On January 24th, Historic City News opened a public poll to see how our readers feel about the upcoming election for mayor of St Augustine. The polling process on our website is controlled, but it is not infallible. We don’t represent that it is reflective of anything other than the opinions expressed by those readers who cast the 228 ballots that were tabulated.
The only person who has filed with the Supervisor of Elections to seek that office is the incumbent mayor, Joseph L. Boles, Jr. — who ran two years ago and was elected without opposition. The mayor of St Augustine is paid $20,891.16 each year; city commissioners are only paid $15,668.37. The mayor has, and four commissioners each have, only one vote on any business that comes before the commission.
The Historic City News online reader poll evaluated six public figures; including the existing mayor and vice-mayor, former vice-mayor, current city manager, retiring fire chief, and the former director of the Council on Aging. Readers who wanted to participate in the voting, but were in favor of “someone else”, were given that option, as well.
About 50 votes were cast daily during the four days that we held the poll open.
The three politicians, Mayor Boles (who received 8.8% of the votes), Vice Mayor Sikes-Kline (who received 10.5% of the votes), and former Vice Mayor Jones (who received 3.1% of the votes), fared better than the two staff members who are appointed, not elected. According to the votes counted, city manager John Regan received 4.4% and former fire chief Mike Arnold received 4.8% of the total votes cast.
The “someone else” option represented 31.1% of the votes — indicating a significant percentage of voters who simply do not support the existing administration.
Cathy Brown, who is not a politician, but who has years of experience accomplishing goals that required cooperation from municipal, county, state and federal government, received more votes in the poll than any other individual “candidate”; including the catch all, “someone else”. Brown received 85 votes, representing 37.3% of the ballots cast.
Sikes-Kline, who is the Seat 5 incumbent, has already filed for re-election to her current seat and is not a candidate for mayor. She will face an opponent in her bid for a third four-year term. Political newcomer, and former Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Board and the Entrance Corridor Committee, 37-year-old Grant Alan Misterly, will challenge Sikes-Kline for the seat. Misterly is currently an appointee on the city vision steering committee.
Thanks to everyone who participated in this poll. We look forward to hearing from you in our next online poll. Don’t forget to be a good citizen; exercise your First Amendment right to express yourself.