2014 Key West mayor race, not entirely politics as usual


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Saw this yesterday on www.bigpinekey.com‘s popular Coconut Telegraph praise and moan blog:

[“KW Mayor”] I’d rather give Sloan a chance and vote for him, than continue keeping these corrupted, sellouts presently in office, who are not doing anything for the people who elected them, but are doing plenty to fill their pockets while in office. Why don’t we give Sloan a chance? What worse can he do that hasn’t already been done by the present politicos?

My thoughts:

I am not aware of Mayor Craig Cates

Mayor Cates

or the city commissioners filling their pockets while in office. Perhaps the angels who run me have a different view, which they have not shared with me. If they share a different view, I will publish it.

As Craig has learned while in office, he only has one out of the seven votes on the City Commission, and he has no more decision-making power, therefore, on the City Commission than does any single city commissioner. What Craigs does have is he runs City Commission meetings, and, as Mayor, he is the city’s most prominent citizen/official. He is the city’s ambassador to the public. He is the person all citizens can go to with their concerns. He is the person business people seek out first, I imagine. But he cannot hire or fire anyone. He cannot tell any city employee what to do or not do. He can make suggestions, but he has no enforcement power. The City Commission has the enforcement power.

Craig says he is a mechanic, rooted in his love for boats and cars and having owned a NAPA distributorship for many years in Key West. From all I have heard, he is from a respected Conch (native to Key West) family. He married his high school Conch sweetheart and they are still in love.  They birthed and raised three Conch children, who attended Key West schools through high school. Craig works hard as Mayor; it is a full-time job for him. He loves Key West. I imagine he frustrated over how some things go in the city government. I imagine he wishes he could make and enforce city government policy.

If the new city hall in a restored Glynn Archer school comes in near budget, that will be a feather in Craig’s cap.

Where I feel he fell short:

He should have been up in arms over the death of Charles Eimers shortly after he was suspected by KWDP officers of being homeless.

He should have listened to Father Stephen Braddock, who heads up Florida Keys Outreach Coalition (offering turn around opportunity to homeless, addicts, down and outs), and me, who once lived on the streets in Key West, and in shelters here, regarding the city’s issues with homeless people.

He should have pushed hard for affordable rental housing a waitress can afford on her wages.

He should have been up in arms over the taking of 2/3rds of the 6.6 acres of Truman Waterfront, which Bahama Village was supposed to receive.

He should have pushed hard for Truman Waterfront to be a profit-maker for the city.

He should have pushed hard for Lower Duval Street to be a pedestrian, arts and crafts, musicians and street performers mall from mid-afternoon through the evening.

He should have attended Tree Commission meetings, and the few appeals therefrom to city magistrates, and seen and heard firsthand how his appointed tree commissioners and Assistant City Attorney Ronald Ramsingh treated Key West property owners, which resulted in the Tree Commission being called Taliban by the Key West Citizen Editorial Board, and Tree Nazis by private property owners. Then, he should have have asked the City Commission to remove those tree commissioners, and he should have lobbied the City Commission to tell City Attorney Shawn Smith to fire Ramsingh.

He should have attended HARC (Historical Architectural Review Commission) meetings and seen and heard first hand how difficult and expensive it is for city property owners to repair, fix up, improve, modify their property in ways HARC likes. Then, he should have lobbied the City Commission to revamp HARC.

He should have pushed hard to rid Key West of the dirtiest, worst possible cruise ships, which have called on Key West from the very first cruise ship to dock here.

He should have pushed hard to turn all of Key West into a solar city.

He should have pushed hard for city-wide collection of rainwater at least for irrigation and washing vehicles.

He should have pushed hard for recycling treated city waste water for irrigation and washing vehicles.

He should have pushed hard for composting city plant wastes.

He should have pushed hard for community gardens.

He should have pushed hard for mandatory recycling by property owners.

He should have pushed hard for cleaning up chemicals being discharged from the mainland into Florida Bay, which chemicals make there way down into the Keys and Key West and kill our ocean and reef.

He should have put out a world-wide alert that the water around Key West is polluted and it is not advised that anyone swallow any of it, nor is it advised that anyone with a scratch or nick on the skin go in the water due to risk of contracting MRSA, which is fatal if not treated, and which is very difficult for modern medicine to treat because it resists all antibiotics.

All of that I will push hard for if I’m elected Mayor of Key West.

I will not push hard for the city to have a nude beach – I did that in 2009.

Craig is a mechanic; I am a visionary, a mystic, a poet, an artist, a novelist, a journalist, a former practicing lawyer, with a Masters in Tax Law on top of the regular J.D. law degree, and a former business executive.

Craig does not talk about God and angels; I talk a lot about them and of how angels direct and correct me ongoing, and show me what I need to see about myself and what I engage in life, love, work, social engagements and politics, when I need to see it.

Craig does his very best; so do I, but we go about it very differently.

Craig will not likely attract national media attention; I most likely will attract it frequently.

In 2009, Craig said he was only going to run one time for Mayor; this year is his fourth time to run, for his fourth term. Looks to me he is identified with being mayor, it is part of him. If elected this year, I will not run for reelection.

On City Commissioner Tony Yaniz:

Tony Yaniz 2

When asked point blank by a member of the audience at Hometown! PAC’s recent Call to Candidates, if he was running for Mayor this year, Tony hmmmed and hawed, and finally said he will run for Mayor this year, if that’s what his constituents want him to do.

One day last week, I told Tony in my thoughts, “You  often say you do what your constituents want you to do, but that’s not why you were elected. You were elected to make the tough calls regardless of what your constituents want you to do.”

Margaret Romero:

Margaret Romero

I heard from a few people that Margaret Romero and Tony made a deal.

If Margaret filed to run for Mayor last year, then Tony would campaign hard for her against Craig. In return, if Margaret did not win last year, and if Tony filed to run for Mayor this year, then Margaret would campaign hard for Tony.

Starting late last year, Tony started saying he would run for Mayor this year. Then, he hit a wee Key West Rotary Club bump in the road and started saying he would run for Mayor if his constituents wanted him to run.

About two weeks after Hometown’s Call to Candidates, Margaret filed to run for Mayor. Looks to me like she gave Tony a chance to announce and then file, and when he did not, she filed.

Now we have a three-candidate race for Mayor. A mechanic, who is a  Conch, a retired IBM business executive, who is a Conch, and me.

There are a lot of candidates in numerous races this year. I hope Key West candidate forum hosts do not dilute the city Mayor’s race, which easily will be the most interesting and entertaining race. And, the most important race for the city, because it is the only race this year, in which city voters control the outcome 100 percent.

Sloan at HH

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 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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