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I hope the dueling pens below wrap up the Sister & Sloan tango in reader comments beneath Ferguson Flashpoint? article at www.thebluepaper.com – Key West the Newspaper. The first three comments were included in yesterday’s a mid-summer tropicalish Sunday homily: the day the heavens downloaded on the Florida Keys and Key West post yesterday at www.goodmorningkeywest.com. The remaining comments came in later. I rearranged Sister’s and my comments so they are easier to track by subject and time of submission. Fairly spicy, and fairly long, ending with two comments from John Donnelly, which the angels really liked in my dreams before dawn today. Then the gloves come off again, and again, and again. Hope you like bare knuckles MMA.
SISTER AUGUST 23, 2014 AT 5:59 PM
Well Sloan, I do believe that it’s important to know how to defend yourself both mentally and physically.
I suppose I was hoping you could give some specifics on how you would go about getting the “KWPD straightened out.” I think a specific plan is needed.
Evil can be daunted if enough humans shine their conscientious spiritual light on it. Critical mass is needed.
SLOAN BASHINSKY AUGUST 23, 2014 AT 8:13 PM
I provided a specific plan, Sister, and I invited you offer your own ideas, and none were forthcoming.
You are very young in spirit. Evil cannot be daunted by human beings. It can be interfered with by human beings who do what is required of them, which well might cost them their very lives.
Not many such people in Key West, maybe a handful. I’m not talking about US military personnel or CIA operatives. I’m talking about something else entirely.
Naja and Arnaud have put their lives at risk writing about KW police issues. It was given to them to do, and they did it, even though they didn’t want the blue paper to continue covering police issues when they acquired it from Dennis Cooper.
When they acquired the blue paper, Naja and Arnaud didn’t even believe there were serious issues in the police department. Now they KNOW there are serious issues, and they are shining a lot of light on the police department. As is John Donnelly. John also calls out city officials, as do I, but his method is different from mine.
I also call out the entire city, and the entire county on other matters. I don’t count as soldiers people who don’t use their human names when they write into the blue paper. If you believe in something, but won’t put your name and face on it, you don’t believe in it enough to matter is my view.
I don’t run a diaper service, Sister. Go back into your safe play pen up there where you live, Big folks down here are trying to do something about city police who don’t want to behave like police are supposed to behave.
SLOAN BASHINSKY AUGUST 24, 2014 AT 12:28 PM
Peggy Butler, retired nurse, formerly of Key West, just now messaged me on Facebook:
I’ve spent quite a while, almost an hour, reading your most recent post and comments [at http://www.goodmorningkeywest.com, Aug. 24], and I found yours to be right on the money, especially where you were answering Sister! As you know, I’ve been opposed to these anonymous ‘signatures’ for a long time. If you have something of value to say, don’t say it behind that cloak of anonymity but have the courage and the honesty to sign your real name. I was particularly disturbed by your statement about Naja and Arnaud putting their lives at risk over taking on the KWPD, because I’ve felt the same way for over a year, since it was so obvious they were going to stand up for the locals and tourists and tell it like it is. I admire them so much and have since the days when I covered the city commission, because like Tom, Sheila, Christine and you, they always came to the podium armed with carefully researched facts. And I was very happy when they took over the Blue Paper when Dennis retired (or thought he was going to retire, since he’s right back at it), but I started to worry about their safety and welfare when it became obvious they were going to tell the truth after discovering things were not as it seemed at the KWPD and then started to uncover so much that was being denied. I know the mayor only has one vote on the commission, but I think if you were mayor, your vote would be an ethical and honest one and that you would do all in your power as mayor to keep things above board instead of saying such trite things as the current one said to Christine the other day when she was trying to get them to open their eyes to the truth. God help you all down there right now, Sloan. Don’t ever stop telling the truth about it, and keep a close watch over Naja and Arnaud, as we don’t want to lose their voices, either!
SISTER AUGUST 24, 2014 AT 1:06 PM
Ok, I’m back…all freshly powdered and diapered for you Sloan.
The investigative journalists who write for this paper are doing what their jobs require of them. They are exposing the corruption and crime that seems to be enveloping your little island home.
You Sloan, have chosen to put yourself in the forefront and to run for a leadership position which requires ACTION, not talk.
Could you possibly gather a petition to fire the specific “bad apples” that have perpetrated the crimes against human rights in your little island home? Would not the City Manager King and his Commission Court have to take notice and ACTION if there were thousands of signatures on such a petition?
Could you not put a proposal up to the King and his Court to ban tasers as they have done in other jurisdictions?
Could you try to meet with community members of Bahama Village and listen to how they would want to be represented? I’m sure it wouldn’t be by the Ministers and Masons you alluded to earlier as they clearly only have their pockets in mind.
Would you try to learn as much about what police procedures are in effect as far as traffic stops, disputes, etc. and if they follow the law?
Are you going to DO anything to curb the SWAT onslaughts and militarization of your police force?
Or are you going to simply continue to ask someone else if they have a magic wand?
SISTER AUGUST 24, 2014 AT 1:51 AM
What you fail to understand is that the police ARE behaving how they are “supposed” to behave. Supposed by their masters that is.
Oh damn, I just crapped myself again…please excuse me…
SISTER AUGUST 24, 2014 AT 1:55 PM
My real name is Won-a-pa-lei. It was not given to me through birth nor marriage. I gave it to myself. Does that help legitimize what I have to say?
SLOAN BASHINSKY AUGUST 24, 2014 AT 3:37 PM
If that’s your legal name under USA and your state of residence’s laws, traceable by state and federal law enforcement agencies, Social Security Administration, Internal Revenue Service, etc., you are no longer hiding. Otherwise, you are still hiding.
