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Preview: Clean Up City of St. Augustine, Florida

Clean Up City of St. Augustine, Florida

In secret, behind locked gates, our Nation's Oldest City dumped a landfill in a lake (Old City Reservoir), while emitting sewage in our rivers and salt marsh. Organized citizens exposed and defeated pollution, racism and cronyism. We elected a new Mayor.

Last Build Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2018 14:46:37 +0000


Florida Ex-Rep JOHN LUIGI MICA STRIKES AGAIN: "Want airline food? Take Amtrak" (Railway Age Magazine)

Wed, 25 Apr 2018 12:45:00 +0000

Railway Age Editor-in-Chief exposes end of dining cars on two long-distance trains, the result of disgraced ex-Congressman JOHN LUIGI MICA (R-FL6/Big Oil ) campaign of intimidation and harassment aimed at AMTRAK. MICA bungled Congressional representation of St. Augustine and St. Johns County from 2003-2013.  He is noted for an ultimately unsuccessful $10 million proposal for ugly inappropriate Castillo de San Marco National Monument Visitor Center (we still don't have one).   (City deeded land for it, but got it back, thanks to the "right of reverter" that I suggested be added at the time.)-------------From Railway Age:April 19, 2018  C&S, Class I, Freight, Intercity, Passenger, PTC, RegulatoryWant airline food? Take AmtrakWritten by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-ChiefGoodbye to all this?Ex-Florida Congressman John Luigi Mica, a foodie who spent a considerable amount of time when he was Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee questioning Amtrak’s food service costs, must be very pleased with Amtrak’s announcement that it’s getting rid of dining cars on two long-distance trains.Yes, you heard me right, and I believe it’s part of a plan to dismantle the National Network—shutting down most, if not all, long-distance trains, to focus on the Northeast Corridor, Midwest (Chicago) and California short- and medium-distance services, and state-supported trains. More on that later.This morning (April 19), I received a press release with the following headline:New and Contemporary Dining Soon on Two Amtrak Routes. Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited sleeping car customers to be offered fresh choices for meals this summer.Right away, I smelled corporate-speak rotten fish. Read on:“Amtrak will offer contemporary and fresh dining choices for sleeping car customers, instead of traditional dining car service, embarking aboard its Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited trains starting June 1. Sleeping car customers will choose meals delivered to their Bedrooms or Roomettes—or eaten in a private café or lounge car—and entrees such as:“• Lunch & Dinner: Chilled beef tenderloin, Vegan wrap, Chicken Caesar salad, or Turkey club sandwich.“• Breakfast: Assorted breakfast breads with butter, cream cheese and strawberry jam; Greek yogurt and sliced seasonal fresh fruit plate.“These meals will continue to be included in the sleeping car fare and are delivered to the trains just prior to origination, eliminating on-board preparation. Customers will also be offered unlimited soft beverages, a complimentary serving of beer, wine or a mixed-drink and an amenity kit (what’s that?). A Kosher meal continues to be available with advance notice.“‘Our plan is to provide new and fresh food choices in a contemporary way for these overnight trains,” said Bob Dorsch, Vice President of the Amtrak Long Distance Service Line. ‘Our continued success depends on increasing customer satisfaction while becoming more efficient.’“Dorsch said this enhancement ‘will continue to be refined, and we look forward to hearing from our customers.’”Gag me with a plastic spoon! Why don’t you just come out and say it: “Amtrak is getting rid of dining cars.” No BS. No dancing around the issue. Tell it straight up. It’s what’s happening, right?Anybody want to eat in a roomette?No thanks, not me. I’m not entirely antisocial.And is what’s best described as vending machines on rails going to cost passengers any less? Of course not! Less service for the same (or more) money—just like airlines. “Contemporary and fresh dining choices”? Gag me with a plastic spoon!Am I right? You tell me, President and CEO Richard Anderson, the former Delta Airlines chief executive. (By the way, Delta, I’m told, is a pretty good airline, thanks to you. I’m a regular United customer, and it’s pretty good, too, at least for now. But Amtrak is a railroad, not an airline. Different animal. Diff[...]

PZB Vice Chair Deltra Long Indicted for Alleged $10,022 FEMA Fraud, While USDOJ Fiddles on Corrupt St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID SHOAR and Michelle O'Connell Case

Wed, 25 Apr 2018 12:30:00 +0000

A beloved local African-American civil rights hero, City of St. Augustine Planning and Zoning Board Vice Chair Deltra Lynette Long, was indicted for FEMA fraud by a federal grand jury April 19th.  The charge involves slightly more than $10,022.36.She's presumed innocent until and unless she is found guilty, but she will probably have to resign, or will be suspended from office pendente lite, under Florida Statute 112.501, municipal law on suspending board members.Heroic Deltra Long was among the first African-Americans at St. Augustine High School.  Is this a case of selective prosecution by the corrupt DONALD JOHN TRUMP regime?Meanwhile, what has USDOJ done about indicting corrupt Republican St. Johns County High Sheriff DAVID SHOAR, the coverup of the Michelle O'Connell homicide, and corruption in St. Johns County zoning?In response to Ms. Long's indictment, KKK-sympathzing online trolls have hollered like stuck pigs.  They have been busy, busy, busy -- obnoxiously, unctuously, ululating tired trite racist tropes on local yokel publications that print such stuff -- namely, The St. Augustine Record and Historic City News.A former federal criminal investigator, reform St. Johns County Commission Chair Ben Rich, Sr. in 2008 told Folio Weekly Magazine that St. Johns County, Florida is "one of the last bastions of the Ku Klux Klan." It shows -- read the creepy comments (sigh) below the The St. Augustine Record and Historic City News articles, rewrites of this government press release from the Department that calls itself "Justice," headed by United States Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (born December 24, 1946), who once joked to two UDOJ prosecutors that “I thought those guys [the Ku Klux Klan] were OK until I learned they smoked pot.”U.S. Attorneys » Middle District of Florida » NewsSHARE Department of JusticeU.S. Attorney’s OfficeMiddle District of FloridaSt. Augustine Resident Indicted For FEMA FraudJacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the return of an indictment charging Deltra Long (66, St. Augustine) with theft of government funds and false claims against the government. If convicted, she faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in federal prison on the theft count, and up to 10 years’ imprisonment on the false claims count. The indictment also notifies Long that the United States intends to forfeit $10,022.36, which is alleged to be traceable to proceeds of the offense.According to the indictment, between November 5, 2016, and April 21, 2017, Long made a false application for Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA) funds after a house that she owned in St. Augustine was damaged by Hurricane Matthew. Qualified recipients of FEMA funds for disaster assistance are limited to the primary residence of a homeowner who lives in the premises at the time of the qualifying event. Long allegedly sought funds to restore rental property, which she did not occupy when Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Florida on October 3, 2016.An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has violated one or more of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.This case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jay Taylor.Members of the public who suspect fraud, waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, or believe they have been the victim of fraud from a person or organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of disaster victims, should contact the National Disaster Fraud Hotline toll free at (866) 720-5721. A live operator 24 hours a day, 7 days a week staffs the telephone line. You can also fax information to the Center at (225) 334-4707, or email it to sends e-mail). Yo[...]

Department of Education rescinds 72 guidance documents outlining rights for disabled students (WaPo)

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 12:58:00 +0000

All of this without a hearing or open accountable administrative procedures.  Why?DeVos rescinds 72 guidance documents outlining rights for disabled studentsBy Moriah Balingit October 21, 2017 Email the authorPresident Trump looks at Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as he speaks during a Feb. 14 meeting with parents and teachers in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. (Evan Vucci/AP)The Education Department responded Monday, saying the rollback will not affect what services special education students will receive. Read the Post’s updated story. The Education Department has rescinded 72 policy documents that outline the rights of students with disabilities as part of the Trump administration’s effort to eliminate regulations it deems superfluous.The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services wrote in a newsletter Friday that it had “a total of 72 guidance documents that have been rescinded due to being outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective — 63 from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and 9 from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA).” The documents, which fleshed out students’ rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Rehabilitation Act, were rescinded Oct. 2.A spokeswoman for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos did not respond to requests for comment.Advocates for students with disabilities were still reviewing the changes to determine their impact. Lindsay E. Jones, the chief policy and advocacy officer for the National Center for Learning Disabilities, said she was particularly concerned to see guidance documents outlining how schools could use federal money for special education removed. frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="border-width: 0px !important; box-sizing: border-box; float: none !important; height: 1px; margin: 0px !important; overflow: hidden !important; padding: 0px !important; width: 1px;">“All of these are meant to be very useful … in helping schools and parents understand and fill in with concrete examples the way the law is meant to work when it’s being implemented in various situations,” said Jones.President Trump in February signed an executive order “to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens,” spurring Education Department officials to begin a top-to-bottom review of its regulations. The department sought comments on possible changes to the special education guidance and held a hearing, during which many disability rights groups and other education advocates pressed officials to keep all of the guidance documents in place, Jones said.This is not the first time DeVos has rolled back Education Department guidance, moves that have raised the ire of civil rights groups. The secretary in February signed off on Trump’s rescinding of guidance that directed schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms in accordance with their gender identity, saying that those matters should be left up to state and local school officials. In September, she scrapped rules that outlined how schools should investigate allegations of sexual assault, arguing that the Obama-era guidance did not sufficiently take into account the rights of the accused. data-integralas-id-37428b2a-da89-170a-7585-345077cb03e5="" frameborder="0" height="250" id="google_ads_iframe_/701/wpni.local/education_5" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" name="google_ads_iframe_/701/wpni.local/education_5" scrolling="no" style="border-width: 0px; box-sizing: border-box; vertical-align: bottom; width: 300px;" title="3rd party ad content" width="300">[Trump administration rescinds Obama-era guidance on campus sexual assault]Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.) called the elimination of the special education guidance “the latest in a series of disturbing actions taken by the Trump Administration to undermine civil rights for vulnerable Americans.”“Much of the guidance around [the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act] focused on cr[...]

St. Augustine Beach, SABPD AGAIN violate disability rights on parking

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 12:57:00 +0000

Three lawyers -- Mayor UNDINE GEORGE, Vice Mayor MARGARET ENGLAND, and City Attorney JAMES PATRICK WILSON -- must answer for the City of St. Augustine Beach's persistent lawbreaking, on everything from disabled parking and ADA compliance to public comment, Sunshine and Open Records rights violations. From Historic City news blog:Roland says Beach event interfering with handicap parkingApril 23, 2018 Public Safety... Merrill Paul Roland informed the local Historic City News Bureau that he has observed yet another violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. chapter 126 § 12101 et seq, and Section §316.1955 F.S., §316.1955(2) F.S., and §316.1959 F.S. this time involving illegal blocking and use of designated handicapped parking spaces.On April 20, 2018 Roland attended an Arbor Day event sponsored by the City of St Augustine Beach and held in the parking lot at City Hall.“Event coordinator Hala Liquidera was not authorized and had no legal authority to direct or instruct the sponsors and vendors to occupy the handicap parking spaces and adjoining access aisles,” Roland told local reporters Monday. Roland possesses a valid medical permit. “I had to get out of my vehicle, to move the red cones so that I could park my car legally in the assigned parking spaces.”Since it appeared that vendors and sponsors of the city event were allowed to illegally park their vehicles in the handicap parking spaces and red cones were placed in the handicap spaces as part of the scheme to reserve parking illegally, Roland fired off an ADA complaint to City of St Augustine Beach-City Manager, B. Max Royal and City of St Augustine Beach-ADA Coordinator, Brian Law.When asked if he thought the complaint would help, Roland., said, “Our disabled or handicapped residents, visitors, and disabled veterans have the right to attend and enjoy events equally.”[...]

Amazon and Rain Forest Have Legally Protected Rights, Colombia's Supreme Court Rules (NPR, Reuters)

Sun, 22 Apr 2018 20:30:00 +0000

Great news for environmental protection this week from the Supreme Court of Colombia. See NPR and Reuters stories, below.The highest court in the Philippines issued a similar order some 25 years ago.  U.S. courts should follow this principle.  Our St. Johns County Commission and other  governments in Florida must create an Ombuds to argue for protection of our environment and public rights to environmental protection.  Quo vobis videtor? (How does it appear to you?)Here's what Justice William O. Douglas wrote in his dissent in the Mineral King case, Sierra Club v. Morton, 405 U.S. 727 (1972):MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, dissenting.I share the views of my Brother BLACKMUN, and would reverse the judgment below.The critical question of "standing"[1] would be simplified and also put neatly in focus if we fashioned a federal rule that allowed environmental issues to be litigated before federal agencies or federal courts in the name of the inanimate object about to be despoiled, defaced, or invaded by roads and bulldozers, and where injury is the subject of public outrage. Contemporary public concern [p742] for protecting nature's ecological equilibrium should lead to the conferral of standing upon environmental objects to sue for their own preservation. See Stone, Should Trees Have Standing? — Toward Legal Rights for Natural Objects, 45 S.Cal.L.Rev. 450 (1972). This suit would therefore be more properly labeled as Mineral King v. Morton.Inanimate objects are sometimes parties in litigation. A ship has a legal personality, a fiction found useful for maritime purposes.[2] The corporation sole — a creature of ecclesiastical law — is an acceptable adversary, and large fortunes ride on its cases.[3] The ordinary corporation is a "person" for purposes of the adjudicatory processes, [p743] whether it represents proprietary, spiritual, aesthetic, or charitable causes.[4]So it should be as respects valleys, alpine meadows, rivers, lakes, estuaries, beaches, ridges, groves of trees, swampland, or even air that feels the destructive pressures of modern technology and modern life. The river, for example, is the living symbol of all the life it sustains or nourishes — fish, aquatic insects, water ouzels, otter, fisher, deer, elk, bear, and all other animals, including man, who are dependent on it or who enjoy it for its sight, its sound, or its life. The river as plaintiff speaks for the ecological unit of life that is part of it. Those people who have a meaningful relation to that body of water — whether it be a fisherman, a canoeist, a zoologist, or a logger — must be able to speak for the values which the river represents, and which are threatened with destruction.I do not know Mineral King. I have never seen it, nor traveled it, though I have seen articles describing its proposed "development"[5] notably Hano, Protectionists vs. recreationists — The Battle of Mineral King, [p744] N.Y. Times Mag., Aug. 17, 1969, p. 25; and Browning, Mickey Mouse in the Mountain, Harper's, March 1972, p. 65. The Sierra Club, in its complaint alleges that "[o]ne of the principal purposes of the Sierra Club is to protect and conserve the national resources of the Sierra Nevada Mountains." The District Court held that this uncontested allegation made the Sierra Club "sufficiently aggrieved" to have "standing" to sue on behalf of Mineral King.Mineral King is doubtless like other wonders of the Sierra Nevada such as Tuolumne Meadows and the John Muir Trail. Those who hike it, fish it, hunt it, camp [p745] in it, frequent it, or visit it merely to sit in solitude and wonderment are legitimate spokesmen for it, whether they may be few or many. Those who have that intimate relation with the inanimate object about to be injured, polluted, or otherwise despoiled are its legitimate spokesmen.The Solicitor General, whose views on this subject are in the appendix,[...]

Michelle O'Connell Homicide: ABC News 20/20 broadcast now expected on May 4, 2018 at 10 pm

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 17:34:00 +0000

"Let justice be done though the heavens fall."  Now.Watch ABC News 20/20 broadcast on the death of Michelle O'Connell, covered up by Sheriff DAVID SHOAR and State's Attorney RALPH LARIZZA, et pals, since 2010. Here's story from ABC's website:A family's battle against a sheriff to try to prove relative was killedBy DENISE MARTINEZ-RAMUNDO,ED LOPEZ,ALEXA VALIENTELAUREN EFFRONApr 13, 2018, 8:06 PM ETO’Connell familyEmail When St. Johns County sheriff’s deputies arrived at the St. Augustine, Florida, home of Jeremy Banks on Sept. 2, 2010, they found his 24-year-old girlfriend Michelle O’Connell lying on the floor with a gunshot wound to the head and dozens of prescription painkillers in her pocket.“Please get someone to my house!” Banks had told the 911 operator. “Please. Send -- my girlfriend, I think she just shot herself. There’s blood everywhere!”Deputies found Banks, a fellow St. John County sheriff’s deputy, crouched at the bathroom door, clutching his phone.The gun was found on O’Connell’s left with the Tac light on the gun switched on. Later, pictures taken at the scene revealed a shot fired into the carpet.Despite the efforts of the first responders, O’Connell was pronounced dead close to 11:48 p.m. that night.Outside the home, some deputies and detectives started to conclude that O’Connell’s death was a suicide. Some of them were later interviewed as part of the investigation.“I didn’t have any suspicions that it was anything other than suicide. I think that’s what we were all kind of discussing, but just making sure that we covered our bases,” St. Johns County Det. Jessica Hines is heard saying in a recording of the interview for the investigation.“It appeared she had committed suicide,” St. Johns County Cpl. Mark Shand said in his interview.OConnell FamilyIn the hours that followed, some fellow deputies took time out to console their coworker and friend, Banks. A squad car was used as a makeshift interview room as Banks was briefly questioned by Hines in an interview that was recorded.During that interview, Banks said that he was sitting on his motorcycle in the garage when he heard a pop and rushed inside.“The bedroom door was locked and I screamed her name again. I heard it go off a second time,” he told Hines.Shortly after, Banks went to his parents’ home and O’Connell’s body was taken to the morgue.A family’s doubt about a woman’s deathWhen sheriff’s deputies notified O’Connell’s family of her death, her mother Patty O’Connell told “20/20,” “They just said that she committed suicide, ‘your daughter killed herself. She committed suicide.’”The O’Connell family found it hard to believe that Michelle O’Connell, a single mom who worked multiple jobs to support Alexis, her 4-year-old daughter, would take her own life.OConnell FamilyIn fact, Michelle O’Connell had just landed her dream job at a day care center.“She said, 'I'm going to the doctor and I'm not even sick, but I have insurance for once in my life,'" her boss Teresa Woodward remembered Michelle O’Connell excitedly saying when she gave her the job. Her death came as a total shock to her.Michelle O’Connell’s brother Sean O’Connell and her sister Chrissy O’Connell were outraged when they realized that the sheriff’s office had spent only a few hours investigating before calling her death a suicide.“The word suicide was thrown around right off the bat without any investigation,” Chrissy O’Connell told “20/20."Two days after her death, medical examiner, Dr. Frederick Hobin, officially ruled Michelle’s death a suicide and despite the family’s initial efforts to have local authorities enlist an outside agency to investigate her death, St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar told them he would not be doing that.Michelle O’Connell’s last hoursThrough various interviews, authorities constructed a timeline of the[...]


