I met yesterday with Phil Shannon, founder of Citizens Not Serfs, and Law Fellow John November, at Phil’s home on Summerland Key. I’m glad we met there, instead of at a local restaurant, because we were able to speak freely about a variety of subjects, not all of which would have been appropriate (in my estimation) in a pubic place. The meeting was amicable for the most part, and we covered a lot of territory during the two hours.
I was disappointed to learn from Phil that he does not own a home with an “illegal downstairs enclosure.” I had hoped he would lead the charge in federal court on behalf of all owners of Keys homes with illegal downstairs enclosures, but he has no legal standing to do that. The upside of that is that, not owning a a home with an “illegal downstairs enclosure” frees Phil from any conflict of interest on that issue, when he goes before bodies such as the Monroe County Commission to speak in behalf of owners of homes with “illegal downstairs enclosures.” Phil and I, and John, are in agreement that previous county commissions and code enforcement caused this problem, by not enforcing code rules, and we are in agreement that the currenty county commission is perpetuating the problem, instead of solving it.
I told Phil and John that this county commission ought to file its on federal lawsuit, bringing Monroe County, FEMA and owners of homes with “illegal downstairs enclosures” into the case as interested parties. I said the commissioners ought to confess the county government’s previous sins to the judge, and ask the judge to do what is best for all parties. I said this is what I would try to get the county commission to do, if I was on it. I also said I doubted this county commission would do that, because it was afraid of the county’s liability costs, and because it would rather dodge the issue altogether. Phil and John seemed to like the idea of that kind of lawsuit, and seemed to agree with my assessment of this county commission.
I told them, in order for any real change to occur in our county government, we first need commissioners who are not in any way swayed by outside interests or other people. They have to be willing to make a lot of people unhappy and kill their chances of being reelected, to be the commissioners we need to turn this county government around. I said, so far, it looks to me that we have one such commissioner, Kim Wigington. We need four more like her, I said.
I gave an example of a candidate for the District 4 county commission seat now held by incumbent commissioner Mario Di Gennaro. Candidate Mike Forster served a term on the Islamorada City Council. He did not run for reelection because stances he had taken on city issues how cost him a lot of local business at his restaurant in Islamorada. I learned of this from one of Mike’s best friends, who agreed with me that it made no sense for Mike to run for the county commission, if he was vulnerable to such outside pressure.
When I spoke to Mike about this at the recent Hometown PAC call to candidates in Key West, he admitted this had been a problem for him, but he said it would not be a problem in the future. I said I was not persuaded; he had already demonstrated it was a problem, and I was not willing to take his word against what he had already proven. We simply do not need anyone in an elected office who is vulnerable to outside pressure, whether it’s a private business, whether it’s a political party, whether it’s family or friends or business interests. What we need on the county commission are commissioners who are bullet proof, who owe nobody anything, and who are not trying to get themselves reelected.
I told Phil and John that I watched commissioners George Neugent and Heather Carruthers give him and Citizens Not Serfs and Commissioner Di Gennaro hell at the Key Largo County commission meeting about two months ago, when Mario put forward a resolution asking the commission to respectfully ask FEMA to lift its pilot which applies only to the Florida Keys, and henceforth for FEMA to treat the Keys the same as it treats all other parts of the United States. I told Phil and John that George and Heather fought Mario’s resolution throughout the discussion, but in the end they voted Yes. I said it was clearly political. George and Heather only voted yes because they didn’t want to lose popularity. They did not support Mario’s resolution, not even when they voted Yes. Phil and John seemed to agree.
I also said Danny Coll is Citizens Not Serfs candidate in that race, because he is the only candidate in the two county commission races (District 2 and District 4) who owns and home with an “illegal downstairs enclosure.” Phil and John did not agree with me, and we did not agree about other things yesterday. But who else would Citizens Not Serfs want to see replace George Neugent in the District 2 race, but someone who owns a home with an “illegal downstairs enclosure.” Especially, after CNS received what appeared to be a favorable indication from a Florida Ethics Commission staff attorney, that Danny would not have a conflict of interest on downstairs enclosure items that came before the county commission, because of the huge number of people (7,000-plus) who own such homes in the Keys. About Ten percent of the Keys population.
I told Phil and John, unless something happens to George Nugent, like a heart attack or getting caught in bed with his neighbor’s wife, he will have no trouble defeating Danny in the Republican primary, if I run as an independent candidate. For if I run, the Republican primary will be closed only to registered Republicans, and George has huge support in the local Republican party. Meaning, if I file, and I see no way that isn’t going to happen, if I’m still breathing, it will be another George & Sloan show in the general election. George the Republican, who is blind in his allegiance to the Republican Party, who is blind in his allegiance to Ocean Reef Club, I said yesterday. George, who does not want Keys people to know which fat cats are buying him lunch and dinner and drinks. George vs. the lunatic and the liar.
I wonder if George is fully behind Florida Hometown Democracy’s Amendment 4 on this year’s ballot? An amendment which, if passed, will put final say-so for any changes to any Florida county’s Comprehensive Plan into the hands of the voters at the next general election. An amendment which will strip all county commissions in Florida of the ability to change their county’s Comprehensive Plan with the approval of the Florida Department of Community Affairs, or, if DCA is disbanded by lack of state funding, without DCA’s approval. I wonder if George will come out in public support of Amendment 4? I wonder if any candidate for the county commission in the Keys, other than this lunatic and liar, will do that? I already did it. I did it because I know Amendment 4 is the only real way to stop our and any Florida county commission from giving developers what they want.
I did not talk about Amendment 4 with Phil and John yesterday. My oversight. I hope Citzens Not Serfs will lobby hard for its passage in this year’s general election. It will strip our county commissions and developers of their ability to rule over Keys citizens like they are serfs.
On an entirely different front are three Alabama readers’ comments to recent drivels:
No advice, but can you read Psalm One, and make it mesh with your last paragraph (not the p.s.)?
Psalm 1: Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
I replied that I felt a lot more like an irreverent and disrespectful Job.
Someone on the Montgomery Advertiser online posted a link to your site in a response to the story about your brother’s death. I was intrigued by the story, so I went to your website and began reading your posts. I have been completely hooked ever since, and was annoyed when your website went down for a few days. Your writing about your current and past life fascinate me. I would appreciate you writing about how your “abduction” occurred, or point me to a page if you have already written about it. I would also like to obtain a copy of Heavy Wait, but I get the impression they are hard to come by. Could you telll me where I might find one? Anyway, I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading your posts.
I wrote back to Nathan that I saw online day before yesterday where “Heavy Wait” can be ordered from the online print-to-order publisher: PublishAmerica.com, and that I had tried what I’m about to suggest, and it seemed to work.
Go to PublishAmerica.com; then go to the online bookstore page in the upper horizontal menu and click on it; then type “Heavy Wait” into the “search” space further down that page; and then complete the order. It’s a trade paperback, about 222 pages. $19.95, plus shipping and handling, coming in just under $28 total, if I figured the shopping cart correctly.
I just received a reply back from Nathan saying he had ordered Heavy Wait using that method.
In reply to an earlier post, about a friend of mine dreaming of seeing angels put me into a very hot fire, looked like a volcano, was this comment:
“The point” (and don’t stop fighting) is that you have pure intentions, written by Carolyn Black ~ the fire dream can mean purifying. It could be illumination, transformation or revelation. It could also mean your ‘pure intentions’ are coming through to others. You strip off the layers of political jargon and jump into the fire about every week in Key West. I don’t usually get into other people’s dream interpretations, however, before I read today’s post I was aware of and thinking the same things Carolyn wrote in her e-mail and decided to respond to not only what she wrote, but also what you posted about the dream your friend had about you and the fire. And I agree with Carolyn about the beach trips, the memories of the past. Grayton Beach, Destin, Gulf Shores and the others.
My asleep dreams about other people are not usually about those people and what they do in the dream. Those asleep dreams for me are about the things of action in the dream. My awake dreams about people are highly accurate and sometimes make me unhappy or uneasy. But those are about the people or the people around them, in their family, etc.
I think you are being purified and not punished. Or the pure part of your intentions are being revealed or are about to be revealed. OK, purification can be painful. But it’s not about the pain. You know that. And remember, not everyone is being awakened now. You are. Parts of the awakening are painful, feels like punishment, but are not only for our own good, but also for the good of others.
Also, I want to let you know I had ordered ‘Heavy Wait’ about a month ago and it arrived in the mail Friday. I finished it last night. Could hardly put it down and if my eyes had cooperated a little longer I could have gotten through it in the wee hours of the morning on Saturday.
I enjoyed it very much, laughed out loud (heartily) many times and enjoyed the twists and turns and surprises. I think you should write another novel soon. And I can say, I would look forward to reading it. For now I think I will read, ‘Kill All The Lawyers.’
My asleep dreams about other people usually are representational, symbolic, bearing information for me about something I’m dealing with when I’m awake. Yet sometimes my asleep dreams are about the people in the dreams, and bear messages for me about my dealings with those people. Stuff that just comes to me out of the blue about other people, when I’m awake, is always accurate, although sometimes I might put a different spin on it than was intended by the provider of the revelation, and that has to be adjusted. That happens seldom, but it sometimes does happen.
Purification is horrible and often does feel like punishment. This is what the author of the Letter to the Hebrews was trying to tell her audience. Right before I learned of my brother going missing, our father came to me in a dream and told me I would spend a year in Australia. (I wrote about that twice before, as I recall.) I awoke very unhappy. In my dreams, Austrialia means down under, that is, in the subconscious, the basement, the downstairs enclosure, the skeleton closet, the blocked out, the denial — mine and other people’s. No way do I want to spend a solid year down under, but so far, it’s playing out and the physical rigor accompanying it has been awful. It looks outwardly like I’m coasting, loafing, enjoying stirring up trouble with what I write most days. Inwardly, I’m gasping for breath, wishing I was dead.
I’m glad you enjoyed “Heavy Wait.” You must be crazy. I wrote about that tale today, not yet knowing of your comment to which I am now responding. I usually get a notice in my email account of a new comment but had not received notice of yours. Something “told” me a little while ago to check the comments, and voila, I found yours.
I already wrote a book once, entiled “Kill All the Lawyers? – A Client’s Guide to Hiring, Firing, Using and Suing Lawyers.” That was before I was shanghaied in 1987, my farewell to the practice of law. Nothing like “Heavy Wait,” which was from the spiritual dimension. More like something Ralph Nader might have written in 1985, “Kill All the Lawers?” was. “Heavy Wait” killed a few lawyers, though, and I imagine it would kill a lot more, if lawyers were to read it. A different kind of killing, of course . . .
What I sometimes wondered was, would I wrote a sequel to it? I started something last year that was so bizarre it was just creeping out of me, instead of flowing like “Heavy Wait” had. Meaning, because of the creeping, it was really bizarre. Even so, my dreams were supporting it, and then someone stole my backpack with my laptop in it out of the Internet Cafe where I was playing chess, and that was the end of the sequel, because the back up disk was in the laptop. I had part of of the frolic backed up on one of my websites, but I don’t think I could have reconstructed the parts that were not there, and it went by the wayside.
Maybe I should write a novel entilted “Kill all the Humans.” Not necessarily in the gun and bullet sense exactly, but probably some of them might be better off to be taken out that way. A few names come to mind. One is our current president, whom I sent through the Star Gate to parts unknown, in the lost novel, after I somehow ended up becoming president; but not through any constitutional process, as by then most of the New England and the northern border states had been annexed by Canada, after terrorist dirty bomb attacks in various strategic financial centers and Washington D.C. had destroyed the American financial system and its government, except for Nancy Pelosi and President-elect Obama, who were not in D.C. when the Chinese did the deed and disguised it to look like Osama bin had done it.
20,000,000 Americans in the northern states froze do death or died of starvation the first year following the attack, while a mass migration south saved many more Americans. Those survivors who stayed up north were happy to become Canadians.
