A resident of one of St. Augustine’s historic neighborhoods since 1980, I have been involved for over 40 years in protecting and preserving what makes St. Augustine unique. Those who have worked with me know how thorough I am in my research, my understanding of the City’s Municipal Code, and my participation in city meetings. When I speak on an issue, it is not just from feelings, but from an understanding of our code and how it relates to the issue at hand.
I have worked tirelessly to maintain livability in our neighborhoods. They are what make St. Augustine a special place to live and work.
My love of St. Augustine’s history is demonstrated through numerous preservation efforts, attendance at lectures, giving tours, and participation in the re-enactment community.
I know the needs of small businesses. I managed my husband’s art business for 15 years before he died of cancer in 1998. While he is no longer by my side, he left me with a “can do” spirit to keep St. Augustine the place we called home.
That experience prepares me for being YOUR City Commissioner.
Listening to all sides and giving a voice to those who feel they have been ignored is a priority I will have as City Commissioner.
I’ve been raised to be a problem solver.
Being the daughter of an engineer, I was raised to to be a problem solver, which always meant researching, collecting data, and making a reasoned argument for your cause. This is why I have never thought of myself as an “activist,” but rather an “advocate.” Being a problem solver, my approach is not to “fight City Hall” but rather to get to know staff and work WITH them, as well as the community.
As President of The Neighborhood Council, one of my main goals was to build better relationships between City staff and the residents they serve. Also to get residents to understand the ordinances that staff must work under. That experience for the last 6 years has given me insight to the various problems and issues facing the different neighborhoods.
My bottomline is ALWAYS finding solutions and FIXING problems.
If solutions aren’t found, I DON’T GIVE UP…
Sometimes it takes years, patience and determination.
My history shows that I am a person of ACTION and RESULTS, NOT JUST TALK.
For MORE information about me & my PROVEN RECORD
My Personal Background
For those who know nothing about me besides the person they see at City Hall, friends have said that I need to share little of my life out of the spotlight. Campaigning and seeking the public limelight has never been in my personality, which is probably why I have never considered running for office before.
St. Augustine has always been attraction for me because of its history…from running down the fort green as a little child on vacation to watching the archeological digs on St George streets as a college student. Its rich history always fascinated me. Fortunately life events would bring me back in 1980 to make St. Augustine a HOME I never plan to leave.
I had been a Hallmark artist and freelance illustrator of Golden Books, who fell in love with Frank Rakoncay, an established Chicago artist. In 1980 a year after we were married, while being in Florida for the big winter art shows, we had stopped in St Augustine as we were headed back to Chicago. While we were only going to look at some houses for future reference, we ended up falling love with and putting an offer in on a house that day. It is the same house in Nelmar Terrace that I have lived in for the past 42 years. Our art careers meant that we lived a fairly reclusive life working long hours out of our home.
My love of St. Augustine’s history got me involved with the early movement to save the Bridge of Lions, where I met fellow preservationists in town. Out of that, Friends of St. Augustine Architecture was founded to focus on saving the Victorian and Flagler Era structures and I became its president.
In 1984 a daughter, Rebecca, was born to us. It made more sense for me to give up my career as an illustrator, in order to manage Frank's art, as well as be a full-time mom. Even managing a small family business gave me insight to the challenges the local businesses have.
We traveled the USA and did about ten major art shows a year, always squeezing in a family vacation. While not a lucrative life, it was a happy one, making a living at what we loved. Unfortunately it was all cut short too early when Frank came down with cancer and passed away in 1998.
I was now a widow with a fatherless 14 year old daughter to raise and get through middle school and college. While she was at college, I spent two and a half years alone restoring the original carved woodwork in my old house.
In 2006 I attended Cannon School at the Castillo San Marcos and became a member of the 1740 Garrison, volunteering at the fort and re-enactment events throughout the city for over 10 years. I understand the expense and dedication to authentic history that our re-enactors have. I also put my vast knowledge of St. Augustine history to use as a city guide, and became a Henry Flagler buff as docent at Memorial Presbyterian Church. Since St. Augustine’s history is so vast and interesting, I attend as many lectures by local and visiting historians as I can.
Once Rebecca graduated in 2007 and had a career in LA as a Visual Effects artist, I was able to travel out to see her, and watch her become a successful young lady. She was able to move back to Florida when Digital Domain, one of the biggest visual effects companies, moved to Port St Lucie. In 2015 Rebecca married Mark, a fellow visual effects worker and they are now living in Michigan, where Mark has a successful career as a software developer for the industry.
I am the proud grandparent of a 3 year old grandson, named Frank, and have just received the news that I have a granddaughter on the way! Being a grandparent is one of life's great joys and it keeps me young and focused on the importance of preserving history for future generations.
Before Covid, I traveled annually to Europe by exchanging houses with friends, which gave me the ability to experience living like a local. Again it is the love of authentic history that draws me to Europe, and I have learned much from the various forms of public transportation they have and how they manage their historic streets.
In spite of all my other interests and jobs, I always found time to read packets, research, and get data to argue effectively for preservation and the livability of the residents.
My love of St. Augustine and our quality of life here is something that is so engrained in me, that representing the resident is something that will continue to be a priority for me as YOUR City Commissioner.
Samples of my illustrations on Melinda Glasgow Studios Facebook page
Samples of Frank’s art on Frank Rakoncay Facebook page