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See new The ballad of Howard Thurston, a No Name Key habitant no one I ask seems to have ever heard of post today, at www.goodmorningfloridakeys.com. A long, unpleasant affair.
Meanwhile, more long pleasant and unpleasant affairs …
I sent this teaser to my email contacts yesterday, which took over an hour, thanks to MSN’s Outlook Express:
Yesterday, I sent out a “test” email, to which some of my email contacts replied. Anyone not responding yesterday, who wishes to remain on my daily hit list after Hotmail upgrades this account to Outlook Plus, can simply send this email back to me, no words necessary, and I will be able to copy the replying email address and put it into a file Hotmail cannot tamper with, as explained in yesterdays’s post, and again in today’s.
Again, that you only received a link to today’s bombing run, instead of the whole thing, suggests there are words in the affair, which do not pass muster in the School District and County Government’s servers.
You chould be able to get to Today’s FlaKey Drivel at goodmorningfloridakeys.com by clicking on this link:
Sancho Panza replied:
Soooo, there is method to your madness! 😀
I wrote back:
Hi, Sancho – Or madness to my method
What has come from it, besides it being a serious pain in the ass trying to reach everyone in the account “hacked” by Hotmail, has been I am learning who the lunatics are, who read the madness I spew out each day. Some of the stand by mes were not surprising, others were.
One county commissioner, so far, Sylvia Murphy, opted to stay in, and a former county commissioner, Kim Wigington. And one school board member, Andy Griffiths. Otherwise, the county and school system email contacts are silent, along with all of the city of Key West email contacts. Former State Attorney Dennis Ward opted to stay in.
I suppose there will be some stragglers coming in, when they don’t hear from me for a few days, or weeks, or months.
I received a stand by me today from the wife of one of my Vanderbilt fraternity brothers. I had no clue she was crazy, that is, was keeping up with my ravings.
Sloan, I got yesterday’s also. I’m just a little behind on my emailing. Hope you’re well. Katie
I wrote back to her:
Hi, Katie, I’m okay compared to other times, hope same for you, or better. Don’t know who looks at the daily ravings, or how often, so I decided to send two pings, in case somebody didn’t see yesterday’s, and then was left wondering if I was swallowed by a whale, or something more or less fun. Am remembering right now three women, two of whom I once knew pretty well, coming out of a north Georgia country store and coming straight at me and asking if I was Sloan Bashinsky? And there I thought I was all safely hidden out :-), and then we and others I had not seen in ages had a nice dinner even further out in the sticks that night. Give my best to Brad, also. Sloan
Brad’s from Montgomery originally, I forget where Katie started out, but they have lived in Birmingham for quite a while.
Received this stand by me today from a since childhood Birmingham amigo:
Keep me on the list, dude. How could I survive without my daily dose of Sloanus. mmj
I wrote back:
I imagine you’d get by, tell Lanning he was in one of my dreams before dawn today, pointing me toward expressing the feminine in today’s post, more than the other …
Lanning is a smooth-talking, very smart retired corporate lawyer, who is seriously freaked out by any talk about angels, etc., although he is a sci-fi buff – go figure. He comes to me in dreams maybe every month or two, when I need to be civil in something I want to be uncivil about in a post, and the angels are wanting civil for that situation on that day. The next day, the angels might tell me to drop the hammer in the same situation, and for that they do not send Lanning in a dream.
Also today, this stand by me from the wife side of the couple living next door to me here on Little Torture Key.
Sloan – please keep us in your loop!!! Parlin
In 2006, after reading some of my ravings, Parlin told me to check out Emanuel Swedenborg online, she thought he and I might be distantly related. I never claimed there were intelligent beings on Jupiter and other planets in this solar system, did I? A Christian mystic, who influenced the likes of William Blake and other heavy weights across the pond, Swendenborg probably was lucky he lived in Scandanavia, otherwise he surely would have been burned at the stake.
Yesterday, Parlin told me they just bought a home in Key West and are putting theirs next to my place on the market:
I wrote back:
Does this then mean you aren’t moving to KW to get away from the lunatic next door?
I wonder how Emanuel Swendenborg might be taking all of this in, wherever he hangs out these days?
Parlin wrote back:
No, we are moving, but not to get away from the “lunatic next door” – we have loved having you as a neighbor and only wish we will be as lucky down there with our neighbors. And for Swedenborg, as Georgie would say, the planets are moving. Parlin
On a Keys drama front, I finally tangled big time with one of the No Name Key pro-electric warlocks today. You can read all about that, it’s loooonnnngggg, at goodmorningfloridakeys.com, The ballad of Howard Thurston, a No Name Key habitant no one I ask seems to have ever heard of . Boy, I did not want to deal with that, put it off three days, but the angels were insistent. Navy SEAL black op, in plain view, in cyber space.
Also having an interesting unexpected flashback at goodmoringbirmingham.com, unexpected past life regressions induced by old Birmingham childhood acquaintance. Mostly fun, for a change.
Oh, did you see on CNN news tonight, that USA gun sales in the past year were nearly double the number of gun sales the year before, and most of the new gun toters are wemmins? Makes being a monk all the more inviting.
Heap going on in this weirdo’s life, and I ain’t even told about a cyber space dream group I got angel-roped into, which has been another kind of past life regression back to when I was up to my eyeballs in learning about sleeping dreams, waking dreams, visions, synchronicity, serendipity, etc., like when I lived in Santa Fe, and then in Boulder.
I think maybe the angels took me back into that arena to show me that I really do like messing around in politics a lot better than messing around in what I messed around with in that past life, and with shamans, and gurus, and healers, and so forth and so on. Actually, messing around in politics sometimes is hilarious, when I ain’t so mad I can chew nails. The dumb shit squared things that happen, often laughter is the only way out.
Outlook Express is seriously inferior to Hotmail, but I supposed there is a method in MSN’s madness, which is to move its free Hotmail account customers to the free Outlook Express, and then drive them crazy with that until they upgrade to a paid Hotmail account. I checked out my free Yahoo account today, it looked alive and well, and lonely, since I never use it. Maybe that’s gonna change.
Meanwhile, my dreams before dawn today pointed me toward 3 or 4 unnamed morsels in Key West, and, voila, these happy meals in The Key West Citizen this morning, my musings in italics:
Bill’s OK would cancel $11M debt
Legislation aims to exempt Navy housing company from property taxes
BY TIMOTHY O’HARA Citizen Staff
A bill that would exempt an international development company that partners with the Navy from paying $11.3 million in Monroe County property taxes cleared its first hurdle Tuesday.
The state House of Representatives’ Veterans and Military Affairs Committee approved House Bill 531 unanimously, 13-0.
House Bill 531, and its Senate companion Bill 354, comes after the Monroe County Property Appraiser’s Office and its counterparts across the state have begun to tax private companies that partner with the military on housing projects. The military is exempt from paying local property taxes, but private companies are not.
I figure the odds of that bill not passing are zero minus.
In July, the Monroe County Property Appraiser’s Office placed $11.3 million in liens on five military properties in Key West that the Navy owns in partnership with Southeast Housing, a division of the multimillion-dollar company Balfour Beatty. The lien amounts represent property taxes, interest and penalties dating back to January 2007.
Southeast Housing is fighting the liens and has since sued the Appraiser’s Office in local circuit court.
The state bills would make the exemptions retroactive to January 2007.
Freshman state Rep. Holly Raschein, R-Monroe County, who serves on the Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, argued that Southeast Housing and other private companies should be exempt, and local Property Appraiser Scott Russell, who was sworn into office last month, is being given bad information by the office’s attorney, John Dent.
“Mr. Dent has him (Russell) all fired up about money that is not his,” Raschein said. “Mr. Dent has caused a reaction that is totally unnecessary.”
Are you folks in Key West, who voted for Holly, now super thrilled that you voted for her?
Property Appraiser Russell said Dent is not disseminating incorrect information.
“This case predates me as property appraiser, but everything I have read, and from all of the depositions that have been taken, makes me think that I have not been misled,” Russell said.
Russell argues that the Navy still owns the land, but Southeast Housing now owns the buildings, facilities and other improvements on the five parcels of land.
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.
The property tax debate goes beyond Key West and is a statewide issue, Raschein said. The partnerships between the military and private development companies are necessary for the military to make much-needed upgrades to its housing, she said.
Well, Holly, help me understand how the Navy selling its housing to private developers produces much-needed upgrades to military housing, which is diminished by such sales. I don’t see that the Navy sold Peary Court to a British concern, so the Navy could upgrade Navy housing in Key West. Peary Court looked to me to be the most upscale Navy housing in Key West, and it sure would have made great affordable housing, if the Navy had given it to Key West, like the Navy in the past gave its surplus housing to, or sold it real cheap to, Key West, yes?
She also argued that the state Department of Revenue has sided with Southeast Properties on several key issues in the lawsuit. In its response to the lawsuit, the Department of Revenue stated that Southeast, in its partnership with the military, does perform an “exempt use” and is immune from local property taxes.
The Revenue Department’s response states the Navy “holds the virtual and beneficial ownership of this military housing,” and the “removal of the exemptions on the Southeast Housing properties is contrary to both state and federal law and without legal basis.”
