Received this below yesterday. All I will say about who sent it is it was not Alicia Putney, who lives on No Name Key and leads the opposition to the island being put on the grid. Nor was it anyone mentioned in it. Also included were two attachments, the text of which is reproduced at the very end of today’s follies.
The No Name Key Property Owners Association has this website www.nonamekey.org (masquerading as unbiased) with many untrue “facts” stated there. Remember when the NNKPOA was claiming the “super-majority” of 85% or more NNK residents wanted grid-electric? Now the actual number of 22 is fact, which is only ONE (1) more than half! A far cry from the super-majority.
The following quote is quite telling. This person, who works for a company supposedly with solar-powered interests, should understand the concept of solar, but does not appear to know anything about solar at all. Of course, she does know about selling electricity and soliciting new customers.
Re: Powering up NNK: Tejeda [CEO of Keys Energy Services] struggles to understand why. “True, most acreage on the island is protected habitat. Most homeowners on the island are seasonal residents,” she noted. “The year-round residents are more interested in the convenience of electricity. (would that be all SEVEN of them? or the THREE that bought before the Comp Plan prohibiting utilities?)
For people who are here only in the winter, solar is enough because they don’t need air conditioning,” she said. “The ones who live on the island year-round can’t live without AC—solar cannot power AC, so they use diesel generators that are noisy, smelly and expensive.” (Again, there are residents on NNK with A/C who do NOT own generators— FACT! But, using “golf-cart” batteries like the Vickrey’s do is of course insufficient.) “The solar community advocates are very passionate. They go there with this idealistic idea that they are going to live off the grid, they are going to live green,” Tejeda said. “In fact, the drained batteries and diesel generators are not environmentally friendly.”
(unlike fossil-fuel generated electricity she sells, I suppose? and, only because some morons choose to dump them in their yards instead of recycling. Yes, one pro-gridder did actually stand up at a BOCC meeting and say that he has a pile of dirty, polluting lead-acid batteries in his yard — duh! Can anybody say ‘redneck?’
Lead-Acid Batteries (known to be one of the most recyleable products on the market at over 96%)
Ninety-six percent of all lead-acid batteries are recycled. Almost any retailer that sells lead-acid batteries collects used batteries for recycling, as required by most state laws. Reclaimers crush batteries into nickel-sized pieces and separate the plastic components. They send the plastic to a reprocessor for manufacture into new plastic products and deliver purified lead to battery manufacturers and other industries. A typical lead-acid battery contains 60 to 80 percent recycled lead and plastic.
This was sent to Danny Kolhage, to help with his misunderstanding of solar power and the perceived “need” for grid-electric he has been fed:
The Travesty of Events Allowed to Happen on NNK
Dear Commissioner Kolhage,
On the chance you have not seen the recent Editorial in the News Barometer, I am sending it to you (with some insightful and relevant points). Please consider what Mr. Estes is saying. It makes so much sense.
Logic dictates, any monies spent on an illegal project should be (as it always has been) totally irrelevant to any decision made by the County, any Court or other mandating agency. For the County to even consider changing its Comp Plan for the less than two dozen people who each spent about $30,000 on the No Name Key line extension is unbelievable. They blatantly chose to spend their money without proper approvals and did so, knowing it was against the Monroe County Code. They willingly did so at their own risk. In their own words, they were banking on just what is happening…that, since the work is now in place, the powers that be will “back down” and let it stay.
For the County to not only look the other way on the work that was illegally done, but to reward such audacious behavior by changing a long-standing, essential Code to accommodate the infraction willset a dangerous precedent. Because, if the County allows and condones such insolent behavior and is willing to change their Comp Plan in response, then any other homeowner in the Keys will have a valid example of expecting likewise conduct overlooked, permitted and/or the law changed to accommodate their illegal actions, simply because “we’ve already spent all this money… feel sorry for us.”
Please also consider these very relevant facts:
Of the twenty-two NNKPOA members who are so certain they just must have commercially-generated electric, only SEVENactually live on NNK and of those four bought after the highly publicized 1996/2001 Comp Plan (see attachment). (Sixof those seven live in the CBRS area, protected by Congressional law since 1982/1990.) This makes that the County would even consider changing a long-standing, utterly essential Code that if anything, should be bolstered, to accommodate the unnecessary and totally unwarranteddesires of so few people who actually live on NNK, even more incredible.
