Sunday, April 26, 2015

$400,000 Hyperscreens, Money-Losing Outsourced Menendez Noche de Gala, Other 450th Contracts Stink On Ice

Embattled St. Augustine City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E. and his tatterdemalion smokescreen do not fool anyone.
$400,000 Sole Source Hyperscreens: United States General Services Administration was never consulted. No one tried Best Buy or other commercial vendors. Not sole source. "Sole source" memo not supplied. How many purchase orders? Where is "sole source" memo electronic version? Who wrote?
Menendez Noche de Gala: A money-losing "benefit" that "benefitted" whom? No other Florida city has galas. We have two. One percenters give themselves free tickets. How degenerate, gauche and louche, honoring founding human rights violator who slaughtered how many people?
What is the "St. Augustine Trust for Historic Preservation, Inc.?" Incorporated April 14, 2010 by JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR., DANA STE. CLAIRE and JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E. Listed as St. Augustine Trust for Historic Preservation, Inc.beneficiary of Galas 2011-2014. Records, please.
JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E., Gang of Four and Record: Please cease and desist from flummery.

Warren Clark Art Documents St. Augustine History -- VCB Does Something Right!

A window into Florida's past
Posted: April 25, 2015 - 10:31pm

On any given day, a walk down St. George Street can lead to the discovery of many historical facts, figures and legends. Lately, though, this has become even more true.

As a mission of passion and compassion, local artist Warren Clark has created 45 historic illustrations in celebration of St. Augustine’s 450th anniversary. The illustrations, made into posters, hang in the windows of businesses and retail shops throughout St. Johns County.

Simple and effective, Clark’s illustrations feature colorful, cartoon-like drawings and short, engaging text to capture compelling stories in St. Augustine’s history.

“His style is reminiscent of the old Ripley’s Believe it or Not! cartoons back in the ’50s and ’60s,” said Joel Bagnal, owner of Joel Bagnal’s Goldsmith shop on Aviles Street. “I’m just very impressed with his work.”

Clark has been developing his style for a long time. Though there were no formal art classes at Loretto Elementary School in Mandarin, Clark and other students found a way to make art.

“A bunch of us were always drawing in class,” Clark said. “Then we went our different directions.”

Though Clark was an art major in college, his career was in the ministry. After serving as a pastor in Argentina and Peru, he found himself back in Florida 20 years ago.

As he explored the region, he came across treasures on the beach — artifacts and pieces of pottery. As fascinating as those pieces of history were, Clark discovered the true treasure was the story. He began to hatch a plan.

“How could I communicate those to people who could care less about history?” Clark wondered. “What I hit on was cartoons.”

With the help of a partner, Bob Lewis, he created Lewis and Clark Explorations. The cartoons ran in 50 newspapers around the state in the early 1990s.

Those historic cartoons provided a foundation for Clark’s recent project. Upon retirement four years ago, he visited with representatives from the St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau. They liked what they saw.

“We knew from the beginning that the work Warren Clark was doing was a new way to tell the stories of Florida’s Historic Coast,” said Rick Hensler, director of Promotions and Strategic Alliances at the VCB. “We were proud to help Warren get started by commissioning 10 illustrations a year since 2012.”

Each year since 2012, Clark has added to his collection of historical illustrations. Working with the VCB, he focused on important anniversaries in the region — 200 years since the Spanish Constitution of 1812, 500 years of La Florida, 50 years since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and St. Augustine’s 450th.

As with any large-scale endeavor, however, help comes from many sources. In addition to the VCB, Clark credits Compassionate St. Augustine with helping him achieve his goal of sharing the history of St. Augustine with as many people as possible. When he asked for volunteers to help him distribute the posters, the folks from Compassionate St. Augustine and others responded.

“I had about 20 people taking these out, and now they’re from the World Gold Village down to Matanzas Inlet,” Clark said. “They’re all over the place.”

Clark also enlisted the aid of historians to fact-check his work.

“The Historical Society has saved me a bunch of times from making big historical errors,” Clark said.

Though Clark intended to give locals a deep sense of appreciation for the region and its history, his work has expanded to an international audience.

“The city of St. Augustine presented the city of Aviles, Spain, with a set of six illustrated tiles in Spanish when we became the first Compassionate Sister Cities in the world,” Hensler said.

That Spain should be included in Clark’s project is fitting, since the four pillars of the Spanish Constitution of 1812 are incorporated into a message prominently displayed on each poster:

“Learning from our past. Lifting up a vision for our future: Freedom, Democracy, Human Rights, Compassion”

To request a poster for public viewing in an office or place of business, email or go to

GALA BLASPHEMY, SACRILEGE: Democratic State Committeeman WILLIAM C. McCORMICK Cast As "Pope" in City of St. Augustine's Money-Losing No-Bid Contract Corrupt $195/person "Gala"

Would the Presidential Inaugural Gala have someone dress up as the Pope, or even Rev. Billy Graham? Tacky, tawdry.
By casting a layman, former University of Florida School of Pharmacy Dean and University of Houston School of Pharmacy Dean Dr. WILLIAM C. McCORMICK, Pharm. D. as "the Pope" in its money-losing "Gala," our out-of-touch City of St. Augustine management shows:
1. Anti-Catholic insensibility, bigotry and just plain ignorance.
2. Why WILLIAM C. McCORMICK and our St. Johns County Democratic Executive Committee were so all-fired defensive about WILLIAM BRUCE HARRISS, ex-City Manager, and all his works and pomps.
3. Why the Democrats were so nastily and bitterly anti-Park, insulting those of us who wanted the Democrats to endorse the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore.
4. Why the Democratic Executive Committee is so hateful toward me and other reformers.
The SJC DEC are hick hacks who supported Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR.
BILL McCORMICK is part of the St. Philistine Gang of Four who run the St. Johns County Democratic Party, running it into the ground (it is now a third party, coming in after Republicans and "Others," with only 23% of the vote.
BILL McCORMICK once heckled me from the audience when I questioned state officials about a plan to designate only part of the Matanzas River as protected, questioning why it ended before the upper reachers, sewage-polluted by the City of St. Augustine.
Bossy BILL McCORMICK exemplifies the type of academic dictator that necessitates faculty unions, graduate assistant unions and student unions.
Watching mean 'ole, silly 'ole, supercilious Dr. WILLIAM C. McCORMICK, Pharm. D. appease, praise and curry favor with St. Johns County Commissioners reminds me of what LBJ said about watching a duck try to make love to a football.

