Island Issues

Common Sense Is An Alien Concept To Fernandina Commission As It Ignores A Generous Offer By The Common Sense Group

Common Sense Is An Alien Concept To Fernandina Commission As It Ignores A Generous Offer By The Common Sense Group

Fernandina Beach citizen watchdog group Common Sense is an organization consisting of local property and business owners, retirees, professionals, teachers, writers, real estate brokers, corporate executives, laborers and more…..all concerned residents of Fernandina Beach.

This group, fronted by entrepreneur and college educator, Jack Knocke, addresses local matters of interest to the community, asking insightful questions in a logical and thoughtful manner.

The Common Sense organization does considerable research, is polite and thorough, never confrontational. The group, with its deep well of talent, has offered to assist elected and appointed city officials on a variety of issues.

This is not a mob of screaming, psychotic irrational anti-development loons with mental short circuits demanding the heads of developers on pikes and throwing spittle-flecked fits for their extremist environmental demands. Just the opposite.

Common Sense has gracefully and calmly extended its willingness to share its vast expertise with city officials such as Tweedledee Ross and Tweedledee Martin, pictured above. The city has responded with a lack of common decency,  stiff arming the group. The city responds to Common Sense’s offers with silence or slaps the group down with the back of its bureaucratic hand. It would rather spend thousands of our tax dollars to hire out-of-town consultants.

The latest example of the city’s arrogance and insolence came after Mr. Knocke sent the following note to City Manager “Big Spender” Dale Martin:

“I am interested is helping the city create a KPI report for the Marina. A KPI report is a key performance indicator report that quickly indicates the leading metrics for an organization. When I look at the current report provided by Oasis (link below), I find that there is messaging but no real indication of the health of the marina.”

Basically, Common Sense offered — for no charge — the talent of highly qualified citizens to assist the city. What it received in return was crickets, then a knee to the groin.

“Big Spender” Martin didn’t have the courtesy to respond to the group’s initial letter, so Mr. Knocke sent the following offer to all five City Commissioners:

Fernandina Beach City Commissioners,

In September, I reached out to the City Manager and City Comptroller to work on a KPI report (Key Performance Indicators) for the Marina. (See email below). I received no response, so I am reaching out to the City Commissioners to see if this may be interest to you. I would suggest that this information is important to the community as well as our leadership to know how the Marina Enterprise Fund is performing since it has been in the red for so long and so deep.

There is no insightful or actionable information or trending data in the current report. Seriously, in the August 29th report “trash pickup at the boardwalk on C and D parking lots is continuing”. That is really good to know. In the October 3rd report “the store was stocked, and the gas tanks filled”. Awesome accomplishment!

 We should have a report with easy-to-read trending graphs highlighting key leading indicators that show performance. This report could be the start of a great reporting enlightenment for the city to show exactly where we stand with all of the enterprise funds and other key aspects of the city. In business there are sayings like “if you don’t measure it you cannot manage it” and “In God we trust – All others bring data”. The city has the data locked up in a vault. Let’s open up the vault to create transparency and drive higher performance. 

Citizens want to help where the city staff does not appear to have the expertise. How can we make this happen? 

Jack Knocke

Common Sense Fernandina Beach

“There’s nothing to see here”

One Commissioner responded – “Blowhard Bully” Chip Ross. His reply not only denigrated the Common Sense group but literally challenged common sense. Ross’s insulting response displayed ignorance of the offer and was mean-spirited and arrogant. Despite saying otherwise, Ross is obviously Big Spender’s mouthpiece or Martin is a highly-skilled ventriloquist.

Here’s the unedited version of what Blowhard Ross replied to Mr. Knocke:

Thank you for your e-mail and thoughts?

What data do you want “that is locked up in a vault”? What key leading indecators do you want to know? Please provide a example of a report that you believe is easy to dread and provides the data you want to know.

Finally when do you want to  meet “to discuss the possibilities of such a report to build transparency, awareness and actionable data for the City of Fernandina Beach and the residents.” I am looking  forward to hearing from you. 

