Monday, July 31, 2017

ANOTHER VICTORY: Tax Increase Defeated At St. Augustine Beach: UNANIMOUS

Thanks to Commissioner Maggie Kostka, four other Commissioners (Sherman Gary Snodgrass, Margaret England, Vice Mayor Undine Pawlowski and Mayor Richard O'Brien), wary watchdog Thomas F. Reynolds, Jr., Merrill Paul Roland and other outspoken citizens, St. Augustine Beach defeated a hare-brained plan to increase taxes tonight, July 31, 2017.  No increase in taxes is possile now, as the highest "millage" rate is the same as last year.

St. Augustine Beach: safe for democracy since the defeat of Commissioner ANDREA SAMUELS, a sere remnant of corrupt St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID SHOAR's corrupt political regime.

Mean, maladroit St. Augustine Beach City Manager BRUCE MAX ROYLE and putative CFO MELISSA BURNS produced a budget without detailed budget justifications.  It's time for them to go.

Their mendacity was exacerbated by a coverup -- retaliatory efforts to charge me more than $405 this morning for documents that I requested over the weekend in some 21 Open Records requests -- information that should have been included in their budget (really a wish list, unadorned by accounting codes or Excel spreadsheet).

These two overpaid, unwise, uncouth, unkind, unjust stewards wanted to increase taxes by nearly 9%.

They wanted to charge me hundreds of dollars for documents -- that dog won't hunt.  I told Commissioners about the time when I asked NASA a question in an environmental whistleblower case and NASA wanted to charge me $960,000 to answer it.  I refused.  A USDOL ALJ ordered NASA to answer, sans the sixteen cartons of documents NASA offered to sell me for $960,000.  The answer was NO.  Likewise, the answer to my document requests to the supercilious janisseries in the itty-bitty City was a big "NO" -- their effort shroud their budget "draft" in secrecy to euchre a 9% tax increase failed.

Miserably.  Shot down in flames.

ROYLE and BURNS have no respect for Open Records.

They have no respect for civil rights under our Florida Constitution's Sunshine provision.

They have no respect for working people.

Raising the bar for hardworking homework and due diligence, first year freshman St. Augustine Beach City Commissioner Maggie Kostka prodded for answers.  So did other Commissioners.  Past platitudes and shibboleths about the "great staff work" were never invoked -- the City Manager did not do his job.  Neither did the staff.  Lack of any detailed budget justification is a breach of the standard of care.

St. Augustine Beach City Commissioners waded through the swamp, taking hours to obtain answers that led them to DENY a tax increase.

Not only did they identify some $475,000 in budget cuts, they found in their hearts the ability to provide -- for the first time -- a probable earmark for some $35,000 to $40,000 for youth activities.

But there's more -- throughout the hearing, numerous instances of waste, fraud, abuse, misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance were identified, not to mention flummery, dupery and nincompoopery.

We await answers to questions.

We're going to get answers.

We're going to help make St. Augustine Beach a better place, extirpating corruption and exposing bullies, including the wicked evil developers and unregistered lobbyists who've been getting their way there for far too long -- as demonstrated by the monstrous new too-tall EMBASSY SUITES at the north end of town, too-tall because building official GARY LARSON bought their bogus arguments, misinterpreting the 35 foot height limit engraved in the City Charter in 2014.

There are going to be some changes made.

There's going to be a new way of doing business at St. Augustine Beach.

Yes, we can hold local governments accountable.

Yes we can build trust and build community and take on sacred cows, like economic royalists and entrenched faux-elitist energumen like City Manager BRUCE MAX ROYLE, who is as insipid, insolent and as lugubrious a goober as ever made a chair squeak.

Yes we can!

|We, the People are grateful to all five St. Augustine Beach Commissioners.

I am appalled at the unenlightened, unethical, illogical one-percenters who think they own the City, who supposed they could use their cat's paws impose a tax increase, for no good reason, on a community consisting of more than 26% retirees on fixed incomes, with median income of less than $50,000.   Their proposal was cruelly unfair, as exposed by Commissioner Kostka's devastating exposition of undisputed facts and statistics.  I am in awe.

A political newcomer, Ms. Kostka rode a wave of righteous wrath at the antics of ex-Commissioner ANDREA SAMUELS.  SAMUELS a/k/a "CUPCAKE," as cruel a public official as ever greased a chair, who was not only the recipient of a $500 check from corrupt Sheriff DAVID SHOAR, but was also the beneficiary of an illegal endorsement by SHOAR f/k/a "HOAR" on Sheriff's letterhead, a probable violation of the federal Hatch Act because the Sheriff receives federal funds.  SHOAR's unethical letterhead endorsement is the subject of a complaint to the Office of Special Counsel by citizen Tom Reynolds, who Monday filed to run against SHOAR in 2020.

Among other likely savings, St. Augustine Beach will likely to take back the air-conditioned garage leased to the SAMUELS' controversial St. Augustine Beach Civic Association for $1/year.  Since St. Johns County intends not to renew the lease for the Pier parking lot for the Wednesday Farmer's Market, the building will no longer be needed.  The Farmer's Market will likely move elsewhere, likely under new, more ethical and accountable  management.  Then the building lease, a stench in the nostrils of the City, can be cancelled under the doctrine of impossibility of performance, and for convenience of the government.

At the July 31, 2017 budget meeting, staunch SABCA puppet MAX ROYLE, and Ms. BURNS -- these two inept, overpaid, underworked,  hierarchical authoritarian ninnies, boobies, jackasses and cognitive misers were exposed for the conceptually bankrupt bureaucrats that they are -- certified fools and developer tools. They both stared at me with Jimmy Hoffa hate stares as their poor excuse for staff work -- at  cost of a third of a million per year in salary and benefits alone for these two miscreants --  was undone by five Commissioners, urged on by informed citizen.

Thank you, everyone.

Three cheers!

(More later).

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Fake St. Augustine "Preacher" DOUG RUSSO Endorses Slavery on Facebook

I posted on Facebook a West Wing video where the fictional President Bartlet quotes scripture to a bigoted radio broadcaster. It was in response to anti-LBGT hatred spewed by St. Johns County Republican Executive Committee Chair WILLIAM KORACH, who was defended by local anti-LGBT bigoted "preacher" DOUG RUSSO. DOUG RUSSO just said "Slavery is NOT wrong. Never was and still is not.  People sold their children because of poverty."

Here's fake "preacher" DOUG RUSSO endorsing slavery:
Douglas Russo Edward Adelbert Slavin hollywoods corrupt lessons. Planting crops and materials of different kinds were not punishable. Slavery is NOT wrong. Never was and still is not. People sold their children because of poverty. No free welfare in Israel. The sabbath is now, under the NT, everyday, true Christians have entered a perpetual rest. Hollywood and the queer synagogues of Satan DISTORT the accurate meanings.

DOUG RUSSO has stated in public meetings that he has twelve children. No deeds of record re: sales on St. Johns County Clerk of Courts website.

DOUG RUSSO picketed 2005 Gay Pride Day with hateful signs and he picketed our 2009 Plaza de la Constitucion (Slave Market Square) celebration of President Obama's Inauguration.

On December 10, 2012, St. Augustine City Commission heeded my call, first expressed after Jacksonville rejected it in August 2012, and voted 5-0 to add "sexual orientation" as a protected class to our Fair Housing Ordinance. Whereupon angry "preacher" DOUG RUSSO yelled at our Commissioners "you're fired," and called them all "reprobates." Then-Mayor JOE BOLES replied, "Will somebody please escort that idiot out of the room?"  Whereupon I decided to grant him a plenary indulgence for all his many past sins.

Will St. Augustine PZB Reject Condo Project on Comares Avenue?

