Island Issues

Loopy Local Lemmings Intimidate City Commission

Loopy Local Lemmings Intimidate City Commission

Don't Let Idiots Ruin Your Day sign with a beach on backgroundLocal “Get off my lawn you little bastards” curmudgeon Ron Sapp danced a written jig of joy in an April 27 News-Leader column after like-minded, but misguided commissioners, Mayor Johnny Miller, Roy Smith and Len Kreger, voted “no” during a recent session recommending that certain parcels of property on Fletcher Avenue be modified to enable a combination of lots.

Sapp, who scurries around the island with bundles of “No vacancy!” and “Go away, we’re full!” signs tucked under his arm, was thrilled with the “Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk” trio’s vote and did everything but accuse the two yes-voting commissions — Tim Poynter and Robin Lentz — of teaming up with ISIS to rush down to the beach and club baby sea turtles to death.

Sapp, a former commissioner and retired Fernandina Beach High School teacher, who for years subjected numerous island school kids to liberal brain washings, is Amelia Island’s Bernie Sanders, and is provided a News-Leader forum apparently anytime he wants it to spout his left-leaning drivel. How many people in this very red community want to subscribe to a steady diet of his blather along with the humorless claptrap of self-proclaimed “southern humorist” and liberal, Joe Palmer, and the incomprehensible word jumble generator Dickie Anderson? No wonder the local bi-weekly is hemorrhaging advertisers.

But back to the issue at hand.

In his News-Leader column Sapp calls Mr. Poynter and Ms. Lentz a “myopic duo”  who he says are “bewildered and lost in the political wilderness” adding that Mr. Poynter was the “only disingenuous person who spoke that night” and “doesn’t understand precedent…”,  etc, blah, blah, ad nauseam silliness. This sad guy spouts 1960s pipe dreams that he confuses for rationale thought.

If it had passed, the proposal wouldn’t turn Fletcher Avenue into a Hollywood, Florida as hand-wringing and confused Commissioner Smith worried out loud about. Instead it would enable the conversion of two privately owned pieces of blighted properties into attractive profitable operations that would enhance the ocean front area, add jobs, and increase property values.

Smith was intimidated by the seven or so habitual “Whatever it is I’m against it” Whack-A-Moles (Sapp, Julie Ferreira, Lynn Williams, etc.) who pop up at every commission meeting to say stupid things in public. In their nonsensical two-step they leap from one idiotic point to the next, making it hard to nail them down, much like trying to find the nonexistent plot in an old Marx Brothers film.

In his comments during the commission session Sapp said the commission should “respect the community consensus that we don’t want to look like other communities.” If Sapp was in charge we’d all be wearing loincloths, sitting around bonfires in front of our yurts, stalking dinner with clubs, andCaveman With Club Cartoon Character downtown Fernandina Beach would resemble Mogadishu.

Good for Commissioners Lentz and Poynter for studying and understanding density and zoning factors and other issues, and comprehending what the proposal was actually about. Mayor Miller said he’d vote for it if it wasn’t on the ocean side but then his two-second attention span expired, and he voted “no.” But, I fully expected environmental extremists Miller and Commissioner Kreger to argue against anything that spells progress, makes economic sense, and isn’t made out of tofu.

When running for election Commissioner Smith said his background in the road building business made him well-equipped for a position on the commission. He must have been the guy at that company in charge of installing potholes, because he first wanted to toss the decision back to the voters suggesting a referendum, then became a deciding vote against a very sensible, well thought out, and beneficial community proposal. Commissioner you were elected because you told us that you were a smart businessman and understood how things worked. You also were elected to make decisions for the folks who voted for you, not to toss those decisions back to us. Instead you’ve let Sapp occupy your seat and a handful of fanatics intimidate you. It appears that what we got in Smith is another bewildered “Nyuk” on the commission. Good grief!

Apparently none of the “Nyukers” have seen the ocean-side house on South Fletcher near Kentucky that has a 45-foot elevator shaft that is currently under construction. If so, they’ve elected to ignore it. The two proposals that were rejected were within the 35-foot height limitation.

