Friday, August 22, 2014

40 Years A Freshman

In 1974, I moved from Southern New Jersey to Washington, D.C. on this date.
I grew up a "poor hick from the sticks."
No air conditioning.
I was a freshman at Georgetown University, the Nation's Oldest Jesuit University, found in 1789, the year our federal government opened.
I now live in St. Augustine, the Nation's Oldest City, founded by Roman Catholics on September 8, 1565.
I remember years later telling a former Congressman, Jesuit Fr. Robert S. Drinan, S.J. of the experience, living in New North Hall at Georgetown University, while standing in the doorway of the Jesuit Residence there.
WIthout missing a beat, Fr. Drinan said, without missing a beat, "I bet they ripped you off."
Fr. Drinan was right, at least one sense.
No air conditioning (and something like $1200/school year in 1974 dollars, if I recall correctly).
Yes, room, board and tuition were high, but so were the spirits, and the expectations, and the people.
I still feel like a freshman much of the time, not unlike one of my former clients, the late C.D. "Bud" Varnadore of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, who once said of our co-counsel, that he was "like a 'possum" -- "every day, I wake up in a new world."
We're still making this a "new world."
"Welcome to the New World," as Jack Ryan, the Georgetown-educated character says near the end of the movie of Tom Clancy's The Hunt for Red October.







Illegal Political Mailings by Non-Profit Children's Museum -- Desperation Time for MAYOR JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. --- IN HAEC VERBA

August 22, 2014

Dear Mr. Platt and Ms. Connor:
1. You did not respond. Instead, the tag! Children's Museum has now sent another political E-mail earlier today.
2. You have both endangered your non-profit status.
Why?
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin
www.cleanupcityofstaugustine.blogspot.com
904-377-4998

(Earlier E-mail, Sent on August 19, 2014)
Dear Mr. Platt:
1. Did Kresge Platt & Abare or tag! Children's Museum authorize you to endorse Mayor Joseph Boles for re-election in your E-mail this morning to your firm and tag! Children's Museum mailing lists? Or was this just a frolic of your own? The first paragraph of your E-mail makes it clear that you write on behalf of the Museum, stating inter alia:
"As many of you know, I have been the President of tag! Children's Museum for the past 5 years and am anxious for opening day. I want you to know that one of our biggest political supporters has been Joe Boles due to his passion for improving the lifestyle of those who live in and visit St. Augustine, as well as his strong interest in the education of the children in our community. The work he has done in this city is fantastic (sic). He is focused on our economic growth, culture, preservation of history and safety of our residents. I expect even greater things to come when (sic) he is re-elected Mayor."
2. Did you discuss this with your KPA partners and tag! Children's Museum board before doing it? If so, please share the minutes reflecting such discussion. If not, why not?
3. Did you consult with legal counsel as to possible ethics and breach of fiduciary duty issues?
4. Did Mayor Boles request the endorsement as a quid pro quo, or did you just do it sua sponte, ex nihilo? If it was a quid pro quo, please share the terms.
5. Were you and your clients and board members aware of the lease between the City and Boles for 81 St. George Street? (Florida Cracker Cafe and Savannah Sweets, $1332.21/month, no-bid lease in effect since 1989, starting at $100 month, between City, Boles and Claude Leonard Weeks, Jr.)?
Would you like to review a copy and comment upon it for publication?
6. Please send me a copy of the written KPA and tag! Children's Museum authorizations to speak for them on the Mayor's race in St. Augustine.
7. Please send me a copy of their respective corporate charters.
8. Do you reckon that tag! Children's Museum's non-profit status -- and your status with it -- will now be reviewed by federal investigators because you have so brazenly embroiled tag! Children's Museum in politics?
9. Do you intend to resign from the tag! Children's Museum board to spare it further embarrassment and federal investigative scrutiny over your political mailing in its name?
10. Please feel free to call me to discuss.
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin
www.cleanupcityofstaugustine.blogspot.com
904-377-4998







Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. --- CHICKENS ARE COMING HOME TO ROOST

FLUSH MAYOR BOLES



Eight years is enough. $2-3 million from one no-bid City of St. Augustine lease deal is enough. Vote early, today or tomorrow, or Tuesday, 8/26.

Emotional-Blackmailing Economic Royalist on the Run







Economic Royalists. That's what FDR called those who ruined our economy in the Great Depression. Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. and ex-M CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS, JR. are economic royalists. "They rip off taxpayers together," as Chicago Tribune reporter Jon Margolis wrote about the late Senator HOWARD BAKER, JR. and his crony capitalists in East Tennessee.

Here in St. Augustine, they want to spend some $1,000,000 on our 45Oth next year, with much of the celebration on fancy parties to which We, The People are not invited.

At yesterday morning's budget presentation, BOLES and DANA STE. CLAIRE were rightly questioned by three (3) female Commissioners were rightly questioned about the size of the 450th budget for next year -- proposed to DOUBLE to nearly $1,000,000. BOLES was angry, and it showed.

He asked if we should cancel the 450th, fire STE. CLAIRE and spend the money on roads. So much for healing and respect for diversity. So much for sexism and misogyny.

BOLES is accustomed to throwing his weight around, whether it is in naming his boy, CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS, JR., a non-resident, to chair three (3) city committees (two as chair) or intimidating City employees' First Amendment protected activity. Let the questions be asked and answered, Mayor BOLES, and stop trying to engage in emotional blackmail with your colleagues. It is unseemly.

If, as BOLES' crony CATHY BROWN writes, BOLES is merely "1 of 5 commissioners," then why is he so insistent on getting his way all the time?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Saving St. Augustine I

Guest column: The Bohemians have won
St. Augustine Record
Posted: May 3, 2014 - 12:01am
By ED SLAVIN
St. Augustine
Nine years ago, on April 11, 2005, I spoke for the very first time to the St. Augustine City Commission, talking about civil rights concerns. Then-City Manager William B. Harriss spoke to me after the meeting, saying “I could have you arrested for disorderly conduct!”
Mr. Harriss is gone, replaced by new, enlightened management, John Regan. But Mr. Harriss’ words inspired activists to organize.
There have been a few victories:
1. Cleanup of city’s illegal dumping of 40,000 cubic yards of contaminated solid waste in the Old City Reservoir by consent decree.
2. Cleanup of city’s former contaminated landfill at the end of Riberia Street, by consent decree.
3. Cleanup of city’s sewage dumping in saltwater marsh at south end of Lincolnville, by consent decree.
4. Proper paving of Riberia Street for the first time in St. Augustine history.
5. Shutdown/prosecution of M&M Market at 102 Bridge Street (regional crack cocaine market).
6. Protection of neighborhoods from tree-killing, wetland-destroying developers.
7. Two civil rights monuments in our Slave Market Square.
8. The city’s “Journey” African-American history VIC exhibit.
9. Rainbow flags on Bridge of Lions, by federal court order, vindicating the First Amendment and Equal Protection.
10. Protection of visual artists, by federal court order, vindicating First Amendment rights.
11. Adding “sexual orientation” as protected class in St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach Fair Housing ordinances.
12. Employment nondiscrimination ordinance for both government and private employment in St. Augustine Beach.
13. Equal pension benefits for survivors of gay and lesbian St. Augustine retired employees.
14. Disapproval of inappropriate building across from St. Augustine Cathedral Basilica.
15. Protection of two historic neighborhoods from FSDB eminent domain.
16. Rejecting 7-Eleven’s 12 gasoline pumps at May Street and San Marco.
17. Cancellation of $1.8 million no-bid mosquito control helicopter. Winning deposit refund.
18. Ending rampant sunshine and open records violations by local governments.
19. Cancellation of illegal $25,000 sunshine-violating “business” trip by four city commissioners to Spain.
20. Ending First America Foundation (given $275,000 of city funds to run 450th celebration), winning refund of most of money.
21. Defeating proposed county charter twice.
22. Halting efforts to fire St. Augustine Beach policemen and delegate law enforcement to Sheriff David Shoar.
23. Resolutions opposing offshore oil drilling by St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach.
24. Resolutions opposing offshore sonar exploration by St. Augustine, St. Augustine Beach and St. Johns County.
25. Reporting of Sheriff David Shoar’s mishandling of Michelle O’Connell shooting case by New York Times and PBS Frontline.
26. Initiation of a diverse St. Augustine “visioning” committee in the sunshine.
27. Designation of St. Augustine as a “Compassionate City,” first in Florida and 20th in the world.
28. Encouraging diversity, equality and human rights.
29. Successful federal criminal prosecution of developer for cutting down of a bald eagle nest tree.
30. Encouraging our government officials to listen and to do the right thing.
We, the people, are everywhere! Our leaders are listening, as we “force the Spring.” As the late St. Augustine City Manager, Joe Pomar, once reportedly said, “the Bohemians have won.” Here in St. Augustine, we stand up for equal rights. We take care of our own. In John Winthrop’s words, we are building a “shining city on a hill.”
During our 450th next year, we look forward to sharing St. Augustine’s history and natural beauty with Pope Francis and other visitors from around the world.
Let’s preserve and protect what we love by enacting the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore (staugustgreen.com).

Saving St. Augustine II


Letter: What's in a mayor?
What's in a mayor?
Posted: August 14, 2014 - 12:00am

By ED SLAVIN
St. Augustine
What’s in a mayor?

Editor: Enough flummery. What to look for in a new mayor?

■ Increasing openness, candor and public participation.

■ Improving communications and website.

■ Focusing on traffic, streets, sewer, water, global ocean level rise.

■ Reforming government contracting and obtaining refunds from deficient vendors.

■ Auditing city, FPL and other franchisees’ books.

■ Hiring staff with proper advertising, posting, searches and job descriptions.

■ Litigating to end “sweetheart” leases of city-owned property, (including Flagler College, National Guard and Mayor Joseph Lester Boles, Jr. & ex-Mayor Claude Leonard Weeks Jr. 81 St. George Street, $1,332.21/month, subleased to Florida Cracker Cafe and Savannah Sweets (cleanupcityofstaugustine.blogspot.com/2014/06/golden-fleece-award-to-st-augustine.html).

■ Answering public questions on every agenda item.

■ Providing an ombudsman and one telephone number for city referrals.

■ Protecting employee free speech rights and halting harassment and intimidation of or by city employees.

■ Repealing anti-musician and anti-artist ordinances.

■ Using workshops and committees, encouraging creative brainstorming.

■ Ending illegal meetings at inconvenient times and places.

■ Changing all city meeting times to 7 p.m. (as at St. Augustine Beach), and adjourning by 11 p.m., with no free dinners or long breaks.

■ Rewriting ordinances in plain English.

■ Regulating lobbyists and ethics.

■ “Reinventing the wheel” — reforming zoning, planning and preservation to protect our small town ambience, history, nature and culture.

■ Advancing equality and human rights.

■ Protecting consumers.

■ Preserving and protecting our history and nature forever, through support for a St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore, finally realizing the vision of Mayor Walter Fraser and Sen. Claude Pepper, who first proposed it in 1939 (staugustgreen.com).

These are no ordinary times, no ordinary elections.

Meet and research the candidates.

This is our town, our time and your future. It is up to us. Help preserve our village.

St. Augustine

Hostile Ex-Mayor CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS, JR. Writes E-mail About Substandard Bathrooms to NY Times and Everyone "except Ed" ("I have no obligation or desire to respond to him!")



Millionaire beneficiary of a no-bid perpetual City lease worth $2-3 million, ex-Mayor of St. Augustine CLUDE LEONARD WEEKS, JR., obviously has emotional problems about First Amendment protected activity.
Did he truly believe that I would not receive his odd E-mail? (stating inter alia, "Hello All (except Ed). I have no obligation or desire to respond to him!")
In response to the FOLIO WEEKLY article, WEEKS whines: "Thank-you for all that you are having to endure!"


From: "Len Weeks"
Date: August 21, 2014 at 8:33:02 PM EDT
To: "Ron Brown" , "Tim Burchfield" , "John Regan" , "Jim Piggott" , "Isabelle Lopez" , "Martha Graham"
Cc: "Travis Grafft" , , , "Don Crichlow" , "Roxanne Horvath" , , , , , , , , , , , "Len Weeks"
Subject: Re: 81 St. George Street records of City inspections of restaurant, store and bathrooms; reason for urinal being covered with plastic currently (since at least Saturday)
Reply-To: "Len Weeks"

Hello All (except Ed). I have no obligation or desire to respond to him!

I spoke with Travis at the FCC today. The urinal stopped draining over the weekend and was overflowing. It is usually due to a calcium buildup in the drain line, due to heavy usage. Travis's crew covered the urinal to prevent usage so the water would not spill onto the floor. As you might imagine. With heavy usage on the weekend, if the drain is somewhat clogged up, and can't drain as rapidly as needed, it will overflow and then someone could slip and fall. We still have one urinal and 2 toilets that work. We did the responsible thing to prevent a real mess.

