No Name Key spelling bee

casting a spell

Amigo Todd German of Key West came to me in my first dream last night, the first of a heap of dreams, and said my spelling wasn’t right and he could help me with it. Then, followed a great deal of commotion in the ensuing couple of dreams and in me, and I awoke somewhat and figured out Todd was not talking about school spelling, but casting spells, and he had not liked my recent spell-casting on Key West Mayor Craig Cates as late as yesterday’s patting Key West Mayor Craig Cates on the back …post.

Since Todd is on The Key West Citizen Editorial Board, I figured I needed to see what was in The Citizen today. Voila!

Beauty queen photo and comment my contribution

solar boobs

way too much of a bad thing on No Name Key, also my contribution

No Name Key electricity

installation of the good thing on No Name Key, also my contribution

Lawmaker calls for No Name power vote

BY TIMOTHY O’HARA Citizen Staff

tohara@keysnews.com

Monroe County Commissioner David Rice plans to call for a vote on bringing commercial electricity to No Name Key, saying the county has discouraged utilities on the island for long enough and should now allow it to move forward.

Rice wants the County Commission to vote on the issue at its March 20 meeting in Marathon, when the commission is scheduled to talk in closed session with its attorneys about a lawsuit involving commercial power on No Name Key, he said.

Following the closed-session meeting, Rice wants the commission to vote on whether to issue building permits to residents on No Name Key, which would allow them to connect their homes to a series of power poles and power lines that Keys Energy Services installed on No Name Key last summer.

The county’s Growth Management Division has so far denied the building permits needed to connect the homes, as the county is waiting for two lawsuits to be resolved. The denials have been appealed to the Planning Commission, which has so far upheld Growth Management’s ruling.

Rice has now called on the County Commission to vote on the building permit issue.

“Someone needs to call for a vote,” he said Monday. “I feel the county needs to follow state statute.”

Rice’s request comes out of a discrepancy between the county’s comprehensive land-use plan and its land development regulations. The county’s comprehensive plan states utilities are “discouraged” on No Name Key. The county’s land development regulations state that utilities are “prohibited.” Florida Statute 163.3194 states that when the comp plan and land development regulations are in conflict, the county must abide by the comp plan, not the land development regulations, Rice said.

Rice argued that the county should now allow utilities there because for more than a decade it has discouraged bringing power there. Rice said the county has done its job discouraging utilities, but the county is facing mounting legal fees as it has been embroiled in years of litigation. Also, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a letter more than two years ago stating if the project is done correctly no plant and animal species will be harmed.

“What is discouraged? Dragging your feet since 1999?” Rice asked.

Rice plans to listen to the county attorneys during the closed session hearing and said his perspective could change, but on Monday he was convinced the county could issue the building permits, he said.

County Mayor George Neugent and Commissioner Danny Kolhage would not say how they plan to vote on the issue, but did agree with Rice’s assessment that the county has discouraged power on No Name Key, they said.

“The county’s record on discouraging utilities on No Name Key has been clear,” Kolhage said. “The county has discouraged utilities on No Name Key for a long time.”

No Name Key resident Bob Reynolds, who has sued the county to bring commercial power to No Name Key, said that calling for the vote is a step in the right direction, but it is not enough for him to withdraw his lawsuit.

Commissioner Sylvia Murphy planned to vote against issuing the building permits, she said. She argued that bringing commercial power there is not about doing what’s best for the island, but increasing the property values of the people who bought homes there who knew they were not entitled to commercial power, she said.

Commissioner Heather Carruthers could not be reached for comment on Monday.

No Name Key resident Alicia Putney, who is opposed to bringing commercial power to the island, argued that the county cannot vote to violate its comp plan or code, but could vote to start the process to change the comp plan and land development regulations, she said.

The county is currently reviewing its comprehensive plan and land development regulations to correct discrepancies and errors, and the County Commission has asked its planners to look at the No Name Key utility issue.

Last week, the 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled that the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC), not a Monroe County circuit judge, should rule on whether bringing commercial power to No Name Key violates the comp plan. The PSC has not set a hearing date in the case.

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Although Todd was used by The Citizen hierarchy to ask that I not reproduce any more of The Citizen’s articles in my daily posts, I also heard in a dream last night that I should go see Steve Estes, who is the Publisher and Editor of the News-Barometer on No Name Key, and who easily provides the best and most comprehensive coverage of the goings on on No Name Key. That’s how I knew in my dreams last night that I would write about No Name Key today, and so when I opened The Citizen online and found the above article staring back at me, I was not surprised. Nor was I surprised that the angels, who make my dreams, don’t seem bothered about my using articles from The Citizen in my posts. I suppose what I’m saying is, The Citizen can sue me, if wishes, to stop me from using its material on my websites, which are not for profit, but are merely for expressing the angels’ and my views, and providing information, to the public, for free.

