KONK Life candidate questionnaire for 2014 Key West mayor race, Duval Street “cosmetic cream” rumble, and a look at the gadfly

wild queen conch

wild queen conch

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The day before yesterday, I received a KONK Life – www.keysnet.com – candidate questionnaire from Mark Howell,

Mark Howell

which led to this email back and forth yesterday:

Mark wrote:

If you complete the Q.&A. in the next day or so, we’ll try and open the series in next week’s issue with you and Cates.

— Mark

I replied:

should have it back to you later today or tomorrow, thanks

Mark wrote:


I replied:

I had a nap dream a bit ago, in which you and I were jumping together on a trampoline, and I was spinning you around, and we were doing front and back summersaults having ourselves a great fun time. I came out of the nap and went back to work on the answers; it’s a thing of beauty, so far … I imagine you’ll get it in the morning, and I imagine I will publish it at goodmorningkeywest.com tomorrow. Yaaaaahoo, Conch stew!


KONK Life, the leading purveyor of news and opinion locally, invites each and every candidate in the upcoming elections to answer the following 20 questions about themselves and their candidacy. In fairness to all, the questions are the same for all.

We advise you cut-and-paste our Q&A into a desktop file of your own just in case you encounter a formatting error when using this “Candidate.doc” for your answers.

Then e-mail your completed Q. & A. as soon as possible to: markhowell44@gmail.com.

Please also attach a jpg photo of yourself with your e-mail response. Thank you!

The KONK Life Questionnaire
conducted by Mark Howell

Q: Tell us your name, age, what office you’re running for and any previous offices held.

A: Sloan Bashinsky, 71 Earth years, Mayor of Key Far West of Weird, no previous offices held, but have been accused of being the head lunatic in various places on this planet and elsewhere

Q: Explain your platform in a couple of short paragraphs plus why you are running:

A: I am running because angels of the Lord told me to run if I knew what was good for me.

As for my platform:

Key West needs a great deal more affordable rental housing, and if a waitress can’t afford it on her wages, it’s not affordable; Key West needs a lot more affordable elder housing, and if an elder can’t afford it on his/her income, it’s not affordable; ban cruise ships from Key West, they pollute the sea with their wastes and silt the channel, it was a mistake to let them call on Key West to begin with; all new development and redevelopment is solar-powered to the maximum extent possible; mandatory recycling with teeth; yard waste composted and reused locally; treated wastewater recycled for irrigation; scrap the Truman Waterfront plan and turn that land into community gardens and affordable rental housing; pay Bahama Village market rate for the Truman Waterfront acreage designated to Bahama Village, which the city swiped; lower Duval Street becomes pedestrian/artisan/food mall mid-afternoon on; Angela Street is not integrated into the new Peary Court development; revamp Tree Commission which long has terrorized private property owners; revamp Historical Architectural Review Commission to allow solar panels and construction materials termites do not ravage; stop letting KW police officers moonlight in city bars and strip joints, where drug trafficking is rampant and they participate in it; stop wasting taxpayer money trying to force homeless people to change or leave the area; provide a drunk tank for homeless addicts and a night shelter for other homeless people; keep ever in mind Jesus in the Gospels was homeless and told his disciples, as they did to the least of the people around them, they did also to him.

Q: Detail how you differ from your competing candidates:

A: I’m doing that in my answers to your questions.

Q: Tell us us your personal history — education; professional career; family life and how long you’ve lived in the Keys or the county and your relationship to the Florida Keys and/or Key West:

A: B.A., Economics, Vanderbilt University, 1965; J.D., University of Alabama School of Law, 1968; L.L.M, in Taxation, University of Alabama School of Law, 1979. Practiced law in Alabama, 1973-1985. I wrote maybe 20 books, non-fiction, fiction, verse. I was born and grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, in a prominent family, had a younger brother and sister. In 1964, I married my Vanderbilt Sweetheart, and we had a son, who died in infancy, and then two daughters. Seven marriages in all, now single. Except for a short afternooner with a Cudjoe Key biker chick in 2010, at her invitation, I’ve been a monk since early 2005. My family drove to Key West in 1952, when I was nine; I remember very little of that trip, we only stayed one day and headed back up the Keys. In 1956, my family spent spring break at the Ocean Reef Club on Key Largo, and that’s when I got hooked on flats fishing. We came back the next spring vacation and stayed in Islamorada. I got even more hooked on flats fishing. We came back again in August 1961, and stayed at a private home on Lower Matacumbe Key. That’s when I became hopelessly in love with the Keys. In early 1962, that home came on the market and my father bought it and owned it until 2001, when he sold it because he no longer was able to come down to the Keys. After he bought that home, I came down Islamorada a good bit to fish and kick back. Sometimes I drove down to Key West, which was like going to the wild west. I came to Key West to live in late 2000. I was homeless, lived on the street. For reasons the angels have yet to explain, there is spirit block on my making a living wage. En route to Key West, I was told in a dream I was going to be getting into politics, and I awoke in shock, I hated politics. Another long story cut short. I got into Key West politics, and ran for mayor in 2003, 2007 and 2009. I ran for the County Commission in 2006, 2008 and 2010, and for the School Board in 2012. It’s probably fair to say I’m dowsed in Key West and Florida Keys politics. Valentine’s Day 2006, I received an inheritance from my father, who had died the previous August. I was relieved in the near future from being homeless.