Like I said, it was a bizarre sequel, and I didn’t even tell any of the bizarre parts here. What I told were the normal parts. I wonder how long the Board of Directors will let me keep this reply up on this website?
No, I have no plans to shoot President Obama, or hire someone else to shoot him. Not in a human way, anyway. I shoot him plenty with my pen, though. Not to be accused of racial discrimination, or political party discrimination, I did the same thing with his unworthy predecessor on the Offal Office. And with that one’s father, “Read My Lips.” Maybe if I wasn’t on this planet any more, this would be a lot funnier. The angels surely must keep wondering what we humans are going to do next, to screw everything up.
Postscript: I corrected my residence yesterday on the home page of goodmorningkeywest.com. It was still showing I lived in Key West. Six weeks ago, the Board of Directors moved me back to Little Torch Key, so I could loon and lie in George Neugent’s voting district, again.
Archive for April, 2010
I met yesterday with Phil Shannon, founder of Citizens Not Serfs, and Law Fellow John November, at Phil’s home on Summerland Key. I’m glad we met there, instead of at a local restaurant, because we were able to speak freely about a variety of subjects, not all of which would have been appropriate (in my estimation) in a pubic place. The meeting was amicable for the most part, and we covered a lot of territory during the two hours.
Word the came of the not entirely unexpected death of an old dear Birmingham lawyer friend Roben, who’d had emergency open heart surgery two years ago . . .
The following Monday morning brought a phone call from a north Georgia redneck, who once majored in English Literature at Mercer College in Macon, Georgia. He was the president of the Mercer chapter of Kappa Alpha Order during his junior year. I was a member of the Vanderbilt chapter of the same fraternity some years before. Not president, not any officer. I despised politics then. Now I hate politics.
Anyway, my friend, who lives on the outskirts of Helen and manages 6,000 acres and a retreat center for the State of Georgia, he’s a real tree hugger, this one, called last Monday to tell me of a curious thing that had happened the day before. A fellow he knew up that way dropped by to tell of seeing on Fox News online of one Richard Parrot, aka Birdie McClaine, a street performer hanging out around Ft. Myers, Florida, having had his ventriloquist dummy stolen out of his vehicle.
The fellow had known Birdie a good while, but had not heard from him for some time because Birdie had gotten in a jam over non-payment of child support up Michigan way, and had spent some time in the pokey over it, and, as I recall hearing from another of Birdie’s friends, an English street performer known in the trade as Gazzo, had been on a tracker and confined to that local in up Michigan way for a while.
The fellow found an old cell phone number for Birdie and called him and, yep, Birdie answered. On hearing this, my friend told Birdies friend he knew somebody who might like to have Birdie’s phone number, that somebody being me, and that’s how I got Birdie’s cell phone number yesterday, and called him. When I said, “Is this Birdie McClaine?” and he said, “Yes,” I said, “This is Sloan.” When he said, “Sloan Young, Heavy Wait,” I said, “Yes, that Sloan.” He was driving somewhere, his reception was poor, he had burned up most of his daytime minutes on his cell phone over the news interviews and said he would call me back that night after 9 p.m.
Right about then I was starting to think maybe this might somehow have to do with open heart surgery, for I had written about a heart-breaking experience with a California friend and the novel HEAVY WAIT – A Strange Tale just before receiving the phone call from the north Georgia English Literature major, who had read the manuscript in 2005, as I recall, and said it sure wasn’t literature but he liked it anyway. Like I was trying to write fucking literature. Like I was trying to write anything. The darn tale just up and orgasm-ed out of me. That that’s where Birdie comes into this strange tale about a maybe even stranger tale.
Back in late April 2001, I was spending nights on flattened cardboard boxes in the doorway next to the bookstore on Fleming Street in Key West. I was doing this because it was as far away from the local mosquito population I could find in Key West at night. I also was doing this because I didn’t have any money.
The day before, Gazzo, whom I’d gotten to know pretty well from watching his ribald act maybe 100 times on Mallory pier, and from watching him play chess at Sippin’ Internet Cafe on Eaton Street against Russian and Bulgarian assassins, and some American assassins, too, said he was headed north for the summer. North to Boston, where his American wife and child lived. I asked if he had room for a rider? He said yes. I said let me sleep on it, and if I was going, I’d be at Sippin’ waiting on him the next morning.
That night in my condo room next to the bookstore, or rather just before dawn the next morning, I dreamt of watching a street performer wearing a black derby had riding a 6-foot-tall unicycle, teaching me how to do my own street act. Well, Gazzo wore a black derby had, and even though he didn’t ride a unicycle, his was a sleight-of-hand, ribald humor show, I took the dream as a go. So when Gazzo showed up at Sippin’, I said I was ready to go, and off we went. I didn’t have a penny on me, but I did have a food stamp card with a couple of months left on it.
En route, Gazzo said he wanted to drop by Helen, Georgia to see Birdie? Did I have a problem with that. Like I was in a hurry to get to New England, to drift around for the summer. A place where I knew no one. And flat broke. No, I wasn’t in a hurry. Sure, let’s go see Birdie. I went through Helen once before, on a white water canoeing trip. It looked like the fakey-ist town I’d ever seen, all that pretend Bavarian architecture facade. Maybe I would like it better this time.
I’d already me Birdie maybe a month before, when he came over from Ft. Myers to see Gazzo. Birdie had used to perform on Mallory Pier, but had gotten tired of the political infighting among the performers and the people who ran the Sunset Celebration. And he had felt his act was better suited to a place like Ft. Myers, where there weren’t so many performers, and he didn’t have to fight and scrap to be heard and to have time to do his act.
Gazzo said he and Birdie were going to Stick n’ Stein, to watch a championship boxing match, did I want to join them? Sure, I said I liked good boxing. Gazzo said this would be a good match. So I went, and it was a good match, although now I don’t remember who the fighters were.
All of this was tucked away in my bird brain when we pulled into the outskirts of Helen one afternoon, and Gazzo said he wanted to head into the town center, instead of to Birdies’ palce outside of town, to catch Birdie’s act on the town plaza. No problem, I said. The problem, sort of, came after we parked and walked the short distance to where Birdie performed, and there he was, up on his 6-foot unicycle, in a black derby hat, moving into the climax of his street act I had never seen before except in a dream in my condo next to the bookstore on Fleming Street in Key West.
After Birdie was done with his act, we had dinner at the upstairs Chinese restaurant overlooking the plaza where he performed. Then we headed up to his place some miles distant on a lake retirement community for the night. I got to sleep in the home of Birdie’s girlfriend, who was still in south Florida.
The next morning, Birdie came and told me Gazzo had told him I write books? Was that so? Yes, I had written quite a few books, I siad. Had I ever written a novel? Yes, three novels, I said. Would I like to hear a storyline for a great movie he’d had for a long time, which first would need to be written as a novel? Sure, I said.
After he explained the plot, I nearly fainted. When he asked if I liked the plot, I said yeah, I liked it. When he asked if I could write a novel using that plot, I said it should be too hard, since I’d lived a great deal of the plot just the year before. Now Birdie was looking a bit slack-jawed. He got to looking a bit more slack-jawed when I told him about the dream in the condo doorway the night before I left Key west, and of my going slack-jawed when I saw his street act for the first time in Helen.
When I said I would need a place to stay, he said he would get me a tent and I could use the nearby communal bathhouse to shower and use the bathroom. Sounded great to me. When I said I would need a computer to write the book, he said the Helen library had a computer he never saw anyone use; we would go to the library and see if I could use it to write the book. No problem, the were happy for me to use the computer, as long as I gave it up if someone else wanted to use it.
The next day, the book started falling out of me. After a session of writing, I printed it out to take home and look over and mark for corrections. The next day, I corrected the draft on the floppy disk I was using to back up the manuscript, and the next morning I would make the corrections first, then the next installment would fall out of me. For a while Birdie kept up reading the installments, but he fell away when after the first “X-rated” scene passed by.
I never wrote a novel that didn’t have “X-rated” scenes, and I doubt I ever will write one that doesn’t. People who had read one or more of the first three novels had suggested maybe I had a career in pornographic literature, but that didn’t interest me at all. Part of life is supposed to be passionate, fun and disgusting. Human beings are designed for it. So at different moments in tales that gush through me, come some really hot and steamy rolls in the hay. People who can’t deal with that probably never had the experience themselves.
Anyway, the tale moved along a portion each day, six days a week. I would have written on Sundays, if the library had been open. Six weeks after it started, it was finished. Once during the writing, I tried to alter the final outcome and was roughed up pretty good in dreams that night following. Another time I got to a place in the plot and didn’t know how to turn the next corner, and I was told in a dream that following night how to do it. The final product, totally alien to anything Birdie would have designed, was fully in keeping with his plot.
I was told in a dream, during the middle of the writing process, that Birdie now reading the tale as it fell out of me was causing problems. As was his his doing something else he should have been handling differently. When I shared that advisory with him, nothing changed. Maybe it’s all coming back around now, for another run at it. Or maybe it’s coming back around for a final song.
What I feel moved to say about the tale is, as it was falling out of me, I was getting to know a woman who eventually would become my wife. Before I knew about that, although she already pretty well saw it coming, I kept telling her the book was being written by God. I didn’t tell her, or anyone but Birdie, anything about the story, though. When finally it was finished, a new friend, who also was a friend of my brother Major, made copies of it after he read it. He was the first person to read it.
I gave a copy to the woman I didn’t yet know was going to be my next wife, but she wasn’t so clueless. Then, the most peculiar thing started happening. Everytime she tried to sit down and read it after work, something happened to interrupt her. After a while of this, I told her it was the Devil sending the interruptions. She didn’t believe me, but after it kept happening, she started thinking maybe I was right. Finally she got her dander up and stayed up all night reading it from start to finish. When she saw me the next day, she told me about staying up all night and said the book indeed was written by God.
It would have to have been written by God, for it to end so not to my liking. If the Devil had written it, I would have loved the ending, which I soon came to see was a forecast for the next years of my bizarre life. As I told somebody the other day, God is like a radio, and whatever station I listen to is the station where God tries to talk to me about my ignorance and what I might do about it.
Of all the books that were pushed through me, HEAVY WAIT, depsite its bizarre and rigorous twists and turns, is my favorite. It was like a son to me. It came out of my heart, and the way this world and the spirit world treated it broke my heart. But then, I get my heart broken a lot. Maybe it helps my heart get bigger and stronger, like maybe it’s a kind of aerobic exercise. Maybe Birdie not calling me back like he said he would was the final nail in the heavy wait. Maybe it’s time for me to bury that child, too, and move on.
Perhaps in that vein is the last poem in the last chapter. The poem fell out of me about two weeks before Gazzo and I left Key West to link up with Birdie. A few hours before the poem hatched, I was told in my sleep, as I lay on a cardboard box in a doorway next to the bookstore on Fleming Street: “You will fail, but you might enter the kingdom of God.” The poem describes open heart surgery as well as I will ever be able to describe it.
I know what it is to love fully,
have my heart broken by death
and by loved ones’ rejections,
Over and over again,
So I can love even more.
I know what it is to be engulfed in pain,
Awash in evil,
Terrified, engraged, despaired,
Believing God has again forsaken me,
Then be given the truth
that again makes me free.
I know what it is to doubt,
Be lost and wandering
time and time again,
Then be rescued yet again
and my faith grows deeper.
I know what it is to blindly trust,
Then be destroyed by betrayal
time and time again,
Until I trust only God.
I know what it is to have much
and be completely of this world,
Then have it all taken away
and be in the world but not of it.
I know what it is to fail in this world,
And fail and fail and fail:
The world’s greatest failure,
I can serve only God.
I know what it is to give
and give and give and give;
I cannot stop giving
because giving is receiving.
I know what it is to explain God
time after time after time again.