Along the same line, is this only slightly older No Name Key article from the Keynoter, which, so far, has not objected to my using its articles in my daily posts. Unlike The Citizen, the Keynoter does not require a fee to read the Keynoter online. The Citizen requires non-subscribers to pay 50 cents, using a credit card, to read The Citizen online. I wonder what fees non-subscribers have to pay their banks to read The Citizen online? Maybe if Todd reads this post today, he can tell me, since he works for Centennial Bank, where I bank.

County apparently ready to give up No Name power fight

By RYAN McCARTHY

rmccarthy@keynoter.com

Posted – Saturday, February 09, 2013 10:45 AM EST

The majority of the Monroe County Commission appears ready to wash its hands of the decades-long battle over electrifying No Name Key.

Mayor George Neugent, along with commissioners David Rice and Danny Kolhage, told the Keynoter they won’t support appealing to the state Supreme Court Wednesday’s Third District Court of Appeal opinion over No Name power.

The court ruled the state Public Service Commission — not local courts — has jurisdiction over allowing commercial electricity on the 1,000-acre island. Currently, the 43 homeowners are powered by solar and generators.

The opinion came about from a complaint No Name resident Bob Reynolds filed with the PSC. He contended that agency has jurisdiction while the county claimed Circuit Court Judge Audlin had the jurisdiction because the county had sought a declaratory judgment ruling in Circuit Court to stop the commercial electrification.

In a Jan. 31, 2011, ruling, Audlin agreed with Reynolds. No Name resident Alicia Putney, the most vocal anti-electricity No Name resident, appealed to the Third DCA.

She lost Wednesday — and that could be the final nail in the coffin for those who don’t want commercial power on No Name.

“The statutory authority granted to the PSC would be eviscerated if initially subject to local governmental regulation and Circuit Court injunctions of the kind sought by Monroe County in the case at hand,” the court wrote.

The opinion also says Keys Energy Services, the Lower Keys power company that has already installed poles and activated them, “is subject to the PSC’s statutory power over all electrical utilities and any territorial disputes over service areas.”

County Attorney Bob Shillinger said county staff would discuss options with the commission during its Feb. 20 meeting in Key Largo. Any appeal would be heard before the Florida Supreme Court.

Neugent said he’s been involved with the issue since his first year on the commission in 1998. He originally supported leaving the island as is, but said dynamics have changed there over the years.

He said that at one point, he “demanded a notarized affidavit supporting electricity” from the 32 of 43 No Name homeowners who said they want to be connected to the grid. He said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service then told him that electrical lines would have “no negative impact to the habitat or the deer.”

Game over?

“It’s pretty clear to me this will not go to the Supreme Court on my vote. How can we take the position that we’re going to fight this in court?” Neugent said.

Rice said he is “not surprised at all” by the Third DCA’s decision, and that it appears clear how the PSC will rule on the matter.

“We really have no idea when they’re going to hear it, although I will be shocked if the PSC does not come down on the side of utilities,” he said.

Rice added that the county is “splitting hairs out there with some of the positions we’re taking” in regards to a separate lawsuit the county filed accusing Keys Energy Services of trespassing on county aerial easements.

“We’ve gone virtually to the point of the absurd,” he said. “We’re worried about a power line, three feet of which goes across our property … in the air.”

Andy Tobin, an attorney for the No Name Key Property Owners Association, said he agrees with Rice and that it’s time for the county to move on.

“If the county now has clarity, where they were unsure, then the case will be resolved and everyone can march down to the Building Department to hook up to the poles that have been sitting there since July. It doesn’t make sense for this battle to continue,” he said.

Kolhage said the commission still has to discuss the case with county legal staff but that he is “not in favor of appealing this decision.”

Commissioner Heather Carruthers said she has “long-range” concerns over the PSC’s ability to allow utilities in a Coastal Barrier Resource System area or Area of Critical State Concern.

Congress enacted the Coastal Barrier Resources Act in 1982 to protect coastal habitats, and part of No Name — not the entire island — is included. The entire Keys are an Area of Critical State Concern because of their sensitive environment, meaning virtually all development decisions are made by state officials in Tallahassee.

Commissioner Sylvia Murphy is the lone board member to be outspoken against commercial electricity on No Name Key. She’s long held that position and said “the people doing this to No Name Key are very wrong.”

“I see no reason for anyone to purchase something on No Name Key with the expectation of having lights and water unless they expected to buy cheap and sell at a much higher price. I kind of resent that attitude, but it will be what it will be,” she said.

Issues pending

Assistant County Attorney Derek Howard pointed out that the Third DCA opinion is far from a final decision on the matter of electrifying No Name.

