Depress ctrl and + keys together to increase zoom/font size; depress ctrl and – keys together to reduce
I highly recommend today’s issue of Key West the Newspaper, which you should be able to reach by clicking on this link: http://thebluepaper.com.
Starting with an obliteration of Robert Marbut, the homeless help guru, and moving into other fertile manure piles and blooming gardens, this week’s blue paper strikes me as far more entertaining than my own drivel.
Meanwhile, a drole front page Key West Citizen article today – www.keysnews.com - reports Margaret Romero
filed yesterday to be a candidate in the mayor’s race. So, Mayor Craig Cates
did not get automatically reelected at noon today, the filing deadline, because he was unopposed. Two years ago, Cates got 70 percent of the vote against Romero, a tenacious citizen watchdog with considerable past experience in business. Maybe Romero will push Cates harder at the polls this year. I’m glad she is doing it, and not me. Maybe that’s why the angels did not get me in position to move to Key West in time to file by noon today. They knew Romero was going to file, and they knew I had zero interest in running in a 3-candidate race, in which I was viewed once again as “the perennial gadfly candidate”, a label the Citizen gave me some years ago, not knowing, I don’t imagine, that Socrates was called a gadfly by his enemies.
Meanwhile, more N Roosevelt Blvd fun.
Not so fast on two-way traffic
Hurry-up proposed plan without turn lane concerns commissioners
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff
The City Commission will decide Tuesday whether opening up the under-construction North Roosevelt Boulevard to two-way traffic is really a good idea.
During a turbulent town-hall meeting last week over the $42 million construction project, Florida’s top transportation official agreed to allow Key West to have two-way traffic — without a turn lane — starting immediately after Sept. 2, Labor Day.
But no consensus was taken by the City Commission or the community at large. The solution was offered by Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad after a heated exchange with a few locals and Commissioner Tony Yaniz.
At issue, Mayor Craig Cates said Wednesday, is public safety, and also the risk of driving even more traffic away from businesses due to probable gridlock caused by the number of turns available on the island’s main drag.
“They’ll be backed up all the way to Key Haven,” said Cates, recalling a recent day when he had trouble pulling out of the McDonald’s lot onto North Roosevelt.
Cates and Commissioner Mark Rossi sponsored the resolution set for Tuesday’s meeting.
The measure thanks Prasad for his visit and mandates discussion of the two-way idea.
Several business owners along Roosevelt have pressed the state to open up two-way traffic, saying the one-way pattern is driving down revenues and putting people out of work.
“Public safety is our priority,” said Cates.
“As much as we want to help businesses out there, public safety of our residents and our visitors is No. 1.”
“We’re in this too far now to turn around and change anything,” he said. Rossi lives off North Roosevelt. “It puts the city in a very liable situation if we can’t get emergency vehicles down the road to an accident.”
Since it’s a state project, the commission can only send its final decision to FDOT for consideration, the resolution states.
The commission meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Old City Hall, 510 Greene St.
Commissioner Jimmy Weekley said he hasn’t made up his mind yet, but welcomes input from police and fire officials over the safety aspects.
“Although it’s still the state’s project, maybe the mayor thinks we ought to weigh in on it,” said Weekley. “There was no discussion. The commission never said anything about it at all.”
Cates said he is trying to get state officials to put in writing that one-way traffic is the faster way to finish the project and could mean the whole thing will end 60 days earlier than expected.
Prasad promised last week that the project will end on time as originally planned, on July 21, 2014, although the completion date had been moved up to September 2014 before Prasad’s visit.
The state Department of Transportation already had planned to open two-way traffic, with a turn lane, on Dec. 23 for a section of the boulevard, from Jose Marti Drive to Kennedy Drive.
Business owners such as Donna Nelson, who has run Imagination Station for some 20 years, said that was too little, too late.
“That’s not fast enough; it will not save my business,” Nelson told Prasad’s team.
“If I make it until December I’ll be happy.”
That same Aug. 6 meeting at Old City Hall, attended by Prasad at the request of Gov. Rick Scott, at one point became a shouting match with two gadflies and Commissioner Yaniz insulting the state official.
“I’m here to tell you that no one in this community trusts you!” Christine Russell told Prasad from one of the podiums.
Yaniz earlier had harsh words for Prasad, calling him “arrogant” and telling him that in Key West, “You’re just a citizen.”
That prompted the mayor to apologize to Prasad on behalf of Yaniz, and Commissioner Teri Johnston’s wish at the meeting’s end for those on the dais to stop acting like “4-year-olds.”
The resolution set for Tuesday’s meeting includes a thank you to Prasad for his “personal involvement and concern for the impacts North Roosevelt reconstruction has had on the residents, businesses and visitors to the city of Key West.”
