The reason politicians speak in gobbledygook or use foreign phrases to describe their actions is because if they used plain English we’d quickly understand how badly we’re being screwed and throw them out of office or grab a pitchfork or torch and march on city hall.
Their actions remind me of a line I heard many years ago while attending a pre-Broadway performance of Bob Fosse’s “Pippin” at Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. King Charlemagne’s wife — a gum-chewing gold-digger — sexily convinces the king to increase her allowance, prompting him to turn to the audience and ask: “I wonder if the screwing I’m getting is worth the screwing I’m getting?”
Speaking of a screwing, get ready because Fernandina Beach politicos are scheduling a spending orgy at your place.
As property values increase — as they’re consistently doing here despite the virus — the city has the option to do one of the following three things:
- Maintain the same tax-rate as the prior year and bring in additional revenue.
- Increase the tax-rate and bring in more revenue.
- Use the rollback rate and maintain the same revenue as the prior year.
Guess which of the three the City Manager Dale “Tweedledee” Martin and Commissioner Chip “Tweedledee” Ross duo, and the do-nothing Phil Chapman and clueless Johnny Miller bobble-heads will choose?
Fernandina Beach City Manager Martin’s ad-valorem stash is used to buy, build, and perform costly projects residents don’t want and can’t afford. Ad-valorem is Latin for “the value of” so they obscure their activities by using the term ad-valorem tax, because it sounds more sophisticated than “our piggy bank” or “slush fund.”
Tweedledee Martin says ad valorem property valuations are increasing by 6.4%. And there’ll be no roll back. Translation: “Brace yourself, your taxes are going waaaay up again.” Because of the pandemic shutdown sales taxes, gas taxes, and bed taxes are dropping faster than the City Commission’s approval ratings, their respect for residents, and combined IQ. According to Florida Daily more than two-thirds of Florida residents are worried about the coronavirus pandemic’s lasting impact on their finances. City Manager Martin and his crew don’t care if local property owners have been out of work, are not getting rent or lease payments, shuttered their stores, restaurants, and bars, or face other critical financial issues. An increase in property taxes is the only way for Martin and his free spending cohorts like Commissioner “Tweedledee” Ross to pay for all the goodies they want and say the city must have including a massive $4 million new fire station, the unnecessary Simmons Road park, a new city hall, an assistant city manager, more bureaucrats, a $500,000 golf course electronic gizmo game, etc. And this doesn’t include the multimillion-dollar marina mess with its mysterious missing FEMA funds. As a concerned citizen pointed out to me recently: “It’s really nice that the city is so flush with cash that it can option $400,000 of taxpayer money to buy marshland, land whose sale will simply be a windfall to the owners, who have had no buyers in 18 years. Here comes the cash-loaded city to save the day. A happy ending for everyone but the taxpayers who are asking, ‘What the **** is the matter with these guys?'”
It’s interesting that other than the recently converted Commissioner Mike Lednovich, not one city official ever mentions spending cuts or identifies areas where cuts could take place, not even during this pandemic financial crisis.
In a nutshell Martin, and by extension, Ross, Chapman, and Miller, are saying “We don’t care how much income you have lost, how much you have suffered, how much your lives have been disrupted, we are going to go on spending as though nothing has happened. Have a good day.”
Meanwhile over at the Nassau County ranch they’re projecting a 40 percent drop in fees and gas tax collections for the current fiscal year due to the pandemic, estimating the shortfall at between $6.5 million and $8.2 million. The county government wisely began pulling in the reigns starting with a $3.5 million deferral on capital projects that included stopping a planned $1.5 million contribution for the construction of the sheriff’s public safety training center. It also announced a hiring freeze for a dozen positions. This is just one more reason to consider dissolving the city and merging its critical operations with a fiscally sane county government.
If you’re a property owner or business person in Fernandina Beach guess where the money for the city’s extravagances will come from? Your pocket and mine. And what do you get for that money that county residents don’t get? Absolutely nothing except a larger tax bill. If you’re a city resident and can dispute that please let me know.
