Friday, January 31, 2014

I never worked for the State Department

Reading about the XL pipeline contract study by the State Department today made me laugh.
It made me grateful for a decision I made at age 21.
When I was in undergraduate school, I was investigating and writing what eventually became an 11,500 word investigation of coal slurry pipelines, which helped lead to a bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives not to allow eminent domain for pipeliners to steal farmers' land for polluting coal slurry pipelines, which would have taken coal in Wyoming, crushed it, added water and hexavalent chromium, and dumped the resulting mess in Arkansas at the behest of MIDDLES SOUTH UTLILITIES and BECHTEL. We beat 'em, fair and square.
While I was writing the investigative article for Crossroads Magazine (formerly Coal Patrol), BECHTEL's Washington, D.C. lobbyist told me that if I published it, I would "never work for the State Department." I told her, "ma'am, I don't want to work for the State Department."
Since I was at the time a lowly undergraduate in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, she must have been "driving under the inference" that I would want to work for the State Department.
This was thre years after the Vietnam War.
Appalled after reading the Pentagon Papers in The New York Times, and appalled at reading Frances' Fitzgerald's Fire in the Lake and David Halberstam's The Best and the Brightest while I was in high school. Thus, I declined to even take the Foreign Service Officer examination, which required one to take an oath to "support U.S. Foreign Policy." Evidently the State Department felt that was more important than the Oath in our Constitution, which requires one to support, protect and defend our Constitution.
Today, after reading about the XL pipeline study, I was again grateful that I never worked for the State Department.
President Harry S. Truman thought the State Department was peopled by pompous foppish anti-Semitic popinjays in striped pants -- pants-pressers, he called them.
Some of my college friends went to work there, and got to see the world through the eyes of the "Ugly American," some probably as CIA Agents.
Instead of going abroad to work for the State Department, I went to Appalachia, exposed wrongdoing, and later worked to help protect whistleblowers.
Damn glad I did.
Could you imagine me as an actual diplomat, which was defined by Briton Henry Wooton in the 17th century as "an honest man who is sent abroad to lie for his country?"
Today, after reading about the XL pipeline study, I am "shocked, shocked" that:
(a) The State Department awarded a contract to do what should be considered a non-delegable duty under the Delegation Doctrine and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) circulars; and
(b) The State Department Inspector General has refused to release its putative investigation of the conflict of interest invoved in State Department contracting-out work on the XL environmental study to organizations that may have organizationa conflicts of interest.
The public has a Right to Know.
Thomas Jefferson said, "I have sworn eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of [hu]man[kind."
Inspectors General, supposed to protect the public interest, are too often harassers of whistleblowers and ienpt coverup artists.
I have requested this evening that the State Department OIG provide the XL conflict of interest investiation NOW.
As Senator Howard Henry Baker, Jr. said during Watergate, "Coverups never work."

Florida House of Reprewsentatives Bill HB 599

There's an article on HISTORIC CITY NEWS that raises righteous questions about Rep. Travis Hutson, a developer's 25 year old son (the same developer who elected Rachael Bennett, also known as {riscilla Bennett, to the County Commission in St. Johns County.
If HCN is correct, HB 599 would add yet another exemption to our Florida Open Records laws, which already have too many exemptions.
We need fewer exemptions. Rep. Hutston needs to explain precisely why he wants license plate reader records exempt.
Good point!
Article I, Section 24 of our Florida Constitution was adopted by vote of the people in 1992 -- 83% voted in favor, or more than 3.8 million people.
Democrats and Republicans in Tallahasse are pestered y lobbyists to enact exemptions to our Open Records laws, and other special interest provisions.
A former Tallahassee lobbyist once told me the difference between Democrats and Republicans in Tallahasee: "The Democrats want the money in a paper sack. The Republicans want it in a briefcase."

Rep. RONALD DESANTIS Allegedly Makes Racist and Misleading Comments About Health Care to Sheriff DAVID SHOAR's Apparatchik's HISTORIC CITY NEWS

Congressman RONALD DeSANTIS hates Obamacare, as dos the Sheriff's apparatchkm MICHAEL GOLD, fomrmerly known as "MICHAEL TOBIN."
You can't assume anything on HISTORIC CITY NEWS is true.
But it appears, if GOLD is to be believed, that DeSANTIS gave an interview to MICHAEL GOLD.
It also appears that, if GOLD is to be believed, DeSANTIS may have made racist statements about Obamacare to MICHAEL GOLD.
It also appears that, if GOLD is to be believed, DeSANTIS made a misleading statement about his own health care.
Contrary to GOLD's assertions, purporting to quote DeSANTIS, DeSANTIS does not pay for his own health care. DeSANTIS' spouse works for GANNETT, for FIRST COAST NEWS.
Contrary to GOLD's assertions, purporting to quote DeSANTIS, Obamacare is not bad for African-Americans, Hispanics or single mothers.
If GOLD is to be believed, DeSANTIS inhabits a world in which he thinks all whites are rich, all minorities and single mothers are poor, and people are supposed to believe the mouthings of a spoiled former Yale baseball player, Harvard Law School graduate and former HOLLAND & KNIGHT corporate lawyer -- an alien implant brought to you by the KOCH BROTHERS.
MICHAEL GOLD's HISTORIC CITY NEWS is what passes for faux FOX NEWS here in St. Johns County.
RONALD DeSANTIS' making racist and untrue statements about Obamacare to GOLD -- if GOLD quoted him accurately -- how trite.

St. Augustine Record Right On on Weak County Laws and Enforcement on Tree-Killing, and Last Saturday's Promiscuous Corporate Tree-Killing Orgy at US 1 Bookstore by Barnes & Noble, Retail Strategies, LLC, Sleiman Enterprises -- St. Augustine Record Editorial, "County's bark much worse than its bite."

Posted: January 31, 2014 - 12:19am
There’s been a buzz over the past week over the disappearance of some trees from the parking lot of the local Barnes & Noble bookstore. On Friday, they were there. On Monday, they were gone.
Sometime in between a tree-trimming service cut down all of the mature live oak trees shading the parking lot, ground down the stumps and were gone.
One resident called local arborist Chuck Lippi after witnessing some of the carnage. Lippi went by later to take a look, but there was nothing left to look at.
“When you see a tree service taking down trees on the weekend,” he told The Record, “you can bet something’s up.”
Apparently, it was.
The county has lots of laws regarding tree removal, but there’s one thing most all of them have in common, at least when dealing with residential or commercial property. You have to have a permit. Barnes & Noble did not.
The county’s environmental supervisor, Ryan Mauch, met with a representative of Retail Strategies LLC on Thursday. It is the management company that oversees the property, which includes the bookstore and the Chili’s restaurant next door: about 4.2 acres in all valued at just over $2.2 million on the tax appraiser’s books.
It is connected to Sleiman Enterprises, a large Jacksonville-based real estate development firm, probably best known for the Jacksonville Landing.
The Record was told by telephone that the representative who met with Mauch was unavailable for comment following the meeting Thursday.
So we don’t know why mature shade trees with 15-inch diameter trunks would be removed from a parking lot.
The county codes include “Remedies for Protected Tree Removal without a permit.” It reads, in part, that they are to be “replaced with like trees of the same size, species and location.” It continues that if replacement is not practical, “an equal number of inches of the same species shall be applied to the trees.”
Here’s how that translates in real terms. Follow closely.
It was determined that the property owners couldn’t replace the trees. Those 15-inch trunks are tough to plant. Aerial photos showed that six trees went missing. Six trees times 15 inches equals 90 inches of mitigation due.
So the owners agreed to plant 10 2-inch trees. That’s 20 inches down, 70 to go. The owners say they can’t plant any more trees on the property, so they’re going to pay the county’s tree bank fund for the other 70 inches. The cost of that is $25 an inch — for a total fine of $1,750.
We’re not tree experts. And how does one put a value on a tree? It does seem that willful destruction by a property management group whose job it is to know the rules for planting and removing trees might carry a little more punitive bite.
Land development laws do change. Should ours? We’re just asking ...
(1 vote)Comments
1655 POINTS View Profile ~~~~~~~~~~
"Anonymity liberates hostility." -- Kathleen Parker, columnist, The Washington Post
1655 Points
Clara Waldhari 01/31/14 - 09:04 am 30We witnessed the tree massacre and notified The Record. It was Saturday.
They made very quick work of it. Suddenly the store front could be seen clearly from US 1. Coincidental?
We have the laws. We don't have enforcement of them on weekends, which is why, at least IMO, the B&N Oak Massacre occurred when it did.
Now, the penalties associated with that law? YES, change them and give them teeth like the equipment used to slaughter healthy trees. Make the penalty fit the crime, not with replacement of trees alone, but with very stiff fines.
It's kinda like when developers leveled the historic Casa Cola in the county: "Ooops. We demolished the wrong building. Sorry." There is no going back.
Personally, I intend to BOYCOTT BARNES & NOBLE over this sneaky and wicked plot.
The $1,750 fine won't hurt the corporation at all, but maybe a nice, healthy boycott will speak to them.

IN HAEC VERBA: E-mail to KEY INTERNATIONAL re: Selling or Donating derelict St. Augustine Beach Resort (which sits between County's Pier Park and Anastasia State Park) for Park

From: easlavin
To: dlego ; jose ; inigo
Cc: thomas.ingram ; judgelitt10
Sent: Thu, Jan 30, 2014 2:41 pm
Subject: St. Augustine Beach Resort --- St. Augustine's Spanish Colonial Archaeological and Environmental Resources Must Be Preserved and Protected for Future Generations

Dear Messrs Ardid:

1. What consultants has Key International hired to study archaeological and environmental resources at the St. Augustine Beach Resort?
2. Were you aware that this is likely the location of the second St. Augustine settlement (1566)?. Please see January 11, 2014 St. Augustine Record, quoting St. Augustine City Archaeologist Carl Halbirt.
3. Thus, would you firm be interested in selling or deeding the property to a government -- the State of Florida, the National Park Service, St. Johns County or City of St. Augustine Beach -- for a park?
I look forward to talking with you.
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin
Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3084

Hysterical Historic City News column by embattled St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID B. SHOARB "welcomes citizen involvement"

What a hoot! A hysterically funny column appears on the local Republican faux Fox News style website (Let 'em eat handouts) of MICHAEL GOLD f/k/a "MICHAEL TOBIN." GOLD ran local hate websites atacking activists for years. GOLD raised some $250,000 for DAVID B. SHOAR f/k/a "DAVID HOAR"in 2004, the first and last time DAVID SHOAR had any electoral opponents.

Sheriff SHOAR's column says he "welcomes public participation." Still waiting on responses to Open Records requests filed in 2011.

We shall overcome. See below.

