Divine Comedy – Key West city commission meeting among other amphitheaters …

ship of fools

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Christine Russell

Christine Russell wrote yesterday:

Hey Sloan –

In answer to your bicycle question – I see [City Commissioner] Tony Yaniz on his bike all the time. He is the only Commissioner I see regularly on his bike around town on weekends. I know Teri [City Commissioner Teri Johnston] participates in bicycling events – as for the others and the mayor, have never seen them on bikes.

I agree with you that it is a wonderful way to get around, see people, help eliminate parking problems, stay in better shape, and get around faster.

We as a city need to do a better job of promoting bicycling.

Those bumper stickers on conch trains that they take like 30 cars off the street- poppy cock!

Cruise ship passengers do NOT rent cars.

However – every bicycle you see on the street really does eliminate one car.

We need a really good creative bicycle campaign.

Just imagine if every bicycle became a car – then we would have even worse congestion and parking problems 🙁


I replied:

Hi, Christine –

What conch trains do is clog city streets and, with their loud speakers, break the city noise ordinance and disturb the peace in every residential neighborhood they pass through. Get rid of cruise ships, which pollute our waters, presto, less, nor no, conch trains, trolleys.

Not every bicycle on a city street eliminates a car. Many people in Key West cannot afford a car, so they walk, ride a bicycle, a motor scooter, or a city bus.

Maybe the way to get more people to ride bicycles is to make it even harder to find car parking in Old Town, where parking already is hard to find. Worried about not finding a parking place, residents leave their cars where they are parked in front of their homes and walk, ride bicycles, mopeds or city buses to where they are going in Old Town.

I bet that move would go over swell with the City Commission, which is forever trying to invent more parking in Old Town, while trying to stop non-residents from parking there, so people who live there can have parking for their cars.

Shifting lanes to the Truman Waterfront part of last night’s city commission meeting …

Looks to me the cause of nothing happening out there since the Navy gave the land to the city in 2002, different interest groups in the city laid claim to different parts of the land for their own projects, and the city commission ended up being swept along, as each different interest group’s project fell through. Finally, the city commission pointed an advisory board to fool with it, but the advisory board had no power and different interest groups continued to sway city staff and the city commission, we arrived at the Cluster in last night’s commission meeting. Looks to me the city commission needs to stop all of that, take it all over, vote on what to do, or not do, and take the political heat, and get the lead out and at least do something out there.

I talked to the Navy rep at the meeting. He said he saw no problem for the Navy, if the city had wanted to put a city-run fee RV campground on Truman Waterfront, like the one at Bahia Honda State Park. The city needs an RV campground. An RV campground will make the city a good bit of money, I bet. Some of that money could go to Bahama Village.

If they make the Truman Waterfront parking deck they approved putting out for bids last night a fee parking deck, with Bahama Village residents getting free parking stickers, that will relieve some of the parking problems in Bahama Village and bring in money for the city, some of which can be given to Bahama Village.

What astounded me, they agreed to put the parking deck out for bids without first deciding whether or not it would be a free or a fee parking deck. Just my wacko way of looking at it, deciding whether the parking deck would be free or fee should have been the first thing they decided. I was stunned that they put it out for bids not even knowing if it would be a free or a fee parking lot.

CLUSTER YOU KNOW WHAT is the only way to describe how the city has proceeded with Truman Waterfront since 2002. The city commission should have run that entire show from day one, the special interest groups notwithstanding.



Two other examples of Truman Waterfront CLUSTER,

All the hoopla about putting a small but expensive amphitheater out there, the two pros from the Tennessee Williams Theater shot down in flames last night. They barely break even at that theater, and they bust their butts raising money for their productions. They said for the city to be able to make money on an amphitheater at Truman Waterfront, it would have to have, not 250 seats, but 2,700 seats, yes? or was it 1,700 seats? Did anybody from the city, the advisory board, even talk with anyone in the theater or amphitheater business?

And, the “temporary” soccer fields they built out there, put in permanent lighting for night games, then it never got used for the kids’ soccer leagues, which was the point of the fields, yes? What the fields ended up being used for was people taking their dogs there so they could run and play with other dogs. So, finally, last night, the city commission, after an hour and a half of discussion and citizen comments, agrees, barely, to make the soccer fields usable by the kids, as had been agreed quite a while ago. Usable, if the Navy okays installing an underground irrigation system.

I spoke with one member of the advisory board before the vote. He did not know there were two soccer fields in the “temporary” soccer park. He only thought there was one. Anyone who ever played soccer, who went out there and walked around the park, would see two soccer fields there, like I did yesterday, when I rode my bicycle all over it, and in the past when I had just ridden my bicycle by the park quite a few times, wondering what in the hell they built it for, and put in the permanent lighting, if nobody was using it?

Instead, they want a regulation “multi-purpose” soccer/rugby field elsewhere out there, for adult “tournaments”, all the while the kids need a place to play soccer.


I had thought last night that I would say something about the city’s proposed new noise ordinance, but that item was pass over to the next city commission meeting. So, I figured I would speak to the ordinance during citizen comments at the end of the meeting.

Then, a fellow from Mote Marine took up about 15 minutes asking the city commission to support Mote financially, to help it build more coral colonies in its undersea coral farms, which corals later are transplanted to the reef, where most of the coral died many years ago.

I kept waiting on the fellow to talk about what was killing the reef, and finally he seemed to get there when he started talking about cruise ships maybe having an impact on the reef. Waiting for him to really go after that, I turned blue from holding my breath. What he went after was saying cruise ships should contribute money to Key West, which is earmarked for restoring the reef, and that money should be given to Mote Marine. I told Christine Russell, sitting beside me, that it appeared the fellow didn’t know shit about what had killed the corals on the reef, which would kill the corals in his underseas coral farms, if given half a chance.

So, that’s what I talked about during my 3 minutes of citizen comments at the end of the meeting. It went sort of like this.

‘Back during the channel dredging referendum debate, Dr. Robin Lockwood, speaking for the Key West Chamber of Commerce, said the dirtiest, worst possible cruise ships are calling on Key West. At the next forum on the referendum, he denied he had said that, and Jolly Benson asked for a show of hands in the audience of people who had heard Lockwood say that, and 20-30 hands went up. All of that I heard and saw. Jolly told me that  the forum where Lockwood said that was videoed by the Chamber, and the video went up on the Internet, and after an hour was taken down. Jolly asked the Chamber for a copy of the video and the Chamber replied that the video was its video and it was not going to give it to him. There is a serious cruise ship issue in Key West and the Chamber knows about it and it needs to be dealt with.

‘You (the commissioners) should talk with DeeVon Quirolo, co-founder of Reef Relief, who told me that cruise ships leaving Port Everglades headed toward Key West dump there somewhat treated waste water in the inside current, which flows down into the Keys and Key West.”

‘You should speak with Brian LaPointe, an internationally recognized marine biologist, who told me that, way back when, sugar cane and other farms chemical runoff went into the Everglades, and from there into the Bay of Florida, causing the red tide. It chemicals drifted down to the Keys and killed 90 to 95 percent of the reef. The chemical runoff then was diverted into Lake Okeechobee and dumped from there into the east-west canal headed to the east and west Florida coasts. The chemicals killed the algae Manatee feed on and increased the red algae, which the Manatee tried to eat, and it made them sick and they started dying. The people on the east and west coasts didn’t like that and raised hell, and now Tallahassee is going to start dumping the chemical run off into the Everglades again, and it will get into the Bay of Florida again, and drift down to the Keys and kill what’s left of the reef. You folks need to have your lobbyist in Tallahassee get on that.’

What had prompted me bringing in the lobbyist was during the meeting the commissioners had approved an extension of the lobbyists contract.

Mayor Craig Cates was not there last night, according to a Key West Citizen article this morning he attending is attending a mayors conference in Washington, D.C.

Received another email from Jason, whose first email to me, and my reply, can be found in the  it is more blessed to give than to receive, and other Key West of Weird charitable contributions …  post at goodmorningkeywest.com:


Sorry for the delayed response,

Yes, much of what you say makes sense to me, and that which doesn’t must be, to some degree, relevant to your own personal dialogue/relationship with the Boss. But then I will never claim my own experience to be The experience.

