seek to know the truth hidden in plain view: America in shock and mourning, Florida Keys School Audit & Finance Committee crap out, Key West and other homeless crusaders, Monroe County Government and No Name Key prevaricatorsSaturday, December 15th, 2012
|Some nice person hacked both of my email accounts yesterday and was kind enough to use them to send spam advertisements to me from the accounts, and two of me email contacts also kindly let me know. I called Radio Shack on Big Pine Key and talked with one of the kids who work there and fix computers, and was told to change my passwords and run the free malware programs they had kindly installed when I bought a new laptop from that store recently. I did that, and hopefully that solved the problem.
On yesterday’s school shooting massacre, Sancho Panza wrote yesterday:
I just heard that the Jersey guy who killed all those children in the primary school in Connecticut was actually raised in that area and his mother was one of the victims… matricide+++! I can’t even imagine the anguish of those mothers that lost their child… I think he meant to “kill” them too!In aminute your World can be turn upside down… how do we reconcile this with any spiritual philosophy?! And it happens over and over again, all around this world… some of it coming from USA Drones raining hellfire from above on innocent families… maybe there is Karma to be paid… but we don’t learn!
Me: I was thinking of asking if you want me to see what the angels say about your question. I saw an NRA ad somewhere today, saying people don’t blame cars for drunk drivers, and guns don’t kill people either. I wanted to scream. About five minutes ago, I thought, yeah, if there were no NRA, would that child-killer’s mother have been able to get those two nasty-looking pistols and the nasty-looking semi-auto rifle in a store, or anywhere legal? Then, you sent something on American drone strikes killing innocent civilians overseas, and I imagined those civilians feel about the same about their loved ones being killed by American drones as the parents and siblings and relatives of the children and adults in that Conn. school are feeling right now. I know what it feels like to have a young child die suddenly, unexpectedly. I can’t imagine anything worse happening to an adult, or to a sibling of that young child. That’s all I feel comfortable saying right now …
Sancho Panza: I think war and killing via a tv screen is an aberration of face to face combat… I want Mr. Peace Prize to clean the dismembered body of those children killed by drones, he should also prepared their coffins and hear the cries of their parents as they are lowered to the ground… I want Mr. Peace Prize to know the pain of the loss of one of his daughters as a result of an assassin aiming to kill him and maybe then he can go on TV and cry true tears… yeah, killing and death has become so passe, so sanitized these days… we let somebody else take care of it! Let the NRA arm the whole country so that maybe this crazed guy would only have had a chance to kill a couple of kids before he got shot by an armed teacher… yeah, I am sure those two parents would understand that this is the best we can do… here in America, the home of the brave, the land of the free…
Me: What I didn’t want to write earlier, am wondering if there is spirit linkage between US wars in Afghanistan/Pakistan, and this shooting today in Conn? Similar to Hurricane Sandy being karma for America’s reaction to 911 – Iraq, then Afghanistan – but this latest linkage is through the drones. I hate thinking like that, but it was how I was trained to think. That, and war, which this killing in Conn. was today, is, well, Evil. I wish the folks who wrote the Old Testament and the Koran had seen it that way, but they apparently didn’t.
P.S. Maybe the drones are part of, or a lot of why the Peace Prize drone sender wept in TV tonight, thinking it was all the shooting at the Conn. school, but deep down it was much bigger.
My dream maker said earlier this morning that the attack indeed was bigger; it indeed was karma, Americans reaping what President Obama sows with the drone attacks. Perhaps eventually, Americans will see that claiming to be One Nation, Under God puts America to live that boast, or pay a steep price for not living it. Perhaps the NRA religion will wake up and take responsibilty for its actions. I won’t be holding my breath on either count.
Email from Larry Murray yesterday:
I was pleased to see you at Tuesday’s School Board meeting. I especially appreciated your comments on vocational education that you shared with the Board. I hope that you continue to stay engaged with School District affairs.
