pens, guns, boats and planes – the Battle of Key West …

crazy

There is a Florida Keys – various wings of The State Mental check in post today at www.gooodmorninglforidakeys.com.

Meanwhile …

From Rick Boettger of Key West yesterday:

Sloan and Todd, the below is an excerpt from the url article that I believe addresses the issue of Sloan’s commenting on Citizen articles:

http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/2000/08/38056?currentPage=all

Fair Use Does Not Suck

Like trademarks, a copyright does not grant authors or companies absolute ownership over their copyrighted materials. The concept of fair use allows the public to make limited uses of otherwise copyrighted works.

“Just because somebody has a copyright doesn’t mean that they can control every use of that material,” Gross said.

Congress codified the judicially created fair use doctrine into the Copyright Act of 1976. In the act, “criticism” is the first in a short list of uses that Congress specifically noted as fair.

“Traditionally, fair use has been used for commentary,” Radcliffe said. “To the extent that you’re doing that, you’re right in the home or the center of fair use.”

However, rote reproduction of copyrighted works — even if for fair use purposes — is considered a no-no by the courts, Radcliffe said. Instead, a copyrighted work should be transformed from its original state into something new that still suggests the old.

Want to copy that image file? Better modify it with an image-editing program first. Want to upload company documents? Break them up into chunks with commentary interspersed in between.

“You have to take it and you have to transform it,” he said.

For example, when Eric Raymond, an open-source advocate, received internal Microsoft emails detailing the company’s outlook on the Linux OS, he was careful not to post them without commentary embedded into the document.

I replied to Rick:

Hi, Rick – Thanks for the article.

As you and Todd recall, it used to be that I routinely broke articles in The Citizen up into chunks with commentary dispersed in between. Sometimes the commentary was critical of the way an article handled a topic reported, sometimes the commentary was critical of the people reported on in the article, sometimes the commentary was complimentary of the article and/or the people reported on in the article, sometimes the commentary added more to the reported “story”, to put it into a fuller context for my readers.

The way I tended to break The Citizen article up into chunks, with commentary dispersed in between, as you and Todd recall, was I announced at the top of the article that my comments on the article were interspersed in the article, in italics. I may not always have done it that way, but that was the way it had evolved into being, and that is the way I was doing it when Todd was asked by the Publisher of The Citizen, whose name now escapes me, to ask me to stop using their articles in my posts.

Maybe more details will come to me later, but the timing of that request was on the heels of my having busted The Citizen’s Editor Tom Tuell and The Citizen about the Editorial The Citizen published endorsing Mitt Romney maybe a week before the November 5 general election.

I had no problem with The Citizen endorsing Romney, that was the newspaper’s right, and personally I didn’t like Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. However, I had a big problem with The Citizen violating its own stated policy of not endorsing candidates for public office.

I had a much bigger problem with The Citizen publishing the Editorial with the Members of its Editorial Board’s names at the top of it, as if they had written, or at least agreed to the Editorial, and then one of them had written it.

I had just as big, if not even bigger problem, with hearing directly from Todd, who was furious, that Tom Tuell had taken his own name out of the named members of the Editorial Board, and had let the Editorial run looking like the other members of the Editorial Board [including Todd] were responsible for the Editorial.

I told Todd that his passed-along request that I stop using and commenting on articles in The Citizen was retaliation for my own “editorial” on that Editorial, and that it was chicken shit, and I asked him to pass my sentiments along to the Publisher and to the Editorial Board, on which the Publisher sits. As I recall, I wrote all of that in an ensuing posts at my websites.

Copies of all of my posts go to Wayne Markam, Publisher of the Keynoter; he knows I use articles out of The Keynoter, and he has never objected. I give the Keynoter and its journalists full credits. As with The Citizen articles I reproduce, I never try to pawn off Keynoter articles as my own work product. However, I tend not to have much criticism of Keynoter articles, which I cannot say is the case with articles in The Citizen, which I not infrequently find lacking, to say it kindly.

