Saturday, May 31, 2014

Say "Goodnight" to Our Overwrought Tea Party Friends -- The GOP Has Done So!

On 11/1/11, supporters of the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore were attacked by a few misguided souls as if we were "Communists and Nazis," compared to "Hitler, Goebbels and Stalin," and mocked with simulated gun noises and gun gestures before the St. Johns County Commission.
In the words of Adlai Stevenson in 1963, "I believe in the forgiveness of sins and the redemption of ignorance." (He was being spat upon by a John Birch Society mob in Dallas).
Since 11/1/11, diverse people have united in opining we must protect St. Augustine's authenticity. While we disagree on the O'Connell case, St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR and I agree on the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore -- he told me in 2011 that it is a "no-brainer."
As LBJ said after Selma, "We SHALL overcome."

Ed Slavin
StAugustGreen website on St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore:

St. Augustine Record column on civility after 11/1/11:

St. Augustine Record story on 11/1/11:

My opening statement to St. Johns County Commission on 11/1/11:

Nelson Mandela's Advice for City of St. Augustine Leaders on Gag Orders for City Employees on Building on Contaminated Landfill

"It is a grave error for any leader to be oversensitive in the face of criticism, to conduct discussions as if he or she is a schoolmaster talking to less informed and inexperienced learners." ~ Nelson Mandela from the unpublished sequel to his autobiography, circa 1998 #LivingTheLegacy

Planning and Building Director Mark Knight's "Retirement Agreement" With City of St. Augustine Violates Public Policy and Must Be Invalidated -- Speak Out at June 9, 2014 City Commission Meeting on "Riberia Pointe" Proposal to Build Atop Contaminated Landfill in Lincolnville ("Riberia Pointe")

Take a gander at paragraphs 14-17 -- this is likely a contract violation of public policy, a gag order, unconstitutional and a violation of the Solid Waste Disposal Act whistleblower provision.
Contrary to the Historic City News story's headline, this is not a good contract for Mark. It is a bad contract for city residents and federal regulators.
As Ronald Wilson Reagan said in Berlin, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." Please justify paragraphs 14-17, Mayor Joseph L. Boles, Jr. and City Attorney Ronald Wayne Brown.
For a government entity whose prior City Manager's misconduct led it to be fined for illegal dumping of solid waste in our Old City Reservoir and of semi-treated sewage effluent in our saltwater marsh, this goes too far.
FDEP, EPA and USDOL must investigate Mark Knight's firing as a possible attempt to cover up violation of 2011 FDEP guidelines on use of closed waste dumps.
We don't need a Children's Museum built on top of 35 feet of garbage, emitting methane gas.
This is a dumb idea.
St. Augustine City Commissioners should invite Mark Knight to speak at their June 9 meeting and release him from any illegal gag order, see paragraphs 14-17, thus freeing him to state his informed opinions about the "Riberia Pointe (sic)" development, without fear or favor of the Junior League or anyone else that wants to cram this development in the wrong place.
This is about environmental racism in Lincolnville, again.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Florida Attorney General PAMELA JO BONDI Lays An Egg

Opposing Gay marriage in federal court, our Florida Attorney General, PAMELA JO BONDI, Florida Bar No. 886440, has stated that Gay marriage would cause "public harm.: She is out of step with the people of the State of Florida and the Constitution of the United States. Her E-mal address is It is time for her to go.

Cities, County Must Protect Whistleblowers

Our Anastasia Mosquito Control District of St. Johns County adopted a whistleblower protection policy after the helicopter purchase debacle.
St. Augustine Beach has refused to adopt a whistleblower protection policy.
Concerns about whistleblowers have fallen on uncaring ears in the City of St. Augustine and St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners.
With the County Administrator's illegal firing of Amphitheater Manager Ryan Detra and with the City's pathetic "settlement" with Planning and Zoning Director Mark Knight, it appears that every single government employee needs Ombuds and an Inspector General to protect them from misguided local officials who want to silence free speech.
To be continued......

Three Candidates for Mayor of St. Augustine --- Three Cheers!

On the Supervisor of Elections website this morning there are three declared candidates for Mayor:
Eight-year incumbent Joseph L. Boles, Jr.,
Nancy Shaver and
Joseph Kenneth Bryan.
Just short of our 450th year, Democracy is on the March in our Nation's Oldest City. Three cheers for three candidates!
Now let's have policy issues, not personalities, rule the debate.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

JFK's Birthday Today

It's JFK's birthday today. He would have been 97.
He said, "Here on Earth, God's work must truly be our own."
Justice for Michelle O'Connell.
Work tirelessly for a St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore.
Hold governments accountable.
Ask questions.
Demand answers.
It's our government.
It's up to us.

Do Guns Recoil Forward?

Justice for Michelle O'Connell
As Senator Howard Henry Baker, Jr. Said During Watergate, "Coverups Never Work." What do you reckon? Do St. Johns County elected officials coverup for each other?
Justice for Michelle O'Connell.
Ms. O'Connell was shot to death with the service pistol of Deputy JEREMY BANKS in BANKS' home on September 2, 2010, shortly after she told BANKS she was breaking up with him.
The New York Times, "Two Gunshots on a Summer Night" by Walt Bogdanich & Glenn Silber (November 24, 2013):
PBS/Frontline, "A Death in St. Augustine (November 26, 2013): NBC News Dateline, "Two Shots Fired" (April 18, 2014):
Petition for Coroner's Inquest:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Time for Maladroit St. Johns County Homicide Prosecutor ROBERT KEITH MATHIS and His "Gang of Four" To Retire -- It's Time for Them to Go!

Claims FBI "Has No Jurisdiction" Over Michelle O'Connell Case,
Attacked Attorney Victim Suing Sheriff Over 4th Amendment Violations
Son of Segregationist Judge CHARLES C. MATHIS, JR.

As tomorrow's St. Augustine Record (Thursday, May 28) reports, our blustery chief county homicide prosecutor, Ex-Judge ROBERT KEITH MATHIS, was unable to obtain a first degree murder conviction today in this case of a woman who killed her estranged girlfriend's mother with an automobile.
The headline in the print edition ("Guilty as charged") is inaccurate: the charge was first degree murder. The conviction was for second-degree murder.
Also, the cutline in the print edition below an attorney misidentified as ROBERT MATHIS is erroneous: the attorney is a much younger man, assistant prosecutor Robert Mydock.
The story and photo were by a new reporter/photographer team.
This same ex-Judge ROBERT KEITH MATHIS issued unusually unctuous ukases (anonymously posted on the Record's website) about the Fourth Amendment (when Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR was later found to have illegally spied on defense lawyers and their clients).
This same same ex-Judge ROBERT KEITH MATHIS wrote a blistering blathering broadside on Easter Sunday morning, April 20, 2014, sibilantly snorting that the "FBI has no jurisdiction" when the girlfriend of a deputy sheriff was killed in his home, with his service pistol, without any independent investigation by the Sheriff, two State's Attorneys (including MATHIS' boss), and one Medical Examiner.
This is the Gang of Four that thinks guns recoil forward, something that defies the laws of physics.
This is the Gang of Four that defies the Equal Protection Clause and Equal Justice Under Law.
Ex-Judge ROBERT KEITH MATHIS is the bully son of Judge CHARLES C. MATHIS, JR., the segregationist bully judge who sentenced four school children to rape-prone juvenile prisons for demonstrating against Jim Crow segregation is a disgrace to the human race (in Jimmy Carter's phrase).
Concerning MATHIS and his Gang of Four Feeble Lawmen Who Obstructed Prosecution of Another Lawman:
1. Amateur Hour Homicide prosecutor ROBERT KEITH MATHIS. It's time for him to go.
2. Conflicted St. Johns County SHERIFF DAVID BERNARD SHOAR. It's time for him to go.
3. Conflicted 7th Circuit State's Attorney RALPH JOSEPH LARIZZA. It's time for him to go.
4. Confounded 7th Circuit Medical Examiner PREDRAG BULIC. It's time for him to go.
5. Confounded 4th Circuit State's Attorney BRADLEY E. KING: It's time for him to go.
It is time for all of them to go -- every single one of them.
There are now 158,305 signatures on the petition for an inquest into the death of Michelle O'Connell.
There is not one sentient signature anywhere supporting the notion that she committed suicide.
What do you reckon?

