Monday, August 31, 2015


Governor Scott must allow public comment at our Governor and Cabinet meeting on September 1, 2015.
-----Original Message-----
From: easlavin
To: pat.gleason ; scottopengov
Sent: Mon, Aug 31, 2015 9:51 pm
Subject: URGENT SPEAKER REQUEST; Records Request No. 2015-321: Any legal authority for deleting general public comment from Governor and Cabinet meetings? -- 9 AM 9/1 meeting in St. Augustine

Dear Governor Scott, Ms. Bondi and Ms. Gleason:

1. Please provide, if any exists, any legal authority for deleting general public comment from our Governor and Cabinet meetings, 2011-date.

2. Our Governor and Cabinet meet here in St. Augustine tomorrow morning, September 1, 2015 from 9 am to Noon.

3. I hereby respectfully request to speak tomorrow morning:
A. FOR the proposed St Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore Act,, about which I briefed our Governor's Deputy Chief of Staff on April 15, 2013, and first proposed by our Mayor, Walter Fraser, and our Senator, Claude Pepper, 76 years ago, in 1939,, and
B. AGAINST the misuse by our local and state public officials of a controversial biased "Opinion Paper" by five professors of the University of Florida to support a proposed Planned Unit Development that if endorsed by the Courts would allow conversation of our Dow Museum of Historic Homes (eight historic homes) restored with $2.1 million in scarce State of Florida funds to use as a $500/night hotel, ruining our Old City South residential neighborhood. The etiology of this "Opinion Paper" is still under investigation, as UF has not supplied a single page of documentation in response to my August 22 Open Records requests.

4. I object to the current proposed 9/1 agenda, which excludes general public comment (unlike the procedure under prior Governors).

5. This exclusion of public comment appears both illegal and unseemly. Please see the questionable proposed agenda below.

6. Please provide any valid legal authority before the meeting commences at 9AM, and please call to discuss.

Thank you.

With kindest regards, I am,

Sincerely yours,

Ed Slavin

September 1, 2015 at 9:00am
Treasury on the Plaza
24 Cathedral Place, Suite 111, St. Augustine, Florida 32084
INVOCATION, Father Tom Willis, Cathedral Basilica
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE, St. Paul’s School of Excellence, 5 th Grade Class
Attorney General Pam Bondi
ECONOMIC GROWTH UPDATE, Executive Director Jesse Panuccio, Department of Economic Opportunity
Attorney General Pam Bondi
OFFICE OF FINANCIAL REGULATION , Commissioner Drew Breakspear 1. Rules – Final Adoption – Consumer Finance
2. Rules – Notice – Financial Institutions
3. Rules – Notice – Financial Institutions
4. FY 2016-17 Legislative Budget Request
HIGHWAY SAFETY AND MOTOR VEHICLES , Executive Director Terry Rhodes 1. Minutes – August 5, 2015
2. Agency Measures
FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT , Commissioner Rick Swearingen 1. FY 2016-17 Legislative Budget Request
2. Agency Measures
BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE INTERNAL IMPROVEMENT TRUST FUND , Gary Clark 1. Florida Forever – Five Year Plan/Priority List/Annual Work Plan
1. Minutes – August 5, 2015
2. Reports of Award
3. Master Equipment Financing Agreement - $50,000,000
STATE BOARD OF ADMINISTRATION , Executive Director Ash Williams 1. Appointment – Investment Advisory Council
2. Rule – Notice – Investment Policy Statement
3. Rule – Notice – Procedures for the FRS Investment Plan
4. Rule – Notice – FRS Investment Plan
page1image18392 page1image18552 page1image18712 page1image18872 page1image19032 page1image19192
8/31/2015 8:08 AM

WONDER WHY? No public comment on agenda for Governor Scott's Cabinet meeting on September 1, 2015?

September 1, 2015 at 9:00am
Treasury on the Plaza
24 Cathedral Place, Suite 111, St. Augustine, Florida 32084
INVOCATION, Father Tom Willis, Cathedral Basilica
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE, St. Paul’s School of Excellence, 5th Grade Class
Attorney General Pam Bondi
ECONOMIC GROWTH UPDATE, Executive Director Jesse Panuccio, Department of Economic Opportunity
Attorney General Pam Bondi
OFFICE OF FINANCIAL REGULATION, Commissioner Drew Breakspear 1. Rules – Final Adoption – Consumer Finance
2. Rules – Notice – Financial Institutions
3. Rules – Notice – Financial Institutions
4. FY 2016-17 Legislative Budget Request
HIGHWAY SAFETY AND MOTOR VEHICLES, Executive Director Terry Rhodes 1. Minutes – August 5, 2015
2. Agency Measures
FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT, Commissioner Rick Swearingen 1. FY 2016-17 Legislative Budget Request
2. Agency Measures
BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE INTERNAL IMPROVEMENT TRUST FUND, Gary Clark 1. Florida Forever – Five Year Plan/Priority List/Annual Work Plan
1. Minutes – August 5, 2015
2. Reports of Award
3. Master Equipment Financing Agreement - $50,000,000
STATE BOARD OF ADMINISTRATION, Executive Director Ash Williams 1. Appointment – Investment Advisory Council
2. Rule – Notice – Investment Policy Statement
3. Rule – Notice – Procedures for the FRS Investment Plan
4. Rule – Notice – FRS Investment Plan
8/31/2015 8:08 AM

Menendez Glorification Opposed by Environmental Youth Council

Environmental Youth Council has publicly voiced concerns regarding the celebration of the 450th anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine since the planning by the City of St. Augustine began several years ago.
We object to honoring Pedro Menendez and Juan Ponce de Leon who brutalized the indigenous people, and to reenacting their arrival every year; We encourage city officials and 450th event organizers to publicly acknowledge the injustices that took place during that time, and recognize the role the Doctrine of Discovery played in the colonization and dispossession of these lands; We encourage the City of St. Augustine to endorse the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; We encourage the City of St. Augustine to establish an Indigenous Rights and Truth Commission including input from Traditional Practitioners and Spiritual Leaders.
We encourage the City of St. Augustine to recognize that many Indigenous people view the Castillo de San Marco in the same light as African
Americans view the Confederate Flag- as a symbol of oppression and injustice, and to be empathetic to their calls to have these symbols
Environmental Youth Council has come to these conclusions on our own. There are other organizations that have voiced their own concerns
regarding these issues but that are not associated with EYC.

