Island Issues

Are Mayor Moonbeam’s Media Tactics Legal? Buy-Gones’ Gone Sign Saga Gets Sillier Still

Are Mayor Moonbeam’s Media Tactics Legal? Buy-Gones’ Gone Sign Saga Gets Sillier Still

BannedFernandina Beach Mayor Johnny “Moonbeam” Miller has banned and blocked a number of people including me from viewing or commenting on his personal Facebook page and such actions may soon be tested in a Florida court case.

Those excommunicated on Facebook by Mayor Moonbeam have access to his official mayoral Facebook comments but not his personal page, despite the fact that we were once “hizzhonor’s friends” but no more, as we have been banished because we don’t agree with his extreme views and have made our thoughts known publically. So like Hillary’s server his site has been cleansed except for all but those who slavishly worship at his alter of “BAN”, a cult-like cluster of fanatics that want to rid the island of plastic bags, balloons, property developers, foam food ware, individual property rights, pooping horses, businesses with profit motives, rationale thinking, and a string of nonexistent local issues such as seismic testing, puppy mills and fracking and replace them all with tofu, reduced standards of living and drum circles.

Following Mayor Moonbeam Miller as he searches for non-local liberal causes is like following a lighted fuse in search of an explosion: one doesn’t have to wait very long. However, during a rambling disjointed talk at a meet-and-greet session recently Mayor Moonbeam did say there was one thing he no longer wants banned — marijuana — saying at the meeting: “If you want to legalize weed that’s cool…talk to me about that, I’m all for it.”

By the way the name “Moonbeam” was originally coined by the late Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Royko when he wrote about California’s idealistic and nutty Governor Jerry Brown many years ago. Royko also called the state “the world’s largest outdoor mental asylum,” saying “If it babbles and its eyeballs are glazed it probably comes from California.” This would accurately describe Mayor Miller’s paroxysm of rage and stupefied indignation when confronted with facts that counter his far left squalling.

Tree hugging. Close-up of hands hugging tree

Mayor Moonbeam greeting a constituent.

The loopy mayor, who earlier this year said he wanted to tattoo an image of Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders on his hind quarters (I didn’t make that up), is running for reelection against former Commissioner (2008-2011) Eric Childers, a soft-spoken, reasonable local businessman who appears to have the best interests of all Fernandina Beach residents at heart, and unlike Mayor Miller will not encourage us to emulate the living conditions of the Mongolian dung beetle that Mayor Moonbeam so admires. Mr. Childers, who has owned and operated local businesses, is currently executive vice president for a diversified local business firm. The two discussed the issues in a Fernandina Observer forum Thursday evening that, in my opinion didn’t move the needle in either direction.

However, based on what I read about a recent court case in the Miami area Mayor Moonbeam’s Facebook blocking tactics may not be legal.

According to online reports and those in the Miami New Times when local resident Grant Stern sent a critical tweet to Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine over the summer, the mayor blocked it. So Mr. Stern took his comments to the mayor’s official Facebook page and was blocked there too. But he wasn’t alone as he says as he heard from dozens of others who said the mayor had deleted their comments and blocked their accounts after they questioned or criticized him online.

So Mr. Stern filed a public records request for the names of everyone blocked by the mayor on social media, but the city denied it and he took his argument to court.

In his lawsuit filed last Monday, Mr. Stern argues that Levine, as “a 21st-century mayor,” uses his social media accounts to communicate official city business, thus making his accounts subject to the Florida Sunshine Law, which requires certain proceedings of government agencies to be available to the public. This is very similar to our Mayor Moonbeam.

“I want to find out the total number of people that he’s silenced and expose him as someone practicing extensive official censorship,” Stern tells the New Times. “I want to expose his official censorship for what it really is. It’s lawless activity.”

Stern says he hopes his lawsuit helps ensure that social media accounts run by government entities “are forever known as public records, without any question.”

So the Sunshine law may illuminate Mayor Moonbeam’s banished critical comments. And hopefully the voters on November 8 will banish him and send him back to fulltime duties behind his Palace Saloon bar pulpit as he is one of the most personable people you’ll ever meet, despite his political views


Confusion concept.More City Silliness: Buy-Gones owner Barb Kent can’t catch a break.

