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An unexpected meeting yesterday with someone in my email contacts, whom I had not seen in a while, caused me to feel I should henceforth include the entire daily publication in my email blasts, instead of just a link to a website where the daily can be read. I used to do it that way, but it was always so difficult to get the formatting of the daily at a website to carry though to the formatting in an emailing, that I went to simply sending out a link to the daily to my email contacts. Henceforth, they will receive both, and they can decide whether to use a link to get to the daily, or read it as it decided to present itself in the emailing. I will continue providing only links to earlier dailies, if any, in each daily.
Following up on what I included in yesterday’s Bubba Justice: pooping on the people in paradise and related sightings from the hardly virgin Florida Keys and Key West of Weird daily at this website, Banks Prevatt, of Little Torch Key, President of Dump The Pumps, Inc., sent out this email blast yesterday:
Here is where we seem to be. A recap for those new to our email list:
1. About a month ago we filed a complaint with DEP and FKAA challenging aspects of the permits and permit applications.
2. Last Friday, we received a request from DEP requesting until March 31 to respond to our complaint.
3. They have already had about 30 days. We discussed this probability at our steering committee meeting Saturday morning.
4. Tuesday, our attorney responded saying we would give them the time requested if DEP instructed FKAA to cease installation of grinder pumps and associated paraphernalia in the Lower Keys.
5. Today we received the attached email from DEP demanding until March 31 without conditions.
If we give them another month, Monroe County and FKAA will continue what seems to be a rush to get as much low pressure equipment in the ground as possible. The direction I felt from the steering committee was we will not give DEP or FKAA anymore time without concessions.
Consequently, Thursday, I will ask Lee to tell DEP, no dice, and advise them we plan to file the compliant in Circuit Court at the earliest appropriate date.
This email will reach about 150 of you. If any of you have a no vote or want to suggest a different direction, please do so now. For those of you who do not respond, I take that as a yes vote.
I, Sloan, was unable to copy and paste the attached letter from DEP, but it is short. I transcribed the pertinent text below:
“Thank you for your email of February 18, 2014 to Dr. Ahmadi. In order for the Department to make a thorough review of the issues raised in your correspondence dated January 14, 2014, the Department needs until March 31, 2014 to complete its review without any conditions.
“Senior Assistant General Counsel”
Just my ex-lawyer opinion, all of this should have happened a year ago, before Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority dug the first hole in the ground. I suppose I have to take responsibility because I then lived on Little Torch Key, squarely in the midst of the impending grinder pump war, and I did not get involved. In my defense, lame as it is, the angels did not tell me to get involved until after I sold my place on Little Torch at the end of last August and was again living in Key West.
Moving down the Asteroid Belt to that southernmost (actually westernmost) droid, a former regular van dweller criminal. now just an occasional visitor to Key West, replied to yesterday’s daily:
From your mouth to Gods ears…. Your summary of Key West sums up the problems and offers a beginning to bring it back ie Truman Waterfront Campground and RV Park….
Will the money folk let it happen with all the high end hotels happening?
$64 question… Unlikely in my estimation.
Sadly KW best days are behind it IMHO .
A 20 year washed van person remembering what it was like… I only come back now for the friends that are left….
Another bird of the feather, a regular contributor lately, wrote from St. Thomas in the American Virgin Islands. My interjected thoughts in italics.
You always make me laugh – dictator. You were here 19 years ago. Things have changed for the better. The police are stationed on the beaches every day. Last I read in the paper, violent crime has gone way down since then. Now it’s mostly property crime, theft from vehicles, pickpockets, etc. I have traveled all over St. Thomas at all times day or night without one problem. As with any city/town there are certain drug areas or bars to stay away from. I feel safer here than I did in Key West. But then growing up on the south side of Chicago might inure you to crime and drugs.
As for the Truman Waterfront, an RV park would be great. It would give me a place to park when I return. Except for the fact that the council will find a way to screw Bahama Village and some of the money would end up in the councils pockets. Either way, do something before the navy finds a way to take it back.
An RV and tent park. I imagine the daily/weekly rates would be in line with or even higher than what Bahia State Park charges, probably higher than most van dwellers, washed or unwashed, who like to winter in Key West, would be willing to pay, because of their limited income. Some other arrangement would have to be made for them. I suggest the parking lot at the Sheriff Headquarters on Stock Island, which is nearly empty at night. Nearby by is the city’s overnight homeless shelter, KOTS.