I wrote back:
Felt awful that day, almost didn’t get there, but as I wrote in what I posted the next day, I knew all day I was supposed to talk about them increasing vocational ed considerably. They are so concerned about how the school district appears in the ratings, and so unconcerned, by inference, about how students are actually doing in class – the A, B, D, D, F scale – and how prepared they actually are for college and/or work, that it needs to be addressed until it is rectified. Out of nowhere, when I was speaking, it came to me to give them a F-minus for the career ready half of their vision statement. Well, they do like to publicly sport the school district’s grades like its a football record, and ignore the swell online make up course activity at Key West High School, which they used the allegations against Sunny Booker to bury. I should have said the false allegations malicious against Sunny, since they have yet to produce any evidence of any true allegations, despite my several public records requests for the out come of that investigation. It was you who dug up the 7 teaching periods at Coral Shores, which enables that high school to have more vocational ed courses. Key Gentile was not at this last school board meeting. Do you know anything about that? I told Roger McVeigh off to the side that it looked to me the HOB confederates got caught with their hands in the cookie jar. I hope the Audit & Finance Committee, and you, continue to hold their feet to the fire re $$$ and accountability and efficiency.
Ken Gentile spent last week serving his suspension. Don’t know if he was in or out of town. Some suspect that he was job interviewing.
As for Roger McVeigh, tread lightly around him. Roger was reelected Chairman of the Audit and Finance Committee by default as Stuart was termed out and no one else was willing to do it.
It was Stuart who caught the HOB confederates with their “hands in the cookie jar”. Stuart worked very hard to uncover the shenanigans and was fought at every step by Michael Kinneer. When Stuart raised the issue at the last AFC meeting, McVeigh made every effort to silence him. It got nasty. Look at last Wednesday’s (12/12) Keynoter article by Sean Kinney who covered the arguments well.
Fundamentally, McVeigh sided with the “HOB confederates” during their presentation which is why he downplayed the whole matter in his oral report to the Board. McVeigh is and always has been a lapdog for the administration, kissing ass with whomever is superintendent. As Committee chairman, he will do his level best to keep the AFC toothless. McVeigh has no interest in holding “their feet to the fire re $$$ and accountability and efficiency.”
How effective the AFC will be depends almost entirely on Stuart and his willingness to do battle routinely with Roger. The other three members are so many chair warmers who are willing to do the right thing, but they need someone to lead them. Without leadership, they will not challenge Roger.
Dr. Larry Murray
Fiscal Watchdog and Citizen Advocate
I wish Larry had mentioned the Keynoter article sooner. I wish he had let all of that fly during his citizen comments at Tuesday’s School Board meeting, which was televised and live-streamed. I wish he would take my advice and start his own school district issues website, and become a public beacon of light in the Keys for our schools. Roger McVeigh is one of the two crusaders, the other is Public Defender Rosemary Enright, now leading Southern Assistance Homeless League (SHAL) efforts to reform all of Key West’s homeless people, or failing at that (guaranteed), move them all to Stock Island where they will be out of sight and sound from Roger, Rosemary, and other folks living on Key West.
On that progressing vagrant bum documentary, received this from Gleen Eyw, who managed to get himself into yesterday’s a closing day tribute to Hidden In Plain View showing at Studios of Key West, and a bit more from Sarasota’s homeless front post:
Thank you Mr. Sloan:
I really like reading your thoughts on lots of subjects but your writings about the homeless have really changed my thinking and that is a good thing.
And this reply to yesterday’s post from someone who actually knows something about homelessness and homeless people. This ain’t gonna be very pretty, either.
Florida Keys Outreach’s CEO Father Steven Braddock: To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: closing day tribute to Hidden in Plain View and more from Sarasota From: email@example.com Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2012 10:38:09 -0500
I was unaware of the Sarasota situation until an FKOC board member inquired last evening if I had seen the reprinted editorial in yesterday’s Citizen. I actually did not get to reading it until this morning. I was sent this link today which is an interesting development in Sarasota that came out Wednesday: www.heraldtribune.com/article/20121212/ARTICLE/121219897/0/NEWS
I think there is merit to partnering a social worker with a police officer to outreach to the chronically homeless (Street people). I base that opinion on models that are demonstrating some positive results in Ft. Lauderdale and St. Petersburgh. I was so impressed with the police officer/social worker team in St. Petersburgh that I brought them to Key West a few years back to explain how their program worked. It was key that they police officer be one that wanted to be in the role. The officers I met volunteered for the assignment and were genuinely doing it with good intentions. I proposed the idea to then Chief Mauldlin. The chief liked the idea but wanted me to pay for the police officer. So that plan went nowhere fast.