Another sewage spill?: St. Augustine City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E. Slow to Respond: National Response Center Report No. 1127130:

Sunday, August 30, 2015 saw torrential rains in St. Augustine and another apparent sewage spill into our San Sebastian River here in St. Augustine, Florida.
Two friends driving by observed the sewage spill and called me.
Immediately, I reported the sewage spill to the City Manager, JOHN REGAN, a/k/a JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E., at 5:34 PM sending several test messages.
Mr. REGAN did not respond to the text messages for approximately one (1) hour and 49 minutes later: he finally did respond at 7:23 PM, some 109 minutes later, when I received the laconic text message:
"Got it."
When my text messages were not answered, I reported the City of St. Augustine's latest spill to the non-police emergency number for SAPD and to Coast Guard Petty Officer O'Brian, with our fifteen-federal agency National Response Center in Washington, D.C.: he assigned it report No. 1127130.
Waiting for answers to questions and open records requests.
Our City has been fined tens of thousands of dollars -- and officials barely escaped federal and state criminal prosecution -- over sewage and solid waste pollution.
This is not the first sewage spill in St. Augustine history, but will it be the last?
Let's address crumbling infrastructure and decrepit management.
Let us address root cause analysis, system failures, weekend overcapacity caused by overdevelopment and poor city planning amidst corruption by developers, condition adverse to quality reports (CAQRs), alarms,  battery backups and occurrence reporting.
It's time for a change.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The healing moment St. Augustine never had in 2014, on 50th anniversary of 1964 Civil Rights Act and civil rights demonstrations here: Wonder why?

On the 50th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg, veterans of the Union and Confederacy reunite civilly, and shake hands. [1913]

Here's what should have happened here in St. Augustine last year, on the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Then-Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR.  put the kibosh on my idea of a healing moment, a Civil Rights reunion, encouraging healing among our African-American, Minorcan and other local residents.  Wonder why?
Perhaps JOE BOLES did not wish to offend his rich white supporters, including sons of segregationists and actual segregationists.
You tell me.
I spoke to 450th Director DANA STE. CLAIRE about such a Civil Rights Reunion, and he was going to ask Mayor BOLES about taking it to our Journey exhibit advisory committee.
It never happened.
Yet another broken promise of our all-white City management.
Was City Hall too busy handing out no-bid leases and no bid contracts and zoning favors?
You tell me.
Healing matters, but evidently not to the maladroit BUBBA BOLES bunch.
So much for a more "Compassionate St. Augustine."

Saturday, August 29, 2015


Neighborhood nightmare: Old City South neighborhood (HP-1) would have 30 fancy-bears hotel rooms inflicted on it under a Planned Unit Development improvidently approved by four out of five Commissioners August 25, 2015 in an after-midnight session without working cable TV sound, with defective legal advice and numerous ethics issues, lawbreaking concerns and reversible errors.

Mayor Nancy Shaver (center) voted against DOW PUD. Ethically challenged St. Augustine City Commissioners TODD NEVILLE and NANCY SIKES-KLINE (left) and LEANNA S.A. FREEMAN AND ROXANNE HORVATH (right voted in favor of DOW PUD. They relied on bad advice from:

City Attorney ISABELLE LOPEZ, in turn encouraged by:
City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E., working hand in glove with:
DAVID BARTON CORNEAL and Rogers Towers partner ELLEN AVERY-SMITH, having already destroyed Carpenter's House without waiting for appeal time to expire:

Ethics issues contaminated the 4-1 DOW PUD vote by St. Augustine City Commission after midnight on August 25, 2015.
We shall overcome!
Read all about it!

-----Original Message-----
From: easlavin
To: ilopez ; jregan ; aratkovic
Sent: Sat, Aug 29, 2015 4:41 pm
Subject: DOW PUD RECONSIDERATION; Former Vice Mayor DONALD CRICHLOW's lobbying in support of DOW PUD (CORDOVA INN) appears to violate F.S. 112.113(14), possible misdemeanor

