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Once The Coronavirus Pandemic Is History How Does Fernandina Beach Pay Its Bills?

One of the of founding members of the recently created Common Sense Fernandina Beach Group, (http://www.commonsensefb.org/) Jack Knocke, is looking beyond the COVID-19 pandemic to unresolved issues that remain on the Fernandina Beach City Commission agenda and to help with post virus economic recovery. (I’ve been told that their site is down temporarily so if you can’t access it now try again later.)

During these trying times City Manager Dale Martin and the free-spending Commission aren’t winning any popularity contests by raising taxes to buy chunks of city property for conservation purposes thus taking it off the tax roles and turning it into unproductive assets; hiring more city employees; moving to a new city hall; and strong-arming local businesses for impact fees, among other fiscal malfeasance. Freezing the city’s hiring, stopping all unnecessary spending including the Simmons Road Park, staying put in the current city hall, cutting the city manager’s and department head’s salaries, and promising to search for other ways to slash costs and pay the bills would be a start in alleviating the city’s economic pain caused by the virus.

Every industry in Nassau Country is suffering with the hospitality industry hit hardest. It’s estimated that in the hospitality industry alone more than 2,000 employees hereabouts are out of work, numerous restaurants and shops closed, and hotels either closed or running with occupancy in the low single digits. In addition to the financial pain and suffering of the residents this also results in an enormous amount of lost tax revenues to the city. How does the city expect to pay the bills with the lower than anticipated annual revenue? I haven’t heard a single suggestion. All I’ve heard is what’s on its wish list. Wouldn’t this be the ideal time to start paring back a bloated city government?

The city’s airport and golf course are both money pits.

While the city owned golf course loses money even in good times, the city has looked to its newly remolded “It looks like an airplane airport” to generate cash. No more. Airport Manager Nathan Coyle says recreational and charter traffic is down 95% in the last month. “Maybe now we see one airplane a day if we see that,” he said. Fernandina will receive $30,000 in funding through the federal government CARES Act which can be used to continue some operations, replace some lost revenue and pay for capital expenditures, but it’s not nearly enough to cover the lost airport revenue. And guess who’s on the hook for the $5 million airport tab it cost to build?

It’s obvious to Mr. Knocke and others in the Common Sense group that the city is going to have to do some fancy two-stepping to return to any sense of fiscal normalcy in all areas once the virus scare subsides. One of the key issues is the city-owned marina with its endless repairs and accruing mountain of debt estimated right now at around $15.16 million with FEMA’s portion unknown at this point. That’s all on top of a sweetheart lease deal with Brett’s Restaurant. And from what I’ve heard this doesn’t include the north docks repairs or restoring the fuel station. That’s a lot of cash when some 99.9 percent of residents don’t even use the marina. As background the area was rebuilt in the early 1980’s to create a marina complex that was self-sustaining. The city was paying $250,000 a year back then to keep the marina afloat. Now 38 years later, the city is paying $300,000 a year and is looking at a debt of $15 million. As one Common Sense member says: “Makes one wonder what has changed in 38 years, except we now have a big hummer debt to pay plus a marina that can’t sustain itself.”

The “teepee” that once welcomed marina visitors. Amelia Island Museum of History photo.

The worst case scenario is that the city’s tax payers will be saddled with the entire $15 million debt and the best case is that we’ll be on the hook for $8 million or so. FEMA has been so covered up with the COVID-19 crisis the city marina has fallen to the bottom of its priority list, if it was ever on it to begin with. Either way it has to be confronted because the city’s residents are stuck with the bill and need a solution to pay it. With all sources of city revenues currently down for a 10 count it looks like even higher taxes on the horizon no matter what. Just what its residents need following the worst economic calamity ever. And none of this includes the city’s current overall debt or underfunded pension programs. To make matters even worse the city’s agenda has been hijacked by a loud crowd of environmental extremists who get more attention than tax paying citizens. One — Margaret Kirkland — the chair of Amelia Tree Conservatory doesn’t even live here, yet some on the Commission, particularly Chip Ross, treat her like a Knight that says “Ni!” when she appears before them demanding shrubberies.

Common Senser Mr. Knocke penned the following letter to City Manager Dale Martin and the five City Commissioners offering a variety of suggestions to help the marina pay for itself and asking a number of solid questions for commissioners to ponder:

“I know that COVID-19 response as well as the impacts on budget and reopening the beaches and city businesses is our number one priority today. So, my thoughts today are not expecting immediate action, but ideally will start a tangible dialog to more forward at least one phase of development of our marina/riverfront assets.  Let’s put our thought leaders on this with the objective of coming up with a feasibility assessment and community support assessment.

I am commenting today to provide some tangible and actionable ideas for development of the marina/riverfront park leveraging what the city owns as a first step. Several friends have encouraged me to bring these ideas forward to gauge interest, feasibility, and fit with overall objectives – increase utilization of the marina area, support marina revenue positive position, create a draw for families and adults.  Create the most popular waterfront destination in the city!

