Key Largo Sue replied to this part of a recent post:
The one juicy tidbit that did come out last night, before the candidates got on stage and said about nothing, was the undersheriff told me, after I asked about it, that 60 percent of the Upper Keys deputies live on the mainland, and the reason for that is two-fold: (1) they and their wives or girlfriends find the Keys boring and there are more fun things to do on the mainland, and their significant others won’t live in the Keys, therefore; and (2) they want to work as deputies in the Keys because being a deputy or police officer on the mainland is a lot more dangerous– gangs, shootouts, robberies, burglaries, etc.
HI Sloan, From the upper keys deputies I talk to (4 or 5 of them), I hear that a big reason they live off the rock is their kids are in better schools than Monroe County’s. There are more education choices where they all live (private, Montessori, magnet) and their kids are getting educated better, and have more academic focus. I once asked a deputy what it would take for him to move his family here. He said his kids already graduated high school. But I do agree about no fun things to do. Unless you like fishing or drinking/drugs, Monroe is pretty boring. Excluding Key West, nothing’s open after 9PM. And who wants to drive 200 miles round trip just to walk around and look at tourist trap crap, and all the drinkers. As to the crime – or lack of it – I’m not sure that’s the case anymore. At least here in the upper keys, we being targeted pretty regularly by the mainland crooks doing their crimes down here in our neighborhoods and stores. And upper keys locals are contributing their share to the hostage, kidnap, stolen car, shooting at each other scenarios. Most recently, a Conch Key woman shot her neighbor because he did not give her a beer. My point, I’m not sure these days the deputies would list “not much crime” as a reason to work Monroe. To close – yes, the Sheriff race is – at least on the surface – going along quite calmly, drama-free. I don’t know what people in your geographic area are saying, but up here, I hear more people saying Petak than Ramsey. 31 days and it will all be over. And then we all start picking up the pieces, adjusting to the fate cast us by our fellow voters. Sue
Then Sue replied to this part of yesterday’s poetry in the garden of good and evil, Key West and beyond-sky post about Lisa Druckemiller going for Judge David Audlin to decide whether or not she does prison time, instead of accepting the State Attorney’s offer of 2 years in the pokey.
Hi Sloan, And that’s a whole new ball game. You focused on a very good point. Hope is a powerful, but yet useless word. How do people know, or asked the other way, who are the people who know? Let’s start with Druk’s atty – Robert Citron. How can she possibly afford him ? I’d sure hate to think any taxpayer money is funding her defense in her crimes against the taxpayers. Next, what dirt does Citron bring to the event that will get Druk a better deal? Last, of course Citron wants to wait until Dennis is gone. These conchs are fanatics about protecting their own. The most we can hope for – jail would be nice, but the no-fudge bottom line is absolutely no FRS retirement money ever goes her way. Regardless what else they put on paper, the no money part is the best sentence to satisfy her victims (ie taxpayers.) Sue
What I really would like to know is, beside’s how much time in the pokey Drukemiller will or will not serve, is how much Robert Cintron is charging Drukemiller, and where she got the money to pay him? More specifically, did any of Cintron’s fee come from the sale of stolen I-phones and I-pads? From Drukemiller’s personal assets? From contributions by other people, and they are?
As for Robert Cintron, I know him better than I know any other Key West practicing lawyer, except for Sam Kaufman, who is my personal lawyer and a good friend. Sam’s firm did my estate planning. Cintron represents the Citizens (Police) Review Board. Cintron represented Sunny Booker, in the grave career-threatening charges brought against her by the School District. Cintron represented Seahorse Trailer Park on Big Bine Key, after a developer bought it and was going to bulldoze it and build a resort there, after I paid Cintron’s retainer. He is in partnership with Hugh Morgan, a Key West conch and former US Magistrate, whose son recently got a really sweet plea deal on charges that could have put him in prison for life. Cintron is good friends with disbarred lawyer Jim Hendrick, who practiced law in Morgan’s law firm with Cintron and Morgan and other lawyers I knew pretty well from having hung out with Hendrick a good bit in that law firm, we played chess there. We had brought-in meals there, and we gathered on Friday’s at different Key West restaurants. Cintron handles a variety of cases. He tries to represent his clients to the best of his ability. That’s what lawyers are supposed to do.
Son is booked on theft charges
B. Druckemiller, 25, in county jail CITIZEN STAFF KEY WEST: Brandon Druckemiller, 25, a son of beleaguered former county IT director Lisa Druckemiller, was arrested early Saturday by the Key West Police Department, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office website. He is charged with unarmed felony burglary in an unoccupied structure; and felony larceny, grand theft between $5,000 and $10,000, the site says. Lisa Druckemiller is charged with stealing 52 county-owned iPads and iPhones and selling some. It was unknown if her son’s charges were related to that case, but Monroe County State Attorney’s Office investigator Chris Weber stated in a report that both Druckemiller’s two sons knowingly sold the stolen equipment. Druckemiller denied that Friday. “My children are totally innocent. … This is totally political.” Brandon faces dismissal from his city of Key West plumber job for his alleged role in the “iScandal,” which led to a grand jury probe. He was booked about 5 a.m., according to the site, which also showed he was being held on no bond. No further information was available Saturday night. Brandon also was arrested on misdemeanor drug charges in 2008.