Fri, 20 Apr 2018 07:27:00 +0000

1. President DONALD JOHN TRUMP on April 10, 2018 nominated FLORIDA Fifth District Court of Appeals Judge WENDY WILLIAMS BERGER to be a United States District Court Judge.  Remarkably, Judge Berger is the only woman on the monochromatic Florida Fifth District Court of Appeals, the lone woman among among eleven (11) all-white appellate judges.  A former St. Johns County prosecutor and aide to Governor JOHN EDWARD BUSH a/k/a "JEB" BUSH, Judge WENDY WILLIAMS BERGER was one of three (3). candidates recommended by the Florida Judicial Nominating Commission in November 2016 to Governor RICHARD LYNN SCOTT.2. Why it matters: Judge WENDY BERGER must now disclose her husband's CEO employment, which RICHARD LYNN SCOTT, Governor of the State of Florida allowed her to hide when she applied for a Florida Supreme Court judgeship in 2016, on the putative basis of "security." 3. The same rote incantation was used by Ocala prosecutor BRADLEY KING to refuse to disclose his son's employment by Sheriff DAVID SHOAR, whom KING listed as his number one reference; KING covered up the Michelle O'Connell case as a special prosecutor appointed by Governor SCOTT.  The New York Times broke the story last year about SHOAR hiring KING's nineteen year old son as a deputy.4. I'm aghast, amazed and appalled that a CEO spouse nominated herself for a Florida Supreme Court judgeship and got to hide her husband's business interests based upon "security."  That's how Flori-DUH Republicans roll.5. The American Bar Association and the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee must carefully investigate her background and identify her husband's CEO employment and potential conflicts of interest she would face as an Article III federal judge with lifetime tenure.Trump Picks 5th District Court of Appeal’s Wendy Berger for Central Florida Federal CourtFLAGLERLIVE | APRIL 10, 2018  allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" src="" style="border-style: none; font-size: 14.399999618530273px; height: 35px; margin: 0px; outline: 0px; overflow: hidden; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; width: 640px;">Wendy Berger, the only woman on the 5th District Court of Appeal, whose jurisdiction includes Flagler County, was picked by President Trump to serve in the federal Middle District of Florida. The appointment requires senate confirmation. (5th DCA)President Donald Trump on Tuesday tapped two Florida appellate judges with ties to Attorney General Pam Bondi and former Gov. Jeb Bush to serve as federal district judges. allowfullscreen="true" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="250" hspace="0" id="aswift_0" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" name="aswift_0" scrolling="no" style="border-width: 0px; font-size: 12.960000038146973px; height: 250px; left: 0px; margin: 0px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; position: absolute; top: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; width: 300px;" vspace="0" width="300">Trump said he will nominate Allen Winsor, a judge on the state’s 1st District Court of Appeal, to serve as a judge in the federal Northern District of Florida. Also, he chose Wendy Berger, a judge on the state’s 5th District Court of Appeal, to serve as a judge in the federal Middle District of Florida. The nominations are subject to Senate confirmation.Winsor was appointed in February 2016 by Gov. Rick Scott to the 1st District Court of Appeal after a nearly three-year stint as state solicitor general in Bondi’s office. The Tallahassee-based 1st District Court of Appeal hears cases from throughout North Florida, ranging from Jacksonville to Pensacola.Berger was appointed by Scott in 2012 to a seat on the 5th District Court of Appeal, which is based in Daytona Bea[...]

Another Misguided March and Rally in St. Augustine May 17-19, 2018 re: St. Augustine Confederate Monument/Memorial

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 16:54:00 +0000

These misguided folks need to learn why we decided we won't destroy history in St. Augustine and how we're the first in the Nation to tackle this issue by contextualizing a local war veteran monument.   After lengthy hearings, our City decided to preserve the historic monument and explain it.  Everyone who testified (with a few exceptions like Doug Russo) listened and spoke respectfully.  Mayor Nancy Shaver and Commissioners, and City Manager John Patrick Regan, P.E., were at their best, with a Solomonic solution.These misguided folks should learn some manners, too.  Watch video here of noisy, noisome demonstration during the opening Nights of Lights event in November 2017.  Led by haters like REV. RONALD RAWLS, Jr., Anastasia Mosquito Control Commissioner JACKIE ROCK, et al., who know not that they know not.  We should invite the misguided putative progressives, including those being bussed in from Gainesville and Jacksonville, to kindly watch videos of the City of St. Augustine's Confederate Memorial Contextualization Advisory Committee.[...]

Three (3) day wait for beach wheelchairs in St. Johns County, Florida: ADA violation, insensitivity?

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 13:56:00 +0000

St. Johns County Government still lacks a welcoming spirit.  This is evident in the lack of adequate disabled access to our St. Johns County beaches.Our wealthy, poorly-run St. Johns County makes disabled people wait three days for a beach wheelchair, which must be requested by telephoning an employee who works only three days each week.  Not an ideal situation.  A friend and former client has Parkinson's disease and was planning a visit with his family: I was flummoxed when I found out about the three-day rule, administered by a lone employee who works three weekdays.Here's my letter to Commissioners and the County staff:-----Original Message-----From: Ed Slavin To: bdixon ; bcc5hdean ; bcc1jjohns ; bcc2jsmith ; bcc3pwaldron ; bccd4 ; pmccormack ; mwanchick ; wmith ; bzeitz ; tmeeks ; jdunn ; dfountain Sent: Thu, Apr 19, 2018 9:01 amSubject: Re: Request No. 2018-100: ADA violations by St. Johns County, Florida government at 42 miles of beaches? Evaluation of wheelchair access to SJC beachesDear Chairman Dean and Commissioners Morris, Waldron, Smith and Johns, Ms. Meeks, Ms. Dixon, Ms. Fountain, Messrs. Smith, Zeitz, Dunn, McCormack and Wanchick: 1. St. Johns County Government still lacks a welcoming spirit.  This is evident in the lack of adequate disabled access to our St. Johns County beaches.   On my request No. 2018-100, SJC sent two (2) urls, one bearing this statement, possibly violative of the Americans with Disabilities Act:Beach WheelchairsTo help make our beaches more accessible, beach wheelchairs are available at no charge, on a first come first serve basis. Please note that three days advance notification is required to reserve a wheelchair. To make a reservation, please contact Danielle Fountain, (904) 209-0752. :2.  Three (3) days advance notice?  Why?  How utterly uninviting and unwelcoming.   The voicemail at 904-209-0752 informs callers that Ms. Fountain is "in the office on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays."  Voicemail gives NO other contact person or name.3.  A phone number and a name of someone available only on three weekdays?   No location.  No explanation.  How gauche and louche.  Not customer-friendly.  Maladroit.4. This three-day rule, administered by a three-day-per-week employee, creates and perpetuates a hostile environment for disabled people at our beaches; What defenses has St. Johns County if USDOJ or a disabled person sues the County?5. St. Johns County's website completesly fails to inform St. Johns County beachgoers of their ADA rights.   6. Please amend our St. Johns County beaches website to identify appeal rights for disabled persons denied ADA reasonable accommodations at the beach.  7. Please add a nondiscrimination statement and name an ombuds.  Here's a link to Jacksonville Beach's website: Please end St. Johns County's insensitivity and illegal discrimination against persons with disabilities.   Now.9. Increasing disabled access to our 42 miles of St. Johns County beaches deserves a place on a future SJC BoCC meeting agenda, and a line item at the Administrator's budget hearing next month. 10. Here are links to wheelchair access on Cape Cod:   Please call me to discuss.Thank you.With kindest regards, I am,Sincerely yours,Ed[...]

UF Professor Jack E. Davis Wins Pulitzer Prize for History

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 01:45:00 +0000

On April 16, 2018, University of Florida environmental history professor Jack E. Davis won the Pulitzer Prize for History for his book on the Gulf of Mexico. His earlier book, on Marjory Stoneman Douglas, is a classic biography of a leading Florida environmentalist.Congratulations, Prof. Davis!A 1957 Pulitzer Prize winner for History, Jack Kennedy (for Profiles in Courage) was elected President in 1960.Salud!Here's UF's press release, followed by some news stories:UF history professor wins 2018 Pulitzer Prize for HistoryAPRIL 16, 2018UF NEWSPHOTOGRAPHER: GIGI MARINOUniversity of Florida history professor Jack E. Davis is the winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in History for his book “The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea,” the Pulitzer Prize Board announced today.“Jack’s considerable talent lies in his ability to take on large, sweeping subjects, boil them down to the human level and make them a compelling read,” UF Provost Joe Glover said. ‘The Gulf’ is no exception. It is a remarkable book, and we are incredibly proud to have him on our faculty.”Davis said he was in his office Monday afternoon meeting with a student when his phone began pinging repeatedly. He didn’t know why.“Then I looked at it and it said I’d won the Pulitzer and I was speechless,” he said. “It’s been wonderful. Everyone here at UF – the department, the dean the university, President [Kent] Fuchs has been very supportive of this book from the very beginning. That kind of support means a lot to a faculty member.”In his review of “The Gulf” for the New York Times in May 2017, Philip Connors wrote, “In Davis’s hands, the story reads like a watery version of the history of the American West. Both places saw Spanish incursions from the south, mutual incomprehension in the meeting of Europeans and aboriginals, waves of disease that devastated the natives and a relentless quest by the newcomers for the raw materials of empire. There were scoundrels and hucksters, booms and busts, senseless killing in sublime landscapes and a tragic belief in the inexhaustible bounty of nature.”“The Gulf” also won the Kirkus Prize, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, was a New York Times Notable Book, and made a number of other “best of” lists in national publications.“Jack Davis’ book on the Gulf of Mexico is spectacular contribution,” said David Richardson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which is home to the UF history department. “We are thrilled that the Pulitzer committee felt the same way in awarding him the prize in history. In the tradition of the best historians, Jack weaves a story of a place and its peoples and their uniquely American identity. Jack excels as a scholar and writer in the classroom and beyond. We are proud to have him among our faculty.”When Davis first conceived of “The Gulf,” the Deepwater Horizon accident that dumped 130 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico had not yet happened. That Davis was writing a history of the Gulf around the same time as the largest oil spill in history was coincidental, and allowed him to focus on aspects other than the spill, which he says, “seemed to rob the Gulf of Mexico of its true identity.”“I wanted to restore it, to show people that the Gulf is more than an oil spill,” he said. “It’s got a rich, natural history connected to Americans, and it’s not integrated into the larger American historical narrative. That’s a wrong I wanted to correct.”Davis received his Ph.D. in 1994 at Brandeis University. He works with students whose interests lie in environmental history. Before joining the UF faculty, he taught at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he was director of environmental studies; the University of Jordan, where he was a Fulb[...]

