high-lo comedy and lightning strikes during the Key West Lodging Association mayor’s race candidate forum, and related and distantly-related political comedies

Sloan Bashinsky's photo.

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Shadharoba Rodd, formerly Key West’s colorful Hatman, nemesis of the KWPD, knight errant champion of the vicious van dweller criminal community, wrote this morning:

Subject: a Charles Eimers situation in New York

good morning Sloan. if you haven’t already seen/heard this, you probably will want to. I saw a story on the internet this morning so I know you can find it too. and then compare the actions of the mayor and Al Sharpton and others to what happened after Mr. Eimers was killed.

The Sharpton reaction is one aspect of the Eimers case that really disturbs me because you have people who are going to rally against the cop behavior in NYC. You think there’s EVER going to be any rallies for Eimers. NO ! hasn’t been yet; sadly won’t ever be. My thinking was if Eimers was black, then all of Bahama Village would have been up in arms and doing what is probably going to happen in NYC. If Eimers had been gay, then the LGBT folks would have been screaming loudly. But because Eimers was an older, white guy, not so many people seem to give a shit. Key West is all fucked up. Too busy taking $$ from the tourists to get excited or involved about a helpless, (deemed to be) homeless man’s death at the hands of cops.

Compare what the NYC mayor has to say about the situation. he even has, or will, postpone his long awaited vacation to Europe to address the case. You think Cates will EVER do something like that. Hasn’t yet; sadly he won’t ever.

I would think this situation in NYC could be a perfect contrast to KW and an opportunity to do whatever.


I replied:

Hi, Rodd –

Mi amiga in north Georgia called yesterday to tell me about the NYC case and the NYC mayor’s reaction. I’d only just come out of a nap dream in which a cop was trying to make sure didn’t ignore him about something, which made no sense to me on waking, until I’d gone online and found a news article about the NYC case.

As I read the article, I thought, now that’s how Mayor Cates should have responded to Charles Eimers’ death after the blue paper broke the case with the bystander’s video, which made the KPPD cops involved in that case out to be bald-face liars about how it went down on South Beach. Dang, Rodd, that guy the NYC cop strangled during the take down had a rap sheet as long as my arm, he apparently was well known to the NYPD, yet, as reported in the news article I read, reproduced last below, that did not stop NYC’s mayor from saying:

“We have a responsibility to keep every New Yorker safe, and that includes when individuals are in custody of the NYPD,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement expressing his condolences to Garner’s family.

During my interview yesterday morning on Pirate Radio, and during my opening comments at the Lodging Association’s lunch candidate forum yesterday, I said, If elected mayor, my first official act will be to formerly apologize for the City of Key West to the Charles Eimers family for the KWPD killing their father last Thanksgiving Day.

Charles Eimer's take down

Eimers coverupKey West the Newspaper (www.thebluepaper.com) versions of what KWPD did to Charles Eimers

The last question put to the candidates at the forum was, we were to ask our opponents a question, which they could address during their closing comments, if they wished. I got to go first, again – I had gotten to go first during opening comments. I said, To both of my opponents, I ask, will you ever apologize to the Charles Eimers family for the KWPD killing Eimers last Thanksgiving Day?

During his closing comments, Mayor Cates said his heart when out to the Eimers family, he was sorry for their loss, but he was waiting on the investigation to proceed and conclude. During her closing comments, Margaret Romero stuck to her position that she didn’t see the KWPD had done anything wrong; she laid it all on Eimers leaving the arrest scene; she said nothing about what happened later on South Beach.


compliments Key West the Newspaper

Where I messed up at the forum was, I didn’t say the reason Eimers died on South Beach was because the cops thought he was homeless. I could have said that in my closing remarks, I suppose, but I used that time to try to answer Margaret and Craig’s questions. I also could have said it when I answered the question about what we should do about the terrible homeless people who are threatening the Key West tourist trade?

Instead, I said County Commissioner David Rice, a psychologist, who had run the Guidance Clinics a long time, and I both had said at the County/City homeless summit, which Mayor Cates already had mentioned in his answer to the question, that there is no happy solution to the homeless situation. I said David’s and my comments never were reported in the newspapers.

I said I had lived on the street in Key West off and on for 5 years. I was the only person in the room who knew the topic. I said they could try the Auschwitz solution, if they wished, but what would step in an take the homeless people’s place? Something would step in. I said he city spends a lot of time, effort and money trying to get rid of the street people, when the city should be spending that time, effort and money trying to keep the new homeless, who have had something bad happen to make them homeless, from becoming street people. I said the city is letting the new homeless people fall through the cracks.

