Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Temporary Extension, $500/week charge for St. Augustine Beach Civic Association, Inc. Farmer's Market -- Was Righteous Vote Violative of Due Process?

Exciting news -- accountability is finally winning the day. St. Johns County Commissioners voted December 19th a $500/week charge for the St. Augustine Beach Farmer's Market, granting only a two-month extension of the expiring no-bid no-cost lease by the St. Augustine Beach Civic Association, Inc.  The vote was after a 47 minute discussion.  "I think this is going to shock the hell out of them," said Commissioner JAY MORRIS (R-4th District/RPM International).

Thanks to our St. Johns County Commissioners for doing their jobs without fear or favor, to SABCA, for drawing a line in the sand on accountability, and finally charging fees to use the entire Pier Parking lot for weekly farmers' markets.

Watch item 14 (additional item 2) here:

Secretive SABCA has been extravagantly subsidized by both St. Johns County and the City of St. Augustine.   For the farmer's market, SABCA pays no rent, benefitting from some $50,000/year county subsidy, according to County Administrator MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK, who later tried to crawdad away from his numbers when Commissioners discussed fees.

SABCA supports developers and their politicians, and is a de facto political action committee, an IRS 501c4 "non-profit" whose leaders hate accountability, tried to ban First Amendment protected activity (and arrest Bill Rosenstock) and insult open records requesters in public meetings.

Sheriff DAVID SHOAR's Civil Process Supervisor, SABCA President WILLIAM JONES was not present for the vote, on an item addressed by SABCA members in general public comment.

The vote was not advertised and no public comment was invited.

Thus, the otherwise righteous vote may have violated F.S. 286.0144

IF the St. Augustine Beach Civic Association, Inc. sues, it won't overturn the vote, but it will earn attorney fees. It's time our local governments complied with F.S. 286.0144, no matter whose ox is being gored.

Thus, County Commissioners almost got this one right, but need better legal advice from maladroit County Attorney PATRICK FRANCIS McCORMACK.

What do you reckon?

Of course, flagrant lawbreaker SABCA's "unclean hands" could be raised as a defense, so perhaps SABCA will not choose to sue, effectively leading with its chin. SABCA's ANDREA SAMUELS, disgraced ex-Mayor of St. Augustine Beach, was profiled on this blog last year, before she lost to newcomer Maggie Kostka. Here's what I wrote last year.

Left to right: SABCA President WILLIAM JONES, Commissioner ANDREA SAMUELS, et ux, SABCA VP ROBERT SAMUELS, tedious tendentious serial First Amendment violators.

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