Friday, August 31, 2007


Controversial government and developer attorney GEOFFREY DOBSON (right) swears in fourth-term St. Augustine Beach Mayor Frank Charles (left)

1. GEOFFREY DOBSON is the attorney for St. Augustine Beach and other St. Johns County government agencies, as well as developers. Conflict of interest? See interview with DOBSON, below.

2. DOBSON is reportedly an advocate for proposed ordinance prohibiting rentals north of F Street in St. Augustine Beach, which could violate homeowner rights under the Bert J. Harris Private Property Protection Act. See Judith Seraphin letter, below.

3. DOBSON is former attorney for Anastasia Mosquito Control District of St. Johns County (AMCD), who filaed to research legal issues associated with purchase of $1.8 million helicopter without competitive bidding.

4. DOSBON abruptly quit AMCD after his nonfeasance as AMCD came to light upon the inauguration of AMCD Commissioners Jeanne Moeller and John Sundeman on January 14, 2007. DOBSON blamed this blogger (Ed Slavin) for his resignation, falsely claiming I had "insulted" him.
5. DOBSON allegedly "polled" members of AMCD, violating Sunshine laws.

6. St. Augustine Beach residents are scrutinizing the nature and perforjmance of DOBSON's legal services, such as they are.

7. DOBSON spent AMCD funds investigating critics of AMCD, accumulating over one pound of documents on Ed Slavin, recently discovered in AMCD files. As FOLIO WEEKLY reported, it was DOBSON whom the City of St. Augustine contracted with to provide advice on a survey intended to exclude me from the City of St. Augustine (which DOBSON later told me he did by phone, without examining either the 2001 or 2006 surveys that showed we're City of St. Augustine residetns). We're still waiting for the City of St. Augustine to grant the requested public hearing on this issue, at which DOBSON will be a key witness, impeached for bias because of his mediocrity and failure to perform his job duties fairly and fully at Mosquito Control.

8. Does St. Auugstine Beach need an attorney who is not a doormat? One who does not leave St. Augustine Beach files commingled inside his five boxes of documents of AMCD records?

9. Would DOBSON's time better be spent writing about history instead of making it (e.g., by rubberstamping purchase of a $1.8 million helicopter without competitive bidding, among the most controversial actions ever taken by St. Johsn County government agency in 442 years)?

10. Is it time for DOBSON to ride off into the sunset to Wyoming, about which he left some of his history research in the five boxes of documents recently viewed at AMCD? Are DOBSON's services no longer required by the City of St. Augustine Beach and other St. Johns County government entities?

11, For more on GEOFFREY DOBSON, see our interview:


Sorry -- Blogger's having problems with links lately -- here it is, but you will have to block and copy to your browser --

12. Also, read how the City of St. Augustine hired DOBSON & BROWN, lawyers for developers, as acting city attorneys, in October 13, 2006 Sunshine violation.

Sorry -- Blogger's having problems with links lately -- here it is, but you will have to block and copy to your browser --

13. DOBSON's erstwhile law partner, RONALD BROWN, was hired as St. Augustine City Attorney in another Sunshine violation on December 22, 2006, with no prior notice the hiring was on the agenda and without proper EEO search or candidate vetting.
BROWN hired his ex-partner DOBSON to do the putative legal work regarding the location of the home of this blogger, with the apparent intent to frustrate efforts to run for St. Augustine City Commission next year. As my friend J.D. Pleasant says about the political machine in these parts, "they will say and do anything." As JFK said, "politics is a business of knives." Or in the case of Florida developers and their conflicted lawyers also representing government agencies, is it true that "politics is a business of knaves?"

14. It's our money. Is it time for the City of St. Augustine Beach to dispense with GEOFFREY DOBSON's legal services, such as they are? What do you reckon?

Controversial government and developer attorney GEOFFREY DOBSON (right) swears in fourth-term St. Augustine Beach Mayor Frank Charles (left)

Letter: Short-term rentals help tourism

Letter: Short-term rentals help tourism

Judith Seraphin
St. Augustine
Publication Date: 08/30/07

Editor: I am concerned about the proposed ordinance the city of St. Augustine Beach is reviewing, that would make short-term renting illegal north of F Street. Short-term renting is a great business opportunity and tourist attraction for St. Augustine.

Eliminating short-term renting means some homeowners could potentially lose their homes as many need this extra income to offset the high real estate taxes. This can also mean less tourists, as many times it is families who rent a house. This also means a decrease in tourist spending for all of St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach.

Homeowners of short-term rentals have done more than their part in making St. Augustine Beach a great community by fixing up old homes. Many times they are the best-looking houses in the area. Losing the ability to short-term rent would be a huge loss of revenue for St. Augustine and all its communities.

Judith Seraphin
St. Augustine

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© The St. Augustine Record

St. Augustine Beach targets vacation rentals -- Plans to curtail the practice surprise those who offer their homes part of the year.

Last modified 8/31/2007 - 6:37 am
Originally created 083107

St. Augustine Beach targets vacation rentals -- Plans to curtail the practice surprise those who offer their homes part of the year.


ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH - Even those willing to pay for a room with a view could be out of luck in St. Augustine Beach.

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Vacation rentals here, which can run anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 a week, have pitted small investors who have leased out the space for years against city officials who say the practice isn't allowed.

The sudden crackdown comes as a surprise to people like Paulette Lewis, who bought and restored a beach house on First Lane several years ago, building a loyal clientele who book the unit up to a year in advance.

"We were stunned when we found out about it," Lewis said of the city's plans to curtail the rentals. "I don't understand why this is an issue."

Almost always, the renters are a family, often grandmothers hosting their children and grandchildren on vacation, she said - not the type to draw complaints from the neighbors.

The rentals aren't all over the city, she said, but instead in an area east of A1A, near the beach and close to restaurants, bars and other entertainment that dots that area.

The city commission is expected at its next meeting to consider an ordinance that could grandfather in people like Lewis, allowing the vacation rentals with certain regulations in place for at least another year, after which the commission would reconsider the issue.

Several of those who offer the vacation rentals, including Lewis, said they don't mind increased regulation, but are concerned the city may take action to halt the practice entirely.

A law firm representing several entrepreneurs has requested formal mediation procedures between the two sides. That request also is expected to be heard at the upcoming council meeting.

Alicia Curran, one of the lawyers involved, said she believes the city's attempts to limit use of the properties violates the federal and state constitutions and would be a financial hardship for her clients, who bought the seaside properties with the expectation they would be able to rent them out at least part of the year.

Vacation rentals, common in tourist areas, are particularly popular with families, who like the idea of renting an entire house, she said. Living rooms and kitchens allow them to stretch their dollars and relax in a more homelike environment, she said.

"Take that away and families won't be able to come here anymore," she said.

Transient lodging facilities

Geoffrey Dobson, attorney for the city, said he doesn't think conditions are always so idyllic.

He said that frequently more than one family stays in such units, technically called transient lodging facilities, those where renters stay less than 30 days.

Those shouldn't be confused with short-term rentals allowed by the city, which span more than a month but less than half a year, he said.

Rental agreements for shorter periods of time are not addressed by the city's code as a use for medium-density areas, where the rentals under debate fall, Dobson said.

Uses not specifically laid out under that document are not allowed, he said.

Still, vacation rentals are hardly hidden. Many scattered around town have small signs affixed advertising them as being available on a weekly rate.

Nothing new

Marta Roth, who rents out the bottom portion of her beach-side duplex to vacationers, said before she and her husband bought and fixed up their property, the previous owners had done the same for years.

Roth, who also is represented by Curran, said the people who vacation in places like hers contribute to, not hurt, the community.

They often leave books, videos and shells behind in the unit for the next family to enjoy, she said, not only out of kindness but because they consider the house an extension of their home.