Money-losing GALAS EXPOSED: RECORD Gets It Mostly Right!

Noche de Gala: A benefit for historic preservation?

The Noche de Gala has been billed as a fundraiser for historic preservation in St. Augustine, but city officials said the event made little to no profit most years.

The black-tie gala celebrates the birthday of Pedro Menendez de Aviles, St. Augustine’s founder, and has attracted Spanish officials and local dignitaries.

The gala began as a way to wine and dine people, shine a light on the city’s historic preservation efforts and gain support for historic properties, said Tim Burchfield, assistant city manager.

“It was normally pretty much a break-even endeavor,” Burchfield said.

The city has run the event since the late 1990s, and Burchfield said part of the gala’s purpose was raising funds.

“Now over the years we never got any of those people that wanted to stroke a check, but the gala kept going on,” Burchfield said. “And, to be honest with you, the vast majority of years that thing didn’t make money. It lost money.”

Burchfield said the procession leading to the gala some years added to the expense.

The issue of the city’s involvement with the Noche de Gala is set to be discussed during current budget talks. In recent months, spending for the 450th anniversary celebration and management of contracts related to the 450th, including the gala contracts, have come under increased scrutiny. The mayor and some residents called for an audit of those contracts recently, but the focus turned away from the 450th to broader improvements in the city’s contracting processes.

A review of public records by The St. Augustine Record and interviews with current and former city officials found:

■ The gala has been held since the 1990s, with the city paying expenses up until 2011. In more recent years, the costs for the gala and related expenses ranged from about $46,000 to about $72,000. Tickets purchased by gala attendees ($195 each this year) and sponsorships helped offset most of the costs of the gala.

A former city official has said before that the city had made a profit of up to several thousand dollars in a few years in the early to mid-2000s. But current city officials could only point to one year they knew for sure there was a profit — and that was for $2,907.17 in 2011. The city could not provide an accounting of what was gained or lost in other years without doing extensive research.

■ The city paid a total of about $51,000 for tickets for city officials, their spouses and other guests to attend galas between 2005 and 2015.

■ News releases and other materials describe the gala as a fundraiser with proceeds supporting historic preservation. Some current and former city officials, however, say it wasn’t intended to make money, while others say it was at least supposed to break even. But if the city included the overhead costs it took for the years it produced the event, one city official said, the gala never made money.

■ The city signed sponsorship agreements with the Casa Monica to produce the Noche de Gala, which included the use of parking lots and the 450th logo, starting in 2012. Officials said the agreements covered through 2014. But a drafted agreement to produce the 2015 gala was never signed, even though the Casa Monica produced the event this year.

■ In years when the contract was signed, the Casa Monica agreed to gift any proceeds to the city to be earmarked for preservation of the Lightner building. However, this year the Casa Monica gifted proceeds of $4,000 to about $6,000 to the Lightner Museum, which is separate from the city.

City officials say the gala has been about more than raising funds.

“The gala allows the city to broaden awareness of its heritage, emphasizing the role that Spain and Spanish settlers played in establishing the first permanent European Colony in what is now the United States,” according to an invitation for the 2009 gala kept in city clerk records.

The invitation for the 490th birthday of Menendez describes the event as “a grand masked ball,” featuring magicians, tarot card readers and 16th century musicians. Guests were to enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the Lightner ballroom and “dinner and dessert on the mezzanine and lower tier ... drinks and dancing until midnight.”

It also says: “Your participation helps us to celebrate our history, and your purchase of a ticket contributes to preserving our historical resources.”

Awareness of the city’s historic properties has led to some work at the Lightner building and elsewhere in the city, said City Manager John Regan. The Lightner building was Henry Flagler’s Alcazar Hotel.

Still, the future of the gala is in doubt.

The city stopped hosting the gala during the recession, Regan said. He said it’s his understanding the Casa Monica isn’t interested in hosting it again.

Whether the gala will continue, and in what form, is a question to be answered by commissioners. They have expressed support for continuing the gala, which some said is useful for building relationships.

Some residents, however, questioned the cost of the event and its benefit to the city.

“Why pay for an event that is supposed to be a fundraiser when you are losing money on it?” asked Sigrid Pilzuhn, a Davis Shores resident. “Events like that should not lose money ... (without raising money) it’s basically nothing more than a social event.”

Officials didn’t expect the gala to make a profit, said Mark Litzinger, director of the city’s finance department.

“It was always expected to break even,” he said.

But if personnel costs were factored into the city’s expense to produce the event, “It never made any money whatsoever,” Litzinger said.

Historic preservation

The Noche de Gala had several purposes, and fundraising for historic preservation was just one of them, said Bill Adams, former director of the historic preservation and heritage tourism department.

It was about celebrating Menendez’s birthday and the city’s relationship with Aviles, as well as developing enthusiasm for historic preservation.

“It was intended to be a fundraising device as well,” Adams said.

The department ran the event until 2011, when the city eliminated the department.

The city spent thousands each year for the gala — more than $68,000 for the 2011 event — and sometimes for related events.

After the 2011 event, the city signed a deal allowing the Casa Monica to produce the event at the Casa Monica’s own expense.

The agreement allowed for the Casa Monica to use city streets, parking lots and the city’s 450th anniversary logo. And it received Tourist Development Council funds for the event. It received about $2,800 in TDC money for the procession and related costs in 2012, according to documents and Glenn Hastings, executive director of the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council. And it received about $6,352 in 2015.

