Commentary: It Was a Black Day at City Hall

By Mike Lednovich

Last Tuesday in Fernandina Beach was a day of ignominy.

That’s when Mayor Bradley Bean refused to read a proclamation honoring the Transgender Day of Remembrance at the city commission meeting.

He was joined by City Commissioner Darron Ayscue, who decided to insult about 50 supporters after the proclamation was read by declaring, “I believe this proclamation is a wider version of a political agenda. I believe this proclamation silences, out of fear, part of our community who is going to be labeled transphobic because they speak out on this proclamation.”

The stain on the history of this city commission moment is forever archived in the city’s video vault for all to see.

These were not spur-of-the-moment decisions, but deliberate and calculated acts of disrespect for the transgender community and their supporters. The mayor and commissioner violated their oath of office and the tenets of common decency and compassion regarding people who were murdered because of their transgender identity.

Ayscue, a firefighter, claimed the motive behind the proclamation was part of a “cancel culture” agenda.

Cancel culture, Commissioner Ayscue, is when 44 transgender or gender non-conforming people are fatally shot or killed by other violent means.

The proclamation that Mayor Bean rejected and Commissioner Ayscue attacked was not a political statement, but a simple recognition of the humanity and dignity of transgender people. It signified a gesture of solidarity and compassion for those who suffer from discrimination, harassment and violence. The proclamation was a call for awareness and action to end the hatred and bigotry in any community that fuels such violence.

But Bean and Ayscue left their compassion for those victims in the city hall parking lot. Instead, they chose to pander to the far right-wing in order to garner political party “brownie points.” Both men have future ambitions of higher elected positions in mind. Ayscue wants to be our city’s future mayor.

Their behavior demonstrated a lack of leadership, integrity and empathy. They failed to represent and respect all of their constituents. Bean and Ayscue failed to uphold the values of diversity, equality and justice that our city and our country stand for.

Hours after the disgraceful incident, the genuine leaders of Fernandina Beach stood before Bean and Ayscue and called them out.

“I’m very disappointed that our mayor, you Mr. Bean, have taken a stance that you will not read a proclamation requested by a group of city residents. You are elected as a commissioner to represent all citizens of this community,” said Victoria Robas. “You have read hundreds of proclamations in your role as mayor. Now you decide to pick and choose which of the multitude of individuals and organizations which make up the fabric of this community you will bless with a proclamation. What’s next Mr. Mayor? Will you refuse to read proclamations regarding black citizens, our Asian community or those with disabilities or minorities? Tyranny has small beginnings, and you have just shown this community how it’s done.”

Former Mayor Arlene Filkoff admonished them stating, “I’ve always been a champion of the underdog. I understood (as mayor) my job wasn’t to be anybody’s minister or rabbi. My job was to be allinclusive to every citizen of this community. This proclamation was endorsing a memorial day for transgender people who were killed for being who they are. The proclamation didn’t mean that you agree with transgender. This is not something anyone should be OK with.”

That says it all.

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herman_wood
Active Member
herman_wood(@herman_wood)
24 days ago

Well said.

Bob
Active Member
Bob(@bob)
24 days ago

Thank you Mr. Bean.

MyFernandina
Member
MyFernandina(@myfernandina)
24 days ago

The only time TDoR has been recognized via proclamation was in 2022 by then Mayor Lednovich–ignored for the 30 years preceding–and was attended by a small handful of supporters. That event was an attempt to promote Genese Minshew’s campaign, it seems–again all political–no remembrance and no dignity.
It was a black day alright–showing how intrangient some people/groups will be.

srcocchi
Noble Member
srcocchi(@srcocchi)
24 days ago
Reply to  MyFernandina

This statement is patently false.

MyFernandina
Member
MyFernandina(@myfernandina)
23 days ago
Reply to  srcocchi

I stand corrected–the TDoR was recognized under Mayors Miller and Lednovich,
both supporters of the pride community. The day has been commemorated for over 30 years elsewhere and is only recently celebrated here?

