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.


Clara Waldhari said...


Things barely settle down (at only one level), and now we are being goaded, advised, and otherwise pushed into the idea (and then acceptance) of ANOTHER monstrous parking garage in DOWNTOWN St. Augustine?

The FIRST ONE isn't working well. Get THAT management and preferential treatment fir rentaks worked out and then use some common sense for a change.


Parking might just be LESS "broke" than it looks.

What needs to happen?

1- Flagler College, The Great Satan of Downtown, must require that Freshmen and Sophomores NOT have and use private vehicles. NO MORE VEHICLES BELONGING TO UNDERCLASSMEN/WOOMEN INTO DOWNTOWN. MAKE IT A CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE TO FC. MANY OTHER COLLEGES DO -- FOR THE COMMUNITY.

2- Someone with business acumen and a workable business plan, please put in a grocery store (NOT high-priced, fancy foodstuffs) on St. George Street for the neighborhood, including the Flagler Kidz who live off campus.

3- Can SOMEONE with a POSITIVE MINDSET look into re-opening the Lincolnville Farmer's Market? With this weekly resource in place, TWO neighborhoods will be covered and downtown will be bracketed by the ability to shop for food on foot or bicycle.

4- REGULAR maintenance of the existing parking garage will go a long way to free up ALL spaces. PLEASE stop making repairs as needed. To keep something in tip-top shape, it must be MAINTAINED.


Anonymous said...

The guest column writer is Len Weeks' father-in-law.

Make sense NOW?