Legitimize is not the word I would use. The word I would use is standing, as in moral standing. Another word I would use is credibility.
SISTER AUGUST 24, 2014 AT 3:51 PM
I don’t know why you would feel the need to do a background check on me Sloan. If you feel what I have to say has no credibility, feel free to ignore it.
SLOAN BASHINSKY AUGUST 24, 2014 AT 5:57 PM
I take your retort to mean the second name you provided is not your legal name, so if, say, a KW police officer wants to find out about you, where you live, etc., the police officer will not find you.
I have no interest in doing that kind of “background check” on you. In what you write into this forum, you are providing lots of background information on yourself. Go change those dirty diapers you messed up again.
SLOAN BASHINSKY AUGUST 24, 2014 AT 4:15 PM
Besides the police “creed”, PROTECT AND SERVE, and the oath KW police officers take to enforce and abide by the laws of the US, Florida, Monroe County and Key West …
I just now pedaled my bicycle over to the Key West Police Department about half mile away and copied this down off a monument out front of the entrance, underneath a KWPD badge mounted into the monument. What was chiseled into the monument was all centered, which I don’t see a feature for here, so it is left-margined: justified:
BEHIND THIS BADGE
YOU WILL MEET STRENGTH AND TRUTH
BEHIND THIS BADGE
YOU WILL MEET HONOR AND COMPASSION
BEHIND THIS BADGE
YOU WILL MEET MOTHERS, FATHERS, SISTERS AND BROTHERS
BEHIND THIS BADGE
YOU WILL MEET THE MEN AND WOMEN
OF THE KEY WEST POLICE DEPARTMENT
All of that is what I kind of had in mind when I wrote police officers not behaving as police officers are supposed to behave.
In the same vein, from the homepage of the kWPD website:
Welcome to the Southernmost Police Department in the continental United States. The Key West Police Department is a state accredited organization made up of dedicated and professional men and women. Our island is home to a unique and diverse community, which is reflected throughout the ranks of the department. We protect and serve a population of 25,000 full-time residents, with over two million visitors each year. Whether you are visiting the island or you are lucky enough to call Key West your home, please be safe and enjoy your time in Paradise.
Chief Donald J. Lee, Jr.
The Key West Police Departments envisions itself as a professional department guided by our values to make Key West a safe place to live, work and visit.
The mission of the Key West Police Department, in partnership with the community, is to provide effective and efficient police services.
A comfortable and healthy work environment must first start with mutual respect among members of our Department. Likewise, a community that respects its police department and its members must first start with members of our Department always demonstrating understanding and sensitivity to all of those in our community with whom they come in contact.
Ethics and honesty are perhaps the most valuable traits a law enforcement officer can possess, an essential element in gaining the trust and confidence of the public.
It is important that every law enforcement officer be able to make objective and impartial decisions based on the law and the facts at hand. Just as important, is his ability to exercise discretion, always using fairness as his guide.
We must always strive to provide a positive and professional response to the needs our residents and visitors
You have a way about you, Sister, that causes me to think, and feel, that you have a lot of unresolved childhood authority issues, and that you also are deeply wounded in the soul sense, if not also in the physical sense, and that is what drives you to be so “pleasant” and anxious to right wrongs and stop evil-doers as if your very life and soul depend on it.
The irony is, many police officers are in the same boat. The further irony is, I used to be in that boat. I was righteous in my crusades to right this or that wrong. The thought of stepping back and pondering what was triggering my righteous crusades might be something broken in me, as opposed to my external services actually being needed, never even once occurred to me. Then along came the angels who started introducing me to me. What a heap of fun!
Perhaps because I had been such a determined crusader, the angels returned me into that arena, but with an entirely new set of eyes and ears and senses not recognized by human systems, and with the angels directing and correcting me ongoing, mostly in dreams, but they had and still have other ways they use, considerably more direct and at times quite painful physically, and even quite terrifying at times.
A book was published about projection, A COURSE IN MIRACLES. That book takes all the fun and reward out of crusades. The New Age embraced that book, but then twisted the book to suit the New Age view, not unlike Christianity twisted Jesus to suit Christianity’s view.
Well, perhaps I digress. The real masters behind cops behaving like cops are supposed to behave, are their own soul wounding and perhaps even physical trauma, and what many like to call the Devil, which I call Lucifer, which you speak dismissive of, as does the New Age. Christianity tends to recognize Evil, or Satan, as they call it, but because they are all saved by Jesus, they don’t think they have anything to worry about from the Devil.
Just what the Devil wants them all to think.
I’m now going over to your reply, in which you responded, finally, to my request for your own suggestions, and asked other questions.
SLOAN BASHINSKY AUGUST 24, 2014 AT 5:50 PM
Dig the wax out of your ears, Sister. I chose nothing. The angels running me told me in dreams to run for mayor this year. They told me in a dream in late 2012, when I still lived on Little Torch Key, that I would run for mayor of Key West again, and then they started moving me in that direction.
But for the angels’ directives, I would not have entered the mayor’s race this year, nor would I have entered three prior mayor races here, nor three earlier county commission races, nor one school board race.
You say what I, as mayor, would be about requires action and not talk, and then you suggest action by me, as mayor, that only can be done by talking or by writing.
Sure, I can draft that PETITION to have the specific bad apples in the KWPD fired, but I’d have to be darn sure I had concrete proof of who the bad apple cops are. And even then, the police benevolent union would fight it tooth and nail, fang and claw, in the state court system. The lawsuit probably would drag out past my 2-year term, and I would not file to run for a second term, which I have said in every race I have run down here.
Pretending the police benevolent union would welcome the PETITION with open arms, even if I got 10,000 signatures on the PETITION, the City Manager could legally ignore it. And the City Commission could legally ignore it. The political impact might be considerable, however. So, the PETITION might be a good move politically and emotionally, if it gained thousands of signatures.
However, what I would like see happen instead is a PETITION drive to amend the city Charter, to abolish the commission-mayor form of government and replace it with a single elected official, who could be called the mayor, to whom all city departments, including the police department, answer directly, and which department heads are hired and fired by the mayor. Yes, a[s] the king, or the queen, for the 2 years in office. Or the 4 years, if the term is increased as part of the PETITION drive and the voters approving the Charter amendment. However the Charter amendment might require more than 50 percent voter approval. I will have to look into that. And, I think the Charter amendment would require approval by the State of Florida. All of which, of course, might take as long as, or longer, than the police benevolent union’s lawsuit.
Any and all of which would make for interesting ongoing reading in the local paper rags and blogs, but it might end up being nothing but noise and wasted paper.
As for tasers being banned, if I were mayor, I would have one vote on that. As a private citizen, I would have no vote. So I think a PETITION drive is the way to go at that. But I wonder if such a PETITION would pass legal muster, after the police benevolent union challenges the petition in court, as depriving police officers of their right to protect themselves using modern police methods and interfering with their duty to enforce the laws and protect the public? That, too, would make for lots of interesting reading in the local rags and blogs.
But that’s not my problem with tasers. My problem is I am not in favor of banning tasers, because tasers, with few exceptions, are not lethal, but guns are, and I don’t want police to only have guns. I want police to have tasers to use instead of guns, except when they have no choice but to use guns. Saying it another way, I think banning tasers will result in more dead, maimed and paralyzed and post-traumatic-shocked citizens, by police shooting them with guns.
Certainly, if elected mayor, I will do what I can to meet with Bahama Village leaders. Understand, though, that their churches, lodges and clubs are an integral part of their society, and their leaders, as far as I know, are leaders in their churches, lodges and clubs.
It was painful for me to be at that city commission meeting and watch and hear one Bahama Village elder after another, nearly all were black, argue for the Goombay Festival being returned to their control. My impression was, making money was their main motivation. Making money for their churches, lodges, clubs, charities. And, I imagine, some of them making money for themselves.
I also heard from a few of them complaints about Goombay having drifted far from its Bahamian-Caribbean African roots, which was true. But they and/or their predecessors were in on that back when they and/or their predecessors controlled Goombay. I very much hope, and during citizen comments that night, I urged the mayor and city commissioners and both groups vyying for this year’s Goombay contract, to require only African roots themes in this year’s Goombay. Later, I was told by Mayor Cates that that legally could not be required. Maybe it would mess with Interstate Commerce to restrict Goombay in that way. Left to me, I would require it anyway, and let the the lawsuit come, nor not.
So, in what I see, a great deal falls on those black churches, lodges, clubs, etc. to bring off the kind of change I, and others, feel is needed between Bahama Village and KWPD.
If Bahama Village leaders are not willing to come to city commission meetings and speak their minds during the 3 minutes allotted to any citizen at the end of each commission meeting, what message does that send to me, as mayor, to the city commissioners, to the city manager, to the chief of police, to the KWPD, to the citizens of Key West, and to God’s angels?
Already in this article’s comments thread, I suggested a town hall meeting just on Bahama Village and KWPD, at which the mayor and city commissioners are present and have to respond to citizen comments. As mayor, I can put such a town hall meeting on a city commission agenda for discussion and approval, but if I get outvoted, then there is no town hall meeting approved by the City Commission.
I could sponsor an informal town hall meeting somewhere off city property, but it would be unofficial, city commissioners might not come, and might not speak, and might not respond to citizen comments. Maybe the press would attend. I would trust the blue paper to report it well, but not the Citizen, the Keynoter, KONK Life, the Weekly Newspapers. I would wear it out at http://www.goodmorningkeywest.com, and everything else in the city needing wearing out.
As for traffic stops, sure, good idea. I, the mayor, sit down with the police chief, if he’s willing, and he educates me. I can’t make him sit down with me, and I can’t make any of his officers sit down with me, either. Perhaps far more productive, another town hall meeting just on traffic stops: vehicle, motor cycle, motor scooter, bicycle and pedestrian. The police chief and his ranking offices, down through sergeant, are required to attend, if the city manager goes along. [And if the city commissioners go along.]
As for SWAT and FURTHER militarization of the police department, again, with only one vote on the city commission, I have no legal power to tell the city manager to tell the police chief to curtail SWAT teams and militarization. To call up US Attorney General Eric Holder, the F.B.I. and/or the US Attorney, which I imagine is what happened in Ferguson, some top elected official made that call. I need far more than my personal sentiments. I need something compelling, which will have a chance of catapulting the feds into action in Key West.
The only thing I see right now, which the blue paper has published, which rises to that level, in my opinion, is the cover up after Charles Eimers died on South Beach. Killing him was one thing, but covering it up was another matter altogether. I am in limbo on that until I know the outcome of the local Grand Jury proceeding. And, that case is not about Bahama Village.
I never asked anyone if they had a magic wand for any of this, but you keep coming across as if you expect me, or someone, to have a magic wand to wave, which will make you happy. There is no magic wand, unless the angels wave theirs. And wave it they can, if they are so inclined.
I dunno, it just now comes to me to wonder, Sister, belatedly, if you hate God for how this world is? A sorry state it is in many ways.
I’m not God, don’t want to be God, would not know how to be God, and know God is infinitely smarter than I am; as are the angels running me. Perhaps you’d like to get to know them better?
SISTER AUGUST 24, 2014 AT 6:35 PM
That all depends on which God you’re speaking of. Good luck with the election. Peace out.
SLOAN BASHINSKY AUGUST 24, 2014 AT 8:24 PM
By whatever name you, or anyone, wishes to call the Source Of All, here is only one God, on which no religion on this world has a lock. In fact, the religions on this world understand God about as well as a zebra understands the little star, as stars go, upon which the planet depends for its very survival. Saying it another way, God is unfathomable to human beings, and even angels only know what of God what God gives them to know.
I wish everyone had peace; what a very different species human beings on this planet would be.
As for the election on Tuesday, thanks, and I will share what I told Christine Russell the morning after Mayor Cates slammed her for bringing up during closing citizen comments at that city commission meeting that she and the mayor and city commissioners should be concerned about doing all possible to head off a Ferguson event in Key West.
I told Christine that Mayor Cates and Margaret Romero both want very much to win on Tuesday, while I am really interested in seeing how the voting in the mayor’s race turns out, because that will tell me a great deal about Key West.
And, imagine, it will tell me other things of which I am not yet aware. The thing about God is, which many religious people keep seeming to forget, is God, and thus the angels, really like mystery, surprises; it’s the spice of spirit life, apparently.
In that regard, a poem comes to mind:
Bride of Christ,
there are no rainbows
and God is dead.
That is not a religious poem. Religion is an attempt to know God and the angelic realms, and to compress them down to something understandable, and thus predictable and controllable, which simply cannot be done by religions. Back to the zebra and little star analogy.
JOHN DONNELLY AUGUST 25, 2014 AT 1:31 AM
Evil flourish, when individuals alleging to be good, do nothing. These “Allegers” are responsible for the filth that perforates the world. Hiding behind a veneer of righteousness, their toxic stench and vileness are clear, precise and palpable.
As outlined by ‘Brother Sloan’, police officers have a ‘Code of Honor’ upon which all of their law-enforcement activities are measured. Nothing comes before this ‘Code’, for without it, there isn’t any Law.
The wheel does not need to be reinvented. Whether it be in our classrooms, school districts, police departments or ‘white house’, it is the ‘Individual’ that either brings dignity and grace; or disgrace and ignominy to the office they hold.
I want the mayor, city commissioners, city manager and the police chief, along with every officer, to re-read the affirmation affixed to the KWPD building.
Unfortunately, the citizens of Key West have the type of leadership and police officers that they deserve. Critical Mass has been achieved. It will be difficult to ‘right the course’.
When it blows, a change will be made….
JOHN DONNELLY AUGUST 25, 2014 AT 2:07 AM
Newsflash….When combat forces from nations that are at war with one another arrive on a battlefield together, there is going to be plenty of violence and killing. By whatever means necessary, up close and personal, or a ‘gunshot’ wound, the enormity of suffering is unimaginable.
At one time, because the magnitude of this type of destructiveness and infirmity were so great, only ‘Congress’ could ‘declare war’.
Lawless presidencies have ceased to follow the ‘Constitution’. These ‘Imperial Czars’ have become accustomed to dictating their demands upon a cowering congress and citizenry, as combat troops continue to be deployed in conflicts around the world.
“War is the ultimate foreign policy failure”.
Keysbum, please stop electing incompetent buffoons into positions of authority, and if you believe it’s necessary, inform those ‘Rothschild Types’ of a more profitable way to conduct business, so as to decrease world violence.
The North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong guerillas believed in their government and cause. I believed in the United States of America. We met in Southeast Asia.
What do you know about the NVA or VC? What do you know about being a United States Marine?
Keysbum, you’re quick to judge and make statements concerning matters of importance that you ‘Know Nothing’ about. You make plenty of harsh assertions concerning the conduct of myself and the Marines that I served with, which are both factually incorrect.
A focus of my conversation has been upon the innocent civilians that get caught up in all wars. An emphasis I’ve offered many times, as a ‘primary sourced historian’, has not been accepted by an alleged ‘learned individual’. You continue to reduce my detailed accounts of extraordinary compassion, kindness and love rendered by hardened Marines, in light of the realities facing them, to the villagers in the hamlets that we passed through, as: “…Giving a snickers bar to a kid right before you put a bullet into their father brain, or a slammed your rifle butt into their mothers skull…”.
Keysbum, you’re either intoxicated, severely damaged through the indoctrination of your choosing, dumb as a rock; or in need of therapy and some authentic medication.
Just because you’re able to string a few nice sounding words together, an individual of substance, you are not. Your presentations are unimpressive and inconsequential.
I’ve attempted to maintain a modicum of respect in my dialogue with you. However, you’ve denigrated and trivialized myself , my Marines and the Vietnamese children and civilians, whom we lived with, that died in our arms, while we comforted them and their families.
Your bitterness, anger and emptiness has manifested themselves in statements you’ve directed at me. It’s rather unflattering of you.
You’ve been quick to diagnose me with your proclamations of illness. Perhaps, you need to look in the mirror and examine yourself. I sense a degree of instability.
I don’t need to make up things to believe in. Nor, as you suggested, do I need to rationalize anything about myself. I Am as I Am.
It’s evident to me, that you hate yourself and those who have put on a ‘Uniform’ to serve their country and community. Your comments regarding the Armed Forces and the KWPD, unfortunately, are of no import.
Keysbum, I will continue to correspond with you. However, if your obtuseness prevails, a change is coming.
