My Tampa Plant High School classmate, friend, and current American Spectator writer, Larry Thornberry, penned a note to me and several more of his pals earlier this week about the loss of rock and roll pioneer Little Richard. It brought back a lot of memories.
Like Larry I was a young teenager in Tampa when I first saw Little Richard perform and was mesmerized by the energy of his howls, shrieks, screams and shouts and outlandish costumes. The show I attended was conducted on a stage at a downtown Tampa movie theater and contained a number of that era’s rock and roll stars. The only one I recall with any clarity is Little Richard. My friends and I left the theater babbling “alop-bop-aloobop alop bam boom” having no idea what the heck any of it meant but enjoying the sound of it rolling off our tongues.
Many years later, probably around 1994 or so, Linda and I saw him perform at Atlanta’s Chastain Park. Age had slowed him down but not much. At the end of the show he brought out his mother, an elegant lady he introduced to the audience. I later read that he brought her along on many of his tours if she was able to travel.
Here’s what Larry had to say:
“Little Richard is gone, entered into eternity at 87 after a losing battle with cancer. A forgiving God will surely suit his reward to a man who returned to Him and to the Christianity of his youth after beating the living hell out of the 10 Commandments for years. Here he is, with the “Killa”, (Jerry Lee Lewis) giving life to an old standard hymn, one of my favorites. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Pl7L9kG-F8
“My memory of LR stretches to junior high school when at our events, especially if grownups weren’t about, one might well hear the strains of Long Tall Sally or Tutti Frutti. Grownups weren’t entirely sure what was going on in these songs (neither were we, come to that), but they suspected it was at least untoward. Little Richard was one of the first black artists to appeal to white audiences, mostly white teenagers. He pioneered with Chuck Berry and Ray Charles in this regard. Of the three, Ray’s music also appealed to many white grownups. But in my high school crowd, What’d I Say was a great favorite.
“Speaking of the “Killer”, Little Richard and Jerry Lee enjoyed a long friendship, even recording each other’s songs. They even, I’ve heard but don’t know for a fact, toured together. To say that they were both charismatic performers is a gross understatement. But apparently their touring was not conflict free. I’ve no idea if the story I’m about to relate is true or not. But it’s one of those stories that is so good you almost don’t care if it’s true. It’s fun to tell, even if it’s apocryphal. It goes this way:
“While touring, Little Richard and Jerry Lee fell to arguing about which of them would go first in their concerts. Of course, both wanted to go last, this being the position of the mainliner. The opener often being thought of as the warm-up act. The closer is better billing. On this occasion Little Richard won the argument and Jerry Lee went first. He gave his usual high-energy performance, racing up and down the keyboard while standing up and belting out such as “Whole lot of Shaking.” While the audience was already at a high pitch in his final number, he managed while bending over the piano to douse the keys with lighter fluid from a can he had concealed in his coat pocket. With the audience in a frenzy over his closing number, Great Balls of Fire, he lit the keys with a Zippo he had in his pants pocket and the piano burst into flames as the song came to a close. Jerry Lee bows and exits as the piano is a blazing ruin. The audience goes insane. As he’s walking off the stage he says to Little Richard, standing next to the stage curtain waiting to go on, ‘OK, smart guy. Follow that.’
“Like I say, I don’t know if this story is true or not. But I hope it is. If so, I’m sure Little Richard found a way to get back at Jerry Lee.
“RIP Richard Penniman of Macon, Georgia. AKA Little Richard.”
Common Sense For Common Cents: Fernandina Beach City Manager Dale Martin and his quartet of free-spending City Commission “financial visionaries”, who read the needs of city residents as clearly as Mr. Magoo reads what’s in front of him, now have a guiding light to help them along. Fifth Commissioner Mike Lednovich, who appears to have been healed during a fiscal evangelical tent revival, is excluded due to his recent financial epiphany.
Do we really need such a watchdog organization? Here are some numbers that indicate that yes, indeed we do. If you disagree please explain why. Using the 2020 published budget, here are the per capita expenditures (2017-2019 actual, 2020 budget): 2017 – $3,366; 2018 – $3,963; 2019 – $5,106; 2020 – $6,227. In case you are as math deficient as I am, it appears that our taxes have doubled in four years.
The city manager and his City Commission puppets’ motto appears not to be “Here is what we have coming in and here’s what we can afford” but “Here is what we want to spend, let’s get the money”.
The watchdog group Common Sense was formally launched this week by a heavy-hitting group of Fernandina Beach executives, retired executives, college instructors, media experts, government officials and more. This is clearly not an amateur group of loud fist-waving, out-of-town extremists with their hair on fire running through the corridors of city hall screeching incoherently for some obscure cause, but a cross section of level headed tax-paying local citizens fed up with reckless city spending. Their objective is to remind all elected and appointed officials that they work for local tax-paying residents and not the other way around.