Sheriff engages scheme to hide record of relative’s employment (HCN)

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 01:25:00 +0000

St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID SHOAR's financial flummery knows no bounds. Does the strange case of SHOAR's brother-in-law, CHARLES EDGAR MULLIGAN, and SS Solutions LLC point toward more possible federal charges against SHOAR? Sheriff engages scheme to hide record of relative’s employmentApril 16, 2018 Historic City NewsAlthough we still have not received the records from St Johns County Sheriff David Shoar concerning his “retired-then-rehired” public information officer, and long-time family member, Charles Edgar Mulligan, Historic City News has learned more about the scheme being employed to hide the records of Mulligan’s continued employment.Actuaries scrambled over the past 10-years to figure out how to plug the holes in antiquated employee retirement plans that offered a pension, or “defined benefit plan”. One of the largest in the state, Florida Retirement System, was no exception. By 2008, plan administrators tried to reconcile portfolio values in a market where investment earnings fell to returns of fractions of 1% and eligible employees across the state were retiring younger and living longer.The state began adopting “defined contribution plans” for retirement and moved away from traditional pension plans to relieve capital requirements during the toughest of the recession years. As an incentive for those employees currently in pension plans, FRS negotiated an option for eligible members to be awarded additional one-time payments at retirement if they would contract to leave employment and stop making contributions into their old pension plan within 5-years.Mulligan was one of those who decided it was to his financial advantage to take the considerable one-time payment offered through the Deferred Retirement Option Program. He could retire from the sheriff’s office, a 52-year-old man, still young enough to have a second career — so long as that didn’t mean continuing a job at the agency where he would be contributing to FRS.About seven years ago, SS Solutions LLC President Joshua Kass began selling a way around the requirements of the Deferred Retirement Option Program. The scheme involves creating a middle-man to “launder” the employment of former FRS member employees.Kass and his salesman, Rick Burke, listed as Vice President on the company’s website, solicit agreements from exiting DROP employees to become new employees of SS Solutions LLC. The employee will be returned to their former employing agency under terms and conditions set by that agency. “We pay all the employee’s wages and required taxes and we invoice you for our services,” the website says.So, instead of the taxpayer-funded agency paying the employee salary and payroll taxes, the agency pays all of that PLUS a commission to Kass, just so the former employee gets to keep their DROP payments. Is Mulligan the quality of employee that warrants the extra expense and scrutiny?Mulligan was 22-years-old when hired on January 4, 1988. He retired being paid $85,161.00 a year, plus benefits, as a Commander. He was overlooked for promotion for twenty-five of his 30-years at the sheriff’s office.Mulligan never advanced above the rank of sergeant until five-years-ago. In 2013, without explanation, Shoar finally gave his extended family member the promotion he had been denied during his entire career under Sheriff Neil J. Perry.In the 2012 payroll records, Historic City News verified that Mulligan was only earning $58,903 a year as a Sergeant. Then, in the next budget year, beginning October 1, 2013, Shoar made Mulligan a Commander, kicking his paycheck into overdrive — $81,120.00 per year plus benefits.“Be aware, this program is used selectively with final approval ultimately decided at the very top of the organization,” the SS Solutions website ca[...]

Rex Huppke column: Donald Trump's presidency is collapsing (Chicago Tribune)

Sun, 15 Apr 2018 16:48:00 +0000

Great column in Chicago Tribune.Column: Donald Trump's presidency is collapsingPresident Donald Trump. (Olivier Douliery / TNS)Rex HuppkeContact ReporterWe know President Donald Trump is a strong man, possibly the strongest and most fit president we’ve ever had.But even his broad shoulders — which many say are the broadest of all the presidential shoulders — can’t carry the weight of the scandals that are presently piling up.We’re only one year into Trump’s presidency, and we’re already witnessing its entirely predictable collapse.Consider the news swirling about on Thursday:The phrase “pee tape” was trending on Twitter, thanks to excerpts from former FBI Director James Comey’s upcoming book describing Trump’s obsession with one of the more lurid claims in the controversial dossier compiled by a British spy. We don’t know if there’s actually a video recording of Trump watching Russian prostitutes urinate on a bed in a Moscow hotel room. But we know it’s at least a possibility, and that’s not good for a president.Comey’s book also describes Trump as an unhinged narcissist and compares his behavior to that of a mob boss. At the end of the day, who you believe will depend on who you trust, Comey or Trump. Given all that Trump has shown us about who he is and how he behaves, I’m guessing the Vegas line on who will win the most trust leans heavily in Comey’s favor.Two news outlets — the New Yorker and the Associated Press — reported on another suspicious payoff during the presidential campaign, this one to a doorman at one of Trump’s New York City buildings. The doorman reportedly claimed that Trump had fathered a child with an employee and was paid $30,000 by the company that owns the National Enquirer to keep the rumor to himself. There’s no proof the rumor is true, but the issue is the hush money and what appears to be furious attempts to insulate Trump from past dalliances during the campaign. Already we know about a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels from Trump’s personal attorney and a $150,000 payment to a former Playboy Playmate from the National Enquirer’s parent company. Does anyone who is even remotely tethered to reality think we won’t learn of more?There were reports that Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney, was known to secretly record telephone conversations. So the concern in Trump’s circle is that the recent FBI raids on Cohen’s home and office might have turned up recordings that could make the president look bad. That’s not good! Cohen, an argumentative, ornery lawyer, has also taken an oddly polite tone regarding federal investigators, raising questions as to how much trouble he might be in and how much it would take for him to flip on the president.That’s just Thursday. And I’m probably missing one or two other developments.Special counsel Robert Mueller continues to look into whether Trump obstructed justice and whether his campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election. And the administration is dealing with other problems, from EPA head Scott Pruitt’s bizarre spending habits to turnover that is unprecedented in American presidential history.Republican lawmakers are announcing plans to retire — most recently House Speaker Paul Ryan — and the sense in Washington, at least among conservatives, is that rough days are ahead.This is untenable. Every president winds up embroiled in some form of scandal, maybe even several. But the sheer volume of controversies consuming the Trump White House is unlike anything we’ve ever seen.Some may be false, some may be exaggerated, some may be legitimate. But their very existence points to a president whose past should have disqualified him from office and whose temperament [...]

BEACH PARKING NIGHTMARE: 8803 Square Ft. Restaurant, with only 59 parking spaces at former PANAMA HATTIE'S? -- Developer Lambros Kokkinelis Investments LLC's DEMAND Must be DENIED/MODIFIED. (Tuesday, April 17, 2018 meeting at 7 pm).

Sun, 15 Apr 2018 16:11:00 +0000

The St. Augustine Beach Planning and Zoning Board's agenda for next week includes the new building at the former Panama Hatties site. Plans show a MASSIVE restaurant, nearly 9000sf, which is twice the size needed for a full-service restaurant w/full SRX liquor license. Experts agree it will have capacity for about 250-300 people- maybe more. It is providing 59 parking spaces.  Not enough.This would exacerbate St. Augustine Beach's recurrent parking nightmare, in an area where there is already a parking nightmare.While it would be great to have authentic Greek fare on Beach Blvd one again, LAMBROS KOKKINELIS INVESTMENTS LLC needs much more parking.It is item VIE on the agenda:E. Concept Review File No. CR 2018-02 and Final Development File No. FD 2018-01 for proposed reconstruction of Panama Hattie’s, consisting of a two-story, 8,803-square-foot total restaurant on approximately .71 acres in a commercial land use district at 361 A1A Beach Boulevard, St. Augustine Beach, Florida, 32080, St. Johns Law Group, James G. Whitehouse, Agent for 361 Beach Holdings LLC, ApplicantAgenda backup here: by Entity NameFlorida Limited Liability Company361 BEACH HOLDINGS LLCFiling InformationDocument NumberL15000161096FEI/EIN Number47-5138682Date Filed09/22/2015Effective Date09/22/2015StateFLStatusACTIVELast EventLC AMENDMENTEvent Date Filed10/05/2015Event Effective DateNONEPrincipal Address361 A1A BEACH BLVD.ST. AUGUSTINE, FL 32080Mailing Address361 A1A BEACH BLVD.ST. AUGUSTINE, FL 32080Registered Agent Name & AddressLAMBROS KOKKINELIS INVESTMENTS LLC360 AIA BEACH BLVD.ST. AUGUSTINE, FL 32080Authorized Person(s) DetailName & AddressTitle MGRLAMBROS KOKKINELIS INVESTMENTS LLC 361 AIA BEACH BLVD.ST. AUGUSTINE, FL 32080Title MGRNICHOLAS MAVRIS INVESTMENTS LLC 361 AIA BEACH BLVD.ST. AUGUSTINE, FL 32080Title MGRALEXANDER MAVRIS INVESTMENTS LLC 361 AIA BEACH BLVD.ST. AUGUSTINE, FL 32080Annual ReportsReport YearFiled Date201603/14/2016201702/23/2017201802/19/2018Document Images02/19/2018 -- ANNUAL REPORTView image in PDF format02/23/2017 -- ANNUAL REPORTView image in PDF format03/14/2016 -- ANNUAL REPORTView image in PDF format10/05/2015 -- LC AmendmentView image in PDF format09/22/2015 -- Florida Limited LiabilityView image in PDF formatGyroville: Fusion of Greek fast food, old-school dinerKokkinelis' new restaurant concept is fusion of fast food and old-school dinerJuly 8, 2011|By Cindy Kent, Sun SentinelWho: Lambros KokkinelisWhat: Kokkinelis is creator and founder of the Fort Lauderdale-based Greek fast food restaurant chain, Gyroville.In addition to traditional Mediterranean Greek classic dishes like falafel, baklava and gyros, Gyroville serves "Greek fusion" such as grilled Cajun mahi mahi and grilled chicken souvlaki with barbeque sauce at its Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines and Boca Raton locations.While Gyroville's menu items brand the restaurant's core Greek concept, Kokkinelis has extended the fusion concept: it's part diner and part fast food operation. Consumers go to an order window and walk the line to build their own pita. They seat themselves. Price points are a compromise of fast food and diner price ranges.Kokkinelis is an established restaurateur in the area. He owns several outlets, including The Moonlite Diner in Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood, and Diner 24 in Oakland Park. The experience gives him the opportunity to interact with a broad demographic.Kokkinelis felt confident his loyal customers would support a new concept based on ethnic fast food. "I've been watching the fast casual sector and felt that Gre[...]

