Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Why Rick Scott will struggle to win — and could lose — in Martin County. (TC PALM)

Good news.

Why Rick Scott will struggle to win — and could lose — in Martin County

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Florida Gov. Rick Scott have blame each other for the toxic blue-green algae blooms plaguing Florida. Ginny Beagan, TCPALM
Martin County has a huge Republican plurality, with just under twice as many registered Republicans (56,445 as of Monday) as Democrats (28,695) or "other" (28,434).
But come November, I expect Martin County voters to act like a bunch of liberals.
Which is to say that in certain key races, I don't see how the Republican candidate wins anything close to a 2-1 margin. Some GOP candidates might not win Martin County at all.
This has nothing to do with any "blue wave." Rather, it's all about the "green wave" — the sorry state of our waters, and the likelihood voters will punish those they deem responsible for it.
First and foremost among them: Rick Scott.
In fact, I'm going to edge out onto a limb right now and predict that Scott — Florida's  Republican governor, now looking to unseat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson — will fare poorly in Martin County. Maybe very poorly.
In fact, I wouldn't be surprised at all if Nelson took the county.
Republicans will take umbrage at the mere suggestion, as they did last week when I dared insinuate Republicans are weak on the environment in general.
Look at Congressman Brian Mast, many said. And it's true; Mast has made stopping the discharges from Lake Okeechobee his focus; on Tuesday, he was endorsed by the enviro-activist group Bullsugar.
But it's not pure altruism. Mast, in a "purple" district and facing a challenge from Democrat Lauren Baer, needs an edge. He gets that by showing constituents they'd be up the algae-filled creek without him.
Scott, on the other hand, is up that creek with no paddles in sight.

In the August primary, Scott only got 79.9 percent of the Martin County GOP vote, while 20.1 percent of Republicans opted for his competitor: Roque De La Fuente, who goes by "Rocky."
I'm thinking those voters might have voted for an actual rock over Scott.
And now, our summer of algae and red tide, Scott has become even more vulnerable. I suspect he lays awake at night (or does he hang from the ceiling like a bat?) and thinks: Of all the years this had to happen, why now?
The answer, in part, is: Because of Rick Scott's policies.
Scott didn't cause the blue-green algae blooms on our shores; those blooms began showing up years before he took office.
Same deal with the red tide on the Gulf coast; red tide occurred naturally hundreds of years before Scott ever set his eyes on Nelson’s Senate seat.
Scott didn’t cause these problems. He merely made them worse.
Scott downsized and defanged the Department of Environmental protection, turning it into an agency more interested in greasing the regulatory skids than cracking down on polluters.
He dramatically slashed the budget for Florida's water management districts and stacked the appointed boards with developers, land use lawyers and others who, as the Tampa Bay Times put it in 2014, were "more interested in granting permits than preservation."
You got a tax break out of this. Isn't that nice? Now look at our water and tell me it was worth it.
Both the state and the feds cut funding for water monitoring during Scott's tenure. In 2012, Scott signed a measure repealing a law that had required septic tank owners to get an inspection every five years. This, at a time when scientists say nutrients leaching from septic systems have become a key contributor to algae blooms.
Again, you might have saved a few bucks. And that was the entirety of the point.
When Scott took office — in 2010, in the wake of the Great Recession — there was an obvious economic rationale for doing what he did. Florida property values had crashed, he had vowed to cut government expenditures and reinvigorate the economy, and I think it's fair to say he did that.
Indeed, if the economy is your most important issue, Scott is your guy. I think it’s unquestionable that his policies have helped Florida continue to boom.

And I was impressed with Scott’s leadership last year during Hurricane Irma. He vowed there would be gasoline on the major thoroughfares, and there was. That and other moves instilled confidence at a panicky time.
But on that one big issue affecting Martin County, you see Scott's legacy in our fouled waters. And I think that's going to haunt him at the ballot box come November —- not just here, but on the Gulf Coast as well.
Maybe he makes up those lost votes in regions that haven't been directly affected by these water crises. Recent polls show Scott and Nelson tied.
But his environmental record is his slimy green Achilles heel. And the worse Florida's waters get, the more vulnerable Scott becomes.
One might think his party, as a whole, would take a lesson from this.
Anyone who thinks, now, that Florida's primary goal should be the continuation of “business-friendly” policies that involve a light regulatory touch is insane. 
Conservatism needs to conserve things.
And in this part of Florida, at least, those who fail to heed that message might just fail to conserve their own seats.
Gil Smart is a TCPalm columnist and a member of the Editorial Board. His columns reflect his opinion. Readers may reach him at gil.smart@tcpalm.com, by phone at 772-223-4741 or via Twitter at @TCPalmGilSmart.