Travis ordered a very expensive calcium dissolver to pour into the urinal (something that we have to do once in a while). It just came in today. He will use it in the morning, as you can't pour it into the urinal without closing the bathrooms down during the day.

Hopefully, this will solve the problem.

As you know, we close down the Restaurant for 5 days the week after labor day each year for a major cleaning, painting and refurbishing of the grounds, exterior of the building, and restrooms.

Thank-you for all that you are having to endure!

Len Weeks
----- Original Message -----
From: Martha Graham
To: easlavin@aol.com ; Isabelle Lopez ; Jim Piggott ; John Regan ; Tim Burchfield ; Ron Brown
Cc: sceastman@folioweekly.com ; lweeks@aug.com ; mayorboles@comcast.net ; gardner@aug.com ; bryan4744@bellsouth.net ; delinda.fogel@staugustine.com ; kathy.nelson@staugustine.com ; sheldon.gardner@staugustine.com ; stuart.korfhage@staugustine.com ; NancySikesKline@aol.com ; cityfreeman@yahoo.com ; Roxanne Horvath ; Don Crichlow ; aschindler@firstcoastnews.com ; waltbog@nytimes.com
Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2014 4:09 PM
Subject: RE: 81 St. George Street records of City inspections of restaurant, store and bathrooms; reason for urinal being covered with plastic currently (since at least Saturday)

I don’t have anything responsive to this request.

From: easlavin@aol.com [mailto:easlavin@aol.com]
Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2014 4:02 PM
To: Isabelle Lopez; Martha Graham; Jim Piggott; John Regan; Tim Burchfield; Ron Brown
Cc: sceastman@folioweekly.com; lweeks@aug.com; mayorboles@comcast.net; gardner@aug.com; bryan4744@bellsouth.net; delinda.fogel@staugustine.com; kathy.nelson@staugustine.com; sheldon.gardner@staugustine.com; stuart.korfhage@staugustine.com; NancySikesKline@aol.com; cityfreeman@yahoo.com; Roxanne Horvath; Don Crichlow; aschindler@firstcoastnews.com; waltbog@nytimes.com
Subject: Re: 81 St. George Street records of City inspections of restaurant, store and bathrooms; reason for urinal being covered with plastic currently (since at least Saturday)

How long has plastic wrap been on one of the two urinals in men's room? What is the purpose? Who put it there? Why not fix the urinal instead of cover it? Please send any inspection reports. Thank you.

St. Augustine Public Affairs Director PAUL WILLIAMSON Must Retire-- City tv website four months out of date!

This is on the cosatv.com website the morning, on August 21, 2014:
See below for this month's schedule of live programming

********************************


*** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
*** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***


Live programming for April, 2014
Tuesday, April 1, 2:00pm:
Planning & Zoning Board
Saturday, April 5, 9:00am-12:00pm (noon)
Visioning 2014 & Beyond steering committee workshop
Monday, April 14, 5:00pm
City Commission
Thursday, April 17, 2:00pm
Historic Architectural Review Board
Monday, April 28, 5:00pm
City Commission

The regularly scheduled monthly meetings available for live viewing are:
St. Augustine City Commission at 5:00pm on the 2nd and 4th Monday
Planning and Zoning Board at 2:00pm on the first Tuesday
Historic Architectural Review Board at 2:00pm on the third Thursday.



GANNETT'S FIRST COAST NEWS DOES IT AGAIN

August 19, 2014. It happened at 6 pm, on the GANNETT-owned duopoly called FIRST COAST NEWS (monopoly authorized but the George W. Bush Administration, combining the news operations of both the NBC and ABC affiliates in Jacksonville, Florida).
Reporter Roger Weeder interviewed St. Johns County Sheriff NEAL PERRY.
Sheriff PERRY is dead.
Weeded said he was interviewing PERRY, though.
He was actually interviewing Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR.
Maybe Weeder was channeling PERRY's ghost.
Maybe Weeder is incompetent.
Sheriff SHOAR apparently did not correct Weeder on his misidentification.
Maybe Sheriff SHOAR was distracted, thinking about the upcoming election in 2014 and 2016.
What do you reckon?

Five days before election, developer announces Sebastian Inland Harbor plans -- it bears watchin'

SEBASTIAN INLAND HARBOR was a Superfund site, remediated by the City Atlanta Gas Light, the former location of a coal-to-gas plant.
Then wetlands were destroyed to build new docks
The docks still sit unoccupied.
The City was in a hurry.
The City was in a hurry to build 4.3 acres of "remediation" -- artificial replacement wetlands -- illegally trucking some 2000 truckloads of contaminated solid waste from the south end of Riberia Street to the Old City Reservoir -- an environmental crime. There was no permit. There never was one.
We caught the City red-handed. EPA and DEP environmental crimes investigators arrived on February 27, 2006.
FDEP ordered the waste deposited n a Class I landfill.
Under former City Manager WILLIAM BRUCE HARRISS and with $300,000 of legal and engineering advice from AKERMAN SENTERFITT and GEOSYNTEC, our City fought for years to put the contaminated solid waste back in Lincolnville, put dirt on top and call it a park. In November 2007, the City Commission, chaired by Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, Jr., voted to accept this plan.
We, the People fought them.
We won.
The waste is now in the Nassau County landfill -- 40,000 cubic yards of it.
So what happened to the project that they were so anxious to help with their illegal dumping?
Then the project went bankrupt.
WALLACE DEVLIN, Sr. no longer controls it.
Before DEVLIN lost his project in foreclosure, the St. Augustine City Commission wrongfully extended the old PUD in 2008 based on false promises by GEORGE MORRIS McCLURE that there was an agreement for a RADISSON or WESTIN HOTEL.
When I asked for a copy of the agreement, or sworn testimony, verifying any such agreement, louche Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. refused to ask for it.
None of his fellow commissioners cared to ask, either.
Developer mouthpiece GEORGE MORRIS McCLURE was not sworn in (McCLURE was never sworn in -- lawyers get to lie to Commissioners with impunity and immunity under the maladministration of Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR.)
The Sebastian Inland Harbor project went belly-up, like so many other speculative projects in the history of Florida.
Bankrupt.
Out of business.
The project sat vacant for years, a pile of dirt a monument to the monstrous absurdity of Florida politicians believing whatever they are told by developers.
Thus, any celebration today is premature.
In Historic City News, it is reported that “Thanks are due to Dan Bartok, Executive Vice President with Wells Fargo & Company, and the head official over bank-owned real estate, who worked with the buyers and the city to find the right buyer that can benefit our community,” said John Regan. “Our staff, particularly David Birchim and Reuben Franklin, have gone above and beyond to accommodate the Humphrey group, and it has paid off.”
What? "Accommodate?"
Do tell.
Do ask questions.
St. Augustine Record, Historic City News, whomever -- stop telling us that the city administration hung the moon.
What concessions will this developer demand?
Who owns it?
Don't tell us it's an LLC.
Don't tell us the answer is secret.
Who really owns it?
Who are the investors -- kindly name every single one of them, not just the LLC general partner.
Are any of the investors residents of other countries?
Are any of the investors involved in organized crime?
Do any of the investors have shady records with environmental violations?
Antitrust violations?
Campaign contribution scandals?
Who are the investors -- kindly name every single one of them.
Who are the actual beneficial owners? Name the living breathing people, not LLC sham corporate shells, please
Tell us.
Are they campaign contributors?
Talk to us like grownups.
Talk about costs and benefits.
Stop the PR puffery for ever grifter that comes to town, like ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARD, CHESTER STOKES and WALLACE DEVLIN, Sr. (developer of the failed, bankrupt Sebastian Inland Harbor Project and the speculator behind the proposed 7-Eleven at San Marco Avenue and May Streets).
There are trust issues with every single developer, and smugness is premature.
It is time for the City and County to stop trusting developers and start investigating and vetting them.
Destroyed wetlands, clear-cut forests, devastated history -- ENOUGH!
We want answers.
We want the truth.
Now.


On what theory, Mr. WEEKS and Mr. BOLES?

FOLIO WEEKYY's devastating cover story this week is about two Fortunate Sons of the St. Augustine aristocracy, LEONARD CLAUDE WEEKS, JR. and JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR., and their 25-year old scheme to profiteer from the rest of us.
BOLES' father ran the Lightner Museum.
WEEKS' father ran Flagler Hospital.
BOLES and WEEKS were permitted to build their business on city property and lease it for a song.
This is corporate welfare.
This is corporate socialism.
This is good-ole-boy businessmen ripping off the taxpayers.
This is so wrong.
The initial lease took effect on July 25, 1989.
When the building was built, WEEKS was found in violation of City law, lacking permits.
WEEKS demanded and did not get exceptions from historic building requirements.
The building was built, the restaurant was opened, and these two businessmen made a killing.
At our expense.
It's our money .
The city did not make the profits from its property -- BOLES and WEEKS did.
Some 25 years later, BOLES and WEEKS still have a lease of City of St. Augustine property at less than market rates.
The City has no right to cancel the lease.
It will go on for another ten years.
The theory of the lease, as rubber-stamped by a prior City Commission, was that they would provide bathrooms.
The fact of the lease is that they're ripping us off.
Some $2-3 million in profits over 25 years.
They don't earn it.
They never did earn it.
They got it the old-fashioned way -- these two good buddies ripped us off.
This is typical of crony capitalism in our Nation's Oldest City.
Former Mayor WEEKS and current Mayor BOLES don't do any work -- they just sublease the property at 81 St. George Street to the current owners of their former restaurant, FLORIDA CRACKER CAFE.
They cash twelve checks a year, and write one for some $8000 for property taxes.'
They're laughing all the way to the bank.
As for the bathrooms, check them out -- they're nasty.
They leave a bad impression with our visitors.
In fact: One of the two urinals is covered by plastic and does not work.
Obviously, the theory does not hold water.
The best public-private partnership ever?
Mayor BOLES WOULD NOT EVEN TALK TO FOLIO WEEKLY ABOUT IT --- he had business partners WEEKS call.
JUST AS their BUDDY, SHERIFF DAVID BERNARD SHOAR would not talk to the New York Times about the O'Connell case. Just ask his buddy, State's Attorney RALPH JOSEPH LARIZZA would not talk to the Times.
Henry Kissinger once attended a Washington Redskins game as the guest of then-owner Edward Bennett Williams. Kissinger did not like a referee's call. He stood up and yelled, "On vot theory?"
On what theory, Messrs. BOLES and WEEKS?
This is about greed, not need.
MR. BOLES, TEAR UP THIS LEASE!
What do y'all reckon?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Folio Weekly: THE BLOGGER, THE LEASE AND THE ST. AUGUSTINE MAYOR'S RACE -- An activist is raising hell about a lease agreement he says enriched the mayor at the public’s expense




THE BLOGGER, THE LEASE AND THE ST. AUGUSTINE MAYOR'S RACE
An activist is raising hell about a lease agreement he says enriched the mayor at the public’s expense
By Susan Cooper Eastman
Folio Weekly
Posted 8/20/14

“I think people have a right to know how much they are making on the deal. I think the city has a duty to protect the taxpayers and the city, and we are being bamboozled by Boles and Weeks.””
“If I were the mayor, I would have sold out my interest once I became mayor.””



When a storm blows across Florida, it happens suddenly and violently. Dark clouds gather in the sky. The rain pours down in blinding sheets. Claps of thunder sound like cannon fire. It feels like the end of the world. When St. Augustine’s Ed Slavin takes on a fight, he comes on like a Florida thunderstorm. The only difference is that Florida thunderstorms start brutally and end quickly, while Slavin’s torrents seem unceasing.

The bespectacled St. Augustine blogger and activist dresses nattily in oxford shirts and khakis with a mad professor mind-of-its-own shock of gray-and-black hair hurtling about his head. Slavin possesses a brilliant mind, a finely calibrated sense of outrage, and the mental acumen to both thoroughly investigate and mightily agitate. His partner referred to him as “the pest that never rests” in a letter recommending Slavin for the University of Florida’s law school.

Slavin received his B.S. degree from the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He interned in the Washington, D.C., office of Ted Kennedy and at the U.S. Department of Labor. As the editor of the Appalachian Observer, he uncovered a massive cover-up by Union Carbide involving mercury poisoning in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He earned his law degree at Memphis State University and represented whistleblowers in landmark cases in Oak Ridge and Washington, D.C. He was disbarred in Tennessee in what he regards as retaliation, although he admits to calling an opposing lawyer a “redneck peckerwood,” and his disbarment involved charges that he harassed judges.

Neither that disbarment nor his relocation to St. Augustine in 2000 curbed Slavin’s crusading nature. He still slings arrows, does copious research, gathers records, wages public harangues, and knows how to layer hyperbole with exacting case law.

And he Just. Doesn’t. Stop.

Slavin’s current targets include St. Johns County Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes, for failing to provide early voting sites close to St. Augustine’s historic downtown; public officials whose publicly financed trips to promote St. Augustine’s 450th anniversary celebration in 2015 he thinks are a waste (his criticism led to cancellation of a $25,000 trip for commissioners in 2010); the St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, for planning to demolish a 1926 Mediterranean revival building and put up a parking lot; the city’s dumping of solid waste and raw sewage in Lincolnville, the historic black neighborhood that encompasses much of The Ancient City’s southwestern peninsula; and the arrests and outlawing of street artists and musicians in the city’s historic district, as well as the continued employment and SWAT team promotion of a St. Johns County Sheriff’s deputy who was the subject of a blistering New York Times/Frontline investigation questioning whether he murdered his girlfriend (the official story is that she killed herself).

But most of all, the focus of Slavin’s ire of late has been St. Augustine Mayor Joseph L. Boles, who is seeking reelection this year. In Boles, Slavin sees remnants of the advantages that come with being part of the white hometown elite — vestiges of the good-ol’-boys network from which the city needs to untether.

Case in point: Slavin has hammered Boles repeatedly about the deal he and former mayor Len Weeks made 25 years ago with the St. Augustine City Commission to lease a prime piece of commercial real estate in the heart of the historic corridor. Slavin and others estimate that Weeks and Boles have netted between $2 million and $3 million in profit from the arrangement over the years. Slavin believes Boles and Weeks should end the lease, and turn over control of the property and, with it, the building they erected there. Boles and Weeks have both pointed out that is exactly what will happen when the lease permanently expires in 10 years. But Slavin says the city is losing money right now, money it could use for infrastructure, for historic preservation, for the city’s 450th birthday celebration, and the city’s mayor should act in the interest of the greater good, not personal self-interest.

“I think [Boles] ought to tear up the lease and let the city take back the property. Let the city make the profits instead of him and Weeks. I think of it as an exercise in fiduciary duty,” Slavin says. “I think people have a right to know how much they are making on the deal. I think the city has a duty to protect the taxpayers and the city, and we are being bamboozled by Boles and Weeks.”

The lease is perfectly legal — no one disputes that — but to Slavin, it’s an example of a public servant enriching himself at the public trough, something akin to the infamous deals worked out in the elder Mayor Daley’s Chicago. Ahead of next week’s mayoral primary election, Slavin’s banging that drum every chance he gets.

It’s about more than just the lease, really. Slavin sees Boles as a symbol of the old, connected and wrong; the lease symbolizes the way things used to be done between the families who had power and connections, a relic in a mayoral race that’s shaping up as a fight among a long-serving mayor and two relative newcomers.

St. Augustine historian David Nolan (father of former Folio Weekly staff writer Hamilton Nolan) agrees that Boles represents the homegrown St. Augustinian. For many people with roots in the city, he says, that’s a good thing.

“I think Joe is a candidate of the good ol’ boys,” Nolan says. “He’s certainly been around longer, and he is a lawyer and he has represented them and probably written the wills and done other legal work for all of the former mayors supporting him. He’s not as backwards as his predecessors, the ones who supported beating down Civil Rights demonstrators. But [the city’s old guard is] most comfortable with him.”

Joseph Boles has been the mayor of St. Augustine since 2006. (The city elects mayors to two-year terms.) His family moved here in 1967. In his first job as a St. Augustine teen, Boles dressed up as Ponce de Leon and rode a horse up and down St. George Street. If Boles wins, he will be the longest-serving mayor in the city’s 450-year history. But in this election, the hometown candidate faces a new guard of would-be change agents who say the city focuses too much on its tourists and not enough on its residents.

“The 450th is great, but what’s going to happen after 2015?” says Ken Bryan, one of Boles’ two challengers. “Meanwhile, the city is deteriorating.”

When the lease deal was struck in 1989, neither Boles nor Weeks had yet sought public office. Boles was an attorney specializing in estate planning and elder law. Weeks was a contractor and builder. In a city of just 11,575 people, they were both known quantities. Boles’ father was the director of the Lightner Museum. Weeks’ father ran Flagler Hospital.

The friends saw an opportunity on St. George Street. The state had been managing the city’s historic properties. When that ended, the state shut down all the public restrooms. The public and the St. Augustine Record railed about the lack of facilities for visitors to the tourism-fueled city. Boles and Weeks approached the city commission with a deal. If the city would lease them the vacant land at 81 St. George St., originally for $100 a month, they’d build a restaurant and other commercial space there — along with public restrooms. The city commission signed off. Boles, Weeks and another partner built and operated the Florida Cracker Café at the site, leased space there to Savannah Sweets, and included public restrooms behind the café as part of the construction.

Over the next 25 years, the rent for buildings along St. George Street skyrocketed; however, the 81 St. George St. lease amount stayed cheap. Weeks and Boles, who recently opted to renew the lease for another five years, pay $1,600 a month. The pair sold the Florida Cracker Café business for $150,000, but they still own the building it’s in and pay taxes on it. When the lease expires in 2024, the building Weeks and Boles built will become city property.

For that reason, Weeks and Boles see nothing wrong with the lease. In fact, they think they’re doing a public service.

“We were just normal guys who offered an opportunity to the city and the city thought it was a good deal for them,” Weeks says. “We took it on as entrepreneurs. I don’t feel guilty.”

Boles and Weeks have refused to disclose how much they earn leasing space to businesses at 81 St. George St. But by examining what the city of St. Augustine receives in rent for a comparable business, it’s possible to get a rough idea how much the Florida Cracker Café and Savannah Sweets might pay Boles and Weeks.

The Café del Hidalgo leases a 1,276-square-foot city-owned building in the historic district at 35 Hypolita St. for $6,596.55 a month, or $5.17 per square foot. If Boles and Weeks leased their 2,466-square-foot building at 81 St. George St. to the Florida Cracker Café and Savannah Sweets at the same rate the city leases space to Café del Hidalgo, they would charge a combined $12,749 a month. Subtract the restrooms’ square footage and Weeks and Boles would charge about $10,300 a month.

The $1,600 they pay the city is only for the land, however, not what they built there.

After a July 25 city commission meeting at which Slavin spoke out about the lease, Boles defended his arrangement with the city, explaining that he and his partners took a risk. When the lease ends, he added, the city will have an asset: “I make no apology for it. I think it is a win-win and the most perfect public-private partnership.” (Boles did not return calls for this story; instead he had Weeks call on his behalf.)