For a newspaper to object to a private citizen using the newspaper’s articles, editorials, letters to the editor, citizen blog comments, etc., in commentaries on the same subject opened up by that newspaper, seems to me to blaspheme that newspaper’s basic tenet and right to exist, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. It seems to me to paint that newspaper as a small child who wants to gets his way without ever getting called on the carpet for when he fucks up. It seems to me to paint that newspaper as a Pravdaesque press, which publishes only what it wants the public to see, and death to anyone who tells more of the story and leaves for his readers to decide for themselves how they feel about that newspaper and his own commentaries.

Now, Rick, maybe if I were making money off my websites, maybe I would be more sympathetic to the juvenile feelings of the poor little newspaper we are thrashing right now. But I do not make money off my websites. I pay out of my own pocket to publish them. Nothing I publish is copyrighted. It is freely usable by anyone for any reason. All I ask is that what I publish not be quoted out of context, which is a common practice among so-called human beings. I don’t threaten people with lawsuits, who abuse my request, but I do let them know loud and clear that it’s really bad karma, and the sooner it comes back around to bite them in the butt, the better.

I might add, because it only just now occurs to me, that I have used entire articles out of Key West the Newspaper, giving full credits, and that newspaper’s Publisher and Editor Dennis Reeves Cooper never objected, not even when I banged him personally sometimes. If he banged back, I published that, too, verbatim, giving full credits.

Likewise, from time to time I publish entire articles and editorials in the News-Barometer, the text of which its Publisher and Editor Steve Estes emails me when I ask for them. I give Steve and the News-Barometer full credits, and toss in my own two cents worth, along with praise for Steve’s reporting and editorializing, which, in my opinion, on the topics covered, is in a league all by itself in the Keys newspaper circle.

However, I am hoping the revised Key West the Newspaper, slated to be coming online before too long, according to my phone conversation with Naja Girard this morning, will bring to Key West, and perhaps the entire Florida Keys, the level of reporting provided by the News-Barometer. I anticipate Naja and her husband Arnaud, and their stable of pot-stirrers, will raise the temperature considerably in Key West, and hopefully beyond.

As you and my other readers know, Rick, I publish most Sloan-bangings, verbatim, along with my responses. And, I ain’t shy about publishing my own fuck ups, and the Angels’ Sloan-bangings. Perhaps the folks at The Citizen who don’t like me using their material would like to send their own Sloan-bangings to me, for me to publish with their names attached. Perhaps they would like to sue me, and then report that proceeding in The Citizen, along with my legal responses to the lawsuit.

Hell, Rick, it’s all a fucking zoo, as you well know. Key West, the zoo. If you live next door to a zoo and the zebras running the only daily don’t want you telling the citizens when the zebras do good, and when they fuck up, and so forth and so on, then it becomes really hard not to liken the zebras to Joseph Stalin and Pravda, don’t you think? Ciaosky, comrade :-)

Sloansky

P.Sky. Reading back over what I had sent to you, I saw a few pesky typos, which I hope to catch and fix if this is part of tomorrow’s raving.

Then, I realized I had not given the angels credit for getting you to nudge me to maybe reconsider that maybe if I had slept on the request Todd had passed along from The Citizen’s Publisher, I might have been advised by the angels to hold my course, instead of agreeing to the request, and then being put to making myself out as a man who does not live by his own word. Wouldn’t be the first time the angels overrode something I had agreed to do.

As I recall, I told Todd that if I wuz on The Editorial Board when that Mitt Romney Editorial ran, I would have written a protest and demanded that The Citizen publish it, and I would have resigned from the Editorial Board if my protest was not published. I told Todd the entire Editorial Board should do the same, as an Editorial.

[I myself wrote a letter to the editor explaining what the Publisher and Tuell had done without the Editorial Board’s knowledge, and sent it to Tuell and to The Citizen, and it was not published.]

