Island Issues

They’re From The Government And They’re Here To Help

They’re From The Government And They’re Here To Help

I’ve known local resident Fred Borakove for more than 10 years. He’s a very pleasant man, smart, courteous, well-read, and well-spoken. He’s also a retired employee of the Internal Revenue Service, serving full time from 1971 to 2003. Following his IRS employment, Fred served from 2003 to 2012 as a Senior Law Enforcement Advisor for the US Treasury Department, Office of Technical Assistance.

In a nutshell he is loyal civil servant with a lengthy and admirable record. As such he took exception to my criticism of the Biden administration’s mislabeled “anti-inflation bill” that included 87,000 more “armed” agents. The agency currently has 78,000 employees so it will more than double in size.

He objected to me saying they will ALL be “armed” and wrote an opinion editorial defending his former employer. The local bi-weekly News Leader used it verbatim.

In his defense of the agency, he rightly reminded readers that it is the only organization that got the goods on crime boss Al Capone, nailing him for income tax evasion. He cited a number of other notorious criminals the agency successfully apprehended and jailed including Benny Rodrigues,  of the famous “French Connection” heroin ring; TV stars Todd and Julie Chrislyn, who were found guilty of bank fraud and tax evasion; and the Hydra Market the largest darknet marketplace to date. There are many more such successes.

However, as impressive as the agency’s achievements are it doesn’t need 87,000 more employees. These new hires won’t be hunting criminals, they’re coming after you and me.

According to the Daily Caller a recent poll says only about 31% of voters believe the IRS will actually use its new resources to focus on auditing large corporations and rich people. A majority of voters believe that the IRS will now target middle-class Americans and small businesses.

“We wanted to understand whether or not voters believe that the true purpose of hiring 87,000 new IRS agents is to focus on – as the Biden Administration has been claiming – ‘large corporate and high-net-worth taxpayers’ or whether something else is afoot,” Mark Meckler, president of the Convention of States, said in a statement. “Democrats believe that this is the case, and that what they’ve been told by their leaders is accurate. Independents and Republicans strongly believe the country is being lied to, and that this new IRS is going to target either everyday Americans, or those who are political opponents of the federal bureaucracy.”

The IRS’s annual enforcement budget was $5.4 billion this year, and it’s getting $45.6 billion more from the new law. That means more people of all income levels will get audited.

Will Democrats use the IRS as a political tool like they are doing with the FBI and DOJ? Ask Lois Lerner or Merrick Garland. Is it any coincidence that the IRS Union contributes 97% of its political donations to Democrats. By hiring thousands of agents, taxpayers will now pay for their own audits. The Democrats are merely laundering taxpayer money back to Democrat coffers. And a new legion of 87,000 IRS employees will be cheered on by Democrats anxious to fleece us for more money.

Fred’s piece also alerted me to something I didn’t know that’s equally frightening.

“The IRS is not the only government agency that some people may be surprised to find purchasing guns and ammunition for law enforcement officers,” he wrote.

“Other Agencies include the Department of Agriculture, which buys weapons and ammunition for the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of Education, which purchases them for its Office of the Inspector General, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration.”

No wonder the Democrats want to confiscate our guns and get rid of the Second Amendment.

***

Get Off My Lawn You Little B…..: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis explained why President Biden’s Thursday, September 1 speech was “one of the most disgusting speeches an American president has ever given.”

Most on the right and even many on the left agree with Governor DeSantis. Even CNN’s White House correspondent asked three times what action Biden intends to take to combat what he says is the MAGA “threat to democracy.” As usual the mental and physical midget WH Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, came up short and was unable to answer.

The 79-year-old choleric demagogue spoke in Philadelphia before a sinister red background with two U.S. Marines behind him. The Marines were forced to listen as the doddering old fool attacked Republicans he labeled enemies of the state. The Marines do what their Commander-in-Chief orders, but they must have been furious listening to such treacherous words and irate at being used as props.

Here’s what our Florida governor had so say about the talk: “Biden’s speech was one of the most disgusting speeches an American president has ever given. He ran as being a unifier, and he’s basically saying to the vast majority of the country that disapproves of him that they’re effectively a threat to the republic. He dodders, he lashes out. But at the end of the day, his policies are why there’s so much opposition to him.”

“He came in and he opened the border, and we’ve seen what a disaster that’s been. He kneecapped American energy. We’ve seen how that’s hurt millions and millions of people across our country. They’ve inflated the currency. We have one of the worst inflations we’ve had in over 40 years. So of course, people are going to be upset at all the wreckage that he’s left in his wake. He is the American Nero. He’s a failed leader.”

There’s nothing Governor DeSantis said that I disagree with as Biden came across like a cartoon figure of an angry old man shaking his cane at the moon.

Biden gave his Nuremberg-style speech in Philadelphia, home of the U.S. Constitution  and a city that earlier this year reported that only 44% of its residents felt safe in their neighborhood after dark. Some 65% said they’d heard gunshots near their homes in the past year. Some 362 people have been killed in the city so far this year compared to 226 in the first eight months of 2019. Meanwhile Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner is bragging about how few criminals he’s put behind bars.

Democrats saying Americans are beneath contempt is nothing new. Former President Barack Obama said that Americans who didn’t support him in 2008 were bitter bigots, clinging to “guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.” Hillary Clinton called them a “basket of deplorables.”

The “semi-fascist” label Biden tossed out in his talk doesn’t come as a surprise. What’s surprising is that a sitting president would utter such a vile and disturbing tirade against Americans who didn’t vote for him.

The actual threat is this angry old fool who would spout contemptable comments such as: “There’s no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans. And that is a threat to this country. Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans are a threat to the very soul of this country.”

***

Overheard At PJD’s Beer & Wine Garden: “Instead of playing ‘Hail to the Chief’, the band should break into the Beatles’ ‘Nowhere Man’ when Biden appears.”

***

Speaking Of Failed Politicians: Fernandina Beach Mayor and City Commissioner Mike “Left Coast” Lednovich scolded me at a chance meeting at PJD’s Beer & Wine Garden last Friday, September 2, saying I should “stop the criticism of the smoking ban on local beaches,” telling me: “You don’t understand it.”

When I suggested that the mayor express his objections and defend the new ordinance on this blog he responded saying: “I’m telling you now.”

He proceeded to “tell” me that the city based its contradictory and controversial ban on a state ordinance. When I responded saying: “You didn’t have to follow it word-for-word” since it’s contradictory and unenforceable, that incensed the California transplant.

He angrily spat: “Do you have grandkids, and if so do you want them stepping on cigarette butts on the beach? “Nope,” I responded, “but I also don’t want them stepping on cigar butts which are not banned under this screwy new ordinance?” The contradictory ban, which local law enforcement officials tell me is unenforceable, also applies to city parks and the downtown marina. Lednovich ignores or is unaware that the city already has a  “no littering” law that applies to the beach.

If law enforcement officials spot smoke swirling from a group of visitors enjoying the beach, do they approach them and ask to see who is smoking? If the smoke is coming from a cigarette, pipe and a vaping device does the officer fine those folks $75 each while giving the stogie smoker a thumbs up? How do they explain that to the confused crowd, who by this time probably think they’re vacationing in Oz? At the least they’ll have a hilarious vacation story to tell their family and friends when they return home that begins with “You won’t believe this but…”

Fernandina Beach Mayor Mike “Left Coast” Lednovich.

I thought the mayor, who was wearing a yellow vest and baseball cap labeled “police’, was headed to the beach to nab errant smokers. Instead, he had volunteered at the Friday “Sounds On Centre” event to help direct pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

Oh, and in case you missed it in the previous postings, here’s a photo of Mayor “Left Coast” Lednovich, publicly and proudly supporting the militant and Marxist Black Lives Matter (BLM) organization about 20 months ago while at the same time that group was rioting, burning, looting, and shooting and beating bystanders. He supports the violent BLM organization while opposing smoking on the beach, which he says, “violates my rights.” Oh, he’s running for the Commission again. I’m posting this photo as a public service so folks will know who NOT to vote for in November.

In this photo he’s wearing the same Fernandina Police Department “Police” cap he wore when I saw him downtown last Friday. Folks that don’t know better might assume that he’s a member of the local police department and that the department endorses BLM.

Personally, in the District 4 City Commission race that includes “Left Coast” Lednovich, I’m casting my vote for Dr. James Antun, a local chiropractor who along with his Chiropractor wife, owns a clinic in the city. As  a local businessman he’s experienced the same trials and tribulations suffered by other business people at the hands of a boated, bullying, insensitive city bureaucracy. Dr. Antun is a hands-on guy who will give the city a needed adjustment – puns intended.

***

Speaking Of City Hall: The flat millage just approved by the Fernandina Beach City Commission will net an additional $1.8 million into the general fund. What are we, the taxpayers getting for that money?

  1. Three firefighters and an IT technician
  2. What else?

It has been  suggested to all five commissioners that the city issue a statement that clearly shows what this money will buy. Since no one reads the budget book a clear statement would be helpful. Anybody at city hall listening?

***

My ACLU Pen Pal: For some inexplicable reason I received a fund-raising letter from the Executive Director of the ACLU that also asked me to participate in a national survey.

I have no idea why this organization, that I and many others consider to be on one of the most dangerous and contemptable groups in the country, would write to me. Maybe someone in their New York City HQ had time on their hands or had a letter-mailing quota to meet.

There was nothing in the request for funds that surprised me. The director pleaded for money saying that unless their goal was met awful things would happen. He said they needed the money to stem a “growing assault on voting rights, reproductive freedom, transgender rights, classroom censorship and more.” Yikes!

In just the first two brief paragraphs of the two-page plea he used the terms “extremists, vengeance, alarming, volatile, unconstitutional , un-American and downright dangerous” to emphasize their need for more cash.

I was exhausted after that and skipped to the end where a fellow with the quixotic name of Anthony D. Romero signed off adding under his title “Pronouns: he, him, his.” If nothing else these ridiculous and dangerous people are always good for a few laughs.

***

Drinking, Dining & Dancing:  The Tavern’s parking lot behind its 318 Centre Street brew bar and restaurant will be converted into a German-style Oktoberfest Saturday, September 24 from 12-7 pm.

The last day of Oktoberfest is  always the first Sunday of October. Over the years, as Oktoberfest grew in popularity, organizers worked backward to capitalize on September’s warmer German weather.

The original annual Bavarian beer bash evolved from a royal wedding. In October 1810, Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen, and beer-quaffing locals celebrated in Munich. They’re still at it when not interrupting the festivities to invade neighboring countries.

The local Tavern says its event will kick off at noon with tournament-style games hosted by the “Siegtoberfest” crew, whatever they are, then feature live music from 2-6 pm by the Stevie Trio.

Organizers say there will be “bier, brats, pretzels, and more bier!” All ages are welcome, and admission is free. Beer and food tickets are $7 each, or five for $30.

VIP Packages are available for $80 and include: “early entry at 11 am, an event t-shirt, a refillable 22 oz event mug, exclusive swag, a growler of Oktoberfest Bier (to-go), and five food/drink tickets.”

Stop by The Tavern, call 904-310-6088, or visit AIBC on the Oznr app to purchase VIP packages.

Speaking of beer and bratwurst, the German Beer Garden on South 3rd Street that two local Teutonic brothers wanted to open by July 4, is still shuttered. Why? I hear it’s because the city is continuing to drag its feet on their permitting processes, another example of how the city stymies local enterprise instead of encouraging it.

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19 Comments

Robert Steele - 11. Sep, 2022 - Reply

Dave, I think what is lost in all the discussion about when the IRS will get how much is the simple fact that a whole lot more taxpayer money will pay the salaries of a whole lot more “enforcement” personnel tasked with extracting a whole lot more in taxes from the taxpayers paying their salaries.

Anyone fool enough to think that the new swarm of IRS employees will only be pestering billionaires and such is kidding himself. At roughly 740 billionaires in America, that comes out to about 116 new agents going through the trash of each billionaire.

