Folks seeking entertainment to take their minds off the pandemic should consider attending any Tuesday evening session of the Fernandina Beach City Commission meeting featuring the tragicomic duo of Chip “Sue Their Pants Off” Ross and Dale “The Big Spender” Martin.
This past Tuesday Mayor Mike Lednovich joined the duo’s slapstick burlesque act siccing the Commission chamber’s police officer on city hall’s adjacent Boat House Restaurant neighbor ordering the cop to throw a bucket of cold water on that eatery’s musical entertainment.
With a spot-on imitation of Blazing Saddles’ Governor William J. Le Petomane, Mayor Lednovich paused the Commission session and ridiculously asked: “Is that music bothering anybody else?” Commissioner Ross could barely contain himself as he chuckled with delight, rubbed his chubby hands together, and promptly exclaimed “yes”, mimicking behavior similar to Blazing Saddles’ Hedley Lamar as he looked with glee out of Governor Petomane’s window at the weary hangman speedily executing a lengthy line of condemned prisoners.
The other three commissioners indicated they didn’t have an objection to the music, possibly because they didn’t hear the mayor’s question due to the noise of train whistles and freight car couplings echoing throughout town when he asked.
While the pandemic has hit Fernandina’s hospitality industry the hardest of all businesses, the Fernandina City Commission’s Beavis and Butthead duo of Martin and Ross delight in piling on. Just a few weeks ago they clobbered their Boat House neighbor with $1,250 and $250 fines for “loud” music. One of those actions was taken as News Leader columnist Steve Nicklas and I were sipping a beer at that eatery listening to the city hall’s outdoor loud speakers blaring Commission proceedings across the street at us and other restaurant patrons.
Boat House management isn’t dancing to the loopy commissioners’ tune and their attorneys are fighting the silliness, an action the city thinks is excessive. “How dare they defend themselves,” appears to be city Consigliere Tami Bach’s mantra as she obediently heeds the demented demands of Beavis Ross and Butthead Martin.
They won’t do it, but it would be fun to have the Boat House hire an act during the next Commission meeting to do a rendition of the worst recorded tune in the history of music and dedicate it to Chip & Dale – “The Chipmunks Song.”
This past Tuesday attendees were also told that the city’s Building Department has raked in so much money for fees that it has an excess of $1.2 million in its coffers and is searching for ideas on how to spend it. A state statute calls for reducing fees or returning the money and the city made it clear that it wants no part of that.
The flush building director said he’d like to spend the extra taxpayer’s cash on increasing staff but he’s having trouble finding qualified inspectors even though the city has already purchased two vehicles and equipment for the new hires that it hasn’t hired and can’t find. I’m not making any of this up, honest.
The Building Department has more money than it knows what to do with because it charges five and one-half times the fees that Nassau County does for the exact same inspections and permitting licenses. To keep that cash flowing the dysfunctional city government prevents city residents from crossing the street to take advantage of the county’s cheaper and identical offerings.
The city is also awash in impact fee money that courts have declared illegal. The city keeps generating these fees because it says they’re now called “capacity fees”, the exact same extortion racket with a different name. If audacity were gold these people would be wealthy beyond belief.
While the pandemic has local businesses laying employees off and scrambling to seek ways to save money and survive the COVID storm, the city is awash in cash. It’s taking money from suffering local businesses and adding new hires to its bloated taxpayer-paid staffs. Meanwhile, local businesspeople are prevented by the city from accessing cheaper sources of government services because it would reduce revenues generated by the city’s golden goose slaughterhouse.
But wait, there’s even more. A group of disgruntled Isle de Mai subdivision neighbors described how the streets are literally underwater in their neighborhood due to faulty work conducted by city-hired and paid-for engineers. Residents complained at Tuesday’s session that the city’s $80,000 mediated settlement was inadequate and asked why the city sent an attorney without an engineer to the mediation session resulting in such a dismal outcome. The city explained: “Huh?” and was directed by the Commission to pursue an adequate settlement even if it means a trial.