Douglas M
Noble Member
Douglas M(@douglasm)
24 days ago

Ayscue will be the mayor, IMO. Mike L, as you know, there are only two eligible candidates……and I don’t think Antun wants the job.

The fatal shooting of 44 people is a crime…….”cancel culture” is the interruption of a Commissioner’s comments with insults because you disagree with him. I wish they hadn’t proven Ayscue’s comments about some citizens being afraid to speak up fearing a “cancel” backlash…..but, unfortunately, they did.

Seriously, everyone view the video and make your own judgment. You can click on the Agenda item and it takes you right to it. That segment is about 10 minutes. I hope nobody approves of the actions of the audience. I can’t give that behavior a free pass. Keep the high ground and maintain decorum…..

Last edited 24 days ago by Douglas M
srcocchi
Noble Member
srcocchi(@srcocchi)
24 days ago

I believe this proclamation is a wider version of a political agenda. I believe this proclamation silences, out of fear, part of our community who is going to be labeled transphobic because they speak out on this proclamation.”

I wonder what Commissioner Ayscue and Mayor Bean call it when they support: The Right Whale Festival, Veterans and Blood Clot Awareness but NOT Transgender Remembrance Day?

Words matter. Perhaps they would choose to be called transphobic over some of the other words being used to describe them.

dman
Active Member
dman(@dman)
23 days ago
Reply to  srcocchi

let’s all recognize yet again that this is our County Democratic Chairperson trying to make political hay for the next election. wow this gets old.

WaynesBit
Noble Member
WaynesBit(@waynesbit)
23 days ago

That’s like four articles from the FO on this issue on the last 4 days. Doesn’t the FO have more important issues to report on? Apparently not. It is quite obvious what their agenda is, and it is NOT about helping Fernandina Beach overall, just their favorite little group.

dman
Active Member
dman(@dman)
23 days ago
Reply to  WaynesBit

well said

lucyp74
Noble Member
lucyp74(@lucyp74)
23 days ago

Given that much of the « trans » community has a tendency to want to push their ideology onto young minds still being molded, I can understand why some might take issue with this. However, the loss of life, no matter whose it is, IS tragic. I think perhaps it could have been handled differently by offering a brief in memorial to those in the transgender community lost to violence and leave it at that with no harm done. I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT agree with what SOME of the transgender community are doing to « groom » children into thinking they need hormones or a different gender. However, there ARE those on the OPPOSITE end of that spectrum who have transitioned and REGRETTED it and want to protect their children and others from the same mistakes. They also believe in women’s rights in sports as well. THOSE transgender people deserve to be heard yet are silenced by the same people within « their » community because their beliefs do not align within the mainstream. It all comes down to just showing KINDNESS to everyone because YOU never know what someone else is experiencing. We’re all stuck on this rock together. We can agree to disagree and still get along. 

jofus
Member
jofus(@jofus)
23 days ago

Thank you Mike Lednovich.

Prejudice is based on fear. Fear is based on lack of education.

Thanks for the eye-opening vote-changing article Mike.

rswarner
Active Member
rswarner(@rswarner)
23 days ago

I worry about this community moving towards the dark side. Russia works on manipulating emotion, intimidation, secrecy, and top down dictate. It seems we, here in this locality, with our own reconstituted City government, are moving in the same direction. I find particularly discouraging the gaslighting potential this human rights issue now has to deflect our community from focusing proactively on managing massive changes in development now occurring on and off island – in the face of real ethical challenges on the part of our decision makers. I worry about money laundering and it’s potential to disrupt the evolution of normal development here by hijacking our procedural processes. I worry about foreign influences on national security due to King’s Bay and the Fernandina ship channel to the ocean. I worry about our City government’s new commissioners and their determination to limit citizen participation in their own government.

oldtimehockey
Trusted Member
oldtimehockey(@oldtimehockey)
23 days ago

Let’s honor ALL who were killed because of who they were. In fact, November 2 is All Souls Day in the Church. It’s already established. This didn’t have to be a trans issue….but you do it for political gain…and that’s wrong.