The TDC money comes from funds set aside for arts, culture and heritage expenses, Hastings said.

The event has been supported by local residents since it began.

John Fraser, general manager and owner of the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, has attended the event with his wife.

He said his business has sponsored the event, including $5,000 sponsorships.

“I kind of assumed that there was something left over after the event,” Fraser said. “I’m disappointed that more had not gone to the cause it had meant to help.”

Helene Sullivan, of St. Augustine, said she has attended the Noche de Gala with her husband for more than a decade since about 2001. They saw the event advertised and thought it would be fun.

“We loved the idea of this whole thing,” she said.

It was an opportunity to get dressed up and go to what was, in some years, a lavish masked ball, she said. Also she thought it supported preservation of historic resources in the city.

“I just assumed that there was some kind of profit,” Sullivan said.

The expenses for the city were not limited to production of the gala.

The city has hosted a Spanish delegation, and Spanish officials have attended the gala. In 2011, the city wrote a check for $1,253 for the Spanish delegation’s stay at the Casa Monica Hotel during the time of the gala, according to Meredith Breidenstein, deputy director of St. Augustine’s finance department. The city paid for that expense from the special events budget in the general fund.

The city continued to spend money on tickets for city officials, their spouses and other guests to attend after the Casa Monica Hotel took over production of the gala. The city paid about $51,000 combined for Noche de Gala tickets for events from 2005 to 2015, according to records from the finance department.

The city’s unwritten policy has been to encourage officials to attend certain events to represent the city, Regan said.

Regan said the cost of sending city leaders to the gala and other events should be considered in comparison to the overall city budget. The city spent more than half a billion dollars keeping everything running since about 2005, Regan estimated. And of that, about $51,000 was spent on Noche de Gala tickets.

“So my point is, it’s a very, very small amount of money,” Regan said, in comparison to the entire city budget.

Cost versus benefit

The last time the city produced the event in 2011, it made a profit of about $2,900. The total cost of the event was $68,122.83, and revenue was $71,030, according to data provided by Breidenstein.

A story in 2008 in The Record said the city considered dropping the gala after a few years of it barely making a profit. At the time, Catherine Culver, current Federal 450th Commemoration Commission executive director, said the gala made a profit of between $1,000 and $5,000.

But the city wasn’t able to immediately provide an exact accounting of what the event made, or lost, other than in 2011.

Getting data on the total revenue from the gala for just one year would take extensive research because officials would have to go through receipts and check bank records, Breidenstein said.

However, the city provided an estimate of what the gala made or lost for a few years prior to 2011. That estimate showed a profit of about $3,000 for 2008 and losses of between about $1,000 and $2,200 for 2007, 2009 and 2010. The amounts could be wrong, however, because some of the estimates might include revenue for other events because of the way the city kept the records, Breidenstein, said.

Proceeds in 2011 went to the historic preservation and heritage tourism fund, which supported historic properties such as the Spanish Quarter.

Based on heritage tourism financial statements, the city spent about $30,000 on capital improvements to historic buildings and structures in fiscal year 2011, according to Breidenstein. The heritage tourism fund was supported in part by the general fund in 2011.

Regan said commissioners have previously expressed concern about the costs of the gala.

Officials worked hard try to make it profitable and gain support for preservation projects, Regan said.

“It’s a very hard gala to do a good job in fundraising,” Regan said.

People stepped forward to rehabilitate the Flagler-era fountains in the city as a donation related to the gala. The city estimated the cost to restore the fountains would have been about $7,000 per fountain. The contractors came forward after the city announced plans to use gala proceeds to restore the fountains.

And while there is no direct link with the gala, the state of Florida has given more than more than $1 million for roof repairs to the Lightner building, Regan said. He said that’s in part because former state Rep. Ronald “Doc” Renuart saw the need for historic preservation when he attended the gala.

Joe Boles, who served as mayor for eight years until the end of 2014, said he did not recall that the gala was intended to be a fundraiser. The focus was on celebrating the city’s founder. Also, the city is not in the fundraising business, he said.

“I think that’s what it was for, was to have an event that could develop some community pride about our historical nature,” Boles said. “That’s why I think it’s always (been) a successful event.”

But former St. Augustine Commissioner Bill Leary, who lives in California, told The Record recently that he learned around the time when he was elected in 2010 that the gala had not been making money for historic preservation.

“Which it was being advertised to do,” he said. “And I was quite concerned about that.”

He told Regan about his concerns.

Leary said the tickets were expensive, above what the average resident could afford, and he said he was concerned taxpayer dollars were being spent for the benefit of the few. Leary said he wanted to cut costs so there would be a benefit to historic preservation. A lot of the money went to food and beverage costs, he said. He suggested the city put major expenses out to bid to reduce costs and increase the possibility of it actually making money for historic preservation.

Regan said commissioners’ concerns led to a push for more sponsorships to make the event profitable.

No signed agreement The city signed agreements with the Casa Monica that officials say covered the hotel hosting the Noche de Gala through 2014.

The Casa Monica also hosted the 2015 event, but no contract was signed for this year, said Tim Fleming, deputy director of general services.

Mayor Nancy Shaver said the city’s contracts with the Casa Monica were one of her concerns. She said she knew it had been promoted in the past few years as a benefit to the Lightner Museum. So she wanted to see a detailed listing of revenues and expenses for those years involving the Casa Monica contracts.

“And when I actually looked at both the contracts and asked if the true-up had been done, it had not been,” Shaver said.

Even without a contract, the Casa Monica could still use certain things including city streets, Burchfield said. The city works with other events to arrange for use of city right of ways.

The city’s contracts with the Casa Monica for the 2012 through 2014 galas say that the Casa Monica will gift all proceeds from the Noche de Gala to the city after all expenses are taken out. The funds would be used for repair and maintenance of the Lightner building, according to the agreement. But the city has not seen a profit since the Casa Monica Hotel began producing the event, Regan said.

