the dumbshine state – Key West

head up ass
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The other day, the part-time vicious van-dweller criminal Kurt Wagner sent me his mug shot.
Kurt Wagner
I wrote back, “What? No fangs, claws, horns? Distressing!”
Yesterday, Kurt sounded off about Key West the Newspaper’s – – new Charles Eimers article. Many of the recipients of Charles’ email work for the Key West Police Department.
Subject: Eimers
Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 07:42:00 -0500
WOW!!!!!   After reading this week’s edition of The Blue Paper, all I can say is WOW!!!!!   Maybe it’s time for Donnie Lee and the Twelve (or 13) officers the [to] plan a last supper.  They could hold it at Salute where the homeless could watch them eat!
Thank you Blue Paper for keeping this on the front burner.
Kurt Wagner
I replied to Kurt, copied to ALL:

Aw, Kurt, I had hoped you would stop fawning over and treading lightly on them, but you seem determined to keep giving them ways out – last supper.

[Yesterday was Good Friday. The day the homeless man Jesus in the Gospels was crucified. I don’t imagine he felt good about it.]

P.S. Recipients of Kurt’s love letters may or may not be interested in seeing recent posts, in which Judge Wayne Miller and Key West the Newspaper founder Dennis Reeves Cooper get belated sunshine exposure over the arrest warrant Judge Miller signed to have Cooper arrested for reporting on an Internal Affairs investigation Cooper had initiated with a complaint against KWPD Officer Al Flowers for his treatment of Hatman. Then Police Chief Gordon “Buz” Dillon got raked over the coals in Key West the Newspaper and other local rags, and the national news media for that arrest, and later Chief Dillon was fired over that arrest, but Judge Miller did not get raked over the coals or fired. Why?

After putting up yesterday’s Key West crown jewels hidden in plain view, including the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but there are far worse things than being homeless post at, I rode my bicycle to Harpoon Harry’s, to have breakfast. As if pre-arranged by some mysterious force, there waiting to greet me were Naja and Arnaud Girard, who publish Key West the Newspaper.
NajaArnaud Girard
So just naturally I sat down at their table and we began our usual lively spirited conversation about this and that, and that and this. Mostly we talked about the Charles Eimers case, and some we talked about the stuff I published recently about Judge Wayne Miller signing the warrant for the arrest of founder of Key West the Newspaper Dennis Reeves Cooper. I learned I was mistaken in writing yesterday that Naja had cleared my comments from moderation about the arrest warrant in my reply to the new Charles Eimers article. Last night, I dropped by the Girard’s home to give them a copy of the arrest warrant, and that led to even more of our usual lively and spirited conversation. What keeps coming up in your conversations is Naja and Arnaud saying Key West is seriously prejudiced against homeless people. Yesterday, Arnaud said it’s hysteria. I said I would call it mass psychosis. Mayor Craig Cates’ Facebook re-election page says of him:
Mayor Cates 
Keep Key West clean and green – Live within our means – Quality of life – Treat citizens respectfully. Paid by Craig Cates for Mayor.
Last night I finished reading KEY WEST ON THE EDGE: Inventing the Conch RepublicThe chapter on Key West formally adopting ONE HUMAN FAMILY as its official philosophy was about Key West accepting gays and lesbians as part of the city’s one human family. That’s all One Human Family was about, according to KEY WEST ON THE EDGE. The homeless people part of the book was a different story. Homeless people were tolerated at best, despised and treated in ways to get rid of them more generally. I kept wondering if the author would ever drag me into that part of his reporting, but he did not. He made plain, though: homeless people are not part of Key West’s One Human Family.
Charles Eimers learned that in spades last Thanksgiving Day, after he was suspected by the KWPD of being homeless. Here’s the “teaser” for Arnaud and Naja’s newest Eimers story, which came out in yesterday’s regular Friday edition of Key West the newspaper. Below it is the teaser to their Eimers story last week, which they reproduced in yesterday’s issue. Below that is an article in yesterday’s issue about Florida and the Florida Keys’ aversion to solar power, which is the main ticket to going clean and green in the environmental sense. Hold that thought.