Prasad had started his remarks by reminding the crowd of business owners that “Monday morning quarterbacks” don’t end up in the Hall of Fame, and that he was in town to talk about the future, not the past.
FDOT has said that the proposed two-way pattern has never worked in any other community during this type of road reconstruction project.
Later yesterday morning, received this, which kicked of a chain of emails, the later headers for which I removed to save space:
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 2013 08:56:34 -0400
Subject: Agreement TWO LANES ONE WAY
To: email@example.com; Editor@thebluepaper.com; Tyaniz@hotmail.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Kate.DeLoach@myfloridahouse.gov; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Good Morning All,
I personally agree that the Blvd. needs to be maintained TWO LANES ONE WAY.
I believe there are many reasons for maintaining one way traffic only.
1 – Major Traffic congestion making left turns into business
2 – Major Traffic congestion at the triangle, where two lanes become one, and inconsiderate drivers begin jumping lanes, with possible back-ups past Key Haven to potentially Big Coppitt.
3 – Reduced Traffic flow at the Triangle to get onto South Roosevelt Blvd.
4 – Concrete delivery trucks delayed in traffic, and potentially may not meet the on-site testing laboratory requirements, and thus rejected – causing construction delays.
5 – Hot Asphalt delivery trucks delayed in traffic, and potentially may not meet the on-site testing laboratory requirements, and thus rejected – causing construction delays.
6 – Safety Agencies have indicated (Chief Lee on the radio this morning) that they have not perceived any issues other than minor response times adjustments, during one way traffic only.
I have attended all the CNRAB business meetings and I have at each one of them extolled the virtue of Two Lanes One Way every time.
The 170 Businesses are hurting now, it is my humble opinion that they would be hurt even further with two way traffic.
It is my opinion that there is a way to help these 170 businesses. Complete the project as fast as possible, prior to July 21, 2013. It can be done.
Secretary Prasad stated on the Radio this morning, that he has challenged his FDOT staff to look at a more expeditious way to complete the Blvd. Project.
I implore all Honorable City and State Representatives to urgently request additional workers be placed on the project, there is a lot of work faces open that are not being worked on, and the City Commission pass a resolution to allow the contractor to work 24/7 if they so choose.
2 Crews of 28 men working from East to West and West to East when the second half of the Blvd. is totally closed has got to logically reduce construction time substantially.
I will be attending, and hopefully speaking at the City Commission meeting to support TWO LANES ONE WAY.
19 Kingfisher Lane,
Key West, FL. 33040
Me to Eric, ALL -
As I read this morning’s article in the Key West Citizen revealing reservations in City Hall about 2-way traffic on N Roosevelt, I wondered why I didn’t hear those reservations expressed by the mayor, city commissioners and city staff during the town hall meeting? Or, were those reservations expressed during the just earlier meeting, which was advertised as closed to the public but ended up being open to the public? I did not attend the earlier meeting because it was advertised as closed to the public.
I imagine two-way traffic on N Roosevelt will be a nightmare compared to the nightmare already there with one-way traffic. There is no way to expect everyone to be nice and polite. Many incoming vehicles are from up the Keys and the mainland. I envision gridlock, road rage. Yet, I suppose if two-way traffic is not tried, that will be said to have been the undoing of N Roosevelt businesses which fail before the road work is finished.
The undoing was the road work was not done round the clock from the get go; that, and de Moya was not ready to start working because it did not have a sheet pile subcontractor lined up. Why start working at all, if the sheet piling cannot be done, as the sheet piling is the external sea-side load-bearing wall for the entire N Roosevelt redo? Well, I’m not an engineer or road builder, maybe what looks obvious to me is not obvious to those trades.
You are correct, Eric – the way to help the remaining N Roosevelt businesses is to speed up the work. The way to do that is to work at least two shifts a day. Round the clock would be even faster. City Hall will have to give its permission via waivers of the city noise ordinance. Prasad and de Moya will have to gee and haw. Surely Prasad can being pressure to bear on de Moya, which does lots of work for FDOT in Florida. Surely de Moya can be persuaded by Prasad to suck it up and finish the N Roosevelt redo pronto. Surely Gov. Scott, who can fire Prasad pronto for no reason, can lean on Prasad to tell de Moya to finish that Key West job pronto, or suffer the consequences in its future dealings with FDOT and its road projects.
Of course, all of that can happen. Of course, it already should have happened. Months ago. It didn’t happen, it looks to me, because Gov. Scott never felt any heat. Prasad is a bureaucrat. As such, he is not genetically wired to be proactive, intervene with a new program when it means radically changing an old program he designed and approved. Talk is really, really cheap. Action is the only thing that speaks.
