Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Letter: APAC asphalt plant draws renewed interest

Letter: APAC asphalt plant draws renewed interest

Teresa Doyle
Publication Date: 01/30/08

Editor: Our current county commissioners inherited many daunting and multifaceted issues from the previous board, some of which may take years to resolve.

One of the most frustrating, in our opinion, is the placement of the APAC asphalt plant on State Road 207. This plant is located in a community comprised of Osceola Elementary School, St. Augustine Little League fields, Williams-Young housing for developmentally disabled adults, Southern Villas, subsidized housing for the elderly, St. Augustine Health & Rehab Center, a nursing home, and many blocks of single-family residences located behind and adjacent to the plant.

Last week without fanfare or political posturing two of our county commissioners demonstrated their leadership ability by writing to the ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry) in Atlanta requesting a public health assessment of the affected community.

These commissioners received reports from neighbors and business owners' of increased incidences of upper respiratory distress, shortness of breath, pink eye, skin irritations, headaches, dizziness and nausea ever since the plant commenced operations and as their representatives took action.

County Commission Chairman Tom Manuel and Commissioner Cyndi Stevenson, vice-chair, listened to the people and more importantly showed their genuine concern for the health and wellbeing of these residents.

These commissioners have shown the citizens of St. Johns County that district lines do not matter, that voices are heard and that "we the people" does work.

Teresa Doyle

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© The St. Augustine Record

Editorial: Curbside glass recycling should be countywide

Editorial: Curbside glass recycling should be countywide

Publication Date: 01/30/08

Curbside glass recycling returns to north St. Johns County as a pilot program effective Friday. It's cost-free to Seaboard Waste Systems' 31,000-plus customers.

The St. Johns County Commission recently approved the pilot and agreed to pay for it with $370,000 from the solid waste budget's reserves.

The pilot will run to Oct. 1.

If it proves successful, then curbside glass recycling countywide could be a reality by the 2009 fiscal year.

The municipalities of St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach have had curbside glass recycling for years.

Advanced Disposal, the company that serves the southern part of the county, has said it's ready for curbside glass recycling, says Joe Stephenson, the county's public works director.

The pilot is in the northern county because residents of the area, particularly in Ponte Vedra Beach, have asked County Commission Chairman Tom Manuel and other government officials for it.

Curbside glass recycling went out of vogue in St. Johns County in 2003 when the County Commission found it was not cost effective.

In 2005, the County Commission affirmed the earlier decision.

Commissioners and customers then questioned whether the market for glass was worth the effort.

But times are changing and recycled glass is almost everywhere. Look around your home and neighborhood. Recycled glass is turning up in windows, walkways, counter tops, sports turf, tile and fiberglass, for example.

But we still have to ask if this is good for the environment or a "feel good" gesture?

Consider this response in a news release announcing the county's pilot program: "Every ton of recycled glass results in a ton of raw materials being saved and since glass does not lose its purity or quality, it can be reused indefinitely."

Stephenson said the county's evaluation of the pilot program will take into effect how much tonnage of glass is no longer in the county's landfills or transfer stations, where general household trash ends up.

The additional cost of curbside glass recycling could be around $15.36 per customer per year based on the expense of the pilot.

That's not bad. It's about the cost of two meals of burgers, fries, pies and sodas at a drive-in.

Seaboard customers, pile high those recycle bins with glass starting Friday.

We want curbside glass recycling back countywide by next year.

Its future depends on what you do.

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© The St. Augustine Record

Friday, January 25, 2008

FOLIO WEEKLY article on illegal dumping by City of St. Augustine, Florida

(from Folio Weekly's website)

St. Augustine's most ardent critics gain credibility in the city's illegal dumping scandal

It's hard to imagine how it rankles city officials to cede the moral high ground to people who have derided their "fascist" policies, wearing black armbands to City Commission meetings and making "Sieg Heil" hand gestures. But the people who have traditionally fought from the margins have moved to the center of a political storm in the Oldest City - first exposing, then demanding accountability in an illicit, foolish and ever-more-costly dumping scandal. Check out page 20 in this week's issue to read more.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Judge: Merrill Roland guilty

Judge: Merrill Roland guilty

Publication Date: 01/24/08

St. Johns County Court Judge Patti Christensen issued a three-page ruling Wednesday that said Merrill Paul Roland, candidate for the District 1 County Commission seat, had violated St. Augustine city ordinances against selling merchandise or services on St. George Street.

A hearing will be scheduled for Roland's sentencing, Christensen's order said. Penalties for violating Ordinance 00-09, Section 22-6, is $168 to $568.

Despite the low potential fine, the trial took months due to conflicts and delays about witnesses and evidence.

After the trial ended, Christensen's decision took eight weeks.

Robin Upchurch, assistant city attorney for St. Augustine, prosecuted this case for the city and said Wednesday evening that she is pleased with Christensen's final order.

"The court was thoughtful in listening to the evidence and parsing the arguments," she said.

Roland said he would appeal the decision, which would probably go before a St. Johns County Circuit Court judge.

At trial, three St. Augustine police bike patrol officers testified that on Jan. 27, 2007, Roland was wearing a pirate costume on St. George Street just north of Hypolita Street. He was holding a Jolly Roger flag and a sign that said, "Photo $2.00" and in smaller words "donation."

They said Roland was standing about 10 feet from the entrance to the Columbia Restaurant on the public street when two women came up to him, took his photo then handed him something.

Christensen's order said, "The defendant did a good job cross-examining the officers, calling into question whether they actually saw money change hands. But the cross-examination missed the point. Whether (the) defendant was paid for having his picture taken is not determinative of this case because the ordinance is not limited to the sale or donation of services. The act of offering services for sale or donation is sufficient to violate the ordinance."

Roland said at least one of the officers was lying.

"There was never any physical evidence. They only had testimony," he said. "The only physical evidence were the photos that showed me on private property. The judge's is basing my guilt on the word of an officer who committed perjury."

Upchurch took issue with that.

"Clearly, the court believed the (police) officers (who arrested Roland) and not the baseless accusations of the defendant," she said.

Christensen's order said Roland believed "the city had a grudge against him. He also believed that police "withheld exculpatory photographs taken by a camera phone" and that he was actually on private property.

"The law requires facts," Christensen wrote. "Cutting through the smoke and mirrors and taking away the cloak and dagger, the court is left with unrefuted evidence that (the) defendant offered to have his picture taken on St. George Street in exchange for compensation which is a violation of law."

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© The St. Augustine Record

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Letter: Supports city in lawsuit over Fish Island marina

Letter: Supports city in lawsuit over Fish Island marina

Bob Peissinger
Publication Date: 01/23/08

Editor: I love it. I just love it.

A developer who, after the fact, wants to install a dockage superstructure over public waterway surfaces and thereby rendering it "his" property, gets repeatedly turned down by the government of the people.

Now, in a show of anger and foot stamping, he wants to sue the government of the people "$9M suit planned over marina" in the Jan. 18 Record. One wonders just how much power and influence these developers have? Will the city of St. Augustine be intimidated? We shall see.

I have had a number of experiences with developers in the past and except for a few situations, they are generally out for whatever they can get and at whatever the cost to the public, the environment and to wildlife.

Apparently, this developer is now caught up in the real estate downturn and wants to bolster the saleability of Fish Island Development parcels by adding massive dockage over "our" waterways.

I believe the public should prevail in this matter. I think we don't need yet another marina, more dockage, more boats with nowhere to go in a hurricane, more pollution, more congestion and more damage to the delicate balance of nature.

Bob Peissinger

St. Augustine Beach

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© The St. Augustine Record

Monday, January 21, 2008

Guest Column: Record ignores Lincolnville, West Augustine issues

Guest Column: Record ignores Lincolnville, West Augustine issues

St. Augustine
Publication Date: 01/20/08

I have to shake my head with disbelief at the lack of the Record's coverage of the largest Lincolnville Neighborhood Association meeting ever held. On Jan. 10, 250 people from all over St. Augustine were there to express their outrage over illegally dumped hazardous waste, taken from Lincolnville and dumped in the old reservoir in West St. Augustine. Now our city commissioners have approved the trucking of the waste back to Lincolnville.

The Record failed again in to be an all-city encompassing newspaper. The lack of respect for environmental issues affecting Lincolnville and West St. Augustine shows the historic poor treatment of these two neighborhoods in this city. The Record had a chance to help usher in a new era of media involvement in the protection of these neighborhoods. Where are the articles on who did this to our neighborhoods? Why can they attempt to cover it up and blithely vote to spend $800,000 to cover over their glaring illegal mistakes?

They have no permits and they ignore the reports on the waste and Florida Department of Environmental Protection's recommendation to take this waste to a proper landfill.

The Record could have reported on the grandstanding by Errol Jones, the very same city commissioner who introduced the motion to bring back the waste. The $800,000 motion was voted on and approved Mayor Joseph Boles, Vice Mayor Donald Crichlow, and Commissioners George Gardner, Susan Burk and Jones. All this was with the approval of City Manager William Harriss, who initiated the original illegal dumping without permits. The first dumping cost the tax-payers more than $200,000, plus a $33,000 fine and thousands of dollars in legal fees to defend the official's illegal actions. If that's not news, I don't know a hound dog from a weasel and God help Lincolnville and West St. Augustine.

When these long neglected and dumped-on neighborhoods, which understand the city's contempt for them, can't depend on the news media to get involved in major issues affecting us, we ask why?

We what the lone city newspaper's relationship is with the powers to be in this town? Why doesn't a reporter see the opportunity to help expose the gross mismanagement of the city toward the two blighted neighborhoods? We pay the same taxes as the rest of the well kept city.

If ever a reporter needed a Pulitzer Prize story, it would be on environmental racism. St. Augustine is only a microcosm of this problem in America.

As Flagler College's tax-free real estate investments grow unabated, aided by the city officials, where is your newspaper on this most inequitable tax abuse by the college? Where were the public meetings for discussion of the three Florida East Coast Railway buildings that will be used for rooming their paying customers, (Students)?

