Drawbridge FAQs

So, there’s actually a person making the bridge open and close?

Yep. I get that a lot. Nice to meet you. While there are some automated drawbridges out there (mostly railroad bridges in remote locations with little or no pedestrian traffic), the vast majority of drawbridges have a human operator. Safety is our primary concern, and they have yet to invent a computer with an algorithm to adapt to the unpredictable behaviors of pedestrians, motorists, bicyclists, and boaters. Every few years some fool decides to spend a taxpayer’s fortune to do a study about automating bridges, and it always turns out to be a really, really bad idea.

Don’t you get bored? What do you do between bridge openings? Don’t you go stir crazy? Do you sleep a lot?

I can’t speak for every bridgetender, but it’s a point of pride with me that I never sleep, and it frustrates me when people assume that I do. It’s insulting. I take my job very seriously. There’s a lot more to the job than simply sitting there and waiting for a boat to come along. There’s more paperwork than you’d expect. Opening statistics. Accident reports. Long opening reports. Maintenance requests. Log books. Safety lock outs. Supply requests. Many of us are also required to do maintenance, such as the greasing and/or cleaning of various pieces of equipment, the constant battle with pigeon poop and rat abatement, general cleaning, and inspections.

But yes, there’s plenty of down time, too. If you are the type to go stir crazy, you won’t last long on this particular career path. Everyone has their own way of keeping entertained, and every bridge has different policies as to what’s allowed. Some provide TVs and DVDs and/or allow you to bring your laptop to work. Some bridgetenders read books or newspapers or do crossword puzzles. Some of us are writers. I once knew someone who knitted a king sized blanket while listening to the radio. I sometimes sit here and pay my bills.

I also used to know of a bridge that didn’t allow its employees to do anything at all. That, to me, constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, and those bridge operators slept all the time. I think it’s much better to keep busy and alert, and continually scan the waterway for approaching vessels.

How do you know when someone needs an opening?

Generally they will call us on the marine radio or give us a horn signal. Others will just come up to the bridge and sit there, but since we’re not mind readers, they will most likely sit there for quite some time. If you have a boat, it’s very important to familiarize yourself with the Coastguard Federal Regulations, particularly as they pertain to communicating with drawbridges.

Is the bridge manned 24 hours a day? How many hours a day do you work?

That varies from bridge to bridge. The Coastguard regulates when each bridge is not required to open for vessels. Some bridges do not have a graveyard shift. Some bridges share one employee who drives from bridge to bridge to do openings as each vessel transits the waterway. Some bridges over water that ices up are only opened seasonally, or by appointment only. Most of us work 8 hour shifts, but I do know of a few who work 12 hour shifts. Some bridges only allow part time employees to avoid providing benefits.

How much money do you make?

It’s unbelievable how much variation there is from region to region. Some bridgetenders only make minimum wage and get no benefits whatsoever. I’ve known some railroad bridge operators who make 45 dollars an hour and have retirement and every benefit under the sun. The primary difference seems to be whether you have a union or not. I strongly urge unionization to every bridgetender. Power to the people!

How do you get a job as a bridgetender? Do you need special training?

Let’s face it. This isn’t rocket science. If you can read and write, and have functional arms and legs, and good hearing and eyesight, you can be trained on the job. Some important skills to emphasize in an interview are taking safety seriously, customer service, and reliability. Since some bridges are operated by states, some by counties, others by cities, and still others by subcontractors or railroads, it’s best to just approach a bridgetender on the job and ask them who to contact. (Just don’t sneak up on us. We hate that.)

How often do you open the bridge?

That varies greatly from bridge to bridge, and from season to season. Some bridges only open a few times a year. Here in Seattle, I can go several days without an opening in the dead of winter, and then get 15 openings in a shift on a summer holiday weekend. My alltime record was opening for 225 vessels in an 8 hour shift in Florida. Granted, I let several boats through each time, but still, I didn’t get to eat lunch, and  had to get kind of rude just to take a bathroom break.

What’s the hardest part of your job?

Witnessing suicide attempts. And it happens more often than you might think.

Why is there such a long delay between the time the bridge closes and the time the traffic gates go up to let cars through again?

Patience, grasshopper. Once the bridge is seated, a lock has to be driven along the underside of the structure so that the bridge doesn’t bounce open while you drive over it. From the point of view of a car, it may seem like nothing is happening at that time, but we cannot raise the gates to let you through until those locks are driven.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask them in the comments section below!