Noise on Duval? Ok, I was wrong in saying “deal with it” There is a limit to what the ears can tolerate. You mentioned the guitar player at Cowboy Bill’s. If you could hear him from a block away, that is wrong. (Isn’t Cowboy Bill’s owned by one of the commissioners?) I have stood on Duval St. and heard so many bars at once you couldn’t tell which music was what. Even if it is quieted down there will still be complaints. I equate these with people who move in near an airport, then complain about the noise. ie. suburbs around O’Hare in Chicago.
Churches? I would like to think any church would not want to bother their neighbors. If they ignore neighbors the pastor should be removed.
There is one church which has received mucho neighborhood complaints about excessive noise. Shutting that church down for a Sunday ought to make a lasting do unto others as you would have done to you impression on the pastor and his congregation.
Harley’s? I’m sure Florida law already prohibits loud mufflers. You can’t confiscate a motorcycle for loud noise. When you mention “Bubba Justice” it’s already in Key West. You can only write a citation and fine them. If only the Key West Gestapo would enforce it instead of harassing innocent people.
Who says you can’t just confiscate a Harley for loud noise? This ain’t the mainland. This is Key Wild West. Tow the loud Harley. The owner can catch a cab to the tower’s lot and redeem the bike in mainland currency and ride off on it. I imagine the Hell’s Angels would find it amusing, as long as it wasn’t one of their bikers. Word of that getting out should make a lasting impression on all bikers with loud bikes riding down here to cruise Duval and other streets, vicariously jacking off using the accelerator handle of their bikes. That’s all they are doing, you know. Public obscenity laws ought to provide back up for a new city ordinance allowing ZERO tolerance for loud noise (excluding police and fire and rescue sirens, of course, and airplanes, of course), and conch trains and trolleys (of course).
Homeless looking for work? While I agree that most (could be over 95%) do not want to work. They are happy with their food stamps, living at KOTS, panhandling, etc. There are those who get a pension or SS check, but it’s not enough to rent even a room, who don’t want to work. I do know many who want to work. I was one of them. I know a hand full who did find work. I applied to various places two to three times a week when I was there. If I did get an interview and heard back from them, which was extremely rare, it was always “too old” “overqualified” “no permanent address” The executive chef at Casa Marina told me flat out, off the record, “we prefer to hire workers on a visa than you, no matter what your experience” I give him credit for his honesty.
Dictator of the Hardly Virgin Key West? Interesting idea.
Well, Key West is just another banana republic, why not a dictator?
Moving laterally, some would say horizontally, the last reader comments to the latest R.I.P. (not hardly) –
Charles Eimers Preliminary Autopsy Report Released – article in Key West the Newspaper – www.thebluepaper.com:
JOHN DONNELLY FEBRUARY 17, 2014 AT 2:07 AM
The trend toward government coordination of civil and criminal investigations to enhance its enforcement efforts is accelerating. Parallel criminal and civil rights investigations are fundamental in determining if any crimes were committed prior, during or after the death of Mr. Eimers.
It’s important that a clear, detailed and accurate finding is made regarding the appropriateness and legality of the conduct employed by the police officers who chased, subdued and arrested Mr. Eimers
The Office of Professional Standards needs to conduct a thorough administrative investigation regarding the tactics and techniques employed by the arresting officers.
Obfuscating and obstructing an investigation through a cover-up or the destruction of evidence are felonies.
Leadership is lacking in getting to the truth behind the ‘how and why’ of Mr. Eimers’ death.
FDLE appear to be doing their job. It has been my experience that they are perfectly capable of coming down on the side of truth, when facts supported by the evidence determine their investigative outcome.
However, I’m concerned by a bevy of FDLE findings that have supported police involved killings, when an initial review of the evidence showed wrong-doing in these police shootings.
If one of my police officers or Marines killed someone under questionable circumstances, I would not rest until the truth were known in its entirety. Accomplishing this mission in a complete, objective and expeditious manner would be the priority of all those under my command.
Fear, hesitancy and bureaucratic gridlock on the part of those charged with protecting and serving the ‘people’ are repulsive characteristics.
SLOAN BASHINSKY FEBRUARY 17, 2014 AT 9:04 AM
Agreed, John. But who hired these KWPD police officers? Who hired him who hired them? Who is saying zip? Who set the standard for how KW police treat homeless people, for which Charles Eimers was profiled by the first officer who accosted him, who passed that profile on to other officers? Your mayor and city commissioners set that standard, John. Please do not forget, John, that the coconut don’t fall far from the tree..
