Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Auditorium meeting venue? (St. Augustine Report)

I agree with Commissioner John Otha Valdes.  For years, I have suggested the Flagler Auditorium venue, as more and more seats were removed at the whim of successive City Managers who loathe public participation.

In November 2014, I urged City Manager John Patrick Regan, P.E. to book the Flagler College Auditorium for Mayor Nancy Shaver's inauguration, which he refused to do.  He later retaliated for this First Amendment protected activity.  I wear his authoritarian scorn as a badge of honor.

Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline took this photograph from her vantage point at the City Commission table on December 1, 2014: notice 100 people are standing, including our elders and persons with disabilities, because our City Hall staff refused to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act on the historic day of reforms Mayor Nancy Shaver's inauguration by Floridas Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince (front right)(via Facebook).

From former St. Augustine Mayor George R. Gardner's St. Augustine Report.

Auditorium meeting venue?
Commissioner John Valdes took the occasion to discuss a return to live meetings.
“I have no interest in going back to regular meetings and sitting in that (Alcazar) room with the poor circulation,” he said. “I am interested in asking Flagler College if we could use their auditorium. We could easily seat 150 people with proper social distancing.
Mayor Upchurch suggested the county commission auditorium as another option.
Commissioner Roxanne Horvath commented, “These (COVID-19) numbers have to go way down before I’m comfortable with any live meetings,” and Vice Mayor Leanna Freeman said, “I had a 7-hour trial today on zoom, and we’re not scheduled to resume trials in person until next year.
“It’s not just about six feet away; it’s about staff, it’s about staff’s families …”

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