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Fight for St. Johns County

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County commissioners may approve 
17 violations to Ponte Vedra's building code that could put a 75-ft. eyesore  this close
to your home. 

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Ponte Vedra is under assault.  Commissioners are considering a plan to turn our quiet community ballpark into a regional park with stadium lights, traffic, and noise. Our district commissioner, Krista Joseph, strongly opposes this project that would lower home values and set a precedent district-wide. However, two commissioners have already voiced strong support for the plan.

Our county has a shortage of ballfields as a direct result of overdevelopment, with home building rapidly outpacing infrastructure.  Commissioners who approved thousands of homes may soon demand current residents sacrifice their quality of life to accommodate stadium lights that would extend children's playing time to 9:30 at night. 

 

We say no. Stadium lights in a small neighborhood park surrounded by homes is an unacceptable solution that would also add significantly to traffic on A1A and MIckler.  St. Johns County has refused to expand sports fields for four years now, according to Ponte Vedra Athletic Association President Eric Henkel. That's irresponsible growth management.  If approved, the code violations are sure to be replicated elsewhere in our district, perhaps county-wide. 

Our Mission is to maintain and protect the natural beauty of The Ponte Vedra/Palm Valley Overlay District. This includes upholding laws set in place by The Board of County Commissioners of St Johns County that govern development of this area. These laws protect the character of our community and the peaceful enjoyment of our homes.  The Ponte Vedra/Palm Valley Overlay District regulations protect the reasons we live here - and protect our quality of life. 

Cornerstone Park in Ponte Vedra Beach is a small neighborhood park  surrounded by two residential communities - Seaside and The Plantation.

"Seaside" homes in foreground.                 "The Plantation" homes in foreground

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ponte Vedra Athletic Association (PVAA), which is promoting the project, claims county funds don't exist for ball fields. Yet the SilverLeaf developer has already donated 30 acres of land for a park in District 5 that is most in need of ballfields. How about a public/private effort to develop it? And why are all of the ball fields associated with our public schools locked off to residents during times when they're not in use? Why can't our commission arrange for the athletic associations that run children's sports to have access to our taxpayer-funded ball fields? Both of those options are far better than lowering home values (which will reduce the tax revenues that our county receives from the affected homes - increasing everyone else's tax burden.) 

Mr. Henkel says he's been working with the county "for three or four years to find and create ways to expand our field capacity." We salute him for seeking more ball fields for our kids, but this solution is not a smart, long-term solution in a county that can afford far better. 

St. Johns County had record revenues this past year due to home sales and tourism. How can the wealthiest county in the state of Florida not be able to afford ball fields for four years? But we can easily come up with $50 million for "road needs" for the SilverLeaf expansion that the majority of residents opposed.

 

Commissioner Dean stated on November 15 that he's working on an alternate location for kids to play ball, but the feasibility of this idea won't be known until May. 

Many of those pushing the project are profiting from tournaments that are played on county fields. Six figure incomes are at stake. No wonder they're dismissing the impacts of  banks of 20 lights towering over homes and viewable from the windows of homes further away.  Even in the daytime, the towers of lights would create an eyesore viewable from Scenic A1A - one of just two All American Highways in Florida.

Learn more by clicking on the topics below. Please consider a donation to help fund our effort o stop the lights at Cornerstone Park. 

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Imagine homes where the trees are in this photo. That's what life will be like for Ponte Vedra residents if our commissioners put lights in a small community park that's surrounded by houses. Don't let them throw out the building codes that protect our quality of life. 

The roseate spoonbill depicted in this iconic A1A sign is not only a symbol of the natural beauty of the coastal byway that begins in Ponte Vedra. These birds are a reality of life here. Just 150 feet from where 70-ft. poles are being proposed with 250 high intensity lamps, a large roosting site - rare in our county - exists where spoonbills, ibises, egrets, herons, anhingas, wood storks and many other birds roost in its trees, every night. It's not in public view, and that's likely why it's such a successful habitat for these large, beautiful birds that are easily disturbed when roosting. "Birds flying at night are known to aggregate around artificial light and collide with illuminated objects, which may result from attraction and/or disorientation."* The lights and associated noise from loudspeakers at night

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would be detrimental to the birds and could destroy an established roosting habitat (below).   Embed video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The proposed lights are also just 200 feet from state preserve that follows Guana River, potentially impacting even more animal habitat with light pollution. 

To learn more, visit our page that details the proposed project and its impacts on surrounding neighborhoods.  Contact us here.  As the fight expands, so will this website - and opposition to the project  which is already substantial. Please sign up for our newsletter here for updates. Donate here to help us fight his ill-advised project.

*Effects of Artificial Light on Bird Movement and Distribution hyperlink: https://environmentalevidencejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13750-021-00246-8

My opponent Clay Murphy said:
"I had to Google impact fees.
I'm learning to use Google."