This would be an opportune time for the Chamber of Commerce to blow a whistle and throw a penalty flag on this nonsense. I understand it has been asked to help but its operatives appear as uninterested, uninformed, and as impotent as the local media. I have no idea what local Chamber of Commerce members get for their annual payments other than a glass of cheap wine, some rubbery cheese cubes, and stale crackers at an open house every once in a while. Anyone out there have a clue? The local Chamber is a toothless organization with no apparent clout. So, where does a frustrated businessman or home owner turn for fiscal relief and authoritative assistance around here?
The fledgling “no dues” Common Sense watchdog group could be a knight in shining armor wielding a sharp cost-cutting advisory sword. The organization is moving forward at a fast clip and seems to be gaining popular support. Let’s hope it can continue to gain momentum and make a difference. The group is in the process of interviewing City Commission candidates and will make its recommendations known. The Rotary Club, Men’s Club, and other local civic organizations should contact them, and ask for a presentation to their members once they can open their doors to a crowd again. Contact them or join by calling Frank Quigley at (312) 259-1741 or Jack Knocke (470) 295-4365. Or contact by: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/commonsenseFB/ Web:http:///www.commonsensefb.org/index.html
It takes three commissioners to boot the City Manager and get this financial train wreck on track. This November voters have a strong financial incentive to vote for fiscal sanity. However, with a couple of exceptions the slate of candidates doesn’t look all that impressive so far. Stay tuned as we evaluate the choices.
The Party Of Despair: The Democrat Party of Harry Truman, “Cactus Jack” Garner, Sam Nunn, Zell Miller, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, John Kennedy, Sam Irvin, William Proxmire, Mike Mansfield, Estes Kefauver, etc. that I recall from my youth is long gone. Today I could happily vote for any of those fellows if they were still around. However, if they were here today they wouldn’t recognize their own party….they’d be Republicans.
The Democrat Party’s complexion today has become a gnarled mess with a scolding, mean spirited, socialistic, humorless persona. It is distinctly unattractive being defined by Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Rashida Tlaib, Bernie Sanders, Adam Schiff, Ilhan Omar, Jerry Nadler, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, etc. Would you invite any of those folks to Sunday lunch with the family or trust them alone with your children? Me either.
Its members desire to condemn, excommunicate and publicly flog any and all opposition. It resembles a medieval castle of demonic cultists — uptight, neurotic, and constantly in search of new forms of radicalism to abolish American values including the traditional family, education, patriotism, a free press, religion, and most of all a democracy that prevents them from controlling all positions of power.
Following are just a few examples:
Dumber Or Dumber? Who will be Joe Biden’s vice presidential selection? One of the leading contenders is Gretchen Whitmer, the idiot governor of Michigan who banned the sale of house paint and church attendance but said liquor stores, marijuana stores and abortion clinics were essential. I suppose it’s easier to control people who are drunk, stoned or dead. She maybe taking advice from New Jersey’s crackpot Democrat governor Phil Murphy who ordered all AA meetings to cease but kept liquor stores opened. Ms. Nit-Whitmer also said protestors are anti-American. The other short-listed dim bulb is Georgia embarrassment Stacey Abrams, whose only lifetime accomplishment, besides never missing a dinner bell, is losing an election for governor, and then thinking she won? This woman – who is a dead ringer for Shriek – was reported by the Washington Post to resemble a runway model. One pundit opinioned that the editors at the Post have lost their minds. I’d say their eyesight’s equally questionable. Either one of these slow-witted gals would match up well with Delaware’s dementia afflicted basement dweller. If by some tragic twist any combination of this daffy trio was elected to run the country it would be as devastating as the combination of a plague, famine, war, and depression…..a full-blown apocalypse.