I agree with you that the homeless cannot all be placed in the same category, but I disagree there are two “cultures”. No doubt, there is a chronically homeless/street people culture. However, what you refer to “new” homeless I prefer to think of as “situationally homeless”. In most cases there was some trigger or triggers that led to their becoming homeless. In the majority of cases the underlying causes of their homeless can be addressed and overcome with appropriate support and resources. With the situationally homeless there is really no shared culture and, in fact, I find that for most people the only thing they really have in common is the shared experience of helplessness and fear of being homeless.
On the Tryon proposal, several of the “What Ifs” have some merit in theory. But in reality, rhetoric does not translate into resources. Best,
PS: Have you followed up with Roman on Hidden in Plan view moving up the keys?
Hi, Steve –
The Sarasota situation looks to me like the handiwork of Robert Marbut, or one of his disciples. It reminds me of stuff I have seen pulled by a few Key West police officers over the years. It reminds me of County Commissioner Heather Carruthers and her Friends of Higgs Beach Committee getting Tourist Development Council and Monroe County taxpayer funds, and probably government and private grants to redo Higgs Beach, so it will be impossible for a homeless person to be there. Already, they fenced in the several picnic kiosks north of the public bathrooms, and made the area into a kids with parents or babysitters only area, which bars the rest of the public from picnicking at those tables, which the public has done for decades. If the City hires Marbut as its adviser, I imagine we will see reports in The Citizen and the Keynoter similar to what we are seeing coming out of Sarasota and Clearwater.
As for two different homeless cultures, I do not see we are in disagreement. I lived on the street, slept wherever I could find to lay my head down at night. I camped in tents. I stayed at KOTS in early 2005. I ate hundreds of meals in the soup kitchen, and dozens of meals with Glad Tidings on the land side of Higgs Beach – no more, and dozens more breakfasts with Pastor Omar at the kiosks at Higgs Beach – no more.
I saw two distinct groups of homeless people. Street people, the long-termers, and the newly homeless, which you call situational homeless. The long-termers had adapted to living on the street, and while they didn’t love it, they liked it better than what going back to living inside would entail for them. The newly homeless were in shock, traumatized, as the result of this or that personal upheaval which had caused them to be homeless. They didn’t want to be homeless, they wanted to get back to living the way they had been living. I was one of them.
Also, there were people who lived in their vehicles. Back when I was homeless, most of those were part-timers in Key West, they came here during the cooler months. Then, they left. Some had homes elsewhere. Some lived in their vehicles elsewhere. Some left the country for part of the year, Central America, the east coast of Costa Rica was popular.
In 2001, there was an ordained Episcopal Priest living out of his vehicle in Key West. He was in some sort of personal/spiritual trauma and eventually he left, in his car. In 2004, there was an ordained Methodist minister living in her vehicle. I think she might still be around, but living inside. These people would never stay in a shelter, for any reason, unless taken there at gun point. Most of them were darn interesting people. Some of them drank too much. Some of them told the same stories over and over, and argued about the same things over and over, and I wore out with them. Some of them I still run into and enjoy having a chat.
More recently, many of the newly homeless are living in vehicles, but they are not in this group just described. They are between living on the street and sleeping at KOTS, or entering something like FKOC’s programs, none of which they want to do, and I can’t say I blame them, having done all of that. These are the people, the newly homeless, who can most easily be reached and helped. These are the people 95 percent of the time, effort and $$ Key West and other cities should try to help get back to living inside and being self-suffient. The rest of the homeless people, maybe you do not agree, should receive mininal attention and effort and taxpayer or charitable $, because most of them really do not want to change, and because the few who might really want to change can get into a program like FKOC’s, if they are willing to stop using their mind-altering drug of choice. Usually, but not always, that is booze. If they are not willing to stop using, then let them be. Focus on those who at least say they want to change. And have a shelter for them, and a separate shelter for the ones who don’t want to change, most of whom are addicts.