Here's the "Gang of Four," standing in the Courthouse Door, obstructing justice for Michelle O'Connell:


7th Circuit State's Attorney RALPH JOSEPH LARIZZA

5th Circuit State's Attorney BRADLEY E. KING

Medical Examiner PREDRAG BULLC
Demonstrates his upside-down, left-handed gun-to-tongue, gun-recoils forward theory to New York Times reporter Walt Bogdanich

That's the "Gang of Four" who stand in the Courthouse Door, obstructing justice for Michelle O'Connell. Don't take my word for it.
For more:

The New York Times, "Two Gunshots on a Summer Night" by Walt Bogdanich & Glenn Silber (November 24, 2013):
PBS/Frontline, "A Death in St. Augustine (November 26, 2013): NBC News Dateline, "Two Shots Fired" (April 18, 2014):
Petition for Coroner's Inquest:

Maya Angelou's Response to Energumen and Philistines Everywhere

To Poet Maya Angelou, Farewell and Good Morning

Poet Maya Angelou has died at 86. She read her poem, "On the Pulse of Morning," at President Clinton's Inauguration in 1993. It ends:

Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.

No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes, into
Your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

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.

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.

Supreme Court Flunks Florida's 70 IQ Test Score Cutoff for Executions

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has a long record of overruling cruel Flori-duh rules, rulings and court decisions. (Except for that stolen 2000 Presidential election, where the Florida Supreme Court twice ruled correctly, only to be overruled by SCOTUS, still a stench in the nostrils of the Nation.)
The latest Supreme Court reversal of a cruel Florida case came only yesterday.
By vote of 5-4, SCOTUS found it cruel and unusual for Florida to set an arbitrary IQ score of 70 for executions, without regard to the margin for error in IQ tests.

Once again, Florida is the Nation's legal laughingstock, just as it was in so many Supreme Court cases, and in the New York Times, PBS Frontline and NBC News Dateline stories about the death of Michelle O'Connell.
No, guns don't kick forward when fired.
No, evidence is supposed to be collected at the crime scene and analyzed, not ignored.
No, you don't get to investigate the death of your buddy's girlfriend.
Yes, we expect recusals when there are conflicts of interest.
Yes, we expect lawmen to obey the law.
No, we reckon that Michelle O'Connell did not commit suicide.

To sick twisted hick hacks, we don't need your kind 'round here any more.
Knock it off!
Stop lying.
Stop coverups.
Stop wasting our money.
Knock it off!
Otherwise, you might wish to go find another place for your flummery, dupery and nincompoopery.
Kindly find some other place in which to aggravate, intimidate and peculate -- try some other continent, please!
Perhaps you could peculate in Peshawar?
Intimidate in Iran?
Aggravate in Afghanistan?
Or maybe those people are more enlightened than you, too.
Just about everyone else is -- don't be surprised if they show you the door!
We shall overcome!

State's Attorney Still Employs Ex-Judge ROBERT KEITH MATHIS, Whose Easter Sunday Morning Post Said There Would Never Be a Federal Criminal Prosecution in the Death of Michelle O'Connell

Today's St. Augustine Record front page reports that ROBERT KEITH MATHIS is prosecuting a homicide case today. Prior press reports of Judge ROBERT KEITH MATHIS' retirement party to the contrary, MATHIS is back prosecuting cases again for State's Attorney RALPH JOSEPH LARIZZA.
For how long?
I would not hire ROBERT KEITH MATHIS for any law-related work.
On April 20, 2014 (Easter Sunday morning), ROBERT KEITH MATHIS posted on the Record's website comments to the effect that "the FBI has no jurisdiction" and that there would never be a federal criminal prosecution in the death of Michelle O'Connell.
ROBERT KEITH MATHIS, cruelly acted under color of state law to state misleading, uninformed opinions to chill the Michelle O'Connell family's free speech rights, to wit, opining that there would never be a federal criminal prosecution of MATHIS' boss, State's Attorney RALPH JOSEPH LARIZZA, his pal, Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR or their pal, Medical Examiner PREDRAG BULIC, et al. for civil rights violations.
ROBERT KEITH MATHIS never took a civil rights course at UF.
ROBERT KEITH MATHIS is an embarrassment to every good and decent St. Johns County resident.
For more about ROBERT KEITH MATHIS's emotional, emetic, empty-headed opinions on matters of public concern -- including homicide coverups and Fourth Amendment violations and the St. Johns County Sheriff's office -- please read
and here:

City of St. Augustine Planning and Zoning Director Mark Knight Resigns, National Search Required; Was He A Whistleblower?

There must be a national search to find a new Planning and Zoning Director for the City of St. Augustine. The new Planning and Zoning Director must be knowledgeable about historic preservation and environmental protection, and be willing to stand up for preserving and protecting our City's authenticity against the likes of the 7-ELEVENs and ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARDs of the world, and the hick hacks who want to please them.
Mark Knight was hired as City Planning and Zoning Director on April 23, 1998, only five days after City Manager WILLIAM BRUCE HARRISS was hired in 1998 (in yet another Sunshine violation by the St. Augustine City Commission).
Last week, Mark Knight left his city job.
City Manager John Patrick Regan, P.E. told me yesterday it was "mutually agreed" but declined comment on "personnel matters."
There is no listed telephone number for Mark Knight.
Was Mark Knight an environmental whistleblower, concerned about the proposed location of a Children's Museum on top of contaminated landfill in violation of FDEP 2011 guidelines?
Was so-called "Riberia Pointe (sic)" development the root cause of his abrupt departure, with no party and no honor?
Was he forced out of his job as a result of exercising his federally protected rights to workplace dissent and to express differing staff views about environmental concerns?
If so, Mr. Knight has rights under the Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA) whistleblower provision, 42 U.S.C. 6971, and other federal environmental whistleblower laws, and has the right to file a complaint with OSHA within 30 days of clear and unequivocal notice of pertinent personnel action.
If so, this will be a teachable moment for the City of St. Augustine, where employees have so long feared to raise ethics, environmental, safety and health concerns.
Our City of St. Augustine must have a strong whistleblower policy, like the one that our Anastasia Mosquito Control District of St. Johns County adopted unanimously in 2007.
Never again should an employee fear retaliation for speaking the truth to power.
Never again should an employee raising environmental concerns have to wonder whether their job is at risk.
Postscript, May 28, 2014: The position will be advertised widely, there will be a full diversity search, and the position description is being re-written to emphasize Historic Preservation, Environmental Protection and Global Climate Change, Sustainability and Ocean Level Rise.

Meanwhile, the public's Right to Know is being impaired by RONALD WAYNE BROWN, St. Augustine's holdover WILLIAM B. HARRISS era City Attorney, who wrote as follows:

From Ron Brown rbrown@citystaug.comhide details
To Ed Slavin
Cc Nancy Rawson, Isabelle Lopez, Debra Gibson
Good Afternoon: In response to your correspondence of this date, the City of St.
Augustine understands the correspondence to include a request for the review
and copying of specified public records: the personnel file of Mark Knight. The
City provides the following comments:
1. The City possesses the described personnel file in a paper format consisting
of 213 pages.
2. The City charges the statutory fee of $0.15 per page for copies beginning
with the 11th page. The charge for copies, therefore, totals $30.45(203 x
3. The Public Records Act provides that certain information regarding Code
Enforcement Officers is exempt and confidential from public disclosure. As such,
pursuant to section119.071(4)(d)2.a., Florida Statutes, the following
information is exempt and confidential: home address, telephone numbers, date of
birth, photographs, names of family members, home addresses of family members,
telephone numbers of family members, dates of birth of family members, places of
employment of spouse and children and names and locations of schools and day
care facilities attended by children of the employee.
4. Redacting the exempted and confidential information will require the use of
staff time in excess of 15 minutes for which the City is entitled to charge the
public records requestor. The City estimates the time required in excess of 15
minutes is two hours at a wage rate of $18.25 per hour for a total of $36.50.
The City will incur and charge this cost regardless of whether the requestor
reviews the records only or requests copies without review.
5. The City is entitled to receive the costs of redaction and/or copying prior
to beginning work on said redaction or copies. The amount due for redaction and
copying totals $66.95. Please provide payment to the City Attorney's Office by
check made payable to the City of St. Augustine. The records will be available
within five business days following receipt of the required funds. Thank you.