JOHN DONNELLY FEBRUARY 18, 2014 AT 7:10 AM
Driving while Black or Homeless is a crime. It’s a serious crime, at times causing the offender to be summarily executed on the spot.
United States Marine and Black Insurance Executive Arthur McDuffie was killed by 12 Miami police officers because he ran a stop sign on his motorcycle and caused the police to pursue him. He stopped his motorcycle, raised his hands in the air and said: “I give up”, as sworn to by 3 police officers.
This man was handcuffed and pulled to the ground, as his helmet was ripped off. Twelve Miami police officers surrounded Mr. McDuffie, a Marine veteran who fought for his country, and they began to relentlessly beat him with their nightsticks, batons and flashlights. These officers took turns holding him down and exposing his head for the blows that eventually killed him. As testified to, the beating lasted for nearly 10 minutes. As sworn to by several police officers: “The feeling afterwards was that this guy was a nigger who was running from the police, and he deserved everything he got”.
The much acclaimed Janet Reno was not able to secure a single criminal conviction against any of the police officers involved in this killing. Even with critical evidence given to her by officers present at the beating, Janet Reno was unable to convict anyone of this horrific act.
After these officers killed Arthur McDuffie, they drove their squad cars over his motorcycle, gouged the road with a tire iron to make it look like bike tracks and threw the victims watch down a gutter, all in an attempt to stage an accident and cover-up their crimes .
Dr Ronald Wright, a Dade County medical examiner, testified that McDuffies’ skull had been cracked in half. It was the worst brain damage he had ever seen. This, apparently, was not enough for Janet Reno to convince a jury.
As alluded to, addressing homelessness in Key West is a sticky subject. The chain of command runs from the chief of police right on up to the top. Did the excessive muscle applied to Mr. Eimers follow normal protocol? Is Mr. Lee under pressure to discourage homelessness? Who is the supervisor of Mr. Lee, and who are the supervisors of Mr. Lee’s supervisor? Are they alright with an innocent man being beaten and killed by their police department? What if riots were to take hold of their fair city? Would we still be ‘One Human Family’? Because Mr. Eimers allegedly ran from the police: “Did he deserve what he got”?
Although Janet Reno failed miserably, at least Arthur McDuffie had the pretense of having his day in court….
SISTER FEBRUARY 18, 2014 AT 9:23 PM
The question should be … Are YOU alright with an innocent man being beaten and killed by YOUR police department? Obviously “they” ARE alright with it.
SISTER FEBRUARY 18, 2014 AT 9:06 PM
Maybe US police departments should adopt Hillary Clinton’s motto… “We came, We saw, He died, ha ha ha ha”
JOHN DONNELLY FEBRUARY 19, 2014 AT 7:39 AM
I don’t like what happened to Mr. Eimer’s. My life’s experience has required me to directly address several incidents where the conduct of police brought death to innocent men. In the last incident, the state, with malice and forethought, decided to execute a man they knew to be innocent. Over time they were systematically beaten back to three life sentences without parole, then to a dismissal of all charges and his release.
My dream was to one day become a police officer. My wounds were a career changer. Some of the most courageous and ethical individuals I know are and were members of law enforcement.
I aspire to the 10% rule. At least ten percent of the members of any organization are inept, corrupt and dangerous. Not all Marines are glowing examples of proper conduct. I know teachers who should have been put behind bars for a very long time. The same goes for police officers, firefighters, lawyers, corrections officers, wardens and state attorneys.
Watching and re-watching the 53 second video leading up to Mr. Eimer’s being handcuffed; this is what I see. Mr. Eimer’s exits his vehicle from the driver side, walks slowly and deliberately to the rear of his car. He then proceeds to walk about 15 feet beyond the rear of his vehicle. He appears steady and stable on his feet. He does not exhibit any aggressive behavior.
He kneels down on his right knee first, using his right arm as a brace. He kneels down on his left knee and simultaneously thrusts both of his arms out in front of him. Initially he props himself up on his forearms and elbows with his head up. It appears that he is looking at an officer approaching him. As this officer walks towards him with their arms locked in a firing position, Mr. Eimers bows his head down, face towards the sand.
