Friday, November 28, 2014

St. Augustine Is Losing Our Historic Charm and Ambience -- We Need the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore. NOW.

MORE here.


"We must disseminate information to the public" he said, watch here, but he wants to charge us money to know what he's done all day for three year and what he's done with $3 million. Under the Fifth Amendment, DANA STE. CLAIRE has the right to remain silent, but we wish he would answer. Now!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Is DANA STE. CLAIRE a/k/a "Prima Dana," A Prima Donna? Stiffs Open Records Requests On Our 450th

pri·ma don·na
ˌprēmə ˈdänə/
the chief female singer in an opera or opera company.
synonyms: leading soprano, leading lady, diva, star, opera star, principal singer
"this scene was added to give the prima donna another aria"
a very temperamental person with an inflated view of their own talent or importance.
synonyms: ego, self-important person, his nibs, temperamental person, princess, diva, pooh-bah; informaldrama queen
"a city council filled with prima donnas"

late 18th century: Italian, literally ‘first lady.’
Translate prima donna to

450th COVERUP?: SCROOGE STE. CLAIRE, St. Augustine 450th Poohbah, Stiffs Open Records Requests -- BAH HUMBUG! It's Our Money, Prima Dana!

----Original Message-----
From: easlavin
To: dsteclaire
Sent: Wed, Nov 26, 2014 9:56 pm
Subject: Re: DANA STE. CLAIRE Daily schedules, list of appointments and phone contacts, travel, entertainment and lodging expenditures since you went to work for City of St. Augustine; 450th coffee table book outline and draft

Dear Dana:
This is silly and petty.How gauche and louche.
Why? Is what you do all day something we should pay more than your salary to fathom?
Please send all 2014 calendars, etc, which should be instantly available.
Please return multiple phone messages left unanswered for a month.
Happy Thanksgiving.
Thank you.

-----Original Message-----
From: Dana Ste. Claire
To: easlavin
Sent: Wed, Nov 26, 2014 3:43 pm
Subject: RE: DANA STE. CLAIRE Daily schedules, list of appointments and phone contacts, travel, entertainment and lodging expenditures since you went to work for City of St. Augustine; 450th coffee table book outline and draft

This public records request which extends to my beginning of my employment with the city February 2009 will require an extensive data search by me, 450th department personnel, IT department personnel, the Department of Finance, the City Clerk’s office, and other city staff. I will compile estimates of staff time and the hourly rate required to produce the records you have requested and provide these to you via e-mail as soon as possible. I estimate that it will take me four working days, or 32 hours, with assitance to conduct a manual search of all paper documents in the City records compliant with your search terms, as well as research electronic files and compile information. Our information technology research costs are $35.28 per hour. Clerical research/support costs are $15.12 per hour. I will get estimates from the Financial Services and City Clerk’s offices, as well. Due to the extensive research costs to produce the records you have requested, and for information technology and clerical time necessitated by your public records request, the City will require a deposit to be paid prior to commencing the request searches. There will be an additional fee for copies of the large volume of documents that are anticipated to be produced for this public records request. Once this fee is calculated, you may pay the deposit at the City’s Financial Services office during regular hours.

Dana Ste.Claire
St. Augustine 450th Commemoration Department
City of St. Augustine
Description: Description: cid:image001.png@01D00953.EDADA4A0
P.O. Box 210
St. Augustine, FL 32085-0210
904.209.4226 Office
904.669.5318 Cell
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Get In Touch:

From: []
Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2014 10:54 AM
To: Dana Ste. Claire
Cc:; Lucy Fountain; John Regan; Tim Burchfield; Martha Graham; Jim Piggott;;; Roxanne Horvath
Subject: DANA STE. CLAIRE Daily schedules, list of appointments and phone contacts, travel, entertainment and lodging expenditures since you went to work for City of St. Augustine; 450th coffee table book outline and draft

Please send today. Thank you

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS: No more arrests of our street performers, please

-----Original Message-----
From: easlavin
To: ilopez ; pwilliamson ; wbray ; jregan ; tburchfield ; mgraham ; jpiggott ; dsteclaire ; rhorvath ; cityfreeman ; NancySikesKline ; llueders ; metheridge ; mperry
Cc: tomcushman ; sheplaw ; judge10 ; delinda.fogel ; kathy.nelson ; stuart.korfhage ; sheldon.gardner ; gardner ; jim.sutton ; news ; aschindler ; sceastman ; jbillman ; waltbog
Sent: Wed, Nov 26, 2014 12:37 pm
Subject: Re: Ribbon cutting and festival will mark the reopening of Hypolita St. -- How does Hypolita Street anti-musician ordinance affect the festival plans?

