Jack Knocke of the local watchdog group Common Sense is questioning School Superintendent Kathy Burns about why $3.7 million of our tax dollars are being spent on a questionable Yulee property purchase. He was told to pay up, shut up and wait.
Knocke, the head of Common Sense, sent a letter to Ms. Burns and all School Board members on behalf of his group requesting information that should be readily available to the public, particularly the local taxpayers that are on the hook financially. He also met with Ms. Burns.
He was stonewalled. He was told that he could not have details unless he paid a $100 deposit and maybe more. What? the School Board is charging its constituents for public information? What the…..
I understand Jack’s frustration. I’ve contacted Ms. Burns to question her about illegal aliens in our classrooms and her answers were evasive and defensive. I, like Jack, would like to see the vote on the questionable spending of $3.7 million of our money postponed until it can be fully explained and justified to taxpayers. How does the Board justify paying $2.3 million more than the property sold for nine months ago? Did the Board look at alternative properties? What is the apprised value of the property? Was other or currently owned school property considered? How will the School Board use this property? And more!
Jack is urging residents to attend the school board meeting on Thursday, March 10th, at 6:30 pm. He’s suggesting that those attending request to speak during the due diligence discussion on the questionable property purchase. The meeting is in the School Board Building directly across the Street from Central Park at 1201 Atlantic Avenue, Fernandina Beach.
“As of today, the school board agenda for March 10th DOES NOT reflect any discussion of due diligence as was requested at the last meeting by School Board member Dr. Cynthia Grooms,” said Knocke in a follow up to his initial request. “It will take a courageous Board to insist that this is put on the agenda and even more courage to vote to cancel the contract until all of the emails are released to the board and to the public.”
Knocke was openly critical of Burns and the School Board adding: “We need to shine a bright light on these processes – the Property Purchase AND the Public Records Request (PRR) process. Unfortunately, this process is not open and transparent to the public.”
Following is Jack’s initial letter to the Nassau County School Board members detailing the property purchase issue:
“The school board is voting on March 10 at 6:30 p.m. on whether to confirm the purchase of 10 acres near Yulee Elementary School. This is property that was bought by the current owner for $1.4 million dollars in May of 2021. The school system seeks to purchase this exact same property for $3.7 million dollars – a cool $2.3 million in profits in 9 months. Profits paid for by us taxpayers.
Several of us have asked to see the emails related to this purchase for full disclosure and transparency. Something does not smell right. The school system says bunk. Pay $100 to get started. They say, “we may bill you more if we want to.” This is public information and should be shared openly and happily to residents who are FUNDING this purchase. You as board members OWE us transparency, due diligence, and fiduciary responsibly for the spending of our tax dollars. As of today, even though I have asked, no Nassau County School Board members have insisted that this data be made public to THEM or to the PUBLIC!
I met with the Superintendent yesterday and she said that, by policy, she must charge us for the information, but she will look into changing the policy. She says that will take a few months. It seems that the Nassau County School system has been blocking FOIA (Freedom of Information Requests) with this policy for some time. I am checking to see if this policy is legal. Dr. Burns reiterated to me that this is THE BOARD’s responsibility to vote on this transaction. It’s on you School Board. Delay the purchase until the emails in question are provided to you and to the public to make an informed decision. Anything else is an irresponsible vote.
My request to you as the Nassau County School Board is to delay the decision on the purchase of the proposed 10 acres Near Yulee Elementary School 90 days (or longer if required) until the School Board can change the Public Records Release policy that is preventing the sharing of public information that can prove that this transaction is honest and forthright OR corrupt and wasteful. We just don’t know because the information has not been released.
If other taxpayers agree, they are welcome to reply to the School Board members via this email or write their own message to express their concern. Next School Board meeting is Thursday, March 10th at 6:30. Citizens may also be there to express our dissatisfaction with the lack of transparency, appearance of a cover up and misapplication of the Freedom of Information Act process.”