Steve, I have treated psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, psychological counselors, addiction counselors, ministers, shamans, gurus, healers, and lots of people without those credentials. I have lived with street people, loved them, argued and fought and laughed and cried with them. They cannot be treated by mainstream methods. Yes, they can decide to give up their drug of choice. They can decide to enter an FKOC program. They can decide to go to rehab, so they can get into an FKOC program, or not. But that you know is only a first tentative step, and the way from there is fraught with stories of mishaps, and, yes, there are a few success stories, which may or may not remain success stories, as you also know from people who went through FKOC programs and seemed okay, but they were not okay. And some never really left FKOC, but went work for it, and still work for it. They never really graduated to independent living, which is where I got to Robert Marbut in Old City Hall after he told me what a great graduation rate he was achieving in San Antonio, but it turned out he was putting them in subsidized housing paid for by other government or charitiable agencies, and most of his graduates were not independently able to make ends meet in the conventional sense, and it was still taxpayer money and charitable grants holding them up.
As for social workers working with beat cops, I am reminded of when I was in FKOC’s program in 2003, and I was easing down lower Duval Street on my bicycle, this was during the mayor’s race. I saw two KWPD officers trying to get a seriously drunk familiar street person up off the sidewalk. The man was so out of it, I doubt he even knew it was police officers talking to him. The officers became more and more frustrated, and finally started using harsh words and physical force to try to get the man up off the sidewalk onto his feet, which was about impossible given his level of intoxication. I had stopped my bicycle and was about ten yard away, just watching. One of the officers saw me, asked my business? I said I was simply obseriving. I said the fellow is too drunk to obey your commands. The officer asked if I had a suggestion? I said take him to the county jail where he can dry out, and perhaps dried out he will decide to quit drinking. It’s the best that can be done for him, I said. They seemed relieved, and that’s what they did. It was the best they could do for him. And it didn’t change anything, for after they had to let him out of jail, he was back to drinking himself into oblivion. I was the social worker at that event. It changed nothing, but it might have prevented the two frustrated officers from becoming violent with the drunk street dweller, who was known by just about everyone who frequented lower Duval Street, including the police. I think maybe he since has passed on to a hopefully more peaceful existence.
Key West doesn’t need Robert Morbut, because it has you, Steve, and a few others sort of like you, who offer the best program for down and out and/or recently situationalized people who really want help, who really want to change. But the city may have to hire Marbut, pay his fee, live through few years of his stewardship, to see what to me is obivous, and perhaps the city will never see it, because what the city really wants, Steve, and you know this, is to get homeless people off of the island of Key West altogether, and the talk about wanting to help them is cosmetic.
My recollection is, you told Roman at the Hidden In Plain View opening that you were going out of town for a while and would get with him after you returned about moving the exhibiton to the Murray Cultural and Government Center on Key Largo. I said I would talk with the School Board and Superintendent of Schools about them seeing the exhibition while it was at Studios of Key West, and about classes taking field trips to the exhibition, which I did at the next School Board meeting during citizen comments.
Yes…I remembered after speaking with Erika in my office today and I have emailed Roman. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks
I know we are not in disagreement over the two categories of homeless. I fully agree, but consider “culture” to relate to the the behaviorsand beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group: the youthculture; the drug culture; and yes, the chronic homeless culture. The situationally/temporary homeless do not have that shared “culture”, just a similar experience. We’re on the same page, its just semantics I guess.
Regarding resources, at the federal level resources are more and more being directed toward the chronically homeless. To get them off the streets and out of downtown areas. The emphasis is on putting street people into permanent housing with or without supportive services and with little or no strings attached. Meanwhile, resources are being diverted from individuals and families with children who are simply in need of short term transitional housing to help them get back on their feet.
I agree that the majority of resources should be directed to those who want help and can be helped to attain independence and self-sufficiency; while still providing for everyone’s most basic human needs: food, hygiene, KOTS type shelter,…
I, Sloan, wonder if Key West Mayor Craig Cates, who is the main push in the city government to move all the city’s homeless people to Stock Island, is willing to bet his life and soul that Robert Marbut’s method will work in the way he advertises? I bet my life and soul that Marbut’s method will not work in the way he advertises it.