If by some terrible circumstance Biden is elected, will he finally reveal to us exactly what a “lying dog-faced pony soldier” is and what this mysterious “thing” is that we’re all supposed to know about? My favorite howler from the hapless candidate — who’s rapidly piling up nicknames ranging from Sniffy and Plugs to Creepy and Sleepy — is when he said to a black broadcaster with the interesting moniker of Charlemagne Tha God, “If you don’t vote for him you aren’t really black.” Translation: Black folks aren’t smart enough to make their own voting decisions. As North Carolina pundit Bill Shuey says: “That should tell every black with an IQ higher than the average field mouse all they need to know.”
Biden followed that doozy up with this topper: “I’m prepared to say that I have 40 years’ experience and I’m going to beat Joe Biden,” apparently forgetting that HE IS Joe Biden. Lost in the confusion is Mr. Tha God. Who is he and what the hell is that name all about? Oh, and Tara Reade is not going away and will pursue Creepy Joe through the entire campaign. A lot of corroborating evidence is piling up, especially her ex-husband’s statement to the court that he swore to.
Biden’s numerous gaffes prompted the following headline in the satirical Babylon Bee: “To Save Time, The Babylon Bee Will Now Just Republish Everything Biden Says Verbatim.”
Plantation Politics: Michigan Democrats have decided to punish black Michigan State Representative Karen Whitsett because she forgot her place.
The black Democrat, who survived the coronavirus after taking the drug hydroxychloroquine is being censured for going to the White House and thanking President Trump for making the drug available and, she says, saving her life.
That, her Democrat colleagues say, violated all the plantation rules and she must be punished. She apparently forgot that she is the property of the Democratic Party and will be made an example of for breaking its rules. Since public floggings are no longer acceptable, even in most Democrat controlled states as a suitable punishment these days, the Dems settled on censure.
If black voters are paying attention to how Ms. Whitsett is being treated, they’ll see that the Democrats are saying, “don’t go off the plantation or we’ll keep you out of the big house.”
Muddled Media:. With the exception of just a handful, the media’s refusal to acknowledge the contradictory evidence of high level FBI officials, the clueless Robert Mueller’s inept marauders, Obama administration appointees, H. Clinton campaign staffers, and others denying under oath they possessed any evidence of Trump-Russia Collusion is appalling. Not one of the media has asked pathological liar Adam Schiff to show them the evidence Schiff claimed daily for the past two years that he had.” The New York Times insisted that the sexual abuse claim made by Tara Reade against Joe Biden must be investigated by a neutral party. They then went on to suggest that the neutral party be the Democratic National Committee! Former L.A. Times columnist Burt Prelutsky says: “Now you see why the Times has never felt the need to run comic strips; they felt they could get enough laughs on their editorial page without laying out good money for Peanuts or Dilbert.” The mainstream media’s open hostility toward the Trump administration and their blatant cover-ups prove they are unfit to observe anything. 2020 is going down in history as a key year between the virus and the prosecution of people in the Obama administration for the attempted coup despite the media. The average American has nothing but contempt for the media and they’ve deservedly earned it.
Speaking of the Media: Watching the media adoringly slobber all over New York’s Governor Mario Cuomo while ignoring the success of Florida’s Ron DeSantis is nauseating and makes me ashamed to admit that I was once a member of the press corps in New York and Florida. The days when a managing editor would threaten reporters with the loss of their jobs if they editorialized in a news article are long gone.
Media darling Cuomo’s New York leads the U.S. in deaths from the Coronavirus with 28,902 at this writing, which works out to 148 per 100,000 residents. Despite the fact that the virus tends to kill the elderly in much greater numbers than any other demographic, Cuomo continued to shuttle infected patients off to nursing homes resulting in an unprecedented number (5,600) of elderly casualties. New York state has the most active cases and the most deaths in the U.S., yet the media can’t get enough of the misguided tone-deaf Cuomo.