Nassau County School Board Members
Lissa Braddock 904-507-9522
Gail Cook 904-261-9127
Jamie Deonas 904-277-0006
Cynthia Grooms 904-845-8105
Donna Martin 904-261-9015
The School Board site is: https://www.nassau.k12.fl.us/domain/89 and contains the board members email addresses. The meeting is at the School Board Building at 1201 Atlantic Avenue, across the street from Central Park.
The Messy State Of The Union: It wasn’t enough having to listen to Joe Biden plod through a more than one hour disjointed State of The Union speech, but we also had to watch what appeared to be a deranged Nancy Pelosi sitting behind him making strange faces and popping up and down in her chair like she was possessed.
Throughout the Tuesday, March 1 State of the Union address by Biden, Pelosi was seen strangely grinning , adjusting her dentures, searching for a spit-cup, and leaping up and down like she desperately needed to use the restroom.
Her behavior was so weird that some in the audience were questioning her mental state, with one wondering: “Is Pelosi good?”
Pelosi ‘s most bizarre conduct began when Biden started talking about the importance of supporting veterans by providing them with the care they need when they come home.
“My administration is providing assistance with job training and housing, and now helping lower-income veterans get VA care debt-free,” Biden said before addressing the need for this care saying: “Our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan faced many dangers. One being stationed at bases breathing in toxic smoke from ‘burn pits,’ many of you have been there.”
Pelosi apparently considered the idea of soldiers breathing in toxic smoke extremely applause-worthy and leapt into action. However, the manner in which she did it was “weird” and “creepy” as she grinned manically and rubbed her knuckles together.
Steven Crowder, host of “Louder with Crowder,” said this was confirmation that Pelosi is actually, “a squirrel on drugs.”
Laura Ingraham of Fox News reacted to Pelosi’s weird behavior saying: “She bolts up out of her seat like she’s sitting on itching powder.”
Even when it was obvious that Biden was making stuff up as he went along, Pelosi kept jumping up and down in her seat applauding enthusiastically. Her Senate counterpart, Chuck Schumer, also appeared very confused. He missed his “Stand up” cue when he rose and started to applaud, only to look around sheepishly and see his Democrat counterparts all seated. He flashed a puzzled look and quickly sat back down, awaiting his next “stand-up” signal.
In a statement that proves how dim Biden is and an indication of how dim his staff thinks we are, was when he said he had authorized oil to be released from the national emergency reserves. The amount of oil he authorized will last for all of two days. It also takes oil out of a reserve that is designed to provide fuel for military emergencies and has to be replaced.
Biden’s speech was so awful and full of lies and exaggerations that even the pro-Biden Democrat mouthpiece, the Washington Post ran an article, not celebrating a victorious oration, but headlined: “Fact-checking President Biden’s 2022 State of the Union address.”
The Biden-friendly paper identified a lengthy list of misinformation in the speech including these two gems:
- Biden said: “Our economy created over 6.5 million new jobs just last year, more jobs created in one year than ever before in the history of America.” WaPo: “The United States is emerging from a pandemic that caused huge job losses in 2020 — 9 million jobs, in fact.”
- Biden said: “The only president ever to cut the deficit by more than 1 trillion dollars in a single year.” WaPo: “In the first four months of fiscal 2022, which began last October, the federal government ran a deficit of $259 billion.”
Biden’s solutions for America’s most critical and urgent issues are like putting an amateur in charge of a bomb disposal unit who thinks that the solution to defusing it is to silence the ticking sound.
The idea that he is a world leader is delusional. Where is the pledge that America will lead by example? All we heard was Mr. Mumbles admit the country has major problems including immigration, crime, energy, persistent inflation, voting issues, etc, all issues he and the Democrats created during the past year. Biden’s solutions aren’t solutions. He wants to double down and make things even worse.
His rambling speech demonstrated that the country is leaderless, and the mid-terms can’t get here soon enough.
Oh, and exactly who are the folks he yelled about at the end of his talk that we are supposed to “Go get?”
