It wasn’t until I got to the wordy second paragraph of News-Leader Editor Peg Davis’ lengthy patronizing August 31 Page 1, article about a fellow named Ges Selmont that I realized she wasn’t gushing about a rock star scheduled to perform locally.
After writing how Mr. Selmont — who she described as living in “such diverse places” as New York City, Washington, D.C., Boston, and Connecticut — is putting his children first, biking, eating ice cream, is an attorney with an eclectic background, an off-Broadway producer, ran a small business, provided health care to 15-20 people, bench-pressed 700 pounds, and built orphanages in Somalia, etc. that she finally mentioned he’s running for office hereabouts as a Democrat. Just kidding about the bench pressing and orphanage stuff up. I made that up.
Democrat Selmont is running against Florida’s 4th District U.S. incumbent Republican Congressman and former Duval County Sheriff John Rutherford in the Nov. 6 election.
In her puff piece Ms. Davis adoringly prattled on about candidate Selmont, quoting him as saying he’s running for office because for the past ten years he and his wife have enjoyed the First Coast area as a “…beautiful place, a safe place, and a place with a lot of opportunities.” He says he wants to keep it that way. Really? Then he should vote and campaign for Congressman Rutherford, since the area has experienced all the attractive features he enjoys so much, under Republican leadership since Selmont — following a series of odd jobs in diverse places — arrived here from one of those places a decade ago.
The slobbering profile by Ms. Davis added that Mr. Selmont arrived in Ponte Vedra because of his wife’s job. Ms. Davis reports that Mr. Selmont’s last job was helping Edward Waters College President Dr. Nat Glover with his campus and his neighborhood. She doesn’t mention what kind of help Selmont contributed. Did he teach, grade papers, administer something or take out the trash? Ms. Davis says Selmont is currently employed full time running for Congress, but left unanswered what his wife does for a living that enables her house-husband to follow his political whims. She also fails to mention Mrs. Selmont’s name. Is that sexist or am I all wet for bringing that up?
According to Ms. Davis’ article Selmont’s platform, while not as extreme left as the Democrat party’s branch of the Crazy Uncle Bernie Sanders’ division, is still plenty nutty. Candidate Selmont suggests that Nassau and Duval counties need programs that have long ago been debunked, laughed off as a waste of money, unnecessary, and just plain stupid. For example, in the News-Leader piece, he criticized both current Governor Rick Scott and senatorial candidate, and Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis, for putting the kibosh on a billion dollar rail line here, even though similar projects are failing in Chairman Jerry Brown’s California socialist utopia, and have been halted in other states due to their impracticality and outrageous costs. Ms. Davis didn’t ask him about that.
Selmont cites a variety of other programs he wants for our district. These include gun control; better infrastructure; “better visionary leaders” in Nassau County that will attract Fortune 500 companies; the strengthening of labor unions; preventing non-existing cuts to Social Security; an aircraft carrier; and a pony. He didn’t really say he wants to give voters a pony, I made that up. But he really did say he wants them to have an aircraft carrier. A pony would be cheaper and involve less maintenance.
On gun control, would he vote to ban and confiscate guns and seek to eliminate the Second Amendment? If not, what would be recommend? Mr. Selmont didn’t say and Ms. Davis didn’t ask.
He said, “…we have a party in power…that is threatening to cut Social Security,” which is a lie and he knows it. But the Democrat Party told him to say it anyway. The Social Security system is in serious trouble and unless it’s fixed within the next few years the deficits it will generate will dwarf everything else the government is doing. What are his solutions? Mr. Selmont didn’t say and Ms. Davis didn’t ask.
How would an aircraft carrier based in Jacksonville make the county safer? Does the Pentagon agree that having one based in Jacksonville is a good strategic move? Mr. Selmont didn’t say and Ms. Davis didn’t ask.
Where would this high-speed commuter rail line he wants start and end? How much would it cost? Who would benefit? Who would pay? Why have other states, including neighboring Georgia, cancelled plans for similar projects? Mr. Selmont didn’t say and Ms. Davis didn’t ask.
Does he know of Fortune 500 companies he says are interested in moving to Nassau County? If so, who are they, and what infrastructure fixes are needed to attract them? Who are the Nassau County leaders he says lack vision that are preventing this? Mr. Selmont didn’t say and Ms. Davis didn’t ask.
Ms. Davis reports that Selmont says the district needs to strengthen labor unions. She says in her article that he “organized the cleaning staff at his dormitory when he was 10 or 20 years old into a union.” How does a 10-year-old become a union organizer, even a 20-year-old? And how would organizing and strengthening labor unions locally help attract Fortune 500 companies to Florida, which is an “At Will” and “Right to Work State”? Wouldn’t that repel those firms? If not, why not? Mr. Selmont didn’t say and Ms. Davis didn’t ask.