Thank you.
Time to review our BOLES-WEEKS era UNCONSTITUTIONAL anti-art, anti-music, anti-people, anti-fun ordinances consistent with SCOTUS decision of 6.26.2014, McCullen v. Coakley!
If 25 feet restriction on public streets was not "narrowly tailored in that case, then multiple city blocks is not tailored, either.
Rampant First Amendment violations WILL stop, right?
Any further arrests would violate 42 U.S.C. 1983 and 18 U.S.C. 241 & 243 and SAPD has been so advised. Correct?
Any further arrests would result in punitive damages in federal court, correct?
Thank you.
Ed Slavin

-----Original Message-----
From: Isabelle Lopez
To: easlavin ; Paul Williamson ; Wanda Bray ; John Regan ; Tim Burchfield ; Martha Graham ; Jim Piggott ; Dana Ste. Claire
Sent: Wed, Nov 26, 2014 11:56 am
Subject: RE: Ribbon cutting and festival will mark the reopening of Hypolita St. -- How does Hypolita Street anti-musician ordinance affect the festival plans?

No street performing will be allowed, consistent with City ordinance. To my knowledge all performances will be off the street, on private property.

From: []
Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2014 11:06 AM
To: Paul Williamson; Wanda Bray; Isabelle Lopez; John Regan; Tim Burchfield; Martha Graham; Jim Piggott; Dana Ste. Claire
Subject: Re: Ribbon cutting and festival will mark the reopening of Hypolita St. -- How does Hypolita Street anti-musician ordinance affect the festival plans?

Please answer and share documents. Thank you.
-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Williamson
To: Wanda Bray
Sent: Mon, Nov 24, 2014 4:41 pm
Subject: Ribbon cutting and festival will mark the reopening of Hypolita St.
November 24, 2014

Ribbon cutting and festival will mark the reopening of Hypolita St.
Ceremony set for Friday, December 5 at 4:00pm

City officials and area business owners will join together for a ribbon cutting to signify the reopening of Hypolita St. following an eight month closure due to extensive utility work and a complete redesign of the streetscape. Then, following the brief ceremony, the Hypolita Festival begins.

The ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for 4:00pm on Friday, December 5 at the intersection of Hypolita St. and St. George St. Following the brief ceremony and continuing until 9:00pm, is the Hypolita Festival including live music and array of specials, discounts and giveaways from area businesses.

The festival is a way to announce to the entire community to come visit Hypolita St. and witness the new look. As one merchant said, "Even if you have been to Hypolita St. in the have not been to this Hypolita St."

The festival includes performances by local entertainers on two outdoor stages, one located at Hypolita St. and St. George St., and the other adjacent to the Spice and Tea Exchange, 59 Hypolita St.

In addition to the permanent locations for bicycle parking, the city will provide an additional area at the intersection of Hypolita St. and Spanish St.

In another move to encourage residents to come downtown, the city made 1,000 ParkNow Cards available to merchants in the area to distribute to their customers.

The reopening of Hypolita St. coincides with First Friday Art Walk and is the day before one of the city’s busiest days which includes the St. Augustine Christmas Parade and the British Nightwatch. The parade is on Saturday, December 6 at 10:00am and the British Nightwatch at 8:00pm.

The reopening of Hypolita marks the completion of the first phase of the Downtown Improvement District project which includes the rehabilitation of underground street utilities and redesign of the streetscape of Hypolita St., Treasury St. and Spanish St.

# # # #

Attachment: Hypolita Festival poster (JPEG and PDF)

CoSA News
City of St. Augustine, FL / Public Affairs Department
Phn: 904.825.1004 / P.O.Box 210 / St. Augustine, FL 32085-0210 ; /

Monday, November 24, 2014

RFK, Indianapolis, April 4, 1964

Only big city that did not riot after Dr. King was killed: best speech ever?

