While sitting at the Ash Street and South 2nd Street Boat House Restaurant & Bar sipping a beer with News Leader columnist and friend Steve Nicklas this past Tuesday evening we were assailed by blaring outside city hall speakers facing that eatery.
Ironically the publicly broadcast City Commission session included a discussion about a “loud music complaint” filed against the Boat House, which congenial restaurant Manager Chet Huntley confirmed when he told us that the city had indeed levied a $1,400 fine against his business. He had to raise his voice to explain it in order to be heard over the city’s public airing.
While we were annoyingly being bombarded by Shakedown City’s Tokyo Rose broadcasts we were informed by them that the city noise complaint against the Boat House is scheduled to be heard by a special magistrate February 2.
City Consigliere, Tammi Bach, says the Boat House is attempting what she calls “legal wrangling” in its efforts to defend itself. Apparently she’s upset that the Boat House attorney is earnestly representing his client, as she obviously expects them to just rollover and cough up the cash. Otherwise, she might have to send “Commissioner Chip “Capo” Ross across the street to “talk” to the noise miscreants. Based on the volume of the city’s loudspeaker system the Boat House attorney wouldn’t even have to cross the street to hear the city’s case.
Maybe the folks working and living around city hall can file noise ordinance suits against the city and recover some of the tax money the city manager and his oblivious followers so generously squander.
Speaking Of Squandering Money: Just when you think City Manager Dale Martin, his growing army of bureaucrats, consultants, and Commissioner Chip “Capo” Ross, can’t find any screwier ways to waste your tax dollars they do.
Jack Knocke, a determined citizen who heads the local watchdog group Common Sense, has been banging his head against city hall’s walls for weeks in an attempt to reign in the spending frenzy, this past Tuesday going to the Commission meeting in a vain attempt to request that the City Commission assess “Big Spender” Martin’s dismal tenure.
“How many millions of dollars do we have to leave on the table before the commission reviews Dale Martin’s performance?” Knocke asked the Commission.
The Commissioners appeared confused and clueless responding thusly: “I do not think the time is now,” said Commissioner Len Kreger. Commissioner Bradley Bean said, “It’s not the time. But we will be on the watch.” Commissioner David Sturges said, “I don’t feel that the time is right.” Mayor Mike Lednovich echoed – “too early.” Knocke obviously didn’t expect Martin’s enforcer, mouthpiece, and Sidney Greenstreet look-a-like, “Capo” Ross, to take any notice.
I don’t know what this quartet’s concept of time is but the patience of many city dwellers whose taxes have steadily increased and will go even higher to pay for City Manager Dale Martin’s financial follies and ineptitude is wearing thin.
Knocke presented a detailed, articulate case calling for a vote of confidence for Dale Martin due to his wretched performance. Despite Commissioners Lednovich, Kreger, Bean and Sturgis saying that it was too early in the new commission’s session to make a call they have been put on notice, claims Knocke. “Because two commissioners are new is somewhat of a lame excuse because they have plenty of history that I articulated for them to make a decision. The FEMA decision may be the catalyst they need to take action.”
The multi-million dollar FEMA appeal decision that was due January 13th has not yet been received. Mr. Knocke asked for an update since the latest one was Jan 5th. He says FEMA claims they are delayed, but still working on it. I’m also told that a local journalist (not the city’s online PR agency the Fernandina Apologist, aka the Fernandina Observer) is asking FEMA about the status.
Knocke cited further examples of Big Spender Martin’s ineptitude including his request Tuesday (that the commissioners approved) to spend $150,000 for a consultant to write reports for a system the city purchased in April 2020 ($14,400) to manage building department permits and processes. “A competent City Manager would have sent a few employees to a training program for $3,000 and have them build and maintain reports as a part of their job,” says a flabbergasted Knocke. “ This is a huge waste of money – again!”
“On the waterfront issue, vendors presented updated drawings for the $7 million park and the $20 million seawall,” reports Knocke. “I’m organizing a group to provide informed input to the city before they make huge investments with little to no upfront or ongoing funding to pay for this project other than our taxes.”
More than a seawall, the city needs a dam to stop the flood of tax dollars spilling into favored contractor’s and consultant’s pockets. Knocke is asking the impacted taxpayers to help him build one.
To read Mr. Knocke’s detailed list of Martin’s financial catastrophes, get involved or learn more about Common Sense go to: https://commonsensefb.org/docsfactsreferencesresources.html or (https://www.facebook.com/commonsenseFB ) and (https://twitter.com/BeachCommon).
