Tugboat Tilly in a happier time, before she was a derelict and was sold to a homeless man knowing nothing about boats, who, after a 5 horse power outboard motor was mounted on a makeshift wooden rear transom, was made and helped by the seller to take the Tilly somewhere else, which ended up being to the bottom of the channel coming into Key West, all as reported in in two recent articles in Key West the Newspaper, click on links to read same
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Naja Girard, co-publisher of Key West the Newspaper - www.thebluepaper.com - replied to the tugboat Tilly part of yesterday’s Key West: navigation hazard for sailors, elected officials, homeowners and gadflies alike post at www.goodmorningkeywest.com:
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2014 09:23:57 -0800
Subject: Re: Derelict Vessels: Blue Paper article: Seeking comments
I guess the way I see it is that there is no point for us to pick public fights with the officials in terms of whether they were nice to us or not. We’re focusing on the real problem and we hope there are some public officials who might see our ideas on managing DVs as beneficial : Why in the world is there no infrastructure [ no emergency moorings] and no contingency plan with an emergency fund at the ready to deal with something like the Tug Tilly? It’s not impossible and it would require less money (FOR SURE) than what we are facing right now with removal costs on this one boat.
You mentioned the homeless in this context and I really think you touched upon something there. The whole ‘let’s not put a bench in the park because some homeless person might sit on it’ attitude is at work here too. The FWC and the County are tasked with managing the DV problem. They’ve declined to put in a few emergency moorings – something that would have undoubtedly kept us from facing this 1/2 million dollar crisis right now – in part because of fear of “abuse” by ‘deadbeat boaters’. There you go. A not so wonderful deadbeat boater might tie to the mooring unauthorized [an apparent enforcement nightmare], so let’s not have any emergency moorings – even though “good boaters” might need one in a storm and even though it could save the taxpayers – well, I guess we can now safely say “millions”.
Below is another email I was copied on from Commissioner Neugent on the subject [in response to a letter from Bill Hunter]. The Commissioner doesn’t give an opinion on the infrastructure being proposed. It is true that Neugent has been asking the Marine Resources dept and MPAC to get something done now rather than later to no avail.
For me, keeping order and cleaning up takes a bit more planning and intervention than deciding who is good and who is bad and throwing law enforcement in the direction of the “bad”. If we don’t want DV’s strewn all about and we don’t want to pay for expensive wreck removals of sunken boats – then let’s manage it – with some simple low cost infrastructure improvements and an emergency fund and plan for instances like the Tug Tilly.
And again, for the record, we do not work with the County on DV removal. We are not on the list of approved contractors – we did not apply to be on that list. We have never been paid by the County for DV removal and are in no position to be paid by the County for DV removal. We have, on the other hand, secured and removed DVs from state waters on countless occassions for free and very often at the behest of the US Coast Guard – whose officers would also welcome a few emergency moorings for their own when faced with a drifting DV that is causing a navigational hazard.
Here is George’s email (I’m highlighting what I refer to above):
Neugent-George Today at 11:26 AM
Bill and Mary BOCCDIS2 BOCCDIS3 12 More…
I know at my age my memory could be failing, however, during more than once at County Commission discussions concerning the “Pilot Program,” to which you refer, I felt my suggestions of being more aggressive with the Pilot Program and activate the amnesty “boat-b-gone” day I received nothing but opposition and push back to the proposal. How many months ago was that? Maybe how many years is the appropriate question. For me, there seems to be a resolve, in many, as to why we can’t do something rather than, here’s the problem, lets resolve it, now.
The Marine Port Advisory Committee has wrung it’s hands over these discussions for an interminable period and even insinuated this is about “affordable housing” and therefore we should not move so quickly on establishing managed mooring and anchorage fields.
I recall a sitting commissioner calling an FWC officer’s superior, “calling his enforcement heavy-handed” for citing an individual for pollution on Stock Island. The same commissioner who received support recommended pretty much complete opposition to the Pilot program. I recall a county contractor, who makes a lot more money getting derelict vessels off the bottom, voicing objections to the amnesty program. I witnessed Boat U S stand before the commission and whine about navigational “rights.” I’ve listened for 20 years to the opposition of “pseudo boaters” receive standing from sympathizers. As a boater, former live-aboard, I’m certainly not trying to take away “rights” I’m about managing scofflaws, abusers, leaches, people acting irresponsibly and who abuse our resources and then ask the public to pay for their right to do so; and get it.