IN HAEC VERBA: My Letter to Pulitzer Prize Committee Recommending The New York Times' investigative article, "Two Shots on a Summer Night" for Pulitzer Prize

Dear Pulitzer Prize Administrator and Pulitzer Committee Members:
1. May I please submit this E-mail as my informal letter of recommendation, for the Times' article, "Two Gunshots on A Summer Night," to receive a Pulitzer Prize?
2. I have lived in Florida since 1995 and lived here in St. Augustine, Florida since November 5, 1999. Brian Wallace and I lived in Washington, D.C. when we first visited here in 1992; we fell in love with this small town and the history and beauty of Our Nation's Oldest City and its environs. We had no clue that this county was so corrupt here until several months after moving here.
3. The Times' article, "Two Gunshots on a Summer Night," exposes and skewers our local St. Johns County Sheriff, two Florida State's Attorneys and the local Medical Examiner for their evident misfeasance, malfesance and nonfeasance in their inept response to the shooting death of Ms. Michelle O'Connell, the girlfriend of Sheriff's Deputy Jeremy Banks.
4. The article may prove to be a transformative event in our local governments here in St. Johns County. This is a place where epic corruption long festered under Jim Crow segregation and one-party rule by Democrats, and now festers still under one-party rule by Republicans. This county has never had adequate coverage by any newspapers at any time (since the first printing press arrived here in 1777, under a brief period of British rule).
5. As a blogger and community activist, I have been speaking out on local issues since April of 2005.
6. When I read The New York Times article online on the evening of November 23, 2013, my heart leaped with joy, but my reaction was also one of indignation. Finally, there was an investigative reporter with the perspicacity to stand up to entrenched powers here and calmly and thoroughly expose their actions. The world is watching what we do in response.
7. The article was unadorned by any overstatement, pejoratives or sensationalism of any kind. Given the subject matter, it would have been very tempting for any investigative reporter to engage in at least one "cheap shot" or two -- there are none. With class and panache, the article carefully and effectively lets the facts and science speak for themselves, while treating the shooting victim and her family with the dignity and respect that they deserve. There are no unnecessary details. Every word tells. In four densely packed inside pages, the article assembles forensic evidence to make a compelling reconstruction of how a powerful Sheriff and his employees and political allies responded when the girlfriend of a well-connected deputy was found shot with the deputy's own semi-automatic service pistol issued by the Sheriff's office.
8. St. Johns County Sheriff David B. Shoar should have recused himself the night of the shooting. Everything that came afterwards was the "fruit of the poison tree." What happened on September 2, 2010 and since was made possible by docile local newspapers and aggravated by one-party Republican rule. This is a county where Democrats have not run a county-wide candidate in a partisan race sine 2006 -- eight (8) years ago -- and where the Sheriff has faced no opposition since being first elected in 2004 -- ten (10) years ago. Our community suffers from corruption as a result of ths backward political and journalistic culture. The Times story focuses on just one case as a synecdoche -- a part that stands for the whole.
9. We knew for years that our local burghers were capable of bribery, self-dealing, no-bid contracts, nepotism, Sunshine and Open Records violations and developer favoritism, which clear-cuts and kills trees and destroys wetlands.
10. But thanks to the Times' substantial investment of time, money and talent, we now know that the local political machine is so corrupt that it is quite capable of covering up a death and alleged Officer Invoved Domestic Violence (OIDV), and what should have been treated as a homicide investigation from the start was termed a "suicide" without proper investigation.
11. This is one of the greatest public services ever done by The New York Times in its history. It is in the spirit of the Times' investigation of Boss Tweed in 1871 and the publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971.
12. By way of background, I am a former editor of a small weeky newspaper in East Tennessee (Appalachian Observer) that investigated the U.S. Department of Energy's pollution and exposure of workers to radionuclides and other toxicants in Oak RIdge, Tennessee, investigated our corrupt local Sheriff, Dennis O. Trotter (later incarcerated), and investigated the U.S. Tennessee Valley Authority and other assorted wrongdoers. I know first-hand how tough it is to get local Sheriff's deputies anywhere in the South to cooperate with a newspaper reporter. I am also a former lawyer for whistleblowers, who greatly appreciates the sacrifices whistleblowers may make to speak the truth.
13. I have been a regular reader of The New York Times for some 46 years (I willl soon be 57). I have never seen anything in The New York Times (or in any other publication anywhere) that was quite so hard-hiting, scholarly and insightful at the same time. There are many excellent investigative articles competing for the Pulitzer annually, but there are very few with the potential to make such a difference in so many peoples' lives as "Two Gunshots on a Summer Night."
14. Victims of OIDV, domestic violence by law enforcement officials, have now been empowered by this story, whether in our community or around the Nation, and hopefully across the globe.. I know one such local victim, who has only recently started talking about her experiences.. There are many others elsewhere who will now no doubt stand up to abuse thanks to the Times' investigative reporting. Meanwhile, not one county-wide elected official here has yet spoken out about the O'Connell case. The reason: Sheriff Shoar heads the local political machine, like other corrupt county sheriffs before him. Many locals are afraid of speaking the truth to or about this Sheriff. The New York Times and its reporters were not afraid. Meanwhile, we are hopeful that as a result of this story, Sheriff Shoar, et al. will be investigated by the United States Department of Justice and FBI for criminal civil rights violations and other federal crimes. There must be accountability.
15. "Justice for Michelle O'Connell" will not come easily, but here in St. Augustine -- which Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1964 called "the most lawless" city in America -- local residents are indignant and empowered as never before in its nearly 450 years of recorded history.
16. I therefore heartily and enthusiastically recommend that you consider this Times article for a Pulitzer Prize in the appropriate category. Borrowing the chilling words of Sheriff Shoar himself, at the end of the article, and re-applying those words to the two co-authors, Messrs. Walt Bogdanich and Glenn Silber, "Let's give these two guys a hand!"
Please let me know if you have any questions, and kindly place me on your E-mailing list.
Thank you for your consideration.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin
Clean Up City of St. Augustine, Florida
PO Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3084

Thursday, January 30, 2014

St. Augustine Record Editorial: Live from City Hall, a new reality series

Posted: January 30, 2014 - 12:06am
If you’re into reality TV, there’s a new show heading your way. Actually, you’ll watch it on your home computer, tablet or mobile device. And, technically speaking, you could use linking technology to move the picture from the computer to the big-screen TV hanging over the fireplace. It’s a techie thing.
The show stars local talent: Joe Boles, Nancy Sikes-Kline, Roxanne Horvath, Leanna Freeman and Don Crichlow, with a supporting cast of Ed Slavin and B.J. Kalaidi. While the marketing boys are still tossing around the name of the new series, “All My Commissioners” is a favorite. With all the replica ships tied up at the municipal marina lately, and maybe a new one on the way, “Dock Dynasty” is getting some traction as well.
All this is, admittedly, a silly way to say that the city of St. Augustine OK’d an agreement to begin providing live video streaming of its meetings. And we think that’s a very good thing.
In the coming months, The Record will be knee-deep in an unabashed effort to bring civic engagement to the forefront whenever the opportunity presents itself: Like now.
Any method that draws the public into closer proximity to elected officials, civic organizations, nonprofits and all the engines that power our communities is, from where we sit, heading in the right direction.
And making city meetings easier for you to see is a good one. Yes, we have had — lately quite intermittent — live cable TV coverage and rebroadcasts. But the new system will allow you to pick and choose when and where and how you watch.
The content of our City Commission, Historic Architectural Review Board and Planning and Zoning Agency will all be webcast initially. Vision meetings or any other gathering in the Alcazar Room could be added to the content.
All the footage is archived. You can sort through meetings chronologically or by jump-to markers embedded in the audio/visual clips.
But it’s not only the city.
St. Johns County is already on this system and likes where it’s heading. St. Augustine Beach is doing a home version of it — minus some of the bells and whistles. And to its credit, it’s doing it in-house.
The thing is, the new system will make government more accessible. You might be surprised at how entertaining government meetings can be at times. The mayor can usually be counted on to help with that.
Tune in when you can.

Comments (2)Add comment ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.

1624 POINTS View Profile ~~~~~~~~~~
"Anonymity liberates hostility." -- Kathleen Parker, columnist, The Washington Post

PointsClara Waldhari 01/30/14 - 08:36 am 00Terrific Idea!

We are seeing the "spirit of transparency"! I doubly love that meetings can be revisited easily. An excellent function.

In the continuing spirit of good will, it would be excellent if the commission upped the 3-minute public comment rule to 5 minutes.

Three minutes is time-miserly. With so much good stuff happening, it would be a shot in the arm to the community to have a new maximum of 5 minutes' access to the City Commission.

1624 POINTS View Profile ~~~~~~~~~~
"Anonymity liberates hostility." -- Kathleen Parker, columnist, The Washington Post

PointsClara Waldhari 01/30/14 - 09:53 am 00p.s.

I'm thinking "Matlock" more than "All My Commissioners," but that one made me chuckle!

Not so fast I: St. Augustine Beach Resort teardown provides opportunity for archaeological, historic and environmental preservation

Please see below.

Not so fast II: The South end of Riberia Street may not be properly referred to as "Riberia Pointe" (sic

Please see below.

IN HAEC VERBA: No support for caling the south end of Lincolnville "Riberia Pointe"

Dear Stephen:
1. Thank you! I think the developer of the proposed Children's Museum and Aquarium and some of our City of St. Augustine staff somewhat casually or hurriedly adopted "Riberia Pointe" *sic) to refer to the Cape, without approaching or appreciating the U.S. Board of Geographic Names and its Florida counterpart. There is no precedent for calling the area Riberia Pointe (sc), but there are longstanding Spanish and British colonial (Buena Experanza or Good Hope) and Indian names (Pocolalaca) for the area. A third name was used after 1905 to refer to the area (Pougeaud's Point). The word "Riberia" is itself a corrruption of the Spanish word for shoreline (Ribera); Riberia is the name of the main north-south street. Thus, "Riberia Pointe" (sic) is a twice-misspelled misnomer and it lacks historical support. One of the two authentic historic names is good enough for our Nation's Oldest City.
2. There needs to be a consensus before we go renaming historic places n our Nation's Oldest City. The U.S. Board of Geographic Place Names is the final arbiter, not developers or non-profit groups or the City.
3. What a wonderful idea to make "Lincolnville" a federally recognized place name!. This timing is excellent -- ten days ago, the City of St. Augustine opened an impressive exhibit, "Journey: 450 Years of African-American History." Lincolnville was the first settlement by freed slaves after the Civil War.
4. By the way, is Fort Mosé (or more formerly, Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mosé) on the federal list?
5. I have shared your E-mail with city officials and the local newspaper in hopes of stimulating public discussion.
Thank you!
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin
Clean Up City of St. Augustine, Florida
Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3084

-----Original Message-----
From: Hodge, Stephen
To: Ed Slavin
Sent: Thu, Jan 30, 2014 9:54 am
Subject: RE: Riberia Pointe, St Augustine

Below is a reply I received from the National group that oversees this process.
To begin a formal name change request you should visit the site

Let me know if you have any questions

From USGS GNIS staff

We're not aware of any effort to change the name of Lincolnville, nor to apply
the name Riberia Pointe to that area or to one nearby.

