The results of a non-scientific, surreptitious survey conducted in some of Fernandina Beach’s most popular watering holes, has taken the pulse of the community to reveal the most critical issue currently facing city residents — the city government!
“The people have spoken,” I explained in a non-mayoral campaign press release issued just seconds ago. “Residents demand that once I’m elected non- mayor they’ll settle for nothing less than permanently abolishing the position I’m seeking, but only after I’ve disassembled city hall.”
“Results of our survey indicate that Fernandina Beach’s citizens claim its city government is exasperating, expensive, useless, and corrupt — elected officials and staff, all of them. They all need to go demand our disgruntled city survey respondents.”
According to my non-campaign staff of survey experts, nobody responding to our survey can explain the purpose of the Fernandina Beach City Government other than the people who work for it, and most of them aren’t so sure what it does other than tax residents, intimidate and extort businesses, and levy extravagant fees to pay their salaries. Survey respondents say they’re tired of footing the bill for the city’s blatant excesses as it has repeatedly proven that necessity and fiscal prudence are the least of its concerns.
Our survey results and explanations are no more mysterious, incomprehensible or nutty than the ones City Manager Dale Martin is using to justify his proposed new taxes and fees. He says the 1,052 survey responses that his murky survey received rationalizes raising taxes and levying fees on all of the city’s 12,102 residents. Mr. Martin’s unfathomable explanation of his survey in his weekly “City Notes” letter last week was an incoherent word jumble guaranteed to cure insomnia. Did anybody who read that garbled mess, that was written by the company that the city paid to conduct the survey, understand anything in it? If so please enlighten me. The rambling muddle contained numerous illuminating explanations including the following:
“How closely survey results come to recording the way a person really feels or behaves often is measured by the coincidence of reported behavior
with observed current behavior (e.g. driving habits), reported intentions to behave with observed future behavior (e.g. voting choices) or reported questions about current community quality with objective characteristics of the…..” zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Oh sorry, I dozed off there for a minute.
In a nutshell the folks that were paid by the city to conduct the survey were asked by the city to tell us that everything about its city-sponsored survey is just fine and dandy. I assume an additional invoice was submitted to the city for the vendor’s incomprehensible double-talk explanation of their good work.
Basically, what City Manager Dale Martin is telling us is to shut up, pay up, and don’t question the questioner. His survey is a means to justify the city’s existence, add more layers of bureaucracy, and squeeze more money out of us – the sucker taxpayers. And our tax dollars paid for the survey that came to those conclusions!
Since Nassau County performs all the services conducted by the City Of Fernandina doesn’t that make all the folks at Fernandina Beach’s City Hall redundant? Can anyone reading this explain the purpose of the Fernandina Beach City Government other than levying exorbitant taxes, endorsing environmentally extremist programs, arbitrary overregulation, irrational and illegal fees, harassing and extorting local businesses, purchasing hundreds of thousands of dollars of worthless studies — even studies explaining how to purchase more studies — a growing bloated, unnecessary city payroll, and surveys telling us why we need more of this hogwash? Anybody? We’re waiting….
Last week regular reader and alert local observer, Skeet Taylor, said he’s puzzled, asking: “What I don’t get is we pay something like $1,200 a year for city taxes and the next subdivision over is in the county not the city and don’t pay Fernandina Beach taxes. So, what do I get for my money that they don’t get?” Well, Skeet what you get is hosed! Read on to see why.
Former city resident, now county resident (for obvious reasons), entrepreneur, lawyer and real estate investor, Pat Keogh, has frequently questioned the purpose of these duplicate governments. As my non-mayoral campaign heats up I thought it was an opportune time to echo some of Pat’s concerns, since he has agreed to be a non-supporter of this nonsensical non-mayor campaign.
“So, why do we have a city government?” asks Pat.
- The county has held the line on tax rates and the city routinely increases the rate.
- The city continues to unlawfully charge impact fees which taxes progress and undermines property values.
- Permit fees are higher in the city than the county with building inspections less timely and its employees antagonistic and hostile.