As the first officer makes contact with him, he holsters his weapon and remains standing as he straddles Mr. Eimers from behind. This officer reaches down and first takes hold of Mr. Eimers’ left wrist and forearm, pulling it behind him. This same officer quickly reaches for Mr. Eimers’ right wrist and forearm, swinging it up and back behind him.
It’s at this point that Mr. Eimer’s body shows signs of distress. Involuntary or voluntary resistance is exhibited by Mr. Eimers to what the police want to do to him. The police want to handcuff him. Mr. Eimers may be struggling to breathe.
Mr. Eimers contorts his head to the right and begins jerking his body in protest of being handcuffed. Or, were these the actions of a man who simply wanted to live.
Other officers approach Mr. Eimers, attempting to steady him so the cuffs can be applied. During this time Mr. Eimers is squirming and kicking his legs in the sand, in a low-crawl motion.
When Mr. Eimers’ arms were drawn up and behind him so that he could be handcuffed, the brace and support that they gave him while he lied face down in the sand were removed. The added weight and tilt of the body compressed his abdomen. Air hunger and oxygen deficiency would have triggered his struggling to stay alive. Thus, requiring increased force by the police to secure the arrest.
I did not see the police aggressively rush and jump on Mr. Eimers. I did not see them knee or strike Mr. Eimers at any time during the 53 second video. There did not appear to be any direct force or weight applied to the back or torso of Mr. Eimers by the police, during this time frame
Parallel and independent investigations detailing every relevant facet of this tragic event are necessary. No one is above the law. And no one should have their name mulled about as a murderer, if they’ve done nothing wrong.
SISTER FEBRUARY 19, 2014 AT 9:07 PM
My belief is that if you’re too stupid to figure out that your actions are causing someone’s death then you sure as hell should not be walking around with a loaded gun.
SLOAN BASHINSKY YOUR COMMENT IS AWAITING MODERATION.
FEBRUARY 19, 2014 AT 10:45 PM
John, did you read the blue paper article in which one female KWPD officer at the scene said something to the effect that she wanted to off one of the other KWPD officers re what was done to Eimers? Did you see in a blue paper article a statement by a friend of one of the officers that that officer bragged about putting a knee on the back of the left shoulder of Eimers and elbowing him in the back of the neck, or maybe it was the back of his head, and uttered anti-homeless words about Eimers? In answer to your earlier comment, the KW Chief of Police answers directly to and works for and is hired and fired by the KW City Manager, who answers directly to and works for and is hired by the KW City Commission. At the end of tonight’s city commission meeting,, during closing citizen comments, I told the commissioners and mayor that I have yet to hear a word out of them about Charles Eimers’ death on South Beach. I told them it was the direct consequence of the city’s all-out effort to cause all its homeless people to leave the area, it was the city’s karma. Living way up Key Largo way, John, you might not be in tune with KW’s homeless policy. I am acutely in touch with it, have been since late 2000, when I arrived here and started living on the street. I have been up to my eyeballs in Key West homeless policy ever sense. I told the commissioners and mayor tonight that it was their homeless policy that caused Charles Eimers to be dead, and it was time they started doing something about his death and what caused it, even if their lawyer (the City Attorney, who works for them, answers to them, is hired and fired by them) tells them that would be crazy. What is crazy is saying nothing, hoping this case somehow will go away. Eimers’ family has engaged a KW plaintiff lawyer. He don’t strike me as the kind of fellow who will go away, even if the Florida Department of Law Enforcement doesn’t do anything. Even if the KWPD doesn’t do anything. Even if the City Manager and the City Commission don’t do anything. Nothing about Charles Eimer’s death and the ensuing events passes the smell test. I could say the same about America’s war in Iraq and its later war in Afghanistan. Karma is certain and inexorable. However, connecting the dots back to what caused it can be a challenge.
Was tipped off yesterday to this Editorial in the Keynoter – www.keysnet.com, my interjected thoughts in italics. I added the pics.
Key West city commissioner needs to show more respect
February 19, 2014
Key West City Commissioner Tony Yaniz needs to get over himself.
He wasn’t elected to a throne where he can rule by heavy hand and intimidation. He is one of seven voting members of the City Commission, no more and no less.
But now slightly more than two years after he was elected in October 2011 to a four-year term, Yaniz has shown time and again that he believes he knows better than anyone else about most issues — and has shown a remarkable lack of respect for those with whom he disagrees.
