Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

New City Scorecard Says Residents Now Have A Solid Lead

The Fernandina Beach City Commission voted 3-2 to pull the plug on City Manager Dale Martin’s support system terminating his governmental existence hereabouts and effectively putting residents back in charge of their city.

Three Commissioners – Darron Ayscue, Bradley Bean and David Sturgesconcurred that there was no further hope for the doomed city manager while Commissioners and medical doctors Ronald “Chip” Ross and James Antun had differing diagnoses.

Grumpy local emergency room Doctor Ross huffed and puffed, brusquely proclaiming Martin’s reign healthy. Chiropractor Antun wasn’t so sure saying Martin might need an adjustment involving more time to recover along with the administration of further life-support deliberative procedures.

Nope, said the other three, he’s a goner, a flatliner, toast. And he was. By the end of the meeting Martin was history.

A motion to make former Police Chief Mark Foxworth interim City Manager was made along with holding a workshop in two weeks to discuss a succession plan. With the patient’s fate assured this passed unanimously.

Media coverage of the session proceeded as expected with the new online Citizens Journal Florida doing a thorough job of reporting the proceedings scooping the print News Leader. It can be read by clicking https://www.citizensjournal.net/fernandina-beach-city-commission-just-voted-to-terminate-city-manager-dale-martin/ .  Folks having difficulty maneuvering the site should click Some Tips on Navigating Citizens Journal Florida Web Site   . Jacksonville’s independent WJXT Channel 4 TV station also covered the session objectively.

Mike Phillips new editor of the pretend online news outlet and unofficial city PR agency, the sight-impaired Fernandina Observer, attempted to cover the session but only managed to produce a sloppy, rambling, and bitter opinion piece that in no way resembled an accurate or objective news article. The comments following Phillip’s word jumble reflected those of Martin’s most stringent supporters at city hall, a cast of the usual grumps who prefer that Fernandina continue his reckless hiring and spending that was consistently seconded by his crochety sidekick, Dr. Ross.

Prior to the Martin agenda item Ross rambled on about the previous session’s discussion concerning a request for a state forensic audit of the city’s impact/capacity fees and their alleged misuse. During the that discussion Ross boasted “I’ve been an emergency room doctor for 40 years” an irrelevant statement that was of little comfort to anyone there.

At the last session local resident Glen Stettler, who was not in attendance Tuesday, called out the city for “operating a criminal enterprise” in its handling of those fees and requested – for the second time – that it immediately call for a state forensic audit.

Ross defended the city’s mishandling of the residents’ money claiming such an audit would cost $80,000 to $300,000. He was politely heard and ignored with Commissioner Ayscue proposing the audit request be discussed at a future workshop and Mayor Bean adding it to the Commission’s next agenda. Despite Ross’s proclaimed 40-year medical background it appears to many observers that he needs an urgent remedial course in “Bedside Manner.”

In just three months Mayor Bean has masterfully proven himself an accomplished politician, managing to skillfully maneuver the most controversial issues politely, efficiently, and effortlessly. As Nigerian singer Sade croons he’s a “Smooth Operator.”

***

Keeping Score At City Hall: The city hall scoreboard of the number of citizens commenting on City Manager Dale Martin’s dismissal is misleading. Just eight individuals ambled up to the microphone to voice an opinion with one for ousting Martin, one neutral, and six opposed.

However, Jack Knocke, who organized the local watchdog group “Common Sense” and now leads the Nassau County Chapter of County Citizens Defending Freedom (CCDF) represents more than one local. His group represents some 600 locals, most of whom Knocke says agree with the City Commission’s decision to remove Martin. “CCDF-Nassau generated more than 300 emails to city commissioners providing input on the Dale Martin decision,” he revealed.

“It was the correct decision,” says Knocke, citing several examples of why. “Dale Martin was not only following the prior commissions, but he was also ADVISING them on policies that they should adopt. They followed his policies by spiking hiring, spiking taxes, bulldozing residents, and spending irresponsibly on projects like Top Tracer that were big money losers. Unfortunately, he was also complicit with many lawsuits that the city has been fighting including the current $300,000 lawsuit from HUD and a $500,000 lawsuit from a developer.”

