Elections, Endorsements and First Time Voting

My oldest son registered to vote for the first time and I started to think a little about how elections and politics must look to a new voter.  I still remember 4JTI5pcCSqJ1uDiLu71zg.jpgvoting in my first year of college and how important I felt it was to be a part of the system.  Feeling entitled to have a voice and feeling the obligation to make good choices meant a lot to me, even then.


Elections (Primary) are about choice, but having a voice endorsing candidates can mean a lot as well. Be sure to check the links to Municipal Candidates, if you live inside Fernandina Beach city limits.

Announced Candidates Link

In the city races, I feel both commissions in office, Roy Smith and Len Kreger, are the most qualified to continue to represent the City of Fernandina.

Roy Smith
Roy Smith City Commission

Roy Smith (City Commissioner)  has been willing to take unpopular stances and willing to ask questions, when needed.  His recent opinion on sales tax revenue was good.  We need to think about funding maintenance for streets and sustainability.  Roy has my vote and I appreciate his service.

Len Kreger
Len Kreger for City Commission

Len Kreger (City Commissioner) also has my support.  He has been diligent,  active as both a commissioner and in support of a number of local causes.  He was chair of the PAB for a long time and involved with causes like sustainability, smart development, stormwater planning and beaches. He is a true advocate and tirelessly works to make Fernandina a better place.  He is also one of the best prepared commissioners I’ve ever known.

I also support two candidates, in particular, for other local races.

 

Aaron Bell and Family

Aaron Bell is running for County Commission.  He has been involved for years with Nassau County Economic Development and a part of local politics for the entire time I’ve known him.  Well-educated, articulate and prepared, he would be an excellent full-time commissioner and, I feel, would be an advocate for jobs and the local economy.

Mike Cole

Mike Cole, I know personally, and respect.  We were on a board together in 2014 and/or 15 and I was consistently impressed with his preparation and intelligence. He is running for the OHPA District 5 seat.

Finally, I prefer several names in the bigger races.

Joe Zimmerman, I’ve known for years.  He has been extremely helpful to me, when he worked with Janet Adkin’s office and I know his level of knowledge puts him far ahead of  other candidates.  I felt disappointed in the changes with a negative impact for Nassau and a negative impact to beach access.  In this race, I feel we would do well with a change of representation. By the way, his website is one of the best I’ve seen.  If organization means anything….my hat is off to Joe.

Aaron Bean and Family

Aaron Bean is running for re-election.  While we don’t always agree, I’ve known him for many years and he has been diligent in representing the county.  The general election is some time away and I also think representation is important.  Aaron has a better chance to work for our interests and is developing into a better representative each year.

Finally, I like Rick Scott.  As governor, he was proactive in reaching out to our local representatives.  I was pleasantly surprised to hear from him, personally, as a City Commissioner and Mayor.  I also witnessed, first hand, his handling of disasters and efforts to improve Florida’s economy.  He was and is a great governor.  He has my vote and endorsement in the primary and general election as our new United States Senator.  I was involved in local politics when Crawford Diamond held an inauguaral groundbreaking event attended by Governor Scott and watched him eventually approve funding for a drainage project here on the island, saving millions for local government.  He tends to remember people and does, in my opinion, care.

Historic Fernandina Beach Post Office Building Deteriorating Again?

The irony (?) of restoring a building, only partially used, is the rapid pace of deterioration as common areas are overlooked.  Restoration, if we hope to avoid waste, requires an identified use for the property.  This building is in danger of deteriorating and the restoration stopped short in many areas.  Landscaping and exterior finish seems nearly negligible, considering the total cost to renovate. Re-using old plants, never installing or freshening a sprinkler system, paint or coatings over deteriorating areas….allowing what you see above a short time later?

Transferring this property to an entity willing to fully use it and properly maintain the exterior, or properly finish the restoration, makes a lot of sense, but it needs to happen before the exterior deteriorates again.

 

Historic Fernandina Beach Post Office Building Gets State Award For Rehab Project | WJCT NEWS:

“Finally, we kicked the Post Office Department in the shins enough that they went in there and they have done a beautiful rehab job,” Nelson said.

Now he sees a different future for the building: He wants the Postal Service to sell or give it to the city of Fernandina Beach.

“They can use it as their City Hall, and the old federal court room, that’s a perfect place for the meeting for the City Council,” Nelson said.

Traffic Circulation Study and Parking Thoughts

No, or I should say few, other topics generate so many diverse opinions.  We need parking, but the City of Fernandina’s parking requirements change from season to season.  Beach accesses in July appear to be scarce.  In January, they appear far too numerous.  Regardless, downtown parking and beach parking are very separate issues, with different seasons.

Beach parking comes with the right to use recreational spaces.  We have some areas with less access points and a perception of nearly private beach space.  Other areas are squeezed by surrounding commercial development and more on the way.  Does it make sense to consider paid parking?  I read one variation with a certain logic and, in my opinion, those opposing any paid parking will agree when actual public access becomes an issue.  Sadler and Atlantic areas will be the first to see some form of paid parking, given the surrounding commercial uses requiring added parking to access.   FHUIEqOZS6uO8oI0gNVjnA.jpg

Downtown parking is an entirely different issue and other considerations, like the marina, waterfront, street openings and traffic, all make the issue far more complex.  The season is becoming an “all year” season in the Historic District and a scarcity of parking for dining or shopping during peak times is becoming apparent to anyone with a business.  I’m able to find a space before 11:30, but after lunch, I’m often searching or walking.  This isn’t improved as I see some merchants located on Centre using space in front of side street storefronts for “All Day” parking.  Yes, I think we’re spoiled and are going through a period of adjustment, but we also need to be proactive to preserve the high level of access to business and a tourist attraction.  img_0575

If you doubt the attention given to the subject, see the link below.  The conversation comes up over and over, with repeated, but slightly different studies over the years.

City of Fernandina “Parking” Search Results

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We are currently awaiting response to a Request for Proposal fro a traffic consultant to reevaluate a prior study by Zev Cohen, with updates.  The only suggestion I would have is to consider whether you want the same consultant to update or would prefer to make a point of using a second consultant to validate findings and recommendations.   Hopefully, we will be able to move forward on recommendations after paying for advice.   In an election year, note the timing.  The response will be after November and may mean two new commission members.  This election will, again, be about parking, the waterfront, street openings and I hope not about “kicking the can down the road”.

A portion of the CoFB request for bids to re-evaluate a previously completed study by Zev Cohen.  Source: www.fbfl.us 7/20/18

SCOPE OF WORK

The purpose of this project is to review, reconsider, and re-evaluate, a previously completed, but now dated, document: Waterfront CRA Master Plan Traffic Circulation and Parking Study (Zev Cohen & Associates; 2009).

The review effort should focus upon the same Primary and Secondary Study Areas, described on Page 6 of the original report. Within those areas, pedestrian and vehicular activity has markedly increased due to population trends and commercial activity.

The City has struggled for many years to achieve political consensus regarding waterfront redevelopment. The challenges have included railroad crossings, parking facilities and capacity, parks, and related infrastructure. The City’s Marina, severely damaged during Hurricane Matthew, is scheduled to be rebuilt within the next twelve months. The results of this Traffic Circulation and Parking Study will be utilized to determine key facets of future waterfront and downtown redevelopment.

Primary stakeholders of this project include officials and staff from the City of Fernandina Beach, the City of Fernandina Beach Main Street organization, the Ocean Highway and Port Authority, the State of Florida Department of Transportation, and the Genesee and Wyoming Railroad officials. Each of these agencies should be engaged as part of this project.

The goal is to complete this review by December, 2018, including a presentation to the City Commission of the study’s findings no later than December 18, 2018.