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How to Piss Off a Bridgetender

I have spent a great deal of time writing about how much I love my job. I really do. I swear I do. Just… not today.

Perhaps it’s because we are marinating in the last, bitter dregs of the holiday season, and everyone is getting cranky. Perhaps I’m the bitter one, because everyone is out on the water, celebrating in their Christmas light bedecked boats, and I’m stuck in this poorly insulated tower, alone, and will never own a boat. Perhaps my nerves are on edge due to political dread, or because I haven’t really seen the sun in weeks. I don’t know. But I’m in a foul mood.

I think everyone should be allowed to vent once in a while, even those of us who realize that in the overall scheme of things, we have a great deal to be grateful for. So fasten your seat belts. I’m about to rant all over you.

After 15 years as a bridgetender, I think I’ve pretty much seen it all. But here are some of the more annoying things that come up time and time and freakin’ time again. It’s enough to make me turn into a bridge troll.

I shall divide my rants up into the various forms of stupidity involved, just for clarity’s sake.

Boater Stupidity

  • You wouldn’t buy a very expensive car and hop into it without knowing the rules of the road, would you? Well, a distressing number of boaters seem to do this. If you have achieved enough financial success to own a vessel, kindly take the time to know what the hell you are doing. The life you save could be mine, or that of someone else.
  • If you can afford a boat, you can afford to invest in a working marine radio and learn how to use it. First of all, this isn’t a convoy. We don’t use “10-4” or any of the other 10 codes. And if you call me and have your own volume turned down, I can respond all day long and you’re not going to hear me. Don’t blame me for that.
  • My voice isn’t that deep. Why do you assume I’m a “sir”?
  • Do not call me on the phone. This isn’t a date. Contact me via the CORRECT horn signals (which you’d know if you read the Coastguard regulations), or call me on the radio.
  • Be polite. I’m not your servant or your minion. If you “demand” an opening “immediately upon” your arrival, there is nothing on earth that will be more apt to tempt me to make you paddle in circles for a while. As in all other parts of your life, you’ll be amazed at how far a simple “please” and “thank you” will get you.
  • Don’t tie up the radio with unimportant chatter. Someone could be sinking out there.
  • Know your mast height. A shocking number of boats don’t actually require a bridge opening. Operating a bridge costs the taxpayer money. And slowing down street traffic for no good reason is never appreciated.
  • Know where the hell you are. You should get charts, but even a Rand McNally map is better than nothing. The other day, I had boats calling me the Ravenna Drawbridge and the Washington Drawbridge, neither of which exists in Seattle.
  • And just calling me “drawbridge” doesn’t work, either. There are often several drawbridges within the sound of your radio. And no bridgetender, to my knowledge, can read your mind.
  • All drawbridges are bound by the Coastguard Federal Regulations. This means that many of us have time periods in which we cannot open for most boaters. Don’t argue with me about it. That won’t change anything. And don’t take it personally. I was not put on this earth to make you late for your golf game.
  • And by the way, if you’re on a sailboat, why on earth are you so impatient? You. Are. On. A. Sailboat.
  • This isn’t my first rodeo. If you ask for an opening and I tell you that I’ll start it upon your approach, continue your approach. I’m timing it based on your rate of speed. If you come to a dead halt before I’ve opened the bridge, that will just make the time the bridge has to stay open for you that much longer. Your lack of consideration backs up traffic for miles. Surprise! The world does not revolve around you.
  • Don’t call me for an opening when you’re still 10 minutes away. I can think of a million things I’d rather do than stand at the operating console, idly waiting for you to show up.
  • Don’t assume I’m asleep. It’s insulting. I’m never asleep. I’m a professional.
  • It is every bit as illegal to operate a boat while intoxicated as it is to operate a car in that condition. When you are drunk, I cannot effectively communicate with you. Ineffective communication on the water can be deadly.

Automotive Stupidity

  • The average drawbridge opening is only 4 ½ minutes long. And you knew you were taking a route that took you over a drawbridge. So there’s no reason to throw a tantrum when you have to wait while a drawbridge opens.
  • There’s also no reason to do a u-turn. By the time you take your detour, that 4 ½ minutes will have passed. It’d be far more pleasant for you to just step out of your car for a minute and enjoy the scenery. Life’s too short.
  • Turn off your engine. Why pollute the atmosphere, when it’s been proven that idling more than 30 seconds is much less fuel efficient than turning your car off and restarting it again?
  • You can honk at me all you want. It’s not going to make the bridge opening go any faster.
  • Rude gestures just make you look like a jerk.
  • When the bridge closes and there’s a pause before the traffic gates go up, it’s not that I’m up here picking my nose. The bridge locks are being driven beneath the street. Just because you don’t see anything happening doesn’t mean nothing is happening. Hold your freakin’ horses.

