Island Issues

Alcoholics, Drug Addicts & A Sex Offender Straining An Island Neighborhood’s Patience

Alcoholics, Drug Addicts & A Sex Offender Straining An Island Neighborhood’s Patience

"Well, they seemed nice."Suppose as many as 24 people, whose objective was to shake alcohol and drug addiction, jammed themselves into the four-bedroom house next to you? And suppose the owner of the house was a registered sex offender? Would any of this concern you?

If it doesn’t it should, because it is happening in a plush south end island residential area and according to private and government attorneys I spoke to it can happen anywhere on the island. And because it’s controlled by an intrusive federal government, local zoning, county ordinances and home owners association rules might as well be nonexistent.  The feds trump them all. Even those behind the island’s luxurious gated communities are not immune.

The men living in what is termed a “sober house” in the pricey area of South Amelia Island are part of what is called the American Recovery Program, an organization that is supposed to help recovering alcoholics and addicts. Area residents say between 18-24 people have been living on and off in the house which is owned by a registered sexual predator.

I was alerted to the issue by a resident of the area who is concerned for the safety of her children. Katie McKee, a general assignment reporter for WJAX-TV in Jacksonville reported on it almost two months ago, but it mysteriously dropped out of the news until earlier this week when Mary Maguire reported it in her online Independent ( this past Wednesday, May 13.

The fact that these men want to get their acts together and become sober members of society again is an admirable ambition, however, surely there must be solutions other than smack in the middle of a residential housing area, populated by young families with children.

Nassau County Attorney Mike Mullin is well aware of the situation and has been working with residents to find a solution but is hamstrung by federal regulations. According to Mr. Mullin the Federal Fair Housing Act says drug and alcohol addiction is to be treated as a disability and as such falls into the Americans for Disability Act (ADA) arena, making for a complex and muddled mess.

“It’s a delicate situation with the federal law saying there are no restrictions on the number of ‘family members’  that can live in one house,” says Mullin. According to the federal government the people living in the house are considered “extended family.”

“We have to adhere to the requirements of the federal law and the Florida Fair Housing Act,” says a frustrated Mullin.

According to a variety of sources one of the residents, who also owns the home, is a registered sexual predator, and many others who live there are said to be felons.

Ms. Maguire’s Independent  reported that Mullin is currently waiting to receive “a reasonable accommodation request” from the attorney working with the American Recovery Corporation, Inc of USA, the group using the house.

The Independent went on to report that neighbors have complained over the last few months to county officials about the men living together in their community and have asked Commissioner Steve Kelley and County Manager Ted Selby to close the operation. Mullin said he has spoken with neighbors as well. He also said that the state legislature is looking at new regulations regarding sober housing. Mullin said the issue may be sent to the county’s Conditional Use and Variance Board.

The sex-offender property owner has been issued a code violation by Nassau County’s code enforcement department earlier this year and a $372.19 fine for operating a prohibited group home in a residential neighborhood.

The Independent says Case #15-779 was expected to be heard by the Code Enforcement board at last Tuesday’s meeting, but the case was postponed for the second month as local officials worked to resolve the matter.

Such a mess could only be created by bureaucratic, brain-dead, and chaotic federal stumblebums who obviously don’t have “sober houses” in the neighborhoods where they live.


Second Coming? Sorry No Room In This Inn: If the Second Coming had occurred this past Saturday, May 9, it is doubtful it would have been reported in the Jacksonville-based Florida Times-Union newspaper unless Jesus make the cut at the Players Golf Tournament at the TPC Sawgrass Players Stadium or had been injured in the NFL’ s Jacksonville Jaguars football team’s rookie camp. I’ve never seen such over the top coverage of a golf tournament and such incredible non-stop drivel about a football team in any other publication anywhere and this is coming from a former sports writer for a daily paper. It permeated every section of that sad paper. I pay almost $400 annually for this paper and expect better.


The “Hold This Up To A Mirror & See If It Makes Any Sense” Department: In 2014, when asked about her accomplishments as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton responded: “Well, I’m glad you asked me that! My proudest accomplishment in which I take the most pride, mostly because of the opposition it faced early on, you know…the remnants of prior situations and mindsets that were too narrowly focused in a manner whereby they may have overlooked the bigger picture and we didn’t do that and I’m proud of that. Very proud. I would say that’s a major accomplishment.” The scariest thing about that is that millions of Democrats listen to that incoherent drivel, nod and say, “Yep, she’s the smartest woman in the world.” Do voters really want to replace the current empty suit in the White house with this empty pantsuit?


Speaking Of Gibberish: Listening to Democrats as this long campaign season starts to heat up all I hear them offering is the same liberal drivel which states that the federal government is the fount of all wisdom and that politicians and bureaucrats spend our money more wisely than we do and are in the best position to determine how the rest of us should live our lives. Baltimore is a perfect example. For the past 48 years that pathetic city has been ruled by Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi’s father who was once mayor, yet it has fallen from being one of the country’s most populous and prosperous cities to the mess it is today. This despite billions — yes billions — of dollars of our federal tax money going to the city for schools, etc. with nothing to show for it but fat union bosses, bloated bureaucracies and fat Democratic party coffers. While our tax money is being stolen and diverted to hidden causes by these progressive crooks the schools are still suffering, the kids still uneducated, the streets still dangerous and job-providing companies are avoiding that metropolitan cesspool like the plague. But the Democrats want more of the same.