While Slavin often seems to be a crier in the wilderness — he and former mayor George Gardner are the lease’s fiercest critics — Bryan and fellow candidate Nancy Shaver have seized upon it, too. Bryan, who served on the St. Johns County Commission from 2008 to 2011, says that while the lease might not be illegal, it is unethical.

“If I were the mayor, I would have sold out my interest once I became mayor,” Bryan says. “It’s the only ethical thing to do to remove the appearance of impropriety; that is what one should be concerned about as an elected official.” He says he would seek an audit of all city leases and contracts if he wins the top city spot.

Shaver, a business management consultant who moved to St. Augustine about five years ago, says that the lease arrangement taints the mayor’s office. “I have no doubt that it is not illegal, but it is not something I would ever consider ethical or something that would be appropriate for an elected official in that position,” she says.

She’s especially critical of the fact that only Boles and Weeks — not the city — have the right to renew or terminate the agreement every five years until 2024. Shaver says that is “highly unusual, where the person who owns the property has no ability to terminate the lease.”

Still, despite his many criticisms, even Slavin credits Boles with helping to move St. Augustine into modernity. Boles, after all, commemorated the city’s violent and important role in the passage of the Civil Rights Act, extended retirement benefits to domestic partners, and recognized the annual Gay Pride celebration. And as his supporters point out, he has — whether it’s for the city’s ultimate benefit or not — worked tirelessly on the upcoming 450th anniversary celebration. They argue that he deserves to see it through.

“Truthfully, I hope Joe wins,” Weeks says. “I think he has done a great job as the face of St. Augustine in his eight years as mayor. I think he deserves to be mayor for the 450th because he has done so much to promote the city and to promote the 450th. He’s worked really hard. The 450th will be something to remember.”

No matter what happens on Aug. 26 — if no candidate achieves a majority, the top two will go to a runoff on Nov. 4 — the election will be historic, and not just because of the upcoming anniversary or Boles’ longevity. If Shaver wins, she’ll be St. Augustine’s second female mayor. If Bryan wins, he’ll be St. Augustine’s first black mayor. A victory by either would mark a new era in St. Augustine politics.

Regardless, Boles and Weeks will keep that lease at 81 St. George St. for another decade.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Questionable Non-profit Children's Museum's Alleged Endorsement of Mayor BOLES: IN HAEC VERBA -- E-mail to BENJAMIN PLATT


Dear Mr. Platt:
1. Did Kresge Platt & Abare or tag! Children's Museum authorize you to endorse Mayor Joseph Boles for re-election in your E-mail this morning to your firm and tag! Children's Museum mailing lists? Or was this just a frolic of your own? The first paragraph of your E-mail makes it clear that you write on behalf of the Museum, stating inter alia:
"As many of you know, I have been the President of tag! Children's Museum for the past 5 years and am anxious for opening day. I want you to know that one of our biggest political supporters has been Joe Boles due to his passion for improving the lifestyle of those who live in and visit St. Augustine, as well as his strong interest in the education of the children in our community. The work he has done in this city is fantastic (sic). He is focused on our economic growth, culture, preservation of history and safety of our residents. I expect even greater things to come when (sic) he is re-elected Mayor."
2. Did you discuss this with your KPA partners and tag! Children's Museum board before doing it? If so, please share the minutes reflecting such discussion. If not, why not?
3. Did you consult with legal counsel as to possible ethics and breach of fiduciary duty issues?
4. Did Mayor Boles request the endorsement as a quid pro quo, or did you just do it sua sponte, ex nihilo? If it was a quid pro quo, please share the terms.
5. Were you and your clients and board members aware of the lease between the City and Boles for 81 St. George Street? (Florida Cracker Cafe and Savannah Sweets, $1332.21/month, no-bid lease in effect since 1989, starting at $100 month, between City, Boles and Claude Leonard Weeks, Jr.)?
Would you like to review a copy and comment upon it for publication?
6. Please send me a copy of the written KPA and tag! Children's Museum authorizations to speak for them on the Mayor's race in St. Augustine.
7. Please send me a copy of their respective corporate charters.
8. Do you reckon that tag! Children's Museum's non-profit status -- and your status with it -- will now be reviewed by federal investigators because you have so brazenly embroiled tag! Children's Museum in politics?
9. Do you intend to resign from the tag! Children's Museum board to spare it further embarrassment and federal investigative scrutiny over your political mailing in its name?
10. Please feel free to call me to discuss.
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin
www.cleanupcityofstaugustine.blogspot.com
904-377-4998





Sunday, August 17, 2014

About that column, Chairman Sue Agresta: Wrong for PZB Chair to Publish Column Supporting Demolition of Historic Echo House

Anyone else troubled that the new St. Augustine PZB chair should write -- identified as such -- a column publicly lobbying another city board, HARB, to demolish an historic building? This is an appearance of impropriety and a conflict of interest, a stench in the nostrils of our Nation's Oldest City. Up until now, Sue Agresta has been a good PZB member, but her judgment on this stinks on ice! There is a de facto lynch mob supporting demolition. Threats of a church to leave the city and playing the race card from the bottom of the deck are immoral. Our PZB Chair should not have "piled on" and tried to influence a co-equal board, charged with conducting fair quasi-judial hearings. HARB must "construe according to the law" in the immortal words of St. Thomas More. Echo House must be saved, rebuilt, preserved and protected, with NPS help. It's our history and our city. We won't be bullied by Rev. Rawls & Co. with empty threats to move the church out of town (at a time when he is building a new building). Enough threats and enough racism for a lifetime, please.

Echo House brings preservation questions to surface

Echo House brings preservation questions to surface
Posted: August 16, 2014 - 11:37pm

By SHELDON GARDNER
sheldon.gardner@staugustine.com
Echo House sits at the heart of Lincolnville and has become the center of a community struggle.

The now dilapidated, boarded-up building on the corner of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and DeHaven Street used to house a nursing home and community center, but it has been an eyesore for decades, left to decay with its roof tiles removed.

Members of St. Paul AME Church across the street want to have the building demolished because they need parking, the Rev. Ron Rawls said. Others don’t want the piece of community history to go under.

The debate over the future of Echo House has centered on whether the building’s poor condition and the church’s need outweigh the preservation value of a piece of Lincolnville’s history, which no one seems to be in a position to renovate.

And it’s not an easy answer.

“It’s clearly in horrible condition,” said Sue Agresta, a Lincolnville resident and Lift Up Linolnville president. “ ... It hasn’t been used in half of its existence.”

