Depress ctrl and + keys together to increase zoom/font size; depress ctrl and – keys together to reduce
County Commissioner Sylvia Murphy, of Key Largo, responded to my recent question, did a straight-shooting candidate for office ever get elected?
Yes, Sloan, some people DO get elected while telling the truth or maybe because they tell the truth (whether others wish to hear it or not) and sometimes they even get elected more than once, all the while telling the truth. And because of this ‘flaw’, these people also sleep very well at night and they smile a lot……………………my fingers are crossed for the vote on widening tonight – hope it goes down like a brick…..
Sylvia J Murphy
Commissioner District 5
Monroe County BOCC
Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark — professionals built the Titanic.
Hi, Sylvia – you are a straight-shooter. I thought Kim Wigington was, too. A brick it was . Sloan
Hey Sloan: It really did sink like a TON OF BRICKS, didn’t it??????? Much credit goes to you and your blog – it pays to advertise, etc. but most of all, I am so proud of the citizens of Key West for seeing the truth, speaking the truth and above all, voting the truth. The greedy people will never get the message but twice in the past month people of the Keys have banded together and made sure that ‘bad’ things didn’t happen — on the Upper Keys, Homeland Security will NOT be moving into a building in a Historic District with their gun lockers, drug rooms and prisoners and Key West has effectively stopped the channel dredging (widening) for years to come. Many, many congratulations and bushels of thanks to every person who participated in these defeats. No matter how great or small our contribution, it’s the unity that counts.
From Key West and Panama amiga Christine Russell yesterday:
SUNDAY 12 -3 Ft Zach!
Bring a potluck dish, beverage and place setting.
It’s time for the community to come together.
Most all of us want the same thing – a healthy economy,
a healthy environment and a healthy reef.
We fight too many battles.
It’s time to come together and have some fun!!!
Ya – there’s rain in the forecast right now – Sunday is a
long way off. Obviously the heavens are on our side
I’m taking my watercolors, bring your beach toys, chairs, rafts
let’s play and enjoy our wonderful island
Please send to all your friends.
Facebook thread started yesterday by a Key West amigo:
Robert Emmet Kelly
The overwhelming success of the Vote No on Dredging campaign can be an opportunity to reopen the discussion begun almost a year ago about Duval Street and how to prepare for our next generation of tourism in Key West.
It’s important to not lose sight of the fact that cruise ship tourism, while important to a small number of businesses, isn’t the big economic engine of our tourist economy. Seven percent versus ninety-three percent is the number to remember.
Janet and I spent the day yesterday by going to vote, then to the Tropic Cinema, and then to the Little Room Jazz Club, before picking up milk at CVS and heading back home. We met no cruise ship people. In fact, we aren’t even sure there was a ship or ships in port.
We chatted with the few other locals who were at the Tropic after the movie ended, and later with a couple of young women from Boston who were enjoying a late afternoon cocktail at the Little Room. They were in Key West for two days, and then on their way to Islamorada to spend four days relaxing at the Postcard Inn. Just think about how many $$ they are likely left here and compare it to the $83 the average cruiser spends.
At the end of the day, we arrived home pleased and satisfied with our sojourn in ‘downtown’ Key West.
So which commissioner(s) will take up the cause? It’s partly Jimmy Weekley’s district, and partly Clayton Lopez’ too. Tony Yaniz has shown interest. It’s certainly in the Mayor’s purview. Can’t we just try something, anything to see what can work to transform Duval Street, especially lower Duval, into into something other than drink-until-you-vomit bars and Everything $5 stores?
I hope that we don’t lose the energy that came up out of the anti-dredging effort. It was magnificent to watch it happen. I wish there’ll be more.
I think the city would be well served with a convention venue.
Robert Emmet Kelly
Agree, Jim. It was once a plan to have such a facility in the location of the old mess hall on the waterfront. I’m not sure if that’s now an element of the Truman Waterfront Plan, but it probably ought to be. I’ll see if I can find out.