- in his first speech to the Republican Executive Committee of St. Johns County

In contrast, as a civil engineer, I'm well-versed on impact fees.  I know how developers are getting away without paying them while Mr. Murphy is still learning what they are.

Elect Bill Freeman in 2024.
Slow the growth. Stop the waste.

 

On August 10, 2022, the morning news reported: "The rapid growth of the county impacting schools is one of the major issues St. Johns County School District Superintendent Tim Forson points to as students return."

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That slick campaign promoting a “Better St John’s Plan” is funded by large land developers seeking subsidies from our county taxpayers. The Better St John’s PAC is managed by William Stanford Jones, who runs PACs for Senator Hutson and other land developers. That penny is actually a 15% increase in our retail sales tax burden and represents a tripling of the county’s take from retail sales!

 

Commissioners have admitted that they wish to use this proposed tax windfall to build the parks and roads necessary for land development.  In effect, this lines the pockets of land developers, and does not hold them accountable for infrastructure costs.

 

Our County collected record revenues this past year. Why do we need to raise a sales tax during a boom year? On top of that, the Commissioners voted to give us a 12.5% property mileage rate increase over last year's rolled back rate. With our current tax base, we can well afford to build libraries and fund fire and rescue infrastructure.

 

Commissioners and developers argue that tourists will pay 40% of this new tax, but a look at last years numbers* suggests that it will only be 15%.

GOT QUESTIONS? You won’t find answers on the developers’ “Penny Plan” website because it has no contact form or email address. They’re hiding behind their PAC, and simply expect us to believe their deceptive advertising – no questions asked. Don’t play into the developers’ hands. We can afford improvements without taxing ourselves. You can ask us questions at 1stCoastConservativesUnited.com

 

On election day, vote NO on the referendum for a "one cent sales tax."

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*Last year, visitors spent almost $712 million in St. Johns County.  A 1% tax on $712M is $7.1M. Over ten years, that’s 71.2M.  That is 14% of $500,000. Tourism will grow over the next ten years, but not enough to reach 35 or 40% as the county claims. Even if tourism grows faster than our rapidly growing population, it won’t be higher than 20%.  If you take 80% of $500,000, that’s how much the rest of us will pay for this sales tax increase over ten years – $4,000 per household.

Paid political advertisement paid for by 1st Coast Conservatives United, 1103 Hays Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32301.

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YES.

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NO.

Say NO to  17 violations of our code that could put a 70-ft. eyesore in view from your home.

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"I will strongly support Commissioner Joseph's efforts to stop over-development and preserve the natural beauty of St. Johns County."

 

"We don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem. With a decade of experience working as a civil engineer for the county, I've witnessed the waste. We can control our spending; no new taxes are needed."

Photo by Graham McGeorge

FREEMAN

BILL

Republican for County Commissioner, District 3

Let's slow the growth and stop the waste.

ElectBillFreeman.com

Paid for by Bill Freeman, Republican for County Commissioner, District 3

My opponent, Roy Alaimo, is a member of a lobbying group* whose mission is "to protect the homebuilding industry." 
And that's exactly what he did, all 52 times he voted to develop land in St. Johns
County while serving
on the Planning and
Zoning Agency. 

Our governor
appointed Alaimo
com
missioner after
receiving large donations from The Hutson Companies - a major developer. We've had enough developer-controlled commissioners.
    
*Northeast Florida Builders Association     **Minutes of PZA, 20XX-20XX



 

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The Outpost

Ann-Marie
 

EVANS

Republican for County Commissioner   District

Paid for by Ann-Marie Evans Republican candidate for County Commissioner District 1

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Paid political advertisement paid for by First CoastConservatives United, PO Box 20252, St. Petersburg, FL  33742

ChuckForCommissioner.com

ElectKrista.com

ElectKrista.com

DON'T MESS WITH MICKLER

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This is the #1 cause
of suffocation
death of children.                                                 

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Why did Senator Travis
Hutson draft a bill 

allowing an unlimited
number of latex balloons to be released outdoors, potentially landing where children live and play?

Despite the Federal government warning that balloons can be deadly to children under age 8, Hutson still drafted a bill to allow unlimited numbers of latex balloons to be released outdoors, and his staff wrote of the bill:  "Senator Hutson is ready to file." 

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      Senator Travis Hutson is one of the biggest developers in St. Johns County.  He has 15,000 homes approved but not yet built.  His company gives massive donations to county commissioners to influence a majority to vote for his projects.
       Is it just a coincidence that newly appointed Commissioner Arnold is a long-time friend of his, and her first official act was to vote for 5600 of those homes? Is it another coincidence that Commissioner Blocker's wife was appointed judge three months before that vote - and the position was created legislatively by Senator Hutson?
     He also uses his senate seat to create bills that benefit his business, while claiming no conflict of interest.
     We need a senator who's working for us, not for The Hutson Companies.