"They love St. Augustine Beach," she said. "They love this community."

annemarie.apollo@jacksonville. com, (904) 359-4470

See/Hear Commissioner Jeanne Moeller on $1.8 million helicopter purchase, AMCD reform, proposed takeover

Before she was elected, Mrs. Moeller (a proud, active St. Johns County Democrat) visited 6000 homes and attended 36 AMCD meetings. She ran to end AMCD use of organophosphates (she's already succeeded) and to cancel the $1.8 million helicopter (she's been working on it indefatibly since taking office January).

To see Mrs. Moeller interviewed, please go to

Kudos to Mosquito Control Commissioners Emily Hummel, Jeanne Moeller and John Sundeman for Conciliatory August 30th Meeting

Kudos to Anastasia Mosquito Control Commission of St. Johns County (AMCD) Commissioner Emily Hummel for having the St. Augustine Record set the record straight -- she was NOT involved in calling the Sheriff to the July 10, 2007 AMCD meeting as former Army Captain Don Girvan spoke about the illegal purchase of a $1.8 million helicopter. See below.

That retaliatory call to the Sheriff -- under investigation as a false police report -- was made solely by Commission Chair BARBARA BOSANKO and Vice Chair LINDA WAMPLER. In Mrs. WAMPLER's recent St. Augustine column, she gave away the Chair and Vice Chair's illegal scheme and first Sunshine violation that day by admitting that "we" called the Sheriff. That's not the royal "we" -- the AMCD's videotape shows that WAMPLER left the room after saying that she was going to provide BOSANKO with "moral support." See articles and photos below.

Longtime AMCD member (and former chair) Emily Hummel took no part in the retaliation. Thank her for speaking out and distancing herself from BOSANKO and WAMPLER.

Kudosalso to Commission Secretary-Treasurer Jeanne Moeller. See her interviewed for 9.5 minutes by this blogger (Ed Slavin) on the illegal helicopter purchase and attempted county takeover of AMCD.

Before she was elected, Mrs. Moeller (a proud, active St. Johns County Democrat) visited 6000 homes and attended 36 AMCD meetings. She ran to end AMCD use of organophosphates (she's already succeeded) and to cancel the $1.8 million helicopter (she's been working on it indefatibly since taking office January).

To see Mrs. Moeller, go to

Kudos and Congratulations to AMCD Commissioner John Sundeman, named Audit Committee Chair at the August 30, 2007 AMCD meeting.

Finally, kudos to Mr. Sundeman and Ms. Hummel and Mrs. Moeller for yesterday's meeting.

Without the presence of either BOSANKO or WAMPLER, Commissioners Moeller, Sundeman and Hummel conducted a 25 minute meeting yesterday, choosing a new lawyer (Doug Wyckoff of DeFuniak Springs, Florida) and voting to seek a new auditor. It was like the "era of good feelings" in U.S. foreign policy

Vive la difference! AMCD meetings are sometimes contentious, but when diverse, talented people listen to each other and treat each other with dignity, respect and consideration, there's no limit to what democracy can bring.

Expect democracy. Attend the September 13, 2007 AMCD meeting at 500 Old Beach Blvd, St. Augustine Teach, Florida at 4 PM. At 5 PM there will be a TRIM meeting on the budget, at which time it is expected that the $1.8 million illegal helicopter purchase will be shelved.

It's our money.

Like any good diplomat, don't take no for an answer. Attend the meeting and speak out against the helicopter -- one of the best things that ever happened to St. Johns County, because it puts issues of government waste (and worse) in sharp repose, for all to see and understand! It's our money.

St. Augustine Record Correction: Commissioner Emily Hummel Had NOTHING to Do With AMCD's 7/10/2997 Sheriff Call

St. Augustine Record Correction: Commissioner Emily Hummel Had Nothing to Do With AMCD's Sheriff Call
Publication Date: 08/31/07

A July 26 Page One story that referred to Anastasia Mosquito Control District's July 10 budget meeting incorrectly identified Emily Hummel as one of three board members who left that meeting to call Sheriff's Office deputies and St. Augustine Beach police.

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© The St. Augustine Record

St. Augustine Is Worth Saving -- We Need A National Historical Park, National Seashore and National Scenic Highway

New dock by 312 bridge proposed

New dock by 312 bridge proposed

Antigua of Anastasia Island seeks community dock

Publication Date: 08/30/07

Another developer wants to build a community marina on the Intracoastal Waterway at the foot of the State Road 312 bridge.

John Simon, project manager for Antigua of Anastasia Island, will ask the city's Planning and Zoning Board on Tuesday for a permit to build a 400-foot boardwalk and 78-slip marina just north of S.R. 312.

The dock would sit near the confluence of the San Sebastian and Matanzas rivers, south of Fish Island Marina.

"A community dock is one of the amenities we would like for the people who purchase homes here," Simon said.

He's acutely aware of the protests and opposition that resulted after Fish Island LLC proposed building a 1,000-foot community dock south of the 312 bridge earlier this year.

That developer also wanted a dock to serve its condo residents.

That application was vehemently resisted by residents, in part because it could harm wetlands and bird nesting areas and in part because the natural vista from the bridge would, in their view, be spoiled.

The city's Planning Board and City Commission ultimately rejected that dock permit.

Simon believes there is no comparison between that dock and his, except that they're located on the same waterway near the same bridge.

"Our boardwalk will be 200 over the marsh area and 200 over open water," Simon said.

"It's a quarter of the length (1,000 feet) of that other one. Ours will not be visible from a residential area, and only barely visible by drivers on the bridge."

The Coast Guard requires the dock to sit 100 feet away from the main channel, he said.

"We've thought it through and have addressed all the issues that have brought concern," Simon said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Florida Department of Environmental Protection have already issued the required permits for the dock.

City approval is the final obstacle.

Simon also serves as vice president for the property owners, AMC Delancy Hudson Capital Properties of Philadelphia, Pa., and said they realized that a dock would be a good amenity only after the project was approved in 2005.

He'd also like to have 12 smaller docks -- private ones and some for all Antigua residents -- on a stream called only "Un-Named Tributory" in city documents. The stream borders the 132-acre Antigua property on the north side.

Antigua will have 417 condominiums -- starting at about $400,000 each -- and 33 single-family homes that are not yet priced.

The five-story condos along the Intracoastal will be limited to 50 feet high, while more inland buildings stay below the 35-foot maximum height.

AMC Delaney documents filed in City Hall make the case that their community dock would meet a need for more local dock space and also would serve as a community asset because non-residents will be permitted to boat over and walk 500 yards or so to restaurants and shops along the north side of S.R. 312.

Otherwise, dock spaces are reserved for residents and their one-night guests.

"It will benefit the public as a whole," AMC Delaney documents said about the dock.

Click here to return to story:

© The St. Augustine Record

Celebrate Our 442nd Birthday This Weekend: St. Augustine Is Worth Saving -- Support National Park, Seashore and Scenic Highway Legislation

Here's a letter and draft legislation I have shared with our community's Convention and Visitor's Bureau, reachable at

Dear Mr. Hastings:
Regarding the proposed 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. For other examples, see 16 U.S.C. 210 for every single national park's law.

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

Our Nation’s Oldest City can likewise survive the uglifying developers and have a national park by 2013/2015 (450th anniversary of Spanish explorers and St. Augustine’s founding, respectively), preserving our nature and history and honoring Native-American, African-American, Spanish, Minorcan, 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.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin
Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085- 3084,
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.


In Boston, The Lowells Speak Only to the Cabots and the Cabots Speak Only to God; In St. Augustine Doctor Speaks for God on Health Care Rights!