Dear Ms. Lopez and Mr. Regan:
Will you please request a Florida Commission on Ethics formal written opinion on the lobbying activities of three past and present officials -- Messrs. DONALD CRICHLOW, PAUL M. WEAVER, III and JEREMY MARQUIS? Meanwhile, please be advised that:
1. The Florida Commission on Ethics' General Counsel informed me in 2014 that the Commission DOES NOT give verbal guidance: you know this fact.
2. You did not ask for a legal opinion on CRICHLOW's lobbying and admit that you have no records -- just as you did not request a written opinion in 2014 on five decades of not requiring Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) members to make financial disclosures for some fifty (50) years.
3. You admit that you received nothing in writing -- the claim that you "believe" that you received "verbal guidance," is, at best, doubly facetious: you did not share this "verbal guidance" with anyone in writing, you did not respond to my concerns, and you did not report it to Commissioners, correct? Why?
4. There is no such "critter" as a "verbal" Florida Ethics Commission opinion, and you all know it from our July 2014 correspondence on HARB's failure to file disclosures
5. Both our City Manager and City Attorney have brandished bias in favor of DAVID BARTON CORNEAL and OLD ISLAND HOTELS, INC. and the proposed DOW PUD (CORDOVA INN), which would convert eight historic homes (one has already been destroyed, jumping the gun during the appeal period), formerly the DOW MUSEUM OF HISTORIC HOMES.
6. "Verbal guidance" from the Ethics Commission is not worth the paper it isn't written on.
7. Former Commissioner DONALD CRICHLOW's lobbying Commissioners in ex parte contacts to support of DOW PUD (CORDOVA INN) appears to violate F.S. 112.113(14), a possible misdemeanor . CRICHLOW lobbied our Mayor Commissioners, board members and staff less than two (2) years after he left office (December 1, 2014), within only days of leaving office .
8. May I suggest that you both kindly apologize to our City residents, Mayor and Commissioners for your repeated willful refusal to do your job without fear or favor?
9. City Commission passage of the DOW PUD Ordinance 2015-24 is contaminated by illegality and reversible errors -- void ab initio.
10. Both Due Process and state and local laws were violated in rubber-stamping, by 4-1 vote, converting the state-funded Dow Museum of Historic Homes, hesto presto , into a 30-room, $500/night hotel in a residential neighborhood, including but not limited to a mountain of legal and factual errors:
(1) A liquor bar serving alcohol 134 feet from Cathedral Parish Elementary School opening at 10 AM daily, in violation of state liquor laws, with no required finding the "location" is in the public interest; and
(2) Four Commissioners expressly deciding the case based upon five (5) biased University of Florida professors' misbegotten "Opinion Paper," which consulted only four biased persons (not dissenting residents), which study was solicited by Commissioner NANCY SIKES-KLINE, and distributed by the City Manager to other Commissioners, and to persons still unknown to the applicant and to St. Augustine Record Opinion Editor (SIKES-KLINE's former boyfriend) , who wrote a biased editorial about it the day before the vote ; and
(3) Deeply conflict ed , biased Commissioner TODD NEVILLE (whose wife, HEATHER NEVILLE was an angry advocate for the project, calling opponents "HATERS" and who is represented by the applicants' son SETH CORNEAL), with NEVILLE refusing to recuse himself from voting, making the motion to approve: three Commissioners refused to discuss the matter of his requested recusal and disqualification; and
(4) No discussion of the numerous alleged reversible errors by our Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) and our Planning and Zoning Board (PZB); and
(5) Two HARB members (JEREMY MARQUIS and PAUL M. WEAVER, III hired to work for, lobby and testify for the applicant), also in possible violation of F.S. 112), leaving only three (3) HARB members to vote on their colleagues' project; and
(6) At least two PZB members once again testifying before themselves; and
(7) PZB's failure to read my three profferred exhibits, which City staff refused to hand to them;
(8) PZB refusal to discuss archaeological and human burial issues raised by one of my exhibits (a Master's thesis supervised by Dr. Kathy Deagan);
(9) Both the PZB and HARB chairs' failure to maintain order (apparently deciding the case based upon the "clamor of the crowd" -- loud, threatening CORNEAL supporters); and
(10) No required findings of "no adverse effect" approved by Commissioners; and
(11) Lack of thorough consideration or making of other findings required by our PUD ordinance; and
(12) Vice Mayor ROXANNE HORVATH reading from her prepared script, admittedly written in advance of the quasi-judicial hearing on the DOW PUD, prejudging the case; and
(13) A rush to bad judgment -- and falsely urgent refusal to recess and to reconvene and to deliberate another day, with answers to key questions; and
(14) Four biased Commissioners voted in lockstep to give in everything to DAVID BARTON CORNEAL & Co., including their unexplained reversal of careful PZB decisions on parking, etc.,
(15) Cavalier disregard for concerns about their ruining Lincolnville and Old City South neighborhoods with valet parking, density, intensity, congestion, sewage backups, flooding, noise and lighting sequelae of overdevelopment and privatization of the state-funded Dow Museum of Historic Homes; and
(16) Lack of transparency in four Commissioners' impetuous, angry after-midnight conclusion to a meeting that cable TV viewers inexplicably could not hear, with no documents yet made available to document the purported COMCAST technical problem).
(1 7) Lack of credibility in the applicant and his scripted witnesses.
11. Enough lawbreaking. Enough reversible errors in zoning and planning decisions. Enough violations of our Due Process rights and state and local laws .
12. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote on June 11, 1964 that St. Augustine was "the most lawless city in America."
13. Our City Commission's August 25, 2015, post-midnight, DOW PUD decision is a stench in the nostrils of our City and our Nation. It cannot and will not stand.
14. This subtle corruption of our City government is indefensible, and must be ended at once.
15. Please call me to meet and to discuss -- at your earliest convenience -- possible procedural safeguards, improvements and the future of City compliance with Florida Ethics Commission requirements from this day forward, including a Compliance Manual (which the City sorely lacks).
16. As our City lacks any written Florida Commission on Ethics opinion excusing or defending CRICHLOW's lobbying (or that of Messrs. WEAVER and MARQUIS) -- and our City Attorney says she merely "believe[s]" that CRICHLOW and she may have received "verbal guidance," when the Ethics Commission only issues written opinions -- I have shared this e-mail with state, local and federal officials, news media and interested parties.
17. As Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis wrote, in Olmstead v. United States , 277 U.S. 438 (1928) (dissenting):
"Decency, security and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen. In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our Government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. " Reversible errors and lawbreaking "poisoned the water in the reservoir, and the reservoir cannot be cleansed without first draining it of all impurity." See, e.g., Mesarosh v. United States, 356 U.S. 1 (1956).
18. Happy 450th anniversary to all: our Nation's Oldest City will soon become a better place as a result of the courage and diligence of our Mayor and our community leaders who spoke against the DOW PUD -- 64% of the 53 people testifying -- presenting irrefragable expert and percipient witness testimony lacking any financial bias, from homeowners and longtime residents with the best interests of our City at heart.
19. We, the People are the conscience of our community; our concerns must be respected and not neglected by City Hall.
20. Please advise our four (4) Commissioners voting for the PUD and residents about procedures under Robert's Rules of Order for their possible reconsideration of the four Commissioners' improvident, unjust, illegal decision at their next regular meeting .
21. Thank you both in advance for your sincere, earnest efforts to help restore honor and dignity to our St. Augustine City Hall, as all we prepare to commemorate our City's 450th anniversary September 8th.
Yes we can!
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

-----Original Message-----
From: Isabelle Lopez
To: easlavin
Sent: Fri, Aug 28, 2015 9:15 pm
Subject: RE: Request No. 2015-317: 112.313(14) -- City Attorney advice to Commissioners and departing Commissioners re: illegal lobbying

I believe the commission on ethics gave Mr. Crichlow and I verbal guidance based on an already existing similar formal opinion.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

-------- Original message --------
Date: 08/28/2015 8:42 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: Isabelle Lopez < >
Subject: Re: Request No. 2015-317: 112.313(14) -- City Attorney advice to Commissioners and departing Commissioners re: illegal lobbying

Did you ever advise Messrs. Crichlow and Boles of their legal duties under F.S. 112.113(14)?

-----Original Message-----
From: Isabelle Lopez <>
To: easlavin <>
Sent: Fri, Aug 28, 2015 8:09 pm
Subject: RE: Request No. 2015-317: 112.313(14) -- City Attorney advice to Commissioners and departing Commissioners re: illegal lobbying

I have no responsive document.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