The affected N Roosevelt business owners have not really tried to put heat on Gov. Scott. They apparently didn’t like my suggestion for how to do that, since they didn’t use it. Big posters out in front of their businesses saying GOV SCOT’S DOT FUCKED MY BUSINESS. I told their spokesperson, Tim Gratz, to come up with another way to put heat on Gov. Scott. Gratz assured me State Rep Holly Raschein’s town hall meeting was the answer. Gratz assured me pissing off Gov. Scott was not the answer.
When I drove down to Key West yesterday to see a friend, I again saw more workers on N Roosevelt than I had seen at any time before the town hall meeting. But, again, the sheet pile driver was not in operation. Maybe that crew was on break. I saw newly-installed sheet piling in various stages of depth in the sea bed. But the sheet pile driver was not in operation. The time was 1:30 p.m.
FDOT’s server blocked that email, all other recipients appeared to receive it. I resent it with FUCKED changed to F***ED, with a note of what had happened to the prior email. FDOT’s server blocked it again. I changed pissed to p***ed, with another note of explanation, and that time it seemed to get through FDOT’S server.
Tim Gratz to me, ALL:
Sloan, agreed that a lot of people were not sufficiently appreciative of the issues early on.
Me to Eric, ALL -
I heard some time ago that KW Mayor Craig Cates went to Tallahassee to meet with our state legislators, FDOT and Gov Scott about speeding up the N Roosevelt work. I heard that trip led to State Rep Holly Raschein’s town hall meeting in KW.
I wonder if, while he was in Tallahassee, Mayor Cates mentioned what I heard from several KW people, including you, Eric.
After he knew in 2010 what FDOT intended for N Roosevelt, Mayor Cates sold his NAPA business on N Roosevelt to a long-time employee. Most of the purchase price was paper Mayor Cates took back.
If that business fails because of the N Roosevelt redo, Mayor Cates will get it back.
If that happens, it won’t look good for Mayor Cates, FDOT or Gov Scott.
Tim Gratz to Eric, ALL:
I have written to Mayor Cates and Commissioner Rossi asking them to articulate their concerns with two way traffic. It has been over 24 hours and I received no response. Thank you for your studied reasons.
We believe many of your concerns can be addressed and I seriously doubty there will ever be traffic congestion to Big Coppitt! (At least you stopped there and not at Big Pine.)
How will the delivery trucks be delayed? Simply because of the perceived traffic congestion?
We will just have to disagree about this but we all appreciate all of your study and knowledge re the project and we are in one hundred per cent agreement that things need to be done to speed up the completion of the project.
Re: lack of issues with one-way traffic, I am aware of at least one head-on collision with a car going the wrong way on Roosevelt. One way traffic is a serious accident just waiting to happen. This concern cannot be met by stating that it has not yet happened. As stated it already has happened at least once, but fortunately with no serious bodily injury.
Thanks as always
Me to Tim, ALL:
Tim, do you really believe turning N Roosevelt, the busiest road, by far, in Key West, into a narrow 2-lane road with no left turn lane, will be better for traffic and public safety than what now is in place, which is awful? My question has nothing to do with the N Roosevelt businesses. I can just about promise you, if N Roosevelt is converted to 2-way, I will stop using it and will use other roads and local knowledge to get to where I am going in KW. Sloan
Tim to me, ALL:
The short answer to your question is “Yes”, far better than the current fiasco. Wait and see.
Me to Tim, ALL:
I hope you are right, Tim, if the city goes along with 2-way, that’s the only way to know. If I were you, though, I would be doing all I can to get de Moya working 2 and even 3 shifts henceforth.
Tim to me, ALL:
City should have INSISTED that the project time be at least cut in half. Could easily have been accomplished had two shifts been scheduled.
FDOT says it could not do this because of the City noise ordinance but apparently it never discussed this with the City. FDOT faced an easily resolvable problem if it had wanted to acceleration the completion time!
Even now thare are not sufficient people working on the project.
Me to Tim, All:
Not for a heartbeat do I believe FDOT and the city did not discuss the city noise ordinance in the early going. Barry Gibson told me a few weeks ago his one regret from when he was on the city commission was he did not hold out for a faster work schedule, but he was only one vote. Why would Barry tell me that, if there was not a faster construction schedule available? That’s a rhetorical question.
Rick Boettger to ALL:
I have tried to get Eric Geen to discuss any of the arguments I have made regarding the successful two way between Eisenhower and Palm, ambulances stopped behind two way traffic, and the inbound alternative on Flagler. He has not said a word. In fact, such arguments published at length in the Citizen and other local publications have been countered by no one, not him, any commissioner, nor the FDOT. I have countered each of his arguments at length, and if any of you wants to debate further, please email me.