America's first marriage, in 1565, was interracial -- thank you, Dr. Michael Francis

Sun, 15 Apr 2018 14:38:00 +0000

As President Harry S Truman once said, "The only thing new under the sun is the history you don't know.""Florida's answer to Indiana Jones," as the Washington Post recently called him, found documentation of the first Christian marriage in America -- right here in St. Augustine, in 1565, and it was interracial. Here's Sheldon Gardner's story from the Record:Website provides details on early St. Augustine residentsBy Sheldon GardnerPosted Mar 27, 2018 at 2:01 AMUpdated Mar 31, 2018 at 7:23 AMSt. Augustine RecordHistory professor Dr. J. Michael Francis believes if Luisa de Abrego hadn’t spoken of her concerns about bigamy, her story would have probably never been shared.She was 15 years old and was a free black domestic servant in Spain when she received and accepted her first marriage proposal, he said. But she quickly became ill — and though she and the groom privately exchanged vows, the two never consummated the marriage. Her husband married someone else while Abrego was sick.Later, Abrego met Miguel Rodriguez and traveled with him to St. Augustine, and they married after they arrived in 1565. Theirs was the first documented Christian marriage in what became the continental United States, Francis said.“And it’s an interracial marriage,” added Francis, who works and teaches at the University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg campus.After their marriage, Abrego raised concerns with the Catholic Church about whether she had been married before — around that time, a marriage was legally binding if people exchanged vows with no priest, Francis said.She confessed to having two husbands before the Holy Office of the Spanish Inquisition in Mexico. After their investigation, the bigamy charge was dropped but her marriage to Rodriguez was deemed invalid.Abrego’s story is part of a project recently launched by Francis called “La Florida: The Interactive Digital Archive of the Americas.” A website,, lists details on Abrego and thousands of other ordinary people, including Native Americans and others who lived in or tried to journey to Florida from 1513-1821. Images of original documents are also part of the project.Francis had been building data on people for years as part of his scholarly research, which includes looking through centuries-old Spanish documents — he also recently discovered records that indicate St. Augustine held the first St. Patrick’s Day parade in what became the U.S. and possibly beyond.“What I’m really interested in is trying to see the nature of the relationships between all kinds of different people,” Francis said.Ordinary people who lived in colonial Florida and St. Augustine have been a topic of interest for many scholars, including historian Susan Parker, who has researched the topic extensively.Court documents tend to be a rich resource for finding details about regular people, said Parker, a local resident and former head of the St. Augustine Historical Society.“It’s like putting together a puzzle with lots of pieces missing,” Parker said.Among the many stories she’s read over the years, some stand out more than others.She recounted the story of a 13-year-old girl who survived the sack of St. Augustine in 1668. As pirates attacked the town, the girl carried her younger sister in her arms. When a pirate shot at them, a pistol ball killed her sister and lodged in her chest — she survived, Parker said.“It’s the other side of piracy that always sounds so glamorous,” Parker said.Charles Tingley, senior research librarian at the St. Augustine Historical Society Research Library, detailed a few stories of ordinary people who lived in St. Augustine.Among them was a Spanish man killed by Native America[...]

AND NOW, for something completely different: COMPETITIVE BIDDING AFTER EIGHTEEN (18) YEARS: May 17, 2018 bid opening for Wednesday Farmer's Market at St. Augustine Beach Pier

Sun, 15 Apr 2018 14:06:00 +0000

After eighteen (18) years, the St. Augustine Beach Civic Association (SABCA) is now required to bid for the Wednesday Farmers' Market at the St. Johns County Ocean and Fishing Pier Park parking lot. Encourage qualified bidders, including the operators of the Saturday Farmer's Market at St. Augustine Amphitheater. Thanks to St. Johns County Commissioners for rejecting demands by SABCA to engage in de facto sole source procurement, or to award it a contract without competitive bidding.From: Date: April 15, 2018 at 05:00:06 EDTSubject: Announcing Bid RFP-18-51-0-2018/BM from St. Johns County - Purchasing DepartmentBid Identifier: RFP-18-51-0-2018/BMBid Name: Management of St. Johns County Pier Park MarketAgency Location: FloridaAgency: St. Johns County - Purchasing DepartmentScope of work: St. Johns County is currently seeking proposals from interested firms to operate and manage a top quality, authentic market at the St. Johns County Ocean Pier Park, located at 350 A1A Beach Blvd, St. Augustine, FL 32080. The market will be held each Wednesday, from 8:00am to 12:00pm, and shall be focused on offering residents and visitors of St. Johns County, fresh and locally sourced food as well as unique, hand-crafted items....If you would like to sign up to receive notification by fax or email when more opportunities are available please navigate to to register. This free notification is provided to you as a courtesy of Onvia DemandStar in partnership with St. Johns County - Purchasing Department._________________________________________To view your bid information:1. Click on the link below (AOL users: Copy the link, paste it into the URL of your Internet browser, and hit "Enter" on your keyboard).2. You are now in the Details section of the bid. Scroll down to where the documents are located and click "View".3. Click the "Download/Order" button at the bottom of the page to download the bid document.4. Click on Create Profile. You will be asked to fill in some basic information in order to download the bid. ST. JOHNS COUNTY, FL BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS RFP NO: 18-51 MANAGEMENT OF ST. JOHNS COUNTY PIER PARK MARKET St. Johns County Purchasing Department 500 San Sebastian View St. Augustine FL 32084 (904) 209-0150 Final: 4/13/18 2 REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP) NO: 18-51 MANAGEMENT OF ST. JOHNS COUNTY PIER PARK MARKET TABLE OF CONTENTS I. ADVERTISEMENT II. INTRODUCTION III. SERVICE REQUIREMENTS IV. CONTRACT REQUIREMENTS V. REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS SUBMITTAL REQUIREMENTS AND EVALUATION VI. ATTACHMENTS / FORMS VII. OPTIONAL CHECKLIST VIII. SEALED RFP MAILING LABEL IX. EXHIBIT A- MARKET AREA (SEPARATE DOCUMENT) 3 RFP 18-51 - MANAGEMENT OF ST. JOHNS COUNTY PIER PARK MARKET PART I: ADVERTISEMENT Notice is hereby given that St. Johns County, FL is soliciting responses for RFP No: 18-51, Management of St. Johns County Pier Park Market. Interested and qualified respondents may submit RFP Packages, in accordance with the requirements provided herein, to the St. Johns County Purchasing Department. All RFP Packages are due by or before 4:00PM (EST) on Thursday, May 17, 2018. Any packages delivered to or received after the 4:00PM deadline will not be considered and shall be returned unopened to the addressee. St. Johns County is currently seeking proposals from interested firms to operate and manage a top quality, authentic market at the St. Johns County Ocean Pier Park, located at 350 A1A Beach Blvd, St.[...]

Fifty years after the Fair Housing Act, neighborhoods in Chattanooga are still segregated [photos] (Chattanooga Times-Free Press)

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 02:51:00 +0000

Thanks to my friend, Warren Celli, for sharing with me.Fifty years after the Fair Housing Act, neighborhoods in Chattanooga are still segregated [photos]February 25th, 2018by Joan McClanein Local Regional NewsRead Time: 8 mins.Clark White poses in front of the Stargin residence in the Orchard Knob neighborhood on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018 in Chattanooga, Tenn.Photo by C.B. SchmelterGallery: Fifty years after the Fair Housing Act, neighborhoods in Chattanooga are still segregated+2more photosDr. Clark White was 10 years old when his father decided to buy their family a home.They had the money. Carl E. White worked as a teacher in 1958. He would later become principal of Calvin Donaldson School. A street near the school is still named for him. Clark White's mother, Nellie C. White, also worked as a librarian at Sunny Side Elementary. In her spare time, she volunteered as a docent at the Hunter Museum of American Art.A World War II veteran, White's father had used the G.I. Bill to pursue a higher education, first at Tuskegee University and then at Tennessee State University, where he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees.Like most returning service members, he wanted a piece of the America he helped protect.White can still picture the house, several stories tall, all brick."Wow," he told his sister after seeing it with his father for the first time. "We are going to get a nice house!"He remembers just as clearly the day his father took him to see a banker about a loan to buy the home."We are not loaning you people money west of Cherry Street," White said the banker told them, making it clear the problem was neither his father's earnings nor his credit.It was a common scene in Chattanooga and across the country at the time, a decade before Congress unexpectedly passed the Fair Housing Act just days after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, which sparked riots nationwide and lent political momentum to civil rights legislation.White's family was black, and their race alone meant their freedom was limited.Americans were becoming homeowners at an unprecedented rate thanks to a booming post-war economy and a federal government push to incentivize and increase home ownership. Single-family homes, more and more, were becoming the way families built wealth, accessed quality public schools and offered financial security to their children.A white family seeking to invest in a home in Chattanooga in 1958 could choose to live anywhere they could afford. Not so for black families. Blacks weren't allowed to purchase property in areas that were valued, thanks, in part, to a federal agency that created color- coded maps of metropolitan cities across America, including Chattanooga, designating areas of risk and credit worthiness and areas deemed "hazardous."These infamous "redlining" maps, produced between 1935 and 1940 by 250 real estate appraisers, mortgage lenders and developers for the New Deal's Home Owners' Loan Corporation, set the rules for nearly a century of real estate practice."More than a half- century of research has shown housing to be for the twentieth century what slavery was to the antebellum period, namely the broad foundation of both American prosperity and racial inequality," wrote a team of scholars from four universities on the website Mapping Inequality, which provides access to scores of corporation maps, including the 1938 "security map" of Chattanooga, and documents only recently made public that explain why certain areas were redlined.In Chattanooga, seven areas of the city were deemed hazardous and all of them were neighborhoods where blacks lived. The area around Clifton Hills and al[...]