Would you, as a member of the MPAC, document MPAC’s present position on dealing with this years old issue?
Just maybe, MPAC should become a bit more aggressive and punctual in advising the commission on the irresponsibility of these “boaters” who destroy our resources while wasting our BIF assets?
Recently, after a meeting with Sheriff Ramsay, Capt Gene Thompson, Capt Dipre, FWC; Rich Jones, Marine Resource; and myself, Sheriff Ramsay gave an immediate response to our request to address a KL Govt Ctr boater issue, then problems with the Boca Chica area. boater He spoke to me of his Broken Window Theory, “appearance of disorder” – trash on the streets, graffiti, and abandon homes and vehicles – leads to more disorder and criminal behavior. It theorizes that keeping neighborhoods clean and in good shape encourages people who live there to maintain order and discourages crime from taking place.” We in the Keys, especially those in positions of influence and decision making, should adhere to that policy in support of Sheriff Ramsay, I do.
My last trip to Tallahassee, the Very Important Senator Hays who was instrumental in getting the Keys 50M$s for implementing water quality projects expressed to our group that, “you make a choice to live in the Keys, its expensive , but also a privilege to live in such a beautiful special place: Take care of it.” Sheriff Ramsay and his Office does, I try to.
Sent from my iPad
On Mar 7, 2014, at 9:24 AM, “Bill and Mary” <huntermarybill@__________.com> wrote:
An issue that frustrated me while serving on the Monroe County Marine and Port Advisory Committee is the ineffectiveness of the county’s derelict vessel program. A large portion of the time our committee spent during my term was to help shape the development of Monroe County’s Pilot Program Anchoring ordinance. One of the main goals of this ordinance is reduction of derelict vessels.
The committee recognized that motivating owners to maintain their vessels is the first priority. Sadly, there are too many reasons why motivation does not always work. We knew some owners would simply move to unregulated anchorages. Other “Pre-derelict” vessels that remained in the regulated anchorage would be “red tagged,” and sit for weeks or months while the legal process of determining ownership and serving notice ground on. The time between “pre-derelict” and “a sunken boat” is often long enough for a proactive intervention program to be effective. Several suggestions were made to the committee.
One was the provision of an emergency mooring where vessels in distress could be secured and kept afloat. Avoiding a sinking should be the first priority. Sorting out ownership and responsibility should come second.
Another suggestion was “Amnesty Day” – a program used successfully years ago in Marathon. This would expand the county program where owners who surrender their vessel at the transfer station will not be charged disposal fees – a program that works well for small boats. Larger boats (or those without trailers) must be hauled out at a boat yard and trucked to the transfer station. On Amnesty Day, any “pre derelict” vessel that a Monroe County owner can bring to the seawall would be hauled out and disposed of by the county. Some towing companies actually offered free tows. This program would require some funding and take some work, but it is cheaper than salvage.
Vessel owners should accept responsibility and not transfer disposal expense to the county. However, Monroe County often winds up paying the salvage bill. It is in the county’s best interest to keep derelict boats from sinking.
I replied to Naja:
From: sloan bashinsky <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Naja Girard <najagirard@_________.com>
Sent: Friday, March 7, 2014 3:16 PM
Subject: RE: Derelict Vessels: Blue Paper article: Seeking comments
Hi, Naja -
Thanks for answering my question about any business relationship between you and Arnaud’s salvage business and Monroe County.
I do not argue with the general discussion on derelict vessels and a need to do something constructive and a need to head off more vessels from becoming derelict and to get existing derelict vessels out of the water, off the beaches, out of the mangroves, and into a recycling program.
What is bothering me is, when faced with an emergency, you deal with it pronto. You do not discuss philosophy or politics behind the emergency.
Quoting from Bill Hunter’s email:
“Avoiding a sinking should be the first priority. Sorting out ownership and responsibility should come second.”
After being advised by you guys of Tilly’s situation, George Neugent, a County Commissioner, blew you guys off. As, apparently, did the other four county commissioners by their silence and inaction.