Me to Rick, ALL:
The only way to know, Rick, is to make N Roosevelt above Palm Ave 2-way and see how that goes. What puzzles me is, why all the late weighing in by experts? Where were the experts when the city commission went along with 820 days, one way in, part of the work time, one way out the other part of the work time? Why didn’t the experts holler really loud for 2 or 3 shift work days? This is like a jumbo jet crash on an obviously way too short a runway, and now it’s triage and funerals.
Me to ALL:
Received this email from the purchaser of NAPA, which started an email chain, the later headers of which I removed to save space:
Subject: INCORRECT INFORMATION
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 2013 13:14:39 -0400
I am the person who bought the NAPA store from Craig Cates. I also ran it for him and the previous owner before him. So I am not a gringo that Craig sucked in. I don’t care who told you what, because know one besides myself and Craig and the SBA what the deal is. But I can assure you what you are reporting on is incorrect.
This type of reporting has the ability to hurt my business worse than the road construction if my customers were to believe I was in trouble.
So this is real simple. Print a retraction or deal with my attorney.
Feel free to stop by I can back up what I say, unlike you.
John C Key III
Roy’s Auto Parts
Thanks for writing.
Am surprised I have not heard from you sooner, as I have published several times what other people have told me, which you say is not true, and I can’t imagine this is the first Craig heard of what I have published, although it may be the first you heard of it. Craig never corrected me, which seems odd.
I am happy to drive down to Key West to meet with you and look at your paperwork, tomorrow around noon works for me.
First, though, so my readers can see your own words, instead of what I say you told me and/or showed me, please explain in a reply email what the deal is between you, Craig and the Small Business Administration. Date of purchase of NAPA by you, amount of purchase price, date and original amount and duration of loan or loans, payable to whom, and the security for the loan or loans.
Tomorrow, I will publish your first email and my reply, and anything further I receive from you. And, I will send all of it to the folks in the email chain Eric Geen started today, into which I again reported what Eric, and others in Key West, had told me.
From all I have heard, which is a lot, every business on N Roosevelt is hurting because of the construction, and that hurting will continue for a while. The only thing that will help that is for the work to be done a lot quicker.
I’m curious. Were you aware when you bought NAPA from Craig, that the N Roosevelt redo would be 820 days, and would be one-way in part of the time, and one-way out the rest of the time?
I really don’t spend much time reading blogs such as yours. I am busy running my business .I was aware of the construction time before purchasing the company because as general manager at the time for Craig I had been working on worst case serino plans for Craig.
As for the numbers call the SBA, that’s who did the deal. But trust me you and the people are wrong in your assumptions.
If you and your buddies want to be political that’s fine with me but don’t drag me into it. I am not political and shouldn’t be drawn into that arena. If you want to go after Craig I’m sure their are lots of other things you can dig up.
Now quite frankly I am busy and don’t have any more time for this crap. Come in if you would like but understand I don’t have to be politically correct in what I say or how I say it. Buy the way listen to 92.7 today at 4;45 to 5;00, that’s when i do my radio ad and you will get to hear the phrase that pays.
Many times have I said, and published, politically correct is a terminal spiritual disease.
I doubt SBA will provide me numbers about its loans to other people.
Sorry for your trouble with N Roosevelt redo, and for any trouble what I published caused you.
I feel badly for all N Roosevelt businesses, and am puzzled why you bought NAPA from Craig, if you knew what was coming down? Not fishing for an answer, just stating my thoughts.
Don’t feel bad for me I am having the time of my life. It is easy to sit back and own a business when things are easy. But to takeover, run and prosper in a tough environment is a test of ones self. And I enjoy the challenge.
Apology, I myself would not knowingly take on such a challenge, life for me already is plenty more challenging than I ever dreamed it would be. I hope it works out for you, and it works out well. Fun is not something I would attribute to my work, although sometimes there are fun moments.
FDOT’s server rejected that email, all other recipients apparently received it.
I thought, but did not write to John, if he did not provide the information I requested from him backing up his first email to me, so I could share it with my readers, then I, and perhaps my readers, would be left wondering what exactly went down when John bought NAPA from Mayor Cates?
To add to the comedy,
Tim Gratz to me:
E-mail I just received:
The attached message contains content which violates our [FDOT] email policy. The message was not delivered.
Maybe because yours included a chain of emails containing mine which was blocked by the FDOT server.
I suspect so but it was still funny. I said “damn”?
The censor blocked the email chain with the fellow who bought NAPA from Craig, I think the fellow said crap in one of his emails.
What we can say for certain about FDOT, no cussing allowed by its politically correct, rhymes with puritanically correct, server. What else we can say for certain about FDOT, no cussing allowed by its politically correct, rhymes with its puritanically correct, server.
One of the few remaining joys in my life is cussing. I need to find some place else to hang out.