However, the Lightner Museum did receive a profit from the event this year, said Robert Harper, director of the Lightner Museum. He initially said the museum received about $4,000 from the Casa Monica but later said the amount was about $6,000.

Shaver said she had not been told that the Lightner Museum had received funds from the Casa Monica this year from the gala, but she was happy to hear the event made a profit.

Regan said he hadn’t heard either, but he was also glad to hear it.

An invitation for the 2012 gala and an RSVP card for the 2014 gala said proceeds will subsidize the restoration of the Lightner Museum.

The museum is supported in part by admission fees and is separate from the city, Harper said. He said he could not recall a time other than this year when the event had made a profit for the museum.

The Lightner building and museum are separate. The entire Lightner building was left in trust to the city, Burchfield said, and it is overseen by a board.

The city occupies space in the building but doesn’t pay a fee, officials said. However, the city pays for maintenance and repairs (between $130,000 to $183,000 a year from 2011 to 2014) on part of the Lightner building, which is also City Hall.

So far this year, the city has spent more than $66,000 on repair and maintenance of City Hall.

The future

The future of the Noche de Gala is unclear.

Regan said it is his understanding that the Casa Monica is not interested in producing the gala anymore. Casa Monica officials did not comment on the issue.

Regan sent an email to Shaver in November, explaining some details about the gala and the Casa Monica.

“It was (sic) not worked well for the Casa Monica and I am pretty sure they would like to get out of it for 2016,” he wrote.

Regan said galas are hard to produce, with little or no return. He said he plans to bring up the future of the gala to the City Commission during budget talks, which are underway. The talks will likely focus on whether the city wants to produce the gala in a different form, or whether the city wants to outsource the event.

“We’re at an important decision point,” Regan said. “The last time we were at this decision point, the commission basically wanted to outsource the gala.”

Regan said he recommends that the city continue to find someone in the private sector to host the gala.

Commissioner Todd Neville, who was elected to the commission in 2014, said he has attended the event and has not considered the event to be a fundraiser.

“I’ve always viewed it as a celebration of our city’s history,” he said.

Neville said he would like to see the event continue, and he is in favor of outsourcing the event because that is not the kind of work city employees do on a daily basis.

Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline said the event was successful at “raising friends” for historic preservation.

“I would love to see it continue to happen,” she said.

Shaver said she thinks the gala’s future will be a question for the commission. The bigger policy question is whether the city is in the event-creation business, she said. Shaver said she believes if run properly, the Noche de Gala could be a great benefit to a nonprofit.

“Let’s look forward,” Shaver said. “It’s a great tradition. The city is not in the business of event management, so I’m really hopeful that other groups in the city will see the benefit of continuing it. We rarely get the chance to have a fundraising event that has the kind of heritage it does.”

Commissioner Leanna Freeman said the event celebrates Spanish history and has raised awareness among political representatives about the city’s need for historic preservation. She also pointed to the more than $1 million from the state for the Lightner building.

Freeman said if the Casa Monica doesn’t want to host the event, she wants to find a way to keep it going.

“But I would really hate to see it die,” Freeman said.

Record Editorial Energumen Strikes Again: WRECKORD Gets It Wrong!

You cannot hope to bribe or twist
(thank God!) the British journalist.
But, seeing what the man will do
unbribed, there’s no occasion to.
--- Humbert Wolfe

The same wretched WRECKORD editorial process that resulted in calling Nancy Shaver an "upstart" and advocating for "business as usual" in endorsing the ancien regime has struck again.
In a lying borderline libelous editorial today, the Record attacks Mayor Shaver and her supporters for wanting answers about no-bid contracts, including the 450th.
"Not Watergate?"
This is from the newspaper that covered up for every single scam and scheme, from dumping a landfill in a lake to the Sheriff's and State's Attorneys' coverup of the fatal September 2, 2010 shooting of Michelle O'Connell in the home of Sheriff's Deputy JEREMY BANKS.
To whom do they think they're talking?
KATHY NELSON, DELINDA FOGEL: The Wrecking Crew running the St. Augustine Record never comes to government meetings, and has no standing to distort what happens.
I've only had some 65 letters and columns in the Record, which defended me against a former mayor's attack by November 19, 2006 editorial.
I've only helped with more than 33 community victories since 2005.
I've only been attending and speaking at City Commission meetings for ten (10) years. I only went to school for 22 years. I only worked for three United States Senators and two federal administrate law judges.
I've only been editor of one little 'ole newspaper, which won declassification of the largest mercury pollution event in world history (Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Plant, exposed corruption in Anderson County, Tennessee, helping elect and re-elect reformers and indict and convict Anderson County Sheriff DENNIS O. TROTTER.
KATHY NELSON hung up on me when I questioned the wisdom, ethics and efficacy of her unlawful firing of reporter Peter Guinta. She has not spoken to me since that time. She has a well-deserved reputation as petty and vindictive in "her" newsroom, which she has deprived of older journalists, systematically committing age discrimination.
Rather than cover the news, The WRECKORD too often covers up, for corrupt officials and developers.
Not journalism -- this KATHY NELSON even insulted New York Times investigative reporter Walt Bogdanich as"parachuting in" for investigating Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR, with an editorializing "news" story that said he "had no regrets" about not "making friends" with SHOAR.
Under its current wretched mismanagement, the WRECKORD is the pits. Stick to columns about your father and golfing, KATHY NELSON: no one cares what you think about our local City Hall.
HERE IS The Record's stinky editorial, and comments:

Editorial: Time to put distance between distraction and destiny in St. Augustine
Posted: April 25, 2015 - 6:30pm

“A good oxman does not quarrel with his ox”

— Unknown

Monday night’s city agenda, on its face, might be free of the tension and high theater we’ve witnessed over the past few months on the St. Augustine City Commission. Let’s all hope so.

The rift between commissioners and mayor isn’t imaginary, nor is it unprecedented in city politics. Winning elections can be heady stuff, and winners — mayors or commissioners — can get a little “mandate-creep” crawling around in their heads. The pendulum of politics here has swung wildly in the past, and manifested itself at the polls.