The fiery red-headed retired U.S. Navy Lt. Commander, who owns one Yulee and one island Buy-Gones woman’s retail clothing shop, recently replaced an old fading sign with a new one on her 1014 South 7th Street island store only to be ordered by the city of Fernandina Beach to take it down since new laws forbid more than two signs on a building, and she didn’t have proper permits, and blah, blah, blah and blah.

The law, specifically designed to stymie, frustrate and discourage local businesses from attracting customers, makes as much sense as Mayor Moonbeam Miller’s frequent Chicken Little pronouncements, a fact Ms. Kent discovered when she appealed to the city for a solution to her catch-22 advertising dilemma.

Instead of helping, the city thought it would be more fun to continue tormenting the lady entrepreneur and did everything but publically flog her. When she appealed to city hall’s Silly Sign Ordinance Department, which is located in the office down the hall from the Department of Pointless Procedures and directly across from the Office of Infuriating Frustration, not only did the mindless bureaucrats demand that Ms. Kent take down her spanking new almost $1,000 sign, but they told her that once it was on the ground to please cover it up (I didn’t make this up) as someone might see it and decide to shop in her store.

And it gets even goofier. A frustrated Ms. Kent asked if she could paint a mural on the side of her building where the sign used to be and was told yes, but since a pink flamingo is part of Ms. Kent’s store logo, the city sign Nazis said: “Zer vill be no pink flamingos on zee mural.” So the imaginative Ms. Kent has decided to proceed with a mural, which I understand might portray a variety of birds ranging from kiwis and cockatoos to parakeets and penguins, all painted pink, a mural that will have passersby doing double takes. But no flamingos, pink or otherwise, as they are verboten! I understand the ACLU has been contacted and is considering a class action discrimination suit against the city on behalf of the Phoenicropteriformes family.

When ordinances such as these are concocted by city officials I picture a group of glassy-eyed bureaucrats sitting around a table smoking funny cigarettes, sharing a bottle of bourbon and saying out loud “What would Mayor Moonbeam do?” What do these mind-numbing bozos tell their children when they’re asked: “What did you do at work today daddy?”

Maybe some of the first responders who performed so brilliantly for our community during the hurricane should conduct a seminar to show the desk-bound bureaucrats how to properly serve the people they work for and conduct city business efficiently.

Go buy something at one of Ms. Kent’s stores and if you’re a guy, buy a dress and go to a Halloween party in drag. The stores are located at 1014 S. 7th Street, Fernandina Beach (904/277-4071) and in Yule at A1A & Blackrock Rd. (904/206-9475).You’ll know when you get to the Fernandina Beach shop as it’s the one without a sign.


safe_spaces_cartoonSpeaking of Scary Stuff: The whackos that run the University of Florida down the road in Gainesville, have decided to protect the delicate snowflakes that attend their school from scary Halloween costumes telling them that if they’re offended or scared by Halloween, that they have counselors on hand to walk them through the traumatic experience.

“Some Halloween costumes reinforce stereotypes of particular races, genders, cultures, or religions,” the university wrote in a blog titled “Halloween Costume Choices” posted to its website Monday. “Regardless of intent, these costumes can perpetuate negative stereotypes, causing harm and offense to groups of people.”

“As a community, we aspire to demonstrate integrity, respect, and compassion that strives to maintain an affirming campus climate for all members of our community,” according to the website. “If you are troubled by an incident that does occur, please know that there are many resources available. Please take advantage of the 7 day a week presence of the U Matter, We Care program … by emailing Additionally, there is a 24/7 counselor at the Counseling and Wellness Center available to speak by phone at 352-932-1575.

If I was a parent with junior enrolled at U of F, I would immediately call the above phone number and send them an email saying: “I sent my child to the University of Florida so he could be prepared for the real world, not coddled by a group of far left lunatics that have obviously taken control of your school and turned it into a liberal indoctrination center. My son deserves better and will not be returning. I demand a full refund of all money paid as your institution is obviously academically crippled and incapable of producing anything close to the skills my child requires to earn a living outside of the idealistic, naive, arrogant bubble you people live in. One doesn’t need to be a Von Trapp to figure out that the few hills that exist around the University of Florida are alive — not with music — but with the sound of liberal lunacy. Oh, not only has your university descended into PC hell, but your football team stinks too!”