Having thus harassed the billionaires, surely they will turn their rapacious gaze to the millionaires (the two groups being otherwise known as the “greedy” 1% who currently pay 40% of the nation’s income taxes). How long, pray tell, before they come after the rest of us?

Susan raab - 10. Sep, 2022 - Reply

I read the IRS section of your post in amazement. Let’s do some fact-checking please. These IRS hires are not entirely new – Congress has been “defunding” the IRS now for years, and these hires willsimply bring the number of agents up to levels of 2006. IRS will hire 87,000 EMPLOYEES-NOT AGENTS. Over TEN YEARS. a fifth of the current IRS agents will be retiring in the next FIVE years! Most of the employees will be answering phones and conducting desk audits— no guns there! Moreover, the Congressional Budge Office calculated that .06 percent more audits will be conducted on those making $75,000 a year or less — roughly half of tax-payers- and will increase by 15% audits of “single tax payers making 5 million or more, corporations, and partnerships.” The majority of the new agent-hires will be those with the education to audit complex tax returns, which have largely gone unchecked for the last ten to twelve years. For every $1 spent on agents, CBO estimates that the IRS will collect an additional $5 in taxes.

As a female Assistant US Attorney specializing in White Collar crime, I can tell you that I sought out IRS cases, because these agents were not showing weapons, swagger, or egos. In 17 years working with them, I saw ZERO weapons — so, Unless you APPROVE of the richer individuals and corporations paying less taxes than legal and less taxes than you and me, and unless you are happy that billionaires cheat the government and seldom are caught because we have so few IRS agents to audit them, then you should be glad to hear about the plans to hire IRS employees.

DAVID LOTT - 09. Sep, 2022 - Reply

Sadly, the City has further reduced the transparency of the Budget review process by eliminating all of the narratives of each department with regards to detailed organization structure, mission, goals, objective, key performance indicators. This has been provided in previous budgets (http://fbfl.us/DocumentCenter/View/22658/City-of-Fernandina-Beach-Adopted-Budget-FY-2021-2022?bidId=) and provides great insight for citizens to better understand the functions and activities for the department.
Just wondering why it was not included in the Proposed Budget?

Dean Abrassart - 09. Sep, 2022 - Reply

Wow, this post has indeed garnered some discussion. I enjoy reading this blog and as with all free blogs, I digest it with the same read-between-the-lines approach. Based on recent national polls and political outcomes it appears the socialist left is beginning to squirm, as RIGHT they should. The opportunity to read the comments section as a result of your blog does bring some excellent insight. Thank you, please keep it coming.

Alison Miller - 09. Sep, 2022 - Reply

Quick question for Mike Lednovich. If the protest you refer to had NOTHING to do with Black Lives Matter, then why are you carrying a sign that says “BLACK LIVES MATTER” Obviously you are supporting this disqusting group of thugs.

Richard Norman Kurpiers - 09. Sep, 2022 - Reply

Here’s a question. Do you support facism? I’m going to guess, no. Then it follows that you support Antifa since their very name literally means anti-facism. In reality, it’s disingenuous to label anyone who expresses disdain for facism as a supporter of Antifa. The same holds true for anyone who believes in the truism that Black lives matter. Conflating that sentiment with the organization of the same name (BLM) is a bullying tactic meant to silence and denigrate. Has anyone even asked Mr. Lednovich whether he supports BLM the organization? What if he were to flip the script and accuse anyone of not supporting BLM as being racist? When you encounter a Black person do you feel their life doesn’t matter? If so, are you willing to go public with that sentiment?

Mark Harrison - 09. Sep, 2022 - Reply

Great Idea! Mr. Lednovich, do you support the Black Lives Matter movement?

Fred - 10. Sep, 2022 - Reply

My Gid your inane drivel is ridiculous. All lives matter Dick, including the unborn.

Richard Norman Kurpiers - 11. Sep, 2022 - Reply

You should get some new material Fred. Advocating for breast cancer awareness doesn’t evoke a cry of all cancers matter. No one goes around whining about the attention breast cancer gets because the adults in the room recognize that advocacy isn’t a mutually exclusive endeavor. I’ve never heard anyone say Black lives matter more than White lives.