Bill Nelson leads Rick Scott by 7 points in new Quinnipiac poll. (Tampa Bay Times)

Good news.  Florida Democrats and independents will work tirelessly to elect righteous leaders like Bill Nelson and Andrew Gillum on November 6, 2018.

Enough flummery, dupery and nincompoopery from fraudfeasing RED-TIDE RICK SCOTT.

Bill Nelson leads Rick Scott by 7 points in new Quinnipiac poll

Is it an outlier? In the last Q poll three weeks ago, the two Senate candidates were tied at 49 percent each.

By Steve Bousquet
Tampa Bay Times
September 25, 2018

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson has bolted to a 7-point lead over Republican Gov. Rick Scott in Florida's U.S. Senate race, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday.

Nelson has a 17-point lead with women voters in the poll and a 16-point advantage among independents. Men are closely divided, with 51 percent supporting Scott and 47 percent supporting Nelson. Hispanic voters favor Nelson in the poll by 61 to 39 percent.

In the last Quinnipiac poll three weeks ago, the two candidates were dead even at 49 percent each. So absent a fundamental change in the political dynamics, this survey looks like an outlier.

Among likely voters who are asked to name a candidate choice, 94 percent say their minds are made up — six weeks before Election Day, Nov. 6.

Nelson has a favorable/unfavorable rating of 53 to 41 percent in the poll. Scott's rating is upside down, with 46 percent favorable and 51 percent unfavorable.

President Donald Trump's job approval numbers in the poll are grim: 44 percent of Floridians approve and 54 percent disapprove.

On the question of whether the Senate should confirm Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court justice, 47 percent said yes and 48 percent said no. Women oppose Kavanaugh by 54 to 41 percent in the poll. Men support Kavanaugh by 55-40 percent.

Asked to identify the most important issue in this election, 26 percent of respondents chose health care, 19 percent chose the economy, 18 percent chose immigration, 15 percent chose the pending vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, 12 percent chose gun policy and 5 percent said taxes.

The environment was not offered as an option. "Something else" scored 2 percent in the poll.

The Scott-Nelson race is critical in the high-stakes fight over which party will control the Senate. Nelson, a three-term incumbent, is running for re-election in a state that Donald Trump carried narrowly in 2016. Nelson is being vastly outspent by Scott, a two-term governor.

This is the first poll in this pivotal, closely-watched race in which Nelson has a lead. Quinnipiac polled 888 likely voters from Sept. 20-24, and the survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Democrats poke holes in DeSantis drilling stance. (POLITICO)

DeSANTIS is imploding.  This other-directed corporate puppet will NOT be Governor.

Ron DeSantis | AP Photo
Rep. Kathy Castor said if DeSantis was serious about opposing drilling he would have taken mores steps, including opposing the changes to the drilling rules. | Steve Cannon/AP Photo