-----Original Message-----
From: Isabelle Lopez
Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2014 8:04 AM
To: Ron Brown
Cc: Nancy Rawson
Subject: FW: Mark Knight personnel file and differing staff views on Aquarium,
Child Museum and garbage-filled south end of Lincolnville

-----Original Message-----
From: Ed Slavin []
Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2014 7:55 AM
To: Isabelle Lopez
Subject: Mark Knight personnel file and differing staff views on Aquarium,
Child Museum and garbage-filled south end of Lincolnville

Please send. Thank you.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Saving St. Augustine, Florida

Guest column: The Bohemians have won
St. Augustine Record
Posted: May 3, 2014 - 12:01am
St. Augustine
Nine years ago, on April 11, 2005, I spoke for the very first time to the St. Augustine City Commission, talking about civil rights concerns. Then-City Manager William B. Harriss spoke to me after the meeting, saying “I could have you arrested for disorderly conduct!”
Mr. Harriss is gone, replaced by new, enlightened management, John Regan. But Mr. Harriss’ words inspired activists to organize.
There have been a few victories:
1. Cleanup of city’s illegal dumping of 40,000 cubic yards of contaminated solid waste in the Old City Reservoir by consent decree.
2. Cleanup of city’s former contaminated landfill at the end of Riberia Street, by consent decree.
3. Cleanup of city’s sewage dumping in saltwater marsh at south end of Lincolnville, by consent decree.
4. Proper paving of Riberia Street for the first time in St. Augustine history.
5. Shutdown/prosecution of M&M Market at 102 Bridge Street (regional crack cocaine market).
6. Protection of neighborhoods from tree-killing, wetland-destroying developers.
7. Two civil rights monuments in our Slave Market Square.
8. The city’s “Journey” African-American history VIC exhibit.
9. Rainbow flags on Bridge of Lions, by federal court order, vindicating the First Amendment and Equal Protection.
10. Protection of visual artists, by federal court order, vindicating First Amendment rights.
11. Adding “sexual orientation” as protected class in St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach Fair Housing ordinances.
12. Employment nondiscrimination ordinance for both government and private employment in St. Augustine Beach.
13. Equal pension benefits for survivors of gay and lesbian St. Augustine retired employees.
14. Disapproval of inappropriate building across from St. Augustine Cathedral Basilica.
15. Protection of two historic neighborhoods from FSDB eminent domain.
16. Rejecting 7-Eleven’s 12 gasoline pumps at May Street and San Marco.
17. Cancellation of $1.8 million no-bid mosquito control helicopter. Winning deposit refund.
18. Ending rampant sunshine and open records violations by local governments.
19. Cancellation of illegal $25,000 sunshine-violating “business” trip by four city commissioners to Spain.
20. Ending First America Foundation (given $275,000 of city funds to run 450th celebration), winning refund of most of money.
21. Defeating proposed county charter twice.
22. Halting efforts to fire St. Augustine Beach policemen and delegate law enforcement to Sheriff David Shoar.
23. Resolutions opposing offshore oil drilling by St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach.
24. Resolutions opposing offshore sonar exploration by St. Augustine, St. Augustine Beach and St. Johns County.
25. Reporting of Sheriff David Shoar’s mishandling of Michelle O’Connell shooting case by New York Times and PBS Frontline.
26. Initiation of a diverse St. Augustine “visioning” committee in the sunshine.
27. Designation of St. Augustine as a “Compassionate City,” first in Florida and 20th in the world.
28. Encouraging diversity, equality and human rights.
29. Successful federal criminal prosecution of developer for cutting down of a bald eagle nest tree.
30. Encouraging our government officials to listen and to do the right thing.
We, the people, are everywhere! Our leaders are listening, as we “force the Spring.” As the late St. Augustine City Manager, Joe Pomar, once reportedly said, “the Bohemians have won.” Here in St. Augustine, we stand up for equal rights. We take care of our own. In John Winthrop’s words, we are building a “shining city on a hill.”
During our 450th next year, we look forward to sharing St. Augustine’s history and natural beauty with Pope Francis and other visitors from around the world.
Let’s preserve and protect what we love by enacting the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore (

Welcoming Pope Francis to St. Augustine

Pope Francis was elected on March 13, 2013.
He is our first Jesuit Pope. As a graduate of Georgetown University, I respect the moral and intellectual power of the Jesuits to renew our church and our world.
Early that same evening, on March 13, 2013, I called City Manager John Patrick Regan, P.E. to exclaim, "We're getting the Pope" to visit St. Augustine."
When St. Augustine Commissioner Donald Crichlow first mentioned it, circa 2005-2006, I never had any doubt it would happen. St. Augustine is the site of the first Christian American settlement, first Roman Catholics, first Hispanics, first African-Americans, first Jews and first permanent settlement and first city in what is now the United States.
Not Jamestown.
Not Plymouth.
Our Town.
Lovely article in the St. Augustine Record today about the $4 million reconstruction project at the St. Augustine Cathedral Basilica. In case you missed it, here's the likely agenda for Pope Francis' hoped-for September 2015 visit on our 450th, first printed on this blog two months ago, on March 26, 2014:
Reliable sources inform me that Pope Francis' likely itinerary in St. Augustine in September 2015 might include:
1. Land at airport (likely Jacksonville, but St. Augustine Airport is 7000 feet long and could also land the Pope's 747).
2. Papal helicopter to Bayfront parking lot at St. Francis Barracks (home of Florida National Guard and former a Franciscan montastery).
3. Papal motorcade along our Bayfront, Avenida Menendez and San Marco Avenue to the site of First Roman Catholic Mass in U.S. (September 8, 1565).
4. Papal procession through our City Gates with holy relic of St. Francis (finger bone).
5. Papal visit to Cathdral Basilica of St. Augustine.
6. Papal visit to St. Francis House (small homeless shelter).
And, quite possibly, we hope:
7. Dedication of statute of St. Francis on privately owned land on or near our beach, perhaps next to a bird sanctuary, near our future St. Augustine National Historical Park and Natoinal Seashore.
8. Outdoor Mass for as many as one million people at a site combining County Fairgrounds, St. Ambrose Catholic Church grounds and adjoining 100 acre sod farm, made possible by logistical genius of St. Augustine City Comptroller Mark Litzigner and City Manager John Patrick Regan, P.E., proven beyond peradventure during Mumford & Sons concert in September 2013 -- with assistance of other goernment agencies, including Sheriff David Shoar and Anastasia Mosquito Control Commission of St. Johns County Commissioner Jeanne Moeller (making the Mass site mosquito-proof).
We can do this, St. Augustine!

Whatever Happened to Memorial Day?

