homeless field research vs. staying in safe houses – Key West, mostly

homeless bust

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I waited for an opening to use this from sometimes vicious van dweller kill ’em softly Kurt Wagner to the Key West city manager, mayor, city commissioners, an assistant city manager, the city attorney, the chief of police, and several local newspapers and blogs.

Kurt Wagner

From: kccwoodworks@msn.com
To: keysmyhome@hotmail.com; kwhatman@hotmail.com
CC: bvitas@keywestcity.com; bwardlow@keywestcity.com; ccates@keywestcity.com; clopez@keywestcity.com; dfernandez@keywestcity.com; dlee@keywestcity.com; jweekley@keywestcity.com; mrossi@keywestcity.com; ssmith@keywestcity.com; tjohnston@keywestcity.com; tyaniz@keywestcity.com; island@bigpinekey.com; editor@thebluepaper.com; guydeboer@konknet.com; keynoter@keynoter.com
Subject: The Citizen
Date: Sun, 25 May 2014 09:32:56 -0500

There was a time when a news organization kept politicians and public employees, feet to the fire. This seems to be the case up to ’90’s when they became a PR firm for their favorite political party, special interest, etc.

After reading ‘The Citizen’ today (Sunday) it’s painfully obvious ‘The Citizen’ is not what a newspaper was meant to be. After five months of piss-poor coverage of the murder of Charles Eimers ‘The Citizen’ only covered what was exposed by the CBS News program. CBS did not tell the whole story, so neither did ‘The Citizen’. ‘The Citizen’ cant claim to be a serious news organization if they refuse to tell the whole story. I realize they have to be a champion of Key West, but they also have a responsibility to report the news. The whole story, not just part of the story.

Then after all the bad publicity for Key West, ‘The Citizen’ wastes time and print space trying to convince people Key West is still paradise. To do this they talked to a bunch of people to bolster Key West’s reputation. Who did they talk to? Former citizens of the USSR! who all are employed or married to a US citizen. Of course they think Key West is a wonderful paradise! Look where they came from. Why didn’t they talk to “average Joe” American citizens who live here, who work here, who are unemployed here, who are homeless here? If they did, the results would be far different.

Nice try Citizen! Not all of us are naive sheeple who drink the kool-aid.

Kurt Wagner
St. Thomas, USVI

While I tend to agree, these recent howlings in the Citizen’s Voice part of the Citizen – www.keysnews.com – didn’t seem aimed at painting Key West beautiful. My thoughts in italics.

“Rest Beach should be renamed Bum Beach.”

Sorry, Higgs Beach was renamed “Bum Beach” some years ago; meaning, the bums and Monroe County, which owns Higgs Beach, can sue you for trade name infringement, if you rename Rest Beach “Bum Beach”.

“I was enjoying a beautiful walk by Higgs Beach when it was disrupted by a loud, obscene argument between two of the tables at Rest Beach. This was at 7:45 p.m. The next morning, at 7:30 a.m., the same groups are at the same two tables. Why is this OK? Until the next time, Valerie.”

It’s OK, Valerie, because this is America, where it still is legal for anyone, including you, to use tables and benches at a public park or beach. However, that may change soon, and maybe homeless people being at Rest Beach when you walk by at 7:30 a.m. might not be important to you any more. Maybe what will be important to you is you are homeless, sitting there among them, darn glad to have a place to sit.

“The best way to get rid of the homeless is to shut down the soup kitchen, the shelter and tell those people who give them free money, food stamp cards, etc., to leave the Keys.”

Hmmm. To do that, you’d have to be King, able to order and, with your soldiers, make anyone do what you want anyone to do. I bet you’d be a lot happier if you left the Keys and went where there are no homeless people. Hmmm. The North Pole? Anartica?

“Thank you, Key West Police, for making it safe for us to work and live in Paradise.”

Tell that to Charles Eimers and his family – click on this Key West the Blue Newspaper link – CBS: “DEATH IN PARADISE” – to see how the Eimers family and lots of other people in Key West and elsewhere feel about what the KWPD did to suspected homeless man Charles Eimers in “paradise”.

