Kudos to our St. Johns County Commissioners for spending four hours on January 25, 2022 listening to staff and then some 67 witnesses -- well-informed citizens who want government to work for us, not developers.
Finally, a Growth Management Workshop at the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners.
This comes after decades of one-party misrule, with its poorly-planned growth in ugly commercial and residential "developments" by foreign-funded shell companies, resulting in clogged roads, clearcutting of trees that are then burned, reckless feckless wildlife killing, wetland-filling and corruption of our political system with money from the likes of TRAVIS HUTSON.
From 1998-2004, devious developers funded The Issues Group, which hand-picked all of our County Commissioners, run by the spouse of Sheriff NEIL PERRY, who directed all St. Johns County elected Democrats to change their party affiliation to Republican in 1989.
All of them (or perhaps all but two of them) stood in line together at the Supervisor of Elections Office, then located in the Casa Monica Hotel -- the reason that I know that is my late friend Alice Everette Compton and her husband Robert were in line, registering to vote, and they were both witnesses to history. (The other two changed party affiliations a year or two later, I later learned.)
On one day in 1989, Sheriff NEIL PERRY contrived a Republican takeover of our government, without the formality of an election.
PERRY endorsed as his successor as Sheriff the oleaginous St. Augustine Police Chief DAVID SHOAR, who legally changed his name from "HOAR" in 1994.
We need more elected Democrats in St. Johns County and a functioning two-party system.
A political machine whose members change party affiliations hesto presto, instanter, on one lawman's ukase, is worthy of judicial and journalistic scrutiny -- like Mayor Richard J. Daley's Chicago writ small, with Southern accents and traditions.
We need a County Commission with seven members, five from single-member districts and two at large as we had until 1998, when Commissioners violated the 15th Amendment to redistrict, without a new Census, or study, or any reason other than wanting to keep an African-American Commissioner from bering elected. That decision means all County Commissioners now run county-wide, allowing moneybags to elect our leaders by poisoning campaigns with dark money from developers.
With seven Commissioners, we can have a working committee system, and allow issues to be developed maturely.
We need a County Charter -- not the defective-by-design "starter charter" voters twice rejected in 2008.
In the words of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, "three generations of imbeciles is enough.
St. Johns County commission chair considering referendum for sales tax increase-
Announcement came ahead of passionate public commentary during commission workshop addressing county’s rapid growth Ashley Harding, Reporter Joe McLean, Reporter Published: January 25, 2022, 1:22 PMUpdated: January 25, 2022, 6:26 PM ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners could consider a referendum for a sales tax increase from 6.5 cents to 7.5 cents, commission Chair Henry Dean said Tuesday. Dean made the announcement on “The Morning Show,” saying he had thought about that option but had not talked about it publicly or discussed it with the commission. “We can put on the ballot a referendum where the voters can vote up or down — yes or no — on an increase in the sales tax,” Dean said. The disclosure came ahead of a commission workshop Tuesday morning addressing the county’s rapid growth. St. Johns County resident Steve Lacy said that may be the only option. “Nobody wants to pay more taxes, but frankly I don’t know how we’re going to be able to afford it,” Lacy said. According to the 2020 census, between 2010 and 2020, St. Johns County grew by nearly 44%. It is one of the fastest-growing counties in the U.S. and the second-fastest growing county in Florida. As Tuesday’s presentation from the commission got underway, commissioners reiterated the growth in the number of people and approved developments. But one of the biggest takeaways from the presentation was that there are 13 deficient county roads in St. Johns County — which would cost the county around $155 million to fix. Dozens of St. Johns County residents spoke out during public commentary, saying there are a number of reasons why growth needs to slow down. “Perhaps the vast majority of St. Johns County residents don’t want to see a lot more development, especially at the rapidity we have seen,” said one woman, followed by a round of applause. Several people talked about the increase in traffic, there not being enough parks and also how they said the development has an impact on their quality of life. “I urge you to resolve existing infrastructure problems, especially the traffic, before they give further development,” said St. Johns County resident Doris Taylor. St. Johns County resident Mark Genezier said: “Traffic is everywhere. It’s really changed the complexion of our community.” Genezier and his wife protested outside the County Auditorium building. As veterinarians, they said the tree removal to make way for development is harming animals. We’ve seen the trajectory of what development does both to the local wildlife and we’ve seen what it does to the surroundings,” Genezier said. “If you drive down some of those roads in the county, what used to be forests and woods are now clear cut where they just come in and everything on the property is taken to the ground.” Speakers inside the auditorium also called for the commission to protect the county’s green spaces. “Please don’t underestimate how urgently your constituents want to see you slow down our county’s growth,” said one St. Johns County resident who spoke. “We see rural and agricultural land being converted to residential and commercial at an alarming rate.” Another growth problem is the pace at which the county is hiring new employees and keeping them. A fast-growing county also needs fast-growing law enforcement, transportation, schools, health services, infrastructure and other services. Several of the speakers placed the blame for the backlog of growth management on the county’s commissioners, accusing the leaders of recklessly green-lighting development projects without keeping pace with all that growth. I encourage St. Johns County Growth Management to become proactive rather than reactive. I also encourage this department to work holistically with other departments so that a common vision for the county converges,” said Carol Anderson, with North Beach Community Alliance. It also came out at the workshop that the commission has already approved more development. Last year, the county approved permits for 820 single-family homes. That’s said to be a record for the building department’s whole history, and the county keeps growing. In December, the Silverleaf community was approved for an expansion that would add 2,394 acres and up to 5,600 more housing units. There’s also Grand Cypress, a development going up on the bestbet gambling spot. Commissioner Ray Blocker also said during the workshop that the county should consider restructuring the commission itself, expanding the five-member panel to better fit a growing county. A couple of St. Johns County residents also pointed out that the surrounding six counties are also seeing significant growth — it’s just that St. Johns County was growing the fastest. They said figuring out a solution only in St. Johns County won’t solve anything and called for the commissioners to work with the leaders in those other counties on a bigger-picture strategy for growth management. No decisions were made by the commission on Tuesday.
From Historic City News: