Rich O’Brien is the right choice for Beach

We find it a bit ironic, at best, that St Augustine Beach Commission candidate Edward George would send a postcard to registered voters at St Augustine Beach that implies Republican voters need to know where O’Brien stands on the “issues” — the inference, of course, that George represents Republican voters better than O’Brien.

Rich O’Brien is a Republican and the St Johns County Supervisor of Elections has no record of him ever changing party affiliation.

Prior to 2006, Ed George was a registered Democrat.

July 7, 2006, George changed party affiliation from Democrat to Republican, apparently to gain a vote in the 2006 Republican Primary Election. Four months later, November 8, 2006, after the General Election, he changed back from Republican to Democrat.

Before the 2010 election, on June 15, 2010, George changed his party affiliation from Democrat to No Party Affiliation. George ran for office as City of St Augustine Beach Commission – Group 5; and lost the election to St Augustine Beach Mayor Gary Snodgrass — by two votes.

In January 2011, George changed party affiliation again — this time from no party affiliation to Republican.

In the interim, Ed George has become embroiled in a hissing contest, in cahoots with sitting commissioner and lady friend, Undine Pawlowski, against Commissioner Andrea Samuels, Vice Mayor Rich O’Brien, and Mayor Gary Snodgrass.

One of several bones of contention for candidate George and Commissioners Brud Helhoski and Undine Pawlowski, is efforts by the Mayor, Vice-Mayor and Samuels to reign in the St Augustine Beach Police Department. Before being cleared of criminal allegations brought by members of the department and investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Pawlowski was after former Chief Richard Hedges and wanted his job.

One of Hedges detractors, former Assistant Chief Joni Mathis, who has since filed a lawsuit against the City to recover damages arising from her termination, has been canvassing the Beach neighborhoods and appearing at polling locations waving Ed George campaign materials.

In a recent letter received by Historic City News, Undersheriff Joel Bolante said, in so many words, the police department at the beach was incapable of properly managing their own evidence room. Sad.

The Ed George postcard is of concern. It is titled “Republican Voter Guide” while the seat George is seeking is non-partisan. Further, it was not reviewed, endorsed or approved by the St Johns County Republican Party or the Republican Party of Florida to be distributed as a “Republican” voter guide.

We endorsed Rich O’Brien in this race, as did The St Augustine Record. Every day since we made our endorsement, Ed George and associates convince us that our Editorial Board made the right choice.

We encourage Historic City News readers to consider Rich O’Brien for re-election to the St Augustine Beach Commission for another 4-year term.

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