Take, for instance, the Bridge of Lions restoration controversy or the parking garage proposal behind the Lightner building. Both of these made and melted political mini-cartels here. It was ugly then, and it’s ugly now.

Mayor Nancy Shaver, whether intentionally or not, lit the fire when she chastised sitting commissioners publicly early in March. She went so far as to utter the “word-heard-’round-the-town” in relation to her fellow commissioners: “Embarrassment.”

We’ve been watching this particular set of officials closely and do not remember anything remotely embarrassing in their actions or decorum. Conversely, the most notable embarrassment came at another March meeting of the city when a group of hecklers, made up predominately of the mayor’s election team, disrupted the meeting with catcalls and laughter. It was all mildly reminiscent of the street performers’ etiquette a few years back — and every bit as classy.

Ms. Shaver has an agenda, and that’s fine. She is, historically, certainly not alone in that regard. But she needs to realize that it is no more important, smart or timely than those of her colleagues on the commission. They have a constituency of their own, and equal status on the board.

For her part, veteran Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline has publicly been the moderate voice in the political chasm. But she was candid with The Record in a conversation last week. She said the mayor needs training, available from the Florida League of Cities. She said a mayor needs to be a leader, not a lightning rod. A leader, she says, builds trust, credibility and sets an example. “That isn’t what’s happening on her watch.” Sikes-Kline was also cautionary. She said Shaver’s brand of veiled disrespect, condescension and intimidation tactics on fellow commissioners “only works once.”

“She needs to stop campaigning and start governing,” Sikes-Kline said. “It’s brewing an undercurrent of distrust.”

But the problem extends beyond the walls of City Hall. One former city official who asked for anonymity said “the acrimony is poisoning the 450th.” And we know of more than one sponsor involved in the birthday bash who’s pulled out because of the mixed signals coming from city government. This is both a celebration and a reminder of a heritage and culture unique in the U.S. It’s not Watergate.

City Manager John Regan has done a good job of inserting himself as a buffer to all the angst, falling on his own sword in the process. His efforts may be paying off. The rumblings we hear from within city government is that the rift is closing. The pendulum is arcing tighter. Egos are deflating. Claws are retracting. And that has to happen, honestly, if the wheels of governance are to move ahead.

From the most dispassionate and practical side of the situation, Shaver is hurting her own constituency. How far can she pursue her campaign platform without the support of any of her peers?

The coercive position from which she attempts to play “is a weakness, not a strength.” Sikes-Kline said. “It’s been such a distraction for everybody. We need to get on with it.”


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JoeJoe 04/26/15 - 09:14 am 01The folks at the Record need to get over the fact
that their man Mr. Boles lost. That is also the problem with most of the other commissioners. Now the Record and the other commissioners are trying to blame the failing 450th debacle on the incoming Mayor??? That is downright slimy in my opinion. I was not convinced Ms. Shaver was the savior of the city, but some of those current commissioners need to be taken down a notch or 2. Let us not forget what led to Mr. Boles to being fired by the voters after 8 terms in office.

captdave 04/26/15 - 09:23 am 11This argument sounds vaguely
This argument sounds vaguely familiar to a recent presidential election. We won, you lost, we have a mandate to hell with anybody else. Yes Shaver won by an extremely small margin. She needs to step up and be a leader for everyone and not a divisive figure. She only needs to look to the president to see how well that failed strategy worked. Anyone wish Joe Boles were back?

LocalColor 04/26/15 - 09:43 am 00Another anonymous hatchet job?
An unsigned editorial is worth less than the paper on which it's printed and this cheap shot is worth less than that. Mayor Shaver has voiced the voter's opinion of St. Augustine's good-ol-boy-(and gal) junta and its minions in city government. That's what we elected her to do and continue doing. Here's hoping she keeps up this good and absolutely necessary work!

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Conflict of Interest?

DONALD CRICHLOW (LEFT) AND WILLIAM BRUCE HARRISS (RIGHT), former City Manager of the City of St. Augustine, Florida

On December 1, 2014, DONALD CRICHLOW left office as City Commissioner.

On January 1, 2015, DONALD CRICHLOW lobbied Mayor Nancy Shaver in support of DAVID BARTON CORNEAL's nefarious plan to put a hotel into HP-1, at the site of the DOW MUSEUM OF HISTORIC HOMES. Our State of Florida invested $2 million in restoring the DOW MUSEUM. CORNEAL has already destroyed one of the homes, as a result of a 2-1 vote by the Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) April 14, 2014.

CORNEAL has purchased the services of two HARB members who recused themselves and intimidated the others. CORNEAL has also purchased the services of fired City Planning and Building Director MARK ALAN KNIGHT.

There are no city ordinances requiring former City Commissioners to refrain from lobbying for a grace period after their "service," such as it is. Congress and other legislative bodies have such restrictions.

There are no city ordinances requiring lobbying disclosure.

We believe in hope, but we're waiting for change. Stop corruption in the City of St. Augustine. Support ethics reform.


Blustery DONALD CRICHLOW Letter Neglects to Mention He Is Lobbying for DAVID BARTON CORNEAL to Privatize Dow Museum of Historic Homes in St. Augustine's Most Historic Neighborhood: CREEPY. PITIFUl. CORRUPT.

Letter: Cordova Inn a good fit for St. Augustine
Cordova Inn a good fit
Posted: April 25, 2015 - 3:59pm

Cordova Inn a good fit

Editor: There have been several letters published in this space criticizing the proposed use of the old Dow Property Museum as an inn with nightly rentals. The concern centers around the “cardinal rule” of no commercial uses in HP1. I am a resident of HP1 and have been since 1946. There is no one more committed to protecting the quality of life in this neighborhood and limiting commercial intrusion. I am on record as speaking out against previous proposed B&Bs. Some people believe the only use for this property should be single family residential, however the site does not lend itself to this use for many reasons. Re-platting this property into individual lots would be a tragic mistake, and would destroy the historic integrity of this beautiful site.

