By Dave Scott, 2-24-23
The Fernandina Beach City Commission voted 3-2 to pull the plug on City Manager Dale Martin’s support system terminating his governmental existence hereabouts and effectively putting residents back in charge of their city.
Three Commissioners – Darron Ayscue, Bradley Bean and David Sturges – concurred that there was no further hope for the doomed city manager while Commissioners and medical doctors Ronald “Chip” Ross and James Antun had differing diagnoses.
Grumpy local emergency room Doctor Ross huffed and puffed, brusquely proclaiming Martin’s reign healthy. Chiropractor Antun wasn’t so sure saying Martin might need an adjustment involving more time to recover along with the administration of further life-support deliberative procedures.
Nope, said the other three, he’s a goner, a flatliner, toast. And he was. By the end of the meeting Martin was history.
A motion to make former Police Chief Mark Foxworth interim City Manager was made along with holding a workshop in two weeks to discuss a succession plan. With the patient’s fate assured this passed unanimously.
Media coverage of the session proceeded as expected with the new online Citizens Journal Florida doing a thorough job of reporting the proceedings scooping the print News Leader. It can be read by clicking https://www.citizensjournal.net/fernandina-beach-city-commission-just-voted-to-terminate-city-manager-dale-martin/ . Folks having difficulty maneuvering the site should click Some Tips on Navigating Citizens Journal Florida Web Site . Jacksonville’s independent WJXT Channel 4 TV station also covered the session objectively.
Mike Phillips new editor of the pretend online news outlet and unofficial city PR agency, the sight-impaired Fernandina Observer, attempted to cover the session but only managed to produce a sloppy, rambling, and bitter opinion piece that in no way resembled an accurate or objective news article. The comments following Phillip’s word jumble reflected those of Martin’s most stringent supporters at city hall, a cast of the usual grumps who prefer that Fernandina continue his reckless hiring and spending that was consistently seconded by his crochety sidekick, Dr. Ross.
Prior to the Martin agenda item Ross rambled on about the previous session’s discussion concerning a request for a state forensic audit of the city’s impact/capacity fees and their alleged misuse. During the that discussion Ross boasted “I’ve been an emergency room doctor for 40 years” an irrelevant statement that was of little comfort to anyone there.
At the last session local resident Glen Stettler, who was not in attendance Tuesday, called out the city for “operating a criminal enterprise” in its handling of those fees and requested – for the second time – that it immediately call for a state forensic audit.
Ross defended the city’s mishandling of the residents’ money claiming such an audit would cost $80,000 to $300,000. He was politely heard and ignored with Commissioner Ayscue proposing the audit request be discussed at a future workshop and Mayor Bean adding it to the Commission’s next agenda. Despite Ross’s proclaimed 40-year medical background it appears to many observers that he needs an urgent remedial course in “Bedside Manner.”
In just three months Mayor Bean has masterfully proven himself an accomplished politician, managing to skillfully maneuver the most controversial issues politely, efficiently, and effortlessly. As Nigerian singer Sade croons he’s a “Smooth Operator.”
Keeping Score At City Hall: The city hall scoreboard of the number of citizens commenting on City Manager Dale Martin’s dismissal is misleading. Just eight individuals ambled up to the microphone to voice an opinion with one for ousting Martin, one neutral, and six opposed.
However, Jack Knocke, who organized the local watchdog group “Common Sense” and now leads the Nassau County Chapter of County Citizens Defending Freedom (CCDF) represents more than one local. His group represents some 600 locals, most of whom Knocke says agree with the City Commission’s decision to remove Martin. “CCDF-Nassau generated more than 300 emails to city commissioners providing input on the Dale Martin decision,” he revealed.
“It was the correct decision,” says Knocke, citing several examples of why. “Dale Martin was not only following the prior commissions, but he was also ADVISING them on policies that they should adopt. They followed his policies by spiking hiring, spiking taxes, bulldozing residents, and spending irresponsibly on projects like Top Tracer that were big money losers. Unfortunately, he was also complicit with many lawsuits that the city has been fighting including the current $300,000 lawsuit from HUD and a $500,000 lawsuit from a developer.”
Knocke says, “CCDF-Nassau advocates for responsible government, transparency, lawful regulations, morality in government and responsible taxes and spending. He boasts that in addition to its more than 600 members, thousands are following its Facebook posts, and a growing roster of volunteers are taking action – locally. “Our volunteers are poll watchers, agenda reviewers, speakers, researchers and letter writers,” he adds.