Chip Ross

Who the hell is running the show here? Apparently Chip Ross. He responds to every issue directed to the City Manager and the Commission. He’s defiant, arrogant, and obnoxious. Martin says nothing. Where are the other commissioners?

The Common Sense crowd has no ulterior motives. They are local tax payers, residents, and concerned citizens legitimately looking out for their own interests. Why won’t Dale Martin and the Commission take advantage of their expertise and respond to their concerns? Could it be because the city is terrified that the group is smarter than they are and may reveal issues the “Big Spender” and the obnoxious bully Ross prefer to be left undisturbed?

A local businessman wrote to me Thursday saying:  “Building Director Steve Beckman is gone but what changed?  Did the unlawful building fees get reduced?  Pay to Play (Mandrake) leaves and what changed?  After a decent interval former City Manager Joe Gerrity found it safe to laud him in the News Leader.  These guys were just collections muscle whose job it is to apply whatever means available to fund and expand the enterprise that’s corrupt.  They each have a personal agenda and none of them are in it for public service.” Obviously city officials and the Commission don’t inspire confidence or trust.

City bureaucrats and elected officials need to be continuously reminded that they work for the citizens and that the money they spend is our money. They have no money of their own, ONLY ours. Voters wanting to remind them of that can join like-minded folks at Common Sense. Contact them on Facebook by clicking here: Common Sense on Facebook  or go to their web site by clicking here: Common Sense Fernandina Beach Web site. Request to be on their email list  by going to:


Suggested Weekend Trip: Linda and I are planning  a weekend trip to the town of Debary Florida, about 150 miles southwest of Amelia Island, about a two-and one-half-hour drive.

What makes this town so attractive is the fact that there’s an eatery there – the Debary Diner – that posted a sign saying it would prefer Biden supporters eat elsewhere as the Debary Diner was less than keen on serving them.

Ever since they posted the sign suggesting Biden voters hit the bricks and keep on going, it ran out of food, had to triple their staff, and set up extra tables on the sidewalk and in the parking lot to handle the massive number of folks that agree with them.

This week I spoke to the people that run the diner and was told that business continues to be brisk saying that they are seeing a lot of new faces and that they sell out of daily specials quickly.

The sign that inspired the eatery’s growth spurt reads: “If you voted for and continue to support and stand behind the worthless, inept and corrupt administration currently inhabiting our White House, that is complicit in the death of our servicemen and women in Afghanistan, please take your business elsewhere.  God bless America, and God bless our soldiers.”

According to the New York Post, the diner’s owner, Angela Ugarte, received money from all over the world and sold out of food in hours the day it was announced realizing a 3000% uptick in food deliveries and orders. She had to close early.

Ms. Ugarte said: “I’ve gotten so many people calling me from all over the world, from Europe, from Asia, trying to purchase meals for veterans, which I still haven’t been able to organize.  Cooks, chefs, wait-staff have shown up in droves and asked to work for no pay. Two doctors and a former judge showed up and asked if they could wash dishes.”

People have travelled from all over the US, from thousands of miles away, to pose in front of the sign and show their support.

Ms. Ugarte said that “one car with two couples in it arrived from upper Michigan, a 3000-mile round trip, with an offer to bus tables and sweep floors. There was nowhere to sit so they ordered four cups of water, to go, which was free, of course, but left a $1,000.00 cash tip.”

Want to go there?  It’s located at 20 N Charles Richard Beall Blvd. (Highway 17)  Debary, FL 32713. Call ‘em at 386/ 668-0104. I suggest you call ahead for reservations. We’ll see you there.


You Can’t Top This! No more entries please we have a winner!

The award for this year’s most absurd and hilariously irrational “Letter to the Editor” to the Fernandina News Leader goes to Fernandina Beach’s Theodore Griffin for his unbeatable submission headlined: “Biden succeeded where Trump failed”, published Friday, October 8.