-----Original Message-----
From: easlavin

Sent: Fri, May 1, 2015 8:10 pm
Subject: Ending Board Members and Commissioners Representing Clients Before City Government -- Petition for Emergency Rulemaking
Dear Mayor Shaver and Commissioners:
1. As recipient of millions of dollars of federal funds, our City of St. Augustine, Florida is required to comply with federal criminal laws, including 18 U.S.C. 666, under which former St. Johns County Commission Chairman Thomas G. Manuel was indicted, prosecuted, convicted and incarcerated in a federal prison.
2. Please order by appropriate ethics ordinance that no city commissioner or board member may ever again represent clients before City government again. See 18 U.S.C. 666 and F.S. 112.313 ( below).
3. Please end the culture of corruption that embarrasses all of the citizens in the City of St. Augustine. It destroys our buildings, wastes our treasure and hurts our image in the eyes of the world.
4. On May 5, 2015, we shall have the spectacle of two (2) current HARB members (Jeremy Marquis and Paul Weaver, III) , the former Vice Mayor (Donald Crichlow) and the former City Planning and Building Director (Mark Alan Knight) representing an applicant before our Planning and Zoning Board.5. With significant encouragement from City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E., , who told First Coast News he was "thrilled," controversial applicant DAVID BARTON CORNEAL is seeking to turn the $2 million state-rehabilitated former Dow Museum of Historic Homes on St. George Street into a high-end hotel in the midst of our historic HP-1 neighborhood, through a "Planned Unit Development," called a "sneaky way to get around zoning" by PZB member Cathy Brown. 6. This not-so-subtle corruption of our government is indefeasible, and must be ended at once. Please end the sale of offices and favors in St. Augustine in the manner that my late Georgetown Professor Jan Karski described the situation in Venezuela, where he advised President Rómulo Betancourt, whom he described as “one of the greatest statesmen ever,” who referred to corrupt Venezuelan government officials "selling their wares."7. The whole world is watching St. Augustine, Florida during our 450th anniversary. Please make us proud of our Ancient City, and no longer ashamed.Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin
Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3084

"Fast Eddie" 41 Years Later

It was 41 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 -- urged by then-youthful Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Antonin Scalia. After the veto override, I 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 (electing the incomparable Nancy Shaver, the first woman Mayor elected by vote of all of the people as such, on November 4, 2014)(see Folio Weekly article below).
Looking forward to federal court victory in Bates v. City of St. Augustine, argued November 21, 2015 before U.S. District Judge Brian J. Davis (fine visual artists harassed by 32 years of Jim Crow law ordinances and oppression by City).
Our latest battle, for the integrity of HP-1 zoning (DOW PUD monstrosity, 4-1 vote Monday, August 24, 2015), is headed to Circuit Court.
Let freedom ring!
True to the standards of my first boss, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, remember his words at the 1980 Democratic National Convention:
may it be said of us, both in dark passages and in bright days, in the words of Tennyson that my brothers quoted and loved, and that have special meaning for me now:
"I am a part of all that I have met
To [Tho] much is taken, much abides
That which we are, we are --
One equal temper of heroic hearts
Strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
.... For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.

Friday, August 28, 2015

SJRWMD and Tax Collector Both Use Filters, like School Board:

No Other Local Government Agency Has Provided Substantive Response re: Ashley Madison 

Our St. Johns County Tax Collector's office and St. Johns River Water Management District both state, as does our School Board, that they use filters preventing access to, the infamous adultery website, or other x-rated sites. No response from other agencies yet. Wonder why?

ROXANNE HORVATH, Vice Mayor, Defends Reading Prepared Script

At Close of DOW PUD Hearing -- Ex-Vision Chair, Architect, ROXANNE HORVATH Denied Due Process to HP-1 Neighborhood, Relies on Five UF Professors' Unscholarly, 
One-sided "Opinion Paper," Which Was Not In Evidence When She Wrote Script

St. Augustine City Commissioner ROXANNE HORVATH chaired the Vision Committee, spending $80,000, but claims inflicting a bar and 30 room hotel in Old City South HP-1 neighborhood will enhance livability -- she prejudged the DOW PUD, writing her speech in advance, and defended it in an email earlier today to City Attorney Isabelle Lopez.  

What do you reckon?

-----Original Message-----
From: Isabelle Lopez
To: easlavin
Sent: Fri, Aug 28, 2015 2:50 pm
Subject: FW: PUD-Cordova Inn
Mr. Slavin, 
In response to your public records request self-numbered 2015-305
regarding Commissioner and Mayor notes for the Cordova Inn PUD item, after
inquiry with the Commissioners and Mayor, the attached is the only document that
may be responsive to your request.  The document may be a precursor to the
actual final public record which would be the verbal statement made by
Vice-Mayor Horvath and is available via online video.

From: Roxanne Horvath 
Sent: Friday, August 28, 2015 2:09 PM
Isabelle Lopez
Subject: PUD-Cordova Inn

Hi Isabelle,
Attached are the notes
that I prepared the morning of the hearing.Knowing that it would be a long
night, I thought it made some sense to jot down the concerns I already had after
many e-mails, letters and direct conversations with both pro and con people.   I
listened to all of the people who spoke, with an open mind, and heard nothing
that changed the reasoning behind these notes. In fact the only two pieces of
information that were presented that were new, the distances to the parking lots
and the lease of 3 1/2 years, were responded to during discussion.  If I had
heard anything new, I would have included it during my discussion.  
Please let
me know if I can be of any further help on this issue. 

Attached document:

Comments on The Cordova Inn PUD
Thank you to our public for such strong Civic involvement.  I really believe that is what can make our community better. This is not an easy item to vote on knowing that we will be disappointing so many people no matter what outcome we arrive at tonight. 

I feel I have been well briefed from the people I have spoken to, on both sides of this issue. I have submitted my exparte communication to the City Clerk.   I believe we are all stewards of our Historic properties and I take this responsibility very seriously.

Coming to this issue with my background as an Architect with a large amount of my work in Historic Preservation, with many years on both HARB and Planning and Zoning and my most recent work on “Vision 2014 and Beyond”, I feel prepared to talk on this issue.  

I’m very aware of the high cost of Historic Preservation and adaptive re-use of many projects I have worked to restore.  These eight properties will be no different.  The cost will be high to bring them up to the Secretary of Interiors Standards.  

Therefore there needs to be a method of return on investment in order to preserve these structures and keep them in this preserved state over time.  

The two options (sic) that have been discussed are either the Inn or rental apartments.

The Inn will provide greater return on investment which allows for a more accurate (sic) restoration (sic) of these properties.

Parking is also a concern and would be much less of an impact by the inn which will be providing off site valet parking. This valet parking at a satellite location is not a new idea, we have B & B’s and at least one hotel operating in this same manner, with similar distances.  

We know that off site parking, like the approach for the Inn would not work for the apartments, nor is it required under code.  Therefore a great amount of the open area of the site would have to be given over to on site parking or all of the needed parking would be on street, which will put a major pressure on our existing parking inventory. 

