Posts Tagged ‘St. Augustine’

Open letter to Florida Rep. Mica concerning the meeting of the federal St. Augustine 450th Commemoration Commission, set here in St. Augustine on Monday, July 18th.

July 13, 2011

Dr. Robert Hayling, D.D.S.

Dear Rep. Mica:

I am urgently writing you about the meeting of the federal St. Augustine 450th Commemoration Commission, set here in St. Augustine on Monday, July 18th. On June 27th and July 11th, I learned from our St. Augustine City Commissioners and from City and Department of the Interior staff that:

1. No African-Americans are scheduled to make presentations to our 450th Commission – the only presenters will be you, Rep. Mica, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, our Florida Secretary of State and historian Kathy Deegan. In summary: five presenters, four men, one woman, all white. This is unacceptable. This lack of diversity is contrary to the genius of a free people, and is contrary to the vision of Dr. Robert Hayling, D.D.S., who noted the lack of African-American participation in planning for St. Augustine’s 400th commemoration and called for greater participation for our 450th commemoration.

2. No public participation is planned –none at all — citizens are only invited to be spectators. Democracy is not a spectator sport. Local residents, including the President of the Lincolnville Neighborhood Association, have requested time, only to be treated diffidently and with disdain by the United States Department of the Interior.

3. Only a two-hour meeting is set – a “photo op” generally devoid of substance, which borders on waste, fraud and abuse under the Inspector General Act. The pre-meeting on May 24, 2011 discussed a two-day meeting, where real work would be accomplished. DOI officials unilaterally changed this plan. Why?

4. A lunch meeting for federal 450th Commissioners only is set for Markland House – even our four City Commissioners are not invited That is a violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). It is also an insult to our local elected officials, who are not invited as a group to attend.

5. Our 450th Commissioners are not scheduled to meet with our City Commissioners, either to speak or to appear on-stage (other than Mayor Boles, who is an appointed federal 450th Commissioner).

6. A DOI policy adviser claimed that the 450th Commission has “no jurisdiction” to talk about the proposed St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore. No policy adviser is in a position to tell Ambassador Young, Senator Graham, or any other 450th Commissioner (or citizen) what they can talk about, in violation of our First Amendment and FACA rights .

7. The DOI Solicitor is planning to claim that the Commission is “exempt” from FACA because it is an “operational committee.” This is untrue, as the law creating the Commission excluded the Commission only from Section 14(b) of FACA, making clear that FACA covers the Commission.

The United States Department of the Interior is not faithfully executing our laws and is planning a PR disaster with your participation, but presumably without your informed consent.

St. Augustine residents are today contemplating our options – picketing, an Inspector General complaint and a declaratory judgment lawsuit under FACA.

Meanwhile, would you please speak of the need for a St. Augustine National Historical Park and Seashore Act in your opening remarks? See; attachments.

A St. Augustine National Historical Park and Seashore was first proposed 72 years ago last month, by U.S. Senators Claude Pepper and Charles O. Andrews and U.S. Rep. Joseph Hendricks, with support of St. Augustine Mayor Walter Fraser. Our 450th Commission needs to be open to this idea, to protect our history and nature forever, for your grandchildren, and their grandchildren.

I am sure that you will agree that Monday’s St. Augustine 450th Commemoration Commission meeting must focus on the park, (first proposed 72 years ago), allow the public to speak, and treat our local citizens and officials with the respect that we all deserve.

This is our celebration – citizens deserve at least the three (3) minutes we are afforded in local government meetings to speak to our 450th Commissioners on Monday. Failure is not an option.

Thank you.

With kindest regards, I am,


Ed Slavin