Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mayor Boles Should Not Presume to Issue Gag Orders, Especially to His Own Mother!

As documented below, St. Augustine needs a national park, seashore and scenic highway.

As documented below, St. Augustine and other local governments have a nasty history of coercing, restraining and chilling free speech rights by citizens and employees.

Mayor JOSEPH LEROY BOLES, JR., is a lawyer who supported First Amendment rights twice in 2005 (on Bridge of Lions Rainbow flags).

BOLES has not yet publicly endorsed the St. Augustine National Historical Park, National Seashore and National Scenic Parkway. Mayor BOLES' mother, Maureen Boles, supports the park. See below.

Now Mayor BOLES has issued a gag order to his mother, telling her not to state her opinions, because I quoted her on this blog (and in the St. Augustine Record column reprinted below).

Mayor BOLES' is being sexist and chuavinistic. His mother has a right to speak her mind on historic preservation and environmental protection issues. She has a right to speak. The public has a right to hear her thoughts.

Mayor BOLES thinks he can cabin public debate by censoring his own mother. That's cruelly unfair.

Maureen Boles is a duly appointed member of the St. Augustine City Commission's Historic Preservation Advisory Board. As such, she has First Amendment rights. This is not the first time that advisory board members' rights have been trampled upon -- see below for discussion of the Street Trees Advisory Committee and what City Planning and Zoning Director MARK KNIGHT did to them (threatening them for disagreeing with him, threatening to fire them and abolish the committee, associated with our City's Tree City USA designation).

Even if Maureen Boles were not a member of a city advisory panel, she has First Amendment rights. Her wisdom must be heard.

For the record, I would no more tell my own mother what to think or what to say than I would tell her what to wear or what to pray.

I reckon that Mayor BOLES is being overbearing and disrespectful toward public rights to speak again -- this time, toward his own mother's rights. Enough.

Let Maureen Boles and other city board members, employees and residents speak without fear or favor of our own Cato the Censor.

Let freedom ring.

As my mother, Mayor Elizabeth Donlon Slavin, would put it best, Mayor JOSEPH LEROY BOLES, JR. must "drop the oyster and leave the wharf."

Let Maureen Boles speak her mind, without fear or favor of Hizzoner.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

St. Augustine National Historical Park, National Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway Act of 2007

RE: St. Augustine National Historical Park, National Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway Act of 2007

I’ve gone ahead and drafted federal legislation to set up a national historical park, seashore and scenic coastal highway here.

Our Nation’s Oldest City survived being burnt to the ground by the British, pirates, wars, genocide, epidemics and economic disasters.

Our Nation’s Oldest City can likewise survive the uglifying "developers"and have a national park by 2013/2016 (450th anniversary of Spanish explorers and St. Augustine’s founding, respectively), preserving our nature and history and honoring Native-American, African-American, Spanish, British, French, Civil War, Civil Rights and American history here.

I’m optimistic that, working together, we can get Congress to create a national park here. See below. I’ve gotten positive feedback from citizens and elected officials since I first proposed it on November 13, 2006.
Please share comments with Ed Slavin, Box 3084, St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3084, 904-471-7023, 904-471-9918 (fax). Here’s the draft below:

110th Congress, 1st Session,
S. _____
St. Augustine National Historical Park, National Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway Act of 2007
A BILL to amend Title 16, United States Code, to establishing the St. Augustine National Historical Park, National Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway and associated Advisory Commission, authorizing donations and purchase of land, authorizing appropriations and for other purposes.
Section 1: Short Title. This Act may be cited as the St. Augustine National Historical Park, National Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway Act.
Section 2: Title 16, United States Code Section 410 is amended by adding a new section at the end thereof, as follows:
410______ St. Augustine National Historical Park, National Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway

(a) Findings and purposes
(1) Findings
The Congress finds that—
(A) the St. Augustine National Historic District and associated historic sites, including those described in subsection (c)(2) of this section, are National Historic Landmarks and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as historic sites associated with the history of our Nation’s Oldest continually-occupied European-founded city;
(B) the City of St. Augustine was founded by the Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés on September 8, 1565 and retains significant archaeological, architectural features, archival materials, and museum collections illustrative of the Spanish, Minorcan, Greek and British colonial periods;
(C) St. Augustine’s historic resources provide unique opportunities for illustrating and interpreting indigenous (Native-American), African-American, Spanish, Minorcan, Greek, British, American colonial, Civil War and Civil Rights history and Northeast Florida’s contribution to the economic, social, and environmental history of the United States and provide opportunities for public use and enjoyment;
(D) The year 2013 marks the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Spanish explorers and colonists on these shores and 2015 marks the 450th anniversary of the City of St. Augustine; and
(E) the National Park System presently contains only two small National Monuments associated with one part of St. Augustine’s 11,000 years of human history.
(F) St. Augustine and St. Johns County are imbued and blessed with great natural beauty and biodiversity, including threatened and endangered species, including beach mice, butterflies, bald eagles and manatees.
(G) The St. Augustine area’s precious environmental, historic and cultural heritage is in danger of destruction due to large-scale, rapid development and a lack of planning for parklands, preservation and public transportation.
(H) Several significant properties have been lost to development forever and more are imperiled.
(I) Roads are clogged and the enjoyment of the area’s beauty is marred by lack of public transportation
(J) There is an urgent need for action on the part of the federal government to preserve the history and beauty of the area and to provide public transportation to serve the millions of visitors annually, while relieving local residents from traffic congestion, air pollution and energy waste associated with rapid development.

(2) Purposes
The purposes of this section are—
(A) to help preserve, protect, and interpret the resources within the areas described in subsection (c)(2) of this section, including architecture, seashores, vistas, settings, and associated archival and museum collections;
(B) to collaborate with the cities of St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach and the government of St. Johns County, Florida and with associated historical, cultural, environmental, tourism and preservation organizations to further the purposes of the park established under this section;
(C) to provide opportunities for the inspirational benefit and education of the American people; and
(D) to preserve St. Augustine’s history and natural beauty for future generations.

(b) Definitions
For the purposes of this section—
(1) the term "park" means the St. Augustine National Historical Park, National Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway established by subsection (c) of this section; and
(2) the term "Secretary" means the Secretary of the Interior.

(c) St. Augustine National Historical Park, National Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway
(1) Establishment
In order to preserve for the benefit and inspiration of the people of the United States as a national historical park certain districts, structures, lands, waters and relics located in and near St. Augustine, Florida, and associated with the history of indigenous (Native-American), African-American, Spanish, Minorcan, Greek, British and colonial peoples and related social and economic themes in America, there is established the St. Augustine National Historical Park, National Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway.
(2) Boundaries
(A) The boundaries of the park shall be those generally depicted on the map numbered _____and dated _____. Such map shall be on file and available for public inspection in the appropriate offices of the National Park Service. In case of any conflict between the descriptions set forth in clauses (i) through (xx) and such map, such map shall govern. The park shall include the following:
(i) The area included within the City of St. Augustine Historic Preservation Districts;
(ii) Anastasia State Park;
(iii) Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and the associated Cubo Line and St. Augustine City Gates sites;
(iv) Fort Matanzas National Monument;
(v) Plaza de la Constitución (Slave Market Square);
(vi) Deep Creek State Forest;
(vii) Faver-Dykes State Park;
(viii) Fort Mosé State Park;
(ix) Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM NERR);
(x) Watson Island State Forest;
(xi) St. Johns River Water Management District’s Twelve Mile Swamp, Deep Creek, Matanzas Marsh Moses Creek and Stokes Landing reservations located in St. Johns County, Florida;
(xii) Designated portions of the seashore owned by St. Johns County, Florida between the Duval and Flagler County lines;
(xiii) Designated portions of U.S. Route A1A between the Duval County and Flagler County lines;
(xiv) Designated portions of U.S. Route 1 between the Duval County and Flagler County lines;
(xv) The former Ponce de León Golf Course, Red House Bluff, Magnolia Avenue and other indigenous (Native-American) sites set forth in the map labeled as ______ and dated _________;
(xvi) Matanzas River between the Matanzas Inlet and its headwaters, including submerged lands and underwater artifacts
(xvii) St. Augustine Seawall;
(xviii) State-owned historic buildings deeded to the University of Florida;
(xix) beaches, submerged lands, marshes and other areas that are owned by the cities of St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach and by the State of Florida in trust for the people of Florida, including marshes, reefs, shorelines and underwater archaeological artifacts;
(xx) Marineland, operated by the University of Florida;
(xxi) Such other areas and sites as Congress may in the future designate by legislation.
(B) In addition to the sites, areas, and relics referred to in subparagraph (A), the Secretary may assist in the interpretation and preservation of each of the following:
(i) Government House;
(ii) Spanish Quarter Village Living History Museum;
(iii) Lincolnville Historic District;
(iv) Designated Civil Rights sites;
(v) Lightner Museum and City Hall (former Alcazar Hotel);
(vi) Old St. Johns County Jail;
(vii) Alligator Farm Zoological Park;
(viii) Old St. Augustine Village;
(ix) St. Augustine Historical Society and Research Library;
(x) St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum and the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP);
(xi) Ximinez-Fatio House;
(xii) St. Photios National Shrine;
(xiii) Mission de Nombre de Dios;
(xiv) Fountain of Youth Historical Park;
(xv) Gonzalez-Alvarez House (Oldest House);
(xvi) Oldest School House;
(xvii) Ponce de León Hotel (now part of Flagler College);
(xviii) Excelsior School Historical Museum;
(xix) Bridge of Lions;
(xx) St. Augustine Cathedral-Basilica;
(xxi) Grace United Methodist Church;
(xxii) Trinity Episcopal Church;
(xxiii) Ancient City Baptist Church;
(xxiv) Sons of Israel Congregation;
(xxv) Florida School for the Deaf and Blind;
(xxvi) National Guard Headquarters (former Franciscan Monastery or Priory);
(xxvii) St. Augustine National Cemetery and other historic cemeteries, including but not limited to the Huguenot, Tolomato, Evergreen, San Sebastian, Pinehurst, Woodlawn and other historic cemeteries;
(xxviii) Zorayda Castle;
(xxix) Casa Monica Hotel and other Henry Flagler era sites; and
(xxx) Flagler Model Land Community.