In 1963, Edward Adelbert Slavin, Sr., my father, purchased American flags for every home on the block in Pennsauken, N.J., where we then lived, and he and I were photographed together for our Camden N.J. Catholic Star-Herald newspaper placing one of the flags in front of our home.
My father taught me the values of patriotism, which he thought was standing up for human rights.
My father knew, having jumped out of airplanes as a World War II 82nd Airborne Divn. paratrooper in North Africa, Sicily and Normandy. He volunteered the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Empire of Japan. The cutline of the photo said he was a "machine-gunner," but I did not learn what that truly meant until he and I had candid discussions about war after I had graduated from law school.
On Memorial Day weekend 1999, my father was featured as one of three veterans in a 30 minute special on a Philadelphia tv station. My father told how he and other veterans enjoyed speaking to schools about their experiences, hoping that there would be, as he said, "no more wars."
That's the point of Memorial Day, he taught me -- not mindless war-mongering.
My father taught me that Memorial Day was to honor freedom fighters, including his friends who died defeating Nazis.
Memorial Day began after the Civil War defeated slavery and the slavocracy of the Southern aristocracy.
In sharp and marked contrast are the sappy sentiments and incorrect lessons of many Memorial Day utterances by politicians and military officers, many of whom never fought for freedom, with or without a uniform, and are merely giving lip service to a powerful constituency.
Here's a perfect example: last year's Memorial Day speech at the St. Augustine National Cemetery by the commanding general of the Florida Air National Guard, a part-timer and commercial airline pilot. The general said nothing about the Civil War dead buried beneath our feet.
The Florida Air National Guard commanding general's perfectly pedestrian speech -- which the general claims to have destroyed and thus did not provide in response to a records request -- was perfectly awful, the sort of right-wing Philistinism one associates with faux Fox News. The general's speech was all about our history since 1775 of killing foreigners, not about patriotic Americans fighting for freedom.
That's not patriotism, it's truculent nationalism, with a huge racist blindspot -- he was speaking atop graves marked USCT (U.S. Colored Troops), a tribute to the brave men who fought to end slavery . No mention of the USCT graves, no mention of the defeat of the Confederacy, no quote from Abraham Lincoln. Knowing there would be descendants of Confederate veterans and KKK members in the audience, the estimable general eschewed truth for expediency. How gauche. How louche.
My late mentor, KKK-infiltrator Stetson Kennedy, was once shown a Larry Tucker photo of a North Carolina KKK cross-burning. Asked who the guys with hats were in the foreground, KKK-fighter Stetson Kennedy opined, "I think they might be North Carolina National Guard."
Let's hope that our unenlightened, unenlightening, uninspiring Florida Air National Guard general doesn't get invited speak this year, and that somewhere in St. Augustine today the heroic Civil War sacrifices that ended slavery will be recounted -- respected and not neglected.
Let's not look to part-time, partisan National Guard generals to lecture us about patriotism -- it's like listening to school superintendents about education.
There are better speakers, like veterans, teachers (and veteran teachers).
My father loved the military, but he disliked officers, many of whom risked soldiers' lives out of ego and ignorance.
He would regale the former officers at 82nd Airborne Divn. reunions about his activities. (The South Jersey Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Divn. Assn. is the "Corporal Edward A. Slavin Chapter," for a reason.
Our City of St. Augustine is reinventing itself, with two civil rights monuments in our Slave Market Square. There's a wonderful exhibit on 450 years of African-American history. How many Florida National Guard officers and enlisted people have viewed it?
There's a rededication of our City of St. Augustine's war memorial at 11 AM, and I know our City officials will acknowledge the contributions of our Civil War heroes, as well as our Civil Rights heroes and she-roes, many of whom lost their lives. Mayor Joseph L. Boles, Jr., unlike the Florida National Guard general, knows how to give a speech and how to respect and celebrate diversity -- his speeches on Gay Pride Day, the Hannukah Menorah Lighting and dedication of the Andrew Young Monument and Civil Rights Foot Soldiers Monument have made us all proud to live here.
So whatever happened to Memorial Day? When did so many people stop observing it? When did its true purpose become obscured and perverted from thanking freedom-fighters? To hear that young general talk, it's a holiday for the bloodthirsty, dedicated to killing foreigners.
Why must we Americans constantly be stirred up with xenophobia these days?
As The New York Times and Newsweek asked us in 2001, "How afraid should we be?"
Be grateful to whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, for revealing lawbreaking that steals our freedoms.
Be grateful to investigative reporters, who daily fight for freedom against despots like Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR.
Be grateful to the veterans who secured our freedom, from 1775-83 to 1861-65 to 1941-1945.
Be grateful to the veterans who fought in misbegotten wars, like Vietnam.
Be grateful to all of them. They fought for all of us, even when their generals and civilian leaders were wrong.
Too often, they were disrespected when they came home!
What do y'all reckon? You tell me.
For my part, working for freedom here in our Nation's Oldest City, working with activists, winning victory after victory, is in the spirit of General George S. Patton, Jr., who said in his famous "Weather Prayer": Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Evocative Artifact from the Appalachian Observer (a/k/a "Aggravatin' Disturber" As District Attorney General James Nelson Ramsey Kiddingly Called Us)

This morning, I unpacked an evocative artifact from my 26th year on this frail planet. It is a framed black and white photo of me from 1983, when I was editor of the fledgling Appalachian Observer, which our reform District Attorney General, Nelson Ramsey, was know to call the "Aggravatin' Disturber."
I was photographed at the Oak Ridge Federal Building loading dock, lifting into a friend's tiny Honda one of six boxes of mercury air readings from the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee during 1958-62 (establishing the presence of some 30-60 times then prevailing health standard for mercury in the air that workers breathed without respirators). Until May 17, 1983, when we got it declassified, it was a "classified national security secret" that Oak Ridge had half the mercury in the "free world" (and "lost 10% of that -- 4.2 million pounds). Then I demanded and got the Department of Energy Oak Ridge Operations Manager, Mr. Joe Ben LaGrone, to order Union Carbide Corporation Nuclear Division to incur overtime on an urgent basis, releasing the 30,000 pages with a full fee waiver, just before I started law school at Memphis State University.
The editor of publisher Ernest F. Phillips' other newspaper, Campbell County News Editor John Thompson Harding, who grew up in Oak Ridge, took, developed and printed the photo, then typed an inscription for the photo, which John framed and gave me before I left for law school. The inscription reads: "What? Only 30,000 pages? I asked for all your inculpatory documents."
We shall overcome.

St. Johns County Political Machine's Continuing Coverup of September 2, 2010 Shooting of Michelle O'Connell: Still Waiting on Messrs PATRICK McCORMACK, MICHAEL WANCHICK and WILLIAM YOUNG

Who is working to get information from the utility backup tape that contains the 24 hourly water use readings for 4700 Sherlock Place for September 2, 2010? Our County Attorney, County Attorney and County Utilities Director must be awakened from other tedious torpor and their extreme indifference to the value of human life, and truth itself.
The backup tape must be accessed and the information must provided. The feeble denial that they could not find the information did not fathom that we know for a fact there is a backup tape, and as Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR's IT person once told Patty O"Connell, "nothing ever goes away" in the computer world. Get us the data. Now.
Otherwise, these three gentlemen must be haled by the FBI before a federal grand jury.
Deputy JEREMY BANKS was described by other deputies as smelling like "a fresh shower" that night but told FDLE he had not showered. Apparently, the Sheriff and FDLE never obtained the water use records for the house.
Apparently, St. Johns County, its Administrator and its Sheriff have a backward-bending labor supply curve when it comes to responding to records requests on the O'Connell case. They're slow and they are lazy.
The coverup must end now.

Ambien and Lax FDA Regulation

A recent driving-related arrest of a respected local journalist, Record Opinion Editor Jim Sutton, who had taken Ambien (a prescription sleep aid), reminds us of the truth about Food and Drug Administration. It is corrupt. Much of the FDA story was reported by reporter Walt Bogdanich (now with the New York Times, who reported on our coverup-prone St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR last year for the Times and PBS Frontline).
We need to reform FDA as we know it. Our federal legislators must halt TV ads for prescription drugs marketed to patients, billions of dollars each year.
Our Food and Drug Administration is industry-dominated, based on "user fees" and incredibly allows dangerous drugs to be marketed directly to patients on TV, something only New Zealand allows. Patients are enlisted to nag overworked physicians to prescribe medicine, the same way children are enlisted to nag parents for junk food.
It's wrong.
Apparent Ambien victims, like Record Opinion Editor Jim Sutton, should consult legal counsel and sue the pants off of Sanofi-Aventis, Ambien's manufacturer for products liability. The hypnotic, addictive dangerous drug deserves stricter regulatory scrutiny. Too often, Americans are treated as guinea pigs by Big Pharma.
Your readers support you, Mr. Sutton. Be not afraid. Suing the manufacturer is the right thing to do.
You can help right a wrong and better educate your readers, who are ill-informed about the virtues of tort litigation by the corporate moguls who own the St. Augustine Record. Without tort lawsuits, we wouldn't have seatbelts, airbags or safety glass in automobiles.
What do you reckon?

That "Vision Thing"

President George Herbert Walker Bush called it that "vision thing." Bush and his somnambulistic sons never had it.
But our City of St. Augustine certainly has -- view the video of the May 22, 2013 visioning steering committee meeting and consider what Cathy Brown said: This is a "working class town" and we don't want to be "fancy."
Ms. Cathy Brown, former Council on Aging Director, said in a sentence what we have feared for years.
Former Commissioner Susan Burk and former City Manager WILLIAM BRUCE HARRISS stated they wanted to run working class people out of St. Augustine, and make this a dull Republican replica of Boca Raton (Spanish for "rat mouth.")
We don't like Boca Raton.
I once lived near Boca Raton, in Deerfield Beach, a working class town.
We avoided Boca Raton.
We reject Boca Raton's plasticity, its nouveau riche smugness, and its sheer pretentiousness.
Three cheers for Cathy Brown!
Let St. Augustine be St. Augustine, and proud of it!

P.S.: To those misguided soulless rich sourpusses who want St. Augustine to be more like Boca Raton, there is Ponte Vedra.
Go there.
Stay there.
Play golf.
Stay there and look down your distended nostrils at the rest of the world.
You're welcome to come dine and party and enjoy history in St. Augustine, but "at the end of the day," please go back to Ponte Vedra. (And, please don't try to inflict another cramdown bigoted undemocratic county charter on the rest of us -- we beat you twice in 2008, beat you like drums, and had fun doing it!)

Disappearing St. Augustine Record Neighborhood Columnists and Local Cartoonists

One of the cool features of the St. Augustine Record -- columns for neighborhoods -- have disappeared. Why?
The columnists were paid all of $20/month, and we learned about people and events in North City, Lincolnville, and other local communities.
The neighborhood columns have been replaced with fungible AP wire copy about people and places we don't care so much about and learn about from other media, both electronic and print.
There was no substitute for the neighborhood columnists, who wrote about local people, local events and local angles (and angels), sometimes with style and panache.
There was likewise no substitute for local political cartoonists like Ed Hall, fired six years ago for First Amendment protected activity. See below. Even Florida cartoonist Douglas McGregor no longer appears. Instead, political cartoons, if they appear at all, are nationally syndicated, mostly fungible, and many are hate-Obama.
The Record is becoming de-localized and homogenized, less local, more "McPaper" like a dull dweeby version of USA Today, without salsa and spice. That's a sham and a shame. How cruel is that?

