Congratulations tax payers of Fernandina Beach on your recent golf course and marina time share deal.
What? You didn’t know you owned a time share?
The slick talking pitchmen who peddled you these money pits were none other than the notorious local snake oil peddling duo of Fernandina Beach City Manager Dale “The Big Spender” Martin and his sidekick Commissioner Chip “Daddy Warbucks” Ross.
Ordinance 2020-22, approved Aug 4, 2020, placed the question on the November 3 ballot – using language recommended by the Charter Review Committee – based on wording originally proposed by “Daddy Warbucks” Ross and cheered on by “Big Spender” Martin.
The cowed and oblivious City Commission unanimously approved (5-0) the duo’s “time share” referendum scheme for the November 3 ballot which the smooth-talking duo carefully worded as follows:
“Conservation Lands & Recreation Facilities:
Should the Fernandina Beach City Charter be amended to prohibit the sale or lease of city-owned conservation lands and restrict the sale or lease of City-owned recreation facilities by requiring unanimous vote of the City Commission and approval at a referendum by at least 70% of the electors of the City. YES or NO”
Sorry folks. A whopping 83% of you voted “YES” sealing the deal. What the hell were you thinking? The November 3 agreement says the scammers (the City Commission) who sold you this codswallop have to vote 5-0 and 70% of you have to say it’s OK to sell or lease these turkeys. That’s like a car dealership saying the warranty on the lemon they unloaded on you isn’t valid unless the dealership management votes unanimously agreeing that it is and 70% of your neighbors agree.
Forget dumping these two money losers as long as “Daddy Warbucks” Ross – prodded by “Big Spender” Martin – continues doing his spot-on impersonation of Henry F. Potter. And do you really think people who didn’t understand what the hell they were voting for the first time will be any smarter the next time? You’ll need 70% of those suckers to vote “yes” to unload these pricey white elephants. Fat chance.
Smack in the middle of a pandemic that has wrecked financial havoc on the area’s hospitality industry – the lifeblood of this community – you folks go out and vote for one of the worst real estate agreements since the Indians (aka Native Americans) sold Manhattan to the Dutch for $24 worth of useless trinkets.
The “Big Spender” and “Daddy Warbucks” have locked you (with your consent) into an iron-clad time share golf and marina contract that would make Bernie Madoff and Charles Ponzi envious. The “yes” vote assures that the city can’t sell or lease either one…..it can’t even give them way, but you suckers have to keep paying. There’s no TV or radio ad with an 800 number that you can turn to, nor is there a charitable organization to assist you. Nobody’ll touch this mess with a 10-foot pole. You have to keep paying your time share fees even if you don’t use the marina or play golf and never intend to use them. Your heirs will inherit this debacle – thanks dad and mom! There’s no escape clause.
“Big Spender” Martin – who came here from Connecticut – recently told us that our city is affluent (meaning more taxable) so subsidies and debt will continue as long as he can keep picking what he says are your deep pockets. Among other things he overlooked the pandemic’s economic upheaval because he thinks you’re all fat cats and publicly said so. He thinks he won the lottery so it’s “Katy, bar the door” as long as the “Big Spender” is managing the city.
I’m sure the Nassau County golfers and boaters who live across the street from you and the out-of-town visitors appreciate the city’s generosity, but you’ll see no financial relief from those folks. In fact you’re subsidizing them.
You don’t play golf and don’t have a boat. So what? You’ll pay anyway.
As a tax payer you’re also paying a $16 subsidy for each round of golf played by others because the golf course is saddled with between $300,000 and $2 million in debt. At last Tuesday’s Commission meeting nobody at city hall seemed to know to exact figure. But whatever it is you’re forced to subsidize it, whether you like it or not. And it is expected to increase significantly.
For example, it’ll take years for the golf course’s recently acquired $500,000 plus Top Tracer golf addition to break even – if it ever does – pushing the golf subsidy and debt even higher. The city rushed out and bought this costly technological gizmo because they thought the Republican Convention was coming to Jacksonville and all those GOP fat cats would flock to the course. Prior to contracting for it did the city realize that there’s a top-of-the line Top Tracer facility just 20 miles away in Duval county? Too bad if you don’t play as you’re paying for it and you can’t back out.