Enough flummery, dupery and nincompoopery. BRIAN GREINER's effort to inflict an ugly too-big condo complex on areas recently flooded by Hurricane Ike,  Capt. Lee Geanuleas, U.S.N. (Ret.) wrote on St. Augustine Residents Count, quoting from Clear the Congestion Facebook page:

What do you folks on Davis Shores think?
PZB hears the applicant, Cortez on the Water, Bryan Greiner, developer, for ?? I attended a neighborhood gathering last Tuesday and saw his plans. I'm attachingsome photos. 34 fee simple, townhouses and 34 boatslips located on Comares near Anastasia Blvd. intersection. The 2 car garage is 18x18!! Crazy tight...and they say the driveway accommodates 2 additional cars (small, small cars!). Check out the photo master plan, which shows the development encroaching half onto Comares. Obviously not to scale plan?! Huge palms between driveways? Very narrow entrance road with huge Live Oaks at bend. Think of all the extra vehicles of guests, including to go boating. 7 driveways ON Comares AND the main entrance to the other 27 units, pool, and dock. Inlet Place neighbors managed to successfully lobby them to NOT open the access to "their" road. Please let the PZB hear your concerns BEFORE Tuesday and/or attend the PZB meeting. #toomuchdensity #roadcannothandle#davisshoresnorthisresidential


Ineffectual, maladroit St. Augustine City Manager BRUCE MAX ROYLE doesn't respect you.  He's demanding an 8.7% tax increase for Fiscal Year 2018.   Come speak out at St. Augustine Beach City Hall, Monday, July 31, 2017 at  5 PM.

I've filed some 20 Open Records requests about his fake budget, with incorrect math and no justification for automatic pay raises or large capital equipment purchases.
Incompetent St. Augustine Beach City Manager MAX ROYLE wants a 1.7% raise -- 2,000.  He's not had a performance appraisal since 2014 -- the only performance appraisal he's ever had.  Building Official GARY RAYMOND LARSON has not had one since 2014, either.  Their mistakes cost you money.  

Do you want to reach into your pockets to fork over more money for bad government?

Two debacles -- the Alvin's Alley lawsuit and the Mayor's house at 16 F Street -- no discipline.

No accountability.  No ethics.   No pay raise.  There should be a salary cap.

Working people need raises.

Ineffectual managers need to go.

Thanks to heroic first year freshman St. Augustine Beach City Commissioner Maggie Kostka for going over the budget and asking, questions, demanding answers.  She's run several businesses.  She knows the value of a dollar.  She does math.  Watch her hold City Hall denizens accountable.

Bottom line: No tax increase is desired or required at St. Augustine Beach, where the City Manager stinks on ice.  It's time for him go -- go now, before you're fired, Mr. ROYLE.

Math errors. No detailed budget justifications.  No basis for automatic raises. Unequal pay.  No accounting codes. No Excel spreadsheet.  A locked PDF.  Little or no explanations of anything.


Read this pitiful excuse for a budget here:

Watching MAX ROYLE at budget time is like watching a duck try to make love to a football.

Here's the correspondence that proves it:

-----Original Message-----
From: Ed Slavin
To: braddatz ; jpwilson ; mroyle ; mburns
Sent: Mon, Jul 31, 2017 1:43 pm
Subject: Maladroit St. Augustine Beach City Manager Violates Florida Constitution, Refuses to Provide Budget Information Without Paying Hundreds of Dollars.

Dear Messrs. Royle, Wilson and Ms. Raddatz and Ms. Burns:
1. Those were some 20 separate requests, not one request.2. Do not aggregate them.  Do not charge for what we should get for free.
3. Please provide data by 5:01 PM budget meeting today, July 31, 2017. 
4. No charge for what normal governments include in their budget proposals.
5. Requests are for data that you should have supplied to Commissioners in the budget and which I understand you have supplied to Commissioners today, in part.
6. Your responses are, at best, facetious.  They are beneath the dignity of a free people.  See Article I, Section 24 of our Florida Constitution.
7. You want a HUGE tax increase but refuse to justify it.
8. The increase must be DENIED.
9. Will you kindly agree to mediation by Assistant State Attorney General Patricia Gleason?
10. Will you kindly stop acting like bullies, anti-democratic energumen, filled with anger toward First Amendment protected activity?  Show a little class, folks.
11. In the words of J. Danforth Quayle, "I wear [your] scorn as a badge of honor."
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