Arnaud told me that he also contacted the Coast Guard and offered to tow the Tilly to the Coast Guard sea wall. For free, yes? They said they didn’t want the boat at their sea wall. The Tilly was in a navigable waterway, yes? I am not okay letting Neugent and the other County Commissioners and the Coast Guard skate. They could have tried to do something, and they declined.
Today, someone asked me, why didn’t Arnaud just do a good deed and tow the Tilly in and prevent the problem? Where was Arnaud supposed to take the Tilly?
I told you and Arnaud before you were done writing what you published today, that Neugent has said he will seek reelection this year. I said that was another reason you needed to report his behavior after he learned from you and Arnaud of the emergency.
Adding to the intrigue, I heard today from Sean Kinney at the Keynoter, that last night the KWPD arrested the Tilly’s owner, Stpehen Freer, for felony trespass on a construction site, which is the older home you and Arnaud are redoing on Elizabeth and Eaton Streets. Arnaud called in the complaint, according to the incident report reproduced last below, which Sean emailed to me.
How, if you know, did Freer end up sleeping in your and Arnaud’s dwelling under reconstruction?
Based on the incident report, Freer deserved being arrested and taken to the county jail. I can’t see that deserves a felony charge on just its face, but in the total context, Freer buying the tugboat and taking it to sea with zero knowledge of handling such a boat powered only by a 5 horse outboard mounted on a makeshift wooden rear transom, maybe a felony conviction is what Freer needs. He sinks that boat farther out in the channel, another boat hits it at night and sinks, people die. Maybe Freer is getting off light. Ditto, George Neugent and the other County Commissioners and the Coast Guard.
As for the homeless thread, this is the second major eruption recently running directly downstream from Key West’s be rough as possible on homeless homeless people policy. I told Sean Kinney that there very well might be more major eruptions running directly downstream from that homeless policy. That’s totally separate from the derelict boat problem.
Key West Police Department Date Report Prepared
Date 03/06/2014 20:51
Case # 01-14-001098
On Thursday, March 6, 2014 at approximately 2030 hours, I (Ofc. Stutz) was dispatched to 630 Eaton St. for a report of a subject trespassing on a posted construction site. On arrival, I met with the owner of the property, Arnaud Girard D Albissin, who told me there was a male subject sleeping inside the building. Girard D Albissin stated he woke the subject and asked him to leave the property but the subject refused. Girard D Albissin stated the subject did not have permission to be on the property.
I observed the building was surrounded by construction materials and tools, which were easily visible as you approached the residence. At the door of the residence, I observed a plastic white container marked as follows,” WARNING Designated construction site. Trespassers will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” Inside the box were permit and construction documents. Approximately 5 feet from the sign, I observed a white male, later identified as Stephen Freer, laying on a cot surrounded by his personal belongings.
I spoke to Freer and identified myself as a Police Officer. Freer stated he did not care and was trying
to sleep. I advised Freer he was committing a felony by continuing to trespass on the construction site, even after he was given the opportunity to leave by the owner. Freer stated, “Go to hell pig!” and remained in his sleeping bag. Ofc. Helfner, Ofc. Kouri and Sgt. Biskup then arrived on scene. I asked
Freer to get out of his sleeping bag and get dressed. Freer complied, but while doing so stated “Why don’t you leave me alone you Nazi’s, you fucking swine, I was just trying to sleep.
I provided Girard D Albissin with a case number for this incident and advised him a copy of the report would be available at the Key West Police Department, Records Section.
I placed Freer into custody for violation of the following Florida State Statute:
F.S.S. 810.09(2)(d)(1)Trespass on property other than structure or conveyance:
Freer did trespass on a construction site that was legally posted and identified in substantially the
“THIS AREA IS A DESIGNATED CONSTRUCTION SITE AND ANYONE WHO TRESPASSES ON THIS PROPERTY COMMITS A FELONY.”
I photographed the sign posted and the adjacent area where Freer was located and entered the
photographs into Key West Police Property and Evidence.
I placed Freer into my patrol car and transported him to Monroe County Jail without incident.
Freer’s bags and personal items were entered into Key West Police Property and Evidence as prisoner property.
