Monday, August 10, 2020

Plaintiffs appeal judge's order on 1879 Confederate Monument; mediation suggested by Court of Appeals

Plaintiffs Jill Pacetti, the St. Johns County Veterans Council, and the St. Johns County Chapter of the Military Officers association filed a timely August 7, 2020 Notice of Appeal to the Fifth District Court of Appeals of the Circuit Court's July 31, 2020 order finding they lacked legal standing to challenge the City of St. Augustine's decision to remove the 1879 Ladies Memorial Assn. monument to 44 war dead from the Civil War.  Mostly Minorcans, St. Augustine's Confederate war dead were descended from slaves-by-contract (indentured servants), half of whom died at the New Smyrna indigo plantations of rapacious Scottish colonist Dr. William Turnbell, M.D. 

Plaintiffs Jill Pacetti, St. Johns County Veterans Council and the local chapter of MOAA seek a stay of the order, pending appeal.  

On August 10, 2020, the Fifth DCA suggested the case is suitable for mediation.  

I agree.  

I love the suggestion of Dr. Sandra Parks, Ph.D. that the monument be altered to add the names of St. Augustine's African-American veterans of the Civil War. 

In the immortal words of Burke Marshall ,RFK's Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall catch hell from both sides."

I reckon I've always been a peacemaker, and often "caught hell from both sides."

Meanwhile, without any discussion of the legal issues raised in the appeal, stay and the City of St. Augustine City Commission voted 3-2 to authorize removal of the monument, without resolving the substantial issues raised by Commissioner John Otha Valdes, a third-generation Florida contractor who has worked on some 150 local historic structures.  Based on the age of the masonry and coquina, will the monument fall apart if moved?

We need scientific evidence, not dogma.

We need dialogue, not dictatorship.

We need healing, not heels.

We need government attorneys with intellectual integrity, and not mendacious mediocrities without principles, who merely "count to three" to keep their jobs.

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