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

Would You Vote For A Pecuniary Polymath For Nassau County School Superintendent?

Once upon a time...

The other day I spoke to a gentleman named Brian who told me that a little over a week ago a fellow named Carter, from the Janet Adkins campaign, phoned him to personally ask for his vote for Ms. Adkins, saying that he was recently in Brian’s ‘neighborhood and knocked on his door, but nobody was home.

“Now, maybe they didn’t notice the Kathy Burns sign in my front yard,” said Brian. “I politely thanked him for his call and said my family would be supporting Dr. Burns for school superintendent. Then Carter said: ‘So you’re a liberal? Because that’s what Kathy is.’ He informed me that Janet was the only candidate that was truly a Christian at the end of the day, and that if I voted for Kathy Burns that I did not stand for Christian values and obviously I was not a Christian. The conversation went silent when I informed him that Kathy and I attended the same church.”

Brian’s wife is a Nassau County 7th grade school teacher and reflects her husband’s views, even more so after this peculiar incident.

In addition it appears that a lame piece of recently mailed campaign literature critical of Ms. Burns, totally missed its mark since there was nothing in it but empty and baseless accusations. This silliness appears to have been created by satirists, humor columnists, MAD Magazine editors, binge drinkers, etc. so I’ve taken the liberty of rewriting, editing, and localizing a like-minded piece that Ms. Adkins may want to use for the duration of her campaign, as it would be as effective as the tripe that her dim supporters in Tallahassee are cranking out for her. (Suanne Thamm, reporter  and news analyst for the online Fernandina Observer did an excellent job  of detailing exactly how political action committee  material like Adkins’ mailer is produced in her July 21, Observer piece.)

Because there is — as far as I can determine — absolutely nothing to criticize in Ms. Burns’ background, and it appears that Ms. Adkins is desperate, I am offering the following — free of charge — as a suggested stump speech for Ms. Adkins. She is welcome to use it during her next public appearance and anything in it for future mailers as she flails away at her opponent, Kathy Burns:

My opponent Kathy Burns has openly admitted she feels an affinity toward Nassau County, but I happen to like it here. It might be a salubrious place to her, but to me it is one of Florida’s most delightful communities.

When I embarked upon this Nassau School Superintendent campaign I hoped that it could be conducted on a high level and that my opponent would be willing to stick to the issues. Unfortunately, she has decided to be tractable instead — to indulge in unequivocal language, to eschew the use of outright lies in her speeches and written material, and even to make repeated veracious statements about me.

Let’s take a closer look at Ms. Burns’ background. Friends, have you ever turned over a rock on the ground and seen what was underneath? Well, exploring my opponent’s background is dissimilar. All the slime and filth and corruption you could possibly imagine, even in your wildest dreams, are glaringly nonexistent in this woman’s life.

I ask you, my fellow citizens: is this known polymath the kind of person we want as Nassau County School Superintendent to set an example for our youth? Of course, it’s not surprising that she should have such a typically pristine background — particularly when you consider other members of her family:

  • Her female relatives put on a constant pose of purity and innocence, and claim they are inscrutable, yet every one of them has taken part in hortatory activities
  • The men in the family are likewise completely amenable to moral suasion
  • Her sister, who has always been obsessed by sects, once worked as a proselyte outside a church
  • Her father was secretly chagrined at least a dozen times by matters of a pecuniary nature
  • Her great-aunt expired from a degenerative disease
  • Her nephew subscribes to phonographic magazines and websites 
  • Her aunt was a thespian before marriage and even performed acts in front of paying customers
  • And her own mother had to resign from a women’s organization in her later years because she was an admitted sexagenarian
  • This summer Ms. Burns blatantly committed a piscatorial act on a local boat that was flying the American flag here on Amelia Island 
  • Finally, at a time when we must be on our guard against all foreign “isms”, she has boldly announced her belief in altruism — and her fervent hope that someday the children in Nassau County will also be altruistic!
  • In addition she also advocates co-ed schools where boys and girls matriculate together and use the same curriculum

I beg you, my friends, to oppose this woman whose life and work and ideas are so openly and avowedly compatible with our way of life here in Nassau County, since a vote for Kathy Burns would be a vote for the perpetuation of a preeminent school system.

The facts are clear; her record speaks for itself.


Speaking Of Pecuniary Activities: According to the latest report on campaign contributions compiled through June, Janet Adkins has collected $100,501 to $61,606 for Kathy Burns in the Nassau County School Superintendent race. And according to the online Fernandina Observer Reporter/Analyst Suanne Thamm some 88 percent of the contributions to Kathy Burns campaign ($58,974) have come from Nassau County donors while the situation with Janet Adkins is the reverse, with 73 percent of her contributions ($76,025) coming from outside Nassau County. And during a full-house debate sponsored by the Fernandina News-Leader this past Monday (July 19) Ms. Adkins tried to explain the huge out-of-county disparity saying that as a result of her service in the legislature she has made many contacts that resulted in campaign contributions. She admitted that contributions had come from charter school proponents, and said that her donors had no expectation of any return for their contributions. Really Ms. Adkins? Come on….just like a clown with a hot foot, this smells funny.


Attention Independent Thinkers: I was reminded by Deb Boelkes, of the local “We the People” chapter that viewers who find the network coverage of the two political conventions focusing far more on their own commentary vs. airing the full content of the GOP and Democratic speakers, that they could tune in to C-Span instead and hear all the speeches without interruption or all the blah, blah commentary and commercials. C-Span shows the full production, gavel-to-gavel, wall-to-wall, without any interruption enabling viewers to draw their own conclusions.


Is The Oyster Our World? In January 2012 in my “Dave’s World” News-Leader column I mentioned that the oyster beds of Amelia Island were once as productive as those in Apalachicola on the Gulf side of the state, but that ended long ago due to industrial pollution. Many now say that is no longer the case and that the state should lift restrictions on harvesting. When you see the abundance of oysters in Egans Creek and the Amelia River at low tide I wonder if our time has come or are there forces in Tallahassee such as Apalachicola lobbyists resisting this? And if the time does come could oysters be as productive for the area as shrimping once was?


Poke This: During a meeting this week of downtown Fernandina Beach business owners the topic of the online Pokemon game came up with one merchant expressing her opinion of the mindless zombies that herd themselves in search of little creatures their cell phones direct them to chase. “They come in groups and destroy my store,” said the irate shop keeper in no uncertain terms. “Some of them even stomp around with a parent who says ‘Don’t worry we’re also going to buy something.’ ” I hear other merchants are attempting to capitalize on the goofy game, particularly restaurants, but I’m not  sure I’d want to sit near a customer absorbed in such nonsense.


More News-Leader Nonsense: One of the strangest and most baffling articles the local News-Leader ever printed was bylined by its former editor Michael Parnell, who in an attempt to find anything at all to criticize about City Commission Candidate Tim Poynter instead ended up with an above-the-fold, Page One story in 2014 detailing all the laws, permitting rules, and regulations that Mr. Poynter meticulously followed while opening and expanding his downtown eateries, Karibo and Timoti’s. With News-Leader Publisher Foy Maloy huffing and puffing his irrational dislike of Commissioner Poynter over Parnell’s shoulder, the former editor frantically banged away at the keyboard only to produce one of the silliest pieces of journalism I’ve ever read locally other than in the News-Wrecker. It appears the News-Leader is at it again, this time with an impotent story angle aimed at attempting to prove that Rayonier and its new business partner Ligno Tech Florida LLC are up to no-good and are out to bath the community in poisonous chemicals. This time my good neighbor, friend and avowed liberal, Bob Weintraub, has been recruited by Maloy to cover the local port authority, and is cranking out column inch after column inch of mind-numbing, eye-glazing copy that so far has come to the same conclusion as Parnell did with Poynter — “there’s nothing to see here folks!” As hard as Bob tries the only conclusion I can come to as I wade through his incredibly detailed and boring grayness of jargon and acronyms is that both Rayonier and Ligno Tech are excellent corporate citizens that follow all the rules and take safety very seriously. It’s like he was assigned to investigate the ocean, came back, and excitedly reported that it was full of water. Where’s the beef Bob?


