politics and money make strange bedfellows, Key West and beyond

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cracked egg

I wrote in yesterday’s Key West’s kamikaze blue newspaper, a global role model for investigative journalism – www.thebluepaper.com post at goodmorningkeywest.com, in a comment to the Police Point Gun At Six-Year-Old Boy — and More…  article in the current edition of Key West the Newspaper.com – www.thebluepaper.com:

“Did I forget to mention that Arnaud [Girard] said the 1983 Civil Acts right [Civil Rights Act] provides for criminal prosecution, as well as civil prosecution? And I said that Act was aimed directly at the KKK, and Arnaud agreed.”

Naja Girard wrote to me later yesterday:

Naja

Hi Sloan,
Thanks for letting your readers know about our coverage of KW militarized police tactics in BV [Bahama Village]. In your comment I removed the part about Arnaud telling you that Section 1983 allowed for criminal prosecutions. Arnaud and I know section 1983 very well – we were Plaintiffs in such an action many years ago. There is no provision for criminal prosecution. You must have misunderstood.

I replied:

Thanks, we did talk about there being a criminal prosecution under a US Civil Rights Act. Perhaps it was another Act. Perhaps an older Act. Arnaud said he had found it after you published the article and he might have gone about the article differently if he had known about it ahead of time. I suppose I need to dig up the Act. I think I remember for a long time that there was a federal civil rights act with criminal sanctions. Perhaps it’s this one. The year of passage is more congruent.

Civil Rights Act of 1968

After nap dreams indicating I had something to clear up with Naja, and then a flat front tire on my bicycle last night, and then more dreams last night saying I didn’t get that right with Naja, I did more digging and then wrote again to Naja:

No, it’s not the 1968 Civil Rights Act.

I looked back a ways, don’t see a Civil Rights Act that provides criminal sanctions for merely pointing a gun at someone.

Alerted by Gary Ek, aka Reverend Gweko Phlocker, aka Soundman From Hell,

Gwekosoundman-from-hell.jpg

I dropped by Seadog Tavern on Angela Street yesterday to again hear Florida’s Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie hold forth. I had spent maybe half hour talking with Adrian several months ago at Daddy Bones BBQ.

I arrived early and got into a conversation with Alex Press,

Alex Press

who writes for the Weekly Newspapers. Alex had interviewed me and the other two mayor candidates, Mayor Craig Cates and Margaret Romero, about three weeks ago, and his article ran in the next edition.

Mayor CatesMargaret Romero

Cates and Romero

Alex and I talked some more about the mayor’s race.

I said, I’m running against two machines, Craig’s machine and Margaret’s machine. No, three machines, county City Commissioner Tony Yaniz’s machine, which is backing Margaret.

Tony Yaniz

Tony's puppet

editorial cartoon in Key West Citizen some months back, the puppeteer is Tony Yaniz

I told Alex, the three times I ran for mayor before, the few votes I received didn’t make a ripple in the pond.

I said, Tom Milone and Todd German proved in their attempts to become city commissioners that knocking on doors does not get anyone elected in Key West.

I said, people who have made up their minds to vote for Craig or Margaret will not change their minds regardless of anything which might come out about them. But Craig and Margaret are Conchs, and maybe enough people in Key West are tired of having Conchs in office to make the August 26 primary interesting.

Alex said, most of the people living in Key West are not Conchs (people born here). I said, just the other day someone told me that he had read recently that 70 percent of the people living in Key West arrived here within the past 6 or so years.

Alex said, even though people don’t get elected, their ideas can be used by the people who do get elected. I said, I put out lots of ideas other candidates don’t say, or won’t even dare say. Have been doing that for years. I should have added, the ideas I put out were not used by the people who got elected. nor by anyone else already in office.

That’s when Alex brought up how much money Craig had raised, and also Margaret, and were spending on their campaigns, and how that’s the only way to get elected.

I said, I never campaigned that way. I could have said, if I had a billion dollars, I would not campaign that way. I should have said, if how much a candidate spends trying to get elected is what voters look at, then that’s really screwed up. What voters should look at is the candidates and what they say and do and have done. Nothing else should matter.

Of course, that’s not how it works in politics, and that’s why politics don’t work.

About then, Adrian Wyllie arrived. He said a lot of things I liked.

Adrian Wyllie

For example, if he is elected, when a bill comes to him from the Florida Legislature, he will look at the bill to see if:

1) it is consitutional (in his opinion)?
2) can the state afford it financially?
3) it is a proper government function?
4) does it address the root of the problem?

Adrian said, if a bill doesn’t meet all 4 criteria, he will veto it.

As an example, Adrian used the war on drugs, the legislation for which solved nothing, but only created a huge war and government bureaucracy and cost a lot of money. Adrian said people should be allowed to ingest whatever drugs they wish, as long as they are not bothering other people. Yes, legalize marijuana in Florida.

Adian said he is for all Constitutional rights being enjoyed by Americans, unlike the Democrats and the Republicans, who are only for Constitutional rights they want Americans to enjoy. Sounded okay to me, but hold that thought for a while.

Other things Adrian said:

He wants Florida businesses operating only in Florida free from federal regulation.

He wants the natural watershed into Lake Okechobee and the Everglades restored.

He wants state school money going to local school districts, intead of to higher up the state education bureaucracy.

He wants prisons to remain state-owned-and run, not privatized, because he does not want a profit motive for putting people in prison.

I forgot a bunch of other things Adrian said he wants.

I thought Adrian was through talking and I was leaving when I heard him say he wants vouchers for schools, so parents can choose which schools to send their children,

I asked, vouchers could be used by parents to send their children to Christian academies? Yes, Ardian said. I said, on that, I don’t agree. Violates separation of church and state. Adrian said, we disagreed on that.

I should have said, vouchers can lead to the destruction of public schools, if parents use vouchers to send their children to private schools.

I think I’d heard Adrian say he was in favor of privatizing schools.

I had told Adrian earlier, that sending state school money down to school districts, bypassing the state education bureaucracy, was not going to work like he hoped. I said, in 2012, I ran for the school board down here. The school district down here is all screwed up. A lot of the state money for schools down here should go straight to the schools, which should have their own school boards. Adrian said he was not prepared to go that far.

Tropic Cinema

Hometown! PAC’s candidate forum at Tropic Cinema on Eaton Street in Key West is this evening.

Meet and greet starts at 5 p.m. Candidate forum begins at 5:30. I think a Mosquito Control Board Race comes first, then the county commission race, then the mayor’s race.

I will not come across as a politician.

Hometown livestreams its events, which you should be able to catch by clicking on this link, www.hometownkeywest.com , and then by opening the “Watch our candidates events LIVE ONLINE here” icon on the top right side of the homepage.

Hometown also video’s its events, and I imagine by tomorrow or the next day, there will be a link for the video.

Meanwhile, “Mud Dawg” Mike Tolbert sent this praise report today:

mud dog

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-cities-crackdown-on-homeless-people-is-close-to-ethnic-cleansing-9645189.html

US cities’ crackdown on homeless people is ‘close to ethnic cleansing’

David Usborne reports on an insidious campaign to drive out vagrants by a combination of police harassment and increasingly draconian new ordinances

That, as it happens, is about right, although Gil is not a man of many possessions and certainly not a car. He does, however, have size 13 shoes. In his hands is a police citation written a few weeks ago when an officer found him sitting on the kerb with his feet touching the road. “Feet in Roadway Disturbing Traffic,” it reads.

This is Fort Lauderdale, in Broward County, Florida, between Miami and Palm Beach, and Gil’s ticket – he gives his first name only – could be Exhibit A in what civil rights activists say is a creeping and insidious campaign by this and many other American cities to drive the homeless out of their midst by a combination of police harassment and increasingly draconian new ordinances that make being homeless a criminal offence.

It is a charge the city vehemently denies. But so far this year, it has passed two such laws, one making it illegal to urinate in public and another serving notice that any belongings left unattended on public property can be confiscated. More are pending, including one that would make it hard for charities to serve meals to the homeless in public spaces.

“It’s partly about the dollar but it’s also about the elitist mindset,” says Jeff Weinberger of the Broward Homeless Campaign. “They don’t want anything to upset their fantasy of a perfect existence.”

The homeless are an embarrassment for the town, said Arnold Abbott, a 90-year-old former police chief from Pennsylvania and director of Love Thy Neighbour, an organisation that has been feeding homeless here for over 20 years. Five times the city has tried and failed in court to stop him serving meals each Wednesday on the beach beneath the tourist strip.

The town, he said, really wants the homeless to go away. “They would like to put them in a bus and send them to Miami or Palm Beach. It’s very close to ethnic cleansing. But they are not going to succeed.”

“They want to drive us out of town every which way they can,” says Jimmy Singleton, 59, a one-time New York hairdresser now on his uppers. “They would like us to die.”Arnold Abbott, 90, feeds homeless people once a week

Arnold Abbott, 90, feeds homeless people once a week

The town is far from alone in drawing the ire of civil rights groups. A new study by the National Law Centre on Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP) tracks similar attempts to criminalise street living in 187 cities in the US.

“Many cities have chosen to criminally punish people living on the street for doing what any human being must do to survive,” it states.

Since 2011, says the report, there has been a 60 per cent rise in the laws banning camping in public, essentially ensuring that the homeless will be breaking the law even as they sleep. The number of citywide bans on sitting or lying down in places like parks or beaches rose by 43 per cent.

“More cities are choosing to turn the necessary conduct of homeless people into criminal activity,” said Maria Foscarinis, director of the NLCHP. “Such laws threaten the human and constitutional rights of homeless people, impose unnecessary costs on cities, and do nothing to solve the problems they purport to address.”

“The suggestion that the city is criminalising homelessness is without merit. Fort Lauderdale has a distinguished history of compassion toward those in need,” a city spokesman Matt Little told The Independent. But he also alluded to the pressure that comes from business owners to remove the homeless. “Protecting our quality of life and business environment ensures continued funding for humanitarian needs.”

But from where Mr Abbott sits, police harassment of homeless people is blatant and unrelenting. “We are in the trenches and we see what’s going on. It’s getting much worse. They will kick sand in their faces and when they get up to brush off the sand, they claim they are resisting arrest. That sort of thing,” he said.

And how much does Gil expect the fine for his foot-on-asphalt offence to be? “I really don’t know, but I don’t have any money anyway,” he replied, almost smiling.

——————————–

I have not won any popularity contests at candidate forums this year for saying of Key West’s homeless situation, we are not Auschwitz yet.

Sloan blue
Sloan Bashinsky
keysmyhome@hotmail.com

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

About Sloan

Darn, that would take a while. Try the autobiographical pages in the header. Ditto for header menu pages at www.goodmorningbirmingham.com. Hatched and raised there, eventually I ran away from home. Here's a short list: Born 1942; male; single; accused of all sorts of imaginable and unimaginable things, perhaps some true. Live on Key West of Weird asteroid. Publish something most days on this website, been at that since July 2007. That's heaps of catch-up reading, probably not recommended.
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