There are answers and solutions for the KWPD. Reform and Transformation must immediately begin, from the top down.
NO LEADERSHIP, NO PEACE….
Later yesterday, I emailed Naja Girard:
DDarren Wilson, the Ferguson, Mo., police officer who killed unarmed teen Michael Brown on Aug. 9, has enjoyed his share of supporters, and a Missouri chapter of the Ku Klux Klan is adding its voice to the mix, USA Today reports.
“All money will go to the cop who did his job against the Negro criminal,” the New Empire Knights of the KKK noted, according to the news site.
Wilson, a six-year police veteran, four of those years spent as part of the Ferguson Police Department, has reportedly never been subject to disciplinary action, according to Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson.
USA Today reports that there is nothing to suggest that Wilson, who has remained in the shadows throughout the protests that have occurred since the shooting and was only identified last Friday, supports the KKK’s plans.
Other supporters of Wilson include about 150 people who gathered to protest in front of the offices of TV station KSDK, which reportedly aired footage of Wilson’s home.
Later yesterday, I headed on my bicycle to Jack Flats on Duval Street, to have dinner and get lost in various sports channels on their widescreens and have dinner. En route, I recalled something I had read many years ago, maybe in 1993 or so. When Albert Einstein, who was Jewish, was approached by prominent American Jews and asked by them to intercede with the American government over what it was said the Nazis were doing to Jews in Germany, this was before the US entered World War II, Einstein declined, saying that cause should be taken up by non-Jews. And that’s what ended up happening, albeit after the Nazis had murdered millions of Jews. Much the same happened in Russia under Stalin, but Russia was to be an American ally in that war, so …
Anyway, I found myself on my bicycle thinking, even if Bahama Village elders decline to engage the suggestions I made in the blue paper reader comments thread, it still falls on me, the blue paper and the Key West’s “one human family”, as Christine Russell told Mayor Cates, to do what we can to resolve the acute tension between Bahama Village and KWPD. How we might go about that if Bahama Village does not join in with us, I don’t know. Perhaps the outcome of the mayor’s race first needs to be known. For if Mayor Cates is releected, or Margaret Romero becomes mayor, there will be no elected city official who wants to straighten out KWPD in general, and its relationship with Bahama Village specifically.
I know by how poisoned I feel right now, which Chernobyl started building two days ago, that there is a tremendous amount of Evil in the spirit realms opposing KWPD being straightened out generally, and in Bahama Village specifically.
If Mayor Cates and Margaret Romero were put into my skin for a few minutes and treated to what I see, hear and feel, they would freak out, wonder what in the hell were they thinking, wanting to be mayor if Key West? Then, they would go insane. Then, if they were lucky, they would die. All because they had not been prepared to see what I see, hear what I hear, feel what I feel.
Imagine the shock waves in Key West, in the Florida Keys, in America, overseas, if I am elected mayor of Key West. Imagine the attention Key West will receive, and continue to receive. Key West will be put under a microscope, like Ferguson, Missouri is now under a microscope.
That would be just like the angels to pull off. And, it would be just like them to not pull it off, and leave Key West with a mayor who does not see, hear or feel what is really going on, because that’s what Key West wants in its mayor.
I figure any way it goes, I’m screwed. The angels never run out of fun things for me to do.
Voila! After writing that, I opened www.keysnews.com to see if today’s Citizen was available on line at the very early hour of 2:25 a.m. Yep, Amazing. That’s pretty darn early for the Citizen to be available online. Guess what I found? Something I know a whole lot about, because I lived it in Key West, and before that on Maui. Anyone who reads this news story, who then still thinks there is a human solution to long-term homelessness, needs a mental health check up. My further interjected thoughts in italics. Maybe mi Key West amigo Jerry Weinstock, M.D., Psychiatry, will come out of retirement and offer you his services.
Monday, August 25, 2014
Panel to discuss ‘solutions’ to jailing
KOTS a nightly option for 140 homeless
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff
Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay doesn’t have a solution for Key West’s homeless population, but he is an expert when it comes to the daily problems that locking up the homeless creates.
Thank you, Sheriff Ramsay, for being the voice of reason so sorely lacking in the Key West city government and the Monroe County government.
During the so-called county-city “homeless summit” this past spring, I gave Sheriff Ramsay a solution to HIS Key West homeless population problem, but the Citizen did not report what I said, nor that County Commissioner David Rice, a psychologist by trade, who for many years ran the Guidance Clinics of the Keys, which provide chemical rehab and get your life turned around and back on track counseling, said in agreement with much of what I said during citizen comments at that so-called “homeless summit.”
David was the only person on the panel with the credentials to speak to the drug and mental illness aspects of homelessness. Sheriff Ramsay was the only person on the panel with the credentials to speak about the impact of running homeless people through his jail and the hospital. Key West Police Chief Donie Lee was the only person on the panel with the credentials to speak to the effectiveness of putting a new homeless shelter on Big Coppit Key, which panelist City City Commissioner Tony Yaniz ranted needed to be done. Donie cut straight to the chase. He said homeless people will not use a shelter that far from Key West. Nor can they be made to use it.
The other panelists, Mayor Cates and the rest of the city commissioners, and the rest of the county commissioners, and the city manager and the county administrator should not even have been on the panel, and during the event they should have kept silent, because none of them said anything useful. Some of them gracefully had little to say, while others among them turned it into their own personal admiration society and publicity campaign.
“One-third of the jail population is homeless, picked up by the city,” Ramsay said Friday.
His department spends about $2 million a year on homeless inmates.
