Saturday, March 31, 2007

Guest Column: Dibrom is dangerous; treat it that way

Guest Column: Dibrom is dangerous; treat it that way By CECILE-MARIE SASTRE St. Augustine Publication Date: 10/10/04
The Oct. 4 aerial spraying of Dibrom, an organophosphate pesticide, should concern us all.
Our federal government (FEMA), at the behest of the Anastasia Mosquito Control, is exposing the residents of St. Johns County to a toxic compound which happens to be in the same class of chemical compounds as the chemical weapons Saddam Hussein used to gas his own people.Organophosphates were developed before World War II and used during it as nerve agents and chemical weapons.
After the war, they began to be used as pesticides.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Organophosphates such as Dibrom, Malathion, Chlorpyrifos disrupt the acetylcholinesterase (AChE) enzyme metabolism of insects, mammals and other animals, resulting in a buildup in the system of an enzyme whose balance is crucial for the proper functioning of the nervous system and the brain.
In effect, Dibrom and other organophosphates are poisonous to the nervous system and the brain.
Over 15 percent of the population of the U.S. has some form of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS): some do not know they have the condition.
Those who do know it are partially or completely disabled by it.
There is no cure for MCS, except avoidance of offending substances.
The majority of people with MCS developed the illness after acute or chronic, low-level exposures to pesticides, particularly organophosphates.
Many developed the illness after the cumulative effects of chemical exposures became impossible for the body to withstand.
But MCS is not the only consequence of exposure to pesticides and other toxic chemicals (which include perfumes, a completely unregulated industry).
Parkinson's Disease, Lupus, Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS), Multiple Sclerosis, Asthma, Autism, learning disabilities, cancer and a host of other diseases have been tied to exposure to pesticides and other toxic chemicals.Most susceptible are fetuses, infants and children because their brains and nervous systems are still developing.
People with compromised immune systems such as those with HIV/AIDS, liver and kidney disease, cancer, etc. are also particularly vulnerable to the effects of toxic chemicals.
Women are also at risk because numerous toxic chemicals, including many found in pesticide compounds, are estrogen mimics.
That is, they behave like estrogen in the body and disrupt women's hormonal system.
Uterine and ovarian cancer, fibroids, endometriosis and breast cancer result from the disruption of estrogens, in large part.
Why are we fighting the war on terror around the world when our own government agencies are dousing us with the very class of chemicals used by terrorists?
There are safe, natural and effective alternatives to toxic pesticides.
Many municipalities and school districts throughout the U.S. and Canada have banned the use of toxic pesticides.It is high time we, in Florida, demand the same.I believe this is a civil and property rights issue as well as a health issue.
I did not consent to being doused with a neurotoxic compound or to be used as a guinea pig by the CDC.
I did not give anyone the right to invade my home, car and body with a poisonous pesticide.
If I were to put the same pesticide in someone's food, I would go to jail for murder or attempted murder.
If Dibrom is as safe and extensively tested as it is claimed, why is the CDC collecting urine samples?
And what a coincidence that FEMA and the CDC were ready to spray and collect urine right after the hurricanes, as if maybe they were already looking for a vulnerable population to expose in order to finish their test (which started by testing folks in Mississippi and North Carolina)?
I urge every resident of St. Johns County to join me in demanding that the Anastasia Mosquito Control stop any further spraying of toxic pesticides and find safe, alternative solutions.
Click here to return to story: © The St. Augustine Record

Friday, March 30, 2007

Invasion of the Body Snatchers?