Dr. James Grimes wrote a labile letter to the editor in yesterday's St. Augustine Record, purrportign to speak for both God and the Constitution that we have no "right to health care." So much for blasphemy. As my friend Robin Nadeau pointed out, Jesus Christ healed the sick and raised the deadl Our Constitution in the general welfare clause provides for the power of Congress to protect Americans, including adopting national health care. So much for Dr. Grimes' power as a theologian and constitutional law scholar.

The doctors, patients hospitals, employers, Chamber of Commerce and other informed citizens of Barnstable County, Massachusetts (Cape Cod) support the Cape Care concept overwhelmingly, voting in eleven of thirteen Cape Cod towns last year for single payer health insurance at the county level. The Chamber of Commerce and other businesses on Cape Cod know that if health care is not a right, it hurts the economy and public heatlh. The inspired Cape Care idea overcomes all the objections to a national program and keeps decisionmaking and local control. The economy of scale for county-level single payer health insurance is 250,000: combining with other counties, or as new homes are built, St. Johns County can do it. Why wouldn't the richest county in Florida provide health insurance for the 20% who don't have it? My religious tradition teaches, "To whom much is given, much ie expected."

Dr. Grimves has not responded to a voicemail message about his pretenntious letter, pretending to speak for both God and our Founding Fathers. Dr. Grimes reminds me of the story about Boston in the olden days, a place where "the Lowells speak only to the Cabots and the Cabots speak only to God."

Here in St. Augustine, we have some doctors who act like businessmen, instead of healers, mocking efforts to keep insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies from killing any more patients and mocking medical malpractice accountability.

Dr. Grimes is not the first St. Augustine physician to write uninformed, unctuous, uncouth letters in the St. Augustine Record. He will not be the last.

For Dr. Grimes to abuse his "authority" to speak for God shows an effrontery that reminds me of the story about the lawyer at the pearly gates. The story goes that the lawyer questioned a white-coated, stethescope-wearing gentlemen who cut in line ahead of everyone waiting to get into Heaven. The lawyer questions St. Peter about the physician-line-cutter. The story goes that St. Peter replies, shrugging, "That's God. He just thinks he's a doctor."

Physician, health thyself. Dr. Grimes does not speak with authority, but with what my friend Ann calls "insect authority." He apparently enjoys lording his "knowledge" over people, when in truth he "knows not that he knows not that he knows not." By the way, how many times has Dr. Grimes' medical practice demanded upfront payment before seeing Medicare patients? If so, is this legal?

Also, driving east on the SR 312 bridge, look to your right -- that's Dr. Grimes' group orthopaedic practice, built horribly close to the beautiful marshes -- why so close -- is it because they and their developer have what H.L. Mencken would call "a positive libido for the ugly?" Do they care as little for patients as they do for our wetlands? What do you reckon?

Dr. Grimes' grimy etter (below) misses the point by a country mile. The fundamental point of medical ethics is patient autonomy. Patients in America believe health care should be a right. The termagants in the American Medical Association (like the National Association of Manufacturers) have fought every decent piece of legislation that protects Americans, including Medicare. These energumen may have money, but they have no class -- they ignore social justice issues to their peril.

Dr. Grimes is invited to call me at 471-7023 to arrange for an interview.
I'd love to sit through Michael Moore's movie, "SICKO" with Dr. Grimes and hear his rodomontade about God and the Constitution not protecting health care rights. If not, in the words of William F. Buckley, Jr., "why does baloney reject the grinder?"

With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,

Ed Slavin
Box 3084
St. Augustine, FL 32085-3084
894-471-9918 (fax)

Letter: Health care not a guaranteed right

Letter: Health care not a guaranteed right

James Grimes, M.D.
St. Augustine
Publication Date: 08/30/07

Editor: This is in response to a letter published on Aug. 25. I'm sure that the level of understanding expressed in the letter goes well beyond what is the short letter to the editor. It does express what I believe is a fundamental misunderstanding of our "health care system."

Health care is not a "right." It is not guaranteed to citizens by the U.S. Constitution or God. While I by no means "struggle'' to provide health care to my patients, I am hindered daily (probably hourly) by a system so burdened with regulations and restrictions that I cannot imagine extrapolating this to a national system.

The letter writer said "The U.S. is so far behind the rest of the industrial countries'' but apparently does not truly understand what this means in regard to quality, access and affordability.

I have been privileged to provide orthopedic care to this community for more than 12 years. In this time I have lectured and investigated in our country and abroad. I have had the opportunity to work with hundreds of surgeons in the U.S. England, Germany, Australia, and other "industrialized countries.''

If the government elsewhere decided you are "too old'' for a hip or knee replacement, then you live out your life with painkillers (or pay out of pocket for a private doctor.) Similarly a heart treatment, transplant or medication may be too expensive and the patient has no "right'' to the provision of this health care. The patient simply doesn't receive the care. That is how you "provide health care for the citizens'' in the "rest of the industrial countries.''

James Grimes, M.D.

St. Augustine

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Letter: January tax vote threatens health, safety

Letter: January tax vote threatens health, safety

Mike Carter
St. Augustine
Publication Date: 08/31/07

Editor: These are uncertain times for your St. Johns County firefighters and paramedics and, by extension, the thousands of citizens we serve. In our view, the proposed property tax referendum Jan. 29 is a threat to the health and safety of every St. Johns County resident.

During the last decade, the leaders of your Fire-Rescue Department have transformed an all-volunteer fire force into one of the best trained, best-led professional fire departments in Florida. This transformation from part-time to professional has saved thousands of lives and millions of dollars in property.

The January referendum threatens to turn back the clock and deal a serious blow to fire-rescue responses in the county. While state officials claim the referendum won't harm public safety, the numbers simply do not add up. If approved, the January referendum will lead to fewer fire stations, fire trucks and ambulances -- to say nothing of the dedicated firefighters and paramedics who staff them. The county's booming northern suburbs will be hardest hit, as new communities like Palencia, Nocatee and others are counting on new stations to protect homes and families. The potential tax benefit to homeowners could be offset by higher insurance rates due to the inadequate fire coverage.

As homeowners and taxpayers, our families have had to share the burden caused by rising property values in this rapidly expanding county. The notion of lower tax bills is inherently seductive. But as firefighters and paramedics, our first duty is to protect and serve the residents. In our opinion, the referendum threatens to make this county more vulnerable.

We look forward to helping educate residents of the risks associated with the Legislature's plan.

Mike Carter,


St. Johns County Firefighters and Paramedics Union

I.A.F.F. Local 3865

St. Augustine

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Letter: County Commission, staff outdid themselves on budget

Publication Date: 08/29/07

Editor: With the budget in its final stages, the county's financial management team and this Board of County Commissioners deserve whatever recognition they are getting and frankly, the applause should be deafening. In large part, a new culture is taking hold.

This County Commission, by its early moves such as the hiring freeze and zero-based cost analysis, created conditions where the county is absorbing the $23 million hit from the first round of the state's property tax reform and with a $13 million increase in general fund reserves, is prepared for the second hit should the jumbo exemption option be approved by the voters in January.

The good news is that the County Commission acted well before Tallahassee's plans were known, not in reaction to the capital.

In addition to the commission, the stars of the show were the financial team that is the spine of the county government. From Clerk of the Court Cheryl Strickland and Allen MacDonald on the constitutional side, to Assistant County Administrator Joe Vonasek and Doug Timms, director, Office of Management and Budget, their performance has been exemplary.

Timms Office of Management and Budget staff: Dawn Cardenas, Jesse Dunn, Wayne Schroeder and Joy Andrews, are as energized as they are good. This financial group is surely the envy of any. We are lucky to have them.

We should also tip our hat to the just retired interim County Administrator Wally Kropacek, for his many contributions in this process. His tenure represents another accomplishment of this commission.