“We’re spending a lot of money and we’re not doing anything to solve the problem,” he said. “Incarcerating homeless people, all it does is create other problems. We have all the responsibility.”
The problem, Ramsay says, is that arresting Key West’s homeless sends them through the legal system and the hospital system, which is all paid for by taxpayers, then dumps them back on the street. Many of them return to jail — and in short order.
Ramsay said he directs his deputies to only arrest the homeless as a last resort.
While Key West Police Chief Donie Lee, pursuant to directive from his city manager boss and the city manager’s city commission bosses, puts as many homeless people into Sheriff Ramsay’s jail and the hospital as possible, which I stated during my citizen comments at the so-called county-city “homeless summit”.
Yet the homeless often suffer basic civil rights violations, say organizers of a summit-type discussion entitled “SOS: Searching Out Solutions: Constructive Alternatives to Costly Criminalization of Homelessness.”
The event is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at the Harvey Government Center, 1200 Truman Ave. It is sponsored by the Monroe County Continuum of Care, the state Department of Children and Families, the One Human Family Foundation, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami, attorney Sam Kaufman’s office, the county commission, Lower Keys Medical Center and the Episcopal Charities of Southeastern Florida.
“We are expecting a full house,” said the Rev. Steve Braddock, president of Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, when he announced the event earlier this month.
Seating is limited. To RSVP, call 305-350-8224, or send an email to MonroeHomelessCoC@comcast.net.
Speakers include Michael Stoops of the National Coalition for the Homeless and Benjamin Waxman, a Miami criminal defense attorney who is an expert on the landmark Pottinger vs. Miami civil case which set the standard for how Florida cities could treat people who live outdoors.
And one of the Pottinger homeless plaintiffs, who later stopped being homeless and went to and graduated from law school. The three panelists have real credentials. I kinda hope they are not going to make Mayor Cates, the city commissioners, the city manager and Donie Lee’s day. I kinda hope they are going to dunk those city officials into a big vat of reality. Long time coming.
The 1998 Pottinger ruling cautioned cities that jailing the homeless over their life-sustaining actions, such as sleeping outside, urinating in public, or lighting fires for cooking, was unconstitutional.
In light of the number of services now available, Pottinger was amended earlier this year at the request of Miami officials, who estimate the city has 350 chronically homeless who live downtown.
I don’t think Pottinger was amended anywhere near enough to suit the City of Miami, which lost all say so in its homeless situation after Pottinger was decided. Thereafter, Miami had to petition a US District Judge for permission to change anything Pottinger required of Miami. That’s still the situation today. The same US District Court has jurisdiction over Key West. The same thing could happen to Key West. Attorney Sam Kaufman, who is Chairman of the Board of Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, and Father Steve Braddock, who is CEO of FKOC, and I kept telling Key West city officials in 2003, that they were going to get a Pottinger lawsuit, we would see to it, if the city didn’t start treating its homeless people the way the Pottinger case required Miami to treat its homeless people. Af first, Key West stonewalled us. The city attorney said Pottinger did not apply to Key West. That was horseshit. Key West was using its police against homeless people in the same way Miami was using its police against homeless people, before Pottinger put an end to it. Miami was using its police to drive homeless people out of Miami. Key West was doing the same. Finally, Sam, Steve and I convinced then Mayor Jimmy Weekly and the city commissioners and the city manager that Pottinger applied to them, too. And that’s what led to KOTS being built. For under Pottinger, the city had to provide a homeless shelter, if it was going to use its police to stop homeless people from sleeping outside at night. The rub was, KOTS was never big enough to sleep all of Key West’s street people. The other rub was, about half of Key West’s street people would not use KOTS. That’s the population the Key West police started running through the sheriff’s jail and the hospital. Later, Key West passed an open container ordinance which applied only to homeless people, and allowed its police to run even homeless people who slept at KOTS, as well as all other homeless people caught drinking in public, through the sheriff’s jail and the hospital. This former practicing attorney doesn’t see the Pottinger case has any bearing on that open container ordinance.
For a decade, Key West has offered anyone a place to sleep on Stock Island with space for up to 140 people each night. The cost to taxpayers to provide this service is $440,000 a year, or $8 per person per night.
Contrary to what many people argue, the city cannot charge homeless people to stay at KOTS, because KOTS was built to satisfy the Pottiner case, which said Miami could not jail homeless people for sleeping outside at night, if Miami did not provide them a place to sleep inside – a shelter. A free shelter. If Key West starts charging homeless people to stay at KOTS, they they can decline and sleep outside at night.
City officials know that they need to provide a shelter or risk a lawsuit.
The nonprofit running the Keys Overnight Temporary Shelter on College Road, next-door to the sheriff’s office, says it now has a “wait list” of residents willing to volunteer for cleanup and maintenance of the facility.
In July, 233 people used the shelter, according to the Southernmost Homeless Assistance League (SHAL), and 119 people received case management services.
Fifty people were first-time users and 41 people left the shelter, SHAL’s July report said.
One woman, with documented mental illness, arrived in Key West broke from Orlando, the report said. A case manager at the shelter contacted the woman’s caretaker in Orlando and on July 14, the woman was returned to Orlando.
On July 31, a man from Orlando was returned to his family, SHAL officials said, after having arrived in Key West a few months ago thinking he could find work.
The shelter population in July was nearly all male, and the majority of the homeless were between the ages of 46 and 62. SHAL said 28 of the shelter users are veterans.
KOTS reached its capacity of 140 people before 9 p.m. five nights out of 31 in July. In June, the capacity figure was reached on three nights.
KOTS reaches its capacity a lot more during the cooler months, when there are more homeless people in the area.
