Tax funds are being spent to plump for a tax increase.
This is so wrong.
We have a Right to Know.
It's our money.
The beneficiary of a 15% sales tax increase is State Senator TRAVIS JAMES HUTSON, Chair of the Florida Senate Regulatory Industries Committees, his HUTSON COMPANIES, other developers and their commercial allies.
St. Johns County Commission is spending your money on an "educational campaign" aimed at influencing the outcome of the General Election vote. Their vote to do so did not allow or seek any public comment. Wonder why?
Just say NO to corruption, flummery, dupery, nincompoopery, misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance, waste, fraud, abuse, secrecy, retaliation, and regulatory capture by Big Business.
Here's my Request No. 2022-171:
From: Betty Dixon <email@example.com>
To: 'Ed Slavin' <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wed, Oct 19, 2022 1:34 pm
Subject: RE: Request No. 2022-174: SUNSHINE VIOLATION: St. Johns County Commissioners Violated F.S. 286.0114 -- no public comment
Dear Mr. Slavin,
We are in receipt of your public records request. St. Johns County will determine if it has any records that are responsive to your request. If any such records are located, we will compile them and redact any exempt material prior to providing them to you. Per St. Johns County Administrative Code 104.6, the County may request a deposit for costs if an extensive records search takes more than fifteen (15) minutes to locate, review for exempt information, copy (if requested), and re-file the requested material. Should it be determined that the nature or volume of the public records requested requires the extensive use of information technology resources, or extensive clerical or supervisory assistance, or both, then we will first respond with an estimate of the additional charges for the actual costs incurred, and whether a deposit will be required. In such instance, the records will be compiled only after you approve the charges and the County receives any required deposit. Payment for the total or remaining costs can be made when the records are available. If the actual cost is less than your deposit, you will be refunded the balance. If you fail to provide the cost deposit within thirty (30) days, your request will be closed.
Legal Services Specialist
Office of County Attorney
500 San Sebastian View
St. Augustine, FL. 32084
This electronic transmission and any documents accompanying it contains information intended solely for the individual or entity to which it is addressed, and may include confidential information. This information will be made available to the public upon request (Florida Statute 119.01) unless the information is exempted according to Florida law. Unauthorized disclosure of confidential information contained herein is prohibited by Federal Regulations (42 CFR Section 481.101), HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley and State law. If you are not the intended recipient of this message or a person responsible for delivering it to the addressee, you are hereby notified that you must not disseminate, copy, use, distribute, publish or take any action in connection therewith. Unauthorized disclosure of confidential information is subject to prosecution and may result in a fine or imprisonment. If you do not want your email address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing. If you have received this communication in error, do not distribute it. Please notify the sender immediately by electronic mail and delete this message. Thank you.
Dear Inspector General Arissaa, Messrs. Hutson, Metcalf, Robison, Migut, Dunn, Whitehurst, Blocker, Dean, Conrad, Delaney, Fiorentino, Weilhammer, Shorstein, Larizza, Ms. Gleason, Ms. Arnold, Ms. Avery-Smith Ms. Dixon, et al:
1. Would you please be so kind as to send me every single one of the documents on Hutson Companies and other developers', contractors' and commercial allies' support, and elected official and County staff support, for the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners' putative "educational campaign" supporting a 15% sales tax increase on St. Johns County 2022 General Election ballot, a/k/a "penny plan?"
2. Please send me all opinion polls, "push polls," memos, drafts, advertising copy, memos, etc. including records on consultation with developers, contractors, PR firms, lobbyists, advertising agencies, and funders on how to "message" the people of St. Johns County to support their "penny plan."
3. Please send me all time and expense records for County Commissioner and employee time spent on this "penny plan."
4. Please send me all documents on any legal research on Sunshine law, including the law of public comment, and St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners' apparent October 18, 2022 violation of F.S. 286.0144, denying public comment on Commissioner Sarah Arnold's motion to use public funds and public employees for an "educational campaign" aimed at influencing the 2022 General Election vote. Please see e-mail below.
5. Please send me all documents on differing County Attorney and other staff views on this use of public funds for this purpose and any documents on commencement of any civil, criminal or administrative investigations of County officials for their possible fraud, waste or misuse of the time of our public employees and public funds.
