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Mud Dawg Mike, of Daddy Bones yummy BBQ on North Roosevelt Blvd behind Checkers wrote yesterday:
you get our votes and support! PJ AND MIKE!
Jerry Weinstock, M.D., Psychiatry, not entirely retired, replied to yesterday’s post at this website:
Sloan: I am saving your poems. I agree with you about
Capt. Tony –when Mayor he respected Key West;
an authentic “human”. Incidentally his wife is the same caliber.
We had her sign “his picture” and it is hung in my fishing
room—-at his demise we realized it wasn’t signed and she
did that in his absence–we respect both of them.
Donna and I were out fishing and got caught in a front
7-8 foot seas but went on fishing and caught a fine Mutton Snapper
which we had made whole at China Garden Sears-town.
The point of this is that we crossed the path of our smallest
Cruise Ship about 3 miles out —-what a mess it stirred up the
entire path behind it as far as we could see. NO Plankton
that needs light energy would or could live in that mess.
We forgot how rough it was –that obliterated all other
considerations –it was so nauseating in our once
luminous water. Incidentally, port Canaveral will undergo
a $587 million dollar capital expansion for huge Cruise ships
and giant Cargo carrier ships —-making that fragile area into
a putrid cesspool and the surrounding ocean. Our sea in Florida
as the fishing capital was not meant for that kind of destruction–
tourist trade depends on decent water. In charge of that project
is John Walsh–extensive dredging needs to take place. (at least he is
there to keep him busy and not dredging here,) NO CRUISE SHIPS
EXCEPT THOSE SMALL ECO- ENVIRONMENTAL ONES FOR US !!
[ TRASH CRUISERS– WE CAN DO BETTER.] —–Jerry
I spoke with Christine Russell last night after the City Commission meeting ended, and told her she had spoken eloquently, she had put the elected ones feet to the fire and had not, as I often had seen her do in the past, try to kiss and make up with and give them a way out at the end of the spanking – like when she had gotten onto them months ago about cruise ships, but then said she didn’t mean Key West should get rid of all cruise ships, of course. Christine replied last night, well, she wanted to see all the cruise ships gone, but she wasn’t going to say that in a public meeting, because they would stop listening to her; she has to give them a middle ground. I said the way to do that is tell them to get rid of all cruise ships (which is what really needs to happen), and then she has something to give up in the negotiations, the clean cruse ships – What clean cruise ships? 🙂 – and they have to give up the dirty cruise ships – pretty well sinks the fleet :-).
Eliot Baron demonstrates how to sink one ship in the fleet
I meant to tell the elected ones last night during citizen comments at the very end, but spaced it out talking about bicycles and base music, that when I went on the city’s website yesterday, to look over last night’s city commission agenda, at the very top is a moving slide show of different local scenes. The very first image that came up yesterday was a big monster cruise ship in the channel coming into Key West. That pretty well says where Key West’s soul rests, don’t you think, Key West’s Psychiatrist Emeritus?
Their soul is neatly tucked into their wallet;
not very expansive—they well might miss the best
part of life.
Other heaters came up during the city commission meeting.
There was discussion of whether or not to pay the attorney fees incurred by Jim Young during his fight to get his Code Enforcement job back after being fired (for doing it right) by some bubba or bubbette who didn’t want him doing right because he was pissing off bubba and bubbette friends of the Code Enforcement bubba or bubbette. While everyone else talked last night about the niceities and fine points of whether or not Jim was entitled to attorney fees, I said during citizen comments that this discussion should not even be going on, because Jim should not have been fired to begin with, which everyone there knew. I told City Manager Bob Vitas that he was not here when all of that happened, and he looked glad for that. I said I hoped he was looking over his employees, staying on top of things, so nothing like what happened to Jim ever happens again. I said the person who did that to Jim is the person who should have been fired, even if that person then had to go live at KOTS. That’s what firing Jim had put him at risk of having to do. Jim later thanked me, after he had put the heat where it belonged in another heat-fest.
The second heater was an agenda item to tweak the city noise ordinance, to make it pretty much possible for Code Enforcement, which Jim Young runs now, to shut down every business on Duval Street, which puts out sound greater than what anyone speaking during citizen comments made last night. The item was sponsored by City Commissioner Jimmy Weekley, who kept saying Duval Street used to be quiet, and during my citizen comments, I said I was here in 1970, and Duval street was loud. Jimmy said people who lived on or near Duval Street for as long as 35 years needed relief from the noise. It escaped me to say, well, Jimmy, you were a city commissioner several times and mayor a few times, and where were you back then hollering about the noise on Duval Street? He didn’t holler about it when I ran against him in 2003, 2007, and 2009.
