Fernandina Beach City Commissioner Tim Poynter told me that our airport, which will soon have a $4.9 million “It-almost-looks-like-an-airplane” terminal building, has the highest gas prices of any airport in the area.
Sean McGill, President McGill Aviation, tells me that Commissioner Poynter’s highest gas price” scenario isn’t so and has the numbers to back it up. He’s also not a fan of the “lets-build-it-to-almost-look-like-an-airplane” terminal concept. If McGill had won its bid to continue as Fixed Base Operator (FBO) past their March 31, 2018 expiration date, he says it wouldn’t look like a cheap ride at a state fair (My words not Sean’s). “You can put a Disney attraction out there and it wouldn’t attract one more pilot,” he says.
What the airport needs says McGill are more restrooms, air conditioning, fast wifi and T Hangar space — hangars that enable pilots to self-park their planes and then beat a hasty retreat in and out of the airport.
And the state, for its contributions, says it wants a facility that can withstand a category 4 or 5 hurricane, something the planned new goofy-winged-terminal may not do, at least in some local aviation expert’s opinions.
Most of the funding for this silly terminal building, which won’t have a tail or a nose (too expensive), just a roof that resembles wings, will come from tax payers. Some $1,203,590 will come from state and federal grants, while $750,000 will come from the airport enterprise project. Because it is labeled “grant” money doesn’t mean it isn’t tax payer money. It is. There are no private foundations tossing their money into this mess. The city claims the $750,000 in enterprise money will be replenished from future revenue collected through airport operations. That’s what they said when they built a new facility on the city golf course and that didn’t pan out. Why would this be any different? I have no idea where the rest of the money is coming from but assume the tax payers will find out soon enough.
My friends and I were wondering the other day what state (GA, SC, NC, VA, etc.) the “winged terminal” would be in today, if it had already been constructed when Irma passed through.
As far as fuel prices go there are some airports that are higher and there are some that are lower. It depends which airport you are looking at McGill explains: “We are comparable to the full service FBO at St. Augustine, a little less than the FBO’s at JIA, much less than Hilton Head or Charleston, and more than Palatka or Lake City.”
Why the differences? Simple says McGill. “The city is comparing us to government subsidized and government run FBO’s that do not have a profit incentive,” correctly states McGill, who, along with his father John, has operated as the local FBO since 1998.
“Our detractors for some time have maintained that McGill Aviation has intentionally suppressed business at the airport by price gouging,” he says. “I vehemently deny that. As I told the City Commission and continue to maintain, they are not comparing apples to apples. If they want their real estate appraised at Lake City values, then maybe we could talk.”
According to McGill the city also leaves out the cost side of the equation. “Our fuel price includes all taxes and fees. That includes the City of Fernandina Beach fuel fee that is among the highest in the nation at 5% of gross. Right now that is around $0.30 per gallon. The new FBO and their sweetheart deal has a fuel flow fee of $0.08-$0.10 per gallon,” he explains
“In short, we are high middle of the competitive set. The sample set that I use is actually derived from the Tourist Development Council (TDC). Rather than cherry pick airports that I know are higher than us, I use the communities that the TDC uses for comparing average daily room rates for hotels. Using that set, we are high middle. Definitely not the cheapest, but not the highest in the nation that some might want people to believe.”
McGill also says he finds it interesting “that some of the same people that complain about fuel prices are bragging that Amelia Island’s average daily room rate is the second highest in Florida, only behind Key West.” A contradiction? You decide.
The deal awarding 8 Flags the bid to become FBO is one that has many locals with knowledge of the aviation industry scratching their heads as much as the “Build-it-to-almost-look-like-an-airplane” terminal decision.
In its bid McGill offered to pay to city $500,000 as well as rent. The 8 Flags bid accepted by the city offered $1.2 million, but it gets it all back in rent credit say McGill. It looks like somebody at the city didn’t do the math or has it in for McGill.
For the past two years McGill says he has requested financial details of the 8 Flags bid through a public records request and hasn’t received anything yet he claims.
And we haven’t even started trying to explain the Passero Associates consulting group – the folks pushing the goofy airport design concept — and its cozy relationship with the city. At its September 5 session the Commission approved a $218,000 retainer fee to Passero, consultants on this project, to cover Passero’s services for administration and inspections during this project.
