Wednesday, October 19, 2022

St. Johns County Commissioner Paul Waldron, R.I.P.

Commissioner Paul Waldron was a good and decent man who opposed unjust laws and unjust tax increases, standing up for people against corporations, sometimes in 4-1 votes.  Mr. Waldron rightly opposed greedy developers' schemes like the proposed 15% sales tax increase, which would relieve State Senator TRAVIS JAMES HUTSON and other schemers of some $500 million in impact fees and property taxes over ten years.  Between now and November 8, 2022, vote NO on sales tax increase -- let's win this one for Paul Waldron.

From St. Augustine Record:

St. Johns County Commissioner Paul Waldron dies at 53

Margo C. Pope

St. Johns County Commissioner Paul Waldron, 53, died early Tuesday morning at Flagler Hospital in St. Augustine. Commission Chair Henry Dean announced his death at the beginning of Tuesday’s County Commission meeting. A cause of death was not specified.

For Dean, making the announcement was tough. Waldron and Dean were elected in 2016 and re-elected in 2020.

“I had to take a few deep breaths,” Dean said afterward. “I really became attached to Paul during our six years on the commission.”

Flowers were left at the desk of St. Johns County Commissioner Paul Waldron on Tuesday.

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“He was all about the people,” Dean said. “He was always accessible to the citizens who asked questions or had problems.

‘He was always very concerned about how an action (by the commission) was going to affect families, for example, who lived near a rezoning, or a countywide issue.”

“He spent his entire adult life involved in charitable activities, for example, frying fish for the Shriners, or coaching Little League and girls’ soccer. That was just Paul. I will miss him.”

Waldron represented District 3. Gov. Ron DeSantis will appoint a successor to fill the remaining two years of Waldron’s term, said Dean.

As commissioner, he served on various committees, including the Northeast Florida Regional Council, the Recreation Advisory Board, and the Tourist Development Council.

St. Johns County Commissioner Paul Waldron died early Oct. 18 at Flagler Hospital.

In July 2020, he was hospitalized with COVID-19, according to a social media post by a family member. By Sept. 8, according to a Record article, he participated in a commission meeting via telephone. He returned to in-person participation in October 2020.

County spokesperson Lorena Inclán said he was using a motorized wheelchair and attended commission meetings in person or, by Zoom, the remote video platform, when necessary. He also attended other meetings in connection with his position.

As commissioner, Waldron served on various committees, including the Northeast Florida Regional Council, the Recreation Advisory Board and the Tourist Development Council.

Dean and Waldron first met informally in 1984 when Waldron was a teenager. They both were at a ceremony marking the purchase of the Guan[a] River Preserve from Herb Peyton, CEO of Gate Petroleum.

Paul and Harry Waldron stand together at the St. Johns County government auditorium in 2019.

Dean was the state lawyer who negotiated the purchase for the former Florida Department of Natural Resources. Waldron’s father, then-County Commission Chair Harry Waldron, had advocated for the purchase before the Governor and Cabinet.

St. Johns County Administrator Hunter Conrad commented on Waldron’s legacy in a news release from the county. “Paul was a great man who loved his family, served his community, and lived by faith. His legacy of public service will live on through the lives of everyone he inspired. This community will deeply miss him.”

Ryan Kane, director of parks and recreation, met Waldron about 18 months ago after he was hired. Waldron was the county commission representative on the Recreation Advisory Board.

“He put a high value on all things public recreation, whether Little League fields, boat ramps, parks, beaches, the golf course, Mills Field; the whole package of parks and recreation,” Kane said. “He shared his memories of visiting sites with his father.

2016:Waldron wins District 3 by 7 votes

2020:New county commissioner takes oath

Kane said he last saw him Oct. 12 at a meeting. He will remember Waldron’s “good smiles. He was very vocal about St. Augustine and St. Johns County but still welcoming to new blood coming into the county (positions).” Kane was one of them having been hired in July 2021 coming from director of recreation for Concord, MA.

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