Florida, with a population (21,477,737) larger than New York (19,453,561) has one of the lowest virus death rates and infections in the country with 2,145 deaths, and 49,451 infections working out to 10 per 100,000. Yet the mainstream media ignores Mr. DeSantis’s success in containing the pandemic. They also conveniently forget to ever mention that Florida is the county’s third largest economy, is a state with no personal income tax, low business taxes, no sales tax on machinery and equipment, and home to a lot of retired very rich people who made their money in New York and left it because they don’t want to continue to be pillaged by Cuomo or NY City’s crazy socialist Mayor Bill de Blasio. The media has it all wrong but, to paraphrase the heroine in Erich Segal’s “Love Story,” being the media means never having to say you’re sorry.
Political Malpractice: More than 600 medical doctors have signed a letter to President Trump saying the lockdown is doing more damage to people’s health than the virus and demanding that he lift it. Even Dr. Anthony Fauci has come around saying that continuing the lockdown will cause irreparable damage if it goes on too long. Trump has been right all along — the cure is worse than the disease. Shutting the economy for this long has done real damage both economically and to people’s health. The Dem governors who are keeping their states shut, are literally killing people by doing so, according to the 600 doctors. Morons like the idiotic Michigan governor Nit-Whitmer are determined to harm the economy to try to hurt Trump. She’s a cinch not to be reelected to anything ever again. That she is in the running as Biden’s vice president says a lot about the Democrat Party.
Remember President Trump’s State of the Union Speech when he warned us all of the Coronavirus? After he spoke, Nancy Pelosi ripped up the speech calling Trumps words “a manifesto of lies.” She disgraced the country and all citizens present in the House Chamber and she now has American blood on her hands. She is as responsible for these needless deaths as the Chinese. The Democrats laughed as she tore up his speech. Well, as they laughed the disease he spoke of in that speech came to our shores killing Republicans and Democrats alike.
HOA From Hell: Recent Facebook postings reveal that the Home Owners Association (HOA) of Amelia Concourse neighborhood is prepared to tell its residents that because ONE snarling home-owning grievance monger was offended by a resident flying a Trump flag all political flags must now come down. I hope the Trump flag-flying home owner wraps his car with the Trump message and cruises the neighborhood like the home owner on a canal in St. Johns County who was told to take his Trump flag down wrapped his boat. Because one resident was “offended” all residents are now punished says the HOA, an autocratic organization run by a bunch of cowardly wimps. This is nuts. Residents should be asked to remove racist or profane symbols, but not political ones. As one home owner correctly said: “I feel this goes against the American way of life and feel everyone should be afraid if this is what our society has come to!” Amen brother! Potential home buyers in Amelia Concourse beware.
Drinking, Dining & Dancing: Over the Memorial Day weekend Linda and I stopped at the Hecksher Road Sand Dollar Restaurant and discovered one of the tastiest and most economical menu items anywhere in the area, a seafood platter for two for $42.95. This heaping platter consisted of shrimp, scallops, clam strips, deviled crab, fish and hush puppies and it came with a choice of four sides. The platter can be ordered all fried, grilled or blackened. We chose blackened and when it arrived we were surprised at the generous servings of all items especially the scallops and shrimp. We managed to eat about half of it and the next day enjoyed a second meal at home. In addition to the delicious food, gracious service and full bar, diners can enjoy their meal inside or on a large outside patio with panoramic views of the waterway and a backdrop of live music loud enough to enjoy and soft enough to carry on a table conversation. Sand Dollar is located at 9716 Heckscher Dr., Fort George Island, 32226. Call ’em at 904/251-2449. The now eight-year-old 12 North Front Street’s Salty Pelican $10 one-half pound huge peel and eat shrimp is still the best shrimp deal on the island while the 31 North 2nd Street Crab Trap’s fried or blackened shrimp with hush puppies is also an island shrimp bargain at $9.95. Call the Pelican at 904/277-3811 and the Crab Trap at 904/261-4749.