With apologies to the late Johnny Paycheck and his classic country song “Take This Job and Shove It” Johnny Paycheck – Take This Job And Shove It (Audio …
Take your BS and shove it
It ain’t working here no more
The governor said so and took all the reasons
Ya’ll was working for
You better not try to stand in his way
As he’s a-comin’ through the door
Take your BS and shove it
It ain’t working here no more
It’s been workin’ in Fernandina
For going on 30 years
All this time we watched our neighbors
Drownin’ in pools of tears
And we’ve seen a lot of politicians lie
To folks that had a lot of bills to pay
Until the governor had the guts to say
“Take Your BS and shove it
It ain’t working here no more”
Well, that mayor, he’s a regular dog
The city manager, he’s a fool
Wrote a lying newspaper editorial
Lord, he thinks he’s cool
But just the other day the Governor blew his top
And those suckers, they’re gonna’ pay
Lord, I wish I’d seen their faces
When the governor had the guts to say
“Take your BS and shove it
It ain’t working here no more”
The Blazing Saddles crew currently occupying Fernandina Beach’s city hall is taking a well-deserved pounding from all sides, most notably Florida’s governor.
Flanked by leaders of the Florida House and Senate on Monday, May 3, Governor Ron DeSantis suspended local COVID emergency orders and signed a proposal that lawmakers approved last week that limits local government’s ability to impose mask requirements and other social-distancing measures.
The bill (SB 2006), which goes into effect July 1, also makes permanent DeSantis’ executive order that prohibits “vaccine passports” saying it is unnecessary “to be policing people at this point.”
To underscore his position DeSantis later issued two executive orders invalidating local emergency COVID orders.
“In order to protect the rights and liberties of individuals in this State and to accelerate the State’s recovery from the COVID-19 emergency, any emergency order issued by a political subdivision due to the COVID-19 emergency which restricts the rights or liberties of individuals or their businesses is invalidated,” DeSantis wrote in an executive order.
In addition, the wildly popular governor announced that he’s authorizing $1,000 one-time bonuses to be given to every single one of the state’s law enforcement officers, paramedics, emergency medical technicians and firefighters.
In explaining why he’s chosen to award bonuses to the law enforcement community, the governor pointed to both what they’ve endured because of the coronavirus pandemic and also the disgraceful treatment they’ve suffered amid all the anti-cop riots in the country. DeSantis also signed a Florida anti-rioting law a few weeks ago giving notice to BLM and Antifa thugs that their law breaking won’t be tolerated in the sunshine state.
This past Tuesday the Fernandina City Commission dropped its face mask mandate realizing they had been trumped by the governor. All of the commissioners except the arrogant gasbag, Dr. Chip Ross, removed their face masks.
In addition to Governor Ron DeSantis telling out-of-control politicos like the Fernandina Beach crowd to butt out, the inept local legislators are facing several more fed-up activist groups who are tired of the tinhorn twits telling them how to live their lives.
Collectively piling on locally are:
- The Nassau County Chamber of Commerce and its members that are excoriating the city Building Department shakedown artists.
- Two citizens groups currently circulating petitions to have pompous, gasbag and self-appointed City spokesperson, Commissioner Chip Ross, recalled.
- The watchdog group Common Sense, that has been successfully informing residents of the city’s shakedown operations.
- A new group is gathering information on Ross’s tactics and sending an ethics complaint to the International City/County Management Association, a group formed in 1914 that promotes leadership, transparency, integrity, equity, neutrality and rights and responsibility of elected officials.
- Local musicians, music lovers, bars and restaurants and ordinary folks are also dancing to Governor DeSantis’s tune showing up at city hall weekly to protest the city’s confusing “noise” ordinance that’s got the city leveling fines helter-skelter and indiscriminately.
The more people that pile on the better for the city’s frustrated residents and enraged tax payers.
The only folks in city hall I see expressing any degree of sympathy for Fernandina’s frustrated citizens are newly elected Commissioners Bradley Bean and occasionally David Sturgis, who are both being stained by the corrupt mess swirling around them. This somewhat meek duo appear to be the only two government officials voicing any sympathy for the city’s long-suffering residents, whose pockets are continuously being picked by spendthrift city Manager Dale “Big Spender” Martin; a clueless Mayor Mike “Left Coast” Lednovich; and arrogant, shameless bully Ross. Unless turtles are involved Commissioner Len Kreger remains mostly silent, decorating the Commission chambers like a potted plant.
Ross is no stranger to community anger and negative publicity. He skedaddled out of his last residence in Solomon’s Island, Maryland with a pitchfork and torch crowd on his heels.
“First do no harm” attributed to the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates is a concept that Dr. Ross doesn’t comprehend, at least outside of the hospital emergency room. This guy leaves a trail of disorder, chaos, controversy, dissention, and misery in his wake wherever he goes.
In a November 3, 2017 blog I wrote here that media stories out of Ross’s former Solomon’s Island, Maryland community collectively reported that their community’s tranquility was upended because of the bombastic, pompous doctor’s bizarre and boorish behavior.