Gerry James will fight for Florida.
Gerry4Senate.com   August 23rd primary

  


 

Why am I so hot?
       Physics.


 

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In 2024, we can change the face of our county commission, so that Commissioner Joseph
will no longer be voting alone against
the Travis Hutson developer cartel. 

Photo by Craig O'Neal

Henry Dean

Term up in '24

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Roy Alaimo

Term up in '24

Christian Whitehurst

Term up in '24

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Sarah Arnold

Krista Joseph

VOTE OUT                         VOTE OUT                              VOTE OUT

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Commissioner Arnold and
Commissioner Blocker's

Sarah Arnold voted YES 17 out of 18 times

to destroy undeveloped land - 2960 acres during her first five months - more than any other commissioner during that time period.

Blocker voted YES 71 out of 73 times to destroy undeveloped land during

his first 3 years

in office. 

Paid for by Charles Labanowski and Krista Keating-Joseph, Republican candidates

for St. Johns County Commissioner, Districts 4 and 2

Photo by Craig O'Neal

Roy Alaimo voted to take these
100 acres of conservation land
one step closer to development.

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"The Outpost" is 97% surrounded
by the GTM Reserve.

Don't give Roy Alaimo another chance to pave over our most precious land. (Alaimo was appointed by the governor because of developer donations to the governor.)

[sample copy]: In 2016, Roy Alaimo was rubberstamping development applications while serving on the county's Planning and Zoning Agency, During that same time, Bill Freeman was working as a civil engineer for St. Johns County.  Bill saw from the inside how we can run a more efficient county. He also witnessed the tremendous influence of developers on county decisions. Bill wants to bring balance to county government by representing your voice on the Board of County commissioners.  Etc. Etc.

*August 2016 vote by Roy Alaimo when he served on the county's Planning and Zoning Agency. Pressure on the county commissioners resulted in Gate withdrawing its development proposal.

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Chuck Labanowski fought for his country, and now, he's fighting for
his county. 
Help him take it back on
August 23rd.

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                         Nicole Crosby was elected in 2020 to a four-                                            year term of the St. Johns Soil and Water                                                    Conservation District, whereupon powerful                                               developers had her position legislatively                                                     terminated two years early (along with 111                                                   other conservationists statewide). Governor DeSantis signed the bill into law after receiving $7 million in campaign funds from developers including Senator/developer Hutson who also donated unprecedented funds to Nicole's opponent  - who lost.  So Hutson sponsored a bill that severed her term, disqualified her from running again, and made sure that not even soil and water scientists qualified for Florida's Soil and Water boards.  The bill was retaliatory, unconstitutional, and will ultimately lead to Florida being the only state with no Soil and Water boards, which was Hutson's original objective.  Floridians of all political persuasions are asking: How could this happen in a state where toxic algae is blooming, manatees are dying, and aquifers are on the decline?

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Please share. Let everyone who loves this country know what's happening here in Florida.

County commissioners Blocker and Arnold said FU to our Chamber of Commerce.
They didn't show up at the St. Augustine
or the Ponte Vedra candidate forums
(which says FU to us too.)
What will we say to them on August 23rd? 

Florida:  Where democracy goes to die.
Florida Senator/developer Travis Hutson couldn't get his candidate in office the democratic way, so he sponsored a state bill that severed the term of the woman who defeated his candidate, and then he disqualified her from running again.
In a classic Communist move, Senator Hutson disenfranchised the 73,840 people who elected Crosby, as well as millions of other voters statewide when the 111 conservationists they elected also had their terms cut in half. The bill was retaliatory, unconstitutional, and will ultimately lead to Florida being the only state with no Soil and Water boards, which was Hutson's original, stated goal.  Floridians of all political persuasions are asking, "How could this happen in a state where toxic algae is blooming, manatees are dying, and aquifers are on the decline?"

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URGENT BEACH WARNING!
DO NOT BURY TRASH IN SAND.

Buried trash can stop sea turtles from nesting.  
If they hit an obstacle while digging a nest,
they'll crawl back into the ocean and may release their eggs there. 100 potential hatchlings - gone.

While digging, a turtle can slash
a buried can and cut open her flipper.  
Do not harm sea turtles with trash.
Some species
 on our beaches are near extinction.

$150 fine for littering
There may be a plainclothes officer on the beach.

Commissioner Blocker and Arnold's campaigns received tens of thousands of dollars from the Silverleaf developer - the Hutson Companies, Hutson family members and associated PACs.

(No surprise the lawyer is also a tobacco lobbyist.)

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My leading opponent for commissioner takes large developer donations, which will drive continued  OVERDEVELOPMENT of our county.

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