Friday, May 30, 2008

Peg McIntire, Rest in Peace

Our friend Peg McIntire died last night at age 97.
When I last saw her, she and the group People for Peace and Justice(PPJ) had a flag-draped coffin by the Old Slave Market (a/k/a Plaza de la ConstituciĆ³n) to protest the Iraq war quagmire, complete with a wall listing all of the Americans killed there. It was eloquent and moving.
Then and there, only three (3) days before she died, Peg told me Monday that she really liked my column in the St. Augustine Record the day before.
I am honored to have had Peg McIntire as a friend.
Peg McIntire founded Grandmothers for Peace and she and several St. Augustine grandmothers turned up at a recruiting station, saying "take us" instead of the kids we're slaughtering in Iraq in the name of our contemptible foreign policy. (See this week's and next week's Folio Weekly regarding St. Augustine Police harassment of peace protesters on May 17th).
In war and in peace since the 1930s, Peg McIntire worked to make our country a better place.
She was with us on Cuna Street on June 11, 2005 -- 41st anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's incarceration here. Peg and her son Joe were there for a block party on Cuna Street, helping Gay and Lesbian people celebrate our federal court victory that led to an order to fly the Rainbow Flags on our historic Bridge of Lions..
Peg loved to laugh at the foibles of the powerful. She was a supporter of all progressive causes.
She loved America and St. Augustine and knew that it takes "tough love" to stand up to tyrants
Peg McIntire lost her brother in the Spanish Civil War and was in Spain at the time. She's lived and traveled almost everywhere. Peg McIntire was an inspiration to us all.
We're going to miss you, Peg.

They Fix Cases, Don't They?

A Florida Dvision of Administrative Hearings Administrative Law Judge has closed the file on the first Petition for Review filed over the St. Augustine illegal dumping.
A new petition must be filed next week.
The ALJ never allowed discovery or a hearing, granting the joint motion of the City and State to close the case.
The fact that our City and State and the State's ALJ are so cozy over a matter of Environmental Racism is a stench in the nostrils of the Nation.
Like the famous paintings of dogs playing poker, the mutts who muck up our environment are worthy of derision.
They're also overpaid -- AKERMAN SENTERFITT lawyer WILLIAM PENCE ripped off St. Augustine taxpayers to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars making nowhere plans for nobody -- an awful plan to ship solid waste back to Lincolnville. In 2005, a pair of dogs playing poker paintings sold for $590,400. Another painting by the same artist shows dogs litigating.
Though the citizen-activists won by stopping the Lincolnville dumping plan, the ALJ never did his job, never even came to St. Augustine or took a single hour of testimony. What a waste of a judicial salary. Shame on him. Shame on our City and State.
They fix cases, don't they? Arf, arf, arf!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Persistence of citizens prevails in dumping order

Persistence of citizens prevails in dumping order

St. Augustine
Publication Date: 05/25/08

I am proud to live in our Nation's Oldest (European-founded) City because of our citizens' character and diversity. Thanks to you, on May 12, City Commissioners unanimously approved a consent decree with Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP): It guarantees that solid waste illegally dumped in our Old City Reservoir will be disposed of properly in a Class I landfill -- it will not be returned to our historic African-American community of Lincolnville. Commissioners unanimously voted Nov. 13 to support Commissioner Errol Jones' ill-advised motion to send waste back to Lincolnville.

On May 12, commissioners heard and heeded hundreds who turned out at the St. Paul's A.M.E. Church on Dec. 13 and January 10, supporting the seven community activists who asked FDEP to stop Lincolnville dumping (Judith and Anthony Seraphin, Diane and Gerald Mills, Dr. Dwight Hines, David Thundershield Queen and me).

The people have won yet another round against City Hall. Your victory bodes well for what our community can do to observe 11,000 years of history (450th anniversary of St. Augustine and 500th anniversary of Spanish Florida).

As Dana Ste. Claire rightly urged, we must celebrate diversity. We need a St. Augustine National Historical Park, National Seashore and National Scenic Coastal Highway, about which County Commissioners may schedule a straw ballot vote.

I agree with former Mayor George Gardner, who rightly blasted the lack of energy and creativity in our city's Heritage Tourism Department.

Our City Hall needs a clean sweep.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead said it best, "A city is a place where there is no need to wait for next week to get the answer to a question, to taste the food of any country, to find new voices to listen to and familiar ones to listen to again."

Mead also said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Margaret Mead visited Oak Ridge, Tenn., and exposed its provincialism, not knowing secrecy perpetrated a massive environmental crime.

Twenty-five years ago, on May 17, 1983, our small weekly newspaper (Appalachian Observer) won declassification of the largest mercury pollution event in world history. Our federal government in Oak Ridge, emitted 4.2 million pounds of mercury into creeks, groundwater and workers' lungs and brains -- more than was dumped in Minimata, Japan.

Oak Ridge's pollution scandal started scrutiny of the entire U.S. nuclear weapons complex -- a cleanup still ongoing.

Then-Rep. Al Gore held an investigative hearing in Oak Ridge on July 11, 1983, swearing in witnesses (a nuclear complex first). I called for criminal prosecution of mercury-dumping Union Carbide and Department of Energy officials.

