the southernmost nut house continues to amaze, aka Key West, plus, The Doing the Right Thing Medal

ship of fools

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For anyone who has been receiving daily ravings from sloanbashinsky@hotmail.com email address, who is wondering if I dropped off the edge of the world, or was bumped off, or was abducted by aliens, I doubt they are worried that I was taken up in the Rapture, a few days ago Outlook hacked that email account and knocked it out of operation, and, so far, none of Outlook’s electronic robots have come up with a way to fix it it. Today, I will try to figure out a way to call someone at Outlook, which assumes humans work there.

Meanwhile, down here in Key West,

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A little before 5 p.m. yesterday, I met up with a homeless man, whom I helped last fall to get away from an aggressive KW police officer, by finding him a place to stay that night. He loaded two large soft travel bags of his belongings in the back of my Toyota Highlander, and I took him to the Greyhound Bus stop at the Key West airport.

As we passed by Flagler Street, I pointed to the right and said, when I arrived in Key West, homeless, in late 2000, the minister of the Unity Church down that road let me sleep nights in the outbuilding behind her church. One night, some of the congregation found me in there, and got upset. I said their minister had told me I could sleep there. She caught flack about that, but she already was catching flack before I came along. She told me to keep sleeping there, but to come in later at night, after anyone would be there.

Eventually they fired her over stuff having nothing to do with me. I was attending Sunday services there, and I attended the Sunday service following their firing her.

One of the church leaders, I think they call them trustees in Unity Churches, not deacons, got up and said they were in a rough time and were reaching out for help and suggestions from any and all directions, and would welcome any and all input.

Someone else got up and told a story, mythical perhaps, of a town somewhere, which had a person in it whom the townspeople did not like, and finally the townspeople voted to run that person away. But one of the townspeople objected, said the outcast was welcome to stay in his home; and he was doing it simply because he felt it was wrong for the town to run anyone away.

Well, I was waiting for the church congregation, including the trustee who had put out a call for help from any and all quarters, to seize on that screaming loud message from all directions, and rescind the firing of their minister. I waited in vain. I waited in astonishment.

I pulled out my writing journal and wrote a note to the trustee, something like:

“You put out a call for help from any and all directions. That help came almost immediately. You did not get the message. You should keep your minister. Or, you should not have put out the call for help.”

I got out of my seat and walked over and handed the note to the trustee and left the church.

My rider asked if I kept sleeping in the outbuilding at night? I said, no, I didn’t feel right about doing that after the minister was gone. I might have been able to get away with it, but I didn’t do it. I went to sleeping in doorways off of Duval Street. Back then, we were allowed to do that, but that ended right after 911. The police took it out on homeless people, since they couldn’t get at the people who did it.

I said, when Hurricane Wilma came in 2005, it flattened that Unity Church. My rider asked, were any other city churches destroyed? I said, not to my knowledge. But the outbuidling where I had slept was not damaged. It was the only thing left standing of that church. My rider said, really? I said, really.

He was headed for Denver, he’d heard it might be a good place to find work. People were getting really rich there growing marijuana. I said I had lived in Boulder in the late 1980s into 1995. I thought Colorado might be the most progressive state in America. He asked, even more progressive than California? Maybe, I said, might not have as rough a police problem as California.

He asked why I had come to this terrible place (Key West)? I said, I was told in my sleep to come here, in December 2000. I was on Maui, had no money, but in three days’ time, I was in the air, headed to Los Angeles. From there, I was on a Greyhound bus, headed for Key West. I did nothing but accept what was given to me. Really? Really.

The bus driver and I educated the man on how to protect his money from theives on the bus rides he was going to be making, which would take him, of all places, through my home town, Birmingham, and through Nashville, where I attended college at Vanderbilt, en route to St. Louis, then west from there on I-70, which goes to Denver.

I told the man to make sure to get at the front of the line in bus stations where he had to change buses, to make sure he didn’t get bumped if a bus was too full. The bus driver said that didn’t happen any more, since everything had gone computerized. I told the man to get in the front of the line anyway, just in case, and that I’d had great bus drivers, when I wrote Greyhound a lot; like angels, those drivers were.

