Sunday, July 01, 2018

No "Pride" In St. Augustine, St. Augustine Beach or St. Johns County, Florida-DUH this year. Wonder why?

So June is over.
There were NO observations of any kind of Gay Pride month by any local government or government contractor in St. Johns County, including: 
  • City St. Augustine,
  • City of St. Augustine Beach, 
  • Ponte Vedra Beach Municipal Service District,  
  • Board of County Commissioners of St. Johns County; 
  • St. Johns County School Board, 
  • St. Johns County Sheriff, 
  • St. Johns County Supervisor of Elections, 
  • St. Johns County Tourist Development Council,
  • St. Johns County Tax Collector, 
  • St. Johns County Clerk of Courts and Comptroller, 
  • St. Johns County Property Appraiser, 
  • Anastasia Mosquito Control District of St. Johns County, 
  • St. Augustine-St. Johns County Airport Authority, or 
  • St. Johns Water Management District.
That's some $4,000,000,000.00 -- FOUR billion dollars -- worth of local government budgets annually:
  • Not one (1) moment for Gay Pride.
  • NO proclamation.
  • NO day.
  • NO week.
  • NO plaque.
  • NO recognition.
  • Nothing.
  • Zilch. 
  • Nada.
  • Zero.
Wonder why?
  • Ask former St. Johns County Commission Chairman Ben Rich, Sr., a reformer and former federal lawman, who candidly told Folio Weekly in 2008, "St. Johns County is one of the last bastions of the Ku Klux Klan."
  • Ask "REV." RONALD RAWLS, JR., the homophobic Gainesville minister, pastor at St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, a bully, who rails at monuments to dead Confederate veterans but has never spoken out for Justice for Michelle O'Connell, police body cameras or against anti-Gay hate crimes
  • Ask RAWLS why he invited DOUG RUSSO, a homophobic "preacher," to speak in his church, using him to provoke people about monuments to dead Confederate veterans. 
  • Ask St. Augustine Beach Mayor Undine Pawlowski George, a bisexual, once married to a woman, why she did not use her mayoral power to request a GLBTQIA+ Pride Day.  She's apparently too busy kicking people out of meetings or refusing to answer questions about the parking smartphone "app" she's tried to inflict in a 1.87 square mile city, without a business case and without ever disclosing her undisclosed ex parte contacts with a "colleague," whom she refuses to name.
  • Ask local government communications flaks and "event planners" like Hala Laquidara -- no room at the inn for queers, apparently. 
  • Ask "Compassionate St. Augustine" and the "Women's March," whose esteemed "liberal" members demanded in 2017 to take down Confederate veteran monuments, while intentionally eschewing 450th obelisk on the first recorded anti-Gay hate crime victim, "Guillermo," a Gay French translator ordered executed by garroting by Adelantado Pedro Menendez de Aviles in 1566; Menendez told his brother-in-law to have Guilermo murdered because he was "a Sodomite and a Lutheran."  His brother-in-law wrote it down.
  • Ask the University of Florida, whose St. Augustine operations omitted "Guilermo"s story from a two-hour PBS movie, Secrets of Spanish Florida, while omitting it from Government House museum (along with Menorcan history).
Pray for these lugubrious goobers, who do so little to advance the cause of civil rights.  Rose Kennedy's favorite Bible verse was, "To whom much is given, much is expected."

My Irish-Bavarian grandmother would have called them what they are: "limited" and "hopelessly provincial."

We need better leaders.


On June 8-13, 2005, by order of heroic United States District Court Chief Judge Henry Lee Adams, Jr., forty-two (42) Rainbow flags flew on the Bridge of Lions and seven on the Bayfront.

The landmark case was Rev. Ruth Jensen and Elizabeth Forbell v. City of St. Augustine.  On May 23, 2005, St. Augustine City Commission voted 3-2 to refuse to allow the flags to fly (then-Commissioners Joe Boles and Susan Burk dissented).

Two weeks, later. we won.

Yes, my friends, only a fortnight later, on June 7, 2005, Judge Adams ordered the flags to fly.  Two weeks from 3-2 no vote to resounding victory in a First Amendment case, the first of more than 70 public interest victories in Our Town since that day.

We won.

In response, on June 13, 2005, three other-directed St. Augustine Commissioners voted that no flags would ever fly on the Bridge again on the Bridge unless they were "government flags."  (Commissioner Joe Boles dissented; Susan Burk was in Europe.

Then the Bayfront flagpoles were removed with NO vote, by unilateral action of petty, vindictive, pompous, putrid, pitiful, patronizing racist, sexist, misogynist, homophobic City "Manager" WILLIAM BARRY HARRISS, who "retired" in 2010 after years of exposures by journalists and activists of his works, pomps, waste, fraud, abuse, misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance, flummery, dupery and nincomoopery.

BILL HARRISS a/k/a "WILL HARASS," now encumbers and infests a $1500/month sinecure with satrap St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID SHOAR, running SHOAR's unethical St. Johns County Sheriff's Office Four Star Association, Inc.  SHOAR legally changed his surname from "HOAR" in 1994.  Pure poetry.

Who needs dull racist Republican reprobates who hate Gay people?

It's time for them to go.

Every group that wanted to fly Bridge of Lions flags was allowed got do so under HARRISS, including Flagler College (59 days during 2004-2005), and the Broward Yacht Company.  Gays' First Amendment rights were violated by the City of St. Augustine in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Yes in 2005, those dingbats at Morris Communications emitted biased coverage and they opposed our First Amendment victory whilst they ignored other First Amendment rights and  ran the St. Augustine Record into the ground, acting as if it were an arm of what "President Jed Barlet" called "the Ignorant Tightass Club on "The West Wing," in response to a Dr. Laura clown-clone:

Waiting on Gatehouse Media to show some principles on GLBTQIA+ rights.

However, my hat is off to Richard Goldman, CEO and Executive Director of the St. Johns County Visitor and Convention Bureau.  VCB is reaching out to GLBTQIA+ tourists.  Gay people have a higher marginal propensity to spend, and we take vacations.  If only other local government and business leaders "got it."

And I'm still proud of St. Augustine (December 10, 2010) and St. Augustine Beach (February 2011) for adding "sexual orientation" to the list of protected classes in local ordinances.

What's next?  You tell me.

We need the flags back on the Bridge of Lions next year.

This is our time and our place, and we're not going back in the closet.

We're here, we're queer, get used to it.

June 26, 2015
White House illuminated with Rainbow colors after Supreme Court Gay Marriage ruling, Obergefell v. Hodges

June 8-13, 2013 
Rainbow flags on St. Augustine's historic 
Bridge of Lions, 
by June 8, 2005 Order of U.S. District Court Chief Judge Henry Lee Adams, Jr. in 
landmark First Amendment case of 
Jensen and Forbell v. City of St. Augustine, Florida.

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