Richard Lamken
Active Member
Richard Lamken(@ralamken)
23 days ago

I only wish that Mayor Bean hadn’t waffled. There were many who contacted him to state that they objected to issuing this proclamation. The behavior of those who went from celebrating Commissioner Ross desperately trying to turn his words into a proclamation to vilifying a Commissioner who represented the beliefs of many in the community was the only darkness in the room. Why are there no citations of those who spoke in support of Mayor Bean or the invocation which resulted in the pastor, who prayed, being verbally abused by members of the Pride community? I guess, why be fair and balanced if it doesn’t make your point. I also posit that acceptance, respect and love seems to only flow one way!

Mark Tomes
Noble Member
Mark Tomes(@mtomes)
23 days ago

The mostly unspoken issue here is that there are people, mostly of a religious bent, that don’t believe in transgenders, or any other gender identity other than the male or female biological sex that one is born with. These people have religious beliefs that are not based on science or medicine. That’s fine, then they shouldn’t be transgender. But they should recognize that not everyone holds those beliefs, and others have a right to speak out against the violence of a group of people. Refusing to recognize that right is just another kind of violence towards transgenders.

jfindlay
Noble Member
jfindlay(@jfindlay)
23 days ago

To be a successful GOP politician in Florida during the DeSantis era, one must be “anti-woke”. Showing compassion or empathy to the LGQBT community would certainly be construed as “woke”. Bean and Ayscue are simply building their resumes for future office.

srcocchi
Noble Member
srcocchi(@srcocchi)
23 days ago
Reply to  jfindlay

100%

Paula M
Noble Member
Paula M(@paula-m)
23 days ago

Mr Bean and Mr Ayscue should be very happy that they live in a perfect world where everything is just the way THEY want it and THINK it should be. Must be nice..

RoyBoy
Trusted Member
RoyBoy(@royboy)
23 days ago

No matter what identity a person chooses, that individual was created in the image of God. Genesis 1:27 is very clear. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.” It wasn’t random or haphazard. God intricately knit every human being in the womb (Psalm 139:13). Treat every single person you encounter the way God intended—as His beautiful creation. God’s people are reminded to “clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12). (Billy Graham)

Ben Martin
Trusted Member
Ben Martin(@ben-martin)
23 days ago

This is not an expression of hatred or anything like that. Just a simple observation. The same political leaders that promote honoring murdered transgenders are the same folks that advocated for injecting the population with lipid nano-particle encased synthetic genetic material via an experimental medical treatment. At the same time some of the leaders on the “right” did a really poor job of standing up against medical tyranny. If you were to engage in bio-warfare messenger RNA technology would be your tool. It can be used to alter gender expression, invoke delayed onset of disease, etc. – according to credible sources. May God help us.

rswarner
Active Member
rswarner(@rswarner)
23 days ago

I applaud Sheila and her comments. What I find increasingly relevant is that most of those who comment against what she says will post above their real names. Says much.

Betsie Huben
Noble Member
Betsie Huben(@betsie-huben)
23 days ago

Acknowledging another person’s pain, suffering or a loss of life is one of the most human and compassionate thing we can do for others. This is especially true for the friends and families they leave behind. Epic fail Mr. Bean and Mr. Ayscue. Not only did you turn your back on a simple request from one segment of our citizenry, you deliberately set out to make this a thorn in the community’s side. Why? Fix what you broke on Tuesday night! If you fail to fix this, be assured the citizens of Fernandina Beach surely will not forget your lack of compassion and humanity anytime soon.

Ernie Davis
Member
Ernie Davis(@epd3)
23 days ago

Thank you, Victoria. I’m proud to be a friend of yours.

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