My recollection is, later, a lambsy pambsy (panzy ass) Editorial was published, obliquely criticizing the Romney Editorial, but not explaining to The Citizen’s readers what really had transpired. As I recall, my websites were the only publication which told what really had gone down. Shameful, don’t you think, when a known lunatic living up the road a little ways from the zoo has to tell what really happend?

A tidbit I picked up today, which don’t recall seeing hide nor hair of yet in The Citizen’s reporting of the sky fall on Key West, ie. the Navy saying Truman Harbor will be closed to civilian vessels, came out when I had lunch today at the Big Pine Moose Lodge with a friend who used to live in a Truman Annex condo, but moved to Big Coppit Key because of complaints filed against his pickup truck by Truman Annex condo residents. He owned, still owns, that condo, and probably could buy and sell the people who filed the complaints against his pickup. Now, he lives on Big Coppit Key.

He is a Vietnam vet, and when in Vietnam did radio repair work for the Army, after he was inducted and given the choice of fixing radios or shooting at people, who might shoot back at him. He now does radio repair work on the Navy base at Boca Chica, and he does other electronic work there, which he says is not for publication, although it might be of some vital interest to anyone living near that airfield and/under the flight patterns used by its aircraft.

Anyway, mi amigo told me at the Moose Lodge that only last week he talked with a Historic Tours of America Duck Tours honcho, and asked the honcho if HTA paid the Navy to used its launch in Truman Harbor? No, the honcho replied, the Navy did not charge HTA to launch its ducks in Truman Harbor. Now you tell me, Rick, how that happened to come about, that HTA got to do that for free?

I can’t help but wonder if there might be a thread or two tying that into the fact that the Navy, when Jim Scholl was the base commandant, agreed to move the flight patterns away from Key Haven, where, yep, HTA’s boss, Ed Swift lived, lives. The new flight patterns, contours the Navy calls them, put a lot more loud Navy war planes over the poor folks side of Stock Island, about which there has been some to do on the County Commission, and not all that great reporting in The Citizen.

Several times, I heard Jim Scholl getting the Key West City Manager job was payback for his moving the loud Navy war birds away from Key Haven. Although, I think maybe the current Navy base commandant recently closing Truman Harbor to civilian vessels came down from Navy HQ in Washington, D.C., being the naturally suspicious person I am, I can’t wondering if the current commandant learned a bit more Conch-Navy history than he cared to learn, he got a bit more fed up with the way Key West and Truman Annex had behaved toward the Navy, and maybe the commandant decided to run a very different ship from the ship his predecessor commandants had run in Key West.

A personal point of pissed off, shared by others, I know from hearing it with my own two ears, is City Hall and the Navy stopped private citizens from using the outer mole for swimming, picnicking, fishing, watching sunsets, because of security interests; yet the Navy let HTA use the outer mole to haul cruise ship passengers into Duval Street, and they let HTA launch its ducks from the ramp in Truman Harbor. Seems to me, the Navy ought to be just as concerned (slight understatement) with what arrives in Key West off of cruise shifts, which FTA brings right by Truman Harbor into Duval Street, as the Navy is worried about what HTA’s ducks pick up on Duval Street and haul out to Truman Harbor to rubber ducky around Key West.

Imagine the pandemonium the Navy would feel if somebody sunk a cruise ship right in front of the cut into Truman Harbor. Imagine the pandemonium the Navy would feel if someone set off a suitcase nuke on a cruise ship in front of Truman Harbor. Ta, ta, Key Westky. Maybe even more lateresky.

Rick replied:

Sloan, provocatively written. It’s too late, for me, to write you something worth reading. But I get up early, and I want to be a part of this conversation before you post. I think by 7 am my own spirits will engage. –Rick

I replied:

I await tomorrow :-)

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

Today some while before the sun rose, the early bird, moi, found this worm in The Citizen. I wonder how much this worm might have influenced the Navy base commandant and the Navy in Washington D.C. in the closing of Truman Harbor to civilian vessels, which torpedoed KW City Hall’s and other local folk’s plans for a profit-generating city-business partnered marina in Truman Harbor?