Supporters of the proposal are a solid group of well-respected, smart, long-time residents, and successful people who have contributed greatly to the economic and aesthetic health of the community for many years, while the dim, blowhard opponents contribute only hot air and discontent, much like the infantile out-of-work baristas that populate the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Well respected local architect John Cotner, called the property at Atlantic and Fletcher a “stagnant lot” and told Sapp’s clucking Chicken Little crowd: “The sky is not going to fall if you approve this.”

Businessman and real estate owner George Sheffield, who employs hundreds of islanders in his multiple island enterprises and contributes generously to many local charities, said he and Lowell Hall want to renovate the property at S. Fletcher Ave. and Sadler Rd., that includes the Hammerhead Bar and Hall’s Beach Store. He said the current land use rules are “not fair” and he is asking for small-scale renovation topped at 35 feet. “We’re not asking for special treatment,” he said. An architect’s rendering of the proposed renovated site showed what a vast improvement it would be.

David Caples, the former owner of Elizabeth Pointe Lodge on S. Fletcher Ave., said that a land use change would help redevelop the site of the dilapidated care center on Atlantic Ave. across from Ft. Clinch. “No one is caring for it now whether you’re a homeowner or a cardboard table,” said Caples. “It just sits there.”

Sapp also opposed the purchase and renovation of the old downtown Baptist Church educational building that entrepreneur Poynter wanted to buy and turn into an extended stay residence. Today that building is an empty, deteriorating eyesore.

Both the old church building and Atlantic Care Center are like Sapp and his mindless lemmings — useless and groaning as things fall apart around them.


Healthy One-Sided Debate: Lawyer and successful entrepreneur, Patrick J. Keogh, who fled Amelia Island for Austin, Texas taking his capital and clean service industry jobs with him because of foolish votes like the one above among others, copied me on a note to a mutual friend recently. In it Pat, set the record straight about our friend’s mocking of GOP naysayers telling our liberal friend: “It’s interesting to me that Republicans apparently have a capacity for self criticism with the likes of (George) Will, (John) Boehner and others making their views of Trump known.  Seems like a healthy thing to me. Nothing similar seems to be happening on the other side with a socialist and a scofflaw running for the nomination there. It is incomprehensible to me that Sanders in a debate can routinely say that the business plan of American bankers is “fraud and lying” and no one in his party, least of all his immediate competitor there on the stage with him, challenges that slander.” I’ll second that thought Pat, thank you.


Hide & Go Seek With Janet Adkins: Has anyone seen state representative and Nassau County School Board candidate Janet Adkins in a public forum answering questions about her school board candidacy? No one I know has. Apparently the lady is avoiding public appearances and has already indicated that she will not appear in any public forum sponsored by the teacher’s union. In fact she even refused to fill out that organization’s form asking questions on her views on education and why she is seeking the job. I’ve also heard rumors that she may refuse to appear at forums held by local media. I see School Board candidate Kathy Burns all over the place and recently attended a session where she invited questions from the gathered assembly and made herself available for one-on-one talks. A question that I and a number of other people would like to publically ask Ms. Adkins is why the bulk of her campaign contributions are coming from out of county and out of state donors? What possible interest do these donors have in a school board election in Nassau County? I welcome Ms. Adkins to post her answer here. I don’t edit or delete anyone’s comments unless they are profane so will happily print verbatim whatever she has to say about that issue.


Patagonian Penguin Poop: In a recent issue of the News-Leader, Dickie Anderson, wrote about a subject local residents have been breathlessly awaiting — Patagonian penguins. Ms. Anderson, who for reasons I’ll never understand, is permitted to pen a weekly dog’s breakfast in the News-Leader appropriately called From the Porch, that only makes sense when held up to a mirror. Readers may be excused for thinking they’ve mistakenly picked up a copy of the News-Wrecker when reading her twaddle, and if you don’t believe me find a copy of the Patagonian penguin issue and you’ll understand. My News-Leader subscription is worth the $40 or so a year in unintended laughs and the material it provides for this blog.