Issue #58 – Friday, April 18, 2014                                 [back issues] [cartoons]

Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Issue 58 Mr and Mrs Smith for web

The Eimers Investigation: Shocking Link Between FDLE and KWPD

Charles Eimers Photo provided by Treavor Eimers

When Charles Eimers turned blue and lost consciousness while in the hands of Key West police officers on Thanksgiving morning, KWPD was informed immediately by Lower Keys Medical Center staff that Eimers would never leave the hospital.  Chief Lee decided to treat the case as a ‘death-in-custody situation’, which meant FDLE had to be called in to investigate.

Lee didn’t make the call himself, though; he asked one of his officers, Captain Scott Smith to do it.  Captain Smith did make the call and FDLE’s Chief investigator Kathy Smith took on the case. You might notice they have the same last name and think there’s some connection there, and well, you would be right.  On Thanksgiving morning after Charles Eimers virtually died on the beach, Captain Smith called his wife, his ex-wife, in fact, at FDLE.  Kathy Smith is now investigating the father of her child[ren].

What did he say?  How did KWPD report the circumstances of the arrest of Charles Eimers to FDLE?  This is something FDLE has obstinately refused to reveal, but we can make an educated guess.  They said:  ‘Charles Eimers got out of his car and proceeded to flee from the police while running on the beach away from law enforcement and Eimers collapsed.  Eimers was found without a pulse by police.  He was given CPR.  EMS was called.’ […full article]



Charles Eimers’ children have grown tired of waiting for answers from FDLE.

They asked their lawyers David Paul Horan and Darren Horan to file a suit for wrongful death against the City of Key West and 12 police officers involved in the arrest of Charles Eimers on Thanksgiving morning.  The arrest resulted in a coma and death a week later when Charles Eimers was removed from life support at Lower Keys Medical Center.

The lawsuit, filed this morning in U.S. District Court, alleges that officers Gabriel Humberto Garrido, Gustavo Adolpho Medina, Kathyann Wanciak, Gary Lee Lovette, Mathew Johnson, Francisco Zamora, Thaddeus Calvert, Derek Wallis, Nicholas Galbo, Janeth Calvert, Pablo Rodriguez, and Todd Stevens used excessive force in arresting Charles Eimers.  They have also sued the City of Key West for having a custom or policy that allows police officers to use the prone restraint technique on the beach. […full article]



Solar panels being installed on house in Marathon

A rally last week in Tallahassee was staged to encourage solar energy development in Florida. Fortunately it became political because otherwise the mainstream media might not have covered it. Organizers used the event to accuse Gov. Rick Scott of blocking solar energy initiatives in the state at the behest of the big power companies.

Because Scott’s election-year rival, former Gov. Charlie Crist, attended the rally, the media paid some attention.

What should have made bigger news is how the state has placed its legislative thumb firmly on the development of renewable power. Florida has the third-largest potential for rooftop solar generation in the nation but ranks 18th in solar installations.

KEYS, which delivers power west of the Seven Mile Bridge, illustrates what is typical for the rest of the state. Look at information provided by KEYS spokesperson Lynne Tejeda about the sources of the utilities power.

Energy Sources by Fuel Type

dumbshine chartYou’ll quickly see that renewables provide .8 percent of the current energy sent down the lines to Key West and that number will drop – drop – to .4 percent in 2017. Plunge to an incredibly low number. Of course Florida Power and Light’s renewables will double…from .1 percent to .2 percent.Source: 2014 Ten-Year Site Plans filed with the Florida Public Service Commission

According to Florida Keys Electric Cooperative Member Service Representative TJ Patterson, the co-op negotiated a long-term contract with FPL for roughly 75percent natural gas, 22 percent nuclear and the other three percent is from solar. While gas is still a fossil fuel, it’s much cleaner than coal and oil.