Walter Rohrer

Ponte Vedra

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."--Abraham Lincoln

The Bell Jet Ranger Helicopter Purchased By Anastasia Mosquito Control District of St. Johns County

Margo Pope re: Six Activists Making the Difference in Reforming St. Augustine, Florida

The St. Augustine Record
Perspective column by Margo C. Pope, Associate Editor, The St. Augustine Record, March 13, 2005

Today is Sunshine Sunday, a day to celebrate our good fortune to live in Florida where sunshine in government prevails - most of the time.

Florida’s Public Records Law - Chapter 119 in Florida Statutes - and its companion, Government-in-the- Sunshine Law (open meetings), Chapter 286, and the Sunshine Amendment to the Florida Constitution, are our tickets to front-row seats for the deliberations, actions and records of the business of government.

Unfortunately there are more than 1,000 exemptions to our public records and open meetings laws. But there’s enough muscle in the laws to ensure that our business is not done in back rooms, or around “cracker barrels” and “pickle jars,” as my journalism mentor, H.G. “Buddy” Davis Jr., used to say.

Mr. Davis, a Pulitzer-Prize winner and legendary professor of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, died last August. I used to call him in prep for the previous three Sunshine Sundays -- the statewide blitz by newspapers and broadcast stations to remind the public and the legislators of the importance of open records and meetings.

Last year, Mr. Davis said citizens were asleep at the switch letting so many exemptions pass. He was disappointed. Mr. Davis and another legendary professor, Hugh Cunningham, had nudged then-State Rep. Emory “Red” Cross in the late 1950s to push for a state sunshine law. They gave him a model law from Sigma Delta Chi (the Society of Professional Journalists). Cross persisted through five legislative sessions to get it passed.

Keeping the public in the know is my tribute to them.

In St. Johns County, I have some “Sunshine Stars,” champions of public access.

Remember the late Bubba Rowe who had his own public access TV show on what he said was government waste? Years before he stepped into the limelight, he showed up at the old St. Augustine Record on Cordova Street. He brought with him a man from the Hastings-Elkton area. Mr. Rowe said his friend was wronged by the county. He had a stack of county documents to prove it.

“It’s all public record,” Mr. Rowe said. “You can get them, too.”

To enhance his own TV show, he showed up with a video camera at the commission meetings. Officials were concerned. This pre-dated St. Johns GTV, the county channel that broadcasts public meetings into our living rooms. Mr. Rowe told me he couldn’t understand why it was a problem in a building paid for by taxpayers in a meeting covered by sunshine laws. He had a point.

Mr. Rowe was later elected to the County Commission because the people trusted him to do their business. He set an example for others.

Dante Salamone knows how to use sunshine laws. He was a thorn in the side of some commissioners a decade ago because he got rankled by the lack of explanation by officials at the meetings so the public could follow the debate. He got an agenda. Others did, too. He persisted to keep open meetings open.

Frequent speakers at County Commission meetings today are Ellen Whitmer and Louise Thrower. Mary Kohnke, a former commissioner and one-time chairwoman; Diane Mills and Don Beattie speak up often. They all shine lights in the dark corners, mostly guided by public records.

We must always be alert to attacks on open records and meetings. A good start is the First Amendment Foundation’s Web site - Go to legislative reports and click on bills filed for the 2005 session. Read the summaries and updates. Judge what you’ll lose with each exemption passed.

Let legislators know, before they vote on any of these bills, that we need them to ask, does this bill help or hinder the public’s right to know?


Reproduced courtesy of The St. Augustine Record.

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Another St. Augustine Sunshine Violation? "Another Day, Another Dollar?"

Another St. Augustine Sunshine Violation?

Last night, some 70 citizens were treated disrespectfully, disdainfully, diffidently by City Commissioners who did not hold the promised public hearing on Ordinance 2007-11, tabling the motion and sending them away.  Good and decent people changed their schedules, including nuns and other religious people.
Families spent their hard-earned money  on babyssitters.  People rescheduled work and leisure activities.
Meanwhile, the City's outside contractor attorney wasn't even there.  City staff knew that the vote was going to be tabled.
How did they know?
Because City staff such as controversial City Manager WILLIAM B. HARRISS "poll" Commissioners, knowing in advance of each meeting how they will vote.  They then tell Commissioners, which violates the Sunshine law.
That's how whatever the concern of citizens, the City Manager always wins -- HARRISS always gets his way.
Like the casino that can never lose, the City Manager can always let one or two Commissioners vote against him, earning forgiveness from voters who can say, "well at least" [insert name of Commissioner] voted for us.  In this way people are co-opted, coddled and convinced that perhaps someone listens to them.
On the adult entertainment zones, Commissioner Donald Crichlow has been out-front against the notion of creating such zones.
Of course, no one will discuss the obvious solution -- put one zone with 4-6 parcels south of the Police Headquarters.  At several City Commission meetings, Commissioners have refused to acknowledge the idea, which is the sensible solution.
When I called and asked Commissioner Gardner and City Attorney Ronald Brown about it, he said it couldn't be done because of the alcohol sales buffering provision of proposed ordinance 2007-11.
Mayor JOSEPH LEROY BOLES, JR. said at one meeting that the Sebastian Winery owner might not like the sex zone near his business.
Commissioners apparently are reluctant to pick 4-6 parcels south of the SAPD HQ for fear of offending the DEVLIN GROUP, successor to the problem-plagued original developer of the moribund Sebastian Inner Harbor site, where lawyer GEORGE MCCLURE claims there is a "letter of intent" for a WESTIN HOTEL, sans any evidence or testimony presented at the August 13, 2007 public hearing on modifications to the Sebastian Inner Harbor Project.
Since alleged fraudfeasor ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARD and other real estate speculators are crawling all over the City of St. Augustine like maggots on a garbage can, our City Commissioners are other-directed, not inner-directed. They won't talk about issues citizens raise, such as the St. Augustine National Historical Park, National Seashore and National Scenic Highway.  They won't engage citizens for the betterment of our Nation's Oldest City.
In fact, it appears that that City's motivation in dumping the old city dump conents into the Old City Reservoir was to speed the "wetland mitigation" project associated with the Sebastian Inner Harbor project, built on a former Superfund site.  Former Mayor GARDNER revealingly said last year that he was running again for Commissioner, but not as Mayor, because he wanted to see projects through to completion, such as the Sebastian Inner Harbor site.
It would be "simple" as Mayor JOSEPH LEROY BOLES, JR. said, to have the adult entertainment zone out of site, away from neighborhoods, away from schools and away from tourists, south of the SAPD HQ.  But it would offend the developers who control our Nation's Oldest City.  Thus, our putative City leaders are on the horns of a dilemma.  They have reaped the whirlwind of their own creation.
They can't vote to put the entertainment zone south of SAPD HQ because GEORGE MCCLURE and the DEVLIN GROUP have said no.  How does Commissioner SUSAN BURK say "no" to her former boyfriend, ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARD?  How do Commissioners tell their campaign contributors and confereres "no?"
Instead, they were very disrespectfully to over 70 citizens who oppose their plans, unwilling to let them speak, BOLES said, because he's already heard it already.
At recent public hearings, BOLES hasn't bothered to swear in any witnesses, whether real estate speculators or citizens.  Last night he cancelled a public hearing based upon a spurious motion to table that was pre-planned, with the consultant lawyer not bothering to come to St. Augustine.
Last night, City Commissioners already knew -- and the City's lawyers already knew -- that ordinance no. 2007-11 was going to be tabled.
That's the point. 
Our City Commission is the captive of special interests.  It has no more interest in protecting the public interest than a hog.
Whether it is what RFK called the "willful heedless destruction of natural beauty and pleasures" or the location of a sin zone next to the site of the first Roman Catholic Mass in North America, the "fruits of the poisonous tree" are the same. There is no good legislation adopted by the City Commission of the City of St. Augustine.
As long as doormats are elected to City Commission -- and as long as WILLIAM B. HARRISS is still the City Manager -- our City will be mismanaged, subjected to waste, fraud, abuse, misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance.
Meanwhile, BOLES has gagged citizens attending City workshops, including one on the budget last week and another on sex zones last month. At least Mayor GEORGE GARDNER allowed citizens to speak and ask questions at workshops. Under BOLES' suzerainty as Mayor of St. Augustine -- which he said was a "ceremonial" job when running last year -- public participation opportunities have decreased, as has the number of chairs in the City Commission meeting room.
In the midst of a putative budget crisis, MAYOR BOLES actually quibbled with a  Sierra Club presentation on "cool cities" that conserve energy and reduce global warming, questioning  the idea of buying energy-conserving vehicles on the basis they cost more (never mind the savings in "life cycle costs," subject of a bill by Senator Gary Hart 30 years ago).
Meanwhile, City Commissioner SUSAN BURK is off on another junket, this one to CARTAGENA, COLUMBIA.
As John Hinckley's lawyer Vince Fuller (of Williams & Connolly) said upon Hinckley's acquittal by reason of insanity, "another day, another dollar."
It's our mon

