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DeeVon Quirolo replied to a Peter Anderson’s jab, reported in yesterday’s post at this website:
“Unlike the Quirolos who took hundreds of thousands out of RR from cruise ships and their ilk, the only people paid at RR are our dedicated staff.”
This post by Peter Anderson would be laughable if it weren’t so completely inaccurate and slanderous. Yes, Reef Relief received a grant from some of the fines specified to go to local reef protection from the Royal Caribbean legal settlement and we also worked with Holland America on an educational program for incoming cruise ship passengers that reimbursed our costs. But no, Craig and DeeVon went for many many months over many many years without paychecks in order to insure that our staff never did. Even when there were grants and donations for our dedicated and often difficult up-hill battles to protect the reef on a full time basis for Reef Relief, our salaries were approximately half that being earned by our equals in the environmental and non-profit world in the Keys. And we accomplished a lot. While we were raising and spending at a minimum a half a million dollars a year to protect the reefs, our salary never equaled even one-tenth of that. We were not independently wealthy and Craig and I both gave up our own good businesses to invest our time in Reef Relief. I regret the day Peter Anderson decided he needed to steal our thunder and pillage our good name in the community. I think most people see through this. It is just more of Peter’s delusional world to justify the harm he has done to Reef Relief since Craig and I retired and he mounted his hostile and illegal take-over.
You must be the change you want to see in the world.
We can do no great things; only small things with great love.
The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Thanks, I posted yours not only as a comment, but also into the body of the post at both goodmorningkeywest.com and goodmorningkeywest.com, for readers who do not get there until later today. I also will use yours on tomorrow’s post, for people who did not see it today. And, I will send yours to Naja Girard to add onto what I sent to her today for Firday’s Key West the Newspaper.
Wow thanks Sloan. The implication that we were in any way beholden to the cruise industry is ridiculous. Reef Relief has always taken a strong stand on ocean dumping. whether by cruise ships or small boats I served on the City of Key West Cruise Ship Task Force to get the city to stop cruise ship dumping–the only conservationist at a table of cruise ship reps, lobbyists and city officials. We did our part to stop boat dumping by beginning first with drafting, promoting approval and then helping to implement an educational program for the City of Key West No Discharge Zone. I began as an 8year member of the City of Key West Port Advisory Board which approved my draft ordinance for a vote by the city commission. Next I worked to have the NDZ expanded to all county waters through my position on the County Marine & Port Advisory Board, with grants for installation of new pump-out facilities and an educational campaign. Next we worked to get it expanded to all State waters of the Keys—and in the educational brochures for the sanctuary we designed. Finally, the FKNMS–designated the federal waters of the sanctuary a NDZ. This was not a popular campaign and even the charterboats were the worst offenders, but we did it. And for months while I was doing this work, I wasn’t paid because I didn’t have time to fundraise. But I was happy to do it.
All the best, DV
I wrote back to DeeVon to say Naja had declined what I sent o her, it was too personal.
Basically, it was a revised for Key West the Newspaper version of what was in yesterday’s post between Peter Anderson and me, along with DeeVon’s first response to what Peter wrote about her and Craig, and with this ending from me:
“I, Sloan, don’t really know DeeVon and Craig Quirolo, and I barely know Peter Anderson. A number of Key West people, some against the channel dredging, some probably for it, have spoken poorly of Peter to me. The only person I ever heard speak well of Peter was Peter. I think his “Conch Republic” business was a clever idea, and I hope it does well. However, he ought to know better than to be involved with Reef Relief, given his affection for cruise ships. Hard to believe he doesn’t know better.”
Naja asked me at the Key West High School dredging forum last night, to do something on what Dr. Brian La Pointe had told me, which I did and sent it to her later last night. Naja wrote back that it will appear in tomorrow’s edition of www.thebluepaper.com.
Here’s my report of the channel dredging forum last night:
Jennifer Hulse, the lawyer for the Chamber’s PAC,
kept saying during her opening remarks that the Army Corps of Engineers would not let Key West do anything that would harm the environment.
When the audience was invited by Bill Becker to ask the panelists questions, I raised my hand. Bill told me to proceed. I said my question was for Jolly Benson.
“Tell us about times when the Corps of Engineers did not protect the environment on the mainland.” Jolly reeled off a few times, starting with Port Everglades and the Everglades.
Jennifer kept saying the referendum is not about widening the channel or cruises ships, but is only about gathering information, a line she has used all along, even as she has chastised audiences for not being sensitive to the economic impact cruise ships have on the Key West economy and employees of companies which do business with cruise ships.
The third panelist was John Dolan-Heitlinger, who started a harbor pilots PAC, but actually works for Ed Swift, whose company operates conch trains and trolleys, which John never says at forums. John says straight up that the channel needs to be widened, so Key West can receive the newer, bigger cruise ships … in 10, 15 or 20 years.
Jennifer talked more than Jolly and John combined. She repeatedly interrupted and talked over Jolly. She guaranteed the audience, if the referendum fails to pass, the Chamber will keep pushing for channel dredging. She repeatedly accused Jolly of misrepresenting the facts, and then she started accusing Naja Girard of misrepresenting the facts in her newspaper. Someone in front of me said, “The pot calling the kettle black.”