-----Original Message-----
From: Beverly Raddatz <>
To: Ed Slavin <>
Cc: Jim Wilson <>; Max Royle <>; Melissa Burns <>
Sent: Mon, Jul 31, 2017 11:23 am
Subject: RE: Request No. 2017-386: SAB FY 2018 budget request for capital expenditures and purchases

Mr. Slavin:
Regarding all your requests for FY 2018 Budget, the total fee for your request would be 10 hours at a staff rate of $40.51 for a total fee of $405.10.  A cost deposit will be required before the City will begin to collect responsive records.  The remaining cost and any additional cost reflecting the actual time and cost incurred may be paid when the records are made available.  If the actual cost is less than your deposit you will be refunded the difference.
Beverly Raddatz, MMC
City Clerk
City of St. Augustine Beach
2200 A1A South
St. Augustine Beach, FL 32080
(904) 471-2122  FAX (904) 471-4108
Confidentiality Notice: This Email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and are intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to which they are addressed. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited, and that you have received this E-Mail and any accompanying files in error. You should notify the City of St. Augustine Beach immediately by replying to this message and deleting them from your system. City of St. Augustine Beach does not accept responsibility for changes to E-Mails that occur after they have been sent.
From: Ed Slavin []
Sent: Sunday, July 30, 2017 12:38 AM
To: Max Royle <>; Jim Wilson <>; Beverly Raddatz <>; Melissa Burns <>
Cc: Comm Kostka <>; Comm O'Brien <>; Comm George <>; Comm England <>; Comm Snodgrass <>; Robert Hardwick <>;
Subject: Request No. 2017-386: SAB FY 2018 budget request for capital expenditures and purchases
Dear Messrs. Royle and Wilson, Ms. Raddatz and Ms. Burns:
Please send factual and legal documentation of the basis for every single one of St. Augustine Beach City Manager Max Royle's FY 2018 Budget request for capital expenditures and purchases.
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

Watching MAX ROYLE at budget time is like watching a duck try to make love to a football.

Watching Maggie Kostka, new Commissioner, ask questions and demand answers is a delight.
Thank you!

CHILD ABUSE?: Republicans Attack Fourteen Year Old Transgender Child Suing St. Johns County Schools

Lambasting "LGBT bullies," St. Johns County Republican Executive Committee Chair WILLIAM KORACH wants you to attack a child.  Yes. The fourteen year old transgender child is suing the St. Johns County School Board.  KORACH says he's doing so at the request of longtime School Board member TOMMY ALLEN, allent@stjohns.k12.fl 

Here's the hate mail from SJCREC, which my late friend and mentor Stetson Kennedy said was now a hotbed of the Ku Klux Klan.

Homophobic hater, bully and misanthrope WILLIAM KORACH may be reached on 904-540-8391 and KORACH's e-mail address is  KORACH lives in Marsh Creek Country Club and drinks lots of martinis with other known Republicans.  KORACH says the child is "confused."  I say KORACH is a bigot, a bully, a cognitive miser and a stench in the nostrils of our Nation.  Pray for him.  Confront his Philistinism.  As my grandmother would say, "he's typical of his type."  As LBJ said after Selma, "We SHALL overcome!"

This is the logo 
LBGT Bullies Sue St Johns Schools to Force Transgender Bathrooms St. Johns County School Board Me... 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Commissioner: St. Augustine residents have tourism ‘fatigue’ (SAR)

Good article on fatigue from tourists and fatigue from First Amendment violations. Enough.

Former City Manager WILLIAM BARRY HARRIS text message 7/9/2017 to Comm'r Rox Horvath

Posted July 25, 2017 12:02 am
Commissioner: St. Augustine residents have tourism ‘fatigue’

While St. Augustine’s visitor and convention bureau is looking to draw more tourists during the city’s slower season, the city’s commissioners said residents are looking for relief.