The Difference Between A Hack & A Hero: While finally acknowledging the killings of eight police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton then shamelessly pandered to the NAACP’s annual convention attendees in Cincinnati this past Monday cackling: “The deaths of Alton and Philando drove home how urgently we need to make reforms to policing and criminal justice… how we cannot rest until we root out implicit bias and stop the killings of African-Americans.”

Meanwhile, perhaps the most eloquent words on the law and order topic and the killing of police officers were spoken by African-American Dallas Police Chief David Brown at a July 11 Dallas press conference when he said: “We’re asking cops to do too much in this country. They’re paying the price for every societal failure. Not enough mental health funding? Let the cops handle it. Not enough drug addiction funding? Let’s give it to the cops. Here in Dallas we’ve got a loose dog problem. Let’s have the cops chase those dogs. Schools fail. Give it to the cops. Seventy percent of the African-American community is being raised by single women –Let’s give it to the cops to solve as well. Society, said Chief Brown, “has to step up.”

Chief Brown also issued a challenge to protestors to be part of the solution telling them: “We’re hiring. Get off that protest line and put an application in. We’ll put you in your neighborhood and we’ll help you resolve some of the problems you’re protesting about.”

I hope someday that this good man runs for a national office because we need more honest straight talk like his and less of the pandering BS like that spouted by Hillary Clinton.

  • Comment (9)
  • Whoa! All these big words – just love the way you think. You’d think the Supt of Ed race was larger than that of President of the US – and in this county it should be. Go Burns.

  • Said it before. Will say it again. Take the politics out of school superintendent races. Open the field up for state and nationwide choices. 45 years in education from elementary school teaching to college professor and I have seen both models.

  • Dave —
    I’m guessing that Nassau County’s process for electing a school superintendent mirrors the rest of Florida but in the late 1970s the law in Georgia was changed to make the position appointive, with voters electing school board members to make that selection. Picking your top school official at the ballot box often eliminates good educators who do not want to campaign for their jobs and it gives multiple parents and taxpayers a chance to get involved in school affairs. It also precludes professional politicians from screwing up the schools while still giving elected school board members the final say on budgets, policies and appointments of school principals.

    Your readers might be interested in learning how school board members were selected under the old system where the superintendent was chosen by the voters. I assume the system was the same throughout the state but in Fulton County, where I once lived, each July 1 one new member of the five-person board was sworn in for a five-year-term, thus providing both turnover and stability. Who selected the new member each year? I’ll give your readers ten guesses and they won’t get it. Not the governor, not the county commissioners, not the superintendent, and in the comments to your next blog, Dave, I will reveal the answer.

  • Dave, never underestimate the indefatigable nature of those bivalve mollusk farmers over in Apalachicola. They have shown nothing but enmity and animus with any other potential competitor to the point of odium.

  • Dave, you’re spot on again regarding the Superintendent’s race. I’m sure I’m not the only one that had to do this, but I’ll admit it, I had to read the article twice. The second time with an old fashioned dictionary by my side.

  • The “Education Gov. Zell Miller” is credited with the passage of the law that all school systems in Georgia must have an appointed school superintendent. Rural counties were forced to get away from “the good old boy” election process. 1996 was the election year that this officially took place statewide. Several metro, progressive counties, including Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett and Cobb adopted this policy years earlier. My Forsyth County votes for the five school board members by the district they represent. Don’t know about Fulton’s process of school board member selection, George?

  • Chief Brown’s challenge to the protesters reminds us that great leaders are able to inspire people to be part of the solution. As we wait for more leaders like Chief Brown to emerge during times of national turmoil, we should remember the words of the late President Reagan … “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”
    Thank you Chief Brown for inspiring all of us to serve in our local communities. After all, the vision for this country started with three famous words to guide us: “We the people, “


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