Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

A Marxist Mayor, DOA Letters To The Editor And Much More

Fernandina Beach Mayor “Marxist Mike” Lednovich, apparently wants locals to be aware that airplanes coming and going at the Fernandina Beach Airport make noise. Folks tell me he doesn’t like that. However, I’m not sure, because he won’t talk to me.

He bought a house near the airport and has posted social media notices about an Airport Advisory Board meeting to discuss “noise sensitive residential areas”. Locals posing questions to him on his site questioning his intent, tell me he hasn’t explained anything and say their posts on his site have been deleted.

Last Tuesday evening I approached Mayor Lednovich, who I spotted at PJD’s Beer & Wine Garden, and asked him for clarification. He refused to speak to me continually repeating: “Goodbye Dave.” When I asked him if I could quote him he said: “Nobody reads your blog anyway.”

From what I can figure out Marxist Mike bought a house near the airport and wants the airplanes to go away but won’t comment on the issue in a forum he claims nobody reads. Huh?

Harassing Amelia Island’s commercial transportation hubs is a common thread among Fernandina City Commissioners. Marxist Mike’s fellow Commissioner, Chip Ross, bought a house near the downtown Port that he wants to make disappear. He’s suing them but has never produced a valid reason why he’s doing it personally and not on behalf of the city, which claims the port owes it money.

If these two jokers had purchased property near the ocean they’d whine about the noise of the waves.

The only difference between Ross and Lednovich is that Ross – as intolerable and unlikeable as he is – is very smart and well-researched. Lednovich, on the other hand, is clueless. He once told me it was against the law to sue the city but couldn’t tell me what law that might be. He changes his mind on issues as often as he changes underwear. He flip flops like a flounder on a dock.

“What time will Marxist Mike be here to kick me out of town?”

The California transplant is becoming more and more insufferable, stating to a group recently that he thinks the downtown statue of David Yulee should be removed because Yulee was a slaveowner. He also told them there should be a cap on how much money people can earn.

Lednovich once told me that he was the CEO of a California firm. With his call for an earnings cap – a remark that would leave Vladimir Lenin gleefully giggling – the firm must have been a nonprofit. If not it probably was by the time Marxist Mike was finished with it.

These days he says he’s a “consultant”, another word for unemployed.

I’m sure he appreciates the tax payer’s funding of his $15,713 annual health insurance premiums. Not bad for a part-time job! If he was so successful in previous jobs you’d think he may have had enough cash to fund his own health care.

Currying favor and support is not his strong suit. For example, he probably can’t count on votes from residents of the townhouse complex at South 14th  Street and Date. When voicing his opposition to a recent zoning request the not so silver-tongued mayor said: “If you take a ride on 14th and Date, you’ll see what townhouses look like on a residential lot. There’s five of them in a residential neighborhood and it looks appalling”, a comment that probably won’t increase that property’s value if and when they go on the market.

His sophomoric ill-advised comments, socialist blather, and irrational thought processes aren’t endearing him to Fernandina voters, just the opposite. That’s a good thing.

***

Joe Biden Repeatedly Sacked In Own End Zone! If politics had a mercy rule like many youth sports leagues, Joe Biden’s administration would have packed up and gone home months ago. You can read more about this in my latest national Biz Pac Review column by clicking the following link: https://www.bizpacreview.com/2021/09/15/dave-scott-can-the-mercy-rule-be-called-on-biden-team-1134841/

***

“Do Or Die” Mumbo Jumbo Is DOA: Habitually angry left-wing News Leader letter writer Stephan Leimberg is like the pitiable Frankenstein creature whose futile attempts to articulate itself left it uttering unintelligible grunts and then flailing about in frustrated unhinged rage.

Leimberg’s  latest letter to the News Leader editor (“Vaccine deniers should waive future medical help”, Sept. 4, 2021) comparing folks who refuse a COVID vaccination to drunk drivers, is a venomous mess of radicalized fury and dishonesty, declaring that anyone disagreeing with him about vaccinations must be punished, vilified, and left to die. He actually demands in his letter they sign a waiver to that effect.

Mr. Leimberg’s previous News Leader screeds make it obvious that he is more than comfortable hanging out with a Democrat crowd that says you can dispose of your unborn child if it is inconveniencing you yet demands you take a vaccine regardless of whether you want it or need it. Advocating that the federal government strip Americans of their individual freedoms but should condone the snuffing out of lives apparently is his  way of expressing compassion and voicing empathy.

