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Bigger cruise ship referendum defeat celebration and reconciliation gathering today at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, noon to 3 p.m. Given this excerpt from today’s Key West Citizen,
In response to 74 percent of voters saying “no” to a federal channel-dredging study, the City Commission will soon consider installing a resolution aimed at giving the referendum results some teeth.
While a “yes” vote on the study would have been a binding resolution forcing the commission to order the study from the Army Corps of Engineers, people on both sides of the issue question how the “no” study vote can stick at City Hall.
“You can’t bind future commissions,” said attorney Jennifer Hulse, of the Key West Chamber of Commerce’s pro-study political action committee (PAC), moments after the 74-26 vote came in quashing the study.
Hulse and her team, which included the Pier B-owning Walsh family and businessman Ed Swift, made no concessions post-election.
“I thought it would have been closer,” said Hulse, who added that she didn’t see her side bringing back the dredging issue anytime soon.
In contrast, the victors made haste to press city leadership not to let the referendum statement fade away in a few years’ time.
“I urge you all to not just let this fall,” said Jolly Benson, chairman of the PAC that campaigned against the study since forming in February.
“I know that we won’t,” Benson said. “The Chamber of Commerce is not going to let up, either. They can’t just bring this up every chance they want. It’s exhausting to this city and it’s time for all of us to start working together for a solution.”
I don’t see much reconciliation happening any time soon, but I really like Fort Zach and will be there.
The demographics of the bigger cruise ship referendum sinking are reported in this excerpt from today’s Key West Citizen:
The lowest anti-study neighborhood on Oct. 1 was Precinct 2 at Key West High School’s auditorium, where even 65.4 percent voted “no.”
A whisker higher was the Jaycees Club at the other end of Flagler Avenue, where the study failed by 66 percent.
Mayor Cates’ precinct at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Northside Drive was a hair higher in the “no” department at 66.5 percent.
At the other end of the ballot tally was The Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea, Precinct 6, which delivered an 80.3 percent vote against the study.
Old City Hall, Precinct 5, had an 80 percent “no” vote.
More people, 6,161, voted on the referendum than in any other race on the ballot, including the mayoral election, by 108 votes.
The two precincts which experienced the most cruise ship impact, passengers and conch trains and trolleys squiring them around town, voted the heaviest against the referendum.
No mention in the Citizen yet, which does not surprise me, of my asking the mayor and the city commissioners during closing citizen comments at last week’s city commission meeting, what are they now going to do about stopping the dirtiest, worst possible cruise ships from calling on Key West? All along, that was the real issue, which was smothered into oblivion by the push to bring in even bigger cruise ships by dredging the channel wider.
Down below are soul drawings, in the order they drew themselves, which suggested to me the bigger cruise ship referendum was going down like a brick, as County Commissioner Sylvia Murphy later described how she wanted to see it go. The drawings came about in this way.
21 September 2013, I rode my bicycle out to Fort Zachary State Park with my drawing pad and pencils, ink pen and Crayola water colors, and found at a picnic table under the Australian pines down toward the west end, near the rock jetty, looking toward Cuba. I set up, turned the paper diagonally, point up, as nearly always happened in the past, and waited.
First, I very clearly heard “Victory”. Then, I sketched in with a pencil what started coming. I was rusty, had to erase and re-pencil a lot (ditto with the later drawings). Then, I lightly inked in the penciling and erased most of the penciling. Then, the coloring in started, slowly. I had no clue beforehand what was coming in, or how it would end up, which was how soul drawings always went before, and how this series went.
“Land Fall” came the next day at Fort Zach, in pretty much the same location.
“Consummation” was penciled in at Harpoon Harry’s the next morning, then I put it aside and went back to it the next morning at Fort Zach, this time facing the main channel cruise ships use to get into and leave Key West.