Bicycle and/or Pedestrian Stupidity

  • If you see lights flashing and/or hear gongs, that means STOP. Don’t cross the drawbridge. It does NOT mean stop halfway across the bridge to take a selfie. It doesn’t mean stand there and take in the view. It doesn’t mean slow down. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you should crawl under the gates. The rules apply to everyone, including you, and they’re there for your safety.
  • Barges can’t slam on the brakes. You need to get out of the way.
  • Cursing at me won’t speed up the opening any more than honking at me does.
  • Projectiles are not appreciated. People in Seattle don’t throw as many eggs and rocks and beer bottles and tomatoes as the people in Florida did. But I’ve never been in a bridge tower anywhere in the country that hasn’t been shot at at least once. What have I ever done to you that merits my death or injury?
  • Please don’t vandalize the bridge. We are proud of it. And many of your fellow citizens are, too. Also, please don’t vandalize my car. I’ve done nothing to you except work hard to ensure that you are safe.
  • Climbing over an opening drawbridge might look cool in the movies, but it can get you killed. And I’ll be the one who has to carry that for the rest of my life. Be a daredevil someplace else.
  • There is nothing more terrifying than being all alone, and going into one of the machinery rooms below the street only to find that someone has broken in and is still there. And it happens just enough to make me jumpy. Can you just… not? If you’re curious, ask for a tour.

Hoooo! I feel cleansed! Now, back to work.

But don’t get me wrong. The vast majority of the boaters, drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians are polite, friendly and easy to deal with. I only wish the rest were as cooperative and pleasant. Bridgetenders really do care about all of you. That’s why we’re here, doing what we do. So you’ll have to forgive me if I sometimes get irritated that there are a few out there who don’t care as much as we do.

Oh, and did I mention? It’s my birthday.


I’m Wide Awake, Here!

I recently had a blind date with a guy, and when he discovered I was a bridgetender, he got this smirk on his face. I knew what was coming next. The stereotype.

Few people even know we exist, but those who do seem to assume that we all sleep through our shifts. This assumption drives me absolutely insane. Obviously I can’t speak for every bridgetender on the face of the earth, but I can say that I take pride in the fact that I have never slept on duty. Not once. (Besides, I have a blog to write!)

I can honestly say that in my 14 years of opening drawbridges, I’ve met more operators who take their job seriously than those who blow it off as an easy paycheck. We have people’s lives in our hands. Google “Death” and “Drawbridges” if you don’t believe me. It’s not a job for someone who does not feel that acute responsibility.

A lot of boaters think that we are asleep because they don’t know the proper way to communicate with us. If you float up to a bridge and just sit there, we can’t read your mind. We’re not going to back up traffic for miles just in case you might want an opening. Too many boats approach bridges just to have a look and then turn around and go away for us to do that.

If you want an opening from a drawbridge, read your Coastguard Local Notice to Mariners to determine the proper horn signal for that particular bridge. And get a decent horn, for heaven’s sake. If your horn sounds like the meep meep of the roadrunner cartoon, chances are we won’t hear you over the traffic.

Also, if you contact us by radio, make sure you’re on the right channel. And then turn up your volume. That’s a typical scenario. Someone contacts us, but then can’t hear our response. I once had a guy in Florida call me 4 times. I responded each time, but he couldn’t hear me because his volume was down. The 4th time he said, “WAKE UP!!!” As I opened the bridge for him, I shouted for him to turn up the volume on his radio. He did. Then I got on the radio and said to him, for everyone to hear, “For your information, I responded to you 4 times. I don’t sleep. I have never slept. Thanks so much for your respect and cooperation.”

So when Mr. Blind Date Guy started to tell me a story about a sleeping bridgetender, I knew he wouldn’t be asking me out again. And he didn’t. And I was glad.