What say you Mr. Leimberg about Vice President Kamala Harris’s comments during the vice-presidential debates late last year when she said she definitely would not be vaccinated if President Trump ordered it, but says she’s fine with Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate? They’re the same vaccines. She also said: “The right of women to make decisions about their own bodies is not negotiable. The right of women to make decisions about their own bodies is their decision, it is their body.” Does that apply to vaccinations, or does it only apply when murdering babies?

How many anti-vaccine converts have you saved with your delusional evangelical fire and brimstone and eternal hellfire screed so far Preacher Leimberg?

***

Speaking Of David Yulee: A couple of this blog’s readers that Marxist Mike says don’t exist have commented here saying that I was opposed to having a statue of  David Yulee erected in Fernandina Beach.

That’s true. I wrote columns in the News Leader ten years ago opposing the placing of a statue of Confederate slaveowner David Yulee. I wrote that since Yulee’s slaves built his railroad, a statue of him in front of the local train station would be similar to New York City okaying a statue of Bernie Madoff in front of the NY Stock Exchange.

I found it ironic that since the far left in the country was busy pulling down statues of dead Confederate soldiers and politicians the City of Fernandina Beach was going in the opposite direction and putting one up. I was even called antisemitic by a News leader letter writer for voicing my opposition to the Yulee statue, that  was paid for by private contributions and not tax dollars.  Yulee was Jewish.

I jokingly suggested in my then News Leader column “Dave’s World” that instead of Yulee, the city should put up a statue that combines the characteristics of three of the area’s well liked, entertaining, and noncontroversial locals.

Tongue-in-cheek, I suggested the city erect a statue of a guy on a large three wheeled bike wearing a football helmet and pajamas. That figure would portray the happy harmonica-playing fruit and t-shirt vendor, Felix Jones; jovial pajama-wearing beer garden proprietor and boat captain, Pajamadave Voorhees; and Heisman Trophy winning, NFL and Yulee High School football icon, Derrick Henry, all be commemorated in one fell swoop.

Once the Yulee statue was up I never said: “Take it down.” That’s what Fernandina Mayor “Marxist Mike” is advocating. I think I’ll add a poll here asking this blog’s nonexistent readers what they think.

I suggest at the next election we take Marxist Mike down.

***

Francis Lott answering a question from one of the students during the Georgia Tech “recruiting” session.

The Bright Side: Folks concerned about today’s youth and the future of the country they’ll populate, can breathe a huge sigh of relief based on what I witnessed this past Tuesday at “Sealoft” the Amelia Island Fletcher Avenue home of enthusiastic Georgia Tech supporter and Tech alumni Francis Lott.

Some 40 Coffee County, Georgia honors students in grades 9-12 congregated at Lott’s home to hear a variety of luminaries tell them the benefits of applying to Georgia Tech. Lott was born in the Coffee County town of Douglas and still maintains a home and several business interests there.

The polite, courteous students looked like a Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post magazine cover of a cross section of America’s youth, a portrait that would make their  parents and teacher’s proud and all of us confident of the country’s future.

Their questions and attitudes were a testimony to exceptional parenting and first-rate educational institutions.

***

More Of The Democrat’s Backward Thinking: One of west coast pundit and columnist Burt Prelutsky fans wrote him saying: “While I laugh every time the ’systemic racism’ mantra is trotted out, I am also saddened and frustrated at the same time. I find it amusing because almost without fail whenever a black thug is shot by cops, we witness a press conference featuring a black Mayor, a black Chief of Police, and a black District Attorney whining about ’systemic racism.’  If the black Mayor, Police Chief and D.A. aren’t ‘the system,’ who the hell is?

Mr. Prelutsky responded saying: “For proof that all Democrats are as demented as Joe Biden, one need look no further than memorials to George Floyd, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner and other career criminals, while most of them could not tell you who David Dorn or any of the dozens of  black children shot in Chicago were.”

***

Democrats Are Wearing Masks & Attacking Blacks Again: For Democrats its like old times when – while wearing masks they attack blacks.

