Editor's note: We welcome Dave Scott as CJ-FL's first columnist!
Nassau County School Board meetings are open to the public and comments are welcomed. Just don’t expect the folks that run the system to pay much attention to your concerns according to feedback I’ve received.
Also, don’t waste time searching for amplification in the local media, they’re busy looking after their own interests. The online Blind Observer is preoccupied publishing patronizing pablum from Fernandina Beach city officials while the bi-weekly print News Leader is in a feverish lather bashing the state for damming up its stream of taxpayer revenue.
I’ve never attended a School Board meeting but plan on doing so soon since I’m fascinated to see firsthand the way the sessions are structured. From what I’ve heard they’re knee-slapping hilarious…..well maybe not so funny for taxpayers. The School Board apparently makes decisions, then allows comments only after it has already voted on the issue. That’s like closing on a house then requesting an inspection.
Jack Knocke, head of the community watchdog group Common Sense, attended last week’s session packed with contentious topics including the controversial ouster of teacher John Pate as Hilliard’s football coach, questionable public records requests, and a controversial $3.7 million property purchase.
Again, don’t expect much in the way of coverage on these issues from the local news outlets, they are as opaque as the school board and its administration.
The bi-weekly News Leader Editor Scott Bryan and Publisher Foy Maloy are so consumed with losing a major revenue stream of government paid public notices that they’ve dropped the reporting ball.
A front-page News Leader article this past Wednesday, March 16, by Editor Bryan “reporting” last week’s school board meeting, failed to say why John Pate lost his coaching job, mention the controversial $3.7 million taxpayer funded land purchase, or cite Common Sense’s scramble to obtain public records concerning it.
However, the paper did publish a whiney quarter page editorial (“Good riddance to poor representation from Bean, Byrd”, Wednesday, March 16) bashing local state legislators, Representative Cord Byrd, and Senator Aaron Bean, for correctly voting along with an overwhelming majority of other state legislators to derail the paper’s tax-funded gravy train. The legislation says the state no longer has to pay with our tax dollars to publish public notices in print newspapers.
Thanks to taxpayer advocates like Bean and Byrd the state is no longer required by law to pay to post them in the News Leader or any other newspaper. It’s like legislating that cities are no longer required to build hitching posts for local citizens to tether their horses.
The legislature overwhelmingly voted that those notices can now be run online. Thanks to taxpayer advocates like Bean and Byrd the state is no longer required by law to pay to post them in the News Leader or any other newspaper. It’s like legislating that cities are no longer required to build hitching posts for local citizens to tether their horses.
The online Blind Observer is irrelevant and never reports on anything newsworthy. It serves as the public relations arm of the city and runs pap about birds and bugs, blather from bombastic city poohbahs, and prints verbatim press releases from area do-gooders and advertisers. It will, at times, feebly attempt to bash a local conservative, but is otherwise a harmless worthless outlet lacking any credibility or skilled writers.
But back to the School Board. A perplexed Mr. Knocke said that he arrived at the meeting a little late, but not late enough to hear frustrated citizens discuss issues the Board had already decided.
He explained: “Unlike other jurisdictions, public comments at the school board meeting were reserved for the end – after everything was decided. Huh? Why are we speaking then?” asks Knocke.
“We are unable to influence anyone’s opinion after all of the votes are over,” he says. “Other jurisdictions invite speakers to speak on each agenda item. Non agenda comments are reserved at a general section at the end. Other jurisdictions allow speakers to speak multiple times if there are multiple items they are interested in speaking about. The Nassau County School Board allows speakers once and for only three minutes”
The entire comment process was bizarre he continued: “Speakers are mixed like a Dairy Queen shake. Coach…property purchase…coach…public records requests…coach…coach…union negotiations…coach…coach…coach…public records requests. Many were passionate speakers – some courageously speaking for the first time to the School Board. What a confusing mess with all issues intermingled. How could board members keep up with this? It really didn’t matter since it was already done.”
Knocke said that speakers were unanimously united on one topic: Keeping Pate as the Hilliard football coach. “The testimonials were over-the-top in his favor,” he says. “The speakers supporting Coach Pate were passionate and compelling and included parents and students. They cited Pate’s positive influence such as having four players graduating and going on to play college football, his leadership skills and accountability, grade improvement, increased class attendance and kids playing football instead of getting in trouble.”