According to a press release issued this week by Common Sense, it’s an organization of nonpartisan Fernandina Beach City residents advocating for fiscal responsibility by the City of Fernandina Beach and is encouraging other city residents to join them in holding city officials accountable.
“Getting control of spending of tax payer money is more important now than ever,” says retired media executive Frank Quigley, a founding Common Sense member. “This is particularly imperative now when so many residents and business are on financial life support due to the coronavirus pandemic.” We are advocating that city commissioners prioritize spending now and for the long term. We feel we are paying far more than needed and are spending on pet projects with unclear benefit. We want to get in front of this well in advance of the fall budget workshops”.
To achieve its objectives the watchdog organization says it will involve itself in a variety of local efforts including:
○ Holding public meetings with featured topic-expert speakers. ○ Individually contacting the City Manager, Commissioners and department heads and advisory board chairs. ○ Using social media to keep residents and voters informed and encourage partcipation. ○ Identifying, endorsing and supporting like-minded candidates to run for the City Commission. ○ Media outreach including writing opinion pieces for the area media and conducting press briefings.
“Common Sense advocates a balanced, common sense approach to local government spending”, says founding member Jack Knocke, entrepreneur, virtual Chief-IoT-Officer and adjunct Professor Of Business/Florida State College at Jacksonville “We believe that properly balancing growth and quality of life issues, as well as local government spending initiatives, the citizens’ tax burden, and protection of our barrier island, will result in prosperity for everyone who lives here. However, we demand financial discipline by the city when they spend our money in good times, not only lean times.”
The group identified serious financial issues that have plagued the city, all prior to the current virus-initiated recession. These include enterprise funds that are losing money every year; the massive debt load carried by the marina itself; and the city’s underfunded employee pension fund. “Common Sense is fervently opposed to simply raising taxes to cover these. This has to stop being the course we take, and taxpayers need to speak up”, adds Quigley. “We need to stop papering over problems and actually fix them”.
Says Knocke, “Essential services including law enforcement, public safety, healthcare, sanitation, and similar city services must be protected. Common Sense Fernandina exists to identify what the city can afford and what it cannot. Finally, we are demanding that the city produce a long-range financial plan that identifies spending priorities and do so with minimum tax and fee increases”.
The group has both a web site and Facebook site for city residents interested in participating and joining Common Sense. They can call Frank Quigley at (312) 259-1741 or Jack Knocke (470) 295-4365. Or contact by: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/commonsenseFB/ Web:http:///www.commonsensefb.org/index.html
Some of the founding members of Common Sense Fernandina Beach are Patti Clifford; former controller/finance director at City of Fernandina Beach; Phil Griffin, realtor/developer & entrepreneur; Jack Knocke, entrepreneur, virtual Chief-IoT-Officer, adjunct Professor Of Business/Florida State College at Jacksonville; Frank Quigley, retired media executive; and Dr. Gerald Decker.
No LaJoux In Fernandina:
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
the band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
and somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
but there is no LaJoux in Fernandina — Alexandra has struck out.
As I read the rambling, incoherent front-page interview by reporter Julia Roberts with Fernandina Beach City Commission candidate Alexandra LaJoux in the Wednesday, May 1 News Leader my heart sank. This is a woman I once had high hopes of winning an election to help bring economic sanity to city hall. Instead I read a series of jumbled, disjointed, illogical and contradictory statements by a woman who wants to be all things to everybody, but doesn’t have a clue about anything, particularly finances. However, she did nail down the votes of the loud crowd in the Conserve Amelia Now, the few members of the Amelia Tree Conservatory group that actually live in Fernandina, and the late Joyce Kilmer.
The three-year resident make it crystal clear in her confused word jumble that trees top her agenda saying saving trees are her number-one priority. It’s possible Ms. LaJoux was hit on the head by a falling branch as later on she said she thinks the city has a positive financial situation. Apparently she’s been meeting with City Manager Dale Martin and his lackey Commissioner Chip Ross and they’ve thoroughly brainwashed the sadly confused woman. If the recently created Common Sense group intends to rate candidates then this one deserves an “F” as she clearly needs remedial classes in every course.
She says that Habitat for Humanity is “…well and good” adding that if it wants to build houses then it should do so on lots that have no trees. She found one on 8th Street she says that’ll do nicely even though she has no idea who owns it. And if Habitat for Humanity can find similar lots without trees to accommodate affordable housing then she’s all for it. Personally I don’t want to live on a treeless lot. We bought our home here because of the trees on it. I wonder if her home sits on a treeless lot. I guess if you have enough money you can have a tree or two but if you require affordable housing, no trees for you!
As far as the waterfront park is concerned she admires “the work done the past 40 years by the pillars of the community to come up with a vision.” She is very impressed saying “their efforts should not be disrespected” even though all they have to show for four decades of “efforts” are hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of obsolete plans, a blurred vision, and no park.
