The St. Augustine Report, a publication written by former Mayor – Commissioner George Gardner for the Public Affairs Department of the city, has lost its funding in this year’s budget, however, the newsletter will continue to be distributed, according to the author.
In a letter from Gardner, he told Historic City News that the decision to be a paid publication of the City worked at the time, but he has changed his opinion. Gardner now says that remaining independent allows him the freedom to write his own observations without concern for the approval of anyone at City Hall.
From February 2009 through September 2011, Gardner was paid $15,000 per year by the City to compose the weekly newsletter. He was not a City employee during that time.
With today’s issue of the new St. Augustine Report, the references to being an official city publication are gone. The city logo is gone. For Gardner, the paycheck is gone.
Gardner once was a commercial editor before moving to St. Augustine and he produces periodic newsletters for other organizations where he is involved; including the 450 Community Corps.
In order to defray expenses, he is turning to his readers for contributions and financial support. Gardner also authored a series of books, which he will no doubt promote for sale.
He includes a donation link in the inaugural issue, as well as a quote from Thomas Jefferson — “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
Historic City News considers Gardner to be a valuable resource because of his perspective on local city government and from time to time, his comments and opinions are published here by mutual agreement.
Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News staff photographer