“If you want fewer homeless people, then stop complaining about paying the taxes that support services for them. Most of the homeless were once people served by institutions and government programs that were taken away because you didn’t want to pay for them. It’s your choice and your responsibility.”

Actually, most of the homeless used to be like you, I suppose; they had families, jobs, homes or apartments; then something happened, and they were homeless; now many of them get benefits of some kind, usually federal – VA, Social Security disability, Social Security, food stamps, and quite a few get pensions.

“Our mayor has finally spoken about the Charles Eimers ‘murder,’ but it took a CBS report for him to do so. Craig Cates called the report ‘one-sided,’ which I find laughable. …Everything the KWPD has done screams cover-up. How does that make the CBS report ‘one sided’? I think it was pretty accurate.”

Actually, the CBS article left out a good bit, which caused it to be one-sided in favor of the city. Furthermore, CBS didn’t give the blue paper any credit for making CBS’s report possible, or for breaking the case, or for preventing Mayor Cates and the City Commission and the KWPD from getting clean away with it. Nor has the Citizen given the blue paper that credit. Thank you for giving the blue paper that credit.

NajaArnaud Girard

Naja and Arnaud Girard, Publishers/Editors of the blue paper

Naja told me about a week ago that she had heard Chareles Eimers had told the cop who stopped him for changing lanes on North Roosevelt Blvd, that he had come down here to do God’s work. Hold that “the Lord works in mysterious ways” thought.

Naja and Arnaud told me night before last at their home that they had gotten 10,000 page views on the CBS: “DEATH IN PARADISE” article since last Friday, when the blue paper is published each week.

Naja again lamented how they don’t like doing police stories. I said, real journalists do what’s in front of them regardless of whom, or what, they are investigating, even the mayor, even the chief of police, even their friends, even their own mother. The angels gave you, Arnaud and Naja, the Eimers case, by making sure the bystander shot the video which blew to smithereens the KWPD’s version of what happened, and by keeping Eimers’ body from being cremated, so there could be an autopsy.

Likewise, the angels gave you Matthew Murphy’s case to report last Friday – Young Father Tased By Key West Police Officer Remains Hospitalized Three Years Later .

At that point, Arnaud said something breathtakingly metaphysical about Matthew Murphy, who got tased by a KW cop three years ago on Duval Street, and has been in a hospital ever since.

What Arnaud said was, Matthew and his fiance and their young son were staying with one of the fiance’s relatives in Bahama Village, and on two successive days the fiance said she wanted Matthew and her to go to Duval Street, and both times Matthew said he was getting vibes not to go, because if they went, they would be harassed by police. When the fiance said again on the third day that she wanted them to go to Duval Street, Matthew agreed to it, and they went to Duval and he got tased by a cop and still is in a hospital three years later.

I said the fiance will have that on her for the rest of her life, and some day she will have to tell her and Matthew’s son how it came to be that they went to Duval Street against his father’s instincts and wishes, and his father got tased and taken out of his son and fiance’s life.

I did not say, if the angels had given me that story to break, my article would have included what Arnaud told me. I don’t get to pick and choose what I cover, no matter who or what is involved. Not even if it is my own mother who is involved.

(There is a passage in the Gospels where the homeless man Jesus is teaching somewhere and someone comes to him and says his mother and brothers have come, and they want to speak to him. Jesus looks around the crowd in front of him and asks, who are his mother and his brothers? Then he answers the question: they are those who do the will of his Father in heaven. Then he kept on talking to the crowd. He did not get up and go greet his mother and his brothers. That pretty much told the crowd how Jesus felt about his mother and his brothers doing the will of his Father in heaven.)

Naja and Arnaud were really focused on proving the plaintiff’s side of the federal lawsuit local attorney David Paul Horan’s law firm filed for Eimers’ children against Key West and 13 city police officers.

Arnaud kept asking me for instances I knew of Key West police beating up homeless people. I said I personally knew of no such cases, but I knew from many direct personal experiences with Key West police, and from lots of stories I’d heard from local homeless people, that Key West police are rough with homeless people, harass them, threaten them, in an effort to persuade them to leave this area.

