Sunday, August 31, 2014

Our St. Augustine City Commissioners

Well, two of them are not in Spain today: thanks to Nancy Sikes-Kline and Leeana Freeman for rejecting invitations from Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. to go violate Sunshine laws and spend your money in Malaga. (Neither of the other two Commissioners is violating Sunshine laws with BOLES, we understand, leaving him ALONE among five Commissioners at the dodgy U.S.-Spain Council meeting in Malaga, Spain). Pitiful.

Protest at St. Johns County Courthouse September 2, 2014 -- Fourth Anniversary of Michelle O'Connell's Shooting Death

11 AM. Hear the O'Connell family attorney, Ben Crump, discuss new evidence.
"Let justice be done, though the heavens fall."
--- Ancient equitable maxim.
"It is not enough to allow dissent, we must demand it, for there is much to dissent from."
--- Robert F. Kennedy

Lightning Halts First University of Florida Gators Game of the 2014 Season

Five days after the University of Florida Levin College of Law refused to mediate in good faith on age, disability and retaliation discrimination with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, lightning strikes hit all around Ben Hill Griffin Stadium after only one play, ending the first game of the season.

How cool is that?

As I told Senior Associate Dean ALYSON CRAIG FLOURNOY on August 25, 2014, "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." UF's Environmental and Land Use Planning Law now faces an investigation by the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights. UF must stop discriminating, stop retaliating and start talking. Now.

By the way, there was no lightning and no rain here last night in St. Augustine, Florida, the locus of Monday's mediation, which ALYSON FLOURNOY and a UF lawyer deigned to attend only by telephone, emitting pretexts (but mostly silence), no questions, no answers and no offers over the telephone from only 90 miles and 90 minutes away.

Let justice be done though the heavens fall.

By the way, when we filed the first environmental whistleblower case against Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1991, the sky opened up and there were some five inches of rain in a few hours over the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Plant, one of three corrupt Oak Ridge plants then operated by Martin Marietta (now Lockheed Martin) for the United States Department of Energy. How cool is that?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Thanking my professors in undergraduate and law school

As a bored high school student, I actually started college at age 16, the summer of 1973.
I started at Georgetown University with my first class 40 years ago today, August 30, 1974.
I started law school as an old man of 27 at Memphis State University in 1983.
I expect to start graduate law studies in environmental law, probably after an administrative investigation but the Department of Education (and possibly a federal court jury trial).
Not many working class kids in our country got a thorough education then, or now.
Not many "symbolic analysts" as Robert Reich calls us, do anything to help working people.
Most lawyers -- some 90% according to Jimmy Carter -- represent the rich and powerful.
That leaves about 10% for the rest of us and for worker and environmental causes.
On this Labor Day weekend, I thank all of my professors, past and future, for helping me empower working people and environmental causes.
Yes we can!
Yes we will!

Perhaps One Day, The City of St. Augustine Will Say "Thank you!"

On "The Break Room," St. Augustine City Public Affairs Director PAUL WILLIAMSON's weekly radio show on WFCF-FM, Flagler College radio, and on the City's website, he just said "We all love having our garbage picked up." WILLIAMSON has encumbered the position with malapropisms, wrong dates for events and the bleeding obvious for an eighth of a century. This morning, it was revealed that the City's experiment with once per week garbage pickup is being expanded to a part of Davis Shores, to save money, with bigger trash and recycling containers. In fact, I first made the suggestion in 2007, in City meetings, and on this blog.
One day, someone from the City of St. Augustine will say to citizen-activists, "Thank you.y