Oh, and the golf time share you agreed to keep forever is also a lousy piece of real estate, even the folks that peddled it to you think so. Commissioner Mike Lednovich this past Tuesday night commented that he is an avid golfer, but never plays the city course because it’s in such poor shape. If I recall correctly, Commissioner Lednovich is editor of a golf magazine, so it would appear he knows what he’s talking about on that issue. Why didn’t he speak up sooner? And why did he vote to lock us in?
I’ve personally heard many negative comments from many other golfing folks – they play Amelia River, N Hampton, Kings Bay (military/veterans) or one of the resort courses when they can – rather than the city course, which they say is their last choice.
On top of all this the popularity of golf around the country is on a rapid decline. According to the National Golf Association some 200 courses in the sunbelt alone closed last year and they say there’s been a 20% nationwide decline in the number of golfers since 2003.
In South Carolina alone 33 courses failed since 2013 says a University of Arizona study. Collier County in southwest Florida has a moratorium on golf course rezoning and just bought a failed course for a park. It has 75 remaining courses, and their future doesn’t look healthy.
You think that stinks? Just wait until you get the bill for your marina time share assessment with its incomplete rebuilding and proposed multi-million-dollar waterfront park. It’ll knock your socks off. It’s already a whopping $15 million without the waterfront park, which will add another $10-12 million or more and there’s with no projected positive revenue stream.
Just think of your massive increasing debt payments as typical time share assessments.
You might as well take up golf and buy a boat because you have no other options.
The city’s only plan for paying off the marina and golf course debt is you, the tax payer, through higher taxes. You have no choice. That’s the time share deal pitched by The Big Spender and Daddy Warbucks that 83% of you agreed to November 3.
The City owns these facilities and now must run them – either alone or with hired help. You agreed that they can’t be sold or leased.
The current price tag to maintain and complete all the stuff that the city has saddled the tax payers with to date is around $70 million dollars. Divide that by a population of 12,500, most who are not tax-paying property owners.
City Manager “Big Spender” Martin has proven time and time again that he and the city are not capable of running anything but their mouths.
It’s time to stop acquiring new stuff and hire competent outside folks to manage what we have, as turning anything over to the city incompetents to run is total folly. What other options do we have to ensure that our pricey time share investments don’t go belly up?
The tax payers are boxed into a corner.
To help prevent any more of these shady and fiscally irresponsible deals it’s vital to cast a vote in the December 8 City Commission runoff election for David Sturges, a fifth generation local businessman who can read a P&L spreadsheet, and will be a deciding vote that isolates “Daddy Warbucks” Ross and will hopefully send “Big Spender” Martin packing.
Mr. Sturges’ opponent was quoted in an interview in the News leader last week saying that she thinks the city’s finances are in good shape. Where the hell has this woman been the past few years?
Wait! What? NASDAQ has proposed that companies listed on its stock exchange must have more diverse people on their boards. Call me crazy but wouldn’t it be better for these companies and their shareholders to select board members with different opinions, cultural backgrounds, worldly knowledge, and who know something about the business? How would you like to be a newly selected company board member if NASDAQ’s rules prevailed and have your peers looking at you knowing they’re thinking you were offered the position only because of your skin color, gender, the way you look or your sexual identity? It’s nuttiness like this that has companies abandoning the exchange for private placements, private equity and venture capital and the OTC, a trading system for non-exchange listed equities.
Misery Loves Company: Why do those “woke” Democrats that claim the United States is systemically racist and therefore a terrible place to live continue to call for open borders and less restrictive immigration policies. Shouldn’t these social warriors be warning potential immigrants that this is an unsafe and intolerant country where police indiscriminately slaughter minorities? Did sympathetic Germans encourage Jews to immigrate to Nazi Germany?
Amelia Island’s Nostradamus: Area resident and local author Ken Timmerman knows more than most about the national election results brouhaha, in fact he predicted exactly what is taking place more than four months ago.
An Amelia Island resident the past two years, Timmerman authored a book that was published in early August titled “The Election Heist” (Post Hill Press, distributed by Simon and Schuster) a fictional narrative with a plot that uncannily reads like today’s newspaper accounts of the November 3 presidential post-election “cheating” controversy.
