Island Issues

Things Are Getting “Curiouser and Curiouser” Here In Our Fernandina Beach City Rabbit Hole

Things Are Getting “Curiouser and Curiouser” Here In Our Fernandina Beach City Rabbit Hole

Just when you think things can’t get any nuttier in Fernandina Beach they do.

Following is some of the most recent craziness:

  • Lightweight Mayor Johnny “Moonbeam” Miller, who ran seven years ago on a pro-business platform, is endorsing a move by some folks hereabouts to boycott downtown shops that display pro-Trump images or sell Trump items.
  • Dawn Tiura, a board member of Main Street, a group that receives taxpayer money to promote Fernandina merchants, is suggesting shoppers stay away from local Trump-friendly businesses.
  • Local conservation group (CAN) leader Chuck Oliva says he didn’t file for his organization to be a 501c(3) charity but public records clearly show that he did and is now accepting political contributions. Is the group guilty of money laundering?

Moonbeam Growing Dimmer: Let’s start with the whacky term-limited mayor, who fortunately has only two months left to warm a city hall chair, annoy local residents, harass area merchants, and make the town look foolish.

On October 28, 2013 Johnny Miller issued a press release announcing his candidacy with a headline stating: “‘Let’s make it easier to do business here’ Says commission candidate Johnny Miller’”. The release went on to quote Miller advocating issues to remove business barriers and help local merchants prosper, including speeding up the permitting process and revising impact fees.

In a subsequent release issued during his runoff election Nov. 6, 2013 Miller said: “….equitable fees, understandable and fair regulations, faster permitting, fixing unfair impact fees, and clear communications between the city bureaucracy and its constituents are elements that will help businesses prosper, attract new enterprises and residents, and provide a comfortable place to live and play.”

I’m familiar with both releases because I wrote every word in them, including his quotes. He approved them both and hand carried them to the media. At the time, Miller, who was bartending at the Green Turtle, successfully duped me and a handful of others saying he would be a pro-business conservative voice on the Commission. We naively believed him. We worked to elect him, and have regretted that decision ever since. He lied to us. He turned out to be a nightmare for the local business community and a joke to onlookers. His far left-wing behavior has resulted in ridicule and embarrassment for the city and stumbling blocks for area businesses. As his term draws to a long-awaited end, his antics have become more extreme.

“Don’t buy that Trump ice cream!”

This past week he continued to raise eyebrows and the ire of local shop owners when he endorsed on Facebook a group of snarling, spittle-spewing online anti-Trumpers that are calling for a boycott of Fernandina Beach stores that display trump signage or sell Trump gear.

One of those social media trolls screeching loudest for a downtown boycott of local businesses that outwardly support Trump was Marlene Chapman, wife of do-nothing Commissioner Phil “The Listener” Chapman. Chapman is another Commissioner we’ll be happy to see the south end of heading north when his term ends in November.

When I asked City Attorney Tammi Bach and City Manager Dale Martin about Mayor Miller’s anti-business rhetoric Mr. Martin responded saying: “To the best of my knowledge, Mayor Miller is not utilizing either City resources or his mayoral title, so his efforts are his personal opinions. I understand that as a public official it is an extremely difficult (if not impossible) distinction to make, and, as evident in this situation, can create confusion as to whether an official is speaking as a public official or as a private citizen. The City is not responsible for the personal conduct of officials/staff outside the realm of official City business.”

He encouraged me to contact Mr. Miller for further clarification. Mr. Miller is welcome to respond here anytime.

Ms. Bach expanded on Martin’s comments saying: “Based on the one screenshot you shared, I have to agree with Mr. Martin. There is no violation of oath of office by Mayor Miller but perhaps a lapse of good judgment, in light of his elected position, in these polarized political times we live in. If you find any of the allegedly deleted posts by Mayor Miller, please share them with us.”

“Lapse of Judgement” has been Moonbeam’s credo since he was first elected. If he had a mentor it would be the hapless mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler. If anybody out there wants to share some of Moonbeam’s screen shots with Ms. Bach or Mr. Martin please do so. Copy me too please.

Main Street Screed: Dawn Tiura is a board member of Fernandina Beach’s Main Street, an organization specifically designed to promote local downtown businesses. Her seething hatred for President Donald Trump has spilled over and clouded her duties as a board member. She sure isn’t doing local businesses any good, just the opposite.

Her loathing of Trump is openly displayed on a June 14 Facebook post where she wrote: “Did you know you can go to Trumps FB page and do a search of who likes him, and filter to see which of your “friends” are on there? I was shocked to see some people there, wow. Thought they were really nice, loving, kind and intelligent, having some doubts now. I pray they see the error of supporting this person who is continuing to divide the nation. Haven’t seen any of them posting in support of BLM, watching and listening more carefully now. Eye opening and makes me sad.”

If I were a dues-paying Main Street business I’d be more than sad. I’d be outraged by this extremist woman’s words and actions. “Hey lady you’re supposed to help us, not try to put us out of business!”

Don’t shop there!

I was informed by some alarmed local business owners that Ms. Tiura endorsed the boycott of city enterprises that displayed Trump signage or sold Trump merchandise. When I asked her about that she responded with the following word jumble saying: “I would avoid businesses with signs. As most people who are very conservative would avoid businesses with a Biden sign. This was on a closed page of like-minded people and it was leaked. Do you not think there is the exact thing going on in reverse? I also frequent all businesses, but I will not walk into one with a huge Trump Pence sign. I did not encourage anyone else to do so, I stated my personal beliefs. How do you feel about the president of the United States who is advocating publicly asking for a boycott of Good Year tires.”

What I think about President Trump’s comments on Goodyear or if she assumes I would boycott shops with a Biden sign aren’t the issues. The issue is that this woman is on a board that city merchants fund with $40,000 a year to help them generate business. She’s not doing them any favors saying she won’t frequent stores that sport Trump signs or sell Trump products. Who needs Covid-19 when they have Ms. Tiura? As a board member shouldn’t she support the entire downtown businesses community, not just the ones that she thinks reflect her political preferences and rejecting those she feels don’t?

Without any prompting Ms. Tiura added: “I also don’t support Sliders since they decided to boycott the NFL. Personal choice for me.” At the rate she’s going she’ll soon run out of businesses to frequent. How the hell did this woman get on this board? She’s doing the exact opposite of what the board is designed to do. If I owned a Fernandina Beach business I’d be incensed no matter what my political affiliation.

Arlene Filkoff, who runs Main Street, may want to rethink the vetting of her board members. Having Ms. Tiura on the Main Street Board is like having Foster Brooks heading up the Temperance League.

Can CAN Or Can’t CAN? Conserve Amelia Now’s (CAN) Chuck Oliva appears to have painted his hapless angry organization into a controversial, sticky, and legal corner.

On April 8, 2019 Oliva, the founder of Conserve Amelia Now (CAN) –  a group whose sole purpose is to hound property owners; scream and shake their fists in front of city hall; sue local tax payers; and drive developers into bankruptcy or off the island – proudly posted online that “……we are in the process of applying for 501 (c) (3) status as a corporation….”

As I understand it a 501 (c) (3) is a charitable designation and donations to it are tax deductible. However, CAN is soliciting political donations. Political contributions are not tax deductible. Over the years the folks that prepare my tax returns have consistently told me: “Don’t even think about deducting political contributions.”

In a comment below Ms. Lajoux denies having contacted an attorney, but here’s what she had to say January 1 on the CAN Facebook site. Or is someone sending out this this drivel and using your name Ms. Lajoux?

Is it legal? Illegal? Did they break federal law? Do candidates have to give the contributions they received from CAN back? As an aside, Alexandria Lajoux, a candidate for City Commission and an avid CAN supporter, revealed her hand when she penned a letter to the Tampa City Attorney not long ago on behalf of CAN asking for advice on how to attack and sue property owners and developers. If you are a property owner or own a business hereabouts this is NOT someone you want on the City Commission.

Folks who contributed to politicians through CAN may want to contact their tax preparer’s office and have them check it out.

Despite happily boasting that CAN applied for the 501c3 status Oliva told the online Observer’s Suanne Thamm  that it never has been one. But the state says it is. It’s on their application. According to the Observer article someone named Alfred Laub and my old nemeses and former neighbor,the unhinged Robert “Bullet Bob” Weintraub, “apparently thought they were filing to create a regular corporation.” This group should have known better. Anything involving Weintraub is not going to have a good result.

Saying she was responding to a variety of queries by readers, Ms. Thamm wrote a follow-up article Sept. 1 saying her research concludes that CAN is responsible for abiding by the federal and state tax laws on its own. The article went onto say: “Whether those who made financial contributions to CAN believe they were misled, is a matter for them to take up with CAN.”

Ms. Thamm correctly concludes that since Oliva’s claim that the incorrect filing status came to be on CAN’s state application, 16 months have passed since the alleged error was made, and “he may want to fix it.”  Why didn’t he fix it when they filed their annual report with the state in May?

I suggest Oliva avoid asking Bullet Bob for any more help or advice. On second thought, since I’m not a fan of CAN, go ahead and have Bullet Bob handle it all. He’s done a great job so far for those of us that oppose their Marxist methods. Talk about “useful idiots!”


