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News-Leader Columnist Sapp, Reporter Roberts, Fail Miserably; Southwest Airlines Winner of 2022 Christmas Grinch Trophy

Club 14 Fitness

Opinion

By Dave Scott, 12-30-22

This week’s Wednesday, December 28 Fernandina Beach News Leader scrambled to cobble together a two-column editorial page apology for a misleading and inaccurate article about a downtown developer while at the same time publishing another embarrassing Ron “Get Off My Lawn You Little Bastards” Sapp column right smack next to it.

In addition to his continuous grumbling about tourism, new businesses, and the tearing down of dilapidated buildings that should have been condemned years ago, the bi-weekly print News Leader’s Wednesday curmudgeon, galumphed about last week’s City Commission race. His favored duo of leftist candidates lost and he ain’t happy.

In his silly, sloppy, word jumble the former high school indoctrinator decried the losses by Black Lives Matter supporter Mayor Mike Lednovich and Genese Minshew, who wants to turn Fernandina Beach into a gay vacation destination. He compared their defeats by local chiropractor Dr. James Antun, and firefighter Darron Ayscue, to the “Day the Music Died”, a song mourning the loss of singers Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and  “J. P.” Richardson, Jr., aka the Big Bopper in a plane crash in 1959. His column should have been headlined  “The Day Common Sense Died” to reflect his twisted logic.

“Republicans did it!”

Sapp focused his impotent whining and handwringing this time on what he perceives as a violation of the city’s charter, saying the commission race was tilted by the “local Republican Executive Committee involving itself in the election.” He offered not a single shred of evidence to back up his accusation. And even if it is true so what? The city charter doesn’t invalidate the First Amendment.

The city charter says the election should be nonpartisan, meaning that none of the candidates can identify as a member of any political party. And they didn’t. He says the “city charter was undermined with impunity” apparently only because his preferred candidates lost.

Chicago and Los Angeles conduct nonpartisan elections. Explain that to the Republicans that live in those two left-wing hellholes.

Sapp, like the News Leader’s “crack” pretend journalist, Julia Roberts, a week earlier failed to mention that the Democrat party openly supported the two progressive losers, offering their campaign signs, handouts, etc. at its South 8th Street headquarters, and urged voters to elect them.

Does Sapp, an admitted socialist, realize how foolish and frantic he sounds.? Does anyone even proofread his blather to save him and the paper embarrassment?

Why are the city elections supposed to be nonpartisan anyway? What purpose does that serve, particularly when most voters can look up a candidate’s party affiliation, which is public record?

The city charter may declare the elections nonpartisan, but it doesn’t squelch the First Amendment rights of residents. If Sapp or the paper’s amateur reporter, Roberts, had done any fact checking they would have discovered that neither Antun or Ayscue initiated, sought, or wrote any of the campaign literature distributed by a political action committee out of Tallahassee.

The News Leader’s journalism style guides.

Folks exercising their First Amendment rights spoke out and Sapp wants that to end. “Make the Republicans stop,” he whines, “only the Democrats can do that stuff, don’t they understand that?”

In a city where a majority of voters are registered Republican, who pushed for nonpartisan races and why? Anybody? Maybe the city charter needs a looksee by voters to adjust this issue. Someday the balance of registered voters could change but so what. That’s how a democracy works.

I can only imagine the bilge that Sapp spewed in his classroom at Fernandina Beach High School.

Right next to Sapp’s pathetic kvetch was an editorial from the paper apologizing for another one of the Lois Lane wannabe Julia Roberts’ numerous misleading and inaccurate articles. The lengthy editorial apology corrected a variety of facts Roberts had wretchedly gotten wrong about a townhome development in downtown Fernandina.

The apology consumed some 15 inches of space correcting Ms. Roberts’ inaccurate and sloppy reporting.

Beware if you spot this “Close Cover Before Striking School of Journalism and Screen Door Repair” graduate heading to an event that you’re involved with as this gal never lets the facts interfere with her preconceived notion of a good story.

***

Wait! What? Fernandina Beach City Commissioners no longer have city email addresses. In order to communicate with them residents now must click on a link that sends them to a form they have to fill out and then hope for a response.

I tried it the old way using an old email address I had.  And I tried it the new way earlier this week. The old way worked fine.

I emailed Commissioner Chip Ross who is notorious for his speedy replies, asking him who initiated the new form. He quickly responded, copying City Manager Dale Martin, saying: “In a brief discussion with Ms. Best (City Clerk Carolyn Best), apparently the form/format was designed and implemented many years ago.”  I have no idea what that means as the new format just appeared this week not years ago.

Moving right along here as I’m far from a tech guy, but this new form of communications seems to make communicating with the city’s elected commissioners more difficult rather than easier. I’m still waiting for my response using the new format.