- The city has a police force and so does the county. The city has a fire and emergency management staff and so does the county. Parks and recreation staffs work for the city as they do for the county. The city has human resources, financial, administrative, planning, building and code enforcement personnel. The county has them too.
- The City has a water and sewer department; the county owns one too and also contracts for those services from a public utility.
- The city has a marina, a golf course, an airport, and a cemetery, and the County doesn’t. But the city has proven it doesn’t do a good job managing any of those enterprises. Besides, why should local government perform these functions in the first place? The only clients that don’t complain about city services are those in the Bosque Bello Cemetery.
Pat succinctly sums it up saying: “City government seems to be mostly a bad soap opera whose principal product is conflict, losing litigation, and creating positions for people who control the government. If there were a citywide survey asking: “Which government is run best; the City of Fernandina Beach or Nassau County” does anyone think the city would win?”
I can’t say it any better than Pat when he asks: “If Fernandina Beach did not already have a city government would you choose to create one?”
Pat continues, asking: “Why do 12,000 citizens need a municipal government that costs so much and creates no real value for its citizens? Why do county residents fight so hard to avoid annexation into the city?
In addition to calling for the extermination of Fernandina Beach’s city government my non-mayoral campaign is capitalizing on the city’s extreme and expensive anti-business tactics that negatively impact small firms as well as big ones like Rayonier and West Rock, by adopting the following campaign slogan: “Fernandina Beach – Stay Out Of Our Plants!”
Things I Wish I’d Said: “If you can’t laugh at yourself, make fun of other people.” – Bobby Slayton. *** “When you’re dead you don’t know you’re dead. The pain is felt by others. The same thing when you’re stupid.” – Anonymous.
Another Reason To Avoid Jacksonville and take your kids out of its failing public school system: Last week Jacksonville First Coast High School Science Teacher Daniel Adam Goodman was appalled when not one of the kids in his homeroom stood for the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag at the beginning of the school day.
As a result, he wrote the following statement on his whiteboard explaining why it’s necessary to stand and show respect:
“THINK: We had about a half million Americans die in our Civil War, which was largely to get rid of slavery. There are no longer separate water fountains and bathrooms in Jacksonville for “white” and “colored,” as Mr. Goodman remembers from the 1960′s. We had an amendment to the U.S. Constitution allowing women the right to vote. We have had a Black president. The superintendent of Duval Schools is a Black woman. Mr. Fluent, our principal, replaced a Black man, Mr. Simmons, who now is a D.C.P.S. administrator.
MY POINT? You are all extremely lucky to be living in the U.S.A. If you refuse to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance or our National Anthem (AS SOME PAMPERED ARROGANT CELEBRITIES AND ATHLETES TEND TO DO), are you revealing maturity and wisdom? Actually, you are displaying the opposite.
So, what happened? Did the kids stand? Was Mr. Goodman patted on the back for his statement? NO! The teacher was removed from his classroom on the third day of school when his whiteboard message was made public last Wednesday with a photo posted on Facebook.
Ignorant, ill-informed parents, and dim social media users commented on the Facebook photo expressing their lack of support for the teacher’s statement.
An example of the claptrap posted includes: “Using historical trauma (which every teacher had a training on during orientation this year) to coerce students to abide to political beliefs could be argued as mental endangerment,” one said. “Kick him out,” said another. “Someone needs to have a little chat with this Florida man,” added someone else.
This teacher deserves a “Well done!” and a bonus for his actions. He received just the opposite. “The statements made by the educator are not consistent with state statute or school board policy,” Duval County Public Schools said in a statement. And that’s exactly why these miserable schools and their far-left lackeys are failing their students. If I had a kid in this dreadful school system I’d yank him out immediately and either home-school him or get him into a private institution fast. I pity those parents who lack the resources to do so.
Florida Statute 1003.44 and Board Policy 3.60 says students are excused from reciting or standing for the pledge as long as their parent or legal guardian files a written request. The district’s code of conduct covers this as well. It says students have the right “not to participate,” which includes “reciting,” “standing and placing the right hand over [their] heart.” That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be informed about why that statue is a load of manure.