These same buildings could have brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes, in the form of offices, condos, or at the least, badly needed elderly facilities with medical care.

This major reconstruction project seems to have happened overnight, but it really took at least a year of planning by the college to get the permits, blueprints and contractor bids in. So let's get that straight and don't accept the statement by Vice Mayor Crichlow, that the college had no choice, that the FEC forced them to make a decision in less than 24 hours. He also said that no one else wanted them.

What a joke on the tax payers. Can anyone imagine a developer who wouldn't want to develop those wonderful three buildings? The gateway to our city now has three large rooming houses, tax free.

Lincolnville and West St. Augustine need what the rest of the city has, sidewalks, good streets, play grounds, code enforcement to get rid of the eyesore of boarded-up shacks owned by speculators; the elimination of drug dealers, rezoning to let small businesses open up. I am speaking of grocery stores, cafes, doctor's offices, and any other stores the other neighborhoods have.

We in Lincolnville and West St. Augustine are deeply hurt and offended by The Record's lack of respect and protection a true newspaper affords a community. Shame on you.

Anthony Seraphin is a businessman who lives in Lincolnville. He is a member of the Lincolnville Neighborhood Association.

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© The St. Augustine Record

Friday, January 18, 2008

We Shall Overcome" Meeting Downplayed: Lincolnville and West Augustine residents eloquently confronted officials who first dumped solid waste in lake

On January 10th, Lincolnville and West Augustine residents eloquently confronted officials who first dumped solid waste in a coquina pit lake long used for bass fishing and swimming, with the city's lawyer (William Pence of Akerman Senterfitt) resembling a character in "Erin Brockovich" or "A Civil Action," actually stating he would drink the water.

One resident reporting that all the fish were dead; Pence demanded to know how the people got on "private property." Following the lead of three small newspapers (The Collective Press, The Chronicle and Out in the City), Folio Weekly has done yeoman work catching up on St. Augustine's dumping scandals, with more on the way.

The Wreckord devoted only a small story to the meeting in an historic church, not even reporting citizens sang "We Shall Overcome" after their victory in a place where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led St. Augustine to respect civil rights and civil liberties. The Wreckord cheated its readers from in-depth coverage.

That sound you heard Monday night, January 14th was concrete breaking of the Berlin Wall. Commissioner Errol Jones, who made the motion to ship solid waste back to Lincolnville, changed his mind after attending the January 10th Lincolnville meeting. Jones pressed Commissioners January 13th to eliminate Lincolnville as a destination for the solid waste.

The St. Augustine Record has dropped the ball, printing City of St. Augustine "spin."

"We shall overcome"

"We shall overcome" (copyrighted by Pete Seeger, Guy Carawan and Frank Hamilton)

We shall overcome
We shall overcome
We shall overcome some day

Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome some day

We'll walk hand in hand
We'll walk hand in hand
We'll walk hand in hand some day


We shall all be free
We shall all be free
We shall all be free some day


We are not afraid
We are not afraid
We are not afraid some day


We are not alone
We are not alone
We are not alone some day


The whole wide world around
The whole wide world around
The whole wide world around some day


We shall overcome
We shall overcome
We shall overcome some day


Letter: Democracy worked at Riberia landfill meeting

Letter: Democracy worked at Riberia landfill meeting

Peg McIntire -- Member of People for Peace & Justice
Director of Grandparents for Peace -- St. Augustine
Publication Date: 01/18/08

Editor: The spirit of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., was alive and well at the recent meeting to protest a landfill on Riberia Street. Ed Slavin termed it "environmental racism."

St. Paul's A.M.E. Church was "standing room only."

The issue has been covered in the press at previous meetings and on several occasions. But I found this last meeting more intense and more constructive.

At least a dozen concerned St. Augustine citizens, not only the residents of Lincolnville, spoke intelligently and passionately, demanding that the city of St. Augustine "do the right thing"... cancel the planned project (presently at a standstill). It was exciting to see democracy at work. It was inspiring to close the evening singing "We Shall Overcome."

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© The St. Augustine Record

Trusting soul award goes to the Wreckord for claiming illegal dumping wasn't criminal (below)

Trusting soul award goes to the St. Augustine Wreckord for running a one-sided story reporting that the Inspector General of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection had found blameless DEP's refusal to prosecute criminally St. Augustine City officials -- who dumped solid waste into a coquina lake that it is "an open sore going straight down to the aquifer and the groundwater," according to former EPA Regional Administrator John Henry Hankinson.

The Wreckord did not ask me for comment, while reporting the complaint to DEP IG on page one.

The Wreckord has never acknowledged my offer to share documents on the FDEP criminal investigation coverup, with Captain Grea Beavis writing he would not prosecute St. Augustine because of a three-day Florida Chamber of Commerce environmental conference held in Marco Island, Florida in July 2006.

The FDEP also found no motive for our City's dumping (ignoring the millions in cost savings).

The Wreckord's headline resembled one in East Tennessee in 1983, where a Courthouse gang newspaper (Clinton Courier News) falsely reported on page one that a federal grand jury cleared (issued a "no true bill") on Sheriff Dennis O. Trotter. There are no "no true bills" in federal criminal procedure. Trotter was indicted and imprisoned -- when he left prison, he ended up paying me to setttle a lawsuit over his having stirred up a bogus by bail bondsmen (who also pled guilty and paid for their efforts to stifle free speech).

I've asked Governor Charles Crist's Inspector General to investigate the coverup by the FDEP Inspector General. The Wreckord is guilty of journalistic malpractice.

Report: Nothing criminal in illegal dumping

Report: Nothing criminal in illegal dumping

Publication Date: 01/16/08

An investigation released Tuesday upholds the Florida Department of Enviornmental Protection's finding that the city did nothing criminal in its illegal dumping of landfill material.

DEP's office of Inspector General investigated the issue after receiving a call from Ed Slavin, an activist who said Environmental Protection did not do a thorough job on the case.

The Inspector General's Office submitted a report stating "(DEP) ... followed their adopted case criteria and acted within the boundaries of their powers of discretion when they elected to close their investigation into the City of St. Augustine. ..."

The city was fined by DEP and investigated for removing dirt from an inactive landfill along the San Sebastian River to regrow the marsh and redevelop wetlands. The contaminated dirt was dumped in a borrow pit on Holmes Boulevard.

The city entered an agreement with Environmental Protection to fix the issue, but residents were against the plan and filed a petition.

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© The St. Augustine Record

On the use of words like "exclusive" and "upscale" and "high-quality visitors" to describe new WESTIN

How pompous, insecure and indescribably boring. Sounds like mendacious tree-killing speculator mouthpiece GEORGE MccLURE is writing fot the St. Augustine Record. See below.

Westin coming to St. Augustine

The Florida Times-Union

January 17, 2008

Westin coming to St. Augustine

St. Augustine Record

ST. AUGUSTINE - A Westin Hotel, one of the most exclusive hoteliers in the county, will anchor the San Sebastian Harbor Resort project, ending months of speculation over what hotel will locate there.

What that means for St. Augustine will be a luxury resort with worldwide name recognition and a clientele expected to generate more tourism dollars for the city.

"The Westin is a perfect fit for the San Sebastian Harbor Resort," said Wally Devlin, CEO of The Devlin Group Inc. He recently said negotiations were under way with an upscale hotel company, but declined to name that company until Wednesday.

On Wednesday, San Sebastian Harbor Resort LLC, a subsidiary of The Devlin Cos., announced it had entered an agreement with Westin Operator LLC, a subsidiary of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc.

"The hotel will provide guests with a wonderful place to rest their heads and relax as they enjoy the nation's oldest city. It will also help to attract more tourism dollars to St. Augustine," Devlin said.

Westin Hotels & Resorts has 155 hotels and resorts in more than 31 countries and territories and is owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.

Starwood is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with approximately 850 properties in more than 95 counties and 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties.

Construction for the $200 million project is expected to start this fall and be completed by fall 2010.

The Westin St. Augustine and The Residences at The Westin St. Augustine will be located on the nearly 13-acre site along the San Sebastian River in the heart of historic St. Augustine. The project will be just off King Street.

According to a Devlin press release, there will be a convention center for business meetings or special events at the hotel. That's expected to attract a business clientele to the area and may help to extend people's stays.

Also expected to attract visitors will be a luxury spa and high-end retail shops.

Westin St. Augustine will provide Heavenly Bed and Bath, an exclusive Westin offering, for its guests. In-room spa treatments and the Westin Workout are part of the offering.

Also on the nearly 13-acre site off King Street will be upscale condominiums to be known as The Residences at The Westin St. Augustine. A 65-slip marina with boardwalk promenade is planned also.

Mark Knight, city planning and building department director, said the Devlin group has asked for a 90-day extension for the San Sebastian's building permit. He said that was so they could find a new contractor.

"We're holding the project and waiting for them," Knight said.

Devlin officials said while they are seeking a new contractor, the extension was not for that reason, but in order for plans to reflect the new agreement with Westin.

Knight said the developer had scratched plans for construction of office and retail space at San Marco and May Street.

If Devlin pursues the project in the future, he will have to go through the approval process again with the city.

This story can be found on at

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

FOX NEWS 30: St. Augustine residents don’t want dump in their neighborhood (January 9th)

St. Augustine residents don’t want dump in their neighborhood
Contributor: Brandon Westerman
Last Update: 1/10 11:50 am

Print Story | Email Story

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Some people in the Lincolnville Community in downtown St. Augustine are fighting to stop the city from reopening a dump near their neighborhood.

The community is upset over plans to move the waste from the dump back to the Riberia Street site. Residents are concerned over the health and environmental effects.

Right now, the site is over on Holmes Boulevard.

Residents can voice their concerns Thursday night [January 10th] at 6 p.m. at the St. Paul AME Church on Martin Luther King Avenue.

City weighs landfill options

City weighs landfill options

Publication Date: 01/15/08

After months of public outcry, St. Augustine's City Commission decided Monday to research new options handling the city's illegal dumping of landfill material instead of returning it to a Lincolnville neighborhood site.

