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 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. They 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.
The alleged international event was proclaimed to be a youth movement, but thanks to common sense on the part of local parents and Nassau County educators, there were few if any school-age kids at the park. They were in school where they belonged, not standing around in Central Park with puzzled looks, scratching their heads and learning nothing, except how skipping school could lead to an adulthood of wearing face-paint and goofy costumes in public. Face paint and costumes appear to be ineffective in combating the dreaded climate warming.
One of the “adults” appeared dressed in a bizarre Superman-style costume with his face painted blue and hair dyed green. Unless he’s being home-schooled the organizer’s young brother played hooky to watch this insipid event and hear members of the Amelia Tree Conservancy and the local Sierra Club incoherently prattle on. Fernandina Beach City Commissioner Chip Ross was on hand to show support for another of his lost causes.
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 group accomplished other than exhibit the consequences of skipping school by hanging around a public park and waving unintelligible hand-painted signs.
The online 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.
Chamber of Commerce Finally Speaks Out: The Nassau County Chamber of Commerce is unhappy about the recent tax increases that will impact its more than 800 business members and their employees. For a change it 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 doesn’t talk about 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 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 traditionally milquetoast local chamber speak out.
The chamber recommended to local taxing authorities that “rather than raising taxes for 2020, to adopt the ‘roll back rate’.
In its official statement the chamber said: “If the recommended 2020 tax rates are approved, the final tax bills for property owners will likely increase in 2020. Our mission is to work to sustain a favorable business climate that enables existing and new businesses to prosper and provide leadership that aggressively promotes responsible economic growth, employment opportunities, responsible government, excellence in education and quality of life.”
In other words, the chamber is finally telling county and city taxing authorities to stuff it because they’re sick of being their cash cow. Good for them, it’s about time. 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 almost all residents ain’t happy with the commission or the city manager, with some seeking lawyers to dispute the increase.
Speaking Of Taxes: 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 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 increase for “conservation” being ram-rodded through by City Manager Dale Martin is also slated to come up for a public referendum next year. He rightfully asks: “If the voters say ‘NO’ do we get our money back?”
Shrinking Middle Class: Middle-income households are shrinking because they are gradually moving up to higher-income groups, not down into lower-income groups, according to Mark J. Perry of the American Enterprise Institute. In 1967, only 9% of U.S. households (only 1 in 11) earned $100,000 or more (in 2017 dollars). In 2017, it was more than 1 in 4 households (29.2%), a new record high. “In other words, over the last half-century, the share of U.S. households earning incomes of $100,000 or more (in 2017 dollars) has more than tripled!” Source — Georgia Pubic Policy Foundation.
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 Aaron Thomas 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 Thomas took off on foot he was only wearing city-supplied 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.
Help Wanted? After watching recent television shows and reading a series of articles about student loan debt I’ve come to the conclusion that if I ran a marketing organization and wanted to hire crack salespeople, I’d recruit from the administrative staffs of the country’s colleges and universities. How can a 21 or 22-year-old graduate from a four-year educational institution be saddled with $100,000 or more of debt with nothing to show for it but a degree in Psychology, African American Affairs, Women’s Studies, Puppetry Arts, or Equestrian Studies? If they make $30,000 a year — ever — they’ll be lucky. The folks who sold this codswallop to these kids and their parents must be terrific salespeople, much like conman Professor Harold Hill, who sold entire towns on a boy’s band concept in the legendary musical “Music Man.” It’s these college hucksters and their pyramid scheme of down-chain high school counsellor salespeople that I’d be recruiting to staff my sales force…we’d be unstoppable and could sell ice to Eskimos and sand to Arabs. My top salesperson would be presented with the company’s annual Bernie Madoff award.
Data breaches: With 3,800 data breaches reported in the first six months of 2019 – 54% more than the same period last year – it’s on track to be the worst year on record for data breaches, according to a report by Risk Based Security. Through June 30, more than 4.1 billion records were exposed; three breaches were among the 10 largest breaches of all time. Source – Georgia Public Policy Foundation.
Drinking, Dining & Dancing: Remember Halftime, the 320 South 8th Street joint that catered to sports fans that closed about 18 months ago? We’ll it’s back, but this time as “Overtime” a cleaner, brighter pub with an eclectic menu and enthusiastic staff that many area folks will recognize. Owned by former bar manager Nikki McCormick and Chef Jamie Caudill, who has been cooking hereabouts 15 years and most recently worked at Sandbar. One of the bartenders is pretty blonde Becky Roberts, who was a popular pourer at the now shuttered Alley Cat. The place can truthfully advertise “coldest beer in town” as it patterns itself after the 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 all served with ranch or blue cheese. The menu also features a variety of tacos with the most unusual a pork belly one. 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 lists the traditional fries, coleslaw and even 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 said they’ll make an exception. Call ’em at 904/432-8448. While most local pubs and eateries are trying lots of different specials to tempt locals until the tourists come back the downtown Front Street’s Salty Pelican broke the code, making 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 ones 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 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. Call ‘em at 904/277-3811. The Centre Street Amelia Tavern 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. Have you 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 for $13.95, now available at downtown’s 4th Street Deli. They’re also offering a Korean bul-go-gi, chargrilled marinated beef served with rice for $14.95. They’re 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, with 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.