Something demands I keep explaining:
Maybe someone will listen,
After being told I will fail, which I took to mean on this world, after having that poem fall out of me, I expect to fail at everything on this world I am given to do. To expect anything else would be madness. Whether I will enter the kingdom of God, or whether I will fail at that too, is beyond my ken. I pray nearly every day for it to all be over, to be taken from this life. As would you, if you lived in my skin. Please don’t send me any words of advice. You would have to be having my experience to advise me about my life with God.
Postscript: I’m going to meet later today with Citizens Not Serfs founder Phil Shannon and his Law Fellow John November. I suppose we will talk some about illegal downstairs enclosures. I suppose at the level of soul this meeting heralds for me yet another trip into the basement, the subconscious, the unknown. A trip into something grubby and spiritually illegal that is worming its way up out of its downstairs enclosure into the light of day. Something I don’t want to deal with but will have to deal with anyway. And, yeah, it also has to do with Citizens Not Serfs and illegal downstairs enclosures in the Keys, and maybe even more worldly creepy crawlers over which I don’t expect to have any lasting influence, but that probably won’t prevent the Board of Directors from making me give it the good old redneck college try.
Below is an email to me yesterday from John November, responding to yesterday morning’s Local & State Intrigue post, followed by my apology back to John, followed by personal ruminations.
As a special favor to you, I researched the conflict of interest issue in greater detail. The relevant Florida Statute is 112.3143 (c).It reads “(3)(a) No county, municipal, or other local public officer shall vote in an official capacity upon any measure which would inure to his or her special private gain or loss; which he or she knows would inure to the special private gain or loss of any principal by whom he or she is retained or to the parent organization or subsidiary of a corporate principal by which he or she is retained, other than an agency as defined in s. 112.312(2); or which he or she knows would inure to the special private gain or loss of a relative or business associate of the public officer. Such public officer shall, prior to the vote being taken, publicly state to the assembly the nature of the officer’s interest in the matter from which he or she is abstaining from voting and, within 15 days after the vote occurs, disclose the nature of his or her interest as a public record in a memorandum filed with the person responsible for recording the minutes of the meeting, who shall incorporate the memorandum in the minutes.”
I called the Ethics commission this morning and spoke with the state’s attorney. I described the situation to him. He said that although each situation is different, he said that since there would be such a large class of people affected, there would likely not be a conflict.
Here is a excerpt from an advisory opinion off the Ethics commission website: “the size of the class of persons to be affected by a particular measure, and not a combination of separate measures, is relevant in determining whether you would be presented with a voting conflict. If the class is large and if there are not circumstances unique to members of the class which materially distinguish the measure’s effect upon them, as opposed to its effect upon the balance of the members of the class (see, for example, CEO 90-71 and our opinions cited therein), then the gain to public officers who are members of the class likely would not be “special” under the voting conflicts law, and thus their voting on the measure not be prohibited by it.”
You can call the ethics commission if you want to discuss it with them further. The number is 850-487-4259. It looks like your “clear” conflict of ethics is not so clear after all is it? Maybe you should do some research next time before you accuse me of not having any legal training. Look forward to seeing you Thursday. I suggest you treat me with some more respect next time we speak or meet.
I just finished speaking with Danny Carlton at the Ethics Commission, with whom you had spoken. He is one of their attorneys. He pretty much affirmed what you wrote to me, except he said he did not give an opinion on how this would turn out at the Ethics Commission, if it came before that body. He said only a person worried about being in conflict of interest, or that person’s attorney, can ask for an Ethic Commission ruling. Danny described an informal request, which can move pretty quickly, hours sometimes, but usually a few days or a week or two, and is issued in writing by a staff attorney. And Danny described a formal request, which moves much more slowly because it is considered by the Commission itself. Danny suggested that any elected official having what might be perceived as a conflict of interest would be well advised to seek an ethics ruling before proceeding. He said even with a conflict of interest, under Florida law an elected official can discuss an issue before that official’s body, but cannot vote on it. I do owe you and apology, and I make it here, and will post your and my email exchange tomorrow, for the public part of the apology.
I apparently need to take myself in for a check up. Maybe a long check up.
I have ways of knowing if I have spirit clearance from the Board of Directors before and after I put up a post. Those ways were in play yesterday. The BOD have ways of blocking posts, physical ways, and they let yesterday’s post though. So what in the hell happened yesterday?
What I can say is, if I owned an home with an illegal downstairs enclosure, under the advice of Jesus, render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and unto God that which is God’s, I would be made by the Board of Directors to tear down and dispose of my illegal downstairs enclosure before filing to run for the county commission. I would be made to first take the beam out of my own eye.
If I did not do that and was elected to the county commission, and if an illegal downstairs enclosure item then became before that body, I would have a clear conflict of interest no matter that 7,000-plus other Keys people also had illegal downstairs enclosures. No way could I be in the clear with so much of my own personal financial interest at stake. No way. I would have to recuse myself, not only from voting but also from discussion. I would have to do that because, as an elected official, I would have a higher ethical duty than a private citizen. I would have to avoid even the mere appearance of impropriety.
So, what it looks to me happened was I projected how it would go for me onto Danny Coll, and I then laid it off on John November, not realizing we were not operating from the same bodies of law. Once again am I reminded that the Florida Ethics Commission (this is not my first or even my second experience with the Commission) does not seem inclined to use the ”the mere appearance of propriety” test, which I believe is a universally accepted legal standard for elected officials in America, even though it doesn’t seem to be universally applied.
County Commissioner David Rice, a psychologist, had a lucrative consulting and testing contract with the Monroe County Sheriff Office, the annual budget of which is approved by the county commission, and none of the other commissioners, including George Neugent, David’s good friend, felt there was any impropriety in that.
Commissioner Neugent, Commissioner Di Gennaro and Commissioner/Mayor Murphy didn’t see impropriety this year dining in a closed meeting with the top brass of ORCA (Ocean Reef Community Association), the wealthiest and largest gated community and PAC in the Keys, despite prior warnings from State Attorney Dennis Ward that their attending that dinner would appear to violate the state sunshine law.
All of this commentary above leaves me deeply disturbed. I don’t even want to be involved in Keys politics, and especially do I not want to run for office and be brought a lot closer to what looks to me like a political system that is irrevocably beyond repair because elected officials who should be leading the charge to repair it are leading the charge to keep it the way it is, because that is the way they want it to be.
My own distemper over this, which John November received when I saw he was not on the same page I’m on, or in the same book, or, as I told him, not even on the same planet, puts me into a conflict of interest in my soul. A conflict of interest between living the way I have no choice but to live, and dealing with people who live anyway that suits them. That conflict of interest in me has to be bleeding into and poisoning what I write about Keys politics. It has to be. I makes me feel as if I need to shut up and do something else entirely, because Keys politics is beyond repair even by God.
Jesus did say in the Gospels to his disciples, didn’t he?, for them to go to places and say what they had to say, and to stay where they were welcome, but where they were not received, to stamp the dust off their shoes on those people’s doorsteps and leave, and woe be unto that place.
I don’t know yet whether I’m to meet with Phil Shannon and John November tomorrow. I don’t care to meet with them, but it’s not my call, because I don’t live on the same planet they live on. The planet I live on is run by God. So if I’m told to meet with them, I will meet with them, even though nothing in me wants to do it. Were I in their shoes, I would not be eager to meet with me, either. I would not be eager at all, because I know Danny Coll is their District 2 county commissioner candidate, despite their claim he is not and their claim they do not support candidates for office. Nothing bugs me more than liars. Nothing bugs me more.
On the local (Florida Keys front), an interesting “revelation” came to me yesterday after I was called by John November, Law Fellow for Citizens Not Serfs (CNS), founded and headed up by Phil Shannon of Summerland Key. John said he’d like to get together with me for lunch. After tossing around some places, we decided on the Square Grouper, where I’ve never eaten. We decided on today, Tuesday.
When John then said Phil would be there, too, I said then maybe we shouldn’t meet in a public place. Maybe we should meet at Phil’s home. I had in mind that I’d recently busted Phil and John in a post. I also had in mind that maybe what we would talk about might not be something we would want people in a restaurant to hear. John said he’d have to check with Phil about meeting at his home, and he would call back. I said okay.
Ten seconds after I closed up my cell phone, it hit me that District 2 county commission candidate Danny Coll would have a serious conflict of interest if he got elected. The conflict of interest would be his home has an illegal downstairs enclosure. Therefore, any item about illegal downstairs enclosures that came before the county commission would be off limits for Danny. He would have to recuse himself.
John called back maybe ten minutes later, to say he had been unable to reach Phil about changing the location of our meeting, so to be safe, let’s meet at Phil’s home on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. I said okay. Then, I described the revelation, fully expecting John to see the problem Danny Coll would have as a county commissioner on any item involving illegal downstairs enclosures.
What’s that saying? ASS-U-ME? Yep. I fell right into that one. Law Fellow John said he didn’t see a conflict of interest. I said, then maybe we’d better not meet on Thursday, because I didn’t see any reason to meet, if John, who had graduated from law school, didn’t see a conflict of interest in Danny Coll, as a county commissioner, voting on illegal downstairs enclosure items.
The conversation went on for a while. I became less and less kind to John about his legal training. He became more and more vocal about my disrespect for him, when he was trying to get us on the same side. I said I would be more respectful when he started acting like he understood the law.
Although John has repeatedly told me Danny Coll is not CNS’s candidate for the District 2 race, I have never believed him. Although John told me yesterday that CNS does not endorse or back candidates, I didn’t believe him, and told him we all know what really goes on.
I have followed CNS since its inception. I went to a number of CNS meetings at Phil’s home. I joined CNS, to lend sympathy. I got a CNS T-shirt. I wore it. I wrote on my blogs in CNS’s behalf. I wrote, and spoke at CNS meetings, about downstairs enclosures being the solution to the Keys affordable housing crises. I urged building even more of downstairs enclosures, using salt water-tolerant materials.
I saw at the meetings at Phil’s home that nearly all CNS members owned homes with illegal downstairs enclosures. I understood, as did everyone I knew who knew of CNS, that illegal downstairs enclosures was CNS’s reason for being. Imagine, therefore, my amusement yesterday, when Law Fellow John told me that was not true. There were other reasons for CNS’ existence. It was right there on their website.
Imagine my amusement to have Law Fellow John lecture me on something he was not around for. Law Fellow John, who only recently became involved with CNS. Law Fellow John, who never attended any of those meetings at Phil’s home described above. Meetings attended by many candidates and county commissioners, too, who shared their views on downstairs enclosures, to the rapt attention of the CNS audience.
CNS’ agenda at those meetings was all about preserving downstairs enclosures. At some meetings, the CNS moderator did not let anyone else speak but herself and hand-picked speakers. I quit going to CNS meetings because I was convinced whoever (Phil Shannon) was setting up the meetings wanted to control everything said to the audience.
Another thing that amused me yesterday was why Phil Shannon didn’t call me to set up our get together? Obviously, Phil was behind John calling me. Obviously, it was because I had busted Phil and John on my blogs. Maybe if Phil calls me, I will get together with him. Law Fellow John can come along, if he likes. But Phil needs to set up the meeting, and he needs to come prepared to take the lead. CNS is Phil’s baby. He is calling all the shots. He is who I need to deal with. And he needs to know I very likely will write about it afterward.
As for a lay view of what I told Law Fellow John about Danny Coll’s conflict of interest, if he gets elected . . .
Just after John’s and my second conversations yesterday, I received a phone call from Todd German, Chairman of Hometown! PAC, returning a call I had made earlier in the day yesterday about something else entirely. After we talked about that, I described my conversation with John about Danny Coll’s conflict of interest.
Todd said it looked like a clear conflict of interest to him, and he saw no way around it. He said maybe John November took his position because Danny Coll is CNS’s candidate. I said John keeps telling me Danny is not CNS’s candidate, but whatever is Danny’s relationship with CNS, he is perceived to be their candidate because his home has an illegal downstairs enclosure.