City staff will explore four new options, including leaving the material where it is, in a borrow pit on a Holmes Boulevard site, or removing the material, screening it with large equipment and taking out solid waste, and then entombing the leftover soil on the city-owned Holmes Boulevard site.

The commission agreed staff will no longer look at returning the material to the Riberia Street site in Lincolnville, where it was originally taken from.

The issue began when the city removed the dirt from an inactive landfill along the San Sebastian River to regrow the marsh and redevelop wetlands. The contaminated dirt was dumped in a borrow pit on North Holmes Boulevard

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection fined the city $33,698. The city agreed to clean the pit and put the dirt back on the Riberia site.

But that plan was put on hold when Lincolnville residents filed a petition against it. The plan will now be reviewed by a judge, a process that could take 150 days.

In the meantime, the city could change what it will do with the site, said John Regan, city chief operations officer.

Commissioner Errol Jones recently attended two Lincolnville neighborhood meetings, where a couple hundred people were against the city's plan.

"I will fight this battle tomorrow and the next day and the next day (to have the landfill material not be returned to Lincolnville)," Jones told the other commissioners Monday.

Returning the material was the most economical choice, as it would cost $800,000 opposed to paying $1 million to $2 million to dump the material in a landfill, Regan has said.

"Let's not keep talking about Lincolnville in terms of dollars," Jones said. "We're not talking dollars, we're talking about people."

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© The St. Augustine Record

Monday, January 14, 2008



“Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.”
— the late U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.)

"Justice delayed is justice denied." – Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

Starting circa 1905
■ Dumping of household trash, sewage sludge and industrial trash in the historic Lincolnville community, from the present location of the Willie Gallimore Center south. This and other dumps in St. Augustine and St. Johns County are never remediated.
■ Location of City’s sewage treatment plant in Lincolnville at south end of Riberia Street.
■ Location of Atlanta Gas Light coal-to-gas plant in Lincolnville at north end of Riberia Street.
■ Location of polluting boatyards in Lincolnville.
■ Location of City’s garage and water treatment plant in West Augustine

June 12, 1964
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. writes letter from jail to clergy, calls CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE “most lawless” city in America. President Johnson signs 1964 Civil Rights Act in July 1964.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established after first Earth Day.

CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE ceases using Old City Reservoir, still backup water supply.

■ Environmental Justice (EJ) movement begun to remedy low-income and minority communities bearing disproportionate share of dumping and pollution.
■ No evident effort by CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE to examine the legacy of decades of dumping decisions affecting low-income and minority communities of Lincolnville and West Augustine.
Then-City Manager WILLIAM POMAR writes and promises Army Corps of Engineers to dispose of all refuse properly in the creation of an artificial wetland at the south end of Riberia Street.

■ EPA holds public hearings in St. Augustine before approving cleanup of old coal-to-gas plant at location planned for Sebastian Inner Harbor.
■ AKERMAN SENTERFITT lawyer WILLIAM L. PENCE represents the CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE as its environmental counsel and is at all times since available to answer questions by City officials on environmental issues..
■ PENCE, asserts that the cleanup of the Sebastian Inner Harbor Project was “successful.”

September 27, 2005
City Manager WILLIAM B. HARRISS, signed $200,000 contract for hauling for Riberia Street site, without any City Commission approval sought or required.

December 1, 2005
GREGORY J. STRONG, a marketing executive for a petroleum industry supplier and past environmental regulatory manager for polluters fined hundreds of thousands of dollars by EPA, becomes Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Northeast Florida District Director.

December 9, 2005
St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) biologist, at the Old City Reservoir site, tells CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE officials not to dump without permit. City starts illegal dumping the next day, without ever calling lawyer PENCE at AKERMAN SENTERFITT..

December 10, 2005
Illegal dumping of some 60,000,000 pounds of contaminants – including arsenic, thallium and vinyl chloride – begins in the Old City Reservoir, in secrecy, without public notice.

December 12, 2005
St. Augustine City Commission agrees, without voting, to allow Civil Rights Foot Soldiers Monument in the Slave Market Square (Plaza de la ConstituciĆ³n), rejecting City Manager HARRISS’ claim that only “colonial” history was suitable, while agreeing with HARRISS’ demand that the victims of the City’s discrimination had to raise funds for the monument.

January 9, 2006
■ Certified letter from FDEP responds to permit application, tells St. Augustine not to dump without a permit.
■ Illegal dumping continues in Old City Reservoir.

February 17, 2006
■ Illegal dumping reported to National Response Center in Washington, D.C.. (Report 788280)
■ Illegal dumping continues in Old City Reservoir.

February 24, 2006
■ Mayor GEORGE GARDNER defends illegal dumping, says it’s only “clean fill.”
■ “There are no bedsprings in clean fill” as EPA expert John Marler explains.
■ Former EPA Region 4 Regional Administrator John Henry Hankinson states that the coquina pit lake where the illegal dumping took place is an “open sore going straight down to the aquifer and the groundwater.”
■ City Public Affairs Director Paul Williamson claims that the City’s $30,000 document camera/podium will be unavailable to members of the public February 27 to show any documents or videos.
■ City Manager HARRISS, when asked about whether he had permit, responds: “I’ll get one.“ He never does. Illegal dumping continues in Old City Reservoir.

February 27, 2006
■ Assistant City Manager JOHN REGAN, P.E. tells Ed Slavin that “because of what you [Slavin] have done, it will be a long process.” Ed Slavin tells REGAN that it is the City, not him that did the polluting.
■ REGAN twice asks Ed Slavin for copy of DVD provided to Federal and State environmental crimes investigators.
■ Ed Slavin declines to provide DVD to REGAN, based upon request from Federal and State criminal investigators.
■ REGAN asserts to Ed Slavin that the CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE was “in a hurry” to finish wetland remediation in order to begin the Sebastian Inner Harbor Project.
■ REGAN sends E-mail to CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE PUBLIC AFFAIRS MANAGER PAUL WILLIAMSON, inter alia using pejoratives about questions being asked on Respondent COSA’s illegal dumping in Old City Reservoir:
"Suggested RESPONSE: 'Your request for information has been forwarded to the City Attorney for response.' THE END. - And do not respond to anymore (sic) of his E- mails unless the above is the response.' Any further attempt to 'answer' any of his outlandish (sic) and absurd (sic) questions and accusations only serves to fuel his misguided (sic) filibustering (sic) and empty (sic) threats (sic). He has nothing (sic) else (sic) to do with his life and his only (sic) 'contact' with the outside world is through emails (sic). Suggest allowing Wilson to "handle" the responses.
■ Mayor GEORGE GARDENER publicly promises “answers” to Ed Slavin’s questions. None provided yet.
■ Illegal dumping continues in Old City Reservoir..

March 1, 2006
■ Illegal dumping continues in Old City Reservoir two (2) days later – FDEP’s Brian Durden photographs illegal dumping after criminal investigators arrive.
■ In the presence of AKERMAN SENTERFITT partner WILLIAM PENCE, Esquire, then-CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE Public Works Director WILLIAM LEETCH and other CITY employees told EPA and FDEP criminal investigators that mainly clean materials were dumped at the Old City Reservoir and only 80 cubic yards of “unsuitable” material were dumped. (PX-12). This information was not accurate.

March 13, 2006
■ Then-Commissioner (now Mayor) JOSEPH LEROY BOLES, JR. says he is “tired” of people “trashing” City Manager HARRISS, which Vice Mayor and Commissioner SUSAN BURK says is only by “one (sic) disgruntled (sic) citizen” raising concerns about illegal dumping.
■ All five City Commissioners vote unanimously to give HARRISS an honor (a plaque) and vote to express their “confidence” in HARRISS.

March 15, 2006
■ FDEP orders the CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE to remove the solid waste from the Old City Reservoir lake and put it in a Class I landfill no later than April 17, 2006.
■ Twenty months later, the cleanup has not been done.
■ CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE, AKERMAN SENTERFITT and GEOSYNTEC start spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, delaying Old City Reservoir cleanup by 2-3 years.

March 23, 2006
Clay County Grand Jury indicts three county officials for illegal dumping in widely reported $9,000,000 dumping scandal, which began in 2004.

March 27, 2006
Taxpayer-purchased plaque publicly presented to HARRISS by all five City Commissioners, lavishing praise. Mayor GARDNER, Vice Mayor BURK and Commissioners CRICHLOW, JONES and BOLES are photographed with HARRISS, expressing confidence in him, discouraging cooperation with ongoing criminal investigation and may constitute obstruction of justice. The proclamation stated: P R O C L A M A T I O N
WHEREAS, the CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE is extraordinary among places in the world and is fortunate to have William B. “Bill” Harriss as its City Manager, a person whose passion for the City and professional commitment to the City is unmatched; and
WHEREAS, in his more than two decades of service to the people of St. Augustine as Chief Financial Officer, General Services Director, Assistant City Manager and now as City Manager, Mr. Harriss’ philosophy (sic) of administration through strong team-building consistently inspires the City’s more than 350 employees to aspire to do their best, and
WHEREAS, through responsible fiscal planning, Mr. Harriss has ensured the City’s solid financial standing and earned its sound management the highest respect; and
WHEREAS, with honest enthusiasm for the highest level of proficiency in every aspect of his work, Mr. Harriss’ prudent (sic) management has resulted in improved reliability of service for the City’s 10,000 utility customers while continually upgrading infrastructure, and
WHEREAS, by making public safety a high priority, Mr. Harriss has lead (sic) the fire and police departments to create a safe community for the City’s 14,000 residents and millions of annual visitors.
NOW, THEREFORE, it is with great pride (sic) that the St. Augustine City Commission recognizes the outstanding contributions made by William B. “Bill” Harriss to the people of St. Augustine, commends him for his professional commitment, and expresses its full confidence in his management of the City.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, we have hereunto set our signatures and caused the Seal of the CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE to be affixed this 27th day of March in the year of our Lord two thousand six and the four hundred fortieth year of the founding of St. Augustine, the Nation’s Oldest City.
George Gardner, Mayor, Susan Burk, Vice Mayor, Joseph Boles, Commissioner,
Donald Crichlow, Commissioner, Errol Jones, Commissioner

March 28, 2006
In a consent to search form, JOHN REGAN, P.E., Assistant City Manager, admitted that the location in question is the "OLD CITY RESERVOIR," after City officials quibbled about the name (and anonymous postings on St. Augustine Record's "Talk of the Town" website denied it was the OLD CITY RESERVOIR. (PX-13).