City tables vote on adult zones

City tables vote on adult zones

Publication Date: 08/28/07
It seemed nearly 90 people heaved a collective sigh Monday when the St. Augustine City Commission tabled an ordinance that determines where adult entertainment can locate in the city.The vast majority of the crowd attended the commission meeting to speak against the ordinance. It would have allowed adult entertainment to be peppered throughout Ponce de Leon Boulevard, State Road 312 and West King Street.More than 100 hundred people had previously contacted The Record to say they were against the measure and they planned to attend the meeting. In preparation, the city reserved Flagler College auditorium in case City Hall was overcrowded.But it wasn't needed.It took only 15 minutes for Mayor Joe Boles to be backed by the four other commissioners to table the measure. City Hall then emptied.In the proposed ordinance that was up for final approval Monday, adult entertainment isn't to be allowed near schools, parks, churches and places that sell alcohol.The commission wants the measure to include more buffers in hopes that will narrow the number of areas where adult entertainment can locate.There were no specifics, but places such as day cares and assisted living facilities have come up, said Mark Knight, city planning and building department director.The ordinance will come back to the commission at its Sept. 24 meeting.Some of the public has said the commission should stick with its original proposal, which contained adult entertainment to four parcels of land off Ponce de Leon Boulevard.Several residents and business owners spoke against that plan.The commission then opened adult entertainment to be located throughout the city's most dense commercial zoning.The city has already passed two ordinances that restrict how the businesses can operate.Previously, the city did not have regulations for adult entertainment.
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Perspective: Former worker warns against 'adult' businesses

Perspective: Former worker warns against 'adult' businesses

St. Augustine
Publication Date: 08/26/07

I have been reading for days with some amusement the furor created at the thought of an adult entertainment zone.

For those that don't know, adult entertainment is live theater, concerts, sporting events, art shows.

There is nothing "adult" about a strip joint, or "gentlemanly" about a gentleman's club. These places exist completely and solely to pander to sexual titillation.

Don't try to dress up this business with a happy little euphemism like, "adult entertainment" so that you can skate by the general public, who, for the most part, have no idea what goes on there. It is the sex industry, pure and simple.

For those of you that say those businesses attract drugs and prostitution, you are absolutely right. This is a hard business, folks.

Could you dance naked night after night, having to deal with propositions from aroused patrons, without drinking or doing some type of drug? Not for long. Particularly when it is being offered to you all night long, in a party atmosphere?

And we are not talking about street smart, savvy together women, we are talking about girls. Girls in their early- to mid-20s. Physically grown up, but inexperienced in the ways that the world can corrupt a person. Being a nude dancer or hustler for tips in a gentleman's club will steal your soul, piece by piece, without you even being aware of it.

The nature of this business demands a supply of young girls and women. St. Augustine is a college town with a low pay scale for most part time jobs. It is a perfect place for a strip club or clubs to operate.

And if there is one, there will be more. Forget about negative publicity. Strip club owners regard that as the best form of advertising you can get!

The real question, folks, is not, where should it be, but why should it be here at all?

All NIMBYs out there, wake and realize, this is a small town. It is your back yard, no matter where it is.

St. Augustine, how do you want to be perceived by the rest of the country? As a historic town, as an artist's town, as a ghost hunting town? As an upscale boating and shopping town? Or as a mini Orlando with it's own little Orange Blossom Trail?

Every person who lives here, has a business here, or owns property here should get on the phone, write letters and get heard on this issue. Your city commissioners are trying to pull a fast one on you.

St. Augustine does not need "adult entertainment." If someone wants to go see naked girls and get lap dances, let them go to Jacksonville or Daytona.

For those of you who don't believe what I am saying, I worked in this industry for years in Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. I know what I am talking about. What I am writing today is only a very small part of the reality of "adult entertainment"

Forget "The Zone," just say no, period.

Gloria Danvers worked in the adult entertainment industry for about 10 years including time as a dancer, bartender and club manager. She is owner of Tool Box Goddess on San Marco Avenue.

St. Augustine City Commission decides adult zoning today

St. Augustine City Commission decides adult zoning today

Publication Date: 08/27/07

An ordinance defining the locations of adult entertainment businesses in St. Augustine will go before the City Commission today for possible final approval.

The commission recently passed an ordinance on first reading that would allow adult entertainment businesses to open on numerous sites off State Road 312, Ponce de Leon Boulevard and West King Street. These businesses would have to be away from schools, parks, churches and places that sell alcohol.

Previously, the city did not have regulations for these businesses and they could have located in any commercial zoning. The City Commission says this ordinance will prevent that from happening.

The Record published a map of proposed areas in the ordinance for adult entertainment zones, but many were adjacent to residences. A Record reporter received more than 100 phone calls in six days from people outraged at that plan.

City staff expects such a large crowd at the meeting that they reserved Flagler Auditorium, across from City Hall, should they need more room.

The commission originally proposed a measure that restricted adult entertainment to four parcels of land off Ponce de Leon Boulevard north of State Road 16.

But roughly 70 people, many of whom live near there, spoke against the ordinance. The commission then amended the measure to allow adult entertainment to locate to dozens of areas in the city.

Numerous people who contacted The Record wanted to know why it is unlawful for the city to prohibit adult entertainment altogether.

City Attorney Ron Brown said adult business operations fall under the First Amendment rights of the Constitution. The dancing in adult entertainment and other aspects are considered expressive content, Brown said, and is therefore a freedom of speech issue. But the law does allow cities to severely restrict adult entertainment.

The City Commission has already passed two ordinances that dictate how these businesses can operate in St. Augustine, including no alcohol sales.

Only in the last year did an adult store called Adam and Eve move from a strip mall in St. Augustine off Ponce de Leon Boulevard. But that store seemed to cause few ripples with the public.

There are currently no applications from adult businesses to wanting to come to the city.


The St. Augustine City Commission meets today at 5 p.m. in the Alcazar Room of City Hall, 75 King St.

There will be a public hearing on the proposed adult entertainment ordinance.


The measure would allow adult entertainment in the city's densest commercial zoning areas with restrictions:

The businesses must be 500 feet away from places that serve alcohol, such as bars and restaurants, and 300 feet from businesses that sell only alcohol, such as ABC Liquor.

They cannot be within 300 feet of a church, school or park.

Adult entertainment establishments cannot be within 750 feet of each other.