Goodman’s actions have been referred to the Office of Professional Standards for “review and appropriate action,” the district said. In the meantime, the teacher has been removed from his classroom. I hope there’s a good lawyer out there who will fight for this gentleman pro bono.
“I believe classrooms provide the perfect place to have insightful and thought-provoking discussions about patriotic expressions and civil liberty,” First Coast High Principal Justin Fluent said in a statement. “However, this must be done in a productive and respectful way, and in accordance with law and school board policy.” The principal is as full of crap as the parents that complained and the school system that threw him under the school bus and then had the bus back up over him.
These dim “educators” need an education. If he is fired or loses any pay I hope he brings legal action against these public-school nitwits and lands a high paying job in the private sector. He sounds like the kind of person most firms would love to employ. Students need more teachers like Mr. Goodman not a bunch of union zombies who could care less about teaching, morality and patriotism.
Another Reason to Avoid Public Schools: In New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio announced that the schools there have too many white teachers, so they he’s trying to diversify the teacher rolls. No mention of merit or ability, just skin color is the criteria to hire a teacher they say. They claim black teachers “relate” to the kids’ lives, so the kids do better. How about the top-quality teacher of any color bringing real education and motivation? Just because a teacher has dark skin, does not make him or her a good teacher. And you wonder why charter schools have long waiting lines, while kids in public schools are falling so far behind, and have their lives ruined by third grade. Oh, by the way DeBlasio is polling at 0 percent in the Iowa Democratic Presidential primary poll meaning that not a single person there likes him. However, he’s more popular there than in New York City.
A Real Green Deal: Despite the hot air about climate change, America’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are 13 percent lower today than in 2005, even with an economy that is a third larger, writes Bernard L. Weinstein in The Hill. “This achievement isn’t the result of environmental regulations or the huge subsidies available to wind and solar investors; rather, it has been the increased use of natural gas that has helped reduce GHGs in the U.S.” — Source, Georgia Public Policy Foundation.
Drinking, Dining & Dancing: The Rotary Club’s popular annual Taste of Amelia program moved from its Omni Plantation location a couple of year ago into a “Culinary Crawl” an organized band of roving diners stopping to sample dishes at some 30 area participating eateries. Tickets for this year’s 34th annual scholarship fund raiser are $40 per person and that includes two glasses of wine or two beers per ticket. Diners are presented a booklet of participating restaurants and a wristband at the old downtown train station at Front and Centre Streets. They then fan out to see how many of the 30 places they can walk or drive to from 2-5 p.m. Saturday, November 16. If you want your tickets hand-delivered to your door call congenial Rotarian, former professional hockey player, and expatriate Canadian Pierre Guite at 904/415-9124. Or go to the www.eventbrite.com site. While browsing the www.eventbrite.com site I came across what I consider a do-not-miss event scheduled in nearby St. Marys, Georgia. It’s Midget Wrestling at 9 p.m. at J’s Tavern & The Sound House at 711 Osbourne Street with tickets going for between 10 and 35 bucks. Can they still do “dwarf tossing?” Chef Kenny Gilbert has tossed in his barbeque towel and will now focus on seafood at his South 8th Street Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen. Some non-seafood items will be available as well, including kids menu options. He’ll still serve BBQ at his Jacksonville location. For many years the Amelia Island 8 Flags strip mall location on South 14th Street was the site of the Doo Wop Diner, then about 18 months ago it became the New Orleans Diner and now it’s transitioning into something called the Southern Sisters and that’s all I know other than it’s supposed to be a soul food restaurant, something the island currently lacks and I’m sure will embrace if done properly. I know I reported it last week, but the Captain Jack’s Smokehouse at Gateway Plaza (just before the island side of Shave Bridge) Tuesday’s $1 ribs and dollar Bud Light draft beers from 4-8 pm could be the best happy hour deal anywhere within happy hour driving distance of Florida. A couple of pals and I went again this past Tuesday and we weren’t disappointed, just the opposite. Call’em at 904/310-3611.