“The goal is to provide quality housing to our men and women in the military,” Raschein said. “[The bill] is good for the state.”
Well, Holly, if that is the case, why not exempt Peary Court from the new legislation, since the sale of Peary Court is not about providing quality housing to our men and women in the military in Key West. You are the Keys state legislator, are you not? You did promise many times during your campaign last year, did you not, to look out for the Keys? I heard you promise that at at several candidate forums, and I heard you say that you live on Key Largo and are a Keys person.
The bill will next go to the Finance and Tax Committee, she said.
Last week, Southeast Housing filed a request asking Circuit Court Judge David Audlin to rule in its favor.
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 previously were exempt because they were owned by the Navy.
In April 2007, a company called G.M.H. made 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.
Judge Audlin could make this really interesting, if he rules in favor of the Tax Appraiser, which Judge Audlin probably should do, since the new bill Holly Raschein is pushing through the Florida Legislature indicates, res ipsa loquitur, that right now the law is not on the side of the Navy and developers to whom it sells surplus Navy housing. Otherwise, there would be no need for the new law.
City pleads to keep Mole
Losing pier could affect park plans
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff
Losing the Outer Mole pier as a cruise ship dock could delay or even destroy Key West’s longtime plans to redevelop the Truman Waterfront into a 28-acre park, City Manager Bob Vitas wrote in the latest letter to the Navy.
Such a loss could also disrupt “the critical revenue stream from the cruise ship industry,” Vitas wrote in the original Jan. 18 response to the Navy’s decision not to extend the city’s present lease, which ends June 30.
But the Truman Waterfront Park is also “linked directly to the Outer Mole lease,” Vitas wrote in a Feb. 7 letter to Robert McDowell III, real estate contracting officer for the Navy’s Southeast command.
After all, Vitas wrote in the first letter, “The proposed city park conveyed by the Navy to the city is the first property that millions of cruise passengers step upon when they visit the city of Key West.”
Key West doesn’t want the 10-year legal marriage, which includes docking cruise ships at the Navy-owned pier, to end and is arguing that no private developer can outdo the island’s government when it comes to using the pier to serve the public interest.
Three months after the Navy announced it would consider putting the pier out to bid, Key West’s leaders remain hopeful that the military branch will have a change of heart and offer a noncompetitive, long-term lease.
As of Tuesday, the Navy hadn’t put the pier out to bid and had no definite plans to.
“At this time, the Navy is currently evaluating the city of Key West’s submission for a noncompetitive public benefit lease,” said Southeast command spokeswoman Sue Brink.
Brink has said that three inquiries were made during the recent posting about the pier, something the Navy calls a “sources sought” notice, but the names aren’t public record because there is no bidding.
Vitas wrote that the Navy “should move quickly to negotiate and approve a public benefit lease with the city of Key West, the Navy’s principal strategic partner for many years and well into the future.”
He added, “Any other approach would not take into account the 190 years of successful collaboration between the city and Navy.”
But one piece of the city’s pro-public lease argument evaporated last week when the local Naval Air Station commander Capt. Pat Lefere’s order closing Truman Harbor to private boats became public.
National defense training operations come first, Lefere said.
The Navy handed over surplus property to Key West in 1995, and by July 2000, that deal included the Mole pier.
But after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Navy reassessed its needs and reclaimed the pier by year’s end.
The planned private marina that Key West has spent almost 15 years promising as a revenue engine to keep the potential park running sank with Lefere’s order.
In the latest letter to the Navy, Key West estimates that such a marina would pump between $1.2 million and $3 million into the city via slip leases and fuel sales.
That is the second-highest estimated revenue source for the $48.5 million park, which planners say will begin construction in 2014.
The now-defunct planned marina had been priced at $11.7 million to build, and was under the controls of private developers Meisel & Spottswood Marina Management Co.
No private boats means no marina, Mayor Craig Cates and city staff were told. Developer Bill Spottswood said he wouldn’t fight the order.
City Hall didn’t breathe a word about the harbor issue, which it knew about in October, according to Lefere’s letter closing the harbor as of Feb. 25.
Legally, the city is counting on the Navy to interpret the federal law on leasing military-owned property as favoring municipalities such as Key West.
Key West’s strategy in convincing the Navy to keep things the way they’ve been since 2003, when they struck a deal over the pier, is clear: Losing the Outer Mole pier will harm the island’s economy.
In the two letters to the Navy, dated Jan. 18 and Feb. 7, Vitas points out the shared history between the Navy and the island and says losing the pier would disrupt the planned Truman Waterfront Park.