If I had to hazard a guess, I would say these drawings have other themes buried in them, which will come into view in due course. I came to see years ago that soul drawings set things in motion, sometimes I could see the future in them, sometimes not. I came to view the drawings as alive, living, active, or proactive perhaps more accurate, spirit essence, which, as I think I might have told Jolly Benson, I told someone, bounces off the paper and goes from there to wherever.
In the old days, some people to whom I gave drawings which were about them said they noticed changes in their lives after receiving their drawing. Other people who received their drawing did not report change. I recently gave a new drawing to a homeless woman. And, I had another drawing come just before that one, which I think is about me, and also might be about the familiar street performer at the Mallory Pier Sunset Celebration, whom I have known since early 2001. The homeless woman’s drawing might be about me, too. As well as the three drawings above, which were the first three drawings.
Here are the fourth and fifth drawings, without further comment.
Moving sideways, the other day, Peggy Butler sent this link:
To which I replied,
Hi, Peggy, thanks for sending this link, I like this article a lot more than I liked Haney’s article on President Obama being a man of peace and accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. I confess to total ignorance about what now is known as Obama Care, so I cannot comment on it. I suppose I’m going to have to learn a little about it, if for no other reason, to see how it might apply to me and where I can sign up for it, if it seems to my advantage. I dunno, maybe I could wonder, if the Tea Party and the Republicans hate it, it might not be such a bad thing. Can’t imagine it being nearly as bad as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which were/are total disasters for the US, and not just financially. Sloan
You’re welcome, Sloan:) I’m thrilled with Obamacare, because now my youngest sister who, making minimum wage, makes TOO MUCH money for Tennessee’s Medicaid (Tenn Care) and still is a few years from being able to draw Social Security/have Medicare, will have healthcare for the first time in decades. Cancer has hit several of us on both sides of the family over the years, yet she’s never been able to get mammograms and Pap smears, etc. She has no computer, and a friend up there brought up the website for her and told her it was going to cost her between $0 to $30 a month, which she can do. So, if it does nothing else, that one thing makes it worthwhile to me. She’ll go over there this week to sign up for it. She’s hated Obama all these years (because our other siblings hated him and quote the things Fox News says about him, but they were happy he stayed in Iraq and Afghanistan), but now she said she’s going to have to re-think her stance against him, because no other president in her lifetime wanted to help people like her to have healthcare.
Have a peaceful weekend, Sloan.
If Obama got America out of the war business, Obamacare would be easy for the US to pay for, don’t you think? I still don’t know anything about Obamacare, so I suppose I’m going to have to read up on it, much as I don’t want to do that.
Okay, I just read up on it.
What I apparently don’t have do deal with is pre-existing conditions, which the Act says cannot bar my getting health insurance.
I have to buy health insurance, which I have not had for 40 years, other than Medicare, which started when I was 65.
I can get out of paying for health insurance, if I am impoverished and qualify for a government subsidy, or if I belong to a religious sect recognized by the IRS, which does not cotton to medical treatment, perhaps the Christian Scientist sect is an example. Weird, I have to join a religion to get out of buying health insurance. Is that a violation of separation of church and state?
Whatever, it looks really, really complicated to me, and I can’t imagine how anyone knows how it’s all going to turn out down the road. In the meantime, I suppose, if the conservatives don’t torpedo it, many people who cannot now afford health insurance or medical and drug costs will get relief.
At my age, 71, I might not be around to see how it ends up going, but I still think a far better approach is to get out of the war business and use the savings to provide quality medical care to Americans. That might earn a Nobel Peace Prize worth something.
Moving further sideways, Bob Kelly sent me the minutes of the first five meetings of Key West Mayor Craig Cates’ homeless advisory committee, which are longish and not reproduced here. Anyone one caring to see the minutes can email me and I will forward what Bob sent to me.
I wrote to Bob:
I read the minutes of the 2010 committee meetings, and given who was present, I can speculate why I was not included, even though I am pretty sure I was the first person Cates asked to be on his homeless advisory committee, because he asked me the night he won the first time, at his victory celebration at Camille’s, right after he and his campaign manager thanked me for getting him elected without a run-off.