Materially Altered

Gnarly article in today's New York Times about how the United States Supreme Court materially alters opinions without notice, sometimes years after they are issued. The page one story is based upon a forthcoming law review article.
The article is by Adam Liptak, based on research by Harvard Law School Professor Richard J. Lazarus. Our Supreme Court lacks transparency when it materially alters opinions without noting the corrections or alterations.
Our U.S. Supreme Court Justices need to show when they alter their opinions, instead of doing it sub rosa.
Makes you wonder. Does that happens elsewhere -- in other courts, or in newspapers?
Twice since 2006, people have asked me to materially alter my past opinions on this blog. I refused.
Once, a Record neighborhood columnist, Becky Greenberg, objected to me quoting Maurine Boles, Mayor of Joseph Boles, about saving Fish Island from developers. I was quoting her column, which was in the Record. I declined her invitation to censor the news, which she had reported:
Finally, regarding a recent column mentioning Fish Island, Maurine Boles says she is concerned "with the dock on Fish Island.
"When we moved here 40 years ago," says Maurine, "we explored the island and at that time the ruins of Jesse Fish's home was there, The coquina walls were still standing and the outline was clear. At the same time there was a structure made of very large coquina blocks. It was on the outer edge near the northeastern side of the property. It had rifle slits on all sides and we were told that the facility was used to protect the property from Indians and to keep the slaves from escaping. Jesse Fish's grave was also clearly there though it had been desecrated by digging, Capt. Usina said there were rumors that money had been buried with the body. Today I understand very little is left of any of the sites.
"When plans first came out concerning construction of the 312 bridge the original plans had the road and bridge going directly across the Fish homesite. Louis Arana who was the historian at the Castillo (de San Marcos) at the time and I got in touch with Tallahassee and with some help from I think Hamilton Upchurch the route was changed so as to miss the homesite. It turned out to be a hollow victory since the curve created to miss the historic sites gave much more opportunity for commercial development, but we tried. Fish Island as you know was the very first commercial orange grove in Florida ... oranges individually wrapped in paper were shipped in barrels from a coquina dock which "I think is still part of the Fish Island Marina. Unless the PUD that the city commission approved in the l990's specifically included the historic sites then I was told that condo and anything could be built directly over these historic sites which would be lost forever.
"I have also heard rumors that if the dock is approved for residents of the development that these same owners could turn around and sublease their slips to other people and make a profit. It is such a shame to think about Florida's first commercial orange grove becoming just another condo development."

The column remains on the Record website, and in the archives of this blog. Fish Island can still be saved, and included in the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore. I am glad that Maurine Boles spoke out, and proud to have quoted her. I never understood why Becky Greenberg wanted to delete this information from public debate.
Likewise, I declined the demand of the millionaire then St. Johns County Arts Council President, Philip A. McDaniel, that I censor my criticism of his 2008 column, which resulted in the nationally controversial firing of St. Augustine Record firing longtime political cartoonist Ed Hall.
Cartoonist Ed Hall was fired by the St. Augustine Record after McDaniel blasted a cartoon depicting a fungible fat Florida school superintendent cutting art, athletics and music while not cutting his own perks (or girth). Misunderstanding the cartoon as a reference to St. Johns County School Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner, Ed.D., Mr. McDaniel published a column attacking the cartoonist and saying needed to do "better research." McDaniel later demanded I materially alter my blog because people who read my blog thought less of him for getting cartoonist Ed Hall fired. I said no.
For a mere $75, I bought Ed Hall's original cartoon, which he inscribed to me as follows,"Thanks, Ed, for keepin' it real." (I also bought three of his other cartoons, which lambasted the mosquito control helicopter purchase and ribbed St. Johns County good 'ole boys after one was busted for bribery.
Upon review of the cartoon that Mr. McDaniel hated, the generic "Administrators" character looks nothing like the oversensitive, very Republican Dr. Joseph Joyner, Ed.D. The cartoon is aimed at other Florida districts and its captions are light-hearted: "WE'VE TRIMMED EVERYTHING -- ART. MUSIC. ATHLETICS. Nothing's helped.... so we're canceling school. .. with paid leave of course."
The incident revealed just how retaliatory, dull and humorless our putative St. Johns County government, arts and business leaders are, and how one of them (Mr. McDaniel) would actually try to wheedle me to take my concerns off my blog because of people learning about what he did to Mr. Ed Hall, an excellent cartoonist fired by the Record under pressure from Superintendent Joyner and Mr. McDaniel.
Mr. McDaniel has since done some good things for our community (adaptive reuse of the old ice plant, now a distillery-restauraunt). He deserves credit for that, but should never have asked me to delete my concerns about his back-shooting cowardly attacks on cartoonist Ed Hall, with bad taste demands to cover them up ex post facto. How ironic, louche and gauche for an Arts Council Chair to attack a political cartoonist and then want to censor history.
P.S.: it appears that McDaniel's 2008 column on Ed Hall is no longer indexed on the Record's website. It may be viewed here: here:
You will still find coverage of it on the Internet on this blog, on the Daily Cartoonist, and on Historic City News.

Friday, May 23, 2014

More than 155,000 Signatures -- Justice for Michelle O'Connell Petition


Tourists Agree, St. Augustine Needs More Authenticity! -- We Need A St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore!

Thanks in part to the proven success of the September 2013 Mumford & Sons concert, and our City leaders' vision, our tourists are younger, smarter and better educated.
They are also looking for "more authenticity" and "disappointed" by "excessive commercialism," Tourist Development Council Executive Director Glenn Hastings told the City Visioning committee meeting yesterday. Hastings was speaking of 2013 survey data, made public on the web.
Hastings' presentation is consistent with the 1989 book by University of Florida Geography Professor Ari Lamme, America's Historic Landscapes, which limned why some historic cities got national park protections and funding, while St. Augustine just got tackier (it was inept local leadership here, he concludes).
Excessive commercialism and de minimis authenticity hurt our image, hurt our branding, and don't give tourists a reason to stay. The 2004 report of the National Trust for Historic Preservation found that historic and environmental tourists spend twice as long and spend twice as much. We now see kayaks and surfboards in pickup trucks, where only a few years ago we would see Confederate flags. Our tourists are younger, hipper, smarter and more educated, and they want to enjoy our history and nature.
We need a St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore. Both St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR and I agree on this one -- who among us could disagree?
St. George Street is a disgrace, with our artists and entertainers forcibly removed by former City Commissioners other-directed by formidable fascist forces (commercial landlords who know not that they know not). As Cathy Brown said May 22, "St. George Street is a t-shirt shop" and need to "clean it up."
Why is St. George Street a disgrace? Because the Whetstones and other bossy capitalists got their way. They won the battle, but they lost the public trust, when tourists walk down St. George Street, not buying anything (ever see a shopping bag?) They don't buy because they don't enjoy being exploited. They miss the artists and entertainers. Henry Whetstone's aesthetic is no longer law. The KKK and commercial landlords are no longer bossing around our City Manager.
"St. Augustine is a working class own, not fancy," Cathy Brown said, and "not fancy." We need to be "true to who we are." Buskers are working people, and deserve respect.
In Tacitus' words, bully commercial landlords like Henry and Virginia Whetstsone and their terribly tacky toadies "created a desert and they called it peace."
Take a walk down St. George Street this weekend.
Compared to what it was only 15-20 years ago, St. George Street is hideous, unadorned by art, music and culture and almost destroyed by the rot of crappy t-shirt shops selling obscene and alcohol-related t-shirts to youngsters.
Former Mayor Leonard Weeks and others who attacked artists and musicians know that they did wrong. We forgive them. We need to move quickly to overcome what they did.
We need our artists and musicians back, we need outdoor restaurants and cafes, we need places that stay open past 6 PM, and most importantly we need to continue the young, cool hip vibe.
Our artists and musicians are the soul of our City. They were attacked by KKK-style Jim Crow laws, as arrogant an exercise as Virginia Whetstone's spite fence.
By Ed-ict, the KKK is hereby banished to rural places in the interior of Florida, where they can simmer in the sickness of their own intolerance.
Meanwhile, I predict that the cool people will continue to enjoy, live in and move to St. Augustine.
Thank you, Glenn Hastings and TDC for your candor! Keep speaking out!
As LBJ said after Selma, "We SHALL overcome!"
Ed Slavin
Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3084

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thank you Rep. Ron DeSantis -- 303 to 121 vote on Curbing NSA's Illegal Spying on America

Rep. Ron DeSantis earlier today joined 302 other House members -- 124 Democrats and 179 Republicans -- in voting to curb NSA abuses of Americans' Fourth Amendment Rights.
Thank you.
There were only 51 Republicans and 70 Democrats voting against, and only eight members not voting (including House Speaker John Boehner; the Speaker does not often vote, and House rules state he is only required to vote to break a tie vote).
See rollcall and map here. Some of those voting against, including Rep. Alan Grayson, thought it did not go far enough.

