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On www.bigpinekey.com‘s Coconut Telegraphy kudos and whiners page yesterday, following mean jibes at Daddy Bones BBQ from CT readers who apparently did not know it was a “working man’s” feast, whether or not the “working man” was homeless.
“Daddy Bones party to feed working homeless! That would be the people smart enough to have a Job in the Keys while still avoiding paying asinine rents to greedy, self-centered slum lords, worked out pretty good. Look, if the homeless creep you out don’t shop at Publix, Winn Dixie, Walgreens, CVS, Kmart or Sears in Key West. Don’t eat at any chain place either. Don’t rent a scooter or stay at the three largest resorts. Don’t, what ever you do, venture downtown to hear music. All those places have working homeless people on payroll and we wouldn’t want your bigoted-entitled-elitist sensitivitys to be offended, or you to have to get drunker or more screwed up on your meds than normal. You could fall off your ivory tower and hurt yourself. Our official motto in Key West is One Human Family not one human retiree rich asshole family! (Sorry Ed, elitists really get my panty’s in a bunch).”
Also on yesterday’s Coconut Telegraph:
“[KWPD] I have met a lot of the members of the KWPD and always found them to be very nice and balanced. I’m not sure what happened in the Charles Eimers case, but there’s a lot of smoke and nobody is happy. I can’t paint the whole KWPD based on this. Maybe one or two (or more) of them need to be held accountable, but the bulk of them do a great job in a very complicated town with it’s share of challenges.”
The blue paper – www.thebluepaper.com – seems to have pegged what happened in Key West,
and it seems 13, not one or two, KWPD officers were involved, and it remains to be seen if any of the 13 will tell what really happened that awful morning on South Beach. The 13 would not even be put to having to choose to do that but for a bystander’s cell phone video of the arrest of suspected car dweller (homeless man) Charles Eimers, who quietly surrendered, lay face down on the beach, and then quickly died underneath several KWPD officers on top of him. That’s what happened.
Here’s a link to the blue paper’s most recent Eimers case article, which contains the bystanders video and a link to all prior blue papers articles on the Eimers case:
In today’s KONK Life – www.konknet.com.
BIG STORY / ORGANIZED CRIME
KONK LIFE EDITOR KD — TUE, JUN 3 2014
By Rick Boettger
Who will win the war of truth about the death of Charles Eimers at the hands of the Key West Police Department last Thanksgiving? The facts are rarely so clear as they are in this case: A video shows Eimers stop on the beach, put his hands in the air, and lie down, as instructed by police, who then swarm over him, and he dies. There are, of course, many details, but the deeper you look, the worse it appears for our police.
Defending the KWPD are the department themselves; their supposed investigators, fellow officers in the Florida Department of Law Enforcement; the City Commissioners; the Civilian Review Board; and the majority of the citizenry. Questioning the KWPD are a fraction of the media and one part of our judicial system.
The main defender is the FDLE. All of the other defenders rely first on waiting for the FDLE investigation to be over. It has been six months of no comment or even the release of the final medical report. The FDLE has made no attempt to interview critical witnesses. Understand the FDLE is composed of fellow cops. I can find no record of their charging a Florida officer with an illegal shooting. Ever.
A local parallel would be if Randy Acevedo had been assigned to investigate his wife Monique’s theft of over $400,000 from the school district. Absurd? No. In fact, the head of the FDLE investigation is the ex-wife of the KWPD captain in charge of the suspect officers, and mother of their child. Whenever fellow professionals investigate themselves, they sympathize and whitewash, whether they be military, lawyers, doctors, politicians, engineers, professors. They all stand by their own, hiding behind the supposed need of their insider expertise to understand details disinterested outsiders couldn’t follow.
So the FDLE is slow-walking their “investigation,” waiting for witnesses to move away and forget. The KWPD hasn’t docked anyone an hour’s pay, with life going on perfectly as usual, deferring any investigation until the sacred FDLE is done, whenever that may be. No surprises there.
