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Post Census Voting Districts - Racism?

Map here:

The School Board's Commissioners are elected by voters in their home district under the traditional system of local representation, i.e., District One voters only vote for one Commissioner.

The County's Commissioners, while required to have an official residence in their home district, are each elected by all voters throughout the county, regardless of the district in which the voters reside, i.e., each voter votes for five Commissioners.

The City of St. Augustine is in one District with "West Augustine" in another.

[All emphasis mine in following.]

Editorial: Racist allegations are way out of date
December 18, 2011  

Today, in 1865, the states ratified the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery in America. The amendment read, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude?shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

Don't you think its high time people in St Augustine stop acting as if it was yesterday?

Seven years ago, the Florida State Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights found that the St Johns County school district operated 36 schools and had an enrollment of about 25,000 students.

At that time, whites were almost 90 percent of the school district's enrollment and African Americans comprised most of the remaining students.

Despite growth in numbers of students and schools, the racial percentage breakdown remain constant today; borne out by 2010 US Census demographics and 2011 St Johns County voter registrations.

In the Committee report to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, Florida State Advisory Committee chair, Dr. Elena M. Flom, said, "the era of de jure segregation has ended". De jure segregation means racial separation forced by specific laws. All such laws were eliminated by the mid-1960's in America. Therefore, today in the United States, there is no such thing as "de jure segregation".

Laurels to Dr. Flom.

On October 10, 2005, Public School Superintendent Dr. Joseph G. Joyner wrote to the Southern Regional Office Director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Peter Minarik. Joyner said, "To seek unitary status would require tremendous time and effort of the part of staff and expense on the part of the District in the form of legal and consulting fees."

Joyner concluded, "Frankly, our time, effort, and the public's money is better spent on educating the students in our District than in concluding this court proceeding."

Laurels to Dr. Joyner.

The Advisory Committee unanimously agreed that 1970's era "one-size fits all" Court Orders, like the one under which St Johns County schools still operate, are obsolete and unnecessary since they "rarely fit, especially in such a complex culture and on a complex issue".

Yet, this month, we witnessed great theatre before the St Johns County School Board; orchestrated by both local and out-of-town African-American special interests. Their purpose was apparent - use the once-a-decade requirement to apportion school districts in accordance with population changes to the political advantage of black voters by creating enhanced minority voting blocks.

The political grandstanding of a few opportunists, like County Commissioner Ken Bryan, was obnoxious - not just to me, but to members of the School Board who said in last week's meeting that they felt pressured to make a "politically motivated decision" about redistricting instead of a better plan focused solely on the needs of local schoolchildren.

Darts to Ken Bryan who sees racism in the heart of anyone who disagrees with his agenda. He acts like the stereotypical "angry black man". He makes it his business to hurl humiliating, racist accusations against innocent victims whose only transgression may be to recognize our local African-American residents as a homogenous racial group with equal opportunities to do well economically, politically, socially, or academically. Period.

Darts to Ed Slavin, as well. I have tried (really, I have) to give him credit for incubating some ideas that could benefit the community and I think that he should be left alone to speak his opinions - even if I don't agree with his conclusions. Slavin quixotically chases windmills.

Unfortunately, whether for himself or his employer, Judith Seraphin, nothing good comes from his threats to the school board. Slavin's knee-jerk threats of lawsuits are as obnoxious as Bryan's threats to call in the Justice Department.

I've had a belly-full of them both. We managed to survive over 400 years before their arrival, it won't be the end of the world when they leave.
--- end op-ed by Editor, ---

One Comment (1)
tsiya says:
December 18, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Thr race card is much too valuable as a political weapon for Ed and other "progressives" to give up wiilingly.

Application of the race card is limited only by their fertile imagination, it can even be played several degrees away from any actual question of race.

The race card only works because it is allowed to. It really should be ignored, so we can honestly discuss real issues.

=== end op-ed and following comment from ===

Unfortunately racism and bigotry does continue to exist in St. Johns county and NE Florida.

Those that don't acknowledge it are either unable or unwilling to see it - with explanations of that inability or unwillingnesss extending from naiveté and limited social interaction outside their own group, through simple ignorance and lack of introspection, to self-righteous bigotry and hate of other ethnicities.

Anyone who chooses to become aware of posted comments on electronic forums, overheard conversations (general caveat: some surveillance video cameras in bars, restaurants and retail businesses have audio feeds), drunken chatter in wining and dining establishments, and the insidious "jokes" e-mailed and forwarded to multiple friends' addressees which infect cyberspace, will see the evidence of the conscious (and unconscious) racist and bigoted beliefs which still exist in St. Augustine and St. Johns county.

The facts and/or perceptions that community gadflies and activists exploit seemingly each and every real or imagined incident of possible racism, i.e., "play the race card", does not establish that racist beliefs no longer exist and influence political decision-making.

Ad hominem attacks - by activists on others, or vice versa - do nothing to explore, and if warranted expose, the actual incidents of bigotry and racism which affect the public via political and government decisions.  

Investigation and exposure of the actions and incidents - regardless of whether the perceived motivations and allegations (the "race card") are true or false - is what is needed.

In that sense I agree with commentator tsiya - the race card "really should be ignored, so we can honestly discuss real issues."  Unfortunately one of those real issues is the continuing racist beliefs which effect public policy and legislation.


The following is a related ongoing story, and I commend Sheriff Shoar for "ceasing and desisting" what I first criticized as another end run around FDLE to assist a fellow Sheriff, and promptly passing on the investigation to the proper authorities.

--- From ---
March 15: [Nassau County Sheriff] Seagraves gets help from St. Johns Sheriff David Shoar to investigate misconduct in the narcotics unit....

April 7: St. Johns [SJCSO investigators] ends its investigation after learning Smith is working for the FBI. St. Johns finds evidence of civil rights abuses, theft and altered police reports. St. Johns turns its file over to state prosecutors and the FBI....

May 19: [Incarcerated citizen] Youman [see linked article for details] waives his right to file a civil rights suit against the sheriff's office in exchange for being set free....

Late summer/early fall: State and federal prosecutors meet in Jacksonville with Justice Department's civil rights lawyers....

Dec. 14: Local FBI head Jim Casey confirms his agents are conducting a civil rights investigation with Seagraves' cooperation.
--- end excerpts ---

Ed sees everything he disagrees with as racist or homophobic, it's  only script he has. Forum Index -> Local politics
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