(d) Related facilities
To ensure that the contribution of all people in St. Augustine’s history, including indigenous (Native-American) and of African-American people, are fully recognized, the Secretary shall provide—
(1) financial and other assistance to establish links between the St. Augustine National Historical Park, National Seashore and Scenic Parkway and local organizations.
(2) appropriate assistance and funding to establish a St. Augustine National Civil Rights Museum and a St. Augustine Indigenous Tribal Cultural Center.
(3) suitable off-site locations for park vehicles, trolley cars, maintenance facilities, warehouses and offices.
(4) suitable locations for archives, to make them available to scholars, researchers, genealogists and the general public at a suitable hurricane-resistant location in St. Augustine or St. Johns County, Florida.
(5) a reliable source of coquina for repairs to the Castillo de San Marcos, Fort Matanzas and other historic properties, trolley car routes, right-of-way features, roadbuilding, sidewalks and landscaping consistent with historic preservation principles.
(6) educational programs in conjunction with the University of Florida to provide cooperative educational arrangements for graduate students to work and live in the St. Augustine National Historical Park, National Seashore and provide archaeological and interpretation services on a continuing basis.

(e) Administration of park
(1) In general
The park shall be administered by the Secretary in accordance with this section and the provisions of law generally applicable to units of the National Park System, including sections 1, 2, 3, 4, and 461 to 467 of this title.
(2) Cooperative agreements
(A) The Secretary may consult and enter into cooperative agreements with interested entities and individuals to provide for the preservation, development, interpretation, and use of the park.
(B) Any payment made by the Secretary pursuant to a cooperative agreement under this paragraph shall be subject to an agreement that conversion, use, or disposal of the project so assisted for purposes contrary to the purposes of this section, as determined by the Secretary, shall result in a right of the United States to reimbursement of all funds made available to such project or the proportion of the increased value of the project attributable to such funds as determined at the time of such conversion, use, or disposal, whichever is greater.
(3) Non-Federal matching requirements
(A) Funds authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary for the purposes of—
(i) cooperative agreements under paragraph (2) shall be expended in the ratio of one dollar of Federal funds for each four dollars of funds contributed by non-Federal sources; and
(ii) sustainable, carbon-neutral, environmentally-friendly construction, restoration, and rehabilitation of visitors and interpretive facilities (other than annual operation and maintenance costs) shall be expended in the ratio of one dollar of Federal funds for each one dollar of funds contributed by non-Federal sources.
(B) For the purposes of this paragraph, the Secretary is authorized to accept from non-Federal sources, and to utilize for purposes of this section, any money so contributed. With the approval of the Secretary, any donation of property, services, or goods from a non-Federal source may be considered as a contribution of funds from a non-Federal source for the purposes of this paragraph.
(4) Acquisition of real property
For the purposes of the park, the Secretary may acquire by donation or purchase from a willing seller such lands, interests in lands, and improvements thereon within the park boundaries as are needed for historical and environmental preservation and essential visitor contact and interpretive facilities. The Secretary may acquire land or structures through condemnation if necessary to preserve them from destruction.