Call It What It Is: Former Tampa Plant High School classmate, friend, and American Spectator writer Larry Thornberry sent a note to a group of us recently concerning what the Democrats call “unrest” in their ineptly governed cities: Larry says: “…..stop using the flaccid noun ‘unrest’ for what’s going on in D cities. This sounds like a bunch of folks that just didn’t get enough sleep the night before. What’s happening in our cities, what’s terrorizing honest citizens and destroying businesses and lives, is not lack of rest. It’s violence, terror, criminality. It’s NOT ‘mostly peaceful.’ It’s mostly violent. We should call it what it is.”


Welcome To Amelia Island: A couple of events that will produce a delightful collective nervous breakdown among Nassau County’s small and irrational left wingers will take place this Labor Day weekend

To welcome visitors streaming across Shave Bridge to Amelia Island resident and tireless Republican coordinator Amanda Borghese has organized a Trump rally tomorrow, Saturday, September 5, starting at 10 a.m. at the corners of Sadler Road and 8th Street, on the same corner as the Beach Diner and across from it.

Resident and nationally known, opera singer Mary Aiello, will sing The National Anthem and several other songs at the rally. This is the lady that  was scheduled to sing the Anthem in Jacksonville at the Republican National Convention there before it was cancelled due to the virus.

Ms. Borghese will provide some 50 – 75 rally signs and will meet anyone wanting one outside the Diner. They can be purchased for $10 or $20 or folks can “borrow” them and give them back to her after the rally!  Participants can also bring their own signs or flags. Ms. Borghese says she expects the crowd to be there approximately two hours and encourages them to wear hats and sun screen.

Following the rally the group may head downtown and walk around Centre Street to cheer up patriotic locals and visitors and distress Democrats.

Those wanting to pick up signs, or Trump memorabilia (hats, bumper stickers, etc.)  prior to the rally can visit the office to Re-Elect The President that Ms. Borghese and her husband opened at 5422 First Coast Highway, Amelia Island. It’s the one-story building with a red roof. Ms.Borghese can be contacted via email at

While enjoying Amelia Island’s 13 miles of beaches during the long weekend visitors and locals will be treated to an air display that involves a plane pulling a banner promoting President Trump’s re-election (see photo above). The plane will fly up and down the beach Saturday, Sunday, and Monday for an hour a day. However, on Labor Day, it’ll fly for two hours with flights starting about 11:45 am. It’ll make two trips, back and forth. On Labor Day, the plane will start out around the same time, but finish its route about 1:30 PM, or later, weather permitting. In case of bad weather the flight will be put off for the next day or next weekend.  The route will start at the north end of the island, fly along the beach, continue past the Omni, and south towards Jacksonville, then turn around and come back. It was paid for by local citizens supporting President Trump’s reelection.


What’s Not In The News: You probably heard that a career criminal in Kenosha, WI was shot by the police and may wind up paralyzed. What you may not have heard about is that over the same weekend, 59 black people were shot by other black people in Chicago. Five of them died. The 54 still living should be thankful those Chicago thugs are lousy shots.


Hmmmm: I read that in the latest bulletin from the CDC, they declared there is no proof that masks do anything to prevent the spread of the Wuhan virus.


I’m redoing the deck and went to Party City and purchased a skeleton so in 20-25 years when a new owner rebuilds it……….


The FEMA Letter Is In The Mail: My knowledgeable and wise correspondent, who knows more about goings on in the city and the marina than most hereabouts, files this latest dispatch from downtown shedding light on the Marina-FEMA fiasco.

“The die is cast,” he says. “But consider this.”

“FEMA frequently denies initial claims, they are similar in their behavior to an insurance company. Appeals generally are either denied and the applicant receives no aid, or the assistance granted is substantially less than initially requested.

Given this known behavior, why did Martin, Ross, Kreger, Miller and Chapman think their claim would fly through unchanged?

Martin said he had three experts agreeing that their claim was valid—none of them employees of FEMA, by the way. And none empowered to commit funding.

If Commissioner Chip Ross, who likes to research everything, had looked at FEMA’s record, he would have seen that most likely the initial claim would be denied and any approved aid much less than requested. He should have urged caution on spending $6.5 million, as did former Commissioner Roy Smith, the only NO vote. Instead he was effusive in his confidence in Fender Marine’s ability to build a bigger and better new marina.

Pending FEMA final approval, a temporary marina could have been put in place to placate the public’s demand for action – instead they opted to go whole hog and build the Taj Mahal on the taxpayer’s dime.

The last time the city spent that kind of money was to purchase Egan’s Greenway, and they sought voter approval to do it. Not this time, just slam-bam thank you done.

No doubt the City will receive some aid in the end, still the behavior of these public officials is and was reckless. Saying “well we are where we are” is an admission of guilt and cannot be allowed to excuse past behavior. You would not let your kids get away that easily.

Someone must be held accountable.

It is time to elect responsible leaders who are not beholding to special interests, and who govern for the welfare of all city citizens.”

This man is wiser than most hereabouts about subjects aquatic.