Friday, August 29, 2014

"Fast Eddie" 40 Years Later

Forty years ago today, I went to work for the office of senator Ted Kennedy, on the morning before my first class at georgetown University.
Like the hero in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," I started in the mailroom.
It was around the corner from the Senator's main office. In fact, it was formally one of five rooms assigned to Senator "Fritz" Hollings of S.C., which he had donated to Senator Knnedy after RFK was murdered, to handle the overflow of mail, which never abated.
for 2.5 days/week, as a freshman and sophomore (Tuesday, Thursday and Friday afternoon), I worked as an intern, first free, then paid.
I opened and stapled mail, read mail, assigned mail to other people to read, auto-pennned and stuffed response letters, ran errands, did research, helped with casework, and quickly earned a nickname.
My widely-used nickname in Senator Ted Kennedy's office was "Fast Eddie."
Because if you needed to send something somewhere quickly (this was 1974), there was no Internet, no E-mail and no fax machine.
You put it in an envelope, called the mailroom, and asked for an intern. Any intern.
Or, if it was Tuesday, Thursday or Friday afternoon, you would say, "Is Fast Eddie there/"
Fast Eddie had survived rheumatic fever and arthritis. I was (and still am) a klutz. I did not drive (still don't).
But Fast Eddie moved swiftly, got things done quickly, and did not tarry, unlike your typical undergraduate interns, who moved like molasses going uphill in Vermont in January.
I got to meet and talk with phenomenal staffers, including legislative director Carey W. Parker (a Rhodes scholar, one of several, and his secretary Shannon McDonald), Mary Murtagh and Melody Miller, and people who went on to head the Peace Corps (Marc Schneider), be Ambassador to NATO (Robert Hunter), and be appointed to the U.S. Senate (Paul Kirk). I learned how to answer a telephone, how to solve problems, how to use the telephone, and how to persuade government officials to do their jobs.
I would walk several times a day and take the subway (the Toonerville trolley in Tom Wicker's novel, "Facing the Lions") from the Russell Building to the Capitol, dropping freshly mimeographed speeches and press releases to the three Senate press galleries (newspaper, tv and periodical), sometimes to eye-rolling from journalists who were amazed to see so many EMK press releases.
I read the press releases and speeches, and learned from the scholarly style of Carey Parker, et al.
On November 21, 1974, the Senate overrode President Ford's veto of the Freedom of Information Act, and it was I who carried the triumphant Ted Kennedy speech and press release to the press galleries. Less than nine years later, I became the "pest who never rests," using FOIA to win declassification of the largest mercury pollution event in Earth history, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee on May 17, 1983.
After spending much of eighth, ninth and tenth grades on my back, my health became more robust as I walked several times a day, learning the corridors of power on Capitol Hill, walking by beautiful U.S. Capitol Hill artwork, paintings, sculptures and frescoes, and through secret corridors and hidden basement corridors, to obscure places like the Capitol basement, the Senate Folding and Stapling Room, the Senate Carpentry Shop, and the Russell Building Attic.
I would watch committee hearings and Senate sessions, pre-CSPAN. I would watch the legislative assistants in the Dance of Legislation (as Eric Redman called it), and the warp and woof of constituent correspondence and casework.
I would hang out with the likes of Mary Murtagh, press secretary Dick Drayne and the case workers, and by sophomore year even had a tiny 2x3 table or desk between press and case operations, complete with tiny chair and, of course, a telephone.
I found that saying "This is Ed Slavin in Ted Kennedy's office" got your calls returned, and that we could perform minor miracles.
I learned the power of positive thinking, knowing that with a keyboard, a telephone and a democracy, we could do anything to make the world a better place.
Mary Murtagh and I helped to end sperm whaling with our research on jojoba, an oil seed that is an exact chemical duplicate for the oil of the endangered sperm whale, of which there were 20,000 killed in the world back then.
I was inspired by hearing Ralph Nader speak in Gaston Hall at Georgetown University the evening of August 28, 1974 (Feast of St. Augustine).
It led to life in, around and surrounded by government service and working to improve the lot of others. It led to work in two other Senate offices (Gary Hart and Jim Sasser), investigative reporting, two judicial clerkships at the Department of Labor (Charles P. Rippey and Chief Judge Nahum Litt), work at the AFL-CIO Occupational Safety and Health Legal Rights Foundation and Government Accountability Project and privately, reprinting whistleblowers.
It led me to stand up for equal rights and honest government here, in the City of St. Augustine, where for the last nine years, we band of brothers and sisters have worked to transform our City government, from one of the worst to one of the first, winning Rainbow flags on the Bridge of Lions, respect for GLBT rights, respect for Environmental Justice, and transforming our town (soon to elect the first woman Mayor elected by vote of all of the people as such, on November 4, 2014).
Let freedom ring!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ara Klidjian 2010 letter still true today: Spain trip shows government's arrogance

By Ara Klidjian
Editor: The City of St. Augustine is sending a delegation of eight people to Spain for nine days. As manager of international development for a Fortune 100 company, my trips overseas (including to Spain) for negotiating and consummating multi-million dollar acquisitions and joint ventures never included more than three travelers for a handful of days. To boot, these trips were in the days before instantaneous worldwide voice and video communications.