April 11, 2005 was my first City meeting and my first encounter with City Manager WILLIAM BARRY HARRISS

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 00:07:00 +0000

On April 11, 2005, I spoke for the first time to the St. Augustine City Commission about civil rights concerns over illegal annexations and Fifteenth Amendment violations.Then-City Manager William B. Harriss barked at me after the meeting, saying “I could have you arrested for disorderly conduct!”In 2010, HARRISS "retired," now laughing all the way to the bank, taking home some $108,000/month in his City pension (in addition to $15,000 he receives as a putative "independent contractor" working for Sheriff DAVID SHOAR).Here's a 2015 column I wrote for HCN:Guest Column: Time for everyone to say “enough”March 26, 2016 EditorialsSPECIAL OFFER FOR HISTORIC CITY NEWS READERS allowfullscreen="true" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="60" hspace="0" id="aswift_1" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" name="aswift_1" scrolling="no" style="border-width: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant-caps: inherit; height: 60px; left: 0px; line-height: inherit; margin: 0px; max-width: 100%; padding: 0px; position: absolute; top: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; width: 674px;" vspace="0" width="674">ED SLAVINGuest Column: Time for everyone to say “enough”Ed SlavinSt Augustine, FLSt. Augustine has come a ways from the days of Jim Crow segregation, but official oppression still persists.On April 11, 2005, I spoke for the first time to the St. Augustine City Commission about civil rights concerns over illegal annexations and Fifteenth Amendment violations.Then-City Manager William B. Harriss barked at me after the meeting, saying “I could have you arrested for disorderly conduct!”There have been dozens of victories that include the cleanup of a landfill the city dumped in a lake, state fines, Rainbow flags on the Bridge of Lions, election of Mayor Nancy Shaver, protection of Fish Island, halting numerous inappropriate developer projects and creation of the Dr. Robert S. Hayling Freedom Park to be dedicated April 22.Now, let us permanently end the lawless culture of fear, smear, retaliation, secrecy and corporation-coddling:St. Augustine is still following Draconian Harriss-era rules limiting public comment. Local governments are still hassling people on Open Records requests.  Public comment must be heard on every single agenda item as it is at St. Augustine Beach, St. Johns County, and the Anastasia Mosquito Control District.Government employees deserve strong whistleblower protections.Citizens must not be arrested for peaceful picketing, “plein air” painting, or playing music.Federal courts have repeatedly ruled the City of St. Augustine is violating the First Amendment in its treatment of our artists.  Mayor Nancy Shaver has said “our streets are not lively,” but four Commissioners would not budge. Result?  Yet another First Amendment ruling against our City, this time by U.S. District Judge Brian J. Davis.  As attorney Tom Cushman wrote in the Record, “Enough.”Some city and county government offices disdain Open Records requests.  They create inflated, facetious cost estimates and have poor communication skills. Responses from the St. Augustine “Public records custodian” are unadorned by anyone’s real name. This lawbreaking must stop. Now.Sheriff David Shoar unsuccessfully tried to have FDLE’s 2009 Special Agent of the Year, Rusty Ray Rodgers, fired in retaliation for his dogged investigation of the September 2, 2010 shooting of Michelle O’Connell in the home of his deputy, Jeremy Banks.  Shoar claims the death is a suicide.  Rodgers never ruled Banks out as respon[...]

April 11, 2018: Fair Housing Act Fiftieth Anniversary

Wed, 11 Apr 2018 12:51:00 +0000

Housing discrimination was outlawed fifty years ago today, in 1968, thanks to Senators Walter Mondale, Ted Kennedy and Everett Dirksen, with a big push from President Lyndon Johnson, backed by the united moral force of an alliance of groups advancing civil rights, including labor unions, church groups, civil libertarians and civil rights groups.My father was termed "the only Realtor(R) in South Jersey who would show an African-American couple a home in West Berlin, N.J." NAACP "testers" sent two couples, black and white, to test the law. NAACP "testers" detected near-zero compliance after the Fair Housing Act was enacted, finding near-zero compliance (except my dad, who recalled he told the black couple, "It's a redneck area, but you have a right to live anywhere you want. Let's go see it." Here in St. Augustine, we amended our City Fair Housing ordinance in 2012 to include sexual orientation as a protected class.Here's an article by Fair Housing Act co-author Walter Mondale, and Professor Jonathan Zasloff's article from Harvard Journal on Legislation, "The Secret History of the Fair Housing Act":From The New York Times:OP-ED CONTRIBUTORWalter Mondale:The Civil Rights Law We IgnoredImageCreditRichie PopeBy Walter F. MondaleMr. Mondale was a co-author of the Fair Housing Act of 1968.April 10, 2018Fifty years ago on April 11, Congress enacted the Fair Housing Act, the last of the three great civil rights laws of the 1960s. Along with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act, it was an attempt by Congress to translate the movement led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others into enduring statute. But it also has the more dubious distinction of being the most contested, most ignored and, at times, most misunderstood of those laws.For most of the 20th century, an array of forces worked to divide American communities into black and white quarters. Some involved explicit discrimination, including racial redlining in federal mortgage insurance, and real estate covenants that restricted home buyers by race. But some were more subtle, like the steering by real estate agents of racial minorities into certain neighborhoods, biased lending and underwriting, and the concentration of low-income housing in low-income neighborhoods.By the late 1960s, racial tensions came to a head, marked by civil disturbances that the bipartisan Kerner Commission attributed to the growth of “two societies, one black, one white — separate and unequal.” The fair housing bill, which had been filibustered for many years by segregationist senators, received a critical push from this report. Provisions that would have exempted single-family homes were defeated, and the law passed the Senate.Then, on April 4, 1968, Dr. King was assassinated. His death shook the nation, setting off another round of disturbances. Something had to be done — not just about America’s ugly history of housing discrimination but also about the divided system that had led the nation to this awful moment. The assassination dislodged the stalled housing bill from the House Rules Committee, and one week later the Fair Housing Act was signed into law.The law was Congress’s effort to remedy a great historical evil: the large-scale exclusion and isolation of blacks from white communities. In the Jim Crow South, white and black citizens were kept apart to confirm and reinforce the idea of white superiority. Residential segregation accomplished the same result elsewhere, but on a much larger scale. The Fair Housing Act was intended to prevent and reverse all this.In the half-century[...]

3-2 VOTE ALLOWS ECHO HOUSE DEMOLITION -- City history under siege from developers' demolition derby

Tue, 10 Apr 2018 16:15:00 +0000

April 9, 2018: St. Augustine City Commissioners voted 3-2 to allow demolition to proceed on historic Echo House.Commissioners approved a motion by Vice Mayor Todd Neville, seconded by Mayor Nancy Shaver and supported by Commissioner Roxanne Horvath not to explore litigation over the impending demolition of ECHO HOUSE, for which a demolition permit may now be issued to St. Paul A.M.E. Church "over the counter" on April 16, 2018 under to a June 2018 HARB order.   Voting against were Commissioners Leanna Sophia Amaru Freeman and  Nancy Sikes-Kline.Though Rev. RON RAWLS has violated the June 15, 2017 Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) order allowing time for community involvement to save ECHO HOUSE at no cost to the church, there is nothing to be done. The building will be torn down -- a monument in perpetuity to the ineptitude of the City of St. Augustine to protecting our history, a tribute to the power of schemers and conmen and their "snow jobs," as Commissioners belatedly recognized.  Too late.Leanna Freeman led the debate, pointing out that Rev. RONALD RAWLS, Jr. had fraudulently misrepresented facts to her to euchre her support for approving the transfer of ECHO HOUSE to his church.  No one disagreed with her. Four City Commissioners said they had been "betrayed" and fraudulently misled about Echo House by St. Paul A.M.E. Church pastor RONALD RAWLS, Jr. -- Leanna Sophia Amaru Freeman, Nancy Sikes-Kline, Roxanne Horvath and Mayor Nancy Shaver made it official.  The only exception was Vice Mayor TODD DAVID NEVILLE, the lying outlier, sitting at the far northwest corner of the meeting room, scrunched defensively into the corner all night.Discussion proved that the City quit claim deed's defective "right of reverter" clause was poorly drafted by RONALD WAYNE BROWN, under the malAdministration of WILLIAM BARRY HARRISS, City Manager (1998-2010), who now greases a chair and encumbers a position with corrupt St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR.The "right of reverter" clause made no references to RAWLS' repeated promises he had the money to fix Echo House and would do so.  It made no reference to the building at all. It merely said that if the "property" was no longer being used for a charitable purpose, the City of St. Augustine could take it back. Was this ineptitude intentional?  Or was it merely negligent?  Legal malpractice?RONALD WAYNE BROWN wrote the right of reverter clause. BROWN was hired without advertising, first temporarily, then permanently, in twin Sunshine violations by the City of St. Augustine City Commission in 2006. That was after resignation of City Attorney James Patrick Wilson, who quit, later explaining, "I worked there fourteen years.  They dumped a landfill in a lake.  They didn't ask me.  They didn't tell me.  And I figured it was time to move on."HARRISS did not give a fig about Lincolnville, and was the understudy to former City Manager JOSEPH POMAR, who joked in 1998 that he wanted to have fourteen bulldozers line up and tear down Lincolnville.  Racist POMAR's fatuous joke is today's directive, as gentrification afflicts Lincolnville, aided and abetted by Rev. RONALD RAWLS, JR. In 2010, there were two (2) lawyers on City Commission who blessed BROWN's defective quitclaim deed "right of reverter language" -- Leanna Freeman and Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. BROWN's Assistant City Attorney at the time was CARLOS EDUARDO MENDOZA, now a United States District Judge for the Middle District of Florida in Orlando. So four (4) attorneys [...]