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© The St. Augustine Record

Editorial: St. Augustine should minimize adult business sites

Editorial: St. Augustine should minimize adult business sites

From Staff
Publication Date: 08/26/07
The St. Augustine City Commission on Monday will face an onslaught of residents who are against spreading adult entertainment businesses throughout the city limits.We don't blame them. We encourage them to exercise their First Amendment rights of free speech. The adult entertainment industry has used its First Amendment rights to set up these businesses. The City Commission and staff must be prepared to face the unhappy public and answer their concerns. Commissioners and staff, to their credit, have spent a lot of time working on a plan that will meet any legal tests.The City Commission originally proposed four parcels in a commercial zone on Ponce de Leon Boulevard north of State Road 16, as the only zone where adult entertainment businesses could be located. But nearby residents objected and the commission backed away from that plan. City staff was asked to revise the plan. The one proposed for action on Monday night disperses potential sites throughout commercial zones all over the city. By trying to appease a few people the city has angered many.In July, the city adopted an anti-nudity ordinance and a regulatory ordinance for the operation of such businesses. The location ordinance proposal is the last piece of the city's plan. The St. Augustine Record's Aug. 20 story about the disbursement plan and map are at The map will appear when the story link is clicked.We know why the city is hot to trot on adult business regulations. The city wants to regulate this onerous trade before it comes in again. The first two businesses in the last 20 years are gone; either out of business or outside the city's jurisdiction.The city has to have an ordinance that specifies locations, says City Manager Bill Harriss. Otherwise, the businesses will be everywhere the city has a commercial district. According to Mayor Joe Boles and Harriss everywhere could mean near the Casa Monica Hotel or in the downtown business district, for example.Courts have held that local governments cannot ban adult businesses but they can restrict them to one business entity per 6,500 residents. Harriss said the original proposal for four locations would satisfy that requirement and allow for population growth so the city is not redoing the ordinance when its population exceeds 13,500. The city's population is about 12,500 and has been for years.We recommend the city maximize the restrictions holding to three parcels, enough for a population of 19,500 people. Find locations in commercial zoning districts but don't cluster them. The plan the city adopts should respect people who live and work here and our visitors. The city has time to refine this plan because while a proposed ordinance is under discussion, an adult business cannot rush in and set up shop.
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Letter: Residents fear 'adult' zones

Letter: Residents fear 'adult' zones

Connie Hansen
St. Augustine
Publication Date: 08/26/07

Editor: In Monday and Tuesday's editions there were three articles about the proposed adult entertainment districts.

There appears to be a great deal of fear in those articles. We all have the same fear. What the articles did not explain very well was that the City Commission went to a lot of trouble and expense trying to enact ordinances that restrict adult entertainment beyond a location. These ordinances have many prohibitive rules to make it undesirable to locate in our city. The commissioners have done a good and thorough job.

The original ordinance put the zone in one area. That would mean that all adult businesses would be located on a major entrance corridor. Studies show that clustering these businesses is detrimental, and creates problems far more serious than if just one were to locate there. Creating an adult zone has the potential for crime and blight.

If all adult businesses are in the Ponce de Leon Boulevard zone, it could ruin the area for the decent people who live there, play bridge at the St. Augustine Duplicate Bridge Club and run normal businesses and family-oriented motels. People have been living in that neighborhood much longer than there has been commercial zoning. The risk is extremely small by spreading the zoning.

Commissioner Don Crichlow said, '"Sometimes you have to say, 'Folks, I'm sorry. You chose the short straw.'" This is incorrect. The short straw was assigned. Putting the potential burden on one small area is not a good idea.

Mark Knight, the city's director of the Planning and Building department said it best, "It's a half- hour ride to Jacksonville or an hour to Daytona where (adult entertainment) is totally unregulated. Why would you come to St. Augustine when we now have all sorts of restrictions on it?"

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Letter: Adult businesses will increase crime

Letter: Adult businesses will increase crime
Regis Nalepka
St. Augustine<
Publication Date: 08/27/07
Editor: I have witnessed many changes since coming here in the early 1980s. I eventually found that I wanted to live in this slow, gentle, quiet and comforting town.

Now we have large developments, shopping centers and traffic that goes with the surge in the population and growth. What's happening to this quaint historic town?

I've been following the crime reports in The St. Augustine Record for the last six months. The arrests for DUI's, drugs, driving without a license, etc., continue to show no significant decrease.

What have our officials done to help decrease these violations? If the majority of these violators are first timers, we are in big trouble. Whose responsibility is it to correct the problem? These people seem to get a slap on the wrist and go on their way to do the same again. The problem falls in the laps of the local governments, law enforcement and the courts. Why can't stiffer penalties be imposed?

Now we see our St. Augustine officials going in a direction that will surely bring on more crime; the dreaded adult entertainment business.

Mayor Joe Boles and City Commissioner Errol Jones said that concentrating these businesses in "one area can feed crime." Do they believe that spreading it around would not bring in crime?

How many of these businesses will they allow in the city? Why not have it ( meaning, just one if it must be) outside the city limits in a remote commercial area?

I commend City Commissioner Don Crichlow for speaking against the plan and to confine them to the original four parcels.

Are the officials who we elect are looking out for our best interests? Keep track of the arrests in The Record for a couple of weeks. You'll be surprised.

Regis Nalepka

St. Augustine

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© The St. Augustine Record

Monday, August 27, 2007

Anastiasia Mosquito Control Board of St. Johns County Faces Questions on Helicopter, Sunshine Violations, Proposed Hostile Takeover BySJCBCC ViceChair

Anastiasia Mosquito Control Board of St. Johns County Faces Questions on Helicopter, Sunshine Violations

Why in the name of all that's holy would you buy a $1.8 million Bell Jet Ranger helicopter without competitive bidding, claim it was a sole source procurement when the helicopter isn't even designed for mosquito control? Why would you call the Sheriff to try to silence Don Givan, a former Army captain, who told Anastasia Mosquito Control District Commissioners that a Sikorski helicopter designed for mosquito control costs only $351,000? Why would you violate the Sunshine law by discussing "security" and calling the St. Augusitne Record's editorial page editor? Why would you not apologize for the illegal purchasing, calling the Sheriff and Sunshine violations? Why would you respond to public criticism of mismanagement not by discussing mismanagement and solving problems, but asking Republican County Commissioners to take over the Board?

Ask AMCD Chair BARBARA BOSANKO and Vice Chair LINDA WAMPLER, pictured below with AMCD lawyer AUDRIE M. HARRISS of the Daytona law firm of DORAN, WOLFE, ANSAY & KUNDID. Does being Chair and Vice Chair of AMCD mean never having to say you're sorry? See more below. On August 30, 2007, AMCD Commissioners will vote to hire their third lawyer this year. See below. Tune in the Roger Ramsey show on radio station WFOY this morning at 9:30 this morning and hear AMCD Commissioner Jeanne Moeller, a proud Democrat elected county-wide in this (currently) Republican-majority county, along with this blog's author (Ed Slavin) discuss AMCD's future.

Below is the famous photo of the AMCD Chair and Vice Chair violating Sunshine laws with their lawyer on July 10, 2007, videotaped by AMCD and published by the St. Augustine Record, which deserves another journalism prize for exposing AMCD's effronery, flummery and lawbreaking. AMCD's lawyer told the Record and state prosecutors she wasn't talking to Vice Chair LINDA WAMPLER, who may be heard talking on the videotape.

For more, see articles and editorials from St. Augustine Record last month reproduced below. Still no coherent answers from AMCD and DWAK, which has resigned as AMCD's lawyers effective September 10, 2007, three days before AMCD's budget hearing.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Senator Sam Ervin: "I love my country.... I used to think that the Civil War was our country's greatest tragedy..."

Senator Sam Ervin: "I love my country.... I used to think that the Civil War was our country's greatest tragedy..."

