When the new homeless shelter resolution came up at last night’s Key West City Commission meeting, during citizen comments I told the commissioners and mayor that I had slept in Fleming Street doorways, on White Street Pier, on Higgs Beach, in church yards, in vehicles provided by other people, in homeless camps, at KOTS and had been in Florida Keys Outreach Coalition’s residence program. I probably knew more about the subject than anyone there, more than everyone there all added up, more than everyone there multiplied by 100. I said I offered myself as a homeless consultant to the city, for free, it wouldn’t cost them anything. Then, I said, they should not mix drug addicts with homeless who are not drug addicts. By drugs, meant booze, the homeless’ drug of choice, as well as other drugs. I said they they should keep KOTS (Keys Overnight Temporary Shelter) for the drug addicts, and use the new shelter for people most likely to be helped. I told the commissioners, mayor and city manager that FKOC accepts recovering drug addicts, and they are hard enough to be in close quarters with. I said drug addicts are much rougher to be near, I had not liked being around them when I was homeless. I said they do not want people who might be able to be helped sleeping next to drug addicts. I told the commissioners and mayor that they would not want to sleep next to drug addicts, nor have their families do so. I said requiring non-users to sleep beside addicts is cruel, mean, abusive. I told the commissioners and mayor that they all should sleep a week at KOTS, so they would know what is going on there. I said they would sleep beside drug addicts. I said I nearly died of MRSA in 2003, and was saved by Dr. Garriques, who ran the free clinic, and the hosptial, and surgeon Dr. Klitenick, but they did not cure me of MRSA. God did that. I said MRSA is contagious, and there is MRSA at KOTS. I was 10 seconds over my alloted 3 minutes, and didn’t get to say, if they build the new shelter at the Easter Seals property on Stock Island along the “Taj Mahal” lines the mayor is proposing, it will be a magnet for homeless people from up the Keys and the mainland. It will increase Key West’s homeless population. I didn’t get to say, if they hire Mayor Cates’ darling, Robert Marbut, to advise them on the new shelter, they will waste the taxpayer’s money. Here is a current Florida example of Marbut’s handiwork:
Clearwater neighborhood longs for park toilets, closed to discourage homeless
By Mike Brassfield, Times Staff Writer Mike Brassfield Bay Times In Print: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Clearwater welded shut restrooms next to a playground at Crest Lake Park during the summer to discourage the homeless.
CLEARWATER – This summer, the city closed the public restrooms at Crest Lake Park after hearing reports that homeless people were using them at night for drug use, sleeping and prostitution. The six restrooms, located next to a playground, remain welded shut.
Now the neighborhood surrounding the park is asking that the restrooms be reopened. Neighbors say closing the restrooms didn’t help. Instead, they say, families are staying away from the park and vagrants are relieving themselves in the bushes.
The City Council will take up the issue at a future meeting.
The restrooms were closed in June at the park, which is east of downtown between Cleveland Street and Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard. The restrooms used to automatically lock every night at 8:30 p.m. However, the city’s homelessness consultant, Robert Marbut, recommended removing or redesigning the restrooms because he found that homeless people were jamming the doors’ automatic locks with toilet paper, allowing the facilities to be used at night.
But residents of Skycrest, the neighborhood that includes the park, want the decision to be reversed. In a unanimous vote, members of the Skycrest Neighbors recently decided to send a letter to City Hall.
“Our neighborhood, again unanimously, agreed that we are not seeing the numbers of families, especially families with children, who have enjoyed our park in the past,” the letter states. “Many of the walkers, joggers and even dog walkers have remarked about the growing number of unsavory people monopolizing the park, especially the picnic tables, more than ever before.”
“The park is dying. We don’t see the families there that used to be there,” said the Skycrest group’s president, JoAnna Siskin, who added that the group’s active Neighborhood Watch is willing to help clean and monitor the bathrooms.
“Families can’t use the restrooms,” said another Skycrest board member, Elizabeth Cruickshank. “These other guys show up, and they don’t know the restrooms are locked. When you gotta go, you gotta go. So there’s a lot of that going on.”
City Manager Bill Horne, who received the letter, said he’ll speak individually to each City Council member about the issue, and they’ll discuss it at an upcoming public meeting.
“I really don’t think we should have bathrooms there,” Horne said. He said the city had planned to keep the restrooms closed for at least a year to “break the attractiveness of this location to the chronic homeless who were using the bathrooms and creating issues.”
Mayor George Cretekos said in an interview Wednesday that budget cuts have forced Clearwater to close public restrooms in parks all over the city. “Personally, I would like the city to have a bathroom in every park, but it’s not economically feasible,” he said.
Cretekos would like to see a major redesign of Crest Lake Park. He’d like it to be more like Largo’s popular Central Park.
“Largo Central Park – when I drive by it, you know you’re in a park. It’s inviting,” Cretekos said. “There’s no reason we can’t do the same with Crest Lake Park.”
Where the hell did Clearwater and Marbut think the homeless were going to relieve themselves, if they closed the bathrooms?