End of Narrative: 1
3 of 3
Naja wrote back:
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2014 13:22:23 -0800
Subject: Re: Derelict Vessels: Blue Paper article: Seeking comments
Yes, unbelievable. I did sort of get a kick out of how WE were now having to deal with naughty Freer since we haven’t exactly gone easy on the marina owners. I’m sure they will chuckle mightily when they hear that Freer was now our problem. I’m guessing he used the internet to find out that we owned that house…
I got a text message last night about 8:15 from the guy who works for our general contractor over at the house on Eaton asking if the “tug guy” was now supposed to be sleeping at the house there. The carpenter had been there late which is unusual. The answer was a no,no,NO! Apparently Freer had told the carpenter that it was all ok because Arnaud had hired him as a “security guard”. So, yeah, we now know for sure that this guy likes to tell stories. Arnaud asked him to leave – he refused and the rest is in the police report you referred to. Arnaud was pretty shocked at how unbelievably rude he was to the police officers [who by the way remained very cool-headed considering what they were hearing from him].
But that’s just a little side show. Yeah, he’s one of those guys Neugent refers to in his email – a mighty nuisance and more. But that does not get the marina or the government officials in charge of these things off the hook. Bad boys and good boys were involved in this mess and its going to cost a whole lot in enforcement personnel time and likely in salvage. And…. its a shame because there really should be some type of emergency action plan in place.
P.S. Arnaud would have gladly brought the Tilly to an emergency mooring FOR FREE had there been one. He was not about to take that thing in tow and plunk it down on an inadequate anchor in the vicinity of other boaters and take on all the liability associated with that. Had he done that he could have potentially faced prosecution from FWC for being involved in storing a derelict vessel on state waters and he would have faced liability it the Tilly ever drug anchor and damaged another vessel. The Coast Guard has limited dockage – they often find themselves with derelicts in tow turning in circles wondering where to put them. Sometimes Arnaud helps them out with that when we have ground tackle to spare [FOR FREE]. The last time Arnaud brought a boat to the City’s fuel dock in an emergency [not a derelict] we stuck paying dockage for it because the ungrateful boat owner refused to pay [we managed to get reimbursed by their insurance co.] Arnaud’s a good guy – but he ain’t no dummy.
Subject: RE: Derelict Vessels: Blue Paper article: Seeking comments
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2014 18:14:13 -0500
Hi again, Naja -
Dang, what all how weird this strange tale’s tail got twisted. Only in Key West, I suppose, could something like this happen
Can’t say I’m feeling terrible for the poor Coast Guard. I bet if Arnaud had told them a load of cocaine was on the Tilly, they would have rushed out there in a cutter and boarded and seized the boat and its cargo, and I imagine they would have asked Arnaud to tow the Tilly into port, it was evidence.
Last time I heard Capt. Dipre’s name mentioned was at a County Commission meeting in Marathon, maybe two years ago? His Honor George Neugent made a point of saying how much he admired his good friend Capt. Dipre of the Coast Guard, and how much he knew about Wisteria Island and its politics.
So during citizen comments, I told His Honor that I was going to show him how little he knew about Wisteria politics and his good friend Capt. Dipre.
Starting with, Capt. Dipre had gotten himself a starring role in a Wisteria Island film promo produced by the Bernsteins and their business partners the Walshes, as a way of giving them political capital in their then attempt to get Monroe County to let them turn Wisteria Island into yet another fabulous piece of plastic surgery like its next door neighbor Sunset Key.
I said Dipre had gotten called on the carpet about that by then State Attorney Dennis War, who had reported it to Dipre’s supervisor, who had told Dipre that was a no, no, don’t do that again. And later, Dipre had altered a trespass report on which he had signed off against person who had set foot on Wisteria Island. And, something was coming down on who might really own Wisteria Island, which might not sit well with the Bernsteins and the Walshes, who own Sunset Key.
That something coming down, of course, was the result of your hard work and diligent digging, provoked somewhat by my telling you the angels had told me in dreams to tell you to keep digging, there was something there not yet unearthed, and you found it and you handed it over to the US Government, and by and by they decided the US Government, not the Bernsteins, owned Wisteria Island, and that led to the Bernstein’s filing suit in federal court where that situation still remains awaiting the US District Judge’s decision on the matter.