Anyway, pushed by City Commissioner Teri Johnston, Jim Young named several popular Duval street habitual offenders in the making a whole lot of noise department. Jim did not name Sloppy Joe’s, or City Commissioner Mark Rossi’s bars, or Margarittaville. Jim said those usual Duval Street suspects play music loud because they think it attracts customers in from the street, and when usual suspect hears another usual suspect raise the volume a bit, then that starts a volume competition to be the loudest, a domino effect.
City Attorney Shawn Smith said, before he was City Attorney, he represented lots of Duval Street establishments charged with violating the current noise ordinance, and he won those cases because the Code Enforcement officers were not able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in court which establishment had produced the illegal noise. That was because, Shawn said, the Code Enforcement officer had to stand on the affected property to measure the noise, rather than on the property producing the noise. The new ordinance is geared to reverse that procedure, so the noise is measured where it is produced.
But there were so many problems with the new ordinance, none of the elected ones knew what the not-permitted decibels sounded like. They didn’t seem to know if the new ordinance applied the same in neighborhoods as on Duval Street. They didn’t seem to understand that making the new ordinance complaint driven, instead of Code Enforcement driven, would turn the new ordinance into a weapon neighbors would use on each other in the city’s quiet neighborhoods, and on and near Duval Street. I told the elected ones that they should table the ordinance and get more information and work on it some more.
About then, a woman in the audience stood from where she sat and said louder than the new ordinance would allow, that I had to sit down and shut up. She said it several times, as Mayor Cates was slow to get her to sit down and shut up. Last year, Cates had done the same thing to me, while I cross-examined the head of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) about why the North Roosevelt Blvd redo work was not done round the clock, instead of one shift a day, five days a week? The reason, I dragged out of the FDOT fellow, was the city noise ordinance: the City Commission didn’t want to disturb the North Roosevelt Blvd. neighborhoods at night. So, the City Commission, on which Mayor Cates had sat, sold out the North Roosevelt Blvd businesses by extending the needed redo work by almost three times longer. It was a fight with Mayor Cates, but I got the FDOT fellow to spill those beans, so the North Roosevelt business owners would know who caused the redo to take so long – not FDOT, as had been ass-u-me-d.
Anyway, after Mayor Cates got the really upset citizen to be quiet last night, and he told me to sit down, and I said not hardly, I had been interrupted several times and had not had my three minutes, and he said, okay, I had another minute. I spoke maybe 30 more seconds, saying I hated loud noise, and the loud noise I most hated was police and ambulance sirens, and Harley Davidson’s, the latter of which they, the elected ones seemed to love (based on how they catered to Harley-Davidsons on Duval Street and elsewhere in the city).
A woman citizen said, for sure, the base “music” needed to be abolished altogether. I totally agreed with her, that was another noise I hated. It was not music. Not long after she said that, a vehicle pulled up outside Old City Hall with nothing but base playing, and hung out there a while. It was like being invaded by some low-grade soul destroying monster from Hell. Jim Young said under the old ordinance, there was no provision for measuring base, but there is under the new ordinance.
In the end, the elected ones agreed to postpone the item and have people from all sides get together with Jim Young and city staff and try to work something out that was fair, not perfect, for everyone. It seemed clear from the elected ones’ discussion on the dais, that more of them favor treating neighborhoods differently from Duval Street and near there. It also seemed clear that the new ordinance was mostly aimed at Duval Street, yet another attempt to turn it into, I suppose, suburb of Disney World.
However, one off-Duval Street target in the new ordinance was one church, which was putting out really loud music much of the time, not just on Sunday. Historically, churches were blanket excluded from city noise ordinances. No longer, it seems, will that happen. There did not seem to be any churches represented there last night. I wonder if they will be at the next commission meeting on the new ordinance, in February?
Another heater that came up last night was giving the Historic Architectural Review Committee (HARC) instructions to work hand in hand with an agency charged with making homes more storm proof. During citizen comments, I said there is a bit of a termite problem in Key West, as City Commissioner Teri Johnston, a building contractor, certainly knows. I said, back in the old days, homes were built out of south Florida pine, which termites didn’t like because of the resin. The Key West homes still made of that pine don’t have much problem with termites, because of the resin, but here are no more south Florida pines and homes and buildings constructed today down here have terrible termite problems; properties get tented and fumigated all over Key West. Some common sense needs to be used; let property owners redoing, or building new, use materials which look like wood but are not, which termites will not eat. That was my nice way of saying, don’t let HARC continue acting like the termites best friend in the history of forever. Or, don’t let HARC continue acting like the Nazis over in the Tree Commission.
During closing citizen comments, I said there had been talk earlier about bicycles, Commissioner Tony Yaniz had sponsored a resolution declaring each Friday as Bicycle Day, to encourage citizens to ride bicycles on that day, instead of cars, trucks, mopeds, etc. I wondered if Tony had ridden a bicycle to the commission meeting? I wondered if any of the other elected ones had ridden a bicycle to the commission meeting. I wondered if Jim Young, Bob Vitas and Shawn Smith, or any other city staff there last night, had ridden a bicycle to the meeting?
I said I see around Old Town lots of city parking enforcement employees in city cars.Why come they are in cars and not on bicycles? They have a small beat, Old Town. They can cover that on bicycles. I said I rode my bicycle to the meeting. I ride it everywhere I go in Key West, except to the laundry, when I have to use my car because I can’t get the laundry basket on my bicycle. I said I almost never use my car in Key West, otherwise. I wanted to be nice and ask how many of them rode a bicycle to the meeting last night, but I didn’t. Maybe they got the point. Maybe not.
The last thing I said during citizen comments was that I also hated base noise. I reminded them of the base noise which had invaded the meeting, as they were talking about base noise. I did not tell them God had arranged that to happen just at that moment. Maybe they got it, maybe not. I told them it should be a capital offense to play base noise. It is invasive. It is violent. I had wanted, but didn’t say, I was not on top of my game, apparently, that they also seemed to love base as much as they love Harley-Davidsons, given how they let amplified base-booming cars and trucks parade up and down Duval Street blasting everything living soul to Hell with that heinous noise.
Well, I will get another chance in February.
I had gone there last night thinking I would say something during closing citizen comments about Charles Eimers’ demise on Thanksgiving Day, and the earlier Bill O’Reilly documentary slamming Key West, being the direct karma from Key West’s apartheid against homeless people. I pulled that punch on purpose, I wondered if perhaps that was a mistake, but I felt I was hitting them plenty hard in other places, which were directly related to items on last night’s agenda. My dream maker seemed to agree with me last night, on that point.
Here is the Key West Citizen’s version of all of that:
Locals sound off on proposed noise law
Bar owners say they can keep the peace without tougher rules
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff
City commissioners Tuesday tabled voting on a proposed ordinance cracking down on the decibel levels allowed downtown and throughout the island.
But not before holding a debate that itself held plenty of sound and fury over whether new noise rules would protect residents’ quality of life, or hurt local businesses plying the tourism trade.
Two elected leaders, Clayton Lopez and Billy Wardlow, were absent, so the five members on the dais said it was only fair to postpone even a first reading on the item sponsored by City Commissioner Jimmy Weekley.
Weekley fended off worries that installing tougher rules on noise levels would hurt businesses.
“It’s not going to do that at all,” Weekley said. “They just have to comply without our regulations.”
City Commissioner Tony Yaniz replied, “You punish the people who are breaking the rules but you don’t punish every other business.”
Key West has been down this road before when it comes to regulating noise levels of music, restaurants and bars and construction equipment.
“We don’t want the music loud in our bars because you can’t hear yourselves talk, can’t order a drink,” said City Commissioner Mark Rossi, who owns the entertainment complex that includes Rick’s on Duval Street.
Yaniz asked the panel to postpone the matter, but the commission agreed to allow what became a rousing discussion at Old City Hall that drew residents, bar owners and environmental activists.
Business owners either cried foul that it was unfair, or said they don’t attract complaints because they respect their neighbors.
Yaniz said the struggle shouldn’t be simply residential against commercial.
An Old Town church’s noise output helped prompt John Martini to fight for the new ordinance, Yaniz pointed out.
Martini spoke in favor of the revised ordinance, saying constant noise causes stress and is an affront to those who call the island home.
Marcela Morgan, a local videographer, quickly read her prepared statement at the podium, trying to fit it all in the allotted three minutes per speaker.
“Bass is something you can feel inside of your heart,” Morgan said, receiving applause at the end. “It’s as bad as secondhand smoke to me.”
Erika Biddle, a vocal activist for recycling, said leaf blowers are unnecessary because they only shift leaves down the street.
“Today’s wind could have done that for free without hurting the environment,” Biddle said. “The city of Key West is one of the offenders.”
Code names names
City Commissioner Teri Johnston brought the house down when she point-blank asked Key West’s code enforcement chief for a short list of downtown bars that generate chronic complaints for noise.
Audience members laughed. Jim Young, director of code enforcement, smiled as he replied.