That community was thrilled to see him head south, particularly his former neighbors, whose businesses he tried to destroy and lives he tried to ruin. Tranquility returned only after Ross departed say media reports from that area.
Charles Donnelly, an attorney for the Solomon’s Island Tiki Bar was quoted in an April 19, 2012 Southern Maryland Weekly Galvert Gazette article headlined “Local wins give Tiki Bar much to celebrate” saying that his client (Tiki Bar) “spent between $300,000 and $500,000 on attorneys, architects and legal fees over the years defending itself from Ross.”
Other area media reported about Ross’s activities in his former residence including one in the Washington Post by J. Freedom du Lac, the Post’s general assignment news editor, headlined “At the famed Tiki Bar in Southern Maryland, it’s the doctor vs. the drinkers.” Sean Rice of The BayNet.com authored another one about Ross on September 22, 2006 headlined “Prominent Tiki Bar Foe Charged with Intoxicated Endangerment.”
According to these Maryland and Washington D.C. news reports Ross tried to strip a local bar in his former residence of its liquor license and had legal charges brought against him. The entire, very bizarre report of Ross’s activities can be found by going to: http://www.thebaynet.com/articles/0906/prominent-tiki-bar-foe-charged-with-intoxicated-endangerment.html. The Washington Post article can be read in the May 28, 2011 Washington Post (At the famed Tiki Bar in Southern Maryland, it’s the … – Washington Post ).
One of the the most despicable levels in our doctor of gloom’s residency here came when he sued a local couple forcing them and their special needs son out of their home. Legal actions taken by the mean-spirited Ross forced John and Teresa Sauer, and their special needs son, John Jr., to take shelter in a local hotel, costing them thousands of dollars.
Mr. Sauer and his family bought a house at 205 Broome Street in Fernandina Beach’s historical district in February 2015 and spent between $80-90,000 renovating it, only to have the financial roof cave in on them thanks to Ross.
In addition to keeping the Sauer family out of their home, the suit filed by Ross, also cost the city’s tax payers $10,000, the cost of the city’s $5K insurance deductible in each on the cases he brought. Ross didn’t care and said so in a letter to the editor in the News-Leader.
Ross’s legal abuse and apparent disregard for the family’s financial and personal concerns took a heavy financial and personal toll on the Sauers. Did I mention it was just a few days before Thanksgiving that Ross gave them the heave-ho?
Why did Ross do it? Mr. Sauer is baffled but thinks it may have something to do with Ross believing that newly renovated residences in his 2nd Street and Broome area may hinder his view of the river from his home on North 3rd Street, about a block from the Sauer’s house.
Ross says he filed the actions to contest whether amendments to the City’s Comprehensive Plan in June 2017 were in compliance with Florida Statute. Really? “We’ll show you that you can’t violate the city’s comprehensive plan! We’ll toss you and your family out on the street to show we mean business.” Inspector Jevart would be proud.
“Several months ago, while I was working on my house, Chip Ross came into the yard, introduced himself, said he was a neighbor, and that he would have us in court for years,” recalls Mr. Sauer relating his first encounter with Ross. “He didn’t ask any questions about what we were doing or our plans. I had no idea who he was other than he was haughty and arrogant.”
Soon after the meeting with Ross the Sauer family applied for a certificate of occupancy and that’s when Ross started his barrage of legal actions that he was notorious for in his previous residence in Maryland.
The court didn’t agree with Ross. Administrative Law Judge Suzanne Van Wyk found that Ross’s challenges were based upon “inaccurate contentions”, that he “presented no relevant acceptable data or analysis which contradicted” that action and that he “did not prove” that the City’s action was in violation of Florida Law. By then the Sauer family was already out several thousand dollars and their life totally disrupted.
Ross’s contempt for local citizens, his arrogant blowhard tactics, lack of compassion, and pompous attitude are permeating almost every aspect of city government and negatively impacting a wide swath of locals. It’s time for Doctor Doom to be shown the city hall exit, even better, to move on and torment some other unsuspecting township. He is not a pleasant person.
Sapp, a former city Commissioner, retired high school indoctrinator, and avowed socialist, wrote a recent News Leader opinion piece: ”Local governments should work together” a piece of blather that witnessed him launching into two of his most monotonous and recurring themes: The first is his blame someone else – especially the county – for Fernandina’s problems. The second being his tired home town vs boom town mantra.
Sapp sees little likelihood for cooperation among local groups unless they agree to his concessions. For example, he says Nassau County must concede to have “unincorporated residents” pay for city recreational facilities. For him that’s a starting point.
Then, he says, there is the dreaded Tourist Development Council. That the TDC “continues to spend bed tax revenues” charged only to out-of-towners makes no sense to Sapp because he says we don’t need no more stinkin’ visitors. They only “diminish what’s left of our quality of life” he claims. What would Wally and The Beaver think?
It’s the same old tune he’s been singing for years. In his News Leader bio, Sapp notes that he has served 24 years on the City Commission with six terms as mayor. Add to that 30 years teaching at a local school. Apparently he knows something about government. He’s been collecting taxpayer-funded paychecks his entire adult life.