For decades, Oak Ridge residents were afraid to speak out. As a result, government environmental crimes were never punished.

Contrast that with the free, independent spirit of today's St. Augustinians, who swiftly achieved significant results against one of the worst abuses of power anywhere.

Like Oak Ridge's mindless, maniacal mercury-dumpers, St. Augustine's city manager was never reprimanded for dumping solid waste in the Old City Reservoir -- William Harriss got a pass (and a plaque) in the midst of a pending criminal investigation.

Unanswered questions remain 27 months after St. Augustine dumping was reported. Other local dumps await investigation/cleanup. (To report pollution, call the National Response Center, 1-800-424-8802). The illegal city dump at the south end of Riberia Street awaits a consent decree and cleanup. Our search for truth continues.

With your help and prayers, our city will become a much better place for all of our citizens.

As we sang at St. Paul's on Jan. 10, "we shall overcome."


Ed Slavin earned a degree in diplomacy from Georgetown University and a law degree from Memphis State University; he was recommended for a Pulitzer Prize by Oak Ridge District Attorney Jim Ramsey in 1983.

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© The St. Augustine Record

Thursday, May 22, 2008

City of St. Augustine Votes Not to Send Illegally Dumped Solid Waste -- Dumped in Our Old City Reservoir -- Back to Historic Lincolnville Neighborhood

From Staff
Publication Date: 05/14/08

About 40,000 tons of St. Augustine dirt will be trucked to Nassau County under an agreement signed by St. Augustine city commissioners this week.

John Regan, the city's chief operations officer, said the agreement with the state Department of Environmental Protection will save the city an estimated $2 million in disposal costs for the dirt, once part of an old landfill at the end of Riberia Street.

"The screened dirt will be used to cover a landfill in Nassau County," Regan said. "They are already buying topsoil for this purpose there. This agreement allows us to satisfy the DEP agreement."

He said Nassau County is charging St. Augustine a "token amount," only $1 per ton.

The city drew DEP fire in 2005 after residents noticed city trucks dumping dirt into a water-filled borrow pit on North Holmes Boulevard. The dumped material -- 35,000 cubic yards of solid waste -- had been removed from the long-closed Riberia Street landfill.

The city had also disposed of street sweepings and lime sludge in a second, smaller water-filled pit, and stored demolition material in the area. All the dumped materials were found to have leached contaminants into the water.

The city's plan in 2007 was to return the contaminated soil to Riberia Street. Residents in Lincolnville protested and that plan was scrapped.

The DEP order says the city must stop disturbing the Riberia Street landfill, properly dispose of the lime sludge stored on Holmes Boulevard, perform water and soil tests near the borrow pits, replace any well contaminated by the Holmes Boulevard dumping and pay $33,698 to the DEP.

Many of these requirements have already been met, city officials said. The deadline to meet all the requirements of the consent order is February 2009. The city begin that remediation in July.

"The city is moving forward with closure of the Holmes Boulevard site," Regan said. "We're doing right by the environment."

Vice Mayor Don Crichlow made the motion to approve the consent order; Commissioner Errol Jones made a motion to approve the agreement with Nassau County.

Both measures passed 5-0.

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Is St. Augustine Police Department Planning Another Civil RIghts Violation at Memorial Day Peace Picketing? The Whole World Is Watching

I don't usually reprint E-mails, but here's one from Mary and Terry you will find intriguing. Sheriff Neal Perry was a bad actor and it looks like his daughter is another one. We'll be videotaping everything SAPD does on Memorial Day. If they want to violate the rights of octagenarians (and nonagenarians), these noodniks will be all over the world showing their true fascist colors. What's it going to be, City Manager/Mangler WILLIAM B. HARRISS? You don't have enough of a bad reputation yet?
Go ahead, make my day!
With kindest regards, I am,
Ed Slavin

Original message from 'Mary Lawrence' : --------------

We immediately made a sign that said: “Police say: You CANNOT honk for peace” and people responded.
My point in forwarding this: On Memorial day in the plaza, PPJ and Vets for Peace have plans for the big black wall of names of our war dead from Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the coffin with Arla’s husband’s flag and medals. If we cannot “POST” the wall, we may need help holding it. If we decide to stake it in the ground and the police try to get us to remove it, we need someone to videotape. Ideas?
- Mary

From: Solidarity And []
Sent: Saturday, May 17, 2008 5:59 PM
Subject: todsy's demonstration.

For those who weren't able to be there today the following report:

About an hour and a half into our protest, an SAPD SUV, heading north on Menendez, directly across from the plaza, turns on it's red&blue lights, makes a u-turn and blocks the entire inside southbound lane of menendez. Sgt Perry, daughter of former Sheriff Neil Perry then states that all of the signs in the ground are considered 'posted' A violation of city ordinance 3-23(d)(1). When I asked her why today, after all of these years, she replied that she they had just received a complaint today. I repeatedly stated that these signs had been like this for a long time and that there frequently other signs, including those for commercial purposes, 'posted,' and suggested selective enforcement. She then went into the 'just doing my job routine.' She also stated that they were going to ticket cars that 'honked for peace' since it is a violation of traffic laws to honk for any reason other than an emergency. At this time a couple of motorists honked and flashed peace signs as they passed.