Here are my thoughts:

  • The building currently housing Brett’s Waterfront Café could be leveraged to be a first phase of redevelopment to create excitement, engagement and retail activity around the marina.
  • Turn Brett’s building into a first floor plus roof deck destination.  Let’s create a destination that will be active throughout the day.
  • Since Brett’s lease runs through 2024, discuss with lessee the possibility of renovation prior to expiration with incentives to be a part of the new development
  • Rooftop could be two-3 establishments with common seating overlooking the water
  • The first floor could also be multiple establishments sharing a common area for dining – If they cooperate with early termination, Brett’s could be pre-approved as a vendor with preferred terms
  • Vendor kiosks could be placed on the side of the dock area adjacent to Brett’s to offer hot dogs, ice cream, seafood and other “beach” foods to serve visitors and boaters.
  • Lets’ add more tables and seating in the area to attract visitors to come and stay
  • Leverage this as a first step in waterfront development to show success
  • What are the reasons why to take this approach?
    • The restaurant is currently underutilized for the potential in this area.
    • Rent charged to Brett’s is below market – not a good deal for the city
    • This building is owned by the city, so we can control redevelopment
    • We have FEMA or other funds that could be tapped to invest in this project, or it could be financed with bonds at a low rate
    • This is one of the best views in the city.  Rooftop would be awesome.
    • Local vendors and restaurants should have strong interest in supporting this type of venue
    • Let’s keep the project focused so that we can move something forward and keep the larger multimillion-dollar discussions in a longer-term discussion

Next steps?

  • Can you provide ideas regarding next steps that could/should be taken to determine the feasibility of this approach?
    • Marina Advisory Board?  Planning Board?  Main street?  Chamber?  City Commissioner advocate?  Architectural designs?  Engineer review?”

In a nutshell what Mr. Knocke is saying is that the city has a valuable underutilized asset sitting on a mountain of debt. What’s the best way to use it and reduce the debt? At one time I thought the city should sell it, but following this current economic mess we’re in who would buy it or even have the money to do so?

Transformed City Commissioner Mike Lednovich — who continues to surprise us with logic and reason — offered the only Commission response I’ve seen to date to Mr. Knocke’s letter saying: “Here’s a bigger revenue driver for the City Marina – a dry storage building located preferably at the southern portion of the marina. The Amelia Island Marina have filled their dry storage and the average yearly revenue per boat is $5,000, the dry storage holds 150 boats, that equals $750,000 annually. The City could build a 100-boat facility on the south end marina property and earn $500,000. Instead, we have petanque courts and a piece of riverfront property most people/tourists seldom ever use. You’ll have people say there isn’t enough land there. That’s hogwash. Also opponents don’t want to lose the view of the river. The reality is that in order to be profitable, marina operations must have boat storage and boat repair facilities. A restaurant alone can’t carry the burden.”

Commissioner Lednovich, who once displayed all the warmth of a Hillary Clinton kiss, has undergone a massive transition into a reasonable, concerned elected official displaying consideration for city tax payers and residents and offering solutions.

***

Self-Isolating Observations & Other Stuff:  I really, really miss baseball. Talented graphic designer, cartoonist and good friend, Steve Hall, sent me a link to a site that broadcasts simulated games with images of actual players. I have no idea how this is done, and it looks and sounds real. But it’s just not the same. Click here to see it https://youtu.be/C4ee_OdHEj0. One thing that makes the real game so fascinating is its lore and statistics. Over the years I’ve learned that if the game was as complicated as sports writers and broadcasters make it out to be baseball players would be unable to play it.

  • Speaking of sports, no matter how hard I try, I find soccer exceedingly boring. On the other hand, the only thing duller than track is field.
  • During the pandemic I read that an Arizona man is playing bagpipes at sunset to cheer up his neighbors. I suspect after a few tunes some of those not so cheered up neighbors may break the social distancing guidelines.
  • Today is Friday and you know what that means now? Nothing.
  • This week during an interview on CNN Joe Biden spoke in a couple of complete coherent sentences. No, he didn’t, just kidding.
  • In March the New York Post ran a photo of a Brooklyn woman shopping at Costco with a mountain of toilet paper and paper towels and several gallons of bleach in her cart while in Wisconsin a Twitter user reported that all the big-box stores there were completely sold out of beer indicating that the folks in Wisconsin have their priorities in order.
  • Federal, state and local government have told businesses to shut their doors forcing them to layoff their employees who they say must stay at home but I haven’t heard of any federal, state or local departments shutting their doors. I understand cops, firemen, EMT workers and refuse collectors as essential, but not those bureaucratic lemmings with rubber stamps.
  • According to news reports with more and more people working from home and using teleworking, Walmart says it has seen a trend in the increase in sales of tops but not bottoms. Really.
  • This December I’m sure we’re going to see a surge in births that will make the post-World War II baby boomer tsunami look like it was caused by a group of cloistered nuns. A woman in England who gave birth during the virus lockdown named her kid “Covid Bryant.” Here are my predictions for a few of the monikers these kids — just waiting to be bullied — will be saddled with this coming December: Corona, Elvirus, Fachi, Birx, Doc, DT, Pop Pop, and Big Mama.
  • Columnist Burt Prelutsky says he regrets that the virus didn’t start in Vegas, “Because as we all know what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”
  • A group of sunbathing nudists in the Czech Republic were recently told they needed to cover up, just not in the way that most would expect. While they were free to remain nude, local ordinances required they keep their mouths covered due to the global virus outbreak.
  • Ontario recently banned groups of more than five. If you’re from a family of six you’ll soon find out where you stand.
  • How many times have you said during this pandemic: “If only Joe Biden was in charge”? Come on, not even if you’re the hardest of the hardcore Democrats you’ve never ever even thought that, much less said it.
  • Half of us are going to come out of this quarantine as wonderful cooks. The other half will come out with a drinking problem.
  • This stay-at-home-don’t-go-to-work isolation stuff reminds me of an expression the late southern comedian Brother Dave Gardner used when he opened his stage shows: “Every night’s a Friday night and every day’s a Saturday.”
  • The world has turned upside down. Old folks are sneaking out of the house and their kids are yelling at them to stay home.

***

HUH? The following is a word-for-word Joe Biden statement made April 6. I’m not making this up. It reminds me of the puzzle books my mother used to buy for me when we went on long driving trips from Florida to Canada and back. I was supposed to fill in the blanks so the sentences made sense. However, this is one I can’t solve. Here’s the Biden puzzler:

“We cannot let this we we’ve never allowed an any crisis from the Civil War straight through to the pandemic of seventeen all the way around sixteen we have never ever let our democracy sakes second fiddle way they we can have both a democracy and elections at the same time.”

I give up. Anyone else want to take a stab at deciphering it?

Incoherence and gibberish is nothing new to Biden. In 2008 when he was a Senator from Delaware he told Katie Couric on national TV: “When the stock market crashed, President Roosevelt got on television and reassured the nation,” obviously unaware that the stock market crash took place in 1929 under President Hoover before TV was invented.

Maybe Biden should have considered a career as scat singer.

***

Speaking Of Joe Biden: Does anyone remember the following 2018 Joe Biden comment made to reporters during the Brett Kavanaugh U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings? “For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real, whether or not she forgets facts, whether or not it’s been made worse or better over time.”

Ole’ sleepy creepy Joe said that when Christine Blasey Ford accused Judge Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when the two were in high school. Ms. Blasey Ford’s accusations were proven totally false with no corroboration. There was absolutely nothing there. The media didn’t care, they were all over it, declaring the judge a predator with ‘old Joe cheering them on. They and Joe said that women must be believed about sexual assault

Now that Sleepy Joe has been accused of pinning a former Senate staffer, Tara Reade, to a wall, and molesting her by putting his hand under her skirt it’s “there’s nothing to see here” exposing the disgusting and despicable double standards of the media and the Democrats.

***

There’s A Song In The Air: Every major world occurrence ranging from wars and economic catastrophes to plagues and natural disasters spawned songs about that event. For example, the bubonic plague’s was “Ring Around The Rosie, A Pocket Full of Posies”, a rhyme that became a children’s song. Its words signify the plague’s trademark red rash and the stench of death alleviated by the smell of flowers. The American Revolution had “Yankee Doodle.” The Civil War, “Dixie” for the Southern cause and “When Johnny Comes Marching home Again” for both sides. World War I spawned “Over There” and “How Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm”. The Great Depression inspired “Brother Can You Spare A Dime.” World War II had many including “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B”, “You’re in the Army Now” and “We’ll Meet Again.” The Vietnam War inspired “Ballad of the Green Berets.”

I’ve discovered one that seems appropriate for the current coronavirus epidemic and its self-isolation, the 1966 Statler Brothers tune, “Flowers on the Wall”. Here it is. What do you think about it as the 2020 pandemic theme?

I keep hearin’ you’re concerned about my happiness
But all that thought you’re givin’ me is conscience I guess
If I was walkin’ in your shoes, I wouldn’t worry none
While you ‘n’ your friends are worried about me I’m havin’ lots of fun

Countin’ flowers on the wall
That don’t bother me at all
Playin’ solitaire till dawn with a deck of fifty-one
Smokin’ cigarettes and watchin’ Captain Kangaroo
Now don’t tell me I’ve nothin’ to do

Last night I dressed in tails, pretended I was on the town
As long as I can dream it’s hard to slow this swinger down
So please don’t give a thought to me, I’m really doin’ fine
You can always find me here, I’m havin’ quite a time

Countin’ flowers on the wall
That don’t bother me at all
Playin’ solitaire till dawn with a deck of fifty-one
Smokin’ cigarettes and watchin’ Captain Kangaroo
Now don’t tell me I’ve nothin’ to do

It’s good to see you, I must go, I know I look a fright
Anyway my eyes are not accustomed to this light
And my shoes are not accustomed to this hard concrete
So I must go back to my room and make my day complete

Countin’ flowers on the wall
That don’t bother me at all
Playin’ solitaire till dawn with a deck of fifty-one
Smokin’ cigarettes and watchin’ Captain Kangaroo
Now don’t tell me I’ve nothin’ to do

***

More Straight Talk: Of Nancy Pelosi, pundit, analyst, author and CEO Joel Ross says: “Here is what Pelosi is really after with funds for hospitals. There are tens of billions unspent in the original bill for hospitals. Pelosi wants much more so the plaintiff lawyers who are already geared up, can sue the hospitals for liability for deaths from the virus. The hospitals settle. The lawyers then donate part of their settlement to the DNC. That is the game. She is holding up $250 billion to small business for campaign contributions. This is why having the Dems control the House is so disastrous.”

***

Put This Old Bird In Cold Storage: While Americans are losing their jobs due to the virus rocking the economy Nancy Pelosi blocks funding for people to keep getting paychecks then goes on national TV to show off her $24,000 San Francisco mansion freezer full of gourmet ice cream. In the meantime her sidekick, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, the bartender from the Bronx, outdid her ignorance this week when she said negative oil prices were a wonderful thing. And while videoing herself making a margarita, she demanded that low income workers not go back to work so they can demand changes to their hours and wages. What a great idea. The lowest income people going on a protest so they can get fired and lose whatever income they had. Her local constituents are starting to realize she is a self-promoting moron. Pelosi at 80 has had so much plastic surgery that her dog can’t tell if she’s a human being or a giant chew toy. Her constituents are morons to keep electing that witch, but as long as she keeps letting them poop on San Francisco’s sidewalks they’ll keep voting for her.

***

Stupid Is As Stupid Does: The dingbat governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, wants to be Joe Biden’s vice presidential selection, and she’s doing her best to ensure that her actions impress Sleepy Joe. She’s doing a heck of a job. By acting as irresponsibly and ineptly as possible she’s doing more damage to the economy of Michigan than the pandemic and proving to Biden and his team that she’s as wonderfully hopeless and dim as the former VP. This clueless loon has banned the sale of paint, vegetable seeds and garden hoses but says liquor, pot and lottery tickets are critical necessities. Whitmer says residents of Michigan can smoke their grass but can’t mow it. Landscaping companies can’t maintain yards says this senseless twit despite the fact they have no contact with anyone and are paid through the mail. And Michigan’s residents can’t travel from house to house or go to their lake cabins says the mindless governor. She’s against Americans protesting a tyrannical government, apple pie, mom and baseball. President Trump was probably holding back when he referred to her on Twitter as “Governor ‘Half’ Whitmer.”  Her petty and arbitrary edicts make no sense except to destroy businesses and cut off income. Maybe that’s why she’s doing it, to impress the equally dim bulb, Joe Biden. They’d make a perfect Democrat duo. The citizens of Michigan would probably be delighted to see the backside of this moron; and at this point the only benefit of choosing her as his running mate is if he felt the need of having a scapegoat to blame when he inevitably loses the election to Donald Trump.

***

Hey HR, You’re Fired! Suppose you ran a large company worth billions of dollars and the folks in charge of Human Resource kept sending you job candidates like Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Adam Schiff, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Llean Omar, Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, Gretchen Whitmer, etc. How soon would it be before the CEO fired the entire human resources department before they financially wrecked the company and put everybody out of work?

Once The Coronavirus Pandemic Is History How Does Fernandina Beach Pay Its Bills?

One of the of founding members of the recently created Common Sense Fernandina Beach Group, (http://www.commonsensefb.org/) Jack Knocke, is looking beyond the COVID-19 pandemic to unresolved issues that remain on the Fernandina Beach City Commission agenda and to help with post virus economic recovery. (I’ve been told that their site is down temporarily so if you can’t access it now try again later.)

During these trying times City Manager Dale Martin and the free-spending Commission aren’t winning any popularity contests by raising taxes to buy chunks of city property for conservation purposes thus taking it off the tax roles and turning it into unproductive assets; hiring more city employees; moving to a new city hall; and strong-arming local businesses for impact fees, among other fiscal malfeasance. Freezing the city’s hiring, stopping all unnecessary spending including the Simmons Road Park, staying put in the current city hall, cutting the city manager’s and department head’s salaries, and promising to search for other ways to slash costs and pay the bills would be a start in alleviating the city’s economic pain caused by the virus.

Every industry in Nassau Country is suffering with the hospitality industry hit hardest. It’s estimated that in the hospitality industry alone more than 2,000 employees hereabouts are out of work, numerous restaurants and shops closed, and hotels either closed or running with occupancy in the low single digits. In addition to the financial pain and suffering of the residents this also results in an enormous amount of lost tax revenues to the city. How does the city expect to pay the bills with the lower than anticipated annual revenue? I haven’t heard a single suggestion. All I’ve heard is what’s on its wish list. Wouldn’t this be the ideal time to start paring back a bloated city government?

The city’s airport and golf course are both money pits.

While the city owned golf course loses money even in good times, the city has looked to its newly remolded “It looks like an airplane airport” to generate cash. No more. Airport Manager Nathan Coyle says recreational and charter traffic is down 95% in the last month. “Maybe now we see one airplane a day if we see that,” he said. Fernandina will receive $30,000 in funding through the federal government CARES Act which can be used to continue some operations, replace some lost revenue and pay for capital expenditures, but it’s not nearly enough to cover the lost airport revenue. And guess who’s on the hook for the $5 million airport tab it cost to build?

It’s obvious to Mr. Knocke and others in the Common Sense group that the city is going to have to do some fancy two-stepping to return to any sense of fiscal normalcy in all areas once the virus scare subsides. One of the key issues is the city-owned marina with its endless repairs and accruing mountain of debt estimated right now at around $15.16 million with FEMA’s portion unknown at this point. That’s all on top of a sweetheart lease deal with Brett’s Restaurant. And from what I’ve heard this doesn’t include the north docks repairs or restoring the fuel station. That’s a lot of cash when some 99.9 percent of residents don’t even use the marina. As background the area was rebuilt in the early 1980’s to create a marina complex that was self-sustaining. The city was paying $250,000 a year back then to keep the marina afloat. Now 38 years later, the city is paying $300,000 a year and is looking at a debt of $15 million. As one Common Sense member says: “Makes one wonder what has changed in 38 years, except we now have a big hummer debt to pay plus a marina that can’t sustain itself.”

The “teepee” that once welcomed marina visitors. Amelia Island Museum of History photo.

