Monday, November 20, 2017

Ron Rawls' Asinine Astroturf® Protest at Commencement of Nights of Lights: Bad PR and Bad Sociology

REV. RONALD RAWLS' inauthentic, insincere, illogical, ill-timed, irritating Astroturf® "protest" annoyed but did not inform, and it did not promote healing.

RAWLS' phony protest included out-of-town protesters, some whom sported signs lambasting putative racist "statues."

There are no Confederate "statues" in St. Augustine.  Only memorials to dead veterans.

These chants and signs about "statues" were fungible cookie-cutter items from protests elsewhere.

How many towns have they appeared in? They're inapplicable to the facts of our local Civil War veteran monument here.

This is a road show, right, with funky, fungible intellectual property -- dupey signs and chants with cliches by the carload, shedding more heat than light, unadorned by any community organizing or honest effort to educate (rather than infuriate)?

Vladimir Putin would approve.

Our City Commissioners heard and heeded 106 speakers at the August 28 and October 23, 2017 meetings.  We're keeping our 1870s Civil War veteran monument in the Plaza de la Constitucion. We're going to contextualize it with explanatory panels, after work by a seven person advisory committee.

That wasn't good enough for RAWLS, who issued a famously furious fatuous fatwa threatening our economy.

Enough flummery, dupery and nincompoopery from the man who destroyed most of Echo House and has a demolition permit to destroy the rest of it next year, unless he raises enough funds (having apparently shown no interest or ability in raising funds since 2008).

Does RAWLS have a fetish for destroying historic structures in St. Augustine?

Why did his parishioners tell HARB that God called him to destroy Echo House for parking?

Is that blasphemy?

Does any believer really believe Rev. RAWLS gets orders from God demanding a demolition derby of our history in St. Augustine?

The hubristic notion that the deity would give orders to the "Rev." to tear down Echo House -- an historic 1926 African-American building -- and to tear it down for parking is, at best, cheesy, sleazy and theologically and epistemologically suspect.

It is also rank hearsay, which Lincoln compared to the soup made from the shadow of a pigeon who had starved to death.

Will Rev. RAWLS, et al. kindly use their God-given talents and think before they threaten our economy over Confederate veteran monuments?

Protesting against non-existent "statues" and calling an 1870s Civil War veteran monument "racist" is, at best, facetious. This misdirected activist energy is painful to watch. It reminds me of Al Capp's satirical 1960s cartoons about "Students Wildly Indignant About Nearly Everything" (SWINE).

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter…” -- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Will RAWLS, et al. kindly protest about something meaningful, like police body cameras, Justice for Michelle O'Connell, and other issues of civil rights violations and corruption here in St. Johns County?

Otherwise, is RAWLS a bully and a brat, a self-destructive Elmer Gantry with a big ego, one with a rebarbative reptilian reputation that he now cannot live down -- as a history demolition fetishist with a bad case of foot-in-mouth disease and pointless asinine Astroturf® "protests?"

Nice diversion, Rev. RAWLS. Sheriff SHOAR and his developer buddies appreciate your phony "protest."

Posted November 19, 2017 06:57 am
St. Augustine Record
Holiday cheer, plenty of jeers at Nights of Lights

Even in years a little more lean on controversy, Light-Up! Night in St. Augustine’s Plaza de la Constitucion can already be a confusing mishmash of people, ideas and symbols, and, yes, millions of pretty lights.

Against the backdrop of the start of the city’s signature holiday event, those opposed to the city’s recent decision to keep a Confederate monument, and unsatisfied with the stipulation to add signage for context to the site, marched on the plaza to have their voices heard. But they weren’t the only ones speaking their minds.

The planned nonviolent protest, called “Remove Them Now,” was part of the Rev. Ron Rawls’ push to have two monuments removed ­— one on city property and the other on University of Florida property. Rawls and others have asked the city to remove the monuments saying they symbolize racism and slavery.

Many people have spoken in support of keeping the monuments in place, often making the case for their historical value and insisting they are inoffensive. Others point to memorials to civil rights activists sharing space in the plaza and ask whether they should remain if others have to go.