But the building also is part of black history, and was a gift of Dr. Andrew Anderson, one of Henry Flagler’s friends, said historian David Nolan. It also belonged to Rosalie Gordon-Mills, the first black woman to seek public office in St. Augustine. Her desire was for it to be fixed, he said.

A building’s preservation value has many facets, and one is about heart.

“If it embodies part of the soul of the community, which that does,” Nolan said.

Members of the Historical Architectural Review Board face making the final decision.

The issue has been tabled a few times, and the next time the certificate of demolition is up for vote is on Thursday. HARB can continue the decision again, but Rawls could demand a yes-or-no answer.

Several people who live in the community provided their take on the building. A few said Echo House is an eyesore now, but they would like to see it fixed up.

Nykol Smith, co-owner of a food store and boutique at the Corner Market in Lincolnville, said if she had to choose between the building and the church, she’d pick the church. She would like some of the building saved if feasible.

Al Greco, who also lives in Lincolnville, said he would like to see it fixed up because it fits in with the neighborhood.

“Now, it’s kind of an eyesore,” he said.

But for Rawls and his church, about $1 million is too much to pay to revive the structure. That’s about the estimate given by a contractor who assessed the building.

When St. Paul AME got control of the property, they planned to renovate the building and use it for the St. Paul School of Excellence, which operates on the church property.

That proved to be too costly, and a change in the church’s parking situation prompted Rawls’ decision to seek a full demolition instead of a partial demolition. Members of the congregation aren’t able to park across the street as much as they used to, and other opportunities for parking have not surfaced.

After concerns were raised, Rawls offered a compromise that would keep one section of the building. The property will have a playground either way, he said. He is still willing to make the compromise.

Rawls said preserving the building was not his primary goals. His eyes were on the school.

But the decision is not in his hands.



What makes integrity

One part of the process is a report by Jenny Wolfe, St. Augustine’s historic preservation and special projects planner. She reports to HARB on her findings.

Wolfe, who was still preparing her latest report on the issue, said Echo House is one of the only Mediterranean Revival-style buildings remaining in the area.

The building’s history also makes it valuable. It’s associated with Dr. Anderson, who donated money for the purpose of having it built.

The building also operated at one time for segregated African-American services, which tells of social history.

The criteria when evaluating a building’s value are established by the National Park Service, Wolfe said. The “Seven Aspects of Integrity” are materials, workmanship, location, setting, association to historical events or people, design and feeling (the sense of place that a building contributes).

“I think that all of those aspects … are in place with this building. I think it still is able to effectively express all of those items,” she said.

Beyond that, the foundation and walls are intact, and the cost of renovation is not out of the ordinary. Grant programs could help pay for it, but a match would still be needed, she said.

Historic buildings in Lincolnville need to be preserved, and Echo House is one of them, Nolan said.

Trinity United Methodist Church on Bridge Street is another example of a historic building that is in need of repair.

“We really need to focus on these Lincolnville buildings before they’re lost,” Nolan said.

But Judith Seraphin, a Lincolnville resident and St. Paul AME Church member, has watched the building sit and decay for years. She said that preservationists and community members who want to cry for its repair should have done something before it was on the verge of ruin.

“Where have you been?” she said.

If the church is not allowed to move forward with its plans, Echo House will probably continue to decay, she said.

“That kind of derelict building holds the whole neighborhood down,” she said.

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Clara Waldhari 08/17/14 - 08:28 am 00We Have Been HERE,
Ms. Seraphin, watching your pastor contribute to the demise of that building because it doesn't fit into his plans. It is "inconvenient" for him, so he wants it down -- to Hell with history!

The building was deeded to your church to be used exclusively for the public good, NOT as parking to enable him to overcome a bad situation of his own making. He alienated those who could have helped him with parking, even to the extent of calling Mr. Otis Mason "malicious" during an open meeting of HARB!

Where there is right, there is might. You and your Pastor Rawls should look at the situation objectively: There is tremendous push-back on your desire to demolish Echo House, Right is NOT on your side.

Buildings in the same repair -- or worse -- as Echo House are pulled back from the brink every single day in this nation. It is done so by creative, hard-working people who wish to save and then maintain actual pieces of our history.

Echo House is one such structure: It needs saving. And we will do our best to save it from the wrecking ball and your pastor.

Floyd Boatwright 08/17/14 - 09:24 am 00Save the History of St. Augustine
Save the history and buildings of the "Oldest City".

We are all about Tourism and preserving History to keep our economy going.

Echo House sits at the heart of Lincolnville.

Save "Echo House".

Saving ECHO HOUSE in St. Augustine, Florida



ST. PAUL AFRICAN-METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH of St. Augustine, Florida (the "CHURCH") breached its promise to rehabilitate the historic ECHO HOUSE building and threatens to tear it down for a parking lot, which would be a profit-making business other than on church times.
PREDICTIONS
1. City of St. Augustine Historic Architectural Review Board and City Commission will apply the law to the facts and deny demolition request.
2. City of St. Augustine may retake the building subject to its right of reverter, since the moment ECHO HOUSE is no longer exclusively used charitable purposes, the City can take it back.
WHY?
1. Building can be saved.
2. No hardship.
3. No principled reason to demolish and destroy history for parking lot.
4. The Church's spreadsheet shows only $27k spent over four years, some of which might have been donated (invoices and cancelled checks not yet provided). Pitiful. Fully $20k of which was for internal demolition. $900 for architectural services from Commissioner Donald Crichlow. Conflict of interest?
5. No effort or money is shown to have been spent for grant writing or fundraising to seek funding to rehabilitate the building and start a school in the church.
6. Terra cotta roofing tiles were sold. Bad judgment.
7. Copper downspouts went where?
8. Long hand-made antique bookcases went to Global Wrap, the business of one of the Church leaders, Judith Seraphin. Where are they now (Global Wrap recently moved out of Lincolnville).
9. Cui bono? Who benefits? The Church described itself as a "business" growing at 8-11%/year. No business is entitled to growth at the expense of historic buildings. It is not entitled to go into the parking business as a result of destroying an historic building it promised to preserve.
10 The Church did not even try to preserve the building. It sat on it for four years. Who advised that? It now threatens to move from Lincolnville if it is not permitted to destroy the building. Who advised that? This is improper argument, along the lines of the late GEORGE MORRIS McCLURE, the late developer lawyer with whom Rev. Rawls was friendly and consulted on some matters.
11. Rev. Rawls brandished disrespect, hostility and animus toward our former elected School Superintendent, nonagenarian African-American leader Otis Mason at the last HARB meeting when he was asked about cooperation on parking.
12. City Manager John Patrick Regan, P.E. has promised to work with Rev. Rawls, Mr. Mason and the Roman Catholic Church to resolve parking problems and save ECHO HOUSE.
13. That should end the matter of the demolition permit.
14. Rev. Rawls, a full-time resident of Gainesville, has not been candid with the people of St. Augustine. This is Our Town and Our History.
15. Rev. Rawls is not promoting healing, but division.
16. Rev. Rawls still demands to destroy an historic building based upon racialized emotion (we're racists if we don't let him destroy an historic building in Our Town).
17. Rev. Rawls played the race card from the bottom of the deck, and tried to convince me to support him.
18. Rev. Rawls insulted historic preservationists at the first HARB meeting before any appeared.
19. Rev. Rawls does some good work for the community, but that does not entitle him to use racism as a sword or a shield to destroy ECHO HOUSE.
20. Rev. Rawls sometimes sounds like a fungible developer.
ECHO HOUSE's demolition permit must be DENIED.