Slaves sold in slave market (deniers are refuted, including tour companies)

Nolan: Slaves were sold in Plaza market
St. Augustine
Publication Date: 09/27/09

Back in the 1980s I got a telephone call from Henry Twine, who was then a city commissioner and would go on to become the first black vice mayor of St. Augustine. He was troubled because one of his fellow city commissioners kept saying, "No slave was ever sold in the Slave Market."

Twine had a deep love for history (he would play a leading role in getting the state to acquire the site of Fort Mose, the pioneer free black settlement from the 1700s), and he wanted to know if his fellow commissioner spoke the truth.

Since Twine had been generous over the years in sharing his historic knowledge with me -- particularly about the civil rights movement -- I quickly agreed to go and check the records for him.

Here is what I found:

In 1834 there was an advertisement for an estate sale "at the market House in the City of St. Augustine" of "A very prime gang of 30 Negroes, accustomed to the culture of Sugar and Cotton."

In 1836, "two slaves with their increase if any are to be sold at Public Auction to the highest bidder at the Market House."

In 1838, "negro woman Sally" was to be auctioned to settle the Mary Hanford estate "at the Market House."

It was also used as a place of punishment. In 1840, a slave named Peter was "to receive fifteen lashes, in the market, on his bare back." In 1849, another was sentenced to "39 stripes on his bare back in the public market."

In those days, white citizens were "summoned to meet at Market House" and patrol north and south from there to "apprehend all slaves or free persons of color, who may be found in the streets thirty minutes after the ringing of the Bell without having a proper pass from their masters or guardians."

The Deed Books, newspapers, and City Council minutes in the decades before the Civil War provide many similar examples.

When Twine showed this evidence to his fellow commissioner, he was never again told that "No slave was ever sold in the Slave Market."


David Nolan is a St. Augustine historian and author.

Click here to return to story:

© The St. Augustine Record



Prevaricating GOP Gerrymanderers Caught Red-Handed in E-mails Ordered Released by Justice Clarence Thomas and Florida Supreme Court: Times/Herald

Emails detail GOP consultants' mission to circumvent Fla.'s gerrymandering ban
By Marc Caputo, Kathleen McGrory and Michael Van Sickler, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau
Sunday, November 23, 2014 12:42pm

Newly released documents indicate that the redistricting process was steered by GOP consultants working with Republican legislators to draw districts that intentionally favored incumbents, in violation of the state constitution. [AP photo]
House Redistricting Chairman Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, and Senate Reapportionment Chairman Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, confer during August's special session to redraw two congressional districts ruled unconstitutional last month. Newly released documents indicate that the redistricting process was steered by GOP consultants working with Republican legislators to draw districts that intentionally favored incumbents, in violation of the state constitution. [AP photo]
The Republican consultants had to be hush-hush — "almost paranoid" in the words of one — because of their high-stakes mission: Get go-betweens to help circumvent a Florida Constitutional ban on gerrymandering.

The plot was spelled out in a newly released batch of once-secret emails that show how the consultants surreptitiously drew congressional and state legislative maps. They then recruited seemingly independent citizens to submit them in an effort to strengthen the hand of Florida Republicans when the GOP-led Legislature redrew lawmaker districts in 2011.

The year before, Florida voters overwhelmingly amended the state's constitution to prohibit legislators from drawing legislative and congressional districts that favor or disfavor incumbents or political parties. Citing the new amendments, a coalition of voting-rights and liberal groups called the Fair Districts Coalition sued the Legislature over its maps.

The emails, under court seal until this weekend, played a key role in a recent court victory to force the Legislature to redraw some of Florida's congressional districts. The correspondence will take center stage in a related case challenging the state Senate maps.

The emails also provide a fly-on-the-wall glimpse of how political players used secrecy and deception as they recruited third parties to submit maps, some of which were drawn by Gainesville-based Data Targeting firm, led by political player Pat Bainter.

"Want to echo Pat's reminder about being incredibly careful and deliberative here, especially when working with people who are organizing other folks," Data Targeting's Matt Mitchell wrote in a Nov. 29, 2011 email. "Must be very smart in how we prep every single person we talk to about all of these. If you can think of a more secure and failsafe way to engage our people, please do it. Cannot be too redundant on that front."

"Pat and I will probably sound almost paranoid on this over the next week, but it will be so much more worthwhile to be cautious," Mitchell concluded.