I said, the only way they, Arnaud and Naja, or the plaintiffs’ lawyers, will learn how Key West police are with the city’s homeless people is to go into the field and talk with homeless people. I said I had told them, Arnaud and Naja, that six months ago. I said, they will not learn about Key West and police by staying in their safe house thinking and talking about it. They need to go into the field and meet and talk with homeless people, like I still do every two weeks or so.

I said, believing Eimers was homeless, city police went over the edge, lost control. If they had not believed Eimers was homeless, he would not have died on South Beach last Thanksgiving Day.

Arnaud said the police are rough on people who leave the scene, and Eimers did that. I said, leaving the scene had nothing to do with what happened to Eimers. He was profiled by the first cop as being homeless, living in his vehicle. A witness friend of one of the cops on top of Eimers on South Beach gave someone a statement that his cop friend had boasted about elbowing the “bum” in the back of the head. Bum, in Key West, means homeless person. Those cops thought they were dealing with a homeless person. If they had known he was not homeless, they would have treated him differently; that’s all there is to it.

I said when I spoke with David Paul Horan on the telephone recently, he said he’d had a hard time coming around to believing the reason Charles Eimers died was because the police thought he was homeless, but he had come around to believing it. I said, the reason he’d had trouble coming around to seeing it that way was because he had spent so much time searching for sunken treasure (he’d done very well at it). but he had not spent any time in the sewers, where I had spend a great deal of time, and now he was down in the sewers, below the sunken treasure, and he was seeing what I and every homeless person in Key West see, and know.

Naja said, maybe the friend of that cop won’t stick to that story. I said, maybe not, and that really will hurt the plaintiffs’ federal lawsuit against the city and 13 police officers.

Even so, I said, it is not for them, Arnaud and Naja, to prosecute the plaintiffs’ lawsuit; that is the plaintiff lawyers’ job. It’s for them, Arnaud and Naja, to dig and find and report facts; that’s all a journalist is supposed to do, and facts are what win lawsuits. Meanwhile, until a cause of death is established by the Medical Examiner, there is no way to access the plaintiffs’ case.

Why, Arnaud and Naja asked?

I said, if the Medical Examiner rules it was death by heart failure, that will result in a judgment for the defendants; but if the Medical Examiner rules it was death by asphyxiation, that will encourage the jury to return a verdict for the plaintiffs.

Why, Arnaud asked?

Because, Eimers had a history of heart trouble, and if his heart gave out while he was being handcuffed, that will be hard for a jury to blame on the police; but if Eimers smothered to death under the police, that will be be easy for a jury to blame on the police, since the police were holding Eimers face down on the sand.

I told of when I had filed a lawsuit in federal court in Birmingham, Alabama, where I had practiced law. A man’s home had caught on fire and he had made a break for it and had collapsed and died on the front porch. The Medical Examiner determined the man had died of a heart attack. He had an accidental death policy, $20,000, I think was the amount. My theory for recovery was the fire, which was accidental, and induced the heart attack. The defense lawyers argued the death was from natural causes, a heart attack. The day of the trial came. The jury was in the box. The judge told the lawyers to meet him in his chambers.

The judge, whom I knew very well, having been a law clerk for one of the other federal judges in that federal court district, told me he was  going to give the defendants a directed verdict, if all I had was what I was arguing. He advised me to take the defendant insurance company’s $5,000 settlement offer, which the defendant had made at the very beginning and had kept making and was still making. I knew the judge was not bluffing, and I knew there wasn’t enough money involved to appeal, and I knew I would lose the appeal, so I accepted the settlement offer, even though I was convinced the fire had induced the heart attack, and the death indeed was accidental.

Arnaud said, ah. Arnaud is French, he graduated from a law school in France. I don’t think he practiced law there, but I do know he and Naja have brought a few lawsuits in the States, some in federal court, regarding how much they would be paid for saving ships – Arnaud is a salvor. And, I think, they have been involved in other lawsuits, as citizen activists. So, they are no strangers to litigation and the hazards thereof. They know going to law school is not the same as trying lawsuits. Trying lawsuits is field research. Going to law school is studying lawsuits in a safe house.

