Monday, January 23, 2023

Request for HUD Civil Rights Investigation of St. Johns County, Florida; Proposed Public Housing Authority (PHA)

Today, January 23, 2023, I reported St. Johns County to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and to the U.S. Department of Justice, requesting a civil rights investigation. 

 I also wrote and asked all five of our five County Commissioners to reconsider their 3-2 vote January 17, 2023 against exploring creation of a Public Housing Authority.  Commissioners would benefit from better staff work, better data and more research. 

Considerthe experience of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a tourist economy, where people are moving because of high housing costs.

See below.
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin
(904) 377-4998

St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners


On Monday, January 23, 2023, 10:05:26 AM EST, Ed Slavin <> wrote:

Dear St. Johns County Commissioners Whitehurst, Joseph, Alaimo, Dean and Arnold:
1. Our late U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy said, "government belongs wherever evil needs an adversary or wherever there are people in distress who cannot help themselves." 
2. St. Johns County's documented affordable housing shortage is a crisis. It places large numbers of workers and retirees at risk of homelessness or forced moves to other counties. Our County must help these "people in distress who cannot help themselves," as RFK would say,  
3. Sadly, our County government still appears to be largely run for the benefit of campaign contributor-developers.  
4. Don't let their undue influence make you insouciant or insensitive (or both) about helping residents with persistent structural-functional problems caused by our County's Growth Management Division and the Ruling Class's prejudice against affordable housing.
5. Please act with wisdom, dignity and maturity, from this day forward.  
6. Enough pejoratives and shibboleths, as some expressed on January 17, 2023 -- some of those remarks were not constructive, not scholarly, and were ill-informed, hurtful, unkind, or unAmerican.   Enough.
7. Our County government's decisionmaking process must now reflect our American values, as enshrined in the Fair Housing Act of 1968, as amended in 1988. 
8. Will you kindly reconsider your 3-2 vote against exploring creation of a Public Housing Authority?  Please feel free to call me to discuss today.
9. SJC BoCC's 3-2 vote six (6) days ago was contaminated by improper, hurtful, emotional and unenlightened remarks by Chairman Christian Whitehurst.  Please see my January 23, 2023 request for a HUD and HUD OIG investigation of St. Johns County, below.
10. Please open your hearts and souls to help bring healing to the people hurt by the affordable housing crisis. 
11. Please vote to reconsider your January 17, 2023 vote.  
12. I look forward to discussing the details of PHA formation with you, including creation of procedural safeguards to extirpate corruption and developer influence and control.  
13. As Justice Felix Frankfurter said, "The history of liberty has largely been the history of observance of procedural safeguards." McNabb v. United States, 318 U.S. 332 (1943).  
14. Thoughtful, careful legislative drafting must help assure the St. Johns County PHA's honesty and integrity. A PHA must have a fairly balanced membership. It must be free of secrecy and developer domination and control. The PHA and its members must not be cat's paws for ethically-challenged developers (whom former County Commission Chair Ben Rich, Sr. once called "worse than any carpetbagger").
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin
(904) 377-4998

On Monday, January 23, 2023, 09:28:46 AM EST, Ed Slavin <> wrote:

Honorable Marcia Fudge
Secretary, U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development

Honorable Rae Oliver Davis, 
HUD Inspector General

Honorable Demetria L. McCain, 
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary 
HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
451 7th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20410

Request for HUD Civil Rights Investigation of St. Johns County, Florida 

Dear Ms. McCain, Secretary Fudge and Inspector General Davis:

  1. On January 17, 2023, our St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners voted 3-2 against starting a Public Housing Authority (PHA) here in Florida's fastest-growing County, one of only three (3) Florida counties without a PHA.  The vote is contaminated by bigoted remarks by the Commission Chair.  Please investigate.    
  2. The Chairman of the St. Johns County Commission, Mr. CHRISTIAN WHITEHURST, stated he did not want to help "the kind of people" who had HUD Section 8 vouchers. See County Commission video at (Item 9); see also Travis Gibson, "St. Johns County commissioner votes down public housing authority proposal, says it could change character of county," Commissioners voted 3-2 against moving forward with the creating of a public housing authority, WJXT, News4Jax (January 19, 2023), , and
  3. Chairman WHITEHURST's revealing remark is a confession.  It evidences prohibited discrimination on the basis of race and national origin. Some 65% of voucher holders are Black or Hispanic, compared to 40% of all renters.
  4. Courts in discrimination cases look at effects and not intent because "clever men can hide their motivation."  United States v. City of Black Jack, Missouri, 508 F.2d 1179 (8th Cir. 1974).  
  5. Here, the Chairman of St. Johns County Commission was not "clever" at all -- he confessed to his motivation. 
  6. St. Johns County was described by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as the "most lawless" place in America, a place where KKK openly and notoriously ran our governments and law enforcement, requiring remedies from federal courts.  
  7. In 2008, the then-Chairman of the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners Ben Rich, Sr., candidly told Folio Weekly that St. Johns County was "one of the last bastions of the KKK."
  8. Chairman WHITEHURST's open, notorious, overtly racist remarks contaminated the vote on January 17, 2023. 
  9. Just like the perjury that "tainted" the evidence and "polluted" the reservoir of justice in Mesarosh v. United States, 352 U.S. 1 (1956), our St. Johns County Commission's deliberations on a Public Housing Authority were totally "tainted," "polluted," and "contaminated" by Chairman WHITEHURST's racist remarks. 
  10. Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote for the unanimous Supreme Court in reversing a decision wrought by perjury, Mesarosh v. United States, 352 U.S. 1, 14 (1956),  perjury "poisoned the water in the reservoir." Americans expect "to see that the waters of justice are not polluted. Pollution having taken place here, the condition should be remedied at the earliest opportunity. " Id.
  11. Please investigate the outrageous, intentional and invidious refusal of St. Johns County Commissioners to proceed with work on a Public Housing Authority in the midst of an affordable housing crisis.  
  12. Please commence a civil, criminal and administrative investigation, and a compliance audit, pursuant to the 1871 Civil Rights Act (Ku Klux Klan Act), the Fair Housing Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Inspector General Act. Please refer this complaint to the HUD Inspector General, Ms. Davis.  

Thank you for all that you do.

With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin
Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3084
(904) 377-4998
c:  Honorable Kristen Clarke, 
Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights,   


Anonymous said...

I agree completely. We need a PublicHousing Authority. We need to demand that housing prices and rent come down so people can afford other essential living expenses. Prior to Covid-19 and President Biden. Prices were stable, and there was NO need to raise prices so high, so quickly.

Anonymous said...

Prices were low prior to COVID and Biden. This was the time to do something. Increase interest rates, raise taxes, and other contractionary fiscal policy. Trump did none of this so the economy overheated and inflation happened. Inflation doesn't happen just because one man gets out of a chair and another man sits down. These problems develop over time and they need to be avoided as opposed to just waiting for them to happen and cleaning up the mess later. Regarding housing prices and rent, Florida law forbids rent controls thanks to Republicans. Meanwhile the governor thinks that people moving here and driving up housing prices is a good thing. The Republicans attitude is that if you can't afford things then that's your own fault. You should have done better in life. As Kat Cammack put it, "Equal opportunity but not equal outcomes." If you have a problem affording housing, take it up with the federal government. Red State Republicans can't help you. If you're rich, they can help you save money on your taxes.