About 14 minutes later, consultant Jessica Corbett of Electioneering Consulting, responded that she understood the plan.

"Just to ease your minds, I have tried to do most of the asking over the phone, so their [sic] is no e-mail trail if it gets forwarded," Corbett wrote, noting that she limits what "I am putting in writing" in emails.

"I only send templates to those who I have spoken/e-mailed with and they know the mission and have agreed to help," she wrote. "I have stressed discretion to all."

In response, another Data Targeting consultant named Robert Krames said: "Good. Thank you."

The emails also detail how the consultants proposed districts that benefitted some Republicans or, in one proposal, "retires Bill Young," the now-deceased congressman from Pinellas County.

The consultants established a database of lawmakers' home addresses and overlayed them on some maps. In another case, they considered ways to pack black voters in a Miami-Dade district by creating a district with "some long tentacles to reach out and grab enough black population."

Bainter, owner of Data Targeting, had fought the release of the emails for months. He took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, where conservative Justice Clarence Thomas declined to take the case Friday.

The emails were supposed to be released Dec. 1, but Bainter's allies released the documents over the weekend, first to the Naples Daily News.

Bainter had claimed his First Amendment rights would be infringed by the release of the documents. But the Florida Supreme Court said he waited too long to make the argument. Bainter stood by his claim Sunday.

"The Florida Supreme Court ruling unsealing my personal documents further undermines the constitutional rights of any citizen who dares participate in democracy," Bainter said in a written statement.

Bainter said the case and the pursuit of the emails "had less to do with the law and more of an inquisition hell bent on winning through legal threat, that which they fail miserably at in the arena of public opinion. They demanded my personal and private political musings, opinions and activities, that which is most dearly protected by the Constitution."

The Fair District Coalition declined to comment on the documents Sunday, saying a court-issued order that prohibited the release or discussion of the emails had not been lifted.

In a brief filed Friday with the Florida Supreme Court, the coalition said the documents showed "the lengths the operatives went to secretly send to collaborators in the Legislature the maps they developed to maximize Republican seats."

The coalition — composed of several voters rights groups and individuals — is appealing Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis's ruling that the 2012 congressional maps violated the state Constitution. The groups say Lewis did not go far enough by requiring only two districts to be redrawn and allowing the Legislature to come up with a new plan.

When Lewis made his ruling on July 10, he gave legislators until Aug. 15 to modify the map and fix two districts in particular. Lawmakers responded by calling a rare summer-time special session and modified seven of the state's 27 congressional districts, then appealed to the court to approve it.

Lewis upheld the revisions and allowed Florida's flawed congressional districts to remain in place for two more years.

Fair Districts wants the state Supreme Court to invalidate the entire apportionment plan and impose a "meaningful remedy," according to the brief filed Friday.

Not all of the plans and maps the consultants discussed became law. The emails, 538 pages worth, don't explicitly show just what was ultimately approved by legislators.

And, despite the machinations of the consultants, there's no clear evidence showing the consultants directly influencing lawmakers to circumvent the anti-gerrymandering law. Lawmakers say that, in the end, they made their decisions based on all the public evidence and data they had in front of them.

So even if the consultants used go-betweens, if lawmakers didn't know about it, then there's relatively little evidence to show that they had the intention of drawing districts to favor or disfavor incumbents.

Though a somewhat arcane topic, the issue of redistricting has some of the most far-reaching political ramifications. Redistricting, which takes place every 10 years after the U.S. census, is designed to make sure that congressional and state legislative seats have an equal number of residents so people are fairly represented.

But in drawing the districts, the party in power often tries to maximize the strength of its voters and minimize that of its opponents. In the case of the Florida Legislature, that means packing as many Democrats as possible into relatively fewer districts. It makes Democratic districts overwhelmingly Democratic but it also ensures that there are far more districts that lean Republican by just enough of a comfortable margin.

After the GOP won the Legislature in the 1990s, it established districts that clearly benefitted Republicans and diluted overall Democratic power. That's why liberal-leaning groups in 2010 put the so-called "Fair Districts" amendments on the ballot.

One potential problem for Democrats remained: minority voters, who get more guarantees under federal law of electing minority representatives. Since minorities, specifically African-Americans, tend to vote more Democratic, the creation of heavily black districts allows the spread of more white Republican-leaning districts.