Bill Shaffer - 09. Sep, 2022 - Reply

True Fascists believe in the socialist myth of a controlled economy, as well as the inhuman control of individuals from the cradle to the grave.

The only Fascist clues in government in America are the feeble, failing, centrally planned efforts at the Federal, state and local levels.

Bernard Martinage - 09. Sep, 2022 - Reply

To Mike Lednovich . . . Floyd was a scumbag who once held a gun pointed to the belly of a pregnant woman. With all I’ve read about you Sir, and I never met you, I’m somehow not surprised you’d stand for someone like that. You should be ashamed.

Bernard Martinage - 09. Sep, 2022 - Reply

Another great and fun blog Dave! Couple of things . . . a comment and a question . . .

Smoking ban: I don’t agree with it, but trying to make sense of the distinction between cigarettes and cigars, cigarette do polite more because the fiberglass-like material will take over 500 years to disintegrate according to some studies (seems high to me but still) while a cigar leaf, 100% tobacco des ingrates within days or weeks depending on the conditions. That could explain. And by the way you’re always welcomed to a Davidoff Signature Toro at my house. I buy them by the box.

As far as the IRS . . . guns won’t help them.

Question: Will you cover the documentary “My Son Hunter” in a future blog? I was looking forward to it. I can give you access. To it if you want.

Mike Lednovich - 09. Sep, 2022 - Reply

Dave “Pinocchio” Scott: you can’t even get the facts correct. Week after week you manage to conflate issues to fit your twisted narrative. In June 2020 protesters marched in Fernandina Beach following the death of George Floyd at the hands of responding police officers in Minneapolis.
That same day Fernandina Beach Police Chief Jim Hurley said at that rally: ” I know that police chiefs from cities large and small are outraged by the behavior of the officers in MN and I join them in expressing my disappointment and condemning the horrific actions of a few that serve to undermine the good works of police officers all across America.”
The protest had absolutely nothing to do with the Black Lives Matter political organization as you paint everybody who participated that day including our police chief. Your nose grows longer blog upon blog.
As to smoking on the beach, what I actually said which you got wrong, was “I didn’t want my grand daughter playing in beach sand and coming up with a handfull of cigarette butts.”
You say we have a no litter law, but under that law you have to catch the person “in the act” of littering. Good luck with that.
The yellow jacket I was wearing you refer to clearly had Police Auxillary in huge letters on it. The Police Auxillary is a community volunteer groups that assist our police at local events. But you can’t get that right.
The Fernandina Beach Police hat you’re so annoyed about was personally given to me by Police Chief Hurley.
I specifically wore the hat the day of rally to demonstrate my support of our fine local police while protesting the murder (the officers involved have all been convicted) of Mr. Floyd
As to the 2022-2023 budget, “Pinocchio” Scott weaves another lie. The City Commission has held more than 6 hours of budget hearings explaining exactly where tax dollars are being spent. Since you don’t research any facts, here are some details:
– $2 million for increases in City staff salaries
– An additional $400,000 for streets and sidewalks
– $1 miillion in repairs to the library building, Atlantic Recreation Center, City Hall and Peck Center.
– $1.5 million for a Fire Department ladder truck, replacing a 20-year-old truck
I’ve said this to your face, here it is in print, “Facts Matter”

Melodie Winston - 09. Sep, 2022 - Reply

If facts matter Mike, why did you stand in front of my home for a Newsless Leader photo op with underaged teens drinking ETOH behind you? Then proclaimed the police had the beach under control? It is long time for you to leave public office. You are a true waste for taxpayers.

Edgar - 09. Sep, 2022 - Reply

No one listens to the “budget hearings”,
so why doesn’t the commission issue a public statement (News Leader, Observer, etal)
describing what the $1.8M generated by the tax increase buys.
And at the same time explain what the city will do with the $300K budgeted for
playground equipment now that Mrs. Berkman is paying for it….maybe reduce taxes? contribute to charity? Thank you Mrs. Berkman.

