Wednesday, November 29, 2017

DoDo the voters of the Florida Keys want better elected officials and good riddance of vulture capitalists?

Long-time member of The Resistance, journalist, columnists, announced District 2 county commission candidate Rick Boettger, a long-time Key West resident (below District 2), emailed me yesterday:
Are you okay, Sloan?

I gave you some well-deserved recognition in my answer to Jim in Key West.

I replied:

I saw that, Rick, thanks, much appreciated. I submitted a comment responding to JiminKeyWest and you, which I now see was cleared from moderation. I included all of your Danny Kolhage article and the reader comments in my post today.

I was on airplanes and in airplane terminals much of yesterday. Got back to Key West about 4:30 p.m., from Birmingham via Atlanta. Went out to dinner with Kari and then back at my apartment I went online and saw your email and started responding, then a street performer buddy who loves to play chess called and we played from about 8:30 p.m. until 2 a.m. at Denny's in the Winn-Dixie shopping center.  

As I was working on today's post early yesterday morning now, I looked at the Supervisor of Elections Voting Districts Map. The tiny part of District 2 in Marathon looks like it was clearly gerrymandered to give Marathon 2 county commission seats like Key West with much larger area population has. 

Reminded me of when Marathon clamored for a high school the size of Key West's and got it, although about half as many students, much of Marathon's high school is used for lower grades, school board meetings, and other things.

I think District 2 should begin below 7 Mile Bridge, and I think that's a serious campaign issue.
I think Big Coppitt is a suburb of Key West and the Navy Base, and is not in the heart, by any means, of District 2. Almost as removed from the heart of District 2 as is the tiny District 2 land in Marathon.

I think you living in Key West, registered to vote in Key West, and running for the District 2 seat, likely will lose you votes next year, regardless of what the state or county election laws, or the Supervisor of Elections, say. I think it will be tongue-waged pro and con on the local blogs and social media and Facebook. And on's Coconut Telegraph public forum, which a lot of people in the lower Keys read.

Even so, if the voters truly are fed up with the Gang of 5, as I called the county commissioners in my post yesterday now, you might just pull it off if it's just you and Neugent head to head.


Rick replied:

Thanks for the info and perspective, Sloan.

I did not get your daily email.  This happened with the Blue Paper a few months ago. Check to see if you have the same glitch.​


I replied:

Thanks, don't know why you did not receive the email blast containing yesterday's post. Will fix that.

Heard this morning that Bill Hunter, I think he lives on Lower Sugarloaf Key, is going to file to run against Neugent. [5-term District 2 incumbent] Bill attends county commission meetings regularly, has for years. He is acutely familiar with what concerns people in the lower Keys. I don't know if Bill is Republican like George Neugent, or Democrat, or Independent. If he is not Independent, if you file as Independent, then that puts you into the general election no matter what. 