Don’t You Just Hate It When The Jaguars Are A National Laughing Stock? Nah, me either. In the Wall Street Journal this past Monday sports columnist Jason Gay discussed recent TV ratings that indicate NFL football viewers are down by 10 percent this year. Mr. Gay attributed the decline in TV football watchers to a variety of factors including the distraction of the presidential election. He countered by saying football would be a wonderful diversion from the stressful presidential race, so why not, he says, turn the channel and watch a football game between the Jaguars and Bears, quickly adding: “OK, so maybe that is a poor example.” And he was right. Watching Chicago and Jacksonville play football was about as exciting as watching two hogs fight over a turnip — who cares? The awful Jacksonville team eked out a 17-16 win over the equally awful Bears Sunday, but after reading the Florida Times-Union, you’d have thought the Jaguars had won the Super Bowl, as it continued its drooling Second Coming coverage with Jaguars blather pasted all over my Monday morning edition. At almost $500 for an annual subscription this is pushing the limits of what I’m willing to accept.


Stranger Than Fiction Department: This true story from Atlanta was related to me earlier this week by friend Benita Dodd, head of Georgia’s Public Policy Foundation, who eavesdropped on the following conversation in front of her during a lunch hour stop at Walmart the other day:

Cashier: Why you buying all those gift cards?

Customer: They for the patients where I work. Prizes.

Cashier: Where you work?

Customer: Careful what you ask. A mental hospital; the gift cards are prizes if they guess the riddle answer.

Cashier: Ya’ll hiring? I’m looking for another job.

Customer: Girl, you work at Walmart. Ya’ll deal with all kinds of strange. You should be fine.


Startling Stats: Last Thursday Linda and I had an opportunity to attend a talk and book signing by former Navy SEAL and author Dick Couch at the Amelia Island Club that was sponsored by the Amelia Island Charity Group.

Navy SEAL frogman with complete diving gear and weapons in the water

Navy SEAL frogman.

Mr. Couch, the author of 22 books, the latest “By Honor Bound”, served in Vietnam and several other war zones, provided his audience an interesting set of statistics about America’s Special Operations ranging from the Army’s Rangers and Green Berets to the Marine Corp Raiders and Navy SEALS, military organizations that receive $30 billion of the country’s military budget, more money than some countries spend on their total defense programs.

For example he said that most SEALS are recruited from civilian life, not the military, and that it takes two and a half years before a SEAL is ready for deployment. During training Mr. Couch said a SEAL recruit will run 2,000 miles, spend the equivalent of two and a half days under water, swim 150 miles and expend 56,000 rounds of live ammunition. Not counting the ammunition, that’s similar to swimming from Cuba to Key West, and then getting out of the water and running to Boston. He said there are currently 2,600 active SEALS.

Friend Joe Murphy, who is instrumental in organizing and promoting these worthy programs reminds me that the Navy Sea Foundation, a program that benefits SEAL families, is conducting its 6th Annual Golf Classic, November 5 at the Long Point Golf Club. Individual entries are $300 and a four person team is $1,200. Sponsorships are also available for $10,000, $7,000, $5,000, and $2,500. Those who want to only attend the buffet and silent action can do so for $75.

For additional information go to or call Larry Byrd at 904/753-0457,Joe Murphy at 904/206-3935, or Dean Grunewald at or call him at 904/277-5908.