Early April 2006
Illegal dumping first publicly reported in two small newspapers -- the Collective Press (St. Augustine monthly) and Out in the City (Jacksonville monthly).

April 10, 2006
Commissioners announce, without voting, their “understanding” that public comments by one individual can be either at the beginning or at the end of Commission meetings, but not both. This violates the Commission’s longstanding practice of allowing Ed Slavin, et al. to speak at both the beginning and at the end of Commission meetings.

April 13, 2006
Front page St. Augustine Record article by prize-winning reporter Kati Bexley reports illegal dumping (8th anniversary of HARRISS’ hiring without national search or Sunshine notice).

April 14, 2006
Dr. Dwight Hines, Ph.D. files lawsuit against City for Open Records violations involving his requests for records on city trucks, including those haulting contaminants from Riberia Street to Holmes Blvd.

April 24, 2006
City Commissioner JOSEPH LEROY BOLES, JR., Esquire states that the City needs to seek attorney fees and monetary sanctions against Dr. Hines to make him “pay the piper,” threatening him and anyone else who files an Open Record lawsuit with a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP suit), possibly violating Florida law against government SLAPP suits.. Commissioner and Vice Mayor SUSAN BURK, Esquire amended her motion to hire Upchurch, Bailey and Upchurch to seek attorney fees for supposedly frivolous litigation. City Clerk Martha V. (Nell) Porter later confirms to Dr. Hines and Ed Slavin that Commissioners did not have a copy of Hines’ Open Record lawsuit when they termed it frivolous and voted to seek attorney fees to make him “pay the piper.”

May 23, 2006
CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE Chief Administrative Officer TIMOTHY BURCHFIELD signs affidavit claiming records sought by Dr. Hines do not exist. In January 2007, CITY provides 45 pounds of records claimed not to exist, later providing computer disk that could not be read (claimed to contain.

August 8, 2006
At initial court hearing in Dr. Hines’ Open Records case where monetary sanctions were threatened, CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE outside counsel Sidney Ansbacher provides Dr. Hines with 45 pounds of documents City previously claimed did not exist on truck use, including hauling of contaminants.

August 22, 2006
CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE CITY MANAGER WILLIAM B. HARRISS writes a “Dear Chief” letter to FDEP Chief of Law Enforcement, GREA BEAVIS, asserting reasons for not prosecuting the CITY, including Messrs. JOHN REGAN, P.E. and WILLIAM LEETCH, P.E., attending “the Florida Chamber of Commerce Environmental Permitting Summer School and short course held at Marco Island this past July.” (PX-10).

August 25, 2006
■ Refusing to bring any criminal charges against the Respondent CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE, GREA BEAVIS, Chief of Investigations, FDEP Division of Law Enforcement, sent a letter to CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE CITY MANAGER WILLIAM B. HARRISS (PX-9), stating he relied upon representations in HARRISS’ August 22, 2006 letter (stamped as being received by FDEP August 24, 2006). No copy of the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s course material or proof of attendance or grades was ever provided to BEAVIS or FDEP. A full-color brochure on the Florida Chamber of Commerce Environmental Permitting Summer School shows that it is lacking in balance, dominated by corporate law firms and consultants.
■ Nothing in FDEP’s undated, unsigned, “CASE CRITERIA” (CX-11) suggests that municipal engineers attending a Chamber of Commerce course is good cause for declining to prosecute the CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE for dumping “solid waste” in a “lake.”
■ No meeting minutes or notes of the meetings between HARRISS and FDEP have yet been provided by FDEP.
■ No report of interview form (or Offense/Incident Report/Narrative form) of any meeting between HARRISS and FDEP has yet been provided by FDEP.
■ FDEP criminal investigators’ records reflect no investigation of perjury, obstruction of justice or any past dumping prior to December 2006
■ In closing a criminal case involving contamination of the Old City Reservoir with arsenic and other toxicants, FDEP’s Bureau of Environmental Investigations (BEI) "investigation" concluded, "No (sic) economic or specific motive for permit violations could be identified."

October 12, 2006
City Attorney JAMES PATRICK WILSON resigns, effective January 31, 2007.

October 13, 2006:
■ Vice Mayor and Commissioner BURK moves to accept WILSON’s resignation immediately, paying him without requiring attendance at work through January 31, 2007.
■ Vice Mayor and Commissioner BURK moves to hire RONALD BROWN and DOBSON & BROWN, P.A. as the City’s temporary attorneys.
■ Neither action was preceded by proper Sunshine notice on the City’s website. No press or public attend the illegal “Special Meeting,” which was not asserted to be an “emergency.” State’s Attorney later refuses to take Sunshine violations to Grand Jury.

November 1, 2006
St. Augustine Chronicle runs cover story by reporter Frank Matzke on illegal dumping, the first publication to publish FDEP staffer Brian Durden’s March 1, 2006 photographs of illegal dumping continuing two (2) days after the criminal investigators arrived.

November 7, 2006
Ed Slavin requests HARRISS to preserve all documents and disable shredders. No response.

November 13, 2006
Mayor GEORGE GARDNER denounces Ed Slavin at last Commission meeting as Mayor, saying he asked too many questions, earning standing ovation by Commissioners, et al.

November 19, 2006
St. Augustine Record editorial (entitled “Always Stick to Your Guns”) denounces GARDNER for his attack on Slavin, chilling free speech rights, supports Slavin’s effort to inform the people.

November 22, 2006
St. Augustine Record reports FDEP’s proposed fine of the CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE of more than $46,000, with FDEP’s calculations stating the amount of the fine was based on City’s lack of good faith. FDEP, waited until after the election.

December 16, 2006
Ed Slavin forgives ex-Mayor GARDNER, et al. in Christmas column in St. Augustine Record.

December 22, 2006
Commissioner BURK moves to hire RONALD BROWN as permanent City Attorney without Sunshine notice of this item (agenda advertised only to discuss tax exemptions for low-income elderly residents).
January 17, 2007
“Basic outline of the City’s settlement proposal” states city will not agree to put solid waste in Class I landfill without a “binding final court order,” stating: “Under no circumstances, except for a final non-appealable court order, will the City agree to remove the fill (sic) material to a Class 1 landfill.” This position never discussed at City Commission meeting first.

March 12, 2007
ST. AUGUSTINE CITY ATTORNEY RONALD BROWN claims the mediation with Dr. Hines was a victory for CITY. No reference is made to “pay the piper” remark, now apparently inoperative.

January to November 2007
FDEP and CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE continue secret negotiations -- attendees include managers, lawyers, engineers and public relations spokerspersons.

June 13, 2007
Without public hearing, City Commissioners vote unanimously to redefine City boundary line to exclude Ed Slavin’s residence from City of St. Augustine, where he has voted since 2000.

June 18, 2007
FDEP District Director STRONG spoke at an EPA Community Involvement Training Conference seminar in Jacksonville, Florida. (PX-8B). Agenda focused on environmental justice issues (PX-8B) and included optional field trip to St. Augustine’s coal-to-gas plan. (PX-8B).

September 2007
City Commissioners and staff refuse to answer questions on City budget at two (2) public hearings and a workshop, including questions on budgeting for environmental cleanup of Old City Reservoir.

September 18, 2007
City’s AKERMAN SENTE$FITT lawyers file with FDEP "Report of Results of SPLP Sampling of Fill Material from the Holmes Boulevard Borrow Pit."

October 2, 2007
City’s lawyers file with FDEP – without notifying the public – their "Fill Removal and Relocation Plan for Holmes Boulevard Borrow Pit and Riberia Street Waste Disposal Area, Revision 3", October 2, 2007 ("R&R Plan"), which describes the methods and means proposed to remove “solid waste” from Holmes Site to Riberia Street dump.

November 1, 2007
St. Augustine Record editorial (entitled “Let the public speak early”) calls for restoring public comment to start of City Commission meetings. Commissioners had referenced three speakers (B.J. Kalaidi, David Thundershield Queen and Ed Slavin in violating public’s First Amendment rights).

November 6, 2007
Assistant City Manager JOHN REGAN writes City Manager HARRIS, requesting City Commission consideration of proposed Consent Order.

November 9, 2007
At approximately 2:38 PM EST, CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE gives E-mail notice Consent Order will be on agenda for November 13, 2007 City Commission meeting.

November 11, 2007
St. Augustine Record editorial gives public notice of right of public to speak on bringing waste back to Lincolnville at 8 AM meeting on November 13, 2007.

November 13, 2007
■ Consent Order only briefly discussed at meeting that commenced at 8 A.M., the day after Veteran’s Day holiday, outside the ordinary course of business, with minimal notice the preceding Friday (November 9, 2007)
■ Commissioner and ex-Mayor GEORGE GARDNER and Commissioner and ex-Vice Mayor SUSAN BURK left the meeting before dumping is discussed.
■ Commissioners ask no tough questions and learn no new information..
■ Effects upon Lincolnville residents are not discussed.
■ St. Augustine City Commissioner ERROL JONES makes the motion, seconded by City Commissioner DONALD CRICHLOW, to approve the Consent Order sending solid waste back to Lincolnville, giving City 475 days to remove contaminants from Old City Reservoir. Vote is 3-0.
■ Mayor JOSEPH LEROY BOLES, JR. denies the public the right to speak on Consent Order, supported by City Attorney RONALD BROWN, who claims that there was no “advertisement” of a “public hearing.” BOLES threatens arrests, motions to police officers.
■ HARRISS refuses calls to resign, saying “I’ve done nothing wrong.”
■ Later that afternoon, JOHN REGAN tells Messrs. Slavin and Seraphin, et al that it would have taken fifteen (15) minutes or less for AKERMAN SENTERFITT environmental lawyer WILLIAM PENCE to have told Respondent COSA not to dump, if only CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE officials had asked or requested him to do so.
■ REGAN tells Messrs. Slavin and Seraphin, et al. that it would have cost seventy-five dollars ($75) for WILLIAM PENCE to have told Respondent COSA not to dump, if only CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE officials had asked PENCE about the dumping before commencing it.