As United States Senator Sam J. Ervin, Jr. (D-NC) said during President Richard Nixon's Watergate scandal in 1973, "I love my country.... I deeply regret that this situation has arisen, because I think that the Watergate tragedy is the greatest tragedy this country has ever suffered. I used to think that the Civil War was our country's greatest tragedy, but I do remember that there were some redeeming features in the Civil War in that there was some spirit of sacrifice and heroism displayed on both sides. I see no redeeming features in Watergate."

Likewise, there are "no redeeming features" in dumping the contents of the old city dump into the Old City Reservoir, or St. Augustine's plotting to erect adult entertainment zones, or St. Augustine's enabling wetland-killing, tree-killing, history-destroying speculators like ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUGARD (see below), or the Bush Administration's scandals in Washington, D.C.

From City Hall to the White House, our nation is awash in greed, misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance, waste, fraud and abuse. The only way our country will survive is to dedicate ourselves to first principles enshrined in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Blow the whistle on corruption and support those who do.

What do you reckon?

With kindest regards,
Ed Slavin
Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3084
904-471-9918 (fax)


and only Commissioner GEORGE GARDNER voted against it. The site, next to St.Augustine High School, contains what the University of Florida Anthropology Department Acting Chair, Dr. Sassaman, concluded last year was likely a 3000-4000 indigenous Native American Indian village and ceremonial site. The shallow archaeology report by ESI was halted before it reached phase 2. Florida, county and city officials let the people down. Drive by the site and see for yourself what landraping real estate speculator developer and foreign investor influence is doing to the Nation's Oldest City.

By the way, ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARD's ex-girlfriend is Commissioner SUSAN BURK, whom GRAUBARD kissed during a recess in the June 11, 2007 City Commission meeting. BURK voted in favor of GRAUBARD's project at the January 9, 2006 City Commission meeting. She did not disclose her relationship to GRAUGARD, either then or since, although I have specifically asked Commissioners to discuss their "agreements, understandings and relationships" with GRAUBARD and other real estate speculators.

Our unjust stewards in city government think its fun to use their influence their friends and even laugh at the rubes who think this is a democracy. Enough. See below for more on real estate speculator ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARD and the Ponce family's lawsuit over alleged fraud involving the Conch House Marina project, once called "one sweet monkey."

Watching the City of St. Augustine Destroy Our Environment and Not Regulate Landrapers and Adult Entertainment Is Like Watching the Three Stooges

What can you say about a city governnment that takes the contents of the old city dump and puts it into the Old City Reservoir and won't fire the City Manager who did it?

What can you say about a city government that upon learning the City Manager dumped the contents of the old city dump into the Old City Reservoir gives that city Manager an award instead of firing him?

What can you say about a city government that gives such an award in the midst of a pending criminal investigation?

What can you say about a city government that hired an attorney and a city manager withhout proper Sunshine notice or EEO searches?

What can you say about a city government that never gives the City Manager a performance appraisal in nine years?

What can you say about a city that wants to put adult entertainment businesses near the place where the first Roman Catholic Mass in North America was said?

What can you say about a city that won't even talk about putting any adult entertainment zone where it belongs -- behind the Police Headquarters?

What can you say about a city that violates the Sunshine law in hiring its attorney?

What can you say about a city government that spends money on a three-day trip to NYC for the supercilious City Manager, five City Commissioners, their spouses, boyfriends and girlfriends ($8100), says its conducting business, but never provides proper advance notice under the Sunshine law?

What can you say about a city government that spends $51 million a year for a small town of only 13,000 people, never asking key questions about reducing waste, fraud and abuse?

What can you say about a city government that refuses to talk about reform, refuses to talk about cable tv regulation and refuses to talk about the proposed St. Augustine National Historial Park, National Seashore and National Scenic Highway>

Please see below -- there's lot to say.

There are five St. Augustine City Commissioners. They must be replaced. We get to overthrow the government of St. Augustine every two years. Next year, let's elect a new Mayor and two new Commissioners.

This time, let's not elect Three Stooges.

Letter: City should not cater to 'adult' shops

Letter: City should not cater to 'adult' shops

Joan LeBeau
St. Augustine
Publication Date: 08/18/07

Editor: Tuesday, on my way to art class in South Daytona I passed an adult toy store called "Bottoms Up." Yikes, that could soon be in my backyard -- the neon pink building with mysterious shades drawn and a few seedy trucks in the old black top parking lot. But, hey, our St. Augustine City Commission members don't seem to see a problem because already we have bums hanging out in the Plaza, begging, relieving themselves, cutting each other's hair and harassing tourists. Why not a few dozen sex shops sprinkled among our beautiful, historic buildings and lovely neighborhoods?

Couldn't these businesses locate in Ponte Vedra or near the Plantation where they could charge much higher prices for their adult products and erotic entertainment? Oh right, they probably couldn't get a foot in the door up there.

What is the city's rationale for this accommodation to these shops? Are they afraid of lawsuits, equal rights issues, etc.?

You get submissive, you get licked. Get a backbone St. Augustine and bottoms up. We want to be proud of our city.

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© The St. Augustine Record

Letter: 'Adult' business clusters invite mayhem

Letter: 'Adult' business clusters invite mayhem

Lew Norris
St. Augustine
Publication Date: 08/24/07

Editor: I attended the Aug. 13 St. Augustine City Commission meeting and spoke against having a designated area for adult entertainment. At this same meeting, a woman had researched the internet and found that hundreds of cities throughout the country passing ordinances to regulate this industry had decided not to concentrate them in one locale and to have a buffer zone between them. (She left copies of her research for each commissioner).

People who have moved here from Atlanta, Detroit, New York, Boston, and Philadelphia said at this meeting or the prior one that crimes, drugs, prostitution, and homicides had all followed in areas where these businesses were concentrated. Adult businesses can be regulated, but the drug pushers and their customers cannot be regulated.

Inevitably as junkies need money to finance their habit, muggings and burglaries will break out from any so-called "confinement area" and visit that misery on downtown and even neighborhoods on Anastasia Island.

The U.S. Supreme Court may say that sexually oriented businesses have First Amendment rights, but the court does not say they all have to be clustered in one area.

Though it may not seem so, it is far better to risk having one establishment in dozens of locations, than to have dozens in one red-light district where criminals can maximize their resources.

All the cities mentioned earlier have spent millions cleaning up these areas. It's a lot easier to get them than to get rid of them.

Will St. Augustine make the same mistake?

Lew Norris

St. Augustine

Letter: City is no place for 'adult' businesses

Letter: City is no place for 'adult' businesses

Margorie Adelsperger
St. Augustine
Publication Date: 08/23/07

Editor: As a business owner for 31 years, I do not want to see our beautiful city go down the drain by allowing so-called adult entertainment back into our community.

I do not see why the St. Augustine mayor and city commissioners would even consider it.

We want our children to look up to the business community and perhaps go into business for themselves some day. How would you feel if your daughter said she wanted to be a stripper? That is what would happen if we allow this kind of business into our city. We do not want to be a Las Vegas, or Daytona Beach. If people want adult entertainment let them go there.

Margorie Adelsperger

St. Augustine

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© The St. Augustine Record

America's best hope for reform, liberty, justice, equality and freedom is ahead of us -- what RFK told us in 1966

In the words of the first homily of Pope John Paul II, "Be not afraid."

America's best hope for reform, liberty, justice, equality and freedom is ahead of us. My role model, hero and indirect mentor during the 20th century was murdered in L.A. in 1968. I was 11 years old and a 6th grader at J. Mason Tomlin Elementary Schhool in Mantua, N.J. at the the time. Repeatedly, for decades, from Hoffa through Vietnam, RFK stared the devil in the eye, including corruption, the mafia, arms merchants and warmongers. Although very young, only 11 years old, I was politically aware, under the ministrations of my Sixth Grade teacher, Mrs. Patricia Catell. I was as probably as traumatized as anyone else in America. After RFK was murdered in 1968, I resolved to win victories for human rights, and not to yield to our oppressors. Only six years later, I was in college, working for RFK's only surviving brother as an intern, a position I obtained through my aunt, Mrs. Helen Theresa Donlon Carey, who turns 90 next month and who referred me to her Philadelphia Inquirer ad-taker friend, Vera McShane, whose son Terrence was working for EMK and studying at Georgetown. Aunt Helen celebrates her 90th birthday on September 14th. I owe my career to her and to EMK.