Last week Larry Elder, the black Republican who was seeking to unseat California Governor Gavin Newson, was attacked by a group of Democrats wearing masks, one in a gorilla disguise, who tossed eggs at him. The only thing missing was a burning cross.

Democrats lack both a sense of humor and a sense of irony. They don their Black Lives Matter and Antifa, masks and hoodies, behave like Hitler’s Brown Shirts and Mussolini’s Black Shirts while claiming to be morally opposed to fascism. As West Coast columnist Burt Prelutsky says:  “These schmucks still don’t get the joke.”

***

Things I Wish I’d Said: “Somebody needs to open an investigation into the Democrat Party to find out if they have any ties to America.” – Laura Ingraham

***

A Bush Leaguer: I was never much of a George W. Bush fan. After he took the 20th anniversary of 9/11 to compare the mostly peaceful Trump supporters in Washington on January 6th to the Islamic murderers responsible for the tragic events of 2001 I like him even less. Like Jimmy Carter, I hope he disappears from public sight never to be heard from again. The only good thing Bush Junior ever did was prevent Al “I invented the Internet” Gore and John “Lurch” Kerry from occupying the White House.

***

NFL Woke Stupidity: Commenting on the National Football League’s imbecilic decision to play what it calls the “black national anthem” before playing the actual American national anthem even has liberal comedian Bill Maher admitting he was embarrassed saying: “I think when you go down a road where you’re having two different national anthems, [and where] colleges … many of them have different graduation ceremonies for black and white, separate dorms — this is what I mean! Segregation! You’ve inverted the idea. We’re going back to that under a different name.”

“To me, when people say to me sometimes like, ‘Boy, you know, you go after the left a lot these days. Why?’ Because you’re embarrassing me — that’s why I’m going after the left — in a way you never did before,” Maher explained.

My Tampa Plant High School pal and American Spectator writer, Larry Thornberry, explained it clearly and succinctly in an article this week writing: “I wonder how many red-blooded sports fans of any complexion got goose-bumps all over hearing the “black national anthem” being played last Thursday night at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa before the NFL’s first-of-the-regular-season game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dallas Cowboys.

“Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which was declared by someone, I forget whom, to be the black national anthem, was played before “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which the NFL presumably now considers to be the white national anthem. Alicia Keys, backed by the Florida A&M (styled as a “historically black university”) Concert Choir, crooned “Lift Every Voice” while the two teams locked arms in the end-zones. No one took a knee, though it would have been interesting to speculate what would have happened had a white player done so. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell — the most overpaid fool on the planet — has made it clear that the league not only will permit but encourages black players to kneel in protest during the white anthem”

***

Biden Backlash: Joe Biden didn’t speak at any of the 9/11 memorials mainly because after what he did in Afghanistan it would have been a poke in the eye to the survivors and families of the loved ones that died that day 20 years ago. Many of those attending said they didn’t want him there in any capacity. When he did show up he was heckled and booed. For the second consecutive week a “F— Joe Biden” chant broke out at  multiple sporting events and concerts attended by young collage age people. Donald Trump didn’t attend the Ground Zero event in New York, opting instead to spend the day with first responders and their families in New York City. They know that Biden’s Afghan fiasco didn’t end the war on terror, it emboldened America’s enemies.

***

Biden’s New Target Is You! When Joe Biden starts making “over-the-horizon” threats against unknown adversaries brace yourself. He’s targeting you, not the Taliban or China. He’s aiming at you, the American tax payer, who will soon be hit with higher taxes, pricier food, gasoline, and housing, draconian Covid restrictions, stripping us of more of our personal freedoms, and hordes of illiterate, covid-infected, primitive, drug-selling, unvetted illegals swarming into our neighborhoods.

Speaking of illegals Democrats say, “diversity makes us stronger”. So, can anyone explain how thousands of illiterate Hispanic illegals sneaking across the border and backward, militant Afghan Muslims, a people famous for their lack of religious tolerance and an affinity for violence and reluctance to assimilate make for a better America?

***

“Hey, You! You’re Fired”: Joe Biden would probably try to lessen the heat on himself for his disastrous Afghanistan retreat and surrender by firing somebody, but he can’t remember anybody’s name.

