Congratulations to Fernandina Beach Mayor Johnny Miller, the former darling of the loud, local, left-wing environmental extremist crowd, that now loves to hate him.
Johnny’s “yes” vote Tuesday, April 16 was the decider that enabled Amelia Bluff developers to rightly proceed with their planned housing project on Citrona, across from Fernandina Beach High School. Johnny’s affirmative nod has the shrieking “We know better than you!” extremist mob throwing an unrelenting hysterical, spittle-flecked tantrum. It also prevented a law suit by the developers that would have cost the tax payers of Fernandina Beach dearly.
I rarely agree with Mayor Miller and have been quick to criticize him in this space. Not this time though. He’s right. And so were the other two commissions — Phil Chapman and Len Kreger — who used common sense and respect for the rule of law by also casting their “yes” votes. I stopped by the Palace Saloon the other day to shake the bartending mayor’s hand and tell him I appreciate and applaud his decision.
The local left’s new honeys – commissioners Chip Ross and Mike Lednovich – with their sneering faculty-lounge self-righteousness and impotent unfounded screeds — took to social media to encourage the fatuous sign waving anti-development crowd to oppose the developer’s plans. The attempts by these two clowns to lead those that don’t think like them out of the muck of their insensitivities, is becoming one of Fernandina Beach’s more interesting forms of entertainment. These two jokers have about as much respect for property rights as Joy Behar has comic talent. The only thing this pair have accomplished to date has been to further expose themselves as angry, unreasonable liberals enthusiastic in further whipping up anger and irrational hysteria among a gullible crowd of disgruntled, uninformed, and misguided sign-waving extremists.
Old-timer and perpetual public crank, Ron “Get off my lawn you little bastards” Sapp, soiled a quarter page of the April 24 local bi-weekly News Leader touting his moral superiority and declaring that the 3-2 City Commission’s vote to approve the subdivision “…was damaging to the very principles of representative democracy.” When denied the righteousness that he and his fanatical crowd crown themselves with they resort to childish sloganeering and sophomoric editorial blather. Just read his crap in the News-Leader.
After the vote, Margaret Kirkland, who heads up something called the Amelia Tree Conservancy, and one of the most vocal of the environmental extremist crowd, continued her relentless, radicalized fury against the subdivision and its supporters in an April 26 “Voice Of The People” News Leader letter. In her hysterical, venomous attack against those that disagree with her she declared — in essence — that they must be silenced, punished, and destroyed. This churlish activist behaves like a simple-minded 13-year-old rounding up a junior high school crowd of march-and-riot cronies, encouraging them by sermonizing in her letter that the “yes-voting” commissioners “…have no idea what they have done.”
Ms. Kirkland says: “…three commissioners thumbed their noses at the vast majority of their constituents. They thumbed their noses at the next generation of the kids who spoke so eloquently. They passed a change that the majority of their constituents were strongly opposed to, blah, blah, blah, and more blah.”
She says she’s been encouraged by many to sue the city and the city commissioners who “have crushed” her small dim-witted crowd’s “sense of community.” She’s also clinging to a false sense of hope that one of the three “yes” commissioners will reverse his vote.
Let me clue you in lady. Your crowd isn’t in the majority. Far from it. They’re just loud. Many of those appearing at city hall April 16
and waving signs don’t even live in Fernandina Beach, including you. You live in the unincorporated area of Amelia Island, outside of our city limits, yet you have the gall to wag your finger at the citizens of our city, implying that those who oppose your snarling contrarian way of thinking want to denude the city’s forests and pave them over. Nothing could be further from the truth. They care about the environment. But they also understand fairness, property rights, the rule of law, and the fifth and 14th amendments to the Constitution, subjects about which you are totally clueless. If nothing else, you’re shamelessly entertaining.
In addition, Ms. Kirkland and another News Leader letter writer, Robyn Nemes, said “the children” were disappointed by the commission’s vote. These “children” who appeared in the commission chambers came directly from homes and public schools with their brains freshly washed. They recited the mindless pablum injected by their liberal parents and public indoctrinators like Fernandina Beach High School’s Ron Sapp. Using kids as props is shameless. But what can we expect from a group that thinks 16-year-olds should have the right to vote?
One of the loopy News-Leader letter writers even wants to contribute to a fund to sue the city. Fine. Or they can set their money on fire, which will be about as productive as trying to sue the city for upholding the will of the voters and the 5th and 14th Amendments.
The disappointed extremists, all berserk with rage and lamenting the Commission’s “yes” vote, declare that their 180-200 screaming sign-wavers that showed up for the April 16 vote, represent a majority of folks hereabouts who oppose the Amelia Bluff development. They do not!