In different Sunday School class of the Florida Keys Happy Meal Church:
School Board to look at legal services
By SEAN KINNEY
Posted – Saturday, October 06, 2012 10:30 AM EDT
After facing criticism over a September settlement, attorneys working for the Monroe County School District next week will present an overview of their case history. At the School Board’s Sept. 25 meeting, Chairman John Dick questioned contract attorneys from Vernis and Bowling about a $23,000 settlement, ultimately approved, with a teacher accused of hitting a student but cleared in an administrative hearing. She resigned in February. At that meeting, Dick said, “I wish the district had never gone forward with this. When we do these hearings and go forward, we should go into win.”
Gee wiz, John. You approved the administrative action taken against the teacher, which resulted in the teacher, not the School District, taking legal action. Perhaps you should not accuse teachers of wrongdoing, John, unless you intend to win. Perhaps you should not put the School District’s lawyers to having to defend charges against teachers, by approving said charges. Perhaps the School District should just stop making charges against teachers altogether, since making charges against them is likely to result in accused teachers lawyering up and litigating the charges. Perhaps, John, the school district should just stop using lawyers altogether, now that it has a Superintendent who is a lawyer.
He went so far as to suggest the board use its labor-relations attorney, Bob Norton, to handle other personnel matters.
Great idea, John. Drag labor law specialist Norton down here from the mainland every time a teacher or school district employee or school board member is suspected of or charged with wrongdoing. While you’re at that, perhaps you get Norton to complete the investigation of the grave career threatening charges the School District leveled against Sunny Booker, the outcome of which I repeatedly have requested in freedom of information/public records requests, which requests so far have been met with the typical kicking the can down the road antics frequently lamented by your bosom buddy Larry Murray.
That prompted this response from attorney Theron Simmons: “We have a very good track record on these. As far as results, it’s at the board’s pleasure who they choose to use.” Based on a tracking sheet prepared by Simmons colleague Dirk Smits, Vernis and Bowling has settled 22 cases since 1997 for a total of $877,828. That’s balanced with 20 cases, counted as wins, that resulted in $1,853,466 recovered for the district. Dick pointed out that $1.5 million of that total came from one 2004 insurance case. He also said the district has other legal issues that are not handled by Vernis and Bowling and the sums don’t consider attorney fees. “Take that one case out and they don’t look so good,” Dick said. Smits could not be reached Friday for comment; he’s set to make his presentation when the board meets Tuesday beginning at 3:15, at Marathon High School.
As I grew older and more simple-minded, I started replying to people who hollered about killing all the lawyers, that the only way I know to kill all the lawyers is to stop using lawyers. I think maybe I started saying that after I finally gave up trying to persuade Christians that it was not Jesus’ way to get all lawyered up. How he said to go about it was, if you got hauled into court by somebody else, to say yes when you meant yes, and no when you meant no, because anything else came from evil. I think maybe he also said, if you are called before the tribunals of men, the Holy Spirit will put the words into your mouth. But like I said, I didn’t have any luck with citing Jesus to Christians, so I went to the simple-minded way of killing all the lawyers – stop using them.
Also on the agenda is an update from Christina McPherson, director of assessment and accountability, about SAT scores. In 2012, 386 Keys students scored a combined average score of 1,462 out of a possible 2,400; the standard college entrance test covers reading, writing and math. Statewide, 112,057 students earned an average score of 1,460.
So much for this being 8th best district in the State of Florida. So much for the FCAT, which colleges do not even consider. Colleges look hard at the SAT, however.
Date: Sat, 6 Oct 2012 20:00:02 -0700
Subject: Administrative Overhaul
According to the Agenda for Tuesday’s School Board Workshop, Superintendent Porter will be presenting the Board with a new Organizational Chart. Assuming that the Board concurs and gives the go-ahead, most, if not all, of the upper management positions will require new job descriptions. Those job descriptions will by necessity include identification of duties and responsibilities. That, in turn, will lead to revised salary determinations. I am especially interested in the salary determinations. While there are five new “Directors”, the duties and responsibilities of each vary widely. Will each “Director” receive approximately the same salary because they all hold the same title and are at the same level? Or, will the salaries be based primarily on duties and responsibilities and thus vary accordingly? Assuming that Superintendent Porter intends to implement the new structure with existing personnel, I anticipate no end of salary anomalies if not contradictions. Conceivably, you could have one Director making markedly more or less than another or a subordinate having a higher salary than a supervisor. Until names are put in the boxes, there is not way to be certain. It may be prudent to delay implementation until July 1, 2013 when Superintendent Porter will have the opportunity to appoint whomever he wishes at whatever salary he deems appropriate. Doing it now may be the equivalent of putting 10 lbs of —- into a 5 lb bag. Of course, if the District is going to conduct a review of management position descriptions and salaries, this is the perfect time to do the same for the rank and file. You have stated previously that you endorse such a review and I hope that you request at Tuesday’s meeting that it be done. I look forward to a spirited discussion on Tuesday.