Marbut came to Key West maybe a year ago and wowed the public at a town hall meeting in Old City Hall. Afterward, I buttonholed him and asked what percentage of homeless people in his programs were being rehabilitated? He said 95 percent. I asked if they were able to pay rent, buy groceries? Pause. Pause. Marbut said they were living in subsidized housing. He also said veterans cannot be forced to use their veteran benefits to pay rent. Translated: Marbut was warehousing homeless people in his programs, paid for by the cities he was representing, until he could find someone else to pay to house them. That took me all of two minutes to unravel.
It took me all of one second to see last night, which I also didn’t have time to say, that if Key West builds the homeless Taj Mahal, it will tell its police to become far more aggressive than they already are about forcing homeless people to sleep there at night, in lieu of being taken straight to the county jail on Stock Island, which expense the county goverment and its taxpayers will bear. The city commission and mayor and city manager and police will force homeless people, including women with children, who are not addicts, to mix and sleep with drug addicts, who make up the large majority of the area’s homeless people. The city commission and mayor and city manager and police with force homeless people, including women and children, who do not have MRSA, to mix and sleep with homeless people who have MRSA and other infectious diseases.
one human family, if you aren’t homeless.
On another Key West beautification front:
From: sandra downs <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, Dec 4, 2012 at 12:11 AM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Cc: Brian Quattrini <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Wayne Larue Smith <email@example.com>, Lee Rohe <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dear Mr. Wilson [Assistant State Attorney],
I have been working still on the problem in Key West with the Tree Commission.
You said you needed a “start point.” I think I have it. I have been speaking with the Suzanne Printy and staff of the Joint Administrative Procedures Committee, Rebecca Jetton and Barbara Powell of the DEO, the Commissioner of Agriculture, Senator Nelson and the DBPR.
Here are the main problems:
The city of Key West codified Land Development Regulations which are to be used only for properties that are “SUBJECT” to development agreements, per State Law and city ordinance.
The LDR does not apply to simple “real” homeowners unless they were once a part of a site plan governed by the LDR, for instance: Truman Annex.
Then those properties are “deed restricted” for their landscaping removal, and they must replant or mitigate should any landscaping be removed for reasons other than hazards or unhealthy. The LDR says the rules CANNOT be used to govern unless the “development property” meets the criteria for development and is subject to “development agreements”. The minimum threshold for development governed by the LDR is 4 untis on a site, subdividing a parcel into lots, or clearing land in adjunct to construction. In other words, a private homewoner is ONLY governed under plain old building permits….and is NOT subject to landscaping requirements, tree protection, etc. of the LDR.
IF you stretch those rules of Tree Protection under the LDR to private homeowners not in development subject to the LDR, it is a violation of ordinance and State Law.
However, I will NOT even argue that point right now, because there are more disturbing things than that going on:
1. State Rule 20 abolished all courts EXCEPT the Fl Supreme Court, the District Court of Appeals, the Circuit and County Courts OVER 30 years ago. All municipal infractions and violations of ordinance go before the county court’; whether they be heard by a magistrate inside the actual courthouse, or at a more convenient time and location elsewhere. It still goes through county court, and all fines are paid through the county. The city is holding court OUTSIDE of legal rules, and is keeping NO records whatsoever of the Magistrate hearings with the county court. Nor are they collecting fees through the county court as law requires. In both State Chapter 162, and city code of Special Magistrate Procedure, the county court has the jurisdiction of municipal violations. The city is holding illegal proceedings, and collecting money illegally and in violation of law, in excess of what the law allows, and following no proper due process. This is also a violation of the Specially Prohibited Laws of the State which allows no venue or procedure to be altered.
MANY other laws of procedure, noticing, recording, etc. are being violated as well. But most significant is the fact the manner in which the Magistrate hearings are held, appear to be totally unlawful..
2. The city vetted and codified the real rule 110-321. Then later altered it and removed a word to change it’s entire meaning without State approval. Municode shows the altered version. The State was unaware the city did this. The State says, it is not the first time Key West altered ordinance in municode, and each time claims they don’t know how the error occurred. IN the city’s minutes and agenda, the rule was legally vetted to: provide root protection to publicly owned trees. Now, the unlawfully altered version is being used by the city to provide for violations to private homeowners for trimming limbs from their own trees. The altered version neither applied to privately owned tree limbs, nor was the altered version approved by the State. The city has been collecting fines by using the unlawful version knowing full well it was not the correct version, nor did it apply to privately owned tree limbs. The city is prosecuting homeowners and tree companies using a rule they illegally altered in both wording and meaning to charge private homeowners and tree companies $150 per inch or “irreparable fines” when they are merely trimming limbs to prevent safety hazards. 110-321 in it’s correct form offers no such opportunity for violations to be issued for trimming your trees under any condition. The city has been issuing violations using the illegal version of 110-321, which the State agrees CANNOT be used.
***Also there is an ordinance that says changing any ordinance or altering it’s meaning is “illegal”. Which the city did with 110-321..
