Saturday, October 12, 2019

Commission appointment of mayor? Public comment on commission agenda (St. Augustine Report by former Mayor George Gardner)

Ever since the election of reform Mayor George Gardner in 2002 and the election of reform Mayor Nancy Shaver in 2014, a small group of misguided willful white business men, who would in FDR's words "clip the wings of the American eagle in order to feather their own nests."

Taking away our vested rights to elect our St. Augustine Mayor?  At the behest of JOHN OTHA VALDES, who fears democracy, using images of "confusion" and "turbulence" to inspire fellow Commissioners to erase our rights?  What's really going on here?  

Cui bono?  Who benefits?

A third generation Florida builder-developer, City Commissioner JOHN OTHA VALDES, is behind this move.  VALDES also wanted to convey voting rights on non-resident business owners.  That revealed his true agenda.

The owners or controllers -- or those absentee business owners who fancied themselves the owners or controllers -- want "their" City back.

Absentee landlords like ex-Mayor CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS, JR., LOUIS JOHN ARBIZZANI and their ilk don't want fair quasi-judicial hearings when they ask for zoning favors, and they eschews accountability.  Taking away our right to elect our Mayor is their  way of inflicting more monstrosities on our Nation's Oldest City.

ARBIZZANI just got City permission to license a block of Cuna Street, for a song, for outdoor seating for a restaurant at 12 Avenida Menendez.  Absent Mayor Shaver, few questions were asked, as interim Mayor Upchurch and the Gang of Four proved to be louche lapdogs for ARBIZZANI, who threw a lavish birthday party for ARBIZZANI at his Treasury venue at 24 Cathedral Place.

Incipient motel and hotel monopolist KANTI PATEL and other distributors of campaign ca$h all serve to benefit.  (In 2008, unprincipled PATEL apparently backdated a purported lease for $100/month on valuable Ponce de Leon Blvd. rental property, the campaign HQ of developer puppet RANDY BRUNSON, defeated by reformer J. Kenneth Bryan in the 2008 County Commission race).

Commission appointment of mayor?
Public comment on commission agenda

   Public comment will be sought Monday on a proposed City Charter amendment requiring one year of residency to run for City Commission and changing the mayor's seat from separate election to appointment by the City Commission.
   Under the mayoral election change all five seats on the commission would be four-year terms. The mayor's is currently a two-year seat separately elected.
   The regular commission meeting begins at 5 pm in the Alcazar Room at City Hall and is live streamed on CoSA.TV.
   Questions of residency arose in the 2018 election with the candidacies of Bill McClure, defeated in the primary by incumbent Mayor Nancy Shaver, and Chris Ellis, defeated in the general election by incumbent Nancy Sikes-Kline. 
   The possibility of commissioners appointing the mayor rather than popular vote came up in April when new commissioner John Valdes suggested, "It's time to end confusion about the mayor's seat, which has no more power than fellow commissioners but may create a power base that really doesn't exist."
   Former and current Mayor Tracy Upchurch said he thought there's value to having a mayor in a place like St. Augustine, while other commissioners pondered the proposal during discussion of City Charter review.
   The mayor had been named by fellow commissioners until 1983, when Mayor Ramelle Petroglou's removal by fellow commissioners raised such public furor the charter was changed to separate election of the mayor.
   But the system favored incumbent commissioners because it required that the mayor also be a commissioner.
   In 2002 George Gardner asked voters to vote twice for him - commissioner and mayor - and upset incumbent Commissioner/Mayor Mark Alexander. Gardner won the commissioner race by 334 votes and the mayor race by 10 votes.
   A charter change in 2006 removed the requirement for both commissioner and mayor election. 

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