Q: Touch on your personal passions in addition to the above:

A: Today, my passions are trying to keep happy the angels who abducted me in early 1987 and turned me inside out and upside down and every which a way but loose for a long time through now with no end in sight. Sometimes it’s fun, mostly it’s a lot of hard work. One of the angels claims to be Jesus. Another claims to be Archangel Michael. Another claims to be Magdalene-Melchizedek. They are the three main ones; sometimes they let others in their circle have at me.

Q: Describe where, in your view, we are going wrong in the Keys and/or Key West:

A: insular thinking, cronyism, greed, massive over-development, widespread water pollution, widespread addiction (booze, street and pharmacy drugs)

Q: Tell us the political flash points you expect to encounter if elected:

A: homelessness, police brutality, public corruption, and any and all political flash points stated in prior and following answers

Q: Tell us anything you feel you need to explain or any misapprehension you believe voters may have of you:

A: I am explaining a lot in my answers to your questions. I imagine many people in Key West and the Keys, who know or know of me, have apprehension about me. Besides my “platform” and “flash points”, people do not like hearing me say angels tell me what to do and get onto me when I mess up. Nothing I can do about that. The angels are a lot bigger and more powerful and heaps smarter than I am.

Q: Give us your view on the partisan divisiveness in politics today and any solution to it you might have:

A: I don’t belong to a political party. This is a political joke, okay? I would make belonging to a political part a capital offense punishable by being chopped up into small pieces and fed to baby sharks in an effort to stem the extinction of that endangered species, the loss of which major sea predator will wreak havoc in Mother Nature’s oceans – fortunately, the Key West city races are non-partisan.

Q: Given that gender equality, income parity, voting rights and sexual preferences continue as big political issues nationwide today, tell us on which side of the aisle you stand:

A: Equal rights and, based on ability and willingness to work, equal pay for everyone, regardless of skin color, ethic background, sex, sexual orientation, religious preference or lack thereof. You left out women wishing to terminate their pregnancies. I say, in the early states of pregnancy, that’s their decision alone. I think, at the level of soul, it’s usually best for a woman to go to term and put her unwanted child up for adoption. As for the religious argument, it says in the beginning of Genesis that man became a living being when God breathed the breath of life into his nostrils. Before the first breath, man was not a living being. In my unpublished novel Br’er Rabbit Meets the Devil, the hero, a black lawyer, argued in a Birmingham federal court, successfully, that passage means life begins at the first breath of life.

Q: And how about immigration, gun control and capital punishment:

A: Native Americans are best qualified to answer the immigration question. This following is a political joke, okay? We bring the troops home from foreign lands, station them in the Florida Keys and along the Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific US mainland coasts, and along the US-Mexico border, where they shoot on sight any person they suspect of being homeless. I doubt guns can be controlled. If you don’t believe me, ask the Pentagon, the F.B.I., or any member of the National Rifle Association. Ask Jesus how he feels about capital punishment. I would prefer to be executed, than spend the rest of my days in prison. You did not ask where I stand on stupid ruinous American foreign wars. I’m against.

Q: Name your favorite movie:

A: Tie: “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “Dead Poets Society”, “Man Facing Southeast”

Q: Your favorite TV show:

A: the Golf Channel

Q: Your favorite TV talking head:

A: none

Q: Your favorite newspaper columnist:

A: Tie: Naja and Arnaud Girard, Key West the Newspaper – www.thebluepaper.com, published each Friday. They deserve a Pulitzer for breaking and covering the KWPD conduct unbecoming toward Charles Eimers case.

Q: Your favorite book:

A: Tie: The Spear of Destiny, by Trevor Ravenscroft, and Mutant Message Down Under, by Marlo Morgan – although I kinda like the last novel to fall out of me, HEAVY WAIT: A Strange Tale, which was inspired by a dream I had in Key West in late April 2001, as I slept on flattened cardboard boxes in a doorway just down from the Island Bookstore on Fleming Street, back when homeless people still could sleep outside at night without being harassed and/or arrested and jailed by KW police. While the strange tale was coming through me, I told friends God was writing it. Mark, you read Heavy Wait and told me you liked it. Available in English at amazon.com and in Spanish at amazon.com.es, paper and kindle.

Q: Your favorite character in American history:

A: Abraham Lincoln

Q: Your favorite person in Florida Keys and/or Key West history:

A: Tie: Capt. Tony Tarracino and St. Dorothy Sherman, who started the soup kitchen

Q: Your favorite quote or proverb:

A: Tie: “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;” “I’m fucked,” Wiley Coyote .

Q: Is there any secret strength you’d like to reveal about yourself at this point:

A: If I discover it, I’ll let you know. Meanwhile, how about there are no fig leaves in Paradise, nor any secrets – that’s another of my favorite sayings.

attach a photo of yourself.

Thank you!

Sloan at HH

Me having breakfast at Harpoon Harry’s in Key West, early 2014

Meanwhile, here is the Citizen’s report on the “cosmetic cream” ordinance passed by the City Commission this past Tuesday night, I added the pics:

Mud Dawg's guardian angel

Thursday, June 5, 2014 Add to FacebookAdd to Twitter
New rules for ‘cosmetic cream’ shops
Law will end aggressive tactics, hounding of public on Duval
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff

Gwen Filosa
Elizabeth Kerns of Key West is no fan of the sales people on Duval Street who hawk the sky-high-priced skin creams promised to deliver miracles.

“‘Hey, where you from? What’s your name? Come inside,'” men standing on the sidewalk will call out to women walking past, Kerns told city commissioners Tuesday night before they unanimously approved new regulations on the local cosmetic cream industry.

While she described the sales schtick as “aggressive panhandling,” Kerns said what truly troubles her is the labeling of the various creams.

“They don’t tell people what’s in the product,” Kerns said. “Once or twice I looked at the package and it had ‘stem cells’ in it, which would explain why it’s $1,000. We need it to be clearly marked for price, and clearly marked with what’s inside this stuff.”

With little discussion and within eight minutes, city commissioners gave a first-round approval to regulating Key West’s growing cosmetic cream shop industry that is drawing complaints of predatory sales tactics.

The city leader sponsoring the new law says he is being told by locals that the industry’s sales people have crossed the line of reasonable hawking.

“They’re overly aggressive, and not with customers inside the store but with people walking down the street,” said Commissioner Jimmy Weekley on Wednesday. “It’s not Key West at all, and it damages the reputation of Key West. People go back to [their hometowns] and say, ‘Key West, they rip you off.'”

The measure requires a second reading at the next commission meeting to become law.

If passed, any shop in the historic district selling cosmetic products that cost more than $75 must obtain a $200 annual permit in order to sell creams and lotions or offer samples. Code enforcement officers must inspect the shop prior to any permit being issued.

Also, cosmetic shop owners must post two signs at each cash register that read in all capital letters:


The signs, provided by the city, must appear in English, Spanish, French, Japanese, German and Italian.

The proposal is almost identical to the 1993 ordinance that commissioners place on downtown T-shirt shops after complaints of price-gouging flooded in.

Weekley, whose family runs Fausto’s grocery, said it’s unfortunate the city has to pass the law, but the regulation is necessary due to the number of complaints, which range from products lacking price tags to sales people hounding passersby.

He also cited the fact that no one showed up Tuesday night to publicly oppose the proposal during public comment.

At Tuesday’s meeting, three people spoke in favor or the new rules on the skin cream peddlers and asked for even stronger restrictions.

“I would propose adding that any retail product for sale in the city of Key West should be clearly marked with its price,” said Liz Lustberg, a Duval Street business owner who lives in Summerland Key. “Vote yes on this today and please make it more stringent in the future.”

Those who own the skin cream shops or work there have been reluctant to give their names or speak to The Citizen about the mounting criticism.

On Tuesday night, two men sat in the back of Old City Hall concentrating on the brief debate. But only after public comment ended did one of them raise his hand and ask Mayor Craig Cates if he could talk.

Cates told the man he had missed his chance and the pair soon left, but not before one local gadfly went up to them to say something inaudible to those sitting at the dais.

That was Sloan Bashinsky, who is running for mayor this fall. He said he has heard from women in Key West that “certain foreign people” working at the shops are harassing people who walk along Duval.

“The women especially told me it was repulsive,” Bashinsky said, adding that he won’t say what countries some of the sales people hail from. “I think you know what nationalities I’m talking about.”

Commissioner Tony Yaniz

Tony Yaniz 2

used his time at the end of the meeting to blast that comment, saying he couldn’t stay silent having grown up during government-led desegregation.

“Too much blood and too much sweat and too much tears have gone into this country to get us to the point we are today,” Yaniz said, without naming Bashinsky. “I find it extremely offensive for someone to get up at the podium here and say someone came from a certain country. I just wanted to go on the record with that.”


This is a fair report.

Tony's puppet

Was Tony Yaniz’s mayor candidate Margaret Romero

Margaret Romero

not offended by what the “cosmetic cream” shops were doing to women on Duval Street? I ask, because Margaret was at that commission meeting, and she spoke to several agenda items, but not to that one.

It’s been my sense for some years that the Citizen uses gadfly, as a pejorative, to poke people who irritate the Citizen and the Establishment. For example, Margaret is a gadfly, but I never saw her called that by the Citizen.

Socrates was called a gadfly in his time.


Maybe some day the Citizen will do a feature on the gadfly. Maybe the Citizen will include Arnaud and Naja Girard in that feature.

Arnaud GirardNaja

Maybe the Citizen will also include Jesus in that article.

laughing Jesus


Sloan Bashinsky

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

Devil or Angel

my internal feminine in one of her myriad moods

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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