The contempt shown toward some of his commission colleagues — specifically Mayor Craig Cates — and city staff needs to change if he has any hope of being perceived as effectively serving the people.
The latest flare-up came this month, when, in a letter to Human Resources Director Samantha Farist, a husband and wife accused City Manager Bob Vitas of in appropriate touching during the 2012 Fantasy Fest parade. Although Farist should not have dismissed the matter out of hand as she apparently did, Yaniz should not have launched himself into the issue. But he did.
He said in an e-mail, “It is my prerogative as an elected city official to request information from you, and just so we are clear, your failure to respond is, in my opinion, insubordination.”
He might want to take a look at the city charter. It states commissioners “shall deal with city officers and employees who are subject to the direction and supervision of the manager solely through the manager and neither the commission nor its members shall give orders to any such officer or employee, either publicly or privately.”
There is an exception for a commissioner wanting to investigate something — whatever that means because the charter is vague on that — but bullying e-mails do not equate to an investigation. The right thing to do would have been to request an investigation during a City Commission meeting and let the full commission weigh in.
Then there was November, when he quit the Rotary Club of Key West in the face of being kicked out after he walked out of a speech being made by Cates. He didn’t just walk out; he went to great pains to upstage the mayor by walking out behind Cates as he spoke.
Then there was the time last August when state Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad took the unusual step of traveling to Key West specifically to hear concerns about the North Roosevelt Boulevard reconstruction.
Yaniz interrupted and shouted down Prasad during a public meeting, not letting the DOT chief answer questions or expand on why the roadwork was being done a certain way. The spectacle was so bad that Cates had to apologize to Prasad for Yaniz’s behavior.
And, Mayor Craig Cates interrupted me, while I grilled Prasad during citizen comments about why the North Roosevelt Blvd construction had not been done round the clock. I did not give up, and finally Prasad said it was because of the city noise ordinance; round the clock would disturb North Roosevelt neighborhoods in the evening and at night. Finally, it was out in the open. The City Commission, which could have waived the noise ordinance to get a much faster redo of North Roosevelt, had made the call for the construction to be 5 days a week, instead of straight through. The result, the redo of North Roosevelt took maybe three-times longer than it could have taken, a number of North Roosevelt businesses closed and others were put on the brink of closing. None of which revelation was reported in the Citizen the next day. Instead, I was blasted for yelling at Prasad and was told by Mayor Cates that I was embarrassing the city.
In fact, Mayor Cates knew exactly where I was headed with Prasad, as did Prasad know. Up to that point most Key West people had ass-u-me’d it was Prasad and the FDOT’s fault that the construction was done only 5 days a week. I did speak loudly to Prasad to get his attention after he had turned away from me, while I was addressing him, to speak with one of his subordinates. I explained all of the above to Gwen Filosa, who wrote the next day Citizen article. Gwen said she got it. And then she blasted me for getting Prasad to rat out Mayor Cates and the city commissioners, without saying why she blasted me, or that Prasad had ratted them out. I drove down from Little Torch Key to embarrass Mayor Cates and the city commissioners, with Director Prasad’s able assistance. My impression was Prasad seemed relieved after he ratted out the mayor and city commissioners and got the heat off himself.
Yaniz was elected with nearly 70 percent of the vote in his district, so he certainly has his supporters. But he was not anointed royalty, which he appears to believe he is.
Elected officials should be held to high standards, and that includes respecting all voices around you. Yaniz has failed in that regard several times. It’s time for the commissioner to look in the mirror and decide if he wants to be remembered as a valued contributor to the board he sits on, or as a bully who got his way only through threats, coercion and purposefully overstepping his authority.
My impression of Yaniz is, whenever he looks in the mirror, all he sees is what he wants to see.
Yaniz shat and sat in it last year, when he wrote this email over his city commissioner email address, to a member of the Key West Rotary Club, about remarks Mayor Cates had made at a Rotary meeting. Later, Yaniz claimed he thought he had used his personal email address to send out the email:
“Are You fucking kidding me! Mayor should not have been allowed to politicize the meeting! I have lodged a complaint with Frankie, as well as reached out to Janice Long, Alton Weekly,and Brian Barroso, who all agreed that allowing the Mayor to make a political statement at a Rotary meeting violated the sanctity of the no politics policy of our club. You have big balls taking issue with me walking out, by the way so did Rossi. You have your priorities totally fucked up ! If anyone violated the 4 way test it was the Mayor and our Rotary Club for allowing him to do so. Are u fucking kidding me? If anyone fucked over the 4 way test it was our club, the Mayor… And obviously you for making the statement you just made. As for me… Fuck the Mayor for bringing politics into our club, fuck our club for not having the balls to tell the Mayor to stop— because they didn’t want to embarrass him , and fuck you for having the unmitigated balls to call me out on this without thinking about who really violated the 4 way test !