Fremont Bridge, Seattle. One of the 9 bridges I’ve operated in my career. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

My Brain on Cruise Control

With an 8 hour drive ahead of me from Seattle, Washington to Missoula, Montana, I wondered what my brain would do with all that “down time”. So I decided to take a digital recorder with me and whenever I started to think about a new subject, I’d take note. I have no idea whether I’m typical or completely out there on the lunatic fringe, but I thought it would be an interesting little experiment. So what follows is a look into my idle brain.

In between long periods where my mind seemed to simply hum along with the sound of my tires, I recorded these thoughts:

  • Did I leave burners on? I’m sure I checked… But did I?
  • Have I forgotten anything?
  • I hope my dog Devo doesn’t pee in the car.
  • I wonder if I’m passing Bill Gates on the highway?
  • It’s so nice to see something different for a change.
  • Why is my GPS not speaking to me?
  • Raining so hard I can’t see out the window. Wish I could afford a car with a working defogger.
  • Devo insisted I stop to let him pee less than a half hour down the road. I suppose it would be worse with small children.
  • After listening to an NPR story, I need to add The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat to my “must read” list, which is becoming so long that I fear I’ll never catch up.
  • My windshield wipers refuse to turn off. Great.
  • Do dogs’ ears pop when we come down from the mountains like mine do?
  • Devo is sitting beside me. He’s my best friend. Blue is sound asleep in the back.
  • Heading into Big Sky country. I can breathe again. I never realize I’m not breathing until I start breathing again.
  • Drove for 2 hours before I remembered I have cruise control. It’s not something I can use in the gridlock of Seattle.
  • I wonder what farming life is like? Lonely. Fulfilling. Hard.
  • I took this same route in reverse a year ago when I drove across country from Florida. I was so different then. What a year it has been.
  • Lots of talk about the forest fires on the radio. A sign outside of someone’s house: “Firefighters, it’s only a house. Take care of yourselves.”
  • Ideas for blog entries.
  • After seeing an out of date billboard on the subject: There’s a TESTICLE festival? Seriously?
  • You know you’re in trouble when the only radio stations you can get are gospel and traditional Mexican folk music. Radio is now off.
  • I begin humming “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson. Over and over and over and over…
[Image credit: larryrebich.com]
[Image credit: larryrebich.com]

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

I used to make it a point to stay informed about current events. I read newspapers, magazines, and watched the news. Then as finances got tighter and life became more hectic, I dropped my subscriptions. And at some point, probably during my billionth move in a two year period, I left my television sitting on the side of the road along with a lot of other stuff I got tired of lugging around.

And a funny thing happened. The world didn’t come to an end. In fact, my anxiety level dropped considerably. I was no longer being fed a steady diet of tragedies that I could do nothing about. And if something was urgent or actionable, somehow I always found out. Either I’d hear it on the radio or it would be trending on the internet or a friend would tell me.

Normally I would strongly discourage operating from a position of ignorance, and indeed, it’s important to be aware to a certain degree or the bad guys will win. But is it necessary to hear about panic-making theories that may or may not come to pass? Do I really care about celebrity scandals? How often do I need to be shown that the milk of human kindness seems to be drying up?

The media want you to be afraid. The more afraid you are, the more you want to know. The more you want to know, the more you seek them out. Sometimes I feel like a puppet on a string.

I’m getting older and I’m tired. I never thought I’d say this, but ignorance really is bliss. And I could use a bit more bliss.

[Image credit: fiveprime.org]
[Image credit: fiveprime.org]

Andy Johnson: A Boil on the Butt of Jacksonville’s Progressive Community

One of the reasons I’m thrilled to be out of Jacksonville, Florida is that it’s an extremely conservative community. I often felt like a lone voice shouting in the wilderness when I lived there. Unfortunately, the most strident progressive voice in that town belongs to Andy Johnson, the moral equivalent of a scum-sucking catfish.

Strong words, I know, but I come by them honestly. This man tricked me out of $3,500.00 and I have the winning lawsuit and the subsequent lien on his house to prove it. Here’s a man who puts himself out there as the voice of liberal morality, and yet he blatantly disregards a court order to pay me back the money he took, and cares not one whit for the financial hardship this has caused me. That tells you all you need to know about the content of his character.

The thought that he used to be in the Florida House of Representatives leaves me slightly queasy. Our politics may be similar, but this man does not represent me. I’d be embarrassed to say he did. It’s enough to make me want to vote republican. Almost.

