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News-Leader’s Editorial Pages Taken Over by the Far-Left: Fernandina Forces Hillbilly Hotdogs to Move Out of Town

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By Dave Scott, 9-22-23

When someone at the Fernandina News Leader shouted: “Take out the garbage!” instead of hauling it to the curb Editor Tracy Dishman shoveled it all onto the paper’s Wednesday, September 15 Opinion page.

“These guys will drive our rationale readers and advertisers nuts…what fun!”

Two of the guilty litterers are a pair of far-left New Yorkers via Florida and back, Chuck Oliva, and Mark Tomes. They’ve apparently been selected by the News Leader’s tone deaf Editor Dishman, to replace admitted local socialist Ron Sapp. Sapp announced his last column a few weeks ago due to health issues.

I rarely, if ever, agreed with Mr. Sapp, and wish him well. But surely the paper could have done better than these two whose far-left tropes track the impotent rage of small children on a playground.

Even the lone letter to the editor on the page was penned by a rabid anti-development local, Samuel Jefferson Kennard, who compared parishioners at the Amelia Baptist Church to Godzilla stomping on hapless Japanese citizens while flattening Tokyo. The church wants to sell some of its property and that’s driving Kennard nuts. He advocates what an area builder told me a while back was “civic abortion,” the process of killing projects before they even have a chance to be presented for official consideration.

The News Leader’s annual subscription fee is only $49. Subscribers deserve better as that’s the cost of two decent cases of beer or 30 cases of the dusty, discounted, despised Bud Light these days. Bud Light would be easier to swallow than the Tomes/Oliva tripe.

“These editorials are hilarious.”

Let’s start with Tomes, whose cause is abortion. To him 1.4 million aborted babies in America every year is cause for celebration.

Tomes writes like a guy who would be comfortable taking his daughter to the office during “take your kid to work day” at an abortion clinic. His sole objective appears to be the right for women to have sex with men they don’t want to have children with.

His rambling confusing word jumble is hard to follow except for his one premise. He argues that an unborn child is not “a person” until birth. “Before then,” he writes, “it is a  philosophical or religious determination.”

Readers have to slog through a murky sea of gibberish before Tomes comes completely clean. He aims his far-left scatter gun at all conservative judges, Florida’s Supreme Court, and Florida’s six week abortion ban. He failed to mention that the state’s current ban includes exceptions for rape, incest, human trafficking, and the life and health of the mother. It cannot take effect until the Florida Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the 15-week ban that is currently in place. Tomes doesn’t want that to happen, ever.

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe versus Wade the single most important issue for Democrats and far-left guys like Tomes is abortion. It’s not rampant crime, the wide-open border, the drug epidemic, failing schools and militant teachers unions, Islamic terrorism, Biden’s mental and physical decline, the myth of climate change, the war in Ukraine, etc. Nope! These fanatical far-left libs treat abortion the way Muslims treat Mohammed. It’s sacred.

Partial birth abortion (e.g. baby killing) is never mentioned by people like Tomes otherwise their audiences would be repelled. Instead they spout a load of pablum such as “reproductive rights,” “freedom of choice,” “access to health care,” and other such blather they call “choice.” Partial birth abortion or abortion at nine months is the same to these people as “causal Fridays,” certainly not an overt act of murdering a living child by sucking his or her brains out.

What about folks who actively oppose abortion? A Washington, D.C. jury last Friday convicted three defendants – two over 70 – who blocked an abortion clinic. They face up to 11 years in prison and a fine of $350,000. Yet Antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters walk free despite burning down buildings, maiming bystanders, tossing Molotov cocktails, looting stores, etc. That isn’t important to the left. To them the most important value is destroying human life.

If you threw a glass of water on Tomes in the middle of the night, he’d leap up denouncing prolife religious folks.

I defy anyone to read this guy’s “Abortion privacy and religious freedom” headlined commentary and not cringe. There is a reason the Tomes photo shows him disguised in a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and sporting a mustache and goatee. If I were him I wouldn’t want to be recognized in public either.

