Saturday, August 22, 2015



Letter: White paper is nothing more than “white wash”
Posted on August 22, 2015
Lee Geanuleas, St George Street,
St AugustineDear editor:
It’s Saturday morning and that means cartoons and laughter! I’ve got a good one for you: One of our city commissioners asked the University of Florida to “assess potential community benefits of the [Dow PUD] proposal”.
Not a bad idea when making a big decision, but, get some thorough research from academics with no “dog in the fight”. Unfortunately the “white paper” appears to be a totally one-sided “white-wash” noting only the great things the hotel and bar will bring to St Augustine and ABSOLUTELY not a single negative impact.
Seriously? Some might call it a Chamber of Commerce advertisement. See for yourself – the paper is attached.
Let me get this straight, the Dean of UF’s College of Health & Human Services couldn’t find a single negative with opening a bar 70% closer to an elementary school than is allowed by state law?
Nor with valets having to go nearly a half mile to get a car and then rush through the most congested part of downtown St Augustine to get it back to an impatient guest? Seriously?
How about some analysis of the increased loading on our ancient and already maxed-out sewer system or the impact of locating a hotel and bar at an intersection that floods quickly in just an average rain shower?
The authors claim to be PhD’s — but you don’t need a PhD to recognize that a hotel operating a pool-side bar opening at 10:00 a.m., potentially creates a greater safety risk to Cathedral Parish students walking through the blind intersection of St George and Bridge Streets.
I couldn’t understand how a reputable institution could produce such a one-sided paper and until I read who they interviewed: “Source Material: The opinion is based on information from multiple sources. These include tours of the property in question; conversations with John Regan (St. Augustine City Manager), David Corneal (property owner), Michael Conroy (representing Mr. Corneal)” and the commissioner who requested the report, Nancy Sikes-Kline.
The developer, his employee, and the City Manager who told television reporters in November how “thrilled” he was about the hotel project. Seem like good research to you?
If you took this approach on your senior thesis at UF, you might have received a “mercy C-“, maybe. I know my Public Administration professors at GWU would have tossed me and the paper out the door.
Maybe it’s a question of UF’s research standards?
I honestly hope this transparently one-sided “paper” will not be used to justify anyone’s support for the PUD on Monday. If it is, I won’t know whether to laugh at the absurdity — or cry for our poor city.

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