Todd said, if Danny was a commissioner and an downstairs enclosure item was on the agenda, he could make his sentiments known to the other commissioners before the vote. I said no, Danny could not even participate in the discussion, because he stood to personally gain from the outcome. It would be no different, I said, which I’d also said to John November, than incumbent commissioner George Neugent’s wife bringing an item before the county commission. George would have to recuse himself from voting and from any discussion. Todd agreed.
Todd, who never went to law school, understands Danny’s conflict of interest. Todd understands because he has no ties to Danny. Phil Shannon and CNS have a huge tie to Danny, illegal downstairs enclosures. And the more Phil, John and Danny deny that, the less credibility they will enjoy with Keys voters.
Danny and George Neugent will square off in the Republican primary. If I ever get around to filing and am still on this planet, the winner of that race will square off against me, a non-affiliated (independent) candidate, in the general election.
On both a state and local front is a huge election issue for all of Florida, as well as for the Keys.
A Republican ploy is well underway to eliminate the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), which has oversight and veto power over changes in and sneaky attempts to circumvent local Comprehensive Plans by county commissions. Our Republican-controlled (translate that to developer-controlled) state legislature has declined to fund DCA’s continuance, by leaving it for the state legislature to either provide funding for DCA next year, or let DCA sunset by not getting any further funding.
DCA has played a vital role in keeping our county commission on track and out of the hands of developers. There are two things Keys voters can do to counter what the Republican-controlled (translate that to developer-controlled) state legislature is doing in Tallahassee.
One thing is return our incumbent Democrat legislator, Ron Saunders, to office this year (translate that to not elect his Republican opponent Morgan McPherson, who is generally viewed in Key West, where he served two terms as mayor, to be a tad whored up with developers).
The other thing Keys voters can do to counter the Republican killing of DCA perhaps requires some introduction.
Since 2006, I’ve been following Florida Hometown Democracy, a grass roots outfit spearheaded by mainland Florida Attorney Lesley Blackner. Hometown has fought tooth and nail, including multiple trips to court, and even to the Florida Supreme Court, against incredible wealthy, powerful and blatantly deceitful opposition from Florida developers, real estate firms and chambers of commerce, to get Amendment 4 to the Florida Constitution on this year’s ballot. Here’s an excerpt from a recent Hometown Democracy press release, describing what Amendment 4 will do:
Florida Hometown Democracy Amendment 4 adds one step to the existing land-use process: a citizen vote. Local city or county commissions will study, hold public hearings, and vote as usual on proposed changes to the local comprehensive land-use plan. If your local commission approves a plan change, you will veto or approve it on the next regularly scheduled Election Day. It’s that simple. Builders who choose to build where land is already approved for it won’t face a vote at all. Amendment 4 only requires voter approval local comprehensive land-use plan changes. It doesn’t apply to the more frequently-decided individual development approvals, re-zonings, or variances. And it doesn’t require special elections.
The state-wide gang of three (developers, real estate firms and chambers of commerce), and their development whore county commissioners, don’t want to see Amendment 4 on the ballot. The state-wide gang of three are spending a lot of money putting out out huge amounts of disinformation about Amendment 4, equating it, essentially, to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and 911. Here’s why the gang of three are doing it.
If Amendment 4 passes this year, then you, the voters, henceforth are the equivalent of DCA. Henceforth, you, the voters, get to veto or approve any changes to your county’s Comprehensive Plan passed by your county commission. Henceforth, you, the voters, can stop your county commission from developing your county contrary to your wishes. Is that democracy? You bet it’s democracy.
Here’s Hometown’s we blink. Go get ‘em, Lesley!
Reply from the oldest brother of my first wife to the part of yesterday’s Saturday Marathons – Florida Keys post concerning his sister murdering her and my first child.
Bash…You must know that as I’ve said before that I was there and the first one to answer Dianne’s screams the morning that little Bash died …our next door neighbor was there …the best cardiologist in Memphis Dr Spiotta was there trying to revive our little Bash within minutes you will always be my friend but please let this go Hope to see you on one of my trips to Fl while my little guy is still at at the Rick Macci Tennis Academy in Boca Raton Love… Brother Jim
It looks to me like it’s the Board of Directors who need to let this go. I never wanted to write anything about it, but they insisted. So I wrote to Dianne’s husband, whom I always have liked, which letter he may or may not have received. I said in that letter I hoped it was over. Months later, I was told to write about it on my websites. My brother’s death drew a lot Birmingham and Alabama attention to my writings, and I was told to write about my son’s death again, and then again. I hope now it is over and the Board of Directors lets it go. I didn’t hear anything from them last night in my sleep, other than not to make too much commotion about it today – their way of telling me to hold to the view they gave to me.
I staked my life and my soul on what the Board of Directors told me about my son’s death, just as I staked my life and my soul that I had an older half-brother named Travis.
Riley is the last name of the young Jamaican-origin Travis I wrote about yesterday. Riley is the first name of the hero in my first and last novels. That “coincidence, in and of itself, is a bit spooky.
My “adopted daughter” Brenda has been getting vibes that a lawsuit needed to be filed in California. This has puzzled me to no end, because she has never been to California.
Yesterday, it came to me that I once had a dear friend in California, who was in the same accelerated spirit program I was in, but in a somewhat different play-out. He sometimes had spoken of a mad dog in himself, and more than a few times he had unleashed that mad dog on me after I had told him something he didn’t want to hear. We’d had a series of falling outs after he attacked me, the last one in early 2001.
Some months later, the second Riley novel, HEAVY WAIT – A Strange Tale, fell out of me. Then, my California friend came in a dream, while I and the woman who had mused the novel sat in a theater watching the premier of HEAVY WAIT. My friend sat down behind us and leaned over the back of our seats, wanting to see the manuscript. So the following day, I sent him an email, describing the dream and the novel.
My friend was a screen writer. The novel was supposed to be made into a movie, which is explained in the Preface. He declined to read the manuscript, despite the dream I’d had, and despite knowing very well about dreams, as his own dreams had told him about Travis. He was supposed to write the screen play for the novel, and in that way square up his and my relationship and launch it into a new dimension altogether.
The novel died in infancy because my friend did not do his part. He died about a year and a half after he killed the novel. For 20 years, he had been a health food nut, drank only purified water, ate only organic vegetables and fruits and nuts, ate no animal products except clarified butter and raw kefir (liquid yogurt). He was a yogi, a taoist, a meditator. But he never dealt with the rabid dog in himself. The rabid dog that became his liver cancer and killed him at about age 46.
I have yet to meet anyone, since God abducted me in early 1987, who does not have a mad dog part. It apparently is part of being human. Call it Jekyll and Hyde. It’s two entirely different people living in one body. An angel and a demon. The angel is not inclined to deal with the demon, which suits the demon just fine. If the dark twin is not dealt with in on this world, it goes with us. Everywhere we go, there we are. And everywhere we go, there God awaits us.
My experiences with my own dark twin, and with the dark twin of many other people, is there is no human remedy. The dark twin is too clever and powerful, and too invisible to the angel twin, to be dealt with consciously. Only by divine intervention, relentless ongoing divine intervention, can the dark twin be dealt with, tamed, brought into service to God. This seldom happens on this world. The first step, always, is to admit the existence of the dark twin. The second step is to admit inability to deal with it. The third step is the ask God to take over and deal with it for the rest of this life. There appears to be no other way.
From what I have experienced and seen, it is far better not to ask God for help with the dark twin, than it is to ask for help and then walk away from it after it the changes begin. This is pretty much the same warning the author of the Letter to the Hebrews gave to her target audience: Jews who had known Jesus, who had turned away from the cleansing of the Lord because it was too hot for them. God’s Holy Fire is indeed hot, and its flame never goes out. If we walk away from the flame, it is like killing a child – our self – before it has a chance to grow up.
The front page of Today’s Key West Citizen features an article about a local defamation lawsuit over alleged anonymous false allegations made against a Keys teacher. The plaintiff’s attorney will attempt to get the server provider to reveal the identities of the senders of the alleged defaming emails. A New York state court has already ruled in a similar case that the server provider has to cough up the names of anonymous senders of alleged defaming emails, posts to blogs, etc. The local court might make the same ruling, which probably would be appealed.
My personal view, I agree with the New York state court. If you post something to the Internet that defames another person, it is libel and you should not be able to hide behind the server provider. I say this as someone who posts a lot of very rough stuff about people online, and I always have my name with it. I get a lot of heat for it. I have even been treatened with a libel suit.
Threatened by former Mayor of Key West, Morgan McPherson, because I asked in posts for his wife, Christina, Vice-Principal at Key West High School, who had given Monique Acevedo access to the 9th grade there, to receive the same scrutiny and be subjected to the same rigorous investigation as anyone else in the county school system who’d had school dealings with Monique.
As far as I know, I have yet to see anything reported in Key West Citizen, or anywhere, about Christina being examined by school or law enforcement authorties, over her supervision or lack thereof of Monique’s activities with the 9th grade, which news reports have indicated resulted in a considerable theft of county school funds by Monique.
I never said Christina did anything wrong. I simply said she should be treated like everyone else in the school system who’d had dealings with Monique.
I would be lying if I did not say in the back of my mind was knowing that Morgan and Monique’s husband, Randy, our Superintendant of Schools, was accused of being her accomplice (and was later convicted of it), are best friends.
I would be lying if I did not say in the back of my mind was Morgan announcing at a fund raiser in Key West that his wife had been promoted by Randy to Principal of Key West High School, which promotion was overruled by higher ups.
I would be lying if I did not say I do not feel the School Board and its attorney and law enforcement and the State Attorney Office did their duty, if they did not put Christina through the same examination process they put other school staff who’d had dealings with Monique.
I would be lying if I did not say I feel Monique and Randy killed a lot of children in the soul sense. Never again will any Keys student, who knows what the Acevedos did, trust teachers in the way they trusted them before the Acevedos went out of control.
I would be lying if I did not say the position of School Superintendant should be an appointed instead of an elected position, which issue the voters of Monroe County will get to decide by referendum in the next election.
I would be lying if I did not say Morgan looks to me like he is out of control, and if you put him into the state legislature, you might as well have put Randy and Monique there instead.
I am not the only person around these parts who thinks Morgan is out of control. You might be very surprised to hear the names of two Key West people who told me they agree Morgan is out of control.
In my sleep before dawn yesterday, I heard “Marathon.” The same thing happened the previous Saturday morning before dawn. As that Saturday progressed, I felt like I was poisoned and being taken through hell upside down and backward. I was barely able to move. I passed out three times. I realized that entire day was the marathon. It started to lift after I started writing an answer to Ron Black about the Jesus I know. Ron, whose wife Carolyn I had represented over the death of her husband, Jay, in an airplane crash when I practiced law in Birmingham.
I remembered last Saturday that this marathon stuff started happening on Saturdays when I lived in this little cabin in the woods from the Spring Equinox of 2006 until the the Spring Equinox of March 2007. When I completed my move back up here on the Sping Equinox of this year, 2010, the Saturday marathons resumed. There is no way the timing of the three moves was coincidental. It was arranged, just as my Saturday marathons are arranged in this little cabin in the woods.
Yesterday was another Saturday marathon. I didn’t write anything about it, though, because I didn’t know where to start, although I saw the signs coming in.