It is no surprise you have a hard time placing a face with my name; Key West has a high turnover rate for faces, and I have remained a stranger even to many of those that have thought they knew me well for years, even my parents(having left Dominica to attempt a reconciliation with them, only to find the invisible, ineffable divide was to remain by Orders). What is seen often belies the unseen. And as you say, the seen and unseen intricacies of this Grand Production, and the appointed “quickening”(scriptural term), that leads to cognition and recognition of them, are not common fare for discussion. And there is a metaphor that is apt, and it is the difference between a tourist and a traveler.

A spirit guide that was evidently appointed to me during my own quickening made it clear that it is neither productive nor selfless to attempt to initiate or maintain another individual’s “awakening”, if they have been prepared then it is an inevitable, if not an automatic, process. That man made it clear to me he had not the time or energy to attempt to seed or cultivate on rocky or sterile ground. Regarding those that are destined to be water skippers on the surface of life it is as Goethe said “The world is for many a freak show; the images flicker past and vanish; the impressions remain flat and unconnected in the soul. Thus they are easily led by the opinions of others” and “We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe”. They are no less loved, but they’re awareness of it will remain sporadic and temporary, if it exists at all. As yet, I have not been told why I should be interacting with you…only that I should be for the moment.

Your assertion that karma is a key player in soul development rings true, after all it parallels “what you sow, that you shall reap”. And for some reason, many people have difficulty seeing the only difference between the word “resurrection” and “reincarnation” as a semantic one. It is good to be afraid, blessed are the meek; do not be a slave to fear, be its master. Fear is an excellent impetus if tempered with Faith. If men did not fear the ocean they would go out on it unprepared and die from their lack of respect-many do. It is better to be oppressed than to oppress others, blessed are the poor in spirit. It would be better for anyone to be killed than to kill. What a world this would be if we all could be a little more human being, and a little less talking ape. But, I am told, all is as it should be, otherwise the term almighty would have little meaning. And regarding most people who drop out being soul-wounded. Is it not directed by the Christ himself to give up on worldly thoughts and worries and to live simply and gratefully. Yet the big difference lies in how and why people drop out of the mainstream. It must be done intentionally if it is to stand for anything at all. If it happens from a series of poor choices(lust, drugs, money, pride etc), erratic behavior, or happenstance then it occurs out of compulsion; and while this type of unwilling dropout affords a new and possibly transformative experience, it is more often the result of weakness and not strength. A fairly high profile example of dropping out through strength is Leo Tolstoy near the end of his life.

Concerning my own quickening, I can say it mirrors yours in some ways, and doesn’t in others. After years of what I would say were emotional and psychological disturbances due to my past, yet triggered by real-time goings on, it would take far too long to describe them or their meanings to me. But the experience that would tie them all together and give them the greatest meaning began with a lesson in physical pain and tolerance; which perhaps was a way of telling me to pay attention, something more important was coming(Trigeminal Neuralgia was the clinical diagnosis). Following that there were successive visions, both in sleep dreams and while awake, detailing the creation of the Creation and the birth, life and death of this Earth. I was told if left to our own devices that the end of the human world would be no different than was foreshadowed by the Rapa Nui on what is now called Easter Island. Keep in mind that even some of those people survived to procreate and send descendents to the present day. They did so by remaining tied to the land and knowing how to hunt and fish, unlike their status seeking compatriots that perished. Even so, I was told not to worry, as countless earths had been made prior and countless more were being made now-ejected in subatomic particles out the thermal vent of a black hole, along with what would first become their suns, and what would eventually also become some petunias on a windowsill somewhere.

