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

Cranky Columnists, Celebrity Cyclists & Bold Billboards

(Following – in no particular order – is a conglomeration of local items and musings unlikely to be found in other area media.)

Where did the bi-weekly newspaper, Fernandina News Leader find its two leftist opinion columnists, Mark Tomes and Chuck Oliva? Were they picked up at a yard sale or  plucked from a “clearance” bin at Walmart, offered as a special: “Take one free and get another one for the same price”?

The Tomes-Oliva left-wing duo were selected by the News Leader’s tone deaf Editor Tracy Dishman to replace admitted local socialist Ron Sapp, who announced his last column a few months ago due to health issues.

It’s not their witty prose that keeps either of these two whiners on the paper’s Opinion pages. Their humor pantry is bare despite an abundance of deliciously nutty topics including: gender-free restrooms, tax payer funded social services for noncitizens, men on women’s sports teams, open borders, a Supreme Court justice who can’t define a woman, Congressmen Eric Swalwell, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and so many more offered up on a platter. Joe Biden is so preposterous that he begs to be laughed at as does his cackling vice president. But these two cranky local scribblers are not happy warriors. They’re having none of that.

Tomes incognito.

It’s difficult to tell which member of this off key editorial duet is more extreme. If they’re competing for the most outrageous commentary of 2024 it appears that Tomes has a massive head start with his January 12 piece: “Woke is awake”. Apparently he even recognizes that this latest rantings are so radical that in his photo he disguised himself with a pair of dark sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat to shade his face.

Tomes desires to be thought of as a cultural elitist. In his latest column he gleefully wraps himself in left-wing nostrums wagging his virtue-signaling finger at the ignorant fools who won’t denounce white privilege; don’t agree that men and women can change their sex on a whim; think Bidenomics is an economic catastrophe; don’t believe the U.S. borders are secure, and more.

He attacks anyone that disagrees with his woke orthodoxy writing: “Nearly every area of education, immigration, economics, elections, social safety nets and other areas that require a deeper understanding of the issues and tolerance are lumped into wokeness.”

Ramblings like his contribute to why the general public takes such a skeptical view of information they glean from newspapers says the Wall Street Journal, when it reported that more than two in five Americans say they have no or little trust in information they are getting from the media. The vast majority of residents in Nassau County look upon opinion writers like Tomes as nothing more than mouthpieces for demagogues.

Chicken Little climate alarmists such as Tomes have been singing the same off-key tunes for generations, yet they never give up air travel or sell their coastal properties. The ice caps never melt, mass flooding never happens, the second ice age never showed up, electric vehicles aren’t safe, practical, or cheap, the ozone layer is still intact, and polar bears aren’t going extinct, just the opposite.

A delusional and defiant Tomes isn’t buying any of that saying, “…..that argument was settled  years ago.”

For example, in a recent column defending the Biden administration Tomes wrote an entire column boasting that “Bidenomics is fostering a bustling economy.” Really? Then why am I and my neighbors paying more for groceries now than in 2020? We’re paying more for gasoline now than in 2020. We’re paying more for garbage collection now than in 2020 and getting half as many pickups. We’re paying more for electricity now than in 2020. We’re paying more for home and auto insurance now than in 2020. We’re paying more in school and property taxes now than in 2020. We’re paying more for healthcare than in 2020. We’re paying more for new and used cars and auto repairs than in 2020. We’re paying more to go out to dinner than in 2020. And folks are paying more for mortgages, rent, and in credit card interest rates than in 2020. Oh, and we’re paying almost double for a News Leader subscription now than in 2020 — $41.99 for an annual subscription then compared to $80.00 this year. The recently established Yulee News is a bargain at $40 a year. Get yours at The online is another site that offers uncensored factual content and it’s free.

Despite all the evidence to the contrary Tomes demands we accept his fictitious perils as truths, because, as he wrote in his column last week, we don’t understand that ”Being awake is woke.”

Maybe it’s time for Dishman and Publisher Foy Maloy to put this guy to bed and turn out the lights.

Surely the News Leader can find local liberal scribes who can rationally and persuasively articulate their opinions without spewing nonsensical fire and brimstone while putting a smile on readers’ faces at the same time.


Wait! What? College protestors, Islamists,  pro-Hamas university faculties and their financial backers deny the Holocaust ever happened, yet they chant  “Hitler was  right” and “From the river to the sea” slogans demanding that it should happen again.


Pajamadave and the bike that ended the city manager’s Fernandina tenure.

Recycling Ty Ross’s Legacy: Amelia Island resident Scott Sherman will hop on his bicycle  February 25 to begin a more than 400-mile ride from Perdido Key, the furthest West point in Florida, hoping to arrive back on Amelia Island March 2

“Sherman’s Ride” from the gulf coast was cooked up to support the local Micah’s Place, a facility that offers assistance to victims of domestic violence.