Knocke says, “CCDF-Nassau advocates for responsible government, transparency, lawful regulations, morality in government and responsible taxes and spending. He boasts that in addition to its more than 600 members, thousands are following its Facebook posts, and a growing roster of volunteers are taking action – locally. “Our volunteers are poll watchers, agenda reviewers, speakers, researchers and letter writers,” he adds.

“The City of Fernandina Beach has transitioned to an open, transparent and visionary majority that is boldly taking on legacy problems that need to be fixed,” he proclaimed. Commenting on Martin’s dismissal he said: “That was only the first round. We as a community need to push for transparency, responsible spending, and lawful regulations. There is still work to clean up the issues from the past and set Nassau County on a solid path forward.”

Folks interested in CCDF can contact Knocke by calling him at 470/295-4365 or by email at jknocke@ccdfusa.com or go to CCDFUSA.COM.

***

In Case You Missed It: Last week I reported on a small gaggle of irate cranks, the majority being gray-haired finger-wagging  grannies, that opposed developer Ron Frick’s new homes that will replace a handful of dilapidated downtown buildings on the verge of condemnation and increase the value of nearby properties. Mrs. Flick posted a comment here of an incident that I was unaware took place or I certainly would have reported it. It’s an indication of the kind of cowardly, vile individuals many local business people hereabouts are forced to deal with.  Here is Mrs. Flick’s comment:

“There were not just grannies at that Tringali meeting…..one man stalked my husband, Ron Flick, out of the meeting, used every expletive in the book to include “get out of my F’ing” town ( we’ve only lived here 30 years).. and “chest bumped” him. Ron walked back to city hall to report him to the police and of course, the man fled, not to mention the police did nothing. He WILL have security at the next meeting!

“Oh, and by the way, the reason the application was not considered that night is because one of the signers of the documents requested by Bach was ill and died two days later. Not a conspiracy!!!”

City Attorney Tammi Bach was suspiciously quiet about these incidents at the last Commission meeting. Commissioners may want to ask her why?

***

Meanwhile In The Big City: Jacksonville is currently receiving national recognition. Unfortunately for its residents, businesses, and promoters it’s all negative.

While Democrat-run cities have customarily been heaped with negative publicity when it comes to being unfriendly, unsafe, and unpleasant places to live or visit Jacksonville, with its Republican mayor, was recently ranked one of the worst.

A new study says Jacksonville is right up there with New York City, Philadelphia, and Boston when it comes to being rude. The results were published in the online Travel Maven https://original.newsbreak.com/@travel-maven-561551/2922772039437-this-florida-city-made-it-onto-the-top-15-rudest-cities-in-america-list?noAds=1&_f=app_share&s=i3 

The editors at something called Preply surveyed more than 1,500 residents of the 30 largest metropolitan areas in the country and asked them about the rudest behaviors in their city. These include common occurrences like people being absorbed by their phones, refusing to let people merge in traffic, and being noisy in shared spaces. I’m assuming that citizens suffering from assaults, shootings, car jackings, and holdups were reluctant to respond as they were justifiably wary of talking to strangers.

Jacksonville ranked high in common rude behaviors, putting it at number 12 of the foulest cities in the country. The fact that Jacksonville perpetually has the highest homicide rates in Florida and is ranked as one of the most unsafe cities in the U.S for pedestrians may also have been factors. And despite its rare appearance in a playoff game this year, the dreadful Jacksonville Jaguar NFL franchise has been a perennial gridiron embarrassment may have played a negative role. Not much around there to write home about unless you’re warning relatives and friends to avoid the place.

Next, the reporters at Preply asked respondents to rank who is ruder in their experience: people born and raised in their city otherwise known as “locals” or, non-locals who have moved to their city later in life. Overall, 55% of respondents claimed that non-locals were ruder than locals but not in Jacksonville.

The top cities with the rudest “locals” included Philadelphia, Boston, Memphis, New York City, and Jacksonville. This means that residents born and raised here have grown up accustomed to certain behaviors, which originate from the city’s culture itself.

