Saturday, May 30, 2015


(Satire alert)

A few weeks ago, I proposed, in satire, "St. Philistine," an artificial island for swells, thugs, mugs and one-percenters.

Tonight, inspired by my old friend Boomer Winfrey's column and my instanter research on the case of House of Bryant, Inc. v. City of Lake City, Tennessee, No.: 3:14-CV-93-TAV-HBG (E.D. Tenn. 2014)(Judge Varlen May 28, 2014 order denying preliminary injunction against City of Lake City changing its name to "Rocky Top," after legislation was signed by the Tennessee Governor and passed by the Tennessee Legislature), I propose the following:

St. Johns County could change its name to "HAZZARD COUNTY" in appreciation for the tv series, "The Dukes of Hazzard" without infringing on intellectual property rights. Lake City, Tennessee is now known as "Rocky Top," by action of the Governor, Legislature and City Council. This renaming took place despite the songwriters' federal court claims of "likelihood of confusion and/or trademark infringement, false designation or false description, unfair competition, passing off, false advertising, declaratory judgment establishing likelihood of dilution, dilution, willful and/or exceptional conduct, unlawful taking, deceptive trade practices, common law trademark infringement, Tennessee dilution and injury to business reputation, civil conspiracy, and other claims not yet discovered…"

What if we change the name of St. Johns County to HAZZARD COUNTY, as an homage to "THE DUKES OF HAZZARD" and its comical Southern corruption?

We could bring in new revenue without resort to a 16.66% sales tax increase!

By rebranding itself as "HAZZARD COUNTY, corrupt St. Johns County could thus appeal to developers worldwide with better branding on its peculiar institutions.

What better way to market our county's unique brand of flummery, dupery, nincompoopery, misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance, waste, fraud, abuse, no-bid contracts, clear-cutting, overdevelopment, bribery, chicanery, Kluckery and general Republican degeneracy and Democratic febrility and senility?

Having sold its wares to dishonest developers for decades (remember World Golf Village and Alan Roberts and a $16.9 million St. Johns County Convention Center adjoining the MARRIOTT)?

St. Johns County could take it to another level, inspired by Sheriff ROSCOE P. COLTRANE and BOSS J.D. HOGG and the television program, "THE DUKES OF HAZZARD" (1979-1985).

Of course, Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR and County Administrator MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK make COLTRANE and HOGG look like pikers.

We have much better-educated, nuanced and interesting crooks and schnooks than the Hollywood stereotypes in the DUKES OF HAZZARD. Guys like ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARD and assorted criminals and developers from all over the world, represented by the ilk of the late developer mouthpiece GEORGE MORRIS McCLURE, who was tossed out of ROGERS TOWERS law firm for being too crooked. (Speaking of developer mouthpieces, our corrupt County officials are now giving them "incentives" to build office buildings -- like voting "incentives" for robbers! On what theory? There's not enough clear cutting, wetland filling and wildlife killing that developer mouthpieces need incentives?

In real life, Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR's evil works and pomps are reported in The New York Times, PBS Frontline, Dateline NBC, Good Morning America and The Guardian, not to mention Dr. Phil.

And there was no GEORGE MORRIS McCLURE character on the DUKES OF HAZZARD -- his closest fictional avatar was SNIDELHY WHIPLASH.

But, mutatis mutandis, "HAZZARD COUNTY, FLORIDA" could complete its sell to corrupt developers by co-sponsoring not only the dumb 'ole waterslide that supercilious consultant proposed in 2009 as part of the County's $300,000 “Tourism Master Plan,” which was developed by an international consulting firm after a “quick driving trip” around St. Johns County, as the St. Augustine Record reported September 24, 2008. It initially recommended a water slide park, eschewing African-American, Hispanic and GLBT history, and mentioning nothing about the proposed St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore, first proposed by Mayor Walter Fraser, Senator Claude Pepper, et al. in 1939.

Changing our name to HAZZARD COUNTY, St. Johns County could then compete with the developers who inspired the renaming of Lake City, Tennessee as Rocky Top, Tennessee, with the following (taken from Judge Thomas Varlen's 2014 opinion), noting the developers being developers, and including city and county officials and their Bubba buddies, promised:

lavish development, investment, and construction if the city were to rename itself” [Id. at 3]. Those developments include spending an estimated $147.425 million to construct, in four phases, a 3-D interactive theater, a train ride, a laser-tag arena, a 1,500-seat theater, a Rocky Top Sweets & Candies Emporium, various merchandising (clothing, toys, books, etc.), a river-pirate themed restaurant, a water park, a train depot, a loading dock and shopping center, a functioning train called the Rocky Top Express that will travel to the University of Tennessee during football season, a hotel and banquet hall, a Rocky Top sports arena, an office and administrative building, and an amusement park [Id.]. The name change was presented to the Tennessee General Assembly and Senate, and both approved [See Doc. 19]. At the hearing, the parties informed the Court that the governor has signed the bill authorizing the name change, thus leaving only a city council vote to effectuate the name change [Id.].

Our County could complete the picture proposed by the dodgy "Rocky Top, Tennessee" developers with an International Corruption Museum at World Golf Village (to be inaugurated by the dodgy U.S.-Spain Council?). There's already a corruption museum in the Ukraine and one planned in Albany, New York.

Of course, the Rocky Top developers, being greedy and ethically challenged (just like our local developers), went ahead and infringed on trademarked and copyrighted material despite the lawsuit, so their activities were enjoined by Judge Varlen earlier this year.

Bad developer, no consumer ripoffs!,

The renaming of Lake City, Tennessee as "Rocky Top" co-opted one of the state songs, also the name of an FBI undercover operation, which Wikipedia reports: "resulted in over 50 convictions[2] and the incarceration of several politicians, most notably state House Majority Leader, Democrat[3] Tommy Burnett. Two targets of the investigation committed suicide: Tennessee Secretary of State Gentry Crowell (in December 1989, just before he was scheduled to testify for a third time before a federal grand jury) and long-time State Representative Ted Ray Miller of Knoxville (after being charged with bribery).[1][2] Following the scandal, Tennessee established limits on political contributions and placed new restrictions on lobbying.[2]"

What do y'all reckon?

Would it be more evocative, attractive and truthful for devilish developers and energumen self-aggrandizing commissioners to rename our county something less saintly than St. Johns County? How about HAZZARD COUNTY, FLORI-DUH?

Full disclosure: Rocky Top is partly located in Anderson County, Tennessee, where our Appalachian Observer newspaper was located in the county seat of Clinton. On July 4, 1981, Publisher Ernest F. Phillips and I distributed our "Prospectus" in Lake City (now Rocky Top). We promised to hold local governments accountable, and we did. Sheriff DENNIS O. TROTTER, demented, corrupt Democratic Sheriff of Anderson County, Tennessee, was arrested by the FBI less than three (3) years later and served four (4) years in the penitentiary.

The New York Times


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