History and Blog, News and Opinion

Years ago, I hoped to make a small difference on the island, so began to write something a little like this blog.  I worried about a local environmental issue and the only way to get anyone to listen appeared to be by publishing information in an online forum.  The blog existed quite a while before Facebook (Feb. 2004) and before most of us thought about social media.  Back then, social media was pretty primitive or amounted to forums, something I also managed for a while in the late 80’s, with a bulletin board or BBS.   My first domain name, www.amelia-island.net, I still have.  Don’t laugh, but at the time, almost every variation of Amelia Island was available, including those without the “-“.  Years later, I guess it matters less and the traffic is more about content than an actual

IMG 0468
Still my favorite local coffee…Hola

domain name.  The palm and small island, by the way, was hand drawn one afternoon; eventually resized to be a logo for the original version of Amelia Island Net.

 

 

The environmental issue had to do with a reclaiming and disturbing an area with potential for material from an old dump disrupting the environment.  Actually, I still disagree with the way it was reclaimed.  Sold as a restoration, it actually destroyed quite a bit of land to change an established environment from fresh to saltwater based.   The plants and animals living in the area for more than 50 years were displaced, but the actions were portrayed as entirely positive.  Land was rezoned to recreational bordering the property and other landowners were told their land should be deeded over to the project.   I don’t want to move too far from the subject, but the way the messaging made it to the papers and the way this was “sold”, convinced me to look for ways to produce my version of the world and what I think amounts to the truth.  I still see incredibly slanted stories every day and am more convinced than ever.   We need to pick the news to consume and make a point of sharing our views.   I never want to passively consume questionable facts.

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2008 Facebook Group Logo

I market myself and real estate for a living.  Being able to reach people, without paying a fortune to be given nearly worthless advertising space is part of the reason I write blogs.  Over a period of years, my idea of blogging or publishing changed.  At one point, I only posted information on the island and thought adding a simple contact point for the commercial side would work.  As “Buy Local” and green living became an accepted idea, I started to promote local business and about that time, started an online group to encourage this called “Amelia Island Net”.  The group, in a way, led to time in politics, but I’m now on a second and, I think, improved version.  This image is one of the original images and you can see my focus was “LOCAL” from the beginning.  I also cared about the idea of restoring the US Post Office on Center Street, anticipating an opportunity to acquire the building at a low-cost, possibly move local government to the building and protect a local landmark.    I still think some of the same things and recognize the ways an idea can die.  It is far easier to kill ideas and take credit for saving us from a manufactured crisis, than it is to follow through with a plan.  We’re seeing the same things happen with long-term plans along the water, the marina, the airport and Alachua Street.

The recent changes to the blog are the beginning of another reinvention.  I had two blogs, separating everything related to my business or personal life and the general posts related to the island.  Blogs don’t see traffic in this way.  Few people pick up a single web address to visit daily and thinking this is a mistake.  Traffic does flow from social media connection and based on the subject matter in the blog.  I could pay for traffic to specific posts or change my approach, consolidating efforts to a single location.

So….you’re seeing a part of an effort to influence, whether I’m hoping for something better here on the island or a property I’m developing or sharing something I love about the island.   As one of the vanishing native residents, I enjoy seeing the changes, but also hope the time living here added a little wisdom and something worth sharing.

FISA and the “MEMO” …Very Divided Opinions

I posted a very brief status update on Facebook yesterday, noting my sadness at the allegations in the, now famous, FISA Memo.   This morning, “MANY” more comments than I anticipated waited.  My friends are polarized and I’ve even received messages encouraging me to change to another television station for my news.   Two issues strike me with both the memo and the way my friends or public generally see the issue.   The memo contains serious allegations and, if true, shows a serious flaw in our justice system.  If you think about it, the memo is concerning, whether it is entirely factual or not.  The cover letter included in the PDF linked below is actually quite helpful.   Understanding the information used as a basis for the memo is classified and understanding any POTUS would be forced to choose to release or declassify is worth considering.