December 8, 2007
■ Consent Order advertised in St. Augustine Record, giving persons twenty-one (21) days within which to petition for review and request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.

December 12, 2007
■ It's cheaper" was the main reason offered by City in defending the proposed Consent Order sending contaminated materials back into the Lincolnville community. December 12, 2007, St. Augustine Record @1, quoting Mr. JOHN REGAN.

December 13, 2007
■ Florida Times-Union reporter Deirdre Conner reports dumping controversy.
■ City Commissioners JONES and GARDNER attend meeting of “Stop the Dump,” with some 80 people in attendance.
■ FDEP District Director STRONG tells Ed Slavin in telephone conversation that what happened in St. Augustine in 1964 was “irrelevant” to St. Augustine’s illegal dumping and institutional racism today.
■ REGAN repeated that statement about it being “cheaper.”.
■ REGAN inaccurately called the illegal dumping a “giant, giant technical (sic) mistake.”
■ REGAN correctly called the coquina pit a “lake.”
■ REGAN apologized for the illegal dumping in the Old City Reservoir.
■ REGAN said the City’s notion of sending the solid waste back to Lincolnville is “counterintutive” and “a little bizarre.”
■ REGAN said there had been dumps for decades on City-owned property from the current location of the Willie Gallimore Center southward.
■ REGAN, said that there were “many, many dumps” in St. Augustine, Florida.
■ REGAN says City performed “root cause analysis” and had “reorganized” as a result of the illegal dumping – on January 9, 2008, REGAN admitted there was nothing in writing.
■ FDEP District Director STRONG and other FDEP staff attended the community meeting but did not speak or answer questions or identify themselves.
■ FDEP claims it needs seven (7) days advance notice to meet with a citizens group, citing Sunshine law for this dubious proposition.

December 18, 2007
■ Folio Weekly Editor Anne Schindler exposes the City’s lawbreaking in her editor’s column, (entitled “Dirty Deeds”) calling for criminal prosecution of City officials responsible for dumping, comparing situation to Clay County’s illegal dumping.

December 27, 2007
■ Seven citizens petition FDEP to review the Consent Order, detailing allegations of environmental racism and denial of public’s right to speak in a 20 page filing.

December 31, 2007
■ Seven citizens ask FDEP to hold City Manager WILLIAM B. HARRISS, Mayor and Commissioner JOSEPH LEROY BOLES, JR. Vice Mayor CRICHLOW, ex-Vice Mayor SUSAN BURK, Commissioner and ex-Mayor GEORGE GARDNER, and Commissioner ERROL JONES as individual respondents subject to potential personal liability for the illegal dumping, also asking for a March 10, 2008 trial date and seeking discovery of documents from CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE, FDEP, Akerman Senterfitt and Geosyntec Consultants.

January 7, 2008
■ CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE asserts in the St. Augustine Record that it is concerned citizens who have “stymied” cleanup by requesting a hearing on taking waste back to Lincolnville, saying the cleanup will be delayed 150 days.
■ REGAN quoted in St. Augustine record as saying “Outside from a few individuals, we’re not hearing from the public on this, and we really want to make sure the public understands this project.”

January 9, 2008
■ Assistant City Manager JOHN REGAN admits “root cause analysis” of reasons for illegal dumping, which he reported at the December 13, 2007 meeting, was unwritten (inconsistent with engineering standards for such analysis)..
■ CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE, FDEP, AKERMAN SENTERFITT and GEOSYNTEC fail to provide copies of speakers’ curriculum vitae or complete Powerpoin® t presentations for the January 10, 2007 meeting.

1. The CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE has violated environmental laws, committed environmental crimes and avoided meaningful law enforcement for two (2) years.

2. The CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE was not candid with federal and state investigators or with citizens and journalists.

3. The CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE has delayed the cleanup of the Old City Reservoir for two (2) years, without justification or excuse, risking contamination.

4. The CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE, its law firm (AKERMAN SENTERFITT) and the law firm’s engineering firm (GEOSYNTEC) all worked in secret with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), devised the supposed “remedy” or returning contaminants to Lincolnville, without a public hearing or consulting anyone, denying the public the right to speak at the November 13, 2007 meeting and repeatedly discouraging and limiting public comment since February 2006 report to National Response Center.

5. The CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE lacks respect for human rights and our environment.

6. The Consent Decree between FDEP and the CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE is a stench in the nostrils of the Nation and must be rejected.

7. The Holmes Blvd. and Riberia Street sites both must be cleaned up, along with our City government. We need an Inspector General, Ombuds and transparency.

8. Officials responsible for illegal dumping and coverups must be investigated by a Grand Jury, just like those in Clay County, Florida..

9. The CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE needs a whistleblower protection ordinance to assure that employees can report problems to Commissioners, law enforcement and journalists..

10. The CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE urgently needs an Environmental Justice ordinance and a City Commissioner, Manager and staff pledged to respect our environment and civil rights.. As Al Gore, Jr. wrote in Earth in the Balance (1992), environmental problems are often associated with corruption.

In secret, behind locked gates, the managers of the Nation's oldest (European-founded) City illegally dumped 40,000 cubic yards of contaminants in the Old City Reservoir, where people fished and swam for generations.

Now our City and State want to bring the contaminants back to Lincolnville, negotiating in secret, without ever informing the two (2) affected Environmental Justice communities of Lincolnville and West Augustine.

Three City Commissioners (MAYOR JOSEPH LEROY BOLES, JR., VICE MAYOR DONALD CRICHLOW and Commissioner ERROL JONES) rubberrstamped a Consent Order without allowing promised public comment. Two other City Commissioners (GEORGE GARDNER and SUSAN BURK) left the meeting without either discussing or voting on the issue. This required citizens to act to commence an Administrative Law Judge hearing to obtain sworn candid answers and a full remedy.

St. Augustine's pollution symbolizes our City's putative leaders' lack of trust in the public's right to know. This is advanced citizenship. Please share your questions and whistleblower disclosures about City government, today and every day. Then let's demand answers. Expect democracy. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

For more information, please see or contact Judith
Seraphin of the Lincolnville Neighborhood Association at 829-0808.


Note: PX references are to Petitioners’ Exhibits filed with FDEP in State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection v. City of St. Augustine. Attached is PX-3, Anne Schindler’s column from December 18, 2007 Folio Weekly.

Friday, January 11, 2008

City may abandon waste plans

City may abandon waste plans

Publication Date: 01/11/08

St. Augustine City Commissioner Errol Jones says he'll push fellow commissioners to spend the extra money not to return landfill waste material to Riberia Street.

"I've heard enough," Jones said, striding to the front of St. Paul A.M.E. Church on Thursday evening after listening to more than two hours of presentations, discussion and protests.

He told the full house he would make a motion to spend the money that would take the material to a landfill.

That plan could cost about $2.2 million. Returning the material to Riberia would cost an estimated $800,000 and was the option the city was pursuing.

Jones's announcement drew a standing ovation and applause from the roomful of Lincolnville residents and supporters. Many had expressed concerns about the contents of the landfill material and the possible negative effects it would have on current and future generations.

Activist Ed Slavin called it a great victory "for the environment and for civil rights."

Lincolnville traditionally has been black and poor, although in recent years an influx of whites and richer individuals has driven up land prices and begun changing the character of the area.

The issue began when the city removed the dirt from an inactive landfill along the San Sebastian River to regrow the marsh and redevelop wetlands. The contaminated dirt was dumped in a borrow pit on North Holmes Boulevard

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection fined the city $33,698. The city agreed to clean the pit and put the dirt back on the Riberia site.

Consultants with the project say, even if the city decides to go the landfill route, the city will still have to come up with a solution for the Riberia site, which includes about eight acres.

One resident told city officials Thusday that he'd heard nothing but excuses and said residents were putting up with "taxation with little representation."

Thursday's session was billed as an educational meeting. Moderated by the city's John Regan, the meeting gave the public a chance to ask questions about the landfill plan. Most aired complaints and raised questions about the city's decision.

Regan said the meeting was intended to gain additional input and could lead to commissioners changing their plans.

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© The St. Augustine Record

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

No “Root Cause Analysis” Exists for City of St. Augustine’s Illegal Dumping – City Managers Misled the Public at the December 13 Lincolnville Meeting

No “Root Cause Analysis” Exists for City of St. Augustine’s Illegal Dumping – City Managers Misled the Public at the December 13, 2007 Meeting in Lincolnville

St. Augustine Assistant City Manager JOHN REGAN, P.E. told the Lincolnville Neighborhood Association’s December 13, 2007 “Stop the Dump[“ meeting that the City had performed a “root cause analysis” on its illegal dumping,.and why it happened, claiming that the City government had “reorganized” to prevent recurrences.

Well, there are no documents reflecting any root cause analysis. REGAN told me this morning that it was all done in City officials’ heads.

In the scientific communities, they call it “drylabbing” when laboratory results are reported that don’t exist. It can be a crime. It can result in loss of government grants and contracts.

In the engineering profession, at NASA and other installations, they call it “warm fuzzies” when vague assurances are given that something is safe. It has killed fourteen (14) astronauts on two (2) Space Shuttles.

If NASA told the American people it performed a root cause analysis for the explosion of one of its Space Shuttles, we’d demand Grand Jury investigations, resignations and firings if they had no documents on the putative “root cause analysis” and then said they did it “in their heads.”

That’s what happened here.

Is it worse than “drylabbing” or “warm fuzzies” to tell the people of St. Augustine that there has been a “root cause analysis” of how WILLIAM B. HARRISS’ regime committed a crime against nature when there was no “root cause analysis,” but merely thumb-sucking by minions, who know not that they know not that they know not?