Commissioner Poynter told me that once the “Build-it-to-almost-look-like-an-airplane” terminal is complete it will be on the cover of several publications because of its unique design. I’m inclined to believe him as Mad Magazine, the Onion and the local News Wrecker would certainly feature it, as their editors couldn’t make up a scenario this preposterous.
Hats off to Commissioners Robin Lentz and Roy Smith who voted “no” on the whacky winged building concept.
Jacksonville’s Disgrace: Some 15 Jacksonville Jaguars were among the 200 or so NFL players who refused to stand for the American National Anthem during their game against Baltimore in London this past Sunday.
Their actions, which they claim are to protest alleged anti-black actions by police in the U.S. and President’s Trump’s remarks about them, were more repugnant than other teams that did the same as the Jaguars not only embarrassed themselves and their city, but displayed that disrespect in a foreign country. Ironically they then stood for “God Save the Queen,” the National Anthem of Great Britain, the country that introduced slavery to the Western Hemisphere.
Following his team’s display of contempt, team owner Shad Kahn then made a pathetic statement criticizing President Trump’s remarks about NFL players who refuse to honor the flag, saying he was proud of his team. I’m not a fan of President Trump’s outrageous off-the-cuff, ill-advised comments, and I was never a fan of this awful Jacksonville football team either. And now I have reason to ignore it totally. Misguided NFL owners, coaches, players, and the mealy-mouthed NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell say players are exercising their right of expression.
The befuddled Goodell said he’s proud of the unity the NFL is showing. Really? Then why are players fined for dancing in the end zones, wearing colored shoes and socks, but not for disrespecting the nation’s flag and anthem? Pages A62-63 of the NFL rule books says players must all be on the field and respectively stand at attention during the anthem. Why aren’t the rules enforced? The real losers in all this nonsense are fans who watch football as a respite from their jobs and other divisions in their lives. The NFL players and their clueless owners are taking a well-deserved national beating on Facebook and in newspaper letters to the editor, and an infrequent Jaguar victory was overshadowed by the kneeling jerk’s brummagem.
Most of these loopy footballers don’t have a clue what’s going on or why they are kneeling as evidenced by one player identified only as Lewis in the daily Florida Times-Union Jaguar promotional newsletter, who was quoted as saying: “…whatever message we’re going to send we’re going to do it together.” With all his wealth maybe Kahn can buy a spine. But I suspect instead he’ll buy Colin Kaepernick who will fit right in with his group of millionaire ball-playing misfits.
What the NFL needs is leadership like that of the late Joe Foss, who was the first commissioner of the old American Football League before its merger with NFL. Foss, a World War II Medal of Honor-winning Marine Corps fighter pilot, also served as governor of South Dakota and head of the National Rifle Association. Does anyone think he would tolerate this disgusting taking-a-knee crap?
I always get a lump in my throat when the national anthem is played prior to a sporting event, at military ceremonies, and elsewhere. After watching these NFL twits kneeling during the anthem I got a knot in the pit of my stomach.
The NFL’s adolescent one-percenters have traded the majestic purple mountains and fruited plains for brazen contempt and disrespect while they bath luxuriously in the wealth the American culture enabled them to produce, and which sustains their lifestyle. How long will America’s “deplorables”, who fuel their extravagant lifestyles with their hard-earned cash, put up with this shameful public display?
The only thing these dim football players and owners have accomplished with their childish antics is to alienate an already thinning fan base, particularly in Jacksonville, an area surrounded by U.S. military bases.
Wearing a Jaguars jersey now will be as popular as escorting a North Korean flag-waving Jane Fonda to an American Legion or VFW cook out. I concur with what former Arkansas Governor Michael Huckabee said: “I wish that some of these players who get on one knee would get down on both knees and thank God they live in the United States.”
But Wait! It Gets Worse! Pittsburgh Steeler Head Coach Mike Tomlin is upset that offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva was not “respectful of our football team” because he decided to honor the country for which he’s courageously risked his life by NOT snubbing the national anthem?
If anyone on that roster has earned the right to do what he did, it’s Alejandro Villanueva. Kneeling for the national anthem is not honorable or bold, it’s egregiously disrespectful and craven.
There is something very wrong when a genuine American hero is isolated by his team and criticized by his coach for standing up for saluting the nation and flag he volunteered to serve. Villanueva is a decorated ex-Army Ranger who served three tours in Afghanistan, earning a Bronze Star for his valorous service.