Invasion of the Body Snatchers?
Has a human body of an indigenous tribal member been removed from an archaeological site in the City of St. Augustine by someone other than our St. Augustine City archaeologist?
Have state and federal laws -- and Indian tribal rights -- been violated?
Will such indigenous burial site desecrations be reported and prevented in the future?
Will creation of the "St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore" (see below) preserve our history?
Let’s end the charade of the Nation’s Oldest City presuming to know how to preserve history, when our City Manager and staff are more interested in fattening speculators.
What credibility hath the City of St. Augustine in seeking grants or hiring a lobbyist?
For over eight years, there have been no performance appraisals of our estimable City Manager, WILLIAM B. HARRISS. Commissioners voted him a heck-of-a-job-Brownie plaque in the midst of a pending criminal investigation (see below). Commissioners every day ratify HARRISS’ April 13, 1998 coronation.
Our City Administration disrespects indigenous burials.
Our City Administration took the entire contents of the old city dump and puts it into the Old City Reservoir.
Cost of cleanup is expected to exceed $1,000,000.00.
What next, indigenous cemeteries deposited in the Old City Reservoir, too?
Will HARRISS & Co. be placed under oath and required to testify at the April 23, 2007 City Commission meeting?
Or will HARRISS arrange for more scapegoats to be fired?
How many careers will be shredded for HARRISS’ sins of omission and commission?
How many millions of dollars will be wasted?
How many indigenous graves will be desecrated?
How much longer will HARRISS remain in office?
Will St. Augustine voters vote to recall five City Commissioners who are lickspittles for HARRISS?

Monday, March 26, 2007

City Commission to reconsider tree plan

City Commission to reconsider tree planPublication Date: 03/30/07
A decision to remove eight trees on Sevilla Street will be coming back before the St. Augustine City Commission.
Commissioner George Gardner said Thursday he plans at the next meeting on April 23 to call for a reconsideration of the vote to remove the trees.
"The action we took runs counter to this commission's effort to seek public input on all major decisions. The calls and e-mails I've received have made it clear that this tree canopy is a major concern for our citizens," Gardner wrote in an e-mail to The St. Augustine Record.
The decision was made at Monday's meeting when Flagler College asked the City Commission to permanently make Sevilla Street one way from Valencia Street to King Street.
Removing the trees also came up with College President William Abare Jr. saying Flagler would foot the bill for 11 trees if the eight were removed.
Only Vice Mayor Don Crichlow voted against the tree removal. Click here to return to story: © The St. Augustine Record

