Letter: Re-election rewards actions against citizens

Re-election Rewards Mayor’s Actions Against Targeted Citizens

While other incumbent politicians across America were being turned out to pasture from all levels of government for abuse of power, St. Augustine re-elected Mayor Joe Boles in a landslide.

Dear Editor:

Since the “oldest city” has 445 years of experience, how could we doubt the wisdom of its voters? Apparently, they appreciate Mr. Boles’ heavy handed leadership and want more of it.

Take the Flagler students who protested the City Commission the day before the election. These idealistically foolish students in art and music naively feel they should be nurtured and encouraged in the city they chose for their education, that they should be able to go to the Plaza or St. George Street to paint or perform. Thanks to our Mayor, Joe Boles, they will learn a more painful but necessary lesson, they will be handcuffed and carted off to jail for violating a city ordinance. The lesson: they are only as free as the Mayor and City Commission decrees they should be.

How about Mark O’Reilly, owner of the Green Dolphin Bar, who refused to sign a ticket Saturday night, October 30th, which was shoved in his face by an officer saying he had violated a noise ordinance. Since his heavy metal band, oh, wait-it was playing mellow blue grass music, had stopped playing 45 minutes earlier and because of previous $100 tickets, he and others had run a meter gun throughout the night. Their noise level had not registered above 45 decibels, half the lawbreaking 88. Mr. O’Reilly refused to sign the ticket. He was shoved against the wall, thrown to the floor, handcuffed, and told he would either sign the ticket or be tossed in jail. The officer’s foot was pressed into the bar owner’s back to encourage his decision to sign. You got to love Joe Boles style, displaying all the ruggedness of law enforcement before Wyatt Earp became Sheriff in the old West.

The city must greatly admire a mayor, who loses law suits against musicians, artists, and coming ones against boaters and a carriage company, and yet he can simply change the wording of an ordinance, pass a new law requiring them the expense of filing a new law suit. In the meantime, he continues to throw them in jail. For justification, the City can cite intolerance the founding Spaniards once displayed toward non-Catholics. Mr. Joe Boles employs at the tax payers expense of reportedly $250,000 per year, Ron Brown and Carlos Mendoza, two high powered attorneys who defend the City, oftentimes, from lawsuits brought about citizens who protest their loss of civil liberties.

Take a 133 year-old carriage company with 30 carriage drivers, 30 horses and 25 carriages. Joe Boles has the insight to decide they only deserve 10, and that half the horses and carriages must be sold. Also, half the drivers will lose their job. No worry, the rest of the company will come tumbling down weeks later. The City Commission adopts the Charleston Carriage Code, where the city bilks nearly $1,000,000 per year from five companies causing them all to die a slow death. One company is currently faced with four $1100 fines based on the city’s subjective or impulsive judgment, and must win appeals process or be shut down for six months. Isn’t it sweet Mr. Boles has found a city code patterned after his own heart?

Isn’t it just great that St. Augustine voters have found a “Godfather” type to rule the city with an iron fist? It’s just great until he targets their civil liberties next.

Terry Herbert
St. Augustine, FL

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