Letter: Tyranny of local commissioners

Dear Editor:

You do not need to go to Washington to find Tyranny. It’s alive and well in St. Johns County.

For some time now, the County Administrator has been conducting a series of Town Hall meetings throughout the County. The well prepared power point presentation, narrated by Mr. Wanchick, was skillfully designed to lead those in attendance to the conclusion that the .75 millage rate increase is necessary.

After the presentation the events were open to public discussion.

The pros and cons appeared to come down along these lines:

(a)Those who were in favor of the proposal appeared to have an interest in County Government, county employees, elected officials or citizens who receive personal benefit from Government.

(b)Those who opposed seemed to be the ones doing the paying.

If a speaker favored increased taxes, the dutiful Commissioners who followed Mr. Wanchick around the circuit would smile and nod their heads in approval.

On the other hand if a speaker spoke in opposition and found favor among the citizens present, Commissioners Miner, Sanchez and Bryan would take turns, coming to the aid of their Administrator.

First amendment rights be dammed! This was the point where tyranny first raised its ugly head.

Now, it’s OK for the Commissioners and Mr. Wanchick to unanimously reach the conclusion that they want to raise taxes on the good people of St. Johns County. OK I get that….But to pretend that the issue was ever open to discussion is outrageous. Monday at the round table meeting at the airport Mr. Miner stressed the point that the procedure was just beginning for the commissioners.

Really? Twenty four hours later the Board of Commissioners, on Tuesday, with little or no wiggle room, signed on to supporting Mr. Wanchick’s proposal.

Commissioner Sanchez justified their decision by suggesting that a group of five Tea Party members, who were present, were the same people who went to all the other Town Hall meetings, and that they did not represent the majority in this issue.

So opinions of a small, but vocal minority need not be considered.

Sir, I would like to refresh your memory. At the last Town Hall meeting on June 27th, 153 people attended, of which a vast majority of the people at the podium opposed the increase.

You remember the meeting — it’s the one in which you and Bryan trampled on citizen’s First Amendment Rights by evicting opposition. Tyranny shows its ugly head with greater force.

Commissioner Sanchez also has a habit of being condescending to the public. He did it when he addressed the Molasses Junction Tea Party and he did it again at the Board meeting, which I attended, on July 12th.

So bottom line, opposition to the Commissioners results in being marginalized, being talked down to and then being intimidated.

At the close of the Board meeting, Commissioner Bryan revealed that he loves Government and that there is growing distrust of Government at all levels.

He also claimed that county employees are now under threats of attack, which is a false claim. The St. Johns County Commission Chairman then threatened to report “un-named” individuals, to the Sheriff’s office and the State Attorney and stated, “if anyone goes over the line — there are consequences; legally or otherwise”.

In addition, at the June 27th Town meeting, Bryan threw the Constitution on the floor — declaring that he did not believe in the Constitution. He stated “You are old school, and it’s a new world order now”.

To the Commissioner, I say the seeds of Tyranny are sown. The Tyranny that our Founders’ experienced is still active today. I cannot accept the Commissioner’s Tyranny!

Lance Thate
St Augustine, FL

Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News contributed photograph by Lance Thate

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