Nearly 40 years later, RFK's words survive and inspire us here in St. Augustine, whose civil rights victories in 1964 by people like my friend Barbara B. Allen live on, inspiring us all to work harder, smarter and better.

My first boss, as a freshmaa at Georgetown University almost 1/3 of a century ago, was RFK's sole surviving brother, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, for whom I was honored to work 1974-1976, working my way from volunteer to intern to staff assistant (at the pay rate of $53 per4 week for part-time work in the mailroom) and casework and legislative offices in Washington, D.C.

We do not need an adult entertainment zone and environmental destruction blocks from the place where the first Roman Catholic Mass in North America was said on September 8, 1565. We can stop it. As Albert Camus said, "if you do not help us do this, then who else in the world can help us do this?"

As RFK, who was my first mentor (albeit indirect) said in 1966: "It is not enough to allow dissent. We must demand it. For there is much to dissent from. .... We dissent from the fact that millions are trapped in poverty while the nation grows rich. ... We dissent from the conditions and hatreds which deny a full life to our fellow citizens because of the color of their skin. ... We dissent from the monstrous absurdity of a world where nations stand poised to destroy one another, and men must kill their fellow men. ... We dissent from the sight of most of mankind living in poverty, stricken by disease, threatened by hunger and doomed to an early death after a life of unremitting labor. ... We dissent from cities which blunt our senses and turn the ordinary acts of daily life into a painful struggle. ... We dissent from the willful, heedless destruction of natural pleasure and beauty. ... We dissent from all these structures – of technology and of society itself – which strip from the individual the dignity and warmth of sharing in the common tasks of his community and his country."

As my first boss, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, said August 12, 1980, "For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."

Question authority and work to save our city and our country. America -- and St. Augustine, Florida -- are worth saving from thuggery, flummery and dupery.

My aunt the nun, Sister Margaret Mary, FMM, taught me at age 10 that human rights were worth fighting for -- she risked expulsion from South Korea as a human rights activist and perservered. She is still there today.

Again, in the words of the first homily of Pope John Paul II, "Be not afraid."

Always and everywhere, work to presever and protect our environment and for freedom, liberty, justice and equality every single day of your lives.

You will be glad you did, and your grandchildren will honor you for your service to humanity.

With kindest regards, I am,

Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin
Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3084
904-471-9918 (fax)

Friday, August 24, 2007


From August 14, 2007 FOLIO WEEKLY (Jacksonville, Florida):
"Brickbats to Barbara Bosanko, chair of the Anastasia Mosquito Control District of St. Johns County, for playing the heavy in recent instances of citizen dissent. Bosanko recently called in a Sheriff's deputy to silence frequent board critic and local gadfly Ed Slavin after he spoke up in defense of another man, whom Bosanko was gaveling to silence."

The "other man" was Don Girvan, a former Army Captain who was criticizing AMCD's purchase of a $1.8 million Bell Jet Ranger helicopter without competitive bidding. Girvan, former Democratic County Commission candidate Roger Van Ghent and a Citibank Vice President joined others in dissenting from the illegal helicopter purchase. It's time for AMCD to cancel the illegal helicopter deal. As my mother would say, "drop the oyster and leave the wharf." See much more, below, including photos of the videotaped Sunshine violation by AMCD Chair BARBARA BOSANKO, VIce Chair LINDA WAMPLER, and erstwhile AMCD counsel AUDRIE M. HARRISS OF the law firm of DORAN, WOLFE, ANSAY & KUNDID, who lied to State's Attorney John Tanner about the videotaped violation. Will BOSANKO & WAMPLER resign? Apologize? Repent? Are Grand Jury indictments immiment, as in Jacksonville's City Council case, for Sunshine violations? Watch this blog.


From August 21, 2007 FOLIO WEEKLY (Jacksonville, Florida):

"Brickbats to St. Augustine City Manager Bill Harriss for using scare tactics to dissuade City Commissioners from endorsing the Florida scrub-jay as Florida's new state bird. Harriss advised commissioners that approving the bird, which lives only in Florida scrub habitat, would create more protected zones for the threatened species. Harriss told the commission he didn't think it was 'a matter you should be getting into.' The commission wisely disagreed."

Morris Communications' St. Augustine Record did not cover the story. HARRIS previously blocked efforts to fly Rainbow Flags on the Bridge of Lions in honor of Gay Pride. His bad advice resulted in a June 7, 2005 federal court order finding St. Augustine violated our First Amendment. It's time for HARRISS to go. See below for more on HARRISS' Philistinism, from waste, fraud, abuse, misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance to First Amendment violations. It's time for him to go.

Meet Non Resident City Manager For Life WILLIAM B. HARRISS

The Collective Press
Issue # 8 / 2005
Meet non-resident,
City Manager-for-life, Bill Harriss
Editorial by Ed Slavin

Meet non-resident, City Manager-for-life, Bill Harriss Controversial St. Augustine City Manager William B. Harris does not live in the City of St. Augustine. Harriss, who was long the Assistant City Manager under William Pomar, became City Manager pursuant to a controversial contract that forces the City to pay him two years pay if he is ever removed from office. Harriss is most noted for his hostility to First Amendment exercises of artists and entertainers on St. George Street.

In a more recent First Amendment case, Harriss thrice vetoed Gay Pride Flags on the Bridge of Lions, only to be TKOed by a TRO (temporary restraining order) from a United States District Judge on June 7th. A member of his household, Ms. Phyllis Harriss, confirmed July 1, 2005 to The Collective Press that the Harriss residence is not even in the City. A telephone message left for William Harris has never been returned. We will publish any response.

Speakers at St. Augustine City Commission meetings have been queried about their residences and forced to tell their addresses on live television. Members of Boards and Commissions are limited to City residents, with a recent exception made for the Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB), whose Chair lives in South Ponte Vedra.

Many cities require City Managers to be residents. In this case, St. Augustine's City Manager does not live in the City, does not receive City services and pays no City taxes.His "service," such as it is, should no longer be required.

Time For City Commission to Remove City Manager WILLIAM B. HARRISS and For Congress to Impeach Bush/Cheney?

At yesterday's St. Augustine City Commission budget workshop, we learned that no funds have been budgeted for cleanup of the 30,000,000 pounds of contaminants St. Augustine City Manager WILLIAM B. HARRISS & CO. cumped into our Old City Reservoir from the old city dump. It's been estimated cleanup with cost over $1.2 million. City Manager HARRISS forbade public questions. Putative Mayor JOSEPH LEROY BOLES, JR> clicked his heels in agreement. No questions. After the meeting ended, I asked how much the cleanup would cost. HARRISS heyboy TIMOTHY BURCHFIELD refused to answer, despite COMMISSIONER ERROL JONES and MAYOR BOLES saying public questions would be answered. Chief Administrative Officer John Regan asserted that the cost would be only $700,000, while saying engineering studies were still ongoing. Why the delay? Not one word appears in the City budget. It's your money. Demand answers.
WILLIAM B. HARRISS needs to resign or be fired.

Likewise, is it time for Congress to show some backbone and hold House Judiciary Committee hearings on impeaching President George W. Bush and VP Richard Cheney?

Yes. Two Presidents have been impeached -- as conservative activist Bruce Fein says, it's what our Founders intended to hold Presidents accountable. It's our counry. Demand answers. Demand Congress do its job.