Reply on bigpinekey.com’s Coconut Telelgraph to my recent irreverent remarks about No Name Key’s part of Wednesday’s sometimes irreverent County Commission meeting, thanks to County Mayor George Neugent, who seemed to have gone off his rocker at times:
[No Name Key Electric] Sorry Sloan, accept the fact that NNK was just like any other community in the Fl Keys being developed in the 1970?s and 1980?s. There was no solar or off-grid community, that is just a well-marketed hoax that morons like you have accepted on faith. The burden of proof is on you to produce any evidence to the contrary, that NNK wasn’t just an ordinary development just like anywhere else in the Keys. Here’s some of our evidence:
1) Utility easements on deeds
2) Water pipes in the streets on all three northern roads
3) Numerous letters from City Electric (Keys Energy), even several to Alicia Putney February 8, 1995
To: Ms. Alicia Roemmele-Putney, 50 No Name Drive, Big Pine Key, FL
“Dear Ms. Putney:
We are in receipt of your letter concerning your petition requesting that electrical power not be installed on No Name Key. City Electric’s position on this issue is that we will provide electrical service to NNK if permitting is made possible to the applicable agencies and payment is made to bring power to the island.
From: Utility Board-City Electric: Leo Carey and Alex Tejeda May 9, 1995
Dear Ms. Putney:
Pursuant to your request, I am sending you the estimates we have compiled to various individuals for the No Name Key Project. The original estimate was based on crossing Bogie Chanel using poles placed in the water. The total price is $434,700…….
From L. Carey and A. Tejeda.
4) Letter from MonroeCounty to Keys Energy Feb. 15 1996
From Dave Koppel
Monroe Co. Engineering
to Dale Finnigan, Keys Energy
“Dear Mr. Finigan:
We have reviewed your request for conceptual approval to provide electrical service to NNK by attaching conduits to the NNK bridge. While we feel confident that the technical details can be worked out this issue is a political one. Thus, said approval must come from the Monroe County commission….”
Wow, since when does a county commission get to decide if people living in legally built homes, homes their own people permitted, are worthy of electricity?? But it happened and the rest is history.
All you kool-aid drinkers need to accept the facts, NNK resident who have been seeking electricity for decades have been actively discriminated against. They live in legally permitted homes, homes that did not have, until Putneys Law in 2001, any deed restrictions or special overlay districts regarding utilities. It sure makes a really sad story to say that some poor folks started an off-grid community, and then some evil developers came in and wanted to change things. What really happened is totally different . Electricity was coming to NNK. But someone with a whole lot of time on their hands, and a whole lot of political influence robbed the honest, hard-working people of their rights.
We all would love to see any evidence that NNK was a pre-planned off-grid or solar community. It is simply not true. There are no facts to support it. It’s one of those lies that if repeated long enough, sheeple will believe it. But there is not one shred of evidence to prove it. None. Wouldn’t there be at least some documents that people would have had to sign acknowledging that they would not ever get grid electricity? Solar communities don’t even exist in the Keys now, do you really think that someone would have put one in place in the mid 1980?s ? And to you off-grid advocates who did build homes on NNK. You must feel pretty smug.
Gotta ask you this: How did you justify destroying precious Tier 1 habitat, habitat for all those endangered species you talk about, in the Key Deer Wildlife Refuge, on that remote pristine barrier island of NNK? Its rather hypocritical don’t you think? I guess its ok for you to destroy that habitat and put up fences so you can “live lightly”, but screw your neighbors who want to hook up to the electrical grid so they can grid-tie their solar. Yea, you people are real heroes.
So Sloan, you wanted evidence. You got it. We’d like you, or anyone else for that matter, to show us one document that suggests that homeowners building on NNK would NOT get electricity. We are waiting.
I sent this reply to the Coconut Telegraph:
I told Alicia Putney yesterday, again, that to represent the “Solar Community” on No Name Key, she needs to live there all the time, which she does not now do. In the summer, she heads for Canada. I did not turn on my air conditioning this year, because I wanted to see if I could live without for a summer. It was hot and sweaty, I ran floor fans for about six months, but I did it in a single-wide, hot trailer. So I know the folks on No Name Key can do it in their bigger homes.
I never said there was an orginal planned solar community for No Name Key. I never thought there was. I thought it just sort of happened. People moved out there because they didn’t want to live on the grid. I don’t remember being called a moron by No Name Key pro-gridders before now. They have enjoyed calling me The Fool on Little Torch. Is being a moron a promotion or a demotion?