***

Wait! What? While China is modernizing its military, testing Taiwan militarily on a regular basis, and even building artificial islands in the sea to harbor its massive fleet, Joe Biden’s Pentagon is designing uniforms for pregnant soldiers, making the transgendered feel comfortable in barracks, struggling to find evidence of white supremacy, and teaching Critical Race Theory at the U.S. military academies. Feel safer now?

  • Comment (22)
  • Regarding the removal and/or vandalism of historical statues and monuments that might “offend” someone, remember that the concentration camps in Germany were preserved so we people of the world would never forget the holocaust. I doubt a statue of a long gone war figure caused the race riots or deaths of thugs like George Floyd.

    • Hey CoConut (what is your real name anyway?) Confederates leaders were traitors to the UNITED States, because they wanted to destroy the Union of the United States, many of them who once swore an oath to protect and defend our UNITED States, NOT the CONFederate States…and you want to preserve statues of these guys? Jeez! It Ain’t rocket science here. Preserving Holocaust concentration camps is entirely different, and your disgusting attempt to compare them is abhorrent. BTW, I am pretty sure they don’t have statues of Hitler and the rest of the Nazi hierarchy at those camps nor anywhere in Germany.

      • Do you have a copy of the Constitution? If so, read it! If you think the South and all the Confederate soldiers fought to protect slavery, you are DEAD wrong. BTW, where do you think the slaves were purchased? Oh, you didn’t know it was the North? And do some research on General Lee, before you run your ill informed mouth. The North invaded the South, not the other way around. How about Sherman? Should there be a statue of that murderous General or anything named after him? The same battle they fought in the Civil War is going on to this day. State’s Rights over Federal control.

        As far as Concentration Camps being preserved as reminders of evil done, have you asked a survivor of them if they think they should be preserved? And know that we know David Yulee was a Jew, aren’t you being anti-Semitic by wanting his seated statue removed? Pathetic…

  • You can tell Mayor Lednovich that EVERYONE reads your Blog and as soon as possible he will be OUT of office!
    Lednovich can take his Leftist CA politics with him and back to CA.

  • I read every word of your blog and always look forward to it! The voters in my household will NOT be voting for Lednovich or Ross (or several others). Thank you for doing this blog. I know it takes a lot of work and steel cajones.

  • I, and everyone I know, read your blog. It is truly the only place to get any semblance of the truth on local issues.

    Keep it up, and “Left Wing” should start cleaning out his office.

  • I agree with you about masks and vaccination mandates, Dave. Why should we enforce mandates that will prevent the improvement of the Gene Pool? I say, if one doesn’t want to wear a mask nor take a vaccine, fine, if they get terribly sick and die, because of their own choice, so be it. Its their right to make life-threatening decisions….EXCEPT when it also impacts the rest of us (ie: contributing to the spread of the Delta Variant). Smokers used to P and moan about their right to smoke anywhere and anytime they wanted, because it was their right, and no one, especially the government had the right to stop them. Thankfully, science (in this case, about second-hand smoke) “trumped” selfishness. Selfishness manifests itself in many ways, and this is just another case of the “I, me, mine” mindset that is being applauded by people who are politicizing selfishness for their own gain. DeSantis comes to mind.

  • Rather than innuendo being spewed about who is being selfish regarding getting a COVID vaccination, the Kaiser Family Foundation interactive COVID-19 Monitoring Dashboard is a recommended sight as its statistics are current, and enlightening. With almost two years of COVID-19 behind us, there is little is the way of treatment protocol. If you your symptoms are mild, you can recover at home as you would from the flu. (Chicken Soup?) If your systems are serious (i.e., trouble breathing, chest pain), you need to call 911. A handful of states, including Florida, have obtained the bulk of monoclonal treatments available according to White House Officials, but this week, the Dept of HHS reported on its website that the agency has “transitioned from a direct ordering process to a state/territory-coordinated distribution system,” saying that the change will give “health departments maximum flexibility to get these critical drugs where they are needed most.” Florida was capped at receiving 27,850 doses of the monoclonal antibody treatment Regeneron and 3,100 doses of treatments developed by Eli Lilly. Any thoughts on why Florida was capped?

    • Actually, there are very good treatment and preventative protocols, but because of the politics about everything covid, the protocols that include Ivermectin have been demonized. Go to the FLCCC website for details.