The feedback indicates Coach Pate is being removed against the will of parents and students. He retains his teaching position.
I called the School Board and asked why Pate was removed as coach and was told that they will not discuss personnel issues. My question was emailed to Superintendent Kathy Burns, the school system’s HR director and the assistant superintendent. I heard nothing back in time for this commentary. However, it is Spring Break.
It’s been rumored that the much admired and respected retired U.S. Army officer was booted for cursing. Imagine that! A retired Army veteran coaching boy’s football heard cursing! Good grief! Hide the women and children!
Knocke reports that the property purchase closing issue was pushed back a week to April 6th. “This was done in the interest of full disclosure,” he adds. “A one-week delay to give parties the opportunity to review information. Recall this is property purchased for $1,400,000 May 2021. Appraised for $1,400,000 in July 2021. And then appraised for $3,750,000 in August 2021. The School board has authorized the purchase for $3,700,000. The school board could have purchased this property years ago, for much less, why the urgency now? Why pay the ridiculously high price?”
The public records request issue was also perplexing Knocke explains: “What was astounding was that Board Member Dr. Cyndy Grooms offered to pay the $100 to release the emails regarding the sale. But wait. Dr. Grooms is a School Board Member! School board members must pay $100 to get public information so that they can make an informed decision? Is that legal – charging a board member for public information? That information should be provided to the board members at NO COST at their request for full disclosure. Strange. How can these board members afford to hold those positions if they are asked/forced to pay $100 to see relevant public information that they will rely on to justify a vote?”
I smell a Mel Brooks or Monty Python movie in here somewhere.
Following the head-scratching session Knocke encouraged his Common Sense members to get involved saying: “We need courageous, passionate moms, dads, business people, etc. to run for the school board. We need board members who are passionate about the kids, passionate about transparency, passionate about cost control and not afraid of holding the School Board Superintendent accountable when necessary with probing questions to clarify actions. Our benchmark should be the best schools in the country – our kids deserve it.”
I foresee the School Board as a fountain of material for future columns.
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 meetings are at the School Board Building at 1201 Atlantic Avenue, across the street from Central Park.
Jack Knocke can be contacted at [email protected] or (470) 295-4365. To learn more about Common Sense go to: https://commonsensefb.org/index.html
Is “A Guy A Guy Wherever He May Be”? The 1952 Doris Day hit song “A Guy Is Just a Guy” probably couldn’t be played on radio, TV, or broadcast on social media today without generating an outpouring of protest from hare-brained far-left crackpots.
The song’s refrain (below), which is as appropriate today as it was then, would send them into apoplectic fits of uncontrollable rage:
“Because a guy is a guy wherever he may be
So listen while I tell you what this fellow did to me”
Take a listen to this catchy tune at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ei_I_poCNFI
In a nutshell here’s how nutty things have become in the preceding 70 years: A guy wearing a girl’s bathing suit is winning women’s collegiate swimming competitions in record times while another guy, employed by the federal government who wears a dress to work, was just named to a national “Women of the Year” list.
According to the folks behind all this silliness “a guy is NOT a guy wherever he may be” and here’s what these fellows did.
Let’s start with the whacky swimmer.
A man named Will Thomas, who says he is now a gal named Lia Thomas, is permitted by the crackpots that run the University of Pennsylvania to use the girl’s dressing room and swim for the girl’s team. Thomas, who physically resembles Mark Spitz not Esther Williams, is racking up win-after-win over his female opponents. That’s because he’s a guy, not a gal, and guys are biologically stronger than girls, no matter what the nitwits at Penn claim.
Thomas competed for three years on the Penn men’s swim team before deciding that the odds would be better swimming against the “weaker sex” and the girl’s locker room a lot more interesting. So, he dove into the deep end and moved his gear from the guy’s locker room to the gal’s. Despite protests from the girls and their parents, the whack jobs at Penn declared that this was perfectly normal behavior. This is a school where parents shell out an average of $81,000 annually to have their kids indoctrinated.
Leftist loons tell us that this guy is a “transgender”, which they allege describes a particular “gender identity.” But there’s a problem. It’s a lie. All of this “transgender” and “gender identity” nonsense is rubbish. It’s all about an arrogant and naked emperor. Any male pervert prancing around naked in the girl’s locker room should have his butt kicked out, be cuffed, and arrested.