In fact, we have no listing in GNIS for Lincolnville. If that name's in local
use (and my quick google search suggests it is), we should add it. I found this
description: The Lincolnville Historic District encompasses 45 blocks in St.
Augustine and is bounded by Cedar, Riviera, Cerra, Washington, and DeSoto
Streets. It should be easy enough to determine the coordinates. I'll take care
of that.

I also found a few references to Riberia Pointe, but it's not clear if it's a
locally used name, or one that's being proposed. From last September's St.
Augustine Record: "An Orlando consultant on Monday presented the St. Augustine
City Commission with a multi-million dollar plan to build a 250,000-gallon
aquarium, a state-of-the-art children's museum, a botanical garden, shops and an
aviary in a massive Riberia Pointe development...."

Another: "On May 15, 2013, Historic City News reported on a "Lunch-n-Learn" held
to inform the Lincolnville Community of the City of St Augustine's intent to
relocate horse stables adjacent to the north end of the Wastewater Treatment
Plant. As a result of that meeting staff decided the plan should be scrapped and
other alternatives be evaluated. The proposal, relocating the transfer station
to the south end of the property returns to the agenda when the City Commission
holds its regular business meeting on Monday evening. After discussions among
staff and with the franchisees, the only other viable plan would be to construct
a transfer station south of the Wastewater Treatment Plant on Riberia Pointe
adjacent to the fire tower," says Assistant City Manager, Timothy A.

... and "We have a street project for three streets in downtown St. Augustine,
there is a children's museum we want to help fund on Riberia Pointe".

And finally, "The museum, which plans to open in December 2014, will be located
in downtown St. Augustine, adjacent to the historic neighborhood of Lincolnville
on Riberia Pointe."

Do these suggest the name applies to a point of land ("cape"?) rather than a

Without further input from the community, we don't want to speculate as to
whether the name should be made official (i.e. should a proposal be submitted to
the BGN, or can it be added directly into GNIS), but I'd suggest it's not a
renaming, but a "new" name for a distinct feature.

Does that help a little?


Stephen W. Hodge
ISPA / FREAC Director

-----Original Message-----
From: Ed Slavin []
Sent: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 11:54 AM
To: Hodge, Stephen
Subject: Riberia Pointe, St Augustine

> Dear Dr. Hodge:
> Have you or the Geographic Name Board approved renaming the south end of
Lincolnville in St. Augustine as "Riberia Pointe?"
> Thank you
> Sincerely,
> Ed Slavin
> 904-377-4998

Who and what is Key International?

Key International
A Real Estate Investment & Development CompanyTeam

Key International is a real estate investment and development company headquartered out of Miami, Florida. The company focuses primarily on high end commercial and luxury residential properties including condominiums, hotels, market-rate rentals, office, and retail.

Key International is operated by the Ardid family and has been acquiring and developing properties since the 1970s in Spain and in the United States. Key International’s investment strategy is to buy and/or develop high quality assets such as the Eden Roc Resort and Spa, Marriott South Beach, The Ivy, and Mint with low leverage.

Jose Ardid, Key International’s President and Chief Executive Officer, is a licensed architect who moved into real estate development and has decades of experience.

Inigo Ardid and Diego Ardid, Key International’s Vice Presidents, are now positioned to develop the next generation vision for the company, having already spearheaded major projects such as the development of landmark buildings Mint and The Ivy in Downtown Miami as well as the complete renovation and expansion of the world renowned Eden Roc Resort and Spa, playground to the rich and famous for decades

Preservng St. Augustine's History and Natural Beauty

Developer Key Intenational manages Key Beach North LLC, which has purchased a nuisance for $9,750,000. The St. Augustine Beach Resort is run-down with lousy reviews. It is now closed, locked and has "no trespassing" signs.

The Beach Resort adjoins our beautiful Anastasia State Park, with its endangered species, including turtles, birds and the Anastasia Island Beach Mouse.

The Resort would never have been permitted under today's environmental laws.

The property likely contains the archaeological remains of St. Augustine's founding.

In 1566, our Nation's Oldest city moved to Anastasia Island after Selawa Indians burned down the original site at the Indian village of Seloy.

St. Augustine City Archaeologist Carl Halbirt told the Record (January 11, 2014) that "circumstantial" evidence points to the likelihood that the second site of our city was where the Resort and Pier are located. Evidence includes an artesian well, colonial pottery and colonial roads converging in the vicinity. "It is my hypothesis that this is the second settlement of St. Augustine" in 1566, before St. Augustine moved to its current location, where the first town plan was developed in 1571.

Hence for the 450th anniversary of St. Augustine, what can contribute more to advancing historic preservation and scholarship than finding out the truth about St. Augustine's second settlement?

We must insist upon an archaeological investigation before the site can be developed, with what St. Augustine Beach's Planning and Zoning Director predicts will be a "teardown."

If the Beach Resort is indeed the location of St. Augustine's second settlement, we need to explore government purchase of the St. Augustine Beach Resort as part of a park.

St. Augustine Beach City Planning and Zoning Director Gary Larson told the Record on January 11th that this is the most beautiful location on the beach between Daytona and Jacksonville, with a "fantastic ocean view." That's all the more reason for it to be part of Anastasia State Park, and not another resort.

Florida is already blessed with resorts and condos (500,000 condos are unoccupied).

The site of St. Augustine's first settlement has been identified by University of Florida Archaeologist Dr. Kathy Deegan and is preserved by the Fraser Family (Fountain of Youth park) and Roman Catholic Church (Lady of La Leche Shrine and Mission de Nombre de Dios).

The site of St. Augustine's second settlement -- on the beach -- must be preserved forever as parkland.

The St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore was proposed 75 years ago, in 1939, by St. Augustine Mayor Walter Fraser, then-Senators Claude Pepper and Charles Andrews and then-Representative Joseph Hendricks. The time for action is now.

Our St. Johns County Sheriff, David Shoar, told me in 2011 that the idea of the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore is a "no-brainer." We can preserve forever current state parks, forests and water management district lands.

Today, the hope still lives that we can preserve our history and nature forever inviolate, protected from developer designs and giveaways.

Our county-owned St. Augustine Beach Pier will soon require replacement. To do it properly could cost $20 million.

Let the new Pier be a centerpiece of the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore, perhaps through public-private partnership.

Let the new St. Augustine Beach Pier be longer, fishermen-friendly, enjoyable, and fun, with a history and civil rights museum and restaurants. At the Seal Beach Pier in Orange County, California, there's a statue of a seal (his name is "Slick").At the St. Augustine Beach Pier, I suggest a statue of the Anastasia Island Beach Mouse ("Ponce de Raton").

This is for your grandchildren, and their grandchildren. It is up to us.

Yes we can!

Ed Slavin
Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3084

Protecting St. Augustine Archaeology

This morning's St. Augustine Record has a once-sided article about St. Johns County Administrator MICHAEL PATRICK WANCHICK's negotiations with KEY INTERNATIONAL about development of the St. Augustine Beach Pier Park in conjunction with the St. Augustine Beach Resort.
KEY INTERNATIONAL bought the SAB Resort for some $4 million. The property is run-down with lousy reviews.
The property is now closed, locked and has "no trespassing" signs posted by the St. Augustine Beach Police.
No so fast, Mr. WANCHICK.
Not so fast, St. Johns County.
Not so fast, City of St. Augustine Beach.
The Beach Resort adjoins Anastasia State Park, with its endangered species, including turtles, birds and the Ansastasia Beach Mouse.
The Beach Resort would never have been permitted under today's environmental laws.
It has been reliably reported that the property in quo likely contains the archaeological remains of St. Augustine's founding!
In 1566, our Nation's Oldest city moved to Anastasia Island after Selawa Indians burned down the original site at the Indian village of Seloy.
Veteran City of St. Augustine City Archaeologist Carl Halbirt, who has held the position for 24 years, reliably told the St. Augustine Record January 11, 2014 that "circumstantial" evidence points to the likelihood that the second site of our city was where the Resort and Pier are located.
That strong evidence includes an artesian well, colonial pottery and colonial roads converging in the viciinity.
"It is my hypothesis that this is the second settlement of St. Augustine" in 1566, before the City moved to its current location, where the first town plan was developed in 1571 (still in place today).
Hence, for the 450th anniversary of St. Augustine, nothing can contribute more to history and scholarship than finding out the truth about St. Augustine's second settlement.
We must insist upon an independent federal, University of Florida and/or St. Johns County archaeological investigation before the site can be developed, with what St. Augustine Beach Planning and Zoning Direcor GARY LARSON predicts will be a "teardown."
LARSON last year told St. Augustine Beach Commissioners that he could not tell who was planning to buy the Resort. How secretive!
WANCHICK told SAB and County Commissioners about his negotiations at a meeting that was held in an Airport conference room, away from cable tv and live streaming video coverage. How secretive! (See below).
Enough secrecy.
If this is indeed the location of St. Augustine's second settlement, we need to explore government purchase of the St. Augustine Beach Resort as part of Anastasia State Park, and eventually, the St. Augustine Naional Historical Park and National Seashore.
St. Augustine Beach City Planning and Zoning Director GARY LARSON told the Record on January 11th that this is the best location on the beach between Daytona and Jacksonville, with a "fantastic ocean view."
That's all the more reason for it to be part of Anastasia State Park, and not another resort.
Florida is already blessed with resorts and condos.
The site of St. Augustine's first settlement has been identified by University of Florida Archaeologist Dr. Kathy Deegan and is preserved by the Fraser Family (Fountain of Youth park) and Roman Catholic Church (Lady of La Leche Shrine and Mission de Nombre de Dios).
The site of St. Augustine's second settlement -- on the beach -- must be preserved forever as parkland.
It is up to us.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Welcoming Pope Francis, the People's Pope, To St. Augustine, Florida

Pope Francis will come to St. Augustine, Florida next year for our 450th birthday.
I have no doubt.
Even if Pope Francis celebrates Masses in the county outside the territorial limits of the St. Augustine -- at the fairgrounds, at a farmer's field, on vcant land clear-cut by developers -- the world will see it as St. Augustine.
The first Roman Catholic Mass in America was here on September 8, 1565.
So were the first Hispanic-Americanss, first Roman Catholic Americans, first Jewish Americans, first free African-Americans and first ensaved African-Americans.
So was th first Thanksgiving.
America began here -- not at Jamestown, not at Plymouth.

In Appreciation of William Hughes, Outgoing Tourist Development Council Chairman

The Players Championship (TPC) Sawgrass Golf Course Manager William Hughes was very kind Monday, as he endeed his last meeting as TDC chair, thanking me for challenging TDC to do better.
I thank Chairman Hughes for his kind words, and appreciate his service to our community.
We may not always agree, but I appreciate his listening.