I hugged him, said vaja con Dios, and I hoped he got a great job with a marijuana billionaire. The bus driver laughed. Somebody had told me a few days before that law enforcement officers in Florida are opposing medical marijuana being legalized in Florida, and I had laughed, said, because they are afraid of losing their jobs if they can’t hunt down and arrest people for marijuana? I spaced out also saying, because they don’t want competition.

I don’t know if the fellow headed for Colorado really grasped the stories I told him about what happened at Unity Church and how I came to Key West in late 2000. I told the angels several times yesterday, it has been my experience that I tell people stories like those and they don’t get the point, and often they don’t even hear what I’m saying to them; it’s like their mind goes off somewhere else.

Maybe the reason I told those stories to the fellow, was after I’d helped him get away from the aggressive police officer last fall, the fellow had asked me what I do? I had said I was a priest, but I didn’t have anything to do with churches. From time to time, he brought that back up, and I’d tell him something else about what kind of priest.

I thought about saying yesterday when I was leaving him, and he was looking like he was going to burst into tears, and he was looking at me like I was someone he had never seen before, that I had told him I was a priest. But I didn’t tell him that. I simply wished him well, and said maybe his going to Denver, near where I had lived for eight years, was a cosmic return of some kind for me. For a fact, what happened when I left Boulder led  to my being homeless a few years later.

Back in 2000, I told the Unity Minister, her name was Angela, that I was a priest. We talked a little while, she told me some stuff, I responded. She was pretty tuned in for a minister. She didn’t have any problem getting the point of how I was brought to Key West. We met a couple of times a week in her church office, I might have been her only friend during that rough time for her.

I felt the church trustees were way out of line. She was getting spirit messages that she was not to go quietly, she was not to resign. When they asked her to resign, she declined, made them fire her, which they were trying hard to avoid. She told me much the same had happened at the Unity Church she had pastored on the mainland, and that church had yet to find a new minister.

It took the Unity Church in Key West a while to find a new minister after Angela left. I attended a couple of services after he came. I got really bad vibes from him. Snake oil vibes. He didn’t stay long. They got a different minister later, I think after Wilma flattened their church, but left standing the outbuilding where I had slept many nights. I seriously doubt any person in that congregation connected the dots back to them firing Angela, who I bet had no trouble connecting the dots, if she heard of what Wilma did to that church.

When I lived in Boulder, I knew lots of people who would have had no trouble connecting those dots.

Well, back to

Key West edge

Snippets from last night’s city commission meeting.

After excellent input from two mainland Firefighter/EMT organizations, and enlightening input from the KW Fire Chief, and a commotion of conversation on the dais about the KW Fire Department taking over the city’s ambulance/EMT service, it was decided that the Fire Chief was to move forward, but cautiously. I felt that was weird: he had told them the private company now providing the service is using EMT-trained Fire Department personnel to man their ambulances. What’s to move slowly about? It’s already happening.

It was not an action item, so citizens were not allowed to speak. So, during closing citizen comments, I said, the Fire Chief told you that his men and women already are handling the city’s ambulance service, I suppose those firefighters are moonlighting? I bet the Fire Chief could get the entire operation up and running in 6 months, or less. But he can’t do that, because the city doesn’t have the money. The mayor and most of the city commissioners nodded, smiled, kinda looked like deer caught in headlights. I said, all the other talk is smoke, it’s just about money. Short version, B.S. More smiles, nods, caught in headlights looks.

I said, well, here’s where some money can be gotten. The city quits paying Historic Tours of America $500,000 a year use its conch trains to haul cruise ship passengers from the outer mole into Lower Duval Street. The city ends that subsidy and gives that $500,000 to the Fire Chief. The Fire Department and EMT services are far more important to Key West than hauling cruise ship passengers in from the outer mole.

I wish I had thought to add, who ought to be paying HTA to haul cruise ship passengers to lower Duval Street is the Duval Street merchants, the Hemingway House and the museums, because they are who are making money off of cruise ship passengers – one such  beneficiary is City Commissioner Mark Rossi, whose several “sin businesses” on lower Duval Street make lots of money off of cruise ship passengers.

I devoted he rest of my closing citizen comments to Key West sustainability – going green, because the first presentation in the meeting had been by someone heading the city’s sustainiblity program. I swan, I just was not sent into green heaven listening to it, and I wondered, given all the smiles and back-patting and congratulating, if I was the only person present who was not taken up in a green rapture?