The process has been nicknamed "bleaching" and the email chain suggests that Data Targeting's Michael Sheehan considered ways to get more whites out of an iteration of Miami state Sen. Dwight Bullard's district to make it more Democratic.

That district and another, Sheehan wrote, "do not have enough available non-minority population that we could reduce to effectively increase the minority population percentage. However we can create some long tentacles to reach out and grab enough black population to hit 50+%"

The documents show the lengths to which the consultants went to strengthen districts controlled by Republicans, from Pinellas County's state Sen. Jack Latvala to Miami-Dade's state Sen. Anitere Flores.

In one case, a consultant with West Palm Beach-based Public Concepts named Rich Johnston fretted that we "missed Flores house" in one district. Sheehan then wrote back: "I will adjust to include Flores.'

Flores told the Herald/Times that she had no knowledge of the discussions.

The GOP consultants made sure that they specifically pinpointed all of the homes of lawmakers and potential candidates in the proposed districts. In one email, Bainter made sure that the home of his client, U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, was included on a map.

In another email chain, Bainter said of then-state Sen. John Thrasher "He actually lives in Clay County." That admission conflicts with Thrasher's statements that he lived in his St. Johns County-based district.

In one exchange, Johnston asked Bainter and Sheehan for a spreadsheet containing the home addresses for candidates and incumbents.

"Still have a problem in Manatee," Johnston wrote in an Oct. 19, 2011 email that mentioned Republican state Sen. Bill Galvano. "Galvano is west of Bradenton over by the water. Can we wrap the rest of Manatee County into SD 21 and retreat some out of Sarasota?"

On Nov. 10, 2011, Johnston asked Bainter to include "5007 Eagle Point Drive, Jacksonville" address in District 5. Property records show that address belongs to Jacksonville Republican Rep. Michael Hogan.

On Nov. 28, 2011, Johnston took an interest in the man who just became the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, Steve Crisafulli: "Is there a way to put Crisafulli back in play?"

Other consultants who participated in or were referenced in the emails: Randy Nielsen of Public Concepts, Anthony Pedicini of Image Management, Republican Party of Florida map-drawing whiz Frank Terraferma and top lobbyists Rich Heffley and Marc Reichelderfer.

Some of them took the stand during the redistricting trial earlier this year. Terraferma testified that a maps he drew at Heffley's behest was identical to one submitted under the name of a former FSU student named Alex Posada. Posada said someone else submitted the map under his name.

Who did is a mystery, although it was clear that Bainter's crew had a stable of potential map-submitters, some of whom were allegedly organized by his hometown associate, Stafford Jones, the chairman Alachua County GOP.

"I can direct Stafford to have his people send these maps via email," Mitchell wrote in one email to Bainter, who a week before said by email "Stafford getting me 10 more people at least, [sic]."

Because Bainter temporarily succeeded in having the emails shielded from public view, parts of his testimony were given in secret.

Earlier, in 2012, Bainter sat for a deposition where he downplayed his involvement in map-making and made little mention of using go-betweens. Bainter was elusive and displayed a poor memory when he was questioned by Fair Districts lawyer Michael B. DeSanctis.

"Why were you drawing maps?" DeSanctis asked him at one point.

"Intrigue," said Bainter.

DeSanctis: "Intrigue about what?"

Bainter: "What do you mean by 'what?'"

DeSanctis: "What do you mean, 'intrigue?'"

Bainter: "It was a pretty intriguing process."

DeSanctis: "What? Well, one might be intrigued by the redistricting process and still not take it upon himself or herself to actually draw maps. So I'm wondering…what was going through your mind?

Bainter: "It was a very fascinating item. And I found it very interesting. I never actually completed a map. I found it way too tedious."


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Will St. Johns County Grand Jury Meet on Michelle O'Connell Shooting?

Our 1968 Florida Constitution (Article I, Section 15(a), Declaration of Rights, Prosecution for Crime) states in haec verb: "No person shall be tried for capital crime without presentment or indictment by a grand jury, or for other felony without such presentment or indictment or an information under oath filed by the prosecuting officer of the court, except persons on active duty in the militia when tried by courts martial."

Is our St. Johns County Grand jury finally meeting? Our League of Women Voters started to ask my grand jury question of judicial candidates before primary, only to lose their nerve after two family court judges did not want to hear it.

