In a six-page letter to me Mr. Hannity told me that bucolic Amelia Island has been identified as an “emerging immigrant community” that is being “…..transformed into a haven for displaced, Middle Eastern illegal immigrants” and worse.
He painted a grim picture of Amelia Island’s and Fernandina Beach’s future and urged me to write to Florida Governor Rick Scott requesting that no undocumented aliens of Middle Eastern decent be allowed to relocate here unless locals say it’s OK through a referendum. He also asked me to send money ranging from $35 to $1,000 or more to an organization that he says will help prevent these undesirables from storming our beaches and “terrorizing legal residents.”
He warned me that “busloads of thugs, anti-American activists and terrorists” may already be on their way here.
Geez Louise! I’m thinking why doesn’t Sean call the governor right now as it seems that time is of the essence. Why waste time writing to me? I don’t have any influence in Tallahassee. I’ve never even met the governor. He doesn’t know me from Adam’s house cat. I don’t know Sean Hannity either. In fact, I have no idea how I got involved in this. I realize my attitude may not be in the spirit of community support and unity, because if we all thought this way then we might as well hoist a white flag, right? However, I’m flattered Sean thinks I can help, but I’m not sure I’m qualified to handle a situation of this magnitude. I might be in over my head.
What if the busloads of these barbarians at our gate, or in this case barreling down State Road 200 toward Shave Bridge, arrive before the governor gets my letter? What if the governor dismisses me as an alarmist nutcase? What then?
Do Democrats get mail like this too? And if so, do their letters come from Mara Liasson, Chris Matthews, and Rachel Maddow, warning that their hometowns are in danger of being overrun by hedge fund managers, venture capitalists or National Rifle Association members?
Do they ask recipients to send money to an organization that will prevent locals from being clubbed to death with debentures, warn them against buying insider IPO information, or shot at by conservatives with bazookas?
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want Fernandina Beach to become a haven for Islamic terrorists or hostile hedge fund managers, but I’m not sure those are the issues that currently resonate with local residents.
Now, if Sean had warned that Fernandina Beach was becoming a haven for the imposition of extortion-like impact fees; out of control costs for a goofy looking new airport terminal; a city marina with lots of mud but little water; the plight of beach-front home owners forced to pay a $500 fine if they turn on their lights and disturb slumbering sea turtles; or preventing horses from pooping on the beach, then maybe locals would be more sympathetic to his plea. Not really, but maybe.
But, thanks to Sean, I’m on alert. From now on every time I see one of those big tourist buses pull into town I’ll be eyeballing it to see who gets off, and I have the phone number of the governor’s office on speed dial just in case.
Sleep Well Folks Because our Enemies Aren’t: During his appearance on CBS’s Face the Nation last Sunday one comment by Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis jumped out at me:
JOHN DICKERSON: What keeps you awake at night?
SECRETARY JAMES MATTIS: Nothing. I keep other people awake at night.
A Couple Of Shaggy Dog Stories: Since I moved to Amelia Island I’ve always enjoyed sitting at one of the two tables out front of the downtown Centre Street Amelia Island Coffee Shop and chatting with folks walking by.
During a few of my initial visits a handsome dog that looked like a Husky dozed under my chair. As I sat reading a newspaper and sipping my coffee a steady stream of very attractive young women would approach, pet the dog, “ooh” and “aah” over him, then ask me: “What’s your dog’s name?”
I’d respond explaining he’s not my dog but belongs to someone inside and I have no idea what he’s named.
I eventually met the owner, local attorney Clinch Kavanaugh, when he came out to fetch his pet and walk him back to his North 6th Street home. That was about seven years ago and today the dog, Ishmael, is still alive, pushing 20, an extraordinarily long life for a canine.
Ishmael’s story is a fascinating one and was related in the May/June issue of “First Coast Magazine” in a first-person article penned by Clinch, who has since become a good friend, despite our totally opposite political leanings. I guess it doesn’t hurt that Clinch’s daughter, Nan, is the editor of “First Coast” which featured Clinch and Ishmael in the colorful two-page spread.
When we first met I told Clinch that I was surprised he was single with Ishmael, a mixed breed, acting as his wingman and scoring introductions.
This reminds me of another local dog story that quirky Addison B&B owner and fellow Canadian, Bob Tidball, told me when we were sipping a beer at the Green Turtle not long ago. Bob said a lady approached him a while back and asked: “Does your dog bite? Bob responded, “No” so she reached down to pet the dog next to Bob, which snarled and snapped at her. Startled, she jumped back, exclaiming: “You said your dog didn’t bite!”
“That’s not my dog,” explained Bob.
Wondering Out Loud Department: Will Donald Trump be the only elected politician in history criticized for following through on his campaign promises?
RIP Department: Richard “Racehorse” Haynes, one of the most colorful and best defense lawyers in the country, died a couple of weeks ago at 90 in Houston. I never met Mr. Haynes when I lived there, but heard many stories about his fascinating courtroom exploits. Two quotes from his obituary that I particularly like are the one where he describes how an attorney should be willing to do almost anything to make his point in court saying: “Doesn’t matter if people think he’s crazy as a road lizard, he owes it to his client.” The other was when he talked about his San Antonio grandmother: “She was a little old lady from England. Her talents included reciting Shakespeare and rolling cigarettes with one hand.” He earned his unusual nickname from a junior high school football coach who watched him gallop toward the sidelines.