Penn says otherwise. Mr. Thomas is now completing his senior year, piling up trophies that rightfully belong to the second place finishing girls at schools he swam against and that the actual girl’s on his team would have won. All of his trophies, school and Ivy League records should have an asterisk with a note declaring: “Girly-boy category”.
The cross-dressing government employee’s story is equally bizarre.
Rachel Levine, aka Richard Levine, is Joe Biden’s assistant secretary for health for the Department of Health and Human Services and possibly the first man in that job to wear a dress to work. It’s been rumored that the late FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was a cross-dresser, but reports say he had the dignity and courtesy to only prance around in his tutu in the privacy of his home.
Levine, who may also be the homeliest “woman” to ever serve in government, was named to USA Today’s list of “Women of the Year”, a list that includes gymnast Simone Biles, Kizzmekia Corbett, one of the women who helped develop the COVID-19 vaccine, and Linda Zhang, chief engineer behind Ford’s electric F-150 Lightning automobile.
By putting Mr. Levine – who identified as a biological male for 50 years – on the list, USA Today is implying that the achievements of Levine, a biological male, are the same as biological women and their exemplary accomplishments. How is that fair to biological women since Levine’s place on the list steals that spot from an actual biological woman?
All humans are either female or male. Chromosomes within a human body remain the same as they were from birth, even when a person has taken cross-sex hormones or has surgery. At a genetic or cellular level, a transgender person remains biologically male or female.
Where are all the women’s equal rights organizations when the gals really need them?
An abridged version of this commentary can be found at https://www.bizpacreview.com/2022/03/18/dave-scott-is-a-guy-just-a-guy-not-anymore-1213991/
Dumb & Dumber: Joe Biden is flat out stupid or else thinks that the public will believe his outrages lies – maybe a combination of both. For example, he keeps yammering that Build Back Better will reduce inflation, and claims he is doing a great job with the economy.
Biden and his Democrat lemmings are still pushing for more spending despite inflation at a 42 year high, gas the priciest it’s ever been, grocery prices souring, etc. hammering Americans financially.
With the war raging in Ukraine, Biden now says all our problems are caused by Russian dictator Vladimir Putin despite the fact the price of gasoline was rising weekly before Putin shot his first rocket, or that inflation was rising uncontrollably before Putin invaded, or that a couple million illegals were invited into our country before Putin did anything.
Putin isn’t responsible for U.S. oil imports and skyrocketing prices. Biden is. Biden’s war against fossil fuel caused it. Like a guilty kid pointing to the cat for the busted table lamp, Biden is also blaming the oil industry because oil companies won’t drill non-productive wells. No new permits have been approved for offshore or public land drilling since Biden was inaugurated.
While Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s husband was off reciting the homosexual pledge of allegiance with a group of kids, wife Pete was telling Americans to buy electric cars: no mention of how to charge them or where to get the $75,000.00 to buy them.
As one of my favorite pundits Bill Shuey says: “Aren’t you glad insanity isn’t a communicable disease!”
The Greatest Generation NOT! A recent Quinnipiac poll found unsurprisingly that the most unreliable segment of the U.S. population consists of those who identify as Democrats.
The poll revealed something most of us already know – that Democrats are weak, unpatriotic, and lily-livered.
The poll asked: What would you do if you were in the same position as Ukrainians are now, stay and fight or leave the country? More than half of Democrats (52%) said they would cut and run if the U.S. homeland were invaded. We aren’t talking about women and children, or even some cadre of pacifists and conscientious objectors. This is most Democrats saying they’d rather leave America than defend it. Only a pathetic 40% said they would stick around.
Republicans did better. More than two-thirds (68%) said they would stand their ground. But 1 in 4 Republicans said they’d flee—not exactly a patriotic G.I. Joe spirit, but better than the cowardly Dems.
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
Dave Scott spent several years as a daily newspaper reporter in Florida and New York before joining the corporate world and heading up communications activities for IBM, ITT and other Fortune 50 companies in the U.S. and Europe, eventually running his own Atlanta agency. He lives on Amelia Island, FL, and blogs at www.davescottblog.com. He also writes, edits, and publishes the annual Amelia Island News-www.amelianewswrecker.com, a newspaper parody with the tag line “Amelia Island’s sacred cows make the best burgers.”