Bouquets & Bombs: Congratulations to local bloggers Tarah Warren and Ashley Hogan who in a very short period of time organized a “Thank You Day” complete with burgers, hot dogs, pizza, ice cream, baked goods and soft drinks, at the South 8th Street Baptist Church grounds last Saturday to thank area first responders for their efforts during the recent Hurricane. Those who contributed to the event in addition to the First Baptist Church, were Cold Stone Creamery, Coastal Current, Elizabeth Pointe Lodge, Hampton Inn by the Beach, CBC National Bank, Tony’s Pizza, Amelia To Go, Omni Plantation, Journey Church, Aimee Taryn Photography and Celebration Party Rentals. Karibo owners Theresa and Tim Poynter also deserve  hearty handshakes and pats on the back for opening their restaurant Saturday and serving police, sheriff, fire, power and other crews all free of charge. City Commissioner Poynter and son Tim served while Thersa, using a battery-powered light on her head, cooked chili, made sandwiches, salads and anything else they could find in their cooler and prepare on gas grills as the power was still out. The News-Leader just can’t get it right. The online Fernandina Observer once again cleaned the News-Leader’s clock this time with accurate, up-to-date information about Hurricane Matthew, especially the Shave Bridge access. While the News-Leader misinformed the public saying the bridge was “unsafe”, the Observer and others reported it correctly. Local South 8th Street tavern, Halftime,  that touts itself as a sports bar, appears to be anything but, as when I went there Tuesday evening to watch the National League Cubs-Dodgers division playoff baseball game that was already in progress, it wasn’t on any of their multiple TVs and rap music was blaring from the joint’s speakers. When I asked the barmaid, the only visible employee, if she could put the game on she appeared puzzled and replied, “What channel is it on?” I left and won’t be returning anytime soon.


Mary Gorman - 26. Oct, 2016 -

Another good one, Dave! Haha!

Joe - 24. Oct, 2016 -

Sorry I’m late. Thank you for the write up. Will see you for lunch 10/26

Christine Harmon - 23. Oct, 2016 -

I am one of those deluded liberals who think “plastic bags, balloons, foam food ware containers”, plastic beach toys, fishing lines and netting, plastic bottle caps/bottles, and tanning lotion/lip balm containers, do not belong in the ocean as these items are killing marine life that becomes entangled in/ingests them. That is why I – and another lady – spent 4 to 5 evenings a week this summer cleaning the beach. Yes, it’s a losing game – but definitely preferable to sitting in a bar/restaurant and engaging in activities that do not contribute to the health of the planet and the creatures than depend upon it for their survival. Keep fiddling!

Jack Nuckols - 22. Oct, 2016 -


I live in WV but own two condos on the island. I enjoy reading your blog and keeping up on the real news that is going on. I also used to read your fun and informative articles in the News Leader until they decided to stop your submissions. Keep up the great work!

Jack Nuckols

Patrick J. Keogh - 21. Oct, 2016 -

There you go again, Dave. What you and Buy Gones Barb just refuse to understand is that the City is simply Jeffersonian in their governance. You remember what TJ said “That government is best which governs least unless you can shake down your citizens for a fee or fine”.

Steven Crounse - 21. Oct, 2016 -

Gee Dave, can’t understand why Mayor Miller would want to decrease the amount of drivel he receives from a Good Friend like you, from his personal facebook account. You’ve been such an Advocate, for all the Environmental Issues this Community and Coastline face every day on this Island. I know over the last few years, you’ve worked tirelessly to nurture that friendship and rapport you have with our Mayor through this online column. Seems you’ve had the same problem with Charley Crawford, and a Number of other “Friends” in our Community. I think it’s called the “Truman Capote Effect” Just not working too well. While I have your attention, how about taking the time to Congratulate our Mayor, City Manager, The City Employees for a Job Well Done, in communicating with the Island Folks, Prior to, During and after the Storm. It was an incredibly smooth Evacuation of this Barrier Island. We are fortunate to have a caring individual to head up our City in Johnny Miller.

Tarah - 21. Oct, 2016 -

No Cubbies game on? Communists. Haha! Great read as usual, Dave. Thanks!

Tom Yankus - 21. Oct, 2016 -

You were correct about Brugge, Belgium. SPECTACULAR! Said to my wife and on Facebook later that, “If heaven looked like a city it would look like Brugge.” Glad to be back on the island and catch up on all the local shenanigans.

Richard Troxel - 21. Oct, 2016 -

I wonder if the mayor thinks his real job paycheck (The Palace Saloon) is funded by Fairies and Big Foot sightings on the Island.No,Mr. Miller the money comes from profits the business owners you work for make. Hate to burst your idealistic bubble but thats real life.

Alex Watts - 21. Oct, 2016 -

Go Jaguars!