Jennifer told the audience everyone had to get together, the study had to happen. From the floor, I said, NO WAY EVERYONE’S GOING TO GET TOGETHER.
When Bill Becker, who moderated the forum with Ezra Marcus, asked before the action began, if there was anyone in the audience who had not already made up his/her mind on the referendum?, no hands raised.
Outside, after the forum, I told Naja, something is really fucked up about Jennifer. Naja said, Jennifer is just being a good lawyer for her client. I said, something is really fucked up about Jennifer.
Like, there is something really fucked up about Peter Anderson.
For comparison’s sake, here is the Key West Citizen’s version of what happened at last night’s forum, my interjected thoughts in italics:
Chamber PAC leader predicts pro-study vote
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff
Key West voters will approve the Oct. 1 referendum asking if the city should order a federal study on the impacts of dredging the main ship channel in order to accommodate modern cruise ships, a pro-study proponent said Wednesday.
“The community is going to see the light on this; we’re going to have a ‘yes’ vote,” said attorney Jennifer Hulse, vice president of the Greater Key West Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee (PAC).
“We’re going to make sure this study happens if the vote is ‘yes.’ It matters to the businesses and it matter to our members.”
Hulse was among three speakers invited to a forum put together by Commissioner Tony Yaniz and held in Key West High School’s auditorium .
Hulse was joined on the stage by the anti-study movement’s appointed spokesman, Jolly Benson, a playwright who has a theater lighting company, and John Dolan-Heitlinger, a veteran paid consultant representing the pro-dredge camp, the Key West Seaport Alliance.
While the forum drew only about 27 people, the banter among the three participants packed a wallop.
Benson, the only anti-study voice on stage, kept on point with the message from environmental group Last Stand: The study will lead to dredging an already fragile, recovering reef that is Key West’s most precious tourist attraction.
“Ripping out 17 acres of sensitive bay bottom and putting it somewhere else, to me, is not an improvement,” said Benson, chairman of the Key West Committee for Responsible Tourism PAC.
As for the $23 million worth of coral reef mitigation work the pro-dredge camp has bandied about in ads, Benson said lots of that would go toward mapping out the bay bottom, not planting coral.
Early voting in Key West opened Monday and runs through Sept. 28, and the channel-dredging study question has dominated this city election season.
The Chamber’s PAC has raised $84,000 and spent $57,000 since March, while the Responsible Tourism PAC has collected $74,000 and spent $36,200 during the same period.
When moderator Bill Becker, US-1 Radio news editor, asked the attendees if anyone hadn’t yet decided how to vote Oct. 1 on the question, not a hand went up.
Dredging the main shipping channel is part of maintaining a port economy, said Hulse.
“We’ve got a channel that’s outdated, to be honest with you,” she said. “If we’re going to be a port community, it’s about the port. Nobody wants to harm the environment. The reality is, we’re a shipping community. We’re a tourism community. Cruise ships drive overall tourism.”
Hulse went further, saying dredging the silt out of the bottom could benefit the local environment.
“We need to have a safe, navigable, deep, wide channel,” Hulse said. “If it were me, why not deepen the channel and reduce turbidity?”
The referendum is not about dredging the existing channel. It is not about dredging the existing channel deeper. Or, did Hulse slip up give away that is exactly what the referendum is covertly about, a deeper and a wider channel?, which I wrote several times earlier this year is what the cruise ship lovers are really going after.
Benson’s group, she said, just doesn’t want cruise ships or passengers on the island.
Jolly has never said that at forums I attended. In conversations with me, he never said that, and he told me that he would not say it, even after to told him he should say it.
“Even when there’s going to be an environmental gain, you don’t care,” Hulse said to Benson.
Hulse will say just about anything. Longer, bigger cruise ships, carrying more passengers, will be an environmental gain.
“I still don’t want them to destroy the environment,” Benson replied. “I’m considering that this is actually the problem.”
“You don’t understand the difference between the study and the dredging,” Hulse countered.
Jolly understands all too well that the study and dredging are one and the same, as far as the cruise ship lovers are concerned. Turning that around, if there were no cruise ship lovers in Key West, there would be no referendum about having a study to dredge the channel wider.
Benson made mention of the few businesses dumping big donations into the Chamber PAC’s coffers, saying that short list would benefit the most from dredging.
“That is not true — don’t lie,” Hulse said. “What percentage of your cause doesn’t even live here?”
She pointed out several of the Responsible Tourism’s PAC donors are “independently wealthy.”
“And we’re the greedy people?” Hulse asked.
Cruise ships will always come to Key West, Benson said, adding that plenty of local business owners don’t want a $3 million Army Corps of Engineers study on the pros and cons of dredging.
“We have well over 50 businesses that signed on voluntarily,” said Benson. “I’ve had double that number come up and say, ‘We’re afraid of the repercussions if we support you publicly.’ I’m the most pro-business person around. I still wear Kino sandals, even though I have to fight the crowds to get in.”
