With the exception of a handful of the usual suspects the local “Global Warming Climate Strike” gathering in Fernandina Beach’s Central Park looked more like a sparsely attended family picnic with just a few dozen crazy uncles and batty aunts showing up last Friday in an attempt to locate the planet’s thermostat and turn it down a notch or two.
From what I’ve seen, read and heard the folks hereabouts who assembled to “call attention to a warming planet” and protest what they say is inaction by political leaders to do anything about it generated mostly a yawn. The protestors also fail to understand that inaction on a politician’s part is a good thing. Encouraging a politician to act on anything is more dangerous than their phony baloney climate nonsense and will cause real damage. Think the “New Green Deal.”
The alleged international event has been proclaimed to be a youth movement, that encouraged kids to skip school and join in the nonsense. However, thanks to common sense on the part of local students, their parents, and Nassau County educators, there were few if any school-age kids at the park. They were in school, playing sports, at the library, the beach, or other important venues, not standing around in Central Park with puzzled looks, scratching their heads and learning nothing, except how skipping school can lead to an adulthood of wearing face-paint and goofy costumes in public. Based on the Central Park gathering face painting and odd costumes appear to be ineffective in gaining knowledge or drawing attention to the “end-of-the-world” climate warming alarm. Chicken Little costumes would have been more appropriate.
One of the “adults” was dressed in a bizarre Superman-style outfit with his face painted blue and hair dyed green. Members of the Amelia Tree Conservancy and the local Sierra Club incoherently prattled on and naturally Fernandina Beach City Commissioner Chip Ross was on hand to show support for another of his lost causes.
Adults that enjoy being scolded and told what to do by impertinent children will love the Ben Garrison-designed Gabby Greta Thunberg doll. A Swede, Thunberg is the 16-year-old daughter of opera singer and leftist activist Marlena Ernman, who got her daughter started in the climate change business. This kid spoke at the recent UN Climate Change event and is part of the far left’s tactic of ramming the cult of “Climate Crisis” down the public’s throat, by using children as their spokespersons. When you attempt to disagree or criticize this vile tactic, the left screams “HOW DARE YOU ATTACK A CHILD.” Fortunately our astute local students, who don’t agree to be exploited, along with their equally wise parents, are smarter than the climate change dolts give them credit for, and stayed away from the Central Park nonsense.
Also conspicuously absent in the climate alarmism pushed by the left via exploited children and a compliant media is China, which is responsible for 30 percent of global emissions. Also not mentioned by leftists and the kids pushing their cause is that China has banned the Climate Strike events that are being conducted in various countries to “raise awareness” for the purported “global warming.” Oh, did anybody mention India?
Meanwhile back at the Fernandina Beach event somebody nailed “educational” posters on trees before the Tree Conservatory had a chance to put a stop to that arbor cruelty. Organizer, Ali Lowe, told the online Independent: “I’m so happy and proud of our community. They’re here to say we need to do something to support our environment.” However, I’m not sure what this tiny group accomplished other than to exhibit to young people and puzzled observers the consequences of hanging out in a public park and waving unintelligible hand-painted signs about a nonexistent threat. They’re fascinating to watch as they attack their cause with a religious cult-like fervor proclaiming the end is just 12 years away unless we do as they say.
The Independent asked a young school-aged kid at the rally what he’s learning about climate change and recycling in school and he replied: “Nothing. Not a thing.” From what I saw and heard he could say the same thing about the local gathering.
How Low Can They Go? Democrat Party presidential candidates Cory Booker and Beto O’Rourke are polling nationally at two percent, which means they’re now tied with low-fat milk.
Local Chamber of Commerce Finally Speaks Out: The Nassau County Chamber of Commerce says it’s unhappy about the recent tax increases that will impact its more than 800 business members and their employees. For a change the chamber didn’t hold back, saying in a formal statement on its website Monday, September 23: “The businesses and residences of Nassau County should not take on any additional tax burdens with the upcoming 2020 Nassau County budget. ”
The chamber didn’t mention it, but relations between businesses and local governments have been rocky for years with Fernandina Beach business owners citing impact fees, lengthy permitting procedures, outrageous bureaucracy, and indifferent, rude and incompetent officials as stumbling blocks to a healthy bottom line. Nassau County’s ongoing feud with Rayonier, the county’s largest property owner and one of its largest private employers, has generated nothing but negative press coverage and damaged the county’s ability to attract new businesses. So, it was a pleasant surprise to hear the normally milquetoast local chamber speak up.