I’ve heard a lot about keeping our current Zoning instead of the PUD because  it will protect the neighborhood.  The current zoning in HP1 allows for 70% lot coverage. The current coverage is under 25%, that means that additional apartments could be designed and added to this property bringing the apartment count even higher with more parking needed either on site or on the adjacent streets.  Our codes also allow for 3 unrelated persons to reside in a living unit, which could add to the parking problem as well. 

There is an issue of the “Bar” and its proximity to a school. It is my understanding that it meets our code and is under100 feet.  There is a State law of 500’ if no local law exists. We have local law and this project complies. I would also like to talk about the concept of the word “bar”.  It is not a facility open to anyone not staying at the Inn.  The issue of Special Events has been prohibited in this application. So the “bar” which is actually a host pavilion is just like any other facility that provides wine to their hotel, or B& B guests.

It is very important, in my mind, to keep these properties together.  Very few properties of this size, of this historic value exist in our city.  This is an opportunity given to us by the property owner with no cost to our city.  We can talk about Historic Tax credits, which have not yet been applied for.  But if they are and are granted them,, it means that we will still get the current taxes but any taxes related to improvements made up to 10 years will have the taxes abated.  We would still, as I understand it, get bed taxes which would not be given if the project is apartments. 

I would like to touch on the issue of the Visioning that we have just completed for the City.  We talked a lot about “Balance” between citizens, business and institutions.  Over the years that I have lived in St. Augustine, there is always something that is coming up that gets everyone stirred up about.  The D & B school, the 7/11, commercial parking causing parking in neighborhoods.  We are working on our Zoning review of ordinances and we are working on our number one issue of traffic and parking.  Do I believe this project addresses the issue of liveability? Yes, it will have a manager and will be of such an investment that I believe it will have minimal impact on the adjacent residences in HP!. 

After reasoning through all of the issues I have arrived at the same conclusion as the University of Florida in their (sic) position letter.  Restoration of historic structures, sustainable preservation, economic impact, and potential educational impact, all direct me to support this project.

Whatever happens tonight, my hope is our community will come together and support both now and in the future this difficult decision we are about to make.

INTEGRITY? ODD TODD NEVILLE Bragged on his "integrity" in 2014 City Commission campaign. CYA CPA Sold Us Out on DOW PUD. Go figure!

From News4 Jax: "What do you hope to be remembered for after you leave office? Integrity."


ROGERS TOWERS corporate law firm partner ELLEN AVERY-SMITH did not bring a court reporter, and was not interested in sharing expenses, at the DOW PUD hearing on August 24-25, 2015.
Obviously, ELLEN AVERY-SMITH (ex-acolyte of legendary developer mouthpiece GEORGE MORRIS McCLURE) knew the outcome: the fix was in, and four (4) Commissioners had already made up their minds.
One came with a prepared script explaining her vote (ROXANNE HORVATH).
One requested a bogus UF study (NANCY SIKES-KLINE) by unqualified personnel addressing issues not before Commissioners.
One purported to be impressed by the bogus UF study (lawyer LEANNA FREEMAN).
One refused to recuse himself (CYA CPA ODD NEVILLE) despite his wife's hateful statement about opponents being "HATERS" and NEVILLE's business dealings with lawyer SETH CORNEAL, son of applicant DAVID BARTON CORNEAL.
Reckon that's why a fancy-bears corporate law firm didn't bring a court reporter?
When you know a corrupt result is coming, you can save on expenses.
Was CORNEAL's lack of a court reporter is "equipollent to a confession?"
What do you reckon?


COMCAST viewers were unable to hear the sound from the August 24-25, 2015 City Commission meeting, despite having tested it at 3 PM. City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN claimed it had been fixed.

Fishy, fishy, fishy.

There have been problems with sound at City Commission meetings since I've been attending them since 2005. Whenever there's a hot issue, it seems, that City burghers want the public not to know about, there's a loss of sound. I remember when the artists and musicians were being hassled with City ordinances watching on Time-Warner (then the cable vender) and having to call the police non-emergency number to complain and ask that something be done about it.

Tens of thousands of dollars have been spent by our City over 15 years. It's our money. The City Hall staff is either incompetent or corrupt, or both -- why can't they enforce our contracts with vendors? I have filed seven Open Records requests this morning. Ask questions. Demand answers. Expect accountability.

The St. Augustine has never reported the problem with cable coverage. Ever.

Feast of St. Augustine, August 28, 1974, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

August 28, 1974

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

It was 41 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!"

Ralph Nader talked about corrupt oligopolists, government bureaucrats, "the deferred bribe," unsafe cars, unsafe goods, 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. Lesson: Keep asking questions. Demand answers. Be involved.

Thursday, August 27, 2015



Agent Cleared Over 2010 Florida Shooting Inquiry, but Lawyer Lashes Out
AUG. 27, 2015

Sheriff David B. Shoar of St. Johns County, Fla., in 2013. CreditMichael Appleton for The New York Times 

Sheriff David B. Shoar of St. Johns County, Fla., in 2013. Credit Michael Appleton for The New York Times

Four years ago, a Florida state investigator was drawn into a highly contentious case involving a young single mother who was in the process of breaking up with her boyfriend, a St. Johns County deputy sheriff, when she was killed with the officer’s service weapon.

The investigator, Rusty Rodgers, raised questions about the sheriff’s investigation of his own deputy, which resulted in a suicide finding. And after the sheriff, David B. Shoar, publicly accused Mr. Rodgers of misconduct, he found himself the target of a criminal investigation by a special prosecutor appointed by Gov. Rick Scott.

Now, two years later, the special prosecutor, William P. Cervone, has cleared Mr. Rodgers, an agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, concluding in his report that no crime had been committed and that most of the accusations of serious misconduct leveled by Sheriff Shoar were essentially baseless or overblown.

But because Mr. Cervone included personal criticism of Mr. Rodgers in an Aug. 7 cover letter to the report, the agent’s lawyer, William J. Sheppard, sent a letter last week to Mr. Scott saying that Mr. Cervone had maligned his client “with unsupported and false allegations of bias and unethical conduct.”

In his first public comments on the case, Mr. Sheppard wrote that Mr. Cervone had repeated “the more extreme and unfounded allegations propagated by Sheriff Shoar,” who, he said, had personally requested that Mr. Rodgers review his agency’s handling of the shooting. According to Mr. Sheppard, the sheriff then used the law enforcement agent “as a scapegoat for an investigation that had already been bungled.”

The Sept. 2, 2010, shooting death of Michelle O’Connell, a 24-year-old with a young daughter, has roiled the St. Augustine community for nearly five years, in part because of numerous flaws in the initial investigation by the sheriff’s office. The office almost immediately concluded that Ms. O’Connell had shot herself in the mouth, even though, among other errors, investigators never tested the forensic evidence collected after the shooting and did not interview Ms. O’Connell’s family and friends.