I clapped when John Dolan-Heitlinger said last night that many Chamber business owners oppose the channel dredging (contrary to prior statements by Hulse and other Chamber officials, that Chamber members support the referendum.)
Moving laterally, in yesterday’s Citizen:
24-hour homeless shelter slammed
4 city commissioners criticize site, discuss need for assisted living center
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff
Four city commissioners took the mayor to task Tuesday night over what they consider his presumptuous plans for a new, 24-hour homeless shelter at the old Easter Seals property on College Road.
At first it was only the location prompting disdain. But it quickly turned into members of the dais clashing over Key West’s priorities.
“We have people in this community working three jobs who aren’t going to have as nice as accommodations as the homeless,” Commissioner Tony Yaniz said. “We need to think of our citizens first and the homeless second.”
Workshops for “site selection” will hit the commission’s calendar soon, said City Manager Bob Vitas, who met with architect Bill Horn on Friday over shelter plans.
Those plans were stopped cold Tuesday night at Old City Hall.
“I’m going to put the brakes on Mr. Horn right now,” said Vitas.
What Vitas needs to put the brakes on is taking orders from the mayor, instead of from the City Commission, on which the mayor has one of seven votes. Not reported, at the same meeting, I was told by someone who was there, I was not there, Vitas never hired the Washington lobbying firm the Commission had chosen, instead of the lobbying firm the mayor wanted, which also is the lobbying firm for the cruise ship industry. I asked the person, who did he think told Vitas not to hire the lobbying firm the Commission had told him to hire? The person said, “The mayor.” The person said, the reason that happened was, if the channel-widening study referendum passes, the mayor wants the same lobbying firm that represents the cruise ship industry, to represent Key West, in its efforts to get the channel dredging approved. This person is not some dumb person unfamiliar with Key West politics. Hometown! PAC’s candidate forum is this evening at Tropic Cinema. Were I running that forum, I would ask Mayor Cates about these matters. The channel-dredging study is also on the forum agenda.
“Leave that homeless shelter where it’s at,” Commissioner Mark Rossi said, referring to the current Keys Overnight Temporary Shelter (KOTS) on Sheriff’s Office property on the other side of College Road. “I want to make perfectly clear that’s where this commissioner is at.”
But Rossi told Cates he applauded his efforts on the issue.
None of the discussion came from an agenda item, rather during the city manager’s report.
Yaniz, a regular critic of Cates, brought up the topic during the beginning of Tuesday’s 6 p.m. meeting when he announced the need for the city to let go of some property for the Florida Keys Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to build a better animal shelter.
The conversation quickly turned into a storm of discontent over Cates’ two-year pitch to open a 24-hour homeless center where nonprofits could offer services and meals would be served.
Several commissioners raised the need for an assisted living center, which Key West lacks, prompting Cates to point out they could have had one at Truman Waterfront, a pitch that recently failed by one vote after tumultuous debate.
“We have to solve one issue at a time,” Cates said. “Whatever the commission wants.”
Commissioner Billy Wardlow was the first on the dais to show opposition to the homeless shelter going up at the old Easter Seals site, after hearing that city staff met with an architect on Friday.
“I’d like to put a resolution on the next agenda to stop everything going on at Easter Seals,” Wardlow said to Assistant City Attorney Larry Erskine. “I’d like to see an assisted living center go up there instead of a homeless shelter. The taxpayers of this town deserve an assisted living facility build on that piece of property before we build a homeless shelter.”
Cates has called the city-owned site, along with the Mosquito Control District’s headquarters, the best location for a larger homeless shelter.
Key West recently spent $20,000 on consultant Robert Marbut, whose report determined the old Easter Seals building was perfect for the shelter, and the building used by Mosquito Control would make fine “transitional housing” for men and women rebuilding their lives.
But the commission has never voted on the shelter’s location.
Tuesday’s rumpus among the commissioners left Cates in the minority opinion, though.
“I’m still committed to seeing an assisted living facility,” said Commissioner Clayton Lopez. “I don’t think we’ve looked into it enough.”
Vitas said, “Let’s call it site selection; that’s where you need to be.”
Only Commissioner Teri Johnston stuck up for the mayor’s focus on the homeless:
“We have to do something for the homeless situation,” she said.
“We can’t stick our heads in the sand. Nobody wants the homeless facility in their backyard. We’re going to face pushback wherever we go.”
That’s right, Teri, so how about putting the new shelter in your back yard? Then, you deal with your voting district constituents. Or, how about putting the new shelter in Mayor Cates’ back yard?
The city spends $441,000 a year to run KOTS, which provides a bunk and a shower before emptying each morning about 7 a.m. Since its inception in 2004, KOTS has remained on the Sheriff’s property on College Road. A 2011 lawsuit by neighboring Sunset Marina can only be settled by the city promising to move it down the road, lawyers on both sides said this month.
The city just might spend considerably more on a new, bigger, full service homeless shelter, and lots more than that on new subsidized affordable housing for “graduates” from the new shelter.