(5) Other property, funds, and services
The Secretary may accept donated funds, property, and services to carry out this section.

(f) General management plan
Not later than October 1, 2008, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Resources of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate a general management plan for the park, in consultation with the St. Augustine National Historical Park, National Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway Advisory Commission created in subsection (g), and shall implement such plan as soon as practically possible. The plan shall include a cost-effective, sustainable, carbon-neutral, environmentally-friendly means of transporting visitors and residents to and through the park’s locations, using trolley cars resembling those in use in St. Augustine, Florida in 1928, with the goal of reducing hydrocarbon consumption, traffic congestion, air pollution and damage to historic structures. The plan shall be prepared in accordance with section 1a–7 (b) of this title and other applicable laws and may include suitable recommendations to Congress for modifications of the approved park boundaries and this Act.

(g) St. Augustine National Historical Park, National Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway Advisory Commission
(1) Establishment; termination
There is established a St. Augustine National Historical Park, National Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway Advisory Commission (hereinafter referred to as the "Commission"), to be governed by the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), 5 U.S.C. Appendix 2, with a fairly balanced membership and open meetings and financial disclosures as required by FACA. The Commission shall terminate October 1, 2019.
(2) Membership; term
The Commission shall have a fairly balanced membership, embracing diverse persons knowledgeable of history, ecology, anthropology, archaeology, mass transit and trolley car systems and tourism and shall include a balanced group of residents, scholars, environmental, civil rights and civic activists and businesspeople, and will be composed of twelve diverse members, each of whom shall be appointed without regard to political affiliations or beliefs for a term of two years by the Secretary as follows:
(A) Two members to be appointed from recommendations made by the City of St. Augustine, Florida, City Commission;
(B) Two members to be appointed from recommendations made by the City of St. Augustine Beach, Florida, City Commission;
(C) One member to be appointed from recommendations made by the City of Palatka, Florida and the Town of Hastings, Florida, City Commissions;
(D) Two members to be appointed from recommendations of the Board of County Commissioners of St. Johns County, State of Florida;
(E) Two members to be appointed from recommendations of the Governor of the State of Florida;
(F) Two members to be appointed from recommendations by the President of the University of Florida; and
(G) Two members to be designated by the Secretary.
(3) Chair; vacancies
The Secretary shall designate one member to be Chair. Any vacancy in the Commission shall be filled in the same manner in which the original appointment was made.
(4) Compensation and expenses
A member of the Commission shall serve without compensation as such. The Secretary is authorized to pay the expenses reasonably incurred by the Commission in carrying out its responsibilities upon vouchers signed by the Chair.
(5) Majority vote
The Commission established by this section shall act and advise by affirmative vote of a majority of the members thereof.
(6) Consultation of Secretary with Commission
The Secretary or his designee shall, from time to time, consult with the members of the Commission with respect to the plan required in subsection (f) and all matters relating to the creation and preservation of St. Augustine National Historical Park, National Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway and shall consult with the members with respect to carrying out the provisions of sections ____ of this title.
(7) Advice of Commission for commercial or industrial use permits and establishment of public use areas for recreational activities
No permit for the commercial or industrial use of property located within the seashore area of the park shall be issued by the Secretary, nor shall any public use area for recreational activity be established by the Secretary within the seashore area of the park, without the advice of the Commission.

(h) Authorization of appropriations
(1) In general
Except as provided in paragraph (2), there are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out annual operations and maintenance with respect to the park and to carry out the activities under subsection (d) of this section.
(2) Exceptions
In carrying out this section—
(A) not more than $35,000,000 may be appropriated for construction, restoration, and rehabilitation of visitor and interpretive facilities, and directional and visitor orientation signage;
(B) none of the funds authorized to be appropriated by this section may be used for construction of any new building on Avenida Menéndez across from the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. A central St. Augustine National Historical Park, National Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway Visitor Center shall be built in one or more historic or restored buildings along or adjacent to St. George Street; and
(C) not more than $2,000,000 annually of Federal funds may be used for interpretive and education programs pursuant to cooperative agreements under subsection (e)(2) of this section.