I tied that into an earlier answer, in which I said the city should thrash the Truman Waterfront Park plan and put the 330,000 square feet of affordable rental housing run by the Housing Authority out there, which amount of affordable housing the Navy had okay’d out there before the Navy conveyed that land to the city. The new homeless, who are working but can’t afford Key West rents, sorely need that kind of housing.

I only had a minute to answer each question, there were 4 questions in all. I needed an hour just to educate the audience on homeless issues. I kept thinking during the forum that the city ought to put on a town hall meeting and let me explain the homeless situation to the public.

Thanks for writing, Rodd, you are spot on.


P.S. Right after the Lodging Association forum, my friend Jim Marquardt said he liked my remarks, but felt I went over the top with the Auschwitz solution. I said, alas, I know there are people in Key West who are in favor of that solution. Jim sighed, said, perhaps so. I should have added, Charles Eimers proved it.

By CRIMESIDER STAFFCBS/AP July 18, 2014, 11:44 AM
Report: N.Y. man put in police choke hold dies during arrest

A vigil is set up in the Tompkinsville section of Staten Island, N.Y. after a man died in police custody while being arrested for allegedly selling illegal cigarettes. CBS NEW YORK

101 Comments Shares Tweets Stumble Email More +
Last Updated Jul 18, 2014 3:30 PM EDT

NEW YORK – Police say a man had a heart attack and died as officers attempted to arrest him for illegally selling cigarettes on Staten Island, but a video of the incident obtained by the New York Daily News appears to show police placing the man in a choke hold as he pleads “I can’t breathe.”

Eric Garner, 43, was pronounced dead at a hospital after officers tried to apprehend him around 4:45 p.m., Thursday.

Police say the officers observed Garner selling untaxed cigarettes on Bay Street, just blocks away from the 120th precinct. They say he’d been arrested before for the same offense.

Authorities didn’t say whether Garner was handcuffed or if there was a struggle during the arrest, however the video obtained by the paper shows several officers attempting to take Garner into custody by putting him in a choke hold and pressing him towards the ground.

“I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,” Garner is heard saying in the video as he is pushed to the ground and handcuffed.

Within moments, the 43-year-old stops struggling and appears to go unconscious.

“We have a responsibility to keep every New Yorker safe, and that includes when individuals are in custody of the NYPD,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement expressing his condolences to Garner’s family.

Ramsey Orta, 22, who shot the video posted by the newspaper, told the Associated Press on Friday that he was sitting with Garner and discussing weekend plans before the confrontation with police. Garner had just broken up a fight between two other men when the police approached him, claiming they’d observed him selling loose cigarettes, Orta said.

“Before they even grabbed him, he told them he wasn’t feeling good and that’s why I pulled the camera out and started recording,” said Orta, adding that Garner was asthmatic. “They could’ve just hopped out on the guys who were fighting, but they didn’t bother to ask. They just jumped straight on him.”

Garner has been arrested 31 times since 1988 on charges such as drug possession, selling untaxed cigarettes and assault, police said. Police say Garner weighed 350 pounds at his last illegal-cigarette arrest in May.

Internal affairs investigators and prosecutors have opened inquires into Garner’s death. An autopsy for the 43-year-old was scheduled for Friday.

On Thursday night, a group of people placed candles on the sidewalk where Garner was taken into custody. A sign was also mounted in the spot accusing police of “brutality” in connection with his death, reports CBS New York.

© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lawbreaker that I am, I couldn’t help myself after easily finding that article via Google.

I liked the Lodging Association’s forum – lightning rounds, short time to answer, candidates had to think fast, answer questions succinctly, or not.

Sloan Bashinsky's photo.

When asked, only I got this question, Craig and Margaret each got different questions, what could be done about fixing the Old Town traffic and parking space crisis?, I asked Todd German, the moderator asking the questions, did he want my political answer or my real answer? Todd said my real answer. I laughed, said, first I would need a magic wand. Then, I would need to be made King with absolute powers. I paused, said, the parking and traffic crisis is the result of Key West being overbuilt. There is nothing that can be done about the problem. Although half the people who live in the city can move away and that will solve the problem.

When all candidates were asked how the widespread transient rental violations can be fixed?, when my turn came, I said the reason for that problem is City Commissions allowed way too much development, the city did not stay on top of transient rentals, and now they are everywhere. How many transient rentals are Pritam Singh’s new development going to create? Transient rentals in Key west is an infestation, like rats. How many more code enforcement officers do they want to hire? How much more money do they want to throw at getting rid of the rat infestation? It’s like the war on drugs. The war on homelessness. There is no solution.

When we all were asked how we would fix the affordable housing crisis?, when my turn came, I said, first thing, quit letting developers bulldoze trailer parks and eliminating that affordable housing. For me, affordable rental housing is something a waitress at Harpoon Harry’s, where I often eat breakfast, can afford on what she makes. If she cannot afford that rent, then it’s not affordable, it’s a lie to call it affordable. The HUD definition of affordable housing, and other definitions used in the Keys and Key West, are bogus. The City Commission needs to scrap the Truman Waterfront Park and put 330,000 square feet of Housing Authority rental housing out there. Over 500 units. That will take a lot of pressure off of Key West’s affordable housing crisis.

When we all were asked for a new idea to bring business to the lodging industry more business, when my turn came to answer came, Todd German said to me, “A new idea, Sloan.” I said, I told you in 2009, and you didn’t like it then, so I will tell you again. Have any of you ever heard of Haulover Beach just above Miami? Google Haulover Beach, see it stacked with naked bodies. If the City Commission designates the seldom used upper half of Smathers Beach clothing-optional, it will attract those nude beach lovers to Key West, who bring money, stay in your hotels and lodges and guest houses, eat in your restaurants, drink in your bars, use water sports businesses, go to museums and galleries. Those people, they call themselves naturists, it’s like a religion for them – laughter in the audience – will take care of that part of Smathers Beach, keep it clean, police it. It won’t cost the city any money.

During my closing remarks, in response to Margaret and Craig both asking, basically, what can be done to bring Key West people together?, I said, it will not make everyone happy, the people who love to ride low riders and play loud music won’t like it. Except for the crossing streets, close lower Duval Street to motorized traffic from 3 p.m. on, from Southard Street down to the water at the lower end. Make lower Duval Street an afternoon and evening artists, crafts, musicians, street performers, food vendors mall. That will draw a lot of people together. It will be like Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Colorado, where I used to spend a lot of time. There is no way to make everyone happy, but doing that to lower Duval Street will bring a lot of people together.

The Lodging Association’s forum was pure ambush.


It was beautiful. Voters need to see how candidates field questions they do not know are coming. Voters need to see how candidates think on their feet. Voters need to see whether candidates answer questions, or not.

Moving laterally,

pirate radioyou don't know jack

I thought the Pirate Radio early yesterday morning went well, but I don’t have the juice today to try to fully report it. Here are a few morsels.

Left to right below, Todd German, Mayor Craig Cates and Margaret Romero told me at the Lodging Association forum that they had listened to the Pirate Radio interview.

Todd FBMayor CatesMargaret Romero

Craig said he was really glad to hear me explain on Pirate Radio that what Key West needs is a King, because the mayor only has one vote on the City Commission and cannot boss the City Manager around, nor any city employee around. A King, however, can boss everyone one around, they don’t toe the line, he can have them keel-hauled or make them walk the plank in shark-infested waters. A Queen will be able to do that, too.

keel haulwalk the plank

Todd said the King movement is a progression from my saying at Hometown! PAC’s Call to Candidates last April: that anyone who actually wants to be mayor is insane. Todd said he sort of likes the benevolent dictatorship idea. He is chairman of the charter high school board in Key West. He said, when he interviews a prospective new board members, he says they will have to vote the way he wants to do things. He was brought into that school to straighten it out, after it had lost its way and was slinking fast, or already had sunk. I imagine he told them when they asked for his help, it would be his way, or he would not take it on.

Margaret said she agreed with what I told Jack Smith on Pirate Radio, after he said the candidates will be given the debate topics before the debate. I told Jack that was not a good idea; the candidates should not be told ahead of time what the topics will be.

Todd will moderate the Pirate Radio mayor candidate debate next Friday at 8:30 a.m. Here again is the link to Pirate Radio’s website:  www.PirateRadioKeyWest.com.

I emailed Todd and Jack Smith yesterday afternoon, what Margaret had said about agreeing with me about not telling the candidates ahead of time what the topics will be, and why I thought that was not the best way to go about it. (There wasn’t time during the radio interview yesterday for me to ‘splain myself.) I said I will be there in all events. Margaret, too.

Margaret and I also talked about the golf course mayor’s candidate forum on July 29, starting at 6:30 in the club house, which Craig had declined due to “prior engagements.” The general public is invited. Margaret said she had told that forum’s sponsors that she will be there. I said I had told them I will be there. I said maybe it will be better for just her and me to ‘splain things to that citizen audience. She agreed. That community is up in arms about Mayor Cates trying to put a new homeless shelter right next door to their championship golf course, and about homeless people wandering through and hanging out in  their residential neighborhood.

Perhaps along similar political comedy lines, but slightly more entertaining, an email thread with the new manager of KOTS, the city’s overnight homeless shelter. Mike Tolbert, of Daddy Bone’s BBQ on North Roosevelt Blvd, had made the introductions.

Daffy Duck

John Miller wrote late last week:

Hi Mr. Bashinsky:

Met Mike from Daddy Bones this morning, talking about a job out at KOTS. I’m the new Manager (3 days now!) and the conversation wandered into KW politics, and I said I would love to meet you sometime.

I’ve only been here since March, but have read your blogs, etc., and have been fascinated by your opinions and history. Would love to have a cup of coffee sometime.

Pretty booked this week, new job, doing the service at the Unitarian Fellowship on Sunday, but perhaps next week sometime?

John Miller

I replied:

Hi, John – please call me Sloan. Welcome to “paradise”. Some days next week are okay for me, others not as good. Candidate forums and radio interviews next week. Call me in the morning so we can work out a day, time and place while I’m looking at my usually not busy calendar. 305-__ – ____. Thanks. Sloan

John Miller:


I’m from Kentucky (sort of) and there is a fake campaign for senate (Mitch McConnell) to undermine the big spending craziness (bribery) that is going on:

Gil Fulbright for Senate

Thought you might enjoy.

John Miller

I replied:

fucking hilarious video, reminds me of the incumbents’ campaigns presently underway in Key West and the Florida Keys

call me some morning, John, by 10, when I’m most likely to be near my calendar, so we can schedule a get together, I prefer lunch somewhere, Daddy Bones if it’s still open


John Miller wrote:

I really thought so. I even ran for Congress a couple years ago on a similar theme. Wrote a little recap of my ill-fated campaign:


It’s a little long (6-7 pages) so feel free to not read it, but I tried to be funny (a la Matt Taibbi), so it may not be too bad…

Call you next week. Gotta help with our budget before the City Commission on Monday, so it may be Tuesday…

John Miller

I replied:

Hi, John –

Tuesday lunch is okay for me. Had dinner at Daddy Bones tonight; they said that was their last hurrah, so we’ll have to settle on another eatery.

Read your generally hilarious running for Senate story.

You actually wanted to win the office? You actually thought you could persuade people to change? Did you ever regain your sanity, or did you simply realize you just didn’t have a chance?

My campaign strategy is to piss off as many people as possible; I may have exceeded those expectations today on Pirate Radio and later at the Lodging Association forum.

I still of am the view that anyone who wants to hold an elected office is insane, an ego maniac, a crook, or a combination of any or all of the above.

Now, if I could run for King of Key West, an office with the holder having absolute power, that might interest me.

Meanwhile, I’m waddling for mayor, again, because I’m now too old, fat and tired to run even across Duval Street. And, the angels told me to do it if I knew what was good for me. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


John Miller wrote:

Hey Sloan:

Lunch on Tuesday sounds excellent.

Win? Oh my god no. The only thing worse than running would be winning! I ran for Metro Council of Louisville and came way too close! That woulda been awful!

My aim was to get the voters to actually listen to reason, and facts, and what the Congress is sposed to do… no where near enough energy or ego or whatever to do otherwise. (They didn’t listen, as you know.)

Have a weekend!


In just a little while, I’m headed to Pirate Radio to give Jack and Becka campaign -t-shirts they said yesterday they’d like to have.

Sloan empire  t-shirt lge

Becka said she especially likes the back of the t-shirt, while Jack seemed partial to the front. The damsel below – Aphrodite, burst homeless into Hometown’s 2009 Call to Candidates, during the middle of political newcomer Craig Cates remarks, shouting, “Nude Beaches for Key West! Sloan for Mayor!” So just naturally, Aphrodite became the back of the 2009 campaign t-shirt.


This year’s campaign t-shirt doesn’t have “Free Beaches” on it. Perhaps it should. Maybe the Lodging Association members googled Haulover Beach and heard cash registers ringing.

Haulover jam 2

Haulover BeachHaulover Beach 2

A bleep, a bleep and bleep, and that’s all for today, folks!

Bugs BunnySloan blue

Sloan Bashinsky

Political advertisement paid for and approved by Sloan Bashinsky, for Mayor of Key West, aka “southernmost the nut house”

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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