The visions started on Monday Dec 1st of 2008 and were for the most part constant and comprehensive until they ended on the following Sunday, Dec 7th. I was working at a library at the time, and during waking hours was often being attended to by one of my guides, who, on the outside, appeared to be no more than a morbidly obese homeless man wearing diabetes shoes and sleeping on the third floor(nonfiction); sleeping that is, when he wasn’t reading some Physics book entitled Origins or Quantum Self. When he was nowhere to be seen I was still being attended to, as just about any unspoken thought or question I had in mind was soon responded to or answered by the title of a book I was handed to check out for someone or to shelve. I was also warned, although at the time I was so blissed out it didn’t register. There would be another messenger coming along shortly, and the point of his visions would not be to bring peace or to assure that I and all else are only individual particles, and existing within the perceivable image, of God. The long and short of it is, I was sent on a wild goose chase of a road trip across the states to visit old and new friends, during which I felt I was stationary and the changing scenery was just a simulation. After failing to find the wild goose, I crumbled. At one point I was nearly convinced that the only way to prove I was truly selfless was to off myself. And the reasoning was so intricate it was hard to argue that the most polite way would be a way no one would have to clean up a big mess afterward, most likely rope, or pills, or the ocean. I opened the the oracle at my disposal and it said plainly “though shall not tempt the Lord thy God”. Well, over a year’s time, I made it through all that…eventually went to live on a commune in Missouri, where I made peanut butter and met my baby-mama, but that’s a different strange tale entirely. Weirdly, there are people that used to live on that same commune now living in Key West. One makes palm-frond hats and lives out on the hook; he’s an evangelical atheist. The other was, last I saw her, drunk and still living in Susie Depoo’s on Dey street where I lived for a time after my boat debacle.

The Oregon dunes is a recreational area on the coast, just South of Florence. The seawall of cliffs found on most of the rest of the coast doesn’t exist there, so a little inland desert of dunes has formed, over the millenia, from the beach sand being blown into the forest. For the most part ATVer’s dominate the dunes, but they are restricted in areas and it is quite a sight to see. It’s possible you might be interested in a book I gave to Vicki, if she still has it perhaps she will loan it to you. Also the last sentence of my last missive was not a jab, just my way of seeing if you saw that money as a temptation, whether it was or not…

toodles, JWH

P.S. I suppose I must add that, because of those visions that were given me, I’m not supposed to be too concerned for the monkey-suit I am currently inhabiting, no matter how much I may like it’s name or circumstances. Thus I am unable to see people’s worldly obsessions with politics, religion, sex-trade, development, and whatever else, as anything more than vanity shoring up a blindspot in their supposed “faith”. Is it not logical for a worldly being to desire to rearrange the environment to suit his or her many other earthly desires? For myself logic is only an instrument with which either good or evil may be done, just like money or power or a car or the life freely given a person- concerns for these things can and do enslave the greater portion of humanity, but for anyone that has truly been freed, they are only tools, servants to be commanded.

I replied:

Can you send a photo?

Am in email conversation with Vicki about something else, she told me to tell you hi, best wishes. Will ask her about the book you gave her.

I never met any two people with remotely alike transformative experiences, which should tell religion something, if it had ears.

I had countless not of this world experiences since the first in early 1987, and it might be fair to say that it didn’t matter all that much in the big scheme re my own personal development; what mattered was how I engaged the variety of servings in the cafeteria into which I was put; the grist of this world was, is, the engine that drives the changes. Religion could learn from that, too, if it had ears.

The entire point of being human on this world is to experience this world’s servings. Jesus demonstrated and taught that ongoing in the Gospels. Religion could learn from that, too, if it had ears.

At times you seem to me to have a Pauline theme in your words: this world is dirty, sex is dirty, money is dirty, desire is dirty, best to be above it all – well, short of suicide, about the only way to do that is to live in a cave alone and never jerk off.

Maybe more later. I need to get moving to get to a grubby dirty city commission meeting, to which the angels who run me invited me to attend, if I know what’s good for me 🙂


Jason wrote:

Allow me to reiterate: To me, no thing in creation is inherently evil, not sex, or money, or drugs, or guns, or abortion, etc. But how they are used, and their effects on the self and other selves, may be for good or evil. The world, and anything in it, is only as dirty as the intent in a person’s heart of hearts. If a person truly intends well, but causes harm they will be judged accordingly; just as someone that intends ill and ends up being beneficial will have to answer for their intent. And only God knows what is in the heart. And various types of destruction(and self-destruction) must happen for the various types of creation to take place, the ones that are slated too anyway.

Here is an old passport photo from around ’01, and a parade going up King George V St., Roseau in 2008.


And tell Vicki I say hi back, and hope she is doing well.

Vicki B 2Vicki B

I replied:

Last night’s city commission meeting was Divine Comedy.