St. Johns County No Model of Transparency

Today's joint first-ever meeting of the St. Johns County Commission and St. Augustine Beach City Commission was held beyond the range of cable tv and live streaming internet video cameras.
Wonder why?
Plase see below.
St. Johns County "won" an award from a public administration group last year for its putative "transparency" based on its website.
St. Johns County Administrator MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK should apologize for holding today's meeting beyond the ambit of live tv coverage.
The backsides of WANCHICK, oounty staff, and some Commissionrs were to the audience.
Ever try talking to someone's backside?
This is tacky -- like the way Marilyn Crotty of the University of Central Florida arranged the chairs for the first session of the decennial St. Augustine Beach Charer Review Committee.
MICAHEL DAVID WANCHICK should apologize for avoiding tv and streaming video coverage of the joint meeting, and for sitting for 2.5 hours with his back to the audience.
MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK should also apologize for his staff never listing Monday's TDC meeting on the County Commission website before last Friday afernoon, while paying money for the St. Augustine Record to run a classified ad (which no one reads).
Mr. WANCHICK should return the award for "transparency" as improvidently given.
Otherwise, he should earn it if he doesn't return it.
What do you think?
See below.

Not one St. Johns County Elected Official Has Spoken Out About Michelle O'Connell

It has been some 66 days since the New York Tmes' report, "Two Shots on A Summer Night," on the death of Michelle O'Connell and ensuing evident coverup, exposed the misfeasance, malfeasnce and nonfeasance of St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID B. SHOAR, St. Johns County Medical Examienr PREDRAG BULIC, and State's Attorneys RALPH JOSEPH LARIZZA and BRADLEY KING.
Not one St. Johns County elected official has spoken out.
There are five elected County Commissioners.
There are four other constitutional officers, other than Sheriff SHOAR.
Not one of those nine (9) county officials has had a sowrd to say about Sheriff SHOAR and the O'Connell case.
That's pitiful.
They are all Republicans -- Sheriff DAVID SHOAR f/k/a "DAVID HOAR" heads the corrupt St. Johns County political machine, followed by nine political dwarfs.
Afraid to speak out when the Sheriff covers up the shooting of a deputy's girlfriend, with the deputy's semi-automatic pistol, even after it's on PBS and the New York Times.
That's a crime, a tort and a sin.
That's awful.
Not one county-wide partisan race has seen a Democratic nominee since 2006 -- eight long years ago.
"Silence gives consent" is the ancient equitable maxim.
I spoke publicly to the five County Commissioners at today's joint meetng of the St. Augustine Beach Commission and St. Johns County Commission.
I remineded them of their failure to speak out.
It has been 66 days.
I suggested that they and SAB work on an interlocal agreement, providing standards for rexuals, ethics and medical examination in homicide cases, particualrly thoserelated to law enforcement officials.
Not one of the five Commissioners followed up.
Sheriff DAVID B. SHOAR has embarassed our city and our county in the eyes of the entire world.
Our County Commissioners need to speak out.
They need to question SHOAR in public meetings.
They need to pass a budget that restricts his actions.
Never again should there be such a case where the St. Johns County Sheriff refuses to recuse himself.
Justice for Michelle O'Connell in 2014.

The Future of the St. Augustine Beach Pier, Park and Seashore

The St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore was proposed 75 years ago, in 1939, by St. Augustine Mayor Walter Fraser, then-Senators Claude Pepper and Charles Andrews and then-Representative Joseph Hendricks.
It was during the 76th Congress.
Sheriff DAVID SHOAR told me in 2011 that the idea of the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore is a "no-brainer." Other elected officials are coming around to our point of view.
It takes a village.
Today, the hope still lives that we can preserve our history and nature forever inviolate, protected from developer designs and giveaways.
The St. Augustine Beach Pier needs replacement.
To do it properly could cost $20 million.
It needs to be a longer pier, long enough to where people can still fish after beach renourishment.
The pier was too short when built.
Every beach renourishment makes the pier look ridiculous, without the ability of fishermen to fish, defeating the entire point of having a pier.
Neither the Beach nor the County has that kind of money.
The answer lies in:
(a) a public-private partnership, with restaurants on the pier, as in Orange County, California; and
(b) the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore, with a civil rights museum commeorating the desegregation of St. Augustine Beach in 1964, under guidance and leadership of Dr. Robert Hayling, D.D.S., of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (who won the Nobel Peace Prize later that year), and of Rev, Andrew Young (our future United Nations Ambassador, Congressman and Atlanta Mayor).
A public-private partnership is desirable, but not giveaways negotiated in secret. Let the new Pier be a centerpiece of the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore -- safely kept from developer giveaways and encroachments.
Let the new pier be big, long, enjoyable, and fun (instead of the small and outmoded pier that is there now).
At the Seal Beach Pier in Orange County, California, there's a statue of a seal (his name is "Slick").
At the St. Augustine Beach Pier, I forsee a statue of the Anastasia Island Beach Mouse, an endangered species.
Let his name be "Ponce de Raton."
Yes we can!

St Johns County Agrees to Undo Land Swap That Gave St. Augustine Beach a Parcel of Conamianted Land

You've got to hand it to the oligarchs who long ran St. Johns County government, long thought to be one of the most corrupt in the entire State of Florida.
When the St. Johns County government took over the St. Augustine Beach Voluneer Fire Department (VFD) in 2001, it traded a parcel of contaminated land for St. Augustine Beach's VRD firehouse, which is prime beach property.
St. Johns County did not disclose to the City of St. Augustine Beach that the land was contaminated!
And St. Augustine Beach (SAB) did not do any soil testing.
Today, at a joint SAB-county meeting, the current County Administrator sheepishly agreed to undo the trade.
Today, St. Johns County Commissioner Ronald Sanchez admitted that the land was long used for illegal dumping. He remembers dumping garbage there in his younger years.
Much of the land along SR 312 was a dumping ground. Owned by PIERRE THOMPSON, housing was built on top. Large portions were annexed into the City of St. Augustine when THOMPSON's lawyer, GEOFFREY DOBSON, was St. Augustine City Attorney; DOBSON long also attorney for St. Augustine Beach and represened both developers and governments (just like St. Augustine Beach City Attorney DOUGLAS BURNETT)(see below).
This is like something out of John Grisham -- one government (SJC) trading land to another government (SAB), with the first government knowing full well that the land was contaminated, while the somnolent other government, represented by possibly conflicted counsel does not bother to have the land tested.
No ethics on the one hand, and no due diligence on the other.
Flummery, dupery and nincompoopery.
In the words of Robert F. Kennedy to his staff, "Don't tell me what I should have done, tell me what I should do now."
At least today's intelligent, ethical St. Augustine Beach commissioners have persisted where the St. Augustine Beach City Manager and City Attorney were insouciant. Kudos to St. Augustine Beach Mayor Andrea Samuels, former Mayor S. Gary Snodgrass, and Commissioners Brud Helhoski, Undine Pawlowski and Vice Mayor Richard O'Brien for doing their due diligence "now."
The City of St. Augustine Beach should make sure that St. Johns County and other potentially responsible parties clean up the land, which adjoins the City of St. Augustine Beach Public Works Department off Mizel Road.
St. Augustine Beach should charge the county fair market rent for the firehouse, retroactive to its trade for the contaminated land. Or else St. Augustine Beach should negoiate and get some other concessions.
Wha do you reckon?

St. Johns County Administrator MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK Met With Developer About Possible Sale or Transfer of County Land at St. Augustine Beach Pier Park

St. Johns County Administrator MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK admitted earlier today that he had met with KEY INTERNATIONAL hotel developers about possible sale or trade of county land at the St. Augustine Beach Pier Park.
In the words of Woodie Guthrie, "This land is your land. This land is my land."
What was County Administrator WANCHICK thinking?
Mr. WANCHICK told St. Augustine Beach and St. Johns County Commissioners about the discusison during a joint meeting fo the two boards, the first ever to take place.
WANCHICK did so without first asking for permission from Commissioners.
WANCHICK is overly solicitous of developers.
So is every other elected official in the St. Johns County Administration complex.
So are our county-wide constitutional officers.
Every single one.
County Administrator WANCHICK said the land at Pier Park is "not irreplaceable."
This man has two Masters' Degrees and he doesn't have the sense to treat park land and residents with respect.
No park land should be sold, traded or given away without a vote of the people of St. Johns County.
St. Augustine Beach City Commissioners will soon vote on recommendations from the decennial St. Augustine Beach City Charter Review Committee, one of which will require pblic ihvovement beoe any city park land is sold ot traded.
A similar restriction on giveaways, trades or sales of public land should be considered as part of any St. Johns County Charter.
St. Johns County Administrator MICHAEL WANCHICK has a golden parahute arrangement, whereby he will be paid approxiately half a million dollars if he is terminated for anything other than very good cause.
Today's joint SAB-county meeting was in a conference room at the St. Augustine Airport (renamed the Northeast Florida Regional Airport without action by the state legislature). The meeting was held away from cable TV and streaming internet video coverage that would have been provided had the meeting been held at either the St. Augustine Beach City Hall or the County Administration Building (a/k/a "Taj Mahal"). The St. Johns County Administration's pretext for the meeting location was that the airport location was on "neutral ground." Do you believe that?
I suggested last fall that St. Augustine Beach Commissioners schedule a meeting with the County. They followed my suggestion.

POSTSCRIPT: Scan the list of meetings in the Taj Mahal. How many are not in the Commissioners' meeting room, and hence not available on their vaunted GTV and streaming video.

Dozier School for Boys Bodies Exhumed -- 24 More than State of Floirda Records Indicated -- Were There Murders THere?

It happened in America, to Americans, near the Alabama-Georgia border.
In Marianna, Florida, where the "Dozier School for Boys" tortured children under color of state law, 1900-2011.
Today's news brings word that some 55 bodies were exhumed at the site of the former Dozier School, a State of Florida jurvenile prison where children were raped, beaten and murdered.
State of Florida records only reflected 31 deaths at Dozier.
Thus, given the discrepancy, might there have been at least 24 murders?
Or were there more?
Most of the as-yet unnamed victims of the Dozier School for Boys were reportedly African-Americans.
Samuel White and Willie Carl Singleton were just two of the local African-American victims of the Dozier School for Boys. They were scarred for life.
Messrs. White and Singleon were two of the "St. Augustine Four" -- four school childen who were sent to juvenile prison by the local KKK establishment here in St. Augustine. The two girls (Ms. Joe Ann Anderson and Ms. Aubrey Nell Edwards) went to a different juvenile prison, near Ocala. I once had the honor of shaking Ms. Edwards' hand -- we were introduced by my late mentor, KKK-buster Stetson Kennedy.
The two boys would never talk about their experiences.
They are both deceased.
Why were the St. Augustine Four ordered sent to Florida juvenile prisons?
For walking into the Woolworth's 5 & 10 cent store on King Street and ordering hamburgers and soft drinks. St. Augustine was in the throes of corruption and Jim Crow segregation.
Thanks to the University of South Florida for the forensic work on the Dozier School for Boys deaths.
We shall overcome.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

St. Johns County Tourist Development Council Meeting Tomorrow at 1:30, Watch Possible Sunshine Violations on Live Streaming Video and Cable Television

There's a Tourist Development Council meeting tomorrow at 1:30. Today, at 12:16 PM, I received an e-mail notice of it. There was nothing on the County Commission website calendar on t last week, which is why I wrote TDC about it on Friday. The response came 48 hours later, on Sunday.