Democrats poke holes in DeSantis drilling stance

TALLAHASSEE — Democrats and environmental advocates are taking aim at Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis' assertion that he has a "proven track record" in supporting measures to ban oil drilling off Florida's coast, saying his record doesn't support the claim.
Oil drilling has emerged as a flash point this campaign season in Florida after the Trump administration's early 2018 proposal to open up most federal waters to oil drilling. Top members of both parties in Florida say they are against oil drilling. 
DeSantis, who touted his endorsement from Trump during the Republican primary, co-sponsored federal legislation this year to extend a temporary drilling ban in federal waters off the Gulf Coast from 2022 to 2027. And he signed a letter in January along with another 22 members of Florida's congressional delegation stating opposition to the Trump administration's moves to allow drilling in federal waters off Florida.
But Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), vice ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, says DeSantis has been "largely absent" in the Washington fight against drilling. That's because he hasn't joined in opposing other drilling measures, such as a proposal to relax drilling rig safety rules, Castor said.
She says his support for H.R. 5014 (115), legislation that would extend the drilling moratorium, is an "election year epiphany for him — and that's the worst kind."
"You can't trust someone who starts talking about an issue in an election year when they are running for high office," Castor said.
Meanwhile, DeSantis' Democratic opponent, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, supports a permanent ban on drilling off Florida's coast — including the existing Gulf moratorium area, campaign spokeswoman Carlie Waibel said.
Stephen Lawson, DeSantis' campaign spokesman, wouldn't say whether the Republican would support a permanent ban or support maintaining the ban in the current area under the moratorium. A Department of Interior proposal now being reviewed includes options for shrinking the moratorium area to within 50 miles of the Florida coast.
His campaign website states that he has a "proven track record in supporting measures to ban offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico." 
Talk of drilling off Florida has been largely taboo since the 2010 Gulf spill coated beaches with oil in the western Florida Panhandle and delivered a body blow to the state's tourism economy. But the oil industry has launched a recent effort to gain political support in Florida for allowing some drilling in the area.
President Donald Trump has advocated expanding America's energy industry and energy exports.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke blew open the controversy again in Florida last January when he proposed allowing drilling in most federal waters, including the eastern Gulf of Mexico, after the current moratorium ends in 2022.
In an orchestrated event at the Tallahassee airport with Gov. Rick Scott, Zinke announced that Florida was "off the table" for new drilling. Scott is seeking to unseat Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who called the turnaround a "publicity stunt" and has noted subsequent statements by Zinke that Florida still is part of the ongoing federal review process.
The moratorium through 2022 was passed by Congress and signed into law in 2006 by President George W. Bush to protect Naval and Air Force training missions off the Florida Panhandle.
The Florida Defense Support Task Force in 2017 issued a report that called for extending the deadline to protect military bases and the defense industry, which has an estimated $80 billion economic impact. The Florida House and Senate also endorsed measures FL SR550 (18R) / FL HR319 (18R) calling on Congress to pass an indefinite extension for the moratorium.
While Republicans and Democrats in Florida both say they are against oil drilling, there are distinctions, as reflected in the parties' candidates for governor.
Gillum, who says he wants to move Florida to "clean energy" as soon as possible, supports a permanent ban including the existing Gulf moratorium area, which extends from 125 miles off the Panhandle to more than 200 miles off the southwest Florida coast.
The DeSantis campaign won't specify what measures he supported as part of his "proven track record" against drilling or discuss his stance on the moratorium since he issued an environmental platform on Sept. 12.
That platform says: "Florida has seen firsthand the dangers that off-shore drilling can bring to our beaches and shorelines. ... Starting day one, DeSantis will utilize his unique relationship with President Trump and his administration to ensure that oil drilling never occurs off Florida’s coastlines."
Castor said if DeSantis was serious about opposing drilling he would have taken mores steps, including opposing the changes to the drilling rules.
Instead, she said DeSantis has been in line with the "dirty environmental policies" of the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress. She dismisses his support for the five-year moratorium extension in H.R. 5014 (115) and said DeSantis instead should have supported a permanent ban on drilling in the eastern Gulf.
"Its easy to sign onto a bill when you are seeking a promotion [during an election year]," Castor said. "But to really understand someone's record you have to look at their entire time in Congress. He has just demonstrated that he really didn't have an interest."
Frank Jackalone, the Sierra Club's Florida chapter director, said DeSantis' opposition to drilling is "in question" because of a 2013 vote against a budget amendment that would have allowed states, including Florida, to opt out of drilling in federal waters.
And Mark Ferrulo, executive director of Progress Florida, said DeSantis has not shown the kind of commitment to clean energy that is needed to reduce industry pressure to drill off Florida.
"If he [DeSantis] is going to follow the Trump playbook on energy policy then we're in real trouble. And all indications are he is following the Trump playbook on most issues," Ferullo said.
Associated Industries of Florida, which supports offshore oil drilling, endorsed DeSantis last week but made no mention of energy issues in the announcement.
The Florida Petroleum Council, a division of the American Petroleum Institute, does not endorse candidates and will work with whoever is elected, council executive director David Mica said. He holds out hope for that either candidate who is elected will change their stance.
"When events come along — like war, hurricanes, when there is no [oil] supply, often when prices get very, very high — positions change, and sometimes get changed very, very quickly," Mica said. "We need American energy for Florida."