Pearl Harbor lookoutPearl Harbor lookout

$11M in property taxes at stake

Proposal would exempt Navy housing partnership from Monroe County rolls

BY TIMOTHY O’HARA Citizen Staff

tohara@keysnews.com

Two state legislators last month filed bills that, if passed, could prevent the Monroe County Property Appraiser’s Office from collecting $11.3 million in back taxes from a company that partners with the Navy to provide housing.

In July, the Appraiser’s Office placed $11.3 million in liens on five parcels of Naval Air Station Key West property that are part of a “ground lease agreement” with Southeast Housing LLC. The lien amounts represent property taxes and penalties dating back to January 2007.

Southeast Housing has filed a lawsuit challenging the liens and asked a judge on Monday to issue a summary judgment in its favor.

State House Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City, filed a bill last month that would exempt companies that partner with the military, like Southeast Housing, from having to pay local property taxes. State Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, has filed a companion bill in the Senate.

Patronis told The Citizen he was aware of the current dispute between a private military housing company and the Monroe County Property Appraiser’s Office, but denied that he tailored the legislation to resolve Southeast Housing’s issue in Key West. However, the proposed bill would be retroactive to January 2007, which mirrors how far back Monroe County is going in its request for back taxes.

If you believe Patronis did not take dead aim at Monroe County, then you believe anything. He took dead aim at Monroe County, because if Monroe County prevails in its lawsuit, and that case is appealed and Monroe County prevails on appeal in the 3rd District Court of Appeals, and then in the Florida Supreme Court, then that case becomes the law of Florida. Such a retroactive (ex post facto) law might well be unconstitutional under the U.S. and the Florida Constitutions. I cannot imagine that issue would not be litigated, by someone, or by some city or county.

Patronis, whose district includes a Naval Air Support facility and Tyndall Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle, argued that his legislation is intended to resolve a statewide military housing issue. His concern is that the military needs to build new housing for its personnel, but tight federal budgets are making that difficult, he said.

The military partnering with private companies such as Southeast Housing and its parent company, Balfour Beatty, is the best way to create new housing, Patronis said. He argued that such companies should have the same property tax-exempt status as the military.

“This is the best way to provide housing,” Patronis said.

Perry Court is not about creating new Navy housing; it is about getting rid of existing Navy housing, at a profit to the Navy and Balfour Beatty and its subsidiary/successors in interest. There is no way in hell or in heaven that Patronis does not know that.

Monroe County Property Appraiser Scott Russell contended that once the properties, or the facilities on the properties, are purchased by private companies, they lose their tax-exempt status. The county is only asking the companies to pay their fair share, Russell said.

“This [property tax] money is moving out of our community and into the hands of foreign-based, multinational companies [like Balfour Beatty],” Russell said.

The House bill will face its first hurdle Tuesday when voted on by the Veteran and Military Affairs Subcommittee, of which Florida Keys House Rep. Holly Raschein, a Republican, is a member.

Raschein was unaware of the bill’s impact on the local property appraiser case until contacted by The Citizen on Thursday. She had intended to vote in favor of it, but on Friday she said she was unsure how she will vote.

There is no way in hell or in heaven Raschien was unaware of the bill’s impact on the Peary Court case. She was working as Florida House of Representative Ron Saunders’ aide when all that hell broke lose. It was front page news in The Citizen, and it was front page news in Saunder’s office in Tallahassee, which Raschien ran. How in the hell did Tim O’Hara and The Citizen let Raschien get away with saying she knew nothing about the Peary Court lawsuit in Key West?

Raschein plans to meet with the chairman of the committee and Patronis prior to the committee meeting. She also discussed the bill with Russell on Thursday, and he forwarded his talking points on the issue to her, she said.

“I am concerned about its impact, and I plan to study the issue,” Raschein said. “It wasn’t on my radar screen.”

Pure horse shit. Or perhaps pure pig shit is more appropriate.