Fernandina Beach and Nassau County political leaders are subject to Sunshine Law.  The higher you go, the less sunshine, hence the need to formally release a memo discussing information only viewed by a committee.   I would encourage everyone to read the memo and cover letter before forming an opinion.  If FISA warrants were issued and renewed based on flawed information, we should be concerned.  If the memo has a partisan motivation, then we should also be concerned.  Personally, I just want the truth and want to know if our system is being used politically.    Thoughts?

Read-the-FISA-memo copy

8297E39F-DA5E-4985-94E5-D0ED26747DE5
Core Issue…FISA Warrants allegedly obtained based on falsified partisan research.

Commission Race for the “Last 3 Year Term” Nears for Fernandina Beach

The commission races are nearing and this is the last 3 year election for Fernandina Beach.  What does this mean for Fernandina and for Amelia Island?Local elections have more to do with our future, at times, than national or statewide elections.   Consider access to the beach, parking or improvements bringing jobs to Fernandina.

The information below as taken from the Nassau County Supervisor of Elections website on 10/4/17 or from one candidate without a current statement on the site, a statement was provided by his campaign.

Current information, including financial disclosures and any changes to wordage below on www.votenassau.com is directly linked here….”Announced Candidate Information

November 7, 2017
Election Day
Voting Locations open from 7am to 7pm

Positive comments expressing your support and reason for supporting a candidate are welcome. 


Group 2 City Commission Race

Philip A. Chapman, III

City of Fernandina Beach Commissioner, Group 2

Contact Information:

2120 Florida Avenue

Fernandina Beach, FL – 32034

mm.chap@hotmail.com

904-624-5978

Candidate’s Statement
My wife and I came to Fernandina Beach for a get away weekend and it was love at first encounter. The combination of the charm of the city and the quality of the people made it easy to know that this is where we would call home when I retired from 38 years in public education.
As a homeowner for over 6 years and a full time resident for over 3 of those years, I have seen many changes to the character and fabric of this city. Shortly after settling in, I began to attend the City Commission meetings. I have spoken repeatedly at most every meeting about the waterfront, the density, the maritime canopy, and numerous other subjects and try to get the Commission to allow the people to express their full opinions (not in just 3 minutes) on subjects that are near and dear to them also. Citizen input and a Commission that listens to that input are the biggest components to the concept of community.
Change is ongoing. A look at the development both on and off the island clearly shows this and such will impact what our city will be in both the near and distant future. As your Commissioner, I will listen to all of you and your input and make decisions that will manage development, in all aspects of growth, which will keep the character of our city and the reason we are all live here. Change is inevitable, management of that change wisely, is critical! Thank you.

Note: The candidate’s photograph and statement are supplied by the candidate and are not endorsed by the County Supervisor of Elections or checked for accuracy.

 

Candidate: Timothy M. Poynter

Office: City of Fernandina Beach Commissioner, Group 2

Contact Information:

3967 First Avenue

Fernandina Beach, FL – 32034

tpoynter@gmail.com

904-415-6533

Eighteen years ago, my family and I moved to Fernandina.  Our children were younger and the move was work related.  The job didn’t last.  After readjusting, we opened a small restaurant in 2001 at Thanksgiving.   Over time we grew to open another business and eventually employ over 50 people.    I’m aware of just how difficult it can be to run and operate a small business and aware of the obstacles we face.

During this time, I’ve been privileged to give back with two terms on the Fernandina Beach City Commission, serving as commissioner and Vice Mayor.    I’d like to think we accomplished a lot, including advocating for local businesses and quality of life.   Thinking about some of the changes, our town now enjoys an expanded library, animal shelter, refurbished train depot and two playgrounds as a result of creative public private partnerships.   These are the kinds of projects we need to see more in the coming three years.   Leveraging efforts with private partnerships gives us a more efficient use of your tax money and a better quality of life.