The worst case scenario is that the city’s tax payers will be saddled with the entire $15 million debt and the best case is that we’ll be on the hook for $8 million or so. FEMA has been so covered up with the COVID-19 crisis the city marina has fallen to the bottom of its priority list, if it was ever on it to begin with. Either way it has to be confronted because the city’s residents are stuck with the bill and need a solution to pay it. With all sources of city revenues currently down for a 10 count it looks like even higher taxes on the horizon no matter what. Just what its residents need following the worst economic calamity ever. And none of this includes the city’s current overall debt or underfunded pension programs. To make matters even worse the city’s agenda has been hijacked by a loud crowd of environmental extremists who get more attention than tax paying citizens. One — Margaret Kirkland — the chair of Amelia Tree Conservatory doesn’t even live here, yet some on the Commission, particularly Chip Ross, treat her like a Knight that says “Ni!” when she appears before them demanding shrubberies.

Common Senser Mr. Knocke penned the following letter to City Manager Dale Martin and the five City Commissioners offering a variety of suggestions to help the marina pay for itself and asking a number of solid questions for commissioners to ponder:

“I know that COVID-19 response as well as the impacts on budget and reopening the beaches and city businesses is our number one priority today. So, my thoughts today are not expecting immediate action, but ideally will start a tangible dialog to more forward at least one phase of development of our marina/riverfront assets.  Let’s put our thought leaders on this with the objective of coming up with a feasibility assessment and community support assessment.

I am commenting today to provide some tangible and actionable ideas for development of the marina/riverfront park leveraging what the city owns as a first step. Several friends have encouraged me to bring these ideas forward to gauge interest, feasibility, and fit with overall objectives – increase utilization of the marina area, support marina revenue positive position, create a draw for families and adults.  Create the most popular waterfront destination in the city!

Here are my thoughts:

  • The building currently housing Brett’s Waterfront Café could be leveraged to be a first phase of redevelopment to create excitement, engagement and retail activity around the marina.
  • Turn Brett’s building into a first floor plus roof deck destination.  Let’s create a destination that will be active throughout the day.
  • Since Brett’s lease runs through 2024, discuss with lessee the possibility of renovation prior to expiration with incentives to be a part of the new development
  • Rooftop could be two-3 establishments with common seating overlooking the water
  • The first floor could also be multiple establishments sharing a common area for dining – If they cooperate with early termination, Brett’s could be pre-approved as a vendor with preferred terms
  • Vendor kiosks could be placed on the side of the dock area adjacent to Brett’s to offer hot dogs, ice cream, seafood and other “beach” foods to serve visitors and boaters.
  • Lets’ add more tables and seating in the area to attract visitors to come and stay
  • Leverage this as a first step in waterfront development to show success
  • What are the reasons why to take this approach?
    • The restaurant is currently underutilized for the potential in this area.
    • Rent charged to Brett’s is below market – not a good deal for the city
    • This building is owned by the city, so we can control redevelopment
    • We have FEMA or other funds that could be tapped to invest in this project, or it could be financed with bonds at a low rate
    • This is one of the best views in the city.  Rooftop would be awesome.
    • Local vendors and restaurants should have strong interest in supporting this type of venue
    • Let’s keep the project focused so that we can move something forward and keep the larger multimillion-dollar discussions in a longer-term discussion

Next steps?

  • Can you provide ideas regarding next steps that could/should be taken to determine the feasibility of this approach?
    • Marina Advisory Board?  Planning Board?  Main street?  Chamber?  City Commissioner advocate?  Architectural designs?  Engineer review?”

In a nutshell what Mr. Knocke is saying is that the city has a valuable underutilized asset sitting on a mountain of debt. What’s the best way to use it and reduce the debt? At one time I thought the city should sell it, but following this current economic mess we’re in who would buy it or even have the money to do so?

Transformed City Commissioner Mike Lednovich — who continues to surprise us with logic and reason — offered the only Commission response I’ve seen to date to Mr. Knocke’s letter saying: “Here’s a bigger revenue driver for the City Marina – a dry storage building located preferably at the southern portion of the marina. The Amelia Island Marina have filled their dry storage and the average yearly revenue per boat is $5,000, the dry storage holds 150 boats, that equals $750,000 annually. The City could build a 100-boat facility on the south end marina property and earn $500,000. Instead, we have petanque courts and a piece of riverfront property most people/tourists seldom ever use. You’ll have people say there isn’t enough land there. That’s hogwash. Also opponents don’t want to lose the view of the river. The reality is that in order to be profitable, marina operations must have boat storage and boat repair facilities. A restaurant alone can’t carry the burden.”

Commissioner Lednovich, who once displayed all the warmth of a Hillary Clinton kiss, has undergone a massive transition into a reasonable, concerned elected official displaying consideration for city tax payers and residents and offering solutions.

***

Self-Isolating Observations & Other Stuff:  I really, really miss baseball. Talented graphic designer, cartoonist and good friend, Steve Hall, sent me a link to a site that broadcasts simulated games with images of actual players. I have no idea how this is done, and it looks and sounds real. But it’s just not the same. Click here to see it https://youtu.be/C4ee_OdHEj0. One thing that makes the real game so fascinating is its lore and statistics. Over the years I’ve learned that if the game was as complicated as sports writers and broadcasters make it out to be baseball players would be unable to play it.