“The Third DCA didn’t actually make any decision on the merits of the county’s position that utilities on No Name Key are prohibited,” he said. “What they said is that this is an issue that should go before the PSC. This notion that there’s been a decision, that the county is prohibited from maintaining its no electrification of No Name Key policy, is a misunderstanding.”

Howard said the county officially began recognizing No Name as an “alternative energy” community in 1999.

“That was when the county was first asked to allow the extension of utilities and the Growth Management Division made its decision that policy does not allow for the extension of utilities,” he said.

The rationale being, according to Howard, that utilities would “encourage greater development,” which the county land-use plan discourages.

“Since it’s so environmentally sensitive, that’s something the county wants to discourage,” he said. In addition, “there were already people on the island who bought there relying on there being no utilities.”

Keys Energy has long held that the PSC requires it to provide power to any customers seeking it within its service territory. That’s why it finally installed the poles last year at the request of the property owners association. The owners paid $650,000 to the utility for the work.

Cynthia Muir, director of consumer assistance and outreach for the PSC, said it would “most likely be about two weeks before any dates are set” to consider the No Name issue.

=======================

So, what spells do I have to cast today re No Name Key residents being allowed to tie into Keys Energy Services grid? I be damned if I know. I done cast all the spells out there I know how to cast, and none of them seem to have made a bit of difference on either side of the fence. I’m done cast out, pooped out, just about don’t give a shit outed.

I knew all along where George Neugent and David Rice would end up. I didn’t know where Danny Kolhage would end up. I don’t know where Heather Carruthers will end up. I was not surprised where Sylvia Murphy ended up.

So what I’m a gonna do here is tell God to cast whatever spell, or not, God wants to cast re No Name Key, cause I done run out of spell juice, and let that be what it will be. That way, if folks on either side of the fence don’t like how it be turned out in the end, they can blame God, instead of me.

Perhaps however, God might wish to consider the wishes of one of the real parties in interest, who never gets mentioned by name in any newspaper articles I read about No Name Key. That real party in interest would be Mother Nature.

Mother Nature

Meanwhile, a few days ago, pro-electricity NNK resident Jim Newton hailed me in the Winn-Dixie parking lot on Big Pine Key. He said I had written a false rumor about him moving away from NNK. I said that I had only published what someone else had written to me. Jim had at me again. I said not to start that shit, he knew I would publish anything he wrote to me, if he wanted to tell his side of it. He said he didn’t chase butterflies. End of conversation.

So, I emailed the NNK resident who had written that the Newtons had bought a home on the mainland and movers had come to their NNK home, and described Jim’s and my conversation above. This email came back:

====================

At that website, top left hand link in red is “search by owner name.” You have to type Newton James and three will come up, top one is James B and Ruth. Short sale “finalized” in December – which means started who knows how long ago. Three neighbors on the island saw moving vans leave NNK December 18, 19th and 20th. I had typed the first name and then the last yesterday and it didn’t work at all, then I noticed the fine print which said last name first.

http://webserver.vcgov.org/vc_search.html

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Me, personally, I don’t know anymore about that moving topic than you just read.

Me, personally, I attended a number of public meetings about NNK, and when pro-electricity NNK homeowners spoke during citizen comments, I didn’t believe most of what they said. And, I never heard any of them say, or admit, they had moved out there because they had wanted to live off the grid, even through they knew before they bought their home out there that the island was off the grid. If they didn’t want to live off the grid, then why in the hell did they buy a home out there?

Re-enter County Commissioner Sylvia Murphy:

“I see no reason for anyone to purchase something on No Name Key with the expectation of having lights and water unless they expected to buy cheap and sell at a much higher price. I kind of resent that attitude, but it will be what it will be,” she said.

I rest my case. Now it’s your turn, God, if that is your pleasure. May I suggest, hmmm …

act of God

One of your ever over-worked janitors.

sinner sloanphoto taken by Rose Dell at Coco’s Kitchen near the Big Pine Key Winn-Dixie during a clean living spell, the garb was doctored in, as I recall, by bigpinekey.com’s Coconut Telegraph boss pirate owner Deer Ed during one of his bewitching moments

troll uprisingphoto take by Rose Dell at Coco’s kitchen perhaps a bit more true to life

Sloan Bashinsky

keysmyhome@hotmail.com

About Sloan

Darn, that would take a while. Try the autobiographical pages in the header. Ditto for header menu pages at www.goodmorningbirmingham.com. Hatched and raised there, eventually I ran away from home. Here's a short list: Born 1942; male; single; accused of all sorts of imaginable and unimaginable things, perhaps some true. Live on Key West of Weird asteroid. Publish something most days on this website, been at that since July 2007. That's heaps of catch-up reading, probably not recommended.
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