Congratulations to Fernandina Beach Mayor Johnny Miller, the former darling of the loud, local, left-wing environmental extremist crowd, that now loves to hate him.
Johnny’s “yes” vote Tuesday, April 16 was the decider that enabled Amelia Bluff developers to rightly proceed with their planned housing project on Citrona, across from Fernandina Beach High School. Johnny’s affirmative nod has the shrieking “We know better than you!” extremist mob throwing an unrelenting hysterical, spittle-flecked tantrum. It also prevented a law suit by the developers that would have cost the tax payers of Fernandina Beach dearly.
I rarely agree with Mayor Miller and have been quick to criticize him in this space. Not this time though. He’s right. And so were the other two commissions — Phil Chapman and Len Kreger — who used common sense and respect for the rule of law by also casting their “yes” votes. I stopped by the Palace Saloon the other day to shake the bartending mayor’s hand and tell him I appreciate and applaud his decision.
The local left’s new honeys – commissioners Chip Ross and Mike Lednovich – with their sneering faculty-lounge self-righteousness and impotent unfounded screeds — took to social media to encourage the fatuous sign waving anti-development crowd to oppose the developer’s plans. The attempts by these two clowns to lead those that don’t think like them out of the muck of their insensitivities, is becoming one of Fernandina Beach’s more interesting forms of entertainment. These two jokers have about as much respect for property rights as Joy Behar has comic talent. The only thing this pair have accomplished to date has been to further expose themselves as angry, unreasonable liberals enthusiastic in further whipping up anger and irrational hysteria among a gullible crowd of disgruntled, uninformed, and misguided sign-waving extremists.
Old-timer and perpetual public crank, Ron “Get off my lawn you little bastards” Sapp, soiled a quarter page of the April 24 local bi-weekly News Leader touting his moral superiority and declaring that the 3-2 City Commission’s vote to approve the subdivision “…was damaging to the very principles of representative democracy.” When denied the righteousness that he and his fanatical crowd crown themselves with they resort to childish sloganeering and sophomoric editorial blather. Just read his crap in the News-Leader.
After the vote, Margaret Kirkland, who heads up something called the Amelia Tree Conservancy, and one of the most vocal of the environmental extremist crowd, continued her relentless, radicalized fury against the subdivision and its supporters in an April 26 “Voice Of The People” News Leader letter. In her hysterical, venomous attack against those that disagree with her she declared — in essence — that they must be silenced, punished, and destroyed. This churlish activist behaves like a simple-minded 13-year-old rounding up a junior high school crowd of march-and-riot cronies, encouraging them by sermonizing in her letter that the “yes-voting” commissioners “…have no idea what they have done.”
Ms. Kirkland says: “…three commissioners thumbed their noses at the vast majority of their constituents. They thumbed their noses at the next generation of the kids who spoke so eloquently. They passed a change that the majority of their constituents were strongly opposed to, blah, blah, blah, and more blah.”
She says she’s been encouraged by many to sue the city and the city commissioners who “have crushed” her small dim-witted crowd’s “sense of community.” She’s also clinging to a false sense of hope that one of the three “yes” commissioners will reverse his vote.
Let me clue you in lady. Your crowd isn’t in the majority. Far from it. They’re just loud. Many of those appearing at city hall April 16
and waving signs don’t even live in Fernandina Beach, including you. You live in the unincorporated area of Amelia Island, outside of our city limits, yet you have the gall to wag your finger at the citizens of our city, implying that those who oppose your snarling contrarian way of thinking want to denude the city’s forests and pave them over. Nothing could be further from the truth. They care about the environment. But they also understand fairness, property rights, the rule of law, and the fifth and 14th amendments to the Constitution, subjects about which you are totally clueless. If nothing else, you’re shamelessly entertaining.
In addition, Ms. Kirkland and another News Leader letter writer, Robyn Nemes, said “the children” were disappointed by the commission’s vote. These “children” who appeared in the commission chambers came directly from homes and public schools with their brains freshly washed. They recited the mindless pablum injected by their liberal parents and public indoctrinators like Fernandina Beach High School’s Ron Sapp. Using kids as props is shameless. But what can we expect from a group that thinks 16-year-olds should have the right to vote?
One of the loopy News-Leader letter writers even wants to contribute to a fund to sue the city. Fine. Or they can set their money on fire, which will be about as productive as trying to sue the city for upholding the will of the voters and the 5th and 14th Amendments.
The disappointed extremists, all berserk with rage and lamenting the Commission’s “yes” vote, declare that their 180-200 screaming sign-wavers that showed up for the April 16 vote, represent a majority of folks hereabouts who oppose the Amelia Bluff development. They do not!
There are 67,793 registered voters in Nassau County with 39,946 of those being Republican, 14,505 Democrats, and 13,554 with no party affiliation. The voting numbers for Fernandina Beach’s 13,000 plus residents are equally dramatic with the latest figures indicating that the percentage of Republicans turning out for elections in the city is double that of the Democrats, and from all indications that trend will continue with the GOP figures getting even larger. City Commission elections are nonpartisan but that doesn’t mean voters leave their ideology at the door when casting ballots.
The three commissioners wisely voted for what the majority of our city’s residents agreed was a fair and reasonable choice, not one vocalized by a small-minded group of loud sign-waving extremists who insinuated that the builders and home buyers were a crazed group of lumberjacks armed with crosscut saws and axes.
Fernandina Beach Republicans are traditionally conservative and have consistently voted in larger numbers than Democrats over the years. As more retirees move to Fernandina Beach, that trend will continue.
Reasonable residents, representing the majority of city voters, know full well that the Amelia Bluff developer has been operating appropriately with prior city approval and signed permits. These builders installed water and sewer infrastructure, curbs, streets, and have contracts on seven of the 30 planned $600,000-$700,000 priced homes. They have invested more than $2.5 million into the project. In addition, five acres of the property the developer purchased from the Nassau County School Board have been donated to the city as wetlands. The developer has also agreed to pay $115,000 to the city for conservation purposes upon final plat approval. On their own initiative and at no cost to tax payers the developers also paved a sidewalk at the across the street high school because they thought it was the right thing to do.
Even local attorney, Clinch Kavanaugh, a vocal far left liberal and life-long resident of Fernandina Beach, spoke directly to Commissioner Ross at a May 19 session telling him that failure to approve the development would result in costly litigation that the city would likely lose. Ross doesn’t care.
With commissioners like Chip “Sue their pants off” Ross and lefty California transplant and 17-month resident Lednovich, the city’s tax-paying residents should thank the other three commissioners for voting to ensure City Hall didn’t become an ATM for litigants and a sanctuary for misguided left-wing initiatives run by a venomous and hysterical crowd committed to foolishness and arrogance.
Local realtor Philip Griffin sounded an early alarm bell that was heeded by the three yes-voting commissioners when he said: “What is disturbing is that local governments like Fernandina Beach listen to a small but vocal minority and then enact ordinances that encroach upon fundamental rights guaranteed under the 14th Amendment.”
This time they did the right thing and should be congratulated for doing so. They listened to the reasonable majority.
Read All About It: The fifth annual edition of the Amelia Island News-Wrecker hit the streets Monday, April 29 with front page stories touting the island as the future site of the Winter “Olypmpic” downhill ski trials, warning readers about massive caravans of illegal Canadian immigrants headed our way, and describing a bucket brigade program to reduce dangerously high ocean levels.
According to News-Wrecker Editor Anita Nuderbeer, the newspaper is being distributed just prior to this week’s May 3-5 Shrimp Festival. It will be available in bars, restaurants and shops on Amelia Island and various other Nassau County locations.
“We cover articles that the fake news organization are afraid to touch,” says Ms. Nuderbeer. “Readers of the News-Wrecker can rest assured that we stay on top of fast-breaking news despite the fact that we only publish one edition a year.
“Because of our annual schedule sometimes we have to make up the news before it takes place,” she explains. “As a result we make a few mistakes here and there but we don’t really care and it’s too late now to do anything about it anyway. And we don’t really try all that hard either.”