During citizen comments at the end of tonight’s City Commission meeting, I told the mayor and commissioners that Robin Lockwood, M.D., President of the Chamber of Commerce, had said at a referendum forum at the Westin that the dirtiest, worst possible cruise ships are calling on Key West, and will be calling on Key West for the next 20 years, when, if, the channel was dredged wider, the new, super green and clean cruise ships would call on Key West. I said I had asked Lockwood at the next referendum forum, if he and the Chamber were dedicated to preserving the local waters and environment? He said yes. I reminded him of what he had said at the previous forum, and asked him why he and the Chamber were not doing all they could to stop the dirtiest, worst possible cruise ships from calling on Key West? I told the mayor and the city commissioners I now was asking them the same question. I got no answers. I agree, lower Duval needs a new look in some places, and I love your description of it, Bob. But I don’t see the cruise ship fight is over. It looks to me that killing the referendum dead was the first step in stopping the dirtiest, worst possible cruise ships from calling on Key West. I don’t see lower Duval changing as long as cruise ships are calling on Key West.
I also said during citizen comments that I had received an email from someone who was not allowed to vote this time, because she lives on a boat, which is in dry dock in Key West, even though she has been voting all along.
Here is that email:
Good morning Sloan. I was so glad to see the NO vote passed. For those of us who love and live on the water it was very important. I wasn’t happy however that I wasn’t allowed to cast my vote. I got an automated call yesterday about not forgetting to vote and if I had any questions to enter #3. I did so, because I wanted to verify if I still voted in the same place. The nice lady who answered the phone asked my name. I gave it to her and then she proceeded to ask me if I was still a live-aboard. I said yes, but at the moment was in dry-dock. She then said I wasn’t eligible to vote. I apparently am not a KW citizen even though I’ve lived here since 99?, and have always voted before. She told me live-aboards were not KW citizens. I hung up and called a friend of mine who works the polls each election day and asked him if he’d ever heard of that. He said no, and then transferred me to another gentleman. I don’t remember his name, but I asked him why I wasn’t considered a KW citizen all of the sudden. He said the rules have always been thus, and that some people just slip through the cracks, that I’m actually a county resident and not allowed to vote in city elections. I just don’t know what to think of this. I know of other live-aboards that voted yesterday. We live out there on the water, and work in this city everyday. We deserve to vote for things that effect us. Would you care to comment? Rooster Girl
Hi, Debby – What a bizarre experience. I told it to the City Commission tonight during citizen comments at the very end of the meeting, and nobody on the dais said anything. I did not identify you, other than that I knew you pretty well and you had emailed me about it today. I think I recall this issue floating around in the past, people living on boats, who had voted, were told they no longer could vote, but it’s been years since I heard of that happening. I suppose if you are moored far enough out, you are not in the city limits, which puts you in the county limits. I wondered if that being enforced this election had to do with the referendum and someone thinking people who live on boats were going to vote No on the referendum, so don’t let them vote this year. But wait, your boat is on dry land, in the city limits of Key West. Even homeless people can vote in Key West, if they are registered in the city to vote. I know that for a fact, because I voted in the city when I was homeless here. Does that mean dry-docked “boat people” are even lower down the ladder than homeless people in Key West? As I said, bizarre. Sloan
Homeless shelter referendum?
I also said during citizen comments last night, that I had received an email inquiry from someone who has a home in the golf course community, asking if the new homeless shelter could be put out to referendum? I paused, taking in the somber looks on the dais, said, that was meant as comic relief, of course that was not a good idea. Some smiles. Here is that email.
why cant the voters decide the homeless conflict the same as the dredging?
isn’t it just as serious quality of life concern, supposedly?
Hi, Glenn – thanks for asking.
The dredging was clear cut, yes or no study, but that was not clear cut, because the referendum really was yes or no bigger cruise ships.
