Edward A. Slavin, Jr.
These are no ordinary times, no ordinary elections. I encourage all voters to meet and research the candidates. This is our town, our time, and your future. It is up to us to help preserve our village. Vote early and beat the crowds. Early voting begins tomorrow, Friday August 15th. It’s an easy thing to do. There are six locations in the county, all open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. through August 23rd. Locations are the Supervisor of Elections Office off Lewis Speedway, the Julington Creek Annex, The Ponte Vedra branch library, the Southeast branch library, St. Augustine Beach City Hall, and the Hastings Town Hall.
Enough flummery. What to look for in a new mayor?
■ Increase openness, candor and public participation.
■ Improve communications and website.
■ Focus on traffic, streets, sewer, water, global ocean level rise.
■ Reform government contracting and obtaining refunds from deficient vendors.
■ Audit city, FPL and other franchisees’ books.
■ Hire staff with proper advertising, posting, searches and job descriptions.
■ Litigate 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).
■ Answer public questions on every agenda item.
■ Provide an ombudsman and one telephone number for city referrals.
■ Protect employee free speech rights and halt harassment and intimidation of or by city employees.
■ Repeal anti-musician and anti-artist ordinances.
■ Use workshops and committees, encouraging creative brainstorming.
■ End illegal meetings at inconvenient times and places.
■ Change all city meeting times to 7 p.m. (as at St. Augustine Beach), and adjourn by 11 p.m., with no free dinners or long breaks.
■ Rewrite ordinances in plain English.
■ Regulate lobbyists and ethics.
■ “Reinvent the wheel” — reform zoning, planning and preservation to protect our small town ambience, history, nature and culture.
■ Advance equality and human rights.
■ Protect consumers.
■ Preserve and protect 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).