The subject matters of the illegal meeting include evaluations of the St. Johns County Visitor and Convention Bureau, Inc., whose three-year, no-bid contract expired last fall.


Yet TDC is still paying money to VCB -- $3.4 million per year, without rebidding the contract. Why?

Will TDC hold an illegal meeting to recommend a new no-bid conract for the Visitor and Convention Bureau?

Does TDC think it is cute to violate Sunshine laws in ebaluating the Visitor and Convention Bureau, which itself violates the Sunshine and Open Records laws, and Article I, Section 24 of our Florida Constitution?

If the meeting is illegal, they will have to re-vote every single item at a future meeting.

I have called the County Attorney, Patrick McCormack, and will report this ourage to the State Attorney General's Office and Florida First Amendment Foundation.

Should I bother calling SHERIFF DAVID B. SHOAR or State's Attorney RALPH JOSEPH LARIZZA, most noted for their coverup on the O'Connell shooting death case?

Stay tuned.

Barnes & Noble Tree-killing

Thanks to former St. Augustine Mayor George Gardner and his newsletter, and to St. Augustine Street Tree Advisory Committee Chair, Charles Lippi, certified arborist, for pointing out the illegal tree-killing at Barnes & Noble.

The Barnes & Noble landlord in quo is Retail Strategies, LLC of Jacksonville, Florida.

Former Mayor George Gardner's newsletter notes that some national retailers have a "policy" of killing trees for "visibility!" In response, the Planning and Zoning Board City of St. Augustine responded in rejecting proposed tree-killing at the Target store on U.S. 1: "It's not our policy."

Retail Strategies, LLC should be hauled before a state grand jury and investigated for conspiracy to vioalte the county tree ordinance, which Mr. Lippi said it vioalted.

Code enforders should work seven days a week.

So should environmental regulators.

Polluters and tree-killers should not be allowed to get away with it because the regulators have the day off.

Too often the do, and environmental regulators are powerless. If you've ever been to Texas, or experienced pollution elsewhere, you've noticed that pollution is the worst on nights and weekends.

Ask oil tanker ship crew members the primary cause of oil pollution in the world's oceans and they will tell you: "Nighttime!"

Jeremy Banks' Lawsuit Against FDLE, Agent Rodgers, Removed to Federal Court, Assigned to New Federal Judge Brian J. Davis

The lawsuit by Deputy JEREMY BANKS, which Sheriff DAVID B. SHOAR apparently ginned up against FDLE and agent Rusty Roberts, has been removed to federal court.

It has been assigned to United States Dstrict Judge Brian J. Davis, the first African-American Chief Deputy State's Attorney in the State of Florida, who served for nearly twenty (20) years as a Circuit Court Judge in Nassau County.

Judge Bian J. Davis' United States Senate confirmation was held up for 660 days by Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), who did not like the "lens" through which Judge Davis " viewed the world." Bigoted Senator Grasskey was referring to Judge Davis being an African-American and NAACP member who has criticized Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and the treatment of former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders.

The attorney for Sheriff's Deputy JEREMY BANKS, who is suing the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and Agent Rodgers on Banks' behalf, is ROBERT LESTER McLEOD, II, a/k/a "MAC McLEOD," (Florida Bar Number 369632, 1200 Plantation Island Drive, Suite 140, St. Augustne, Florida 32080-3114, tel: 904-471-5007, fax: 904-461-5059,

Attorney ROBERT LESTER McLEOD, II has previously sued two national consumer groups on behalf of the Whetstone family for criticizing a child safety issue on its Easter candy (a piece of plastic surrounded by chocolaste); the SLAPP suit failed in two federal courts.

ROBERT LESTER McLEOD II also advised the local Chamber of Commerce in its successful, efforts to criminalize singing, painting and playing music on St. George Street, violating the First Amendment.

Removal of the Banks v. Rodgers lawsuit to federal court took place because McLEOD alleged vioaltion of civil rights, a federal claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983 and the removal statutes in 28 U.S.C.

Now the apparent SLAPP lawsuit against FDLE and Agent Rodgers, brought by attorney ROBERT LESTER McLEOD, II in state court, will be heard by Judge Brian J. Davis, who is an Article III federal judge with lifetime tenure.

BANKS' lawsuit against FDLE and Agent Rodgers will now be governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which provide for ions against attorneys and clients who bring bad faith claims or file bad faith filings.

Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states:

Rule 11. Signing Pleadings, Motions, and Other Papers; Representations to the Court; Sanctions
(a) Signature. Every pleading, written motion, and other paper must be signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorney's name—or by a party personally if the party is unrepresented. The paper must state the signer's address, e-mail address, and telephone number. Unless a rule or statute specifically states otherwise, a pleading need not be verified or accompanied by an affidavit. The court must strike an unsigned paper unless the omission is promptly corrected after being called to the attorney's or party's attention.

(b) Representations to the Court. By presenting to the court a pleading, written motion, or other paper—whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating it—an attorney or unrepresented party certifies that to the best of the person's knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances:

(1) it is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the cost of litigation;

(2) the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for extending, modifying, or reversing existing law or for establishing new law;

(3) the factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, will likely have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery; and

(4) the denials of factual contentions are warranted on the evidence or, if specifically so identified, are reasonably based on belief or a lack of information.

(c) Sanctions.

(1) In General. If, after notice and a reasonable opportunity to respond, the court determines that Rule 11(b) has been violated, the court may impose an appropriate sanction on any attorney, law firm, or party that violated the rule or is responsible for the violation. Absent exceptional circumstances, a law firm must be held jointly responsible for a violation committed by its partner, associate, or employee.

(2) Motion for Sanctions. A motion for sanctions must be made separately from any other motion and must describe the specific conduct that allegedly violates Rule 11(b). The motion must be served under Rule 5, but it must not be filed or be presented to the court if the challenged paper, claim, defense, contention, or denial is withdrawn or appropriately corrected within 21 days after service or within another time the court sets. If warranted, the court may award to the prevailing party the reasonable expenses, including attorney's fees, incurred for the motion.

(3) On the Court's Initiative. On its own, the court may order an attorney, law firm, or party to show cause why conduct specifically described in the order has not violated Rule 11(b).

(4) Nature of a Sanction. A sanction imposed under this rule must be limited to what suffices to deter repetition of the conduct or comparable conduct by others similarly situated. The sanction may include nonmonetary directives; an order to pay a penalty into court; or, if imposed on motion and warranted for effective deterrence, an order directing payment to the movant of part or all of the reasonable attorney's fees and other expenses directly resulting from the violation.

(5) Limitations on Monetary Sanctions. The court must not impose a monetary sanction:

(A) against a represented party for violating Rule 11(b)(2); or

(B) on its own, unless it issued the show-cause order under Rule 11(c)(3) before voluntary dismissal or settlement of the claims made by or against the party that is, or whose attorneys are, to be sanctioned.

(6) Requirements for an Order. An order imposing a sanction must describe the sanctioned conduct and explain the basis for the sanction.

(d) Inapplicability to Discovery. This rule does not apply to disclosures and discovery requests, responses, objections, and motions under Rules 26 through 37.

Let Justice be done.

Justice for Michelle O'Connell in 2014.

City of St. Augustine needs o audit all of its franchisees, starting with Comcast, FPL and tour trains

The City of St. Augustine needs an outside audit of franchise fees paid by all of its franchisees, starting with Comcast, FPL and the two tour train companies. It's our money.

Questioning the need to spend $17, 500 for live streaming video of St. Augusine City Commission meetings when it can be obtained for free

PAUL WIlLIAMSON, City of St. Augustine Public Affairs Director, has done it again.

In the agenda packet for tomorrow's St. Augusitne City Commission meeting is a no-bid proposal for $17,500 for a Plano, Texas company, SWAGIT PRODUCTIONS LLC, to provide live streaming video on the Internet of City Commission meetings.

The City of St. Augustine Beach gets the job done for free by LIVESTREAM.

Free. No charge. That's what computer experts recommend.

So why can't St. Augusine do that, getting the service for free (as COMCAST provided) instead of tapping reserves?

PAUL WILLIAMSON's no-bid SWAGIT proposal has been under secret discussion by WILILAIMSON and his County Commission counerpart, former Texan MICHAEL RYAN, since October 13, 2013. St. Johns County has already contracted with SWAGIT. SWAGIT's proposal states its other Florida customers include "Fort Pierce, Daytona Beach, Clay County, Santa Rosa County, Escambia County, Miami Lakes, Pensacola, Tamarc, Riveria Beach, Bay County and Atlantic Beach."

First COMCAST created a crisis with its unexplained technical" outage for two months. Then a no-bid contract comes in, offering to provide for money a service that was formerly provided by COMCAST for free.

Just say no. Get someone to evaluate the free LIFESTREAM service, instead of proposing a no-bid contract.

We need an independent audit and investigation of City of St. Augustine and St. Johns County purchasing practices.

No more no-bid contracts, please.

It's our money.

words to live by

St. Augustine resident Wilton Rooks said it best. Quoted in the St. Augustine Record in 2001, Mr. Rooks said, "No area should be sacrificed on the altar of commecial expansion at the expense of the neighobrs who live there. Everybody likes St. Augustine like it is. That's why people live here."

How awkward

Never apologizing, responding to nationwide criticism, St. Augustine Record Publisher DELINDA FOGEL writes n today's Record that she intends to pay the volunteer proofreaders, not just offer a prize of a dinner for the person finding the most typos.

Good on her. Thus, I will not have to report the Record to the United States Department of Labor for nvestigation of intentinoal violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which requires that workers be paid the minimum wage.

However, I still expect the Newspaper Guild to organize the newsroom of the St. Augustine Record, and to organize every newsroom in the State of Florida.

Enough flummery, dupery and nincompoopery from anti-labor corporations like MORRIS COMMUNICATIONS, who view journalists as "human resources" to be exploited like so many head of cattle on someone's ranch.

Ms. FOGEL's rapid revision of her illegal offer in violation of the FLSA does not end the issue.

There are reportedly 11,000 unemployed American journalists, and instead of hiring one of them, she's hiring retired Englsh teachers, and others, supposedly to provide her with "data points" as to when, where and how the typos occur.

How gauche.

Better to hire an actual editor, than recruit rank amateurs to proofread.

Better to hire actual journalsts as publisers, instead of bean counters and CPAs (like Ms. FOGEL).

What do you reckon?