“Key West, Florida
“On Sep 28, 2013, at 10:10 AM, Jim Fitton <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Fat, I was disappointed by your actions at Rotary. After talking about Rotary not being political you made a point of walking out on the Mayor’s presentation, which was nothing but being political. I understand you and he have some issues but as my Commissioner I expect a more professional and respectful demonstration. What you did was clearly not in alignment with the 4-way test.
The Key West Citizen’s report on part of last night’s City Commission meeting. My interjected thoughts in italics. I added the pics.
Mayor wins ‘State of the City’ debate
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff
City commissioners Wednesday rejected an idea to require the mayor to deliver the annual ‘State of the City’ address at Old City Hall before making the speech to clubs like Rotary or groups like the Business Guild.
Mayor Craig Cates, who had already delivered the 20-minute address, took offense at the measure, which he considered personal criticism.
“It’s like you’re telling me I’m not doing my job in a timely manner,” Cates said, from his seat at the center of the dais. “If you don’t think I’m doing a good job you can say that. But don’t try to put timelines on me. I’m doing it as fast as I can. I don’t have speechwriters.”
A 3-3 tie vote meant the motion failed. Commissioner Mark Rossi was absent.
Before taking a vote, the six members held court for 30 minutes over the proposal by Commissioner Tony Yaniz to make it local law for any Key West mayor to make the speech before the end of February – and first at a commission meeting.
Department heads provide the information when they get it compiled, Cates said, and it’s a time-consuming task piecing together the speech.
As for Yaniz’s belief that “the citizens” need to hear the address before clubs and groups, Cates also took that personally.
“I represent everybody in the city,” Cates said. “I was a mechanic. I worked every day, a blue-collar worker, very hard. I raised my family here. I know what it is to work every day and work very hard.”
Yaniz said he was trying to install guidelines in response to constituents’ complaints about the Business Guild hearing the speech before it was given at a commission meeting, which are broadcast live on local TV and video-taped and available via the city’s website.
“They just wanted to be the first to hear the ‘State of the City’ address,” said Yaniz, a first-term commissioner who has openly considered running against Cates for the mayor’s office.
Yaniz also complimented Cates.
“By the way, excellent address tonight, mayor,” Yaniz said.
Activists Tom Milone and Margaret Romero, who has lost at the polls twice to Cates, said Wednesday that it felt disrespectful for the city’s mayor to go to a special group first.
Cates delivered the address, a department-by-department list of what he considers accomplishments during his watch, Wednesday night for the first time at Old City Hall.
After taking stock of the city’s $40 million worth of construction projects in the works, the mayor ticked off the number of building permits granted in 2013 – 5,500 – and calls received by 911 – 24,900, along with other year-end totals.
Last year, Cates gave the speech to the Chamber of Commerce before getting around to the commission. This year, the Business Guild heard it first.
Baloney, Cates did not give anything like his report last night to those civic clubs. What he gave last night was, basically, an “infrastructure” report of how each city project was doing. He heaped praise on various city departments. He avoided controversial issues. It was a mechanical report, almost like an accountant would give. It was not an “issues” report. It contained no “heat”. It was the kind of report required by the City Charter, starting last year, when such a report was first made by Mayor Cates later in the year. Before that, there never had been a required “state of the city” report by any mayor, although such reports perhaps were made in the past by different mayors.
Cates said the address is a work in progress and that he didn’t give the full speech at the January Guild luncheon.
If he had, I imagine a number of people in the audience would have given up trying to follow it, unless they were accountants.
Since 2013, Key West’s charter has required the mayor deliver a ‘State of the City’ address each year, and that it provide analysis and vision of the city’s works in progress, including private sector projects.
Former mayor Dennis Wardlow showed up to fight against the resolution, saying approving it would only “create conflict.”
“You’ve got to get out of this petty political crap,” Wardlow said. “You’ve got some big issues before you. This resolution belongs in the shredder.”
Any local group the mayor addresses comprises Key West citizens, Wardlow said.