***

Socialist Columnist Calls It Quits Again: Ron “Get Off My Lawn You Little Bastards” Sapp, the bi-weekly News-Leader’s  avowed socialist columnist has called it quits once again. Some two years ago he vowed to end his weekly scribbling, but obviously had more to say as he wasn’t gone long before he reemerged with his left-wing pen blazing.

He eventually admitted he is indeed a socialist and “proud of it.”

Now that he’s no longer tied to a deadline, he’ll have time to visit one of his socialist paradises to experience his preferred form of government first hand. Venezuela would be a good place to start. Once one of the most prosperous countries in South America and a world class oil exporter, socialism has turned that country into a nightmare for its struggling populace.

According to Moises Naim, who once served as Venezuela’s minister of trade and industry and is now a Fellow of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 95% of Venezuelans are poor in terms of income. More than 3 in 4 Venezuelans live in extreme poverty and food insecurity. At $3 a month, the legal minimum wage won’t feed a person for a day much less a family for a month. Because there is little point in working about half the working age population has dropped out of the labor force.

The main culprit,” says Mr. Naim, ”is socialism.” He explains that a wave of expropriation that began in 2005 put much of the country’s private economy in state hands, “run by socialistic bureaucrats that have little notion how to run a business.”

Socialist Sapp, a former Fernandina Beach High School indoctrinator should love that wonderland.

***

A Stand-Up Gal Rightfully Doesn’t Stand Up: When the “Black National Anthem” was played at the Super Bowl in Phoenix, former Arizona TV anchor and failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake did not stand up for it, keeping her seat. I applaud her for that. We have one national anthem. Sadly, separating our nation by race is now an official act of the Democrat party—and now the National Football League.

***

Speaking Of Outrageous Sports Leagues: Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, the jerk, who helped pull the All-Star baseball game out of Georgia because of the false contention that the Peach State’s voting laws were racist, is at it again. This time the twit is intent on destroying the game of baseball. This moron has banned the infield shift and has installed clocks in the only sport that has never had them or needed them. His rule of putting a man on second base whenever a game goes into extra innings was bad enough, but this may just be the end of the game most of us grew up playing and loving. Can anybody do anything to reverse this insanity and get rid of this nitwit? Anybody?

***

What Me Worry? Circus balloons, TV station weather balloons, Big Al’s Used Car Lot balloon, little Mary Anne’s helium-filled balloon from Publix, a sixth grader’s science project and recreational hot air balloons are all being blown from the sky by a trigger-happy Joe Biden. No balloon will survive the skies over America while ‘ole Joe is standing guard. Meanwhile, after a train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, Transportation Secretary “Pot Hole” Pete Buttigieg declined to go and visit the site. Only after former President Trump showed up in East Palestine did an embarrassed and flummoxed “Pot Hole” Pete make an appearance. Trump brought bottled water and rounded up as many folks as he could and treated them to quarter pounders at the local McDonalds. Meanwhile “Pot Hole” said there was nothing to worry about. Fish dying, birds dying, pets dying, humans getting rashes and coughing. Nothing to worry about. Welcome to Biden’s insanity land.

***

A Doggone Shame: Despite winning back-to-back national football championships the University of Gorgia Bulldogs have not been invited to visit the White House, an offer traditionally extended to most collegiate and professional championship athletic teams.

Even a bipartisan letter from Georgia’s congressional leaders to the White House earlier this month failed to elicit a Bulldog invite.

Last year the “Dawgs” capped a perfect 15-0 season with a 65-7 national championship shellacking of Texas Christian University (TCU).

For the record, the Golden State Warriors capped off their 2021-22 NBA championship season with an official visit to the White House last month. Possibly the pro-Chinese NBA lap-DAWGS  team’s invite was prompted by Joe and Hunter Biden’s cozy relationship with their business partners in the Communist Chinese Party. The child slave labor churned out in Chinese concentration camps to manufacture the NBA’s overpriced shoes may also be a factor in the Warriors special treatment.