How unappealing

The editorial in today's St. Augustine Record reminds us all of how much we miss Margo Pope, who would ofen write several editorials a day. Now, the Record delivers five shallow editorials per week, shorter, and less substantive than when Ms. Pope had the job, which the Record advertised last year as a 20 hour per week gig (currently held by its former editor and current fishing columnist, Mr. Janes Sutton).

Today's editorial took no position on the proposed 7-Eleven at May Street and San Marco Avenue. Half the editorial is based on an otherwise unreported ex parte conversation with 7-ELEVEN franchisee's lawyer, JAMES WHITEHOUSE of ST. JOHNS LEGAL GROUP.

It sure sounds like Mr. WHITEHOUSE, 7-Eleven's lawyer "pissed in [Jim Sutton's] ear and told him it was rain" (to use a colorful East Tennessee colloquial expression that I first read in 1977 in a letter sent by a constituent to my then-boss, U.S. Senator James R. Sasser).

7-ELEVEN demands to put twelve gasoline pumps with flammable gasoline deliveries next to Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, two historic neighborhoods (Nelmar Terrace adn Fulerwood) and the City's entry corridor and evacuation route
for residents of South Ponte Vedra and Vilano Beach.

PUBLIX trucks already clog that intersection delivering to its store in Vilano Beach. The intersection is already overloaded. St. Augustine does not need a twelve-pump gasoline station there, and 7-ELEVEN is foolhardy and arrogant to permit its franchisee to ropose it for one more minute. Significantly, 7-ELEVEN's executives did not answer correspondence from our City Manager, John Patrick Regan, P.E.

The May Street and San Marco Avenue location for a 7-ELEVEN gasoline station is a non-starter. We can stop it, and we will.

7-ELEVEN is a Japanese multinational corporation. Contact the Japansee Embassy and U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy (JFK's daughter) and tell them what you think.

The prospective 7-ELEVEN franchisee's local lawyers include DOUGLAS NELSON BURNETT, JR. (current City Attorney for the City of St. Augustine Beach and also General Counsel for the St. Augustine Airport Authority).

DOUGLAS NELSON BURNETT is the son and namesake of the former Commanding General of the Florida National Guard, whose retirement party included plans for a Stealth aircraft flyover, until I reported him to the Defense Department Inspector General.

Attorney DOUGLAS NELSON BURNETT represents both developers AND the City of St. Augustine Beach, which has a 7-ELEVEN franchise, recently constructed on SR A1A south of SR 312.

Conflict of interest? You betcha.

DOUGLAS NELSON BURNETT's 7-ELEVEN employment is yet another appearance of impropriety and conflict of interest for BURNETT and his ST. JOHNS LEGAL GROUP.

DOUGLAS NELSON BURNETT (Florida Bar Number should never have been hired as City of St. Augustine Beach City Attorney.

The 7-ELEVEN franchisee's other lawyer is JAMES WHITEHOUSE, former Assstant city Attorney and former Assistant couty Attorney. WHITEHOUSE is now with BURNETT's firm, ST. JOHNS LEGAL GROUP.

There's nothing currently illegal or especially unseemly about WHITEHOUSE practcing before the City of St. Augustine, his former employer. Mr. WHITEHOUSE is a skilled and articulate advocate, which is more than can be said about Mr. BURNETT; I was appalled at DOUGLAS NELSON's BURNETT's taking money for a bumbling, inarticulate, hot air presentation in front of the City of St. Augustine City Commission on behalf of AEROBALLOON, owned by young business people wanting to put a commercial hot air balloon business on U.S. 1. During his brief presentation, interrupted by an audible conference with his clients, BURNETT said "umm" or "uhh" some 51 times.

BURNETT needs someone with WHITEHOUSE's skills.

Who owns the 7-ELEVEN franchisee? Do they include foreign nationals? This is important, because this is an election year, and the people have a Right to Know.

GEORGE MORRIS McCLURE was 7-ELEVEN's lawyer. He held a community meeting, where our questions were unanswered, including any expertise on traffic or safety. McCLURE died last year. Evidenty the new influence-peddler du jour is now DOUGLAS BURNETT, JR., McCLURE's former protege.

At least GEORGE MORRIS McCLURE only played for one team: developers. Like GEOFFREY DOBSON, BURNETT works for both government agencies and developers.

Like the late GEORGE MORRISS McCLURE, DOUGLAS NELSON BURNETT was longtime a supporter of embattled Sheriff DAVID B. SHOAR. Mr. BURNETT wrote an endorsement letter for SHOAR in 2004 (the only time SHOAR ever faced an actual election). In return, DOUGLAS NELSON BURNETT got both his government jobs through recommendations from controversial former St. Augustine City Manager WILLIAM BRUCE HARRISS.

WILIAM BRUCE HARRIS now works for Sheriff SHOAR, and HARRISS serves with SHOAR on the Florida Criminal Justice Stands and Trainng Commission, to which he was illegally appointed by Fifth Amendment Governor RICHARD SCOTT as the supposed public representative on the 19-member FCJSTC.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Where is the outrage? Justice for Michelle O'Connell in 2014

It has been 60 days since The New York Times published its investigation of Sheriff David B. Shoar's desuetude of law enforcement in a possible domestic violence homicide case, "Two Shots on a Summer Evening."

The American Bar Association Journal, has not yet covered the story. Why? Yet the ABA Journal has a story today on Justin Bieber's DUI arrest. Why?

No public official in St. Johns County or the State of Florida has called for a federal investigation, or said a word in public. Why?

No federal grand jury subpoenas have been issued to percipient witnesses yet. Why? What are we waiting for?

Justice for Michelle O'Connell in 2014.

You might wish to make a one minute video and upload it to YouTube or Google+, at hashtag #AskObama2014, asking President Barack Obama for his first "Presidential Hangout Road Trip":
Mr. President, will you please direct Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate St. Johns County Sheriff David B. Shoar, State's Attorneys Ralph Joseph Larizza and Bradley King, Medical Examiner Predrag Bulic and their inept, incurious investigation of the shooting death of a deputy's girlfriend under suspicious circumstances, where the Sheriff did not recuse himself and made false and defamatory statements about two ear-witnesses, failing to retract them for months? Will you please investigate civil rights violations, obstruction of jsustice, false statements to federal officials, and mail and wire fraud?

President Obama, like the 1963-64 St. Augustine Movement co-leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., won the Nobel Peace Prize. President Obama once taught Constitutional Law in Chicago and was Editor of Harvard Law Review.

Justice for Michelle O'Connell in 2014

Ed Slavin
Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3084

City right to deny 7-11 permit for 12 gasoline pumps at May Street and San Marco

St. Augustine Planning and Zoning Director Mark Knight correctly denied a permit to a prospective franchisee wanting to build a 7-11 at the busy corner of May and San Marco. A 7-11 at that location which would adversely affect: (a) the Nelmar Terrace and Fullerwood neighborhoods (b) the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, (c) traffic to and from Vilano Beach, and (d) emergency evacuation.

The corner is very busy now and scene of many accidents. But 7-11 insists on too-wide driveways and too narrow turning radii, threatening more accidents with eighteen wheelers delivering gasoline. 7-11 has ignored correspondence from the City Manager and said that the City's legal requirements are "unfeasble." 7-11 is getting bad legal advice from the law firm of the late corrupter GEORGE MORRIS McCLURE, whose meeting with community leaders revealed that 7-11 had not done its homework and was insouciant to historic neighborhoods' preservation concerns.

Let 7-11 build elsewhere on a main road, as it has at St. Augustine Beach on Route A1A.

This foreign multinational corporation (7-11 Corporation is a Japanese corporation) can both "save face" and avoid litigation, by dropping the oyster and leaving the wharf. Otherwise, they will find the City of St. Augustine is empowered to resist deturction, having spent more than $100,000 to fight the Whetstone family demand to build a dock across from one of their motels on Avenida Menendez.

There is no principled reason to build an eyesore in our historic downtown. It violates our Entry Corridor Guidelines.
Japan does not want its contribution to St. Augustine's 450th to be an ugly gas station in our historic downtown.

St. Augustine was founded on September 8, 1565, with 800 settlers -- the lived with Native Americans for a year and shared with them America's first Thanksgiving and America'sfirst Catholic Mass. St. Augustine's 800 founders were the first Hispanic Americans, first Catholic Americans, first Jewish-Americans and first African Americans -- ify of them, both free and slave. When Jamestown and Plymouth were founded in 1607 and 1620, University of Florida History Prrofesser Michael Gannon says, "St. Augustine was already up for urban renewal."

Respectful Note to 7-11 and Japanese, American and Israeli businessmen: please respect our hometown and please: don't appeal the Planning and Zoning Director's determination that your 7-11 store would violate our rules, to wit, St. Augustine City Code Section 28-353 and Sections 3.1.3 and 3.3.9 of the Entry Corridor Design Standards.

The whole world is watching.

Record Right on Telephone Voting

Sometimes elected officials unavoidably miss meetings because they're out of town, e.g., due to family emergenices.
In a letter last week, former St. Augustine Republican Club Chairman Robert T. Smith attacked Jeanne Moeller -- the ougoing three-time Anastasia Mosquito Control Commission Chairman, nearing he end of her second term and running fo re-election in a non-partisan race -- for proposing a policy to allow them to attend an entire meetng by phone.
Note: There are to be no phone-only meetings, as with some state boards and commissions that often conduct themselves by conference call.
The new policy passed 4-1 last week and the Record yesterday supported it, after giving valuable print space to Robert T. Smith, former St. Augustine Republican Club Chairman, an ex-Texan, ex-Georgian, ex-lawyer demagogue.
Showing contempt for democracy on a board for which he ran and lost as a Tea Party candidate in 2010, former St. Augustine Republican Club Presdent Robert T. Smith misrepresented the policy, and as a make-weight argument, and -- horrors -- actually accused Ms. Moeller of having been "Democratic County Chair" (untrue).
This canard was along the lines of LBJ once accusing an opponent of engaging in bestiality with farm animals. When an aide said it wasn't true," LBJ replied, "I want to hear the SOB deny it." Naturally, St. Johns County Democratic State committeewoman Annette Cappella, former Democratic Chair, took bait from the baiter: she actally wrote a letter to the editor and denied it -- Ms. Moeller never was County Chair. (The letter was otherwise intelligent.)
Yesterday the St. Augustine Record supported the policy of letting absent members attend by phone with good cause, including family emergencies and disabilities. The Record called for other boards to adopt similar policies. This left Robert T. Smith and his silent handler, fellow Republican/Tea Party hack, Mosquito Control Commissioner Gary Howell, with egg on their faces. (Howell voted against the policy but never spoke a word against it.)
Mosquito control elections are non-partisan, but Smith and his "Mosquiteers" -- Tea Partiers -- tried to make it otherwise. One, Gary Howell, got elected. Two others, includng Robert T. Smith, were defeated. Robert T. Smith was reported by two newspapers in 2012 to have stiffed a local small business owner $3200 for signs Smith ordered, supposedly on behalf of Newt Gingrich in the Republican Primary.
There is no Democratic or Republican way to kill skeeters.
Mosquito control has done an excellent job with natural pesticides (Gambusia fish and Bti bacillus), vastly reducing use of organophosphate poisons (and cancer risks) and proving that no helicopter purchase was ever required and no massive new building is required, either. It's our money.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

One of North Florida's Three Most Embarassing Prosecutors Quoted in Washington Post

Yesterday's Washington Post Opinion page column on Jacksonville's State's Attorney Angela B. Corey appears below.