Section 3: Effective Date. This Act shall take effect within 30 days of the date of enactment.

Section 4: Severability Clause: In the event that any portion of this Act is held unenforceable, it shall be severed from the rest of this Act.

When will the cleanup start? When will the coverup stop? When will there be indictments?

When will the cleanup start? When will the coverup stop? When will there be indictments?
When our Nation’s Oldest City’s mismanaged government dumped the entire contents of our old illegal city landfill into the Old City Reservoir, City Manager WILLIAM B. HARRISS thought he would get away with it.
30,000,000 pounds of stuff -- enough to fill in six Olympic size swimming pools to a depth of six feet.
Enough to cover a football field to a depth of six feet.
That’s pretty large to coverup. Yet St. Augustine, Florida City Manager WILLIAM B. HARRISS has snickered every time I asked questions about his actions.
Now three top city employees have departed, apparently designated scapegoats (or javelin-catchers) for Mr. HARRISS.
The City Attorney, Public Works Director and City Utilities Director in office on February 27, 2006 are all gone now.
Will they blow the whistle on HARRISS and tell the truth to a federal or state grand jury?
Will this case be fixed?
Are Florida governments above the law when it comes to pollution, even of the Old City Reservoir?
Now the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has dropped the ball, refusing to prosecute criminally and taking its sweet time to effect a settlement that will begin the cleanup.
Meanwhile, is Florida’s largest law firm of AKERMAN SENTERFITT still billing us for legal "services" to continue the coverup, not aq cleanup?
When will DEP release the documents on its abortive criminal investigation?
We decline to pay DEP any money for records on its mismanagement -- having reported the illegal dumping, we’re entitled to be treated with courtesy, consideration and respect, and not bureaucratic disdain.
Will CAPTAIN STEWART ROMACK, attorney Tracy HARTMAN and spokesperson JILL JOHNSON, show us the documents we were promised in October?
We look forward to some actual action from DEP and CAPTAIN ROMACK, whose voicemail once bragged "it was a great day for putting criminals in jail" and that he was "out catching bad guys." Recently, CAPTAIN STEWART ROMACK has changed his voicemail message. Wonder why? Perhaps ROMACK realized it was false advertising by an agency that never prosecutes large organizations. As my friend David Thundershield Queen puts it best, DEP stands for "Don’t Expect Protection."
Last month, DEP Division attorney TRACY HARTMAN refused to waive some $80 in fees for the documents on the botched criminal case. HARTMAN claimed he was going to ask his boss, but never got back to us HARTMAN said we could save money by coming to Tallahassee to view the documents. Evidently, HARTMAN must think there’s a subway line between St. Augustine and Tallahassee. As my mother would say, TRACY HARTMAN "sounds like a man with a paper head."
To whom does HARTMAN think he’s talking?
In the words of the great American diplomat Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, "not one cent for tribute." DEP needs to post all documents on its putative criminal investigation of the City of St. Augustine on the website and make it free to all. We need transparency, not more coverups.
St. Augustine’s pollution-without-a-permit will cost over one million dollars in cleanup costs. DEP has not prosecuted. DEP proposed (after the election, see below) only
a trivial proposed fine of less than $48,000 (apparently being negotiated downward).
Is this case being fixed?
HARRISS recently celebrated (April 13) the ninth anniversary of his coronation as City Manager. He’s never had a performance appraisal. With millions wasted under his regime, it’s time for HARRISS to go.
So is the reason that Mr. HARRISS smirked all along that he knew he had Florida DEP and St. Augustine City Commissioners alike taken care of? Can HARRISS do anything with impunity (and immunity), with 350 more souls to use as cannon fodder, scapegoats and javelin-catchers, fearing retaliation because our Nation’s Oldest City has no whistleblower protection rule?
When will the autocratic Caudillo WILLIAM B. HARRISS’ misrule end?
When will democratic values be respect in St. Augustine?
What do you reckon?