“Trouble Right Here From River City”: Pick up any issue of the local News Leader newspaper, flip to the Arrest and Court Reports, then count the number of those arrested and tried for drug offenses. They outnumber all other crimes by three to one or more. And it’s likely that the other crimes listed can also be tracked to illegal drug offenses.
“The majority of all crimes in Nassau Count can be traced to drugs,” DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Mike Dubet told me last Thursday during a briefing at the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Jacksonville office that I was invited to attend by good friend Joe Murphy.
DEA Agent Dubet said that most drug trafficking taking place in Nassau County streams out of Jacksonville, a cesspool of illegal drugs and drug dealers. Four members of the Nassau County’s Sheriff’s Department that were at the briefing nodded their agreement.
The head of the DEA’s Jacksonville District Office emphasized that contrary to what liberal activists are preaching, drug crimes are not non-violent, just the opposite he says, they are extremely violent, many leading to death. The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t slowed the criminals down. Just the opposite, it has made things even worse say DEA officials.
“Drug deaths are skyrocketing due to COVID-19 because people are home all day and are getting government ‘stimulus’ checks to pay for them”, explained Special Agent Molly Brown. “Drug dealers are ecstatic because not only can users buy illegal drugs with their stimulus checks, but dealers can create fake companies to collect government checks for employees that don’t exist. They’re very excited.”
Ms. Brown, and her detective partner, will be featured next month in a special ABC News broadcast detailing the death of a 22-year-old woman that took two years to solve and resulted in the conviction and sentencing of two Jacksonville drug dealers.
The DEA told us that the world’s number one drug distributor is based in the United States and has tentacles in every town and city in America – The US Post Office. Agents explained how traffickers use the “Dark Web” to sell their poison and the extraordinarily ingenious concealment methods they take when mailing it to their customers.
I learned a lot more that I didn’t know including that DEA agents are trained as hard and efficiently as those from the FBI and that it operates in some 72 countries.
During the briefing session we were also introduced to Survivors Benefit Fund, staffed by a volunteer group that raises money to benefit families of DEA agents killed in service. Surviving spouses receive an immediate $20,000 while children receive college scholarships. For additional information go to www.survivorsbenefitfund.org
Things I Wish I’d Said: “I keep trying to see Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s point of view, but I can’t get my head that far up my ass.”– US Senator John Kennedy (R) Louisiana.
Speaking Of A Jacksonville Mess: Area newscasters, the Florida Times-Union and the remaining handful of area Jaguar football fans are ecstatic about the hiring of former Utah, Florida and Ohio State coach Urban Myer as the hapless team’s head coach and the potential signing of heralded Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
The team’s losing history and miserable performance the past 27 years combined with Meyer’s lack of NFL experience and the signing of Lawrence reminds me of legendary baseball team owner Bill Veeck’s 1951 experience with his ill-fated St. Louis Browns.
The sad sack Browns finished the year with a 52-102 record and pitcher Ned Garver won 20 games, more than one-third of the team’s total. Garver earned $18,000 in ’51 and asked for a substantial raise for the 1952 season. Veeck turned him down with unerring logic saying: “We finished last with you. It’s a cinch we can finish last without you.”
With the exception of Jimmy Johnson and Pete Carroll there aren’t any successful college football coaches that made a positive transition to the NFL. Exceptionally talented college coaches Steve Spurrier, Nick Saban, Chip Kelly, Bobby Petrino, Dick McPherson, and Mike Riley were all flops in the pros. What makes Meyer any different?
Jaguar owner Shad Kahn obviously doesn’t have the mindset of Mr. Veeck and remains as eternally optimistic as his naïve fans. I don’t have any degree of hope for this 27-year-old ill-starred franchise, one of four that has only watched a super bowl from their couches year-after-year. The team’s record since its 1993 founding is a dismal 177-239-0. Failure is baked in hereabouts.
No matter what happens Mr. Myer and Mr. Lawrence will boast enviable bank accounts and I predict the Jaguars will flounder, once again getting no closer to the Super Bowl than their TV remotes.
Instead of a new coach what this team needs is a new name. How about the “Fighting Aroma Therapists” for the way they stink up a football field.