The chamber recommended to local taxing authorities that “rather than raising taxes for 2020, to adopt the ‘roll back rate.’ If the recommended 2020 tax rates are approved, the final tax bills for property owners will likely increase in 2020, ” it stated.
In other words, the chamber is finally telling county and city taxing authorities to stuff it because its members are fed-up being their cash cows. Good for them, it’s about time the Chamber did what its member’s fees pay them to do. Former Fernandina Beach City Comptroller Patti Clifford also publicly blasted the city for the hike and social media has been lit-up about the tax increases for weeks now, indicating residents ain’t happy with the commission or the city manager, with some seeking lawyers to dispute the increase, particularly the extortionist “conservation” crap.
According to the the Florida Tax Watch report released this Wednesday, Florida businesses currently pay more than half (53.6 percent) of all state and local taxes in Florida. This is the 9th highest percentage in the nation and higher than the national average of 43.7 percent. Florida local governments account for 54.9 percent of Florida’s total state and local revenue, the highest percentage in the nation.
At this past Tuesday’s City Commission session city residents who publicly voiced concern about their increased taxes and city spending had their property tax bills read out loud to the assembled crowd by City Manager Martin, obviously much to their chagrin. Despite the fact that taxes are public records what was the point of that? Public humiliation? Intimidation? The vocal property owners were not happy and said so! Martin crossed the line in this instance.
Based on everything I’ve heard the half mill “conservation tax” and the city manager’s abusively rude public behavior will be a huge issue for commissioners seeking re-election and the city manager in “conserving” their positions in the future.
Speaking Of Taxes & Conservation: During a visit to the gym this week a knowledgeable and well-respected local gentleman pointed out to me that some 40 percent of the property within Fernandina Beach’s city limits is already devoted to conservation and parks, including areas such as Fort Clinch, Central Park, Egans Creek, the two major recreation centers, golf course, marina, and so much more. He also noted that the half mill conservation tax jammed through by City Manager Dale Martin will only be imposed for the FY 2019-2020 budget. In November 2020 voters will be asked if they want to support a General Obligation Bond to continue collecting revenue for the public acquisition of lands for conservation. He rightfully asks: “If the voters say ‘NO’ do we get our money back?” Well, Mr. Martin do we?
Come Back Here With Those Cuffs: I find it fascinating that a guy who was arrested by Fernandina Beach Police for driving drunk on a bicycle later faced a string of charges including theft after he and his female companion were caught having sex in the backseat of a cop car. Charges against the intoxicated cyclist included a threat against a public official, lewd or lascivious exhibition in presence of an employee, DUI, exposure of sex organs, unnatural and lascivious act, threat against a public official, attempted escape, resisting arrest, and theft. When the miscreant tried to high tail it on foot all he was wearing was a pair of the city’s handcuffs, resulting in the theft charge. Some of my barroom pals speculate that the bizarre episode may have taken place so the naughty duo could scratch an item off their bucket list.
Things I wish I’d said: “Immigration laws are the only laws that are discussed in terms of how to help people who break them.” — Thomas Sowell.
Redfish Tournament Rescheduled: Due to the “hurricane,” the Redfish Spot Tournament benefiting Folds of Honor was postponed to October 25-26. I’m told people can still register by going to: https://www.ameliaislandguidesassociation.com/redfish-spot-tournament/
Drinking, Dining & Dancing: Remember Halftime, the 320 South 8th Street joint that catered to sports fans and closed about 18 months ago? We’ll it’s back, but this time as “Overtime” a brighter pub with an eclectic menu and enthusiastic staff that many area folks will recognize. It’s now run by former area bar manager Nikki McCormick and her brother, Chef Jamie Caudill, who has been cooking hereabouts 15 years, most recently at the Sandbar & Restaurant. One of the bartenders is pretty blonde Becky Roberts, who was a popular pourer at the now shuttered Centre Street Alley Cat. The place can truthfully advertise “the coldest beer in town” as it patterns itself after Texas “ice houses” that only chill their bottled and canned beers on ice. Bottles and cans are priced $4.00 to $4.50 while the 12 domestic and craft tap brews sell for $3.50 to $4.00. Wine will be available but don’t look for top shelf brands as this is a beer swilling and bar food joint. Jamie’s menu will attract a hungry crowd with his unusual wings drawing special attention. These are monstrous flappers that go for $12 for six and $7 for three, a price you may question until you see the size of these things. Boneless and bone-in are both available. He also features a basket of thighs (naked or breaded) for $7. All are smoked then fried and can be ordered with a variety of sauces and are served with ranch or blue