An historic inn is the best and least intensive use for the property. The owner has agreed in the PUD to no weddings or receptions, no amplified music and no music after 10 p.m. Off-site parking will be provided, and all access to and from the property will be from Cordova Street — which means no cars in HP1. But, probably, the greatest benefit from the iproposed use is that it would keep the property open to public access by the guests that stay there — and on other occasions such as the First Friday Art Walks.

Yes, this technically is commercial intrusion into HP1. But it’s the kind of intrusion that will protect the quality of life in the neighborhood. Isn’t that what it’s all about? The alternative use for the property could be 22 rental apartments. Let’s not, as the old saying goes, “Cut off our nose to spite our face.” Student rentals are the real threat to HP1, not an historic inn such as the owner has proposed.

St. Augustine

Prison reform article by Wendy Tatter in today's Record

Thought-provoking. Read it. Below.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Prisoners: Punishment or preparedness?

Prisoners: Punishment or preparedness?
Posted: April 25, 2015 - 6:30pm

Yesterday, that man standing next to you at the store was in a Florida prison.

Today, as a convicted felon, he will have a hard time finding a job. Although he worked in prison for many years, there was no monetary compensation. Unless he has help from family or friends, he will be desperate. Although he has served his time and been released, he will never be allowed to vote.

You probably never gave any of this much thought. Neither did I, until my son went to prison.

There are about 102,466 inmates in correctional institutions in Florida. On average, 33,515 go in each year, and 33,188 will be released. Of those released, 46 percent will be back inside within three years.

There is no denying that our prisons are overcrowded. The lawmakers in Florida are directly responsible for this. Mandatory sentencing (10 years for first felony, 20 for the second and 30-to-life for the third) is taking away discretion of the judge to decide on a lesser sentence for extenuating circumstances. It has stretched the overcrowding to the breaking point.

Changing the time served requirements from 65 percent of the sentence before 1994, to 85 percent required now, has also greatly increased the inmate population.

In 1994, our lawmakers decided to do away with parole. This makes it easier to return to criminal behavior after release. Programs are provided in some facilities, but instead of earning days off the sentence, which is incentive to have good behavior, inmates are given a paper certificate. Why bother? Education is discouraged. Books are thrown away, personal property destroyed. Waste and abuse is rampant.

My son has been in prison for five years now. He has three more to go. He committed a crime and deserved to pay for that crime, as do most inmates. In these five years, I’ve learned a lot about the system. It’s broken.

The correctional institutions here in Florida have become punishment facilities.

I met with the heads of the Department of Corrections in Tallahassee to express my concerns. They said I was “preaching to the choir” — that to make a difference, the laws would have to be changed.

To that end, I have given up my art gallery and am working to educate Floridians about changes we need to make. Instead of helping and encouraging inmates in a new way of approaching society, we are perpetuating the cycle of criminal behavior. Think about it.

Wouldn’t it be better to prepare inmates for a different future? Wouldn’t it be better if that man next to you at the store had a better chance at a law-abiding, productive and good life?

Friday, April 24, 2015


The New York Times

Three weeks after former deputy Debra Maynard filed to run for Sheriff, it's no April Fool's joke.

Word going around the campus of the "NEIL J. PERRY CRIMINAL JUSTICE COMPLEX" is that the High Sheriff knows he's toast.

The word is that one of his acolytes may retire soon and run for the job.

We, the People have no more need of authoritarian coverup artists.

Another One Bites the Dust, And Another One, And Another One: St Augustine Is Being Razed and Who Will Shed A Tear for Our History and Culture?

Carpenter House, which survived 70 years with its unique lean, did not survive the 2-1 vote of the St. Augustine Historic Architectural Review Board -- two members recused themselves because they are consultants paid by "developer" DAVID BARTON CORNEAL, who wants to put a Planned Unit Development and hotel for the wealthy in the last remaining primarily residential historic area, HP-1.

DAVID BARTON CORNEAL, of State College, Pennsylvania, patronizes neighbors.

Unjust steward building owners have destroyed three historic buildings in 211 days, spitting in the face of St. Augustine's inept regulation of historic building preservation.
First, former Mayor LEN WEEKS, a/k/a "CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS," destroyed Don Pedro Fornells House, 62A Spanish Street (210 years old), on September 25, 2014, a date that will live in in infamy, fined only $3600 by the City's limp, ineffectual code enfacement board.  There are now only 33 Spanish colonial structures left in St. Augustine. Replacement: an inauthentic knockoff.

Second, St. Paul African-Methodist Episcopal Church Pastor RON RAWLS was allowed by 5-0 vote of City Commission December 8, 2014 to destroy 2/3 of Echo House., 100 MLK (89 years old), refusing to take back the property subject to the right of reverter and refusing to make RAWLS honor his commitments to save the building -- financial records show he did not even try to raise the funds or perform the work to preserve the historic African-American community building structure..  Replacement: shades of Janis Joplin -- a parking lot, with playground (odd mix).

Third, State College, Pennsylvania lawyer-developer DAVID BARTON CORNEAL was allowed by 2-1 vote of Historic Architectural Review Board April 8 to destroy 105-year old CARPENTERS' HOUSE.  CORNEAL hired two HARB members, who recused themselves from voting.  CORNEAL did not rebut city inspector testimony that the CARPENTER'S HOUSE was not falling down and was in fact safe; its unique lean preserved by interior wall systems.    The cool, funky building existed when Wlliam Dean Howells visited St. Augustine and lived in the adjoining home at 246 St. George Street.  Now CORNEAL wants to turn the Dow Museum of Historic Homes into a Xanadu for the wealthy, destroying HP-1 in the process.  This sham is being pushed by former elected officials and current city officials, and by craven, paid-for, unjust stewards who periodically recuse themselves on city boards, taking developer money, while retaking their seats for other matters for which they have not been paid.  Pitiful.