St. Johns County Grand Jury rarely meets. Unless there's a murder, State's Attorney RALPH JOSEPH LARIZZA does not call it into session. Ever. Is Special Prosecutor Jeff Ashton subpoenaing witnesses to the grand jury? Watch the FB page, St. Augustine 2015.

"What a Wonderful World"

"What A Wonderful World"
Sung by "Louis Armstrong"
Words by Bob Thiele (as "George Douglas") and George David Weiss
(played by my friends a/k/a "Angel" and "Brian" every Sunday morning at 9 AM on Flagler College Radio, WFCF, 88.5 (Radio with a reason).
Thanks to the BBC and Robin Williams' "Good Morning Vietnam" for popularizing a cool song that got little recognition in the USA, where Tony Bennett turned it down and ABC Records did not publicize it, read more here.
Watch video here:

I see trees of green,
red roses too.
I see them bloom,
for me and you.
And I think to myself,
what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue,
And clouds of white.
The bright blessed day,
The dark sacred night.
And I think to myself,
What a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow,
So pretty in the sky.
Are also on the faces,
Of people going by,
I see friends shaking hands.
Saying, "How do you do?"
They're really saying,
"I love you".

I hear babies cry,
I watch them grow,
They'll learn much more,
Than I'll ever know.
And I think to myself,
What a wonderful world.

Yes, I think to myself,
What a wonderful world.

Oh yeah.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


UPDATE: The author of the dumb 'ole column is none other than LEN WEEKS' father-in-law. BUSTED, PAL!

A putative small business owner (business unnamed) and Ph.D economist writes in Sunday that St. Augustine needs more downtown parking garages. (See below).
One is enough.
We are a small town and want to stay thattaway. No peer review from any reputable economist -- just another bossy businessman wanting to ruin our historic protection districts.
St. Augustine needs another downtown parking garage like a moose needs a hatrack.
Best to optimize parking first before we incur more bonded indebtedness and tempt city officials with bribery, racketeering and shakedowns. Ex-Commissioner RONALD LEE SANCHEZ wanted to build one on the grounds of our beautiful St. Augustine Amphitheater, state land leased to our County, covered with endangered species and beautiful trees. We stopped the energumen, smoked him in Tallahassee with one phone call and one e-mail.
City Comptroller Mark Litzinger candidly states that "parking garages don't make money" unless at an airport or hospital.
Any more parking garages can be built privately, outside city limits, by investors, connected with trolleys and trams.
If it's such a good idea, Chamber of Commerce, get your members to build it, not citizens.
Leave our ancient city alone.
Is David Geithman willing to disclose the nature of his "small business" and teaching, share his c.v. and call me (904-377-4998).
Enough flummery. The Record wasted valuable space on another pipe dream of the one percent. Enough.

P.S. Does Dr. DAVID TRESCOTT GEITHMAN benefit from one of those below-market rate City of St. Augustine City ? Linked-in lists him as an owner-manager of a Lightner Museum Courtyard antique store at 75 King Street, Churchill & Lacroix Antiquaire.

City records show DAVID TRESCOTT GEITHMAN pays a mere $564.81 for 430 square feet (sweetheart deal with City Manager WILLIAM BRUCE HARRISS' minions in 2009, with C.P.I. adjustments; lease expires 2018).

DAVID TRESCOTT GEITHMAN needs to remember the old economic wisdom of Milton Friedman: "There's no such thing as a free lunch."

And in the words of JFK's Ambassador to India, acerbic descriptive economist John Kenneth Galbraith, "the most important piece of wisdom in economics is knowing what you do not know."

St. Augustine Record articles and columns reveal that GEITHMAN is a global warming denier, right-wing Republican and married in Las Vegas in 2011 to a St. Augustine Record inside sales employee.

God bless him! Fancying himself an expert witness (or witless), abusing his UF Economics Ph.D., not disclosing his City lease deal, making darkly emotional and manipulative arguments for a subsidy to his antique business hobby and the businesses of his pals, perhaps including Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. and ex-Mayor CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS, Jr., perhaps among his classmates at UF.

We don't need any more big city parking garages in our small historic downtown, Professor DAVID TRESCOTT GEITHMAN.

The witness (or witless) is excused.

Not one hint of who will pay for this garage. Not one hint of peer review. Humbug.