“He’s the leader, the chairman and you all are the board of directors,” Wardlow said. “You’re running a huge, multimillion-dollar corporation.”
Voting against Yaniz’s proposal were Cates and Commissioners Teri Johnston and Billy Wardlow, a brother of Dennis Wardlow.
Yaniz and Commissioners Clayton Lopez and Jimmy Weekley voted ‘yes,’ all saying Wednesday that it’s a matter of procedure.
“They’re not special interest groups,” said Commissioner Teri Johnston, calling the resolution a matter of semantics. “They’re our citizens, the movers and shakers of this community who need to have this information.”
Johnston added, “Do we maybe have some more important issues, like making this a better city?”
Not reported, Yaniz, Weekley and Lopez insisted Yaniz’s resolution was not political. Baloney. If Yaniz’ resolution had passed, then it would have been dragged out anytime a mayor in a future year spoke at a civic club or elsewhere about something he/she had not first shared at a city commission meeting with the commissioners, city staff and the public. It would have become a political weapon, if that resolution had passed.
During my citizen comments, I said I agreed completely with former Mayor Wardlow. I said I had run for mayor of the city three times, not very successfully. I said it was always my impression that the mayor was the city’s ambassador and he was expected to speak to city issues when he spoke before civic groups and elsewhere in public. I said issues were fluid, what Mayor Cates might want to speak to last month, he might not wish to speak to today. What he spoke to today, he might not have spoken to last month. I said it is was incomprehensible to me that a mayor could not say what was on his mind when he spoke in public, if he had not first said it in a “state of the city” address during a city commission meeting.
I said where I felt this all got wound up was the year before, when Mayor Cates had said something at a civic club meeting, which was on a hot issue. It was alleged to have been campaign rhetoric, and a great deal was made out of it. Cates’ opponent [Margaret Romero] was not able to speak to the same issue. I said when a mayor is running for reelection, he should tell civic clubs to let his opponent(s) have a similar time before them to speak to any hot issues he covered before them, and civic clubs should do that. Otherwise, it is not fair to the other candidates and it then does look like it is rigged; the civic clubs are endorsing the sitting mayor. I said there is no way a mayor running for reelection can say anything in public, which will not be viewed as campaign rhetoric, but when it’s controversial, the other mayor candidates should get a chance to reply before the same audience.
I can’t imagine why Gwen Filosa did not report at least that part of my citizen comments, since I had explained what I bet the conch farm was behind Yaniz’ resolution. He campaigned hard last year for Romero. I heard a while back from a man about town they both know that Yaniz as much as told him that he and Romero made a deal last year: If Yaniz backed Romero last year, and if she did not beat Cates, then she would back Yaniz this year against Cates.
I look forward to seeing if Yaniz has the balls to run for mayor this year. He will not care for my comments about him at candidate forums. Maybe I will pull out the email exchange between Yaniz and Jim Fitton, and read it to the candidate forum audience. Verbatim. An email exchange we have a Keynoter reporter friend of mine, Sean Kinney, for getting from the City of Key West under a Public Records request. That email exchange might be the least of Yaniz worries. There are no fig leaves in Paradise, nor any secrets. No telling what else might wiggle its way into the light of day, which might not make Yaniz’ day and mess up his mirror on the wall.
Perhaps later the Citizen will report other parts of last night’s city commission meeting.
Last night, the City Commission voted 6-0, the lone opponent, Mark Rossi, not in attendance, to pass a city ordinance requiring a super majority vote (5 of 7 commissions and mayor) to override the 2013 channel-dredging study referendum, which was defeated by nearly 74% of the votes cast.
During citizen comments on that agenda item, I said, from the beginning, I had viewed the referendum as a referendum on cruise ships, and nearly 74% of the voters had said how they felt about cruise ships.
I said passing the new ordinance requiring a super majority vote to overturn that referendum was the first step toward righting what never should have happened in the first place, which was cruise ships calling on Key West. I said they know cruise ships are fouling the ocean and the waters around Key West are polluted and are not safe for people to enter. An earlier citizen speaker had told of going into the ocean, knowing it was not safe, and contracting a perhaps terminal disease in her female parts. I said I had nearly died from MRSA contracted in Key West. I said none of this do they advise the public, nor does the Chamber of Commerce nor the Tourist Development Council. I said they, the mayor and commissioners, have an affirmative moral duty to tell the public the water down here is not safe to enter, and that is not enough; they need to start doing all they can to get the water cleaned up, so it is safe.
