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Encouraged by self-appointed Sloan for Mayor campaign manager at large, “Mud Dawg” Mike Tolbert of Daddy Bones yummy BBQ on North Roosevelt Blvd, behind Checkers drive-in, I started a Sloan for Mayor open Facebook group. Here’s the current state of that union:
Meanwhile, yesterday Naja and Arnaud Girard,
publishers of the kick-heapum-assum Key West the Newspaper – www.thebluepaper.com – told me that Arnaud is the reason Stephen Freer, of Tugboat Tilly infame, was let out of jail. Arnaud did not want Freer prosecuted for felony trespass, two weeks in the jail was sufficient, Arnaud felt. Quite a different story than Freer painted to me,
as reported in yesterday’s Key West’s beautiful toxic waters: Tugboat Tilly karma; binge boozing; County Judge Mark Jones faces Conch revenge candidate; MRSA praise report; plus fetching 2015 Fantasy Fest art contest entry post at this website. Arnaud and Naja also said Freer is being prosecuted by Fish & Wildlife. We agreed, Freer ain’t the only person, or persons, who should be prosecuted for Tugboat Tilly being sunk in a navigable waterway.
Naja and Arnaud also told me yesterday that they had spent the Sabbath leading a team of volunteer firefighters to put out the forest fires on Wisteria Island. Here’s the commentary about that on the Facebook group started some years ago now by Mike Mongo, of Key West:
Yesterday morning at Harpoon Harry’s,
Tom Milone told me what he would do with all the old Navy property, if he were King:
King Tom said he would have the Navy exercise eminent domain and buy back all its own property in Key West, which it had given away or sold: Truman Waterfront , Truman Annex, Peary Court. Bahama Village is given its originally-intended 6.6 acres. The Navy turns Key West back into a major Navy Base, by bringing in lots of new Navy personnel and operations, because Key West is strategically located for a major Navy Base. Rejuvenate Key West in that way.
I asked King Tom if it would be okay for the Navy to also buy the old Strand Theater, now a Wallgreen’s, and start showing daily afternoon matinees of “Deep Throat” for the Navy boys again? King Tom said he would not object to that.
I thought about asking King Tom, if it would be okay for the Navy to start sinking all cruise ships which approach Key West? But I figured that would not be required. If Truman Waterfront became a major base of Navy operations again, I kinda doubt the Navy would let cruise ships anywhere near Truman Waterfront.
King Tom also said a good place to put a new senior living facility is on the big parking area in the back of the Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church. Build the new senior living facility on stilts so congregants can park underneath it during church services and functions.
I said that would be a great way for the church and its diocese in Miami to make Jesus feel good.
Moving laterally, in the Key West Citizen this morning – www.keysnews.com – my thoughts in italics; I attended and observed the trial: Shahdaroba Rodd, aka Hatman
Van dweller on CRB agenda ‘Cops smeared my name in court’ BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff email@example.com
A Key West man who unapologetically lives in his white Dodge van near Higgs Beach and has accused police of harassing him, wants a city-appointed board to clear his name.
Shahdaroba Rodd, 67, who was convicted at trial of violating the city’s lodging-in-vehicles prohibition, has complained to the Citizen Review Board that two officers lied in court about having found a bucket of human waste inside the van where he sleeps.
“I most certainly did not have any feces in the bucket,” Rodd wrote in a complaint filed with the city about the March 9, 2013, incident at the corner of Casa Marina Court and Reynolds Street. Police Officers Marcus del Valle and Darnell Sealey didn’t include a word about finding anything like human waste inside the 1999 van. But at trial, they told Judge Wayne Miller that they could smell the filth from inside Rodd’s van.
“I am not a sloppy, dirty, unkempt person,” Rodd wrote in the five-page complaint filed Feb. 24 with the board that reviews allegations of police officer misconduct. “Does it even remotely make sense that I would defecate in a bucket and then go to sleep when I could walk but a very short distance and use a public restroom?” Rodd wrote. “Certainly not.”
Del Valle and Sealey said nothing of any waste smell in their initial report or on the video recording of the incident, Rodd said. Rodd said the police want to portray him as a health hazard in Key West with “this totally preposterous” bucket testimony and says they single him out for the lodging law, which the city bolstered in 2012 in an effort to rein in homelessness on the island.
Rodd did not cross-examine or otherwise challenge the feces-in-a-bucket testimony at his trial. He did not testify himself, in his own defense. Judge Miller only had the two police officers’ testimony of feces in a bucket to go by, and he went with their testimony. HOWEVER, that does not erase perjured testimony, if any, they gave at Rodd’s trial. If, in fact, they made up the feces in a bucket testimony, they committed a felony and they violated Rodd’s civil rights. The CRB, therefore, has jurisdiction and should launch its own investigation, if Police Chief Donie Lee declines to do an Internal Affairs investigation, as he indicated later in this Citizen article. However, if Lee does an Internal Affairs investigation, the CRB should wait on the outcome of that investigation being made available to the CRB, before deciding whether to launch its own separate investigation.