Dr. Larry Murray
Fiscal Watchdog and Citizen Advocate ?
For sure, there would be a spirited discussion if Larry were on the School Board, which might be what caused Larry to say at a Key Largo candidate forum that all five current members of the School Board were campaigning against him. Can’t imagine John Dick wanting a lawyer on the School Board, who would never let John, or the other Board members, or the Superintendent, or school district staff, or even the district’s lawyers get away with anything. That would not be Larry Murray, he’s not a lawyer. Who could that be?
As for putting new members on the School Board and other ballot-box quandries, this letter to the editor in today’s Key West Citizen from a Key West fellow I know somewhat:
I recently received my official sample ballot from “Give ‘em Hell Harry” Sawyer, supervisor of elections, for the general election on Nov. 6. I was flabbergasted by the slew of voting selections we have to make this election cycle. I pity the poor voter going into the booth cold with no idea what is awaiting them. They will be greeted with 11 proposed constitutional amendments on top of the 13 general election candidates and eight judgeships up for review, Mosquito Control Board and referendums worded with such indecipherable language you’d better bring a sandwich because you will be in there a while. It took me over an hour to go through all of them with the help of the Internet. There are a couple of sources that may help you wade through all the “Legislaturese” and come to an informed decision. One of them is http://www.floridatrend.com/tagged/87 — a good site to help understand the proposed amendments. We are also being tasked with deciding to retain or not retain three state Supreme Court justices. Apparently our Republican-dominated Legislature and executive branch will not be happy until they have a hat trick of control, including the judicial branch of Florida government. They are gunning for the three Supremes on the ballot. You get to decide. I just thought that forewarned is forearmed. The best of luck to us all.
Alex Symington Key West
When I looked over the sample ballot I received in the mail from the Supervisor of Elections the day before yesterday, I noticed that the item for continuing the one-percent county infrastructure sales tax, which the County Commission intends to use to fund, in part, the Cudjoe regional wastewater system, is buried pretty well out of sight somewhere on the ballot. I found myself sort of hoping nobody would be able to find it, because I haven’t heard any Happy Meal praise reports from any property owners about how much that new tax-funded wastewater system is going to cost them to do the mandatory hook up. Looks sort of like mandatory government-provided health care, which the sick people have to pay for because the government used the sick people’s tax payments to pay for something else that wasn’t supposed to get the sick people’s tax payments.
Also this letter to the editor today:
What type of cruise ships do we want?
Perhaps I have missed it, but has the subject of the “type” of cruise passenger been considered when considering widening of the channel? Realistically, the smaller cruise ships are more expensive to travel, and therefore carry more affluent passengers. In contrast, the mega-ships carry passengers on a budget. Key West should decide which type of passenger it wishes to cater to, as this will set the character of the city for the future. Affluent passengers could support high-end clothing and jewelry stores, for example, or simply buy small souvenirs. The budget traveler is more likely to only buy a small souvenir, perhaps a T-shirt or similar. (Whichever way this goes, can we get the tacky, not funny, somewhat profane T-shirts and signs out of the front windows? They really don’t attract families or, for that matter, anyone with a developed brain.) Consider also that smaller ships don’t carry enough passengers to overload the streets, while the mega-ships will download 5,000 people on a visit. So, an uncrowded city with a few hundred affluent people roaming the streets, or a very crowded city with budget-minded travelers? I prefer the former, and I don’t think millions should be spent to see if the channel “could” support the mega-ships. If the purpose of the study is to definitely bring in the big ships, say so; knowing that they could come without a plan for following up on it is ridiculous. The mega-ships will change Key West’s unique character. Does everyone accept this, or will it benefit a few to the detriment of the majority?
Peter Gray Key West
Aw shucks, Peter. You know it ain’t fair to ask your mayor and city commissioners to say, yes, the purpose of the study is to definitely bring in the big ships. What kind of unChristian thinking caused you to ask them to tell the truth which would get them in all sorts of dilemmas? That pleasantry aside, tell me Peter, have you not been on Duval Street after one, or two, or three of the regular monster cruise ships disgorged thousands of passengers? Have you not driven at snail’s pace through Key West neighborhoods behind conch trains and trolleys loaded to the gills with cruise ship passengers from the regular monster cruise ships, while the driver blasts the neighborhoods with high-tech amplified jokes and history lessons? Have you not even yet seen this photo of a regular monster cruise ship leaving Key West’s harbor, thanks to your daily newspaper not sharing the photo with you?
Sloan Bashinsky, your ever-dutiful happy meal provider and more than slightly reluctant Dist. 3 write-in school board candidate