Speaking of Newspaper Nonsense: Just as I was beginning to enjoy reading the Florida Times-Union sports pages the National Football League draft began and the newspaper’s single-minded sports writers apparently awoke from a nap, much appreciated by this reader, and began bombarding that section with a barrage of superfluous silliness that I am sure has the Jacksonville Jaguars PR Department staff high fiving each other daily. Anyone who ever played or even watched a game of football was apparently interviewed and quoted as the determined sports writers drilled down for the most inane details of a potential Jaguar draft choice’s life to bring readers a slew of totally useless information as if they were cramming for a sports trivia pursuit final. Oh, it’s not just the sports section that has fallen into journalism disarray over there. This past Tuesday, the lead story on page 1A detailed a horrific downtown Jacksonville fire….that happened in 1901. Better late than never on reporting a news story I guess. I paid an annual $486 for this crap? Shame on me.


Speaking Of Newspapers: When I joined the Tampa Tribune as a sports writer in the late 1960s it had just won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting, was the largest circulation newspaper in Florida, competing within about a 50-mile radius against the Tampa Times, St. Petersburg Times (now the Tampa Bay Times), St. Petersburg Independent and the Clearwater Sun. Today only one of those five papers remain as the 123-year-old Tribune was sold to the Tampa Bay Times, publishing its last edition earlier this week, a victim of falling advertising revenues and the Internet. Sad.


Wine & Well-Wishes: Steve Raszkin, the personable and knowledgeable owner of the Palmetto Walk (4924 First Coast Highway) Wines By Steve, has discovered he has lymphoma and has decided to concentrate on a full recovery and sold (effective June 1) his very successful business to Bar Zin’s Tim Seyda, whose popular restaurant sits just a few doors down. Holly Carlisle, who worked with Southern Wines, will run the store for Tim, but Steve and his pretty wife Donna will be around to help out. From what I understand the duo’s popular Friday night wine tastings will continue under Tim’s and Holly’s guidance and as his treatment allows, Steve will pop in on occasion to provide advice and counsel. We wish him a speedy recovery and I know that his positive attitude will be big factor. Call ’em at 904/557-1506.


Mayoral Mooning Malarkey: If I hadn’t seen it I’m not sure I would have believed it, but someone sent me a post that Fernandina Beach Mayor Johnny Miller put on his personal Facebook page stating that “His Honor” will do this community the dishonor of having a likeness of socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders tattooed on his left buttocks if he gets 300 “likes” or “shares” to perform his intended undignified intentions. So essentially, the mayor — our community’s face to the public — will be showing his ass (inine) antics to the outside world. There’s a country-western song in here somewhere, but unfortunately it would be at the expense of our town’s reputation as our mayor morphs into the local court jester, not a positive reflection of our community. Quick, somebody throw a bucket of cold water on this guy.


Speaking Of Dishonorable: Hillary Clinton and her supporters make the claim that she is qualified to be president because she spent eight years in the White House as Bill Clinton’s wife. If that’ s the case then so is the guy who walks Barack Obama’s dog and the White House gardener. As far as I can determine her sole achievement when running the U.S. State Department was getting a U.S. Ambassador and three other Americans killed, by pretending terrorism had been defeated and then stating before Congress: “What difference does it make?”


Drinking, Dining & Dancing: I purchased three items during Shrimp Festival that I can only wish were year-long menu selections including Cafe Karibo’s gumbo and muffuletta sandwich. The gumbo was chock-a-block full of shrimp okra, sausage, etc. and the roux was perfected by Theresa Poynter, who spent two hours attentively toiling over it before it was ready to add the remaining ingredients, cook and serve. The Karibo crew has managed to perfectly duplicate New Orleans Central Grocery’s tapenade, find the perfect bread, and serve up a Big Easy sandwich that I or anyone else would have a hard time distinguishing from one purchased in the Crescent City. I purchased two muffulettas at a more than reasonable $10 each and then waddled down to the Green Turtle where Karen Saltmarsh, wife of Turtle and Florida House owner Ernie, was serving a variety of meals including eight dollar smoked turkey legs. I bought three legs, ate two that day, and took one home, along with the meal-for-two-muffulettas. I’ll use the remaining turkey leg, rather than a greasy ham hock, while cooking collard greens later in the week. The highest price I observed during Shrimp Festival at one downtown eatery was $25 for a pound of peel-and-eat shrimp, a price I didn’t and won’t pay, but from what I understand a lot of folks did cough up. Good for them if they can earn it, but I’m sure those prices will come down from their Ritz-Carlton high to a normal range now that the festivities are over. I have never heard of the group called Stank Sauce, but found the name intriguing, so if you want to sniff them out, then head over to North 3rd Street’s Dog Star this Saturday and every Saturday thereafter from 8 p.m. to midnight. Friends Cal Atwood, Joe Murphy and I celebrated our monthly luncheon BS session this past Thursday at downtown’s Centre Street Alley Cat, where we enjoyed a breezy doors-open atmosphere and lively conversation that ranged from baseball and college campus’ closed mindedness to local and national politics. I enjoyed an open faced turkey sandwich while Joe and Cal each had an old fashioned sloppy Joe. For a casual, pleasant and relaxing lunch Alley Cat is a good choice.