P.S. Attacking civil Gay marriage, Rev. Rawls sounds like a homophobe (watch his YouTube videoZ) and I wonder exactly what "values" he is inflicting on impressionable young minds in his charter school -- does he teach healing or hatred? Does the St. Johns County School Board approve of this message?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Enterprise Florida, Inc. Flouting Florida Sunshine Laws

EFI must cease and desist from Sunshine violations, including small group meetings that are inaudible and refusal to allow public comment on anything other than agenda items.
EFI refuses to answer questions about Sunshine compliance.  Here's my followup E-mail sent today to EFI:
Please reply.  Thank you.   Your silence is disrespectful and inculpatory.  Please note:
 Small group discussions at meetings violate the Sunshine laws. As the Florida Attorney General's Government in the Sunshine Manual states:

"discussions ...by members of the board or commission which are audible only to those seated at the table may violate the “openness” requirement of the law. AGO 71-159. Cf. City of Miami Beach v. Berns, 245 so. 2d 38, 41 (Fla. 1971), in which the Florida Supreme Court observed: “a secret meeting occurs when public officials meet at a time and place to avoid being seen or heard by the public.”….a violation of the sunshine law may occur if, during a recess of a public meeting, board members discuss issues before the board in a manner not generally audible to the public attending the meeting. although such a meeting is not clandestine, it nonetheless violates the letter and spirit of the law. Rackleff v. Bishop, no. 89-235 (Fla. 2d Cir. Ct. march 5, 1990). And see AGO 71-159, stating that discussions of public business which are audible only to “a select few” who are at the table with the board members may violate the “openness” requirement of the law.

-----Original Message-----
From: easlavin
To: media
Sent: Fri, Aug 8, 2014 2:08 pm
Subject: Questions re: Sunshine compliance by Enterprise Florida

Good afternoon:
1.  Any legal authority under Article I, Section 24 and Florida Sunshine law for EFI's:
A. Denying general public comment yesterday (other than for items on consent agenda)?
B. Small group meetings that are neither televised or audible?
2. If so, please send as PDF or link.
3. Please cease and desist from all further Sunshine violations.
Thank you.
Sincerely,
Ed Slavin
www.cleanupcityofstaugustine.blogspot.com
904-377-4998



Friday, August 15, 2014

Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR.'s Initial Election in 2006 aided by City and State unfairly withholding news of proposed $46,000 fine until after election

How transparently lacking in transparency!
See:
http://cleanupcityofstaugustine.blogspot.com/2006/12/stolen-election-voters-deprived-of.html

Mayor Boles is embarrassing us all again -- The Last Hurrah from Hizzoner?

On the web, Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. scribbles something ungrammatical, unapologetic and nearly indecipherable, something vaguely akin to campaign rhetoric, which one might have expected from Boston Mayor James Michael Curley in 1946:

Mayor Joe Boles on “Transparency” in City Government
August 13, 2014 at 8:17pm
St Augustine’s City Commission is the ‘Board of Directors” (sic) elected by the public directly. The only (sic) difference between the Mayor’s seat and the other seats on the Commission is that I hold the gavel during the meetings. In every other way there is no (sic) difference. I have only one vote. No action can be taken without at least 3votes at a public meeting. Every (sic) issue of budget, policy, planning and visioning has a public hearing, either right before the discussion or during general public comment, at every meeting.

Every Commissioner is bound by the“Sunshine Law” that prohibits discussing any city business outside of a public meeting. We all (Sic) take that law very seriously.

Our meetings are televised live,streamed live on the internet, shown again at later dates on local access TV, and of course, open to anyone who wishes to attend the actual meeting. All public records, minutes, and exhibits are available to the public, the press, to a friend or foe.

My email address is MAYORBOLES@COMCAST.NET. I take phone calls at my law office (I have no office at City Hall), I am on the street, in the grocery store, and people even stop by our table when we are eating at restaurants. We Commissioners are your friends, your family, and your neighbors. We are willing to serve because that’s what you do when you love your community and St.Augustine is easy to love. There is no“hidden agenda” ((sic) as the “conspiracy minded” (sic) are fond of saying. In the 47 years I have lived here there have been some amazing, wonderful, and committed public servants, willing to take time out of their lives to run for office and serve with pleasure. Previously it has been community service but it is turning (sic) into “politics” and that is sad.

This is a small town and what ones (sic) says today will follow him or her for a long, long time. When my opponents say they will be more“transparent” and they will get us “back on the right track”, they are not just taking a shot at me. They are criticizing the whole Commission, the City Staff, the Department heads, the Citizen’s Boards (Planning and Zoning, Historic Architecture Review Board, Code Enforcement, etc.) The new Visioning Committee is bound by the Sunshine Law and my opponent’s call for “transparency” slanders (sic) them unfairly as well.

I do realize that when one has no (sic) record of service and has never been elected to the City Commission,criticizing the incumbent is easy. So as the incumbent I ask you to reject negativity, reject the criticism of our city for the sake of having no platform, and continue to enjoy, with me, St. Augustine as we move into our finest hours. Please have confidence in the fact that your City Commission, City Staff and Citizen’s Boards are all committed to transparency and up holding (sic) the law in every act of service to this city. We are managing our success well and enjoying our world-class destination status. Let’s not take a step backward (sic) into failure, (sic) anonymity (sic), and mediocre (sic) economic progress. Let’s walk together into the successful future.