      If you read any of the medical literature published about Ivermectin before covid, you will not find anything that does not provide a glowing report – especially about it’s safety protocol. From 2011 in NCBI (Ivermectin the wonder drug) ” Ivermectin has continually proved to be astonishingly safe for human use. Indeed, it is such a safe drug, with minimal side effects, that it can be administered by non-medical staff and even illiterate individuals in remote rural communities, provided that they have had some very basic, appropriate training. This fact has helped contribute to the unsurpassed beneficial impact that the drug has had on human health and welfare around the globe, especially with regard to the campaign to fight Onchocerciasis”

      Ivermectin by now has been administered over 4 billion times in the last 35 or so years. It has a safety profile that is orders of magnitude better than the Vaccines. For those who say there is no evidence of it’s efficacy. the meta analysis at ivmmeta says otherwise. Here is a summary for both HcQ and Ivermectin: for HCQ – 283 trials by 4595 scientists involving 407,644 patients that show 64% improvement in 31 early treatment trials, 75% improvement in 13 early treatment mortality trials, 46% improvement in 8 early RCT trials, 21% improvement in 191 late treatment trials, 23% improvement in 44 randomized controlled trials. For Ivermectin, 63 trials, 26,422 patients, 623 authors, 86% improvement when used as a prophylaxis, 69% for early treatment, 40% late treatment. 45 of the 63 studies have been peer reviewed.

      One last thing. Everywhere that there has been a campaign to do massive distribution of Ivermectin has seen dramatic decreases in cases, hospitalizations, and mortality. You will not see any of this reported in the MSM. Here is a prime, but not the only, example:

      Here is what happened in India to cases in the areas that chose Ivermectin:
      Delhi : – 97% [28,395 to 956]
      Uttar Pradesh: – 95% [37,944 to 2,014]
      Goa: down – 85% [4195 to 645]
      Karnataka: down – 60% [50,112 to 20,378]
      Uttarakhand: down – 87% [9,642 to 1,226]

      Observe what happened to those areas that DID NOT choose Ivermectin:
      Tamil Nadu: +173% [10,986 to 30,016]
      Odisha: +50% [4,761 to 7,148]
      Assam: +240% [1,651 to 5,613]
      Arunachal Pradesh: +656% [ 61 to 461]
      Tripura: +828% [92 to 854]

  • You’re right about northerner Chip Ross and Californian Mike Lednovich bringing socialism to the island for personal gain after their ‘assumption of the risk’ related to their choices of homes. Ironically, Ross’s slogan when he first ran for office was, “I moved here for what it is, not what they want to make it.” What the truer slogan for relative newcomers Ross and Lednovich should be is, “ We moved here to use any means at our disposal to make the island whatever we want to make it.” They’re both bright, hard workers, but have no intention of doing anything that does not suit their personal liberal preferences, and the locals ‘be damned’ if they don’t get their way.

  • Biden is doing more for the victims’ families than the past three presidents combined by agreeing to declassify and release information regarding Saudi Arabia’s complicity in the attack of September 11th. Saudi Arabia is not, nor has ever been, our friend. They have done more to radicalize Islam all I over the world than any other group/nation.

  • Ni hao! I rive in China! I read Dave Scott brogg every week. He genius! I shocked! Rednovich move next to airport and shocked he hear airprane noise? Rednovich should rive near airport here. Nobody comprain! Rednovich Clazy! Is he party member?

  • Someone must be reading your column, Dave, since it consistently gets more comments than most other local writers. Heck, you’ve even got some Chinese guy reading it now! Your entertainment value and that of your commenters alone are enough reason to read your works.

  • A Vote of “No Confidence” for the Ocean Highway Port Authority (“OHPA”)
    Issues pertaining to the elected officials devastating Fernandina Beach

    There has been an egregious amount of misinformation disseminated to the residents of Nassau County and Fernandina Beach about Nassau Terminals/Port of Fernandina. This “fake news” has been principally generated by the commissioners of the Ocean Highway Port Authority and their co-conspirators on the Fernandina Beach City Commission, primarily a well-known “professional protester” City Commissioner who was arrested for “disorderly conduct, trespassing, disturbing the peace and intoxicated endangerment”. (Chip Ross of course) We think it appropriate to correct the record with facts (all of which are provable and verifiable).

    When Nassau Terminals was acquired by Worldwide Terminals Fernandina LLC (“WWT” and/or the “Port”) in 2018, their first order of business was to REPAY $6.2mm of Nassau County debt. It also absorbed $4.6mm in debt owed to them by OHPA. In other words, even before WWT open its doors for business, it had already made a $10.7mm investment in Nassau County/Fernandina Beach. Subsequent to that initial investment, during its three+ years tenure at Nassau Terminals, WWT has continued to reinvest in the community as evidenced by following:

    – Since 2018, the Port has increased its labor force from 30+ employees to more than 60+ employees. Accordingly, the Port has been an economic driver for a region desperately in need of higher paying wages for local residents.

    – In addition to the initial $10.7mm investment, WWT has invested tens of millions of ADDIONTIAL dollars over the last three years and has created momentum that Nassau Terminals has not seen over the last 30 years. These investments are evidenced by the three new cranes, warehouses, and innovative equipment acquired by WWT on behalf of OHPA for Nassau Terminals.

    – Working with the Army Corp of Engineers, WWT commenced and concluded the dredging operation of the port dock to further facilitate new and existing clients.

    This list is not exhaustive and is just a sample of the economic contributions directly attributable to WWT. The obvious next question is what has been OHPA’s contribution? Outside of colluding with the City Commissioner to shutter the Port since they are uncomfortable with the “diverse workforce”, the same Port that they have all take a sworn oath to support and prosper, and their ONE and only job, the simple answer is NOTHING. Apologies, they have done two things:

    – They did UNAMIOUSLY vote themselves a pay increase, which, of course, is paid for by Nassau Terminals/Port of Fernandina. We should also note that other, larger Operating Authorities, who actually contribute to the success of their operators, are strictly unpaid VOLUNTEER positions.

    – OHPA has postured itself to use COVID relief funds to pay for its lawyers and a new six-figure plus Port Director (a role previously filled by an uncompensated employee of WWT). This is in lieu of passing the money down to the workers who kept the Port thriving during the pandemic. Just another collection of money-grubbing government bureaucrats who create nothing but take from those who do.

    This obviously begs the next question: What do they really do, outside of taking money away from the hard-working citizens of Nassau County/Fernandina Beach?

  • I must disagree with you on the highest paid fool in America. It should be Anthony Fauci. I have supported Governor DeSantis and ordered a couple Coozies that say “Don’t Fauci My Florida.” Having a cold beer with this comment helps the attitude adjust accordingly.

  • Donald Trump DID NOT spend 9/11/21 with first responders and their families in New York, just showed up for a photo op as usual.

  • OHPA TRYING TO KEEP COVID RELIEF FUNDS FOR THEMSELVES AND AWAY FROM PORT WORKERS

    After 15+ years, I’m not sure that Commissioner Fullwood grasps how manning the Port works, or even the fundamental operational tenets of the industry. When these Commissioners don’t have a background in Port operations, don’t ever invest in understanding the inner-workings of providing for or advancing a port, and don’t take the time to learn about complex issues that go into governance, they create issues where issues don’t exist, or problems where solutions could exist.

    Would be nice if there were some type of industry experience litmus test to get elected to this position, as taxpayers should be asking themselves what, besides rancorous political playacting and on job training via public meetings, are Nassau taxpayers getting for their $2,000 per month payment to these Commissioners?

    PLEASE SEE BELOW

    Dear Commissioner Fulwood:

    Thank you for your concern regarding the labor crisis at the Port and your request for additional information regarding how the Port you are overseeing operates. Unfortunately, there are quite a few inaccuracies in your email with regard to our operation that I am pleased to have the opportunity to clear up here. Let me provide a simple explanation.