6. Please respond to my earlier e-mail (below).
7. Please feel free to call me if you have any questions or comments about this request.
With kindest regards, I am,
From: Ed Slavin <email@example.com>
To: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
Sent: Wed, Oct 19, 2022 5:05 am
Subject: SUNSHINE VIOLATION: St. Johns County Commissioners Violated F.S. 286.0114 -- no public comment allowed 10/18/2022 on putative "educational campaign" on proposed 15% SALES TAX INCREASE
Dear St. Johns County Commission Chairman Henry Dean, Commissioners Sarah Arnold, Jeremiah Blocker and Christian Whitehurst, and Messrs. David Migut and Hunter Conrad (County Attorney and County Administrator):
1. In the inculpatory St. Johns County Commission Government TV (GTV) video (at link below), one hears no request for public comment before four (4) St. Johns County Commissioners all agreed October 18, 2022 to a putative "educational campaign" with "Town Halls" in the "next ten days."
https://stjohnscountyfl.new.swagit.com/videos/1867665 (4:15:47 --- Four St. Johns County Commissioners discuss purported need for better communications about proposed sales tax increase, trashing unnamed "bad actors" distributing false or inaccurate information or "misinformation" or "falsehoods or deceit" on "social media." Without public comment, Commissioners decided in light of change in election law in "last year" to direct staff to plan one or two "Town Halls" in next ten days as part of what County Administrator HUNTER SINCLAIR CONRAD revealingly called an "educational campaign.")
2. This denial of public comment violated F.S. 286.0114. See also, Florida Attorney General's Florida Government-in-the-Sunshine Manual (2022) at 55. http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/wf/mnos-b9qq79/$file/sunshinemanual.pdf
3. This videotaped F.S. 286.0114 Sunshine violation contaminates the "consensus" motion approved without allowing the public to be heard. Commission voted to put the proposed 15% sales tax increase on the ballot seven (7) months and five (5) days ago -- some 219 days ago (or 31 weeks and two days ago). There was no urgency requiring some inchoate "educational campaign" be authorized 218 days after the item was placed on the ballot. The motion was adopted at the eleventh hour, with no public comment and no public participation. There was a sign in my mother's office stating, "Poor planning on your part does not create an emergency on my part." St. Johns County's execrable, pitifully poor planning is once again on display, in sharp repose. Our County Attorney, David Migut, ordinarily speaks up and advises Commissioners on public comment rights if Commissioners are about to act without public. comment. But on this occasion, Mr. Migut was silent. Why? Compare, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "Silver Blaze" in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1892)(the dog who did not bark.)
4. Precisely what change in election law "in the past year" were Messrs. Migut and Conrad talking about? Please provide citation today.
5. In the future, please be more detailed and precise in discussing legal issues. It's our money.
6. We have a Right to Know.
7. Kindly cease and desist from any spending or any staff action, including any use of contractors or subcontractors, in response to County Commissioner Sarah Arnold's motion adopted without public comment. Please place this violation of F.S. 286.0114 -- and violations of our Commission procedures and customs, of the reasonable expectation of probity from our government, and professional courtesy -- on the agenda of our next BoCC meeting. Then public comment can be heard, on November 1, 2022.
8. The late Commissioner Paul Waldron opposed the 15% sales tax increase and he opposed placing it on the ballot. Me too.
9. Commissioner Waldron was right and y'all are wrong. https://cleanupcityofstaugustine.blogspot.com/2022/10/oppose-developers-penny-plan-aka-rape.html
10. Commissioner Paul Waldron's tragic death on Monday night, October 17, 2022 leaves a large gap in our County Commission and apparently an ethics and compliance deficit as well. It dishonors his memory to deny public comment and rush to mount an "educational campaign" on the tax increase that he opposed.
11. Voters planning on voting against the sales tax increase are voting against it based upon facts and law -- your mocking them is a stench in the nostrils of our Nation, accompanied by an irrefragable violation of F.S. 286.0114 -- no public comment sought or allowed.
12. Enough flummery from developer-funded endorsers of a 15% sales tax increase, which would relieve developers like State Senator TRAVIS J. HUTSON (R-HUTSON COMPANIES) of some half billion dollars in impact fees and property taxes. With a half million dollars in Dark Money, "A Peny Plan for St. Johns County is like a Trojan Horse. HUTSON and his entourage must answer questions about their campaign. Now. https://cleanupcityofstaugustine.blogspot.com/2022/10/twelve-questions-for-state-senator.html
13. As the late U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said it best, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." He also said "secrecy is for losers -- for people who don't appreciate the value of the information."
14. Our St. Johns County Commission's F.S. 286.0114 Sunshine violation of October 18, 2022 -- denying public comment on their misguided tax increase "educational campaign" -- exemplifies why the good people of St. Johns County don't trust our County Commission, which has refused since March 15, 2022 (the date of the tax increase vote) to consider any of my 25 proposals for government reform. Meanwhile, some snooty cynical snollygosters defame or insult unnamed dissenters with crude pejoratives, while plotting to mount a last-ditch "educational campaign" to indoctrinate and euchre (or "educate") citizens to vote to raise our sales taxes by 15%. https://cleanupcityofstaugustine.blogspot.com/2022/03/county-commission-voted-4-1-today-to.html
15. Senator Robert Francis Kennedy said, "It is not enough to allow dissent, we must demand it, for there is much to dissent from." As RFK told his Justice Department staff, "Don't tell me what I should have done, tell me what I should do now." Please cease and desist from all further lawbreaking. Now.