My first email to Rick played off the last 4 reader comments under his latest exquisite county commissioners serial skewering -  -  in this past every Friday online edition of Key West the Newspaper:
  1. Rick Boettger says:
    Let me repeat what I reported last week regarding residence.
    The law is clear. One does not have to live in a district to RUN for office. My RUNNING for District 2 while living in Key West is entirely legal. What is legal is not “corrupt.”
    The act of running is in itself a useful, very difficult and committed act, which I would undertake to inform a wider electorate about changes that need to be made in our County governance. Sloan accomplished a great deal of civic education despite not being elected.
    Should I in the unlikely event overcome the massed forces of the current establishment and the antipathy of the corporate press, I would be so gratified by what clearly would be an electorate that saw through that opposition that I would gladly take up the job.
    To do so, to be sworn in, I would THEN have to establish legal residency in the district. This would not be a hardship. In the 1990’s I lived on a canal with a boat in Key Haven. I loved it. It would be fun to rent a similar spot on Big Coppitt with the salary that is paid.
    The law establishes the residency requirements and what constitutes residency. I am very capable of following the law.
    • JIMINKEYWEST says:
      Sorry but this sounds stupid. A man that does not live in the district can run for office but must move if he wins. Not saying your not a good choice just saying it sounds stupid. And if you do run and get elected I see problems with how you as the only un corrupt member either start excepting bribes or having no ability to stop what you know is corrupt. Yes , when a contract is approved at a far higher price than other bidders you can dam sure bet some bribes were paid. This could easily be cash under the table and never show on paper. Please don’t think I am saying you would not do a great job. You likely just might rock the boat to the point that you might need a body guard and life insurance. You already know how you will be accepted by the others
  2. Well said above Rick. I see nothing wrong with running , easily beating Neugent , and moving into District 2. You seem overqualified compared to some on that Board. You’ll have my vote , and votes from all up and down the Keys as you continue, I hope, to expose his idiocy.
  3. Jiminkeywest, sometimes, frankly, you come across as a loose cannon. But then, I’m often accused of that.
    I never said, or thought, that Rick running for George Neugent’s seat next year was corruption because Rick does not currently live in that District. I did say, however, that Rick going at it that way does not sit well with me, because it does remind me of Ed Dean living in Key Haven and voting in Key West. I said I felt, if Rick did win, he would need to not only rent or buy a home in Neugent’s voting district, and he and his wife would live in that home full time, or that would look even more like Dean.
    In his comment above, Rick seems to say that’s what he and his wife will do, if he beats Neugent.
    Rick has cast himself as the ethics candidate against Neugent. That requires, I think, that Rick puts himself above any and all ethical suspicion.
    I also suggested to Rick that there is far more needing attention that ethics. The less financially fortunate people in Neugent’s district having been having a really rough go financially, and much more so after Irma.
    The Irma cleanup in Neugent’s district from Big Pine Key downward is dismal.
    You missed the point of grinder pumps. On purpose?
    It was a really bad idea to make E-1 grinder pumps the centerpiece of Neugent’s voting district below Seven Mile Bridge. Neugent and the other 4 county commissioners were told that, and why; including the grinder pumps would not function after a hurricane-induced power outage. Including the grinder pumps would fail immersed in salt water pits below the hardpan, and under saltwater tidal surges; Including, grinder pumps failed anyway, and failed faster in salt water environment, and the property owners would be saddled with replacing grinder pumps as they failed, and failed again, and again.
    The county commission caved to pressure from Walt Drabinski and Todd German and others, and went with gravity, instead of grinder pumps, where Todd and Walt and the others lived in Neugent’s district (Cudjoe and Sugarloaf Keys), proving the commissioners knew grinder pumps were inferior and they did not wish to fight that in court, which was what they were doing, as I recall, thanks to Drabinski.
    Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority Board Chairman Bob Dean, wasn’t it?, told me and a bunch of other citizens at a FKAA board meeting in Key West that the Aqueduct Authority preferred gravity over grinder pump systems, and would install gravity if the county commission would pay for it.
    During citizen comments, this loose but somewhat educated on the topic cannon, thanked Dean for saying that and ask him and the FKAA board to issue a stop work order in Cudjoe Regional Sewer District, until such time as the county commission ponied up the money to put gravity sewer collection in Cudjoe Regional wherever that was practical, like had been done for Drabinski and German’s neighborhoods, and to use grinder pumps only in remote/thinly developed areas.
    Dean and the rest of the Aqueduct Board looked at me like I had just sprouted horns on my head. They did not reply to my request. They did not issue a stop work order.
    The fix was in. In what way, I cannot say. But somebody made money off those grinder pumps who was not supposed to make money. That is the only illogical and logical explanation for why such an inferior sewer system, totally inappropriate in the Florida Keys saltwater hurricane power outage environment , was deployed.
Moving downward (westerly):
In today's Citizen's Voice:

“To the running man in the red hat- we all love you dearly, but please stop walking right in front of cars at the N. Roosevelt crosswalks to stop traffic for the bikers and walkers! I have seen you now at least two times step directly into the lane in front of a speeding car!! You are going to get hurt one day, which would be a huge loss. If drivers can’t see the blinking lights, they’re not going to see you, and until the city finally fixes this huge mess that DOT created, you are risking your life and others. Please stop!”