According to The Miami Herald’s story about the solar rally,

“In Tallahassee, it’s pay to play right now – the ones that are controlling the money are controlling the power,’’ said Stephen A. Smith, director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, a solar industry-backed group which advocates for the development of alternatives to fossil fuels. The group funded an Integrity Florida report that found that the state’s four top electric companies have spent $18 million between 2004-2012 on state and legislative campaigns.

In the last year, the utility companies have given the governor’s campaign $2.5 million this election cycle,” Smith said. “They get what they want.”

And what they want is to keep solar generation of power – either by them or by individuals – at an incredibly low number.

Here are some compelling statistics.

  • Regionally, Florida installed less solar power over the past three years than Georgia installed in 2013 alone. Georgia.
  • Florida has less than a quarter the amount of photovoltaic panels (PV) installed compared to North Carolina, despite having much more sun and nearly twice the population size.
  • The U.S. (nationally) installed over 40 percent more solar PV in 2013 compared to 2012, yet Florida’s installation rate has remained flat (even decreasing) since 2009.
  • Florida installed less solar in 2013 than 2010, despite the average price of PV systems declining by more than 50% over the same time period.
  • Florida’s solar electric market provides less than 0.2% of Florida’s annual net generation.

All of this is no accident. It’s what the utilities want. Controlling 99.8 percent of power generation is not enough for them.

Grey, northern Germany does far better. The country’s PV installations feed 22 gigawatts of electricity into the grid, providing nearly half of the country’s energy needs. The country has reshaped its policy away from nuclear power and toward renewable sources like solar, wind and biomass.

Germany’s solar days are measured in hours, not days. In a recent year, Berlin received 1625 hours of sun or partial sun. That works out to 67 days and change. During a recent year in the Keys, Key West got 259 days of sun or partial sun. All of South Florida has similar numbers.

Does any of this matter? It matters only to anyone who still thinks the freight train of global warming can even be slowed. The consequences of that warming will have a particularly harsh effect on low-lying Florida with its hundreds of miles of seacoast. Even the Department of Economic Opportunity has begun to develop plans for what it’s calling Adaptation Action Areas. These involve pilot projects for adapting to sea-level rise. Monroe County and other low lying areas will need to raise roads, build levees, raise buildings, improve wastewater systems, and a lot more. Right now there is neither the will nor the money to do either.

According to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, to prevent a catastrophic increase of four degrees Centigrade, “the share of zero and low carbon energy sources like solar, wind, nuclear, and unproven technologies like fossil fuel with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) [which no one has done successfully] must at least triple by 2050, and greenhouse gas emissions will have to fall 40- 70 percent, compared to 2010 levels.”

The report continues,

“It’s basically pretty simple. Fossil fuels are high carbon sources of electricity while other generation sources are low carbon. Coal is the most carbon intensive, followed by oil and then natural gas. Solar PV and geothermal are slightly more carbon intensive than other non-fossil sources, but still very low carbon compared to any fossil fuel.”

On a national level, in an even stranger turn of events, other utilities are trying to prevent homeowners from installing solar panels on their roofs. Investor-owned utilities (IOUs), led by their trade group the Edison Electric Institute, last fall launched a state-by-state campaign claiming that net metering creates a threat to their traditional regulated-monopoly business model. Net metering means that people with solar panels can sell excess energy back to the utility at a set rate.

IOUs want to slash net-metering rates, or impose high fixed-rate connection fees or surcharges, or eliminate net metering entirely. Where they’re successful, they will reduce the value of solar to homeowners and sharply cut the profits of third-party solar providers (often called leasing companies) like SolarCity, Sunrun, Sungevity and Verengo.

That’s no problem in Florida because Florida has no renewable portfolio standard; does not allow customer power purchase agreements; and has onerous taxes on leased solar systems. That’s why the big leasing companies don’t offer rooftop solar panel leasing in a state that gets the third most solar energy in the entire country.

It’s also the reason why there are so few solar PV installations in the Keys. There are 34 complete ones in the area served by the Florida Keys Electric Cooperative with two more being installed and two more applications. KEYS has 31 interconnected customers but this includes their own three projects: Solar at Stock Island; Wind at Cudjoe (which isn’t solar) and Solar with NOAA at the Eco Discovery building.

Since there are approximately 30,000 households in the Keys, the percentage of total solar installations is two percent. Not exactly a real threat to any utility.

Solar PV installations are not inexpensive making leasing so attractive. But, crushed under the Florida legislature’s very large thumb, it’s not a viable option here.

Clearly the desire for greater current income by the utilities trumps any desire to head off global warming and the ensuing sea-level rise. On a national level concerns about cost and economic growth are also considered much more important than doing anything significant about the climate. Here that means that economics is more important than the reef, more important than commercial fishing, and much more important than the loss of value of homes when the seas rise. And none of that makes much sense.

Key West The Newspaper [The Blue Paper] encourages spirited, open debate in comments on our stories. We do ask that you refrain from profanity, personal attacks and remarks that are off point. Please join the conversation!



  1. mr welber
    what companies in the keys do solar pv installations? i have found no reliable source yet as i would like to go solar for my home. thanks in advance for your responce.

  2. Key West discourages solar panels, not consistent with historical architecture. Keys Energy Service’s motto, “Growing Greener Every Day” seems to mean making more money every day. Maybe Craig Cates’ Facebook re-election says “Keep Key West clean and green” A way to do that is to require all new construction to have maximum solar panels on the roof. There isn’t any land to install much in the way of solar on the ground. However, a fellow who called himself “Solar Richard”, from Oregon, as I recall, came to Key West and we had several conversations about Key West going solar. Solar Richard sort of reminded me of what I had read about Nikolas Telsa. Solar Richard’s idea was to build a big solar farm in a nearby bay. He said there were solar panels then being made, which were saltwater tolerant. Someone else, I can’t recall who, suggested putting solar panels all over Mt. Trashmore. It’s got so much toxic material buried in it that it can’t be used for much else. From what I’ve see and heard of Keys Energy Services, they indeed have little, if any, interest in their part of the Florida Keys, which lies below Seven Mile Bridge, going solar. John Hammerstrom in Tavernier also is a good person to speak with about solar. He had one of the first solar homes built, perhaps the first one? He told me that his home is designed to receive electricity from the electric company up there when his solar system is not generating electricity, and when his system is generating electricity, that what his home uses, and any extra electricity his home generates goes back to the electric company. He said in a good year, he might sell $100 worth of electricity to the electric company. So, he is not really making money, as some say is possible, having a solar home designed in that way,but he is using a lot of solar-generated electricity and a lot less conventional-generated electricity, and I imagine he is saving a good bit of money in utility bills. I don’t recall what he said was the payback time, when his solar system was paid for by his power bill savings. I think John, too, has a relationship with Solaria in Marathon. I think I recall the owner of Solaria telling me he also has an electric compost toilet, which the County approved, which was another way he went more green and perhaps saved money on his sewer and water bill.

What the author of KEY WEST ON THE EDGE kept coming back to, and coming back to, and coming back to, was development geared toward housing rich people and transient rental units had made affordable housing in Key West difficult, if not impossible, for ordinary working people to afford to buy or to rent. What the author also kept coming back to, and coming back to, and coming back to was Capt. Tony Terracino, clearly the author’s favorite Key West character, who, before and during his one-term as city mayor, and afterward, vigorously opposed development for rich people and transients, and vigorously championed working people.
Anthony "Tony" Tarracino
My definition of affordable housing is, if a waitress can afford it on her wages, then its affordable. Otherwise, calling it affodable is a joke, a lie.
Sloan at HH 2
moi having breakfast at Harpoon Harry’s last fall, photo take by waitress Cathy

Sloan Bashinsky
Political advertisement paid for and approved by Sloan Bashinsky, for Mayor of Key West

About Sloan

Darn, that would take a while. Try the autobiographical pages in the header. Ditto for header menu pages at 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, been at that since July 2007. That's heaps of catch-up reading, probably not recommended.
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