The city’s monument, on the east side of the plaza, installed in the 1870s by the Ladies Memorial Association, is for local men who died in the service of the Confederate states in the Civil War. A marble plaque on the west face of the monument reads, simply, “Our Dead.” Other marble tablets contain names of the dead and eulogies.

People speaking in defense of the monument say it was not erected as a glorification of the Confederacy but rather as a place for local families, who didn’t get a chance to bury their dead, to mourn. Some relatives still live in the area.

The university’s monument, between Government House and Flagler College, is for Confederate Gen. William Wing Loring and his service in the Civil War and other conflicts.

The monument was installed in 1920 by the Daughters of the Confederacy and bears relief carvings of both the Confederate flag and the American flag. It also refers to Loring as a “distinguished American soldier” whose ability was recognized by three governments. Loring’s ashes are buried on the site, although they’ve been buried elsewhere before, including in New York City, where he died in 1886.

According to a recent report in the Gainesville Sun, UF officials say it won’t be until at least spring that they decide what, if anything, to do about the monument.

Ahead of the actual lighting ceremony to kick off the Nights of Lights, Rawls and hundreds of fellow protesters, black and white, marched toward the plaza from St. Paul AME Church on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue.

As a band playing at Government House was wrapping up a cover of the late Tom Petty’s “Last Dance with Mary Jane,” protesters marched across Andrew Young Crossing with signs reading “White Supremacy and Racism is Destroying AmeriKKKa,” “Love is the Answer,” “Let’s Confront Our Racist History” and others with a lot more to say, often with a Confederate flag with a prohibited sign superimposed over it in the background.

Their chants of “Take them down” were met by chants from some in the crowd of “No one cares,” as well as chants from St. Augustine Tea Party members, Three Percenters and others of “Leave them up.”

Tea Party members gathered around the Confederate War Memorial carried Gadsen flags, depicting the coiled rattlesnake and the words “DONT TREAD ON ME,” as well as signs that read “Save Our City’s Historic Monuments” and “Tea Party Supports Our Veterans.”

As they made their way around the plaza, the “Remove Them Now” protesters rotated between a number of chants including “This is what democracy looks like” and “Sorry about your Christmas lights, but we are in a bigger fight.” Counterprotesters responded with boos and expletives and calls for the protesters to “Go back to work” and “Stop erasing history.”

One man walking against the flow of protesters along King Street kept throwing up his hands and saying “Asinine cause, asinine cause.”

At times, members from both camps yelled “You lost, get over it” to the other side.

Most people, waiting out the unrest on their blankets or in their fold-out chairs, seemed to want no part of it. People described what they were seeing as “crazy” and “ridiculous,” or “just a mess.”

“It’s not even, like, a monument,” one woman said of the Confederate War Memorial. “They’re just trying to drive as much attention to themselves as possible.”

One man started singing a sarcastic rendition of “Holly Jolly Christmas.”

Officers with the St. Augustine Police Department, St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Highway Patrol and St. Johns County Fire Rescue were visibly present, both inside and outside the large clusters of people.

All this time, the All-Star Orchestra, performing under the Gazebo, kept playing holiday songs such as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Feliz Navidad.”

By the time the switch was flipped, it was clear the intended spectacle of the lights and the live oaks and historic buildings they illuminate wasn’t going to take a backseat to anything, at least for the majority of the crowd. The “Take Them Down” chants of protesters were drowned out by calls to “Light the tree.”

The annual Light-Up! Night event draws big crowds, including families with young children, and kicks off the Nights of Lights season and, indeed, the holiday season, in St. Augustine. It’s marketed by officials and business owners alike, for locals and visitors alike.

Rachael Ray Magazine has named the display one of the nation’s “twinkliest.” National Geographic Magazine in 2011 and 2012 named St. Augustine one of the top ten cities worldwide for holiday lighting displays.

Helping Mayor Nancy Shaver throw the switch this year was city event administrator Wanda Bray, who will retire in 2018 after about 15 years, and Michael Lugo, owner and executive chef at Michael’s Tasting Room. Bray was chosen for her efforts in making city events happen and helping the city host dignitaries. Lugo was chosen for helping people in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and for feeding city crews after Hurricane Matthew.