Robert Ryan - 07. May, 2016 -


My first opportunity to vote in an election I voted for Barry Goldwater. And ever since I have voted for the best conservative candidate I could. All that history is to make it clear that while I respect Mr. Sapp I seldom find myself aligned with him. In the matter of lot combinations I am. As a firm believer in gun rights, I have the same feelings about ‘just small tweaks’ that some wish to make. If I thought that was the end of it I might accept them. But I have the feeling that the endgame strategy is quite likely something else. I have that same feeling about the lots issue. I understand incrementalism.

Oh, and one more comment; the bells, buzzers and lights on my BS detector all go off when anyone plays the “not fair” card.

Angela Lawhorne - 06. May, 2016 -

Thank you Rick McCullen. You saved me lots or time I didn’t want to waste on a comment. I will say there are many people on the island who disagree with Dave.

David Von Schude - 06. May, 2016 -

The anti blight dual beach upgrade sounds good in theory but more than likely will end up like the last. Remember the Main Beach Terrace Restaurant and shops etc that turned into a run down empty strip mall? Now a weird crooked angle hotel. This area isn’t ready for nightclubs at Sadler either. It will end up empty a few years later unfortunately as well. I wish it was, it sounds good. There are more jobs than talent pool around here, I know of multiple hospitality establishment’s begging for help and can’t find it:(

william t. payne - 06. May, 2016 -

The 1st 1/2 of this blog in re: Fletcher modification of 2 lots, completely defines why I and my wife Suzy decided to not buy property on Fernandina Beach, and to never visit this cess pool of a resort area ever again!

Bill Payne

Wilma Allen - 06. May, 2016 -

I don’t see an “unsubscribe” link. Please remove me from your list. Thank you.

Wilma Allen

Richard Troxel - 06. May, 2016 -

Agree about the Jax paper not worth the costs for sure.Used to have better writers and coverage of all events in the area,now just a shadow of the past.Just relocated to the Atlanta area from Amelia,(I know,WHY) two words,Grand Kids.And,Atlanta is a powerful place to be with many opportunities in all phases of life.The Atlanta Journal Constitution is far ahead of the Times Union in coverage and Writers on staff at about the same cost.Also,was sorry to hear of the denial on the application by the group headed by Mr. Hall and George Sheffield.Do’t know Mr.Hall but George is a golfing buddy and friend.Cannot fathom anyone more interested in his community than George.Of course,he is a business man and interested in growing his business and making a profit,that’s what makes the world go round.In addition,he provides jobs and jobs give people money to spend in their town merchants.A win-win situation.


Rich McCullen - 06. May, 2016 -

Dave – Interesting comments about the Commission vote on the Fletcher Avenue property issue. I stopped counting after about two dozen synonyms or euphemisms for “stupid”, and looked in vain for some discussion of the actual substance of the arguments of those with whom you disagree. Couldn’t help but be reminded of a blog you wrote some time ago about News Leader columnist Joe Palmer. I went back in your archives to find it, and will share this quote:

“Whether I agree or not with either of these guys…isn’t my point. If a writer wants to persuade me to consider his or her position on a topic, they’ll have a better chance of doing so with a well thought out, reasoned argument, and showing me respect, rather than producing a disjointed, venom-spewing piece where hate is the coin of the realm, and the author says I’m “stupid” if I don’t agree with his view. And that’s no laughing matter.”

Well said, don’t you think?