I leave for you to open the link and read this by two close friends of mine in Key West. Below their article are selected reader comments. Some of this below I published before, but I was asked to comment further and perhaps a pirate queen or king from days of old influenced me 😎
Richard BoettgerWhen Walsh and Bernstein enlisted FWC to do this ten years ago, they ended up losing Wisteria and ~$20 million net in their pockets. I would expect the Spottswood family would be both smarter and more community-minded not to take on this harmful fight.Sloan BashinskyRick, do you recall when FWC's David Dipre starred in a Bernstein develop Wisteria Island promo video? Do you recall when Dipre got caught tampering a Wisteria Island trespass case evidence? And what happened to Dipre? Zip, nada.Do you remember mega real estate developer attorney Jim Hendrick, a Buddhist, representing local real estate mega developer Pritam Sing, a Buddhist, in a Stock Island trailer park take over, telling the County Commission there is a special place in hell reserved for people who buy up trailer parks and evict the tenants, and Pritam was not doing that. But where did those trailer dwellers end up living? Not in that trailer park.I heard many times when I lived in Key West that the Spottswood and the Ramsay families made a bit of money in the good old days that kinda resembled how pirates had made a bit or profit, but I wonder how the pirates of old would view people who live on boats being treated like illegal homeless immigrants? Property rights only are for landlubbers?Not all boat people are endearing, respect Mother Nature. Some boat people dump their ballast and garbage into the ocean instead of getting their boat ballast pumped out and carrying their garbage to shore and disposing it properly. Not all boat people keep their boats well maintained. Not all boat people properly deal with their boats wrecked by hurricanes. But to get this bill sponsored by someone in Cape Canaveral, well, that speaks volumes for the class of the people whose bill it really is.Republican values?Henry TerrySloan Bashinsky tell me more about DuprisSloan BashinskyIn his Florida Fish & Wildlife officer's uniform, Dipre starred in a video created by someone working for the Bernsteins, promoting cleaning up and developing Wisteria Island (Christmas Tree) Island. The Bernsteins were partnered with the Walsh family, which had developed nearby Tank Island into posh Sunset Key. Both islands were made from dredge spoil by the Army Corps of Engineers, or perhaps by the Navy's equivalent. Also, Demolition Key, which at that time had been allowed to return to Nature, was beautiful, a bird sanctuary, illegal to set foot on it.Later, Dipre was involved in a trespass prosecution of a man who had stepped into Wisteria Island. Dipre put a photo of a no trespass sign on the other side of the island into the prosecution file, which made it looked like the man charged with trespass had seen the sign and ignored it. I spoke on the phone about that with State Attorney Dennis Ward, his chief prosecutor Mark Wilson and Dipre, who was in their office at the time. Dipre said it was a scrivener's error. I said I didn't believe him. I told Ward and Wilson they should prosecute Dipre, who heard me. They let him walk.The Girards at the Blue Paper know about all of that. I recall they covered it back then, and that's how I got involved. The Girards are why the U.S. Bureau of Land Management ended up being declared in Federal Court to own Wisteria Island, not the Bernsteins.The liveaboard case is different. They pretty much live rent free in public waters, not just around Wisteria Island, but off Stock Island and off many of the keys. Liveaboards have done that perhaps since the first white settlers.The old lawyer in me sometimes is stirred to ruminate, such as, longstanding unopposed public usage of land and water has been known to give rise to easements, licenses to continue that usage. I belong to no political party, view such as confused (at best) religions. But in my wildest dreams, I cannot imagine Democrats doing what the Spottswoods, with local law enforcement help, and local Republican help, are trying to do with liveaboards moored in open water and not at docks, paying rent. Do I think that's the work of the Devil? Yep. Do I think some of those liveaboards have helped the Devil get it to this point by not being good stewards of their boats and Mother Nature? Yep.I dunno, perhaps if the Spottswood bill passes in Tallahassee and is enforced in the keys and those liveaboards are, basically, made homeless and forced to live on land, perhaps on the street, at KOTs, or elsewhere, before they leave, they scuttle and sink their boats in inconvenient places, like in the Spottswood marinas?
Ruby Sieglingerthis is horrible. KW only for the rich.John Q Smith'See how it works' viewing out from from glass houses and Ivory Towers.. The dark roots .. viewing those who have little more then an existence are not allowed a free choice. If this does not bother you perhaps it should and you might reconsider?Henry TerryI contributed what I could to stop this Spottswood Bill to attempt to harass and eliminate the Florida Keys boating community and make the Florida Keys the exclusive live aboard Yachting enclave of the most Wealthy 1 %. I live aboard my 28 foot Cape Dory anchored most of the time off of Key West. I will be probably homeless if this law is passed in Florida and signed by Governor of the 1 % DeathSantis. How do We make this a Statewide Issue !? It will only Oppress the working community of Florida further.William Crowl POSTED ON BEHALF OF A SAILORKathy WalshAs a Florida native and sailor, it pains me to see this happening to a lifestyle that has always been part of the Florida landscape that attracts locals as well as tourist, used in paintings, photographs, boats bobbing on the water off the grid living freely that so many of us lone for. But because I live aboard my boat society depicts me as a bum? Really? I could be your waitress, pool attendant, hairdresser, lawn maintenance, mechanic, business owner, trust fund kid etc. and the list goes on. But I’m a bum? Local housing is so expensive in these waterfront communities that many cannot afford to live where they work. Affordable housing is non existent. Living aboard to some is a solution. The IRS considers a vessel when equipped with sleeping quarters, kitchen and bathroom a legal home. The issue is not those who live aboard their vessels. The issue is derelict and abandoned vessels that become the issue of local municipalities to salvage or remove when they sink or become adrift, not people who live aboard their vessels. Call or contact your local officials today and speak up for those around you. Do nothing and it all goes away and so does that hotel and restaurant.
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