The lights are on nightly until Jan. 31.

Edward Adelbert Slavin · 

1. Thanks to Jake Martin for meaningful, thorough story. We're blessed to live in a country where civil rights and civil liberties are respected and not neglected. Thanks also to Mayor Nancy Shaver, City Manager John Patrick Regan, P.E. and SAPD for keeping the peace.
2. I support preserving and protecting the monuments, with added context, as part of the proposed St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore, first proposed in 1939 by Mayor Walter Fraser and Senator Claude Pepper. Let's tell all of our history, "warts and all," as Lincoln would say.
3. The out-of-town protesters' signs and chants were annoying. For instance, the two monuments are not "statues." Attributing "racist" overtones to memorials to war dead is, at best, facetious. These are not "statues" and our City Commission rightly determined that the 1872/1879 monument to St. Augustine war dead would remain a part of our Plaza de la Constitucion, after hearing 106 public commenters in August and October.
LikeReply16Nov 19, 2017 8:58amEdited
John Barnes
The very root of the gospel is justice. You can't celebrate the birth of Jesus and support a monument that represents the evil of slavery at the same time. Alot of my Christian friends are going to hell
LikeReply11Nov 19, 2017 7:47am
Edward Adelbert Slavin · 

1. Justice? What about mercy? Forgiveness? Healing?
2. No justice and no peace if monument to 40 local residents is removed.
3. Elmer Gantry like demagogues who present monument removal as if were a solution to our Nation's racism and inequality problems are cynical and manipulative. Rawls' rhetoric at "his" church in August showed none of the compassion or soul fire of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Andrew Young. It was a hate rally.
4. Some are driving under the inference, assuming facts not in evidence and tripping the light fantastic about sending people to Hell, e.g., for defending historic monuments. There's a special place in Hell for people like Alabama "Judge" Roy Moore, who use Hell in debate about secular issues. See Article VI of the Constitution, stating that there shall be "no religious test for public office." See the First Amendment. Thomas Jefferson said there should be a "high and impregnable wall" between church and state.
5. Earlier this year, our Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) and our City Commission listened to historic preservationists, following my suggstion to designate the 1880 Victorian home at 32 Grenada Street as a local landmark, preserving it forever and halting a demolition demanded by Louis John Arbizzani. There is a precedent.
6. HARB and City should do the same on these two monuments, declaring them to be local landmarks pursuant to St. Augustine City Code Section 28-87(10), stating inter alia: Sec. 28-87. - Responsibilities.
The members of the historical architectural review board herein created shall have the following responsibilities:
(10) Designate historical landmarks. As utilized herein the term "historical landmark" shall mean a building, object, site, or structure of the highest historical, architectural, cultural, or archaeological importance and whose demolition, removal, relocation, or alteration would constitute an irreplaceable loss to the character and quality of the city. In the event the historic architectural review board desires not to issue a demolition permit for a structure that is not fifty (50) years old, or older, the historic architectural review board shall initiate proceedings for designation of the structure as an historic landmark. In the designation of an historical landmark, the historic architectural review board shall evaluate the subject property using criteria and standards established by the National Register of Historical Places substituting the importance of the resource to the city and state rather than the nation as a whole. No property shall be designated as an historic landmark without first providing the owner of the proposed historic landmark with notice and an opportunity to be heard in the same manner as that provided for a rezoning of property. Any determination of the historic architectural review board shall be subject to appeal by any affected person to the city commission without any fee being charged or levied.
7. What do y'all reckon?
LikeReply1723 hrsEdited
Terri Murphy-London · 

isn't it I the bible don't judge it's he who judges not u the almighty God.. alo t of ur Christian friends are going to hell??? u cant erase history good or bad .. u might want to reread ur post and think who might be judged.. love thy neighbor u know the 10 commandments... oh and god bless you I'm gonna pray for you not judge you !!
LikeReply11Nov 19, 2017 8:36am
Christy Pacetti
You obviously know nothing of the monument or do not care to. It is a monument to the dead who died away from home and buried in mass graves. Families came together to create this to have a place to go, to grieve. You can take you ignorance and judgment, and educate yourself then, ask for God’s forgiveness and perhaps try to be a better Christian. Right now, you simply a hipocritical one!
LikeReply2623 hrs
Linda Bruner · 