Take A Number And Wait Your Turn: Statues of Confederate politicians and soldiers are being taken down in cities throughout the south because of an ideology claiming that those represented on their granite pedestals were traitors and slave owners, not worthy of a lasting tribute. If so when will they come and get the one of David Yulee that sits in front of the old train station in downtown Fernandina Beach? Following the Civil War slave holder and traitor Yulee, was one of the few that were convicted and sentenced to prison and even after he was released he managed to misappropriate money from the state before hightailing it to Washington, D.C. and then New York City. I don’t agree with pulling down the Civil War statues that have stood for decades, but I also disagree with erecting new ones like that of Yulee that was put in place about three years ago. While on this topic, are those who tear down the century old Confederate statues any different than the Taliban and ISIS who destroy ancient Roman and Buddhist artifacts?
What The? In the entire history of the United States there has never been a president like Donald Trump? As far as I can tell he doesn’t represent either major political party. He’s a populist and probably closer to a Republican than a Democrat. The GOP thinks that since he ran on their ticket he must belong to them but they are reluctant to claim him. The Democrats have come totally unhinged since the election and want nothing to do with the guy, who is to them what holy water was to Linda Blair’s character in the Exorcist. Just look at their reaction to his withdrawal from the Paris Climate Change accord. He’s a man who happened to the Republicans and who now heads their party, like it or not, much to their amazement and chagrin. I can’t recall him prior to the election ever saying he was a Republican or a conservative. He’s been a registered Democrat and a registered Republican. Neither party has figured him out and I think that’s a good thing. He’s not obligated to anybody because basically he financed his own campaign and owes others doodley-squat. Look at the mess those two parties have made of the government when their candidates were in office. I was never a Trump fan, but can’t say that I am not enjoying his presidency, because I am. He’s growing on me and I like his policies so far. The fact that he hates the main stream media — if there is such a thing anymore — endears him to a majority of Americans who consider them liberal mouth pieces. He has also let the world’s bad guys in North Korea, Syria, Russia, Cuba, and elsewhere know that there’s a new sheriff in town and that their days of riding down main street, guns-a-blazing are over. And his heavy handed criticism of members of both parties also scratches an itch that most Americans enjoy. It’s interesting watching the two parties going nuts trying to figure out how to handle this unusual historical figure who could prove a model for future candidates if his programs pay off for the American public and things don’t go kaplooey.
Good News Department: News reports say that Hillary Clinton may be planning another run for the Presidency in 2020. Good! If her last campaign is an example, a barrel of hair could oppose and easily beat this dreadful candidate whose unexplainable and awkward campaign message in 2016 of “I’m with her” was easily overshadowed by the powerful “Make America great again” concept chanted by thousands at Trump rallies.
Speaking Of Messages: For the past several months the media has been full of stories about an attempt by Russia to influence the last presidential election, but not a single piece of evidence has yet to be revealed. Nothing! Zip! Nada! With all the leaks springing up in D.C. if there was something there, it would have been made public by now. Story after story, repeating the same silly nonsense appear daily with absolutely no proof of anything. There has not been one shred of evidence that Russia had any influence over the last election or interfered successfully in anyway whatsoever. Desperate Democrats and their media allies are keeping this alive despite the fact it’s on life support. Someone needs to pull the plug. What the Dickens is wrong with these people? I’m betting the Democrats will start getting very nervous when the special prosecutor, coming up empty elsewhere, starts sniffing around the Hillary campaign and the DNC.
Drinking, Dining & Dancing: I’m predicting this coming Father’s Day Weekend, June 17-18, will be a very busy one at Main Beach, as that’s the anticipated soft opening of the new Sandbar & Kitchen. Folks who were familiar with the old Sandy Bottoms won’t recognize anything about their old haunt as the new owners — Kevin Dooner, Michelle Seder and Hez Houze — have gutted the interior and refurbished the exterior into a great looking tavern and eatery with a cozy, “under the boardwalk” tropical feel that includes a 30-seat outside bar, a 15-seat downstairs inside bar and a 15-seat upstairs bar that all overlook the ocean. There’s also another small downstairs patio area bar where customers can be served from inside. This fall they’ll add a 40-50 seat upstairs patio. Tables, chairs and bar stools are already here, the floor is getting ready to go in, and from what I’ve seen, this place will have people standing in line for a table. Did I mention there will be an outside window where beach goers can order ice cream and other cool treats. I’m lucky that I live close enough to walk or bike there and back because parking will be at a premium. If you’re looking for a true bowl of Texas chili, then look no further than the South 8th Street Halftime Sports Bar & Grill where Manager Lorenzo Church has concocted a bowl of red that DOES NOT (and should never) contain beans and will put a bit of perspiration on your forehead when you tuck into it. For just five bucks you get a huge bowl that’s a meal and more. Oh, and you can watch any sporting event you want on one of their 15 TVs, including competitive yawning.