You can read the full and sordid details about Andy Johnson’s underhanded dealings here. Or you can get an abridged version of events here. You can get details on how he blatantly lied about the situation to a reporter and my documented evidence of it here. If you’d like to confront him about this situation, read my suggestion about that here. And if you’d like to buy my judgment at a discount and make a nice profit from collecting the money, read about my offer here. If you would like to talk about other nefarious deeds of his, do so here. If you’d like to read more about how my lien is ruining Andy’s credit, do so here. And for a log of all my articles about Andy, go here.

Andy Johnson

Andy Johnson in all his infamy.

Not All NPR Stations Are Created Equal

I am a loyal listener of National Public Radio. It is my main source of news and entertainment. It often inspires topics for this blog. Whenever I travel by car, I look up the NPR station for the area in question so that I can stay connected. It fascinates me how different one NPR station can be from another. (You can find your NPR station here.)

For example, I listen to KPLU here in Seattle, and because of that, I whenever I hear Jazz, I will always think of this city. I actually like Jazz, but KPLU kind of overdoes it. Here’s today’s schedule. Interspersed with Morning Edition and All Things Considered and Fresh Air, we have: Midnight to 4 am: Jazz 24. 9am to 3 pm: Midday Jazz. 7:30 pm to Midnight: Evening Jazz. If I hear “I Loves You Porgy” one more time, as good as it is, I may lose my mind. My kingdom for a little freakin’ variety!

The only NPR station I’ve heard that was even more monotonous was WQCS out of Fort Pierce, Florida. Classical. Once in a while, a little news. But classical, classical, classical. I could only take it in very short doses. The odd thing about this station is it’s broadcast from the local college. They seem to have overlooked that entire potential audience and have chosen instead to target people born in the 1800’s. What a waste.

On the other hand, just up the Florida Coast from WQCS is one of the best NPR stations I’ve ever heard. WFIT in Melbourne, Florida is all about variety! Yes, today they’re doing Jazz from Midnight to 5 am and Morning Edition from 5 to 9 am, but from 9 to 10 they’re doing Democracy Now, and from 10 am to 2 pm it’s Sound Waves. Sound waves is a mix of contemporary music, independent labels and rock classics. You will often hear stuff on Sound Waves that you won’t hear anywhere else. And then 2 pm to 4 pm is World Café, one of my favorites. It’s a mix of blues, rock, world music, folk, and alternative country. It’s nationally syndicated. (I can’t understand why more NPR stations don’t pick it up.) Then, from 4 to 7 pm is All Things Considered, and from 7 to 10 pm is Jazz On The Beach, and from 10 pm to Midnight is Mozart’s Attic. See? A nice variety! How hard is that? Seriously?

Another great NPR station, much to my shock, is KUSU in Salt Lake City. On any given day, they broadcast talk shows like BBC World Service, TED Radio Hour, As It Happens, Human Kind and The Zesty Garden. I have to admit this one is a bit light on the music, but it does bring hyper-conservative Salt Lake a wide variety of views and news that they probably have no other exposure to, so more power to them!

And you won’t hear me say many good things about my old hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, but I have to admit that WJCT is a fantastic station. Decades ago they were a dry, boring, classical station, but under new management they have blossomed. Not only do they carry the regular news programs, including a local one, but the music… Oh! The music in the evenings! I used to adore Electro Lounge, which was a laid-back mixed bag of delightful surprises. I also looked forward to String Theory every week, with its modern acoustic alternative vibe. Shows like Indie Endeavor, Doo Wop Revival, Country Crossroads, Blues Horizon, Lost in the Stacks, Route 66, and This Is Jazz virtually guaranteed that on this station you could never be bored. I am stunned that they don’t try to nationally syndicate these shows. They could support their station that way.

And speaking of support, if you have the means, please support your NPR station. We must keep quality news and music alive and kicking! The beauty of all these stations is you can listen to them on line from anywhere in the world. And I do, believe me. Man cannot live on Jazz alone.


[Image credit: stellarfour.com]

Andy Johnson is a Heel, but I’m NOT Achilles

The downward spiral that has been my life for the past 5 years really started when Andy Johnson, former member of the Florida House of Representatives, stole $3,500.00 from me, and despite the fact that I won the court case and have a lien on his house, he refuses to pay me back.

Looking back, I can see that I let that situation get the better of me. As my circumstances became more desperate, I started making more and more foolhardy choices, and things began to snowball until I found myself in a deep crevasse of desperation, not quite knowing what to do with myself.