Overheard at PJD’s Beer & Wine Garden: “Dr. Fauci is like a doctor who is treating a patient with pneumonia. Fauci says he’ll cure it by amputating the patient’s leg. The patient recovers from pneumonia – which he would have anyway – but now has only one leg. Fauci then praises himself for his bold, radial treatment.”
Something Doesn’t Add Up At City Hall: Dr. Jerry Decker knows a thing or two about numbers.
Dr. Decker, a former member of the Marina Advisory Board, who earned his doctorate in mathematics, told the Fernandina Beach City Commission that the odds are weighing heavily against the taxpayer unless the $20 million bond referendum vote is moved.
He wrote to the Commission this week saying: “Putting the $20M bond referendum on the December 2022 run-off ballot means that likely less than 30% of the city’s 11,566 registered voters will decide an issue that financially impacts all city taxpayers.”
He cited low voter turnout in run-off elections with the following examples:
- The Sturges/Minshew run-off was decided by only 3,000 voters.
- The Bean/Lednovich run-off was decided by only 2,712 voters.
- The Pointer/Corbett run-off was decided by only 2,676 voters.
“Ignoring the will of 70% of the electorate on a matter of this magnitude is un-democratic and un-acceptable,” says Dr. Decker. “Put the issue in front of the entire electorate—which means put it on the November general election ballot, where it belongs.”
Only Commissioner Chip Ross, a guy I rarely agree with, supported Dr. Decker’s suggestion, but says he was outvoted on the issue, 4-1.
I agree with both Dr. Decker and Commissioner Ross. Can the other Commissioners explain why it shouldn’t be on the general election ballot which traditionally sees a large turnout of voters? I’d like to hear their explanation.
No matter what ballot it is on residents should vote “NO” unless they want a larger more bloated local government, more wasteful spending, and higher taxes.
Things I Wish I’d Said: “I believe that Arlington National Cemetery contains 400,000 reasons why you should stand your ass up for the national anthem.” – Senator John Kennedy (R-LA).
Baseball Strikes Out: The twits that run the game, led by the Baseball Players Union and MLB’s clueless Commissioner, Rob Manfred, displayed once again that they don’t care about the fans that pay their salaries.
Overshadowed by the cancellation of several days of regular season games because these doofuses are engaged in a mindless labor dispute, was the move of the designated hitter (DH) into the National League, universalizing this dreadful abomination. The American League has been saddled with the DH atrocity since 1973.
This DH excuses the pitcher from ever having to come to bat and creates an entire group of players (DH’s) who only play part of the game. They never take the field to play defense.
Gone are the days of having a man on base in the 9th inning with a weak hitting pitcher at bat who surprises everyone by laying down a sacrifice bunt to move the runner into scoring position.
A pitcher set a record that can now never be broken because pitchers no longer bat. On July 3, 1966,Tony Cloninger, in an Atlanta Braves’ 17–3 win over the San Francisco Giants, hit two grand slam home runs, and had nine RBIs, a record that still stands. Cloninger became the first player in the National League and remains the only pitcher, to hit two grand slams in a single game.
If MLB keeps screwing up the game they won’t have to go on strike – fans won’t care because they’ll have moved on.
New Poll: Results of last week’s poll asking if readers agreed or disagreed with the online Fernandina Observer’s article identifying/doxing a local resident for his monetary contribution to protesting Canadian Truckers are in. It overwhelmingly came in on the side of the resident the Observer tried to shame with 89 percent disapproving of the Observer’s tactics and only 7 percent approving. This week readers are being asked if taxpayers have the right to know the financial details of the Nassau County School Board’s purchase of a $3.7 million land purchase and put it on hold until they are revealed. No one, including me, knows the identity of the people who vote in these polls.
Drinking, Dining &Dancing: More than one reliable source told me that the popular Sandbar & Kitchen at Main Beach has changed hands with personable owner/bartender, Kevin Dooner, selling the popular ocean front property and its pricy liquor inventory to Tom Flannery, owner of the Fletcher Avenue Surf. I’m told the transaction will close this coming Monday.