Mr. Griffin’s side-splittingly hysterical winning entry blamed Donald Trump for Joe Biden’s disastrous retreat from Afghanistan, a debacle that even the military’s generals said under oath was Biden’s. Many Democrats and even Biden’s main stream media allies agreed.

The letter opened with Mr. Griffin labeling  himself a “moderate Democrat,” then moderately declaring: “….we are not like obnoxious Republican Neanderthals who have to feed their own fragile egos to prove their support.” The  letter writer also “moderately” admitted in his award-winning missive that “rage and disgust,” were emotions he expressed, the same feelings I had about his missive when I wasn’t uproariously laughing at his pathetic gibberish.

His angry rant went on-and-on at insufferable length. But the line that clinched the trophy was his final sentence: “Don’t respond to my letter unless you can specifically explain why Trump chose not to get Americans out.” This guy just oozes moderation. Logic, not so much.

Congratulations Mr. Griffin you’ve accomplished something most didn’t think possible. You’ve toppled the News Leader’s reigning frequent incoherent left-wing scribbler, Steve Leimberg, off his perch.


He Did It! Not Me! Whenever Joe Biden publicly addresses a critical issue he always points the finger of blame at others. He blames former president Trump for the swarm of illegals, criminals and drugs pouring across the southern border; he blamed the Afghan military and Trump for his disastrous failure there; he blames the private sector and the American consumer for the massive supply chain blockage; he shut down U.S. oil producers and blames OPEC for increased prices. He’s like the kid with a baseball bat in his hands standing over a smashed lamp and pointing to the dozing family dog as the culprit. The real danger though is that he’ll attempt to remedy these failures by assigning the cackler, Kamala Harris, to fix things

Based on his most recent solutions to major problems ranging from Afghanistan and Covid to the border chaos and rampaging crime rates, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Joe Biden approach the supply chain crisis by directing the U.S. Navy to sink those hundreds of cargo ships anchored  off American ports. He could then brag that he not only solved the supply chain issue but also provided the U.S. Navy with target practice and then boast that he is the president responsible for the most peacetime tonnage ever sunk by a naval force. It makes as much sense as anything else he’s ever said and done.


Are 38% Of Americans Blind & Deaf? Joe Biden’s recent Quinnipiac Poll approval rating plummeting to 38% is not surprising. What’s surprising is that 38 percent of Americans approve of this buffoon.

After nine months of his chaotic presidency what’s to approve? Afghanistan is now a country led by terrorists with an international airport to fly mass murderers armed with $80 billion in American weapons around the world; the U.S. suffers from raging inflation; crime is rampant and increasing at unprecedented levels; the southern border is wide open with Covid-infected illegals, drugs and criminals pouring across; police departments are being defunded and bail reform is dumping criminals back onto the streets; vaccinations are being mandated whether they’re needed or not; there’s no infrastructure funding; the DOJ is targeting local PTA members as domestic terrorists; Americans are dependent on foreign oil again; radicals are running various agencies and totally incompetent “diverse” cabinet secretaries are in charge. And Covid? More kids in Chicago have been killed by gunshots so far in 2021 than have died of Covid in the entire U.S.

Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” tool box contains only one device – a sledge hammer. America can’t handle any more of his “building” skills. An invading army couldn’t do more damage to our society than the Biden administration has already done.

My BPR column this week contains an error. I said that the teenage Nordic nitwit, Greta Thunberg, is Norwegian. She’s not, she’s a Swede, living in the country next door.

For those wondering why the U.S. government can’t be run in a rational manner it’s because it is run by irrational people. To read the rest of my commentary I wrote for Biz Pac Review go to


Who Controls The Border? It appears that the people who determine who can enter this country are the Taliban and the Mexican drug cartels.

There are no barriers on the southern border where drug cartels are raking in an average of $8,000 per illegal to shuttle Covid-infected illiterate migrants into the U.S.