Disgraced Developer Puppet BRUCE A. MAGUIRE Withdraws Application for St. Augustine Planning and Zoning Board

On Monday, September 24, 2018, St. Augustine City Commissioners did NOT get to reject developer puppet BRUCE A. MAGUIRE.  MAGUIRE withdrew his application.

Wonder why?

MAGUIRE withdrew his application after I reported that, as a member of the St. Augustine-St. Johns County Airport Authority, MAGUIRE would've had to resign if he accepted the PZB appointment.  You read it here, and nowhere else.

Congratulations to two new PZB members chosen by Commissioners September 24th:

  • Ms. Christina Opsahl: Plaintiff's lawyer in tobacco cases, criminal defense lawyer, former managing prosecutor
  • Mr. Maurice Morrisette: Business owner; C.P.A

JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E.: City Manager shows insouciance to facts, knowledge gaps

Troubled St. Augustine City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E. seems just a bit off his game.  What's wrong?  


  • Burnt-out?
  • Ready to retire?
  • Preoccupied?  
  • Bored?  
  • Listening too much to his mean, mendacious mentor, former City Manager WILLIAM BARRY HARRISS?
  • All over the above?

Like WILLIAM BARRY HARRISS, will REGAN soon be Gone With the Wind?

From failing to follow up on citizen and Commissioners concerns -- not even writing them down -- to a mediocre presentation on parkland purchasing at the September 24, 2018 meeting -- REGAN is not paying attention.

He's paid more than enough to pay attention -- some $171,000 per annum, plus benefits.

But he forgets commitments.

He ducks phone messages.

When citizens and Commissioners raise concerns, REGAN is not following up.

He's not even writing them down.

Worse, he's directed the City Clerk to OMIT the sum and substance of citizen concerns from City minutes.  Our names are listed.  Little else.  Even in PZB and HARB minutes.

A simple Excel spreadsheet could help.

But recently re-elected St. Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver had to hand out a lengthy list of long-neglected Commissioner action items at the September 24, 2018 meeting.

In January, Vice Mayor Todd Neville wanted to fire Regan, but did not get a second to his motion.  The evaluation meeting was held outside the ordinary course of business in a small conference room and was not televised.  Pity.

When JOHN REGAN is next evaluated this fall, it needs to be televised, live, and with FULL public comment. 

  • No more sneakiness. 
  • No more flummery, dupery and nincompoopery.
  • No more waste, fraud and abuse.
  • No more misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance.
  • No more avoidance and evasion.

Like a dysfunctional family, the City of St. Augustine seems incapable of discussing real problems in a realistic way. 

Putting the cart before the horse, REGAN had an item on the agenda September 24, 2018 (10A) that was premature and not ready for primetime.  

There was a thinly-researched, half-baked, insincere presentation on options for grants for parks, occasioned by Commissioner Nancy Sikes- Kline's interest at a meeting in July.

At the moment, Fish Island Development, LLC  still has a contract with D.R. Horton, Inc. for the iconic historic Fish Island property.  We don 't want to commit tortious interference with contractual relations. 

But we do want to declare Fish Island an adaptation area and an archaeological preservation zone under state and city law. 

No response yet from REGAN to our conversation and my statement last night to Commissioners. 

Wonder if anyone even bothered to write it down?

Naked man outside Palm Coast, Florida Chick-fil-A arrested for trying to fight passersby (Fox News)

Who does this alleged "Florida Man" think he is?

A TRUMP nominee for Supreme Court?

Unlike entitled "students" at Yale or Georgetown Preparatory School, what happens in Palm Coast does not stay in Palm Coast.

Naked man outside Florida Chick-fil-A arrested for trying to fight passersby

A 30-year-old Florida man was arrested Monday morning after he stripped off his clothes and challenged passersby to a fight in a Chick-fil-A parking lot.
A witness told police her boyfriend called her, alleging he was being chased by a man – who was later identified as Cory Michael Hatzl – while he was riding his bicycle in Palm Coast, WJXT-TV reported. When she arrived at the Chick-fil-A, she said Hatzl took off his clothes, ranted about his genitals and challenged her boyfriend to fight.
A Flagler County police officer said he “observed multiple vehicles drive by while [the man] was nude and yelling ‘look at my [expletive],’” according to a report obtained by WJXT.
He also allegedly yelled “you’re gay for looking at my penis” at the boyfriend, WKMG-TV reported.
Hatzl was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting an officer without violence just before 2 a.m., according to his arrest records.
The Chick-fil-A on Palm Coast Parkway is closed from 10 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.
Hatzl was booked in the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Jail later Monday morning.
The couple did not press charges, according to WKMG.
Palm Coast is about 60 miles south of Jacksonville.

A Mismanaged Seaside Community of Quitters? Mayor Undine Pawlowski George Re-Elected By Default as Tom Reynolds Withdraws

Three-time electoral dropout Thomas F. Reynolds, Jr. single-handedly re-elected controversial St. Augustine Beach Mayor UNDINE PAWLOWSKI GEORGE by default September 24, 2018 when he walked into the St. Johns County Supervisor of Elections office and withdrew his candidacy for her City Commission seat.

Congratulations, Mayor UPG.

"EARN THIS.  EARN IT." (In the words of Tom Hanks character at the denouement of Spielberg's film, Saving Private Ryan.)

This unexplained move by Tom Reynolds (a/k/a "Who the hell is Tom Reynolds?") now leaves only one (1) of three (3) Commissioners with terms expiring on January 1, 2019 facing any competition in the November 6, 2018 election.  Vice Mayor Margaret England was re-elected when filed to run against her during qualifying in June this year.

Ms. Rosetta Bailey is still running for City Commission, for the seat to which Commissioners appointed restauranteur Donald Samora after Commissioner Sherman Gary Snodgrass quit.  Rose is not a quitter.  She persists, even after she was assaulted by at City Hall by LEONARD PATRICK TRINICA, then-Mayor RICHARD BURTT O'BRIEN's campaign manager, defended by trial lawyer PATRICK CANAN and let off Scott-free by disreputable State's Attorney RALPH JOSEPH LARISSA and disrespectful acolyte CHRISTOPHER FERREEBEE refused to prosecute.

Footnote: When I accompanied Rose and Mark Bailey to a meeting with FERREEBEE, he was rude, saying "WE DON'T NEED YOUR HELP."  This fetid Philistine has applied for a judgeship, lie other mediocrities whom lousy louche lapdog LARIZZA has hired.

This is not the first time that a putative candidate has mysteriously backed out of running against a St. Augustine City Commissioner after the ending of qualifying period.

In 2012, St. Augustine Beach City Commissioner Andrea Samuels was re-elected after Andrew Putnam Birchall withdrew on June 27, 2012, shortly after qualifying.

There's a long tradition of candidates in St. Johns County who chicken out, as with the perennial crop of phony no party affiliation candidates who file to close what are supposed to be universal primaries under the 1998 amendment to our Florida Constitution.

The Ambassador Joseph P.  Kennedy, Sr. said, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going."

But in St. Johns County and St. Augustine Beach the redneck peckerwoods say, "I quit,"

Quitters only empower tyrants.race

Hopefully, Reynolds will make white collar crime and corruption a priority in the 2020 Sheriff's race.

Justice for Michelle O'Connell.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

GUEST COLUMN: All aboard for Fish Island Park (by Ed Slavin, SAR)

My column from the Sunday St. Augustine Record. . Come speak to the Monday, September 24, 2018 St. Augustine City Commission. PARK NOW.

GUEST COLUMN: All aboard for Fish Island Park

By Ed Slavin / St. Johns County
Posted Sep 21, 2018 at 10:57 AM
Updated Sep 21, 2018 at 10:57 AM

St. Augustine woke up to wonderful news on Sept. 8, 2018, our 453rd anniversary. No appeal was filed by the developer of the proposed Fish Island gated community.

Thanks to Matanzas Riverkeeper Jen Lomberk and everyone else who organized, attended and spoke at the July 3 and Aug. 7 PZB hearings, and to those who tried to attend and speak. It was standing room only Aug. 7, with dozens waiting/watching TV on the loggia.

Decisions are made by people who show up. Three cheers for all who spoke, including Sierra Club and Audubon Society witnesses who photographed the active bald eagles’ nest, former St. Augustine Beach Mayor S. Gary Snodgrass and former St. Augustine City Archaeologist Carl Halbirt.

Thanks also to D.R. Horton, Inc., Fish Island Development LLC, Jim Young, and RogersTowers Attorneys at Law lawyer Ellen Avery-Smith for not appealing from PZB’s wise final decision.

For doing their jobs independently, based upon the law and facts, without fear or favor of vast corporate power and wealth, thanks and praise to PZB Chair Sarah Ryan and PZB members Grant Misterly, Karen Zander, Susan Agresta and Matthew Shaffer — the five PZB members who unanimously voted down the PUD. Thanks also to PZB member Carl Blow, who bailed on voting/participating after staff stigma/pressures in response to his asking questions of the applicant, in one of those ex parte meetings city officials must stop holding with developers.

Three cheers for PZB members’ independence, despite pestilential pressures from certain city staff and commissioners, some of whom expect PZB members to be louche lapdogs, not watchdogs (as when Commission adopted 4-1 Ordinance 2018-11, allowing “at will” firing of PZB. members).

What’s next? Preserving Fish Island as a public park. The City of St. Augustine Beach bought two parks with available state funds.

Why does it matter? Your future Fish Island Park embraces beautiful, natural waterfront and iconic viewshed; pristine, 75-acre Matanzas River wildlife habitat; homes for our bald eagles and other threatened and endangered species; historic site of Florida’s first citrus agriculture industry (mid-1700s), the burial place of Jesse Fish and his slaves, the site of remains of Fish’s mansion and some eight slave cabins; the last undeveloped, unprotected property bordering our pristine Matanzas River, a prime oyster-growing waterway (and perhaps Florida’s only remaining pristine estuary).

Prediction: Our Fish Island Park will become part of the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore, first proposed by Mayor Walter Fraser in 1939, introduced by then-Sens. Claude Pepper and Charles Andrews and Rep. Joseph Hendricks. Fish Island Park will help protect us from floods amidst ocean level rise, preserve Matanzas River water, wildlife and oyster quality and enhance environmental and historic tourism,

Do it for your grandchildren, and for their grandchildren: Now’s the time for organizing and action to help create Fish Island Park. Help out. Contact commissioners at both St. Augustine and the Beach, your five county commissioners, your state and federal legislators, and candidates — today.

Edward Adelbert Slavin
Some 50 people showed up and spoke at the August 7, 2018 PZB or July 3, 2018 hearings, also including: Joe Blewett, Amy Koch, Tim Lyman, Rhonda Lovett, Adam Morley, Gregg Feldman, Steve Parkin, J.R. Valentine, Brandon Murawski, Dr. Virginia Quelch, Dr. Greg Smith, Marsha Chance, Tammy Johns, Brian Paradise, Susan Hill, Jon Hodgin, Sara Bailey, Trey Asner, Richard Hardy, Erin Finney, Patricia Scott, Genarro Schiavelli, Kay Lee, Craig Williams, Karen Carter Lewis, Carl Halbert, Dorothy Barrett, Marcia Daniels, Logan Williams, Karen Lane, Gina Burrell, Carolyn Smith, Eric Smith, George Ellis, Tonya Salyer, Alex Barr, Tim Lyman, Tom Brinton, Christopher Wiggin, Lisa McGreevy, Diane Lewitt, Bob Lane, Ed Slavin, BJ Kalaidi, Doug O’Conner.

GUEST COLUMN: Fish Island a disaster waiting to happen (SAR)

GUEST COLUMN: Fish Island a disaster waiting to happen

By Jon D. Hodgin / Anastasia Island
Posted Sep 23, 2018 at 2:01 AM
Watching the destruction in North Carolina from Hurricane Florence (Category 2 at landfall), I am reminded of Hurricane Katrina (a Category 5) which struck the Gulf Coast in August 2005 with extremely high winds and a massive storm surge, collapsing the twin-span Interstate 10 bridge into Lake Pontchartrain. The I-10 bridge was not fully restored until six years later in 2011.

The Saffir-Simpson Scale of hurricane wind speed also addresses storm surge. It states that Category 4 and Category 5 tropical cyclones may have a storm surge of 18 feet or more.

Here in St. Augustine, we have had major damage and flooding from hurricanes Matthew and Irma. Neither of these storms was a direct hit on this area, with Matthew a weak Category 3 downgraded to a Category 2 passing off the East Coast and Irma, a weak Category 1, passing well west of the city.

Even so, the storm surge during these two hurricanes flooded the bayfront, flooded Davis Shores, destroyed docks up and down the Matanzas River, moved the Salt Run pier out of alignment and caused major damage to the city marina.

The D.R. Horton development plan for Fish Island includes a marina dock with 75 boat slips stretching 800 feet in length along the shore of the Matanzas River just South of the State Road 312 bridge.

I am not an engineer, but I do have two eyes and a brain. If we receive a Category 4 or 5 tropical cyclone here with a storm surge of 18 feet or more, and if the D.R. Horton marina dock fails and is partially or completely destroyed, then I believe we could expect many tons of D.R. Horton concrete to be piled up against and underneath the 312 bridge. This will close the bridge indefinitely and block a major evacuation route off of Anastasia Island, creating a significant hazard to our community.

This is only one of the many reasons that this D.R. Horton development plan for Fish Island should be stopped.

GUEST COLUMN: Dear Enemy of The People (By Clara Waldhari, SAR)

Love her style.  Thank you!

GUEST COLUMN: Dear Enemy of The People ...
The St. Augustine Record

I am as irate as anyone who has observed the antics of the free press in this nation. It has been day-and-night, night-and-day coverage since Jan. 20, 2017. Who do you think you are printing news like this, the gatekeepers of our open society? How much mollycoddling do you think we need? You’re spoon-feeding us pabulum at every turn!

You leap-frog across the country and globe to report news from the current White House and its administration. Oh, those long stays at golf resorts must be a struggle for you, as must be the luxury and luminary status of flying Air Force One.

There is a long and pervasive history with what the print media does. I mean, just look at what those two bastions of vigilance and anal retentiveness, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, did during the Nixon administration. Those two journalists put The Washington Post back on the map and made it co-equal with The New York Times. Perfidy! And over what; a small break-in at the Watergate Hotel? Hardly worth the coverage.

The current mot du jour is “fear.” Do I have fear? Yes, in copious amounts. I fear “fake news” and “alternate facts.” No, we won’t allow this, free press. Your time is up. Ask around, get three individual confirmations. Drudgery creates the modern martyrs of our times. Sad!

Now all you press types have investigative specialties, a reflection of market segmentation to be sure. As goes business, so goes the press? Why so many specialists? Must we citizens be fed our daily ink and gruel by the slop bucket of the free media until we gag? Why are you doing this to us? Fattening us for some looming, undefined, and imaginary purge of democracy? When will you scribblers and audio-tapers let it go?

Despite the eruption of social media, which is our news source now, scooping real news and spewing lava all over The Fourth Estate (and I mean print), newspapers persist. They are as pernicious slugs in our gardens of peace and tranquility; always stirring up something in a medium that is tangible. All news should be ephemeral, leaving the reader only with a fleeting biliousness. We do not wish information, only juvenile headlines, all with pop-culture references.

I cite The First Amendment to enshrine my arguments. Pay particular attention to the punctuation.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The mighty comma proves adding “the press” is an afterthought. James Madison, in his initial submission in 1789, parsed “the press” as an insignificant addendum to what really matters —then and now.

A free press in our nation is an anomaly. Face it. We are out of goose step with most of the world. Just look at the numbers. What’s it going to matter if we get our news from you, or from a state paper or state news channel? Allow us to be on one page and let us be more welcoming of prior restraint.

You vexing chameleons have seen your day. The fluctuations from red, white, to blue and back again are unnatural. Stop the presses! We neither wish to think nor be informed nor engaged. Period. Non-negotiable. And that’s huge.

Opinion editor’s note: Lampooning the GOP is but one of Waldhari’s many hobbies.”

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