L. Dawson - 09. Sep, 2022 - Reply

“Six hours of budget hearings” in which you ignored everyone speaking against the inflated budget recommendations. And you are proud of that? I agree that employees deserve a raise, especially if they DESERVE it for their performance of their jobs. But what you don’t understand is that with people, especially on fixed incomes, are looking at this budget and thinking, “if I have to economize to survive, why wouldn’t the city do the same?” If anything, the city does not need to add employees. As to smoking on the beach, just where are you seeing butts all over the beach? Why can’t you let people live their own lives instead of regulating the crap out of them. If someone near you is smoking, you are too close. Most people clean up after themselves. You talk a good game, but you have yet to deliver.

Harvey Slentz - 09. Sep, 2022 - Reply

Mike:

Please allow me the opportunity to present a few observations about spending money, based on my experiences.

1. Whether you’re the CEO of a for-profit business or a government entity, you as CEO must listen to three voices: those of the customer, the business and the employee.

2. There are many in organizations who will be the chorus for the business and the employee: Finance, accounting, H.R. and maybe a union or two. And while there is a sales and a marketing function that listens to the customer, only the best organizations use marketing and sales information fully to drive decisions. That leaves it up to you.

3. In a monopoly or in a government organization, a sense of complacency can set in about customers. In a monopoly, your customers are those who have no choice but to use your monopoly service. Investor-owned utilities fit this definition, but are usually aided by a government-sponsored regulatory entity that rationally restricts rate increases. In some near-monopolies, a parent can send their children to K-12 schooling at no cost other than that paid by each property owner as property tax. If you want to send your child to a private non-government school, get the checkbook out to pay the steep tuition with little to no credit for the property tax paid.

In government entities, there is almost total lack of choice for the customer. If you don’t like the fire department’s services, or those of the police or sheriff, or the road maintenance and construction work, you will pay for all that in your taxes. Some will do well on the pricing, others will not.

In city government, who speaks for the citizens paying the bills? A city commission should, of course. But sometimes there is the need for a strong leader.

When I was leading government services in my 30-year career I learned that either we led the way focusing on the customers’ needs, or mediocre outcomes would follow.

Sometimes, even after there was some eloquent expository to our decision group to explain why large operating or capital expenditures were essential, we would still ask the final question of Department heads – Do you expect our trapped monopoly or taxpayer customers to pay more for what they’ve been getting already? Individual customers should not – will not – see their costs rise even to the inflation level. If our $300 million budget rose one percent beyond the sum of customer growth and inflation, it would have been $3 million!

Mike, you and the City Commission must join in a mindset along something like these lines to hear the voice of the customer.

Maybe you are already doing it. Show us the numbers for the last 10 years. It’s not that difficult to calculate.

Fred - 10. Sep, 2022 - Reply

Listen Mikey, just because you like it, doesn’t mean everyone else does… You’re a blustering, no it all liberal in a majority conservative community. You’re comments are on par with Brandon’s as far as I’m concerned. Check yourself…

Richard Norman Kurpiers - 09. Sep, 2022 - Reply

1. The 87,000 new IRS hires will occur over the next 8 years. In that time, the IRS will lose roughly 57,000 to 67,000 employees due to attrition. So the net gain will be somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 employees (Note I wrote “employees” and not “agents” since the additional funding will be used to staff employees of varying skills). So in 2031, the total number of IRS employees will be somewhere near the staffing levels of 2010. Dave’s asserting that the IRS will double in size is inaccurate unless he knows more than the Treasury Dept. 2. Why would the IRS use the net gain of agents to go after the middle class? Anyone? Since 2010, when the House Republicans started gutting the IRS budget, including a 31% cut in enforcement funds, the audit rate of wealthy individuals and corporations fell from 8.4% to 2.4%. This resulted in over $170 billion in uncollected taxes due to high-net-worth tax cheats and major corporations avoiding federal taxes through various means of hiding income. Conversely, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that $20 billion of unpaid taxes is the result of cheating by lower- and middle- income earners and small businesses. So I ask again, given that the IRS will still have limited resources even with additional funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, why would the IRS chase $20 billion in lieu of $170 billion?