  • Speaking of sports, no matter how hard I try, I find soccer exceedingly boring. On the other hand, the only thing duller than track is field.
  • During the pandemic I read that an Arizona man is playing bagpipes at sunset to cheer up his neighbors. I suspect after a few tunes some of those not so cheered up neighbors may break the social distancing guidelines.
  • Today is Friday and you know what that means now? Nothing.
  • This week during an interview on CNN Joe Biden spoke in a couple of complete coherent sentences. No, he didn’t, just kidding.
  • In March the New York Post ran a photo of a Brooklyn woman shopping at Costco with a mountain of toilet paper and paper towels and several gallons of bleach in her cart while in Wisconsin a Twitter user reported that all the big-box stores there were completely sold out of beer indicating that the folks in Wisconsin have their priorities in order.
  • Federal, state and local government have told businesses to shut their doors forcing them to layoff their employees who they say must stay at home but I haven’t heard of any federal, state or local departments shutting their doors. I understand cops, firemen, EMT workers and refuse collectors as essential, but not those bureaucratic lemmings with rubber stamps.
  • According to news reports with more and more people working from home and using teleworking, Walmart says it has seen a trend in the increase in sales of tops but not bottoms. Really.
  • This December I’m sure we’re going to see a surge in births that will make the post-World War II baby boomer tsunami look like it was caused by a group of cloistered nuns. A woman in England who gave birth during the virus lockdown named her kid “Covid Bryant.” Here are my predictions for a few of the monikers these kids — just waiting to be bullied — will be saddled with this coming December: Corona, Elvirus, Fachi, Birx, Doc, DT, Pop Pop, and Big Mama.
  • Columnist Burt Prelutsky says he regrets that the virus didn’t start in Vegas, “Because as we all know what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”
  • A group of sunbathing nudists in the Czech Republic were recently told they needed to cover up, just not in the way that most would expect. While they were free to remain nude, local ordinances required they keep their mouths covered due to the global virus outbreak.
  • Ontario recently banned groups of more than five. If you’re from a family of six you’ll soon find out where you stand.
  • How many times have you said during this pandemic: “If only Joe Biden was in charge”? Come on, not even if you’re the hardest of the hardcore Democrats you’ve never ever even thought that, much less said it.
  • Half of us are going to come out of this quarantine as wonderful cooks. The other half will come out with a drinking problem.
  • This stay-at-home-don’t-go-to-work isolation stuff reminds me of an expression the late southern comedian Brother Dave Gardner used when he opened his stage shows: “Every night’s a Friday night and every day’s a Saturday.”
  • The world has turned upside down. Old folks are sneaking out of the house and their kids are yelling at them to stay home.

***

HUH? The following is a word-for-word Joe Biden statement made April 6. I’m not making this up. It reminds me of the puzzle books my mother used to buy for me when we went on long driving trips from Florida to Canada and back. I was supposed to fill in the blanks so the sentences made sense. However, this is one I can’t solve. Here’s the Biden puzzler:

“We cannot let this we we’ve never allowed an any crisis from the Civil War straight through to the pandemic of seventeen all the way around sixteen we have never ever let our democracy sakes second fiddle way they we can have both a democracy and elections at the same time.”

I give up. Anyone else want to take a stab at deciphering it?

Incoherence and gibberish is nothing new to Biden. In 2008 when he was a Senator from Delaware he told Katie Couric on national TV: “When the stock market crashed, President Roosevelt got on television and reassured the nation,” obviously unaware that the stock market crash took place in 1929 under President Hoover before TV was invented.

Maybe Biden should have considered a career as scat singer.

***

Speaking Of Joe Biden: Does anyone remember the following 2018 Joe Biden comment made to reporters during the Brett Kavanaugh U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings? “For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real, whether or not she forgets facts, whether or not it’s been made worse or better over time.”

Ole’ sleepy creepy Joe said that when Christine Blasey Ford accused Judge Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when the two were in high school. Ms. Blasey Ford’s accusations were proven totally false with no corroboration. There was absolutely nothing there. The media didn’t care, they were all over it, declaring the judge a predator with ‘old Joe cheering them on. They and Joe said that women must be believed about sexual assault

Now that Sleepy Joe has been accused of pinning a former Senate staffer, Tara Reade, to a wall, and molesting her by putting his hand under her skirt it’s “there’s nothing to see here” exposing the disgusting and despicable double standards of the media and the Democrats.

***

There’s A Song In The Air: Every major world occurrence ranging from wars and economic catastrophes to plagues and natural disasters spawned songs about that event. For example, the bubonic plague’s was “Ring Around The Rosie, A Pocket Full of Posies”, a rhyme that became a children’s song. Its words signify the plague’s trademark red rash and the stench of death alleviated by the smell of flowers. The American Revolution had “Yankee Doodle.” The Civil War, “Dixie” for the Southern cause and “When Johnny Comes Marching home Again” for both sides. World War I spawned “Over There” and “How Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm”. The Great Depression inspired “Brother Can You Spare A Dime.” World War II had many including “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B”, “You’re in the Army Now” and “We’ll Meet Again.” The Vietnam War inspired “Ballad of the Green Berets.”

I’ve discovered one that seems appropriate for the current coronavirus epidemic and its self-isolation, the 1966 Statler Brothers tune, “Flowers on the Wall”. Here it is. What do you think about it as the 2020 pandemic theme?