The shooting, and the sheriff’s handling of it, were the subject of a lengthy examination in 2013 by The New York Times in collaboration with the PBS investigative news program “Frontline.” The Times report also quoted independent forensic experts who disputed the local medical examiner’s conclusion — endorsed by Sheriff Shoar, a politically powerful elected official — that a wound above Ms. O’Connell’s eye had been caused by the gun recoiling forward when fired.

“The idea of it recoiling forward is absurd,” Peter De Forest, a widely respected forensic scientist, said in the article.

A more logical conclusion, according to the forensic experts interviewed by The Times, was that Ms. O’Connell had a physical confrontation with her boyfriend, Jeremy Banks, before the shooting. Mr. Banks has vigorously denied shooting or physically abusing Ms. O’Connell. Two special prosecutors, also appointed by Mr. Scott, found insufficient evidence to charge the deputy in connection with the shooting.

After The Times began inquiring into the sheriff’s handling of the case, Sheriff Shoar assigned a team of officers to review Mr. Rodgers’s conduct, resulting in a 150-page report that was highly critical of the law enforcement agent. The report, including Sheriff Shoar’s first public admission that his office had made serious mistakes investigating the case, prompted Mr. Cervone’s review of Mr. Rodgers.

The special prosecutor, in his letter to the governor, noted that his two-year review took longer than usual, blaming “what has seemed to be the constant receipt of ‘new’ information from one side or the other” for the delay.

This was one of several statements Mr. Sheppard criticized.

“Mr. Cervone’s letter insinuates that Agent Rodgers was an equal participant in delaying the investigation,” when in fact, Mr. Sheppard said, it was Sheriff Shoar and Mr. Banks’s lawyer who tried to delay the review in an effort to “coerce Agent Rodgers to resign under the stress, financial burden and public embarrassment surrounding the case.”

Mr. Banks’s lawyer has filed a lawsuit in federal court, accusing Mr. Rodgers of violating Mr. Banks’s rights during the investigation. Mr. Rodgers denies the accusation.

Mr. Cervone said Mr. Rodgers had conducted a biased investigation, including misleading some witnesses. “None of these actions, however, are clearly or provably criminal in nature,” Mr. Cervone wrote. “To the contrary, they are largely legally permissible even if not ethically appropriate. Indeed, courts, including the United States Supreme Court, have generally allowed enforcement officers to engage in even blatant deception towards witnesses and suspects in the pursuit of justice.”

Mr. Sheppard responded that Mr. Rodgers’s conduct had not been criticized by his superiors or the local prosecutor, and that Sheriff Shoar’s accusations did not surface until a year and a half after the case had been closed, at which point The Times began inquiring into the shooting.

In an interview, Mr. Cervone said, “It is apparent to me that both Sheriff Shoar and Mr. Rodgers disagree with or are disappointed by my conclusions. Perhaps my not having pleased anyone in this contentious matter best validates my conclusions.”

An email message to Sheriff Shoar seeking his comment was not returned. During Mr. Cervone’s investigation, Mr. Rodgers has been on paid administrative leave. With the criminal investigation over, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is free to complete its internal review of Mr. Rodgers’s involvement in the O’Connell case.

Four New Commissioners Needed

United States District Judge John J. Sirica wrote in his memoirs about an honor he was given by the City University of New York after his zealous questions exposed the Watergate break-in and coverup:
Two quotations were included in my citation. The first is from Edmund Burke, who said, “It is the duty of the Judge to receive every offer of evidence, apparently material, suggested to him, though the parties themselves through negligence, ignorance, or corrupt coilllusion, should not bring it forward. A judge is not placed in that high situation merely as a passive instrument of parties. He has a duty of his own, independent of them, and that duty is to investigate the truth.” The second is Thomas Aquinas’ definition of Justice as “a certain rectitude of mind, whereby a [person] does what he ought to do in the circumstances confronting him.”
United States District Judge John J. Sirica, To Set the Record Straight – The Break-in, The Tapes, The Conspirators, the Pardon (1979) at 83.

After Monday's DOW PUD debacle, we need four new City Commissioners, who will conduct quasi-judicial hearings and decide matters without fear or favor -- more Commissioners like Mayor Nancy Shaver (see Folio Weekly profile, below).



While St. Augustine’s 450th anniversary has brought immense challenges and international attention, the city’s outsider Mayor looks to prove she is up to the task

After a career in the male-dominated corporate world, Shaver, St. Augustine’s second female mayor, says she “never really [thought] about gender.”
After a career in the male-dominated corporate world, Shaver, St. Augustine’s second female mayor, says she “never really [thought] about gender.”

Shaver, at home in the historic Lincolnville neighborhood in downtown St. Augustine.
Shaver, at home in the historic Lincolnville neighborhood in downtown St. Augustine.


Posted: Wednesday, August 26, 2015 12:00 pm


Nancy Shaver isn’t your typical politician. In fact, before beating out incumbent Joe Boles and subsequently being sworn in as the new mayor of the City of St. Augustine in December 2014, Shaver had never held political office. That is, unless you count the time she was student council president of her high school back in the early 1960s.

Yet, despite her lack of experience, she’s having some early success.

Over the past nine months, Shaver’s supporters say, she has delivered on her promises of a transparent government that focuses on infrastructure, mobility, and zoning issues. Then there’s the infamous 450th Celebration that, until recently, didn’t have a leg to stand on. Her supporters say the 450th, which kicks off Sept. 4, is now on much firmer footing.

Shaver’s a mother, grandmother, art collector and music lover. She’s had a long, successful career working in marketing, management and consulting for various data information companies. She’s led a Fortune 500 marketing organization, and founded her own consulting practice.

And at age 68, Shaver’s had enough life experiences to know that being a politician is about more than just kissing babies and schmoozing at fancy municipal events. It takes hard work, dedication, accountability and reading in between the lines.

• • •

It’s a Monday night in mid-July in the Alcazar Room on the first floor of City Hall on King Street in downtown St. Augustine. A bi-monthly city commission meeting is in full swing.

Shaver is sitting in the middle, fellow commissioners Todd Neville and Nancy Sikes-Kline sit to her right, Leanna Freeman and Vice Mayor Roxanne Horvath to her left.

After roll call and the modification and motion to approve the meeting’s regular agenda, Shaver is presented with a certificate of completion from the Florida League of Cities Institute for Elected Municipal Officials.