Naja said, it might be as much as two years before the public sees the Medical Examiner’s final autopsy, because State Attorney Cathy Vogel has that long to do her own investigation separate from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the KWPD’s Internal Affairs investigations.

I said, the federal judge will tell the Medical Examiner to give the autopsy to the judge and the plaintiff lawyers, regardless of Cathy Vogel, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the KWPD.

Arnaud said, by the time Eimers’ body got to the Medical Examiner, about 10 days had passed; tissue samples previously taken by the hospital had been lost; there is no way for the Medical Examiner to say for sure what caused Eimers’ death.

I said, then there is no plaintiff case, because a jury will not, in my opinion, return a verdict against the police, when the jury does not know, for sure, why Eimers died.

What about a verdict against the city, Naja asked?

Same outcome, in my opinion, I said.

Then I said, the money is not what’s important in this case. Charles Eimers is dead. Money won’t bring him back. Money won’t make his children feel better about their father being dead.

I said, I don’t have to worry about civil damage suits or criminal prosecutions bringing justice in Caesar’s courts. I get to try cases in two other forums: the court of public opinion and God’s Court. What’s important in this case is the city and its police get clobbered in those two courtrooms, and is happening. In those two courtrooms, the city and its officials and its police will not get away with it, regardless of what happens in the plaintiffs’ federal lawsuit.

Didn’t seem to me that I was anywhere near on the same page with Arnaud and Naja. But then, I seldom feel on the same page with anyone else.


After publishing yesterday’s from way far out  Y-Women: future-past – humanity’s salvation? post at www.goodmorningkeywest.com, I pedaled my bicycle to Harpoon Harry’s for breakfast and, hopefully, some rest and relaxation, which I gratefully would get.

Bayview Park

En route to Harpoon Harry’s, I made my usual cut through Bayview Park, where I always see homeless people. I saw a fellow I’d seen there a few times recently, and another fellow with him, whom I did not recall. I stopped and talked with them. Interesting stories.

H said, yes, J agreed, local cops lean on homeless people, harass them, irritate them. But they, H and J, just yield to it by being polite, not talking back like some homeless people do. Cops don’t usually bother them in Bayview Park, because they stay away from children when they are in the park.

H said he had been in Key West quite a while. He used to work, be like other people; then he got cancer, had an operation; then he retired. He has a small retirement. He stays nights at KOTS, it’s safe; no way on his retirement he can pay rent down here.

H said he once was in the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition (FKOC) program, but he’d had trouble with the fellow who runs it for Father Steve Braddock. Tom somebody. I said I didn’t recall Tom by name, but I knew Steve and Charles Davis; and when I was in FKOC’s program, I’d learned some of the staff were good people, I liked them, and some of them were problems, lorded it over clients, acted like they were the King, and should not have been working there. H said I had said what he had experienced there.

H told me about J being run over by a truck, which J confirmed, and J being knocked out cold, and then being in a coma in a mainland hospital for about six months; J said it might have been an induced coma. J lifted his shirt, showed me surgery scars on his side and back. He said, someone helped him get his Social Security and a disability; that’s what he lives on; he sleeps at KOTS, cannot afford Key West rents. Before being run over, he had a job, was working, living like other people.

I asked H, about what percentage of homeless people down here are like you two? And about what percentage are not? H said most homeless people down here are not like them. They live to drink or take whatever they use. I said, about 90 percent are like that. Yes, H said; he and J are just trying to enjoy their retirement on what little they have coming in.

Field research.

The only way to get to know a little about homeless people and what it’s like for them here in Key West. However, the only way to get to know a lot about homeless people, and how to talk with them on their turf, is to be, or have been, one of them. That’s what sets me apart from my dear friend Steve Braddock, who has not been homeless. However, my dear friend Charles Davis was homeless in Key West, FKOC was how he got turned around.

After Key West opened KOTS in 2004, against my, Charles and other people’s field-research-based advice, after KOTS pronto then turned into a den of drugs, sex, thieves, sex, as we, based on our field-research, had told the city would happen, the city went begging to Steve, for FKOC to take over KOTS. By then, Charles had moved to Nevada. Steve told the city that it depended on Charles. Charles told Steve that he would come back and fix KOTS and run it for FKOC, if he got to call all of the shots. Steve passed that on to the city. The city agreed to it. The Sheriff agreed.

Charles came back and got KOTS straightend out and ran it until he got tired of it and went back to Nevada. Then someone else, Nancy Banks, I think, ran KOTS for FKOC, until Steve gave KOTS back to the city because the city got sued for building KOTS without permits, and FKOC got sued, too, which grant providers did not like to see on FKOC’s resume.

Mayor Cates called me, all upset about Steve giving KOTS back to the city; he was really angry with Steve. I asked Mayor Cates if he had called Steve and told him the city would hold FKOC harmless in the lawsuit? No. I said that was the first thing the city should have done after it got served the lawsuit papers and saw FKOC had gotten sued, too.

The City got someone else to run KOTS, and by and by they got rid of Nancy Banks, who had been trained by Charles Davis, as I recall. Eventually, Charles returned to Key West and again is working for FKOC, but not to do with KOTS.

Field research.


I stayed at KOTS a few nights in early 2005. I didn’t care for it, nor for the FKOC monitor, who kicked me out for telling him the monitors the night before had talked loudly throughout the n ight, making it hard for me, at least, to sleep.

Instead of leaving KOTS, I pulled out my cell phone, which seemed to surprise the self-appointed King, and I speed-dialed Charles Davis’ cell phone number, which seemed to surprise the King even more. I told Charles what had happened, and I gave my cell phone to the King. It took Charles about five minutes to talk the King down off this throne and convince him I was not going to be kicked out of KOTS by him.

It would not have surprised me to see the King lying drunk in a gutter two weeks later. At that time I was seeing a star graduate of FKOC, who had become a supervisor there before moving back into mainstream living, wandering around Key West drunk and talking to himself, or to somebody. There is no telling when a dry addict will relapse. Old- timers in AA and NA told me 95 percent of people attending AA and NA meetings relapse eventually, if not sooner.

Field research.

I told H yesterday in Bayview Park, that although I wasn’t an addict, I’d attended lots of AA and NA meetings when I was in FKOC’s program, because FLOC required its clients to attend those meetings. I said I didn’t see anyone in those meetings doing the Twelve Steps, which my Higher Power was making me do , and it was awful. H said they were doing the 13th Step: attending meetings, instead of doing the Twelve Steps. Right, I said.

Field research.

But for the city police, I’d rather sleep outside, than stay at KOTS. Many local homeless people have told me the same thing. Many other homeless people have told me they never will stay at KOTS, or in any new homeless shelter the city builds.

Field research.

After breakfast at Harpoon Harry’s yesterday, I biked back to where I stay and listened to Naja Girard and Bill Becker’s interview last Thursday on www.us1radio.com, at the 7:50 a.m. mark; you can go there and listen to it through today, They discuss CBS’s “Death in Paradise” story on Charles Eimers, and Mayor Cates’ “by the book” reaction.

After listening to Naja and Bill’s interview, I sent this email to Naja and Arnaud:

Naja and Arnaud –

I just now listened to Naja and Bill Becker’s interview. Well done. Maybe Mayor Cates should study up some more on what “by the book” means. If I get a chance at a candidate forum, I might ask him to tell the audience how the KWPD went by the book in the Eimers case?

I pedaled my bicycle away from your home last night, grousing to the angels, “Great, because of how long it was before the Medical Examiner received Eimers’ body, there isn’t likely to be a definitive cause of death reported in the autopsy, so there won’t be any justice rendered in the courts of this world, leaving, as I told Naja and Arnaud tonight, the court of public opinion and God’s Court.”

Coming out of a dream later last night, which seemed to be about the Eimers case, I recalled something I think I had postulated when you two first broke the Eimers case, which was it seemed the legal doctrine of res ipsa loquiter (the thing speaks for itself) might apply in a civil lawsuit or a criminal prosecution.

Eimers was alive when he lay down on the beach, as shown in the video; several police officers with guns drawn approached him; several police officers laid hands him, and squatted on him, put knees on his back. He stopped breathing. Res ispa, the cops caused him to stop breathing.

What caused me to think of res ipsa in the Eimers case was a case a California lawyer friend once told me he was handling.

His client had carried her young child to a hospital for some kind of test. While in the hospital, the child died. Nobody knew why. My lawyer friend filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the hospital. The defense moved to dismiss, arguing there was no evidence the hospital killed the child. The judge asked my friend what he had to say about that? He said the child was alive and okay when taken to the hospital. While in the hospital the child died. Res ipsa, the hospital killed the child. The judge denied the motion to dismiss. I don’t know how the case finally came out, but I imagine there was a settlement.

Although you two didn’t want to get into police cases, the angels arranged for you to get the Eimers case, and then the Murphy case. My experience with those angels is they could care less about how humans feel about what is brought to them by said angels.

Perhaps the Eimers and Murphy cases are all the police cases the angels want you two to have do deal with. Perhaps not. Certainly, you are the right people to deal with police cases, because you have the blue paper, which has a history of dealing with police cases, and a following of people who followed the blue paper before you took it over.

If I had taken over the blue paper, I would have been really surprised if I did not get loaded up with really important police cases. So, I am not surprised that you ended up with the Eimers and the Murphy cases. And, I won’t be surprised if you end up with other important police cases.

I don’t have a P.O. Box for filing complaints with the angels. Screaming seems to get about the same results as any other kind of protest – silence, laughter, hee haws. You have my condolences 🙂


Later yesterday, I was back on my bicycle, passing by Bayview Park again. I saw a homeless woman I didn’t know, maybe in her mid-40s, she had a pull cart loaded with her possessions. She was sitting on a towel. I pedaled over and asked her how the city police are treating her?

She told of one local cop who wants to get it on with her – she’s attractive. She said he keeps coming around, getting close to her, contacting her body with his body, making suggestive remarks. She keeps laughing it off, saying she has a boyfriend.

She said she only uses a towel now to sit or lie on, because once she was lying on a towel over a tarp at Rest Beach, with her small daypack under her head for a pillow, in daylight, and a cop came by and told her she was camping and could not do that. I said, but the cops will let you sit on that towel? Yes. And lie on it? Yes. And sleep on it during daylight? Yes, that’s not camping.

I asked if the cops otherwise bothered her? Not much, she tried to say out of their way, but she hears stories.

I said I’d slept in about every place imaginable in Key West, including doorways in Old Town. She said she’d never slept in a doorway. I said the cops stopped that right after 9/11. They went haywire toward homeless people after 9/11. She said George W. Bush ordered 9/11; he and Osama bin Laden and his family were in cahoots.

I asked if she used KOTS? Sometimes, but usually she stays outside, with her boyfriend, where other homeless people staye at night.

I asked if she’d ever been in the FKOC or Samuel’s House (just for women) programs? No way. They’d make her pay rent and get a paying job, and then she’d lose her benefits.

What benefits?

Federal disability and state benefits.

She said she was from Washington State, and had been in the “underground” at one time, but was no longer doing that. She had contracted cancer and had been through chemo, which was awful and she’d never do it again, and now she has heart and lung problems, and has to keep going back to the hospital on Stock Island to get her prescriptions renewed.

She said she got to the Keys about six years ago, most recently she and her boyfriend had rented a house on Sugarloaf Key, they used the Key West city bus that goes to Marathon and back to get around, but the rent was too high, so they gave up the house and now are back living in Key West. She said her boyfriend works, she was waiting for him to get off and meet her at Bayview, so he could help her get to a bus stop and to the hospital.

Her boyfriend showed up on his bicycle, with his belongings on it. I offered to go get my car and take her and her stuff to the hospital – I would take her boyfriend, too, but I couldn’t get his bicycle and stuff into my SUV, and all her stuff, too. I said I was offering because I wanted to hear more about her take on 9/11. They talked it over, and she said okay, so I pedaled my bicycle to where I stay nearby and got my car and drove back to Bayview.

She said she and her boyfriend had decided they wanted me to take her to KOTS, and he would catch up with her there and she would go to the hospital this morning. The boyfriend helped me get her cart into the back of the SUV, and she got in the front seat and asked if she could smoke? No, but put on the seat belt, I said. She always used seatbelts, she said. I said my mother cured me from ever wanting to smoke by smoking all the time; I got to where I hated cigarette smoke; never wanted to smoke cigarettes. Bad for the heart and lungs, I said.

En  route, she was scattered, talked about heaps of stuff, including a video tape she said she’d seen of President Bush talking with one of the 9/11 pilots, who was an American, and Bush gave the order to attack. The video was made on the aircraft. I asked how the video had survived the airplane crash and explosion? She said she didn’t know, but it had survived.

She was funny, and fun to be with for a while.

We reached KOTS and she helped me unload her cart.

I saw amiga Paula inside the fence and hailed her and she came out through the gate and we hugged. I said, “My favorite homeless queen.” More accurate, my favorite white aborigine queen.

I met Paula maybe late 2000, in the Mary Star of the Sea soup kitchen line when it was still at the church on Truman Avenue. Sometimes Paula lived inside, sometimes outside. I knew she stayed some at KOTS. She said she was still volunteering every day at the soup kitchen, I should come by and have dinner with them. I said I would, and will do that this afternoon. They serve at 4 p.m. daily, and I will get there early and see what I can pick up talking to whomever wants to talk.

Field research.

Paula said that was a great thing I did with the popular short race over Cow Key Channel Bridge. I said I did not do the race, because they were headed from the finish line across US 1 to the Hurricane Hole Bar and I can’t drink.

I didn’t put on that race, Paula asked? Oh, I’d misunderstood her. No, I said, that was David Sloan, who had started Ghost Tours back when, who put on that race. Paula said they all had thought it was me, that’s what she had told everyone.

I said, no, David’s last name is Sloan, my first name is Sloan. I’m the Sloan running for mayor. Tell the homeless people to vote for me. I’m the only person who ever ran for mayor who was homeless and knows something about it.

Field research.

Also yesterday, this came in from a sometimes vicious van dweller criminal amigo currently living in a place with several other people; sometimes he lives on the mainland. He still has horrible nightmares from Vitnam combat, is a retired firefighter and businessman, and, over the years, has told and sent me plenty of ugly stories about KW cops, including one who got in his van one night, with a pistol aimed at his head, just because he lived in his van. The Gestapo cop was lucky he was allowed to leave in one piece, alive.

He wrote:

COPS ARE CIVILIANS THEY ARE NOT IN THE MILitary,,,,,,,,,,,,SLOAN,please try to remember that the the key west police is not a military organization as you refer to the general population as CIVILIANS the police are CIVILIANS also there pay checks come from the town of key west not from any other place and there checks do not say US treasury Dept. Like my check used to say just because they have a federal I D number and use military tactics does not mean they are in the military,they Are NOT IN THE MILITARY they are city or town workers and have a town employee time card number which I didn,t have because I was not a civilian I was in the military and cops do not go on leave they go on VACATION like every city worker goes on vacation I was Issued leave time because I was in the military military personnel go on leave not town cops every cop in America can use the military facilities near there towns but again civilian employees also use the commissary and exchanges that doesen,t put them in a military status some civilians are extended these privileges as a courtesy (perk) that’s all it is it’s all in there heads that they are in the military some cops are veterans of the military but that what that means they are no longer military as I am no longer in the military I am now a veteran of the military.TRY TO REMEMBER THAT THEY ARE CIVILIANS WHO ARE BRAINWASHED INTO THINKING THEY ARE SPECIAL PEOPLE,,,,NO,,,,,,NO,,,,,,,NO,,,,,,EVERYBODYS SHIT STINKS.