“The City of Fernandina Beach has transitioned to an open, transparent and visionary majority that is boldly taking on legacy problems that need to be fixed,” he proclaimed. Commenting on Martin’s dismissal he said: “That was only the first round. We as a community need to push for transparency, responsible spending, and lawful regulations. There is still work to clean up the issues from the past and set Nassau County on a solid path forward.”
In Case You Missed It: Last week I reported on a small gaggle of irate cranks, the majority being gray-haired finger-wagging grannies, that opposed developer Ron Frick’s new homes that will replace a handful of dilapidated downtown buildings on the verge of condemnation and increase the value of nearby properties. Mrs. Flick posted a comment here of an incident that I was unaware took place or I certainly would have reported it. It’s an indication of the kind of cowardly, vile individuals many local business people hereabouts are forced to deal with. Here is Mrs. Flick’s comment:
“There were not just grannies at that Tringali meeting…..one man stalked my husband, Ron Flick, out of the meeting, used every expletive in the book to include “get out of my F’ing” town ( we’ve only lived here 30 years).. and “chest bumped” him. Ron walked back to city hall to report him to the police and of course, the man fled, not to mention the police did nothing. He WILL have security at the next meeting!
“Oh, and by the way, the reason the application was not considered that night is because one of the signers of the documents requested by Bach was ill and died two days later. Not a conspiracy!!!”
City Attorney Tammi Bach was suspiciously quiet about these incidents at the last Commission meeting. Commissioners may want to ask her why?
Meanwhile In The Big City: Jacksonville is currently receiving national recognition. Unfortunately for its residents, businesses, and promoters it’s all negative.
While Democrat-run cities have customarily been heaped with negative publicity when it comes to being unfriendly, unsafe, and unpleasant places to live or visit Jacksonville, with its Republican mayor, was recently ranked one of the worst.
A new study says Jacksonville is right up there with New York City, Philadelphia, and Boston when it comes to being rude. The results were published in the online Travel Maven https://original.newsbreak.com/@travel-maven-561551/2922772039437-this-florida-city-made-it-onto-the-top-15-rudest-cities-in-america-list?noAds=1&_f=app_share&s=i3
The editors at something called Preply surveyed more than 1,500 residents of the 30 largest metropolitan areas in the country and asked them about the rudest behaviors in their city. These include common occurrences like people being absorbed by their phones, refusing to let people merge in traffic, and being noisy in shared spaces. I’m assuming that citizens suffering from assaults, shootings, car jackings, and holdups were reluctant to respond as they were justifiably wary of talking to strangers.
Jacksonville ranked high in common rude behaviors, putting it at number 12 of the foulest cities in the country. The fact that Jacksonville perpetually has the highest homicide rates in Florida and is ranked as one of the most unsafe cities in the U.S for pedestrians may also have been factors. And despite its rare appearance in a playoff game this year, the dreadful Jacksonville Jaguar NFL franchise has been a perennial gridiron embarrassment may have played a negative role. Not much around there to write home about unless you’re warning relatives and friends to avoid the place.
Next, the reporters at Preply asked respondents to rank who is ruder in their experience: people born and raised in their city otherwise known as “locals” or, non-locals who have moved to their city later in life. Overall, 55% of respondents claimed that non-locals were ruder than locals but not in Jacksonville.
The top cities with the rudest “locals” included Philadelphia, Boston, Memphis, New York City, and Jacksonville. This means that residents born and raised here have grown up accustomed to certain behaviors, which originate from the city’s culture itself.
Socialist Columnist Calls It Quits Again: Ron “Get Off My Lawn You Little Bastards” Sapp, the bi-weekly News-Leader’s avowed socialist columnist has called it quits once again. Some two years ago he vowed to end his weekly scribbling, but obviously had more to say as he wasn’t gone long before he reemerged with his left-wing pen blazing.
He eventually admitted he is indeed a socialist and “proud of it.”
Now that he’s no longer tied to a deadline, he’ll have time to visit one of his socialist paradises to experience his preferred form of government first hand. Venezuela would be a good place to start. Once one of the most prosperous countries in South America and a world class oil exporter, socialism has turned that country into a nightmare for its struggling populace.
