke in favor of adopting some kind of application for your phone to pay for parking. All I can say is Et tu, Undine?

This is the same local attorney who wanted St. Augustine Beach residents to pay for her health insurance because she goes to a couple of meetings a month at City Hall. And I had such high hopes for this local politician. I thought she was one of the people, for the people. Now she wants us all to get an app for our phone to pay for beach parking?

This may sound dramatic but I think this is worse than Brutus stabbing Caesar. We live by the beach because we want to go to the beach. Make it easier on us, not harder. The tourists will come and money will be extracted from them, please don’t try and nickel and dime us.

Governments are formed to serve and protect the community. At one point the community is going to realize they don’t need a bunch of local mucky mucks meeting once a month to discuss how to tax us out of existence. The St. Augustine Beach city government could be dissolved just like it was in Hastings. St. Johns County could easily fill their shoes and save the locals a lot of money and trouble.

So go ahead, Brutus, cross that line.

Bob Tis is a former Record reporter.


Edward Adelbert Slavin
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1. Mayor Undine Celeste Pawlowski George has NOT answered my 21 questions or provided documents on her meeting with local smartphone app developer, whom she said April 2, 2018 is a partner with one of her colleagues.
2. Mayor George was again rude at the April 2, 2018 Commission meeting on this issue, again refusing to answer my questions.
3. Mayor Undine George is a huge disappointment -- she acts out, nearly as badly as predecessors Andrea Samuels and Richard Burtt O'Brien. Her ejection of two citizens at February 12, 2018 meeting showed she is intolerant.
4. St. Augustine Beach needs to amend its Charter and start electing its Mayor by vote of the people, as the City of St. Augustine did.
5. Mayor Undine George must answer questions and stop ducking them.
6. It violates the reasonable expectations of probity for Mayor Undine George to ask controversial CFO Melissa Burns for "legal advice," touting her ukase that no competitive bidding was required because software vendor would charge users, not City. Enough.« less
  • 21 minutes ago (edited recently)
Edward Adelbert Slavin
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7. Thanks to every single adult in the room for standing up to Mayor George's nutty oppression -- watch tape. Every other Commissioner, the SABPD Chief, City Attorney and City Manager ALL weighed in with caution and wisdom.
Thank you.
8. I agree with columnist Bob Tis -- this noxious nostrum is NOT ready for prime time, and NOT ready for implementation.
9. As Sir Winston Spencer Churchill said, "We shall fight them on the beaches."
10. Waiting for Mayor Undine George to show actual leadership on things that matter. What about a new pier, purchased by pledging bed tax money over 30 years, as part of the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore, with a pier restaurant, seven day a week Farmer's Market, fish market, and a civil rights museum honoring civil rights 1964 wade-in at then-segregated ocean in St. Augustine Beach?« less
Edward Adelbert Slavin
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11. Enough “crony capitalism,” impulse buying, and “good-ole-boy” purchasing decisions.
12. NO research on any other beach community using parking smartphone app?
13. We have only:
A. Mayor Undine George’s ex parte meeting with local software developer, with no questions answered about it. 
B. Mayor Undine George’s off-the-cuff anecdotes about Gainesville parking garage.
14. The plural of “anecdote” is not “data,” Mayor George.
15. Enough secrecy, Mayor George.
16. Enough flummery, dupery, nincompoopery and governmental guesswork.
17. Passport is a giant corporation that counts hedge funds and Goldman Sachs among its investors and some 450 locations helping create monopoly profits for parking apps.
18. We don’t need beach parking monopoly profits at St. Augustine Beach.
19. We DO need a welcoming spirit at St. Augustine Beach.
20. That spirit is sorely lacking from the last three Mayors of St. Augustine Beach.
21. Ex-Mayor and Commissioner Andrea Samuels was defeated for re-election in St. Augustine Beach on November 8, 2016 by reformer Maggie Kostka; wise voters rejected Samuels’ abuse of power.
22. In the words of Revolutionary War patriot Patrick Henry, addressed to King George III, Mayor Undine George “can profit from [Samuels’] example.”« less

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23. Let's enact universally the "Mayor Gary Snodgrass rule," in honor of the salutary, civil, citizen question-answering procedure adopted by former St. Augustine Beach Mayor Sherman Gary Snodgrass: If a citizen asks a question in public comment, it gets answered. No exceptions. 
24. No more secrets.
25. Enough effrontery from local elected officials, some gazing emptily or angrily at citizens asking questions, looking as if they might as well have a Commissioner nameplate that reads, "I"D RATHER BE ELSEWHERE." 
26. As Harry S Truman said, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."« less

1 comment:

Warren Celli said...

You reap what you sow...

Pig Tourism, with its rapacious, illegal, and immoral gangster thirst for growth, is the magnet for the likes of Undine George and her 'privatizing' the public commons cronies.

Rapacious Pig Tourism growth has destroyed the quality of life for local residents. It will only get worse without major reform. You can not put fifty pounds of crap in a five pound bag.

Hijacked gangster government cancerous Pig Tourism growth is bad!

The answer is not to follow the daily churn of futility inducing good cop bad cop divisiveness from the Saint Augustine Wreckit.

Rather it is time to organize at a foundational level for more sustainable industry that does not so rapidly destroy the social fabric of the community and the local environment that is presently being pushed to a state of calamitous usage. That will require working outside of the captured system.

A big part of that effort will be assisting those who have been conned into the Pig Tourism industry model to readjust their businesses to more sustainable models that benefit the many and not just the piggish few. It is not necessary, nor is it sound business, to bring all of your customers to the product, a product that requires the public commons of others be used in a guileful burden shifting fashion. A product that requires a self serving hijacked government that rules with an iron fist.

Or........ you can keep on pretending.