But Johnston wasn’t kidding around. She wasn’t convinced decibel levels were the problem, citing the fact that the people who run the Green Parrot and 801 Bourbon Bar have stayed in business for decades without racking up code violations.
“There’s a reason for that, they have common respect,” Johnston said. “Don’t we have a group of bars that we get consistent complaints about?”
Young said, “Yes, ma’am. We don’t get complaints on the 801, we haven’t in several years because he has gone through sound mitigation, just like the Green Parrot.”
But the short list, Young said, includes Cowboy Bill’s, Willie T’s, Irish Kevin’s and Island Dogs.
“We run the decibel meter,” Young said. “If it’s not over the 75 [decibels] we can’t issue a citation.”
Several business owners asked the commission to table the proposal in favor of a committee that could hash out solutions rather than step up code enforcement.
There were some heated moments throughout the debate.
At one point, a woman rose to tell regular commentator Sloan Bashinsky to stop talking about the ordinance. That led to some calls of “out of order.”
Then Weekley nearly blew a fuse when Bashinsky declared that Duval Street has “always” been loud.
“That’s not true,” Weekley said. “Every bar on Duval Street used to have to be closed, back in the ’50s and ’60s, when this was a Navy town. Those bars were shut at night.”
John Vagnoni, who manages the Green Parrot, was diplomatic in his opposition of the revised noise ordinance.
“Single out some of the chronic offenders,” Vagnoni said. “People out there need to practice being a good neighbor. It’s possible to be a good neighbor without draconian penalties.”
Vagnoni said he cares about the Parrot’s neighbors and doesn’t see anything good about upsetting them.
“If they can’t sleep, I don’t sleep,” he said.
Another nightspot business owner pleaded for harmony.
“I’m afraid this ordinance has all good intentions but might have the reverse effect,” said Michael Ingram, an architect who also owns the Aqua nightclub on Duval. “It might set people against each other as it has at this meeting, where there is a level of intolerance that really shouldn’t exist if we’re going to have a rational conversation about noise and its containment.”
Those who have succeeded in the entertainment business in Key West for decades told the commission it’s not due to constant decibel readings.
“Because I do listen to my neighbors,” said Jim Gilleran, who owns the 801 Bourbon Street bar on Duval Street. “When you respect your neighbors and listen to your neighbors, you can solve 99 percent of your problems.”
Gilleran suggested settling the issue through discussions.
“We live by the motto ‘One Human Family’ here,” Gilleran said. “We live in paradise but it’s an urban environment.”
Case closed for Young
Commissioners unanimously approved paying out a $102,000 settlement to Jim Young, the city’s code enforcement director who was fired in 2006 after complaints surfaced that he was too heavy-handed in going after locals who owed fines and fees.
Young won back his job in 2009; he appeared Tuesday in the audience of Old City Hall once the agenda item was decided.
A constant critic and watchdog of Key West government wanted to speak on the proposed settlement of $75,000 for attorney’s fees, plus expenses and costs of arbitration.
City Attorney Shawn Smith said that Young’s team wanted almost double what the city finally agreed to, after experts from both sides testified during the first day of arbitration.
Margaret Romero, who paused at the podium until each of the five commissioners present was clearly paying her attention, said the city was setting an expensive precedent.
“I’m not going to address the particular situation,” said Romero.
Attorney Hugh Morgan, who represents Young, said there were two cases in play: The wrongful termination lawsuit and a public records challenge.
“Shawn Smith represented the city very vigorously,” Morgan said. “We finally came to an agreement, which basically overall for both cases turned out to be 34 percent of the attorney’s fees. Each and every entry was justified, nevertheless we settled the case.”
No attorneys fees were paid on the wrongful termination case, Morgan said, but attorneys fees for public records litigation is well covered by state law.
“The only thing at issue was how much,” Morgan said.
“Mr. Mayor, close the case in this saga; move for approval,” Commissioner Mark Rossi said.
A 5-0 vote did just that.
Key West’ s “One Human Family” rainbow flag parade some years ago now
This already is a longish post. However, something happened yesterday, which I felt would lead off today, but I didn’t then know what was about to happen at the city commission meeting, which I was not yet even sure I was going to attend. We plan, God laughs!