Edward Adelbert Slavin if we erase our history, we will not be able to see how far we have come nor know how far we still have to go
LikeReply423 hrs
John Barnes
Christy Pacetti I bet you voted for Trump.
LikeReply21 hrs
KC Farmer · 

Unadulterated bull squeezins.
LikeReply21 hrs
Terri Murphy-London · 

Christy Pacetti awesome words awesome meaning 💜
LikeReply219 hrs
William Russ · 

Christy Pacetti well said!
LikeReply117 hrs
Doug Enochs · 

John Barnes I bet you failed History.
LikeReply113 hrs
Casey EL · 

In Saint Augustine, in a town built on genocide,
built on illegal invasion, built on the the blood, tears, and crushed dreams,
of the beautiful people born by God's hand in this land for the last 2000 years, a people of God , who we now call the Timucua, living here in Peace since the day of the birth of Baby Jesus, these Saints of Saint Augustine had a HUGE birthday commemoration event, attended by tens of thousands of mostly local descendants of the invadors, if not directly descendant by family, but inheritors of the stolen land, and stolen dreams by support of the guns and swords of European invading Kings and Queens, and the continued support of the guns and swords and courts of the United States of America, are ....UPSET... that a small group of men ,women, children, and elders, might be so bold, so brave, so controversial, as to dare walk from a church, led only by a man named Pastor, to seek the restoration of peace , and do this peace seeking in the name of the Baby Jesus....a fine young man known, from his first tiny breath in a manger, until his last shallow breath upon a cross, and still known in songs, as the Prince of Peace, the Prince of Peace the Saints of Saint Augustine proclaim to love and follow and where commemorating?
I will stand for the little guy.
I will stand with the birthday boy.
I will stand with the man of the day, the season, and all seasons.
I will also stand with the Pastor, whose only prayer is that for one day this people of this Unceded Timucua Territory might turn away from the commemoration of genocide, invasion, occupation, imprisonment, and slavery, by Europeans to the Timucua, the Seminole, the Apache, the Comanche, the Cheyenne, the Yamassee, the Arapahoe, the Cado, the Kiowa, and the African.
Like Baby Jesus.
I come to Unceded Timucua Territory in Peace.
It long time due that the Saints be heard in the season of The Prince of Peace.
The time is now.
The day has come.

of the people that are known
by their missions of death
has come to Saint Augustine.
After 450 years, Jesus it's about time.

LikeReply2Nov 19, 2017 8:24am
Susan Lynn
Good grief. Hold on while I roll my pant legs up.
LikeReply20Nov 19, 2017 8:58am
Tammi Wiggins Martin · 

I am a fairly well educated and informed human and while I acknowledge and recognize the passion in your words, I have no idea what you’re saying.
LikeReply1523 hrs
Christy Pacetti
Did anyone actually read this? Too many baby Jesus, thought it was a Ricky Bobby post.
LikeReply1423 hrs
Jason Doane · 

You do realize that EVERY SINGLE civilization and bit of land was , at some time or another, built on blood. All built by invading hordes from other places.
Why is is just the European invasions and conquests that get discussed and demonized?
LikeReply623 hrs
Milena Geist
Jason Doane Excellent point and spot on. Why, you ask. Because Americans are infintely stupid about the world. One can fix ignorance, but the people of this country chose not to do that. It is much easier to ignore all other continents but Europe. The world and its history is too much of a burden. Sadly. If we understood other cultures... what an enlightened people we would be.
LikeReply320 hrsEdited
Turtle Island Liberationow
Christy Pacetti. Thank you
LikeReply120 hrs
Turtle Island Liberationow
Jason Doane. Thank you
LikeReply120 hrs
Turtle Island Liberationow
Susan Lynn thank you
LikeReply120 hrs
Joe Frantz · 

