Saturday, August 8, 2020

Key West face mask ordinance will be enforced against tourists when pigs fly

Key West Mayor Teri Johnston

I lived a good while in Key West, ran for mayor 6 times, the last time in 2018, and thankfully came in dead or next to last every time. I attended and spoke at hundreds of city commission meetings and wrote often on my blog about Key West politics. Got to know Major Johnston pretty well. Gave Teri the print of this Key West Art Behind Bars featured painting after she was elected to the city commission in 2007. When Teri declined to  run for a 3rd 4-year term, I figured because she'd had all she could take of city commission games and incompetency, I thought she was easily the best elected official Key West ever had. After Teri was elected mayor in 2018, I gave her the original of the painting.
On Facebook last week, Sam Kaufman is a Key West city commissioner, a good friend and my lawyer when I lived in Key West.
I read the New York Times article today about Key West and the only thing that really bothered me was the fact that Key West officials are quoted as saying they have tried to go easy on tourists and consequently 80% of the citations have been issued to locals.
I respect 100% our island leaders for voting for the mask ordinance and the $500 fines and jail time. But to selectively enforce it by going hard on locals and going easy on the tourists who are the ones overwhelmingly violating the mask ordinance is unfair, unjust and cruel to the locals who have suffered so much economically.
Tourists that can afford to go on vacation during a pandemic and are the majority of those violating this mask ordinance, can afford the fine much more than our locals. 80% of those receiving fines should be tourists not the other way around. I expect and demand better from Key West officials — this policy of going soft on tourists and hard on locals is coming from somewhere, who is giving enforcement those orders?
Here’s the New York Times article about Key West for anyone who hasn’t read it yet:…/coronavirus-masks-enforcement-key-…
  • Teri Johnston Kevin, first I do not believe that Code nor our police department are targeting locals. If you talk to code you will find that the vast majority of locals who did receive a citation had been warned 3-4 times before for the same issue. It may be that because our tourist turn over frequently so there are always different visitors on our streets. I know that our Police Officers are trying to educate and hand out free masks prior to citing anyone. We are in the midst of a spike which according to our healthcare professionals is due in part by community spread (locals infecting locals). I just left Duval Street, Whitehead, Petronia and the Southernmost Point and although we are seeing more masks, probably 30%+ still aren't wearing them which helps contribute to our 21 new Key West cases today. We have groups that want us to cite everyone or shut down completely, we have groups that only want us to cite tourists and then there are those who blame locals only and we are trying to find whatever balance it is that will yield us manageable levels so that we can resume some level of normalcy, protect the health of our residents and keep our people working. It's a day to day challenge and I promise you that we will keep working to bring back a healthy community so that we can have a healthy economy. We have to mask up! Teri Johnston - Mayor of Key West

    • Kevin Paul Taylor Teri Johnston thank you for your response Madame Mayor. I have the utmost respect for you and everyone in our city government and the deepest gratitude to our Police & Compliance Officers for the impossibly difficult task of enforcing our mask ordinance.

      Community spread is of course happening now. But the virus was obviously brought to us from the mainland after we reopened — and if we had a zero tolerance policy with visitors starting on June 1, we wouldn’t have gone from 41 cases to over 600 in 2 months.

      My only issue from the NYT article is this sentence (attached in the image below) ‘The city has tried to go easy on tourists — nearly 80% of tickets have gone to locals.’

      My question is WHO told the New York Times that our city has tried to go easy on tourists? If this is just an assumption on the reporter’s part, based on the percentage of tickets that have gone to locals, then this statement from this article should at a minimum be modified to say that or retracted all together if it is not true.

      Image may contain: text that says 'The city has tried to go easy on tourists -nearly 80 percent of tickets it has issued went to local residents but it'

    • Teri Johnston Let me find out if I have info at City Hall and give them a call on Monday.
    • Kevin Paul Taylor Teri Johnston thank you. Article should be updated to say the reason locals have received 80% of the tickets is because folks are given several warnings before they are ticketed and visitors aren’t here long enough to receive several warnings.

      honestly we have to clamp down more on visitors — setting up officers a few blocks a part, so if a visitor is warned once and then removes their mask 2 blocks later, then they get a ticket.