I figure no way Heather Carruthers wanted me on that committee, after the pounding I had given her and a couple of other members of the Friends of Higgs Beach Committee, which predated Cates being elected by over half a year.
Cates’ committee was the genesis of moving an enhanced KOTS to the Easter Seals property on College Road, and was the genesis of using more arrests and jailing to force homeless people to change or leave the area, a program the Sheriff would pay for in increased inmate costs and maybe bus tickets.
This committee had some members on it who actually saw the discrepancies in trying to rehab homeless people, but having no downstream continuing programs and housing for them after they left the jail, or even after they left the enhanced KOTS.
Much commenting on the Greyhound solution, which was used before, and they were still talking about it in 2010, meaning it didn’t seem to be a solution. No mention of other cities using the Greyhound solution to send homeless other places, including Key West.
No indication of any way to successfully treat long-term homeless with addiction or mental health problems.
The people on this committee, and their guest visitors, Captain Taylor who ran the jail, State Attorney Dennis Ward and his prosecutor Mark Wilson, mostly were the choir preaching to the choir. There was no one there who actually knew the population being talked about without any representation. I doubt it would have mattered if I had been there, if Steve Braddock had been there. They were going where they were going, Mayor Cates was driving it, I still say, to do all possible to get homeless people out of sound and sight in Key West, whatever it took or cost.
That’s still where they are coming from, but they have run into serious snags with NIMBY [not in my back yard], and they still have no exit strategy for “rehabilitated” homeless who “graduate” from a “homeless” rehab program. No place for them to live in or near Key West. It still looks to me that they are banking on the Greyhound program to diminish homeless count in Key West, meanwhile, they are using the jail, and, I imagine, offers of a Greyhound ticket as part of a plea deal, if homeless leave the area.
How much does the Sheriff and the County Commission want to pay? Apparently, they have no intention to say “No mas!” So, there is no disincentive for Key West to stop sending homeless people to jail, some of whom end up transferred to the hospital, which all county taxpayers pay for. I suppose that’s also how Greyhound tickets are paid for, if the jail issues the tickets.
It’s a big cluster fuck, I don’t see any way to stop it from being a big cluster fuck. I don’t care if they put homeless in jail, if they won’t go to KOTS. But if KOTS is full, I care if they put homeless in jail. I don’t care if they put homeless in jail for drinking in public, because drinking is horrible for homeless people. I don’t care if they spend a lot of money trying to get rid of or hide what I don’t see any way to be hidden or gotten rid of, when Key West is a nationally known homeless tourist desitnation. I just tell what I see, and what they do with it, or not, is their business.
A polar-axis shift, moving Key West to Greenland, is the only way I see Key West can achieve a homeless solution it likes. That would solve all of its other many problems, too. For once, the geographic cure would work .
As if something is in the wind, this Editorial in today’s Key West Citizen does a pretty fair summary of the situation, although the Editorial Board, and everyone else, are dreaming or taking LSD, if they think there is a permanent solution other than the Greenland polar-axis shift. My interjected thoughts in italics, I supplied the KOTS photo.
City needs a permanent solution to KOTS dilemma
Looks like the Key West homeless shelter just became homeless.
This past week, the Key West City Commission voted to settle a lawsuit brought by Sunset Marina Residences of Key West over the legality of the construction and location of Keys Overnight Temporary Shelter (KOTS).
If the court approves the settlement, the city essentially acquiesces to the goal of the Sunset Marina residents’ lawsuit by agreeing to move KOTS out of their neighborhood.
This legal process could afford the city up to 1,020 days — over two and a half years — in which to make good on the homeless shelter relocation.
KOTS is city-owned and is located on county land used by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office on Stock Island. The location requires the homeless to file past the front entrance to Sunset Marina’s condominiums.
KOTS was established as a “safe zone” in 2004 in response to a federal court ruling. That ruling stated that homeless people who have no alternative shelter can’t be ordered by law enforcement to leave public places such as parks after curfew or no-camping zones unless there is someplace for them to go.