Ramsay said he plans on attending Thursday’s panel, even if he is a little late due to another commitment.
“Drive down College Road and you see the same players, the same guys and gals hanging out to wait for KOTS to open back up,” Ramsay said. “It’s handout central.”
Once booked into jail on suspicion of drinking alcohol in public, sleeping on the sidewalk or trespassing, a Key West homeless man or woman is entitled to medical care, including dental and vision, all on the taxpayers’ dime, Ramsay said.
“This isn’t, ‘I lost my job, I need a place to stay,'” Ramsay said. “This is lifelong, 20 years homeless, I just want to live off the system. They want to panhandle, drink and do drugs. This is a very difficult, aggressive population that does not want to get back into society.”
And that’s why I said at the so-called county-city “homeless summit” last spring, that Sheriff Ramsay should refuse to accept any homeless people arrested by KWPD for violating Key West’s open container ordinance. And why I said Key West needs to create its own drunk tank, in which it “stores” its homeless people arrested under the open container ordinance, until they sober up enough to be released. That will keep them out of the jail, out of the hospital, and out of the criminal justice system. David Rice jumped all over that, said he liked it, he thought the Marchman Act might allow it. Not a word of that was published by the Citizen in its article covering that “homeless summit.” And not a peep from the Citizen did I hear, as it prepared the article above.
What I still don’t get is why I was not asked to be on Thursday’s homeless forum panel? Was it because somebody called City Hall and was told they have no record of Sloan Bashinsky ever living on the street in Key West? Was it because I am a mayor candidate? Was it because I might not agree with some, or a lot, of what the three mainland will panelists say during Thursday’s homeless forum?
My experience with Michael Stoops, who himself once was homeless, is he believes there is a cure to homelessness. He is mistaken. At the so-called county-city “homeless summit”, I said, David Rice seconded, there is no solution to the homeless problem that will make anyone happy, and the only thing that can be done is try to manage the problem, and decide how much money you want to spend trying to manage what cannot be fixed.
Father Steve Braddock
and I both know only God can fix street people, such as the ones Sheriff Ramsay describes. Father Braddock and I both also know what the city needs to do instead of what it is doing, is do everything possible to help new homeless people, who have not yet become street people, get back to work, and get back inside renting a place to live. And do everything possible help people who are about to become homeless, because they can’t afford where they are now living, have a place to live they can afford.
The only way to to do that is to build a lot of affordable rental housing, which a waitress can afford on her earnings, a deck hand can afford, and a bottom-paid $10-11-an-hour city employee can afford. We are talking here about public housing operated by the Housing Authority.
A good bit of such housing could be built on city land, which would be free for the “development”, thus enable the reasonable rents. City land next to the golf course on Stock Island. Truman Waterfront where the expensive park, which will cost the taxpayers a lot of money, is supposed to go in. A park the city does not need. Affordable rental housing, the city needs worse than anything.
Public housing will not, however, help a street person such as is described in this KONK Life – www.konknews.net – article today:
Mona Lisa Helms, 46
From Veterinary Medicine to Homeless
BY SUSAN MITCHELL
KONK LIFE STAFF WRITER
On the day Mona Lisa Helms was born, she was named after the famous Da Vinci painting because her father loved her unique grin and saw her as “priceless.” Helms moved to Key West when she was 15 when her mother was named general manager at a Duval street hotel.
Rather than graduating from high school, she obtained her GED and worked for a local veterinarian until she was 21.
After marrying a man from Scotland, she had four children including the biggest set of Floridian twins since 1921. Due to domestic violence and her own alcoholism, Helms gave up the children for her father to raise.
Helms says she hates being homeless and sees sobriety as the path to a better life. She agrees she needs to avoid the cycle of abusing alcohol and recalls once staying sober for five years, thanks to participation in Alcoholics Anonymous.
Today, while receiving no financial aid or welfare payments, Helms supports herself by pan handling during the day. She sleeps on public benches during the night, explaining that her friends in the homeless community help ensure her safety
Helms wants to go back into veterinary medicine after getting sober. She also plans to reunite with her children.
The founders of AA knew only God could help someone like Mona Lisa Helms.
I said at the so-called county-county “homeless summit”, that it’s a really bad idea to mix homeless addicts, who are using, in shelter with homeless people who are not using. It doesn’t work, if you are trying to get the non-users to stop being homeless. David Rice seconded that, then said, but then maybe rehabilitation isn’t the point of having a homeless shelter.
Rehabilitation of homeless people never was the point of KOTS; it’s still not the point of KOTS. If rehabilitation was the point, active homeless addicts would not be allowed in there. 90 percent or more of street people in Key West are active addicts, usually booze. They live for their next drink, their next cigarette, their next cup of coffee, their next donut, their next can of Red Bull.
If homeless addicts also are mentally ill, you cannot treat their mental illness as long as they are using. Putting them on psyhciatric pills is a waste of time and money. First, they have to stop using.
Will all of that be said at the homeless forum this Thursday? I have no idea. But it needs to be said there.
I said at the so-called county-city “homeless summit”, if Key West stops running its homeless people through Sheriff Ramsay’s jail and the hospital, maybe that will cause Sheriff Ramsay to be inclined to let the city keep KOTS on his land, if not where it now is there, then somewhere else on his land.
There is no place safer in the Key West area for a homeless shelter, than next to law enforcement. Even homeless people tend to behave better when they are near law enforcement. There is no place else in the Key West area, which will not raise bloody hell about having a homeless shelter in its midst.