Fernandina Beach city government puts an entirely new blush on the word “dysfunctional” and it would be hilariously funny if our money weren’t being laughed away.
Every time this comedic crew convenes they validate why the city needs to be dissolved and its duplicate functions merged with Nassau County and others eliminated.
Despite all the horror stories being bandied about in the press and on social media about delays and confusion confirming COVID vaccination appointments nationwide, regionally, and locally, the Nassau County group performed expertly.
My wife, Linda, and I received our first COVID vaccinations last Saturday afternoon and the entire process was easy and speedy.
We had no problem making an appointment via the Nassau County web site. We arrived at Yulee Middle School at 3 p.m. for our scheduled appointment and were back in the car headed home 45 minutes later. The people running the organization were polite, knowledgeable, efficient, and professional.
Any negative experiences folks are having appear to be self-inflicted.
The county issued a press release recently saying that because so many registrants did not respond to their email or phone calls telling them they had made it off of the Vaccine Waitlist, that its volunteers have called more than 2,000 people who registered on the 15th and 16th of January in order to fill the remaining appointments.
“You might be surprised by how many have already been vaccinated elsewhere, but neglected to remove themselves from our Waitlist,” said the release. It was a polite way of saying that if you didn’t get an appointment it’s your fault for not paying attention or following instructions.
They also reminded folks that the OneNassau Vaccine Waitlist is for first does only and that the second shot is scheduled during the first vaccination appointment. A written Vaccination Card is provided, and each person vaccinated is told, “return to the same location at the same time on XXXX date.”
We’re headed back for our second vaccination March 6.
Nassau County Emergency Management is to be commended for the way they’re handling the process.
An Objective Observant Observer: Good friend, and retired human resources executive, Don Howard, sent me a letter recently that included a clipping from his hometown newspaper, the Sarasota Observer, reminding me that there are news gathering organizations out there named “Observer” that are objective and balanced.
Unlike Nassau County’s online Observer (aka Apologist) that unofficially serves as the city of Fernandina Beach’s public relations organization, the Sarasota Observer, takes deserving federal, regional and city officials to task as well as their media allies when they warrant it.
The Sarasota publication, which is part of the Observer Media Group’s chain of 12 Florida publications, is edited and published by no-nonsense and eloquent Matt Walsh, who pulls no punches in his well-written and lively editorial pieces.
Two of his publications are located in Jacksonville – the Jacksonville Daily Record and the Jacksonville Record & Observer. Too bad one isn’t here.
Rush Limbaugh RIP: Following the death of Rush Limbaugh (70) Wednesday, February 17, it didn’t take long for vile disgusting liberals and progressives to have a virtual social media street party to celebrate, indicating how right Limbaugh has been about them for the more than the 30 years he was on the air. Their words accurately describe who these disgraceful people are.
Rush’s widow Kathryn said: “For over 32 years Rush has cherished you, his loyal audience, and always looked forward to every single show. It is with profound sadness, I must share with you directly our beloved Rush, my wonderful husband, passed away this morning, due to complications from lung cancer. As so many of you know, losing a loved one is terribly difficult. Even more so when that loved one is larger than life.”
Compassionate media outlets were gracious and respectful of the man who changed radio, created talk radio, and saved the AM band. One of the most eloquent testimonials to Rush was in National Review by Jack Fowler who wrote the following:
“The man with talent on loan from God now confronts Him directly, to return the loan. And maybe to hear an Almighty “mega dittos?” We hope that awaiting Rush Hudson Limbaugh III is the promise of divine succor, of a joy unworldly, one transcending the airwaves that for a generation and then some carried his special, enthusiastic voice — which daily spoke and propagated words of common sense that instructed (mostly there was always verbiage reserved for trolling humorless liberals and castigating the enemies of this last best hope of Earth) and inspired — that indeed became the premier voice of conservatism. A consummate patriot, a happy warrior, and a Cassandra too, an entertainer, the man of shtick and humility who day in and out, over decades, informed and formed millions, who connected with them in such numbers never before experienced, has passed away after a prolonged and brutal battle with cancer. His death comes as no surprise, but having come, it brings with it deserved sorrow and reflection. We assume too calumny from the graceless and the grave dancers.