Help Wanted: Five adults who can set aside their own egos and personal agendas in favor of the public good, who can work toward a common goal and not squabble. Apply, Fernandina Beach City Commission Chambers.


Speaking Of The City Commission Race: I’ve sent Group 3 candidate Wendall McGahee three messages asking him to explain  his position with BLM and his support for the Marxist group of anarchists without receiving a response. Dead silence so far. The same News Leader writer – Julia Roberts — that quoted McGahee in a Wednesday, September 1 puff piece, failed to question him about his BLM affiliation. This is the same writer who earlier this summer quoted McGahee during the BLM march through town as saying: “Rioting is what happens when you turn a deaf ear to people. Marching downtown is great, but this needs to be ongoing and constant. Something needs to happen. We want change, but will it ever come.” I can’t bring myself to vote for his incumbent opponent, Chip Ross, and certainly won’t vote for McGahee who doesn’t explain what changes he wants but implies if he doesn’t get them rioting may happen. I’m writing in my pal Pajamadave Voorhees but predicting that the pompous , arrogant Ross will swamp the naive 25-year-old McGahee.


Do The Math: Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates who served under both George W. Bush and Obama summed up Joe Biden by saying that in more than 40 years, the Democrat presidential candidate has been wrong on every foreign relations issue. His mistakes says Gates include invading Iraq, extending the war in Afghanistan indefinitely, not exterminating General Qassim Suleimani, and being the lone Obama Administration holdout opposing the elimination of Osama bin Laden. Let’s not give him a chance to keep his record intact.


Things I Wish I’d Said: “I was kidnapped by mimes. They did unspeakable things to me.” – anonymous.


Dave Lott - 08. Sep, 2020 -

David, you know I always try to be sure a “fair and balanced” story is given so when I first read your teaser “Local conservation group (CAN) leader Chuck Oliva says he didn’t file for his organization to be a 501c(3) charity but public records clearly show that he did and is now accepting political contributions. Is the group guilty of money laundering?” I had to react. Agreed it is fact that Oliva posted on FB on April 8 a statement indicating that CAN was going to be a 501(c)3 corporation. On April 19, a corporate formation filing was transmitted to the State of Florida’s Division of Corporations by a third-party company specializing in corporate filings. Nowhere on that application does it indicate a request for a 501(c)3 designation is intended, although it certainly raises questions as to why the filing company attached a generic information sheet about a 501(c)3 corporation. On the state of FL website it does show CAN as a 501(c)3 but that does not make it so. As you are aware, the 501(c)3 designation can only be granted by the Internal Revenue Service upon an application by the organization. It has been verified by others that the IRS has never received a request for such a designation by CAN officers or any agent working on their behalf as the CAN officers have stated. Perhaps it was the intent at one time to seek such a designation and there was a direction for any number of reasons. Regardless, without such a designation, contributors to CAN should not declare their contributions as tax exempt or they may be facing their own notices from the IRS and any declarations by CAN that donations are tax deductible are misleading and unethical if not illegal.
Loved the skeleton idea. Hope you got a building permit for that deck! LOL

Out of Towner - 07. Sep, 2020 -

We do not live in Amelia Island, but ended up staying there one week for work which has only been a few weeks ago. We ate at one of your downtown restaurants, at which I didn’t see anyone wearing a mask (which is a prerequisite for me since after much research on the efficacy of masks) and probably the store you are speaking of with the Trump merchandise. This made me very happy and we purchased several items. I believe most blue collar hard working people are Trump supporters. We own a business and thank God haven’t been affected by COVID that much. If you don’t support your local businesses no matter what they are you will end up being a shell of a city.

Arrivalist - 06. Sep, 2020 -

I have arrived at the conclusion that mean-spirited people are simply just mean people–best avoided and definitely not to be respected or listened to.

Bill - 06. Sep, 2020 -

Wonderer, Quid Pro Joe cannot unify anything, He’s spent his entire worthless life promoting identity politics and trying to keep the black population on the Democratic plantation, but shows himself to be nothing but a racist – “You ain’t black if you don’t vote for me”, “Poor kids are just as smart as white kids”, “The Hispanic community is more diverse than the Black community”. Hah! The man who wants to be leader of the free world is too big a coward to even leave his basement, won’t take questions other than from reporters on a list whom he knows will ask only softball questions, and then has to take a day off to rest up from his efforts. Truly pathetic.

Wonderer - 05. Sep, 2020 -

How can Biden be the great Uniter and Build Back Better when his supporters demonize the opposition? Doesn’t make any sense to me. We are becoming Northern Ireland writ large, with enmity so deeply rooted that only a virus can find common ground.