As my Irish grandmother would have said, "She's typical of her type."

Self-righteous, declaring herself to be a "career prosecutor" on a mission from God, Angela B. Corey has wrongfully fired employees (recently settling one case). The neighboring prosecutor in three counties (Clay, Duval and Nassau), Fourth Circuit State's Attorney Angela Corey is an embarassment, closely resembling States Attorneys Bradley King and Ralph Joseph Larizza in her ostrich-like demeanor.

State's Attorney Angela B. Corey refused to comment on the Michelle O'Connell case, revealed by the New York Times and PBS Frontline, because she doesn't read newspapers! She threatened Harvard Law School and Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz with retalaiatory Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP suit) and threatened Prof. Dershowitz with disbarment for criticizing her chargin decision in the prosecution of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case!

It appears that Angela B. Corey jashis an enemy of Freedom of the Press. Corey readily admits she wants to keep information secret, the way they do in other states," signalling her overt intent to violate civil rights by violating the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Article I, Section 24 of the Florida Constitution when it comes to criminal cases.

Angela B. Corey sounds like a couple other State's Attorneys in North FLorida -- reactionary ignoramuses and barbarians.

Due to lax press coverage, they can be unfair (and they are) and they routinely get away with it, refusing to prosecute meritorious cases because of the identity of the perpetrator or victim while prosecuting other cases out of malice and vindictiveness or prejudice.

As the Post rightly notes, Corey and other Florida prosecutors have the power to determine who will live and who will die, and who will go to prison (or not). While literacy ests were outlawed for voting, we need more articles like this to tell us what public officias are thinking (if anything).

We need prosecutors with ethics -- more people like the late Supreme Court Justice Robert Houghwout Jackson, former Attorney General and the U.S. prosecutor at the Nuremberg war crimes trials, who told U.S. Attorneys in 1940:
"The prosecutor has more control over life, liberty and reputation than any other person in America."

The Washington Post: Florida district attorney isn’t a fan of a free press, an informed public, or reading

The Washington Post
Florida district attorney isn’t a fan of a free press, an informed public, or reading
By Radley Balko
January 21 at 12:38 pm
If this report on a speech Florida State Attorney Angela Corey gave at a luncheon last week is accurate, it paints an alarming picture of a public official who has the power to put people in prison—and in Florida, to send people to their deaths.

A few excerpts:

Property Appraiser Jim Overton asked Corey about a story The New York Times had recently done on a police investigation in St. Johns County. Corey said she hadn’t read it because she doesn’t read any media.

“I don’t read any newspapers,” she said. “My people tell me what I need to know.” . . .

Corey said the media shouldn’t be allowed to report on high-profile cases because they often end up reporting things that are never heard by a jury. She mentioned text messages in the George Zimmerman murder trial that were reported by many media outlets but never presented as evidence during trial.

“The public doesn’t need to know anything about a case before it goes to trial,” she said.

Her office is fighting every day to keep the media out of their cases, said Corey, who’s handled some of the state’s most-watched cases such as Zimmerman, Cristian Fernandez, Marissa Alexander and now Michael Dunn.

It still blows my mind that politicians would even admit to, much lest boast about, their lack of interest in reading. But there’s apparently a constituency for it. But that isn’t the most offensive thing in the passage. If Corey was quoted accurately about her desire to bar the media from covering high-profile cases, that alone should disqualify her from public office.

The media’s watchdog function is particularly important when it comes to prosecutors like Corey, whose conduct and prosecutorial discretion have often been called into question in the cases mentioned above and others. So has her abuse of power. For example, according to Alan Dershowitz, when he publicly criticized Corey’s indictment in the Zimmerman case, Corey not only threatened to sue him and his employer Harvard University, she bizarrely attempted to have him disciplined by the bar association.

Corey has no time for detractors, however. She’s on a divine mission. From the report linked above:

Corey was also asked at the luncheon if she’s considering running for mayor of Jacksonville. She said that wouldn’t happen.

“I’m a career prosecutor and I’m where God meant me to be,” she said.

I’m not a religious person, but I’d put the blame more with the voters of Florida’s fourth judicial district.

UPDATE: Here’s a statement from Corey’s office:

State Attorney Corey has stated numerous times her concerns about Florida’s broad public records law, as it relates to criminal cases. The law is so open that it allows the release of some information which will never be heard or seen by a jury. The SAO’s concerns are that evidence or irrelevant information will be heard or seen by potential jurors and affect the right to a fair and just trial.

Ms. Corey believes the media and the public have a right to know what happens in a case. She has no problem with the media reporting on what happens in court or what is filed in a motion. She also supports the media and the public’s right to view all evidence in a case once it has become public at trial, as is standard in the overwhelming majority of other states.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and Journalism blogger blasts St. Augustine Record's "find the typos" contest

The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and journalism profession blogger Jim Romenesko has rightly blasted the St. Augustine Record's "Find he Typos" contest (see blog post below, from yesterday), concerning possible FLSA violations and need for Newspaper Guild to organize the workforce:

St. Augustine Record publisher asks the public to help edit the newspaper

— From Sunday’s South Florida Sun-Sentinel; h/t Doug Whiteman
St. Augustine Record publisher Delinda Fogel’s ambitious goal for 2014 “is to eliminate the typos and grammar mistakes in the newspaper.”...

She writes:

I hear from some readers that part of the entertainment value of The Record is counting the number of errors. I’m not proud that we have a problem. It is very humbling, but it seems to take an army to help turn this tide.

This isn’t a simple work-at-home project; participants are asked to meet at the Record building to proofread pages from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

“We’ll keep a tally of the proofreading volunteers and award a nice dinner for two to the person who helps us catch the most typos and errors,” writes Fogel (at left). (I’ve sent her an email, asking why she doesn’t hire professionals to edit the paper.)

A former Record employee tells me that the paper has a four-person copy desk and that it’s “extremely overworked, and copy editing ends up being only about 10 percent of the job, as the copy editors also have to lay out the entire paper. There was barely time to proof pages when I was there, and the copy we got from editors was very rough.”

The Record is owned by Morris Communications.

Note to Morris Communications Group Publisher Les Simpson: Last weekend, you wrote on Facebook: “Want to know what is responsible for why newspapers have struggled? I’m afraid it is archaic ‘journalists’ who would rather sit around and whine rather than give the audience what they want. We can still persevere, but quit living in the past. Quit reading Jim Romenesko and go chart the future.”

So charting the future for Morris Communications is taking people off the street and letting them do trained journalists’ jobs?

Justice Department Public Intergrity Division, FBI and U.S. Grand Jury Must Investigate Sheriff DAVID B. SHOAR

Easily wasting more than $100,000 in a coverup -- on staff time, an outside lawyer and outside consultants to beat up on the FDLE investigation of the death of Michelle O'Connell -- Sheriff DAVID B. SHOAR must be investigated by the Justice Department Public integrity Division, FBI and a U.S. Grand Jury.
These questionable expenditures were political expenditures with tax dollars, trying to "spin" the New York Times and PBS after the case was "closed," based on Sheriff DAVID B. SHOAR's refusal to recuse himself.
The Justice Department must consider criminal indictments of Sheriff DAVID B. SHOAR and his henchmen. FBI and DOJ needs to consider fase statements to federal officials, mail fraud, wire fraud, and civil rights violations.
Let justice be done.
Notably, retired Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Boyce F. Martin was recently referred to the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section by his fellow appellate judges, on complaint of the Chief Judge of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinatti.
Today the Justice Department announced a federal grand jury has indicted former Virginia Governor Robert Francis McDonnell and his wife, Maureen Gardner O'Donnell, for alleged federal corruption crimes. There are fourteen (14) counts of honest services fraud, conspiracy and obstructing of justice, arising out of a businessman's "gifts" to the Governor and his wife.
Good job.
Where is the "outrage" from local politicians about Sheriff DAVID SHOAR?
Talking to people locally, three conclusions in light of the Times/Frontline story:
No one has confidence in Sheriff SHOAR.
No one believes his pretexts.
No one trusts his judgement.
Where is the "morality" from local clergymen? (How mahy are fooled by SHOAR's being cofounder of the "Charistian" Marketplace, a right-wing group that pushes government employees with proselytizing, violating the separation of church and state, while distributing hateful anti-Obama propaganda?)
Where is the "journalism" among local journalists?
When will the St. Augustine Record publish a tough editorial on SHOAR, based on the Times' revelations?
Traditionally, this viewspaper has pushed SHOAR, and alll of his works and pomps, since he was St. Augustine Police Chief.
Our five St. Johns County Commissioners need a "spinal implant."
St. Johns County County Commissioners need to show a "Profile in Courage" and vote to refer the NY Times and PBS investigation to DOJ and FBI.
Our County Commission Chairman, Mr. Jay Morris of Ponte Vedra, makes no secret of his corporate experience: thus, he is always talking about "turnarounds." Chairman Jay Morris needs to start talking about a "turnaround" of the Sheriff's Office.
What do you reckon?