The city staff read  the building inspector's statement but inexplicably did not call him as a witness. CORNEAL ignored warnings from City Attorney ISABELLE LOPEZ about demolition before time to file an appeal expired.  CORNEAL is represented by former City Commissioner DONALD CRICHLOW and employs PAUL L. WEAVER, III, HARB VICE CHAIR and JEFREMY MARQUIS,  the two HARB members who recuse themselves, also speaking through non-lawyer MARK ALAN KNIGHT, fired City Planning and Building Director (1998-2014); unauthorized practice of law by KNIGHT is a possible criminal misdemeanor, one about which our City refuses to seek a legal opinion from the State Attorney General or State Ethics Commission.


Chair of HARB until November was CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS, Jr. (center) who destroyed 211-year old DON PEDRO FORNELLS HOUSE without permit.
Sick society of building-destroyers.
On left, RANDALL ROARK, now HARB Chair, only vote to save CARPENTERS HOSUE
next (between him and WEEKS) is LES THOMAS, architect
on WEEKS' right are PAUL L. WEAVER, III, HARB vice chair, now working for DAVID BARTON CORNEAL
at right, former HUD archaeologist ANTOINETTE WALLACE, who voted to demolish CARPENTERS HOUSE.

Another beautiful day in a beautiful place

St. Augustine is worth saving from the forces of greed, bigotry and dishonesty.
Our authentic selves will help save our authentic Ancient City.

Monday, April 20, 2015

County Pays Tree-killing Penalty to City; Claims Only Four Trees Cut!

Will wonders never cease. We'll just see about that.

RICK PERRY SPEAKING HERE MAY 14, 2015 -- Indicted ex-Governor of Texas to speak at Flagler Gymnasium, Rod & Gun Club

Come hear RICK PERRY, indicted former Texas Governor, speak at Flagler College Gym at 5:30 on May 14, 2015. No charge. Thank our friends at the St. Johns County Republican Executive Committee for making this event free and open to the public. Bring subpoenas.

Then, if you're so inclined, you can pay $300 to drink alcohol with indicted former Texas Governor RICK PERRY. Or pay a mere $60 to have dinner with him at the St. Augustine Rod & Gun Club, formerly the venue for racist KKK-related meetings 1963-64 during the regime of Sheriff LAWRENCE O. DAVIS.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Lighthouse Zoning Challenge filed With Florida Division of Administrative Hearings by Edward Ruben Anderson: IN HAEC VERBA

Filed March 23, 2015 8:00 AM Division of Administrative Hearings

Claudia Lladó
Clerk of the Division
Division of Administrative Hearings 1230 Apalachee Parkway Tallahassee, Florida 32399-3060 (850) 488-9675
Dear Ms. Llado,
My name is Edward Ruben Anderson, and I am requesting a review (Florida Statute 120.56 Challenges to Rules) of the City of St. Augustine approval of an application to amend the Future Land Use Map for 81 Lighthouse Ave. St. Augustine FL 32080
My wife and I are property owners in the City of St. Augustine, FL. I recently spoke at 5 city meetings, (i.e. City Planning and Zoning; City Commission meetings) regarding the re-zoning of 81 Lighthouse Ave., St. Augustine, FL 32080. The property (which includes the actual St. Augustine Lighthouse) was purchased from St. John's County and is now privately owned within a Residential Low Density neighborhood.
The purchase required a zoning reassignment from Government Use to a conforming zoning distinction of the applicant's choice. The applicant, St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, chose Maritime Use District which also required an amendment to the Comprehensive Use Plan and Future Land Use Map from Recreation Open Space to Residential Medium Density/Mixed Use.
I believe this invokes the Florida Growth Management Act of 1985 and requires that the City of St. Augustine provide for the minimum requirements of public health and safety to the adjacent residential neighborhood concurrently with the development of the applicant's development.
The surrounding neighborhood, referred to as "Lighthouse Park Neighborhood" and “Carver Subdivision”, is a small, residential neighborhood on the Salt Run Bay and the majority of the properties, including ours, are still on septic tanks. Previously, the City of St. Augustine's public works director stated that the city sewer transport lift stations are at capacity and the City of St. Augustine is not accepting applications from existing residences for sewer access. Additionally, there are no sidewalks on the narrow streets (13ft.-16ft.), few traffic controls, and little storm-water management capacity. In short, the city has no intention of developing the existing infrastructure and related community services, nor do they (or the private “not-for-profit” corporation which now owns the property) have the funds to do so. The current baseline assessment for the city shows that the city has 140 million dollars in deficiencies for the basic city services of roads, sewer, water, and storm water management.
Now that the legislative action and quasi-judicial hearing are complete and the City of St. Augustine has amended the Future Land Use Map to a distinction of higher density and increased intensity of use, I am requesting a review of the process by the State of Florida as this appears to me to have been pushed through without the funds to pay for the infrastructure which is contrary to the intent of the Growth Management Act of 1985. The adverse effects of this decision being that my family, and adjacent residential community, will by paying for the basic public services of sanitary sewer for 81 Lighthouse Ave., St. Augustine FL 32080, which I, and the majority of my neighborhood, do not have access to.
I have included a timeline of the public City of St. Augustine meetings with a short personal note and links to the City of St. Augustine website which provide for the testimonies of the proceedings:
August 5th, 2014 Planning and Zoning Meeting Item 8C # 2014-0068
NOTE: (Initial confusion as to whether or not I would be allowed to speak. Continuance filed by applicant)
To amend the future land use designation from Residential Low Density to Residential Medium Density and to rezone the property from Residential Single family-two (RS-2) to Residential General one (RG-1).
(c) 2014-0068 Susan S. Bloodworth – Applicant McClure Bloodworth, P.L.
St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum - Owner 81 Lighthouse Avenue
To rezone the property from Government Use (GU) to Maritime Use District (MUD) in association with the transfer of this property from public to private ownership.