I keep hearin’ you’re concerned about my happiness
But all that thought you’re givin’ me is conscience I guess
If I was walkin’ in your shoes, I wouldn’t worry none
While you ‘n’ your friends are worried about me I’m havin’ lots of fun

Countin’ flowers on the wall
That don’t bother me at all
Playin’ solitaire till dawn with a deck of fifty-one
Smokin’ cigarettes and watchin’ Captain Kangaroo
Now don’t tell me I’ve nothin’ to do

Last night I dressed in tails, pretended I was on the town
As long as I can dream it’s hard to slow this swinger down
So please don’t give a thought to me, I’m really doin’ fine
You can always find me here, I’m havin’ quite a time

Countin’ flowers on the wall
That don’t bother me at all
Playin’ solitaire till dawn with a deck of fifty-one
Smokin’ cigarettes and watchin’ Captain Kangaroo
Now don’t tell me I’ve nothin’ to do

It’s good to see you, I must go, I know I look a fright
Anyway my eyes are not accustomed to this light
And my shoes are not accustomed to this hard concrete
So I must go back to my room and make my day complete

Countin’ flowers on the wall
That don’t bother me at all
Playin’ solitaire till dawn with a deck of fifty-one
Smokin’ cigarettes and watchin’ Captain Kangaroo
Now don’t tell me I’ve nothin’ to do

***

More Straight Talk: Of Nancy Pelosi, pundit, analyst, author and CEO Joel Ross says: “Here is what Pelosi is really after with funds for hospitals. There are tens of billions unspent in the original bill for hospitals. Pelosi wants much more so the plaintiff lawyers who are already geared up, can sue the hospitals for liability for deaths from the virus. The hospitals settle. The lawyers then donate part of their settlement to the DNC. That is the game. She is holding up $250 billion to small business for campaign contributions. This is why having the Dems control the House is so disastrous.”

***

Put This Old Bird In Cold Storage: While Americans are losing their jobs due to the virus rocking the economy Nancy Pelosi blocks funding for people to keep getting paychecks then goes on national TV to show off her $24,000 San Francisco mansion freezer full of gourmet ice cream. In the meantime her sidekick, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, the bartender from the Bronx, outdid her ignorance this week when she said negative oil prices were a wonderful thing. And while videoing herself making a margarita, she demanded that low income workers not go back to work so they can demand changes to their hours and wages. What a great idea. The lowest income people going on a protest so they can get fired and lose whatever income they had. Her local constituents are starting to realize she is a self-promoting moron. Pelosi at 80 has had so much plastic surgery that her dog can’t tell if she’s a human being or a giant chew toy. Her constituents are morons to keep electing that witch, but as long as she keeps letting them poop on San Francisco’s sidewalks they’ll keep voting for her.

***

Stupid Is As Stupid Does: The dingbat governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, wants to be Joe Biden’s vice presidential selection, and she’s doing her best to ensure that her actions impress Sleepy Joe. She’s doing a heck of a job. By acting as irresponsibly and ineptly as possible she’s doing more damage to the economy of Michigan than the pandemic and proving to Biden and his team that she’s as wonderfully hopeless and dim as the former VP. This clueless loon has banned the sale of paint, vegetable seeds and garden hoses but says liquor, pot and lottery tickets are critical necessities. Whitmer says residents of Michigan can smoke their grass but can’t mow it. Landscaping companies can’t maintain yards says this senseless twit despite the fact they have no contact with anyone and are paid through the mail. And Michigan’s residents can’t travel from house to house or go to their lake cabins says the mindless governor. She’s against Americans protesting a tyrannical government, apple pie, mom and baseball. President Trump was probably holding back when he referred to her on Twitter as “Governor ‘Half’ Whitmer.”  Her petty and arbitrary edicts make no sense except to destroy businesses and cut off income. Maybe that’s why she’s doing it, to impress the equally dim bulb, Joe Biden. They’d make a perfect Democrat duo. The citizens of Michigan would probably be delighted to see the backside of this moron; and at this point the only benefit of choosing her as his running mate is if he felt the need of having a scapegoat to blame when he inevitably loses the election to Donald Trump.

***

Hey HR, You’re Fired! Suppose you ran a large company worth billions of dollars and the folks in charge of Human Resource kept sending you job candidates like Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Adam Schiff, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Llean Omar, Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, Gretchen Whitmer, etc. How soon would it be before the CEO fired the entire human resources department before they financially wrecked the company and put everybody out of work?

13 Comments

Bob

25 April , 2020 at 9:40 pm

I keep reading that the major airlines have a problem where to park surplus aircraft. The Delta CEO sees reduced activity for the next couple years. While I know nothing about airports or flying, the street talk has always been that the long runway at the municipal airport was a major feature. Is there not a business opportunity to become a parking lot for the major airlines?

Vince Cavallo

24 April , 2020 at 3:10 pm

You know Dave, what I find amusing in reading through some of the responses to your posting is the amount of vitriol fired at the President. It was like he is the one who invented this virus and launched it on the American public. Horrors, he recommends using a drug off label, actually suggests it might be used, because "what do you have to lose". Indeed, what: Your dying gasping for oxygen and the doc says well sorry there ole boy, we don't have anything we can use because some politician feels it would be improper to use something that has been deemed effective in other countries in anecdotal reports. Or better still, some nit wit reporter misquoting or paraphrasing a comment to make it look like the President (I know how hard that is for some here to read that point) recommends injecting the equal of clorox. Meanwhile, now comes the notion he is wrong to reopen the Country, in phases. Maybe I am naive, but what happens if we all stay home for years and just expect a check from DC while someone in some far distant place grows food, runs the power plants, provides gasoline, and is happy to accept fiat pieces of paper for payment. Meanwhile, the real bad guys here escape commentary. The Chinese commies invented the virus. I will be nice and say they released it locally by error. Then they sealed off that province within their nation WHILE THEY ALLOWED infected carriers to go to every country on the planet spreading this plague. They sounded no alarm. They are the enemy, not Trump. Meanwhile what positive comment do we get from the left. Nothing supportive or suggesting a course of action besides hiding in our homes and pleading with the government to send more money. We will have a 6 trillion budget deficit this year, as of today. That is a sobering amount of money. Worse, nothing to show for it. Meanwhile, the points in your article were excellent.

Terry Jenkins

24 April , 2020 at 2:08 pm

A lot of useful and creative information, Dave. One of your best yet. Keep your head down and don't take any trips to China anytime soon.

Lee

24 April , 2020 at 12:29 pm

Far overdue, as I have mentioned previously, for a public/private venture. Before it is too late we need to control and develop the land along Front Street from the Port south. Walking paths, kiosks, restaurant(s), rest areas, etc. Does not have to to be, and should not be, overdone. Would be great to have a local market that serves visitors as well as locals. Fresh flowers, veggies, shrimp/seafood (from local captains), from locals, etc, And in a dream world a permanent stage at the south end for musician and events.

Lee

24 April , 2020 at 12:17 pm

I believe that anything coming out of Biden's mouth can be trumped. Let's start with taking hydroxychloroquine and end with yesterday's suggestion of injecting disinfectants. Dave......you first and let me know if it works (JK). Not certain anything Biden has said will kill you.

Steven Crounse

24 April , 2020 at 12:02 pm

So when does Scientific Ignorance, and Political Incompetence as Governor Kemp is showing in Georgia cross the line.?? When does it become Manslaughter to our Judicial System.? 10, 100, 1,000 Deaths. We are somewhere around 50,000 Deaths at the moment in America. In 1918 America lost 675,000... our population in 1918 was just over 103,000,000 mostly rural. Today we have 320,000,000,... How many people must Die to satisfy..? I've hear the phase "Herd Mentality" meaning you let the weakest of us parish.... Really is that what we've become.. Now our Moron in Chief would have has faithful ingest Lysol as a cure. My God.

russell

24 April , 2020 at 11:22 am

hey Dave, here is another good one“I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute,.And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets inside the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.” Oh wait, that wasn't Biden. so sorry!

tennnis chix

24 April , 2020 at 10:34 am

commonsensefb.org is up and running! Great Blog! And I wish the best for Georgia! It's time to start opening the state. Remember, Georgia is one hot, humid and sunny place! (almost as hot and humid as Florida) Covid hates sun, heat and humidity! Remember...no one is being FORCED to go anywhere. Remain at home if you feel at risk going out. It's your choice.

Joe Murphy

24 April , 2020 at 10:32 am

Great article on the city FB .We are yet to feel the economic pain thrust upon the US. I would think that Peg should be more concerned about how Joe starts the sentence, ergo ,he might then really recall how the last sentence should end. Stay safe and keep up the good work.

Citizen Joe

24 April , 2020 at 10:16 am

Made an interesting observation yesterday, while my wife, Citizen Jane, and I were braving the virulent world to shop for essentials for our elderly neighbors. While passing by the parking lot in front of The Loop at 14th & Sadler, we were greeted by the stirring sight of a few dozen or so fire trucks and police cars parked door to door, bumper to bumper, our municipal servants marshaling for a very thoughtful parade past our great folks at the hospital, in well-deserved recognition of their now more hazardous commitment to caring for us...very cool... The interesting part was the way they packed the parking lot, and while waiting for the honor parade to get underway, numerous knots of Fernandina’s Finest were huddled about, many smoking, others laughing and back slapping, not a single mask in sight... Now, I’m not judging, just a simple citizen observing, but in my many years of rattling around this world, I’ve come to notice when people in positions of influence, responsibility, or (OR, not and...) authority lead by the power of example. Or not... And so my wife, Citizen Jane and I, journeyed on to the store, in a quest for the many essential groceries needed by the old folks across the street, exchanging observations about the unintended hypocrisy we’d just witnessed. And as we tied on our masks before exiting the car, we laughed and laughed, entered the store, and promptly found ourselves pushing our semi-sanitized cart the wrong way down the aisle. Again, we’re not judging. This stuff is new to all of us, especially us old dogs....

Peg Dickinson

24 April , 2020 at 9:16 am

I can't help but notice you make fun of and criticize Pelosi and Biden, but no mention of the Rep. Governor to our immediate north who is opening places like massage parlors, tattoo shops, and bowling alleys among other wise choices. Some of the people who will use these services come here to work and shop, and that doesn't bother you? It doesn't bother you that our Pres stands up there and contradicts the doctors when they speak? That he suggests, repeatedly, people take a drug that hasn't been tested for use against the virus yet? And on and on. Or do you believe him? No comment about the idiots who are protesting states not opening up yet? Who bring AK47's to the protests? Is it really more important to you that Biden can't finish a sentence?

Monty

24 April , 2020 at 8:30 am

For the life of me, I do not understand why the city of FB does not simply admit they suck at running businesses and lease the marina to a competent private company vs just outsourcing the management of it. Property managers are only so motivated versus outright owners. That creates a guaranteed stream of income for the city and a private will be motivated financially to make that place sing. With the golf course, do the same thing or even create a PUD where a developer comes in and develops homes on 9 holes but must keep the other 18 open. The layout of the course is not bad but like the marina needs someone motivated to make it sing.

Hughes Tom & Stacye

24 April , 2020 at 8:13 am

Why pay taxes ? Central bank to the rescue . Silver linings.....tom & Stacye magnasalon.com

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