Sandy asked that she not ticket them and Sgt. Perry replied: 'If I was down here I would ticket them.' I admit I do not understand all the intricacies of quantum mechanics and relativity, but I really wish someone could explain how a police sergeant who wasn't there was harrassing me.

There were no homeless in the plaza when I arrived this morning and there usually about a half dozen or more getting ready to leave before the tourists start showing up. Didn't really think much about it at the time. After the demo, i went down to the other end of the plaza and there were only 2 artists set up. Greg told me that the police had issued 13 citations, ($100.00 each) to the artists and that is why no one else was there.

I admit I'm paranoid, but I still think they are going to come after us now.

I was thinking, it's getting a little boring being in the same place all of the time. Mayor Boles office is outside the restricted zone and gets a lot of passing traffic - might be a good place to generate some new supporters, or maybe susan burke's office, or maybe...

In solidarity, justice and peace,

- Terry

No Nukes in St. Augustine, St. Johns County and Flagler County -- We're Watching You, FPL, GE & ITT

Your sins have found you out! Just try to put a nuclear powerplant in this beautiful place.

"I Have Sworn, Upon the Altar of Almighty God, Eternal Hostility Over Every Form of Tyranny Over the Mind" of Humankind -- Thomas Jefferson

I've litigated and won nuclear powerplant and nuclear weapons plant whistleblower cases. The nasty 'ole nuclear industry is too often run by tyrants who suppress worker free speech.
We don't want your stinking badges here -- or your thermal pollution -- or your endemic retaliation against employees with a brain, simply seeking to do their jobs without fear or favor.
To hell with FPL, General Electric, ITT and anyone else who might think they can put a nuclear powerplant in Northeast Florida.
If they come to Northeast Florida with plans to destroy our water, tourism, ocean, land and water, they'll be running into a buzz saw.
When the City of St. Augustine dumped solid waste in our Old City Reservoir, we were all over them like a chicken on a junebug (and still are).
Go ahead, make my day -- if the nuclear industry tries to destroy Northeast Florida, we'll be after them, again and again and again.
Count on it!

No Nuclear Powerplant for Marineland, Please!

Robin Nadeau's column (reprinted below) is eloquent.
Hold on to your seats: an informed source says that one of the locations being considered for a nuclear powerplant in Northeast Florida is Marineland, between St. Augustine and Palm Coast.
No way.
Tell fuelish Florida Power & Light and wicked evil International Telephone & Telegraph you are opposed to any plans to put nuclear powerplants in this beautiful area.
We need a St. Augustine National Historical Park, National Seashore and National Scenic Coastal Highway -- not a nuclear powerplant.
Nuclear power is wasteful of fossil fuels, corrupts politicians and has an unsolved waste problem.
Nuclear power reminds me of what President Reagan said about a baby (comparing it to government) -- "all appetite on the one end and no responsibility on the other."
No nukes on the First Coast, thank you.

Column: Nuclear energy greedy for water consumption

Column: Nuclear energy greedy for water consumption

St. Augustine
Publication Date: 04/20/08

We are rightfully indignant over the possibility of Seminole County siphoning 5.5 million gallons per day from the St. Johns River, but how about the prospect of a nuclear power plant that produces 1,600 megawatt hours of electricity, requiring 762,384 gallons of water per minute to cool the core by 30 degrees, in order to maintain a safe functioning level? Our Florida Legislature, with Governor Crist's enthusiastic support, has given FPL the go-ahead to build three of those plants in Florida. It is rumored that one of them might be built in Duval County to supply power for a reverse osmosis plant to render brackish water potable.

Germany is phasing out its coal, oil and nuclear energy production, replacing it with solar energy and wind power programs. With our potential supply of abundant sun and wind, why should we embrace the dangers inherent in nuclear energy production? It is estimated that any one of our Plains states could produce enough Wind Energy to serve the energy requirements of our entire nation.

According to a December 2007, article, entitled "Got Water?" by The Union Of Concerned Scientists, the worst danger posed by nuclear energy production is its enormous consumption of water as a coolant. Another article, "Got Math?" explains the voracious appetite of nuclear reactors for water; on average, only 70 percent of the water drawn into the plant, is returned to the source. With 43 [] states facing drastic water shortages, this greedy consumption of water by nuclear plants would be highly irresponsible.

An article produced by Physicians for Social Responsibility, entitled "Dirty, Dangerous and Expensive: The Truth About Nuclear Power," shows that recent heat waves in Europe forced the shut down of nuclear reactors in France, Spain and Germany in July 2006; during the summer heat wave of 2003, cooling problems at reactors in France forced engineers to tell the government that they could no longer guarantee the safety of the country's 58 nuclear power plants.

The possibility of use by nations which have not signed on to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, such as Pakistan, North Korea and Iran, of converting the same material used for nuclear power production to produce bombs is a basis for concern. Another most obvious danger is that nuclear power plants offer a tempting target for a terrorist attack. A further study by the Union of Concerned Scientists concluded that a major attack on the Indian Point Reactor in Westchester County, N.Y, could result in 44.000 near-term deaths from acute radiation sickness and more than 500,000 long-term deaths from cancer among individuals within 50 miles of the plant.

Congress has awarded the nuclear industry $18 billion in incentives, plus insurance, at the tax payers expense, if an accident occurs in any of the plants. We pay once with our electric bills, and again with our taxes .