In the article candidate Selmont was quick to accuse GOP Congressman Rutherford of “not walking the beaches with his constituents after hurricanes ripped their houses into the ocean.” However, he had to admit that according to Rutherford’s press releases, $38.8 million in aid from the federal government did arrive. But since Rutherford wasn’t standing on the beach like King Canute demanding that the tide not come in, Selmont says Rutherford doesn’t believe the tide is rising. Other than yelling louder than old King Canute, Selmont doesn’t say how he’ll stem the rising water. Ms. Davis didn’t ask.
Selmont harps on using the same old tired talking points and clichés that have been spouted by Democrats since the hapless candidacies of Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, John Kerry and most recently, Hillary Clinton, including the obligatory “anti-gun” and “they’re after granny’s social security” blather that has failed to gain traction for more than 40 years, because it’s all mindless malarkey, lies and scare tactics.
The Democrat platform was written by a group of brain-damaged folks who got together and formed a voting bloc. For confirmation of that just look at the Democrat’s disgraceful and raucous behavior during Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings this week or Florida’s Democrat gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gullum’s platform embracing free Medicare for everybody, abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency; gun control; raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and more. Oh, Gullum is also facing corruption charges brought while he was mayor of Tallahassee, which under his leadership, is now one of the most crime-riddled cities in the state. Both Gullum’s and Selmont’s campaign platforms are better suited for running for office in Venezuela.
Mr. Selmont and his family would be much better off if dad was seeking one of the plentiful full-time local jobs that have been created under the current Republican administration. National and local statistics indicate that things hereabouts are constantly getting better with unemployment shrinking, salaries rising, and businesses expanding due to a booming economy. Tell us again why you want to change all of this Mr. Selmont.
My “guess” is that their “Ges” will lose …..badly. If any company out there needs positions filled that don’t require logical thought, strategic thinking or management expertise, there’re a couple of folks who’ll be available in early November.
Speaking Of State Politics: I attended a gathering of Nassau County folks this past Tuesday evening where I was fortunate to chat with and hear from some very nice, reasoned, wise and clever people that included Sheriff Bill Leeper,Tax Collector John Drew, State Senator Aaron Bean, State Representative Cord Byrd, County Commissioner Justin Taylor, and several more. During the social part of the gathering I was party to a conversation with a group that discussed how the Democratic party and its out-of-state backers are falling all over themselves pouring money into far left candidate’s races including Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gullum’s run for governor. To me the Democrats are similar to Nike, shooting itself in its tennis-shoe-clad-foot by signing Colin Kaepernick to an endorsement contract this week that so far has cost it almost $4 billion in market capitalization due to its stock tanking on the NFL kneeler’s signing news. “Why,” I wondered out loud, “are politicians and company executives willing to sacrifice their constituents’, employees’, and shareholders’ economic interests for their own political gain or to make a statement?” What a lefty politician or misguided, dim businessman thinks is good for him isn’t necessarily good for the businesses or folks in the elected person’s district. This was brought home when surprise speaker and GOP gubernatorial candidate, Ron DeSantis, spoke to the crowd urging them to talk to their neighbors, friends, relatives, etc. encouraging them to support his candidacy. In an articulate, non-scripted talk Mr. DeSantis drew a strong distinction between his platform and that of the socialistic Tallahassee mayor, saying it’s really “a Florida guy running against New York and California,” alluding to the moneyed interests in those states backing Gullum. One of my favorite island celebrity residents — author, entrepreneur, and communicator — Neal Freeman, led off the proceedings with his typical well-informed, witty and insightful comments, echoing what we were all thinking: “Deliver us from Bernie Sanders, George Soros and Andrew Gullum” and wishing Mr. DeSantis “…a successful campaign.” It was repeated often in the room that evening, that because we live in a predominantly “red” district of the state, we shouldn’t assume folks in other parts of the state think as we do. They don’t. Also, campaigning is hard work involving long hours, so if you send Ron DeSantis a financial contribution with a note requesting that he come by to visit you personally, mow your lawn, or take your daughter to the prom — well, I hope you can wait until after he wins the election. One thing he will do is help end the current left-wing freak-out that harkens back to the lunacy of the late 1960s and early 70s, and continue to keep Florida on a path toward prosperity and opportunity for all of its residents.
Almost Gator Bait: Charlie Freeman, a retired AT&T employee who lives on his 43-foot Hatteras named “No Dial Tone” at Egans Creek Marina, was casting for bait last week when he almost became bait himself. Here’s how Charlie tells the story: “So last night I was fishing off the dock right at dusk when schools of finger mullet showed up. GREAT! Get the cast net. Did get maybe only 40 in my first throw… saw another ripple, had to be more mullet.. threw the net.. right on top of a seven-foot gator! He threw up one hell of a splash, head came out of the water and he took off… with the net stuck to his hind leg and with my hand wrapped around the line going to the net.. not a good thing! LUCKILY, As I was being pulled off the dock, the net came off the gator… PHEW…. do have redness on my wrist from the rope, but that’s it. Two weeks ago I almost threw the net on top of a manatee.”
