By Mike Lednovich
Citizens Defending Freedom is attempting to stop a Drag Queen Bingo event scheduled Friday at the Fernandina Beach Golf Course Clubhouse. The bingo event is being put on by Fernandina Beach Pride.
CDF Executive Director Jack Knocke in an email to City Clerk Caroline Best stated the following:
“You are correct that the City Golf Course Club is city owned property. The full statement in Section 14-30(e)(5) states that a specific ordinance is required to authorize any city property to conduct the game of bingo. I have found no such ordinance. You have also not produced any such ordinance,” Knocke wrote on May 12. “If this is the case, it appears that allowing this Pride Bingo event on May 19th to proceed would be breaking the laws of our city that regulate authorization of city property for this specific purpose. I am alerting the City Attorney along with City Manager, and Mayor Bean to your findings so that she can take appropriate actions to cancel this event.”
The City Clerk’s office had directed Knocke to Chapter 65 of the city code of ordinances which covers permits for special events.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Knocke: Section 14-30(e)(5) states in part “property owned by the City,” the Golf Course is a City owned facility,” City Clerk Best responded to Knocke.
Fernandina Beach Pride previously obtained a permit for the bingo event.
City Attorney Tammi Bach said she is researching whether the rule applies to only bingo halls or if special events like a one-time bingo game are also required by ordinance.
Fernandina Beach Pride President Genece Minshew declined to comment. The city has not contacted Fernandina Beach Pride regarding any problems with holding the bingo event.
Previously, CDF attempted to block Fernandina Beach Pride’s June 10 parade and festival planned at Central Park. CDF claimed the event would be harmful to children playing at the nearby Central Park playground. The Pride parade and festival is also an event permitted by the city. More than 50 speakers addressed the City Commission on May 2 regarding the event.