Minimum Wage, Minus Jobs: A pizzeria owner in Seattle says she’s closing shop and dismissing 11 employees because she is unable to afford the minimum wage increase. Even though it’s phased in over six years for “small” businesses, she must phase the $15-an-hour wage in over two years because her business is part of a franchise. Source: Georgia Public Policy Foundation.


Where’s The Justice? In spite of over 300 arrests in Baltimore, anyone who thinks the thugs will serve any real time for burning down neighborhood stores, thus destroying the dreams and lives of the small business owners in the community, must be puffing the magic dragon. In today’s world, villainy isn’t punished, it’s more often rewarded. Those thugs won’t even lose their welfare checks……Burt Prelutsky


Guns Or Scissors? Americans have traditionally been armed to the teeth, which is why Japanese Admiral Yamamoto is alleged to have advised Japanese military leaders not to invade the U.S. mainland during World War II, saying “there would be a rifle behind every blade of grass” and there soon may be two, thanks to the anti-Second Amendment zealots, including the President and his vice president shooting off their mouths about gun control thus causing sales of guns and ammunition around the country to surge at an unprecedented rate  However, a newly released video produced by the Homeland Security folks suggests that if you are in a facility attacked by a crazed shooter, a pair of scissors might be your best defense. Huh?


Speaking Of Guns:  Every statistic that I have seen including a recent study by the Cato Institute shows that gun control laws do not control guns, instead they disarm law-abiding citizens, making them vulnerable to thugs who remain armed despite the laws. So instead of passing laws that crack down on law-abiding citizens, how about laws that keep gun toting thugs locked up forever.


Fascinating Fact Department: An interesting fact I recently learned is that Babe Ruth still holds the best career pitching record against the New York Yankees (17-5 and .773) earned while he was a member of the Boston Red Sox pitching staff before Bosox owner Harry Frazee incurred the curse of the Bambino on the Sox by selling him to the hated New Yorkers in December 1919 for $125,000 so Frazee could finance Broadway shows including the “Tea for Two” song-producing play “No No, Nanette.”


Drinking, Dining & Dancing: I’ve eaten in many restaurants throughout the United States and Europe with some paid for by others with deep pockets, enjoyed many on a company expense account, and most on my own dime, and lots of these meals have been memorable, but I would never hesitate to recommend David’s  in Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island to anyone who wants to celebrate a special occasion, impress a gal or guy, or just enjoy a wonderful relaxing meal in a very comfortable environment. The red brick South 8th Street and Ash restaurant features a menu, kitchen, ambiance, decor, and staff where even the most critical foodie would have trouble finding fault. In a nutshell, there is nothing, not a single thing, that I can find wrong with this restaurant. This past Sunday Linda and I enjoyed a Mother’s Day meal there that was made even more pleasant by our delightful waiter, Michael Pearce, a knowledgeable, personable and witty young man we were fortunate to have take care of our table and will ask for again during our next visit. After a bit of prodding we discovered that Mr. Pearce arrived on our island a couple of years ago while on a car trip to visit his grandparents in Coral Gables, and decided to take the Amelia Island exit to stop and exercise his two dogs and he’s been here ever since. We’re happy he stayed as he was part of what made the evening so enjoyable. As for the food, Linda started with a spinach salad consisting of baby leaf spinach topped with Feta cheese, sun dried cranberries, walnuts and  homemade warm bacon vinaigrette, while I had the seafood Caprese salad that included homemade basil mozzarella with crabmeat, poached shrimp, smoked salmon, greens sliced Roma tomato, pesto and a balsamic glaze. Both were very good and we’d order them again. For the main course Linda selected the petite filet mignon that consisted of a 6oz prime filet with a red wine demi glaze, wild mushroom risotto and seasonable vegetables of carrots and cauliflower. I stuck with seafood and went with the seafood linguini a plate that contained a sautéed one-half lobster tail, clams and shrimp topped with Parmesan served in scampi sauce all served over linguine. I left nothing but emptiness on my plate while Linda opted to take half of her more than ample serving home. For dessert we split David’s “Special Bananas Foster,” a dish that the menu says takes an extra 15 minutes but we didn’t care as we still had some of our house Merlot left as we enjoyed each other’s company and the beautifully decorated restaurant interior. The dessert consisted of a beignet filled with banana pastry cream topped with vanilla gelato, pecans and a slice of bruleed banana served with a side of something called “David’s Foster Sauce.” The only complaint we had was that the evening passed too quickly. David’s is open seven days a week and if you want to enjoy a fabulous meal at reasonable prices call ’em at 904/310-6049. Speaking of good deal and great food, if there is a better bargain that the downtown’s North 2nd Street Crab Trap’s two lobster tails with sides for $20 every Sunday would someone please tell me where it is? Folks, these are not langostinos or really big shrimp, but actual lobsters. Call ’em at 904/261-4749. The Crescendo Amelia Big Band will put on a free outdoor performance Saturday, May 21, 5:30-830 pm behind the Omni Plantation Spa & Shops with the entire 20-piece band. There will be an outdoor grill serving steaks as a part of the Omni’s weekly “Steak Out.” There is also a bar, coffee shop and pizza place within just a few feet of the gazebo where the band will be playing.



Mary Gorman - 15. May, 2015 -

Does Homeland Security remind us not to run with the scissors that we’re using to defend against a shooter? 🙂

Tom Yankus - 15. May, 2015 -

My mouth was watering after reading about David’s on 8th and Ash! On my bucket list. Went to the Beach Diner (old Applebee’s spot) this week. Very good. Breakfast until closing time at 2:30PM. I had a delicious salmon sandwich along with a large side of potato salad. Give the diner a try. By the way…it was packed at lunch time! Word quickly got out about how good the food is.