According to a friend down here in the Keys, I’m going to die and burn in hell forever, because I am not a “born-again” Christian. I’m not a Christian, either. I was, it didn’t work out for me, I tried other ways of believing and living, which did not work out for me, keeping all along my belief that God existed. Then something happened, which someone like you can generally understand, and I was in an entirely different place.

So here I am, one foot in the world where I started out in this life, one foot in the entirely different place, bound to both till death parts me from one.

I remember your face, but do not remember us playing chess. As I said in my first reply to you, I have lost some brain cells. Will pass your best wishes on to Vicki.


Just as this post was going up today:


To all criminal vehicle lodgers in Key West,

First of all we are all unwashed, detriment to the health and safety of tourists and residents of Key West. We are criminals.

I have never received a citation or been chased away by the Key West Gestapo. There is a reason for this. There are certain things you should and shouldn’t do to fly under the radar.

1) If you are in a car, you are gonna get busted. You may get one warning, then you go to jail. This doesn’t apply to you.

2) Where you park for the night makes a world of difference. Never, I repeat NEVER, park in a shopping center lot.

3) Never park any place you are the only vehicle.

4) Never park on the street in front of some ones house. (they will call the Gestapo)

5) Never park in a paid parking garage.

6) Never spend more than ONE night in a business’s lot that is open all night. (ie. McDonalds)

7) Never park in a Motel/Hotel lot. (they have security people looking for you)

8) Never park on private property.

So where do you park? First you must prepare your van for sleeping.

1) Look objectively at your van. Does it look from the outside that you are in there?

2) Look in every window. Does it look like you are living there?

3) Do not leave clothing in plain site.

4) Do not leave cooking gear (pots, pans, dishes, grills, charcoal etc.) in plain site.

5) Do not leave food (can goods etc.) in plain site.

6) beach chair, cooler, and a towel is OK.

7) If you have a bicycle, have a rack, with a good lock, on the back of your van.

8) Do not have a dog in your van. (it will bark and you will be busted)

9) Use something to block the Gestapo from looking through the windows where your bed is. (back windows, rear side windows) Tinting does not work because a powerful flashlight will allow them to see in.

10) Do not block windshield, side windows, or any window except to hide you while sleeping.

After preparing your van, find a place to park. (follow the above rules) I recommend on the street by a resort, motel, hotel, etc. that does not have enough parking for their customers. Customer then have to park on the street. This is vary common in Key west. (one of the best is either side of Casa Marina)
Find your spot and park there as early as possible. Or leave it there for a few days. Leave your van immediately. Take a bike ride, walk to the beach, or where ever.

1) DO NOT return to your van until you are ready to sleep. The later the better. (I always waited until at least midnight.) This allows the Gestapo to see your van parked there all day with no one in it.

2) Once in your van for the night, do not turn on lights or use a radio!

3) Do not smoke!

4) Only open windows a small crack. (never enough for a hand or flashlight)

5) Leave your van as early in the morning as possible. (I always left by 6:00AM) or drive to where ever you plan to spend the day.

If the Gestapo does knock on your van at 3:00 AM, stay calm, do not move a muscle, (any movement will be noticed) They will shine lights in your windows, beat on the side of your van, rock your van, knock on your windows, and just generally be a pain in the ass, hoping you will say something. STAY CALM AND DO NOT MOVE!!!!! They will eventually go away. Stay still for at least another 30 minutes. If you are legally parked they can do nothing if they don’t know you are inside.

I hope this helps as many as possible.

Remember, this is just as much our island as theirs. We all have a target on our backs, aimed at by the City of Key West. STAY SAFE!!!

Kurt Wagner
1999 Dodge van
Key West, Fl. 33040


Sloan at Coco's



About Sloan

Darn, that would take a while. Try the autobiographical pages in the header. Ditto for header menu pages at www.goodmorningbirmingham.com. Hatched and raised there, eventually I ran away from home. Here's a short list: Born 1942; male; spoken for; accused of all sorts of imaginable and unimaginable things, perhaps some true. Live on Key West of Weird asteroid. Publish something most days at goodmorningkeywest.com, been at that since July 2007. That's heaps of catch-up reading, probably not recommended.
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