Guest Column: St. Augustine should have a national historical park

Guest Column: St. Augustine should have a national historical parkED SLAVINSt. AugustinePublication Date: 03/26/07
Real estate speculators (some foreign-funded) continue to destroy our local wildlife, habitat, nature and history. Roads are clogged. Noise abounds. Our way of life is being destroyed. Unfeeling, uncaring Philistines are turning St. Johns County into an uglier, unreasonable facsimile of South Florida. Unjust county government stewards allowed an asphalt plant near homes. Another plant reportedly emits 50 tons/year of volatile organic compounds into residents' and workers' lungs and brains.
Speculators are even trying to build homes on top of unremediated septic tanks/fields, while vacationing boaters pollute our Bay front with untreated sewage (the only boat-pumpout-station is at Conch House Marina). Our Bay front (which lacks a harbormaster) had an oil spill Jan. 15. Developers demand to build docks over city-owned State Road 312 area marshes for boat-owners' pleasure. Enough.
Let's invite environmental tourism by preserving an "emerald necklace of parks," including the city-owned marsh.
Ask Congress to hold hearings to map our "St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore" (SANHPNS), using 1928-style trolleycars to save gasoline, uniting the Castillo and Fort Matanzas National Monuments, "slave market park," downtown streets, Government House, Red House Bluff indigenous village (next to historical society), marshes, forests, National Cemetery, GTM NERR, Anastasia State Park, Fort Mose and other city, county, state and St. Johns River Water Management District lands.
Let's cancel future shock/schlock/sprawl/ugliness/skyscrapers and eliminate temptations to abuse/neglect/misuse state parks and historic buildings for golf courses and rote, rube commercialism.
In December, State Sen. Jim King suggested Florida donate "deed and title" of state buildings to our city. I suggested that we deed them to the National Park Service (NPS), with St. George Street visitor center in restored buildings, saving millions (as in the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park).
St. Augustine needs a national civil rights and indigenous history museum, celebrating local residents and national leaders, whose courage helped win passage of 1964's Civil Rights Act. Why not put the museum in the old Woolworth's building, restored to its former glory, with wood floors, lunch-counter and exhibits on the civil rights struggles that changed history (well- documented in Jeremy Dean's documentary, "Dare Not Walk Alone"), with "footsoldiers monument" across the street ?
Why not (finally) implement the 2003 National Trust for Historic Preservation and Flagler College study on how to protect our history? Let's tax tourists more to fund historic preservation, as in Charleston/elsewhere.
Let's preserve/protect the quality of our lives and visitors' experience (and property values) by preserving forever what speculators haven't destroyed (yet).
Let's adopt a three-year moratorium on growth, while we work to adopt truly comprehensive plans worthy of the name.
Colonial National Historical Park (NHP), Philadelphia's Independence NHP and NHPs in Boston, New Bedford, Valley Forge, San Francisco and Saratoga.
There's a Martin Luther King historical site in Atlanta, NHPs for "Rosie the Riveter" (California) and the "War in the Pacific" (Guam), and new parks slated for ten Japanese internment camps.
Florida hosts Everglades, Dry Tortugas and Biscayne National Parks and Canaveral National Seashore. Let's add St. Augustine to the list.
From sea to shining sea, America's coastal areas enjoy national parks. Where's ours?
Let's make parts of State Road A1A a National Parkway and hiking/biking trail, like the Colonial National Historical Parkway and the Baltimore Washington, George Washington, Rock Creek and John D. Rockefeller (Wyoming) Parkways and the Appalachian Trial and C&O Canal.
Let's add St. Augustine to the list of our nation's most beloved national parks, joining Zion, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and the Great Smoky Mountains.
Florida's 500th and St. Augustine's 450th anniversaries are only six and eight years away (2013 and 2015). Enacting a national park and seashore will forever preserve the treasures that we love. It will halt the sprawl we hate, increase tourism and reduce local taxes, paying speculators to stop.
Mayor Joe Boles' mother graciously thanked me for speaking out on these issues after the Jan. 22 City Commission meeting -- issues that Mrs. Boles has been outspoken about for "30 years." Let's honor/heed Mrs. Boles' wisdom -- and those who proposed a national park before World War II. Let's save St. Augustine and our environment forever.
Ed Slavin lives in St. Augustine. Click here to return to story: © The St. Augustine Record