Sapp’s song would have you believe county residents are not paying for city services. But they are. Whatever financial problems the city has are all of its own making. For example, it was during Sapp’s time in office that city government continued to accumulate vast amounts of real estate taking it off the tax rolls? Just scroll through the numerous pages of city owned property. City officials like Sapp and Chip Ross decided to buy all that nonperforming real estate. Who pays for the abandoned taxes because of city ownership? Yep – mostly county residents.
The arrogant, pompous unofficial city spokesman, Commissioner Ross, is 100 percent onboard with Sapp’s fiscal claptrap. Socialist Sapp served as campaign manager for Ross when he first ran for the Commission. Sapp’s protégé, Dr. Ross, says the tax payer patient is financially healthy, he just needs to trim some more fat out of his wallet.
As far as I know Sapp hasn’t commented in his News Leader column about the recent Chamber study, demonstrating how the city’s Building Department is undermining the economic interests of local citizens and property owners. He and Ross are probably cheering the extortionists on in the back room.
The Building Department’s new motto: “We may do crummy work, but we’re rude and expensive.”
It’s clear that the Building Department’s practices are likely in violation of the Florida building code. It also seems certain that city government charges permit fees well in excess of reasonable administrative costs.
Local businessmen, investors, and entrepreneurs, Pat Keogh and Phil Griffin, sounded the alarm a decade ago when they co-authored an article for the News Leader in 2011 headlined “City permit penalty fees are illegal”.
The subtitle for the article was “City Building Official Bob Sasser continues to bully our citizens and extort illegal fines. This is simply theft”. It echoed the recent Chamber of Commerce report condemning the city’s Building Department for extorting its citizens. The extortion racket continues, only the names on the door change.
Current building official, Steve Beckman, is simply continuing a long city tradition. Even after the recent scandalous Chamber of Commerce report blasting the city’s shakedown antics both the city manager Dale “Big Spender” Martin and California transplant Mayor “Left Coast” Lednovich publicly came to the defense of the Building Department writing News Leader pieces singing its praises. As the old adage says: “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” Beckman isn’t rogue. He, like building officials before him, is doing what his bosses demand.
During Sapp’s time as a city official the city bought the local investor-owned water utility paying an exorbitant price previously disallowed by the Florida Public Service Commission. The city promptly instituted an illegal set of impact fees to pay off the acquisition cost. A Florida court found the fees to be illegal in two separate trials. The city resolved all that confusion by refunding the ill-gotten fees and then reinstituting the illegal fees under a different name paying a consultant for that little bit of creativity. Those fees are as illegally administered today as before the two trials. And what do we hear from city hall? Crickets!
The city consistently administers state law so as to illegally generate supplemental city revenue. Both building fees and impact fees are fees for service. They are not taxes and may not be lawfully administered as local taxes. But that’s what the city is doing today and throughout Sapp’s 24-year stint as an elected official.
The city owns an airport, a marina, a cemetery, a golf course, an athletic club, and a vast array of land for which there is no practical use. That makes sense to Sapp, an admitted socialist. Isn’t that what socialist governments do? They take assets out of the private economy and then impose the costs on citizens.
Then, you have to wonder about Mr. Sapp’s 30 years as an educator. Does his home town “quality of life” objective provide the kind of strong economic activity that supports the prosperous life styles of future generations of local young folks? Or, like low growth third world socialist governments everywhere, do local young people have to migrate to find the more vigorous economies they need to support their families? The Milton Freidman quote “socialism is for saps” comes to mind.
What is needed in the city is a state audit of the ways state statutes are and have been administered. There has been no accountability of city administration of state law. City residents do not have far to go to see how state law should be administered. It appears that Nassau County residents are satisfied with their government. Fernandina Beach residents are also residents of Nassau County. Why can’t city residents simply procure the services required by state law from county government?
Governor DeSantis’s most recent actions indicate that he is more than willing to listen. It’s time a delegation from Fernandina asked the governor’s office for an investigation. I hear that just might be imminent.
A Scary Scene: One of the most troubling aspects of watching Joe Biden deliver his address to Congress was watching the two ditzy women sitting behind him, Vice President Kamala Harris, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, both of whom are respectively next in the line of succession to the presidency. Has any free nation ever been led by a less impressive trio of twits?
I Didn’t Make This Up, Honest! A man named Kevin Andre McKenzie from Guyana was arrested at New York’s JFK Airport trying to smuggle in 35 live finches, concealed in his clothes. As West Coast columnist Burt Prelutsky said: “Unfortunately, Mae West wasn’t on hand to ask him if he had 35 live birds in his pants or if he was just really, really excited to see her.”
Things I Wish I’d Said: “I knew he would be Left of Center. I didn’t know he would be Left of Lenin.” – Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) following Joe Biden’s speech to Congress last week.
Wait! What? President Biden issued a National Day of Prayer proclamation in which the word “God” does not appear once. How do you do that? We all know he’s not playing with a full deck, but who is this sad sack praying to?