      Our community spread will only be intensified the more we are exposed to the virus by visitors, who we all know are overwhelmingly the ones violating the mask ordinance. We have to change our approach otherwise locals will continue receiving 80% of the tickets.
    • Kassie Knecht Kevin Paul Taylor agree I see so many get a warning then a block away take it off. Last night was the least mask I’ve seen on tourist yet! Tonight should be interesting 🧐 Saturday night after lobster season and majority of tourist from MiamiDade and broward county the major hot spots
    • Sloan Bashinsky Teri, according to Kari Dangler on the phone just now, today is August 7, 2020, a blond female KWPD police officer, badge #2440, on July 29, 2012, gave Kari a trespass citation to appear in court and a face mask citation for $250 after finding Kari sitting on the curb in the parking lot between K-Mart and BBNT Bank. Kari said her face mask was on her chin, but not over her mouth and nose. Kari said she had never before been given a face mask warning. There was a man nearby sitting on his bicycle, with whom she was talking. Kari has a Florida ID card showing KOTS address. She has lived in Key West several years, homeless. Her court date for the face mask citation is August 26, before Judge Peary Fowler.

      A few days before those trespass and face mask citations, Kari was trespassed in the parking lot as she left Metro PC after paying her phone bill. She said that before going to Metro PC, she was in Publix picking up a wire transfer from me to pay her phone bill. Kari has received numerous trespass citations and been jailed for being at that shopping center and the nearby Winn-Dixie shopping center. She does business at the Winn-Dixie, the U.S. Post Office, Denny's K-Mart, Publix and Metro PC, the pizza restaurant. She told me of several times seeing tourists leave Publix angry after being told they could not go in there without a face mask. She says she wears a face mask whenever she enters a business, the post office, and she usually wears it otherwise.

      Kari tells me she does not see other homeless people being repeatedly cited by KWPD for trespass in those shopping centers. Based on all I see on Facebook about pandemic Key West, I can imagine KWPD officers have more serious matters to attend that targeting a homeless woman, perhaps because she is a good friend of mine and I have written many times at my blog about KWPD targeting her. City Commissioner Sam Kaufman, who is a lawyer, defended Kari on a trespass case maybe 3 years ago and got it dismissed. Otherwise, Kari was defended by the Public Defender, who tends to agree with whatever the prosecution recommends. Imagine the costs of jailing, prosecuting, defending and court time for Kari sitting on a curb and not having the mask over her nose and mouth. I imagine pits will fly before Sheriff Ramsay wants homeless people in his jail during the pandemic.

      I will give you Kari's phone number if you send me a private message or email:

    • Sloan Bashinsky I left out of my comment above that Kari said she showed the officer who gave her the trespass citation after she left Metro PC the receipts from Metro PC and Publix, and he didn't want to see them; is badge number is 3320; that was July 24; her face mask was over her mouth and nose.

Not wishing to be thought totally insane by the mayor of an open air insane asylum, I did not mention in my comment that when Category 5 Hurricane Irma was headed toward Key West in late August 2017, Kari Dangler reported to me that she woke up that morning and saw two huge hands come down through the clouds and nudge Irma slightly eastward. As Irma neared Key West, she veered slightly eastward, presenting her clean (weak) side to Key West and hammering the eastward keys with her full strength. That happened because Kari was the only seer in Key West and she was trapped there. I explained that numerous times on my blog, and that the city should have given Kari a key to the city, a monthly stipend and a free furnished apartment. Instead, city police continued targeting Kari and putting her in the sheriff's jail, and I kept reporting that at my blog and suggesting Key West might not care for the karma its police force and their bosses in City Hall were creating.

I also reported at my blog that the reason Hurricane Irma headed straight toward Key West from where it had formed off the west coast of Africa was that it was all over the local news that Key West had created a dog park on top of ground containing African slave remains and pissed off African shamans had steered Irma straight at Key West. If Irma had hit Key West head-on, every large tree in the city would have been snapped off at the roots. Every boat in the harbors would have been sunk or washed up onto shore. Every home in the low lying areas would have been destroyed, and the homes on higher ground would have been damaged. Nearly every motor vehicle in city would have been destroyed. Key West would have looked like the eastward keys after Irma hit them: wasted. Now Key West is being wasted by Covid-19, because it is addicted to tourists who could care less about infecting every person in Key West with Covid-19.

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