Southeast Housing filed its request for summary judgment with Circuit Court Judge David Audlin on Monday.

“The property appraiser cannot grant exemption on the military family housing and related improvements at Naval Air Station Key West in 2007 and then change his judgment and remove the exemption in 2012 when there has been no change in ownership or governmental use,” Southeast Housing’s motion for summary judgment states. “The property appraiser failed to give timely and proper notice.”

Well, maybe if Southeast Housing and then Property Appraiser Erwin Higgs were in cahoots, well, maybe if there was some sort of back room deal, well maybe Higgs unexpectedly resigned for reasons which never made a whole lot of sense to me, unless he saw his ass getting in a serious sling some time down the road over what he had let Southeast Housing get away with, well, maybe if that all got fleshed out in the lawsuit, the judge might be a bit more inclined to deep six Southeast Housing’s Motion for Summary Judgement. Maybe the State Attorney should have looked into that when it first came to light. My recollection is, I made that recommendation in a post back then. My recollection is, Naja and Arnaud Girard blew all of that tax dodge query wide open in articles they wrote, which were published in Key West the Newspaper, while The Citizen cruised the surface slurping cool-aide.

Russell’s argument is that the Navy still owns the land, but Southeast Housing now owns the buildings, facilities and other improvements on the land in question.

The $11.3 million in liens were placed on the residential buildings and facilities at Peary Court, Trumbo Point, Sigsbee Park, Truman Annex and the Navy Hospital in Key West.

Last year, the Appraiser’s Office reviewed the tax status of the properties, which had previously been exempt because they were owned by the Navy.

In April 2007, a company called G.M.H. gave a presentation to the Property Appraiser’s Office about how it was entering into a lease with the Navy for the properties. In May 2007, then-Deputy Property Appraiser Karl Borglum issued a letter to G.M.H. stating that the “exclusive use of the property is not altered by this agreement,” but Borglum did caution the company that “should anything change in the existing relationship between G.M.H. and the Navy, this office would reserve the right to review those changes.”

Last year, then-Property Appraiser Borglum ruled that the Navy entered into a ground lease agreement in December 2007 in which the Navy “conveyed ownership for all facilities and improvements” to G.M.H.

Balfour Beatty later acquired G.M.H. and runs the properties under the name Southeast Housing LLC.

The Property Appraiser’s Office has ruled that privately owned buildings situated on Navy-owned land are in its jurisdiction and subject to local property taxes.

In October, the state Department of Revenue sided with Southeast Housing on several key points, claiming that Southeast, in its partnership with the military, does perform an “exempt use” and is exempt from local property taxes.

The Florida Department of Revenue is not a court of law. It is a state agency, whose boss is subject to political pressure from the Governor and the Florida Legislature (House of Representatives and Senate), and from powerful private interests, none of whom want to do anything to piss off the Navy or the Air Force, which have bases scattered around Florida, which provide mucho dinero for the Florida economy.

It was unknown Friday when Audlin will rule on the request for summary judgment.

Some judges I have known would take high offense over a politician in the state capitol, state capital would be more accurate in this case, trying to pass a law which would retroactively ( ex post facto ) erase the taxing rights of a city or county in which those judges lived and did their judging.

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

Truman Waterfront

Then, I found this letter to the editor in The Citizen:

Naval base is the best use of Truman Harbor

The story on the Navy’s use of Truman Waterfront in Thursday’s edition comes as no surprise whatsoever. I have stated repeatedly, both in the letters to the editor and the Citizens’ Voice [column], that the Navy controls the area, rightfully so.

First they rejected the positioning of the Mohawk in the proposed marina. The Navy had issued specific instructions as to its location with the proposed marina; however, the planners of the marina moved it anyway. The Mohawk today is gone, but the point being it’s the Navy that is making the decisions, not any marina or park planners, nor City Hall.