“I feel like you’re not going to stop … until we’re just jam packed 12 months out of the year,” Commissioner Leanna Freeman said to Richard Goldman, president of the St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and the Beaches Visitor and Convention Bureau.

Goldman came to the City Commission’s Monday meeting to talk about a $210,000 advertising campaign by the VCB, an effort dedicated to drawing more people to the city from Aug. 13 to Sept. 30. The media campaign launched Monday.

Marketed as “Easy Season” in St. Augustine, the bed-tax-funded campaign touts the season as a less-crowded and less-expensive St. Augustine with some special events, such as the celebration of the city’s founding.

The plan is to build more tourism during the season over years, bolstering revenue in a time when hotel occupancy rates slump and businesses tend to struggle, Goldman said.

While those slow times can be a battle for businesses, Freeman said residents tolerate the busy times to get to the slow season. Also the city is still trying to catch up on mobility costs, and drawing more tourists at that time would also coincide with the return of Flagler College students, she said.

“I can’t say that this is very exciting for me,” Freeman said.

“I think what Commissioner Freeman is trying to convey is what we hear from our constituency, which is fatigue, fatigue, fatigue, fatigue,” Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline added.

Sikes-Kline said she’d like to see more product development and less advertising from bed tax dollars. Tourism may be settling down since the city’s 450th anniversary in 2015, but she doesn’t think residents will be upset.

“They might be actually a little relieved,” she said.

Vice Mayor Todd Neville suggested finding ways to help the city pay for the mobility impacts of more tourism from the ad campaign, similar to charging an event for its impact on the city.

Mayor Nancy Shaver said the city’s mobility program will open the door for a mobility fee. Also, funding for shuttles could be possible from St. Johns County Tourist Development Council dollars, she said.

Goldman said businesses contribute through property taxes, but he also said he would look into the possibility of more partnerships.

Sikes-Kline also raised concerns about ads associated with the campaign that focus on alcohol. One ad in Goldman’s presentation featured two glasses of wine and the phrase “Drink in the history.”

“The vision is to embrace a cocktail culture, not a New Orleans … binging,” Goldman said.

In other business

• Most commissioners supported more evenly increasing the city’s fire assessment fee rates over the next few fiscal years, and having a smaller increase in the next fiscal year than had been planned. Meredith Breidenstein, budget director, plans to bring a measure back to the commission with new options and a chance for public comment.

• Police Chief Barry Fox, and Freeman, supported waiting to see what St. Johns County and the Sheriff’s Office decide before making a decision on whether to start a civil citation program for misdemeanor marijuana possession.

• Shaver had two people escorted out of the commission chambers because they spoke from the audience after she asked for order.

During a discussion about city projects, talking could be heard from the back of the room. When Shaver asked for order, west city resident B.J. Kalaidi told her she should tell the city employees to be quiet.

After Shaver hit the gavel in response to the comment, both Kalaidi and local resident Ed Slavin responded from the audience about asking the employees to quiet down.

“I’m going to ask that Mr. Slavin and Ms. Kalaidi leave the room,” Shaver said.

Slavin called the action unconstitutional.

“You can’t stop the truth,” Kalaidi yelled from the back.

Kalaidi spoke toward city employees on her way out: “And you are rude, rude rude.”

After the meeting, Kalaidi stood outside of the commission chambers as people left, holding up a paper that read, “Rude.”


Will Duer · New York University
What happened to all the comments? More censorship?

Tom Reynolds · Public relations at Self-Employed
No Will, it is a privately owned newspaper/online news company. And this is WAY BETTER WILL, I APPLAUD and THANK the St Augustine Record for this VERY GOOD WAY of COMMENTING !

Edward Adelbert Slavin · Bete noir at Community Activist
Will, might be deletion of comments that are not from Facebook verified accounts, under wise new policy preventing anonymice and spam.

Tom Reynolds · Public relations at Self-Employed
Well tourism ‘fatigue’........... OK..... I like it !