Saturday, March 10, 2007

City of St. Augustine, Florida's Illegal Dumping Coverup continues: Day 375

City of St. Augustine, Florida’s Illegal Dumping Coverup continues: Day 375
30,000,000 pounds of contaminants were dumped from the old city dump into the Old City Reservoir -- enough to fill in six Olympic size swimming pools to a depth of six feet or to cover a football field to a depth of 11.2 feet.
For 375 days, since February 27, 2006, there has been a full-on coverup -- public questions are not being answered, the State’s Attorney is not prosecuting, the City Attorney and Public Works Director mysteriously resigned, and the City is in the process of being fined (proposed fine $47,248). FDEP did not propose the $47,248 fine until AFTER the November 2006 elections, helping re-elect incumbents GEORGE GARDNER and JOSEPH LEROY BOLES, JR.
Our questions have never been answered by City Commissioners, who would rather talk about anything but the massive pollution scandal.
The range of questions that our City government will not answer is not mind-boggling.
Consider these excerpts from the March 11, 2006 City Commission minutes of the City of St. Augustine::.
Ed Slavin, P. O. Box 3084, stated that he had been waiting for answers, and he proceeded with statements about the City along with questions as follows: The City was withholding documents he had requested The City should post the entire agenda on their website What was happening with the archeological site next to the high school When would the Commissioners vote for a living wage What about a moratorium on junkets and development When would the Commissioners address the numerous technical problems that occurred during Commission meetings St. Augustine was being ruined by developers Which Commissioners visited the old city reservoir, when, with whom and what were they told Why was dumping occurring in the old city reservoir after the St. Johns Water Management District ordered the City to stop dumping by certified letter on January 10 th Why did the City dump approximately 20,000 cubic yards of plastic, metal and other refuse and unclean fill in the reservoir after being ordered not to do so Did the City consider the laws merely suggestions Was it the first time the City had dumped in the reservoir or on other property without proper permits What year did the City start dumping in the reservoir What and how much had been dumped since the City started dumping at each place that they dumped on How many fish were in the reservoir before the latest dumping Were there any fish alive in there now and how many How many fish were killed by the dumping Had the City checked on the fish and if not, why not What had the City learned from the dumping Was a chief environmental office required to protect the environment from further destruction What baseline data existed about aquatic life and water purity in the reservoir What analytical chemistry tests had the City performed in the reservoir since February 27 th and what were the results Who knew the City was dumping at the reservoir
Had a professional engineer, the City Attorney, Mr. Pence (City environmental Attorney), the City auditor or the City Commission approved the dumping How come the City had not dumped in a proper landfill with permits Who inspected the material prior to dumping What was the City Manager’s motivation for dumping in the reservoir and was his motivation learned from his predecessor Mr. Pomar Who was paying for the City environmental attorney, what was his hourly rate, how much had he billed to date, and he said he would like a copy Was the developer of the San Sebastian Inland Harbor project paying any of the cost to remediate the dumping and if not why not Was Mr. Pence representing individual City managers and the City at the same time and was that a conflict of interest Why was the City dumping on City property for a private developer and who had approved it What public purpose was served by dumping in the reservoir The River Management District denied a discount permit unless there was a public purpose He was waiting to hear the public purpose for dumping in the reservoir

12.B/ GENERAL PUBLIC PRESENTATIONS AND COMMENTS (15 minutes per presentations) (None Scheduled) Adjournment There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:03 p.m.

Tree-cutting mania, public speaker censorship in St. Augustine, Florida

Tree-cutting mania, public speaker censorship in St. Augustine
This week FOLIO WEEKLY rightly reported the illegal tree-cutting by the Elks Club, reported by my friend and mentor, Ms. Robin Nadeau (with whom we recently celebrated her 81st birthday). FOLIO also reported the shocking behavior of St. Augustine Mayor JOSEPH LEROY BOLES, JR., giving him a "brickbat." I was late and did not observe BOLES’ behavior, but here is how FOLIO WEEKLY reported it:
"Brickbats to St. Augustine Mayor Joe Boles for insulting a resident at a public meeting, then cutting him off when their exchange prevented the speaker from completing his comments. Boles interrupted resident Les Garcia’s comments to ask if he were "under the influence," a comment other commissioners found inappropriate. Garcia tried to resume his presentation, but Boles cut him off, saying his time had elapsed. When Garcia refused to stop speaking, Boles had police remove him from the meeting."
1. The same Commissioners who refuse to answer questions about illegal dumping often bait citizens, stealing their time with non sequiturs and telling them their time has elapsed.
2. Some Commissioners have appeared to be intoxicated at meetings, with City Manager WILLIAM B. HARRISS sometimes driving one of them home.
3. Some Commissioners leave meetings early, with no explanation why they’re departing. One Commissioner misses most meetings.
4. These Commissioners are getting very testy, because St. Augustine citizen-activists, like good diplomats, will not take no for an answer. Sunshine violations, waste, fraud, abuse and illegal dumping demand answers.
5. If Commissioners "can’t stand the heat, they should get out of the kitchen," as Harry S Truman put it best.

Are environmental devastators hiding behind supposed Internet anonymity?