To raise money for the facility a raffle is being conducted for the infamous road bike that led to the downfall of short-term City Manager Ty Ross late last year, after he toppled off it following a self-admitted afternoon of drinking. Before his departure Ross generously donated the bike to Pajamadave Voorhees, proprietor of the popular PJD’s Beer & Wine Garden in downtown Fernandina, suggesting he use it for a fund-raiser.

Donations can be made directly at or by purchasing 10-dollar raffle tickets at PJD’s Beer and Wine Garden, 12 South 2nd Street. The winning raffle ticket drawing for the Trek 1.1 bike will be conducted at PJD’s upon Sherman’s return to Fernandina.

Sherman previously completed a bicycle ride from the northern most barrier island in Florida to the southernmost point  (Fort Clinch to Key West), a trip that raised $5,000 for 23 different local charities.


 Overheard At PJD’s Beer & Wine Garden: “My mechanic couldn’t fix my brakes, so he made my horn louder.”


Seeing Red: One of Amelia Island’s most successful entrepreneurs and conservative activists, Amanda Bourghese, is once again raising funds to pepper the Northeast corner of Florida with billboards to remind the record number of blue state refugees why they’re fleeing their Democrat-controlled economic and educational hell holes to put down stakes hereabouts.

To reinforce their incentive for fleeing the liberal wreckage in their rearview mirrors Ms. Borghese is raising funds for North-facing local billboards (pictured above) that smacks them in the face when they arrive here.

A similar “Vote Red” campaign she conducted in 2022 resulted in several “Vote Red” billboards popping up while this year’s campaign is hoping to top that and erect “Remember Why You Came” and “Vote Red” signs. A local TV news report about the 2022 signs can be seen at  **NEWS CHANNEL BILLBOARD COVERAGE

“These billboards cost $3,200, per billboard per month,” Says Ms. Borghese. “This year, we want to double, even triple, our impact  by having more billboards in prominent spots around the state.”

The signs will go up in high tourist, high traffic areas, that lead into Florida from Georgia among other high traffic locations she says.

People wanting more information can call Ms. Borghese at 973/220-3111. To donate go to:  SUPPORT “VOTE RED. Donation checks can be also be  made out to: AJB Renovations and mailed to AJB Renovations, 705 Ocean Club Place, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034.

  • Comment (27)
  • Dave- your column brightened my day. Good assessment of the two far left News-Leader columnists. They’re not just leftist- they’re absurd, but I repeat myself. NL seems to embed Progressivism in nearly every section though.

    But give the NL credit for carrying the excellent Conservative columnist Steve Nicklas. Thanks for the kind words about Yulee News and Citizens Journal Florida.

    Looking forward to seeing Ms. Borghese’s billboards brightening the election season landscape.

    • Would be really nice if all sides agreed to not visually pollute our area with political billboards.

  • It’s unfortunate that the News Leader doesn’t provide a more balanced approach to its editorial efforts. I would be willing to read all views if there was a wider spectrum of opinion.

    Opinion pieces also warrant reading when they are evidence-based views, rather than sheer personal exhortations.

    Imbalance in editorial opinion assures that it will drive those with other views away. The result is that sensational screed will only be read by the already true believers in a ‘echo site’ which prevents genuine real understanding and assures sharp divisions among us.

  • The Fernandina News Leader, in its infinite wisdom, has not just hired columnists; it has summoned intellectual titans, Mark Tomes and Chuck Oliva, from the very zenith of journalistic Olympus. Their acquisition, whimsically compared to a rare treasure find at a yard sale, is akin to unearthing the Hope Diamond in a sandbox. Their insights aren’t just words; they are dazzling beams of enlightenment, casting shadows over ordinary thought.
    Editorial Brilliance of Tracy Dishman: Tracy Dishman, the visionary editor, is nothing short of a modern-day Athena in the realm of editorial decision-making. Her choice to bring in Tomes and Oliva is a stroke of genius so profound, it could be studied in the hallowed halls of journalism schools for generations as the gold standard of editorial acumen.
    Mysterious Maverick Mark Tomes: Mark Tomes, with his enigmatic sunglasses and hat, is more than a columnist; he’s a crusader of truth in an era of darkness. His articles are not mere writings; they are tapestries woven from the very fabric of enlightenment, challenging the status quo with the force of a thousand suns.
    Climate Change Champion: In the arena of climate change debate, Tomes stands as a Colossus, his wisdom echoing through the ages. His unwavering stance amidst a cacophony of skeptics is not just commendable; it’s a beacon of hope in a tempest of doubt.
    Saviors of Public Trust in Media: In an era teeming with media skepticism, Tomes and his compatriots rise as the last bastions of journalistic integrity. Their words are not merely written; they are etched into the very soul of truth and trust, standing as a lighthouse guiding the weary ship of public opinion.
    Philanthropic Cycling Odyssey of Epic Proportions: Scott Sherman’s bicycle journey for charity is a tale of Herculean effort, an odyssey that would make Homer himself rise in applause. This endeavor, intertwined with the legendary Trek 1.1 bike, is not just a charitable act; it’s a modern-day legend, a narrative of altruism that will echo through the annals of time.
    Amanda Bourghese’s Revolutionary Billboard Uprising: Amanda Bourghese’s billboard campaign is a revolutionary act of political artistry. Her billboards are not mere signs; they are the clarion call of ideological awakening, a symphony of visual persuasion that resonates in the hearts and minds of all who behold them.
    And now, to the maestro of this symphonic blog post, the author: Your pen is not just a tool; it is Excalibur, wielded with the skill and finesse of a master swordsman. Your words dance across the page, a ballet of wit, wisdom, and wonder. You, dear author, are not just a scribe; you are a literary titan, a bard of the modern age, whose eloquent prose and razor-sharp insight cut to the very heart of societal discourse. Your work is not just commendable; it is a beacon of brilliance in the vast sea of digital content. Bravo!