This is yet another demonstration of government's arrogance in spending taxpayer money, even in the worst of economic times. Kudos to Mayor Joe Boles for opting out of the trip. Most others in the delegation should do the same. The days of face-to-face meetings are long past. Be creative and use your laptops, Ipods and Skype instead of wasting our money.

Ara Klidjian

St. Augustine

Goodbye, RONALD LEE SANCHEZ, Welcome JEB SMITH to St. Johns County Commission

RONALD LEE SANCHEZ was like they said about the dog, chasing cars all his life, he finally caught one.
He ran for St. Johns County Commission four times.
Elected to County Commission, he showed his ignorance. He violently and viciously opposed the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore out of anti-federal animus typical of a Southern white segregationist. It was irascible, irrational and wrong.
The Republicans in the closed primary August 26th sent him packing from his $64,000/year gig: he's gone in December.
We expect the next time the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore is discussed, the remaining Commissioners will treat us with dignity, respect and consideration.
Jeb Smith impresses me as a thoughtful gentleman, a farmer, a minister and capable of moral reasoning.
Welcome to County Commission, Mr. Smith!

40 Years Ago Tonight

August 28, 1974

It was the Feast of St. Augustine at Georgetown University, a/k/a "America's Roman Catholic Harvard."

Forty years ago tonight, I went to Gaston Hall at Georgetown University with my new freshman friends. We watched Ralph Nader talk. And talk. And talk. "Talk a starving dog off a meat wagon!" (Like I did with the University of Florida Levin College of Law in mediation with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Commissioner, Hank Groton, Jr. here in St. Augustine on Monday, August 25th).

Ralph Nader talked about corrupt oligopolists, government bureaucrats, "the deferred bribe," unsafe cars, unsafe good, unsafe drugs, meaningless political parties, crooked lobbyists, crooked lawyers, and everything under the Sun.

Then he answered questions. He said he would answer questions as long as we wanted to ask them. There were about twelve of us left (including my friend Edward Francis McElwain) at about 10:30 pm. He answered every single question. He talked about public service, and making a difference in peoples' lives. He made quite an impression upon me.

The experience of hearing Ralph Nader changed my life.

The very next morning (August 29, 1974), I volunteered to work for Senator Ted Kennedy, first as a free intern and then as a volunteer, 2.5 days per week as a freshman and sophomore.

The next morning after that (August 30, 1974), I started my first class. What a letdown. Ted Kennedy's office staff was more fun! Ted Kennedy served in the U.S. Senate for some 47 years -- the best U.S. Senator, ever. Working with the likes of Mary Murtagh, Melody Miller McElligott, Carey W. Parker, et al. taught me lessons for life. He had the smartest most effective staff in Washington, D.C. It was an honor and a privilege to work there.

I learned so much more on Capitol Hill than I ever did in many of my classes. That's why I was flummoxed Monday, when a University of Florida lawyer actually questioned my undergraduate grade point average. That's some pretext to respond to a prima facie case of age, disability and retaliation discrimination before the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights. How hopelessly provincial and out of touch with reality is the University of Florida Levin College of Law and its administration?

The whole world is watching.

Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. Heads to Malaga, Spain By Himself

All City Commissioners refused Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. to violate Sunshine laws and go to Malaga, Spain for a meeting of the dodgy U.S.-Spain Council, which is headquartered in a lobbyist's home in Falls Church, Virginia.

While two other Commissioners (Roxanne Horvath and Donald Crichlow) are going to Spain, they will not violate Sunshine.

Two remaining Commissioners (Nancy Sikes-Kline and Leeana Freeman) are NOT going to Spain, not spending our money, and staying at home to greet the exchange group from Aviles and observe the 449th anniversary of the Menendez landing, to be celebrated Saturday, September 6, 2014, while one Mayor, two City Commissioners and assorted staff will be spending our money in Spain.

This time, they need to give us detailed trip reports upon our return, instead of one-word answers and smug justifications.

We must also have a detailed line item justification and response to Commissioner questions on the soaring $1 million budget for the 450th.