One social media user advised the Dawgs to inform the White House they are from the University of Ukraine.

***

Meanwhile Back At The U.S. Border: It’s all very nice that U.S. President Joe Biden is so concerned about Russians invading across the Ukrainian border that he visited that country this week to express his concern and promise support. Unfortunately for U.S. citizens he isn’t the least bit concerned about the invasion of illegals, drugs, criminals, and terrorists swarming across America’s borders both south and north.

***

Wait! What? The National Rifle Association (NRA) murders zero people and receives nothing in government funds. Planned Parenthood kills 350,000 babies annually and receives $500,000,000 in tax dollars each year. And Joe Biden, who left billions of dollars’ worth of weapons to the Taliban, including 300,000 guns, is lecturing Americans on gun control.

***

New Poll: Last week a poll here asked if the City Commission should fire City Manager Dale Martin. Of those responding 82% (54 voters) said “yes” and 18% (12 voters) said “No.”  A new poll added today asks if folks agree or disagree that Martin’s firing was the correct action.

 

  • Comment (22)
  • Dave, guess you left or stopped watching early from the 2/21 commission meeting as the City Attorney discussed the events around the 11th hour cancellation of the Tringlali property hearing in detail at the end of the meeting in response to a question from Commissioner Ayscue. The reality is that the City Attorney found that the application was defective despite the positioning by the applicant (one can make up their own mind as to whether that was their oversight or deliberate) and never should have been heard as there was one of the five parcels in the project that was authorized by the property owner. Your writings or no better than those of the lefties that resort to name calling instead of dealing with the facts or recognizing that there can be differences of opinions or desired outcomes.

    Rejoicing over an employee’s termination and the impact it has on the individual and their family is, in my opinion, extremely poor taste. I understand you felt his actions or lack thereof deserved that outcome, but have some level of respect for the many accomplishments that were made during his tenure.

    I know you will dismiss my comments since I no longer am a resident, but better a syncophant than a sociopath I guess.

  • This is an important transitionary time in the city’s history. Clearly, some changes are needed. This just starts the process. Martin by no means did everything wrong, but there were some problems.

    His removal process was very sloppy, but mercifully short. Dotting all the I’s and crossing all the T’s would have dragged it out long and painfully, so maybe this was good. If he was an at-will employee, then termination without cause was the best way out. Hope he at least got a decent severance package to help tide him over to his next position. Dave, thanks for your kind words on my article in Citizen Journal Florida on this. Wish I had more time to add details and analysis, but we’re quite shorthanded, so I had to jump in with whatever time I had available- we need both paid reporters and volunteers.

    Having a workshop to discuss potential audit issues is a good idea, since going to auditing bodies with no specifics is absurd.

  • Edit to my earlier comment about the Tringalli application: “…here was one of the five parcels in the project that was NEVER authorized by the property owner.”

  • MLB Baseball’s WOKE Czar Manfred cancelled the Atlanta scheduled All-Star Game purely for political reasons claiming that The Peach State new voting laws “restricted” some from voting. A year later and for the mid-terms, the state had a record turnout. I’d like to believe that old Joe just forgot to invite the two time National Champion Georgia Bulldogs. But, it does make one wonder? Any invite now after this has been brought to his attention would certainly be anticlimactic.

  • Great read this week, Dave—and great news about another “win” for the property-owning taxpayers of this fair city! Thank you for helping to bring about much-needed change in the direction of responsible spending, reduced bureaucracy & objective decision-making. Retaking our country after too many decades of progressive leadership has to start locally, and I’m thrilled to see that happening in Fernandina Beach.

  • I was playing Little League baseball in north Georgia in 1966 when the Braves moved from Milwaukee to Atlanta. I’ve been a fan of MLB ever since. I’m all for the new rules changes. Thank goodness Hank Aaron never had to hit into a shift. I like the idea of a pitch clock so games can be shortened and my grandsons can actually stay up long enough to watch an entire game from time to time. Not all changes make things worse Dave.

  • Enjoyed this week’s blog a great deal, Dave. While I don’t know Mr. Martin personally, it seems as if the tide shifted, and it was his time to go. Furthermore, if he was such a skilled manager would we have still been embroiled in so many lawsuits?

