Fernandina Beach Mayor Johnny “Moonbeam” Miller’s embrace of wacky causes is reminiscent of the Monty Python Ministry of Silly Walks sketch, where candidates perform highly exaggerated and outrageous gaits to obtain government endorsement and grants.
Instead of silly walks, Mayor Moonbeam heads up Fernandina Beach’s Ministry of Silly Thoughts with his most recent madcap notion insisting that the city fly the rainbow flag annually to celebrate Gay Pride Month. He wants it flown despite the fact that City Attorney Tammy Bach and the four other city commissioners say “no” because it would set precedent opening the door to a variety of special interest groups insisting their flags also be flown. These commissioners and Ms. Bach aren’t anti-LGBTQ. They’re anti-chaos.
For example, this October will be celebrated by dozens of organizations advocating their preferred issues, including those promoting apple jack, cookies, country ham, pizza, drums, and even sarcasm. Yesterday was “Ask a stupid question day” and today is “National Good Neighbor Day.” To accommodate all these groups the city would require a full time flag raiser.
Despite Mayor Miller’s tantrum, the Fernandina Beach City Commission wisely decided at a recent City Commission session to fly only the national, state, and city flags at government facilities to prevent the city’s flag poles from becoming public forums.
Reporting on the meeting the online Fernandina Observer’s respected reporter and political analyst Suanne Thamm wrote: “Mayor John Miller, the sole holdout on adopting the policy, strongly disagreed with the majority. Miller, a long time champion of many social and environmental issues, appeared to narrowly interpret the proposed policy as an anti-LGBTQ measure. While he rarely engages in extended debate or arguments on agenda items, this time Miller made an exception, extending debate to more than 50 minutes as he read extended excerpts from among the more than 40 positive emails he had received in support of flying the Rainbow Flag at City Hall.”
She continued: “The mayor blamed the media for doing ‘a terrible job’ covering the issue and in a pronounced reprimand also called Commissioner (Roy) Smith ‘out of order’ for talking without being recognized, citing, with frustration—and a gavel bang—his continued practice of interrupting discussion and repeating remarks.” Commissioner Smith was objecting to Mayor Miller’s rambling email regurgitation.
I disagree with Ms. Thamm’s use of the word “champion” to describe Miller. A “champion” is a winner and the name of Gene Autry’s horse. Miller’s not a champ, he’s a chump. He has the attention span of a hummingbird, flitting from one silly topic to the next sillier topic.
Miller initially ran for the Commission in 2013 promising to promote and help local businesses, but once elected abruptly turned his attention to bashing those businesses and plastic bag-banning instead, and has since busied himself condemning seismic oil testing, hugging trees, denying owners the right to develop their own property, flag flying fanaticism, and more silliness than the Monty Python crew could ever dream up.
In fact, Miller’s far-left, lemming-like, group-think about all liberal causes — no matter how absurd — is an embarrassment to the community. He never hesitates to localize even the most outrageous liberal national issue to the chagrin of the local Chambers of Commerce, Tourist Development Board, businesses, civic organizations, and other logical thinking citizens. Any fact contradicting his nutty beliefs has him holding his hands over his ears like a small child who doesn’t want to listen to Mother and sputtering mindlessly with blind rage.
Following are just a sampling of some of Mayor Moonbeam’s “silliest thoughts” in no particular order:
- Blow Harder: On his personal Facebook page he advocated for wind turbines on Amelia Island, some as high as 660-feet. Even the author of an article Mr. Miller referenced in his proposal was skeptical about the 660-foot monstrosities, but that didn’t deter the blow-hard mayor despite the fact that a 660-foot turbine is 100 feet taller than the Washington monument or higher than a more than 50-story skyscraper and would cause carnage of Amelia Island’s bird population in unprecedented proportions. On his personal Facebook site he called those who disagreed with him “dishonest” saying their claims were “nonsense” then booted them so they couldn’t respond.
- Business Bashing: Nothing is safe from Commissioner Miller’s pitchfork and torch state of mind as energy companies, the Port of Fernandina, CSX railroad, the two mills, local grocery stores and even a pet shop have all been targeted as rapacious industrial capitalists motivated by evil intentions, obscene profits, a scorched earth policy, and an intent to rape kittens.
- Some Assembly Required: During a rambling disjointed reelection talk at the Green Turtle pub in 2016 he said:”There are people in this state who love each other and can’t get married.” Since gays and lesbians can and do get married in Florida, it was assumed Moonbeam was referring to siblings, crazy cat ladies, guys and their toaster ovens, or any other unnatural matrimonial combinations. In that same disjointed talk he also said: “Go to D.C. and try to talk to your governor. It’s hard to get to these guys.” Yep, it’s hard to get to Florida Governor Rick Scott in D.C. because he resides and works in Tallahassee.
- Bring Your Constituent to Work Day: In the same 2016 reelection speech Moonbeam urged the audience to come down to the Palace Saloon and talk to him while he’s working saying he’d write their concerns down on bar napkins. Continuing with his “talk-to-me-at-work” theme Mr. Miller said: “If you want to legalize weed that’s cool…talk to me about that, I’m all for it.” Did “weed” have a role in the mayor’s rambling, disjointed comments or is he this silly on his own?
- Wah! Wah! Wah! In another rambling, disjointed screed during a budget review workshop in 2015 he shamefully attacked a professional, reasoned and poised Laura DiBella, director of the Nassau County Economic Development Board. Ms. DiBella’s rational thinking, professionalism, and poise made the audience cringe at Miller’s opposing rants and rudeness that made him look like a three-year-old refusing to take a nap.
- How To Win Enemies & Alienate Everybody: His senseless attacks of the island’s three exemplary corporate citizens, including the WestRock and Rayonier mills and CSX Railroad had one executive of the CSX Jacksonville-headquartered firm declaring publically: “Fernandina Beach is fast becoming one of my least favorite places.”