Yesterday’s Ku Klux Klan members are today’s police officers, councilwoman says. (WaPo)

Tue, 10 Apr 2018 11:38:00 +0000

Washington Post report on Virginia city councilwoman speaking truth to power. Here in corrupt St. Johns County, corrupt Sheriff DAVID SHOAR brandishes bigotry with a pain to Sheriff L.O. Davis, who hired organized racists as deputies; despite my demands to correct it, SHOAR's website, falsely stating that:Sheriff L.O. Davis held the town together during 1964 Civil Rights demonstrations;Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was "arrested by federal agents; andSheriff Davis was "exonerated" by the Florida State Senate, which actually voted 44-2 to remove him from office.SHOAR, who legally changed his name from "HOAR" in 1994, faces possible prosecution for sending materially false and misleading documents to federal agents concerning FDLE Special Agent Rusty Ray Rodgers and his investigation of the September 2, 2010 homicide of Michelee O'Connell in the home of Deputy JEREMY BANKS with BANKS' service weapon, a crime that the conflicted Sheriff's obeisant officers claimed was "suicide" before the sun rose the next morning.Yesterday’s Ku Klux Klan members are today’s police officers, councilwoman saysBy Cleve R. Wootson Jr. October 11, 2016 Email the authorA member of the Ku Klux Klan adjusts his hood during a 1998 rally in Texas. (David J. Phillip/AP)Angelia Williams Graves says she didn’t have some grand plan to compare police to the Ku Klux Klan when she took the stage at an NAACP luncheon in Virginia on Oct. 1. But days after the Norfolk city councilwoman ignited a firestorm, she wasn’t taking her words back, either.Modern racists, Graves told the mostly black crowd of more than 200, have “taken off their white hats and white-sheeted robes and put on police uniforms. Some of them have put on shirts and ties as policymakers and some of them have put on robes as judges.”The speech at a fundraiser in downtown Norfolk was not recorded, but Graves recounted her remarks in an interview with The Washington Post. Others who attended the event told The Post that they recalled hearing the same thing that day at the Murray Center.Angelia Graves. (Courtesy of Angelia Graves)The KKK comparison shocked the crowd at the Norfolk NAACP Freedom Fund luncheon, attendees said.Graves, a member of the city council since 2010, has delivered brief remarks at the fundraiser in previous years. But, she said, she’d never said anything more incendiary than “thanks for your support.”This year was different, she said, because she was outraged by the killings of black people by police officers and what she described as unfair treatment of blacks in the court system.The speech was her soapbox.“Racism still does exist,” Graves said in an interview. “Stereotyping of black people still does exist. We have to recognize that there is a problem before we can solve the problem. … We have to stop trying to tiptoe around it and deal with the issues.”As the NAACP sought to distance itself from her words, saying they didn’t represent the organization, law enforcement leaders in the Tidewater area said Graves crossed the line with remarks that widened racial fissures and were deeply offensive to police in her community.Leading the criticism: Norfolk Sheriff Bob McCabe, a white Democrat who is a two-decade member of the local NAACP.“We all want to talk about looking at each other’s point of view, come to the table, listen to the concerns,” the sheriff said in an interview. “When you have comments from either side that are inappropriate or racist or over the li[...]

Let a Circuit Court jury decide: City of St. Augustine must vote to use eminent domain to take back Echo House

Mon, 09 Apr 2018 17:22:00 +0000

Since good faith negotiations have apparently failed, St. Augustine City Commissioners must vote tonight to direct the City Attorney to follow the steps required to condemn what's left of Echo House for a public purpose, as allowed by the City's right of reverter and by Florida eminent domain law. First article on negotiations, then statute:Echo House negotiations crumbleBy Sheldon GardnerPosted at 2:20 PM As of Friday morning, negotiations had come to a standstill on saving a nearly century-old building in Lincolnville.The city of St. Augustine and St. Paul AME Church officials met recently to discuss the city’s proposal for preserving Echo House, which St. Paul AME rejected, said the Rev. Ron Rawls, pastor of the church.Commissioners are expected to discuss their options at tonight’s City Commission meeting, City Manager John Regan said.Those options include allowing the demolition to take place or refusing to issue a demolition permit, Regan said. In the meantime, Regan said he planned to be in touch with St. Paul AME officials to try and work something out before Monday night.“We’re going to have a discussion about what happens [as of] April 16,” Regan said.St. Paul AME plans to demolish the property, which is on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in St. Augustine near the church, on April 16 or later if nothing is resolved. That’s when a 10-month waiting period will expire that was set by the city’s Historic Architectural Review Board, which reviews demolition requests for older structures and which approved a certificate of demolition for Echo House. The waiting period was intended to give the community time to find a way to save Echo House. A demolition permit is still needed from the city’s Planning and Building Department.Opened in the 1920s as a community center, the property belongs to the church. The city has a reverter clause on the property that says it has to be used for charitable, philanthropic and nonprofit purposes, or ownership goes back to the city.The latest attempt to save the building from demolition was led by members of the nonprofit Lincolnville Historical Preservation and Restoration Society, including co-chair Madeline Wise.Wise said she wants the city to have a judge determine whether St. Paul’s plans to use the property in part for parking count as a nonprofit, charitable and philanthropic purpose.“They don’t want to save the place,” Wise said of St. Paul AME.The property changed hands and deteriorated over the years. After St. Paul AME Church took over the property in 2010, the church planned to rehabilitate the building, but that hasn’t happened. And in recent years, Rawls has applied to demolish the property in part to make room for parking.The city’s recent offer to St. Paul AME Church included: Dividing the property into two parcels. The building and part of the land would go to the city. The rest would go to the church, and the city would remove its reverter clause from the church’s part of the land. The city would also provide $90,000 to help the church upgrade its property for parking and open space for children to play during summer camps, or other uses.The city would also have committed, if the commission had approved the agreement, to restoring the building and looking for grants. The budget was expected to be $350,000. The city would also have sought to use it for low-intensity uses, such as a nonprofit office or museum, that wouldn’t compete with the church’s needs for parking.But church leaders rejected t[...]

Editorial: Don't gamble on special session gambling (Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board)

Mon, 09 Apr 2018 15:27:00 +0000

I support the referendum that would amend Florida's Constitution to require a 60% vote to expand gambling. I agreed with our St. Johns County Commissioners refusing and rejecting gambling industry demands to put an illegal vote on the 2016 ballot, rejecting mendacious machinations by louche lobbyist SUSAN SUMMERALL WILES, ROGERS TOWERS and its then-partner ELLEN AVERY-SMITH (now on her own).I oppose the proposed special session and I agree with this editorial in the Orlando Sentinel:Editorial: Don't gamble on special session gamblingOrlando Sentinel Editorial BoardApril 8, 2018Just a month after bringing down the curtain on their annual session in Tallahassee, leaders in the Florida Legislature are threatening an encore. But the special session they’re eyeing on gambling would be an unnecessary, uncertain and even unsavory exercise.During this year’s regular session, legislators tried and failed to pass a bill that would resolve legal disputes in the state’s gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Under the 2010 compact, the Tribe is bound to make monthly payments to the state in return for the exclusive right to offer certain games, including blackjack, at its Florida casinos. The Seminoles contend gambling at other, non-tribal venues in the state is violating the compact, and were threatening to halt their payments starting this month unless the state did more to enforce exclusivity for the Tribe. House Speaker Richard Corcoran warned that legislators could be forced to cut up to $441 million out of the next state budget if the payments lapse, or dig into budget reserves and jeopardize the state’s bond rating.But this week the Tribe’s lawyer, Barry Richard, said that the Seminoles would continue to make the payments for now, deal or no deal. “They don’t want to take advantage of the state economically any more than they want the state to take advantage of them,” Richard said. That means there’s no pressing need for a special session to avoid the scenario the speaker warned about.Legislators doubtless feel some urgency to take another crack at gambling policy while they still can. Looming on the November ballot is a proposed constitutional amendment, backed by the Seminoles as well as Disney, that would require a statewide vote for any expansion of gambling. If it receives enough support from voters to pass — at least 60 percent — it will put voters, not legislators, in control of gambling decisions.But it’s not certain any changes legislators would make in a special session would hold up if the amendment wins voter approval. The head of the anti-casino gambling organization spearheading the campaign for the amendment, John Sowinski, raised these doubts in a letter he sent this week to the lead negotiators on gambling in the Senate and the House. Sowinski cited support for his legal interpretation from the Florida Supreme Court, state economists and even a lawyer for the gambling industry. Unless his interpretation can be conclusively refuted by another, reputable legal authority, it’s another strike against a special session.The main reason legislators have struggled to pass legislation on gambling is that multiple players with competing interests always seem to get involved. That group includes not only the Seminoles, but also the parimutuel operators of the state’s horse and dog tracks and jai-alai frontons. While the Seminoles want to maintain or expand their exclusive right to offer games at their casinos, [...]