    Regarding the GA Bulldogs, it’s obvious to me that old sleepy Joe Biden would rather surround himself with losers than winners. I mean, have you seen his cabinet? His press secretary? His family?

    Speaking of losers, “Pot Hole Pete” closely resembled a member of the “Village People” during his short, scripted, and altogether too late visit to Ohio’s train disaster. Hopefully, there aren’t and derailments on an Indian reservation. Wait, Elizabeth Warren can always loan him some Indian Regalia…never mind.

    In conclusion, Traveling to Ukraine on President’s Day and handing off another train car full of taxpayer cash, tells you everything about this president’s priorities. Shameful, just shameful.

    Great Blog, Dave!

  • Glad to hear of the vote to oust
    City Mgr.Martin wonder why it
    took so long and millions of
    wasted city dollars to do it.
    Now complete the job and fire
    the City Attorney who is the
    most inept lawyer in the state.
    Please someone do the research
    on the number of trials she
    lost and how many millions of
    city dollars were awarded to the
    other parties.

  • Biden spends more time & money helping a foreign country expel illegal invaders than he does at home – wonder why ?

  • R Troxel, perhaps it would be good if you did some research on how major lawsuits are handled by the City and most every municipal government. The City Attorney position is for general law matters and when there are major lawsuits requiring specific expertise, the city has insurance where the City retains a law firm with expertise in that area (impact fees, HR/personnel cases, etc.). While those external lawyers work under the oversight of the City Attorney, the City Commission must authorize the defense of any lawsuit or settlement. There are some exceptions to the insurance coverage and I believe the earlier impact fee lawsuit did fall under such an exception. It should also be pointed out that lawsuit as well as the McGill FBO airport lawsuit originated under a prior city attorney and was supported by numerous city commissions so to pin the blame on the settlements/judgements that were made against the City just on the present City Attorney is, in my opinion, misplaced and unfair.
    Related to the earlier impact fee lawsuit that the City lost, the court did not rule that impact fees are illegal. In fact there are numerous precedents that such fees are completely legal. Where the City erred was in following the strict process and procedure for how to calculate correct impact fees. Again, those actions were taken under a different city attorney, city manager and city commission a number of years ago.
    Coleman, you on vacation? LOL

    • You said it yourself, “While those external lawyers work under the oversight of the City Attorney…” Seems Troxel had it right all along. Regardless of how it works out, it costs the City a LOT of money to defend the BS they try to enforce. Quit trying to defend ineptitude.

    • Haha, nope still here, but you’re holding your own just fine. Trying to follow this blog is like watching Marat/Sade. I’m trying to save my two comment allowance from the Wizard of Oz. But, there’s a lot of good hockey on these days, but I enjoy your astute and factual responses, as always. Just remember, “astute” tends to get lost with certain audiences.

      • Dave (Lott, that is) I meant to say a lot of good hockey on TV, which is far better than spending too much time battling camouflaged opponents. Uh-oh, I just used up my two-comment limit.

    • Wasn’t the other claim in the impact fee lawsuit related to the premise that impact fees are required to be spent on expansion of a utility caused by new customers, but the water utility was already way overbuilt when the city purchased it?
      It will be interesting to see how the city defends itself in the $1M impact fee lawsuit currently in the courts.

      • Harrison, Coleman and I have appealed the 2 comment limit and I believe a stay of execution has been granted by Warden Scott.

        • What’s the appeal process for a personal blog? Begging? LOL I think 2 comments from you and Coley is more than enough.

  • By getting rid of the “shift” in baseball, the commissioner is admitting that today’s ballplayers are less talented than their predecessors. How self-defeating can one be? The shift proved that many ballplayers cannot bunt nor hit the other way (hit an infield ball to the opposite side.) How pathetic! Also, you forgot to mention that have enlarged the bases by 3 inches. So, so sad! The sport I loved is but a shadow of what it used to be and represent.

  • If incoppetence were a virtue, the current Administration and most big city mayors would be saints.

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