This email from Carolyn Black:
Hi Sloan, I tried to add to “Louise’s” comment but couldn’t get in on the web site. “The point” (and don’t stop fighting) is that you have pure intentions, not political ambition or monetary gain & that people thousands of miles away care about the issues of the mangroves & preservation of the natural environment of the Keys, People like us ,who live in the congestion of suburbia gone mad. We torture ourselves annually to drive or fly 700 miles, like migrating whales, to get to the beach in AL. We can’t go to the “Rolling Tide” motel in Gulf Shores AL, where you park under your quarters or to Panama City boardwalk houses or Grayton beach to private houses now. We can’t go to the “Wharf” in Destin where they cooked the fish that you caught. We can’t go to Bayley’s for “West Indies Crab Salad” & “Fried Crab Claws” or to the Wolf Bay Lodge or Meme’s on the Bon Secour River. They have all given way to Condos. Or should I say, Condos gone bankrupt. St Pete beach was gone 30 years ago. How nice it would be to stay in a one story , hokey “motel” in FL or on Lake Okeechobee in a fishing camp without having to ride in an elevator. I have had the pleasure of seeing wild boars running through the cypress trees there, at Camp Mack. Your eloquence is not wasted on us in TX because we have lived in FL. I am leaving for B’ham on Sunday for two weeks at my homestead with my 96 year old Mother. You will be in my thoughts. Attached is a pic of Travis Riley, a young man who has climbed mountains & graduated from El Centro in Dallas (associate degree) with 18 honors. I write Congressmen & Profs at UT for him but nothing comes of it. I love to fight windmills. He has one really good person at UT fighting for him. They always say they will come back to us. He was born in Jamaica & supposedly adopted by Baptist missionaries but they never made it legal, neglected him & blah, blah. He takes it all in stride but I am going to really get on it for him when I get back from B’ham. I love him. He played football with my 300 lb grandson, Matthew but Travis is a receiver & a good one. We were the only ones who celebrated his high school & El Centro graduation. Those Baptist parents didn’t come to either one. This is why you are speaking the truth. I have seen it. Travis is here in Plano for the weekend with my Grandson & I will see him tomorrow.
Carolyn included this lovely photo of Travis at his high school graduation, and a photo of some of her family, including Travis.
I was rocked by Carolyn’s email. Travis was the name of my older half-caste, half brother, whose existence I had discovered in dreams my two best men friends and I had in the late summer of 1998. My approach to my father about Travis in December 1999 led to the final and total rupture of his and my relationship on this world, and what so far appears to be the total rupture between my daughters and me on this world, after I changed my name to Sloan Young and renounced my inheritance in their favor.
After which, I left Birmingham and ended up in Costa Rica, where I now know Carolyn spends a lot of time. A country where my youngest daughter’s husband “found” me, so I could absolve him for divorcing his wife because she had no time for him in her life as a medical student. The lad, like a son to me, had no idea I was in Costa Rica. He had no idea he would run into me in a small west coast village, when he rented a motorcycle one weekend, to get away from the mid-country medical clinic where he was interning that summer. He and his wife were going through medical school together, the same medical school. When I asked him if he believed in God yet, after finding in Costa Rica the only person on this planet who could release him from his marriage, he had no clue what I was talking about.
I was rocked again yesterday by news from the younger son of my dear Birmingham retired lawyer friend Roben Eubank’s death at his home either Wednesday or Thursday. Roben had been through the wringer. His wife had contracted a virulent cancer, and he had nursed her through her last illness. He then had emergency open heart surgery. Later, in medical follow ups, he contracted MRSA in one of his feet. It nearly took his foot. His life dream was to get on his sailboat, with me tagging along, and head off into the Bahamian and Caribbean sunset. He never got to do it. I don’t know the cause of death yet, but I know MRSA very well, having had it nearly kill me. I know it attacks your entire system. I know it goes after where you are weak.
I also know from Roben’s son that his father got back on the bottle for a while recently, which was a binge habit he fought all the time I knew him. I might have gotten back on the bottle a while, if my doctor had given me MRSA, and then I was paying him and other doctors to try to get rid of it for me. I might have gotten back on the bottle, if after all of the hell I’d been through, I was not able to get onto my sailboat and sail off into the sunset. I kept wondering why I was not hearing from Roben after I started writing about the case I had handled for Carolyn. I kept wondering because Roben had talked his law firm into referring that case to me. It was because of Roben that I met Carolyn.
I sent Carolyn news yesterday of Roben’s passing. Ron replied that she was out and he would pass along the news when she returned. He said she was supposed to fly to Birmingham yesterday (she had already planned the trip to see her mother), but the weather was bad in Texas and he got her to cancel her flight reservation. Can’t say I saw anything wrong with that. After what Carolyn went through, losing Jay in an airplane crash in bad weather, I might be reluctant to fly in similar weather.
I myself was always reluctant to fly in bad weather. I remember when I worked for Golden Flake and several of us flew up to Nashville from Birmingham. The weather closed in while we were there, and although the company pilot was confident we could make it back, I told them to be my guest, I would fly home commercially the next day. They all sayed over, and we flew back the next morning in clear weather.
In my line of work today, I seldom get clear weather in which to fly. Nearly always the weather is Instrument Flight Rules conditions. Nearly always I need help from the control tower, to navigate safely to the runway. Almost never do I get to land under Visual Flight Rules conditions. And sometimes it seems the weather is even too bad to fly at all. On those days, I don’t post anything.
I have a situation I’ve been dealing with for years, involving a younger woman who came into my life through a truly bizzare series of events that would take too long to tell today. Brenda became like a daughter to me. She has many spiritual gifts, but she also has many troubles, which are far beyond my range to “treat.” If she is going to get help, it’s going to have to come from the angels of God assigned to her. I have told her, and thus the angels, this many times.
Brenda also was involved in yesterday’s marathon, still being run in me today. In two ways she was involved.
One way, she started in again yesterday asking me to explain what is happening to her, and I told her again it is beyond my range; it is between her and her angels, between her and God. She needs to do battle with them, and not with me, and not with other people.
The other way, she she had several dreams recently of angels coming and taking people away. People she did not know in waking life.
I received this from Ron Black three days ago:
April 22, 2010, 5:00AM
View full size(InsideVandy.com)Christopher Miree: 23-year-old shot to death in Mobile, Ala., on Friday night, April 16, 2010. Miree’s father Ben says Mobile police have told him they believe his son was alone when he was shot, but have said little else.MOBILE, Ala. — Christopher Kyser Miree was alone Friday night inside his Midtown home when “some despicable excuse for a human being came in and shot him in the head,” his father, Ben Miree, told the Press-Register on Wednesday.
I know Ben Miree, and his brother Dick. I played a lot of golf in my youth with Ben. Dick was one of the men, Carter Kennedy “Two Dogs”) was another, who came down to the Fish House, about which I wrote recently. I later went fishing with Ben, Carter and other Birmingham men in Panama. I went to Vanderbilt. I had a son whose death was made to look like it was natural, but it was murder. I had a brother whose death was suicide, but it was made to look like it was murder.
I told Ron I hoped I was not going to be drawn into the horrible thing with Ben’s son. Only if something quirky, unexpected, was involved, would I be drawn in, I said. Meaning, only if Christopher’s death was not what it appeared to be, would I be drawn in.
Last Monday morning early, my father came to me in a dream and said, “In a week you will have open heart surgery.”
Roben had had open heart surgery. Maybe that was what my father came to tell me was coming my way. Maybe it was that and other stuff.
In a later dream, I was told I would T-off on the front nine of the East (the “Ladies”) Course of the Birmingham Country Club.
Maybe one of the T-offs was Brenda’s dreams, and her renewed attempt to get me to explain to her what I cannot explain.
She often dreams of stuff happening, about which neither of us know anything. It really bothers me that she dreams remote stuff neither of us seem to have anything to do with. What’s the point, if we are unable to engage it? What’s the point, if it only keeps getting her all riled up and disoriented?
I told Brenda yesterday, her dream about Roben dying is the first time I have seen one of her dreams play out in a way I could relate to. Or, maybe it was the second time. Maybe the death of Ben Miree’s son was the first time. Maybe the death of Ben’s son was the second T-off on the East Course, where he and I often played golf as kids.
Maybe there are more deaths to come. Brenda dreamt of the angels coming to take four people. Or maybe it was five. Some were taken up (directionally), while others were taken down.
No wonder, with all of this swirling and writhing around in me, I still feel poisoned today.
I told the Board of Directors yesterday, “Tomorrow is Sunday, and I imagine I will post a homily, but what kind?” This is post is a homily of sorts, but what kind? Right now, I just don’t know. Maybe by tonight, or by tomorrow, I will have a better handle on it. Maybe not.
Yowee!!! Just as I was posting this two goodmorningfloridakeys.com and goodmorningkeywest.com, Brenda called. She dreamt last night of seeing angels stripping all of my clothes off of me and throwing me in a huge fire, sort of like a volcano. I have had trouble relating to her lately, perhaps I’m to be punished. When I asked her what she thought the fire was, she said hell, I was being sent to hell. I said maybe I’m being put into purifying fire, cleansed. I said today’s post is an inferno. Can’t say I’m looking forward to the future.
From Tim O’hara’s “Residents risk Losing flood policy” front page piece in yesterday’s Key West Citizen:
“Florida Keys residents who have illegal first-floor living spaces could lose their insurance sooner if the federal government allows the county to bow out of being the enforcement middleman. Instead of launching protracted code enforcement cases, most of which are still in limbo, the county simply would report violators to their flood insurance companies, which would cancel their policies. Insurers currently are not notified until the county has exhausted all efforts to get homeowners to comply.”
For God’s sake, Florida Keys — wake up! How many of the 7,000-plus Keys homes with illegal downstairs enclosures don’t have mortgages, thus don’t have to have insurance, thus won’t be affected by this truly DRACONIAN swift boat move by this county commission? What, maybe 500 owners of Keys homes with illegal downstairs enclosures don’t have mortgages, thus don’t have to have flood insurance? Maybe less than that number?
7,000-plus Keys homes with illegal downstairs enclosures is a big percentage of the total number of homes in the Keys. But that’s only a part of the downstairs enclosure count. Many downstairs-enclosure homes were grandfathered. Thousands of Keys homes are totally ground level, completely downstairs-enclosed. These homes, such as County Commissioner George Neugent’s home in Marathon, also were grandfathered. George doesn’t have to worry about FEMA or code enforcement. He doesn’t have to worry about his flood insurance being canceled. Nor, I wager, do the other four county commissioners have to worry about any of that.
If the county commission is able to pull this ropa dopa off, maybe as many as 6,500 owners of Keys homes with illegal downstairs enclosures will be thrown to the wolves (FEMA and their flood insurance companies). What a cop-out! Nearly all of the 7,000-plus illegal downstairs enclosures came about because previous county commissions and code enforcement allowed those illegal downstairs enclosures to be built, with full knowledge of those county commissions and code enforcement. But for those county commissions and code enforcement, we would not have this problem, because there would be no illegal downstairs enclosures in the Keys.
Alas, mateys, there is even more high treason.
Since its inception, Citizens Not Serfs has claimed to represent the plight of owners of Keys homes with illegal downstairs enclosures. Yet in its email newsletter sent out yesterday by its Law Fellow John November, CNS lauds this recent Category 5 county commission treason as a positive development. That email made my blood boil.
I expect elected officials to weenie out and throw their constituents to the wolves – that’s what elected officials do. But for CNS, which claims to be the downstairs enclosure homeowners’ Jesus, to play let’s not ruffle any county commission or FEMA tail feathers, makes me want to indict, try, and put CNS’s head wannabe rooster, Phil Shannon, and his nice young yes man John November, who never yet practiced a day of law in his life, in a meat grinder, to make them into chum to attract the sharks to the county commissioner feast.
Maybe two months ago, I told Phil Shannon, John November, and all five county commissioners that FEMA and Monroe County need to be put in federal court, so a United States District Judge can take over FEMA, Monroe County, and all owners of Keys homes with illegal downstairs enclosures. I said let a federal judge decide what is legal and what is fair. Let a federal judge enforce it, which a federal judge has the power to do.
Phil Shannon told me that he didn’t like litigation, and preferred lobbying government officials. I said it was important for the government officials and FEMA to know he had the will to litigate. He laughed it off, with his nice young man John November standing right beside us.
All the money and time so far wasted by the county commission and CNS lobbying FEMA, our congressional representatives and federal agencies and officials in Washington would be trumped by a federal judge. Bingo! It all would be put right into President Obama’s lap, just as Hurricane Katrina put New Orleans and the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf coasts right into President Bush’s lap.