This brings us to Oliva’s piece headlined “Deep state, you’re fired!” which could have been labeled parody but falls exceedingly short in the humor department. This guy means it. If you get into a one-on-one debate with this snarling far-left scribbler you’ll need a whip and a chair. With Oliva it’s always Bambi versus Hitler.                      .

Oliva proudly admits that he is an enthusiastic fan and supporter of all the faceless, lying, unelected, and unaccountable bureaucrats otherwise known as the “Deep State” that pillage and plunder our communities and scam the citizenry while simultaneously looting the American treasury. While GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy says if elected he would fire 75 percent of them, Oliva wants to stock the D.C. swamp with even more of these tax dollar gobbling government reptiles.

Oliva declared that his Wednesday, September 15th column’s objective was to: “…take a moment to praise the hard-working members of the administrative state for the stability and continuity that they provide our government.” Yeh! I had to read it twice too.

He then went on for a number of mind-numbing paragraphs to attempt to do exactly that while concurrently attacking Donald Trump, Trump’s former cabinet members, the Heritage Foundation, and the Sisters of Charity.

OK, he didn’t mention the Sisters of Charity in his “We’re better than you are tantrum” but it was only because he was so busy praising all the Washington D.C. based government sociopaths who are pushing the envelope of human depravity while picking our pockets.

On a side note have you ever noticed that while left-wingers go absolutely nuts at the mention of God in a public school, at a football game or any other public place, they go out of their way to ensure that the Muslim terrorists in Guantanamo or elsewhere must be free to practice their religion and have access to a Koran. While I had your attention I thought I’d just throw that out there.

But back to Oliva whose message was clear: He doesn’t care about American’s safety, jobs or culture and is perfectly content, even enthusiastic, to let thousands of faceless unaccountable bureaucrats continue the process of remaking America.

After reading these two pieces of far-left codswallop I’m convinced that Tomes’ and Olivia’s default arguments are to throw food as their opinion pieces display greater similarity to psychological disorders than convincing arguments.

Oliva, who obviously wants to ensure that future generations of Americans are personally introduced to poverty and misery, apparently doesn’t want to be recognized in public either as he is pictured with a full beard, wearing a wrinkled t-shirt, while his eyes avoid the camera, as he stares down at his shoes.

This far-left duo make Pennsylvania’s Democrat Senator John Fetterman appear well-dressed and they both write like Fetterman speaks.

Does publisher Foy Maloy know what a chaotic mess his editor is making of his newspaper’s opinion page or has he, like many others, stopped reading it?


Hillbilly Hotdogs Hitting the road for a new location.

Hillbilly Hotdogs Hotfooting It: Well, Fernandina Beach finally did it. It forced entrepreneur Colleen Angel to relocate her successful and popular South 8th Street Hillbilly Hot Dog eatery out of town and into the county.

Fortunately the enterprising Miss Angel doesn’t have to move far. The city descended on her several days ago with an intrusive contingent of grim-faced code enforcement and fire marshal employees poking through cabinets, behind counters, and into closets before demanding she cough up more than $10,000 in impact/capacity fees. After that she decided to hightail it down the street to the business friendly and welcoming business-friendly confines of Nassau County.

Colleen says the seats used by her hot dog eating customers were for sale and not permanent. However, they were somewhat pricy with the benches going for up to $4,000.

When I asked city Code Enforcement Director Michelle Forstrom about the issue I was told that the orders to enforce the capacity/impact penalty on Ms. Angel was given to her by a trio of city officials that included the Utilities Director, the acting City Manager, and the City Attorney. When I asked her if a local furniture store sold hotdogs and customers sat in the store’s chairs, sofas, etc., if it would be hit with capacity/impact fees too, she responded in the affirmative saying: “It’s only fair to treat every establishment equally.”

A lot of folks question if anything about this entire episode is fair, but Ms. Forstrom is doing what’s she’s told to do by the folks that make the rules hereabouts. Don’t like the rules? Then contact the city commissioners and tell them. However, don’t call Commissioner Chip Ross. If you don’t like it he’ll probably love it.