Stranger is the inaction of our Civilian Review Board [its official name is Key West Citizens Review Board], which is supposed to be outsiders representing the people in overseeing the police. I submitted a formal request to the CRB over a month ago. They confirmed receipt, but have ignored it two months running. I did not ask them to comment on the specifics of the Eimers case, because I knew they would, of course, hide behind the “We need the facts from the FDLE” demurral.
No, I wanted them to recommend stopping the use of the “prone restraint” procedure that killed Eimers. I sent them my research, referenced, showing that the procedure causes between 50-200 deaths a year in the United States. Scientific studies of its dangers are readily available. But our CRB not only refuses to take a step to possibly prevent another cruel death, but refuses even to discuss my official complaint. Both their current and past directors have been retired law enforcement. That speaks for itself.
My concern with the CRB going after the prone restraint procedure, which was used in the Eimer’s case, is that there is far more to his death than prone restraint. He apparently was brutalized while he lay face down on the sand, squirming and kicking and trying to breath. He was brutalized for trying to breathe. He was brutalized because he was suspected of being homeless. KWPD officers did not tell arriving paramedics what really had happened. KWPD officers told all the civilian witnesses to be quiet about what they had seen, instead of interviewing and taking their statements, as was suppose to happen. It went downhill from there, with officers filing incident reports, which the bystander’s video then blew to smithereens (the officers didn’t yet know of the video, which the bystander smuggled to the blue paper, which then broke the story). KWPD waited several days to notify Eimers’ family that his body was on life support in the local hospital, and it appears KWPD only notified the family because Florida law required the family’s approval to take Eimers’ body off of life support. KWPD then took Eimers’ body from the hospital to a mortuary, for the body to be cremated. The body was supposed to be taken to the Monroe County Medical Examiner. Tissue samples taken by the hospital from Eimers’ body were lost, instead of delivered to the Medical Examiner. Recently, the Medical Examiner announced his resignation and move to the mainland. The CRB needs to look at the entire case; otherwise, the CRB will end up ruling the police officers were not properly trained in prone restraint, and they were not responsible for their poor training, and henceforth the KWPD needs to properly train its officers in prone restraint and when to use it and when not to use it. I can hear that train a coming, coming down the tracks, I can hear its whistle blowing loud and clear.
Our civic leaders, on the record, and the majority of our citizenry, by their silence, also want any suspicions of our police to just go away. Why? The ostrich avoiding danger, head in the sand. Or in social psychology, the “just world” hypothesis: We want to live in a world where the authorities are benevolent, so that is what we choose to believe.
That, and Key West’s economy is almost totally dependent on tourists.
Only one Key West weekly online publication [the blue paper] has done any investigative journalism actually critical of police procedures [and KONK Life and all other local newspapers, and even CBS, did not give the blue paper credit. Several times I wrote to KONK Life telling it to give the blue paper credit in its articles about the Eimers case, on which blue paper’s articles KONK Life’s articles depended.] And our criminal investigators won’t touch it until, of course, the FDLE finishes its slow walk. Only a civil suit by Eimers’ survivors will critically seek the truth we can see in the video. [The video showed the truth; without the video, the plaintiff lawyers might never even have heard of Charles Eimers. The video is the core of the damage suit. The star witness. And they got it from the blue paper, which should get a Pulitzer for its fierce and brave coverage, which put its publishers, Arnaud and Naja Girard,
and their children in the KWPD and the Bubba Justice System’s crosshairs.
A coincidental confirmation of how We the People revere our police, right or wrong, occurred last week on the TV show Survivor. In it, people form alliances to vote each other off the island until the sole survivor wins a million bucks. Lying and backstabbing is normal procedure, but this season crowned the all-time king of lying. An active duty New Jersey cop won by repeatedly swearing to every single one of his allies on his wife, his daughter, his father’s grave, and even, to a fellow officer, on his badge, before then stabbing them in the back.
And the very people who trusted him, but whom he then blindsided, still voted him the million dollars. Even a fellow officer in his New Jersey department applauded his lying strategy. Sure, this was a game, but a serious game, and the way the winner lied so easily, so joyfully, so fluidly, it was clear that in his life and police work he did it all the time.
I desperately hope to write a future column apologizing to and praising the FDLE. Wake me when they’re done.
Maybe some day, KONK Life, the Citizen, the Keynoter, the Keys Weekly Newspapers, Conch Color, the Marathon Journal, etc. will feature the blue paper’s coverage of the Eimers’ case. Maybe I will turn blue, like Charles Eimers did, holding my breath for that to happen.
A past-life regression (for me) is the subject of a School District article in today’s Citizen – www.keysnews.com, I added the pics.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 Add to FacebookAdd to Twitter
Porter’s contract renewed
Board votes in favor of superintendent 13 months early
BY TERRY SCHMIDA Citizen Staff
Monroe County Superintendent of Schools Mark Porter
has been handed a two-year contract extension — over 13 months before his current deal is up.
The vote, taken at Tuesday evening’s board workshop, capped weeks of occassionally bruising debate, and revealed the seismic split between naysayer District 3 board member Ed Davidson, and his longer-serving colleagues, who all voted in favor of the measure.
The rationale behind the extension, which was added to the agenda and recommended to the board by Chairman Ron Martin of District 5,
was never made entirely clear, but there were never any doubts in Davidson’s mind as to what was driving the vote.
The District 3 member has loudly condemned the initiative in recent days in various media forums in which he accused his fellow members of disenfranchising the members who will be taking their seats on the board following the election. More importantly, Davidson has said, the move robs the public of its say, as well.
Oddly, most of Davidson’s colleagues seemed to agree with many of his points, including a traveling District 1 member Robin Smith-Martin,
who called in his vote from the Fort Lauderdale airport.
“Our board is giving up our ability and sense of leverage,” said Smith-Martin, who nevertheless praised Porter’s performance of his job. “We’re getting nothing in return in terms of performance metric.”
When the chips were down, however, Davidson stood alone in his opposition with Smith-Martin urging him to “take one for the students and the community.”
The debate itself began on a cantankerous note, with Chairman Martin reading a statement he wrote objecting to comments Davidson had made to the Citizen.
“I’ve got to do this,” Martin said, addressing Davidson. “I don’t want to offend anybody but I’ve got to read this. You have the right to express yourself and your opinion. … The American way is we can both disagree with each other.”
Noting that numerous members of his family have served in the military, Martin told Davidson that he was offended by the latter’s remarks. The chairman himself served in Vietnam, as did Davidson.
More than once Smith-Martin asked if a compromise couldn’t be brokered in order to facilitate a united front. But Davidson wasn’t having it.
Noting that nine candidates were currently running for the three board seats on November’s ballot, he said.
“That’s three of five … a majority, denied any authority over the superintendent’s contract. … There is no rush [to extend the contract early.]”
Next, Davidson challenged the board members who are on the ballot in November to make the extension a campaign issue, rather than “disenfranchise the citizens of the republic.”
District 2’s Andy Griffiths sought to steer the conversation away from the forthcoming ballot.
“We should just do the right thing,” he said. “Forget about this election rationale. There’s always going to be an election. What’s the right thing to do for our CEO, for our students? Remember,” he added, “our main constituents can’t cast a vote for any of us.”
Davidson shot back, “Yeah, but the voters pay the bills.”
District 4’s John Dick,
who was once considered the voice of reform on the board, read from a prepared statement before casting his “yes” vote.
“You might think we have Bernie Madoff in charge of this district,” Dick said wearily. “But [Porter] has assembled a competent and capable leadership team.”
When it was all over, Porter told the members he had resisted the urge to jump into the discussion because “it was not [his] place to do so.”
The text of the email below was in yesterday’s Coconut Telegraph.
Date: Mon, 9 Jun 2014 07:41:24 -0700
Subject: Fw: Thwarting The Will of The Electorate
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
An Open Letter To The School Board
Today I use that term loosely.
What are you doing and why are you doing it?
You evaluate the superintendent and find him performing at an acceptable level, albeit something of an improvement over his two previous evaluations. For that marginal performance, you are so ecstatic that you are planning to extend the superintendent’s contract by two years! Your thought, your plan is that for the next three years, the School District will be led by someone for whom no one will use the words “outstanding”, “highly capable”, “superior” as a description. You are more than happy with average as you embrace the mediocre. Would that standard be acceptable at the staff level or in the classroom?
To add insult to injury, so to speak, you are planning to make this decision to extend the superintendent’s contract, arguably the most important decision that a School Board ever makes, ten weeks before an election in which three of your five seats are being contested. For a group who ordinarily loves nothing better than to dally, delay, obfuscate and generally kick the can down the road, what’s the hurry?
The obvious answer is that you desire to thwart, to circumvent the will of the electorate. You want to take the decision out of the hands of the voters. You intend to make a decision to hamstring the incoming Board of which one of you will be gone and possibly as many as three, a clear majority. It appears that at least two of you are so fearful of not being reelected that you plan to leave a legacy as if you were still on the dais. The third of your gang of three is not even running for reelection and, if there ever was an instance that cries out for “I abstain”, this is it. For such a clear lame duck to vote to restrict the District leadership for years to come is unconscionable and reflective of someone who is ethically challenged.
Again, I ask: Why the urgency? The current superintendent has fourteen months remaining on his contract. He is not going anywhere. He is not using a sexy offer from another district to leverage an extension. Who knows, in the next year, his performance might so improve that you will want to extend his contract by more than two years and throw in a raise as well. Why deprive him of that opportunity?
Andrew Jackson had his “kitchen cabinet”, advisors who did not hold office but to whom Jackson was beholden. Is that the plan? Extend the superintendent’s contract by two years; put $300,000 in his pocket and he will be beholden to you. That way, if you lose office, you will still have entre into the executive suite in the Henriquez Building. The superintendent has routinely demonstrated with his own appointments how much he values loyalty and the importance of a quid pro quo. I am sure that is not lost on you. Extend the superintendent’s contract, extend your influence.
Ron, you say that the superintendent has brought “stability” to the District and thus deserves to be rewarded. Yet what is the optimum way to achieve stability? Do nothing. You say that the District is “out of the ditch.” I assume by that you mean that the District has returned to a sound financial footing. That is a factor of a changed economy, of improving property taxes and nothing over which the superintendent has influence. As for areas that he can influence, FCAT scores for example, they declined. And, when you talk about “integrity”, you are talking about someone who routinely and reflexively says what is convenient at the moment.
John, you are quoted as saying “He’s made some mistakes, but I think that he is doing a good enough of a job. I am satisfied with his work.” Then, you go on to say: “Of course, there are areas where I want to see improvement.” If that is not a paean to mediocrity, I do not know what is. Conversely, you seem to want things both ways, reminding me of Harry Truman’s wish for a one-armed economist. That way, Harry said, the economist could never say: “On the other hand….”
To paraphrase Simon and Garfunkel:
Where have you gone, John Dick,
A School District turns its lonely eyes to you
What’s that you say?
Joltin’ John has left and gone away.
The John Dick of 2006 is but a memory.
Rob Smith-Martin, you of the superlatives when discussing the superintendent. “What we need now is a steady hand. I think Porter is the right guy.” Yet, you also say “I haven’t made up my mind.” The only thing that you did not say is: “I’m from the government and I am here to help you.”
As someone who will be long gone come November, if not sooner, it is disingenuous that you would even consider voting to extend a superintendent’s contract. As Joseph Welch said to Joseph McCarthy: “Have you no sense of decency, sir?”
Finally, there is Andy Griffiths, one of the architects of this charade and fiasco. Having set the wheels in motion to extend the superintendent’s contract, now you are not so sure. One year is all right, but “I think going to 2017, I think that’s overreaching.” Talk about the classic hair split. Somehow one year is okay, but two is too much. We have another example a la Dick and Smith-Martin of wanting it both ways.
Watch the voting:
Ed Davidson will start with a resounding “No”.
Ron Martin will balance that with an equally vigorous “Yes”.
Rob Smith-Martin will squirm and fidget before casting a “Yes” vote.
John Dick will also squirm and fidget and probably offer some reasons for why he should vote “No” before yielding to the inevitable and voting “Yes”.
Now, sports fans, the fun begins. The motion to extend the superintendent’s contract has already passed 3-1. So it makes no difference how Smiling Andy votes. That being the case, the prime mover will vote “No” and be the only one on the Board to truly have it both ways.
June 9, 2014
“Illegitimati non carborundum.” -St. Lawrence O’Toole, Bishop of Dublin, and a favorite quote of Jimmy Hoffa
Dr. Larry Murray
Fiscal Watchdog and Citizen Activist
Larry served a term on the first School Board Audit & Finance Committee, which the Board created to diffuse heavy criticism of financial mismanagement in general, and out-right thievery by the Acevedos. But, after setting up the AFC, the School Board then proceeded to ignore it. Larry was so outspoken at AFC meetings that his term was not renewed. In 2012, Larry ran for the School Board seat of the retiring School Board member who had appointed him to the AFC. Ed Davidson and four other people ran for the same seat, I was one of the other four. Ed won a squeaker in the General Election over a former Key West High School principal.
I replied just to Larry:
Hi, Larry –
Debby Goodman is a journalist?
Hilarious letter. Would be interesting, maybe even fun, to see Ron Martin make Andy Griffith’s vote first, Robin Smith Martin second, John Dick third, Ed Davidson fourth, Ron Martin, as Chairman, last.
Am still wondering if Mark Porter leaked that he’s looking for other places to work, if he doesn’t get assurance he’s being kept on.
Maybe all five of Board members should have to take the F-CAT, anonymously. Each is given a number the scorer cannot link to their name. Then, the number and its score is published on the front page of the Citizen.
When Tom Milone asked me recently how I felt about the School Board races this year, I said “Yawn, thankfully, I am not involved in that this year, it was like going into a black hole in 2012, when I ran for the School Board.”
Terminally dysfunctionally insane still my diagnosis. Prognosis same as diagnosis. Maybe school kids need to form their own union, demand they be made college or career ready by graduation from high school.
I have a friend who has a wood chipper; can think of several ways us use it with regard to the School District. Won’t say more, some government auditor we both know might scold me for inciting terrorist acts.
Whole grunts wrapped up in newspapers containing School District articles sealed tightly in zip-lock bags and mailed to School Board members might be fun, too.
Larry replied just to me:
Always good to hear from you.
I expect Debby Goodman would “spread the news” in her circle.
I replied just to Larry:
I didn’t know the local Republican leaders were all that interested in the School District; I don’t recall them attending School Board and Audit & Finance Committee meetings when I was mired up to my eyeballs in that black hole, gasping for oxygen. I do recall the Goodmans fiddling political strings not entirely behind the scenes in our School Board race and in other local public office races. Now hubby Phil is on the Skeeter Board and seems to have his sights set higher. Maybe since he’s so do good with money, he ain’t too do good with mangroves and other living natural things, maybe he should run for, hmmm, George Neugent’s County Commission seat. I heard through the coconut grapevine that Phil was thinking in that direction, if George did not run again this year.
George seems to have won a popularity contest, 0 on scale of 1-10, in the anti-grinder pump camp, which is headquartered and scattered throughout his voting district [centered on Big Pine Key]. Maybe the lower Keys voters can do something about that. I doubt the county voters will ever be able to do anything about the School District, short of defeating future school tax referendums. The candidates running this year don’t seem to me to heaven – yet. Maybe one of them will surprise me. Ed Davidson didn’t surprise me; he turned out just like he looked like he was going to turn out. I wish he’d stuck to beating up on environmental rapers and pillagers; he was a force to be reckoned with there. He has no power where he is now, but he does make lots of noise still, which is his way.
Political advertisement paid for and approved by Sloan Bashinsky, for Mayor of Key West