Bill Becker, or maybe it was Ezra Marcus, asked Tony Yaniz the same question last night in Old City Hall, as we all waited on the election results to come in. I don’t recall Yaniz’s answer, he went lots of places with it not in direct response to the question. My question first off is, what would be the wording of the referendum? If simply to decide where in Key West a homeless shelter would be placed, the Easter Seals property, for example? I suppose such a referendum could be properly worded and be binding on the City Commission and on the City of Key West to be legally enforceable, but that would not wipe out any legal remedies the golf course community might have to oppose the shelter being at the Easter Seals building. Ditto for any other location to locate the shelter in inside, or outside, the city limits. I think for the referendum to be legal, the choice would have to be one location, not a multiple choice left up to the elected officials then to decide, which is where we are at now. If the referendum was to, say, locate the shelter out near the airport on city land, you have that same problem, and a civil war, essentially, between that adjacent residential community and the rest of Key West during the lead up to the referendum. When they tried to put KOTS (the city’s homeless shelter) out there in 2003, as I recall the year, but perhaps it was early 2004, that neighborhood nearly lynched then Mayor Jimmy Weekley and then City Manager Julio Avael and then Assistant City Manager John Jones in a church on Flagler, at the intersection a road which runs into that city property. If you put to referendum what kind of homeless shelter, instead of the location, how would that referendum be worded? The negotiations on the wording of that referendum might be really interesting and, basically, madness, as there probably would be dozens of alternatives, and how do you get all of that into a referendum, which is supposed to be clear, concise, easy to understand, to be legal? My opinion, this is not something that should be put to referendum. The City Commission (mayor and six commissioners) should decide what kind of new homeless shelter, if any, and where, and take whatever political heat that causes. If they don’t like taking that kind of heat, if they don’t like making that kind of tough call, they should resign. Maybe more later.
Earlier in the commission meeting were two items, one, to approve a resolution for the city to co-sponsor a homeless summit next year, with the Monroe County Continuum-of-Care group, for which Reverend Stephen Braddock is Chairman, after the annual in place homeless count is done, and two, to settle the lawsuit filed by Sunset Marina to have KOTS (the city’s overnight homeless shelter) closed, because it was built without permits and was not in keeping with city code use usage. That gave me 6 minutes total to speak, 3 minutes to each item.
So, I gave them a brief history of time on KOTS and said there is no need for a homeless summit, I had attended such before, and nothing came from them. There are people in Key West, Steve Braddock at Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, and Elmira Leto at Samuel’s House, who have been offering homeless and addict rehabilitation for many years, and there is me, who has been homeless in Key West and elsewhere. We know the terrain and are willing to advise the city for free. No need to bring in outside homeless experts, who don’t know this terrain down here. The golf course community will sue the city if it tries to put the new shelter next to the golf course, on the Easter Seals property. Weekley, Avael, Jones nearly were lynched in a church for trying to first put KOTs next to the airport. It’s a very tough situation all the way around, there is no happy solution, but there is local expert help available to advise the city.
Short version of longer spiel.
When I was finished, Commissioner Tony Yaniz said he wanted me to stay at the speaker’s station, he had a question since I know about homelessness and Key West. I said okay. He said nobody wants a new shelter in their own backyard. He is a problem solver, so where could Key West put a new homeless shelter? I said I know of no place in Key West where Key West can put a homeless shelter without a fight. He said that was no solution. I said there is no solution, there is no silver bullet. It’s a tough situation.
Tony didn’t seem to believe me, and I hope he comes up with something he likes, but I will be surprised if he does, and if the new shelter is built, I doubt the City Commission will like how that process goes, and I doubt the City Commission will like the end result, both in solving Key West’s homeless problem, and in what it cost to try to solve it. The problem simply cannot be solved. Tony said as much earlier, that it can only be managed, and he was not in favor of spending lots of money trying to solve it and making it nice for people who do not want to change or work.