Our community is dependent on tourism, but the mills and port give us diversity to withstand downturns.   I plan to remain an advocate for jobs and support local industry whenever possible.  Gas lines serving the mills had the side effect of reducing the cost to operate restaurants.  Think about the tax base and positive impact we see from local “high paying” jobs!

My background includes a BA in Business Marketing from the University of Cincinnati in 1980 and a diverse history working in a number of positions.  Part of my background includes time as a painter, work in the health care industry, successful restaurant startups, local politics and time invested giving back to our community.

Priorities

  • Better utilization of the waterfront.
  • Improve marina when repaired to eliminate silting (save dredging cost), including shifting north.
  • Seek more Public Private Partnerships
  • Protect local industry.
  • Reduce cost and regulation required to open a business or live in Fernandina, while improving quality of life.
  • Look for opportunities to work with the Port Authority toward common goals.

It is important to give back.  Fernandina means a lot to me and I have a history here, but we also have a future here.  Even if I didn’t have family in town, we have a vested interest in the future of the town.   Whether our concern is our current family, the restaurant or our sons living here, I am passionate about the future of our community.   On October 10th or November 7th, I need your vote.    If you want more efficient use of your tax money, more public private partnerships, a working marina and revitalized waterfront and to protect local jobs, please vote.  Turnouts are low and I need your help.

If you want to volunteer or just “LIKE” my Facebook page, you can reach me at the link, by email or phone number below.  Again, I appreciate your support and your vote.

Thank you,

Tim Poynter

tpoynter@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/timpoyntercitycommision

(904)415-6533

***You are always invited to gatherings at 6:00 p.m. on the Thursday following the first City Commission meeting each month at 27 North 3rd Street.  ***

Note: The candidate’s photo and statement were provided by the candidate.   


 Group 3 City Commission Race 

Candidate: Orlando J. Avila

Office: City of Fernandina Beach Commissioner, Group 3

Contact Information:

Address Protected

Fernandina Beach, FL – 32034

orlando@orlandoavila.com

904-955-3122

Candidate’s Statementavila
I sincerely hope you will take the time to look over my bio and ask any questions about my candidacy or positions.

orlando@orlandoavila.com

I believe in being a citizen servant, I think that the role of government is to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of the citizenry.
Prudent management of the people’s treasure and providing maximum benefit to them by ensuring service levels are maintained.

Orlando J. Avila

Biographical Info
Family
Janel Avila, Wife
Married 17 years (July 1)
4 children, all adopted through foster care
Janel is a teacher at FBHS and a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Florida
Education
University of Central Florida
Orlando, Florida
Bachelor of Arts Public Administration, August 1999

Columbia Southern University
Orange Beach, AL (Distance Learner)
Masters, Business Administration in International Management, October 2011

Work Experience

All American Ship Agents, LLC
Fernandina Beach, FL
Owner/President October 2012 – Present

Seaboard Marine, Ltd.
Fernandina Beach, FL
Vessel Boarding Agent, November 2007-Ocotber 2012

Florida Department of Corrections
Fernandina Beach, Florida
Correctional Probation Officer, March 2003-November 2007
Certified position supervising caseload of felony offenders placed on probation by the Court
Florida Department of Children & Families
Fernandina Beach, Florida
Family Services Counselor-Protective Supervision, December 2000 – March 2003
Case manager specializing in child protection and family services

Volunteer/Community Service

Amelia Lodge No. 47
Served as Master, in 2008

Morocco Shriners 2002-Present
Fernandina Beach Shrine Club, Past patient Coordinator for Club Sponsored Patients at Shriners Hospitals for Children

Leadership Nassau, Class 8
Past steering committee member and Chairman (2011-12)

Nassau County Foster/Adoptive Parent Association
Past President 2011-2013

Florida State Foster/Adoptive Parent Association
Vice-President, 2016-Present
Director of Programs 2014-2016

Nassau County Condition Use and Variance Board
Appointed 2010

Fernandina Maritime Exchange
President 2013-2015
Note: The candidate’s photograph and statement are supplied by the candidate and are not endorsed by the County Supervisor of Elections or checked for accuracy.

 

Candidate: Medardo Monzon

Office: City of Fernandina Beach Commissioner, Group 3

Contact Information:

2826 South Fletcher Ave

Fernandina Beach, FL – 32034

mmonzon@comcast.net

904-608-4872

Candidate’s Statementmonzon
Since moving to Fernandina Beach in 2012, I have demonstrated my commitment to the wellbeing of our community. It would be my honor to serve you as a City Commissioner.

Below is my biographical information and qualifications.

I was born in Colombia and first came to the United States as an adolescent in 1963, when my father attended the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. We retuned to Colombia a year later and I lost my father in a tragic accident in 1966. I learned integrity, discipline, responsibility, compassion and empathy from my parents

My wife and I married in 1980. We have four children, five grandchildren and two dogs. Our family moved permanently to the U.S. in 1981. My wife and I lived in 8 different communities prior to moving to Jacksonville in 2003. Soon thereafter, we discovered Amelia Island and moved permanently to Fernandina Beach in 2012.

By obtaining academic scholarships and by tutoring science, I put myself through college, earning a M.S. in Chemistry. My professional career spans 43 years: 17 years as an entrepreneur and 26 years as a scientist and business executive in the chemicals, plastics and paper industries, typically in international environments. I have owned an organizational and leadership consulting firm for the past 7 years.

I have served on the board of directors of non-profit organizations, most notably, the Fox River Valley Community Foundation, the First Coast Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Visit Jacksonville.

I have led organizations and managed budgets and assets several times larger than the City of Fernandina, developing skills and to solve complex problems by implementing innovative solutions.

My professional experience makes me uniquely qualified to understand and work effectively with all the segments of our community.

Since moving to Fernandina Beach, I have demonstrated my commitment to the wellbeing of our community. By working collaboratively with West Rock’s management and City Commissioners, we prevented deliveries of coal by ship to the island, preventing an environmental and economic disaster in our historic downtown district.

I also made and presented “An Independent Assessment of Lignotech” to the City Commission, documenting the significant environmental and economic benefits of this project to our community. Emissions of green house and toxic gases will be reduced markedly, while creating more than 50 high paying jobs.

Note: The candidate’s photograph and statement are supplied by the candidate and are not endorsed by the County Supervisor of Elections or checked for accuracy.

 

Candidate: Ronald ‘Chip’ Ross

Office: City of Fernandina Beach Commissioner, Group 3

Contact Information:

210 N 3rd Street

Fernandina Beach, FL – 32034

chip14758@hotmail.com

Candidate’s Statementross
I previously lived in a small county on the Chesapeake Bay known for its “Tranquil Living at Tidewater”. In less than 15 years the population soared from 25,000 to over 70,000. The developers and real estate interests prospered. Life for the rest of the community became anything but tranquil. My wife and I chose to live here because of what it is, not what the current City Commission appears to want it to become.
I believe our beaches, historic district, residential districts, and local businesses need to be preserved, protected and nurtured. I am running for City Commissioner to preserve the great little town in which we all chose to live. We can’t stop development, nor should we, but we can manage growth in a thoughtful and inclusive manner.
I believe that before a City Commission takes any action, the Commissioners must determine how the action will improve the quality of the life of its citizens and its business environment, and also determine how the action will impact – either positively or negatively – the character and environment of the City. How much will the action actually cost, and who will ultimately foot the bill as a result?
Presently I live in the Fernandina Beach Historic District, and I continue to practice Emergency Medicine on the Island. The remainder of my time is consumed by advocating for quality of life issues, playing petanque, cooking, and most importantly, spending time with my wife, Faith.
More information can be found at www.votechipross.com .

Note: The candidate’s photograph and statement are supplied by the candidate and are not endorsed by the County Supervisor of Elections or checked for accuracy.