She makes a few public comments about the recent three-day training event — how it was great to connect with other elected officials in the State of Florida — and then, looking out toward the crowd of 50 or so citizens, through her signature asymmetrical silver bob hairdo, Shaver says, “And I got to drink some wine, which I actually paid for myself.”

When later asked about this comment, Shaver says, “The reference to wine, and paying for it myself, was twofold. First, the city does not reimburse for alcohol. Second, earlier in the year, I chose to pay my own way to the Gala, as I felt it was more appropriate.”

Shaver is referring to the Menéndez Noche de Gala, which was held in late February at Casa Monica Hotel, and was reported to cost the city more than $3,000 to cover the cost of city leaders and officials from Spain to attend. Tickets were $195 apiece.

Whether it’s a $5 glass of wine, a ticket to a fancy gala or the uncovering of wasteful spending of taxpayers’ money, Shaver has, thus far, presented herself as a woman of
the people.

• • •

Shaver was born on Nov. 5, 1946 in Mount Kisco, New York, an hour’s drive southwest from her grandparents’ home in Litchfield, Connecticut. She was a C-section baby; Mount Kisco had the closest hospital that could perform the surgery.

“I’ve lived a lot of different places, but I mostly grew up in Virginia, outside of D.C., because my dad was working at the Pentagon,” Shaver explains from the sunroom of her modest, one-story home in Lincolnville, a historic neighborhood in downtown St. Augustine.

“It was always classified what he did,” she says. “He was running the atomic bomb tests that we did in the desert. He ran the tri-service agency that did those. He would never travel and then he’d travel and then the front page of the Washington Post would have a mushroom cloud on it.”

Shaver describes her father, an engineer and captain in the U.S. Navy, as a brilliant man with a photographic memory who didn’t talk much. The two bonded over games of Acey Deucey and Backgammon rather than conversation.

The oldest of three siblings (she has two younger brothers), Shaver isn’t as kind when describing her mother.

“She was not a nice mother,” she says. “She was basically someone who was not meant to be a mother, and she particularly wasn’t meant to be the mother of a girl. She was of that generation where she kind of gauged her sense of self by how attractive she was to men.”

Since her father was in the military, the Shaver family moved around a lot, about once every three years, from Philadelphia to San Diego and everywhere in between.

“I loved it,” Shaver says of being constantly confronted with a new environment. “My dad always explored wherever we moved to, so many weekends, we had family trips to see something of interest. And making new friends just seemed very natural to me.”

• • •

After high school, Shaver earned a B.A. in English from Wellesley College, a private women’s liberal arts school outside of Boston (one of the Seven Sisters), and an MBA in quantitative coursework from University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

At age 19, Shaver married her first husband, a punter on the Harvard University football team. He proved to be a dissolute gambler.

“As soon as I got pregnant, it was just pretty bad,” she says. “He forged my name on notes, on loans. And so I left. The minute I had my son, I knew that I had to take care of myself and take care of that child. It was just this visceral feeling.”

At age 24, Shaver took her newborn son and moved back to Culpeper, Virginia to live with her parents. They were not thrilled with the arrangement.

“I wound up finding a job that I could walk to,” she says. “I didn’t have a car. I was knocking on doors to get childcare for my son in the neighborhood, which I was able to do. I saved until I got a car and then saved until I got an apartment and that’s how my life started.”

Shaver, whose only job had been teaching school, took a position with a company focused on targeted marketing. She became fascinated with data and how the information gathered could help the business make educated decisions.

Over the next few years, Shaver ascended the corporate ladder, gaining experience in data and management from a wide array of start-up companies and established corporations.

She also met her second husband and the father of her daughter.

“We were married, but it was really falling apart,” Shaver says of the end of their relationship, which lasted until the early 1990s. “He was an attorney in town. He was an alcoholic and also promiscuous, which I didn’t know. So I took a job in Long Island and brought the kids with me.”

For a few years, Shaver’s husband would come up from Virginia and visit on the weekends but, eventually, the marriage ended.

“The three words that come to mind when I think of my childhood are simple, consistent and supportive,” says Jenn Mintz, Shaver’s now-34-year-old daughter, a marine biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who lives in Charleston, South Carolina.

“This is despite a few moves and the divorce of my parents,” she continues. “Wherever we were, my mom was consistent in her presence and in providing boundaries, generous in her love and support and tried to keep our home and our lives as simple as possible.”

Shaver’s son, Sean Bennett, now in his mid-40s, holds an MD-PhD and lives in San Francisco, running the Global Pediatric HIV trials for Gilead Sciences, a research-based biopharmaceutical company.

“She worked hard professionally and was successful in that arena,” Mintz says of her mother. “But she was undoubtedly a mother first. I feel like her primary motivation and the sacrifices she made were to provide for my brother and me.”

• • •

Fast-forward to the mid-2000s. With both of her children grown and decades of professional experience behind her, Shaver established her own consulting firm in Denver, Colorado. She also started spending more time at her second home, a modest cottage in Belfast, Maine.

“One night, I was throwing a party to celebrate my new weathervane,” she remembers. “That’s the night I met Sean, the love of my life. As soon as he walked up the porch steps, it was all over. It was all over for both of us. We were two peas in a pod. Everything about it was just comfortable.”

Shaver relocated from Denver to Maine to be with Sean, a sailor and a carpenter, and the two became inseparable.

A few years into their relationship, Sean was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. Shaver became his medical manager; digging into data, researching medical trials and even going to Seattle for stem cell treatment.

“I think there was a 60 percent chance of success and you always think you’ll be on that side,” she says. “You never think you won’t be on that side. And we wound up on the other side.”

Stem cell treatment didn’t work. Sean was given six months to live.

The couple decided that they shouldn’t spend Sean’s last winter in Maine and a friend suggested St. Augustine. They found a house on South Street — not far from Maria Sanchez Lake in Lincolnville — quickly renovated it and made the move down South. This was at the end of 2009.

They spent the next six months surrounded by friends, family and, most important, each other. On July 30, 2010, Sean passed away due to sepsis, which is the complication of an infection. Shaver needed something to occupy her broken heart.

• • •

"After he died, I started to pay attention to the city. There was an article in the [St. Augustine] Record about the coral farm on Riberia Pointe,” she says, referring to a proposed coral-growing development slated for a four-acre site in downtown St. Augustine.

“My daughter’s a marine biologist, so I thought, ‘If somebody’s restoring coral reefs, NOAA will know about it,’” she continues. “And they claimed a NOAA connection. So I called her and she checked and she said, ‘Mom, nobody’s doing that and nobody’s heard of these people.’”