Anticipating what FEMA would argue to the judge and President Obama’s advisors about the situation in the Keys, is this closing paragraph from Tim O’Hara’s article:
“Because FEMA oversees the National Flood Insurance Program, the only insurer that covers the Keys, it has the authority to demand the county enforce laws prohibiting downstairs enclosures because they are a safety hazard.”
If FEMA was concerned about human safety, it would not have allowed any home to be rebuilt and receive flood insurance in New Orleans or on the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts after Hurricane Katrina came through. If FEMA was concerned about human safety, it would not have allowed any Keys home that had to be rebuilt after Hurricane Wilma waded ashore, to receive flood insurance. If FEMA was concerned about human safety, it would not allow County Commissioner George Neugent to receive flood insurance for his total downstairs enclosed home in Marathon. If FEMA was concerned about human safety, it would try to get Congress to force people to stop living in flood plains, by discontinuing flood insurance altogether.
Phil Shannon is a lot of talk. He likes the limelight. He likes an audience. He likes having a following. He is just another blow-hard politician. Relying on Phil Shannon and his CNS ego edifice to help you owners of illegal downstairs enclosures is like relying on the chummed up sharks not to eat the county commissioners after they have been bloodied by the barnacles and made to walk the plank.
If you own an illegal downstairs enclosure home in the Keys, you have legal standing to file suit in federal court, seeking relief from Monroe County, FEMA, your insurance company, and your mortgage company if it initiates foreclosure because your flood insurance was cancelled. With several other owners of Keys homes with illegal downstairs enclosures, you have standing to sue as representatives of the entire class of 7,000-plus similarly-situated owners of Keys homes with illegal downstairs enclosures. Such a case could be filed in the federal courthouse in Key West, without any input from or participation by Phil Shannon and Citizen Not Serfs. No way is Phil Shannon going to risk turning his pee wee ball game over to a federal judge, who then will be the decider of it all.
Go talk with Key West lawyer Robert Cintron. I know him personally. He is like a snapping turtle; once he sets his teeth into something, he never lets go. He likes helping little people getting run over by big people. He represents the Citizens Review Board in Key West. He represented Sea Horse Trailer Park residents on Big Pine Key against a developer that intended to evict all of the residents and bulldoze the park and turn it into an upscale transient-rental condominium resort. Robert is the Keys lawyer I would go see, if I were in your shoes.
If he likes your case, he will find a class-action specialist trial lawyer to join him in representing you, just as Key West attorney Mick Barns found a specialist anti-trust trial lawyer to represent Duck Tours against the City of Key West. Successful class-action plaintiffs are awarded attorney fees and the expenses of litigation. You might not have to pay anything up front. Or, if Robert wants a retainer and/or an hourly fee, he will take into consideration your financial situation and the potential of winning a class-action lawsuit for 7,000-plus Keys residents. I have not spoken with Robert about any of this. This post will be the first he’s heard of it.
Yes, you may not win the case. But you might win, and you will lose for sure if you sit around doing nothing, while your county commissioners, code enforcement, FEMA, your insurances companies and Phil Shannon fiddle around with your fate and grind you into dust.
Sloan Bashinsky, former practicing attorney and former law clerk to a United States District Judge
Written yesterday morning, after putting up yesterday’s The Fish House post:
Some people may or may not have noticed I did not attend Wednesday’s county commission meeting in Key West. I didn’t attend because Todd German came to me in a dream, disguised as my brother, Major, whom Todd sometimes dresses up as in my dreams, because he sort of favors Major’s countenance, and told me that he didn’t feel we should attend the county commission meeting. Maybe Todd felt my not being there would give Commissioner Kim Wigington’s proposed lobbyist registration ordinance a better chance of passing.
It passed, but not without, I was told, plenty of objection from Key Largo Chamber of Commerce President Jackie Harder, who must never have heard of “the lady protests too much.” And not without, I also was told, plenty of blustering from Commissioner George Neugent, who had resisted Kim’s previous efforts to enact a lobbyist registration oridinance, as if his very life was threatened. George insisted at the meeting Wednesday, apparently with some support from other commissioners, that Kim’s ordinance sunset this coming November, just after the general election, unless renewed by the County Commission.
Sometimes George just doesn’t seem to have walking around sense. He doesn’t seem to think his sunset victory will be a question asked all county commission candidates at candidate forums in the upcoming campaign season. He doesn’t seem to think Keys people really do want everything out in the sunshine, for a change. Very odd, in view of George’s long and loud historical laments against the fixed votes on the county commission under the reign of the notorious Gang of Three, of which George was not a member — back before Commissioners Kim Wigington and Heather Carruthers replaced two of the gang members and started trying to make the county commission a respectable body, for a change.
When I campaigned as an Independent for the same seat Heather ended up winning handily, I said at every candidate forum until the primary got it done, that the first order of business for voters was to get rid of the Gang of Three. I said voters were wasting their time, if they did not do that first. One of the Gang, Commissioner Dixie Spehar, was bosom buddies with Key Largo Chamber of Commerce President Jackie Harder, who campaigned hard for Dixie to stay in office. Throwback to the Gang of Three Jackie really does need to study up on “The lady protests too much.”
Not attending the county commission meeting Wednesday suited me just fine because I didn’t want to be there, and because I was headed up to Islamorada that morning for the monthly Upper Keys Business Professional Women’s luncheon at the Fishing Club. Before lunch was served, a woman, who said she had been a mail carrier on Key Largo in another life, opined when she and her husband moved to the Keys in 1973, there was lots of talk about sewering the Keys, and probably it had been going on before that. She rolled her eyes a bit.
Can’t say I blamed her. Of all the things that needed to happen, sewering the Keys was the most important. Next important was replacing the old bridges that were about to collapse into the sea, and the old water pipe on which the Keys depended for drink water. But development took first place, when it would have been so very easy to tie the new bridge and new water pipe and development into sewering the Keys. How truly difficult it now will be to finish sewering the Keys under any scenario short of a county sales tax increase earmarked only for that purpose, with a sunset for its automatic repeal after the sewering is completed.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think to myself and tell the Board of Directors it’s crystal clear my running for office year after year is not intended to get me elected. On the way back from the BPW luncheon, I called a north George redneck as I was driving across Seven Mile Bridge. When he asked how the campaign was going, I said I haven’t filed yet and have until mid-June to do so. I said I always win the booby, but perhaps some things I say during campaigns are heard and put to use. If so, maybe that’s good enough. When he said something about maybe this year would be different, I said I don’t want the job.
Nor do I have the juice, even if I did want it. After eating the salad and the main course at the BPW, and then listening to the speaker present and field questions for about half and hour, I passed out sitting straight up. I would pass out in county commission meetings, too. I pass out at least once a day, sometimes two or three times. By the time I reached Little Torch Key on the way back from the BPW luncheon, I was whupped, my body ached. Remembering Todd’s dream advice, I turned right onto State Road 4-A and cruised home, to flop on my bed and pass out again.
After about 3 hours somewhere else, I came out of it, got up, and made a reply to my cousin Bubba Major’s email about the Fish House, which seemed okay to me. But after I turned in for the night, the Board of Directors got onto me about leaving out some really rough stuff. So, on waking around dawn yesterday, I hauled my wasted carcass out of bed and added to the previous night’s writing material so rough that I felt I was tripping through Hell itself, which is exactly what I was doing.
In just a moment, I’m going to stop writing this drivel and go back to bed and pass out again. It’s 9:04 a.m., Thursday. I expect to have dreams knocking me around for taking readers to Hell in today’s The Fish House post. So be it. I believe voters should know the candidates before they put them in office, instead of learning about them afterward. Probably a good thing I believe that, because it pretty much guarantees I won’t ever get elected, even if I completely refrain from ever saying God made me run, or else, which also pretty well guarantees I won’t ever get elected. As does my writing about parts of my bizarre life that have zip to do with running for office. I’m grateful for small mercies.
Friday postscript: The Board of Directors did not jump me about yesterday’s post from Hell. Nor did the Board give me instructions about what I wrote afterward yesterday morning, meaning it was okay with it. However, I wasn’t okay with it after finding several typographical, grammatical and syntax flubs this morning, which I hope I corrected, but I’m not going to hold my breath about it.
And to which, I will add what a woman I know somewhat told a friend when I ran into them yesterday. She told her friend that I run for office to open up all of the issues, so people can see what is really going on, even though they might not want to see what is really going on.
An email exchange with my first cousin Charles Bubba Major, regarding yesterday’s Those Were the Days . . . post, which mostly was about the home my father had on Lower Matecumbe Key from 1963 to 2001. On days like this, I wish I had never heard Bashinsky. On days like this, I wish I had never been born. But the Board of Directors cares not how I feel and was insistent. Bubba’s email in italics.
When I found out Fish House was for sale I went to Major and said we need to get group together and buy it, he said I was crazy because Carter Kennedy said it was not worth 2.6 so he was not interested. Who and the fuck is carter kennedy had he ever been to fish house? Oh well kick myself all the time should have gotten group together all the adjacent lots were included and like you said no permits these days to bld so that means no people. When I hit the lottery will buy that damm place. Take care Bash
Alas, grab your best hold, Cuz. This one’s a wild ride.
As chance would have it, if you believe in chance, which I don’t, I spoke with a Realtor earlier today at the Upper Keys Business Professional Women’s monthly luncheon, staged at the Fishing Club in Islamorada. She said the real estate market is picking up nicely now. I said, “Because sellers have come down to earth about what they can get for homes now?” She said, “Yes. Sellers who have gotten realistic are able to sell their homes.” Meaning, only, the real estate market has only picked up for Realtors.
I arranged a trip to the Fish House in 1978, as I recall, for several Birmingham men friends, one of whom was Carter Kennedy. That’s how Carter knew about the Fish House. We did a similar trip the next year, but the house wasn’t available and we stayed at the high-rise motel near Bud n’ Mary’s. It was the Holiday Inn then, I think; now it’s condominiums, I think. Carter may have been on that second trip, too. I heard he came back down again with one of the men, to fish with Rick Ruoff and perhaps other flats guides.
Rick loved Carter, whom he took to calling “Two Dogs” after a joke Carter told on the first trip.
Abbreviated version: An Indian brave asked his tribe’s wise chief, who named all of the new-born children, how he’d arrived at “Two Dogs Fucking” for his name? The wise chief replied, “Because when I got up to greet the morning following your birth the night before, the first thing I saw after leaving my teepee was two dogs fucking in the middle of our village.”
As chance would have it, here’s a reply I got to today’s post from one of the men who came down to Islamorada with us. I changed one name, to protect the guilty.
Sloanus– must say that I truly enjoyed this morning’s post, even if was a bit long. I don’t think anyone who ever even went near the Fish House didn’t come away with some memory. Mine, of course, are of the infamous guy’s trip down there. It started with Tim Perry proclaiming that he knew what all the dark smoke in the sky was to the north, sugar cane being burned off the fields, because he had clerked for some federal judge in Miami and become an expert on the area. Only to learn the next day that the smoke was being caused because the Cuban exiles had torched Liberty City that afternoon!! Still have a picture of CK slumped over in that chair with what he still proclaims to this day was the worst hangover he ever had. And my first time out bone fishing, with the “expert” Dick Miree, who kept bouncing shrimp off the fishes’ snouts and being shut out, while I, the rookie, caught 2 that day, and our guide doing his best to stifle giggles at Dick’s efforts; and you, Carter, Rick R, and I fishing the other side of the road at night for tarpon, getting one on, and Rick hitting it with the spotlight as it broke water, a spectacular sight; and sitting in the skiffs in the flats watching bus loads of boat people being transported up north from the waters off the lower keys, on to Miami. And we never did really find out what, if anything, CR caught that weekend on his own little late night fishing trips. Anyway, I will be out of town for 2 weeks beginning Friday, so if you don’t mind, drop me off the mail list so the box won’t get too cluttered. I will try to monitor your goings on by checking into your website occasionally while traveling. Will be back in the real world on May 6th. Good luck; stay well. The General
I have known the General since childhood. He was on good terms with my father. After that trip to the Fish House, he walked beside me through many firestorms, including Major’s suicide. He had no trouble, as you did, as my sister did, as many did, with the coroner’s and the Birmingham Police’s determination that Major killed himself and tried to make it look lke it had been murder. He had no trouble with the early advisories I was getting from the Board of Directors before Major’s body was even found, that this was what very well could have happpened. Perhaps he already had seen enough of the Board of Directors’ advisories to discount out of hand, as many in Birmingham did, my blogs’ musings into that horrible situation. Musings my church-fanatic sister, who never contacted me after Major went missing, sent her daughter to try, no, demand that I stop publishing to my blog. My sister, who shuns me whenever she feels like it, then comes onto me whenever she feels like it, as if nothing had ever happened. But maybe I digress.