In National Geographic Magazine in July, 2002, the author reports on the generally irresponsible management (as well as negligent oversight by NRC) of our existing nuclear energy plants, posing hazards to populations living in the area of these plants.

When nuclear energy protagonists claim that they do not use fossil fuels, they ignore the intensive use of fossil fuel in the mining and production of the nuclear fuel, and by the trucks transporting the toxic nuclear waste to the repositories.

While we are protesting diverting our water to other areas of our region, why should we sacrifice more of our water for nuclear energy production, instead of expanding the use of really clean, safe energy from sun, wind, tidal action, etc.?

Robin Nadeau is not a scientist but has been a contributing supporter and avid reader of the publications of Union of Concerned Scientists and Physicians For Social Responsibility for more than 25 years.

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Letter: City right not to support another bed tax

Letter: City right not to support another bed tax

Jack Martin
St. Augustine
Publication Date: 05/18/08

Editor: The St. Augustine City Commission made the right decision by declining to support a resolution that calls for using a one-percent bed tax increase to restore Government House. Let us hope the County Commission, which has the ultimate authority, follows suit and abandons this ill-considered notion.

There's nothing wrong with using public dollars for historic restoration. Government House and its heritage benefit us all. Yet what was proposed exemplified the "say one thing, do another" behavior that gives politicians a bad name and undermines respect for government:

The bed tax was passed by the Legislature expressly to raise funds for promoting tourism, in St. Augustine and throughout the state. With data showing tourism waning here, we had better continue using existing and proposed bed tax dollars as intended. We are not a top-of-mind tourist destination, notwithstanding what county officials imply.

Siphoning any bed tax increase toward building restoration sets a dangerous precedent. Using such logic, one could justify doing virtually anything in the name of "promoting tourism." Politicians in search of funding will snatch every dollar they can grab -- as this week's city commission meeting demonstrated. On the heels of the proposal to spend $14 million on Government House came a plea to spend $22 million on 34 historic properties.

The ensuing debate that effectively scuttled both ideas reaffirmed the wisdom of spending bed tax dollars as county voters authorized.

Using public funds for historical preservation is certainly a laudable idea. Indeed, what our association's members spend to preserve 26 historic bed and breakfast inns runs into the millions -- of their own dollars.

Let's consider historic preservation on its own merits, then fund what's needed with a tax measure dedicated to that purpose.

Jack Martin, President, St. Augustine Historic Inns Association, St. Augustine

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District 5 county candidate says he's best choice

District 5 county candidate says he's best choice

By Ken Bryan
St. Augustine
Publication Date: 05/18/08

This is in response to an article printed in a local publication recently, "Candidates need to make some noise." The article asked why the current County Commission District 5 Commissioner/incumbent should not be re-elected and why I, Ken Bryan, should be elected in the Aug. 26 primary election.

The incumbent is basically the architect of the problems this county has suffered and will continue to face in the future. He has rubber-stamped the overdevelopment of this county, which has left us with increased taxes, backed up traffic and urban sprawl -- resulting in one giant unfunded infrastructure sinkhole.

The incumbent was the only commissioner to vote "no" for the new budget reworked by then-Chairman Ben Rich which has saved the citizens of this county millions of dollars. For nearly 12 years, the incumbent has been a spend-thrift and has continued to vote for wasteful budgets. He is a lackey to developers and special interest groups whose only objectives are to make this county resemble our neighbors to the south. I ask that you take a look at the incumbent's voting record and contributions he has received over the years.

I am the only candidate who has more than 36 years as a public servant. I have worked as a public servant in various capacities of the federal government. Go to the Supervisor of Elections Web site and learn more about me and the other candidates.

My platform is simple and straight forward - control growth and adhere to strict fiscal standards. With budget constraints and cuts, the commission will have to be responsible and responsive to the many challenges of safety, health, welfare and quality of life.

I am concerned about the lack of jobs in our county and will work with the Economic Development Council to increase and encourage business development, especially for small businesses -- the backbone of our country.

I will support a voter initiative to allow the people to decide if they would like to purchase development rights for our existing farm lands as well as conservation lands to be preserved and enjoyed by future generations.

I will also continue to push for conservation and alternative water supply initiatives.

I opposed the LeNatures water plant, which would have depleted millions of gallons of water from the aquifer. The incumbent voted to approve them without any research on a company that was heavily in debt.

After much public outcry, the contract was cancelled. I am proud to have been part of the few that exposed the plant for what is was.

Growth issues the county faces, dictate that we are proactive and diligent with the safety and welfare of our citizens. We have to focus on and work together as public officials with the first responders to ensure the community is safe at all times.

The incumbent has publicly stated that he will not campaign and will not go out to meet you -- the people he serves. This job is about taking care of the people of this county, not just collecting a paycheck. We can't afford any more irresponsible decisions and actions by the incumbent.

If you elect me to the District 5 Seat, I pledge to be your full-time commissioner. I will be your new choice and new voice. My only job will be as your full-time St. Johns County Commissioner.

Please remember that this is a countywide election which means that everyone eligible to vote in this race can vote for a commissioner not living in their particular district.

Ken Bryan is a retired senior staff director with 36 years of service with the federal Departments of Justice, Navy and the White House. He currently serves on many community boards.

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Letter: Bush attack on journalism is failing

Letter: Bush attack on journalism is failing

Richard E. Connaway
St. Augustine Beach
Publication Date: 05/17/08

Editor: With the articles scattered across pages, the Bush "assault'' on journalism seems to be failing.

From oil development in Alaska, etc., to uranium mining in the Grand Canyon, the attempts to exploit federal lands in order to compensate for failed economic stratagems are still well revealed.

However, if the present recession was the real objective, then this president is a greater threat to the nation than all enemies combined.

Richard E. Connaway

St. Augustine Beach

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Seraphin seeks Errol Jones' seat

Seraphin seeks Errol Jones' seat

Publication Date: 05/18/08

Judith Seraphin, a Lincolnville resident known for her dislike of City Hall, announced Saturday she will run against incumbent City Commissioner Errol Jones in the upcoming election.

"Our City Hall is an embarrassment to us all and it is time for a major change," Seraphin said in written statement to The Record. "Working together, we can restore democracy, decency and dignity to City Hall."

Seraphin, 66, moved with her husband, Tony, to St. Augustine from Philadelphia four years ago. She is owner of GlobalWrap.Com, a construction company that works on structures especially after disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina.

In the last two years, the Serpaphins took center stage during a conflict with the city over illegally dumped landfill material. In 2005, the city took dirt from an old landfill site on Riberia Street, near the Seraphins' home, and dumped it into a water-filled borrow pit on Holmes Boulevard. That violated state Department of Environmental Protection rules. The DEP fined the city and told it to remove the waste.

The city complied.

But when the city planned to return the material to the Riberia site, the Seraphins said no.

They filed a petition with Environmental Protection against the city's plan and the project was frozen while the state investigated the project.

The city has since changed its plan and is now taking the material to a landfill in Nassau County.

Judith Seraphin said it's wrong that the city doesn't listen to constituents and that residents "have to fight City Hall to get anything done."

"People feel pretty helpless," she said. "I'd like to make a change on that."

She will run against Jones for Seat 1, a four-year position.

Jones also lives in Lincolnville and was born and raised in St. Augustine, which "counts for something," he said. He has been a commissioner for six years.

"I have a good understanding of my constituents. I didn't just move here," Jones said. "I've been part of history here ... I think I've represented my district very well."

Judith Seraphin has also run three bed and breakfast inns in other areas and owns an art gallery in Philadelphia. For the past year, she has been vice president of the Lincolnville Neighborhood Association. She has three children, four stepchildren and eight grandchildren.

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Spinning Like a Top --- St. Augustine Record Is Still Calling Old City Reservoir a "Water-Filled Bororw Pit"

See below!

City agrees on dumping plan

Saturday, May 17, 2008

25th anniversary of Oak Ridge mercury declassification

By Ed Slavin
The Oak Ridger, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Monday, May 29, 2000

Guest Column: Persistence may pay off for sick workers

On this day in American history (May 17): In 1946, President Harry Truman seized control of America's railroads.

In 1954, the United States Supreme Court ordered American schools desegregated, in Brown v. Board of Education.

In 1973, the U.S. Senate began its Watergate investigation.

In 1983, in response to a November 1982 Appalachian Observer newspaper declassification request, the DOE Oak Ridge Operations office admitted it "lost," emitted and dumped 2.4 million pounds of mercury in Oak Ridge.

The DOE ORO telephone call came at about noon on our weekly deadline day, requesting I send someone to DOE HQ in Oak Ridge to pick up a FOIA response.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Some said that I was "crazy" and "out to destroy Oak Ridge" for seeking this information, and that no one would care. They were wrong. Others in Oak Ridge shared information confidentially, and encouraged me to seek the truth.

DOE now admits that there were 4.2 million pounds of mercury "lost."

Since 1983, DOE has spent some $4.5 billion on "cleanup" in Oak Ridge, with no end in sight. DOE and its allies euchred ATSDR into changing the cleanup standard for mercury, and serious problems remain as a result.

On May 17, 1983, few of us envisioned just how widespread DOE and contractor misconduct had been, or the vast numbers of people affected by it. While I predicted "a potential environmental health disaster" in AO editorials, and was churlishly chided by DOE for "alarmist language," the simple truth is that I did not then imagine just how big that DOE "environmental health disaster" might become.

Seventeen years later, our leaders need the steely determination of Harry Truman, Earl Warren, Thurgood Marshall and Sam Ervin.

Seventeen years later, that 26-year-old Appalachian Observer newspaper editor is a public interest lawyer representing whistleblowers and other DOE victims. He is still hated by DOE Oak Ridge managers. He is still seeking the truth. I am now honored to have my views shared by DOE's victims -- workers and residents from across the country, with an apology by the Secretary of Energy and bipartisan compensation legislation supported by editorial writers and Congressmen. This is a very special day, with meaningful legislation possible, if not this year, then next year.

The lesson of history: Never give up. Individual efforts can change history.

See, e.g., Jimmy Breslin's book on Watergate, "How the Good Guys Finally Won."

In tribute to all of the DOE/AEC victims whose sacrifice made victory in the Cold War possible, Congress should pass full and fair compensation legislation for all of DOE's Cold War radiation and toxicant victims, whether babies with genetic damage, Downwinders/residents, plant workers, Atomic Veterans or Gulf War veterans.