Meanwhile the Canadian border is shut tighter than a drum, barring highly qualified and skilled Canadians and billions in tourism dollars.

I, and many others are convinced that Barack Obama and George Soros, who run the Biden administration have planned the southern border invasion and won’t be satisfied until at least 20 million illegal potential voters cross the border.

If that’s not the case then why aren’t the country’s immigrations laws being enforced and the border closed?

The only people being punished on the southern border are the Border Patrol Agents who are desperately struggling to plug the leaky sieve. When agents on horseback used reins to control their animals, Biden in his befuddled fog said: “They’ll pay for that,” falsely alleging the horsemen were “whipping” Haitian illegals attempting to cross the Rio Grande.


More Financial Misery Ahead: The Biden administration is hatching a plot to tax unrealized assets.

For example, if you bought your house on Amelia Island 2o years ago for $200,000 and it is now valued at $500,000, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen would tax the $300,000 difference even though you’re not planning to sell it. It also means that if you can’t come up with those tax dollars, you could lose your home. No word about getting a refund if the value goes down.

If you’ve invested in baseball cards, autographs, Hunter Biden paintings, coins or postage stamps, you better stop bragging about how much they’ve increased in value.


Dining, Drinking & Dancing: Alert good friend and proprietor of PJD’s Beer & Wine Garden, at 12 South 2nd St. downtown Fernandina Beach, Pajamadave Voorhees,  snapped the photo at right  while he and fiancé, Zan Maddox, were dinning on the deck of the Sand Dollar Restaurant this past Thursday afternoon. Apparently local boaters are none too fond of the current president and displayed their feelings with their version of the “Let’s Go Brandon” chant. One of the best deals around is the seafood platter for two at the  Sand Dollar for $43. I defy you and your guest to eat it all. Muffuletta sandwiches hereabouts are as rare as smoked mullet. But on occasion I can convince eccentric Coastal Pizza & Pasta owner Tom Demario to prepare one, but I never know when he might do that. He makes his own bread, a key ingredient, and the tapenade, another key ingredient. Combined with the proper combination of cheeses and meats this sandwich is worth putting up with Tom’s nonsense. The picture here is an indication of what a person has to go through to enjoy one of these delicious sandwiches, including bribing the affable kitchen staff with beer. It’s worth it. I walked out with one fourth of a muffuletta, a meal in itself. If Tom put these on  the menu and nothing else, he’d have lines out the door as long as those in Debary. Coastal is located at the corner of South 14the Street and Sadler in the Publix shopping center in the former Beef O’Brady’s location. They’re closed Monday and Tuesday. Call ‘em at 904/491-9998 or go to The pizza is very good and they make the best sub sandwich in town if you can’t get a muffuletta. A variety of Italian entrees are also on the menu ranging in price from $11.99 to $17.99. They have a full liquor bar too.


Hector - 19. Oct, 2021 -

Part of the problem Dave is that Julia Roberts from the News Leader is a racist, bias pig. She is anti-black, anti-hispanic and by definition then anti-Port who employs these folks. She deserves to be fired and all her donuts cut-off

Watch the last OHPA meeting. She LIES to the people in Fernandina and tries to make heros out of the CRIMINAL Miriam Hill and the racist animal Chip Ross who was ARRESSTED in Baltimore for his drunkedness racist behavior.

HOW DO THESE RACISTS GET ELECTED? Anything Ross and Hill are for, I am against. GO PORT!. Do not give in to these animals. We are rallying people on your side

Samuel - 19. Oct, 2021 -

Could not agree with you more.

Roberts is a fat liberal freak and Ross and Hill are racist, corrupt POSs. Power to the people.

We will not stop until we get them!