What I’m getting around to beside that is, if Capt. Dipre of the Coast Guard was George Neugent’s good friend, George could have picked up the phone and called Capt. Dipre about the Tilly, instead of blowing you and Arnaud off. I still hope you guys will publish the full George Neugent part of this twisted west of weird tale, and maybe the Keynoter will, also. Sean Kinney sounded on the phone that he seemed to find George Nugent’s email to you rather odd.
[That email was published in yesterday's Key West: navigation hazard for sailors, elected officials, homeowners and gadflies alike post at www.goodmorningkeywest.com]
As for Stephen Freer, he either is an idiot, or he is insane. What moron with no sea or boat training would have tried to take the Tilly out of the harbor where he had bought it? What moron would talk to police officers that way, even if he did have Arnaud’s permission to be at your house on Elizabeth and Eaton? What a great promo for homeless people, as if Freer apparently gives a rat’s ass. We all might be safer with him in jail for a while, or longer. Who sold him the boat and made him then leave and towed the Tilly elsewhere ought to be in jail with him for the same length of time.
I still think the Feds, the Bernsteins and the Walshes, and Key West City should sit down at a table and work out a deal where Key West get’s Wisteria Island for a city camping and day park, and the Bernsteins and the Walshes get a few acres by the marina at Truman Waterfront on which to build another 5 Star Hotel, which is the Walshes special field of expertise, and the city gets one percent of the gross revenues off that deal, and the Walshes and Bernsteins get to keep the rest, and Key West ends up with a great city park, and the US Government doesn’t have to look after it.
But then, perhaps the Navy really does want Wisteria Island for its own purposes. If so, I hope the Navy make that desire known to that US District Judge, and that it never was okay with the State of Florida deeding the island, or what would become that island, to Key West’s state legislator Papy after the Navy had officially objected to the transaction, claiming ownership to itself of the island. Which, off course, is the woof and warp of the case now before that U.S. District Judge.
What a great place to live, Key West. So much great entertainment, if you don’t die laughing
Ciaosky, mon cherie
Wisteria Island, right, Sunset Key, left
Sunset Key, when I circled it with a friend in his skiff one day, I did not see one piece of vegetation which looked to me had not been imported. The architecture was redundant. I felt like I was looking at an artificial island. Actually, the island is artificial, it was made from dredged up sea bottom. As was Wisteria Island, in which Mother Nature then took an interest.
Wednesday a week ago, the Keynoter had this in an article by Kevin Wadlow:
Bashinsky announces in Key West
Incumbent Key West Mayor Craig Cates this week drew a challenger in Sloan Bashinsky, a mainstay at government meetings and perennial candidate for public office.
Bashinsky, a native of Birmingham, Ala., is a retired attorney who believes he’s guided by angels that speak to him largely through dreams. He blogs daily about his life and politics.
He wrote on Feb. 25: “”My running for office historically has been a God thing, and this time is no different. The only way I know how to run a campaign and to be really serious is to be me and be really serious about what I say, even if it’s funny, even if it’s not funny.”
Cates beat Bashinsky in a four-way race in 2011. As the city is normalizing its elections and terms to conform with the county and state, whoever wins this race will serve one year instead of the typical two-year term.
The general election is on Aug. 26, with a runoff set for Nov. 4 if needed.
I think it was last year that the mayor’s race was for a 1-year term, and this year it is for a 2-year term, which is the usual length of a Key West mayor’s term in office. City Commissioners serve 4-year terms.
If City Commissioner Tony Yaniz also enters the mayor’s race this year, he can expect to see this published by me a few times, and read by me at candidate forums:
That then led, I heard and read in the local newspapers, to Tony being allowed to resign from the Rotary Club, in lieu of being kicked out.
Many times have I written, if I don’t figure something out on my own, if someone else doesn’t tell me, if I don’t read it in a newspaper or hear it on the radio or see it on TV, then the angels give it to me in a waking revelation or in sleeping dreams, when I need to know it. Over the years this arrangement with the angels became obvious to people who knew me well, and it often caused commotions in their and my relationships.
If elected Mayor of Key West, I will be clued in to hidden goings on which affect the city and its residents, and I will report those goings on at www.goodmorningkeywest.com, and to the local news media, and at City Commission meetings. That most likely will cause commotions.
Political advertisement paid for and approved by Sloan Bashinsky, for Mayor of Key West