Friday, May 26, 2023


Illegal political patronage violates the First Amendment, as the Supreme Court has held.  Illegal political patronage has been a perennial problem with Commission-appointed boards under one-party rule in corrupt St. Johns County. 

Will our public officials, who swore to uphold our Constitution and laws, declare their intention to be a law-abiding County?  Or does their oath of office mean nothing to some of them?

You tell me.  

No response to May 18, 2023 e-mail to re: improper questions about political registration of citizsens applying for seats on our St. Johns County Library Advisory Board. 

What do you reckon, dear readers? 

On Friday, May 26, 2023, 05:09:11 AM EDT, Ed Slavin <> wrote:

Dear Commissioner Keating-Joseph:
1. I wrote you about this urgent matter on May 18, 2023.  You did not respond.  The County Attorney and County Administrator did not respond. 
2. This is disrespectful, and it may also be deemed an adoptive admission and admission by silence.
3. Please send responsive documents by PDF by close of business today.
4. The Founding Fathers are watching us.
5. Please call me to discuss.
Thank you,
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin
(904) 377-4998

On Thursday, May 18, 2023, 08:48:49 AM EDT, Ed Slavin <> wrote:

Dear St. Johns County Commissioner Keating-Joseph, Messrs. Conrad and Migut, SJC BoCC Chairman Whitehurst, Vice Chair Arnold, and Commissioners Dean and Alaimo, et al.: 

1. I hereby respectfully object to Commissioner Krista Keating-Joseph's misguided illegal, improper, intrusive questions, political interrogation and Inquisition of our County staff about Library Advisory Board applicants' "Democratic" or "Republican" party registration and "conservative" affiliations at the May 16, 2023 St. Johns County Commission meeting.  (Item 7); 

2. Such improper, intrusive, illegal questions have a chilling effect on public participation in our County government.  Such overbearing questions are not only illegal, but they show contempt for democratic values in our republic. These questions are beneath the dignity of a free people -- utterly unAmerican.  Don't ever do it again, Commissioner Joseph.  See O'Hare Truck Service v. City of Northlake, 518 U.S. 712 (1996); Rutan v. Republican Party of Illinois, 497 U.S. 1050 (1990).  Thomas Jefferson helped write the Tennessee Constitution, which since 1796 has stated that "government being instituted for the common benefit, the doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind." 
3. My father was a member of the "Greatest Generation" and he helped defeat the Nazis in WWII, with combat jumps as a paratrooper and non-com with the 82nd ABN DIVN in North Africa, Sicily and Normandy.  My dad taught me, as JFK's dad taught him, that we must stand up to people with power or else they will walk all over you.  

4. Commissioner Joseph, I left you a telephone message yesterday.  You did not respond.  Hence, I have sent you this e-mail, and have shared it.
5. Please don't violate our First, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, ever again.   

6. Please send me today PDFs of all related documents, including any and all political or legal advice about political patronage.  Please include any and all documents on the efficacy or legality of relying on political considerations in making appointments to County boards, including those reflecting lobbying, research or analysis, whether from individuals or groups, including but not limited to the Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries of Florida, Northeast Florida Builders  Council, St. Johns County Republican Executive Committee, Moms for Liberty, Moms for America, Tea Party, Koch Industries, PACs, or political party apparatchiks, or learned law professors, or insurance defense counsel or our own County Attorney's office, e.g., on avoiding further possible First, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendment violations. See O'Hare Truck Service v. City of Northlake, 518 U.S. 712 (1996); Rutan v. Republican Party of Illinois, 497 U.S. 1050 (1990).

7. Please place on a future Commission agenda the question of our County's First Amendment violations.  Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called this the "most lawless" place in America. Former County Commission Chairman Ben Rich, Sr. told Folio Weekly in 2008 that St. Johns County is "one of the last bastions of the KKK."

8. Supreme Court Justice Robert  Houghwot Jackson, later our Nuremberg War Crimes prosecutor, wrote for the Supreme Court in the landmark flag salute case, "If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein." West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943).      

9. Supreme Court Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis wrote that our "government is the potent omnipresent teacher. For good or ill it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy." Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438 (1928)(Brandeis, J., dissenting), dissent heeded and case overruled, Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967). 
10. A former County Commission Chair once even wrote in a St. Augustine Record letter that Commission appointments were still being handed out in a discriminatory manner, favoring Republicans and disdaining appointment of Democrats.  This is Jim Crow law.  This is illegal abuse of County resources for political patronage purposes. Enough.

11.  Such misguided, imprudent, unwise, unconstitutional, political considerations are still apparently in vogue here, blatantly brandished for all to watch. (Item 7). I respectfully dissent.

12. Asking our County staff whether prospective Library Advisory Board members are "Democrats" or "Republican" is indefensible and beneath the dignity of a free people. 

13. Such improper inquiries must be ended at once for all County boards.  Please propose and adopt an appropriate County ordinance. 

14. Faced with St. Johns County's pervasive perennial lawbreaking and violations of free speech rights of employees, board members and citizens, we look to investigations of possible violations of federally protected civil and constitutional rights by our St. Johns County Commission.  See, e.g., Commissioner Keating-Joseph's unseemly public May 16, 2023 questions about the party registration and political beliefs of Library Advisory Board applicants. (Item 7).   

Thank you.   

With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin
(904) 377-4998

From County Commission webpage:

Krista Joseph, District 4

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Commissioner Krista JosephContact

Commissioner Krista Joseph
500 San Sebastian View
St. Augustine, FL 32084
P: (904) 209-0304 
C: (904) 679-2620

Term Expires: 2026
View District Map

Krista Joseph has lived in Florida since 2007 – ten of those years in St. Johns County. Her first job in the public service sector was a governor-appointed position on the Citrus County Hospital Board; she was confirmed by the Senate for a second term and helped turn around a failing hospital while saving millions in taxpayer dollars.

A mother of five, including two U.S. Navy SEALs, Krista is a frequent speaker to local organizations, inspiring others with memories of her son Charlie Keating IV. In 2016, Charlie was killed in a firefight with ISIS. His death made Krista a Gold Star Mom – a distinction no mother wants but which is worn with pride. She continues to be interviewed by Fox and Friends about her son’s sacrifices. Krista is an award-winning author of the Big-Hearted Charlie series of children’s books. Her most notable book is Charlie Don’t Be a Hero, A Mother’s Story of the Extraordinary Life of Her Son, U.S. Navy SEAL Charles Keating IV. 

Krista attended the University of Arizona on a full academic and sports scholarship and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Radio-TV with a minor in marketing. She lettered in running and track eight times. Krista went on to be named high school cross-country Coach of the Year in Arizona. She also coached track in St. Johns County as a volunteer at Ocean Palms Elementary. A lifetime athlete, Krista ran her first marathon at age 12.

Krista lives with her husband Ron, an orthopedic surgeon, and her teenage daughter Ali – an avid swimmer on the Ponte Vedra High School swim team and Planet Swim Team. Ron holds up his end in this family of athletes - he brought home an Olympic bronze medal in figure skating at age 19.

Community Involvement

In addition to the speaking engagements described above, Krista volunteers for the Daughters of the American Revolution and Our Lady Star of the Sea – the church her family attends.

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