Guest Column: Build a garage: They will come
Posted: November 23, 2014 - 12:08am
St. Augustine Record
As we move beyond the excitement of the recent mayor and commissioner campaigns and into the process of governing under our new city commission, an issue that has been troubling many residents for years surfaced again during the recent campaigns.

I refer to tourists, or so many tourists, in our community and how healthy tourism is for St. Augustine. It is vitally important to avoid, at the beginning, a false belief that tourism is separate from the interests and needs of residents. It’s a mistaken idea that the town’s tourist traffic does not benefit the welfare of our average citizen, or that tourism makes us worse off and negatively impacts our quality of life.

Tourist crowds, noise and associated traffic problems: We’ve all experienced them and all the annoyances. But to not think through the issue could be shortsighted and very costly to all residents. Tourism has first level effects which include negative ones; but also second and third level effects. What are they? The typical tourist-oriented business owners in St. Augustine, and the many people employed by those businesses, spend most of their incomes here in town, benefiting many other local businesses and their employees, who may be unaware that their incomes and jobs are derived initially from tourist dollars. And those business owners and their employees re-spend those original tourist dollars with other local businesses, creating more local jobs. The circular “my-spending-is-your-income” reality underlies every economy, large and small.

Remove the tourist dollars (or seriously reduce them) and not only do tourist-oriented businesses, incomes and jobs suffer, but also so do all the secondary and tertiary businesses and jobs derived from them. Restaurants and stores close, jobs disappear, houses are foreclosed, apartments vacated and people move away. Property values in general decline, including those of average citizens.

The average St. Augustinian is also a consumer of goods and services. Currently, St. Augustine enjoys a remarkable selection of restaurants, boutiques, antique stores, concerts, etc., thanks to tourist spending. If patronizing these businesses is not your thing, understand that our ordinary supermarkets, shops, service providers, health care providers and even our local movie theater all depend on the injection of spending by tourists and its subsequent circulation by residents and jobholders.

Next, there’s the effect on average citizens when city tax revenues from tourism diminish and the real estate tax base falls. It is fatuous to say “Well, city spending will just decrease.” It won’t, and property taxes on the average citizen will rise, including property taxes on people, including retirees, who also find their property values declining. These possible consequences are very real. The same scenario has played out in countless cities and towns across the country as they, for one reason or another, lost their tax bases.

Tourism can create annoying traffic problems. We need to deal with that issue: Build another parking garage for the cars. As The Record editorialized recently, “St. Augustine does not need the emphasis on more tourism as much as it needs an effort toward better tourism.”

One way to attract better tourism is to accommodate the reasonable demand that better tourists have for easier, accessible parking. They do not want satellite parking. Our nearest competitor for historic city visitors is Savannah and, at my count, that city has three modern parking garages in its historic district.

It is highly unwise to risk the livelihoods of thousands of residents, the wonderful amenities we enjoy, our property values and the economic base of our town, over a reluctance to build a garage.

Geithman received the PhD in economics from the University of Florida and has taught economics for 35 years at various colleges and universities. He currently owns and operates a small business in the historic district of St. Augustine.

Comments (1) Add comment
Gloria Danvers 11/23/14 - 07:15 am 21Savannah is also over three
Savannah is also over three times the size of Saint Augustine and has a very healthy downtown tax base. I'm not sure why you would use that example to show why we need another parking garage.


Neighborhood Council Office Citizens Library uprooted so three ladies can knit at Fabric Guild -- thanks to soon-to-be-ex-Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. et kin

For St. Augustine residents, there's not a single helpful government employee on the first floor of City Hall.
No room at the inn.
No one there to answer questions.
City Hall's First Floor consists mainly of retail stores, wedding venues and a museum.
The only non-commercial and non-museum space on the First Floor of our City Hall and Lightner Museum -- other than restrooms and the City Commission meeting and conference rooms -- is given over to three or four ladies from the Textile Guild of St. Augustine, Florida, Inc. (registered agent is none other than soon-to-be-ex-Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR.).
Since 2012, City Hall Suite 143 has been used by the Textile Guild of St. Augustine, Inc. three (3) hours per week. That's what three (3) ladies who were there told me at noon on Thursday.
The space is not available to anyone else. When I walked in Thursday and asked questions, the ladies seemed offended. Guild President Ms. Celeste Burns said, "Now it begins."
Her no-bid, fee-free "lease" expires on December 2014.
What a waste of valuable governmental office space.
These ladies encumber more than 500 square feet, prime real estate, for three (3) hours a week?
(The exact square footage is not listed in city spreadsheet; wonder why?)
"Free of charge," according to city records obtained under Florida Statute 119 and Article I, Section 24 of our Florida Constitution (Open Records).
What's going on here?
Was this no-bid, no-charge three-hour per week lease or license the devious means of Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. of ditching the Neighborhood Council after Cathy DuPont retired?
You tell me.
The three ladies can find a new space. Now. Please.
Their deal expires on December 31, 2014.
Our City needs a public liaison office on the First Floor, and a 311 number for citizens to call, so they are no longer referred from office to office, mindlessly. What do you reckon?