City Manager WILLIAM B. HARRISS – will you kindly come to the meeting in Lincolnville tomorrow and explain yourself, instead of sending your subordinates to tell us about “root cause analysis” that does not exist, and other fables, flummery and dupery? WILLIAM B. HARRISS, you have the right to remain silent -- but we wish you wouldn't.

Root cause analysis -- Here's what Wikipedia Says

Root cause analysis
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Root cause analysis (RCA) is a class of problem solving methods aimed at identifying the root causes of problems or events. The practice of RCA is predicated on the belief that problems are best solved by attempting to correct or eliminate root causes, as opposed to merely addressing the immediately obvious symptoms. By directing corrective measures at root causes, it is hoped that the likelihood of problem recurrence will be minimized. However, it is recognized that complete prevention of recurrence by a single intervention is not always possible. Thus, RCA is often considered to be an iterative process, and is frequently viewed as a tool of continuous improvement.

Root cause analysis is not a single, sharply-defined methodology; there are many different tools, processes, and philosophies of RCA in existence. However, most of these can be classed into five, very-broadly defined "schools" that are named here by their basic fields of origin: safety-based, production-based, process-based, failure-based, and systems-based.

Safety-based RCA descends from the fields of accident analysis and occupational safety and health.
Production-based RCA has its origins in the field of quality control for industrial manufacturing.
Process-based RCA is basically a follow-on to production-based RCA, but with a scope that has been expanded to include business processes.
Failure-based RCA is rooted in the practice of failure analysis as employed in engineering and maintenance.
Systems-based RCA has emerged as an amalgamation of the preceding schools, along with ideas taken from fields such as change management, risk management, and systems analysis.
Despite the seeming disparity in purpose and definition among the various schools of root cause analysis, there are some general principles that could be considered as universal. Similarly, it is possible to define a general process for performing RCA.

Contents [hide]
1 General principles of root cause analysis
2 General process for performing and documenting an RCA-based Corrective Action
3 Root cause analysis techniques
4 Basic Elements of Root Cause
5 See also

[edit] General principles of root cause analysis
Aiming corrective measures at root causes is more effective than merely treating the symptoms of a problem.
To be effective, RCA must be performed systematically, and conclusions must be backed up by evidence.
There is usually more than one root cause for any given problem.

[edit] General process for performing and documenting an RCA-based Corrective Action
Notice that RCA (in steps 3, 4 and 5) forms the most critical part of successful corrective action, because it directs the corrective action at the root of the problem.

Define the problem.
Gather data/evidence.
Identify issues that contributed to the problem.
Find root causes.
Develop solution recommendations.
Implement the recommendations.
Observe the recommended solutions to ensure effectiveness.

[edit] Root cause analysis techniques
5 Whys
Failure mode and effects analysis
Pareto analysis
Fault tree analysis
Bayesian inference
Ishikawa diagram, also known as the fishbone diagram or cause and effect diagram
Barrier analysis - a technique often used in particularly in process industries. It is based on tracing energy flows, with a focus on barriers to those flows, to identify how and why the barriers did not prevent the energy flows from causing harm.
Change analysis - an investigation technique often used for problems or accidents. It is based on comparing a situation that does not exhibit the problem to one that does, in order to identify the changes or differences that might explain why the problem occurred.
Causal factor tree analysis - a technique based on displaying causal factors in a tree-structure such that cause-effect dependencies are clearly identified.
Apollo Root Cause Analysis - a wholistic approach in which Problem Definition, Cause and Effect Analysis, Solution Generation, and Effective Solutions are used and identified.

[edit] Basic Elements of Root Cause
Defective Raw Material
Wrong type for job
Lack of raw material
Incorrect tool selection
Poor maintenance or design
Poor equipment or tool placement
Defective Equipment or tool
Orderly workplace
Job design or layout of work
Surfaces poorly maintained
Physical demands of the task
Forces of Nature
No or poor management involvement
Inattention to task
Task hazards not guarded properly
Other (horseplay, inattention....)
Stress demands
No or poor procedures
Practices are not the same as written procedures
Poor communication
Management System
Training or education lacking
Poor employee involvement
Poor recognition of hazard
Previously identified hazards were not eliminated

[edit] See also

Letter: Protect Lincolnville from old dump's waste

Letter: Protect Lincolnville from old dump's waste

Missy Hall
St. Augustine
Publication Date: 01/09/08

Editor: Arsenic, thallium and vinyl chloride each is a highly toxic substance with well-documented serious effects on the health of people and the environment. Each is reportedly within the contaminated soil, sludge and waste originally moved from a Riberia Street landfill in Lincolnville to a site off Holmes Boulevard. Remarkably, despite evidence of contamination of ground water at the latter site, the city of St. Augustine proposes to move the many tons of contaminated soil, waste, and sludge back to Lincolnville.

Lincolnville, the most populous district within St. Augustine, is a peninsula surrounded on three sides by marshland and two rivers inhabited by a variety of plants, fish and birds. From the perspective of public health and environmental protection, Lincolnville should be the last place considered by the city as a final destination for toxic waste.

We belong to the Lincolnville community and we are concerned about this issue. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Code of Federal Regulations, Florida Statutes and Florida Administrative Code include specific definitions of hazardous wastes, detailed regulations and restrictions regarding hazardous waste management and hefty fines and other penalties for violation of these federal and state laws. One of our three grown children, a second-year law student at the University of Florida, has prepared a research-based summary of these regulations and their application to the afore-mentioned issue in Lincolnville. We would gladly forward an electronic copy of this document to anyone who requests it via e-mail to

We implore officials of the city of St. Augustine to find a suitable solution to the problem of hazardous waste disposal that fully complies with federal and state laws, and is in the best interests of the residents of Lincolnville.