Freeman Explains Freedom: Perhaps no one I know can better explain what’s taking place in America during the pandemic than Amelia Island resident NEAL B. FREEMAN a former editor and columnist for National Review and founding producer of Firing Line. To read Mr. Freeman’s view of how the left is taking advantage of the Covid-19 crisis to “shrink and shrivel our individual freedoms” go to: https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/01/come-home-to-the-freedom-party/ Here’s an excerpt: “Have the authoritarians imposed harsh lockdown measures on tech executives, teachers unions, debtors, rioters, media organizations, government bureaucrats, Hollywood producers, academic types, talking heads, tort lawyers, and tax-advantaged activists? No? Well, have they imposed harsh measures on merchants, savers, working couples, amateur athletes, salesmen, churchgoing Christians, synagogue-going Jews, police officers, parents, students, clergy, and senior technophobes? They have.”
See Above Item For Clarification: According to a Reason Magazine article, San Francisco officials have kept private gyms closed for months to reduce the spread of coronavirus. But many city-owned gyms have remained open, allowing municipal employees to work out. And Democrat New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, not only jailed private Bellmawr gym owners but confiscated their entire bank account of $165,000, despite the gym not reporting a single virus case.
A Burt Prelutsky Conundrum: “How is it that if you own a business, you can’t decide not to sell your wares to certain people or groups of people?
But if you own a social network, you have the right to discriminate against those whose opinions you oppose? On what constitutional basis can you possibly have one rule in the marketplace of commerce and another in the marketplace of ideas?”
Things Worth Remembering: There is no such thing as government funded. It’s all taxpayer funded.
Go Away! We’re Full! In last week’s comments here I warned that New York, Illinois, New Jersey, and other “liberal state refugees” moving to these parts might want to check their voting habits at the state line so Florida won’t end up like their bankrupt, mismanaged former homes.
An alert reader suggested we add a warning at our state line and that he’d be willing to chip in and pay for it. He said: “I know you are right about all these people coming to a red state and changing it to purple or blue. My question is really for the Republican party. Why not put a sign on the highway saying: ‘Remember why you left your State. Vote Republican in Florida!’”
Is anybody else in? Maybe we should contact the state Republican Committee, they never hesitate to contact us to ask for money.
One of the more interesting state welcome signs I’ve seen is “Welcome to Rhode Island. Enjoy it now it ends in about 200 yards” and my favorite is: “Welcome to Iowa. We hope you brought something to do.”
Anybody out there have any clever slogans to help remind the caravans of liberal-thinking refugees why they’re leaving their progressive cesspools to settle hereabouts?
One More Thing I Wish I’d Said: “If your Democrat governor killed your small business, and you still support that same governor because you hate Donald Trump, you’re not a redneck because rednecks ain’t that stupid.” – Jeff Foxworthy.
“Keeping Moving, There’s Nothing To See Here” Department: A Tuesday, January 19 front-page Wall Street Journal article reports Hollywood executives whining that the pandemic is forcing them to delay the release of a “fresh batch” of films this year.
Based on their list of films there is nothing “fresh” about the “new” movies and Hollywood creativity appears to be as dead as California’s economy. According to the studios their batch of new films includes “Morbius”, another “Spider-Man” spinoff; another James Bond flick; a Cinderella adaptation; and a spin-off of Top Gun, called “Top Gun; Maverick”. This is a “Groundhog Day” lineup as all they have to offer are spinoffs and sequels, nothing that would appeal to an audience with an IQ above their hat size.
But what more can you expect from this muddled group of overpaid liberal twits. West coast columnist and former screenwriter Burt Prelutsky explains the entertainment crowd’s current state of mind telling the story of his friend, Trudy Sargent who directed “Angels on Tap.”
According to Burt she has continued to work during the lockdown, but it hasn’t been easy or cheap. He says: “The casts and crew working on her projects have to be tested for Covid-19 every few days, and besides interrupting shooting schedules, it’s damn expensive. As if that’s not bad enough, they also have to fill out questionnaires that ask for their ethnicity and gender.”
“Hollywood, being the tip of the loony spear, they are given their choice of Male, Female, Transgender Unknown, Transgender M2F, Transgender F2M, Ambiguous, Unknown, Other and Not Specified.”
Unknown? Has anybody suggested they look in their shorts?
Hollywood’s talent pool is as vacuous as the heads of the folks running it.
Now You See Us. Now You Don’t: In the bad old days, it used to be funny to watch who was standing on the balcony at the Kremlin with Joseph Stalin from one year to the next. Inevitably, one or two of the officials would have been eliminated by the paranoid dictator and they would simply be cropped from the next photo. They became non-persons, which is what the Left is trying to do to 74 million of us.