Christy Pacetti Because it is, this individual has no clue about what he talks about. Just someone that wants to make himself relavent.
LikeReply416 hrs
Turtle Island Liberationow
Joe Frantz. Thank you
LikeReply16 hrs
Lorraine Artigas Borum · 

Christi I totally agree. Here is a guy who actually did something to help Puerto Rico who got the honor of flipping the switch for his selfless efforts while the Protesters chanting about racism. Who are the racists here? A picture speaks volumes. Who are the bullies here?
LikeReply414 hrs
Timucua Territory
Lorraine Artigas Borum Thank you
LikeReply13 hrs
AnnMarie Coughlin
This was written by someone who is a legend in his own pitifully small mind. Anybody can look up big
LikeReply113 hrs
Only love can save us now
AnnMarie Coughlin thank you
LikeReply12 hrs
Rose Centamore Edwards
They lighting of the tree crowd was massive. The most I'v seen in years. The cheers and whistles after each song was amazing. Couln't really even hear the protesters. What really got me were the signs calling us racist, while there was a fine black man and black woman in the gazebo singing Christmas songs and getting massive cheers, right along with the white woman. These folks sing at this event every year and do a great job. So take your racist signs and stuff them where the sun don't shine
LikeReply30Nov 19, 2017 8:44am
Bruce Sinclair
I love it that you think racism is not an issue because two of the singers were not white. The protesters were orderly and not aggressive at all. The only obnoxious behavior was from some tea party idiots who are struggling accepting that they have become totally irrelevant. The protestors have the right to push for more dialogue on this topic and to ignore them is a mistake. To push back and tell them to stuff their signs where the sun don’t shine proves their point that ignorant racists are still abound.
LikeReply2123 hrs
Rose Centamore Edwards
Bruce Sinclair Like I said
They lighting of the tree crowd was massive. The most I'v seen in years. The cheers and whistles after each song was amazing. Couln't really even hear the protesters. What really got me were the signs calling us racist, while there was a fine black man and black woman in the gazebo singing Christmas songs and getting massive cheers, right along with the white woman. These folks sing at this event every year and do a great job. So take your racist signs and stuff them where the sun don't shine
LikeReply523 hrs
David Cash
Bruce Sinclair Yes ignorant racists do still exist, however most of them are not the leave the monuments alone group. These are monuments to fallen war dead. There is no racism intended or implied in the context of these monuments. Rawls group is ascribing their cause to something that just isn't there. So where is the racism? In this case it rests with Rawls and his misguided followers.
LikeReply1023 hrs
Milena Geist
David Cash I agree with your last two sentences. Yes, the Confederate Monument is for war dead. That war was the Civil War, which was fought over slavery. The South's economy depended upon it. We must be honest here. No whitewashing. The fact that those memorialized fought in that war, waged for that reason, cannot be swept away. I am for the preservation of the monument. It is part of our history and that must never be tampered with, not by anyone. But let's us be truthful.
LikeReply123 hrs
Milena Geist
Rose Centamore Edwards Better coverage than The St. Augustine Record! Thank you!
LikeReply223 hrs
David Cash
Milena Geist you are falling into the same trap as the protesters. Trying to read racism into a monument where nothing of the kind is intended. Just because these soldiers fought for the confederate States during the civil war, which was about states rights and yes which slavery was apart doesn't automatically make it racist. Soldiers follow orders. They may or may not have agreed with what they were fighting for. But to automatically say monuments to fallen war dead are racist because of the war they died in is disingenuous. They are only symbols to racism if you want to attribute that ideology to them. Something that is not described on the face of these remembrances. But that is the problem with the detractors to deal with alone.
LikeReply122 hrsEdited
Milena Geist
David Cash Not so fast. Nowhere in the post to which you replied did I mention racism. You brought that to the conversation. I stated the monument listed local war dead. That they died in the Civil War. That the war was fought over slavery. Any intrinsic values brought to the monument are inevitable. You do it. I do it. My post is not disingenuous. Racism is not an ideology. To be disingenuous is chaning facts to suit one's interpretation of history. The monument with the names of local war dead should stand. Let it allow mings to open and become a learning tool.
LikeReply220 hrs
Terri Murphy-London · 