It's All About The Water

"It's all about the water."
First, our St. Johns County Commissioners (SJC BOCC) rightly stood up to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). SJC BOCC opposed a road project that would have destroyed the source of St. Augustine's water -- Twelve Mile Swamp, currently under the suzerainty of the St. Johns River Water Management District, and proposed as part of the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore.
Three cheers!
Second, those same St. Johns County Commissioners have been unhelpful and unresponsive with efforts to provide equal water and sewer service to West Augustine, refusing to pay fair market value for St. Augustine water utilities as part of the deal to stop violating the Fourteenth Amendment when it comes to West Augustine utilities. West Augustine residents west of the railroad tracks have paid more than twice what others in Florida pay for water. They, like other residential customers of St. Augustine utilities, pay twice as much as other residential customers, PLUS another 25% extra for living outside the city limits (racist city burghers refused to annex West Augustine, and punished it for 1963-64 civil rights activism).
City and County County Commissioners must treat West Augustine fairly, at last. Otherwise, the Justice Department must sue them for civil rights violations.
Third, our City must no longer cut off water to residential customers, having treated us shabbily, charging us too much, while undercharging Whetstone Chocolates, Flagler College, Flagler Hospital, Northrop Grumman, hotels, motels, bars and restaurants -- the 99% are subsidizing the 1% in our water rates.
Commercial buildings with automatic water sprinklers cannot have their water cutoff without a court order, pursuant to a 1995 legal opinion procured from the State Attorney General by then-City Attorney Geoffrey Dobson, law partner of current City Attorney Ronald Wayne Brown.
Thus, it violates Equal Protection and Due Process to use water shutoffs to kick poor people in the teeth, while rich people and their commercial properties are exempt from cutoff.
No more illegal, discriminatory water cutoffs, please. There needs to be an administrative order barring barbaric water shutoffs of anyone without a court order. Otherwise, poor people should sue them in a class action lawsuit by pro bono counsel.
When the $35,000 water rate study is complete, our bills should all be cut in half, while those of the Whetstones, Flagler College, Flagler Hospital, Northrop Grumman, hotels, motels, restaurants and bars will reflect the value they have received all of these years, subsidized by the 99%.
There should be pro rata rebates for longtime customers.
And an apology from our City Government, which never had a water rate study before.
It's time for healing.
"It's all about the water."
Fourth and finally, St. Johns County Commissioners need to speak out about the Titanic Trio -- County Administrator, MICHAEL PATRICK WANCHICK, County Attorney, PATRICK McCORMACK, and the County Utilities Director, WILLIAM YOUNG -- "standing in the courthouse door" like the late crabby Alabama Governor George Corley Wallace.
I reckon that Messrs. WANCHICK, McCORMACK and YOUNG are guilty, guilty, guilty.
I reckon they are part of a one-party political machine, presided over by Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR, and five captive County Commissioners.
That political machine is unlawfully refusing to provide a simple one-page document located on a backup tape -- the Septamber 2, 2010 twenty four hour water usage record for 4700 Sherlock Place.
That's the time and the place where Michelle O'Connell was martyred, shot with a Sheriff deputy's gun in a Sheriff deputy's home, without proper investigation.
There was no rain that night, the Weather Service reveals.
Yet there was water both seen and photographed on Deputy JEREMY BANKS' take-home Sheriff's car, and a pair of gloves, photographed but not taken into evidence by the Sheriff.
Deputy JEREMY BANKS said he did not take a shower, and said so in videotaped interview with FDLE Agent Rusty Ray Rodgers.
Fortunately, there is data to confirm or deny or contradict the no-shower claim of Deputy JEREMY BANKS.
In 2006, St. Johns County contracted with Johnson Controls, Inc. (JCI), spending millions on a contract of adhesion, for some 35,000 "smart meters." Thanks to the JCI contract, our County has the data, but like cognitive misers, they don't want us to know.
Wonder why?
Because Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR's inept non-investigation never asked for the data, which he evidently know would be inculpatory.
Justice for Michelle O'Connell.
The 4700 Sherlock Place water bill must be obtained from the backup tape and released by close of business tomorrow, May 23, 2014.
Otherwise, the world will know that every single elected St. Johns County Commissioner is in bed with, in cahoots with and in pari delictu with the County Administrator, County Attorney, and SHERIFF DAVID BERNARD SHOAR..
You don't need an evidence professor (mine was the world class Robert C. Banks, Jr. at Memphis State University) to know the JEREMY BANKS water bill is important. ]
You don't even need a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner (Walt Bogdanich of the New York Times) or even the fictional Lt. Colombo.
Anyone seeing Deputy JEREMY BANKS say he didn't take a shower knows that the water consumption information for that house is materially relevant.
Where's the data?
I asked for it on May 18, 2014
Today is May 22, 2014.
Sheriff SHOAR should have obtained the data on September 3, 2010.
Why not?
The long delay is unreasonable, illegal, immoral and inculpatory.
The denial that the backup tapes exist is childish.
We know they have it on backup tapes.
We're going to get it.
It is beyond cavil.
It is irrefragable.
Does anyone still think the people of St. Johns County are stupid?
Do they still think they can fool us again?
Do they think the Justice Department is not watching them?
Do they think, period, or just emote by rote?
Get to work, Messrs. WANHCICK, McCORMACK, and YOUNG.
We have a Right to Know -- affirmed by our Founding Fathers, and voted on by 3.8 million Florida residents in 1992, adopting Article I, Section 24 as an amendment to our Florida Constitution.
It's the controlling legal authority.
It's our money.
It's our government.
It works for us.
It is us.
That's what Jefferson, Madison and the Founding Fathers wrote in 1776 and 1787.
Our county government must get us the information. today.
How much water was used in JEREMY BANKS' residence when he and Michelle O'Connell returned from the Parramore concert that night?
Is that water usage consistent with JEREMY BANKS' story that he did not take a shower that night (even though Sgt. Debbie Maynard said he smelled like a fresh shower?")
There are now more than 153,188 signatures on the Michelle O'Connell inquest petition to Florida Governor RICHARd SCOTT.
The whole world is watching.
As JFK said, "Here on Earth, God's work must truly be our own!"
Get to work, Messrs. WANCHICK, McCORMACK and YOUNG.
Get our data, please, from the backup tape.
You will be glad that you did, and we will thank you.
Rise and shine.
This is your day to shine.
What do you reckon?
And again, "it's all about the water. "
See below.

IN HAEC VERBA: May 21, 2014 e-mails to St. Johns County Commission, Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR, et al. re: Michelle O'Connell Death Investigation "Smart Water" Usage Records for Deputy's Residence

Dear Chairman Morris and Commissioners:
I initially requested these records on 5/18/14. I have requested them again tonight. See below,
Please inquire tonight or tomorrow of the County Administrator, County Attorney and Utilities Director when they will obtain the records from backup tapes. No more delays or flummery, please.
Best wishes to each of y'all for Memorial Day 2014.
Thank you in advance for your kind assistance.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin
Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3084

-----Original Message-----
From: easlavin
Sent: Wed, May 21, 2014 7:17 pm
Subject: URGENT re: Michelle O'Connell death investigation -- 9/2/2010 St Johns County Water Department/Johnson Controls, Inc. "smart water meter" hourly detail for 4700 Sherlock Place

