Yesterday was one of those fun days where I kept feeling worse as the day progressed, and I kept taking naps and getting dreams which made no sense standing alone but taken altogether seemed to be pointing at one particular thing, which I may not go into day.
Also yesterday, I was looking at driving down to Key West to take in either “Gangster Squad” or “Zero Dark Thirty” at Regal Cinema, next to Publix on North Roosevelt Boulevard. “Gangster Squad” started a little after 4 p.m., and “Zero Dark Thirty” about an hour later. The way my naps went, I awoke about 4 p.m. and that was how I knew I was going to see “Zero Dark Thirty”, about which topic I wrote in the Christmas Eve Zero Dark Thirty – America in denial post, which ended:
“Small minds, American minds, view the killing of Osama bin Laden as a victory, as justice. Small minds, American minds, do not see Osama won and America lost. Small minds, American minds, do not see, will not see, just how badly America lost.”
The intricate movie was put together pretty well. A woman CIA operator figures out where Osama bin Laden is in Pakistan. Probably not pleasing to the politicos in Washington D.C., CIA use of torture at black facilities is given full credit for producing various threads of evidence which leads to the woman CIA operator splicing all the threads together.
The more popular this movie is at the box office, the more Americans use this movie to glorify the hunting and killing of Osama bin Laden, the greater will be America’s karma for the way it responded to 9/11. The way for Americans to mitigate that karma is to admit the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan never should have been launched, and to resist with all means possible America entering into future such wars; and to lobby their government with all means possible to pull all US military personnel, CIA operatives and diplomatic personnel out of the Middle East altogether, and to stop supporting Israel altogether.
The drive into Key West once again brought poignantly home the 2 1/2 year redo of North Roosevelt Boulevard by the US Department of Transportation and the State of Florida, over which it appears from reports in the newspapers the City of Key West had no control. The redo has seriously reduced my visits to Key West and the timing of when I visit, because the only way out of the city is via Flagler Avenue or South Roosevelt Boulevard, and the best time to use those exits is at night and on weekends when the outgoing traffic is far less.
I have heard North Roosevelt was supposed to have remained a two-way road throughout the construction, but it was made into a one-way road into the city, which effectively killed local North Roosevelt businesses which did not sell essential goods or have the staying power.
Here’s an uplifting article on that redo in The Key West Citizen yesterday.
Officials: Road project on schedule
State rep says looks deceive on N. Roosevelt Blvd.
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff
The $42 million reconstruction of North Roosevelt Boulevard is on schedule and the work is getting done despite the public perception that the torn seams of the island’s main entryway are gathering dust, officials said Thursday. “It is right where it should be,” said state Rep. Holly Raschein, R-Key Largo, who met this week with the main players in Key West. “You’re going to start seeing more workers on the ground, physically,” she added. The roadway, the primary artery for motorists arriving in — and one of two options for leaving — the Southernmost City, is now a one-way street for 2.5 miles. Crews have started a long-term project to include rebuilding, repaving, re-striping and installing sidewalks, crosswalks, traffic lights, street lighting and landscaping, along with an expanded seawall and promenade. Raschein said the Tuesday meeting — also attended by Mayor Craig Cates, project engineers and Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District 6 Secretary Gus Pego — was a successful venting session that drove home the following facts: • Work has been steady on the project; it’s just that employees have been doing underground work on laying pipes for sewage and water improvements. • The two-week holiday break that floored locals — and Raschein — was part of the original contract and was announced ahead of time in The Citizen. • The 820-day work contract is 32 percent complete. • The contractor has an “incentive” bonus of $10,000 per day, up to $1.2 million, for finishing early. Conversely, there is also a $10,000 per-day fine for blowing the deadline, which hovers around August 2014. The two-week holiday break made the mayor bristle. The de Moya Group, which won the contract, is taking too many days off, he said. “I asked them to hurry up,” said Cates. “There really wasn’t a representative of the company. Overall, the FDOT is doing what they can. But my concern is the contractor, which is on schedule. It looks like they could be working a lot more. They have all those dates off, rain dates and the holidays. I think they’re taking advantage of that. It’s really affecting our businesses.” • Key West residents and tourists are stuck with the construction until August 2014. “The number of days, once you get into a construction project, is really hard to deal with,” said City Commissioner Teri Johnston, a local contractor. “It’s a state negotiation, and now that we’re into it and everybody has had to alter their lives, the total number of days seems huge.” The upside is that the great upheaval on North Roosevelt is a comprehensive fix for utilities and the roadway, one that will last for years upon years, Johnston said. “There was an incredible amount of underground work needed to be completed,” Johnston said. “We have coordinated all of these activities. The downside of that is it lengthens the amount of time. We had the option of doing it all at once or piecemeal. How many times do you want North Roosevelt Boulevard torn up?” Raschein said she can’t speed up the construction, but there are “tweaks” here and there that could make it easier on everyone whose daily grind now includes detours. Contractors have agreed to work on cleaning up more debris more quickly, she said, after hearing complaints from the Key West Chamber of Commerce. And there is a push to install a permanent green arrow at the Triangle entrance to Key West — where the right lane is a “go,” or through, lane at all times. Key West has more in store when it comes to the project. By the end of this month, work on the promenade — the sidewalk that flanks the harbor — will shut down stretches of it so work on the seawall may begin. To make up for the walkway closures, the contractor plans to put a 6-foot wide path for walkers and bicycles in the middle of the road, with construction on one side and traffic on the other, said Dean Walters, spokesman for the FDOT project. Walters said the local contractor chief, John Allen, cares about the project’s effects on locals, and routinely visits with business owners. As for any disruptions for local businesses, Walters urged locals to make it a point to shop along North Roosevelt Boulevard despite the construction. “Take the extra 15 minutes and drive around again at night to visit those businesses,” said Walters, “for the sake of our friends who have businesses on the boulevard.” This week’s road construction mini-summit helped smooth out some of the local frustrations with the project, said Raschein. Looks were deceptive, she said. “We learned that a lot of work has been done underground,” she said, referring to the new drainage system meant to protect the marine ecosystem from road contaminants. “We may not see physical workers on top, but there have still been things going on. Morale is very low among businesses, residents and tourists. People are being told, ‘I’m not coming back until this is done.’”