“The particular affliction that occupied his life’s last chapter was so egregious it would likely have felled a normal human swiftly. But Rush Limbaugh was no normal human. Somewhere within the lovable little fuzzball was a wellspring of remarkable determination: The weeks turned into months and then into a year, one of combating his wretched illness, but also of embracing God’s graces, and appreciating, with great humility and sincerity and frequency, the tsunami of prayer and love from his devoted listeners and Dittohead fans — all that while remaining in the saddle. There was to be no retirement. Like John Wayne’s character in The Shootist, there was a consequential battle to be fought, and a rising leftist tide which demanded confrontation, cancer or no cancer.”
The $15 An Hour Impact: Neil Patel, who operates the influential 24-hours news publication Daily Caller, explained to Tucker Carlson, who co-founded the Caller with Patel, why a standard minimum wage for the nation makes no sense.
Patel explained that the cost of living is at least twice as much in places like New York City, L.A., and San Francisco, than it is in small midwestern and southern cities. Also, an increase will not affect all businesses equally. “A multi-billion-dollar company can absorb the extra cost, but it could very well put the owner of the corner deli out of business, especially coming on the heels of a lockdown that has already bankrupted so many entrepreneurs,” he explained.
Patel exposed the fact that major retailers like Walmart and Target support the higher minimum wage, knowing it will put many of their smaller competitors out of business. Which is why their major supplier, China, would support increasing the US minimum wage to $30.
Objective economists point out that an increase to $15 will mean that 700,000 workers will see their pay increase, while 1.5 million people will lose their jobs.
Crossing The Line: The phrase “Cross the line” traditionally indicates a daunting challenge that most folks are reluctant to accept. However, next Saturday, February 27, the public is invited to “Cross the Line” at American Legion Post 54 at South 3rd Street and Gum for BBQ by the popular “Smoke N Da Cockpit” crew and music by Michele Anders and Amy Vickery with nothing but positive consequences. The Legion is hosting the “Cross the Line Foundation” from noon to 5 p.m. to raise money for a quartet of locals (“Foar From Home”) who will attempt to row across the Atlantic to raise money for military veterans this coming December. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for kids.
Wait! What? A newspaper headline let us know that Rep. Ron Wright (R-TX) had tested positive for Covid-19 when he passed away at the age of 67, but it wasn’t until the eighth paragraph of that article that the paper found it worth mentioning that he had been dealing with lung cancer for two years. What’s up with that?
Things I Wish I’d Said: “Is it wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly?” – anonymous.
Where’s The Plantation? Is it just me or has anyone else hereabouts noticed that the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort has quietly excised “Plantation” from its name. It’s now just the Omni Amelia Island Resort?
Other than a group of lawyers a while back that said that they wouldn’t stay there again until the outfit got rid of the name I don’t know of anyone that complained. Keeping those ambulance chasing leeches away would be enough for me to put the word “plantation” up in flashing neon lights.
Call If You Care: Although I and some other folks have let retailers who banished Pillow man Mike Lindell’s products from their shelves know how we feel about that by writing letters to their CEOs, maybe more people might be willing to express their contempt by phone so here, if you are so inclined, are the phone numbers for the home office of Kohl’s (855-564-5705) and (800-462-3966) for Bed Bath & Beyond. I’m sure they’ll be delighted to hear from you.
An “Acting” Governor: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo hid the actual number of people he killed by moving COVID-infected patients into nursing homes and should be charged with manslaughter and tossed into prison. Dismissing the number of deaths caused by his insane policy he said: “Who cares? Death is death.” The TV Academy gave Cuomo the Emmy for the masterful way he dealt with the pandemic on TV I guess because he “acted” as if he cared.