Also yesterday, this came in from one of the Angela Street huntresses.

James Howard Kunstler


History is moving the furniture around in the house of mankind just about everywhere but the USA. Things have changed, except here, where people come and go through the rooms of state, and everything looks shabbier by the day, and lethargy eats away at the upholstery like an acid fog, and the walls reverberate with meaningless oratory. The USA is going nowhere because it doesn’t like the new place where history wants to take it.

That is, first of all, a place of far less influence on everybody else, in a new era of desperate struggle to remain modern. That fading modern world is the house that America built, the great post World War Two McMansion stuffed with dubious luxuries in a Las Vegas of the collective mind. History’s bank has foreclosed on it and all the nations and people of the world have been told to make new arrangements for daily life. The USA wants everybody to stay put and act as if nothing has changed.

Therefore, change will be forced on the USA. It will take the form of things breaking and not getting fixed. Unfortunately, America furnished its part of the house with stapled-together crap designed to look better than it really was. We like to keep the blinds drawn now so as not to see it all coming apart. Barack Obama comes and goes like a pliable butler, doing little more than carrying trays of policy that will be consumed like stale tea cakes — while the wallpaper curls, and the boilers fail down in the basement, and veneers delaminate, and little animals scuttle ominously around in the attic.

Everybody I know is distressed by this toxic languor, this sense of being stuck waiting in a place they want desperately to move on from — like the prison of elder-care where so many find themselves hostage to the futility of staving off a certain ending, while all the family resources drain into various bureaucratic black holes. Do we care that the generations to come will have nothing left, nothing at all?

This Memorial Day the usual pieties are noticeably muted. Few politicians dare to utter sanctimonies about our brave soldiers maimed on far-flung battlefields, when so many of them are stuck waiting alone in dark rooms with only their wounds and phantom limbs for company. If regular civilian medicine is a cruel, hopeless, quasi-criminal racket, imagine what medicine for army veterans must be like — all that plus an overlay of profound government ineptitude and institutionalized ass-covering

Even the idle chatter about American Dreaming has faded out lately, because too much has happened to families and individuals to demonstrate that people need more than dreams and wishes to make things happen. It’s kind of a relief to not have to listen to those inane exhortations anymore, especially the idiotic shrieking that “We’re number one!”

Others have got our number now. They are going their own way whether we like it or not. The Russians and the Chinese. The voters in Europe. The moiling masses of Arabia and its outlands. The generals in Thailand. Too bad the people of Main Street USA don’t want to do anything but sit on their hands waiting for the rafters to tumble down. My guess is that nothing will bestir us until we wake up one morning surrounded by rubble and dust. By then, America will be a salvage operation.

There’s a long and comprehensive To-Do list that has been waiting for us since at least 2008, when the nation received one forceful blow upside its thick head. We refuse to pay attention. First item on the list: restructure the banks. Other items: reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act; disassemble the ridiculous “security” edifice under the NSA; upgrade the US electric grid; close down most of our military bases overseas (and some of our bases in the USA); draw up a constitutional amendment re-defining the alleged “personhood” of corporations; fix the passenger railroad system to prepare for the end of Happy Motoring; rebuild Main Street commerce to prepare for the death of WalMart and things like it; outlaw GMO foods and promote local food production; shut down casino gambling.

That’s just my list. What’s yours? And when will you step out of this rotting house into the sunshine?

I wrote back:

What a joyful outlook, alas, perhaps all too true. Makes me worry less about global warming, than about Train USA jumping the tracks over a grand canyon while I’m still riding it. Meanwhile, did you hear back from Jimmy Weekley about putting Peary Court on the next city commission agenda for discussion?

She replied:

Jimmy just got back from 10 day vacation. He was unable to arrange it before he left and I am giving him today to catch his break and writing him again to inquire.

I thought:

So many opportunities for field research, so little time. What’s a poor tired old stranded ET like me to do? Charge!!!


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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