Rose Centamore Edwards could not ha e said it better resident of st augustine since 84 seen many ofbtgem
LikeReply120 hrs
Joe Frantz · 

David Cash. Again false narritive to start trouble.
LikeReply16 hrs
Doug Enochs · 

Bruce Sinclair LOL
LikeReply13 hrs
Doug Enochs · 

Milena Geist The Civil War was NOT fought over slavery.
LikeReply13 hrs
David Cash
Joe Frantz no not a false narrative. Responding to a made up narrative about the monument.
LikeReply13 hrs
AnnMarie Coughlin
Bruce Sinclair , the dialogue about the monuments in St. Augustine is over, they will remain.
LikeReply112 hrs
Pam Farnsworth
Milena Geist let us consider adding the Union war dead names to the memorial that died and were from St. Augustine.
LikeReply17 hrs
Edward Adelbert Slavin · 

Pam Farnsworth Yes. And suitable memorials for slaves and for nuns arrested on Governor's orders for teaching African-Americans.
LikeReply47 mins
Milena Geist
Jake Martin wrote a weak story. The lede sentence was gobbledy-gook. I know Martin writes far better than this. Plus, there was no scope of either the nonprotesting crowd, nor the protestors or counter-protestors. I call this a "Chamber of Commerce" news story. Martin could have spoken with local merchants. He didn't. He could have spoken to law enforcement. He didn't. We don't want that news in the paper for potential visitors to see. The SA Record fails as a community newspaper. It is afraid to cover local news. The only thing I unreservedly commend reporter Jake Martin for is not interviewing Rawls.
LikeReply423 hrs
Mindy Nathan-Blaize
the DAC’s purposed was to continue to degrade a race of people and imo confederate statue of a ‘hero’ should be taken away, however i feel differently about the local monument to grieved families of faraway members; albeit fighting for a skewed reason. (shrugging shoulders emoji). 💗
LikeReply222 hrs
David Cash
I assume you are referring to the grave marker of General Loring. He was a local resident and his ashes are buried there. It is a felony to disturb a grave marker. If you were to read the marker you would see that. It also shows that he fought in other wars in addition to the civil war. This grave marker cannot and should not be removed.
LikeReply522 hrs
Mindy Nathan-Blaize
David Cash "The most recent comprehensive study of Confederate statues and monuments across the country was publishedby the Southern Poverty Law Center last year. 'shows huge spikes in construction twice during the 20th century: in the early 1900's, and then again in the 1950's and 60's. Both were times of extreme civil rights tension." ''In the early 1900's states were enacting Jim Crow laws to disenfranchise black Americans. In the middle part of the century, the civil rights movement pushed back against segregation. James Grossman, the executive director of the American Historical Association, says that the increase in statues and monuments was clearly meant to send a message." etc.etc. In addition, as you may have read, in the Record's article, the ashes had once been buried in NY and they Were removed from there.
So we will agree to disagree.
LikeReply421 hrsEdited
David Cash
The man was a hero. He fought in many wars. Escorted settlers across the country. Served in the Florida legislature, etc, etc. He died in New York and his body was temporarily interred there until the family decided to bury him here in St Augustine. Your history of monuments and Jim crow laws is interesting but has no application here. You can't just move a grave without a court order. Even then there has to be a good reason. A families request would be one reason. I seriously doubt a court would entertain a reason as ridiculous as it offends me.
LikeReply114 hrs
Matthew Tenney
Mindy Nathan-BlaizeThe Southern Poverty Law Center study is demonstrably wrong. It plots number of monuments on a time line which indicates a spike exactly in 1911 and a much smaller spike around 1961. These spikes are perfectly correlated to the 50th and 100th anniversary of the start of the Civil War and have nothing to do with Jim Crow or any push back against civil rights. No one who knew anything about the Civil War could have mistaken the data as the SPLC did.
LikeReply113 hrs
Mindy Nathan-Blaize
Matthew Tenney I wholeheartedly disagree with you about this and/but it’s okay.
LikeReply13 hrs
KC Farmer · 