What does Timmerman know that others don’t? A lot it turns out. His background is impressive. He has served National Security and Foreign Policy Advisory Board, Trump for President; was a Republican nominee for Congress, Maryland District 8 (2012); President & CEO, Foundation for Democracy in Iran, www.iran.org; and a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, 2006.
Ken is also a nationally recognized investigative reporter, who has authored ten books on national security, as well as three fictional novels and a biography, ”Shakedown: Exposing the Real Jesse Jackson.”
As a reporter he was based in Paris and then in Maisons-Laffitte for 18 years before returning to the U.S. to work in Congress in 1993. He covered Middle Eastern wars for USA Today, the Atlanta Constitution, Newsweek, and CBS News during the 1980s.
He pops up on national TV and radio often and in the past couple of weeks he has been with Greg Stinchfield and John Bachman on Newsmax TV, with Frank Gaffney on Secure Freedom Radio, and on a podcast with Steven Strang, author of God, Trump, and the 2020 Election.
On Newsmax TV Ken explained how we “are watching the nightmare story unfold in real time.”
He told Newsmax TV that “The evidence of nefarious actions revealed by election workers in affidavits to President Donald Trump’s legal team are one thing, but the software hacking of vote tallies is far more capable of swinging the big numbers of the elections.”
“I am much more worried about the election hacking,” Timmerman told host Grant Stinchfield. “That’s the scenario I talk about in ‘The Election Heist ,’ which is a fiction, [but] it’s not a fantasy, and it was published three months before this election.”
Stinchfield introduced Timmerman to the program showing graphs reporting mystery voter tallies switching from Trump to Joe Biden en masse.
“That looks like to me, what I call in my book, ‘the secret switch,’ when they realized they were behind and they needed to flip votes from Trump to Biden,” Timmerman told Stinchfield.
Timmerman pointed to the reports of election systems software accepting a late-election update that demands legal and forensic scrutiny.
“They changed the computer software the day of the election or the day before; it’s called a patch,” he added. “They think that they received it from the voting machine manufacturer, but it may have been hacked from somebody else.”
Ken’s not alone in his views, far from it.
“The latest comes from a hearing in Arizona, where a Pinal County poll worker testified that she personally witnessed 34,000 ballots opened without a Republican observer and no ballot verification, and another 2000 ballots “adjudicated” primarily for Biden. That’s more than double Biden’s current lead in Arizona. An anonymous email shown during testimony that purportedly came from a Pima county IT worker claimed that Democrat election officials were embedding 30,000 votes for every Democrat on the ticket (starting with Biden) in Pima county, a number they believed would coincide with expected voter turnout and not attract attention. Just your garden variety cheating.”
According to Ken the expert who presented that email, Colonel Phil Waldron, is a former “white hat” hacker from a DoD cyber unit. He explained exactly how Dominion initiated a “man in the middle” attack on the election results and changed votes using an algorithm. It’s right out of my book.”
Ken suggested the following piece from The Spectator, which gives a broad overview of “all that stinks” in this election. https://spectator.us/reasons-why-the-2020-presidential-election-is-deeply-puzzling/
Ken’s book can be ordered from Amazon using this link: https://amzn.to/2VBuKvF
In addition to Amelia Island Ken also has residences in the south of France where he grows olives and writes his books, and in Sweden, his wife Christina’s native country.
He discovered Amelia Island he says, “totally by accident. I came down for a conference at the Omni where I was a speaker with Jeff Sessions and just loved it – and love Florida.”
Would he ever consider running for office again? “Never say never”, he tells me, “but….having spent a year running for Congress, I appreciate what a commitment it is, and how hard it is. The best of it is being with people; the worst of it is having to ask them for money.”
He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Wise Man’s Last Words: “Perhaps the most tragic aspect of today’s division is that much of it is a byproduct of our education system where young people are taught to hate our nation’s founders and founding principles. However, it is these principles, though practiced imperfectly, that have created the freest and richest nation in mankind’s history.” – Walter Williams, https://spectator.org/walter-williams-rip/
A Happy Ending: A light-hearted look at the ‘60s — https://youtu.be/lPj3SJcx0Wc