I will be at the homeless summit. Maybe they will let me speak. The Commission decided to be the only sponsor, which was Commissioner Terry Johnson’s doing last night. She said the city should drive the summit, which I felt was correct. A non-profit should not drive it, although I am glad to see Steve Braddock wanting to participate, since he mainly is who the city should be relying on to guide it through the mainstream process.
Mayor Cates said again that the new shelter will not be his shelter, but will be the city’s shelter. However, the truth of the matter is, what drove the new shelter was Mayor Cates, it was all his idea, based on the Robert Marbut model, which simply will not work in Key West, because of the steady inflow of homeless people into Key West, and because Key West has not the land nor the affordable housing for graduates from a Marbut type shelter.
If Marbut truly was an expert, he would have seen his type of shelter was not workable in Key West, and he would have told Mayor Cates and the City Commission that up front. He was paid $20,000 for nothing, in my opinion. Steve Braddock and I both could have advised the City Commission and Mayor Cates to get to where they are now, and it would not have cost the city a penny, and it would have gone a lot faster getting to where the city now is.
Repeat, there is no happy solution, no silver bullet.
Email thread on two different topics started by Key West amiga Connie Gilbert:
Went through Birmingham Sat. & thought of you. Am now in Florence and will be in Asheville NC tomorrow. And yes, of course I voted before I left!
You seem to be going the long way around to get to Asheville.
My younger daughter lives there. Alice Bashinsky, M.D. Safe travels. Sloan
Only in Florence to visit a dear old friend–object of road trip is to see beloveds who don’t get to KW. . . so next stop Asheville, then Durham, then Fredricksburg, NJ/NY and up to the annual SpiritFest at Ashokan.
I guess your daughter would not welcome a call from me conveying love from Daddy–?
Re battered women’s shelter, you mean the Domestic Abuse Shelter in Marathon, which last I heard is a four-bedroom home that can serve relatively few women and their children and is useless for Key West women, who have to quit jobs and pull kids out if school to go there. Samuel’s House, however, does a fine job and probably could expand.
The battered women’s shelter in Key West, part of either Samuel’s House or FKOC, at least in that same part of Poinciana project.
I don’t have any suggestions for my daughter in Asheville. Nor how she would respond to hearing from you. I love her, hope she and her family are doing well. Perhaps more than a phone call, since you know me pretty well. Maybe you see her, you two have a conversation. I don’t know, really. Just it’s odd, you are going to Asheville where she lives.
No, Samuel’s House is all we in KW have for homeless or/and battered women–and thank goodness and Elmira Leto for it. Other homes run by Samuel’s House under different names at Poinciana include transitional housing and a house for women who need continued support and really can’t live alone. But when you say “battered women’s shelter,” that’s the questionable Marathon DAS.
This woman is a friend of mine, she told me specifically she was not in Samuel’s House, but was in a nearby building. Perhaps it is run by Samuel’s house and she does not know that. She knows Elmira, I have seen them speak in passing at the buildings.
It’s only a semantic glitch–Samuel’s House accepts all women in crisis and I honor and applaud their work. The DAS Marathon is little more than a scam to provide its director with a salary of (I know this is hard to believe, but it’s what I heard at a BOCC meeting) $160k.
Re your daughter — let me dream on it. You may indeed be mad (and I as well) but I love you (cf Erich Fromm).
I imagine Alice, who is a physician, believes I am insane, and worse. She has plenty of company. I love her anyway. Maybe that’s proof, at least, that I am insane.
My friend in KW insists she lives in a battered women’s shelter, with her son. I figure she should know where she lives. I don’t know why she is in there, I never heard of her being battered. She moved back to Key West from the north Pacific west coast. She has moved back and forth between the two locations several times. She is from out there. I first met her, before she was a mother, in the Jacksonville Greyhound bus station, in March 2001, en route from Missouri to Key West, after what I was doing in Missouri had concluded.
Then began a very long story (no romance) of her and my friendship.