Ms. Nuderbeer said that when the first Wrecker debuted in 2015 Publisher Shirley U. Jest never anticipated producing another one, but,” she says, “the paper’s readers and advertisers convinced her to change her mind because, she explains: “They are hungry for a local factual and accurate news source.”
Editor Nuderbeer said that despite what her publisher says accuracy, timeliness, grammar, ethics and writing skills aren’t priorities in her newsroom. “Look, I’ve got my hands full just trying to keep this staff sober in order to get the next edition out,” said the grizzled journalism veteran.
Last year’s edition featured “news” stories about massive oil discoveries off Amelia Island’s coast, new tenements planned for downtown Fernandina Beach and a Russian foreign exchange student caught meddling in Fernandina Beach High School student council elections.
The free tabloid News-Wrecker boasts the tagline “Amelia Island’s sacred cows make the best burgers.” An online version of last year’s paper is available at www.amelianewswrecker.com and this year’s will be available online eventually.
The News Wrecker pokes fun at the island’s small but vocal liberal and right-wing populations, local governing bodies, politicians, the Shrimp Festival, local news gathering organizations, and any other area sacred cows it can lasso.
Businesses or individuals interested in assisting in producing next year’s issue or advertising in it can contact Dave Scott at 770/354-7228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hooch, Horses & Hats: Locals and visitors can add the excitement of the Kentucky Derby to their Shrimp Festival activities again this year as the downtown North 3rd Street Florida House continues its 18th annual traditional of opening its Mermaid Lounge to fans of the event with special drinks and a random chance to bet on a horse tomorrow, Saturday, May 4.
Every year for the past 18 I’ve stuffed the names of the horses in envelopes and offered Florida House guests and visitors an opportunity to draw one of the horse’s names for $10. With an average of 20 horses in the annual race the winner walks away with $200. You don’t get to select a specific horse but draw a name randomly. Depending on the size of the crowd there may be more than one pool. Preliminary races are held all day beginning at 10:30 a.m. with the actual Derby post time at 6:50 p.m. Pool drawings for the 6:50 race start about 2 p.m. and will be shown on the lounge’s two TV sets.
Deft Mermaid bartender Paul Lore will be making a batch of mint julips and some ladies say they’ll be decked out in traditional big floppy hats.
Buttering People Up: My good friend Jeff McDowell, a former public information office sailor in the US Navy volunteered to lend his talents this year to the Shrimp Festival Committee’s public relations efforts to help promote the annual event.
When I picked up a recent issue of the local News-Leader I was pleasantly surprised to see a Mr. McDowell by-lined article plastered across the front page of the paper’s second section headlined “Behind the scenes of Shrimp Fest.”
In his article Jeff portrayed two of the event’s key sponsors – Baptist Medical Center Nassau and Challenge Butter — buttering up the butter company in his article from top to bottom. After this puff piece I’m sure Jeff, who is a chef of considerable talent, won’t have to buy another stick of butter for the rest of his life. The only thing missing was why the company named itself “Challenge” an odd name I think for a consumer food product company. Anyway, thanks to both of these enterprises for their sponsorship.
Missing Mojo: Former U.S. Congressional Texas representative and current Democrat presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke, attracted a “crowd” of 35 for a campaign event at the University of Nevada Las Vegas Friday, April 26 according to a Blomberg news report. That handful of folks were probably just curious to see for themselves the erratic arm waving motions the candidate performs when he presents his only message – open borders and tearing down the existing barriers between Mexico and the U.S. Nothing to see here folks.
Drinking, Dining & Dancing: A friend who recently visited an eatery on Fletcher Ave told me that he was presented with a menu there that suggested “peel & eat shrimp” for $27.00 a pound, about $10 more than he or I think is even close to a reasonable price. The place starts with an “S” and it isn’t Sandbar, Salt Life or Sliders. One of the the best deals I’ve discovered for peel and eat shrimp on the island is offered at another “S” joint, the Salty Pelican on downtown Front Street, where customers can enjoy a half pound for $10 and a pound for $17. Who pays $27 per pound for shrimp unless they come with a lobster?