This sailed in yesterday from the Virgin Islands:
First let me say I enjoy reading Good Morning Key West. Your experiences are thoughtful and sometimes amusing. I agree with you on nearly all of your thoughts and ideas of what Key West should be, but isn’t because of special interests. (cruise ships, homeless, tourists, Key West PD’s selective enforcement against homeless)
After living in Chicago area(42 years), Upper Peninsula of Michigan(9 years), Fort Myers Florida(4 years), Hereford Arizona(3 years),Phelps Wisconsin(1 year) I was 59 years old and realized no place I’d lived was right for me. I thought that since I was at the end of my road, I might as well go to the “end of the road”
I loaded what I could into my van and gave away what wouldn’t fit or didn’t need. After driving 4 days I arrived in Key West in September 2011. Having never been in Key West before I knew nothing about the island. I went to hang out at Higgs Beach where I met some very nice people and some not so nice.
It was at Higgs Beach where I quickly learned how the homeless were treated by the PD. I saw people harassed for no reason other than being poor. I saw people being harassed for sleeping on the beach while tourist were not. I saw people being harassed for cooking on the beach when the tourist were not. I saw people arrested for having a beer when the tourist were not. I saw people arrested for no reason other than being poor.
I slept in my van, trying different locations, but the PD would beat on my windows to see if I was inside. I learned when that happened, stay still, do not move, and they soon go away. I learned the best place was on the street in front of Casa Marina. Instead of hanging out at the pavilions I spent nearly all my time at the pier by the coconut piece sign. Why it was removed is a mystery. hundreds of tourist from all over the world stopped to take pictures of it.
It was there I met many great people, three of which are The Hat Man, Dan from Ohio, and 94 year old Michelangelo. We all lived in our vans. I spent my day’s looking for work or sitting under the palm trees reading books I bought from the Salvation Army store. (when I finished I gave them back) In the evening I would pedal to Mallory Square and then hung out on Duval. Around midnight I would return to my van to sleep until sunup and do it again.
Life was good but I needed a job. Job hunting in Key West was a joke. I have spent 40+ years cooking or tending bar in various establishments from dives to fine dining. Cooking … they want some to work for $3/hr. not someone with experience. (I would have worked for minimum wage)
Bartending … they want young girls with big tits, not someone with experience. (I’m not a young female and I don’t have big tits)
In July 2012 I drove to Florida City to go to the Walmart for clothes. When I walked out of Walmart my van and everything I owned in this world was gone. I returned the clothes, bought a chair and hung around with the homeless at Walmart for three days hoping the police would find it but no luck. I took the bus back to Key West along with my chair. After sitting on the beach and walking everywhere some nice people I had met donated some clothes and a bicycle. For three more weeks I slept on the beach during the day and rode the bike around the island at night.
By August I had no word from the police about my van so I left Key West. I took a bus to Chicago. I helped a friend rebuild after a fire destroyed his house, bought another rv/van and planned to return the next summer. By May of 2013 I was offered a position as caretaker for an estate in the Virgin Islands where I currently reside.
Life is good in the Caribbean. Rarely gets below 70 degrees or above 95. The beach and bars are 1/4 mile away, (yes you can have a beer on the beach or stay all night) I plan on staying here until Dec 2014 (I start collecting SS in Aug) then returning to Chicago, finish what needs to be done on my RV, and return to Key West. By the I won’t need to work because of SS. I can return to sitting at the beach, reading, and bicycling.
Maybe by then the issues of poor people living in vans will be resolved. I hope so. Either way, I WILL BE THERE ONCE AGAIN!!!!!
To those who want to live in Key West but can’t afford a room or apartment, DON’T GIVE UP THE FIGHT!!!
1999 Dodge Van
Key West, Fl. 33040
Hi, Kurt – thanks for writing and sharing some of your experiences and the perspective of yet another vicious van dweller criminal in Key West :-).
Bizarre, losing your van in a Walmart parking lot.
I spent two months on Tortola, B.V.I. – mid-March through mid-May 1995. Nice area. Only one night on St. Thomas, after flying down there from States, then ferry over to Tortola. Touched down on St. John’s on a return to St. Thomas, to catch a Liat flight to Antigua, en route to Dominica, where I stayed six weeks. Truly beautiful island, back then. Was there for about a week the year before.
Right now, Hatman is leading the charge, on the ground, for those who want to live in Key West, who can’t afford a room or apartment, or a condo or a house. He could use some financial help for legal advice from a local lawyer who knows the court ropes and legal technicalities down here in Bubba Justice Kingdom Come.
I dunno, maybe it will take The Second Coming and Key West cops being raptured right out their boots, uniforms and tackle to wherever they earned, accompanied by their city officials bosses, for much to change in the way the Keywaster, as an amiga of mine cases this place, treats homeless people. Either that, or all of the aforementioned get to try on being homeless on the street down here for a year. That would be eyeopening.