“I feel like you’re not going to stop … until we’re just jam packed 12 months out of the year,” Commissioner Leanna Freeman said to Richard Goldman, VCB Pres.....

WOW .......I think some of the Old City Commissioners are STARTING TO LISTEN to the Residents. Or ............................. is this some kind of trick ?

Reminds me of that old question, Can Old Dogs learn NEW TRICKS ?

trick, a cunning or skillful act or scheme intended to deceive or outwit someone....See more
Like · Reply · 1 · 26 July 2017 12:45 · Edited

Dennis Glavin · Corporate Sales at GLE Associates
Wow...$210,000 ad campaign regarding a couple months of supposed "down time"? Yikes!

Will Duer · New York University
The puppet masters conrol....

Tami Lynn Hallo Boshart · Saint Augustine, Florida
Let's start taking care of the people who live here and not worry about more tourist

Edward Adelbert Slavin · Bete noir at Community Activist
A. VERY Good comments about "tourism fatigure," but aren't they from the same four City Commissioners who rotely approve zoning changes for developers?

I hope that these four Commissioners have had an epiphany.

I hope that they have seen the light. I hope that they start asking tough questions and start demanding answers, like Mayor Nancy Shaver always does. It's their job. It's what our Nation's Founders intended in our democratic republic.

I supported Commissioners' unanimous concerns in my opening public comments at Tuesday afternoon's Visitor and Convention Bureau meeting. St. Augustine Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline raised those very same concerns with VCB members, tactfully but persistently. THANK YOU.

Commissioner NSK engaged in a very nice colloquy between the Commissioner and VCB founder and Board member, Ms. Virginia Whetsone, about public drunkennness and rowdy noisome noisiness late at night. This includes intoxicated members of wedding parties disturbing other hotel guests at her properties.

Bottom line: we residents have rights.

Residents have a right to the peaceful quiet enjoyment of "Our Village" (as County Commission Vice Chairman Henry Dean calls the City of St. Augustine Beach). This is not the French Quarter of New Orleans. Every night is not Mardi Gras.

Ideas have consequences. As discussed at VCB, perhaps St. Augustine City Commission should now consider changing the bar closing hour from 2 AM to 1 AM. It was originally changed for the Superbowl, as I recall, and now our small town is stuck with it. Do we want to be a family-oriented place, or do we want to be known for excessive drinking and nighttime carousing?

B. On another note: In ejecting us, Her Honor seemed exhausted by a lengthy agenda, with eleven items where the public was NOT allowed to comment, depriving Commissioners of citizens' experience, wisdom and counsel.

Mayor Shaver said then and there, "I'm sorry." And when I said it was "unconstitutional," she said, "It might be." Watch the video.

Immediately -- on the spot -- after the meeting ended, I forgave our beloved reform Mayor Nancy Shaver for ejecting Ms. Kalaidi and me.

Mayor Nancy Shaver later told a local online publication that the ejection was "regrettable."

I accepted her apology.

In fact, Her Honor and I joked about it, in a conversation with one of our City directors, shortly after the meeting ended. Forgiveness is like a muscle -- if you do not exercise it, it atrophies.

As the article above establishes, I was simply defending the honor of respected local government watchdog Ms. B.J. Kalaidi.

Ms. Kalaidi's reasoned, documented, often-expressed concerns about frequent disruptions are spot on. Too many disruptions by loud, boisterous, conversations between some of the ten highly-paid directors at the back of the room.

Ms. Kalaidi's concerns must be heard and heeded.

Ms. Kalaidi's valid point is that directors must be held to the same "disruption" and "decorum" standards as everyone else.

No exceptions.

No man is above the law.

Our right to criticize government is guaranteed by the First, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments.

As courageous, heroic United States Senator John McCain eloquently said on the Senate Floor on Monday, "Let's trust each other. Let's restore regular order."

It's our town and our time.

Let no one think they can distract us from reform at City Hall.

"Let's trust each other. Let's restore regular order."
Like · Reply · 6 hrs