Another agenda item last night was to authorize a local contractor to begin demolition on part of Glynn Archer Elementary School, where the new city hall is slated to be built.
What the city will do, if it proceeds, is gut the old school building, leaving only walls and roof, and build it anew. There are other buildings there, which will not be part of the new city hall, which perhaps will remain with the School Board, which gave the school to the city for its new city hall. Currently, the Boys and Girls Club is using one of the other buildings, and they are looking for a new home.
Margaret Romero spoke before me.
She always opposed new city hall being at Glynn Archer, which I feel is a great location, if it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, or more. She again attacked the location and said the School Board doesn’t know what it’s doing, or will do, and that could cause the city serious trouble with the new city hall demolition and construction.
When my turn to speak came, I said I myself once had redone completely two old homes in Birmingham, one for my home, one for my law office, and they had cost me a good bit more than I had been told going in they would cost. I said they won’t know what the new city hall at Glynn Archer will cost until the last nail is driven, and then they will be either heroes or villians. I said just the day before I had told Tom Milone, if the new city hall comes in only $100,000 budget, then that’s a gift. But if it comes in several million dollars over budget, then the commissioners and the mayor will be hung in effigy, or worse. However, the only way to know is to start the demolition and do the rest of the construction.
I said Margaret Romero was right, the School Board has no clue what it is doing, or will do. They were insane. I learned that when I ran for the school board two years ago and attended school board meetings and talked with school board members and the superintendent of schools and school administration staff. They are totally dysfunctional, and that’s why I ended up recommending all Florida Keys schools vote themselves to be charter schools and get out from under the dysfunctional school board and superintendent and administration in the insane asylum at Trumbo Point – where the school district offices currently are located. I said I was not talking about school teachers, but about the school board and administration,
I said the city needs to make sure it does not get tangled up at Glynn Archer in the school district’s insanity. The school board and administration’s mission is to screw things up, and if there is any way they can screw up the city and the new city hall at Glynn Archer, they will do it. Make darn sure they cannot do that, before any work is started at Glynn Archer. There were a variety of emotional responses from the dais and the audience.
Commissioners Johnston and Lopez then said they had opposed the Glynn Archer location, but now that it had been selected as the new city hall site, it was time to stop talking and get on with it. Commissioner Wardlow agreed, but said, if it turns out there is more than they knew about, the cost will be too great, they can kill the project. I thought that was a wise comment, but once the work is begun, will the commissioners and mayor have the grit to kill the project, if indeed it does end up looking like it will cost an arm and a leg, or more?
During closing citizen comments is when I said what I wrote in the blue paper to John about Charles Eimers case.
Also during citizen comments, I said I ride my bicycle through the city cemetery nearly ever day, and their are plenty of tall coconut trees laden with big coconuts hanging over the roads in the cemetery, and if one of those nuts fell on the head of a tourist or local, it would be a dead tourist or local, like being hit on the head by a cannon ball. I said I had knocked on the cemetary sexton’s office, but nobody was there, so I was telling them, the mayor and commissioners, and the city manager and the city attorney, so they could get something done about that.
I also invited the city commissioners and mayor to go to the city’s wild bird rescue center near White Street Pier. I said I said it’s a great to save injured wild birds, which can be returned to the wild, but most of the injured wild birds in the rescue center were too injured to be returned to the wild. I said most of those birds are crowded in cages with lots of other injured birds; they are miserable, would be better off dead. I asked the mayor and commissioners where did they think all that bird poop ends up after a big rain? They know it ends up in the nearby Atlantic Ocean.
After the commission meeting, local attorney Robert Cintron told me out on the front steps of Old City Hall that he didn’t see how I and other citizen stood attending city commission meetings. He only goes becuase he is paid by clients to be there. He was there on an item about tying down newspaper stands so they don’t become airborne during hurricanes and kill people like flying coconuts or flying canno balls, but worse. I said city commission meetings are entertaining, that’s why we attend. He said he preferred good movies. I asked if he had seen “A Great Beauty” now showing at Tropic Cinema? He said it had been years since he’d had time to see a movie. He’d just seen one, in Old City Hall. And, he was paid to see it. Paid by the Citizen, his client. He was there for the newspaper stand agenda item. Three hours, for one item. That’s a pretty good wage for getting to see all that great entertainment.