Lucy Añez - 05. Sep, 2020 -

Have I told you lately how much I love you Dave Scott?!! You are a local treasure! And thank you for making me laugh hilariously with the skeleton under the deck. The liberals are losing it and it’s so much fun to watch them cry !! MAKE LIBERALS CRY AGAIN BECAUSE TRUMP IS GOING TO WIN ! TRUMP 2020 !! I am going to spend all of my money in local businesses that support our President. Thank you Mr. Scott for your amazing and awesome blog.

Capper - 05. Sep, 2020 -

Dave, I just read your post about Fernandina’s Mayor supporting a call to boycott of Fernandina Beach stores. When have we ever seen a Mayor call for the demise of his/her own businesses? Oh, I forgot about Chicago, New York City, LA, Portland, Seattle, etc. I have never seen such hatred by the vile left. If this is true about our Mayor, he is an @$$h0le!

Jenean Lannon - 04. Sep, 2020 -

I think your article was spot on, & no a political representative of said city, county, or state has no authority or right to indicate a boycott or avoidance of any business if they can or do endorse a political candidate or carry merchandise of same. The very idea of this vitriol is as personally as it gets. And using it as a platform from an elected official standpoint is or should be considered slander & leave them open to defamation suits. Defunding that group would also put a few noses out of joint. Hit em where it hurts!

John Mason-Smith - 04. Sep, 2020 -

I now have my Trump 2020 sign! Thanks for letting us know about the office at 5422 First Coast Hwy. I also pick up a new MAGA hat. Looking forward to the big Amelia Island Supports Donald Trump Boat Rally on Labor Day Monday!

Alexandra Reed Lajoux - 04. Sep, 2020 -

PS: Oh that letter. You painted it in misleading terms, Sir, so I didn’t recognize your description. I asked the Tampa City attorney how to take legal action against developers who ***break the law by violating our City ordinances***. Surely you don’t t that our local builders engage in this kind of behavior do you? In my experience, builders like our local Cole Builders have high integrity and run no risk of such consequences.

Larry Rogers - 04. Sep, 2020 -

Steve Contorno
By Steve Contorno
January 16, 2014
Checking Robert Gates’ criticism of Vice President Joe Biden’s foreign policy record

A new memoir from former Defense Secretary Robert Gates hit the book shelves this month, drawing both praise and criticism for its candid insights into the two most recent presidents Gates worked for, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and their administrations.

Washington reporters immediately latched on to Gates’ portrayal of Vice President Joe Biden. Biden, he said, is a nice guy — “simply impossible not to like” — but “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” Ouch.

Asked to back up his harsh words Jan. 13, 2014, on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, Gates replied:

“Frankly, I believe it. The vice president, when he was a senator — a very new senator — voted against the aid package for South Vietnam, and that was part of the deal when we pulled out of South Vietnam to try and help them survive. He said that when the Shah fell in Iran in 1979 that that was a step forward for progress toward human rights in Iran. He opposed virtually every element of President Reagan’s defense build-up. He voted against the B-1, the B-2, the MX and so on. He voted against the first Gulf War. So on a number of these major issues, I just frankly, over a long period of time, felt that he had been wrong.”

This is not an argument without consequence. Biden served for years on the Foreign Relations Committee, including several stints as chairman, and he was picked as Obama’s running mate in part because of his experience in world affairs. For someone of Gates’ stature to publicly criticize a sitting vice president is uncommon.

We can’t — and won’t — weigh in on whether Biden was on the right or wrong side of history. That’s a debate that likely will never end. Nor are we stipulating that Gates’ examples are the definitive list by which the last 40 years of U.S. foreign relations will be judged.

But we did wonder if Gates’ description of Biden’s history was accurate. That led us to this review of the career of a man who first entered the Senate in 1973 and who twice has acted on his presidential ambitions and may again in 2016.

History between Biden and Gates

Biden won his first election in 1972 at just 29, fueled by the anti-war sentiments of a generation wary of the Vietnam conflict. Biden later said he “wasn’t against the war for moral reasons; I just thought it was stupid policy.”

At other times in his career, Biden advocated for military intervention. Most notably, Biden was an early and instrumental advocate of military intervention in the Serbia and Kosovo conflicts during the Clinton administration. He reportedly called Yugoslavian leader Slobodan Milosevic “a damn war criminal” to his face and later said his work in the Balkans was one of his two “proudest moments in public life.”

Biden and Gates have not always disagreed. In his memoir Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, Gates recalled fighting military leaders in 2007 to get more money to protect troops on the ground against roadmines. It was Biden who offered an amendment to fund Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles to the tune of $1.5 billion. It passed unanimously.

But there’s clearly tension between Gates and Biden. Gates wrote that just sitting next to Biden was “awkward” because they so frequently were at odds. Biden is mentioned on nearly six dozen pages of Gates’ 600-page memoir, often in an unflattering light.

Biden, too, has not always been so kind to Gates. When President George H.W. Bush nominated Gates to director of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1991, Biden not only voted against his confirmation, he openly criticized Gates.

“I believe it is time for us to look forward. I have been disappointed in the past in Mr. Gates’ analytical skills, especially in regard to the Soviet Union,” Biden said, according to the Senate record. “I have chosen to err on the side of new thinking.”

A few minutes later, Gates won confirmation by a vote of 64-31.

When Gates was confirmed overwhelmingly by the Senate 95-2 to Secretary of Defense under the second Bush, Biden was one of three senators not to vote.

Clearly, these two men have some history. But what about Gates’ claims regarding Biden’s record? Let’s go through them one by one.

Biden “voted against the aid package for South Vietnam.”

On April 10, 1975, President Gerald Ford requested Congress to provide nearly $1 billion in military and humanitarian aid to South Vietnam within nine days.

By this point, American intervention in Vietnam was waning after two decades of involvement, and Ford’s request was the final attempt to bring U.S. assistance to the war-torn country. On April 25, 1975, the Senate approved a conference report to provide some financial assistance on a 46-17 vote. Biden, just two years after taking office, voted against the measure.

The bill ultimately died in the House. And on April 29, as the South Vietnam capital of Saigon was captured, Ford order an evacuation of all remaining U.S. personnel from Indochina.

Biden said when “the Shah fell in Iran in … 1979 … that that was a step forward for progress toward human rights in Iran.”

We were not able to find evidence that Biden spoke positively of the fall of the Shah.

Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi was the leader of Iran until January 1979, when he and his family were forced out of the country by backers of Ruhollah Mostafavi Musavi Khomeini, an exiled cleric critical of the regime. Khomeini returned to the country in February 1979 to claim power as supreme leader and proclaim the Islamic Republic of Iran, the state it remains in today.

An extensive search through newspaper archives found no instances of Biden speaking positively of the Shah’s ouster. Jules Witcover, author of Joe Biden: A Life of Trial and Redemption, does not recall coming across such a statement in his research, either.

We found reference to the statement in a 2008 opinion piece published by the New York Post that heavily criticized Obama’s choice of Biden as his VP. But there was no source for it. The comment has continued to circulate in conservative media, again without citation. We contacted both the Post and the author to ask for a source, but we didn’t hear back.

Through a publicist, we asked Gates to back up the claim. They simply referred us back to his book.

We found no other source for this statement, and especially no original citation, so we have significant doubts that it’s accurate. We will update this point if more evidence comes to light.

Biden “opposed virtually every element of President Reagan’s defense build-up. He voted against the B-1, the B-2, the MX and so on.”

Following World War II, the United States’ approach to the Soviet Union and the spread of communism centered on containment. President Ronald Reagan changed that, said Barry Watts, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a national security think tank.

“If you read through key national security documents written under Reagan, they basically turn their back on containment and say, ‘we can win this thing,’” Watts said. “And the defense build-up under Reagan is the concrete substantiation to put increased pressure on (the Soviets).”

During the next eight years, Reagan would push Congress to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on defense.

One such proposal was to bring back the B-1 bomber, a plane canceled under President Jimmy Carter. On Dec. 3, 1981, Biden voted for an amendment to eliminate funds for the B-1 from the defense appropriation bill. The amendment failed, and the defense spending bill passed the Senate a day later with $2.4 billion for the B-1. Biden did not vote on the Senate bill.

The same bill also contained $2 billion for the MX, an intercontinental ballistic missile known as the “Peacekeeper.” Biden voted for an amendment that would have eliminated some funding for the MX, which failed.

The B-2, also known as the “Stealth bomber,” was a secret project for much of the 1980s. Funding for the project was included in the 1987 defense spending bill, but the amount was classified. Biden voted for the final bill, but we could not find his position on that particular appropriation.

However, from 1989 to 1992, Biden continually voted for measures that stripped funding from the B-2 project, according to voting record scorecards kept by the Council for a Livable World, a group that advocates for nuclear arms control.

As for the rest of the defense build-up, Biden voted in favor of the final military spending compromise resolutions passed by Congress throughout the Reagan years, his office noted. But he also often voted against many of the administration’s military priorities during the amendment phase.

Biden annually earned high ratings in the 1980s voting scorecards from the Council for a Livable World, which generally opposed Reagan’s defense build-up. The exception was in 1987 and 1988, when he earned low marks after missing many of the votes while running for president.

Biden “voted against the first Gulf War.”

Biden was a staunch opponent of the first invasion of Iraq in 1991 under President George H.W. Bush. The day before the vote, he delivered a blistering speech against the war and accused Bush of threatening to usurp the constitution to commit troops without congressional consent.

But Biden was not alone in his dissent. The House had its longest debate in the history of the chamber in deciding whether to go to war, according to the Los Angeles Times, and the Senate only narrowly passed the joint resolution authorizing use of force in Iraq, 52-47. Biden voted no, citing a torn Congress and country.

“Even if you win today, you still lose,” Biden said on the day of the vote. “The nation is divided on this issue.”

Our ruling

Gates’ assessments of Biden’s positions on South Vietnamese aid, the Reagan defense build-up and the first Gulf War are accurate, according to our research. However, we found no solid evidence that Biden actually said the fall of the Shah was a step forward for human rights in Iran.

Experts will continue to debate whether foreign policy decisions of Gates and Biden will be viewed favorably by historians. But Gates portrayal of Biden’s record was accurate, with the exception of the unproven claim about Biden’s comments on Iran. We rate Gates’ statement Mostly True

Alexandra Reed Lajoux - 04. Sep, 2020 -

“Alexandria Lajoux, a candidate for City Commission and an avid CAN supporter, revealed her hand when she penned a letter to the Tampa City Attorney not long ago on behalf of CAN asking for advice on how to attack and sue property owners and developers. If you are a property owner or own a business hereabouts this is NOT someone you want on the City Commission.” Dave, I never wrote such a letter. What the heck are you talking about? Alexandra Lajoux

David Scott - 04. Sep, 2020 -

Ms. Lajoux you admitted in a post January 1 that is still on the CAN Facebook site that you wrote the letter I mentioned. I have gone back and posted what you wrote on the CAN site. I’ll post it again next week to refresh your memory. Or you can go on the CAN site and look it up. That’s “what the heck I’m talking about” Ms. Lajoux.

Eric Childers - 04. Sep, 2020 -

That skeleton is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while. Thanks for the belly laugh!

Chris Hadden - 04. Sep, 2020 -

Dave, after all these years of reading your nonsense you finally made me laugh. That part about you helping to elect Johnny Miller, so funny, you should put that story in the news wrecker. Oh my God that was precious. Thanks for that.

Wayne - 04. Sep, 2020 -

Great post, no one wants to be called out but it looks like you have to now a days. So many things here to talk about. If a person in a gov position says what company to Not go to should be dismissed out of that seat. No matter what side you’re on. And the part about the mask, the way to finish that argument is to simply provide a scientific proof that mask work. I will save you some time, there is not any such scientific proof that they work period. But that doesn’t seem to stop people from arguing it. They say it helps with droplets or something which is just as crazy because it would have to go in an open wound to even come close to a transmission of said virus. And one last point is that the size of a virus is so small that it goes right thru ANY mask that is currently made.
As far as exposing these city officials that’s what public office brings. Not to say what side is right or wrong but if it’s not for the improvement of the city than we shall continue to expose them. You don’t have to be a Trump fan to want your city to improve but given the current environment it’s obvious that the Trump like figures are for America and small businesses. If you can’t see that than you might need to remove the hate for one man and employ those same visions for this or any other city or town. It’s not about you or your feelings, it’s about a better future and growth of this one. Some people get caught up in the power that these offices bring and for the people who use these powers in the wrong way shall be removed or voted out of these positions. And if you’re one of these people your time has come to a end.

Sharon - 04. Sep, 2020 -

Mr. Scott, you really have some gall to call out other people the way you do. The trump party will the end of the Republican party and I think you know it. Your time, as a misogynist, race baiting hater in this world is quickly coming to an end. You really think that the Democrats are going to be upset about a trump banner at the beach? We are counting the days until people like you go back under your wife abusing/racist rocks and hide. Black Lives Really Do Matter, gotta a problem with that? I hope Miller, Tiura, Chapman and McGahee sue you for liable. Please stop with the blog xxxxx, this is a waste of everyone’s energy. You are a nobody, have a drink and kick the dog. The world will be a better place for it.

Jane Bailey - 04. Sep, 2020 -

Hi Dave – Great article! I want your audience to know there’s a Re-elect Trump Headquarters at 1890 South 14th St., Suite 130, Upstairs in Bldg.1 (Executive Park) They have yard signs & bumper stickers available. Also, there’s a Trump Boat Parade scheduled for Monday at noon, starting at the DeeDee Bartles Boat Ramp and finishing at the Shave Bridge.

Deanna Bibe - 04. Sep, 2020 -

I have recently stumbled across this blog and I am sure you are a delusional old white man, hoping to hold onto the past. I have read you are also a drunk, but that is not the point. Just who do you think you are to post people’s personal names and drag them through made-up crap? So let’s be clear if someone does not support Trump they are an “extremist” and all Trump supporters are good people? People in their individual capacity have a right to shop and support whomever they wish. None of the people mentioned said anything in their official capacity and you know it. This was taken from a private facebook page by a troll and in intended to be a smear campaign. What a loser you are.

Marlene Chapman - 04. Sep, 2020 -

Mr Scott, I am responding to your comments about me and want to be clear once and for all that I did not say anything even closely related to boycotting any downtown business! I will guarantee that I shop in our small stores downtown more than most. I stated also, that I would not shop in any store that carried Trump items and that is my right to do so. Why would I spend money in stores where I do not agree on their beliefs when I have many other shops where I’d gladly and do spend my money. In our 20 years here, I have never shopped in that one store as their items do not appeal to me. When I did mention the one store’s name I was answering a question asked, and I stated that when we went downtown I would let them know if I saw any other Trump items. As far as I know there is nothing against the law in that. So, thank you for listening, if you haved.

Donald “XXXXXXXXX” Trump - 04. Sep, 2020 -

Why did you delete my previous comment? Are you censoring me? HELP, HELP I’m being oppressed!

David Scott - 04. Sep, 2020 -

I edited out your obscenities.In seven years you are only the third person who I’ve had to either edit or delete.

Vince Cavallo - 04. Sep, 2020 -

You said this: ” I read that in the latest bulletin from the CDC, they declared there is no proof that masks do anything to prevent the spread of the Wuhan virus.” You should have added “to you” IMO. This is part of the news article I saw: “WASHINGTON, D.C., September 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Wearing a mask will not guarantee one’s safety from COVID-19 if worn in close proximity to an infected person for more than 15 minutes, according to guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
BTW, You may recall they said at the beginning a mask was not needed at all. We now believe they said that to protect the supply of masks! So, how can one believe anything they say as there is a purpose behind some pronouncements beyond the science?? Also, I have not seen any definitive study that supports masks and total containment. Anyway, like a good citizen, I wear mine as mandated. If nothing else, I don’t wish to run into any out of control “Karens” out there.

Shane - 04. Sep, 2020 -

Excellent work and commentary Dave!

Bruce Smyk - 04. Sep, 2020 -

1. Foster Brooks was a teetotaler and used the drunk “schtick” to earn a living.
2. When I was younger, I was right of Attila. Now, I may have mellowed (or maybe not). However, at no point would I boycott a business because the owner exercised his or her Constitutional right to express political beliefs. That’s what our patriots fought for 250 years ago. ALso, the signage would not influence my vote. Ignore what you want.
3. Re-elect no one.

Gina Calogero - 04. Sep, 2020 -

The liberals in this town must be really scared if they have to actually try and stop people from patronizing businesses because they approach President Trump. After all that’s happened with the COVID-19 and the threat of so many small businesses going under how dare them? It’s disgusting. And I will purposely seek out any pro Trump businesses to give my money to.

bobby carter - 04. Sep, 2020 -

So disappointing to hear that Main Street is working against the downtown merchants. I think the City should defund that group. They are all elitists that want to control everything else. They have expanded their control over 8th Street now. Main Street is showing it’s true colors. I will work to see their funding is stopped. The City, that is YOU spend $40,000 per year to keep Main Street going. The group is a State-designed group that focuses on ‘downtown communities that have fallen in disrepair’. This does NOT apply here, never has. DEFUND MAIN STREET

Bil Shaffer - 04. Sep, 2020 -

While the rest of the nation gets back to basics, Mayor Moonbeam and his progressive dingbats get back to Wonderland.
Great column, Mr. Scott.

Betsy Widnes - 04. Sep, 2020 -

Is there a list of Pro-Trump businesses downtown? I want to support them and spend my money at their establishments!

Nancy Billington - 04. Sep, 2020 -

I fact checked your statement that said the CDC said masks did nothing to prevent the spread of coronavirus. On August 27, 2020 the CDC stated that all persons should wear masks in public to prevent the spread. Virtually every medical professional agrees with that statement. I urge you to retract your remark and stop politicizing this issue.

Local Yocal - 04. Sep, 2020 -

Trump is not the solution

Bar Fly - 04. Sep, 2020 -

The owner of Locals and Sadler Ranch was drunk and ran over a lady sunbathing at Peters Point, but no one is talking about it. Hmmm…

Sandy - 04. Sep, 2020 -

Can’t wait to shop in every store displaying Trump merch! By January, that may be ALL of your great stores!

Lisa Kupper - 04. Sep, 2020 -

So nice to hear a common sense message! Thank you!

Jeff McDowell - 04. Sep, 2020 -

Great column Dave, As I write this I’m sad to report that our TWO signs disappeared from the foot of my driveway overnight. Supporting the police is a no-brainer, and I was wondering how long it would take for some ass-hats to steal my neighbors Trump-Pence sign. The good news is…we have replacements. Hoping the Dems boycott the beach this week-end, looking forward to the “airshow”.

Vito - 04. Sep, 2020 -

Liberalism is a mental disorder, no doubt about it.

Skeeter - 04. Sep, 2020 -

You have guts!! I think I love you; no, I know I do. Thank you for your great newsletter.

peter john edgette - 04. Sep, 2020 -