County Commissioners Have the Right to Remain Silent, But We Wish They Wouldn't -- Not A Peep on the Michelle O'Connel Case and Sheriff DAVID B. SHOAR's Refusal to Recuse Himself

It has been 58 days since the New York Times article, "Two Shots on A Summer Eveing" appeared -- 14,000 words showing misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance by Sheriff DAVID B. SHOAR in connection with the flummery, dupery and nincompoopery of a non-investigation of the shooting death of a deputy's girlfriend with the officail SJCSO service revolver.
Today's County Commission meeting was no exception.
There was extensive discussion about zoning and planning matters, including whether Dunkin" Donuts may use pink and orange signage at a proposed franchise location in Ponte Vedra (after more than an hour, the answer was "yes").
It seems that the Architectural Revew Committee of the Ponte Vedra Oerlay District did not like Dunkin' Donuts' corporate logo, a registered trademark that is a major part of the firm's branding, preferring a plain white sign.
Five St. Johns County Commissioners rightly and unanimously agreed with the Dunkin Donuts franchisee and its counsel, Rogers Towers attorney Ellen Avery-Smith.
By vote of 5-0, Commissioners overturned the snooty Architectural Review Committee of Ponte Vedra Beach.
So thorough was the appellate process that Commissioners actually let members of the Architectural Revew COmmittee testify, which is highy unusual in Florida and St. Johns Conty administrative law, where "de novo" review of the record is the required pocess.
I'm glad the Commissioners showed fairness and upheld the constitutional rights of Dunkin' Donuts and its franchisee, upholding the right of everyone to be free from arbitrary and capricious decisions in violation of the Fourteenh Amendment.
That's what we should expect -- instead of political corruption. Jimmy Breslin wrote in "How the GOod Guys Finally Won" about how the planning and zoning process is often "bring extra money" (e.g., for lawyers and bribes).
Too often, it seems, Florida planning and zoning decisions are made in expectations of campagin contributions. See the former USDOJ Law Enforcement Assistance Administration's publication, "Corruption in Planning and Zoning."
The County Commissioners, County Administator and County Attorney are paid a combined total of one million dollars annually. They ask good questons. They work hard.
They need to start questioning Sheriff DAVID B. SHOAR about his budget, practices and procedures. But nothing is on the St. Johns County Commission's agenda about asking Sheriff DAVD SHOAR about his procedures, practices and spending, including spending tens of thusands of dollars trashing FLDE's investigation and hiring putative "experts" (including legal prostitute JON KANEY) to assist in SHOAR's meretricious trashing of FDLE's report and investigators.
Evidently St. Johns County Commissioners would rather prattle on about signs in a Ponte Vedra shopping center (not even fisible from the road) than ask Sheriff DAVD. B. SHOAR why he did not recuse himself from the Micheelle O'Connell death investigation.
Because Sheriff DAVID B. SHOAR is still obviously the political boss of St. Johns County, like Sheriff LAWRENCE O. DAVIS before him.
If a Commissioner gets stopped by a deputy, SHOAR can let him go and there would never be a record.
JFK wrote a Pulitzer Prize winning book called "Profiles in Courage" about United States Senators who showed political courage. Would any of our County Commissioners would make the cut?
I think not.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Interesting approach to proofreading at the St. Augustine Record

The St. Augustine Record in 1995 got laughs from Jay Leno, when it carried a front page headline: "100 Years of Pubic Service."
That "Pubic Service" edition is a collector's item.
In a January 19, 2014 column, St. Augustine Record Publisher Delinda Fogel has invited readers to volunteer to look for typographical errors a few hours each week. The Prize: perhaps a free dinner for the ones finding the most typographical errors.
Put up or shut up, complaining readers: work for free!
I have a better idea:
Please use new revenue from subscription price increases and the new paywall to kindly provide raises, pay a living wage, provide pensions and benefits.
Kindly comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (no unpaid interns doing journalist work), and promote some of your longtime reporters to columnists.
Otherwise, expect the Newspaper Guild to come organize your entire newsroom.
Fair Labor Standards: it's the American Way.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Improving the St. Augustine War Memorial (Instead of Moving It)

Let's not move the St. Augustine War Memorial, which is a small, fragile historic structure made of coquina shell.

Here's a suggested, aesthetic, architectural-engineering solution: how about a HARB-approved coquina-faced shielding structure built above and surrounding the DOT-FPL electical boxes, as a base for a suitable St. Augustine War Memorial scuplture (perhaps incorporating an image of diverse people saluting a flag-draped coffin, reminiscent of young John F. Kennedy, Jr. saluting JFK's flag-draped coffin in 1963)?

There is no need to give in to frivolous, if not racist, demands to move the War Memorial, e.g., away from the Civil Rights Foot Soldiers Monument, located just the other side of the Slave Market Square in 2011.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Ed Slavin
PO Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3084

Journey: 450 Years of African-American History

Tomorrow, at the City of St. Augustine's Visitor Information Center, begins the six-month run of "Journey: 450 Years of African-American History."
Go see it.
It's free for locals.
Everyone in St. Johns County and St. Augustine needs to see it, along with touriss from around the world.
More later.

St. Augustine’s History is A National treasure -- The time has come to bring out the big guns and protect our nationally important local heritage with the creation of the St. Augustine National Historial Park and National Seashore

From the January 1, 2011 issue of St. Augustine Underground (published by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, which also published the Ponte Vedra Recorder and Clay Today):

St. Augustine’s History is A National treasure -- The time has come to bring out the big guns and protect our nationally important local heritage with the
creation of The St. Augustine National Historical Park, Seashore and Coastal Parkway.

By Ed Slavin
A famous journalism professor said
that “if you’re going to tell a
story about a bear, bring on the
Here’s how to protect St. Johns
County’s bears – and other endangered
and threatened species – while growing
our economy and making life better for
your grandchildren (and their grandchildren).
2011 is critical to reviving our local
economy, creating jobs and preserving
our city’s and our county’s environment
and history.
How do we revive our depressed local
tourist economy? How do we get “out
of the ditch,” which Wall Street and
local speculators created?
By persuading Congress to enact a
St. Augustine National Historical Park,
Seashore and Coastal Parkway.
Let’s donate 13 large tracts: the
Florida Department of Environmental
Protection’s Guana Tolomato Matanzas
National Estuarine Research Reserve,
Anastasia State Park, Faver-Dykes
State Park and Fort Mosé State Park;
Florida Department of Agriculture’s
Deep Creek State Forest and Watson
Island State Forest; St. Johns County
beaches and the Nocatee Preserve; and
St. Johns River Water Management
District ‘s Twelve Mile Swamp, Deep
Creek, Matanzas Marsh, Moses Creek
and Stokes Landing preserves.
Let’s donate them to the federal government
for the St. Augustine National
Historical Park and Seashore. These
vast tracts of government-owned land
are suitable for a National Park and
Seashore – more than 120,000 acres.
In Woodie Guthrie’s words, “This land
is our land” already – it is our county
beaches, state parks and forests and
water management district land. Combined
with the Castillo de San Marcos
and Fort Matanzas, this land will make
one glorious National Park and Seashore,
making us all proud and properly
celebrating St. Augustine’s 450th
birthday (2015) and Spanish Florida’s
500th (2013).
Donating the land can save more than
$33 million over 10 years for state and
local governments; revive our economy;
create better-paying jobs with real
futures; protect our historic and environmental
heritage; teach our children
about history, beauty and nature; better
preserve our beaches; protect homes
from erosion; raise our property values;
and protect wildlife.
Let’s put people to work and draw
environmental and historic tourists,
who National Trust for Historic Preservation
and other studies say spend
more and visit longer, putting more
proverbial “heads in beds.” How? By
empowering our National Park Service
– America’s favorite federal agency. Ken
Burns’ PBS documentary rightly called
our National Parks “America’s Best
Idea.” We need one here.
Let’s teach history and nature to
future generations with a National Civil
Rights museum here in St. Augustine
and by celebrating all our history
-- 11,000 years of indigenous Native
American, African-American, Spanish,
Minorcan, French, English, Civil War,
Roman Catholic, Greek, Jewish, Protestant,
nautical, military, Flagler-era and
Civil Rights history.
Let’s preserve our endangered and
threatened species -- including right
whales (only 350 left, reportedly the
most endangered whales on the planet)
-- as well as turtles, bears, bald eagles,
manatees, beach mice and butterflies.
This Park and Seashore will rival Cape
Cod National Seashore, the Everglades,
Philadelphia and other tourist “hot
spots,” giving teachers and parents
tools to teach children lessons that will
keep them coming back for life.
Our state’s economy has suffered so
much since the Deepwater Horizon
disaster. We look to British Petroleum
to pay for it all as part of its economic
and environmental remediation to the
State of Florida.
The first step is for our governor and
legislature to agree to donate this land
to the federal government for one “public
park or pleasuring ground for the
benefit and enjoyment of the people,”
as Congress said in 1872 in creating
Yellowstone National Park.
Here are some frequently asked questions:
1. Will this park legislation violate
private property rights? No. The draft
legislation provides for donations of
government lands and donations or
sales from willing sellers. Condemnation
lawsuits are authorized only to
“preserve [historic buildings and land]
from destruction.”
2. How would the park affect local
businesses, tourist attractions and
churches? Very positively. Historic and
environmental tourists spend more and
stay longer, studies show. This will create
more good-paying jobs, in the Park
Service, kayaking, tour-guide
companies, restaurants, hotels
and guest houses. There’s
a list of tourist attractions
and places of worship in the
legislation that the National
Park Service could assist with
historic interpretation. It
includes churches where Rev.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rev.
Andrew Young spoke, working with
local residents to create our 1964 Civil
Rights Act.
3. Will this legislation take over the
government of the City of St. Augustine?
No. But St. Augustine can donate
a few parks to the cause. Our city needs
help and cannot handle the 450th celebration
alone. A greater National Park
Service presence here will help better
guide and orient millions of visitors.
The Park will help make our city a
better place – just ask the residents of
Cape Cod and Cape Hatteras.
4. What positive changes will creation
of a St. Augustine National Park and
Seashore make?
A. Increase property values and local
tax collections. Property values
increase near National Parks and Seashores.
Bed tax and sales tax receipts
will increase.
B. Grow our economy. Our local
economy is stagnant. The National
Park Service will help get us out of the
C. Reduce spending by our state, local
and water management district government
– savings of $33 million over ten
D. Increase the quality of tourism
marketing -- greatly simplified by combining
all this land into one National
E. Improve the quality of historic and
environmental interpretation, preservation
and protection. Right now, tourists
learn very little about our African-
American and Civil Rights history, for
example, or the heroic history of the
Minorcans and other immigrants to our
shores, or the endangered species that
make this area a paradise. The National
Park Service is experienced at protecting
nature and interpreting history
while stimulating tourism. A National
Civil Rights museum here in St. Augustine
will attract more school groups
and minority tourists – Rev. Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr. is known world-wide
and his legacy here will attract tourists.
5. How will this affect historic reenactors?
Good jobs await them at the
National Park Service.
6. Is this legislation family-friendly?
Yes. Residents and tourists will thank
you for creating a wholesome place to
take children where they learn about
history and our environment, with a
classroom that is as big as all outdoors,
embracing 11,000 years of human history
on these shores.
7. How will this affect beach driving?
The legislation does not address
it, either way. Elsewhere, as in Cape
Cod, residents are licensed to drive on
National Park Service beaches after
proper training and can take tourists on
beach tours.
8. Is there a potential downside?
One. Proper transportation planning
is required to avoid congestion. The
draft bill requires a plan for “cost-effective,
sustainable, carbon-neutral,
environmentally-friendly means of
transporting visitors and residents to
and through the park’s locations, using
trolley cars resembling those in use in
St. Augustine, Florida, in 1928, with
the goal of reducing hydrocarbon consumption,
traffic congestion, air pollution
and damage to historic structures.”
9. When was the National Park idea
first proposed? Some 70 years ago,
before World War II.
10. What are we waiting for? You tell
Will you please help us celebrate
11,000 years of history and protect
what deserves protecting forever inviolate?
Will you please share your suggestions
about how to improve the first
draft of the legislation? Let us work together
to accomplish something we can
all be proud of for future generations
yet unborn who will say, “thank you.”
Please see

St. Augustine activist Ed Slavin
(B.S.F.S., Georgetown University, J.D.
Memphis State University) first proposed
the St. Augustine National Park and
Seashore Nov. 13, 2006.