    Our 50+ employee workforce consists of stevedores, warehouse forklift operators, drivers, and logistics clerks. In the operation of loading a paper ship such as you are asking about, there are five main facets to it:

    1) The cargo to be loaded is placed from storage in the warehouses to flatbeds for delivery to the docks by warehouse forklift operators;
    2) The cargo is driven from the warehouses to the dock for loading;
    3) Stevedores and forklift operators at the dock lift the cargo off the flatbeds and place the cargo on the dock for hooking up the slings that will be used to lift the rolls, which can weigh 10,000 lbs each, onto the vessel by our highly skilled crane operators;
    4) Our crane operators lift the cargo off the dock and place it to the hold of the vessel;
    5) A sub-group of our stevedores called Hold Men, are in each of the ships holds (we typically are asked to work three holds at once) and work inside the vessel at the bottom of the hold, unhook the slings and push cargo into place using forklifts and brute strength. They then they make sure each roll is properly lashed and secured tightly so it doesn’t move around inside the ship. This lashing involves using wood chocks and building cradles and gates out of dunnage wood to secure the rolls.
    On vessel days, all of this is occurring while another group is managing operations in our other three warehouses, operating our trucking fleet (5 full-time employee over the road drivers bringing cargo to the Port), along with the loading-out of railcars and trucks with cargo for shipment to customers and mills in the hinterland with another whole crew of forklift operators and clerks making sure what we load is accurate and issuing paperwork. As you can see, your comment regarding only “5 workers loading this vessel” is woefully misguided and inaccurate. The 5 workers you cited are merely dedicated to Step 5 of this operation. Step 1 typically includes 7/8 operators, Step 2 includes 8-10 drivers, Step 3 includes 6-8 stevedores and forklift operators, and Step 4 includes at least 3 crane operators. So realistically this vessel loading operation requires over 30 people, and we still need additional labor.

    With that in mind, and as I informed the Board in my response to Commissioner Hill, this is precisely why we have asked that the bulk of the COVID-19 relief funds given to OHPA by the State of Florida be used for:

    • Employee retention financial compensations; and
    • Additional new-hire related costs due to the economic conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    As you point out, the workforce is critical to the continued sustainability and growth of the Port. Therefore, the use of Federal COVID relief funds for these purposes (as is being done by ALL other Florida Ports) should be given the highest priority by OHPA.

    In addition to these FDOT monies, Commissioner Hill has prompted us to review the Operating Agreement with respect to our collective partnership under scenarios outlined in Section 7.1 due to the declaration of COVID-19 as a “pandemic” by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. As such, we will be seeking relief under Section 7.2 of the Operating Agreement from OHPA regarding additional costs borne by Nassau Terminals due to COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic. We thank you and Commissioner Hill for pointing this out to us and will provide these invoices in a timely manner going forward.

    Finally, I must reiterate the Board’s recent actions under your Chairmanship have been very disappointing, particularly the vote of “No Confidence in the Operator” and I would like to take a moment to highlight the some of the numerous accomplishments undertaken on behalf of OHPA by Nassau Terminals while you have been a Commissioner:

    • Worldwide Terminals immediately upon taking over paid off $6.2mm in monies owed by the Port Authority, thus absolving the Nassau County taxpayers of $6.2mm in liabilities and debt;
    • Worldwide Terminals absorbed over $4.6mm in additional debts owed to Nassau Terminal by the Port Authority, once again releasing the Nassau County taxpayers of $4.6mm in liabilities;
    • Worldwide Terminals has invested an additional nearly $10 million dollars of its own capital to fund OHPA’s share of Florida Department of Transportation and the MARAD grants;
    • For example, Worldwide Terminals funded the $5 million purchase and retrofit of two Liebherr Container gantry cranes to replace the over 50-year old Hitachi gantry crane. Total capital contributed by Nassau Terminals into the economic base of Nassau County for this project alone is estimated at $2.6mm;
    • Worldwide Terminals by first investing its capital to cover the Port Authority’s share of the berth deepening, deepened the berths to 40 +2 feet, the deepest they have been in history. That investment then enabled Worldwide and OHPA to pressure the Army Corp of Engineers to spend over $5mm to maintenance dredge the federal channel, deepening it to its proper legal depth for the first time in at least 20 years. This work has already had a significant positive effect on the Port, as several of the largest ships in its history have called at the Port of Fernandina since Worldwide took over operations, thereby contributing to the long-term economic viability of the Port and Nassau County as a whole.
    While this list is not exhaustive, Worldwide Terminals total investment to date easily counts over $20 million in capital investment in the Port on behalf of OHPA and the citizens of Nassau County. All of this was done with zero financial contribution from the Port Authority.