- Doing The Liberal Two-Step: When not out hugging trees, Moonbeam is a leading advocate in protesting local supermarkets use of plastic bags — which is all of them — as well as the use of plastic straws and Styrofoam cups and plates. He also wants to ban oil exploration and fracking despite the fact that local municipalities have no such jurisdiction over the matter.
- Nobody Had A Dog In This Fight: He attacked a local pet store and called for the elimination of local puppy mills even though there were no puppy mills here and never have been.
- Just Keep Turning Left: He has on several occasions asked his supporters to fund his travel to Washington D.C. and Tallahassee to meet with like-minded left-wing folks. He just needs to figure out who works where and in what cities and obtain an AAA map.
- Fun For A Conservative Proctologist: Perhaps the silliest thought that’s passed through Mayor Miller’s mixed up mind is his promise to tattoo the image of socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on his “butt” — apparently the thinking part of the mayor’s anatomy — if Sanders had won the 2016 Democratic primary.
- Free Beer For Haters: This past June Moonbeam posted on his personal Facebook page an invitation to buy a beer for the unhinged writer of a News-Leader letter that was filled with so much irrational hatred, incivility, cursing, abuse and sanctimonious pomposity, it made the Antifa and Black Lives Matter hate groups sound like the Sisters of Charity. It also stirred up a hornets’ nest of local social media controversy, with more than 125 comments on one site alone, 90 percent of them condemning the hysterical, venomous writer. Followers also hammered the News-Leader for running the writer’s profane twaddle. The mayor’s invitation to the letter writer contained grammatical mistakes and he even misspelled the name of our town where he serves as mayor describing himself as mayor of something called “Frenandina Government and Bartender at The Palace Saloon….”Moonbeam booted me off his personal page long ago so his silliest comments are sent to me by folks who continue to bite their tongues while reading his infantile far-left codswallop.
This week I received an item from several folks that Mayor Miller posted on his personal Facebook page that isn’t silly, but dead serious. In it Miller professes that he believes the accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh despite the fact there are no collaborating witnesses, evidence, police reports, many conflicting accounts, etc. Our mayor has apparently already tried and convicted Judge Kavanaugh of sexual assault and made that known publically on social media. He boasted he knows the accuser, but offered no details.
Let’s assume the roles were reversed Mayor Miller. Hypothetically, let’s say that during your next election campaign you were accused of alleged multiple DUI offenses, marital infidelity, or even theft. How would you expect those allegations to be handled? Would you be upset if they were broadcast on the Internet, in local newspapers, and magazines, television and radio? Would you be offended if unknown to you, your accusers blindsided you and declared you guilty before you had an opportunity to respond and defend yourself? What if your family was treated like Kavanaugh’s, including his two young daughters, who have faced serious death threats and vicious assaults? How would you feel? Would you still advocate a Queen of Hearts “Sentence first, verdict later” form of justice? Would you prefer the same public treatment Mr. Kavanaugh received that included your irresponsible repetition of the scurrilous unproven charges leveled at him?
Wouldn’t you want every chance to refute any allegations against you and face your accusers? You say Judge Kavanaugh is guilty because some woman in California, whom you say you know, but who can provide no collaborating evidence, says he attempted to molest her 36 years ago. Accusations without corroboration or evidence do not amount to proof by any standard, not for Kavanaugh or you Mayor Miller.
You are a disgrace and an embarrassment to this community. It’s time for your silliness to stop and you to resign from the Commission.
Music Men In The Music Room: Last Thursday, September 20, Linda and I had the opportunity to hear three of Amelia Island’s most popular, talented and accomplished musicians — Sean McCarthy, Woody Mullis, and Davis Turner — all in one place — PJD’s Beer & Wine Garden’s upstairs Listening Room.
Another Listening Room performance will take place Thursday, October 18 from 7-9 p.m., featuring the Sean McCarthy band (aka The Fishin’ Musicians) that includes Sean on guitar and vocals; Ernie Ealum on bass; Hot Shot Carter, steel guitar, and Daniel Daily, drums. Admission is $15 per person and attendance is limited to 30 people. Tickets can be picked up at PJD’s at 12 South 2nd Street and it is expected to sell out quickly.
This early 20th century room is ideal for acoustic music and drew praise from the trio of McCarthy, Mullis and Turner, who attended Fernandina Beach High School together many years ago before going their separate musical ways and then ending up again on Amelia Island.
In addition to writing songs and performing Sean is a licensed charter boat captain and a top local fishing guide. He spent a number of years in Nashville writing and singing and has several national credits to his name. His initial CD is titled “Life In A Beach Town” while a new one “A Bad Day of Fishin’ is expect to be released within weeks.
Woody hit pay dirt in Nashville along with another FBHS high school classmate, Mike Geiger, as they wrote hit after hit for top singers and groups including the number one, “Darlene”, sung by T. Graham Brown. Credits also include Sawyer Brown’s “This Missin’ You Heart of Mine,” Canyon’s “In the Middle of the Night,” Skip Ewing’s “Your Memory Wins Again,” George Strait’s “Adalida,” Montgomery Gentry’s “Hillbilly Shoes,” and many, many more.
Guitarist, soulful singer, song writer Davis traditionally plays with his bass-playing wife, Pam, at local venues including Salty Pelican, Sliders and the Falcon’s Nest and is considered one of the best local songwriters and guitarists in the area.
It was like being in the presence of three of the Highway Men (Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings) as these talented musicians worked together seamlessly and after more than two hours left the audience wanting more.
Things I Wish I’d Said: “The only reason I’m not running for president is that I’m afraid that no woman would come forward and say she slept with me.” — Gary Shandling