We've seen a lot of local politicians' ears perk up after readers and followers of My 904 News started growing in numbers, and getting more politically active. I have seen over the last few months, that Commissioners' tones have changed toward the people who elected them to office. I have seen them show more respect to residents at meetings, knowing that thousands are now watching their streams from home, instead of the 40 views they are used to seeing.
Their words have changed as well. Almost every Beach Commissioner had scathing remarks for Rich O'Brien and his legal team, as they presented a flimsy and swiss cheese hole riddled explanation of why his properties were "legal." And on the City's side, Leanna Freeman and Nancy Sikes-Kline appeared to stand up to the Visitor and Convention Bureau this week, telling them that their constituents are experiencing "Tourism Fatigue." But these words have meant nothing, and here's why...
When conducting a review of O'Brien's houses, the Commission talked a good game but in the end, folded and did exactly what fed up residents predicted. The commission voted for a slap on the wrist, an inconsequential fine was imposed on O'Brien for essentially repeatedly lying to the commission and the residents of St. Augustine beach through the entire process.
Commissioner Maggie Kostka was the only one who voted against her fellow commissioners that day.
They barked loud, and with the exception of Kostka, they didn't bight shit.
Politics as usual.
This week, in a public discussion with Richard Goldman and the VCB, Commissioners Leanna Freeman, and Nancy Sikes-Kline appeared to stand up for their constituents, expressing their "Tourism Fatigue" and also adding that residents enjoy slow tourism times of the year, and don't want those times encroached upon.
However these seemingly motivational speeches were too little, too late, as the campaign that the commissioners were "Speaking against" had already been set in motion, and stopping them was no longer an option.
Let me speak directly to the pathetic political class in St. Augustine. In my experience working in politics, and with some of the most powerful names in Washington DC, I know all the tricks. I can always see what's really happening beneath just your words. And you won't get away with the bullshit as long as people like me are watching, and pointing out the games you're playing.
Your actions should speak louder than your words. We are watching, and St. Augustine residents now have a louder voice than we've ever had.
When you act against our best interests, we will put your love for tourists to the test, and see how long your businesses make it without local support. We will continue to sponsor Anti-Tourism related content that will be distributed to audiences you don't even know how to reach, across the entire US of A. It is easy to get thousands of people to leave scathing reviews on your yelp and google pages. Reviews you can't contest or erase.
St. Augustine, through My 904 News and the Anti-Tourism Council, have taken the power back. If you affect our quality of life, we will get creative, and non-violently affect your quality of life. By hitting your wallets, by creating political shit storms, the likes of which you never imagined. This is not Washington DC, so don't treat it that way.
We are voting and we are buying. Make sure we're on your side, and not the other way around.