    Unfortunately, the irresponsible political stunt that was this “No Confidence” vote has worked to undermine our ability to recruit and attract new workers. Potential workers ask about this “vote” and some have expressed concerns which need to be assuaged. If the Board would have truly thought through this action, and set aside the personal political agendas of certain Commissioners, you might have realized that not only was it unwarranted, but that
    it would cause real and irreparable harm to your Port Operator’s business and business reputation, and thereby to the Port itself – the very entity all of you swore an oath to support.

    In closing, we appreciate your concern. Based on your email, we assume it is now fair to conclude the Board will be fully supportive of directing a significant amount of the federal COVID relief funds allocated as it was intended: For worker retention compensation; training, and equally important, costs related to hiring additional workers. While I am surprised that after 14 years on the Board you are just now beginning to understand our business, I am appreciative that you at least took the time to ask, and we would welcome meeting with you to discuss any other questions you have in further detail.

    Respectfully,

    Chris

  • OPEN LETTER TO MIRIAM HILL

    Again, would be nice if there were some type of industry experience litmus test to get elected to this position, as taxpayers should be asking themselves what, besides rancorous political playacting and on job training via public meetings, are Nassau taxpayers getting for their $2,000 per month payment to these Commissioners?

    “Ms. Hill,

    Thank you for your concern pertaining to the perceived labor shortages of a recent vessel at Nassau Terminals. As always, we take these matters very seriously and are doing everything in our power to grow our workforce to meet continued Client cargo growth demands.

    As you may or may not be aware, the current labor shortage is such that all terminals in all areas are struggling to find labor; in fact, the broader economy in general is also struggling with this labor issue. The Port of Fernandina’s position in between the larger markets of Brunswick, GA and Jacksonville, Florida, as well as its position between three (3) mills which pay substantially higher wages, makes finding labor challenging even under the best of circumstances.

    The steps you have outlined are some of the obvious processes Worldwide has already undertaken. In fact, WWT has gone above and beyond these procedural measures, incurring extremely high-costs to procure labor for our Clients due to the stresses imposed upon us by the COVID-19 pandemic. We would ask of you, as we have of the other Commissioners, to suggest employment opportunities to anyone that you feel would be a candidate for employment at the Port. We will provide training. Unlike other OHPA Boards, no member of the current Board has referred any potential workers to us. This would be a more productive use of the Board’s time – supporting, as opposed to attempting to undermine, your Operator.

    Further to your email, this is precisely why we have asked that the bulk of the COVID-19 relief funds given to the OHPA by the State of Florida be used for:

    – Employee retention financial compensations; and
    – Additional new-hire related costs due to the economic conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    As you point out, the workforce is critical to the continued growth of the Port. Therefore, the use of Federal COVID relief funds for these purposes (as it is being done for ALL other Florida Ports) should be given the highest priority by OHPA.

    We would however, also like to point out an error in your email. You are correct that it is the responsibility of the Operator to provide all necessary labor to accomplish cargo handling at the Port. With that being said, Section 7.2 of the Operating Agreement, clearly states that Operator is not “liable for any delay in or inability to complete the performance of the Operating Contract by any of the following causes:… epidemics”…

    To illustrate this point, last week we had six (6) operators out with COVID, and our Terminal Manager Mr. Ray Nelson was and still is hospitalized with a severe case. Of those six (6) workers, two (2) were crane operators who are the highest skilled workers on the waterfront and very difficult to replace on short notice. Unfortunately, you would not be familiar with any of this since you still have not visited the Port, nor sat down with us to discuss how our business is run and the challenges we face, since taking office nearly a year ago.

    Furthermore, the Board’s recent actions, spearheaded by you, particularly the vote of “No Confidence in the Operator” which was taken despite your own statement that it has “no legal effect” (but which you made sure was “front page news”), has worked to undermine our ability to recruit and attract new workers. Potential workers ask about this “vote” and some have expressed concerns which need to be assuaged. If you would have truly thought through this action, and set aside your own personal political agenda, you might have realized that it would cause real and irreparable harm to your Port Operator’s business and business reputation (the very entity you swore an oath to support). It has in fact, caused such harm.

    In closing, we appreciate your concern. Based on your email, it is now fair to conclude you will be fully supportive of directing a significant amount of the federal COVID relief funds allocated as it was intended for: Worker retention compensation; training, and equally important, costs related to hiring additional workers and speeding our recovery from the pandemic.

    Sincerely,

    Chris”

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