James W. (Jay) Hall III

Missy Hall

St. Augustine

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© The St. Augustine Record


This summary is to assist hazardous waste handlers in complying with federal and
State of Florida regulations. Most of the following regulations have been in effect since
November 19, 1980. Florida has adopted and incorporated portions of Title 40 Code of
Federal Regulations (CFR) Parts 260-270 and 273 into its Florida Administrative Code
(F.A.C.) as Chapter 62-730. In some instances, Chapter 62-730, F.A.C., contains more
detail than the CFR as promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Hazardous wastes (HW) are wastes listed in 40 CFR Part 261, Subpart D as
hazardous or they are wastes characterized in 40 CFR Part 261, Subpart C as hazardous
by exhibiting one of four characteristics: ignitability (i.e., an oxidizer or flash point <
140°F), corrosivity (i.e., pH < 2 or > 12.5), reactivity, or toxicity.
A hazardous waste determination must be made of any waste material generated
(§262.11). If the material is hazardous, then it must be recycled, treated, stored, or
disposed at a HW facility authorized by DEP, EPA or another state. HW cannot be
disposed on or in the ground, or in local landfills, septic tanks, or injection wells. Also,
regardless of quantity, the generator of HW is ultimately responsible for the waste from
"cradle to grave", and can be held liable for improper management of HW even though it
may have been sent to an authorized HW management facility using a licensed
transporter authorized by DEP.
Claims that material is not a waste or is exempt from must be documented. [Rule
62-730.030(4), F.A.C.] In addition, generators must keep records of HW generated that
were subsequently managed pursuant to an exclusion. This includes wastes that were
generated, accumulated and then disposed of in a wastewater treatment pretreatment unit
or unit subject to the Clean Water Act.
A copy of the federal hazardous waste regulations (40 CFR Parts 260-268) can be
obtained from public, college or law libraries; EPA Region 4, Atlanta Federal Center, 61
Forsyth Street, S.W., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-3104 (404/562-8579); the U.S. Government
Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402; or the U.S. Government Printing Office, 100
West Bay Street, Suite 100, Jacksonville, Florida 32202 (904/353-0569). They are also
available online at Copies of Chapter 62-730,
F.A.C. may be obtained from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) at:
This handout is based on DEP’s understanding of the HW regulations. It should
be read in conjunction with (and not as a substitute for) the federal and state HW
regulations. This summary includes the principal components of the HW regulations.
Requirements may change because of amendments to the regulations, new interpretations
or guidance from EPA or DEP, judicial rulings, etc.
Ultimately, it is the facility's responsibility to stay current with the HW
regulations and be in compliance with all applicable environmental regulations. Failure to
meet the applicable rules may subject facilities to more stringent standards. For example,
small quantity generators (SQGs) dumping HW illegally not only become subject to
disposal facility standards but will also be subject to enforcement actions. DEP has an
agreement with EPA that mandates the assessment of penalties for violations of the
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) requirements.
Many local governments have regulations and ordinances regarding the
management of hazardous materials and/or wastes. Please check with those agencies for
information on local requirements. New regulations may be adopted by EPA and become
effective in Florida prior to adoption by DEP. For information and copies of new
regulations, go to:
As of May 8, 1990, most hazardous wastes must be treated to meet Land Disposal
Restriction (LDR) Universal Treatment Standards (UTS) prior to disposal in permitted
hazardous waste landfills or surface impoundments. The LDR rule prohibits the dilution
of restricted wastes as a substitute for effective adequate treatment.
Before treating a HW or disposing of it off site, the generator must determine
whether the waste is subject to the LDR rules, what hazardous constituent levels are in
the waste, and whether the waste must be treated or already meets the applicable
treatment standard or prohibition level upon generation.
Generators who treat hazardous waste on site in tanks or containers under 40 CFR
§262.34 must develop and follow a written waste analysis plan. The plan must be based
on a detailed chemical and physical analysis of the waste. Records must be kept
documenting treatment. Listed hazardous wastes must still be disposed of at a permitted
hazardous waste landfill after treatment.
For the initial shipment of a HW shipped off site, the generator must notify
treatment, storage and disposal facilities (TSDFs) of the nature and hazardous
constituents of each HW shipped. The written generator notice must include:
a) The initial manifest document number and all applicable EPA hazardous waste
number(s) and treatability groups (See 40 CFR §268.40);
b) A list of the hazardous constituents that must be treated;
c) Waste analysis data (if available); and
d) A signed certification if the generator is claiming that his waste already meets
the treatment standard.
All notifications, certifications, and waste analysis data must be kept on-site for at
least three (3) years from the date the waste was last sent to on or off site treatment or
disposal. The generator must submit a new notice if the waste or the receiving
facility changes.
The LDR rule provides for a few limited opportunities for delaying the effective
date of prohibition, for a treatability variance, or for gaining an exemption from the
prohibitions. This LDR explanation is a brief synopsis of a complex set of rules and
regulations and is not all inclusive. Contact the EPA or DEP or review 40 CFR Part 268
for detailed information.
1. Used oil may only be stored in tanks or containers.
2. Containers and tanks must be in good condition and not leaking.
3. Containers and tanks must be labeled "Used Oil."
4. Spills must be cleaned up, and contaminated materials disposed of properly.
5. Oil filters may not be disposed of at landfills. They must be recycled by an oil
filter processor or municipal refuse incinerator (Chapter 62-710, F.A.C.).
Used oil must have secondary containment for containers, existing tanks or above
ground tanks.
U.S. EPA’s Universal Waste Rule (40 CFR Part 273) provides an alternative set
of management standards for certain specific wastes in lieu of regulation under 40 CFR
Parts 260 through 272. Currently, it applies to recycling of batteries, some pesticides,
and mercury containing devices and lamps. Facilities that manage these wastes as
Universal Waste (UW) do not need to count that waste toward their generator status or
use hazardous waste manifests for shipping UW. Florida’s Chapter 62-737, F.A.C., is
broader in scope than EPA’s UW Rule and therefore governs the management of
mercury-containing lamps and devices in Florida.
I. Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators (CESQG) 40 CFR
§ 261.5.
CESQGs generate less than 100 kilograms of HW per month and less than 1
kilogram of acute HW (such as some pesticides, toxins or arsenic and cyanide
compounds) per month. Many wastes that are recycled are included in this
quantity determination.
1. Perform HW determination. [§262.11]
2. Cannot accumulate > 1000 kg at any time. [§261.5(g)(2)]
3. Ensure delivery of HW to a proper recycling facility or TSDF. [§261.5(g)(3)]
4. Keep records documenting proper disposal. [§62-730.030(3) & (4), F.A.C.]
II. Small Quantity Generators (SQG) 40 CFR Part 262.
SQGs generate 100 - 1000 kilograms of HW per month. Many wastes that are
recycled are included in this quantity determination.
1. Obtain a DEP/EPA ID Number (§262.12) at
or phone 850/245- 8707.
2. Use manifest system [unless there is a reclamation agreement pursuant to
§262.20(e)], and ship only to a permitted facility (Part 262, Subpart B).
3. Never exceed the 6000 kg accumulation/180 day storage time limit.
4. Emergency Planning [§262.34(d)(5)]:
a) Have at least one employee or a designee with authority as Emergency
Coordinator (EC) on 24-hour call.
b) Next to the telephone, post
(i) the EC name and phone number;
(ii) fire department's number; and
(iii) location of fire extinguishers; spill control equipment/material,
and fire alarm (if any).
c) Follow emergency procedures in §262.34(d)(5), including taking
necessary steps to address spills and fires, and notifying the National
Response Center (24-hour number: 800/424-8802) and the State Warning
Point (850/413- 9911).
d) Upon request, the DEP will provide contingency plan guidance if the
facility wishes to develop a more comprehensive emergency plan than
required of SQGs.
5. Training of personnel regarding proper HW handling and emergency response.
6. Keep records (§262.44), including manifests, test results, etc., a minimum of
three (3) years.
7. If tanks are used for management of HW, meet the tank requirements of
§265.201. This includes daily and weekly inspections, required maintenance, spill
response and closure standards.
8. Meet the following requirements under III -- LQG Requirements, below:
Items 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 12 to 15, 17, and 22.
9. If a SQG fails to meet applicable requirements, the full generator standards
(and possibly TSDF standards) may apply. [§262.34(f)]
III. Large Quantity Generators (LQG) 40 CFR Part 262.
LQGs generate 1000 kilograms or more of HW per month or 1 kilogram or
more of acute HW (such as some pesticides, toxins or arsenic and cyanide
compounds) per month. Many wastes that are recycled are included in this
quantity determination.
1. Perform HW determination (§262.11), including LDR waste analyses (§268.7).
2. Obtain a DEP/EPA ID number (§262.12) at
or phone 850/245- 8707.
3. Use manifest system, and ship to a permitted facility (Part 262, Subpart B).
State rules require the generator to complete Items 1 through 15 and the
applicable parts of item 16, if required for international shipments, on Form 8700-
22, and Items 21 through 32, on Form 8700-22A.
4. Meet pre-transport requirements for packaging, labeling, marking and
placarding (Part 262, Subpart C).
5. Meet satellite accumulation rules. [§ 262.34(c)] Close and label these
6. Label containers and tanks with the words "Hazardous Waste" and label
containers with accumulation start dates. [§262.34(a)]
7. Do not store HW > 90 days. [§262.34(b)]
8. Keep all records for at least three (3) years (including manifests, test data,
biennial reports, etc.) (Part 262, Subpart D).
9. File a biennial report for HW shipped off site. (Rule 62-730.160, F.A.C.)
10. File exception report for late or missing manifests from the designated facility.
11. Meet personnel training requirements, including documentation of training.
[§§264.32(a)(4) & 265.16]
12. Maintain and operate the facility in a clean, safe manner. [§§262.34(a)(4) &
13. Provide emergency equipment [§§262.34(a)(4) & 265.32]:
a) telephone or hand-held two-way radio;
b) internal communication or alarm system;
c) fire and spill control equipment (e.g. fire extinguishers, hoses,
sprinklers, etc.);
d) neutralizing agents, spill adsorbents, overpack drums, standby 55-
gallon drums, etc.; and
e) test and maintain the emergency equipment. [§§262.34(a)(4) & 265.33]
14. Maintain adequate aisle space for evacuation, inspecting drums, etc., e.g., no
less than three (3) feet. [§§262.34(a)(4) & 265.35]
15. Attempt to make arrangements with local fire and police departments,
hospitals, and emergency response contractors/equipment suppliers, with regards
to emergency arrangements, hazards of materials handled, layout of facility, etc.
[§§262.34(a)(4) & 265.37]
16. Have a contingency plan meeting the requirements of Part 265, Subpart D.
[§262.34(a)(4)] Upon request, DEP will provide contingency plan guidance.
Emergencies that require implementation of the contingency plan must be
reported to DEP. Updated contingency plans must be distributed when facility
conditions or emergency coordinators change.
17. Containers (e.g. drums, cans, etc.) must be kept closed and in good condition,
inspected at least weekly, be compatible with the HW stored, and separated from
other incompatible wastes (e.g. keep cyanides away from acids). [§262.34(a)(4) &
Part 265, Subpart I] Records must be kept of these inspections (Rule 62-
730.160, F.A.C.).
18. Ignitable or reactive HW must be stored at least fifty (50) feet from the
facility's boundary line. [§262.34(a)(4) & Part 265, Subpart I]
19. Tanks must meet the requirements of Part 265, Subpart J [§262.34(a)(1)(ii)]
(structural integrity; containment and detection of releases; inspections; response
to leaks or spills; operating requirements; closure and post-closure care; special
requirements for ignitable, reactive and/or incompatible wastes; waste analysis
and trial tests).
20. Special cautions (including "no smoking" signs) are required for ignitable or
reactive wastes (§265.17).
21. Security (e.g. a locked fence) and bermed containment areas (with roof and
impermeable floor) for HW storage areas are strongly recommended.
22. A Land Disposal Restrictions (LDR) Certification or Notification must
accompany the initial manifest for a restricted waste. Generators who treat waste
to meet land disposal restrictions must submit a waste analysis plan to DEP
23. Meet applicable air emission standards under 40 CFR Part 265, Subparts AA,
BB and CC. [§§262.34(a)(1)]
It is the facility's responsibility to comply with other applicable laws, such as
Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) worker safety and
protective clothing rules; fire codes; Florida's Right to Know Law;
Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA); etc.
Hazardous waste may never be disposed of in septic tanks or on the ground.
Hazardous waste may only be burned in permitted hazardous waste
incinerators. Do not dispose of hazardous waste by evaporation.
IV. Transporters (40 CFR Part 263) (62-730, F.A.C).
1. Obtain ID number (§263.11) at
730/730_1b.pdf or phone 850/245- 8707.
2. Use manifest system (Part 263, Subpart B).
3. Ability to clean up hazardous waste discharges during transportation-related
incidents (Part 263, Subpart C).
4. Provide annual documentation of financial responsibility. (Rule 62-730.170,
5. Submit annual status update to DEP. (Rule 62-730.170, F.A.C.)
6. Transporters storing waste > 24 hours at a transfer facility must notify DEP and
meet many TSDF requirements (Rule 62-730.171, F.A.C.), including
containment, operating record, contingency plan, training, security, and closure.
7. All transfer facilities operated in the state must have a unique ID number. (Rule
62- 730.171, F.A.C.)
8. Transfer facilities must submit closure plan and contingency plan to DEP.
(Rule 62- 730.171, F.A.C.)
9. Transfer facilities must maintain a written record of when all hazardous waste
enters and leaves the facility. (Rule 62-730.171, F.A.C.)
Florida's hazardous waste regulations for transporters and transfer facilities
are more comprehensive than the federal regulations.
V. Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facilities (TSDF) (40 CFR Part 264
or Part 265).
1. Obtain a DEP/EPA ID number (§264.11) at
2. Obtain a HW permit unless exempt (e.g. wastewater treatment units,
elementary neutralization, etc.) and comply with permit conditions. Facilities
receiving HW from off-site (including some recycling facilities) may be subject to
TSDF requirements.
3. Must meet applicable generator standards (III, above).
4. Comply with general facility standards, including waste analyses, security,
inspections, and personnel training (Part 264, Subpart B).
5. Maintain emergency equipment, adequate aisle space, and make arrangements
with local authorities (Part 264, Subpart C).
6. Have a contingency plan meeting the requirements of Part 264, Subpart D.
7. Use manifest system and comply with recordkeeping requirements (Part 264,
Subpart E).
8. Comply with groundwater monitoring requirements (Part 264, Subpart F).
9. Comply with closure and post-closure requirements (Part 264, Subpart G).
10. Maintain financial assurance for closure, post closure (if applicable) and
liability (Part 264, Subpart H).
11. Comply with container management standards (Part 264, Subpart I).
12. Comply with tank management standards (Part 264, Subpart J).
13. Comply with additional requirements for individual units such as surface
impoundments, waste piles, containment buildings, incinerators, drip pads, etc.
(Part 264, Subpart K – Part 264, Subpart DD).
14. Meet applicable air emission standards (Part 264, Subparts AA, BB, and CC).
15. Meet applicable LDR requirements for treatment facilities, or as generators
for wastes sent off site for further treatment (Part 268).
VI. Manifest Forms
Title 40 CFR Part 262, Subpart B requires the use of the Uniform Hazardous
Waste Manifest (EPA Form 8700-22 and 8700-22a) for hazardous waste
shipments. Florida adopted 40 CFR Part 262, Subpart B by reference in Rule 62-
730.160(1), F.A.C.
Obtaining Manifest Forms
Florida does not supply manifests, but does supply a list of vendors from which
copies of the manifest may be obtained. Copies may also be available from
hazardous waste transporters or hazardous waste management facilities.
Manifest Copies
40 CFR 262.22 requires the manifest to consist of a copy for:
1. the generator;
2. each transporter;
3. the owner/operator of the designated facility; and
4. a signed copy to be returned to the generator by the designated facility.
For regular shipments of hazardous waste, Florida does not require the submission
of a manifest copy to DEP. However, manifests must be retained for three (3)
years and are reviewed as part of hazardous waste compliance inspections
conducted by DEP.
When hazardous wastes are shipped under an emergency EPA/DEP identification
number, as defined in Rule 62-730.161, F.A.C., the generator must send a legible
copy of all signed and returned manifests to DEP within 45 days of the last
The owner/operator of a designated facility must submit to DEP any manifests for
which a significant discrepancy is discovered, as defined in 40 CFR 264.72 and
40 CFR 265.72, if the discrepancy is not resolved within 15 days.
A large quantity generator must submit a legible copy of a manifest to DEP if he
has not received a copy of the signed manifest from the designated facility within
45 days of shipment. A small quantity generator must submit a legible copy of a
manifest to DEP if the signed manifest is not received from the designated facility
within 60 days of shipment.
Completing the Manifest
Florida requires [Rule 62-730.160(1), F.A.C.] the completion of the following
sections of the manifest in accordance with Appendix I of 40 CFR Part 262.
Waste codes are listed in 40 CFR Part 261, Subparts C and D.
Form 8700-22
Items 1 – 15
Applicable parts of Item 16, if required for international shipments
Form 8700-22a
Items 21-