Hi Sloan, I’ll do what little I can to help Hatman with legal costs but it won’t be much. (I wish I could afford a team of lawyers to do it) I’d like nothing better than to stick it to those high and mighty idiots. I was one of the speakers at the council meeting when they passed that ridiculous law. ( We are dirty, filthy, unwashed, pee on the sidewalk people)
Will be returning to Key Weird,
The Vicious Van Dwelling Criminal!!!!!
hey Sloan, thought you might be interested in seeing this and perhaps even attending.
Subject: RE: I was convicted of being homeless in key west FL
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 2014 13:38:10 -0500
Dear Shadaroba Rodd:
Thanks for contacting me/us.
We have done a lot of advocacy work in Key West over the past twenty plus years.
I first visited Key West in 1990 and got rousted by a police officer as I was sleeping in my car. No ticket as I agreed to move along.
I have forwarded your email to Steve Braddock, director of the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition. Steve is a strong advocate and a provider of social services.
I plan to visit Key West in Feb. as part of a civil rights forum that Steve is organizing. I’m supposed to speaker along with several attorneys.
CC: firstname.lastname@example.org; frbraddock@_______
Subject: Attn: Michael Stoops, Father Stephen Braddock – RE: I was convicted of being homeless in key west FL
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2014 16:03:30 -0500
Hi, Rodd –
Ask Michael Stoops and Steve Braddock to get you help with the legal costs for your appeal.
Speaking at a civil rights forum is not the same as seeking civil rights in a court, which you are doing.
I just today received an email from the “vicious van dweller criminal” Kurt Wagner down in the Virgin Islands, sending you his best regards and saying he can’t help much, but he can help a little with the cost of your appeal. As can I. However, we are but individuals.
There are other people in Key West, and more in the Keys near and up the way from Key West, whose home is their van, car, truck, etc., because that’s the only home they can afford, who viciously are made criminals by Key West, Monroe County and the Sheriff for living in their home.
That’s the real issue here, Rodd; that’s why I keep telling you to make it your lead defense/argument in the appeal to circuit court of your conviction in district/misdemeanor court.
You are being deprived of your home, Rodd, simply because you are poor. That, my friend, is heinous discrimination, which is far worse than invidious discrimination, deplored and prohibited by US Constitution, Civil Rights laws and cases. See lay definitions last below.
Your case, Rodd, is something I say Michael Stoops, National Coalition for the Homeless, Steve Braddock, Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, Samuel’s House, the new Florida Keys umbrella homeless help outfit which spun out of disenchantment of Southern Assistance Homeless League, Southern Assistance Homeless League, the American Civil Liberties Union, etc. should be keenly interested in stopping ASAP.
There have to be hundreds of thousands of people living in their vehicles in USA, because that is the only home they can afford.
Your court case, Rodd, could be the landmark case for America. It already is the landmark case for Key West and the Florida Keys. For how your case goes is how the local courts down here in the Keys will go with future vehicle dweller cases. You are the proxy for all poor who live in their vehicle because that is the only home they can afford.
Rodd, your case is not about whether or not local police fabricated evidence, it is not about whether or not a local misdemeanor court judge colluded with the local police. Your case is about a fundamental right of and from which no human being, American or not, should be deprived and separated. The right to live in his/her own home, which is the only home he/she can afford.
Am copying Michael and Steve with this correspondence, and blind copying Kurt, who probably can spread the word through the vehicle dweller coconut telegraph better than I can.
It is my view, based on my experience as a former practicing attorney, and based on my personal sense of what is right and what is not, and based on my familiarity with what now is referred to as the Pottinger case, which arose in Miami and was decided in the same US District Court which has jurisdiction over the entire Florida Keys, including Key West:
that if Key West, Monroe County and the Monroe County Sheriff don’t want vehicle dwellers sleeping, cooking, bathing, etc. in their vehicles parked on city or county streets, or in city or county parking lots such as the parking lots at Higgs Beach in Key West, then some place needs to be provided gratis for them to park their vehicles where they can carry on those life-sustaining activities and keep their homes to which they are entitled as a matter of law in USA.
Perhaps in Iran, Syria, Somalia, China, North Korea, poor people such as yourself, Rodd, do not have that USA right. Perhaps the local Key West and Florida Keys government officials and their police, who deprive you, and others like you, of that USA right should be given the choice of those countries to make their home, and given one-way airplane tickets there departing tomorrow morning.
Alternatively, they are put on probation, on condition they live homeless one year in Key West, sleeping every night at KOTS, and furnishing concrete proof of sleeping every night at KOTS at the end of each month of their probation.
(of a person or wrongful act, esp. a crime) utterly odious or wicked.