FBI Pounces on Alleged Criminal Pay-to-play Scheme in City of Tallahassee (Tallahassee Democrat/USA Today Network)

Mon, 09 Apr 2018 14:22:00 +0000

Chickens are coming home to roost soon in the City of Tallahassee, Florida, it would appear.  Meanwhile, people are patiently waiting on FBI and USDOJ to take bold and fearless action on corruption here in St. Johns County. Here's the news from the Tallahassee Democrat:'It connects the dots': Ex-FBI agents weigh in on 'barn burning' case against Scott MaddoxJeff Burlew, Democrat senior writerPublished 3:00 p.m. ET April 6, 2018 | Updated 5:42 p.m. ET April 6, 2018 allowfullscreen="" class="uw-iframe uw-playlist-iframe" frameborder="0" name="103152138" scrolling="no" src="" style="background-position: center center; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat; background-size: contain; height: 565px; left: 0px; overflow: hidden; position: relative; top: 0px; width: 542px;">Attorney for commissioner says “When all of the evidence is in, and people know the whole story, they will know that Scott Maddox has been a good city commissioner."Buy Photo(Photo: Hali Tauxe/Democrat)CONNECTTWEETLINKEDINCOMMENTEMAILMOREThree former FBI agents say the federal government appears to be building a strong case against Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox and Downtown Improvement Authority Executive Director Paige Carter-Smith.The former agents are familiar with the case through media accounts and the accidental release of a search warrant affidavit in early February detailing the FBI’s investigation into Maddox and Carter-Smith, his longtime friend and business partner. The affidavit said Maddox took official action on behalf of city vendors in exchange for cash through Governance, Inc., a consulting firm he found in 1999 but later sold to Carter-Smith to avoid public appearances of conflicts of interest.“The evidence contained in this affidavit to me suggests that authorities are going to return an indictment and charges will be filed,” said James Wedick, a retired FBI supervisory agent from Sacramento, California. “Because they contain factual allegations indicating that there’s a pay-to-play scheme in existence in Tallahassee, Florida. And it’s ongoing because of the relationship between Scott Maddox and Paige Carter-Smith. I don’t doubt that they will be charged.” data-integralas-id-538f7e99-8217-f3bf-9753-037c3f7423d9="" frameborder="0" height="3" id="google_ads_iframe_7103/fl-tallahassee-C1558/native-article_link/news/local/features_fbi_0" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" name="google_ads_iframe_7103/fl-tallahassee-C1558/native-article_link/news/local/features_fbi_0" scrolling="no" style="border-width: 0px; vertical-align: bottom;" title="3rd party ad content" width="3">No charges have been filed yet, however, and attorneys for Maddox and Carter-Smith have said they will be cleared of allegations of wrongdoing.“Right now only one side of the story has been told through a document that should not have been leaked in the first place,” said Maddox’s attorney, Stephen Dobson. “When all of the evidence is in, and people know the whole story, they will know that Scott Maddox has been a good city commissioner and always acted in Tallahassee's best interest.”Our coverage of the FBI investigation: A tangled web: Our complete coverage of the FBI investigation'Presumption of innocence': Maddox denies allegations in FBI warrant, vows[...]

What do you think about St. Augustine Beach Mayor Undine George's Idea: Smartphone Parking App to Pay for Parking?

Mon, 09 Apr 2018 12:38:00 +0000

Good column by St. Augustine Record columnist Bob Tis.  I agree wholeheartedly.   See my comments, below.  Read my 21 questions here: Also, Mr. Tis makes a very good point about the health insurance debacle.  Did Mayor Undine Celeste Pawlowski George ever apologize for her violation of reasonable expectations of probate by sticking a discussion of healthcare on agenda, then voting to award herself healthcare benefits without adequate public notice?  I don't think so.  Does being Mayor of St. Augustine Beach mean "never having to say you're sorry?"SMOOTH SAILIN’: Beach parking has makings of a Shakespearean tragedyBy Bob TisPosted at 2:01 AM April 9, 2018St. Augustine RecordPlease allow me to shake off my left flip-flop and use my big toe to draw a line in the sand this morning.Somebody, anybody, must watch the back of the beachgoer in this community. Why? Because it is hard enough to get to the beach already. First off, you have to carve out the time and hope the weather is cooperative. If you have kids and old people in your life, well you might as well be herding cats if you want to organize a beach trip.So, let’s just say it is you and maybe a friend who want to step out to the beach for some quiet time ... you know, just a quick mini-vacation on the sand in the middle of the day at St. Augustine Beach. Well, if your knees and back are anything like mine you are going to need a chair. And you know what, if you are going to be spending a few hours by the ocean you will be a lot more comfortable with an umbrella. And who doesn’t want to have a little lunch at the beach? And if you are going to go to the trouble of making a sandwiches you will require some salty chips. Which means you are going to have to pack the cooler with some ice cold drinks. I love having my stuff at the beach, so if I know a few friends will be able to join me I usually bring my unwieldy dome tent. You can get crispy out there even with sunscreen on.One special beach tip from me this morning is to bring a small pit shovel, if you can. It is handy to dig a little hole in the sand for your umbrella. I like to bring my putter and few golf balls to the beach and use the hard sand as a putting green. Digging golf holes is just another of the many jobs your pit shovel will be handy for. It is true I sometimes lug more toys than some to the beach but not as many as others. I don’t go to the beach without my boogie board and a Frisbee in the car. So yes, it takes a bit of planning.The last thing any of us beach people need is to make this seasonal dance any more complicated. Many of us in the Crescent Beach area noted that Butler Park East parking lot absolutely filled up with cars during a recent Spring Break weekend. This happens on Memorial Day and sometimes on July 4, but this kind of jam up in the lot, so early in the season, was startling. Beware the ides of March the soothsayer warned us.But that parking kerfuffle was nowhere near as scary as the St. Augustine Beach Commission talking about charging for public spaces by the beach last week. Like I said, it is hard enough to get there already. Even the new mayor, Undine George, spoke in favor of adopting some kind of application for your phone to pay for parking. All I can say is Et tu, Undine?This is the same local attorney who wanted St. Au[...]

Who the heck is Gov. RICK SCOTT "Fundraiser," Oilman DANIEL EBERHART, Threatening Florida Senator Marco Antonio Rubio?

Mon, 09 Apr 2018 10:47:00 +0000

Bigoted Bumptious Big Oil Bagman threatens Florida junior Senator Marco: “Rubio should tread carefully regarding his budding friendship with Nelson . . . because Rubio and Scott share a donor base and a voter base,” said Dan Eberhart, an oil industry executive and top Scott fundraiser. “If Rubio refuses to endorse and Scott were to narrowly lose, Rubio’s detente with Nelson might backfire.” -- The Washington PostFrom Wikipedia:Dan K. EberhartFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaDan K. EberhartOccupationManaging partner of Eberhart Capital; CEO of Canary, LLCKnown forOilfield services managementDan K. Eberhart is the Chief Executive Officer of Canary, LLC, a Denver, Colorado based drilling-services company, and is managing partner of Eberhart Capital, LLC.[1]Contents  [hide] 1Background and Education2Career3Organizations4ReferencesBackground and Education[edit]Eberhart is a native of Georgia and holds a bachelor of arts degree in economics and political science from Vanderbilt University and a Juris Doctor degree from Tulane Law School, where he was the President of the Tulane Federalist Society.[2][3][4] While at Vanderbilt, he founded a conservative student group for bringing speakers to campus.[5] He moved from New Orleans, Louisiana to Phoenix, Arizona after graduating law school and working for just three weeks before Hurricane Katrina hit.Career[edit]Eberhart’s company, Canary, installs and services wellheads at drilling locations.[6] As of early 2014, Eberhart’s private equity firm, Eberhart Capital LLC, has been involved in a total of 12 acquisitions since 2007, from several different sectors including the oil and gas industry.[1][6][7]Eberhart got his start as a business owner when he quit his job at a Houston-based international oil field service company and purchased Frontier Wellhead & Supply Co. in January 2009.[8][3] From 2009 to 2012, he added seven acquisitions of oilfield services companies to Frontier.[9]In January 2013, he purchased Oklahoma City, Oklahoma-based rival, Canary Wellhead Equipment Inc., for less than $100 million.[10] The combined Frontier Wellhead and Canary Wellhead is headquartered in Denver and operates under the name Canary, LLC for name recognition.[11] It has a revenue of over $100 million, and Eberhart is the CEO.[3][12][11] The company is now the sixth-largest privately owned oilfield service company and the largest independent wellhead service provider in the United States.[13][14]Before he purchased Frontier Wellhead, Eberhart was the vice president of acquisitions for Greene's Energy Group, LLC. He also served as vice president of acquisitions for Robson Energy in Arizona.[3]Eberhart’s investment company, Eberhart Capital LLC, owns Canary and other companies. Its acquisitions include Unitherm Furnaces, LLC, a Missouri-based industrial furnace maker, which it acquired in January 2014.[15] It also owns Precision Pipeline, Inc., and three trucking companies: Poling Express, LLC, Twin Express, and Golden Drop Trucking.[16][1] The company also acquired then divested Luft Machine, a manufacturing company.[17] In July 2014, they acquired Contractor Sales and Services, an industrial construction equipment rental company based in Des Moines, Iowa.[18]Eberhart Capital [...]