Local Heroes Bar Arrests

SAPD must be investigated, based upon allegations of civil rights violations in noise enforcement. City ordinance violations criminalized? By what authority? I thought only the Florida legislature and Governor can create crimes.

Justice Clarence Thomas, Thank you!

Justice Clarence Thomas has rightly denied a stay sought by crooked consultants behind the Republican legislature's redistricting.
On December 1, our Florida Supreme Court will release some 500 pages of documents on collusion, used by Judge Terry Lewis in his decision finding the redistricting to violate Florida's Fair Districting Amendment.
Thank you, Justice Clarence Thomas.
Let freedom ring!

The Last Ball for Mayor JOE BOLES

Soon-to-be-ex-Mayor, JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, Jr. et ux will celebrate their last gala tonight as St. Augustine's self-appointed, self-annointed royal couple. OLD CITY LIFE has a two-page spread on Nights of Lights, which gives readers the false impression it was his idea. Credit belongs to my friends Alice Compton and Bill Lennon, former Commissioner for Nights of Lights.

BOLES' article makes dozens of uses of the first person pronouns (I, me, my, our and the Royal "we"). Let him say "we, we, we" all the way home after the Last Dance at the Last Ball. Tonight buh-bye!

JOE BOLES' cruel Reign of Error is Cruising to a Close. Just eight (8) more days.

His rich-guy galas are a mystery wrapped in an enigma and deserve audits. $20,000/year raised for the homeless going to pay the salary of a political patronage hire at a do-little non-profit. The same guy called the homeless "creepy" and said "we can't be crippled by compassion."

Thanks, Joe. Don't let the door hit you in the butt. I feel sorry for Mayor BOLES, and we must forgive him. But don't forget the lessons learned about no-bid contracts, good-ole-boy deference to tree-killing developers, and systemic corruption and violation of Open Records and Sunshine laws, requiring Holland & Knight lawyers to set the City of St. Augustine straight on the First America Foundation and Sunshine-violating group Commissioner trips.

On November 10, 2014, I spoke to City Commission, thanking Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. (and his golfing buddy, Commissioner DONALD CRICHLOW) for their public service. I asked for a few extra seconds while speaking about Compassionate St. Augustine. After I left the City's "$30,000"+ podium, BOLES said "I don't mind giving you a few extra seconds because it's the last time in ten years that I will ever have to listen to you."

+ $30,000 That's what indignant BOLES said it cost when he and other-directed WILLIAM BRUCE HARRIS bossed commissioners forbade us to show at the podium, or on camera, the "science experiment" with coquina porosity, showing how rapidly water flowed through coquina (porosity 47-53% in connection with illegal dumping, shooing us to do out of camera range. We forgive you, Mayor BOLES.

Of course, I had the last laugh.

BOLES had artists and musicians arrested for First Amendment protected activity. He threatened Tony Seraphin and me with arrest for First Amendment protected activity November 12, 2007 when we were denied public comments on illegal plans to dump 40,000 cubic yards of contaminated back in Lincolnville, put dirt on top and call it a "park." Pitiful.

While I forgive BOLES, never forget his sins, crimes and torts against humanity. Never forget that this vile vicious varmint piratical tyrannical unholy terror misruled terribly for eight (8) years and he never once apologized for anything, and insulted me when I thanked him for his "service," such as it was.

The future of our Nation's Oldest City is secure with Nancy Shaver due to be sworn in as our next Mayor at 7:30 pm on Monday, December 1, 2014, by Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince.

Three cheers for everyone who made this historic day possible.