Following 45 years as an AT&T repairman, the personable and eccentric Mr. Freeman and his wife “The Admiral” moved on board in 2000, spent their first year at Jacksonville Beach’s Palm Cove Marina then moved to Cedar Point Marina on the Ortega River from 2001-2011. He docked here after leaving Cedar Point and is now the Egans Creek Marina dock master as well as expert fisherman and official local beer taster.
Dress For Success In Excess: Last Saturday’s Wall Street Journal featured an article in its “Off Duty” section about how women’s business suits have changed to be more expressive and powerful while abandoning blandness. The reporter should have mentioned that the designers have abandoned reason as well since two of the ensembles pictured in this lengthy piece were so pricey that the women wearing them would have had to be the female equivalents of Jeff Bezos or Warren Buffett in order to purchase them. One photograph pictured a comely model wearing a jacket, dress, trousers and shoes that can be purchased for $12,675. In another picture a young woman wearing a jacket, top, and trousers came in at a more modest but still pricey $4,450. However, her accessories of a watch, bracelet and ring totaled $28,950 bringing her whole shebang to $33,400. That’s $4,000 more than I paid for my first house and it didn’t have wheels. I guess you have to be successful before you can dress for success these days. I can’t afford success.
Remembering When: I was talking to a friend the other day about high school football and he reminded me of when we were both students at Tampa’s Plant High and the Plant Panthers occasionally played the Clearwater Tornadoes, a team so lousy that it could only beat the Palm Harbor Mobile Homes.
Attention NFL: I read recently that a Turkish soccer club called Gulspor sold 18 of its youth-team players to another team and used the proceeds to buy 10 goats. Team President Kenan Buyuklebleb said that profits from breeding the goats and selling goat milk will be used to “raise better young players.” Personally I’d rather pay to go watch goats being milked than watch a game where nitwit NFL football players show disrespect for their country and its flag by taking a knee during the national anthem.
Drinking, Dining & Dancing: Speaking of the NFL and the national anthem the Sandbar Kitchen and Restaurant at Main Beach has come up with a clever idea to kick off the opening day of the pro football season this Sunday, September 9. Owner and bartender, Kevin Dooner, had a stage constructed on the bar and eatery’s beachfront that will feature the popular local group Honey Badgers starting at 9 a.m. Just prior to the first game kickoff at 12:55 the entertainers will play the national anthem, and Kevin tells me any customer that decides to take a knee will be banned for life. Good for him. The beach-front bar and restaurant has the NFL package and all games will be shown on one of its many newly installed large screen TVs, with the Jacksonville Jaguars-New York Giants game getting the sound. A special “tailgate” menu will be available and happy hour will still be 3-6 p.m. My pal Pajamadave Voorhees will also be featuring pro ball on his TVs at the cozy 12 South 2nd Street PJD’s Beer & Wine Garden this coming Sunday. Folks trying to take a knee there will probably suffer a horrible fate. And speaking of a a horrible fate, every Wednesday at PJD’s there are free chicken wings for customers who want then while they last. This past Wednesday it was mistakenly decided to try Winn-Dixie’s “all the wings you can stuff into a bucket for $9.99” and discovered that no matter how many were stuffed into those buckets, they were all inedible…these wings put a whole new blush on the word “wretched.” From now on PJD’s wingmen have decided it’s
only Publix’s breaded and naked wings — that they have determined are the best on the island — which will continue to be offered on Wing Wednesdays. The folks at VFW Post 4351 are very unhappy with the congested traffic and parking situation that is taking place along Wades Place, the narrow, semi-paved, pot-holed road just southwest of Shave Bridge leading from State Highway 200 to the newly opened Shuckers, the VFW and under the bridge to Down Under. The situation was so bad last weekend it attracted Jacksonville’s First Coast News, Channel 4, WTLV talking head Ken Amaro. VFW President Alexis Lorentson told the station’s viewers: “It is difficult for our members to get in an out safely because of all the traffic. Somebody getting killed is one of my biggest concerns.” Ms. Lorentson said she contacted both the Nassau County Government and the Florida Department of Transportation, yet the problem still exists. Currently the road has no shoulders, no speed limit and no parking areas. “I think the state is responsible and needs to put no parking signs on one side of the street,” she said. Several months ago the VFW posted its own sign saying: “Please Slow Down, Old Farts Crossing.” According to the TV station The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is aware of vehicles parking along this section of State Road 200 in Nassau County. They reported that the issue is currently being addressed, and signs stating “no parking” will be placed along the roadway. Most of the cars parking along the road are of patrons of the newly opened Shuckers. If you and your pals are looking for a cheap place to have a beer or cocktails after work or on the weekends then then go to AIHappyHour.com, a site that lists every island joint that offers discount prices, trivia, and more. And if you run a place that isn’t on this site, you should contact them as it’s the most comprehensive island hospitality site I’ve seen locally.