Why on earth would I give this man so much power? In retrospect it disgusts me. He has swindler written all over him. The fact that someone can’t even make it as a politician, which is already one of the lowest forms of life, says a great deal about his character.

The fact that I let his betrayal and thievery send me into the profound tailspin that it did says a great deal about mine. I am too trusting. I need to be more self-protective.

Most of all, I need to get some perspective. This man is pathetic. Yes, I am connected to him for as long as this lien can continue to destroy his credit. There’s no getting around that, because he’ll never pay up voluntarily. But other than occasionally spreading the word about who he really is, I shouldn’t pay him any further attention.

I’m starting to take back my life. He, on the other hand, will continue to sell his soul because he refuses to do the right thing. That makes me pity him.

No photo of Andy Johnson is connected to this blog entry. Frankly, I’m sick of looking at the man.

You can read the full and sordid details about Andy Johnson’s underhanded dealings here. Or you can get an abridged version of events here. You can get details on how he blatantly lied about the situation to a reporter and my documented evidence of it here. If you’d like to confront him about this situation, read my suggestion about that here. And if you’d like to buy my judgment at a discount and make a nice profit from collecting the money, read about my offer here. If you would like to talk about other nefarious deeds of his, do so here.


Andy Johnson Scumbag Central

As anyone who has been following my blog knows, Andy Johnson, former member of the Florida House of Representatives, stole $3,500.00 from me, and despite the fact that I won the court case and have a lien on his house, he refuses to pay me back. You can read the full and sordid details about his underhanded dealings here. Or you can get an abridged version of events here. You can get details on how he blatantly lied about the situation to a reporter and my documented evidence of it here. If you’d like to confront him about this situation, read my suggestion about that here. And if you’d like to buy my judgment at a discount and make a nice profit from collecting the money, read about my offer here.

So, what more is there to say? Well, quite a bit, actually. It occurred to me the other day, while discussing the situation with a friend (because I take every opportunity to spread the word), that someone who would do something so underhanded couldn’t possibly be working in a vacuum. This level of scumbaggery, in my opinion, is rarely an isolated event. And in fact, a few people have contacted me privately and intimated that he has done things to them as well. I will respect their privacy and not share the details here, but I am going to open wide a window of opportunity and offer to use this highly public and completely free forum to share your Andy Johnson stories, because cockroaches hate the light.

As much as it pains me, my Andy Johnson entries are often my most viewed entries on a daily basis, so rest assured your account will get a wide readership. It kind of feels like the most vitriolic parts of my blog are the parts that garner the most attention. I long to cut them out like a cancer, but feel the need to share the truth until I see my money, and since it seems like that will never happen, I guess I will have to rip the scab off my scar tissue every few months and continue to sally forth.

Having said that, I may as well go all out and become a central clearinghouse for all things underhanded with respect to this man, so if you have any TRUE stories about Andy Johnson’s nefarious deeds, please contact me. You can add short stories in the comment section below, or, if your story is as long and complicated as mine is, we can dedicate an entire blog entry to the subject if you would like. I only ask that all your information be factual or your personal opinion about those facts, because I want to maintain this blog’s credibility. And with all things Andy Johnson, the truth seems to be much stranger than fiction, so who needs to falsify?

I will state quite emphatically that all views and opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the originator of The View from a Drawbridge and/or any/all other contributors to this site.

So come and get him people! The truth shall set everyone free except, perhaps,  Andy Johnson himself!

Andy Johnson

I wonder what he thinks about as he gazes quietly off into the distance like that. “Who can I rip off next?”

Andy Johnson is a Liar, and I Can Prove It

Recently a journalist, Robert Montgomerie, contacted me about my most popular blog entry, Andy Johnson, SHAME on you!!! in which I describe in detail how this former member of the Florida House of Representatives stole several thousand dollars from me and refuses to pay it back. (For a shorter version of events, see Andy Johnson is a Swindler. To learn what he’s up to these days, see Andy Johnson is Back on the Radio. Heaven Help Us.)

According to Montgomerie, “There are a couple of other folks who are fighting back and forth with Johnson in public about the radio station and funding. It’s a rather slimy affair.”

So the sharks are circling. That doesn’t surprise me in the least. If any lawsuits ensue, I hope these people will contact me, because I can testify to Andy Johnson’s lack of character, and I would be thrilled to have that opportunity.

