“small” cruise ship recently leaving Key West, photo compliments Will Benson, local tarpon guide, whose brother, Jolly, did most of the public talking against dredging the channel wider, so even bigger cruise ships than this one above could call on Key West
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From William Benson yesterday:
Jolly and Willy (Will) deserve cubic yards of credit, but they are supported by tens of thousands of generous defenders of the fragile ambience that is Key West and the reef.
Foremost in their lives here is David Wolkowsky. The picture is of David and Jolly after voting a few days ago. Jolly overheard David being questioned by the worker in the Supervisor of Elections office.
“May I see your identification, sir?” David showed her his drivers license.
“When were you born, sir?”
“August 21st, 1919.”
“It says here that you were born on September 1st!”
“Don’t believe everything you read,” said David.
He went on to cast a “NO” vote, I am told.
David is someone who understands business and the importance of tourism to the economy of Key West. He, Jolly, Willy, Sarah, I, and thousands of others think that cruise ships should be a smaller component of the tourism tart. David has always encouraged writers, artists, musicians, and people of talent to visit Key West and, if they’re agreeable, to stay on and contribute to the community culture. That’s a legacy that continues for generations.
Who knows what the world will be like in 20 years let alone the trends in the cruise ship industry? If we leave the channel as it is, perhaps we can have a better chance to limit the damage to the reef, see the demise of the tacky vendors, and attract a younger generation of creative spirits who will want to hear about such characters as David Wolkowsky. And Jolly and Willy and Baby Alice will be able to tell amusing stories about a personality who welcomed them to this delightful world.
Sloan, I think that you hit on the most salient phrase for this issue: “First, do no harm.”
I think that when the vote is over we can move on to “Second, make it unexpected.”
That’s what, I think, David would want.
William Benson, President
Benson Green Technologies
175 Overseas Highway
Key West, FL 33040
(305) 296 3940
I hope William is correct, thousands of others also vote No and the referendum fails in a landslide, and then Key West moves into the unexpected.
From Nashville J yesterday:
TICK – TICK – TICK
Here’s hoping that the NO votes turn out on Tuesday — I don’t think they can beat the FOLLOW THE $$$$$ crowd — but I sure hope they stand up and give off their asses and head to the polls just so they can at least say they voted NO.
You might well be right, although I hope you aren’t. Maybe the public got tired of seeing local BIG BUSINESS trying to get their way over something so truly toxic to Key West waters, as well as to the local ambiance – cruise ships and hordes of cruise ship passengers, and conch trains and trolleys clogging city streets and blasting neighborhoods with loud speakers.
Visiting with Joel and Erika Biddle tonight, Joel once worked for Reef Relief, he told me he once did a presentation at Mary Star of the Sea’s school, to the children students. He told them about cruise ships dumping their human waste in the inside current, en route from Port Everglades to Key West, and of the one attempt to run treated cruise ship sewerage through Key West’s super modern sewerage treatment plant, and the plant could not handle the cruise ship’s treated sewerage. Next day, Ed Swift, conch train and trolleys owner, called DeeVon Quirilo, Reef Relief owner and co-founder, and said he had just given Reef Relief $10,000, and demanded she fire Joel. She told Joel about it, said she had crossed swords with Swift before, and for Joel to keep on working for Reef Relief.
Erika told me tonight, Joel concurred, that she knows many members of the Key West Chamber of Commerce who are upset that the Chamber came out saying it speaks for Chamber members. Erika said Kate Milano, owner of the Gardens Hotel, in Old Town, was furious that the Chamber said it spoke for her, and she held her own anti-cruise ship meeting. Jolly Benson has said at several candidate forums that he has fifty Key West businesses actively supporting his efforts to defeat the referendum, and more than that privately supporting him, who are afraid for their identity to be known, because they fear retaliation.
Erika said there can be no way the local lodge owners and restaurant owners are in the pro-referendum camp, because cruise ship passengers do not spend the night in Key West and they mostly eat on board ship. The pro-referendum camp are cunning. Hopefully, they out-foxed themselves. We will know by around 7 or 8 p.m. Tuesday night.
I told Erika and Joel last night, that I don’t see how anyone, who votes No on the referendum, can vote Yes for Mayor Craig Cates, who supports the referendum and bigger cruise ships. If people who oppose the referendum don’t want to vote for Margaret Romero, they can write-in Jolly Benson’s name for Mayor.
Although the Elections Office might not count those votes, because there is no place on the ballot for write-in candidate, if thousands of people write in Jolly for Mayor, that will send a very, very loud message to Mayor Cates and the six city commissioners, and to all of Key West. As will thousands of people voting No on the referendum.
First, do no harm; Second, make it unexpected.