And, any new shelter needs to provide lockers for homeless people to store their meager belongings when they are not in the shelter. KOTS does not have lockers. Homeless people using KOTS have to carry their belongings everywhere they go, or stash them somewhere they might be stolen, or rent a storage bin. How do homeless people staying at KOTS, who want to turn their lives around, do it when they have no place to store their meager belongings? How to they find and keep a job when they have all their meager belongings with them?
The alternative is, just don’t have a homeless shelter. Most homeless people hide away at night anyway. The city is spending a lot of money to hide them away at night. But in the daytime they are seen in much of Key West. For now, they have as much right to be on city sidewalks, riding their bicycles on city streets, relaxing in city parks and on city beaches, as anyone else. America is not yet Auschwitz for homeless people.
Imagine the homeless man Jesus showing up in Key West. Imagine what the KWPD would do to him, even though he is nearly all Key West police officers’ Lord and Savior.
When the Key West City Commission formally adopted One Human Family as the city’s official philosophy, Key West told God to put the city to the test on that official philosophy, until the city included everyone in its One Human Family, or until the city admitted it was a big fat liar and the City Commission officially abolished One Human Family as the city’s official philosophy.
Mayor Cates and Margaret Romero don’t know ding squat about homeless people, nor about how to try to manage them. Mayor Cates and Margaret Romero don’t know ding squat about karma, either. If they did, they would be singing very different tunes about homeless people. Mayor Cates thinks they can be fixed. Margaret thinks they should be eliminated.
I say homeless people are mainstream’s shadow, mainstreams reflection in the mirror, and there but for the grace of God we all go.
As you do unto the least of these, you do also unto me, Jesus told his disciples of the poor, the beggars, the sick, the lame, the lepers.
Also in today’s Citizen:
Monday, August 25, 2014
I hardly ever, almost never, agree with the comments of John Donnelly. Usually, I cannot understand his point. But his letter in the Aug. 2 Citizen regarding the death of tourist Charles Eimers goes right to a conclusion anyone can agree with: Eimers was manhandled to the point of being murdered.
Not being an attorney, I don’t know what class of homicide it is, but homicide it was. No one can put his knee in the back of a man on his stomach, hold that man’s face in the sand until he has a fatal cardiac event, and then walk away without punishment because he is a cop. How does this differ from a cop shooting you in the back?
What we have here is way too many cops overreacting to a minor event. Some, apparently, wanted to prove how tough they could be, and a 61-year-old surrendering with his hands in the air died because of complete unprofessional behavior.
Now, the talk of a cover-up is in the air. We will all lose if some cops are not indicted, so everyone involved, please be truthful. Remember, a lie now would really be painful if something else comes out in a year or two.
Protecting someone because you work with him will get you jail, also, some day.
The cops decided Eimers was homeless. Accordingly, they treated him like he was homeless. Accordingly, he died. That’s all there is to that case, other than the massive cover up that ensued. Here’s the blue paper’s artistic summation.
Also in the Citizen today is a letter from John Donnelly:
Is Eimers’ case a corrupt government cover-up?
“Homelessness” is a contentious issue in Key West. A response to this dilemma has intermittently been authored by the police chief and mayor.
Was excessive muscle applied to Charles Eimers by the KWPD during his in-custody death because officers thought he was indigent?
Are the police under any pressure to discourage homelessness? Is the city’s leadership culpable in a crime or cover-up, because an innocent man was killed on their watch?
Government officials who preside over their citizens being injured and killed by an agency under their authority are criminal co-conspirators.
When a corrupted government refuses to correct injustices within its ranks, it must be extinguished.
Because Eimers drove away from the police after a traffic stop, “Was the violent force administered to this 61-year-old, as he laid face down on the ground with his hands extended above his head, commensurate with the threat that he posed?” Did this defenseless, helpless and submissive man deserve to die?
Suffering from diabetes, and after a long drive from Michigan to Key West, was it possible that Eimers was fatigued and disoriented when he was pulled over?
After having cooperated with police, surrendering his driver’s license to them, could the instability of his blood sugar levels have triggered a diabetic-induced distraction (hypoglycemic episode), causing him to believe that he had satisfied his obligation with the police; thus prompting him to drive off?
If the truth be told, why did the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) corrupt its investigation from the start?
Rule 7.1 of FDLE’s “Ethical Standards of Conduct” reads as follows: “Police officers shall, unless required by law or policy, refrain from becoming involved in official matters, or influencing actions of other police officers in official matters, impacting the officer’s immediate family, relatives, or persons with whom the officer has or has had a significant personal relationship.”
It is difficult to comprehend how FDLE could find that being the exwife and mother of the child of one of the subjects of an investigation does not fall under the clear prohibition set forth by FDLE’s Rule 7.1.
FDLE’s lead investigator was the ex-wife and mother of the child of the KWPD Captain who supervised the 13 officers involved in the Eimers case.
Charles Eimers, above, told the officer who made the traffic stop that he had come down here to do God’s work. Then Charles proceeded straight away to do it, by giving the KWPD a chance to show its true colors, which are not the colors presented on the monument in front of the police station.
If the Grand Jury lets KWPD off, the city’s karma will be intense. Doubly so, if Mayor Cates or Margaret Romero are elected, because they side with KWPD.
Perhaps watching the mayor candidates’ closing comments at Hometown PAC’s August 4 candidate forum will help you pick your poison
Which of the three candidates do you suppose said something about Charles Eimers and KWPD? Which of the three candidates said, if elected, his first official act after being sworn in, will be to apologize on behalf of Key West to Charles Eimers family for the KWPD killing their father last Thanksgiving Day?
Political advertisement paid for and approved by Sloan Bashinsky, for Mayor of Key West