The Citizen Review Board will hear Rodd’s complaint at 6 p.m. tonight at Old City Hall, 510 Greene St. City: Case already closed City officials say Rodd has already had his day in court, where Judge Wayne Miller in December found him in violation of the city law.
“The matter was and remains a matter for the courts,” Police Chief Donie Lee wrote in a March 14 memo to Susan Srch, executive director of the Citizen Review Board. Assistant City Attorney Ron Ramsingh agreed that Rodd’s objection to the bucket story and claims of harassment were addressed at trial.
As stated above by me, Rodd made no objection to the bucket story. He did not challenge it. He did not testify, either. I wanted to wring his neck.
In 2013, police warned Rodd six times about illegally living in his van. Three others were warned for illegal camping or lodging since January 2013, according to Sgt. Joe Tripp. When asked his address, Rodd said his van, Miller pointed out in his Dec. 19 ruling that dismissed the van dweller’s allegations of police harassment and comparing his citation to the type of conduct barred by the case law Pottinger vs. City of Miami.
Hardly, the judge said.
Pottinger addressed the city’s practice of arresting homeless people who had no other place to go to “exercise simple life-sustaining activities,” and confiscating their possessions. In contrast, Rodd is making a clear choice to live in a van.
“The city of Key West affords homeless persons the opportunity to temporarily lodge in a facility called KOTS,” Miller wrote, referring to the Keys Overnight Temporary Shelter on Stock Island. Rodd “has made a conscious decision to not avail himself of the opportunity that KOTS offers,” the judge concluded.
Rodd was never taken into custody and formally arrested the night of March 9, 2013, the judge noted. None of his property was taken. “The facts of this case were undisputed and uncontroverted,” Miller wrote. Judge: Rodd is no victim.
I wonder how Judge Miller would feel about his own ruling, if he himself became financially destitute and only had the choice of living in his vehicle, or getting rid of it, since he could not live in it under the Key West ordinance, and staying nights at KOTS. For that is what Judge Miller told Rodd he should do: get rid of his van, which was his home, the only home he could afford, and stay nights at KOTS. For, you see, nobody who lives in a vehicle is allowed to park their vehicle at KOTS, nor anywhere near it.
Two different times I told Rodd to make that argument at his trial. I told him he needed to make that argument for himself and all other people like him living in their vehicles. He never mentioned that argument during his trial. I wanted to wring his neck.
There are quite a few people like Rodd living in their vehicles in Key West. Some are new to that, others are old to it. All of them are living in the only home they can afford. It is their “sailboat”, their liveaboard, and Key West made them criminals simply because they were/are poor. I kinda imagine the homeless man Jesus ain’t too terribly thrilled about that.
I kinda imagine the city’s karma, and the karma of city officials and city police and city prosecutors and county judges enforcing that ordinance against poor people who live in their vehicles ain’t going to be pretty. As you sow, you reap. That is the LAW.
At about 10 p.m. March 9, 2013, Rodd was locked inside his van, which had privacy shades across the front windshield, police reported. When emerging from the Dodge van, police described Rodd as unkempt, red-eyes and obviously having just been asleep. “In addition, there was a 5-gallon bucket within the van that appeared to contain human waste,” Miller wrote.
Perhaps strangest of all, the arresting officers did not seize the alleged bucket as evidence, and the alleged not-seized bucket was not introduced into evidence at Rodd’s trial. I knew judges back in Birmingham, Alabama, where I practiced law, who, on their own motion, from the bench, would have asked the arresting officers where that alleged bucket was? Why come it was not introduced into evidence? And why come that alleged bucket was not in their arrest incident report?
Rodd’s van had a solar panel, blacked-out windows and a clothes line attached to the roof, which also held a makeshift wooden storage area holding plastic storage containers, police said. Rodd “was not involuntarily placed in the position of being ‘homeless,'” Miller wrote. “The defendant has consciously chosen that status.”
That was not proven at the trial. That aside, the same argument can be made against any homeless person in Key West, including Judge Miller, if, it would be poetic, he ends up living in his van; his reasons therefore irrelevant.
Rodd was issued a citation and summoned to court. Miller also denied Rodd “indigent” status after a records check showed three vehicles registered in his name: a beige Volkswagen van, a red motorcycle and a white station wagon.