I sort doubt looks are all that are deceptive in this North Roosevelt local business-killing situation. I have been driving into Key West about once every ten days since the construction began, and I have seen very little human activity above ground. Maybe they are building a secret underground tunnel to make it easier to get around in Key West?
This uplifting letter to the editor also was in The Key West Citizen yesterday.
Destinations ruined by cruise ship crowds
My husband and I read a recent article in The New York Times about the cruise ship controversy now raging in Key West. Key West is perhaps our favorite place on earth. We have visited at Christmas over six times, and more at other times of the year. We have stayed at the Santa Maria Suites (twice), the Southernmost Hotels (twice), the Southernmost House Hotel (twice), the Banyon Tree Apartments and several other places. We have eaten in practically every recommended restaurant in Key West, most several times, and all the bakeries, ice cream and yogurt shops. We have rented bikes, taken the tour on the little railway, visited Harry Truman’s [Little White] House, gone on the glass-bottom boat, visited the state park and the beach. We have bought souvenirs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, fridge magnets, photographs, paintings; you name it, we have bought it. … I would estimate our spending at something between $650 and $800 a day, maybe more, never less. This year, we went elsewhere in Florida for our holiday. And that is because the cruise ship crowds have flooded the tiny island and made it a trial to be there, despite our enthusiasm for the locale. We understand from The New York Times article that you already have 350 cruise ships a year stopping in Key West. … We also heard from local people that you are widening the channel to accommodate them. Apparently, according to The New York Times, people from cruise ships spend an average of $84 each. … There is a golden-goose principle at work here. Is it worth losing us for them? We will come back, but for shorter holidays, until the channel is completed, if that is your decision. Then for us, no more. I wish I could take all of you residents for a tour of the European cities we have visited that have been utterly ruined by cruise ships, places we never return to. … I used to advise all my friends to go to Key West. Now I say, “Go now. Go quickly. Before it is utterly ruined by the cruise ships.” Sad, isn’t it?
S. J. Taylor
On a brighter note is an article in The Key West Citizen today – www.keysnews.com – about a business/art group pressing the City of Key West City Commission to give them permission to launch an every Saturday bazaar/flea Market/farmer’s market on Truman Waterfront, which sounds like a pretty darn good idea to me.
On a Conch gangster note is recent reporting in the Key West Citizen on Brandon Druckemiller, son of Lisa Druckemiller, former Monroe County employee who embezzled and sold a bunch of the county’s I-Phones to county employees, including the County Administrator and a County Commissioner, and to other people, at a discount. She got caught, and her down wind accomplice son Brandon got caught. Then, the other day, Brandon got caught for sticking up a couple of Key West businesses. Word on the street is Brandon and Lisa are claiming they wuz framed all the way around.
On another gangster note is The Key West Citizen’s report today on the latest developments in the murder for hire case in Marathon. That article begins:
“A federal grand jury handed down an indictment for Marathon businessman Dennis Zecca on Thursday, adding drug and weapons charges to the murder-for-hire count on which he was arrested Dec. 21.
“The four-count indictment charges Zecca, 51, with conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute, attempt to possess cocaine with intent to distribute, murder for hire and transfer of a firearm to a convicted felon.
“The two cocaine-related charges each carry maximum sentences of life in prison, and the murder-for-hire and firearm counts each carry maximum penalties of 10 years’ imprisonment.”
I could not help wondering if the National Rifle Association is the reason conspiracy to murder for hire and transfer of a firearm to a convicted felon carries only a 10 year maximum sentence. I bet the NRA really will go gung-ho for “Zero Dark Thirty”, in which Navy SEALS (actors) are seen shooting unarmed grieving women at Osama bin Laden’s compound.
Maybe I will take in “Gangster Squad” this afternoon, pick up a few vigilante pointers on how to more effectively deal with the likes of the Drukemillers and Zecca. Or maybe I will call Patrick the Terminator in Key West, to see if he wants to kill me at chess at Harpoon Harry’s this afternoon. Or maybe I’ll do both. Or maybe a biker chick will pick me up and restore my soul and ego. Or maybe I’ll sleep most of today, which ain’t started out too peachy in the feel good department.