Especially now, because I’ve caught him in more lies. There’s nothing more pathetic than a con artist who can’t lie well. I honestly believe that he thinks that if he says something, it somehow becomes fact. The hubris of this man is beyond the pale.

Montgomerie, being a responsible journalist, decided to talk to Andy before writing his article. What follows are some excerpts of the conversation. These are all direct quotes from Andy Johnson.

“I have not done anything to stop this woman but I do not owe her any money at all. I lined up a roofer to fix her roof in trade with me and she would not let him do it. And, well, she and her boyfriend owed me about $10,000 for unpaid radio time. I guess you buy this stuff.”

“The lady can do anything she wants. She has already got more money from me than she claims I owe.”

“I AM fundamentally honest and decent and committed to doing unselfish things.”

Oh, where to begin.

  • The most blatant lie is that I would not let a roofer work on my roof. First of all, that defies logic. Why would I give Andy Johnson $3,500 to acquire a roofer and then refuse to have the roof done? Amongst the piles of evidence I supplied for my lawsuit against Andy, which I won, is an affidavit from Riggins Roofing. This is a matter of public record. If you’d like to see for yourself, it is case number  2010-SC-000516 in the County Court of Duval County, Florida. But for your convenience I’ll quote directly from the affidavit. “What he offered me was as follows: Free ads on his radio station for a certain amount of time. Because of the slow down in my company I was unable to agree to the deal and told him so…As far as I was concerned, that was the end of my company’s involvement in the situation.” This affidavit proves that when he took my money from me, he already knew he didn’t have a roof deal. That’s fraud.
  • He also sent out a second roofer to look at the place. Chuck Guerra of Shinglemasters Roofing. He was a decent and honest man, so I couldn’t let him make a decision about the situation without knowing the full story, so I told him the truth. At that point he told me he already wasn’t going to take Andy’s deal, because he felt advertising on his show was a waste of time. He had done it in the past and it had yielded him no business whatsoever. In the end, he wound up doing my roof, and he did an excellent job, but I had to pay him full price. Which means I was out that money in addition to the money Andy Johnson stole from me.
  • Andy also states he has not done anything to stop me. That’s a half-truth at best. What he should have said was that he can’t do anything to stop me. He has a law degree, and knows darned well that all I have to do to prove I’m not slandering or defaming him is to provide proof of what I’m saying, and I’ve got about a half inch thick pile of documentation, including the court judgment in my favor, that backs me up on that.
  • Another thing I have, among all those court documents, is a letter signed by Andy, dated December 24, 2009, which states: “Within 30 days I will provide either a signed roofing company document including a firm date for completion of a roof repair…or the return in full of the $3500.” Now, being trained in the law, if I had really and truly gotten more money from him than I claim he owes, don’t you think he’d have gotten documentation of that fact? Don’t you think he’d have bothered to show up for the lawsuit and provide such documentation, or, barring that, don’t you think he’d have provided it to the court in order to have my lien on his house vacated? Show me the receipts, Andy. Oh, but you can’t, can you? Because you and I both know you have never given me one thin dime.
  • As far as me owing him $10,000 dollars in unpaid radio time, that’s patently absurd. I’ve never been on his radio station in my entire life, and wouldn’t want to be. I’ve never even called in to his show, because I think it’s a joke. I’ve never stepped foot in that radio station. Now, if he’s referring to the radio show he allowed my ex-boyfriend, John Maycumber to have for one hour a week, called “The Spot”, he provided that to him in exchange for the fact that John worked for him for an entire year free of charge. He produced a ton of amazing and humorous and highly popular radio ads for him, and he screened his many crackpot callers for his talk show. If he feels that John owes him such a fortune, why hasn’t he taken him to court for it? Because he knows that claim is a steaming pile of horse manure, that’s why. And again, being trained in the law, he should know that common law isn’t recognized in the State of Florida, so any financial issues he may or may not have with John have nothing whatsoever to do with me.

If you are truly “fundamentally honest and decent and committed to doing unselfish things”, Andy, then you would comply with the law. A judge ruled that you owe me this money. Comply with the courts. Or do you think your fundamentally honest and decent butt is above the law? I guess your actions will indicate your real thoughts on the matter.


Here’s Andy Johnson, acting decent and honest at a meeting of the “Southside Business [sic] Men’s Club.” Little do they know. But rest assured, I’ll tell them. (Andy’s the fat one, by the way.)