Good leadership or short sightedness – An Opinion

Submitted by

Tony Crawford


I have read here that the voice of the majority was heard at the last
City meeting to give back the bulk of the money for Forward Fernandina. Where
was this vast majority? Did they get lost on the way to City Hall? It
seems funny to me that when you have a room full of folks who supported a
plan, and only two that spoke against it, how could anyone think  that
“silence” was a majority.

Not one new Commissioner was elected with a landslide. I would think that
any elected official has to work just as hard for the folks who didn’t
vote them in. If it was such a majority why didn’t they show up in mass
and show their support at this very pivotal meeting?—- Maybe they just
didn’t get the memo.

Some would say the new commissioners were elected due to the public
outcry about the money borrowed. If  this was true, wouldn’t they have been
there voicing their position loud and clear.  Unless I became deaf that night,
I heard little if any outcry.

What was sad was that  we sat and painfully came to the quick
understanding over the last few meetings that many on the commission had
little knowledge of what was happening. What was worse was their
unwillingness to keep an open mind.

One newly elected Commissioner wanted
more time to go over priorities and possibly look for a better way to
fund as well as spend the money. What was wrong with that?  Would that have
shown fairness and leadership, or bitterness and dysfunction?

PrintI was never sold on the complete package of Forward Fernandina. That
being said, we were at a point where we had a loan at a better interest
rate than since the beginning of time. We had already invested money as
well as time which translates to more money. Why couldn’t we at least set
a goal to decide this outcome. I understand the word goal can be a scary
word. It implies work and it implies  doing something. This would not only involve work, but more importantly leadership and compromise, another nasty word.


It also makes one wonder how this town has grown to where we are today.
Is downtown like it was 25 years ago?  Was Main beach like it is today? Did
we have all the beach accesses? Is the marina, as well as our golf
course, the same as it was?

Sounds like  silly questions to ask, right?  None of these things would
be here if they weren’t funded and became a capital improvement project.
It’s really not that complicated. I left that meeting thinking to myself how
short sighted we have become. To stay in the good graces of those who put
us in office, did we sell ourselves down the river for future generations
to fix problems we have created. How many years and how many commissions
will it take to bring these or any Capital improvement projects back  up?
Will the interest rate be any better?  Who will then have to foot the
bill?– the kids who are now in high school or college. Nice legacy to
leave them isn’t it.

This is a wonderful place to live. The real hard core fact still remains
that many of our dollars come from tourists. If another coastal town
builds a better mouse trap than us, our  tourist dollars will follow. It
is always easier to win a race by being out front, never try to purposely
stay behind then catch up. Pretty soon you will be running like hell to

Editor’s note:   Tony Crawford moved to Fernandina Beach from New York fourteen years ago.   An avid city watcher, Tony finds watching local government at work, interesting, comical, and sad.

February 27, 2013  10:09 a.m.

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Len Kreger
Len Kreger (@guest_4387)
10 years ago

The silent majority did in fact show up at the polls. All the Commissioners who supported F2 running for re-election lost, by good margins.

F2 had some good projects, but for whatever reason they were put in the front of the line. You mention main beach. Since 2004 there have been efforts to replace the Boardwalk without success. It is an embarrassment to the City.

Storm-water improvements should have been well ahead of F2, but they were not. Finally some action has been taken.