3. The city is charging an illegal and unapproved fee of $150 per inch for permits, and also charging $150 per inch for violations. Neither the city commission, nor the State ever approved $150 per inch, which they both must approve, and it must then appear in ordinance. The collected permit fees are to be kept in an account which the State gets 1.5% of. Impact or mitigation fees also must appear in ordinance and be held in an additional separate account and spent only for educating the public or planting more city trees.
ALL other permit and mitigation fees appear in ordinance EXCEPT the tree removal permit fees and mitigation fees. They do not appear in ordinance, because they are illegal. That is why the city makes the payors of the fees mark their check as a “donation”, and then launders the money through the general funds account. How do I know this? The city sent me a letter stating such, when I asked for the bank statements of the account they were asking the donations to be referenced to. After 2 separate and fraudulent spreadsheets were issued without account numbers, the city finally admitted it had no such account for permit fees or mitigation fees, and put the “donations” through the general funds account without recording how much is actually taken in, only producing a spreadsheet of “what is left over”. This is a violation of city ordinance 110-287 and also of State Law.
4. In 2009, in a transcript, the Assistant City Attorney Ron Ramsingh told the Tree Commission that they had no authority to collect this money, yet within minutes, he devised a plan to eliminate from written records what they were charging the fees for and how much was collected. Since then, the city has knowingly and willingly collected millions of dollars, unbeknownst to the State and in violation of State laws and city ordinance. They are using unlawful made up rules, and running the money through the general funds as donations. The appeals are heard in an illegal court by a Magistrate outside of the venue allowed by the law. The city has made millions doing this and refuses to stop until action is taken against them, because the payoff is so lucrative, and the repercussions of having to pay back this money is too expensive.
In carrying out this plan, the city has to alter records, destroy records, etc. I have some of the altered records, fraudulent records, and fabricated documents.
What documents do you need? 305-304-9303
After we talked about that on the telephone, Sandy wrote and sent this to me:
To further clarify what I wrote previously, the city makes every person removing a tree in Key West go before the Tree Commission and endure a month long permitting process before a tree can be removed for any reason, including hazard or unhealthy. No permit is issued unless the applicant agrees to one of the following:
either pay a mitigation fee of $150 per inch to the city for the inches of tree they want to trim or remove, OR
replant the same inches of trees either on their own property, or a property the city agrees to, which includes just donating trees to the city.
**The city also requires the above in emergency removals..
Many applicants can do neither. Their permits are denied. Those with small properties or overplanted properties, are forced to pay the city $150 per inch or donate trees to the city because they have no property on which to plant trees themselves. So they deliver the money to the city as a “donation”, or the trees are delivered as a “gift.”
It is not known how much money the city has taken, as the city closed the account down the money was supposed to be deposited in, and launders the money through the general funds account. It is not known how many trees have just been delivered to the city, as there is also no real accounting of that either. The city is running an extortion racket..
The appeals of permit decisions can be taken to the city commission, however the Assistant City Attorney charges $1000 for these appeals. And even when applicant pays the money for such an appeal, the money has been returned, and the applicant was sent to the Magistrate instead..
The Magistrate is on the city payroll, and operates a court independent of the actual judicial system of the State of Florida, and so the Magistrate holds the court without due process and in violation of all US laws as we know them. There is no justice in the Magistrate court, and the citizens and tree companies are made aware of this in the veiled and unveiled threats made to them by the Tree Commission chair and Assistant City Attorney, whom express delight with the thoughts of sending an applicant for “further hearings and costs” to the Magistrate.
It is impossible to list all the laws being broken or ignored by the city. Suffice it to say, when the city decided to run an extortion racket, they clearly decided to violate them all,
This has caused many people to be involved, and those involved have laundered money, destroyed evidence, coerced and threatened and blackmailed, blackballed, and discriminated. Selectively enforced, violated due process, fabricated evidence, altered documents, lied under oath, illegaly changed ordinance, and caused harm to many, many citizens and properties.
At a Key Largo candidate forum before the General Election, I told the two remaining State Attorney candidates, Cathy Vogel and Mark Kohl, that Key West’s Tree Commission was a RICO operation and I hoped whichever one of them got elected would do something about it. They didn’t seem thrilled I had said that, and they turned away from me and resumed their social conversation, which had taken me some effort to interrupt.
It is common talk in the Keys that Vogel got elected because Key West conchs were pissed off at State Attorney Dennis Ward for putting Key West conch criminals in prison, and that’s how Cathy Vogel beat Ward in the August Democratic Primary. During her campaign, Vogel kept saying at candidate forums that she was not going to prosecute people who should not be prosecuted, she was going to protect citizens’ rights. I took that to be a coded message to Key West conchs that she wasn’t going to go hard on them if they continued their criminal ways.
I found myself thinking yesterday, if Vogel does not do something about the Key West Tree Commission, who are appointed by the mayor, upon advice from the city commissioners, and serve at the mayor and city commissioners’ pleasure, then it just might be that the US Attorney will be invited to prosecute the Tree Commission, its assistant city attorney Ronald Ramsingh, Mayor Cates and the city commissioners, and Cathy Vogel, as co-conspirators in a RICO enterprise.
Sloan Bashinsky, Key West beauty pagent judge