Dear Sheriff Shoar, Cmdr Mulligan, Mr. Cline, Mr. Wanchick, Mr. McCormack, Ms. Phisterer, Mr. Fraser, Mr. Young, et al.:
1. Please E-mail me PDF(s) of the 4700 Sherlock Place 9/2/2010 hourly water usage summary, including but not limited to those on file in SJCSO's putative "investigation." or in SJCSO's copy of FDLE investigative files, or from SJC BOCC, SJC Utility Department or from Johnson Controls SQL backup tape(s), or otherwise. Please include all non-identical copies, or marked on copies with exhibit labels.
2. This is a very easy request -- one page of data -- 24 hourly water usage readings for each of 24 hours on 9/2/2010. There could not be a simpler request, or one requiring any less paper or work.
3. It is a matter of great public interest, however, there now being more than 152,500 signatures on a petition for an inquest into the 9/2/2010 death of Michele O'Connell, reported in great detail by The New York Times, PBS Frontline, NBC News Dateline (and soon CNN AC360). As the late U.S. Attorney General Robert Francis Kennedy said it best2, "Justice delayed is democracy denied."
4. St. Johns County Sheriff's Deputy Jeremy Banks apparently told FDLE Agent Rusty Rodgers, in a videotaped interview, that he did not shower the evening of 9/2/2010 upon returning home.
5. Thus, we as Americans, Floridians and St. Johns County residents all have a right to read the water use records for 4700 Sherlock Place for that night. Who among us would disagree?
6. Thank you to each and every one of you in advance for your very prompt cooperation tomorrow, or at the latest by close of business on Friday, May 23, 2014.
7. The whole world is watching.
8. Your cooperation is urgently required by Article I, Section 24 of our Florida Constitution, enacted in 1992 by vote of 83% (3.8 million) Florida voters.
9. Johnson Controls, Inc. (JCI) is a publicly traded corporation regulated by the SEC, and a St. Johns County government contractor. Its records are covered by our liberal Florida Open Records laws, as amended last year by our Florida Legislature, to make it irrefragable that government contractor records are covered.
10. Please do not hesitate to call me if you have any questions.
Best wishes to each of y'all for Memorial Day 2014.
Thank you again in advance for your kind assistance.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin
Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3084

Record Attempt At Anonymous Restaurant Reviews Lays an Egg

Giving Gypsy Cab only 3.5 of 5 "bowlers," the "Gourmet Ghost" of the St. Augustine Record -- a new feature premiering in today's newspaper -- came up short.
The "Gourmet Ghost" laid an egg.
Anonymous restaurant reviews are in bad taste.
I agree with Bob Fliegel, who said on the Record's website:
Concur with Clara and please drop the anonymity
The Record made a big deal out of eliminating anonymity from the Comments sections that follow news articles and opinion pieces and defensibly so. Why doesn't the same rationale apply to your new restaurant reviewer? Stand behind your reviews with your name!
Phyllis Richman at the Washington Post reviewed restaurants under her own name. She would arrive with friends and sample food from their table, but was not known to management. Her credentials were self-evident.
Using an anonymous name or "Nic" has been abolished for St. Augustine Record reader commenters, but has now been legalized by Record Editor Kathy Nelson and Record Publisher Delinda Fogel. Until we know the name of the restaurant reviewer and her putative credentials, the Record is in no position to publish restaurant reviews, particularly not one that trashes my favorite restaurant in St. Augustine, and everyone else's.
The Devil with the complaint.
The "Gourmet Ghost" is dead meat.
The "Gourmet Ghost"'s insipid, uninspiring lukewarm review of Gypsy Cab, well, "toast."

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore Will Preserve and Protect St. Augustine, St. Johns and Flagler Counties

including Twelve Mile Swamp and other threatened and endangered St. Johns River Water Management District lands, Guana-Tolomato-Matanzas National Estuarine Reserve (GTM-NERR), Anastasia State Park and other state parks, forests and our beaches. See below.
Yes we can

FDOT proposal on Twelve Mile Swamp a Clear and Present Danger to St. Augustine's future

FDOT's hamhanded proposal to build a road in St. Johns County without talking to any of our local officials was shot down unanimously by St. Johns County Commissioners yesterday. Thanks to National Wildlife Federation's Sarah Owens Gladhill and Matanzas Waterkeeper Neil Armingeon and County Commissioners for blowing the whistle.

St. Johns County Commissioners vote unanimously to protect Twelve Mile Swamp from four lane highway

Kudos to St. Johns County Commissioners for unanimously voting yesterday to oppose a stupid Department of Transportation proposal to build a four land highway right through the middle of 20,000 Twelve Mile Swamp.
Currently St. Johns River Water Management District land, the heavily forested area is home to wildlife, as well as the City of St. Augustine's artesian well field.
Twelve Mile Swamp is included in the proposed St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Three Cheers for United States District Court Judge John E. Jones III

A 2002 appointee of President George W. Bush, Judge Jone E. Jones, III of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania showed his integrity and independence by ruling against a local school board in the intelligent design case, Kitzmiller v. Dover Independent School District.
Now Judge Jones has ruled today that Pennsylvania's ban on Gay Marriage is unconstitutional. Whitewood v. Wolf. Judge Jones overturned a law signed into by his mentor, former Governor Thomas Ridge, in 1996. Governor Ridge had appointed Judge Jones to be Chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, a job he held until 2002. Judge Jones also ruled against the previously expressed wishes of George W. Bu2sh and Karl Rove, who used anti-Gay marriage amendments (eventually passed in 30 states), to euchre re-election in 2004.
In his decision earlier today, Judge Jones wrote, "We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history."
Judge Jones did not issue a stay.
Gay and Lesbian couples are now getting married in Pennsylvania.
Judge Jones based his decision on both equality and liberty, pointedly citing Loving v. Virginia, the 1965 Supreme Court miscegenation case.
Judge Jones wrote, By virtue of this ruling, same-sex couples who seek to marry in Pennsylvania may do so, and already married same-sex couples will be recognized as such in the Commonwealth" of Pennsylvania, joining every other northeastern state.
Judge Jones wrote, "The plaintiff couples have shared in life's joys....We now join the 12 federal district courts across the country, which, when confronted with these inequities in their own states, have concluded that all couples deserve equal dignity in the realm of civil marriage."
Judge John E. Jones, III, in the free spirit of our American Founding Fathers, meeting in Pennsylvania in 1776 and 1787, has now secured his place in history!
Three cheers for United States District Court Judge John E. Jones, III, for Article III of our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, Equal Protection and Judicial Independence!

Photo credit: The New York Times.

Full disclosure: I was consulting co-counsel for a client in Judge Jones' court in a discrimination case against Penn State University, spending ten days there in 2003. Our client, a Persian professor of mathematics at PSU, who won a jury trial against PSU and was subjected to discrimination, did not prevail. I did not think that Judge Jones was cruelly unfair to him, refusing to allow him to tell the jury that he won his jury trial, oddly calling that datum "inside baseball." (It was 2003 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Saddam Huseein, an Iraqi, was on the run -- he wascaptured before the verdict. Penn State was still wildly popular and Joe Paterno was still an icon.
But now, mirabile dictu, mutatis mutandis, I now greatly respect Judge Jones' growth and depth as an Article III judge. He has become a heroic figure to me, and I salute him.
Footnote: Judge Jones is reportedly a member of the family that owns D.G. Yuengling & Sons Brewery, founded in 1829. Toasts are in order. Three cheers!

Postscript: The Governor of Pennsylvania reportedly will not file an appeal.

Gay Marriage: Now Pennsylvania, Oregon

Today Pennsylvania, yesterday Oregon: there have been fourteen (14) consecutive victories for Gay Marriage in our courts. Soon, Florida will join the list, and people who love each other will legally marry in St. Augustine, as lovely a place as ever existed for a wedding.
Nearly 25 years ago, I was honored to represent pro bono plaintiff Mr. Duane David Rinde in Rinde v. Woodward & Lothrop, the D.C. Gay domestic partnership equal benefits case in 1989-90, for which Mr. Rinde and I won the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance award in 1990. I then was asked to write what became the first article on Gay marriage in an American Bar Association publication, in Human Rights magazine, in 1991.
As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others have said, "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." And as General Kutuzov said in Tolstoy's War and Peace, "Patience and time."
The majority of Americans, and courts, and Catholics and Jews and Protestants, are with us today.
Healing is good for the soul.
Love is eternal.
Victory is sweet.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Civil Rights Stories in Sunday St. Augustine Record and Florida Times-Union Start of Multi-Week Series

Auspicious beginning of a series on St. Augustine's role in enactment of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, with a beautiful photo of my friend Barbara Vickers in front of Foot Soldiers Monument. As LBJ said after Selma, "We SHALL overcome."

Michelle O'Connell Inquest Petition Topped 120,000 Signatures Today

As Senator Albert Gore, Sr. said on Election Night 1970, "The truth shall rise again. Justice for Michelle O'Connell.

