As we sat discussing options for this race and who might best serve the community for the next four years, it was not without consideration of what the City of St Augustine has done over the last four years — and where we see the town we all love in the future.
First, we find it revealing that four candidates are in a contest for Seat 1, while absolutely no one offered to oppose Mayor Boles or Vice Mayor Freeman in this election.
Our opinion is that this amounts to nothing more than political opportunism because of the incumbent’s recent legal scrapes. We see it as gratuitous “piling on” and observe that the most conservative member of the prevailing city commission might well be Errol Jones.
I know, Bill Leary changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. And, after 40 years of being a Democrat, this month Mayor Joe Boles answered the plea of the ultra-liberals Philip and Wendy (Mandel) McDaniel, Tommy and Joy (D’Elia) Bledsoe, Patrick Hamilton and Rebecca Hamilton-Greenberg; who all lied about their political party affiliation in order to bastardize the Republican Primary Election process.
Not one of our seven-member panel, including our revered “token Democrat”, thinks much of that sort of dishonest manipulation of elections and the dishonorable way they publicized their wrongdoing.
Looking at the resumes of Roxanne Horvath and Deltra L Long, we find some clear strengths and talents that could benefit the City of St Augustine and our residents. Both have experience on local appointed citizen boards, both have valuable professional training.
With three seats up for re-election, we would have liked to see them each run for a seat. Bruce Maguire could have run for Mayor, Deltra Long could have run for Leanna Freeman’s seat, and Roxanne Horvath could have run for Errol Jones seat. If there was movement for change, voters could be heard, and if there was support for incumbents, that could be heard as well.
Why did we choose not to recommend Roxanne Horvath? Readers Digest version; too liberal, protégé of Don Crichlow who brought us Bill Leary who is proving to be a big disappointment, and ties to political power-broker Philip McDaniel, et al.
Why did we choose not to recommend Deltra Long? Readers Digest version; she is an attorney. If elected, we would have four-of-five city commissioners who are attorneys. Why do we have, $117,016 per year City Attorney, Ronald W Brown and $80,000 per year Assistant City Attorney, Isabelle C Lopez?
Why did we choose to recommend Bruce Maguire? Readers Digest version; he is the only true conservative running for office and has invaluable training and experience as citizen leader in local government.
Maguire has an external network of working relationships with county officials and private sector resources that served St Johns County well in recent years. As a downtown resident of the city, he drives, walks, bicycles, and sees the activity in the city from ground level and has the experience to evaluate that activity from the point-of-view of residents, businesses, and the local tourism industry. He has over fifty-years of firsthand knowledge of our city; what has been tried and succeeded as well as what has been tried and failed.
His strongest asset? We feel that Maguire uniquely has the political courage to stand up to special interests in the city and to free the City Manager to do his job without interference from individuals on the commission. Maguire will use his education, talents and experiences to keep the commission focused on policy and out of the “weeds” of the day-to-day operation of the city — that is John Regan and Tim Burchfield’s job.
In two more years, two more lawyers can be removed from the commission, but, in the interim, we support Bruce Maguire to bring conservative balance and common sense decision making to Seat 1 on the St Augustine City Commission.