January 6th, 2015 Planning and Zoning Meeting Item 11C # 2014-0143
NOTE: (Application revised approximately 10 minutes before the meeting, approved for recommendation to the City Commission)
McClure Bloodworth, P.L. – Applicant
St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, Inc. - Owner 81 Lighthouse Avenue
To amend the Future Land Use Map from Recreation and Open Space to Residential Medium Density/Mixed Use and Rezone the property from Government Use (GU) to Marine Use District (MUD) to allow for the Lighthouse complex including a text amendment to the Future Land Use map recognizing the height of the lighthouse.
January 26th, 2015 City Commission Meeting Item 9A # 2015-03 and # 2015-04 NOTE: (No public comment allowed, unanimous vote to continue to second reading)
1a. Consideration of Ordinance 2015-03, amending the Comprehensive Plan, Future Land Use Map to reclassify a parcel of land containing approximately 4.6 acres and located at the northeast corner of the intersections of Carver Street, Anastasia Avenue and Red Cox Drive, excluding the St. Augustine Lighthouse Tennis Courts, from Recreation and Open Space to Residential Medium Density Mixed Use (with map notations). D. Birchim, Dir., Planning & Building
1b. Consideration of Ordinance 2015-04, amending the zoning for the property located at the northeast corner of the intersections of Carver Street, Anastasia Avenue and Red Cox Drive, excluding the St. Augustine Lighthouse Tennis Courts, from Government Use (GU) to Maritime Use District (MUD). D. Birchim, Dir., Planning & Building
February 9th, 2015 City Commission Meeting Item 9A #2015-03 and #2015-04

NOTE: (Public comment presented before the revised applicant’s presentation, continuance for a third City Commission Meeting)
81 Lighthouse Avenue:
1. Public Hearing-Ordinance 2015-03, amending the Comprehensive Plan, Future Land Use Map to reclassify a parcel of land containing approximately 4.6 acres and located at the northeast corner of the intersections of Carver Street, Anastasia Avenue and Red Cox Drive, excluding the St. Augustine Lighthouse Tennis Courts, from Recreation and Open Space to Residential Medium Density Mixed Use (with map notations). D. Birchim, Dir., Planning & Building
2. Public Hearing-Ordinance 2015-04, amending the zoning for the property located at the northeast corner of the intersections of Carver Street, Anastasia Avenue and Red Cox Drive, excluding the St. Augustine Lighthouse Tennis Courts, from Government Use (GU) to Maritime Use District (MUD). D. Birchim, Dir., Planning & Building
March 9th, 2015 City Commission Meeting Item 8B #2015-03 and 2015-04
NOTE: (Size of lot disclosed to be approximately 6.5 acres, not 4.6 acres. Unanimous vote to approve application by City Commission)
1a. Public Hearing-Ordinance 2015-03, amending the Comprehensive Plan, Future Land Use Map to reclassify a parcel of land containing approximately 4.6 acres and located at the northeast corner of the intersections of Carver Street, Anastasia Avenue and Red Cox Drive, excluding the St. Augustine Lighthouse Tennis Courts, from Recreation and Open Space to Residential Medium Density Mixed Use (with map notations). D. Birchim, Dir., Planning & Building
1b. Public Hearing-Ordinance 2015-04, amending the zoning for the property located at the northeast corner of the intersections of Carver Street, Anastasia Avenue and Red Cox Drive, excluding the St. Augustine Lighthouse Tennis Courts, from Government Use (GU) to Maritime Use District (MUD). D. Birchim, Dir., Planning & Building

In summary, I, Edward Ruben Anderson, do not feel as though the requirements were met to amend the State Adopted Future Land Use Map and I am requesting a review of the process per Florida Statute 120.56 “Challenges to Rules” for non-compliance with the Growth Management Act of 1985.

Edward Ruben Anderson
60 Magnolia Drive
St. Augustine FL 32080
(904) 547-1006

Saturday, April 18, 2015

What is Hyperscreens LLC: BBB report

Hyperscreens LLC Founders Chris Conlon and Robert Kenny, Jr. install Hyperscreens at St. Augustine amphitheater

Phone Number: (904) 209-2250
The number is 50871.
Type of Entity
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
Business Management
Mr. Robert Kenny Jr., Co-Founder
Mr. Chris Conlon, Co-Founder
Mrs. Nora G Cozad, Finance Manager
Contact Information
Principal: Mr. Robert Kenny Jr., Co-Founder
Business Category
Electronic Equipment & Supplies - Wholesale & Manufacturers
Computers - Bulletin Boards
Computers - Multimedia
Computers - Wholesale & Manufacturers
Electronic Equipment & Supplies - Dealers
Products & Services
HyperScreens, LLC sells the following brand(s): 3M, hyperscreens , Intel, Samsung

HyperScreens, LLC offers the following product(s): 42" | 55" | 65" Free-Standing & Wall-Mounted hyperscreens

Method(s) of Payment
All industry standard payment options accepted
Refund and Exchange Policy
1 Year Manufacturer's Warranty

They Were In A Hurry: "Hyper" to Spend $400,000 on No-bid "Hyperscreens" Contract Falsely Claimed to be "Sole Source" Because of 3.5 Month Deadline

Hyperscreens at St. Augustine Visitor Information Center

The Forever King: Ex-Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR.

BOLES was in a hurry, so turned to his minions to rubber-stamp yet another no-bid contractor for local start-up company



JAMES PIGGOTT, City of St. Augustine General Services Director, Never Checked with U.S. General Services Administration on Purchase of $400,000 Hyperscreens for Visitor Information Center: They Were in a Hurry (3.5 month deadline).


TIMOTHY BURCHFIELD, City of St. Augustine Assistant City Manager, allegedly researched technology and wrote "sole source" memo signed by City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E.: no electronic copy of the "sole source" memo has been produced by City Hall


"They were in a hurry?" City Hall has not provided an electronic copy of Assistant City Manager TIMOTHY BURCHFIELD's "sole source" memo, signed by City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E. Wonder why? Could it be that City Hall rubber-stamped someone else's memo, and did not have a copy on any City Hall computer?