That someplace is KOTS, which was created to provide basic, overnight accommodations for about 150 homeless individuals.
That was far less beds than the actual number of homeless individuals, so KOTS never really complied with the federal court ruling. And, that was before the big financial tsunami, which created a new population of homeless people in Key West, the Keys and the mainland.
Now the site of the future home of KOTS is in limbo and it looks like the city is back to square one in its attempt to comply with the legal mandate.
The lawsuit settlement winds back the clock nearly a decade, and once again thrusts the “Not in my back yard” — NIMBY — factor into the forefront.
In 2004, it was extremely difficult to establish KOTS as island geography, scarcity of available land, proximity to medical and detention facilities, and the NIMBY factor all played a role in identifying its current location. In 2013, these elements have not changed.
An often-mentioned potential alternative site, the former Easter Seals building on Stock Island, is in close proximity to the residents of the Key West Golf Club development.
The same lawyer who represents the Sunset Marina residents in the KOTS lawsuit also represents the golf club residents.
Thus the city may be settling one lawsuit just to walk into the teeth of another down the block.
May be? I wager, if the city tries to move KOTS to the golf course site, litigation will be filed to try to block it. For, not only will the KOTS users be there, more homeless people will be there because it will be a bigger shelter, have more beds. The golf course community already is upset with homeless people loitering around their neighborhood, caused by KOTS. They will be a lot more upset with a bigger KOTS. So, expect litigation.
It is estimated that Key West has a chronic homeless problem, meaning an intractable vagrant population, ranging between 600 to well over a 1,000, and nearly 99 percent of which are reported to be non-natives.
Vagrants stretch resources, as it is estimated that multiple millions of dollars are spent annually on social services, health care, policing and detention. Most of these costs are borne by city and county taxpayers.
County taxpayers, who have had zero say so in Key West’s attempts to be rid of homeless people, are paying for Key West’s attempts, and will continue to pay for so long as the Sheriff and the County Commission keep going along with Key West.
In fact, Key West taxpayers pay over $400,000 per year just to operate KOTS.
And a bigger KOTS, with more beds, even without more services, will cost more.
Over the past couple of years, Key West Mayor Craig Cates, along with his ad hoc Committee on Homeless, have inspired problem-solving ideas that have been adopted by the City Commission.
These include tougher vagrancy laws, restricting panhandling in “tourist zones” to permitted “boxes,” and supporting a mobile social services outreach vehicle.
However, the success of these measures is unclear, as it seems that vagrants who might be deterred by theses efforts are quickly replaced by an influx of new arrivals.
Yep, and the Sheriff and the County Commission (thus, the county taxpayers) have paid the cost of these increased attempts to rid Key West of homeless people.
A more recent effort by Mayor Craig Cates to create a new, 24-hour a day “Mini Homeless Transformational Center” has just met with stiff opposition from some commissioners.
That debate centers on whether the city should provide expansive social services or simply comply with legally required overnight accommodations.
At Wednesday’s meeting, the commission also voted to plan a “homeless summit” with state, county and federal agencies along with local nonprofits early next year.
Sponsored by Commissioner Weekley, the summit’s goal is “to develop partnerships with the other stakeholders to discern strategies to reduce chronic homelessness in Key West and Monroe County.”
Only time will tell if this action is just simply kicking the can down the road or if it will result in meaningful solutions to a seemingly intractable problem.
Seemingly? What don’t you just say it’s intractable? For it is intractable, as all previous efforts in Key West and across America to get rid of it have amply proven. And, it’s very likely going to become a bigger problem, as more people fall on hard times and as more battle-shocked veterans come home.
City officials would be wise to keep taxpayers apprised of “summit” progress or lack thereof; as it’s not too much to ask officials to prevent unnecessary emptying of taxpayer pockets by an expensive, last-minute scramble to build KOTS Part Deux.
The Citizen would be wise to keep itself apprised, and so apprised, keep the taxpayers apprised. As will I.