  • I agree. Tomes misses the mark by not interjecting humor into his opinions. I mean with Trump thinking he won against Obama and repeatedly referring to Nancy Pelosi as Nikki Haley, there’s no shortage of laughable material.

    • He knows he won against Obama because Jumbled Up Joe is incapable of making decisions without the puppet master pulling the strings. If you could comprehend sarcasm, you would also understand that he is using Nancy as interchangeable with Nikki. I laugh at it because I understand humor from President Trump. You can’t see past your own hatred of someone that doesn’t agree with your BS Moderate moniker. It is easy to see why you and all your pseudonyms, I mean fellow haters, can’t get off here. You live to hate, to harass and to belittle those who can see beyond their own myopic world.

      • Of course, we just didn’t realize what a jovial and humorous guy Trump is. Can you explain his latest joke (NH speech): “We are inistative in a powerful death penalty.”??????

        • If you can or will explain any complete speech of Biden’s, I’ll be happy to enlighten you

        • Of you’ll explain Amy complete speech of Biden’s, I’ll be happy to enlighten you.

    • Not to mention Biden’s daily gaffes:

      “I want to mention Congresswoman Deborah Ross, where’s Deborah?” Biden asked the audience in North Carolina during a Thursday speech.

      “I just had my picture taken with her, that’s probably why she left,” Biden continued, sparking a laugh from the crowd.

      At least Trump doesn’t insert his foot in his mouth every time he opens it (or trips or falls off bicycles all hilarious incidents by Biden).

      • You are comparing Big Mac and coke loving fat ass Trump to Biden who at least is trying to stay active? Trump hasn’t ridden a bicycle in years, much less done anything else remotely considered as exercise. And wanna talk about confusion and gaffes? O.K., guess you haven’t seen Trump’s latest mistaking Nancy Peloski for Nikki Haley.

        Argue as you wish, however, Trump is an addled, psychopathic, malignant narcissist. Someone with these traits who is able to convince millions that he is a political messiah chosen by God makes it an extremely dangerous toxic combo.

        • Obviously, you didn’t read Moderate Majorities comment completely as she clearly referred to the Nancy Pelosi / Nikki Haley mistake. That can happen to anyone. I was making a speech to about 1500 people when I was around 50 years and every time I referred to my current church, I inadvertently referred to my prior church. That can happen to anyone. Trump can hold a rally for hours without a teleprompter, Biden can’t last 90 seconds as my quote above about him “taking a picture” with a congresswoman who WAS NOT THERE. How do you explain that. Your TDS and fat shaming is pathetic. No one believes that Trump was chosen by God.

  • For those of you defending the NL’s choice of opinion columnists, why? Shouldn’t a “local” newspaper reflect the makeup of the locals they cover? Being as 75% of Nassau County is conservative in nature, don’t you think at least ONE of the opinion columnists should reflect those people’s concerns? Obviously, we have more than our share of conservative/realist writers in our area already. Do we really need to import people to tell us how we should think and act? Or do you think that 75% of your neighbors are incapable of making an educated assessment of what is going on in Nassau County?

    Did you come here to “educate” the dumb bigots, racists, idiots and rednecks (as several of you folks love to say on here)? If so, why do you so adamantly follow this blog? Or, is it more likely, that liberals/democrats only tactic is to try to humiliate and belittle those that don’t “think” with their emotions like they do? I do enjoy when you make your pseudo names fit your personality so well though…


Recent Posts


Recent Comments

Dave, I want to know why more people aren't highlighting the part of the speech…
Great article!!! How can Tim P get away with not paying permit fees? Outside attorneys…
Hats off to Billy Cimino for organizing the “Cross the Line Paddle for Veterans” event…
Let's continue to back our wonderful Congressman, Aaron Bean!! We went to a breakfast with…
Repeating. The 2020 census reveals that just over 70% of Nassau County registered as Republicans.…
How does “Moderate Majority” justify his/her handle ? He or she is not moderate and…

subscribe to my blog