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Three wonderful victories begin 2008

Three wonderful victories begin 2008
Three wonderful victories began the New Year. See below.
First, St. Augustine City Planning and Zoning Board (PZB) voted to reject a 1-2 million cubic foot boat warehouse for Lincolnville, which would have blocked the sunsets and inflicted harm on an already dumped-on low-income and African American neighborhood.
Second, the St. Johns County Planning and Zoning Agency (PZA) rejected a massive nursing home.
Third, the SJC PZA rejected a massive equestrian development.
That was all before the New Year was one week old.
In each instance, city and county zoning board members have finally listened to the people, instead of oleaginous speculators (like Robert Michael Graubard and cronies).
Thank you.
Here in our Nation’s Oldest City, what RFK, Sr. called the “willful, heedless destruction of natural beauty and pleasures” must end – “it is not enough to allow dissent, we must demand it, for there is much to dissent from.”
Environmental racism and injustice must end.
Abuse of Lincolnville and West Augustine must end.
No toxicants will ever be taken back to Lincolnville.
All of the city’s illegal dumps must be cleaned up under the supervision, suzerainty and expertise of the EPA -- not a consulting company (GEOSYNTEC) hand-picked by the City’s law firm’s (AKERMAN SENTERFITT) -- a hand-picked litigation consultant, which has delayed a solution for almost two years while previously claiming Florida was too "conservatie" in regulating pollution.
The City of St. Augustine was called “the most lawless city in America” by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1964.
Now, almost 44 years later, it is time for change.
This is our time. This is our town. Those who have contempt for democracy and our environment must answer. That includes City Manager WILLIAM B. HARRISS, who must answer questions under oath.
Come to the meeting at St. Paul’s A.M.E. Church, 85 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. starting at 6 PM Thursday, January 10, 2008.
Ask questions.
Demand answers.
Like any good diplomats, we won’t take no for an answer. Come early. Stay late.
Let the healing begin.

Proposed Agenda for January 10, 2008 Meeting in Lincolnville on City's Illegal Dum in Lincolnville and West Augustine

Riberia Street/Holmes Boulevard Environmental Mitigation Project
Thursday, January 10, 2008, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
St. Paul’s AME Church
85 M.L. King Street, St. Augustine

1. Welcome/ Introductions
2. Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Statement regarding meeting Participation (sic)

3. City of St. Augustine, John Regan, P.E.

a. Historical review, William L. Pence, Esq., Akerman Senterfitt, P.A.
b. Project overview, William L. Pence, Esq., Akerman Senterfitt, P.A.
c. Environmental Results, Nandra D. Weeks, P.E., Geosyntec
d. Alternatives studied and Concluding remarks, John P. Regan, P.E., City of St. Augustine

4. Lincolnville Neighborhood Association Statement (sic)

5. Public Comments and questions.
6. Meeting end – 8:00 pm

Monday, January 07, 2008

City sophists at it again --

City sophists at it again --

We still don’t have the agenda for our City’s and and state’s portions of Thursday night’s meeting at 6 PM at the St. Paul’s A.M.E. Church in Lincolnville at 85 Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
The City’s defense lawyers are left sputtering as a result of two pounds of paperwork that seven local residents served on our City of St. Augustine and FDEP on December 27 and 31, 2007.
Our City government has not exactly been forthcoming.
It has lied to, insulted, and mocked questioners. Every time we’ve asked questions in City Commission meetings, there’s laughter from City apparatchiks at the back of the Commission meeting room – and smirks from smug City Manager WILLIAM B. HARRISS, who apparently thinks it’s funny. We don’t find it funny that our Florida Aquifer and groundwater are threatened by 35,000 cubic yards of illegal dumping into the Old City Reservoir, a place with pure water, where ten pound bass have been caught, which former EPA Region 4 Regional Administrator John Henry Hankinson has called “an open sore going right down to the aquifer and the groundwater.”
Egged on by the AKERMAN SENTERFITT law firm, FDEP has perpetrated a coverup of major proportions, first refusing to prosecute environmental crimes based upon such non sequiturs as our City sending two professional engineers (John Regan and Bob Leetch) to “training,” which is to say a three day seminar in Marco Island, Florida July 19-21, 2006, presented by the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Then FDEP delayed the news of the fine until after the November 2006 election. Then FDEP knuckled under to AKERMAN SENTERFITT in secret dealmaking allowing the contaminated material to be brought back to Lincolnville.
WILLIAM B. HARRISS, the City of St. Augustine City Manager and other officials responsible for the dumping must be held personally liable, with a Grand Jury to consider criminal indictments and a final FDEP order to pay fines out of their own pockets, instead of with our money.
FDEP and City officials impudently act like they’re doing the public a favor by shipping solid waste back to Lincolnville, with the airy notion of creating a “park.”
We’re still waiting on answers to questions we asked in 2006 and 2007.
We’re still appalled that St. Augustine burghers (like the tobacco company) “would rather fight than switch.”
Now the City of St. Augustine and the Florida DEP are spinning sophistry spiderwebs, starting with their claim that concerned citizens have “stymied’ the City’s plan to bring the waste back to Lincolnville for 150 days. We’ve asked for a March 10, 2008 trial date.
Assistant City Manager John Regan – the “heyboy” for City Manager WILLIAM B. HARRISS – actually told the St. Augustine Record that “Outside from a few individuals, we’re not hearing from the public on this…”
(see story below) Oh, please.
Citizens were invited to speak at the November 13, 2007 meeting by St. Augustine Record editorial of November 11th. The City of St. Augustine Commissioners who bothered to attend heard from no one before voting the controversial Consent Order.
Every measure of public opinion indicates that people are furious, including some 80 citizens who attended the meeting at the St. Paul’s A.M.E. Church December 13th.
When City Hall treats citizens disrespectfully, threatening arrests, removing public comment opportunities and generally acting like maniacal monomaniacs, even removing one resident from the City boundaries, we’re facing a dictatorship, one with contempt for democracy and nature.
The solid waste in the Old City Reservoir must be removed to a Class I landfill, as FDEP ordered March 15, 2006. It is the City that has “stymied” cleanup, not people who reject FDEP’s taking a dive on this one. It is the City and the AKERMAN SENTERFITT law firm that have refused to comply with FDEP’s orders, with the City’s negotiating position revealed in a City document (Petitioners’ Exhibit PX-1) that “Under no circumstances, except for a final non-appealable court order, will the City agree to remove the fill material in a Class I landfill.”
Perhaps City Manager WILLIAM B. HARRISS will deign to attend the January 10, 2007 meeting and answer questions. Doubt it – he’s too busy shredding the Constitution.
One of the likely questioners Thursday night will be my friend, Dee Lovell, a former editor of the Baltimore Sun, former columnist for the Washington Post and longtime companion of the late Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post political cartoonist Herblock (Herbert Block). See Dee’s column below. See you Thursday a6 6PM at the St. Paul's A.M.E. Church at 85 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. in Lincolnville.