Oh, drivers see the orange blinking lights, and they see people trying to cross at the crosswalks. Some drivers stop. Many drivers do not stop. Key West's mayor and city commissioners all know this, because I told it to them many times during citizen comments at city commission meetings, when the crosswalks were discussed. The city's "solution" all along has been to try to persuade the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to remove the crosswalk across from K-Mart on North Roosevelt Blvd, and to replace the orange flashing lights at the remaining crosswalks with red flashing lights, and to build a bridge crosswalk at the top of the key. Many times I told the mayor and city commissioners: if they put a KWPD cruiser on North Roosevelt Blvd, running a continuous loop, writing tickets for speeding, running through crosswalks, etc., that will slow traffic down and make it safer for people using the crosswalks, and put more money into the city's bank account. I can tell you for a fact that the mayor and city commissioners have zero interest in doing that, or in doing anything themselves, to make the crosswalks safer. 
Also in today's Key West Citizen:

Another rate hike for the working class

By Timothy O'Hara Key West CitizenNovember 29, 2017
For the second time in a year, the working-class residents of Stock Island and business owners there are facing another significant sewer rate increase.
In February, the Florida Public Service Commission granted the private utility KW Resort’s request for a rate increase. Residents had been paying  $17.81 per month and $3.87 per 1,000 gallons of water used, but the commission increased the monthly charge to $31.80 and the consumption charge to $5.27 per 1,000 gallons of water used.
KW Resort Utilities submitted another rate increase proposal to the PSC last week requesting the monthly base charge be increased to $50.74 and the consumption charge be increased to $8.41 per 1,000 gallons.
The rate case will take months and will include a public hearing in either Stock Island or Key West in the coming months. On Feb. 9, the PSC will vote on approving an interim rate increase that will take the monthly base charge to  $33.79.
The major expenses pushing the rate increase are $1 million to rehabilitate the wastewater treatment plant and $1 million for a chlorine contact chamber. KW Resort Utilities is also asking to raise rates to cover equipment destroyed in Hurricane Irma, including its offices, and a new generator that costs roughly $300,000, according to its proposal before the PSC.
The private utility does have insurance but it does not cover the total costs of damage from the storm, KW Resort Utility attorney Bart Smith said.
Pray tell, Tim O'Hara and Key West Citizen, why come you did not tell your faithful, trusting readers what you know: that Bart Smith's parents own the sewer plant and they use its graywater to irrigate and fertilize the Key West golf course on Stock Island, which they operate and rent from the City of Key West. Also pray tell why you did not tell your faithful trusting readers that County Commissioner Sylvia Murphy said at a county commission meeting about a year ago: if Bart Smith is for something before the County Commission, then it has to be bad for the County and she's against it.
Bart "Vulture" Smith
Erik Sayler, an attorney with the Office of Public Counsel representing the residents, questioned why the utility did not have an insurance policy that covered all of the hurricane damage.
Sayler was surprised by how large the rate increase request was, he said. He has begun to review the proposal to “make sure all of the calculations are done correctly,” he said. 
Assistant Monroe County Attorney Cynthia Hall plans to also review the rate proposal and will represent the local government, as it is one of KW Resort Utilities biggest customers. The county owns and operates the Sheriff’s Office headquarters and jail and a fire house on Stock Island.
The county is also concerned about the impact on local residents, Hall said.
Stock Island is home to some of the most vulnerable people, the workers of the Lower Keys, who can least afford a sewer rate increase, Hall said. The rate increase also comes after those same residents dealt with Hurricane Irma, Hall said.
Hall plans to compare KW Resort Utilities rates and geographic coverage area with other sewer service providers to make sure the proposed rates are accurate, she said.
Amen. Furthermore, this is a private vulture capitalists-owned utility company serving Stock Island. It is not the Stock Island residents', nor the county government's, problem that Bart Smith and his parents were underinsured. It is THEIR problem. Raise green fees at the golf course and/or reach into your own pockets, Smith Family Vulture Capitalists. Do ya think that may explain why my G.I. tract started feeling last night like it was on fire?

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