So, during the remainder of my closing citizen comments, I said they could cover that huge ugly Mt. Trashmore on Stock Island, the next island up US 1, which used to be the city landfill, with solar panels, which would send (sell) energy to Keys Energy Services during the daylight, like what some homeowners in the Keys with solar systems do, and they receive (buy) energy from the electric company when there is no sunlight.

The city could come out of the stone age and let people put solar panels on top of their homes, and on top of their businesses, and they could sell and buy energy from Keys Energy. And, the city could require all new construction and development to do the same.

And, the city could start composting and recycling locally its massive amounts of yard waste, instead of paying for it all to be hauled to the mainland. And, the city could start using its begillion gallons of treated waste water for irrigation, instead of pumping it into the ground, from whence it eventually goes into the sea.

That didn’t seem to be the kind of green flash they had in mind; maybe they were thinking how many greenbacks that would cost the city to implement.

During the mayor and city commissioners’ closing city comments, City Commissioner Tony Yaniz

Tony Yaniz 2

went on a tear about how he thought it was outrageous that someone would come before them and speak out against people of foreign nationalities in this city,  which welcomes people of any and all nationalities (unless they are homeless). The tear lasted maybe 30 seconds.

What triggered that magma eruptus was actually two things.

One, not so obvious: Tony is backing Margaret Romero

Margaret Romero

in the mayor’s race, and I am a mayor candidate.

Two, blatantly obvious, my citizen comments to an earlier item on the agenda.

A younger woman in the audience, whom I knew somewhat, said she was waiting for that item to come up. I asked what it was about? She said it was about the cosmetic shops. I said, the Duval businesses where the really super aggressive sales harassing and scamming is going on? Yes, she said. I said, I had heard from women more than I wanted to hear about those shops, and I was going to sign up to speak to that item, which was a new city ordinance designed to reel in what those business owners were doing.

When my time at the speaker station came, I said women I know in Key West told me about those shops, which are run by foreign nationals. I won’t say which foreign nationals (the women had confirmed which foreign nationals, after I named their country), because some people will accuse me of being politically incorrect, but I’m sure you (the mayor and city commissioners) know which foreign nationals.

The women told me of those shops’ employees being super aggressive out on the sidewalk, hard-selling women passing by, and doing worse inside the shops, and misleading, and lying, and it was horrible. I told the mayor and commissioners to take women friends to lover Duval, and let them go into those shops as secret agents, while they stand across the street and wait for them to come out of those shops and make their reports.

Another young woman spoke behind me, explained far better what was going on outside and inside those shops. She was hilarious, but I didn’t get the impression the mayor and city commissioners thought she was hilarious. When she said those shops’ employees are aggressively panhandling on the sidewalks, I thought, dang, I wished I’d thought to say that, and the city doesn’t let homeless people panhandle on Duval Street, and homeless people do not panhandle anywhere near that offensively.

Instead of going ballistic over my comments, Tony Yaniz should have gone ballistic about  the foreign nationals on Duval Street treating Key West residents and visitors like dog shit.

Margaret Romero didn’t speak to that item, which seemed strange, her being a woman, and her being instilled by her father with integrity and doing the right thing (according to the campaign ad she runs in the Citizen); and given she speaks to lots of items at each city commission meeting, and did so last night, and gave the city and its officials a hard time, as she usually does.

Maybe someone will ask Margaret at a candidate forum where she stands on those cosmetic shops? And where she stands on the city paying HTA $500,000 a year to bring cruise ship passengers in from the outer mole to Mark Rossi’s sin businesses, and to the cosmetic shops and other Duval Street businesses, instead of those businesses paying that freight? Margaret is a former mainland corporate executive. She is always harping on the city wasting money. But I never heard her harp about the city subsidizing HTA for Duval Street businesses, which can pay HTA to bring in cruise ship passengers.

Speaking of another freight, could be spelled fright, on which I have yet to hear of Margaret making a peep, in today’s KONK Life – www.konknet.com:

Charles Eimers

Charlies Eimers, R.I.P.

BIG STORY / WAS CBS FAIR?
SHARE ON: 
KONK LIFE EDITOR KD — SUN, JUN 1 2014
Was CBS Fair?

By Rick Boettger

Rick Boettger

The CBS Morning News aired a 5-minute segment titled “Death in Paradise” about the demise of Charles Eimers last Thanksgiving while being handcuffed by police after driving away from a traffic stop. Mayor Craig Cates went on the record saying the report was “one-sided.” However, the report was, if anything, overly generous towards our fair town, and critical of the late Eimers.

First, they charge Eimers with “reckless driving” when what he made was an illegal lane change in a construction area with unclear lane designations. Next they said he “fled the scene,” when in fact he drove away slowly through the town.

Worst, their only original research not already reported locally [by Key West the Newspaper – www.thebluepaper.com, from which all other local reporting was derived.] stated that he “had previous run-ins with the law, including arrests for domestic abuse and theft back in the ’90s.” That is, 20 years ago, he had arrests, but apparently no convictions, for things that had nothing to do with his actions here. It causes a mistrial in court, and is plainly prejudicial in the CBS report. It would be more appropriate to discuss the 20-year records of the arresting police, because the violence was all on their side in Eimers’ arrest.

Finally, CBS quoted arresting officers claiming Eimers resisted arrest “with violence,” so much so that one “officer’s finger got caught in the handcuffs” during the struggle. The fact is that those police reports were written five days after the accident, but before the cell phone video surfaced showing that Eimers slowly turned, raised his arms to obey police commands, and carefully lowered himself to the ground.

Eimers’ “struggle” was not to resist the police. It was to gain a breath as he was being suffocated under a wave of large bodies crushing him into the sand, as plainly shown in the shocking video.

CBS highlighted our youthful, telegenic police chief Donie Lee three times, allowing him to appear both concerned with the truth, and responsibly following policies making him do nothing about Eimers’ death. The title of the piece, displayed throughout on a line at the bottom, called us “Paradise.” [The title, displayed throughout the CBS report, was “Death in Paradise”.]

With beautiful footage, CBS describes us as “the island paradise for sun and sand . . .best known for its beaches, bars and laid-back lifestyle.” For Eimers, “It was a dream retirement … He wanted to come south to warmer weather and walk on the beach.” Our Tourist Development Council pays highly for such praise.

So those were CBS’ editorial slants, praising Key West and impugning Eimers. What the Mayor and other city representatives complained about was not editorial bias, but the plain undeniable facts, which, unfortunately for us all, are damning:

Initial police reports of Eimers running and collapsing, and later of his struggling to resist arrest, were proven false by the video.

Eimers’ family was not notified for four days that he was on life support.

Instead of being sent, by law, to the Medical Examiner’s office for an autopsy, his body was sent to a local funeral home, narrowly avoiding cremation.

The autopsy [It was a preliminary report, I don’t think there is published autopsy yet] showed that Eimers had 10 fractured ribs and bruises and abrasions on his wrists from handcuffs, and did not die of the heart attack that police had blamed for his death.

The supposedly independent investigating agency that everyone is still waiting for, after six months, to conclude, is led by a woman who used to be married to the supervisor of the officers involved, all of whom are still on active duty. (CBS did not add that she is also the mother of their child.) [Nor, the independent investigating agency, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, has a rule against its investigators investigating people with whom they have, or have had, a close personal relationship.]

The lawyers for Eimers’ children have been denied access to the police dashboard videos, the witnesses at the scene of the death, and the final autopsy report—so they cannot even collect his modest life insurance policy.

CBS avoided completely [AMEN] the most controversial element of the case, that police profiled Eimers as a homeless person, because his car was filled with his belongings. That would lead to discussing our Paradise’s major homeless issue, and how our police have been tasked with “handling” them, which tacitly involves rough treatment.

The only person with a clearly negative opinion, more than reporting objective facts, is Eimers’ son, Treavor. He states that his father was “murdered” and that the police have “lied” to him. That is not CBS’ opinion, it is Trevor’s, and he is entitled to have and express it.

Especially since he is overwhelmingly likely to be proven right. None of us wants to believe it, but sometimes we have to face the truth in order to make amends and stop it from happening again.

On same topic, from kill em softly Kurt Wagner today, addressed to me and other news criers and the city officials:

Kurt Wagner

From: kccwoodworks@msn.com
To: keysmyhome@hotmail.com; island@bigpinekey.com; editor@thebluepaper.com; guydeboer@konknet.com; keynoter@keynoter.com; 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
Subject: Eimers
Date: Wed, 4 Jun 2014 07:42:41 -0500

First we had the Blue Paper reporting on the Eimers murder, we’ve always had Sloan Bashinsky reporting in his blog on the Eimers murder. Now Rick Boettger of Konk Life joining in. Congrats Mr. Boettger. Now if only The Citizen would actually report a few truths and stop with the one sided reporting.

Kurt Wagner
St. Thomas, USVI

I replied to ALL:

I think the Citizen did a pretty good job reporting the case – AFTER the blue paper broke the story. The Citizen’s editorial last Sunday blasted the city and its PD and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

For me, the Citizen’s real “sin”, so far, is not giving the blue paper credit for breaking the story. Without the blue paper, there would have been so story; the city and its PD would have gotten clean away.

The City Commission should give the blue paper and its publishers/editors Arnaud and Naja Girard a special award at a City Commission meeting. Call it the “Doing the Right Thing Medal”. The city’s version of The Congressional Medal of Honor, because Naja and Arnaud put themselves and their children at risk when they broke the Eimers case and continued reporting it.

Naja replied to me:

Thanks Sloan.  Not holding our breath on gettng a “Doing the Right Thing Medal” – but sounds like a nice title for a section of The Blue Paper.   Maybe if we showcase people actually willing to come out and speak on behalf of what is the ‘right thing’ to do and actually putting their name and face out there in support of what’s righteous we might get less of this incessant – “oh, but you can’t use my name” stuff.  It’s amazing how afraid to speak out everyone is in this country so renowned for its first amendment right to free speech.  Maybe if people see that you won’t necessarily lose your job or get retaliated against because the rest of the community will be right there behind you – just maybe more people would be willing to come out and do the right thing – and maybe it won’t take three years [like in the case of Matthew Shaun Murphy] for the community to talk about important issues.

I wrote to Naja:

I’m quite aware of the reluctance of people down here to come forward and be seen, tell what they know. I have been up against that for years down here. Fortunately, not everyone down here is like that. Unfortunately, too many people down here are. They know the ways of Bubba Justice down here. And they know the whistleblower protection laws look good on the books, but they don’t necessarily prove to be all they are cracked out to be. Kathy Reitzel learned all about that when she blew the whistle on Superintendent of Schools Randy Acevedo and his thieving wife Monique. Kathy became the State Attorney’s star witness, and she was fired by the School District for “waiting to long” to blow the whistle, in a work environment and community known for retaliation. But for Kathy, there would have been no prosecution, and the Aceveodos may not have gotten caught.

Sandy Downs, of Cudjoe Key, learned about what happens to whistleblowers down here, after she blew the whistle on the Goodman family just down Blue Gill lane from her, for chainsawing the mangroves on a state-owned island in front of their home, so they could have a better view. The Goodmans head up the Keys chapter of the Republican Party. Sandy said, after Phil Goodman found out who had turned him in to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, he came down to her home and told her he was going to see to it that she and her family were run out of the Keys. Then, the Sheriff Department was all over Sandy’s kids. Maybe you and Arnaud ought to talk with Sandy about that. Yes, that’s the same Philip Goodman now on the Mosquito Control Board. The same Phillip Goodman County Commissioner George Neugent told me was “good people”, and, no, he, George, would not look at the mountains of evidence Sandy had on the Goodmans, and on how DEP let them walk. What else could DEP do? It had issued the Goodmans the permit to cut the mangroves on the state-owned island.

Ciaosky,

Trosky

_______________________

I received a candidate questionnaire from Mark Howell at KONK LIfe yesterday, which I will work on today. I imagine my answer to the question, “Why are you running for this office?” will be different from Margaret Romero and Mayor Craig Cates’ answers.

Margaret RomeroMayor Cates

My answers to the other questions might be different, too.

Sloan in collar

Sloan Bashinsky, Alabama foreign national, Margaret and Craig are Key West nationals, Tony is a Cuba foreign national
keysmyhome@hotmail.com

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; single; accused of all sorts of imaginable and unimaginable things, perhaps some true. Live on Key West of Weird asteroid. Publish something most days on this website, been at that since July 2007. That's heaps of catch-up reading, probably not recommended.
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