Monday, September 30, 2019

There's a keiretsu near you, apparently.

St. Augustine City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E. runs a keiretsu, apparently, with repeated indicia of private, ex parte meetings on the future of Our Nation's Oldest City, with the owners of alcohol related venues, who include his friends.  REGAN thinks he's a developer, with the future of our Historic City in his hands.  

You're not invited to these meetings.

St. Augustine JOHN REGAN, who thinks he's a developer and negotiates badly in secret, has tight ties to commercial real estate and alcohol vendors in town:


As they say in East Tennessee,  "they bear watchin'."  

We shall continue to investigate and to speak out against bad projects, like The Collector Hotel (DOW PUD), ARBIZZANI's CUNA STREET restaurant ripoff, and St. Augustine EMBASSY SUITES' rejected multicolored monstrosity and dead-on-arrival proposal to steal our county volleyball courts.

We shall continue to question proposed public-private partnerships that would enrich the rich and impoverish our people. 

You're not invited to REGAN's secret meetings with developers.

But when the Minister of Propaganda (his beloved nickname from circa 2002) has a "town hall," he retains firm control of the microphone, with questions softballs from the audience, with lousy production values and awful sound qualify.  Still, like DONALD TRUMP on Twitter, REGAN shows his behind at "town halls," exhibiting ego before principles.

Case in point: At a Nightlife town hall meeting on September 25, 2019, the other-directed City Manager of the City of St. Augustine referred to an "industry comment period" for proposed regulations in St. Augustine, and to areas to be set aside for oligopolists UBER and LYFT. 

Sounds like a violation of the non-delegation doctrine, on the one hand, and of the antitrust laws on the other.

That's an indication of how other-directed our Nation's Oldest City is, with a City Hall responsive to the powerful, not the people.

No response to request for City Hall memos on possible equal protection and antitrust issues with UBER favoritism.

And I just wrote City Hall:

1. Please explain and provide the documents concerning the legal basis and etiology of City Manager John Regan's remark about an "industry comment period" in his remarks at the September 25, 2019 meeting on nightlife law in the City of St. Augustine.  

2. Due Process administrative law gives everyone the right to a comment period, not just "industry."

3. The City of St. Augustine's presumption that only "industries" should be heard is of longstanding.  When taxicab regulations and franchise were being revised, Mayor Joseph Lester Boles, Jr. refused to recognize taxicab customers, including me, hearing only from the industry.   This violates Equal Protection and Due Process and First Amendment rights.

4. As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. wrote, "
Photo of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. by Hardy, 1897
“It is revolting to have no better reason for a rule of law than that so it was laid down in the time of Henry IV.  It is still more revolting if the grounds upon which it was laid down have vanished long since, and the rule simply persists from blind imitation of the past.”
5. The nondelegation doctrine applies to one-sided efforts to obtain "comment" only from corporations.
6.  Please send any legal advice given to the City stating that corporations are the only "persons" with rights in the City of St. Augustine.
7. Mr. Regan's revolving assumption is wrong and regressive. Who among us could disagree?
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin


There was an insipid but interesting PR-generated First Coast success interview broadcast on our inept local NPR affiliate, on WJCT "First Coast Connect," this morning

St. Augustine Distillery
The St. Augustine Distillery is not only a local producer of spirits, but it’s also become a major tourist attraction in the nation’s oldest city.
Jacksonville Daily Record Editor Karen Brune Mathis spoke with cofounder Michael Diaz during our First Coast Success segment.
MICHAEL DIAZ, the college roommate of St. Augustine City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN  P.E., got involved in the Distillery project when REGAN introduced DIAZ to PHILLIP McDANIEL.   Hw fawned over Ms. Mathis like a fanboy, and she reciprocated.

How revolting.  These yokel business newspapers seem to get unlimited time for drivel on WJCT.

I listen to them for the same reasons why CIA Soviet analysts read Pravda and Isvestia.

Who knew the City Manager recruited his college roommate to found and the Distillery?

St. Augustine JOHN REGAN, who thinks he's a developer and negotiates badly in secret,  also has tight ties to other commercial real estate and alcohol vendors in town:


As they say in East Tennessee, "He bears watchin'."

St. Augustine businessmen bringing craft distillery rage to First Coast 

By   – Reporter 
The craft distillery under construction in St. Augustine brings to Northeast Florida a foodie fascination that’s booming in other areas of the country.
Co-owners Philip McDaniel and Mike Diaz, both retired businessmen, were looking for another business venture about three years ago when they joined forces with St. Augustine entrepreneur Ryan Dettra, who had the idea for a Prohibition-era distillery and restaurant in the former ice plant building at 112 Riberia St., in the area known as Lincolnville, near the San Sebastian Winery.
Because of the laws governing alcohol manufacturing and distribution, the distillery and restaurant are under separate ownership. The restaurant, The Ice Plant, opened about three weeks ago and has already been recognized by Southern Living magazine as upping St. Augustine’s cool factor.
“It’s something that’s raging in Denver, Portland and other areas, but it hasn’t yet hit Florida,” McDaniel said. “And the deal was, if you could get in here first, use St. Augustine and the tourism market as a venue to educate people and show them what it is, you could be one of the first to market.”
They won’t be the very first in Florida — the St. Augustine Distillery is one of 15 craft distilleries that belongs to the Florida Craft Distillers Guild.
It’s tough to pin down an exact date as to when the ice plant was built, but most of the historical accounts McDaniel and Diaz have uncovered suggest the early 1900s. Built with walls about a foot thick for insulation, the building housed an ice manufacturing plant, where ice was made to keep Florida produce cool as it was shipped northward on the railroads.
McDaniel and Diaz acquired the building for $437,500 in late 2012 and have invested about $1.6 million in the distilling equipment and restoration of the building, with plans to open in early 2014. The project has been funded by their own money and a group of local investors.
“They’re ready for us to get open, but probably the most heartwarming thing, I think, is we have a series of investors who want to do something great for the community,” Diaz said. “And they want it to be open, but more than that, they want it to be a great asset for the community and Lincolnville.”
The building will include a museum, movie theater and tasting room, where guided tours will educate people about the distilling process. They will be using locally grown heritage sugar cane — longstanding strains of sugar cane, handed down over the years, like heirloom tomatoes. They can sell up to two bottles per person on-site, and are finalizing the process of choosing a distributor to sell the product in retail outlets.
“This is about education, entertainment and really giving people a chance to learn about the spirits they drink,” Diaz said, “and learn how alcohol is handcrafted and really bring them back into the era of what you see from the building.”
More on the project will be in the Oct. 11 edition of the Business Journal.

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