Our struggle is righteous and it can and should be won. The bill should not be limited only to plant workers, but should include family members and residents poisoned by DOE or suffering genetic abnormalities.

Rep. Zach Wamp pressed the need for compensating residents at the April 12 press conference held by Secretary Richardson, televised by C-SPAN: Secretary Richardson only frowned at these words.

In my humble opinion, if Congress has to kill a bad bill now to pass a good bill later, then so be it. DOE should not control compensation of its own victims, or pick and choose which victims it will compensate. This is a blatant conflict of interest.

Longtime Oak Ridge lawyer Gene Joyce made excellent suggestions on enacting compensation legislation in his column, and I salute him.

If hindsight is 20/20, it is only reasonable that DOE should not be allowed to rush things so as to make the nuclear weapons compensation bill a joke, covering only a few people, holding out cash over their heads and then dashing peoples' hopes and prayers in the details. What do you think?

For more information online, visit

Monday, May 12, 2008


That's the condescending WILLIAM PENCE in the funny hat, attending a fancy-pants masqued ball several years ago (our City Attorney RONALD BROWN), gets his tickets for free.
AKERMAN SENTERFITT has been involved in the continuing coverup of the City of St. Augustine's illegal dumping since 2006. He was present when false statements were mnade to the Florida DEP and U.S. EPA. He pursued the nefarious scheme to send solid waste back to the community of Lincolnville. He talked down to the people of West Augustine and Lincolnville at the Jsnuary 10, 2008 meeting. Now he's negotiated with FDEP, in secret, excluding community activists. He had the nerve (as did our City) to refuse to hold another meeting at the A.M.E. Church in Lincolnville, stiffing the request from the Lincolnville Neighborhood Association to hold Thursday's meeting there. As a result, Thursday's meeting was all-white (except for the city employee who tape-recorded the meeting).
Thursday's meeting was not televised or videotaped. Not one City Commmissioner attended the meeting, although Commissioner ERROL JONES was seen a few minutes latger - was he watching from his office in City Hall, refusing to be associated with the scandal he helped create and continue?
JONES was repeatedly rude to persons asking questions about the illegal dumping.
Then, on November 13, 2007, it was JONES who made the motion to ship the waste back to Lincolnville, where he himself grew up. (Two Commissioners -- Ex-Mayor GEORGE GARDNER and ex-Vice-Mayor SUSAN BURK -- did not attend the November 13, 2007 meeting.
Only because seven citizen activists filed a petition with FDEP was tne notion of shipping illegally dumped solid waste back to Lincolnville rejected.
AKERMAN SENTERFITT lawyer WILLIAM PENCE has personally profited from this stupid, racist idea, which would have depressed Lincolnville property values.
Thursday night, city mouthpiece WILLIAM PENACE was at it again. PENCE had the nerve to call the citizen petition "frivolous." The nerve of this malefactor of great wealth and his corporate law firm.
It is hardly frivolous to defend one's city and community from illegal dumping and Environnmental Racism.
The people won. WILLIAM PENCE, the City of St. Augustine and AKERMAN SENTERFITT lost.
The solid waste is not being shipped back to Lincolnville.
It's going to be removed from the Old City Reservoir.
Yet the racist city government -- the one Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called the "most lawless city in America" -- is still trying to do the job on the cheap, refusing to agree to public participation in negotiations, refusding to answer questions about what was dumped and why, keeping tatterdemalion City Manager WILLIAM B. HARRISS in office, and lying about everything (even falsely claiming to have changed procedures to prevent further environmental violations and claiming to have done a "root cause analysis" when none exists.
WILLIAM PENCE and AkERFMAN SENTERFITT --we see right through you. Your services, such as they are, may no longer be required. Go away.

Meeting Tonight on Illegal Dumping Consent Decree

5 PM at 75 King Street at the City Hall and Lightner Museum, ALcazar Room. The consent decree is inadequate, with Akerman Senterfitt lawyer WILLIAM PENCE wasting our treasure on defending our city's environmental racism. Thursday's meeting was all-white because our Nation's Oldest City again broke its promises to the people of Lincolnville and West Augustine. How embarassing to have a redneck peckerwood like WILLIAM B. HARRISS as the City Manager of a great City. How disgusting are his heyboys, City Attorney RONALD BROWN and Assistant City Manager JOHN REGAN. After deposing solid waste in our Old City Reservoir, REGAN could only make pejorative remarks about those who reproted it -- some in writing (see below). These aracnhid apparatchiks are a stench in the nostrils of a free people.

Landfill plan viewed as 'step in right direction'

Landfill plan viewed as 'step in right direction'

Special to The Record
Publication Date: 05/11/08

One of Lincolnville's strongest critics of the city's failed attempt to return landfill waste to her neighborhood sees the city's proposed remedy as a "step in the right direction," but she's not quite ready to embrace it.

"I just need to be comfortable that the solution that the city and the DEP (state Department of Environmental Protection) has come up with is right for Lincolnville and for West St. Augustine," said Judith Seraphin after an information session the city hosted late last week.