Whatever, I still see zero evidence that Monroe County ever told anyone who built a home on No Name Key, which was permitted by the County as off the grid, that some day the home would be on the grid. To the contrary, I now see blatant indisputable evidence that a No Name Key homeower was told the island going on the grid was a political matter, which the County Commission would have to decide.
All along, I have seen blatant indisputable evidence that all homeowners on No Name Key, whether they built or bought an existing home out there, wanted to live off the grid, because if they had not wanted to live off the grid, they would have built or bought where they could be on the grid. I have not heard or read of one pro-grid No Name Key homeowner being forced to buy or build a home on No Name Key. The authority No Name Key pro-grid homeowners need to raise hell with is themselves who threw themselves under the bus, which was Commissioner Sylvia Murphy’s point at the recent County Commission meeting.
Not to worry, it was made abundantly clear at the Commission meeting that Commissioners George Neugent, David Rice and Danny Kohlage, and perhaps Commissioner Carruthers also, will do their best to let the pro-grid No Name Key homeowners tie into Keys Energy’s lines via a change to the County’s Comprehensive Plan. That might take a couple of years, but that’s how County Attorney Bob Shillinger wants it done, to avoid the problem of the County having contracted with the pro-gridders for legislation by taking their offer to settle in exchange for changing the Comp Plan. Shillinger said at the Commission meeting that contracting for legislation is illegal.
I told someone in the know yesterday, who does not live on No Name Key or work for the County, that Shillinger’s method still will be contracting for legislation, because it came about after the County was offered a settlement by pro-grid No Name Key homeowners, to the effect they would cease litigating against the County, or would not litigate against the County, if the County agreed to amend its Comp Plan to allow the pro-grid homeowners to tie into Keys Energy’s lines. Back where I went to law school and clerked for a federal judge and then practiced law, retrograde as Alabama was and still is in many respects, state and federal courts looked at substance and ignored form. Meaning, you can call a pig a cow, but it’s still a pig. In the No Name Key Comp Plan change situation, subsitute deer for cow, but it’s still porkified Keys politics – a pig pretending to be a deer. I imagine that pretending pig will be litigated by Alicia Putney for a very long time.
The person in the know told me what new Commissioner Danny Kohlage really said when he opined at the Commission meeting that he did not want to see half a million dollars in electric infrastructure to be torn down and removed, which the pro-grid homeowners had already paid to have installed and would have to pay the cost of removing it … what Danny really said was Keys homeowners can build unpermitted additions to their home, and when the County finds the unpermitted improvements, the home owners can say they are entitled to the same treatment the pro-grid homeowners on No Name Key got.
Closer to the bone, the County tossing out its own Comp Plan for a noisy remote area off the grid opens the door for all other noisy remote areas off the grid to clamor for the same treatment, which clamor I can’t see the Florida courts ignoring once that door is opened. But then, that’s been the mantra all along: Development is more important than anything in the Keys. That’s why Brad and Beth Vickry bought a home on No Name Key. They needed that legal standing to clamor for Keys Engergy electricity and Aqueduct Authority water to be brought out there, so they could proceed with their plans to develop other parts of the Key. According to Steve Estes, Publish and Editor of the News-Barometer on Big Pine Key, not long after Brad and Beth bought their home on No Name Key, Brad had the old quarry nearby listed on his California Real Estate Company’s website as property with development potential.
Of course, the pro-grid No Name Key homeowners do not agree with any of that, nor do they care what unintended consequences were set into motion when, at their loud urging, the County Commission told Bob Shillinger to file the Declaratory Judgment action in the Florida courts, after I told them not to file it. I’m viewed as insane, so anything I say to do or not do, the sane route is to do just the opposite. Sorry to have I caused this problem, which would be histerically hilarious, if it were not so dreadfully awful. I’m starting to wish I never heard of No Name Key. Alas, as most people who live out there have seen me write and/or have heard me say, I have a covenant with God about doing all I can to preserve what is left of this part of the Keys from development. Any moron knows electrifying homes on No Name Key with Keys Energy power will lead to further development out there. The only question is, when?
Sloan Bashinsky firstname.lastname@example.org