cheese. The menu also features a variety of tacos with the most unusual one stuffed with pork belly. Appetizers range from Thai chili jalapeno poppers to vegan chili Thai noodles. There are also smoked burgers, sandwiches and BBQ with most expensive going for $12. For really hungry patrons the menu sports spaghetti carbonara at $11 or $15 if you add chicken, Ramen noodles with pork belly at $9 and beef and beer cheese macaroni for $9. The menu also includes the traditional fries, coleslaw, broccoli salad and tater tots. Overtime is open every day but Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. However, if a World Series game happens to fall on Wednesday, they say they’ll make an exception. Call ’em at 904/432-8448. While most local pubs and eateries are toying with different specials to tempt locals until the tourists return the downtown Front Street’s Salty Pelican may have broken the code, to make it one of the most popular eateries and bars on the island for good reason. Owners T.J. Pelletier and Al Waldis say that the specials that have been the biggest hits so far are the “Wine Wednesdays” which consist of one-half off all non-house wine, glasses and bottles, all day, and the charcuterie board special that also runs all day. On Saturday and Sunday, the Pelican features a 32 oz. “Loaded Bloody Mary” in a souvenir cup that’s a hit in the mornings and early afternoons during college and NFL football games. They also have live music Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Trivia Night on Monday, and the NFL game on Thursday nights. Their $10 for a half pound and $17 for a full pound of peel-and-eat shrimp is the best shrimp deal on the island or nearby. Call ‘em at 904/277-3811. For football fans the Sandbar Restaurant & Kitchen at Main Beach has a special menu that includes a game-day menu with loaded cheese fries, $10; soft pretzels, $8.00; pizza egg rolls, $8.00; mini corn dogs, $8.00; mozzarella sticks, $8.00; and my favorite, three sliders (chicken, pork, or beef) for $10.00. It also has the best view on the island from its upstairs bar, that’s on the house. Call ’em at 904/310-3648. The Aloha Bagel & Deli has new owners — Bruce & Camille Purpura — who have been local residents for the last two and one-half years. The menu remains the same with the exception of the recently added “Elvis 2.0”, a bagel with Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread, sliced bananas and honey. The 432 South 8th Street eatery with terrific bagels is open every day except Monday from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call ’em at 904/432-8934. The Centre Street AmeliaTavern Restaurant & Brewpub will celebrate a German Octoberfest tomorrow, Saturday, September 28 that will feature – what else – beer, brats, pretzels, polka music, and more. I have no idea if there
will be buxom fräuleins in dirndls, boatloads of sauerkraut, and oompah music, but there should be. It runs from noon until 6 p.m. Call ‘em at 904/ 310-6088. If you’ve been hankering for a bi-bim-bap — and that’s not a punch in the nose, kick in the gut and stomp on the foot — but a tasty Korean dish that includes seasoned rice topped with sliced beef, a sunny-side-up egg, marinated and fresh vegetables it’s now available for $13.95, at downtown’s 4th Street Deli. They’re also offering a Korean bul-go-gi, chargrilled marinated beef served with rice for $14.95. These two items are only available Friday and Saturday from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Both are delicious as is everything else that the effervescent Jay Kim and his wife Annette serve at their popular eatery across the street from the post office. In addition to their new Friday and Saturday evening hours the deli is open Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m. 6 p.m. It features some of the best sandwiches, salads and bread varieties south of New York City’s Stage Deli including pastrami, corned beef, Italian, Rueben’s, clubs, gyros, turkey, Cubans, etc. Prices are as reasonable as the food is good, with most sandwich prices between $7.50 and $8.95, the priciest steak and cheese going for $11.49. There are 15 salads including many traditional ones and the more exotic such as bok choy kimchi, snow pea, and Asian coleslaw. Call ’em at 904/277-2224. Southern Sisters, the new 1120 South 14th Street soul food eatery in the location once occupied by the Doo Wop Cafe and New Orleans Diner is now open and serving a traditional Southern “meat and three,” cafeteria style. Filling an island void are soul food staples such as fried chicken, pork chops, turkey wings, country fried steak, meat loaf and the most southern of all — chitterlings, ox tails, and chicken livers and chicken gizzards and more. Each entree comes with a bed of rice, two sides and bread. Prices range from $9.00 to $11 with the most expensive being the chitterlings at $15. Sides include field peas and snaps, collard greens, okra and tomatoes, corn bread stuffin’, mac and cheese, Lima beans, green beans, etc. Dinner salads are also available as are desserts of red velvet cake, banana pudding, pineapple crunch, pecan pie and others. The Sisters are closed on Monday but open Tuesday through Friday for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for dinner. Saturday hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday noon to 8 p.m. Call ’em at 904/432-8704.