If everyone spent as much time looking for things to be happy about instead of something to be upset about, things would certainly be better, eh? You can't change history. It happened. If you don't want to repeat it, it's not a bad idea to keep reminders around of how it once was. Monuments mean different things to different people. If you don't like one, don't visit the site. The majority of people don't seem to have a problem with this one. The majority rules. Go find you a dictatorship to live under if you don't like it.
LikeReply1021 hrs
Terry Vernon
LikeReply18 hrs
Steve Byrd · 

Interesting how all the articles leave out their “Let’s go treading” slogan. They were looking to start trouble and I am so pleased that our town kept things civil. And plain and simple, Rawls is not a community’s leader. A true community leader would see this night as the two things it is and never would try to put a stain on it. First, it is a celebration of families of all walks of life kicking off the various holiday seasons. Second, it is the kickoff of the season that makes or breaks the small and locally owned businesses in out town. I for one am disappointed that anyone would use this night to get their few minutes of attention. Shame on you all. Blocking access to the pavilion, pushing kids dancing to the music out of the way. This is no time how you get attention and support for any cause, all you did was make us look bad in the eyes of the global tourists that make our town survive thank you to the city and police for keeping things focused on the real reason for the night!
LikeReply1018 hrs
Joe Frantz · 

But that is not Rawls mo, he is for blacks only so hence there is the problem. He is the opposite of the White Surppremancy groups, no different.And that is what he wanted to do, negitive pubicy was he end goal.
LikeReply516 hrs
Edward Adelbert Slavin · 

Rawls' narcissism and lack of common sense and PR is stunning:
1. Sold Echo House roof tiles, despite committment to City and descedent's estate to preserve and restore it.
2. "Won" partial demolition order for Echo House, despite committment to City and estate to preserve and restore it, making materially false and misleading statements. (Full disclosure: I appealed from his demolition permit, won City Commission determination that I had legal standing, and took it to Commission, and lost.)
3. "Won" demolition order for rest, residue and remainder of Echo House (unless he raises funds to fix it, a task he never tried).
4. Spewed uninformed anti-Gay marriage vitriol on YouTube (now private after I called on him to "take it down").
5. Issued fatwa to "take them down" without convening his "300 Concerned Citizens" group, without legal, factual or historic research re: monuments.
6. Only called for taking down monuments AFTER Charlottesville, making clear his overt intention of seeking publicity uber alles.
7. Led a noisy, noisome demonstration November 18, 2017, after City Commissioners agreed with the great majority of residents who wish to preserve our history.

Pray for him.
LikeReply415 hrs
Doug Roddy · 

Great night I only saw the CHEER.
LikeReply113 hrs
Jennifer Nicolosi · 

All monuments around the world are a part of history! It's in the past, what's happened in the past is in the past. This has been such a ridiculous thing that's going on. We can't change history, get over it already! I don't have a racist bone in my body, my niece and nephew are half black and I'm part Mexican. I feel that the people stirring up these protest are more racist and have nothing better to do! I feel so bad for my children and our future generations if these things don't stop! God Bless!
LikeReply211 hrs
Edward Adelbert Slavin · 

1. This is a cookie-cutter "protest," reeking of Astroturf, a phony simulation of a grass roots movement.
2. The "tell" for me Saturday --- the many signs calling for removal of "statues." They're monuments, not statues. How many cities have the protesters visited with the same signage?
3. Dr. King told protesters they could not join him unless they had "love in your heart."
4. But attending Rawls' August hate rally at A.M.E., i heard no love from his lips. Misguided minister misled flock, focusing on ancient monuments and not real live local issues of corruption, discrimination and other civil rights violations. Quite a diversion.
5. Will Rev. Rawls and other local clergy kindly speak out on Justice forMichelle O'Connell? On police body cameras? On corruption?
6. "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. " --- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
LikeReply24 minsEdited

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