“a battery of heinous crimes”
synonyms: odious, wicked, evil, atrocious, monstrous, abominable, detestable, contemptible, reprehensible, despicable, egregious, horrific, terrible, awful, abhorrent, loathsome, hideous, unspeakable, execrable;
(of an action or situation) likely to arouse or incur resentment or anger in others.
“she’d put herself in an invidious position”
synonyms: unpleasant, awkward, difficult;
(Am wating on Braddock/FKOC and Stoops’ response)
Kurt Wagner then sent:
Sloan, this is an email I sent to all city officials.
To: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: “One Human Family” or “One INHUMANE Family
Date: Sat, 28 Dec 2013 08:16:16 -0600
That is the question I’ve asked myself since moving to your, no OUR island. The island belongs to all residents, rich or poor, million dollar home or staying at KOTS. It’s no secret those who run the city of Key West want to have it all. If you are not a tourist, if you are not well enough off to afford a home, YOU ARE NOT WELCOME IN KEY WEST!
The Key West PD and Monroe County Sheriff use selective enforcement and it can only be that they have been instructed to do so. I have personally witnessed this on many occasions. Key West passes ridiculous and unreasonable laws then uses the local Gestapo police to enforce them. If a tourist has a beer on Higgs beach he is told by the Gestapo to hide it from them so they won’t have to do anything. If you are not a tourist, you go to jail. If a tourist walks down Duval St with a beer in hand, nothing is done. If a local walks down the street with a beer in hand he goes to jail. A tourist can sleep on the beach without being harassed, but a local gets harassed because the Gestapo thinks he’s homeless.
Recently you found “The Hatman” guilty of lodging in his vehicle. He was simply lodging in his HOME. Why does the city harass Hatman? Could it be that he knows his constitutional rights and is willing to fight for them instead of kowtowing to the city officials? Is it because he rides around on a bicycle with lights and horns attracting attention? Key West has a long history of flamboyant characters. It’s what attracts a large portion of tourists. It’s not the polluted water on the manmade beaches.
There are more people lodging in vehicles than your blind eyes can see. Yet you single out one person who is harming no one. You threaten him with $500/60 days in jail because he can’t afford to sleep anywhere but his van. It only reinforce what I have experienced in Key West, if you’re not a tourist or have millions of dollars you are treated with distain and are not welcome here.
One HUMAN Family? ….. NO! One INHUMANE Family
1999 Dodge Van
Key West, Fl. 33040
One Inhumane Family, indeed, check out this in The Key West Citizen today, I added the pic of the mainstream homeless chick, my comments in italics.
‘Send them back,’ Jones says of homeless
Sunset Marina drops lawsuit; city moves to relocate KOTS
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff
The man who orchestrated the building of Key West’s overnight shelter in 2004 says the only way to solve the island’s homeless problem is to cut off services and devise a legal way to cast out chronic lawbreakers.
As you read what follows, know John Jones is from Alabama, spent most of his youth growing up in Birmingham, and attended and graduated from Auburn, which perhaps explains some of his mental condition 🙂
“You can drastically reduce the homeless population by figuring out how to close the soup kitchen and strictly enforce the panhandling and [other] ordinances,” John Jones, former Key West assistant city manager, wrote in a Jan. 2 email to city commissioners, City Manager Bob Vitas and Mayor Craig Cates.
“Figure out a legal way to send them back to where their home city is after so many violations,” Jones wrote, recalling that in 2004 the city found funds to pay for bus tickets back home for men and women.
“We sent many back to California for a $120 bus ticket plus $20 traveling expense,” Jones wrote. “Only the city of Miami complained. (This is my politically incorrect solution).”
John and others tried that years ago, it worked beautifully, didn’t it?
Jones says city leaders are wasting their time trying to relocate the Keys Overnight Temporary Shelter (KOTS) on College Road.
Jones was the star witness when a 2011 lawsuit by condo owners prompted a hearing in November 2012 during which he said KOTS, first called Safe Zone, was built during an “emergency” situation that was a result of homeless men and women living outdoors.
The lawsuit filed at the 16th Circuit Judicial Court was dismissed on Friday under an agreement that the city eventually moves KOTS from the sheriff’s property on College Road — right next-door to Sunset Marina, an upscale condo and marina complex.
Now, the residents of another gated community on Stock Island, the golf course homeowners association, have threatened to follow suit if Key West leaders try to locate the shelter on their side of the road.
“It’s stupid to cater to the residences on Stock Island and agree to move the shelter from its present location,” Jones wrote. “There is no location in the city of Key West proper that the residences will let you locate the shelter. The Hawk missile base and the property next to St. Mary’s soup kitchen would be ideal but the local residents would storm City Hall.”