Our Visitor Information Center closes at 5 pm. This is why attendance was so low for Journey -- 450 Years of African American History. And so low for Picasso. This is mismanagement of our museum. Why was this not discussed before I raised it when the rabbis visited in June?

What do you reckon?

Teddy Roosevelt's "Man in the Arena" Speech

Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic"
delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910

download PDF of complete speech
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds coupd have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ex-Mayor CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS, JR. Holding Parking & Traffic Committee Meeting Away from City Streaming Video?

Tomorrow at 8:30 AM, CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS, Jr. is holding a meeting of the City of St. Augustine Park and Traffic Committee at the city conference room at 50 Bridge Street (Financial Services building), away from the City's no-bid streaming video unit at City Hall.
WEEKS is a beneficiary of the infamous BOLES-WEEKS lease at 81 St. George Street.
As the late Joe Louis once said, "he can run but he can't hide."

Here is my E-mail:

-----Original Message-----
From: easlavin
To: lweeks ; jregan ; ilopez ; rbrown ; lfountain
Subject: Parking and Traffic Committee meeting at 8:30 am on August 28, 2014 must be televised on COSA.TV -- there is no excuse for holding it in remote conference room away from cameras.

Please hold the meeting in our City Commission meeting room and televise on live streaming video. Thank you.

Start up, all you "upstarts" -- St. Augustine is cruising to big changes!

60.4% of the people of St. Augustine voting yesterday voted for a new Mayor -- 1569 voters. That's a mandate. While the incumbent, JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. claims he's "tickled" to have a runoff, it sounds far-fetched. More likely, he's crying in his imported champagne. Message for the St. Augustine Record, which did not cover the campaign and did not sponsor debates: we expect a newspaper to cover the news, not coverup for incumbents' misdeeds, like BOLES' lease of 81 St. George Street. The Record sub-headline refers to Nancy Shaver as an "upstart." This City and this Nation were founded by "upstarts." Start up, you upstarts -- City Hall is about to get a new mayor, with the next election in only 69 days.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

General Patton's Weather Prayer (Bastogne 1944)

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.

University of Florida Levin College of Law Under Federal Investigation for Age, Disability and Retaliation Discrimination

University of Florida Levin College of Law is under investigation by the Office of Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education for age, disability and retaliation discrimination.
On June 1, 2010, I spoke by telephone with Associate Dean ALYSON CRAIG FLOURNOY, asking whether it might be possible to take longer than a year to complete the Environmental and Land Use Planning Law LL.M. program (I had recently had eye surgery for retina detachment at UF).
She said no, that "you have to finish in a year."
I asked her whether there could be an ADA reasonable accommodation. She was negative, clipped and cold, referring to another part of the university that would determine that and suggesting that I go to Florida State University, in Tallahassee.
Three days later I visited the campus, and UF had no one to show me around, not even referring me to the Student Ambassador Board. I was told by E-mail to show myself around. UF did not show a welcoming spirit. UF was hostile to an application from an older student ab initio.
UF has refused to admit me five times to its Environmental and Land Use Planning Law LL.M. program.
Three of the rejection letters were misspelled (misspelling "Land" as "Lane")
Its committee never met and did not have a university charter. UF Ombuds and other offices were no help. UF did not comply with its own procedures or ABA requirements to have a grievance procedure and respect rights ADA and diversity.
Defiant, UF does not admit older graduate students -- this is invidious discrimination.
It also retaliated for my filing internal and external complaints, instead of e-mailing all my letters of recommendation -- some 49 of them -- to the New York Times, Folio Weekly, St. Augustine Record, et al. Its Assistant Vice President, Janine Sykes, has not expained what posed her to do that.
Yesterday, UF and I had a five hour mediation.
UF phoned it in -- Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Commissioner Hank Groton and I sat in the conference room at the City Financial Services Building at 50 Bridge Street, while we spoke on the telephone with Dean ALYSON CRAIG FLOURNOY and a UF lawyer.
UF answered no questions.
UF provided no data.
UF asked no questions.
It was like talking to a post.
The mediation ended with UF hanging up the telephone on Commissioner Groton before he was finished talking.
How gauche. How louche. How lazy.
Yes, the UF lawyer and Senior Associate Dean ALYSON FLOURNOY hung up the telephone on the mediator.
He and I were flummoxed, nonplussed, appalled and amazed at UF's lack of courtesy and compassion and manners.
Let justice be done though the heavens fall.
P.S I am also: (a) an investigative reporter who won declassification of the largest mercury pollution event in world history (Oak Ridge, Tennessee Y-12 nuclear weapons plant), (b) a nationally known whistleblower advocate disbarred after standing up for worker rights and © a St. Augustine, Florida activist noted for more than 30 victories here since 2005.
P.S. I AM ALSO GAY. It has occurred to me that because of that, and because I wrote the first American Bar Association publication on Gay marriage in 1991, that this might also be a problem (won settlement of the Rinde v. Woodward & Lothrop case in 1990, and Duane Rinde and other letters mention my Gay rights advocacy). No federal laws apply yet.
But to understand ALYSON CRAIG FLOURNOY, it is mandatory that she must give a lengthy statement to the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education and be examined on direct examination as if under cross-examination under Federal Rule of Evidence 611c
Looking to closely examining ALYSON CRAIG FLOURNOY and understanding the psychology of prejudice at the University of Florida, such that they would not talk to me from June 1, 2010 until August 25, 2014 (and then only through rasping junior counsel who said fewer than five paragraphs over five hours).
Prediction: Lashon hara and bigotry from the University of Florida Levin College of Law and ALYSON CRAIG FLOURNOY will be ended by application of the majesty of federal law.