Shaver kept uncovering similar proposals earmarked for the same patch of city-owned land, including a children’s museum and a full-scale aquarium. She also publicly questioned the transparency of the 450th Celebration and the lost revenue from the event’s Picasso exhibit.

“We continued to discuss the challenges and issues facing the city,” says good friend Margaret Rocker. “One afternoon, she called to tell me she had decided to run for mayor. After my initial surprise, I knew she would win. She’s smart and dedicated to finding the best solutions for the city.”

Armed with zero political experience, Shaver had her work cut out for her. Sure, her corporate résumé was impressive, but would that win over the people of St. Augustine? Especially up against incumbent Mayor Joe Bole, who had been mayor since 2006?

“I worked really hard,” Shaver says of winning the November 2014 mayoral race by just over 100 votes. “A lot of people worked really hard. It was a grassroots kind of thing.”

She continues, “I was a competent person at the right moment in time. The demographics of the city have changed. Over half of the people have moved here in the last 10 years and they have higher expectations of how their city should be run.”

Shaver is only the second female mayor of the city of St. Augustine and first elected directly by the voters. The job pays just $20,000 a year.

“What’s funny is that I didn’t even think about gender,” she says. “Because I haven’t in my whole working life, and I basically worked in male-dominated spaces, so it just never occurred to me. I’m not ego-driven. It’s really about the task and the work.”

The 450th Celebration (Sept. 4-8) has taken shape and Shaver has begun focusing on the other issues that, she feels, are plaguing the Nation’s Oldest City: zoning, mobility, infrastructure and a lack of transparency.

Shaver has helped put in motion water rate studies, assessment of city infrastructure, updated zoning codes, a comprehensive plan to combat congestion on the city’s narrow roads.

If she doesn’t yet have critics, like all public officials, Shaver will have some soon enough. So far, though, her status as a political newcomer and outsider have allowed her to implement her plans under a certain level of good faith from her constituency.

“I know what I want to accomplish and if it takes two years, or if I run again and it’s four years, it is what it is,” Shaver says of her term, which ends at the close of 2016. “I don’t set myself up to do something where I don’t know what I want the outcomes to be.”

She continues, “If you are capable and you leave it to someone less capable, then you kind of get what you get. You have a duty if you feel that you are more capable. And so I ran.”

Jed Barlet, On Our Right to Be Angry

Maureen Dowd's 2008 Sunday New York Times column, setting forth advice from the fictional character, President Jed Bartlett, on the West Wing, in consultation with Aaron Sorkin, to then-candidate Barack Obama:

And you’re worried about seeming angry? You could eat their lunch, make them cry and tell their mamas about it and God himself would call it restrained. There are times when you are simply required to be impolite. There are times when condescension is called for!

The Shame of Our City

Henry Demarest Lloyd said that the Standard Oil cartel "did everything to the Pennsylvania legislature except refine it."

St. Augustine has a reform Mayor, Nancy Shaver, who acted admirably, fulfilling the functions of a chief judge in conducting a fair hearing August 24th on the proposed DOW PUD.

Sadly, her four colleagues either prejudged the case (ODD TODD NEVILLE, ROXANNE HORVATH and NANCY SIKES-KLINE) or badly bungled their analysis (LEANNA FREEMAN).

The Courts will correct their reversible errors, which are legion.

The voters will correct their betrayal of our small town values, and their dereliction of duty to the oaths that the swore to uphold. FREEMAN's and HORVATH's terms expire next year -- we doubt they will seek re-election. If they do, voters will surely reject them, just as they did their erstwhile Mayor, JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR.

Meanwhile, work tirelessly to report wrongdoing to the FBI and to this blog. Thank you for all that you do!

Lee Geanuleas letter challenges City of St. Augustine Commission's decision making practices (Historic City News)

Letter: Citizen challenges approach to decision making

Letter: Citizen challenges approach to decision making
Lee Geanuleas
St Augustine
Open letter to St Augustine’s City Commission and residents:
Thank you for your amazing patience in listening to hours of public testimony regarding the Dow PUD this past Monday evening and into Tuesday morning.  It speaks well of our government that citizens are afforded such an opportunity to express views directly to their elected officials.
Although I do not agree with your decision to locate a hotel (per the definition in Florida statutes) and a bar (as defined in CoSA code) in our neighborhood, I respect the time you devoted to the process.
Having said that, I would like to share some problems with your decision:
  • You did not find that the PUD had no adverse effects as required by your city’s code.
  • You did not find that the hotel’s bar, located well within the state’s limit on distance from schools, would have a beneficial effect on the public health and welfare as required by the state.
  • The PUD ignored the requirement for a multi-modal plan as required by your city’s code.
  • You provided no justification for locating valet parking greater than your city’s code’s limit of 400 feet.
A few of you indicated the University of Florida’s College of Health and Human Performance’s opinion paper was a factor in your decision. While it might have seemed expedient to have an “independent” opinion, this opinion paper actually presents a few problems for you:
  • Although two people with preservation backgrounds (one in only preservation law) were listed as contributors, there were no urban planners involved. The others have expertise in areas not germane to questions of urban planning.
  • Both preservationists listed as contributors (Dr. Mathews and Mr. Hunt) have strong connections to St Augustine’s tourism industry through UF Historic St Augustine.
  • UF has a financial interest in St Augustine tourism through UF Historic St Augustine, in that they actively seek to lease event space in their buildings and will benefit directly from increased tourism.
On questions involving trade-offs between residential well-being and the heritage tourism industry, UF Historic St Augustine has an unmistakable conflict of interest.  Asking UF, and people closely connected to UF Historic St Augustine, for an opinion pertaining to a question of tourism in St Augustine is tantamount to asking the fox if there should be more doors in the hen house.
As you probably are well aware 64% of those who spoke at the hearing were against the PUD. I’m sure the developer’s well-funded organization tried as hard as our volunteer neighborhood group to turnout supporters, so the room accurately reflected the breakdown of opinion on the question.
More importantly, the percentage of those who actually live in the City of St Augustine and spoke against the PUD is probably closer to 70% since, as you undoubtedly noticed, a good number of those who spoke in favor of the hotel were not residents of the City.
I share my perspectives so you who have the burden of decision making for St Augustine, can benefit from diverse viewpoints.  I know it is impossible to make every citizen happy with every decision and I respect your efforts to make good decisions.
But, as much as I am disappointed by your decision to put a hotel and bar in my neighborhood, I am probably more concerned with what appear to be issues in the Commission’s approach to decision making.