She called for additional outside financing to improve city finances to: “leverage the city’s positive financial situation. When they see our financials are as square and honest and healthy as they are, we are not bleeding money. We have a lot of debt but we are managing it well.” This oblivious woman apparently studied finance at the Close Cover Before Striking School of Economics and Screen Door Repair.
She emphasized that she wants diversity for the city in ways that I never realized diversity existed until I read her garbled gibberish. She says Fernandina needs economic diversity not “invasive, millionaire-oriented design, in-your-face design projects that do not reflect Fernandina.” I promise, I am not making this stuff up. She said a “working marina is an example of diversity.” And it gets nuttier. She wants diversity of “age, race, economics, and transportation.” I’ll buy the first round of beers for anyone who can tell me what the hell this woman is prattling on about.
She’s running against two people I know nothing about — David Sturges and Genece Minshew — who have to be more coherent than she is, as they couldn’t be any dimmer. If she wins the seat the Tuesday evening City Commission Chambers will be one of the most sought after entertainment venues in Nassau County or Northeast Florida. This lady will have them rolling in the aisles with her knee-slapping silliness while leaving city tax payers sobbing uncontrollably.
If you have the time to work on a word jumble here’s her full interview: https://www.fbnewsleader.com/local-news/lajoux-says-she-will-listen But consider that the News Leader printed an opinion editorial in the same edition by a far-left island liberal defending sending billions of our tax dollars to the bankrupt U.S. Post Office under the guise of pandemic stimulus assistance and because his granny likes mailing him birthday cards through the mail. I don’t know how much longer the News Leader will survive with its current editorial leadership and I have to admit that when it disappears I’ll miss it as it provides me a lot of material I would find difficult to make up.
Without Double Standards, Democrats Wouldn’t Have Any Standards: Last week, Barack Obama claimed that the “rule of law is at risk” because of the “unprecedented” move by the Justice Department to drop charges against Michael Flynn, who was the victim of a perjury trap set up by officials in the FBI. Flynn was coerced into pleading guilty to lying to FBI officials. But, in 2017, just days before leaving office, Barack Obama pardoned retired Marine Corps general James E. Cartwright, who pleaded guilty of charges of lying to the FBI. Cartwright served as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Obama and was a key member of Mr. Obama’s national security team in his first term. Cartwright had leaked classified information regarding Iran’s nuclear program to the media and lied to FBI officials investigating those leaks. He faced up to two years in prison before Obama pardoned him.
Pandemic Scene: Friends sent both Burt Prelutsky and me a meme recently showing a prostitute leaning into the car window of a potential John saying: “For $50, I’ll do whatever you want.” He replies: “Do you know how to cut hair?”
What The Heck Is Going On? Investor, author, CEO, professor and pundit Joel Ross reports that in Oregon, near Portland, the county Emergency Ops Center has set aside a space where it is a “grounding space”, (whatever that means), for minority employees to escape predominant whiteness. Translation — identity politics run amok. Ross says, “It is so blacks can be segregated and this is supposed to be a good thing? Can you imagine if in Harlem some government agency set aside a space so white employees could escape blackness. Remember Brown vs Board of Ed ended segregation and now we have a space for blacks to segregate themselves! In case you wondered if the insanity that happens on campus would invade the real world- here it is.”
2024 GOP Presidential Possibilities? The media and the Democrats are hammering President Trump for saying he sees no reason to bail out fiscally irresponsible blue states. As usual, Trump is right. The Democrats aren’t just looking to federal government pay for the problems related to the virus. In places like New York where the Democrats spent money that should have gone to purchasing ventilators they spent it on those things that Democrats prefer spending money on – such as providing welfare for illegal aliens. Even worse is the fact that the liberals in places like Maryland, Illinois and California, are desperate to be rescued from the looming debt bombs brought on by the salaries and gold-plated pensions they’ve handed out to public sector unions, in exchange for the campaign contributions and worker bees the unions provide at election time. As Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and our Senator Marco Rubio have asked: “Why should Floridians have to pay more in taxes to bail out the spendthrifts in New York?” They’re right. It’s asking those living within their means in red states to behave like those people who keep handing out money to their ne’er-do-well sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, knowing the dough will go into a vein in the form of heroin or up their nose as cocaine. I expect to see both Gov. DeSantis and Senator Rubio as strong contenders for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024. Maybe Nikki Halley as VP or vice versa.
Danger: Tree Huggers Ahead: The wildfires that consume so much acreage every year in California would be few and far between if the zealots – often called tree huggers — didn’t insist that even dead trees should be allowed to stand until they fall or, more likely, provide tons of tinder for the next fire. As California resident Burt Preluctsy points out, “The problem isn’t that they love trees, but that they love them in the perverted way that pedophiles love children. They lack the sense to understand that conservation can take different forms and that a tree that’s turned into a chair or a table or a crib that may be passed down through generations can be at least as lovely as a tree, no matter what Joyce Kilmer claimed.”