Two anniversaries

Today is May 17, 2014.
It is the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Education desegregation decision by SCOTUS.
It is the 31st anniversary of the Oak Ridge mercury pollution declassification announcement, which our tiny tabloid Appalachian Observer weekly newspaper won in 1983, with a three paragraph FOIA/declassification request to the U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge Operations Office.
Today we're still dealing with Jim Crow law, as evidenced by:
(a) our U.S. Senator Mario Rubio attempting to halt a pending civil rights investigation, and
(b) our City of St. Augustine charging 25% extra to non-residents for water -- more than $1,000,000 a year -- a stench in the nostrils of our Nation's Oldest City, to be remedied. See below.
Today we're also still dealing with unaccountable polluting government agencies, from nuclear weapons plants (still being cleaned up, a process that may be complete by the time I am 93) to landfills.
We shall overcome!

Did Florida U.S. Senator MARCO ANTONIO RUBIO Act Improperly...

by Pressuring U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights Investigation of Florida's Bright Future Scholarships 2011 State Legislature Changes and Possible Discrimination Against African-American and Hispanic Students?
Today is the 60th anniversary of the United States Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, but Senator MARCO ANTONIO RUBIO found an odd way to mark it -- by trying to halt a civil rights investigation with a letter and a press release.
What's going on here?
Our federal Administrative Procedure Act of 1946 (APA) and United States Senate Rule XLIII(3) (Rule 43) prohibit U.S. Senators from placing improper pressures on federal agencies.
Senator MARCO ANTONIO RUBIO (Florida Bar Number 102946) reportedly demanded the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights dismiss a pending civil rights complaint, without further investigation. The Miami Herald reports that Senator RUBIO claims there is "no legitimate legal basis for investigating such a program." In a letter to the Assistant Secretary of Education, Catherine Lhamon, Senator RUBIO goes on to say, "forcing bureaucratic changes in in the parameters of eligibility for this scholarship would not only degrade (sic) the fundamental purpose of the scholarship, but also render the program financially unstable."
Data from the University of South Florida determined that the 2011 changes would slash the number of minority students receiving Bright Futures scholarships by 60-75%.
The Department of Education is looking at whether African-American and Hispanic students are being discriminated against by the 2011 changes in Bright Futures.
Senator RUBIO is just a tad too close to the subject, having been Speaker of the Florida House.
Fortunately, Senator MARCO ANTONIO RUBIO is not deciding facts in administrative law cases.
Congress entrusted that to administrative agencies and administrative law judges, like the two for whom I clerked, Department of Labor Administrative Law Judge Charles P. Rippey and Department of Labor Chief Administrative Law Judge Nahum Litt.
Those judges, and administrative agencies, were too often subject to subtle and not-so-subtle pressure during the depths of depravity of the Reagan-Bush years.
Senator RUBIO's letter is about as subtle as a cockroach crossing a white carpet.
Hands off administrative law adjudications, Senator RUBIO.
Your ham-handed intervention is exactly why Congress enacted the APA in the first place, and why Senate Rule XLIII(3) is on the books.
This appears to be a demand to "fix" a pending federal administrative law case.
The case-fixing demand is in support of his former legislative colleagues, who amended Bright Futures in 2011, over Democratic opposition, in a manner predicted to adversely affect minority students by reducing the number of scholarships.
Whether this demand is illegal is up to others to determine.
Whether the Bright Futures scholarship changes violate civil rights laws is a question of law and fact.
It is not up to a young U.S. Senator who has no civil rights law experience to issue a ukase.
It should not be the subject of political pressure.
This is a pending administrative law case.
That case must not be be "fixed."
This is federal law in Washington, D.C.
This is a question of constitutional law.
This is a question of civil rights law.
Those civil rights laws were adopted in 1964 thanks to the courage of the people of St. Augustine and visiting helpers like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ambassador Andrew Jackson Young, who were beaten, jailed, fired, blacklisted and run out of town here in St. Augustine.
Here in St. Augustine, we now have two civil rights monuments in our Slave Market Square (Plaza de la Constitucion), one to Ambassador Young and the Civil Rights Foot Soldiers who helped to enact those civil rights laws.
Those civil rights laws are a national treasure.
Those civil rights laws are the light of the world, emulated everywhere, leading to equality everywhere for ethnic groups, religions, genders and gender preferences, and sexual orientations.
Those civil rights laws ought not to be a punch line in a politician's press release.
Those civil rights laws are a subject of the current Journey exhibit at our VIC, which just won honors from the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation -- not one federal elected official, including Senator RUBIO, has yet shown up to see the exhibit.
This is not some Minor League zoning case in Hialeah or Palatka subject to influence.
This is not a moribund state agency in Tallahassee, subject to the "Whim of Iron" of our state legislators.
This is the Department of Education -- our United States Department of Education -- and its Office of Civil Rights.
Senator MARCO ANTONIO RUBIO's longtime Chief of Staff is Cesar Conda. Conda was once domestic policy chief advisor to Vice President Richard Richard Cheney. This appears to be very much a Dick Cheney move -- if you don't like what the bureaucracy is doing, spew hatred and if you don't like whistleblowers, go after them with criminal investigations. Dick Cheney was not a lawyer. Senator RUBIO is a lawyer. We expect better from Senator RUBIO.
Has Senator MARCO ANTONIO RUBIO stepped outside the role of a U.S. Senator to obstruct justice in a civil rights case?
Has Senator MARCO ANTONIO RUBIO possibly violated Senate Rule XLIII, APA, his January 3, 2011 oath of office as a U.S. Senator pursuant to Article VI of the United States Constitution, and his Florida Bar oath as an attorney?
Senator MARCC RUBIO seeks to substitute the "pull" of influence for the process of administrative law investigation, seeking headlines in his race for the presidency.
This may be both unethical, and unseemly.
Senator RUBIO must drop the oyster and leave the wharf.
President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan should tell RUBIO to "buzz off."
Senator RUBIO has much bigger fish to fry. He's running for president. But here in Florida, we need his help to enact the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore, "America's Best Idea" needs and deserves Senator RUBIO's sponsorship and support.
What do you reckon?>
Ed Slavin
Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085

Friday, May 16, 2014

Do Guns Recoil Forward?

Justice for Michelle O'Connell
As Senator Howard Henry Baker, Jr. Said During Watergate, "Coverups Never Work." What do you reckon? Do St. Johns County elected officials coverup for each other?
Justice for Michelle O'Connell.
Ms. O'Connell was shot to death with the service pistol of Deputy JEREMY BANKS in BANKS' home on September 2, 2010, shortly after she told BANKS she was breaking up with him.
The New York Times, "Two Gunshots on a Summer Night" by Walt Bogdanich & Glenn Silber (November 24, 2013):
PBS/Frontline, "A Death in St. Augustine (November 26, 2013): NBC News Dateline, "Two Shots Fired" (April 18, 2014):
Petition for Coroner's Inquest:

Watergate Conspirator Jeb Stuart Magruder's Words Reverberate for St. Johns County Employees and Other Future Federal Grand Jury Witnesses

Jeb Stuart Magruder has died at 79. The New York Times today quotes him as writing," "Instead of applying our private morality to public affairs, we accepted the President's standards of political behavior, and the results were tragic for him and for us." Words for future federal grand jury witnesses to remember, before they consider committing perjury. The whole world is watching. So is God.

Preparing the Way for the Visit of Pope Francis to St. Augustine in 2015

Next week, on May 22nd, the Visitor and Convention Bureau will hold its annual Tourism public meeting at World Golf Village, 8-11 am, at our County government's $16.9 million Convention Center.
Open to the public.
No charge.
This year, let's approach it differently.
Rather than a focus on attracting the one percent to benefit money-grubbing business owners, let's focus on equality and justice.
Fair wages for tourism employees.
Let's focus on our values.
Let's focus on what St. Augustine has to offer the world during our 450th anniversary commemoration next year.
Pope Francis has been invited, and he will help to celebrate our cultural diversity -- America began here (not Jamestown or Plymouth):
The first Europeans.
The first Christians.
The first Roman Catholics.
First Hispanics.
First Jews.
First Africans -- both free and slave.
First encounters with Native American indigenous Indian tribes.
First families.
First town plan.
First multi-cultural city.
St. Augustine is the first "Compassionate City" in Florida and twentieth in the world.
We've had 31 progressive victories here since April 11, 2005, when our former City Manager told me he could have me "arrested for disorderly conduct" for speaking out on the civil rights of West Augustine residents under the Fifteenth Amendment.
See below.
We reject government based on fear or ignorance (or fear of ignorance).
The Ku Klux Klan, which once ran Our Town, no longer has a vote on our City Commission.
One day that will be true of our County Commission and other county-wide elected offices.
As JFK said, "Here on Earth, God's work must truly be our own."
Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and sharing our values with the world.