Hi, Christine -
This is the first I heard of the “lettings go” (which were not firings, are they fucking serious?) at the Citizen. I don’t see anything about it in today’s or yesterday’s online editions. Will publish your email tomorrow. I only know Mark Howell. I wonder if he will stick around Key West?
The Cruise Ship Report Card, so to speak, made a thundering unexpected entrance earlier tonight at the Key West Chamber of Commerce’s channel-widening “study” referendum “forum”. Will relate some of the highlights.
Jolly Benson, against the “study”, was sandwiched between two local more and bigger cruise ship talking heads, one, John Dolan-Heitlinger, representing Ed Swift and Historic Tours of America, the other, Dr. Robin Lockwood, representing the Chamber of Commerce’s PAC. Jolly received several loud rounds of applause, while Swift’s and the Chamber’s talking heads mostly got polite silence and quite a few incredulous looks.
They all three agreed, if the referendum passes, it will be 20 years before any dredging is done and the new longer allegedly super green cruise ships can even call on Key West. I wondered why Ed Swift is pushing so hard, therefore, to widen the channel?, because I don’t see him, or me, being still on this planet in 20 years. I wondered if the new longer allegedly super green cruise ships will still be in service in 20 years?
Ed Scales, who moderated, asked all three candidates, If they had a magic wand, which could make cruise ships disappear from Key West, would they use it? All three candidates said no. Jolly said we are stuck with what we have, but we don’t need to make it worse; Key West people doing business with cruise ships should be content with that they now have, anything beyond that is greed. That got Jolly the loudest applause.
Dolan-Heitlinger droned on about cruise ship silt plumes do not injure coral. Lockwood said we now know forest fires are good for a forest, so that means it’s good for corals to be killed, too. He failed to distinguish between forest fires started by Mother Nature, and forest fires started by people. He failed to distinguish between coral killed by Mother Nature, and coral killed by people.
By then, I was thinking Lockwood was really stupid, or was insane. After the forum, I made a phone call and was told Lockwood is an orthopedic surgeon. Maybe the Chamber should have kept him locked up and had their pretty misguided lawyer Jennifer Hulse argue the Chamber’s position. I doubt Hulse would have said that about forest fires. Nor do I imagine she would have said what I’m going to tell you next – grab an even better best hold, because you ain’t gonna believe this even less than the forest fire comment.
Lockwood droned on and on that it will be an ecological bonanza for Key West to get its channel widened a little, like getting a parking lot widened a little, so the new, longer, super green cruise ships can get into the channel on days when there is current and/or wind, which now would cause them to have to tack (crab) into the channel, which they cannot now do because the channel is too narrow.
Lockwood said the cruise ships now calling on Key West cannot operate in Alaska, and are the dirtiest of all cruise ships. He specifically named Carnival. He went on and on about the dirtiest of all cruise ships are calling on Key West, and that’s why the channel needs to be widened a little, so the new, longer, super green cruise ships can come to Key West 20 years from now.
By now, I’m thinking Lockwood is the best spokesperson in Key West for the referendum being defeated.
After the forum ended, I went over to Lockwood and said something like, So we know from you, the Chamber’s expert, that the dirtiest cruise ships are calling on Key West, and you all three agreed tonight that it will be twenty years before any dredging is done, if the referendum passes, so that means the dirtiest cruise ships will continue to call on Key West for twenty years.
Lockwood said, that is why the channel-widening study needs to be passed. I said again, so for 20 years we continue to get the dirtiest cruise ships. Yes, he said; there is nothing to be done about that. I said, well, Key West could tell the dirtiest cruise ships they cannot call on Key West any more. He said, well, that would be another way to deal with the dirtiest cruise ships, but he didn’t think that way was legal.
I asked, What’s wrong with Ed Swift and the Chamber, and the city’s elected officials, that they put up with the dirtiest cruise ships calling on Key West, knowing those ships are dumping their sewerage and other wastes in the sea? I said, Swift should tell the dirtiest cruise ships that he isn’t going to do business with them anymore, and he can go to the KOTS homeless shelter and sleep nights if he goes broke. Maybe by now Lockwood is wondering if I am a foreign terrorist?
Waiting for the elevator to arrive and take me away from a for real insane asylum, I spotted Chamber of Commerce Executive Virginia Panico headed my way. I asked her something like, Virginia, what’s with the Chamber and Key West doing business with the dirtiest cruise ships, according to the Chamber’s own expert, and planning on doing business with them for the next 20 years? Don’t you think the Chamber and the city should stop doing business with the dirtiest cruise ships? Virginia acted like she didn’t comprehend the question, so I asked it again, and she acted the same, as she made her way away from the foreign terrorist.
The elevator arrived, I went down to the first floor and walked outside and ran into someone, who said he had overheard Lookwood tell someone else that he should not have said that about Key West getting the dirtiest cruise ships, which cannot get into Alaska. Baloney, that was just what Lockwood was supposed to say, because it was the truth, and it could not have had a greater impact than for the Chamber’s own expert to say it.
I wished tonight that they had asked me what I would have done with that magic wand?
Now remains to be seen if Lockwood’s remarks will make it into the Key West Citizen. Bill Becker was there, recording it. Maybe he will make a rumpus on his morning show [US 1 Radio] tomorrow, about the dirtiest cruise ships calling on Key West now, and for the next twenty years.
This morning’s P.S.
Hi again, Christine -
The Citizen today reports the “lettings go” and the demise of Solares Hill. In the Citizen’s report of last night’s cruise ship forum, I was glad to see this: