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Busy day today.
challenger Danny Coll, left, incumbent George Neugent, right
Today at www.goodmorningfloridakeys.com is a rather unpleasant post about the District 2 county commission Republican primary race (closed to all but registered Republicans) between 4-term (16 years) incumbent George Neugent and Danny Coll. Danny ran against George in 2010 and received about 45 percent of the votes in that Republican Primary. I ran as an Independent that year, and George beat me 4-1 in the general election. I ran as an Independent in 2006, and George beat me about 3-1 that time. By noon today, you should be able to see that post by clicking on this link:
That post provides yet another example of how I get involved in very tough local government issues, county, city, school district, and what it will be like in the city government if I am elected mayor of Key West this year. All of which will be reported daily at this website: www.goodmorningkeywest.com. A real fun fest.
Yesterday morning on my bicycle,
I was greeted by Hometown PAC official Sheldon Davidson in front of his home in the Meadows neighborhood with, “There’s the next mayor of Key West.” I laughed, asked if I had been hexed? Had a curse put on me? Sheldon smiled, said he would see me Monday night. He meant Hometown’s next candidate forum.
Who: Judicial Candidates, Groups 1 and 4, Monroe County School Board Candidates, Districts 1, 4 and 5 and Primary Candidates for the Republican Nomination for U.S. Representative
Where: Lobby, Tennessee Williams Fine Arts Center (Florida Key Community College Campus, Stock Island/Key West)
When: Monday, August 18, from 5:00 – 7:30 p.m.
What: A great political evening is in store for Key West voters when candidates for Monroe County School Board, candidates for Circuit Court judgeships and primary candidates for the Republican nomination for U.S. Representative are questioned by four top political observers. The political mavens for this event will be Rev. Randy Becker, Naja Girard of Key West The Newspaper (The Blue Paper), Jenna Stauffer, local television newsperson and Bill Becker, popular newscaster of US 1 Radio, 104.1 FM and moderator of the highly-rated Morning Magazine program.
Also on the mayor’s race today is Key West the Newspaper’s (www.thebluepaper.com) teaser for an article co-publisher Naja Girard invited me to submit for today’s Friday edition:
First out of the chute in the mayoral candidates part of Hometown PAC’s August 4 forum, US 1 Radio News Coordinator Bill Becker said he called the Alabama Bar Association and they said they had no record of Sloan Bashinsky ever having practiced law in Alabama. You can watch and hear that and my answer by opening Hometown’s link, starting a little after the 1 hour and 10 minutes mark.
The next day, I called the Alabama Bar and got the same news from Cathy Sue McCurry – 334-269-1515 (phone). [...full article]
Meanwhile, Peary Court
is a discussion item on next Tuesday night’s city commission meeting, the last item on the printed agenda.
City of Key West, FL Page 6 Printed on 8/12/2014City Commission Meeting Agenda Full Detail – August 19, 2014
15 Peary Court
Sponsors: Commissioner Weekley
Citizen comments are not permitted for discussion items, but citizens are allow 3 minutes at the end of city commission meetings to speak about anything, and that time can be used to speak about Peary Court. Peary Court lies in City Commissioner Jimmy Weekley’s voting district,
and I’m glad to see Jimmy put Peary Court on the agenda for discussion.
During closing citizen comments at the next previous city commission meeting, I told the mayor and city commissioners that all of them now had individually met with the Angela Street/Meadows community and expressed where they stood on integrating Peary Court into Angela Street/Meadows. Peary Court eventually would be in front of them to make the final call. By then, a great deal of staff time and expesnse and the developer’s time and expense would have occurred; already the developer was on his fourth set of plans. That’s going to make it tough for the mayor and city commissioners to honor what they told the Angela Street/Meadows community (the mayor and five of the commissioners each had told the community they opposed the integration.) From what I’ve heard at city commission meetings, the mayor and city commissioners don’t know that the procedure is for Peary Court getting to them, and then what they can do once it is before them. If that is true, then it is not a good way to do business. I hope at the next city commission meeting, the city attorney will explain the procedure in public view, so everyone will know what the procedure is.
I wrote to one of the Angela Street/Meadows community members yesterday:
“I don’t know if I’ll say anything, probably won’t know until after I hear the discussion on the dais. Am glad Jimmy put this on the agenda for discussion and am hoping this time they get straight answers out of Shawn Smith about the process, legal and otherwise, and they let Don Craig and HARC know what they are up against.
“If I were sitting on the dais, I’d already have told Shawn during a city commission meeting I want an explanation during the next city commission meeting of how, when, and why the HARC [Historical Architectural Review Commission commissioners can be removed from office. There is a procedure for doing that with Tree Commissioners, and Imagine there is one for HARC commissioners, but I wasn’t smart enough to figure out where to find it.”
HARC, and City Planner Don Craig are in cahoots trying to integrate upscale cookie-cutter-designed Peary Court into an old historical Key West neighborhood, instead of protecting that neighborhood and its charm and its narrow and already busy streets and limited parking spaces from a foreign invader, that would be the Peary Court developer, who has no history in Key West and is only trying to make as much money as possible.
Father Steve Braddock, CEO of Florida Keys Outreach Coalition,
which offers down and out men and women a chance to turn their lives around, sent yesterday:
Homeless Forum Aug. 28
There will be a forum on Searching Out Solutions (S.O.S.) on constructive alternatives to costly criminalization of homelessness: Best and worst practices from other U.S. communities from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 28, at the Harvey Government Center, 1200 Truman Ave.
Panelists will include Amy Sawyer, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness; Michael Stoops, National Coalition for the Homeless; Kirsten Clanton, Southern Legal Counsel; Benjamin Waxman, expert on Pottinger vs. City of Miami, and David V. Peery, class plaintiff in Pottinger vs. City of Miami.
The forum is sponsored by the Monroe County Homeless Services Continuum-of-Care, Inc. As space may be limited, those wishing to attend are requested to RSVP to 305-350-8224 or to MonroehomlessCoC@Comcast.net.
Thanks, I promoted it in today’s post at goodmorningkeywest.com, copy sent to you separately this a.m. Hope it wakes some folks down here up; I can’t believe how much I still am hearing about what can be done to homeless people, which simply is not legal, not yet anyway; although it certainly can, and is, done to them anyway down here and elsewhere. Do you know if these presenters have a real grip on how difficult it is turn turn around long term street people? Especially those using booze and/or other narcotics. How do psychology and psychiatry treat mentally ill street people , who are active narcotics users? What good is prescribing Haldol, Zyprexa, Zoloft, etc. to street people who are living for their next drink? I found myself thinking today of when you came up and introduced yourself to me at a city commission meeting maybe in 2001 or 2002, after I’d once again said during citizen comments that only God can change homeless people; what society can do is see to it they don’t starve to death, and have clothes to wear and medical treatment. Dorthy Sherman’s soup kitchen’s view at one time was, “It’s our job to feed homeless people, it’s God’s job to change them.” I say this, Steve, because it seems to have been my experience with Michael Stoops in the past, and with others in or close to his camp, and with SHAL members, that they don’t really accept the reality of the population they are trying to represent and help. Or, they don’t really want to accept that reality. I do hope, though, they will leave Key West considerably more sobered up about what can and cannot legally be done to homeless people, and what actually has a chance to bring off change in street people; and that the real effort needs to be to get the new homeless back inside and “normal”, and help the about to become new homeless people remain “normal”. This focus on getting street people out of sight at night, or anytime, is a very small approach compared to the entire situation.
Will people in the audience be allowed to interact with panelists?
Will the Citizen and the Keynoter actually report something important after this event, for a change?
I truly share your hope that our guests will indeed leave Key West “considerably more sobered up about what can and cannot legally be done to homeless people, and what actually has a chance to bring off change in street people.” That is the intent of the forum and my sincere prayer. It is long past time for reality to trump rhetoric and partnerships to trump politics.
By having the lead attorney for Pottinger vs. City of Miami among the panelists it will hopefully help educate our policy makers on what I usually hear many refer to as “the federal mandate”. Most have no idea what that really means. I also agree with you “that the real effort needs to be to get the new homeless (what I call the situationally homeless) back inside and “normal”, and help the about to become new homeless people remain “normal”. “Normal” to me meaning housed, healthy, and as self sufficient as possible. I also agree that “This focus on getting street people out of sight at night, or anytime, is a very small approach compared to the entire situation”. It also just does not work…anywhere.
I am very pleased that one of the original Pottinger plaintiffs has agreed to come. He was homeless, arrested a number of times, and is now an attorney having earned his degree from George Washington University. I believe all of the panelists have something to offer and I know for certain that they each sincerely want to help our community at large as well as the chronically homeless street people. The panelists are not being personally compensated as so called “homeless experts” looking to make a single dime…or $20k for that matter! There will be time for attendee Q&A and possibly some public comment at the end. I anticipate a very full room so RSVP if you plan to attend. This will not be a debate or bitch session but a sharing of decades of combined experience and ideas. I’ve had my fill of that waste of time nonsense over the past 15-years! The forum will be professionally videotaped and made available for those that cannot attend.
With regard to our mutual friend Dorothy Sherman, what you say is 100% accurate except that it was not her “view”, it was her deepest soul felt conviction based upon her experience of homelessness as close as she could ever experience it. Dorothy was never homeless herself but she and her husband George really did experience homelessness simply by not being afraid of street people, listening to their stories, seeing them, and embracing them as equal human beings created in the image of the Divine. She is one of several who’ve inspired me over the past 30-years to welcome that experience of oneness with the poor. I’ve never been homeless and probably never will be. But I’ve spent my share of days and nights over the past decades “homeless by choice”, wandering alone among street people with nothing but the clothes I was wearing. I was never afraid and never threatened, usually treated respectfully, walking the inner cities, ghettos, barrios, and slums. Some would learn much by immersing themselves in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, or Mission Districts, Skid Row, Hell’s Kitchen, or even just a few nights on the streets of Miami. Again, I agree. It is our call to be compassionate and leave the rest to God.
I thought after reading Steve’s reply that our emails, together, probably explain why Mayor Cates and the City Commission and City Manager do not seek Steve’s and my input, which, in my experience, is not what they and most people in Key West want to hear.
The Citizen – www.keysnews.com – has yet to publish my letter to the editor,
explaining why it reported that US 1 Radio News Direcctor Bill Becker called the Alabama Bar Association and was told they had no record of Sloan Bahsinsky ever having practiced law in Alabama. The reason was I had changed my name to Sloan Young in early 2010, and had so notified the Alabama Bar Association, and they had me as Sloan Young in their data base. I later changed my name back to Sloan Bashinsky, and did not notify the Alabama Bar Association, because no longer practicing law.
The Citizen wrote today about the mayor’s race, my interjected thoughts in italics and I added the candidate photos:
Friday, August 15, 2014 Add to FacebookAdd to Twitter
Mayor’s race between returning rivals
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff
The city’s mayoral race poses a simple question for many voters: Has anything changed since Oct. 1 to sway them to replace incumbent Craig Cates with his perennial challenger, Margaret Romero, come Aug. 26?
“Nothing’s changed,” Cates said Thursday, calling from the Florida League of Cities conference in Hollywood, where he is representing Key West. “Voters have already spoken twice against the same candidates. Now they’re asked to vote a third time. It’s a lot of work and very time consuming but that’s the process, and I respect the process.”
Hmmm, when Cates ran the first time, 2009, part of his campaign talk was, if he was elected, he would not seek reelection. He was elected, and he sought reelection three times, counting this year’s race.
It was only 10 months ago that Cates beat Romero 54 percent to 46 percent in an election where he was forced to run for a one-year term rather than the standard two-year tenure so that the city could synch its elections with the state.
Romero, 63, a retired IBM executive consultant, said she is running again because locals asked her to.
“People who I don’t even know stopped me in parking lots or businesses and said, ‘Please run again,'” Romero said Thursday while on her way to a community meeting in Bahama Village. “I’m not one who cuts down somebody else. I may not like certain actions. I’m talking about system and processes and what have been allowed to remain as the status quo that needs to be addressed.”
But a second challenger, Sloan Bashinsky, says he is the only candidate who truly cares about creating affordable housing, which he defines as something a local waitress can afford, and battling what he calls Key West police brutality.
If elected mayor, Bashinsky told the crowd at a political forum this month the first thing he would do:
“Apologize to the children of Charles Eimers.”
While not the landslide Cates enjoyed in 2011 against Romero, the 2013 margin of victory came at a time when voter turnout was very heavy for a vote on a contentious channel-dredging study.
Cates, who said he supported a federal study but no dredging of the harbor, said after the election that his stance on the issue helped Romero cut into the large margin of victory in their first election contest.
The referendum was for a study on dredging the harbor, so more and bigger cruise ships could call on Key West. If Cates really opposed dredging, he would not have voted to put the study on the referendum.
At the same time, Cates was also taking heat for having suggested a 24-hour homeless shelter rather than the overnight bunkhouse the city has on Stock Island. Cates later dropped the idea, saying he was just trying to find solutions and was never married to the plan.
Cates persuaded the City Commission to pay a Texas homeless consultant, Bob Marbut, $20,000 to come up with the plan to put a 24-hour, full-service homeless rehab shelter in Key West, the Easter Seals property was where it was decided to put it.
Cates, 60, a fourth-generation Conch and retired mechanic and auto parts store owner, swept the 2011 election with 70 percent of the vote in a contest that included Romero and Carie Noda.
Bashinsky has run twice for mayor, three times for the county commission, and once for the school board without ever winning.
Gwen Filosa did not report again, twice before she reported, that I ran for mayor in 2011. I wrote to her about a week ago and explained that, and that I had run for mayor three times before this race: 2003, 2007, 2009, and that I was Sloan Young when I ran in 2003.
If none of the three candidates win outright Aug. 26, capturing 50 percent plus one vote, a Nov. 4 runoff between the top two vote getters will settle the election.
Both Romero and Bashinsky have been constant critics of local government without ever having served as an elected official or on a city advisory board. They attend meetings regularly, and speak at the podium during public comment, almost always in collision with someone or something.
Has Gwen forgotten that when Craig Cates ran the first time in 2009, he had been invisible in Key West politics? I’d never heard him speak at a city commission meeting. In fact, I’d never heard of Craig, before the Citizen reported in the fall of 2008 that he had announced his intention to run for mayor in 2009. I was attending and speaking at city commission meetings years before I ever heard of Margaret Romero.
Romero has stepped up her campaigning since 2011, unveiling new yellow election signs that feature her silhouette, complete with hair bun, and speaking more bluntly about what she calls a corrupt local system of government.
“Restore Trust at City Hall” is her latest motto, and she likes to say that as a fifth-generation Conch, she is no Bubba or “Bubbette.”
A few years ago, Romero expressed outrage about the school district’s Horace O’Bryant School project, where tiltwalls crashed through the neighborhood’s height restriction of 25 feet, standing 64 feet from the crown of the road. State officials later announced they hadn’t done anything wrong.
On goodmorningkeywest.com, for quite a while, I beat the school board and school district, and the city commission, up about Horace O’Bryant. I attended city commission meetings and told the mayor and city commissioners how to stop the construction in it’s tracks. Red tag the construction; then have city police arrest and jail any construction worker, supervisor or foreman who did any work on the new school.
Romero demanded the school reduce the walls to 25 feet, per neighborhood rules. School board member Andy Griffiths called the idea “insane,” and other board members couldn’t fathom billing taxpayers for a giant redo.
I finally ended up siding with the school district, for two reasons. First, Horace O’Bryant was in City Commissioner Teri Johnston’s voting district. Teri is building contractor. She did not determine the height of the new school until the construction was well underway. Second, an email surfaced from the school district’s HOB overseer to the city manager’s office, saying the HOB plans had been submitted to the city’s engineering and fire department. Where there any other city departments the plans should be sent to? The email was not answered by the city manager’s office. Not long afterward, construction began on HOB. Months later, after the exterior walls went up and the height of the school was in plain view, the hullabaloo started.
Romero was against turning the Glynn Archer School into a city hall, which the mayor worked on for years, and which is currently under construction while the city rents office space at a New Town strip mall.
I was okay with Glynn Archer being the new city hall, if it did not cost several arms and legs. It appears to be coming in slightly under budget, hope it does. Several times I have thought it should be named The Mayor Craig Cates Glynn Archer City Hall, because it was Mayor Cates idea and he pushed hard for it. I was against the school board giving Glynn Archer to Key West for nothing; the school district could have put to good use the sales proceeds, if it had sold Glynn Archer at market rate.
Romero also, like Bashinsky, is against Key West changing its charter by referendum to allow locals whose homes are below base flood elevation to raise them. Both candidates recently called the proposal, which the commission is likely to vote on Tuesday to put on the Nov. 4 ballot, a ploy to help developers grow richer. This month, the commission unanimously approved putting the question to voters.
I also said I opposed the referendum because only wealthy property owners will be able to afford having their homes raised up, or having their homes razed and rebuilt on stilts, and maybe only 5 percent of city homeowners will be able to do that. Ergo, the main beneficiaries of the referendum, if it passes, will be developers.
Bashinsky says he is Key West’s resident homeless expert, having lived here on the streets before his father died in 2006, leaving him an inheritance. He recently suggested closing the Keys Overnight Temporary Shelter and letting the homeless fend for themselves like they did before 2004.
Wow, Gwen. How come you left out WHY I said that should be done? Because all the city wants is to get homeless people out of sight at night, and the city is paying lots of money do do that at its overnight homeless shelter, KOTS, when most homeless people hide away at night anyway. During the day, in plain view, homeless people are seen in many places in the city. The city would be far better served, I said many times, in conjunction with closing KOTS, to speand all that money and time trying to get new homelss people back inside, before they become street people, and preventing people on the edge of becoming new homeless people from becoming new homeless people; and to do that will require a lot more affordable rental housing than the city now has. Rental housing a waitress can afford.
Alabama-bred and a graduate of Vanderbilt University and the University of Alabama School of Law, Bashinsky practiced law in Birmingham, Ala., where his family name is well known for philanthropy, from 1973 to 1985, and went by the name Sloan Young for a time.
This is the Citizen’s way of explaining why the Citizen reported the Alabama Bar Association told Bill Becker they had never heard of Sloan Bashinsky?
He has been married and divorced seven times.
Yep, and to seven very interesting women, who each triggered the wakening of different slumbering parts of me.
Bashinsky also favors the creation of a “drunk tank.”
For its homeless drunks, instead of sending every homeless person caught drinking in public to the county jail or the hospital on Stock Island, at huge cost to the Sheriff, thus to the county taxpayers, and to the hospital, thus to the county taxpayers and anyone else who uses the hospital, which has to raise its fees to cover treating homeless people for nothing.
He has told city commissioners they should all resign over the case of Charles Eimers, the Michigan man who died six days after a facedown struggle with at least four officers Nov. 28 on South Beach.
I told them they should resign because they had shown no public remorse and had not publicly apologized to the Eimers family. I wish Gwen would start reporting accurately; she does this sort of thing frequently when she reports what I say at city commission meetings, candidate events, etc.
Cates said the city is thriving with reported crime down for the fifth year in a row, some $100 million in city projects in the works, and money in the bank.
Cates is the reason for that? If so, then he is the reason for what the blue paper keeps reporting about his rogue police department. In this week’s edition, the blue paper makes a strong argument for the KWPD, thus Mayor Cates, covering up in the Matthew Murphy case.
“I’m asking for the support of the citizens to keep doing all the things we’ve done together, moving Key West forward,” Cates said. “Things are working.”
Tell that to Charles Eimers’s children and to Matthew Murphy, paralized for life, after being tazered in the back without warning by a KWPD officer, who lied in his initital incident report, but kinda changed his tune, maybe, after the tazer video did not agree with his lie, all of which Police Chief Donnie Lee declined to investigate. Take credit for that, too, Mayor Cates, if you are taking credit for “city is thriving with reported crime down for the fifth year in a row, some $100 million in city projects in the works, and money in the bank.”
About a week ago, someone from the citizen called me about getting an updated photo of me, and I emailed him this photo.
I wonder what would have happened if I had sent this instead?
Meanwhile, around 5:30 p.m. today I baptize myself with a bucket of ice water, after donating $100 to ALA challenge duel, then invite Craig Cates, Margaret Romero and everyone in Key West to follow suit, and if they can’t afford $100, donate what they can, but they get the ice water baptism by their own hand, too.
The “christening” will happen at or near
Political advertisement paid for and approved by Sloan Bashinsky, for Mayor of Key West