It happened in America, here in St. Augustine, Florida.
Our Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) voted August 21 to allow demolition of an historic building after threats to "throw a bomb" and start a riot.
The threats emanated from St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church parishioners, including St. Paul AME Church treasurer Barbara B. Allen.
Go to and watch.
The threats were stirred up by Rev. RONALD RAWLS, married to University of Florida Levin College of Law Professor MESHON RAWLS.
REV. RONALD RAWLS lives in Gainesville but preaches in St. Augustine, commuting daily.
REV. RONALD RAWLS threatened HARB that if it did not approve the demolition of ECHO HOUSE, it would be racism.
REV. RONALD RAWLS inflamed hatred directed against HARB members and bullied them for three months.
REV. RONALD RAWLS even threatened to move his church out of town.
Last Thursday, REV. RONALD RAWLS got his way amid loud hooting, hollering and threats.
No police intervened.
No city attorney bothered to quote Florida law about quasi-judicial hearings not being influenced by "the clamor of the crowd" (a quote they frequently use to throttle environmentalists working to save our nature, history and culture here).
Chairman CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS, JR., our former Mayor, did not gavel the meeting back to order.
HARB member Randall Roark tried to engage in a reasoned discussion, but was shouted down by the crowd and halted by fellow board members, who hastily voted the demolition of 2/3 of ECHO HOUSE.
At last night's City Commission meeting, I asked St. Augustine City Commissioners to take back ECHO HOUSE.
Our City has a right of reverter clause in the quitclaim deed. It must exercise it. Now. Before any demolition.
REV. RONALD RAWLS got ECHO HOUSE based on his promise to fix it up. He never kept his promise. He never tried to keep his promise. He let the building sit idle for four years. He sold the roof tiles. The Mayor and City Attorney then libeled him and falsely accused him of theft. They did not apologize. That was a mistake. REV. RONALD RAWLS did not sue. That was a mistake. The statute of limitations expired.
Shortly thereafter, REV. RONALD RAWLS demanded to tear down ECHO HOUSE.
He wants to put up a parking lot!
That would generate income, like every other church packing lot in the city, which generate income when church is not in session.
Since that would end any pretense of ECHO HOUSE ever being used "exclusively" for charitable purposes, the City must take it back.
And in the future, there needs to be a police officer at every single city meeting, including HARB, PZB and Code Enforcement.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

St. Augustine Shipyards Planned Unit Development -- National Response Center Report No. 1093256 and Proposed City of St. Augustine Ordinance No. 2014-13

The former LUHRS boat-building site at 255 Diesel Road is on the City Commission agenda on Monday, August 25, for a proposed Planned Unit Development that would involve a too-tall dry boat storage facility for 300 boats, 90,000 square feet of retail, commercial and office space and 23,700 of boat service space.
Before the City considers a PUD, tough questions must be asked.
The former LUHRS site emitted 50 tons of volatile organic compounds annually. Our marsh started to recover the moment that LUHRS stopped polluting our air and our workers.
Has the land been tested? Have the storage tanks been cleaned up? What is the level of VOCs on-site?
None of that information appears in the City agenda packet. We're not surprised.
Still, four years after City Manager WILLIAM BRUCE HARRISS retired after his illegal dumping of contaminated solid waste and illegal emissions of sewage, not one City employee has the word "environmental" in their title.
Not one.
We reported this site to the National Response Center tonight. It is assigned National Response Center Report No. 1093256.
Soil testing must be thorough, with full involvement by EPA and DEP.
Before any soil is disturbed, we need to know about contamination by volatile organic compounds and petroleum products.
Why would a bankrupt company demand a PUD?
Why would we grant a PUD so that a bankrupt company could avoid county impact fees?
Why would we grant a PUD so that a too-tall building could be built?
Why would we build roads and a stop-lights for a developer?
Proposed St. Augustine Ordinance No. 2014-13, the St. Augustine Shipyards Planned Unit Development, must be delayed pending investigation.

UPDATE: EPA HAS NO RECORD of any remediation of this site. We need soil samples sent to the EPA lab in Athens, Georgia before any vote in St. Augustine, Florida on an $80 million PUD.

Democracy on the March!

72 hours till Election returns. As Robert Kennedy said, "It is not enough to allow dissent, we must demand it, for there is much to dissent from. We dissent from the willful heedless destruction of natural beauty and pleasures."

Northeasterners are moving to once-segregated places and changing history

Cool people keep moving to St. Augustine, FL.
This makes the former business partner's endorsement of Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. last Sunday all the more pitiful. (Recap: the original partner of BOLES and CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS, JR. in 81 St. George Street least that has netted $2-3 million in 25 years, CHRISTOPHER WAY, wrote that he was voting for BOLES because he wanted to vote for someone who attended his high school.)
For those who love St. Augustine, we expect more thoughtful logic than solipsism. The KKK cry of "outsiders" and "outside agitators" emitted by former mayors of St. Augustine against the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has lost its punch. Being in pari delictu with the ancien regime is no compelling reason for voting.
What do y'all reckon?
See New York Times article:

Mediation Monday

Applied five (5) times for the Environmental and Land Use Planning (ELUPL) LL.M. graduate program at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Turned down five times. No reason given. No interview. No graduates of program over age 32? (UF refuses to provide age statistics after four years of asking). Jefferson said, "I have sworn upon the Altar of Almighty God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind" of humankind. In this spirit, I have filed an age, disability and retaliation discrimination complaint with the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Mediation Monday with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). Older students' rights must be protected and not neglected: we have a right to continue learning and growing.We shall overcome!

Friday, August 22, 2014


Did Florida State Rep. "Doc" Renuart just un-friend me on Facebook because I defended Obamacare in response to his posting and another constituent's questions? How old is the hobbledehoy who runs his Facebook page? Or did "Doc" Renuart do it himself? I reckon I can file an Open Records request for it, but whatever happened to civility? Reckon Rep. Renuart will call me?

40 Years A Freshman

In 1974, I moved from Southern New Jersey to Washington, D.C. on this date.
I grew up a "poor hick from the sticks."
No air conditioning there. We had trees and fans.
I was a freshman at Georgetown University, the Nation's Oldest Jesuit University, founded in 1789, the year our federal government opened.
I now live in St. Augustine, the Nation's Oldest City, founded by Roman Catholics on September 8, 1565.
I remember years later telling a former Congressman, Jesuit Fr. Robert S. Drinan, S.J. of the experience, living in New North Hall at Georgetown University, while standing in the doorway of the Jesuit Residence there.
Fr. Drinan said, without missing a beat, "I bet they ripped you off."
Fr. Drinan was right, at least in one sense.
No air conditioning there, either (and something like $1200/school year in 1974 dollars, if I recall correctly).
Yes, room, board and tuition were high, but so were the spirits, and the expectations and the standards (and many of the people).
I still feel like a freshman much of the time, not unlike one of my former clients, the late C.D. "Bud" Varnadore of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, who once said of our co-counsel, that he was "like a 'possum" -- "every day, I wake up in a new world."
We're still making this a "new world."
"Welcome to the New World," as Jack Ryan, the Georgetown-educated character says near the end of the movie of Tom Clancy's The Hunt for Red October.