Effective October 1, Ms. Angel, the industrious single mother of two teenage girls, will vacate the 401 South 8th Street location in Fernandina Beach and relocate to Nassau County near her modestly named “Amelia’s Best Barber Shop” at 1951 South 8th Street, about a mile and a half down the road. Call her at  904/540-9109 for a haircut or a hot dog or both. She also runs a popular Ghost Tour business.


Wait! What? The lead story on Page 1 of the Monday, September 18 Wall Street Journal headlined “Student Loan Restart To Pinch Spending” warns that American consumers will be “squeezed” when  student loan payments restart October 1.

Deadbeat borrowers who thought they’d get a covid reprieve because of braindead President Biden’s attempt to buy votes were caught by surprise, thankfully, as I and most American taxpayers don’t want to get stuck with these freeloader’s worthless liberal arts degree tabs.

Since when did it become front page news in the WSJ that people who borrow money are obligated to pay it back?

The stupid “news” article reports that folks that borrowed money to attend college will now have to start once again “paying $200-$300” a month to settle up on their loans. The two brain dead WSJ writers lamented that these debtors will no longer have enough money to buy new cell phones, TVs, vacations, etc.

OK, so what’s the news angle here? This is like writing that folks who took out a mortgage will have to pay for their houses instead of eating out every night, flying first class, or buying a Tesla and stiffing the taxpayers. Yeh, folks that’s how it works, or at least how it’s supposed to work.


Speaking Of Revealing News: An article in the Thursday, September 21 Wall Street Journal Business & Finance section said that beer brewer AB InBev will stop cutting off the tails of the Clydesdale horses that haul its beer wagons around in ceremonial events. I guess that will make it easier for the public to get a closeup view of the marketing folks that tanked its Bud Light brand.


“Good grief! I don’t mind paying taxes but I don’t want to buy the entire school.”

I Apologize: One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made writing this column the past 13 years was to endorse Kathy Burns for election as Nassau County School Superintendent. I can’t think of one single thing she has done to benefit either students, their parents, or the community, just the opposite.

When I’ve called her to ask a question I have only once received a response, and that was when she hissed: “I feel like you’re attacking me”. That’s when I questioned her about the number of illegal immigrant kids in our schools, the cost to the tax payer, and how many English-as-a-second-language teachers the system has hired because of illegal immigration. I still don’t have answers to those questions.

The latest Burns’ deception is reflected in our new tax bills. Her attempts to deflect her responsibility for obscuring the results of the massive increase in our taxes and her obfuscation were made very apparent by an honest and open Nassau County Property Appraiser Mike Hickox in his Thursday, September 20 News Leader “Viewpoint” article headlined: “No lack of communication”. It also appears in the current issue of the online Citizens Journal Florida along with an opinion piece detailing Ms. Burns’ deception at FRAUD in Nassau Education? YOU Decide – Citizens Journal Florida  by local Jerry Novack.

Kathy Burns’ report card!

Unlike Ms. Burns, Mr. Hickox is an open and transparent public official who doesn’t hide behind paid mouthpieces, assistants, stonewalling, and incomprehensible mumbo-jumbo.

If you want to know why your taxes are going up despite what Ms. Burns promised prior to the vote on the school millage increase and what she says now then read Mr. Hickox’s candid and very understandable article. He warned her and the school board and they ignored him. Mr. Novack  goes into detail on the mess.

The only School Board member that appears to have the students, parents and tax payers interests at heart is Curtis Gaus, a former school principal who speaks candidly and honestly. In my opinion Ms. Burns is not a person to be trusted and the sooner we see the end of her tenure the better.

Kathy Burns’ report card

I very much regret not supporting Janet Adkins in her campaign for School Superintendent. However, Nassau County is very fortunate to now have that dedicated lady currently serving as Supervisor of Elections.

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

Veteran reporter, publicist, blogger Dave Scott of Fernandina Beach

The views 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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