Tomlin’s team had collectively decided not to enter the field of play until after the anthem was over, a move that the head coach said was as an effort to side-step the politically-fraught controversy.
But Villanueva elected not to go along with that plan. He walked down the tunnel and paid homage to the flag and anthem, all by himself. He then apologized, apparently bullied by teammates, saying “he threw his team under the bus” with his actions. No he didn’t. They threw him under it. I never heard of Villanueva before this, but he is now my preferred sports figure. Many others apparently agree with the former Army Captain’s stand as his jersey and t-shirt are now the top-sellers on NFLshop.com.
The NFL, it’s clueless commissioner, millionaire players, and billionaire owners, have severely soiled their nest and it will be very difficult to clean up that putrid mess.
A Mad Marine Speaks Out: A marine colonel wrote a personal letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell explaining why he will be boycotting the NFL until the national anthem protests are stopped. In the letter, former Marine Col. Jeffrey Powers lashes out at the athletes for “spitting in the faces and on the graves of real men,” saying the NFL is equally responsible for allowing the protests to occur. Here’s what he said:
“I missed the ’90-’91 season because I was with a battalion of Marines in Desert Storm. 14 of my wonderful Marines returned home with the American Flag draped across their lifeless bodies. My last conversation with one of them, Sgt Garrett Mongrella, was about how our Giants were going to the Super Bowl. He never got to see it.
Many friends, Marines, and Special Forces Soldiers who worked with or for me through the years returned home with the American Flag draped over their coffins.
Now I watch multi-millionaire athletes who never did anything in their lives but play a game, disrespect what brave Americans fought and died for. They are essentially spitting in the faces and on the graves of real men, men who have actually done something for this country beside playing with a ball and believing they’re something special! They’re not! My Marines and Soldiers were!
You are complicit in this!
You’ll fine players for large and small infractions but you lack the moral courage and respect for our nation and the fallen to put an immediate stop to this. Yes, I know, it’s their 1st Amendment right to behave in such a despicable manner. What would happen if they came out and disrespected you or the refs publicly?
I observed a player getting a personal foul for twerking in the end zone after scoring. I guess that’s much worse than disrespecting the flag and our National Anthem. Hmmmmm, isn’t it his 1st Amendment right to express himself like an idiot in the end zone?
Why is taunting not allowed yet taunting America is OK? You fine players for wearing 9-11 commemorative shoes yet you allow scum on the sidelines to sit, kneel or pump their pathetic fist in the air. They are so deprived with their multi-million dollar contracts for playing a freaking game! You condone it all by your refusal to act. You’re just as bad and disgusting as they are. I hope Americans boycott any sponsor who supports that rabble you call the NFL. I hope they turn off the TV when any team that allowed this disrespect to occur, without consequence, on the sidelines. I applaud those who have not.
Legends and heroes do NOT wear shoulder pads. They wear body armor and carry rifles.
They make minimum wage and spend months and years away from their families. They don’t do it for an hour on Sunday. They do it 24/7 often with lead, not footballs, coming in their direction. They watch their brothers carted off in pieces not on a gurney to get their knee iced. They don’t even have ice! Many don’t have legs or arms.
Some wear blue and risk their lives daily on the streets of America. They wear fire helmets and go upstairs into the fire rather than down to safety. On 9-11, hundreds vanished. They are the heroes.
I hope that your high paid protesting pretty boys and you look in that mirror when you shave tomorrow and see what you really are, legends in your own minds. You need to hit the road and take those worms with you!
Time to change the channel.”
OORAH! The annual Calvin “Cal” Atwood Marine Corps League Charity Golf Tournament held every October was filled by the first of August this year thanks in large part to the husband and wife team of Paul and Mary Ann Dossin according to my pal Cal, who says the couple deserves 95% of the credit. The retired North Hampton couple are unusual in that one is used to giving orders and the other in making sure those orders are precisely carried out. Both retired from the Marine Corps after 66 years of service between them with Mary Ann retiring as a Major General and Paul as a WO-5 which rank may well be the most rugged rank in the Corp adds Cal, who saw action as a Marine on Iwo Jima in World War II. “Generals issue orders and policies and directives and set the standards, but Warrant Officers and Gunnies and Sergeant Majors are the ones who execute orders and make things happen,” he says. And apparently that’s exactly what happened with this 16th annual Marine Corps League community October 21 fund raiser at the North Hampton Golf Course. I’m thinking that the Dossin household is a white glove clean and orderly domicile.