Rodd told me that indigent status was denied so Rodd could not get a court-appointed lawyer to appeal his conviction, so a jury could hear his case. Rodd also told me that, early in his case, Judge Miller had tried to convince Rodd to have a lawyer appointed to represent him, because, Judge Miller told Rodd, in his experience defendants representing themselves did not fare well at trial. As it turned out, these other vehicles had some time before been dispensed with by Rodd, but the title transfers had not been made where vehicles are registered. He only had the van in which he lived, and still lives, his home. His driver’s license, which I have seen, shows his address is the number on the license tag on his van. Even the State of Florida recognizes, in that way, that Rodd’s home address is his van.
A doe whitetail deer was in one of my dreams before dawn this morning, asking me to help her and others.
I figured the dear to be a Big Pine key deer.
Received this below the other day from Banks Prevatt of Dump the Pumps, Inc. – www.dumpthepumps.inc:
Subject: Big Pine Key — de-watering wells
CC: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Here is something I heard last night and received some confirmation on today. Permits for de-watering wells have been approved by DEP for Big Pine — north and south — a total of 42. I have a list of the first 18. I asked DEP, in an email tonight, to verify this one way or the other. I believe these to be 24” diameter wells with a 6″ pump — depth unknown.
I wonder how many millions of gallons of fresh water will be pumped from the fragile Big Pine Key fresh water lens, and what will be the impact of salt water intrusion? What will be the long term consequences of replacing the freshwater lens with millions of gallons of salt water? Talk about screwing with nature, I am not sure anyone has thought this through.
Help me here. How do we get this in front of the right agencies for a review and which agencies should we alert. Some local news media is openly copied. Maybe one or more will be interested enough to fact find some answers. This may be more than, “Chicken Little, the sky is falling.”
Yesterday, this came in from Banks:
Folks, It is time to do some serious fundraising. We did what we had to do to get where we are. In the initial thrust, we raised a bit over $10,000. We spent $4,000 on legal fees and a couple hundred on postage, supplies and incorporation fees. We have a bit over $6000 in the bank. If we are to move forward with legal action, we need a bigger war chest.
I planned all along on about 100 households at about $200 each. This would raise $20,000. I consider this a minimum if we are to advance legal action. Many of you have contributed handsomely, and it is appreciated. Others of you have contributed according to your ability, and that is appreciated. Now, we need to raise some serious money. The corporation is in place — Dump the Pumps, Inc. Filing for non-profit status with the IRS is in process. The nuts and bolts are in place.
This is a request to those on this mailing list. We will proceed with a direct mail to affected areas in the Lower Keys, including Big Pine Key. You can reach us through a PayPal account on our web site: www.dumpthepumps.com or by direct mail to Dump the Pumps, Inc. at PO Box 1956, Big Pine Key FL 33043.
Feel free with any questions or comments.
Banks Prevatt For Dump the Pumps, Inc.
I replied, perhaps in the vein of this citizens-advocate lawyer, whom I long have admired:
Hi Banks, others:
Just my opinion, it’s way past time for people below Big Pine Key to file a lawsuit; it will be a waste of time and their money.
The best line of defense all along was not sign Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority’s easement agreement, which gave FKAA legal right to enter private property and install grinder pumps. Property owners who signed that easement agreement consented to have a grinder pump and waived their right to protest and ask for their property to be served by a gravity sewer system, or by any other kind of sewer system than a grinder pump. I cannot imagine FKAA will not argue that in defense to any lawsuit filed against it by plaintiffs who signed the FKAA easement agreement.
For people living on Big Pine Key, where little to no work has yet been done by FKAA and its contractors, your best line of defense is not sign FKAA’s easement agreement. Get together and hire your own lawyer to defend the lot of you as a class. That lawyer cannot, I don’t think, be the same lawyer now representing Dump the Pumps, Inc. who is Lee Rohe, a friend of mine. I think Lee might have a conflict of interest representing Big Pine Key property owners as well as property owners below Big Pine Key.
The second best line of defense for Big Pine Key property owners, which I do not advise using, is for them, in addition to what I advised above, have their lawyer bring an injunction lawsuit against FKAA, its contractors, the Florida Department of Environment Protection and Monroe County, alleging much the same legal grounds that should have been alleged way back when in a lawsuit brought by property owners. Because no sewer work has been done yet on Big Pine Key, and assuming the Big Pine Key plaintiffs in that class have not signed the FKAA easement agreement, no indemnity bond likely will be required by a county judge as part of a preliminary injunction being granted pending a determination on the merits by the judge.
It is time for you folks on Big Pine Key to separate from Banks and Dump the Pumps, Inc. and chart your own course. Banks and Dump the Pumps, Inc. also have a conflict of interest for the same reasons Lee Rohe has.
Sorry about that, Banks and Lee, but I gotta call them as I see them.
Please share this email with the 350 or more on your email contacts list.
Sloan Bashinsky, former practicing attorney in Alabama
Political advertisement paid for and approved by Sloan Bashinsky, for Mayor of Key West