I still have no idea who initiated the form. But in Fernandina Beach professional bureaucrats seem to run things acting on their own initiative. They don’t report to the elected officials or necessarily reflect the values of  the townspeople. Instead, they behave more like they are the ones in charge. Take the Building and Utilities Departments here for example. They’ve been cash cows for the city for years, even two trials and the court-ordered refunding of millions of dollars haven’t slowed them down.

The email form might be small potatoes, but it’s annoying and hinders, not enhances, the flow of communications between citizens and elected officials.

***

Happier days at Southwest when the stewardesses wore hot pants and boots.

Somebody Up There Hates You! Remember when Southwest Airline’s tagline was “Somebody Up There Loves You?”

The once friendly, economical, and highly efficient airline whose stock symbol is LUV isn’t feeling much love these days as it left thousands of unhappy, angry, and frustrated customers stranded in airports across the country including Jacksonville. Their luggage meanwhile continued on to destinations scattered throughout the United States.

Southwest boarding gates and ticket counters resemble Texas and Arizona border towns, besieged by thousands of passengers waiting to be processed. Except, the hopeful airline passengers actually held the equivalent of a visa, a bought and paid for airline ticket and a reservation. A Mexican drug cartel could get them to their destination faster than Southwest. It appears that Southwest has also hired the infamous fired cross-dressing luggage snatcher Energy Secretary Sam Brinton as Executive Vice President for Baggage Control.

The illegals streaming across the U.S. southern border are treated better than Southwest’s stranded passengers, who have no place to stay, whose luggage has been sent from Kokomo to Kalamazoo, while they’re stuck in Oshkosh and Oswego, when their final destinations are none of those places.

Southwest baggage piles up this week at all major U.S. airports.

The hapless airline cancelled 2,900 of its flights Monday, December 26 and 2,500 the next day, then 2,300, etc., some 70 percent of all its scheduled flights this past week. Despite the winter storm most other airlines were relatively unscathed. Stranded Southwest passengers don’t have to look far for an airline official to complain to as they are sleeping alongside them on airport floors. The confused and chaotic airline couldn’t even get their crews in and out of the airports.

At least the harried U.S. border officials aren’t taking the illegals’ luggage. And they’re giving them makeshift accommodations and bus and plane tickets to wherever they want to go, albeit at U.S. taxpayer expense. The airline is making the totally inept Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas and the befuddled Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, appear almost competent.

The worst corporate job in America today has to be that of the Southwest Airlines public relations and investor relations folks who are attempting to put a positive spin on the company’s catastrophic holiday mess and the stock’s nosedive. Southwest is blaming the chaos on its scheduling software. So why didn’t they fix that with the couple of billion dollars of taxpayer money that the feds gave them for so-called Covid relief?  It seems an audit of where all our money the government gave to them and and other businesses is long overdue.

All the goodwill and love Southwest accrued in its 55-year history was wiped out this holiday season.

***

Remember This Guy? The political career of Florida Democrat Andrew Gillum, who narrowly lost the 2018 gubernatorial race to Ron DeSantis, is over.

The failed candidate, who following his defeat was found in a motel unconscious with drugs and a male escort, will face trial on federal charges including fraud and lying to the FBI.

Gillum and an associate were indicted earlier this year on charges including conspiracy, wire fraud, and making false statements to FBI agents. Prosecutors say the former Tallahassee mayor used campaign donations for personal expenses during his failed gubernatorial campaign.

U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor declined to throw out the case against Gillum, calling his claims the charges were brought because he is black “meritless.”

Despite Gillum’s loss to DeSantis, he was still seen as a rising star in Democratic politics and was hired as a CNN analyst, a fact that doesn’t say much for Democrats or CNN.

***

Sacré Bleu: I happened across a news item the other day that informed me that the iconic French baguette has been named to the United Nations “Intangible Cultural Heritage “ list, right up there with the Iranian Oud (look it up) and the Arabian oral tradition of calling camel flocks.

I lived and worked in France and Belgium for some seven years and was once married to a French gal, so am personally familiar with the baguette. The baguette is indeed as worthy of a UN accolade as a camel call, but with a few prerequisites.

Do not mistake the Publix, Winn Dixie, or Harris Teeter-purchased baguette for a French one. It’s close but it’s not the real thing. You can keep the American-made version in your bread box overnight and it’ll still be soft enough to enable you to bite into it the next morning without doing serious damage to your incisors.

An actual French baguette must be eaten the day you buy it, in fact within a few hours or so of taking it home, much longer and it’ll be as tender as an anvil.

More than three hours after purchasing an actual French baguette it could be used as a weapon to effectively clobber a home intruder.

In World War II I think day-old baguettes were used as weapons by the French resistance against their German occupiers.

Republished with the author’s permission. Read The Dave Scott Blog– subscribe Free

Veteran reporter, publicist, blogger Dave Scott of Fernandina Beach

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.

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