Indeed, John nearly got lynched in a church near there in 2003, for suggesting that’s where KOTS should be placed. As did his boss, City Manager Julio Avael and then Mayor Jimmy Weekley.
Cates said Monday he would rather not comment on Jones’ email.
The mayor, seeking a fourth term this fall, backed off his 24-hour shelter pitch after the margin of his Oct. 1 election win decreased from 70 percent to 54 percent. He blamed the dwindling support on the unpopularity of his shelter plan.
Cates’ support of bringing in bigger cruise ships might have dwindeled his vote tally a bit, too.
Cates watched last year as commissioners dismantled support for a 24-hour shelter, having approved a resolution calling for one in December 2012.
The commissioners dismantled support after realizing Cates’ chosen fix-the-homeless guru Bob Marbut had grossly over-stated the number of homeless in Key West, and had grossly over-stated the wonder and greateness of 24-hour “transformational” homeless shelter programs he had been involved in in other cities. For which the city paid Marbut $20,000. For nothing, I would saved them all of that, and gotten them to where they now are, and better, but back then, they were not interested in talking with me.
The church’s soup kitchen, which actually serves hot meals like pork with beans and rice and donated desserts, serves one afternoon meal daily at its open-air location on Flagler Avenue. It is not run or funded by the city, which does spend about $400,000 a year keeping KOTS open.
Maybe Gwen Filosa needs to eat a few meals at the soup kitchen; that, or the menu changed since I ate hundreds of meals there, ending spring 2005. There were meat dishes, vegetable dishes, potatoes, rice, beans, salads, fruit, desserts – and lots of it. All donated by local groceries and restaurants, and prepared and served by unpaid volunteers. Dorothy Sherman started that kitchen out of her own pocket. Don’t give the church too much credit, other than providing the land. The kitchen is, or was, run by people from all faiths, or even no faiths. One of the volunteers is a homeless man I know pretty well, maybe the most well-read person I ever met, and maybe the smartest, too. He used to work in some US Government agency nobody ever heard of, doing stuff nobody ever will hear of.
“Most of my constituents understand we need to have a location for the homeless population,” said City Commissioner Jimmy Weekley on Tuesday. “No one believes, that I’ve talked to, it should be a 24-hour shelter. It should only be a shelter where people can go to sleep, take a shower and maybe get something to eat.”
In the past few years, the commission has tightened up local laws prohibiting street begging, sleeping in cars and drinking alcohol in public as a response to the complaints of residents.
At the same time, city leaders have been careful to ensure they are providing a shelter for the homeless, having watched Miami and other Florida cities become embroiled in civil lawsuits over police treatment of those living on the streets.
Actually, a US District Court took over Miami’s homeless situation and calls all the shots even today. That city has zero say so over its homeless situation, which is what Key West doesn’t want to happen to Key West, which is why KOTS was built, after I convinced Weekley and Jones and Avael that I would put them before that same US District Court, if they keep treating Key West’s homeless people the way Miami had treated its homeless people, before the ACLU put them into that US District Court.
“The main thing that lures people here is the weather,” said Weekley. “Where would you rather be today, in Chicago or Key West? They’re going to come to a warm climate.”
Asked if he would ever consider trying to persuade the nonprofit soup kitchen to close down as a way to reduce the homeless population, Weekley said absolutely not, citing the work of agencies such as the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, the Guidance/Care Center and a host of other nonprofits that serve the most vulnerable citizens.
“Morally, it’s our obligation to try to help people,” Weekley said. “That’s why I sit on the board of FKOC.”
The working list of possible sites to relocate KOTS includes the former Easter Seals building on College Road, but commissioners last month showed a consensus for the Department of Juvenile Justice building next door to the county jail on the same stretch off College Road as KOTS.
The building is in use by county and state departments, but city staff members said they could keep tabs on leases and perhaps use the outside as part of the shelter.
Relocating KOTS won’t stop the lawlessness or constant influx of homeless men and women to Key West, Jones wrote.
“The main problem of the homeless hanging out on the beaches, parks and other city areas is not addressed in any of the proposed locations,” Jones wrote. “Also the state is letting a large group sleep under the Cow Key bridge.”
Dear me, John, didn’t they teach you at Auburn that even poor Americans can use public places just like all other Americans can?
Dear me, it sure do look like 2014 is gonna be an interesting year in Key West, among other places. It sure do look that way.
There is a different post today at www.goodmorningfloridakeys.com, which you should be able to reach by clicking on that link today, and by clicking on this link at anytime: