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Had lunch yesterday with Father Steve Braddock,
CEO of Florida Keys Outreach Coalition (FKOC), which gives down and out men and women and parents with children a chance to get back on their feet, if they are sober and produce clean urine.
Steve and I reminisced back to when we both told the city of Key West not to open KOTS, and to the city opening it anyway, and it became a den of booze and other narcotics, sex, thieving, disease, as we had told the city would happen. When the city figured out what it had gone and done, it went hollering to Steve for FKOC to take over KOTS and straighten it out, which FKOC reluctantly did, as well as a shelter like that could be straightened out.
When years later, the condo association across the canal sued the city and FKOC because KOTS had not been permitted, FKOC gave KOTS back to the city. Mayor Craig Cates called me all upset with Steve, and I asked why was he upset, the city got FKOC sued, and FKOC had not done anything wrong. Did he call Steve and offer to pay FKOC’s legal costs and hold FKOC harmless in the litigation? No. Turned out FKOC had to list pending litigation on its grant funding applications, and pending litigation did not bode well for FKOC getting grants, and FKOC had no choice but to give KOTS back to the city to run. FKOC never wanted to run KOTS, but only did it as a favor. FKOC made very little mony off of running KOTS, and several years returned money to the city which the city had paid FKOC to run KOTS.
Steve said yesterday much the same happened when it was pressured recently to take over the Heron-Peacock program, where mentally ill people were housed. Steve said FKOC took it on only because no one else would do it. He said the alternative was Heron-Peacock closing and its 38 residents being dumped onto city streets to wander. He described those residents as basically nice but mentally-challenged people, similar to the residents at MARC House, which provides housing and cares for people with Downs Syndrome and similar conditions. Steve said, although FKOC got the land and buildings at no cost, the inside of Heron-Peacock was awful, and FKOC, at its own expense, had to clean up and, it sounded like, basically redo the inside.
Steve said, counting Heron-Peacock, FKOC now has right at 140 clients. I said, about the same as what KOTS can handle when it’s full and bursting at the seams. Steve said FKOC gets no funding from Key West. The county gave FKOC $75,000 this year, up about $30,000, I think from previous years. Steve said FKOC’s total annual budget is about $1,000,000 a year. Other funding comes from grants, charities, etc.
Steve said the city recently received a $60,000, or so, federal, I think, grant for KOTS, and instead of using the grant to reduce what the city spends on KOTS, the city increased what it spends on KOTs by $60,000. Steve said the city has another grant in the works for KOTS, and he wonders, if the grant is awarded, will the city do the same with it?
Steve and I reminisced back to why the city wanted to build KOTS – it wanted to get street people out of sight at night, and the only legal way the city legally could do that was to build a shelter for them, which the Pottinger case in Miami required. The irony was, we chuckled, at night most street people got themselves out of sight, often far more out of sight than they would be in KOTS.
During the day, before KOTS was built, and even today, street people are out wandering around or hanging out in plain view on city sidewalks, in parks, on beaches, in shopping centers. Building KOTS changed where some street people slept at night, and it gave the city the legal right to use its police to jail homeless people who did not use KOTS on nights when KOTS was not at full capacity, which it often is. Many street people will not use KOTS, because they don’t like being near the sheriff department, they don’t like being in close quarters with other people, they don’t like being in close quarters with drunks, thieves and people with bad diseases, they don’t like the curfew.
You can be drunk and get into KOTS. Addicts take booze into KOTS in juice and soft drink containers. Addicts, if they can get away with it, sneak out through the gate and go to a bottle they have stashed and load back up, and come back in through the gate. All of these things have been reported to me by people who stayed at KOTS. I saw all of it but the sneaking back out through the gate when I stayed at KOTS. I was in the FKOC program, too. I saw clients get booted out pronto, after failing a random urine screen.
Steve and I lamented that the city is ignoring what he calls situational homeless people, men, women, parents with children, who I call new homeless people, in favor of the city’s never-ending attempt to keep street street people inside at night. I said City Commissioner Jimmy Weekley had called into Pirate Radio while I was being interviewed about six weeks ago, after I said, if I were mayor, I would try to get the Truman Waterfront Park plan scrapped and give a lot of that land to the Housing Authority to build rental housing there which actually is affordable. Jimmy said on the air that the Navy had approved 330,000 square feet of housing for Truman Waterfront, before it gave it to the city. Jack Smith, host of that radio show, did a quick calculation and said that would be over 500 living units. I told Steve that would help the new/situational homeless a great deal, for they are working but cannot afford market rate Key West rents, even those designated affordable, but really are not affordable.
I told Steve what County Commissioner David Rice and I both had said at the county-city homeless summit several months ago. That there is no solution for homelessness, the best that can be done is try to manage it. That it does work to mix addicts with non-users (booze is a narcotic), if you are trying to turn homeless people around. That the city and its police are financially killing the sheriff by jailing homeless people caught with open containers. They need to be detoxed, which costs the sheriff even more than the $85 a day non-addict inmates cost. Some of homeless addicts need to be sent to the hospital. Sometimes city cops sent drunk homeless people straight to the hospital in ambulances. The city is financially killing the hospital, too. And the local Public Defender and the local prosecutors and the court system.
I said my best guess is, 90 to 95 percent of street people are addicts. I said at the summit, then David agreed, that it will be a very good idea for the city to have its own drunk tank, where drunk homeless people caught by city police are taken, instead of to jail or the hospital. And then into the criminal justice system’
All of which the county taxpayers are paying FOR KEY WEST, whose residents make up only about 1/3 of the total county taxpayer base.
David Rice is a psychologist, who for a long time ran the Guidance Clincs, which do detox and rehab in Marathon. He knew of which he spoke. I told Steve, none of what David and I said about all of that at the homeless summit was reported in the local newspapers. What did that say about the local newspapers? It said they didn’t want the public to know what David and I said. Steve said he thought maybe De Poo Clinic in Key West had stopped doing detox and rehab; now only the Guidance Clinic in Marathon does it.
Steve and I barely talked about what we had discussed previously, which was the city never sought either of our input about its homeless policy. The two people in the city who actually knew the terrain, the city did not wish to include, because the city knew it would not like what we had to say.
Mayor Cates asked me at his victory celebration in 2009, if I would be on his Mayor’s Homeless Advisory Committee, he hoped I would because I knew so much about homelessness. I said, sure. I never heard another word from him about that committee.
Around the time Mayor Cates called me all mad at Steve for FKOC giving KOTS back to the city, because the city had gotten FKOC sued, Mayor Cates spoke poorly of Steve, said he was hard to get along with, and Steve had shown no interest in being on the Mayor’s Homeless Advisory Committee. I told Steve about that, and he sent me copies of two emails he had sent to Mayor Cates asking to be on that committee, and Mayor Cates had not responded to either email, Steve said.
After bidding Steve adieu I headed on my bicycle back to where I stay in mid-town. My cell phone went off. Mi north George amiga called to say she had just seen on Yahoo news that the paramedics involved in the cop strangling a man in New York City had been benched, put on desk jobs, like the two cops had been benched and put on desk jobs, pending outcome of the investigation.
Mi amiga said she also had just seen on Yahoo news that three teens in Albuquerque had been arrested for bludgeoning to death two homeless men. She said it was being touted as the teens had copied an Albuquerque S.W.A.T. team who several months ago had tracked and cornered a homeless man they knew to be not right in the head, and when he did not surrender peacefully, from a safe distance, they gunned him down. One of the cops videoed the whole thing. The video was obtained and went viral. The city residents went ballistic, demanded something be done. The mayor and chief of police stonewalled. The city residents went more ballistic.
Here are two articles about the touted copy cat case, which I found using Google yesterday.
Albuquerque, N.M. — Irony is thick in Albuquerque right now. Police are feigning shock at the murder of two homeless men sleeping in an abandoned lot at the hands of three local teenagers.
Despite recent protests regarding the Albuquerque police murder of at least one homeless man in a video that went viral only months ago, the APD claims to be shocked by such brutality.
[If you click on this link - Albuquerque Teens Emulate Police, Ruthlessly Kill Two Homeless Men (VIDEOS) - you should see at the bottom of that article a link to the video of the Albuquerque S.W.A.T. cornering and shooting the deranged homeless man.]
APD: Teens bludgeoned homeless men to death
Mayor Richard Berry said the killings show “there’s a lot of work left to be done” to help people on the streets.
“It’s one of the saddest things I’ve seen since I’ve been the mayor,” Berry said in an interview.
Berry said he and top police executives meet with social-service providers on Monday — the meeting was already scheduled, not the result of the killings — to discuss ways to better connect homeless people with services that are already available. One goal is to develop a catalog of what programs are already in place and where the needs lie for new ones, he said.
“In any city in America, the homeless population is subject to violent crime at a much higher rate than people who aren’t homeless,” Berry said.
Judge Linda Rodgers set the bond for all three defendants at $5 million cash or surety.
She said the three teenagers are a threat to a “specific” part of the community, referring to homeless people.
Rios appeared via a video monitor from jail. Tafoya and Carrillo were in the courtroom wearing gray T-shirts and dark blue pants. They are being held at the juvenile detention center.
Several family members cried and quickly left the courtroom after the short hearing. They declined to talk to reporters. Attorneys for the defendants also declined to comment.
All three teenagers charged in the beating deaths of two homeless men are facing life sentences and are being held as serious youthful offenders, according to a spokeswoman for the Second Judicial District Attorney.
Alez Rios, 18, Nathaniel Carrillo, 16, and Gilbert Tafoya, 15, are charged with two open counts of murder, tampering with evidence, three counts aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and robbery, according to court documents.
A first-degree murder conviction carries a life sentence, and offenders are eligible for parole after 30 years.
A 15, 16, or 17 year old convicted of first-degree murder would receive the same punishment as an adult convicted of first-degree murder, said Kayla Anderson, a spokeswoman for the district attorney.
Rios, Carrillo and Tafoya are accused of beating two homeless men to death with cinder blocks, poles and sticks late Friday night. The men’s bodies were found Saturday morning. Police said the injuries to the victims were so severe that police haven’t been able to identify them.
Monday, 11:20 a.m.
The three teenagers have all left Albuquerque Public Schools, according to APS spokesman Rigo Chavez.
Rios transferred from Atrisco Heritage High School in March to a non-APS school, Chavez said. He was in the 10th grade.
Carrillo finished the 8th grade at Jefferson Middle School in May of 2012 and did not enroll in school. Tafoya was suspended from John Adams Middle in February 2013. He never returned to school after his suspension, Chavez said.
APD: Teens bludgeoned homeless men to death
Police said three Albuquerque teenagers took turns smashing cinder blocks on the heads of two sleeping homeless men, killing both in an attack so brutal that police haven’t been able to identify the victims.
And one of the teenagers told APD police the three friends have attacked dozens of homeless people at random throughout the city in the last year.
Alex Rios, 18, Nathaniel Carrillo, 16, and Gilbert Tafoya, 15, were all arrested late Saturday on two open counts of murder and other charges, according to jail records.
Tafoya told police they have attacked as many as 50 homeless people in recent months, according to the criminal complaint, and police are asking possible victims to come forward.
The men’s bodies were found by a passerby at 8 a.m. Saturday in a field near 60th and Central.
“They are unrecognizable,” Simon Drobik, an Albuquerque Police Department spokesman, said of the victims. “My question is: Who failed these kids? How did it get to this point? It was so violent. I was sick to my stomach. Homicide (detectives) had a hard time dealing with it.”
Carrillo and Tafoya lived with their father at a home just north of the empty lot where the bodies were found, according to the complaint.
Police said the two men were asleep when the attack started. The teens also attacked a third man in the field, Jerome Eskeets, who had also been asleep but escaped and helped police identify the attackers, according to the complaint. He told police they wore black T-shirts over their faces as masks. As he ran, one of the teens yelled at him, Eskeets said, and that helped him recognize the youth as a nearby resident.
He also told police the teenagers had attacked several homeless people in the area in recent months.
Police found blood on Tafoya’s clothes and more blood on clothes found inside the home. Police also recovered a debit card and what may be the driver’s license of one of the deceased, according to the criminal complaint.
The three teens told police Tafoya and his girlfriend broke up and he was upset, so they went out late Friday night looking for people to beat up, according to the complaint.
In addition to the cinder blocks, the three young men also kicked and punched the two men and beat them with a metal pole and sticks, according to the complaint.
“They went over there with the intent to hurt the individuals in this lot,” Drobik said at a news conference Sunday.
Drobik said all three teens are facing the same charges. Rios is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center and Carrillo and Tafoya are at a juvenile detention center. Drobik said all three will likely be tried in adult court.
Richard Peralta, who lives east of where the beating happened, said several homeless people stay in the area and usually sleep and hang out in the field.
“The homeless people never bother us,” he said. “They are people and deserve the same respect as you, me or whoever.”
A man at Carrillo’s and Tafoya’s home on Sunday afternoon declined to comment.
Because Tafoya had boasted of attacking more than 50 homeless people, Drobik said police are asking any other possible victims to come forward.
“We’re are asking anybody in the social system who knows someone that expressed they have been attacked, that they reach out to those people to have them come to us and let us know what happened to them,” Drobik said. “We want justice for everyone.”
People with information can contact police at 242-COPS or call Crime Stoppers.
Drobik said police want to interview any homeless people attacked by the suspects so they can determine if Rios, Carrillo or Tafoya had any connection to a homeless woman who police said was intentionally run over with a truck near Second Street and Iron on June 9.
“A small clue, maybe a description of a truck, could tie everything up,” Drobik said
The fun day did not end there for me. Yesterday morning, I had received a phone call from Alex Press, Staff Writer at The Weekley Newspapers, requesting an interview at 3 p.m. yesterday afternoon. Alex said he had heard me speak at the Lodging Association last Friday and had enjoyed my remarks. He said the Weekly Newspapers were interviewing all the city mayor candidates. So I pedaled my bicycle over to 328 Simonton Street a little early, just a couple doors up from the T-Shirt Factory, which had played a large hand in creating this mischief.
I liked Alex because he seemed interested in getting down to things. However, I quickly learned from Alex’s questions, and my answers, and his following questions, that he knew very little about homelessness, other than what he had been fed by people who knew very little about homelessness.
I told Alex a little about two people, who knew a lot about homelessness, Steve Braddock and myself, and how the city officials had shut us out. I told Alex what I reported above about homelessness in Key West, and of Steve’s and my efforts, and even more. And about the 500 affordable rental housing units I hoped the city would build on Truman Waterfront.
I reminded Alex that he had heard Mayor Cates say at the Lodging Association forum that that would be public housing. As if public housing was beneath the city? But a free shelter for homeless people, most of whom are addicts, is affordable housing and is a good thing?
I told Alex about the dirtiest worst possible cruise ships calling on Key West, and the ocean being contaminated with MRSA bacteria. He had asked for three big topics I felt were important.
I went back to the Charles Eimers case and described the two Albuquerque cases. I said, if the KW cops, who were in on killing Charles Eimers, get off, that will be a signal that it’s open season on killing homeless people in Key West. Alex asked, if Eimers had been homeless, that would have made a difference? I said, no, If he had been homeless, he would have died. The cops thought he was homeless, and that’s why he died. The cops knew they had screwed up, and that’s why they set out right away to try to cover it up.
I said I had told Mayor Cates and the city commissioners at a city commission meeting that they all should resign because they had shown no public remorse, and had not publicly apologized to the Charles Eimers children for their police killing their father. I reminded Alex that I had asked Mayor Cates and Margaret Romero at the Lodging Association forum, if they ever were going to apologize to the Eimers family? And that Mayor Cates had said his heart went out to them for their loss, but he was waiting on the results of the investigation, and that Romero, the other mayor candidate, had said she didn’t think the police did anything wrong.
Alex said his next interview after me, at 4 p.m., was Margaret Romero. I left about 4:10, before she arrived. All told, counting about 10 minutes of attempts to photograph an ET posing as a human, the interview lasted about an hour and twenty minutes.
Somewhere along the way, Alex had asked what I thought of my chances in the mayor race? I had said, I’m running against two machines, no, three machines. Craig Cates’ machine, Margaret Romero’s machine, and City Commissioner Tony Yaniz’ machine, which is backing Margaret. I said, if I get into the run-off, I will faint. But then, all things are possible with God.
Mayor Craig Cates, left, and Margaret Romero
This morning brought an sage email from John Donnelly, of Key Largo, US Marine Corps Vietnam combat veteran, who has considerable experience going head to head against corrupt goings on in prisons and the criminal justice system.
to Naja Girard, co-publisher of Key West the Newspaper – www.thebluepaper.com –
which broke the Charles Eimers case and kept the KWPD and its masters in City Hall from getting clean away. It remains to be seen if they will get away with a lot of smelly stuff all over them, somewhat depicted in these two blue paper “cartoons”.
John wrote to Naja, copied to me and others:
Is it possible to secure KWPD and FDLE E-mails related to Mr. Eimers’ in-custody death?
Blessings & Respect,
I replied just to John and Naja:
Hopefully, the Grand Jury will ask for those emails, and for any paper correspondence between KWPD and FDLE, and for any investigative notes made by KWPD and FDLE. And for any recordings or videos made by KWPD and/or FDLE. And for all telephone records between KWPD and FDLE, beginning last Thanksgiving Day.
When Steve Braddock asked me yesterday if I thought there were any solutions, I said not any human solutions. Just look at how messed up the entire world is today. Some people are doing okay, he is running a tight ship at FKOC, keep doing that, don’t get tangled up in other stuff he can’t do anything about. I do what’s in front of me. I do the next thing in front of me. That’s all I can do. But, I think, it will take an ET or a Angel intervention to make any real difference.
Kurt Wager, part time Key West vicious van dweller criminal now taking a breather on St. Thomas, American Virgin Islands, added two new stanzas to his baleful poem published in yesterday’s the voice of reason and other great Key West expectations post at www.goodmorningkeywest.com.
Once a great nation, we were the best,
we had respect, by god we were blessed.
But on the world stage we now look like fools,
a bunch of sheeple, nothing but tools.
To the socialist, communist, marxists , et al,
the United States is ready to fall.
We need to stand up and say “there’s no way”,
America’s enemies will not have their day.
looks to me America caused a lot of her troubles without any help from enemies across the seas
Of course we did. As Kruchev said, “America will be destroyed without firing a shot” 50 years later, it looks like he may have been right.
Another thought Sloan, America’s enemy’s are no longer across the seas. The are in America, in our admin, in positions of power in our government, from the whitewash house on down. Muslims, Communists, Socialists, Marxists, all fit into the “progressive movement” that will destroy this great country. They believe in the writings of Saul Alinsky, Bill Ayers, etc.
All along America’s enemies were in America, even before the enemies named by you here. They founded this country on the exploited backs of African slaves and Native Americans, the lethal karma for which was inevitable. Further lethal karma came in the capitalistic guise of patriotism and saving America in Vietnam, Central America, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and elsewhere America had no business being. I told Father Steve Braddock over lunch today that, absent an ET or Heaven intervention, I see no cure for Key West, for America, for humanity. I just deal with what’s in front of me, that’s all I can do. I’m serious when I say you might be a lot happier if you stay in St. Thomas, although there isn’t nearly as much to engage tucked away like that, as there is in a place like Key West, which is a microcosm of the much bigger fucked up picture.
Hi Sloan, I agree with you that Americas enemies were here for hundreds of years. But would you rather be somewhere else, rather than growing up as you did? I’m not faulting you for your childhood, just wondering if you would have liked living in poverty?
I agree this country was built on the backs of slaves and native Americans, but I don’t feel I owe anything for what my ancestors did. As far as the useless destuctive wars, our country had no business getting involved.
Stay in St.Thomas? The city commission would love that. Sorry, I’m too passionate about my belief’s not to have my say. Like you, I believe in speaking my mind, and damn the consequences. I will be back, not sure when, but I will be a thorn in the side of the city commission.
Key West is a microcosm of the country. The only difference is Key West officials steal thousands, in big cities they steal they steal millions. Key West is full of small thinkers.
I think, Kurt, I’m not making myself clear. America’s enemies are Americans, going back to the first white English people who made landfall on this continent. Whether you believe it or not, you indeed are responsible for what white Americans did to African slaves and Native Americans – the sins of the fathers are visited on the sons for generations. Karma is another way of saying it.
My north Georgia amiga called me a bit ago saying 1,000 US troops, or maybe federal law enforcement officers, are being sent into Texas, I think, to try to stop children being sent into Texas from Mexico. She reminded me of a dream she had 4 years ago, when she lived in Pueblo, Colorado, of US troops being sent to the US-Mexico border. She used to be married to a Mexican man, maybe that’s why she had that dream.
I laughed, said, just a little while earlier I was telling the angels (and you, Kurt) in my thoughts that when the white Europeans arrived in New England, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and the southern halves of Oklahoma, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California were part of Mexico, which white Americans took away from Mexico, just like they took the Native Americans’ lands in those areas and everywhere else in what would become USA. Now we have hordes of Mexicans and other Spanish people pouring into USA. It’s fucking hilarious.
Right-wing Republicans/American Christians keep harping that America was founded as a Christian nation, which simply was not so. No true followers of Jesus would have behaved the way the white Founding Fathers and their white ancestors and descendants behaved toward African slaves, Native Americans, Mexicans. No true followers of Jesus would have launched the wars America launched against Spain and Mexico. Nor the wars in Vietnam and later.
Kurt, karma is very real. It is unavoidable, unless it is waived by Heaven, which, in my experience, happens rarely. Just about every problem America has today is self-inflicted. America is way past due taking a long hard look in the mirror, at the many beans in its own eye. A quaint exercise (sort of rhymes with exorcise) Jesus highly recommended in the Gospels, but his sage advice was not taken to heart. He also said in the Gospels, as you sow, so shall you reap. He meant it.
Like America, Key West is in the grip of what might only be the lead tidal surge of karma beyond anything a human being can possibly imagine. There are people in America who are being used by the angels to try to wake America up, but it looks impossible to me, one of those people. Similarly in the Keys and Key West. Similarly in Christendom. I was not joking when I said I think it will take an ET or a Heaven intervention to do any good.
All Americans, who have not had the experience, need to be stood in front of a mirror until they see themselves for who they truly are, and they see the people they know for who they truly are, and they see their church religion, if they have one, for what it truly is, and they see their political party, if they have one, for what it truly is, and until they see America for what it truly is. Such an intervention will be devastating. It will be like being in a Rickter 8 earthquake, a 5 tornado, a monster tsunami, a Vesuvius eruption, no, a Krakatoa eruption. It will be like being struck by a giant planet-killing meteor. It will be like being buried in a glacier at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
Maybe 5,000 people would physically survive planet-wide, enough, perhaps. to start over and maybe do better than before.
I tell you this Kurt, because that is how I see this species; it is how I was trained to see this species, starting with me. All of those cataclysmic spiritual exercises and experiences I was forced to endure; and it’s still going on, I expect it to continue for so long as I am in this human body, which is basically an automobile, with memories and hopes and dreams and disappointments and all sorts of thoughts and emotions, but the body is not me; it is not my soul, nor the spirit from which my soul emanated. Yet I am presently trapped in this body, enduring and enjoying what this world serves, because that’s why I’m here: to experience living on this planet.
That’s why all people are on this planet. It’s a proving ground, a school, an enrichment opportunity, a chance to devolve spiritually, as well as evolve. It was a long time before the angels torturing me started me pointing the finger away from myself, at what clearly was wrong with people I knew, with society, with America, with humanity. That only began in earnest after I was sent to Key West in late 2000 and started getting involved in its politics, and then in Keys politics. Before arriving in Key West, what I did was very different. I was being remade, and I was being brought people who, at the level of soul, at least, were ready to attempt that warp leap. At the ego level was a different matter altogether.
Politics was a very different experience for me, and it took me a while to realize there is no way to really make a difference, and the whole point, it seemed, is to further my own progress in the giant grist mill, and to publicly express that program in what I do, say and write. What other people do with that program is on them. What I do with the program is on me, and I need the angels’ constant advisories and corrections to navigate most of the program.
In sum, Kurt, America has met the enemy, and the enemy is America. Key West is but a tiny proxy for America, and perhaps for humanity, because Key West, fortunately, or unfortunately, made One Human Family its official philosophy. Perhaps the only government in world history to do that. So now the angels are giving Key West every chance to prove, or disprove, it. And that means every person in Key West, and every person involved in this debate about Key West.
The Key West mayor candidates debate on Pirate Radio is this Friday morning at 8:30 p.m. 101 FM on your dial. Or listen online at www.PirateRadioKeyWest.com.
Political advertisement paid for and approved by Sloan Bashinsky, for Mayor of Key West, aka “southernmost nut house”