A pier lease to Key West serves the public in a way that “far outweighs any form of competitive bidding for this property.”
But in the original Jan. 18 letter over the Navy’s bombshell pier announcement, Vitas wrote that “if a ship elects to bypass the city entirely, it could have an enormous negative financial impact. The Florida Caribbean Cruise Association estimates cruise ship visitors contribute in excess of $78 million annually to the local economy.”
That figure has been challenged for years by activists like the watchdog group Last Stand, which advocates a “balance” between the tourist trade and quality-of-life in Key West.
Key West charges a $10 per-head disembarkment fee for ships that dock at the Outer Pier, but only about a third of that goes back to the city, which ends up pouring the revenue back into maintenance and improvement projects at the pier.
Since 2007, the city has spent $9.7 million on “significant upgrades,” Vitas wrote.
If private developers take over the pier, they may raise the disembarkment fee too high and drive away cruise ships, Vitas wrote.
The Outer Mole is only one of three piers that Key West has open to cruise ships, Vitas acknowledged in the letter, but “it plays a significant role and is vitally important.”
Druckemiller guilty plea set for March 6; sentencing April 1
BY TIMOTHY O’HARA Citizen Staff
The former head of Monroe County Technical Services Department will plead guilty to felony theft charges next month and be sentenced in April.
An attorney for former IT director Lisa Druckemiller and prosecutors went before Circuit Court Judge David Audlin on Tuesday and agreed to her pleading guilty March 6 to dealing in stolen property and scheming to defraud. She will be sentenced on April 1.
The Monroe County State Attorney’s Office is recommending Druckemiller serve two years in prison.
“That has been the recommended sentence all along,” prosecutor Mark Wilson said Tuesday.
Druckemiller’s attorney, Robert Cintron, contends she has suffered a huge financial loss by losing her job and state pension and should not receive prison time, or at least, minimal prison time.
“We hope the judge takes that into account when determining her punishment,” Cintron said.’
Gosh, amigo Robert, do you remember when you did not want Monique and Randy Acevedo losing their jobs and pensions to not be taken into account when they were sentenced for pillaging the School District? Do you remember thinking that Randy getting probation, instead of prison time, was too light a sentence? Or is my memory of your sentiments faulty?
Druckemiller abruptly retired in March as the investigation got under way. A grand jury heard the case in June, and she was arrested July 17. She is currently free on $30,000 bail.
Druckemiller reportedly stole 52 county-owned iPads and iPhones and sold them to co-workers, friends and relatives.
The thefts were a major embarrassment for the county and led to several new policies to keep similar thefts from happening again. The Monroe County Clerk’s Office implemented a new fraud hotline to report such crimes and fraud.
Also yesterday, saw a Facebook promo from Damien Vantrigila promoting Mayor Craig Cates’ bid for his third term, which I can’t find now, but I did find this.
Craig Cates for Mayor
My personal dealings with Craig, one on one, re his homeless program, are that he was truthful and integrous with me. Nor was he truthful and integrous with Father Stephen Bradock, CEO of Florida Keys Outreach Coalition. And, despite all reason, it seems Craig is determine to pen homeless addicts up with the rest of the homeless people, in a new homeless facility on Stock Island. And, despite federal law, Craig continues to have his police harass, arrest and jail homeless people for sleepingo outside at night, or in their vehicles, even though the city’s present homelelss shelter is full most nights and cannot accomodate even one-half of the area’s homeless people.
Although given ample opportunity by Sandy Riddle (Downs) and myself, Craig has done nothing to rein in his Tree Commission and the tree commissioners he appointed, who still run a RICO operation in plain view of Craig and everyone else in Key West.
Looks to me that Craig’s interpretation of clean and green is, rid the city of homeless people, bring as many cruise ships to the city as possible, and make as many greenbacks for the city as possible.
Otherwise, Craig would have pushed for a mandantory recylicing ordinance with real teeth. He would tell his police to arrest and jail any person who litters Key West with cigarette butts, cups, bottles, candy wrappers, etc. He would actively and openly oppose cruise ships calling on Key West. He would actively and openly oppose renewing franchises with conch trains, trolleys and duck touring companies, whose vehicles roam, congest and pollute city streets and neighborhoods with backed up traffice and loud speakers, which never run out of things to say to the passengers, which the residents have heard countless times.
The only thing I see that Craig did for Key West, other than the above, was he convinced the School Board to give Glynn Archer Elementary School to Key West, for its new City Hall, the final cost of which is unknown.
Maybe Craig should put this clean and green photo on his Facebook campagin page:
Short of his being abducted by aliens, I don’t see much way Craig can lose this year. He platform is perfect for a State Mental ward.