At that session, St. Augustine chief of operations John Regan presented the Final Consent Order for Holmes Boulevard and Riberia Street Properties, which he said "should be good news" to the residents of Lincolnville, where the Riberia site is.

The explosive political issue is nearing an end with the city's agreement to move the waste to a landfill in Nassau County.

The issue started when community activists learned that the city had taken waste from an old landfill on Riberia Street in Lincolnville and dumped it into a pit off Holmes Boulevard. When the state DEP learned of this, it fined the city and ordered it to clean up that site.

The city then planned to return the landfill waste to the Riberia Street site after cleaning it up. That proposal called for topping it off with clean topsoil and making it a bird-watching site. Neighbors and others objected and after a series of public meetings, the city came up with the Nassau County solution.

The meeting last week was to give citizens an update, which included a lot of technical information from the DEP.

Dwight Hines, a retired college professor who is now a political activist in St. Augustine, questioned the validity of the data.

"These are misleading numbers," Hines said. "Therefore, the results are not accurate."

Hines also he wondered if the city may have already secretly dumped some of the material in other locations.

Mike Fitzsimmons, DEP Northeast District Waste Program administrator, said that regardless of the numbers, all of the material will be removed to Nassau County under the plan.

Another Lincolnville resident, Missy Hall, expressed some suspicion about the plan.

"It's not that it's not good news," she said. "I just want to make sure the city follows through with it. Lincolnville very often has been neglected by the city."

During the question-and-answer portion of the meeting, Hall asked each representative of the DEP to stand up and explain their role.

"If it's such good news, then why did it take seven or eight people from the DEP to deliver it?" she said. "I'm skeptical that it's been resolved. It doesn't seem to me to be as simple as the city would like us to believe. There is a lot of technical information involved in this."

As for Seraphin, she doing more research to understand the technical issues better.

"I'm asking questions and getting answers, but I haven't gotten satisfactory answers to some of those questions," she said. "When I get those answers, I'll decide if I'm comfortable with this."

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© The St. Augustine Record

The First Amendment, In Its Majest, Protects the Right to Write Wrongheaded, Uninformed Editorials, like the One Below From the St. Augustine Record

Like dye in the stream, the name of "Patricia Greer" appears in the editorial below.
How revealing. On Friday, the St. Augustine Record was informed that Peter Guinta wrote a one-sided, uninformed article on mosquito control, even getting the name of the General Manager of the Mosquito Control District wrong, while failing to report that every single public speaker supported leaving mosquito control as an independent public health agency charged with important public environmental health responsibilities.
The Record did not correct its errors -- it compounded them -- with an editorial quoting Chairwoman Jeanne Moeller as having said something she didn't say, which was not in Guinta's story, while referring to the fictitious person of "Patricia Greer."
It's Priscilla Green. It's Chairwoman Moeller. And it's high time the Record appreciated their accomplishments, instead of being a bullet in the gun of County Commission Chair Tom Manuel, who was allegedly provocative and rude to AMCD off-camera, waving bye-bye to Green and saying (about the 60th Anniversary cake), "that's your last cake." St. Augustine Record reporter Peter Guinta and its editorial writers have only empowered a bully, instead of covering the news without fear or favor. Enough flummery, dupery and nincompoopery from the Wreckord..

Editorial: Mosquito board scrutiny necessary

Editorial: Mosquito board scrutiny necessary

Publication Date: 05/11/08

It was disappointing to see the St. Johns County Commission reject a straw ballot on whether mosquito control belongs under county government. On Thursday, the commission's 3-2 split rejected a non-binding vote in the Aug. 26 primary election.

About 10 days ago, the County Commission also rejected a proposed straw ballot on the fate of the St. Augustine Airport Authority. The Airport Authority is on track to get off the tax rolls by 2010 but Commission Chairman Tom Manuel has questioned its continued operation as an independent agency. The Airport Authority's fate has been tested before on a straw ballot. Voters have said it should remain independent.

But the Mosquito Control District has made no commitment to stop collecting taxes and has amassed $4.7 million in reserves, some set aside for future projects. As far as we can tell, there has not been a straw ballot before on its fate.

Manuel also proposed the mosquito district straw ballot because he's concerned that duplication costs more, especially in office operations such as personnel and purchasing. He, too, questioned the district's budget last year of $3.3 million when the budget of Miami-Dade County was only $3.23 million for mosquito control.

Commissioner Jim Bryant proposed that the commission reject the mosquito straw ballot. He said the commission should not try to take over another elected board unless there is a large outcry from the citizens. He said he has not heard that outcry.

As an FYI, a letter Thursday to Manuel from Charles H. Bronson, state commissioner of agriculture, said 43 mosquito control operations in Florida are administered by county governments. The remaining 15, including Anastasia Mosquito Control, are independent taxing authorities.

A straw ballot is not binding but how else will county government take the citizens' pulse? Those who appear before the County Commission express emotions more than opinions. There is no way to compare the views of 50 or 100 people in the County Auditorium, many of whom work for the specific independent authority, to the views of 90,000-plus eligible voters countywide.

Anastasia Mosquito Control is 60 years old. Some decisions the past two years have been questionable such as the possible purchase of a $1.8 million helicopter, later cancelled. Another controversy was the $1.25 million worth of land purchased without an appraisal. Jeanne Moeller, mosquito board chairwoman, said Friday this turned out to be a good deal, because the land is worth a lot more now and the district donated seven of those 25 acres to the county for a new Emergency Operations Center near the Agricultural Center. However, we do not think land should be purchased by public boards without an appraisal.