According to Moises Naim, who once served as Venezuela’s minister of trade and industry and is now a Fellow of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 95% of Venezuelans are poor in terms of income. More than 3 in 4 Venezuelans live in extreme poverty and food insecurity. At $3 a month, the legal minimum wage won’t feed a person for a day much less a family for a month. Because there is little point in working about half the working age population has dropped out of the labor force.
The main culprit,” says Mr. Naim, ”is socialism.” He explains that a wave of expropriation that began in 2005 put much of the country’s private economy in state hands, “run by socialistic bureaucrats that have little notion how to run a business.”
Socialist Sapp, a former Fernandina Beach High School indoctrinator should love that wonderland.
A Stand-Up Gal Rightfully Doesn’t Stand Up: When the “Black National Anthem” was played at the Super Bowl in Phoenix, former Arizona TV anchor and failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake did not stand up for it, keeping her seat. I applaud her for that. We have one national anthem. Sadly, separating our nation by race is now an official act of the Democrat party—and now the National Football League.
Speaking Of Outrageous Sports Leagues: Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, the jerk, who helped pull the All-Star baseball game out of Georgia because of the false contention that the Peach State’s voting laws were racist, is at it again. This time the twit is intent on destroying the game of baseball. This moron has banned the infield shift and has installed clocks in the only sport that has never had them or needed them. His rule of putting a man on second base whenever a game goes into extra innings was bad enough, but this may just be the end of the game most of us grew up playing and loving. Can anybody do anything to reverse this inanity and get rid of this nitwit? Anybody?
What Me Worry? Circus balloons, TV station weather balloons, Big Al’s Used Car Lot balloon, little Mary Anne’s helium-filled balloon from Publix, a sixth grader’s science project and recreational hot air balloons are all being blown from the sky by a trigger-happy Joe Biden. No balloon will survive the skies over America while ‘ole Joe is standing guard. Meanwhile, after a train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, Transportation Secretary “Pot Hole” Pete Buttigieg declined to go and visit the site. Only after former President Trump showed up in East Palestine did an embarrassed and flummoxed “Pot Hole” Pete make an appearance. Trump brought bottled water and rounded up as many folks as he could and treated them to quarter pounders at the local McDonalds. Meanwhile “Pot Hole” said there was nothing to worry about. Fish dying, birds dying, pets dying, humans getting rashes and coughing. Nothing to worry about. Welcome to Biden’s insanity land.
A Doggone Shame: Despite winning back-to-back national football championships the University of Gorgia Bulldogs have not been invited to visit the White House, an offer traditionally extended to most collegiate and professional championship athletic teams.
Even a bipartisan letter from Georgia’s congressional leaders to the White House earlier this month failed to elicit a Bulldog invite.
Last year the “Dawgs” capped a perfect 15-0 season with a 65-7 national championship shellacking of Texas Christian University (TCU).
For the record, the Golden State Warriors capped off their 2021-22 NBA championship season with an official visit to the White House last month. Possibly the pro-Chinese NBA lap-DAWGS team’s invite was prompted by Joe and Hunter Biden’s cozy relationship with their business partners in the Communist Chinese Party. The child slave labor churned out in Chinese concentration camps to manufacture the NBA’s overpriced shoes may also be a factor in the Warriors special treatment.
One social media user advised the Dawgs to inform the White House they are from the University of Ukraine.
Meanwhile Back At The U.S. Border: It’s all very nice that U.S. President Joe Biden is so concerned about Russians invading across the Ukrainian border that he visited that country this week to express his concern and promise support. Unfortunately for U.S. citizens he isn’t the least bit concerned about the invasion of illegals, drugs, criminals, and terrorists swarming across America’s borders both south and north.
Wait! What? The National Rifle Association (NRA) murders zero people and receives nothing in government funds. Planned Parenthood kills 350,000 babies annually and receives $500,000,000 in tax dollars each year. And Joe Biden, who left billions of dollars’ worth of weapons to the Taliban, including 300,000 guns, is lecturing Americans on gun control.
New Poll: Last week a poll here asked if the City Commission should fire City Manager Dale Martin. Of those responding 82% (54 voters) said “yes” and 18% (12 voters) said “No.” A new poll added today asks if folks agree or disagree that Martin’s firing was the correct action.
Republished with the author’s permission. Read The Dave Scott Blog– subscribe Free
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal Florida.