What always puzzled me, perhaps astounded more accurate, is I never read in The Citizen, nor heard on the coconut telegraph, of any marina or park planners, or anyone in City Hall, running any plans for developing Truman Waterfront and Truman Harbor by the Navy, before it went before various city government departments. The wasted city staff time and cost must be huge. It is the habit of the Key West City Government, however, to proceed as if it is a law unto itself, until a bigger 800 pound gorilla shows up and proves otherwise.

In the piece it states that this will not affect the 15-year plan to build the waterfront park. I beg to differ. One may recall that the Navy gave specific regulations as to where ground areas needed to be open, specifically at the end of Eaton Street where it meets the Truman Waterfront.

The Navy also gave orders for Southard Street, the main thoroughfare into Truman Waterfront to remain open, but the effete Truman Waterfront condo association decided they had the right to regulate traffic on Southard Street, and they erected a guard house to screen anyone using Southard Street, and then they tried to build a gate across Southard Street, which rousted the Navy immediately into action with what sure looked to me like threats of armed force to keep the gate from being built, if the effete property owners in Truman Waterfront did not back down, which they did after they replaced their leader, who seemed to have taken complete leave of his senses by believing he had the biggest, most important balls on the land and sea, and in the air.

If the Truman Waterfront meant nothing to the Navy, it wouldn’t have set regulations on it. The bottom line here is the Navy will take back the area, should they see fit. This is not a local civic issue, but rather an issue of national security. Should the city of Key West go about spending millions in the quest for a marina and a park when, in the interest of national security, the Navy may take it over at its discretion?

In addition, marinas are going out of business right now, and we want to build one? With all of this in mind, wouldn’t it be a better idea for the city of Key West to propose to the Navy that this Southernmost City in the continental United States should be a home base for several naval ships? The city should approach the Navy and ask, “How can we help encourage the Navy to turn the Truman Waterfront back into an active naval base?”

That tiny little harbor would not handle more than a few modern Navy vessels. That tiny little harbor used to hold submarines, but with the advent of much bigger nuclear subs and spy satellites, the Navy stopped positioning its submarines in pain view.

Let’s try to bring in more military personnel and their families, not forgetting all that goes with it: construction, civilian jobs, more money in our economy.

And yes, lets get Walgreen’s to give back The Strand Theatre on Duval Street, so it can be refurbished and used again to feature daily afternoon matinees of “Deep Throat,” for the local sailor boys. Let’s bring in more Navy aviator trainees, to fly more F-18s and their successor bloodline ear-and-soul-busting F class war birds, to drive the folks on the poor side of Stock Island even crazier.

More importantly, it’s a matter of national security. In this situation, it’s one hand washing the other. As it stands now, it’s one hand fighting the other. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. As John F. Kennedy stated, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

Christopher R. Rehm

Key West

I can’t say I ever met a Conch, nor anyone else in Key West, who would put his/her country’s best interest first. If they and the Navy really had wanted to put America’s best interest first, they would have told President George W. Bush to take a hike when he started talking about invading Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, if the Navy truly is concerned about safety at Truman Waterfront, it will stop cruise ships from docking at the outer mole; it will stop conch trains from using the outer mole; and it will close the entire area to civilians, including Key West City officials and employees.


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Just after I posted all of the above to this website, this arrived from Rick Boettger:

Sorry, Sloan, a rare day when I slept in late.  I hope you have one of those yourself, occasionally.

I have little to add to your provocative and interesting speculations.  Only that I lived in Key Haven in the 1990’s, just down the block from Ed Swift on Driftwood, and I was on the Board of the Key Haven Civic Association.  At that time, we had little influence over the Navy’s flight patterns, despite having a good number of retired Navy officers living there (we did have the influence to get our electricity back the soonest after hurricane Georges).

I find your inferences about the Scholl/flight pattern/HTA association to be as possible as anything I can think of.  Give your angels a pat on the back for me.
Rick Boettger

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I don’t remember when I slept in, I was up around 4:15 a.m. today, and it didn’t feel like it was from the angels patting me exactly on the back … more like

the beatings will continue

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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