1. In 2003, 157 of 159 applications for rezoning were approved by the then-St. Johns County, Florida Commission. Locals called them a corrupt rubber-stamp for powerful economic interests who are ruining this beautify county with shoddy "developments" without adequate infrastructure, destroying our wildlife, wetlands and way of life.
2. In 2004, Ben Rich was elected to County Commission. Thank God.A retired federal law enforcement official, he walked the county, heard our concerns and is against corruption and favoritism.
3. In 2006, two other populist skeptics were elected.
4. In 2007, did landraping, clearcutting overdevelopers" use a putative "blog" to attack St. Johns County, Florida Commission Chairman Ben Rich, retaliating for his courageous stands against destruction of our natural beauty and pleasures, our land, air, water?
5. Did those who want to destroy the reasons people love to visit and live here with tacky clear-cutting and metastasized "development" trash Ben Rich?
6. Thanks to the St. Augustine Record, we may know the answer.
7. I appreciate Mr. Rogers Cadenhead's concern about personal privacy.
8. Ironically, the local government and business carping harpies (I call them the "anonymice") who frequent the St. Augustine Record "Talk of the Town" website have hid behind anonymity for years, making ad hominem attacks on all persons who criticize government officials (including archaeology issues, St. Augustine's illegal dumping of the contents of the old city dump into the Old City Reservoir, race discrimination and refusal to fly the Gay Rainbow flags on our Bridge of Lions (leading to a federal court order that the flags fly June 7-13, 2005). See, e.g.,
9. ToTTers' antics are a reflection of a control group that is losing its grip on St. Johns County. Last year, I was kicked off ToTT for supposedly "outing" ToTTers who already identified themselves.
10. Some "anonymice" ToTTers attacking my right to engage in First Amendment protected activity were local government officials, businesspeople and their spouses and entourages.
11. These "anonymice" have chilled free speech here for years on ToTT.
12. Likewise, the "anonymice" behind the have a (barely) hidden agenda.
13. The public has a right to know.
14. As Justice Louis Brandeis said, "sunlight is the best disinfectant."
15. While the right to anonymous posting on the Internet is protected by the First Amendment against government interference.
16. No "state action" is involved in the St. Augustine Record's effort to learn the true identity of the "anonymice" behind the website.
17. The identity of the "anonymice" behind is news. 18. Kudos to Morris Communications and the St. Augustine Record for exercising their God-given First Amendment right to identify those who contributed to
19. Will the malefactors of great wealth who seek to skewer Ben Rich be hoist on their own petard?
20. Will landraping, clearcutting, uglifying foreign investment interests that seek to destroy our county (and turn it into South Florida) kindly identify themselves?
21. Why must they hide behind "private corporations?"
22. Are they ashamed of what they have done to the wetlands, wildlife, land and people of St. Johns County?
23. Do they reckon themselves above the public's right to know?
24. They have the "right to remain silent," but we wish they wouldn't.
25. By County Commission Chairman Ben Rich announcing his 2008 candidacy earlier this week, the crew knew that they would have to disclose their identity as a Political Action Committee (PAC).
26. That's why pulled the plug on their "blog" -- they can't stand scrutiny and have contempt for our democracy. As St. Augustine Record Editor Pete Ellis reportedly wrote another blogger, "There's a difference between a blogger and a political action committee." As Pete Ellis wrote above, "Many of you are confusing a blogger with a political action committee. "Lee Padgett is a fictitious person; he does not exist. The web site under his name was set up by a political action committee. The goal is to find out what that political action committee is." I agree. Taking out a newspaper ad under a false name may also be a breach of contract, depending upon how the Record's ad rate card and contracts are written.
27. So, to solve the kerfuffle, will the funders kindly call the St. Augustine Record (or me) and identify yourselves?
28. Confession is good for the soul -- just as investigative reporting is good for the soul of a democracy.
29. Thank you, Pete Ellis and St. Augustine Record for working to disclose the identity of the "frontman" for developers, in order to expose who funded, which may involve possible state and federal crimes, including RICO and Hobbs Act. The wrecking crew of uglifying discredited overdevelopers, manipulators and controllers -- they can run, but they can't hide. See, e.g.,
30. Cheers!With kindest regards,Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin
www.cleanupcityofstaugustine.blogspot.comBox 3084St. Augustine, Florida 32085904-471-7023904-471-9918 (fax)