Illegal Political Mailings by Non-Profit Children's Museum -- Desperation Time for MAYOR JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. --- IN HAEC VERBA

August 22, 2014

Dear Mr. Platt and Ms. Connor:
1. You did not respond. Instead, the tag! Children's Museum has now sent another political E-mail earlier today.
2. You have both endangered your non-profit status.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

(Earlier E-mail, Sent on August 19, 2014)
Dear Mr. Platt:
1. Did Kresge Platt & Abare or tag! Children's Museum authorize you to endorse Mayor Joseph Boles for re-election in your E-mail this morning to your firm and tag! Children's Museum mailing lists? Or was this just a frolic of your own? The first paragraph of your E-mail makes it clear that you write on behalf of the Museum, stating inter alia:
"As many of you know, I have been the President of tag! Children's Museum for the past 5 years and am anxious for opening day. I want you to know that one of our biggest political supporters has been Joe Boles due to his passion for improving the lifestyle of those who live in and visit St. Augustine, as well as his strong interest in the education of the children in our community. The work he has done in this city is fantastic (sic). He is focused on our economic growth, culture, preservation of history and safety of our residents. I expect even greater things to come when (sic) he is re-elected Mayor."
2. Did you discuss this with your KPA partners and tag! Children's Museum board before doing it? If so, please share the minutes reflecting such discussion. If not, why not?
3. Did you consult with legal counsel as to possible ethics and breach of fiduciary duty issues?
4. Did Mayor Boles request the endorsement as a quid pro quo, or did you just do it sua sponte, ex nihilo? If it was a quid pro quo, please share the terms.
5. Were you and your clients and board members aware of the lease between the City and Boles for 81 St. George Street? (Florida Cracker Cafe and Savannah Sweets, $1332.21/month, no-bid lease in effect since 1989, starting at $100 month, between City, Boles and Claude Leonard Weeks, Jr.)?
Would you like to review a copy and comment upon it for publication?
6. Please send me a copy of the written KPA and tag! Children's Museum authorizations to speak for them on the Mayor's race in St. Augustine.
7. Please send me a copy of their respective corporate charters.
8. Do you reckon that tag! Children's Museum's non-profit status -- and your status with it -- will now be reviewed by federal investigators because you have so brazenly embroiled tag! Children's Museum in politics?
9. Do you intend to resign from the tag! Children's Museum board to spare it further embarrassment and federal investigative scrutiny over your political mailing in its name?
10. Please feel free to call me to discuss.
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin



Eight years is enough. $2-3 million from one no-bid City of St. Augustine lease deal is enough. Vote early, today or tomorrow, or Tuesday, 8/26.

Emotional-Blackmailing Economic Royalist on the Run

Economic Royalists. That's what FDR called those who ruined our economy in the Great Depression. Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. and ex-M CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS, JR. are economic royalists. "They rip off taxpayers together," as Chicago Tribune reporter Jon Margolis wrote about the late Senator HOWARD BAKER, JR. and his crony capitalists in East Tennessee.

Here in St. Augustine, they want to spend some $1,000,000 on our 45Oth next year, with much of the celebration on fancy parties to which We, The People are not invited.

At yesterday morning's budget presentation, BOLES and DANA STE. CLAIRE were rightly questioned by three (3) female Commissioners were rightly questioned about the size of the 450th budget for next year -- proposed to DOUBLE to nearly $1,000,000. BOLES was angry, and it showed.

He asked if we should cancel the 450th, fire STE. CLAIRE and spend the money on roads. So much for healing and respect for diversity. So much for sexism and misogyny.

BOLES is accustomed to throwing his weight around, whether it is in naming his boy, CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS, JR., a non-resident, to chair three (3) city committees (two as chair) or intimidating City employees' First Amendment protected activity. Let the questions be asked and answered, Mayor BOLES, and stop trying to engage in emotional blackmail with your colleagues. It is unseemly.

If, as BOLES' crony CATHY BROWN writes, BOLES is merely "1 of 5 commissioners," then why is he so insistent on getting his way all the time?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Saving St. Augustine I

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 (