There are 67,793 registered voters in Nassau County with 39,946 of those being Republican, 14,505 Democrats, and 13,554 with no party affiliation. The voting numbers for Fernandina Beach’s 13,000 plus residents are equally dramatic with the latest figures indicating that the percentage of Republicans turning out for elections in the city is double that of the Democrats, and from all indications that trend will continue with the GOP figures getting even larger. City Commission elections are nonpartisan but that doesn’t mean voters leave their ideology at the door when casting ballots.
The three commissioners wisely voted for what the majority of our city’s residents agreed was a fair and reasonable choice, not one vocalized by a small-minded group of loud sign-waving extremists who insinuated that the builders and home buyers were a crazed group of lumberjacks armed with crosscut saws and axes.
Fernandina Beach Republicans are traditionally conservative and have consistently voted in larger numbers than Democrats over the years. As more retirees move to Fernandina Beach, that trend will continue.
Reasonable residents, representing the majority of city voters, know full well that the Amelia Bluff developer has been operating appropriately with prior city approval and signed permits. These builders installed water and sewer infrastructure, curbs, streets, and have contracts on seven of the 30 planned $600,000-$700,000 priced homes. They have invested more than $2.5 million into the project. In addition, five acres of the property the developer purchased from the Nassau County School Board have been donated to the city as wetlands. The developer has also agreed to pay $115,000 to the city for conservation purposes upon final plat approval. On their own initiative and at no cost to tax payers the developers also paved a sidewalk at the across the street high school because they thought it was the right thing to do.
Even local attorney, Clinch Kavanaugh, a vocal far left liberal and life-long resident of Fernandina Beach, spoke directly to Commissioner Ross at a May 19 session telling him that failure to approve the development would result in costly litigation that the city would likely lose. Ross doesn’t care.
With commissioners like Chip “Sue their pants off” Ross and lefty California transplant and 17-month resident Lednovich, the city’s tax-paying residents should thank the other three commissioners for voting to ensure City Hall didn’t become an ATM for litigants and a sanctuary for misguided left-wing initiatives run by a venomous and hysterical crowd committed to foolishness and arrogance.
Local realtor Philip Griffin sounded an early alarm bell that was heeded by the three yes-voting commissioners when he said: “What is disturbing is that local governments like Fernandina Beach listen to a small but vocal minority and then enact ordinances that encroach upon fundamental rights guaranteed under the 14th Amendment.”
This time they did the right thing and should be congratulated for doing so. They listened to the reasonable majority.
Read All About It: The fifth annual edition of the Amelia Island News-Wrecker hit the streets Monday, April 29 with front page stories touting the island as the future site of the Winter “Olypmpic” downhill ski trials, warning readers about massive caravans of illegal Canadian immigrants headed our way, and describing a bucket brigade program to reduce dangerously high ocean levels.
According to News-Wrecker Editor Anita Nuderbeer, the newspaper is being distributed just prior to this week’s May 3-5 Shrimp Festival. It will be available in bars, restaurants and shops on Amelia Island and various other Nassau County locations.
“We cover articles that the fake news organization are afraid to touch,” says Ms. Nuderbeer. “Readers of the News-Wrecker can rest assured that we stay on top of fast-breaking news despite the fact that we only publish one edition a year.
“Because of our annual schedule sometimes we have to make up the news before it takes place,” she explains. “As a result we make a few mistakes here and there but we don’t really care and it’s too late now to do anything about it anyway. And we don’t really try all that hard either.”
Ms. Nuderbeer said that when the first Wrecker debuted in 2015 Publisher Shirley U. Jest never anticipated producing another one, but,” she says, “the paper’s readers and advertisers convinced her to change her mind because, she explains: “They are hungry for a local factual and accurate news source.”
Editor Nuderbeer said that despite what her publisher says accuracy, timeliness, grammar, ethics and writing skills aren’t priorities in her newsroom. “Look, I’ve got my hands full just trying to keep this staff sober in order to get the next edition out,” said the grizzled journalism veteran.
Last year’s edition featured “news” stories about massive oil discoveries off Amelia Island’s coast, new tenements planned for downtown Fernandina Beach and a Russian foreign exchange student caught meddling in Fernandina Beach High School student council elections.
The free tabloid News-Wrecker boasts the tagline “Amelia Island’s sacred cows make the best burgers.” An online version of last year’s paper is available at www.amelianewswrecker.com and this year’s will be available online eventually.
The News Wrecker pokes fun at the island’s small but vocal liberal and right-wing populations, local governing bodies, politicians, the Shrimp Festival, local news gathering organizations, and any other area sacred cows it can lasso.
Businesses or individuals interested in assisting in producing next year’s issue or advertising in it can contact Dave Scott at 770/354-7228 or email@example.com.
Hooch, Horses & Hats: Locals and visitors can add the excitement of the Kentucky Derby to their Shrimp Festival activities again this year as the downtown North 3rd Street Florida House continues its 18th annual traditional of opening its Mermaid Lounge to fans of the event with special drinks and a random chance to bet on a horse tomorrow, Saturday, May 4.
Every year for the past 18 I’ve stuffed the names of the horses in envelopes and offered Florida House guests and visitors an opportunity to draw one of the horse’s names for $10. With an average of 20 horses in the annual race the winner walks away with $200. You don’t get to select a specific horse but draw a name randomly. Depending on the size of the crowd there may be more than one pool. Preliminary races are held all day beginning at 10:30 a.m. with the actual Derby post time at 6:50 p.m. Pool drawings for the 6:50 race start about 2 p.m. and will be shown on the lounge’s two TV sets.
Deft Mermaid bartender Paul Lore will be making a batch of mint julips and some ladies say they’ll be decked out in traditional big floppy hats.
Buttering People Up: My good friend Jeff McDowell, a former public information office sailor in the US Navy volunteered to lend his talents this year to the Shrimp Festival Committee’s public relations efforts to help promote the annual event.
When I picked up a recent issue of the local News-Leader I was pleasantly surprised to see a Mr. McDowell by-lined article plastered across the front page of the paper’s second section headlined “Behind the scenes of Shrimp Fest.”
In his article Jeff portrayed two of the event’s key sponsors – Baptist Medical Center Nassau and Challenge Butter — buttering up the butter company in his article from top to bottom. After this puff piece I’m sure Jeff, who is a chef of considerable talent, won’t have to buy another stick of butter for the rest of his life. The only thing missing was why the company named itself “Challenge” an odd name I think for a consumer food product company. Anyway, thanks to both of these enterprises for their sponsorship.
Missing Mojo: Former U.S. Congressional Texas representative and current Democrat presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke, attracted a “crowd” of 35 for a campaign event at the University of Nevada Las Vegas Friday, April 26 according to a Blomberg news report. That handful of folks were probably just curious to see for themselves the erratic arm waving motions the candidate performs when he presents his only message – open borders and tearing down the existing barriers between Mexico and the U.S. Nothing to see here folks.
Drinking, Dining & Dancing: A friend who recently visited an eatery on Fletcher Ave told me that he was presented with a menu there that suggested “peel & eat shrimp” for $27.00 a pound, about $10 more than he or I think is even close to a reasonable price. The place starts with an “S” and it isn’t Sandbar, Salt Life or Sliders. One of the the best deals I’ve discovered for peel and eat shrimp on the island is offered at another “S” joint, the Salty Pelican on downtown Front Street, where customers can enjoy a half pound for $10 and a pound for $17. Who pays $27 per pound for shrimp unless they come with a lobster?
Dave, as usual could’t agree more.with you, this time about about Amelia Bluffs. Hats off to Mayor Miller, Vice Mayor Kreger and Commissioner Chapman for a common sense vote for the entire community.
We previously have had interaction with Vice Mayor Kreger when the City designated him the contact for questions about a major project, beach refurbishment. He always responded quickly, made every effort to get information needed or correct any problems we had. It’s too bad he is not running again, he thinks in terms of the entire community
Good group from my college days. Many members have moved on. Great music. Glad they are there for the Festival.
Very well done Dave. It’s amazing how people get upset and distorted when they don’t have all the facts , just raw emotional demented ideas.
Looking forward to seeing you for lunch.
Would everyone please quit calling the United States a Democracy we are not a Democracy, we are a Democratic Constitutional Republic. As a side note, I too applaud Johnny Millers courageous vote.
Look forward to reading your News-Wrecker on line. If only you were as creative a writer when you worked for me!
Shame on you Dave for your name calling, biased account. Upon my first read, I was angry. After my second read, including others comments, I am sad. History and science will prove how very myopic and wrong you are. Party on everyone! Then, explain your choice to your grandchildren.
I agree with you about Amelia Bluff. I hate all the development happening, but the mistake made by a city employee allowed the developer to believe he had the approvals needed. Let’s hope this never happens again. However, being a city taxpayer for over 35 years, I have seen the City lose too many legal battles and would not look forward to wasting tax dollars on legal fees again.
The high density condos being developed in the downtown area is 10 times worse than the small Amelia Bluff subdivision.
Dave you should run for mayor of fernandina beach!
You know too well my take on the Amelia Bluff fracas, and I doubt I could reasonably add anything that your 5,000 word essay didn’t cover, but exactly what do you have against butter? As it’s Shrimpfest, I can tell ya, shrimp and butter go together like Minneapolis and St Paul…but NOT at 27 a lb! Nonetheless, an entertaining read. Next years Newswrecker should feature a pic of you and Mayor Johnny M shaking hands. No one would believe it. Cheers, see you at the bar.
Thanks Dave, good stuff.
My sympathy for the Commissioners that were so RUDELY treated by attendees at the public meeting about the decisions.
While open debate is to be encouraged, there is never room for rude, childish behavior. Democracy works best with manners, me thinks.
Dave! You hit it out of the park with this one! Keep it up!
I don’t live in the city, but my thoughts are – the city made a mistake approving building on Amelia Bluff, but they did. To get out of it now would cost the city millions, and be caught up in the courts for years, probably to ultimately lose anyway. Their energy should be focused on the proposed development of the land at the south end of the island, A beautiful wild 50 acres and they want to put a 300 room resort on it. Do we, Nassau Co, really need another 300 rooms? The chances of nipping that in the bud are certainly better then stopping Amelia Bluff! This should also involve anyone who wants our beaches left alone, you know a resort is going to want to privatize that beach as well, one less for everyone else…..
If the protesters (of Amelia Bluff) are really, really serious about their cause of keeping trees, conservation land and natural habitat, maybe they should bulldoze their own neighborhoods and let nature back in. They can head back to where they came from. Guess they don’t realize their own homes have taken the place of trees and wildlife!!!!
The News Wrecker had me laughing so hard, I needed another Botox shot to stop my wrinkles from coming back!!
In my opinion the issue is not whether a portion of the parcel was conserved, it is whether it’s being recast now as residential was proper. My sense is the true culprit is the city employee who acted beyond the scope of employment certifying it was residential. I think no one cared much as the property had been owned by the school board until “someone” decided to sell it. I wonder what or who generated the idea to sell it forcing the problem? Anyway back to my concern. There is testimony now that the issue was raised by the developer long ago wherein the city employee promised it would be corrected. Had it been the imbroglio would never have occurred. A decision now to in effect do what should have been done years ago based upon how much was invested or how much mitigation was done or how much litigation might cost miss the point. That point is was a portion of the parcel conserved or not. The rest is conversation.
Dave, your column is “dead on’. Those left wing tree huggers who descended on City Hall on April 16th do NOT speak for the majority of the tax paying citizens of Fernandina Beach. I congratulate Johnny, Phil, and Len for making a great decision and voting the responsible way. For sure many of those screamers don’t live in the City especially the two vocal ones in the tree conservancy group. They are doing more harm than good by spewing half truths and innuendo about forest management and real tree conservancy.
Amelia Bluffs, my thoughts are, the City of Fernandina Beach could have two lawsuits coming at them. One from the Amelia Island Tree Conservancy to protect our conservation lands from development, and the other from the Developers for delays in construction costs. There is a rush on our Island to cover every square foot of this Barrier Island in concrete and rebar. The construction you see going on throughout Nassau County is going to continue 24/7 for the next decade. We need a Tree Museum.
Have a good shrimp fest David
I love.love.love your posting. Great read with my morning coffee. You. Are so right while at the same time give me lots of ammunition for my next bout with the left wing tree huggers. I thank you. Living on Amelia were the best years of my life.
Mr Scott, I often don’t agree with you and that’s fine, but THANK YOU for hitting the nail on the head!! With so much hatred and unsubstantiated lies being spread by the few, it’s refreshing to see your truth!! When it is said that 77% of the people of Fernandina wanted this development stopped, that was NOT correct!! The 77% spoken about was the number of people who responded to the last survery of which only about 1500 citizens receieved and less than 500 were returned complete and properly filled out!! So, 77% of 500 is…about 300 citizens who wanted Amelia Bluff stopped!! “They” want everyone to believe it was 77% of the 12,000 who live here, in the city limits!! WRONG!! Many don’t speak out or carry on as the few did as they own businesses that could be affected and honestly, from the many we’ve spoken to and heard from don’t want to be “attacked “! This has divided this town in a way like nothing before and that is truly sad. When my husband ran on a platform of “listening”, he’s done just that, he’s listened to the vast majority!! The few would rather save approximately 6 acres that could cost the city millions in litigation than spend that money to buy up approximately 450 acres to save as conservation land!! Maybe if the few listened, they’d get it! Thank you again.