Five lots, ten acres, of Atlantic-front property, with a 4-br, 4-bath house and a 3-br, 2 bath house on it, was worth 2.6 million, or more, in 2001, and would have increased in value leading up to Hurricane Wilma in 2005. After Wilma, the Keys real estate market dropped like a stone, and is still dropping. Still, the Fish House property, even before the new owner’s renovations, would be worth 2.6 million today.
Certainly, a far better “bet” than any bet Carter Kennedy made on the horses and dogs at the race track in Birmingham, where he came very close, I heard from several sources, to losing everything he had. I never knew anyone as driven to bet as Carter, whom I have known since he and I started golfing together sometimes in our teens. My father thought well of Carter, because of his business acument. He was smart as a whip, no doubt about that. But he nearly threw it all away on the horses and the dogs, and in card games. And he could not see a sure bet staring him in the face: the Fish House. Is that bizarre, or what? But again, maybe I digress.
The Fish House would have been a terrific purchase for people who loved Islamorada. People like you, Major, and the Birmingham men in on those two trips with me. They were blown away by Islamorada. Blown away. Accused me of trying to keep it a secret all of those years. Between half a dozen of them, at their level of financial worth in 2001, it would have been a piece of cake to pick the Fish House up and keep it much like it had been. A getaway and shrine for its owners and their relatives, friends and business associates.
What just now occurs to me is, my father should have left the Fish House to his children, but I sort of doubt that idea occurred to him, or if it did, he nixed it, either because Joann didn’t want to do it, or it would mean he would have to include me in it, which really would have caused him trouble with Joann, who was trying to get him to disinherit me altogether, according to dreams I had in the fall of 2000. That probably was near the time he put the Fish House on the market. Maybe what follows had something to do with him selling the place, instead of leaving it to his children, or offering it to you and your friends to buy, out of respect for your father having found it for him in the first place.
In early 2000, at the prompting of the Board of Directors, I changed my name to Sloan Young and legally renounced all of my inheritance, because of the way my father had reacted toward me when I had approached him about my older half-caste, half-brother Travis, whose existence had been revealed to me and my then two best men friends in our dreams. My father’s reaction made it crystal clear he wished I had not been born. He clearly thought I was insane, or worse, was the Devil. What was the point, morally or spiritually, in him leaving me anything?
It still sits in my craw that he would not receive me after the Board of Directors changed their fucking minds in the fall of 2003, and made me, yes, made me change my name back to Sloan Young Bashinsky, Jr, and unrenounce the renouncement. They sent me to Alabama, to try to see my father. That was when I stayed with my lawyer buddy in Tuscaloosa. My father did not reply to my overture, so I went to him through his lawyer, hoping to bypass Joann in that way. No luck. He still would not deal with me.
I got every lawyer in the firm’s email address off of the firm website, and tore the entire firm up for its many transgressions against my family, all in keeping with dreams in which my father sent me in to do just that. I also wrote that my father should turn his entire affairs over to Major to manage for him, because none of the people in whom he had put his trust had his best interests at heart. What they had at heart was their own best interests: Joann, the law firm, the accounting firm, Golden Flake’s management.
Then came the fated telephone converstaion with my first wife, Dianne, who lived in Tuscaloosa. The conversation in which she told me Joann screened everything I wrote to my father, before giving it to him. The conversation in which Dianne told me all of my letters were sent to her, for her comments. The conversation in which she told me I was insane, delusional. The conversation in which I told her what I had already sent to her in writing about Travis, how I had learned of him, how my father had reacted, what I then had been told by God to do. Shortly after which, she tried to get a lawyer after me. And when that lawyer begged off, after speaking to the lawyer I was staying with, she tried to get another lawyer after me, the sister of my daugther Nelle.
When that lawyer also turned tail, I wrote to Dianne and told her what her lawyers had told my lawyer friend about her state of mind, because I didn’t figure they had told her how they thought about her and it didn’t seem right to let her wander around in her own delusion about who was and who wassn’t insane. What set her off, of course, was she knew, if I had found out about Travis in dreams, then I could find out that she had murdered our son in dreams. I didn’t know for sure she had killed him then, so I didn’t connect the dots to Travis until last year. But again, perhaps I digress.
After Tuscaloosa fiasco, I went through a really wrenching darkness of going back and forth between renouncing the inheritance again, and leaving it alone. The Board of Directors kept telling me to leave it alone, but I felt they were wrong. I felt it was immoral and heinous to accept an inheritance from a father who would not even receive his own son. After that struggle finally subsided, my father died, and I got what he had provided for me, and for all of his children, under his Last Will and Testament.
If I had to hazard a guess as to why my father didn’t disinherit me, it had nothing to do with him loving me. It had to do with his own father disinheriting Major after he moved to San Francisco in 1968, as I recall the time, because his father was going to marry Joann. I don’t think our grandfather knew Major’s reason for leaving Birmingham. In fact, I think probably only Major and his father knew the reason. (It was many years later that Major told me the reason.)
Our father then started lobbying his father to reinstate Major in his Will, but the self-righteous Christian bastard wouldn’t do it. Major was unswayed by his grandfather’s machinations. He had smelled him out even before I had. He moved to Alta, Utah. Then, he moved to Key West. Nothing changed. Then, he moved to St. Petersburg and started a restaurant with other men he had met there, from scratch. A T.G. Firday’s sort of place, which they named “Boneshakers.” That’s when the Evil One reinstated Major in his Will.
After the black-hearted bastard died, I read the codicil that reinstated Major. As if he was God Almighty, in so many words, the evil bastard said his grandson Major was now living a proper life and was worthy again to inherit from him. That scenario, I would bet the conch farm, is why my father did not disinherit me. How could he, after trying so hard, unsuccessfully, to get his own despicable father to put Major back into his Will?
My grandfather Bashinsky was the most Evil man I have known in this life. He truly thought he was God Almighty. It was he, who instituted shunning in our family. Shunning my father adopted. Shunning my sister adopted. Shunning my first wife adopted and taught to her and my daughters, who joined the ranks and shunned me, after I blew the family up with Travis and the name change and renouncement of my inheritance.
I suppose my father should get some gold stripes in heaven for not following entirely in his father’s footsteps, by leaving me in his Will, so he would not be completely like his father. Even so, he sure did leave his estate in a mess, and he sure did come in my dreams after he died, to the son he had wished he’d never had, asking me, yes, me he asked, to try to get his mess all straightened out for him.
Maybe my father should have been careful what he asked for. Straightened out for a human being seldom has the same meaning as straightened out for God.
Is my father’s family fucked up, or what? A rhetorical question, and even this entire email is rhetorical. No reply necessary.
The Fish House, all because of me, ending up in the hands of a perfect stranger, who would never love or appreciate it as it had been loved by my father and his relations, friends and business associates, and by the men who had built it to begin with, for whom your father worked, was a disaster beyond human measure. It was Evil. And I see no way to rectify it, other than to splay my father and his family in public, for doing it the way he did it. Othewise, he would have gotten away with it, and nobody but me would know it.
Great nickname, huh? Also rhetorical.
Postscript: Bubba, be very careful in your dealings with my sister. She is not what she appears to be. On her own, without even talking to me, she took it upon herself to have a decades-delayed church memorial ceremony for my son and her, Major’s and my mother. A ceremony at her church, the doors of which neither my son nor his parents ever passed through. She consulted Dianne about it. Dianne came to the ceremony. Dianne the murderess. I knew nothing of it, until my sister wrote to me about it over a year later, as if it was good news for me that she had done it. It sounded in her letter that she had only just done it, and it took a while to get it all out of her. She went haywire, lashed into me. The boils that came up in my left nostril and left ear were like the boils that came up in the same places when I dealt with Dianne in Tuscaloosa in 2003.
Were I in your shoes, Cuz, I would cease all future dealings with my sister. Leave her to me, and to God, to deal with. I’m glad my father did not leave the Fish House to his children. Major, I could have gotten along with over it, but not my sister. She is crazy, Bubba. Major knew it. Her ex-husband knew it. Our father knew it. My father’s brother, Leo, knew it. You don’t believe it even now, but that doesn’t change anything. She is crazy, and she will set you up and turn on you sooner or later, if you keep dealing with her. And she will act as if she did nothing wrong and it’s all your fault. Just like her father. Just like his father. The sins of the fathers do not just visit the sons.
Hey Bash, hope all is well, really enjoy your emails, couple of questions regarding Fish House, Big Jim found that house for Uncle Sloan back in 60s If I remember right Uncle Sloan bought that house from dad somewhere around 60, 000 – to 70, 000 Uncle Sloan sold it for 2.6 – .9 million. This new oner asking 10 million can he get that ? have you seen Fish House lately?
My unexpected Keys world history reply, prompted somewhat by a dream of a few hours previous to Bubba’s inquiry, in which my second wife, Jane, was trying to help me find my notes about something. She really liked the Keys . . .
