As I write for the Board this year, let me say, I genuinely appreciate the spirit of cooperation, and debate, we encountered in this search for light. Not all endorsements were reached unanimously. A clear majority, if not consensus, emerged as we sought the truth; the results of which are reported here.
There are three seats in play on the St Augustine City Commission. It has been that way every two-year election cycle since 2006 because of a cockamamie referendum that fixes the office of mayor at two-years, and alternates the four-year terms of the remaining commission seats.
Let’s start with the race where we are going to make a recommendation today, but are withholding our endorsement until the General Election in November — Seat 4 on the City of St Augustine Commission. Lee R Bicknell withdrew, and Ron Berben, although he brings some interesting points-of-view to the table, and we like his grassroots style, needs to participate in a few more local boards so that he will be better prepared to serve effectively.
RECOMMENDATION for City of St. Augustine Seat 4
Todd D Neville campaign fundraising: $28,030.00 / $2,914.36 / $19,049.09
Todd D. Neville N/P 167 Sunset Circle N. St. Augustine, FL 32080 (904) 586-0048 firstname.lastname@example.org
John Valdes campaign fundraising: $9,460.00 / $3,400.00 / $7,321.26
John Valdes N/P 273 S. Matanzas Blvd. St. Augustine, FL 32084 (904) 669-1230 email@example.com
Housekeeping: Historic City News is a local publication. Our news journal strives to be expert on local issues, and, although statewide and district campaigns are important for our readers, we hope you’ll spend the time you need to better educate yourself on those candidates. That said, our strong fiscal and socially conservative values are best served, in our opinion, by re-electing the following two candidates who appear on the local Primary ballots:
We endorse for Governor
Rick Scott REP 3150 Gordon Dr. Naples, FL 34102 (850) 567-9006
We endorse for State Senator – District 6
John Thrasher REP 110 Agean Vista Way St. Augustine, FL 32080 (904) 607-2226
Back to the local Primary Election contests where we would like to offer our opinion and where we feel an endorsement for election by Historic City News is most important.
We encourage you to do your homework, and then vote for these candidates on August 26th; or during early voting from August 15th thru August 23rd. These candidates best represent our focus on lower taxes, individual responsibility, limited government and support for small, local businesses who we feel are the backbone of our community.
County Commissioner – District 2
Kim Kendall REP 856 Eagle Point Dr. St. Augustine, FL 32092 (904) 813-8799 firstname.lastname@example.org
Does not support the 1% sales tax increase
We have gotten to know Kendall through her participation and volunteer activism on issues of interest to families and children, education, a through a gubernatorial appointment. We know her to be a strong leader, unafraid to speak out for her community, and a fervent advocate against political cronyism and wasteful spending in government.
County Commissioner – District 4
Dan Abel REP PO Box 939 Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32004 (904) 834-1101 email@example.com
Does not support the 1% sales tax increase
Abel is making his first run at an elected county-wide political office and we have seen few better prepared or capable of making a positive difference in our local political landscape. Not only has Abel shown his ability to identify troublesome issues, he appears best prepared to work the solutions through to successful conclusions, in our view. He has a full time career in the financial services field, but recently changed firms in order to be affiliated with an employer more willing to support his proposed civic contribution once he is elected. That is the kind of planning and prioritization we like to see.
St Johns County elects school board members through a process of “single member districts” — i.e., you can only vote for candidates running from you district based on your place of residence. We think that process is wrong. We want that process changed because school board members, once elected, must make decisions that impact education and institutional spending across the county — not just within the narrow confines of their district.
If you live in School Board – District 1, we endorse
Bev Slough 341 W. Adelaide Dr. Saint Johns, FL 32259 (904) 287-7744 firstname.lastname@example.org
If you live in School Board – District 3, we endorse
Bill Mignon 723 Camelia Trail St. Augustine, FL 32086 (904) 814-2906 email@example.com
If you live in School Board – District 4, we endorse
Kelly Barrera 101 Greencrest Dr. Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082 (904) 472-6936 firstname.lastname@example.org
Advocates local decision making and parental rights
City of St. Augustine – Seat 3/Mayor
Nancy Shaver N/P 82 South St. St. Augustine, FL 32084 (303) 877-6995 email@example.com
This race presumably pits two local political Goliaths, against a newcomer to the political scene; who, on investigation, we find has done more charitable and community service, made more financial contributions, and invested more of her energies and talents than a lot of residents who have called St Augustine home — for twice as long. As Historic City News editor, I was first introduced to Nancy Shaver when I was investigating bogus claims by City Director of the 450th Commemoration, Dana Ste. Claire, regarding the profitability of the Picasso exhibit at the Visitor Information Center. Nancy had been conducting her own investigation, and seems we have arrived at many of the same conclusions at about the same time. Our paths crossed, and her name was mentioned during the process of running down other investigative news articles, so, being me, I did a little digging. I am SO glad that I did, because I was pleasantly surprised to meet the lady who I am firmly convinced should be the next mayor of my home town, St Augustine, FL.
Since the death of her husband, she continues live in their home on South Street in Lincolnville, and she is one of the clear and visible leaders for revitalization of the Lincolnville economy. Even though she could comfortably retire, she continues to work, 4-days-a-week, for a company whose business model is right up her alley. She is a consultant for Experian; a global information gathering, analysis and reporting organization. In her spare moments, she goes to a local gym, she eats a vegetarian diet, and can evaluate the cost-benefit for accomplishing just about anything. Don’t try to shove her into any boxes, either — she doesn’t fit. She can be grandmother one moment, and community activist spotting waste, fraud and abuse in government operations from across a crowded room.
Historic City News feels that the time has come to elect a mayor, not out of some misguided sense of loyalty, but rather someone who will put the business of the public first. Someone who thinks first about the impact of their decisions — on the residents who have to pay for them. We must stop digging money pits to stash paid receipts for trips to Spain, to wine and dine potentates as if we are some sort of royalty, ourselves. The lavish spending on the 450th Commemoration is vulgar. It has been rife with fraud since the very inception, a hair-brained scheme of the current mayor with another lawyer pal, Don Wallis, to form the “First America Foundation” only to throw away hundreds of thousands of dollars in advance of the very first service being delivered. That will be Mayor Boles legacy. Nancy Shaver has the unique opportunity to lead the community forward through the 450th anniversary of our city’s founding and leave us headed in the correct direction.
It is with no small sense of gratitude that I thank Nancy Shaver for accepting our endorsement and for offering herself, her courage, her integrity, and absolute commitment to accountability in city government, that the Editorial Board of Historic City News recommends her for election to the office of Mayor.
The third seat up for election, Vice-Mayor Nancy Sikes Kline, will not be on the ballot until the November General Election. Neither she, nor her opponent Grant Misterly, will appear on the Primary Election ballot this month. We will have more endorsements prior to that election.
Historic City News editor Michael Gold, advised by our ad-hoc, volunteer editorial board and trusted members of the community, makes endorsements during both gubernatorial and presidential election years, and, if appropriate, during special elections that occur during the interim.
© 2014, St Augustine. All rights reserved.