Citizens for Change - 16. Oct, 2021 -

There are several “classic” marina KPIs:
-Occupancy Rate
-Nights Booked by Month
-Nights Served by Week, Month, Year
-Revenue per Linear Foot
-Average Daily Rate
-Slip Utilization
-Website Traffic

As the Fernandina Marina is a public facility, which KPIs (if any) are useful becomes more of a policy decision that a commercial one.
KPI metrics should be actionable and provide insight into strenghts and weaknesses that can be clearly understood by management and staff.
Metrics on performance are usually built into marina management software packages, so likely Oasis already has/tracks some of these indicatore. Ask them.

CoCoNUT haiRRy - 15. Oct, 2021 -

Somebody is running our gubamint and it ain’t Joe Biden … wonder who ?

DAVID LOTT - 15. Oct, 2021 -

KPIs are an extremely valuable tool for measuring performance against forecasts/budgets/expectations and the City should incorporate them in its monthly reporting. Why doesn’t a representative of Common Sense ask to meet with the Marina Advisory Board and the marina manager, Taylor Fitzsimmons, with a proposed set of meaningful KPIs that Oasis would have to provide? One issue with a weekly report is that it does not foot with a monthly report so it might be meaningful to report fuel and slip rental nights on a weekly basis, but that needs to be reconciled with a monthly total on which the budget was based. While the monthly budget is published as part of the Commission meeting packet for the second meeting of the month, trying to dissect the individual components is extremely difficult. In some cases such as the golf course where annual membership fees are booked early in the fiscal year, the “summary” will almost always tell the same story that “revenues are ahead of expenses” but not provide a clear picture of current financial performance.

Bruce Smyk - 15. Oct, 2021 -

Eric Corbett makes a powerful, albeit sarcastic, suggestion. Why don’t members of Common Sense either find capable candidates or run themselves for the City and County Commissions? It would be nice to have some representation for the us peasants.

Eric Corbett - 15. Oct, 2021 -

I’m curious as to why the incredibly generous, intelligent, and altruistic members of Common Sense don’t run for office. Isn’t the way that government is supposed to work is that we vote for representation and then they make the decisions for the city? So if the members of Common Sense would just kindly run and win their respective political races, we would all be saved from the “dreaded” current commission (your opinion, Dave, not mine). Since they have all the best credentials, intelligence, and ideas, not to mention the most honorable of intentions and the coveted Dave Scott ringing endorsement, they’d surely win in a land slide, right?

DAVE LOTT - 15. Oct, 2021 -

Eric, I have been trying to get you to run for City Commission for a long time. I believe you to be an objective individual that truly has the good of the community in both his heart and his head.

John Goshco - 15. Oct, 2021 -

KPI reports – not a cure-all, but certainly a good start.
Some of the relevant data appears in the Weekly Navigation Report, but certainly not all data and, there are no trend lines.

Peggy Waldron - 15. Oct, 2021 -

Loved it all. I have a bad back and leg pains and feel dizzy and it MUST be Trump’s fault. Great blog today.

Richard Norman Kurpiers - 15. Oct, 2021 -

Every time I hear or read about the Common Sense organization my Pavlovian response is to associate the name Dave Scott with it. I suspect I am not alone given FBCC’s reluctance to take the group seriously. An endorsement by Mr. Scott is akin to a scarlet letter to those of us ho find his abrasive politics and sophomoric insults tiresome.

DAVID LOTT - 15. Oct, 2021 -

Richard, I totally agree that Dave Scott’s promotion of the work of Common Sense is totally opposite of the “polite and thorough, never confrontational.” approach he categorizes as being used by Common Sense. That being said, I believe the basic fundamentals cited by Common Sense for more transparency and easier reporting of key financial and operational performance elements of the City’s operation are spot on. For anyone to simply ignore a group simply because you don’t like their approach or you disagree with their position, is very close minded.
I am sure that if a representative of Common Sense requested an meeting with the commissioners and city manager on an individual basis to review their proposal, they would be willing to do so. And if they are not willing to do so, that fact should be fairly reported.

chuck hall - 15. Oct, 2021 -

Good morning Dave! Great photo of the boat and flag…..
Hope all is well

JOHN MOTAVALLI - 15. Oct, 2021 -