Hi, Bubba. $60,000 was what I heard Dad paid for the Fish House in ’63. Didn’t know what he sold it for. It originally came with two adjacent lots running from US 1 to the Atlantic, and the 4-br, 4-bath with swimming pool main house, and the 3-br, 2-bath caretaker house. He subsequently acquired the vacant lot next door, toward Key West, and two adjacent vacant lots on the other side, toward Bud n’ Marys’. I heard of the sale in 2001 from Joann’s hairdresser, when I was living in Bham for a while. We got to know each other in that little bar in the Garages about a block below Highland Avenue and the Red Mountain Expressway entrance. She said Dad had gotten to where he couldn’t go down to the Keys any more, hadn’t been down in maybe 3 years, so they put the Fish House on the market and it sold. I suppose it went for less than he could have gotten for it if he had waited it out and had been still able to use it. I suppose the buyer knew it was something of a distress sale, as it had to be known my father hadn’t been down there in a long time. Still, hard to imagine anyone paying $10,000,000, or even $8,000,000 in today’s market. Were the extra lots split off, it would be very difficult to get permits to build homes on them, maybe impossible, due to environmental/comprehensive plan restrictions. Odd, once when Dad and I were still friendly, I was still practicing law, as I recall, over lunch at Michaels on 20th Street, I told him he only had one thing I would like to have, and it was the Fish House. I didn’t feel that way later, but I meant it then. I remember that day we came down in the summer after he had bought it in ’63, and you and your dad where there and you and I went out and you helped me find that old wrecked sailing ship’s balast of boulders about 1,000 miles off the end of the canal into the property. I fished that hole many times, caught lots of dinners out of it. On the west wind, black grouper were always there. No fishing sizes or limits then, and no fishing licenses. I also remember on that same trip when you helped me find the fishing hole, a monster bonefish, maybe 20 pounds, kept coming up on the flat right in front of Dad’s seawall, in real close. I stalked that huge fish several times that weekend, but never could get a shrimp in the water without spooking it. Never saw another bonefish that big, but I did catch and release quite a few of them from in front of the sea wall, and also off of Doc Jones’ dock next door. As I recall, Doc told me he had invented the Yellow Pages, thus his good fortune. They called him Batman because he would get in his Cadillac, as I recall the make, with some hi-octane fuel in his veins and fly up and down US 1 to and from the Green Turtle, to kibitz with Pearl behind the bar. She ran the Turtle for Roxie, after she got it in the divorce from Sid, and he got the Green Turtle Cannery up and across US 1. Don’t remember if I ever met Sid, but we bought lots of 12-packs of canned conch chowder the cannery shipped to friends in places where people freezed their butts off in the winter. Knew Roxie a little. By and by, Pearl had a heart attack and Doc Jones flew to her hospital bedside and professed his love. When she was doing better, they got married and she moved in with him next door to Dad. I had a number of talks with her and Doc on their pier. They liked me, I thought they were super people. Those where the days. The small water pipe coming down from the mainland was still in use, and nobody could tap in to it because it was already just barely taking care of the existing tap-ons all the way down to Key West. I heard later the Navy had built that pipe for the base in Key West, and Keys people were alllowed to tap in to it, until it could carry no more tap-ons. When the new bridges were built, in the 1970s?, a new, much bigger pipe was installed all the way down to Key West, and that’s when development took off and the Keys started changing not much to my liking. God, how many games of pool did I watch my father and Papa Joe play across from Bud n’ Mary’s. How either of them were still standing, all that booze in them, I cannot imagine. I could tell some stories. I found myself reminiscing last night at a local road house, as I sat next to some young flats guides telling tales to each other. Reminiscing the flats guides I had fished out of Islamorada. Earl Gentry. Jimmy Albright, off shore and on the flats. Jim Brewer, who fished Ted Williams until he (Jim) was killed in a light airplane crash looking for fish in the back country. Joe Poor, who was tall as God. Billy and Buddy Grace. Bob Rhinerman (spelling?), with whom I caught my first bonefish on a fly rod, to both his and my utter astonishment. We fished three straight days with ny father along. Although I had asked, Bob kept “forgetting” to bring his fly rod. On the third day, he showed up forgetful again, and I made him take me to his house and get a fly rod. We tooled out to the flat across the channel from Lignum Vitae Key. Shortly, two nice bone fish came cruising down the edge of the flat. I stripped line and kept false-casting down from the fish until I had enough line out to reach them – I didn’t even know about the double power hall fly-casting method then. Then, I flipped the fly right in front of the two fish. One took it immediately, screeched across the flat. About 10 pounds, catch and release. I cast to a zillion fish the rest of the day, and didn’t do anything up beat up the water and spook fish. And Bill Baxter, who drank whiskey faster than it could be made and asked every woman he met, including my mother and first wife, a few hours apart, as I recall, if she wanted to go to a motel with him, until a doctor told him he was gonna die if he didn’t straighten up, so he quit guiding and drinking, and got Andre, Ziggy’s Five-Star German cook – or was he Swiss? – at the Conch, and they opened Marker 88. And, of course, Frank Meullenberg (spelling?) who, along with his lovely wife, Louise, then ladies world record-holder for permit, caught off of Indian Key, about 37 pounds as I recall. Frank and Louise were the caretakers at the Fish House when Dad bought it from the Birmingham men your dad worked for in Miami. Frank and my Dad didn’t see eye to eye, and Frank and Louise moved some place else, to my great distress, because I really liked them both. I fished a guide named Boots, as I reall, pretty big crusty wizened fellow, darn good guide. I fished a an Italian guide by name, first name Rich, last name sort of like Andretti, maybe Amarati, but he was nothing like a Lemans driver — cool as a cucumber, slow talking, slow movinng. I fished a young guide named Dewey Webber, who later developed a brain tumor and departed this life. He was able to buy his flats skiff because the off-shore boat he mated stumbled onto two bales of MJ with Chicago lawyers aboard, who went haywire rapture, took photos of themselves sitting on the gaffed square groupers, lighting and puffing swatches pulled from the bales. On return to dock under cover of darkness, Dewey sold the bales for enough that his half of the booty bought his flats skiff free and clear, and he became a flats guide. I became very close friends with Rick Ruoff, who gets all of my posts. A book ought to be written just about Rick’s adventures with angler clients, and he probably should write a book about his adventures with ladies, none of whom, so far, was able to figure out how to tie a knot he couldn’t wriggle out of before the formalities occurred. I kept running into Louise after she no longer was Frank Muellenberg’s wife. She’s on my email list, works at the Trading post. Great lady. She and Rick and others up there told me all sorts of tales about my father and Joann that I bet didn’t get told in Birmingham. I knew the local denizen artist Millard Wells and his wife Jean very well, thanks to Rick and my second wife, Jane, an artist of great talent herself, who fell in love with ”Mulllard” and Jean. Millard left us all gasping for breath at the Loreilli one night, telling of a fly-fishing for bone fish misadventure with a Keys guide, whose name now escapes me. Millard went to cast to a school and somehow the fly wound up inhaled up his nostril, and he realized it and froze, as the guide lamented now would be an excellent time to be casting to the school in that moment of extreme pregnancy. Mullard would get wound up and all we could do was sit there an listen and pee in our pants. Jean died in his arms, as she told him his breath smelled like garlic – cancer. He told me of it in December 1999. After Alzheimer’s set in, he didn’t even remember me in 2006, but he remembered the Urantia Book he had put me on around 1982, which changed my life, as it had changed his, and we werre able to talk about that in 2006, which was when I last saw him. Millard was taken somewhere after that, to a place where people with Alzheimer’s were looked after. I never made it down there to the Fish House with my father and Bear Bryant, but plenty of tales did I hear from the locals, which also I suspect never got told in Birmingham or Tuscaloosa. When I went in the Green Turtle a couple of years ago, after it had been rebuilt to look like an upscale yuppie place neither Roxie nor Pearl would darken the doors of, I asked the manager what had happened to all of the photos that used to be on the walls? He said Hurricane Wilma got most of them. Then, he took me around the corner to see the few photos they had left. One was of my father and Major sitting on each side of Major’s girlfriend at that time, who not long after that, this Alabama coed, was crowned Miss Universe. The manager had left me alone in that little shrine, and I went and got him and told him about the picture and how Bear Bryant’s “booties” — a pair of white Converse keds — ended up in the old Green Turtle. The manager was a foreigner, maybe from New Jersey or Vermont. He had no sense of the sacred. I left, not thinking I would care to go back. We first started going in the Turtle when Manny and Isa were the cooks. Yum, until Roxie sold it to Lenny, who was the bartender at the Conch. He and his cohorts got the cannery, too, and soon it wasn’t any good either. I followed Manny and Isa to their little place on the old highway, near the Title Insurance Company, which (Manny & Isa’s) later became a Mexican restaurant. I followed them to their new place, after it opened, also near the Title Insurance Company. I took Nelle and Alice and my second wife, Jane, down there a lot. Jane loved the Keys as much as I did. The Keys were a special place for Nelle and Alice and me. We fished with Rick Ruoff and Dewey Webber, and caught a lot of fish. The stories I could tell just about that. Nelle and Alice shrieking as bone fish took off and ran out of sight. As barracuda took the worm rigs and spoons and mirrolures and lept. As spinner (black tip) sharks took shrimp and raced off and leapt spinning before the line snapped. As a giant barracuda took one-half of a big mangrove snapper Alice had hooked on a live pilcher in Lignum Vitae Channel over a sunken Mako skiff. First, the barracuda took the part behind the head. Then, it came back and took the head. Then, it came up out of the water madder than hell, just a few feet from us, shaking its head and tail, arching its back, snapping its jaws, showering us with sea water, as it severed the line and, thankfully, escaped. Dewey, Nelle and I were rolling on the deck, as Alice was speechless, for a change. Before long, a pelcian came to share our bait with us, on the boat, which enabled Alice to speak again – a miracle. Prelude, perhaps, to when we returned to dock at Bud n’ Marys, or maybe that was another time, and a flock of pelicans few over us, and I heard Alice shriek and then moan behind me. I turned around to see her poor little outstreched arm, the most baleful look in her eyes, her lips quivvering, about to burst into wailing tears, pelican shit on her arm; Nelle and I nearly fell off the dock laughing. They both nearly fell out of Uncle Leo’s Mako laughing another time, off the island in front of Bud n’ Marys, when their daddy, the great wannabe flats fishing guide, slipped and fell off the boat into the chilly December sea. Fortunately the boat was anchored and I was able to catch it before it drifted off to Cuba with my daugthers on it. Their mother would have killed me, justifiably. Leo would have killed me for losing his skiff, justifiably. He kept it at Caribee. He loved Islamorada as much as I did. He caught a lot of nice permit and tarpon fishing himself off of Indian Key, and came into Bud n’ Mary’s and the local hangouts crowing about it and how he was a pretty fair guide himself. Ruffled some tailfeathers, like with the 12-guage, until people got to know him like I knew him; then, they loved him. After he got too old to fish himself, Leo and Bob Rhinerman beame great buddies and the odd couple. Eventually, Leo gave his Mako to Bob. Then the Alzheimer’s set in and Leo didn’t go to the Keys anymore, and that sure does bring tears to my eyes right now. Now days, I suppose plenty of people would like to kill me, while others, often from the most unexpected places, ahem, you Cuz, come along and egg me on. What a bizarre life I live, but where else to do it but the Florida Keys? I don’t need to tell you, Cuz, there ain’t no other place like these islands near the stream, but if the developers down here continue to get their way, it’s just going to turn out to be another Ft. Lauderdale or Marco Island or Miami Beach – then where I be able to live? I can’t let that happen, at least not whiles I’m still breathing and kicking. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing for real estate prices down here to fall back down to where they were when your father told my father the Fish House was for sale cheap and he’d be crazy not to buy it. He flew his Cessna 310 up to Vanderbilt one March day to get me, and we flew down to Marathon and rented a car and drove up to the Fish House, where our family and a bunch of Major’s and my friends had stayed two weeks in August 1961, before I entered Vandy; maybe you and your dad came down then, too. Your dad and Abner Johnson were wating for us at the Fish House in March ’63. Abner had just lost his wife to cancer, and had flown down to Miami, where your dad picked him up at the airport and they drove down to Islamorada to meet us. Gwad, the hell we raised in the Green Turtle that night! And the next night. And the next night. As if we owned the entire place. Amazing, Pearl didn’t have us all arrested and put in the pokey. There once were quite a few photos of Bashinskys in the Turtle. Those were the days. The closest thing I can find down here now to back to then is this here part of the Keys where I’ve been moved back to. The stretch from Ohio Key just below Seven Mile Bridge down to Summerland Key. To Summerland Key, not Summerland Key itself. Below Ramrod Key, and above Seven Mile Brige, except for scattered outposts of sanity, like Conch Key and Long and Grassy Keys, the two Sugarloaf Keys, the Keys have been really bad fucked up by carpetbaggers and scallywags – Key West was always was fucked up after the pirates left. Last time I was in the Fish House was November 1990. I met Nelle in Miami, she flew down from college, and we drove down to the Fish House; spent a week talking, crying a lot, laughing a lot. Rick Ruoff had not seen Nelle since she was about ten. He fell in love. I had to get out my Glock to cool him off at Marker 88. I drove by the Fish House a few times after that, and even after Dad sold it in 2001. Even went into the drive, talked to the caretaker a couple of times. Didn’t feel the same anymore. Maybe something there had changed, maybe something in me had changed, maybe both. You know, I never did catch a permit up there, even though I sure as hell tried. The weird-feeling March 2007 day I moved from this little cabin in the woods down to Key Weird, to see if I could even make that palce look like the seat of the Southern Baptist Convention, which I didn’t do so bad at after I started howling about nude beaches down there last year, I bought a lovely bronze permit sculpture off an artist friend living up this way. I finally caught me that permit, which is prominently mounted above my TV in the living room of this little cabin in the woods, where I live with Ranger and Miss Kitty, two felines adopted from the animal shelter to entertain local tree rats, or whatever they are called. Ranger is a worthless couch potato ball of fangs and claws, but Miss Kitty is a panther on varmits, and sometimes on Ranger. Sometimes she even pounces me, maybe to remind me of what it used to be like when I had a lady in my life. Stay tuned . . . Bash