Historic City News readers are as well informed about politics and government in St Augustine and St Johns County as any other group of citizens — they tend to do their homework and they are among the first in line when it’s time to exercise their right to vote.
Since the Primary Election, the Editorial Board members have listened to other readers within their individual circles of influence and debated the pros and cons with each other in making this year’s recommendations for various local and district offices that include St Johns County.
Opinions are like noses, everybody has one — but, our opinions are based on impressions from local leaders, many of whom have served in political and appointed offices and boards within the City of St Augustine, Town of Hastings, City of St Augustine Beach, and St Johns County. Unlike other “endorsements” and “recommendations”, ours are reached based on consensus of residents who have been part of the community for decades — some for generations.
I am inclined to say, jokingly, “take everyone The Record recommended and vote the opposite,” because it seems, more times than not, we disagree on who we feel can best serve our community. That may be attributed to an overtly, socially-liberal bias at The Record that we don’t share. Our bias is fiscally and socially conservative — but, I don’t believe we’ve reached fanatical conservatism any more than I believe The Record has reached flaming liberalism … well …
Let me say that Historic City News advisors seem to agree that it is important for our community to keep our resources focused on local issues. Think globally, act locally — has been our mantra for several years. We also believe that there is no point in burying our heads in the sand, or anywhere else, about the condition of our local economy. We want to recommend candidates who we feel share those points of view and will make tough decisions, even ones that may be politically unpopular, so that we can get this train back on the tracks.
We are steadfast in our commitment to reduce the size of local government. That hurts the people and their families who work in government and faced with the fear of losing their jobs, they, understandably object because they believe that they are essential; and, if anything, underpaid for the job they do — and some of them are right.
“We will have to cut services if we cut costs any further,” County Administrator Michael Wanchick warns — to which I say, “Duh”. The government is not supposed to be providing every service that every resident asks for, are they?
It is arrogant and self-serving for that sort of rhetoric from a man who is the highest paid county administrator in the area with the largest severance package in St Johns County history to threaten elimination of anything other than non-essential services before eliminating the bloated middle and upper management tier of county employees under his administration — who are making $80,000, $90,000 or even more than $100,000 plus benefits every year.
So who will be the best policymakers, and who can stand up to powerful administrators for the people?
These are our recommendations for the November 6 General Election:
|DO NOT retain justices||DO NOT approve amendments|
|US Senate||Connie Mack|
|US Congressman||Ron DeSantis|
|State Senate||John Thrasher|
|State Representative 17||Ronald Doc Renuart|
|State Representative 24||Travis Hutson|
|County Commission District 1||Cyndi Stevenson|
|County Commission District 5||Randy Brunson|
|Anastasia Mosquito Seat 1||Robert T Bob Smith|
|Anastasia Mosquito Seat 3||Edward Randy Covington|
|Anastasia Mosquito Seat 5||Gary Howell|
|Airport Authority||Jim Werter|
|Soil and Water Conservation||Henry Warner|
|Port and Waterway Group 2||Barry Benjamin|
|Port and Waterway Group 4||Chuck Hennessey|
|St Augustine Commission||Bruce Maguire|
|St Augustine Beach Commission||Rich O’Brien|