New general manager Patricia Greer said meetings have been civil of late. But, this board cannot forget the rudeness of some current members and some of their predecessors when the public has questioned the spending of tax dollars.

A year ago, the mosquito board voted 3-2 to explore merging with the county. To our knowledge, those meetings have not taken place. Why not? They should, just so the public can better understand mosquito control's operation and the possible ways to reduce the tax dollars used for it.

A periodic public examination of an independent taxing authority via a straw ballot is long overdue for Anastasia Mosquito Control District. Now is the time to go forward. The November ballot, by the way, still has some openings on it.

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© The St. Augustine Record

Peter Guinta Is One Sloppy, Negligent One-sided Reporter

Peter Guinta Is One Sloppy, Negligent One-sided Reporter who couldn't write a fair and balanced story on Mosquito Control, leaving out AMCD Chairwoaman Jeanne Moeeller, an open active Democrat who chairs AMCD, and even getting wrong the name of AMCD General Manager Priscillla Green (Guinta wrote it as Priscilla Greer).
Guinta's story, below, also contains a base canard about AMCD meetings, which he generally views with contempt, arriving late, leaving for breaks, then leaving early. Guinta's story, below never mentions the $1.8 million helicopter, the causus belli of AMCD's struggle.
Guinta's story is like a fractured fairy tale, failing to notice that the people of St. Johns County, in their righteous wrath, overcame the $1.8 million on-bid helicopter through the persistence of Commissioner John Sundeman, Commissioner Jeanne Moeller, and a host of citizen activists.
Peter Guinta is beneath contempt -- his bosses at Morris Communications let him do it again and again and again -- still not correcting even the name of Priscilla Green (also reported as Priscilla Greer in an editorial yesterday).
The St. Augustine Record was improving.

No vote on Mosquito District

No vote on Mosquito District

County commission decides against taking over board

Publication Date: 05/09/08

Anastasia Mosquito Control District's board members, employees and supporters on Thursday asked St. Johns County commissioners not to put the district's fate before the public in a non-binding referendum.

Commissioner Jim Bryant agreed and his motion not to support a straw vote passed in a split vote.

Bryant said the commission shouldn't be trying to absorb an elected board.

"The people in the mosquito control district will un-elect their commissioners when they want to," Bryant said.

His motion was seconded by Vice Chairman Cyndi Stevenson, who said the county already "had plenty on its plate" at the moment. "We need to go forward and work with other local governments," she added.

But Commission Chairman Tom Manuel said he was asked by two district board members to explore the county taking over mosquito control operations. In making his argument for a referendum, Manuel said the district was a service agency, not a revenue-generating agency.

"In seven years, the district collected $21 million in taxes," Manuel said. "Last year, it collected $3.3 million. They now have $4.7 million in reserves. This is a prime example of uncontrolled bureaucracy."

Miami-Dade County, with 2.5 million people and six times the area of St. Johns County, has a budget of $3.2 million for mosquito control while Anastasia's had a budget last year of $3.3 million, he said.

"This district has far exceeded the authority given to them by the statutes," he said. "The job is simple: To kill mosquitoes."

He wanted to explore absorbing the district into county operations for efficiency and economy.

However, John Sundeman, a mosquito board member, admitted there had been "humps and bumps" in the district's performance over the last few years, "but that's not a reason to come in an take over a public health organization."

He accused Manuel of wanting to consolidate all the governments in St. Johns County, including St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach, and he said there have been no studies showing a need for consolidation.

"We're not to be played politics with," Sundeman said. "It's a political stunt."

The appeals to save the district included one from Vivian Browning of Vilano Beach, who has announced she is running for a seat now occupied by Emily Hummel, a 16-year veteran board member who is retiring.

"This is moving too fast. It needs to be done (only) after many more meetings," Browning said, adding with a laugh, "The only reason Florida was settled was air conditioning and mosquito control."

Annette Cappella, a district supporter, asked the commission why this was initiated.

"The board has shown that it is really coming together. It's operating very well. There have been problems and dissension, but it's (now) operating very well."

The "problems and dissension" she mentioned included past meetings marked with disorder, rudeness and accusations, by both board members and speakers, who would ramble on for as long as they liked, ignoring then-Chairwoman Barbara Bosanko's gavel. Once the sheriff's office was called to restore peace, though no one was expelled or charged.

Since then, the board hired a general manager, Patricia Greer of Jacksonville, and meetings have been civil.

Greer said, "Most of the issues they had are in the past and belong in the past."

Commissioner Ben Rich said trying to disband an elected board would mean "a long and tedious process in Tallahassee," but he added that he still wanted to learn the public's opinion of district performance.

"I went to a few meetings and they were the most dysfunctional meetings I ever attended," he said. "We're going to give (the district's financial) numbers to our staff and that will be brought back for future consideration. I don't understand, you're taking tax money and hoarding it in this way."

Rich and Manuel opposed Bryant's motion. Stevenson and Commissioner Ron Sanchez voted with Bryant.

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© The St. Augustine Record