Thank you for your time. Respectfully,
Harold and Kandy Kimble, full-time residents
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________NEWS NEWS-BAROMETER: OPINION
December 21, 2012
MONEY SHOULDN’T BE A THOUGHT
It seems as though there is always an unintended consequence attached to a statement made that at first glance appears to carry a great deal of common sense. Such is the case with a statement made by new District One County Commissioner Danny Kolhage at last Wednesday’s Board of County Commissioner’s meeting. The board was debating the issue of (commercial) electrification of No Name Key. That’s a subject that has consumed a lot of time and effort from a lot of people over the last 20 years, probably a lot more time and effort than the tiny, remote island off the northeast shore of Big Pine Key warrants, with its herd of endangered Key Deer and 43 homes. So let us set the stage. The BOCC was debating whether to move forward on attempting to approve a settlement of the myriad of legal cases currently surrounding the electrification issue. The settlement offered by No Name Key homeowners was an obvious non-starter, mostly because it required the BOCC to come to a final conclusion to ignore or change its current prohibition against public utilities on the island for a payoff of ending the legal disputes surrounding the power grid on island. That grid is already there. Using a state statute that exempts utilities from county oversight in public rights-of-way, and using funding supplied by 25 (22) of the 43 homeowners, Keys Energy Services put up power poles and strung lines to service (half of) the 43 homes. In doing so, the utility strung wires across county-owned lots without benefit of an approved easement by the BOCC, and for its trouble has now been hit with a civil trespass suit by the county. But the 25(22) residents of the island who desperately want power* put more than $600,000 in Keys Energy’s pocket to build that grid that at the moment goes nowhere. (*Note: NNK has power. Most of the homes there have all the modern electric appliances (TVs, A/C, microwave, dishwasher, etc.). If anyone is lacking anything, it is at their own choosing. Speaking of “common sense,” for far less than their approximate $30K, they could have upgraded their solar systems, eliminated their generators entirely and been 100% green— oh, and not solicit a monthly utility bill. ) The lines don’t energize homes because the county has a valid ordinance on its books that prohibits the extension of public utilities to or through areas designated as a federal Coastal Barrier Resource System. No Name Key carries that designation for much of its acreage, and none of the grid would be possible without going through a CBRS area somewhere along the way. So the county is claiming it cannot legally issue building permits for the residents to hook into the lines. And Kolhage says that common sense should prevail and because the poles and lines are there, running within feet of some of the homes, and the residents put more than $600,000 out of pocket to put those things where they are, the county should simply back down and give the folks their permits if doing so wouldn’t significantly cause other problems in other areas. His common sense approach was that it seemed like a huge waste of money to deny permits with a working grid already in place. And would be a huge waste of money to force the grid to be removed. (Note: This is exactly the reaction they expected and have stated that they knew the “County would back down.” ) Commendable sentiments those. Here come the potential unintended consequences. Keys Energy put up the grid without county permission (also against their own attorney’s advice, against their advice to the NNKPOA and at the insistence of the NNKPOA who acknowledged responsibility for any consequences). It had a right to do that in established rights-of-way, but it didn’t stay in those rights-of-way. That makes the grid potentially unlawful under county code and state statute. Issuing permits without changing the prohibition would be an unlawful act under county code and state statute. Let’s think for a moment about other areas of land use where the county cares not one iota about the money invested by a property owner before the lawful nature of the action has been determined. During the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, thousands of homeowners built enclosures under their homes. Many of them were built without first obtaining the requisite approvals. And regardless of the thousands of dollars those homeowners may have spent on constructing an enclosure below base flood, even if just for storage and a rec room for the family, or a man cave, or some other innoculous purpose, because those homeowners built without prior approval, the county forced them to spend sometimes tens of thousands more to tear out those enclosures to bring the unit into compliance with county code. Multiply the number of times that scenario has played out, and the $600,000 spent for No Name Key ‘s power grid pales greatly in comparison. It is estimated that tearing out enclosures, often purchased with the house by someone who didn’t build it, has been a cottage industry in the Keys worth millions. So where’s the justice in that? We have a group of people who often unknowingly bought something in existence, paying a hefty price for it, too, with the intent to use it, only to be forced to get rid of the unlawful space at their own expense. And we have another group of homeowners who may have paid for a power grid that is potentially unlawful, and were told by the county that they couldn’t get the final hook up and (knowingly) went ahead and spent the money anyway, and we want to reward them for that action by changing the policy. That leaves common sense out in the cold. If how much one spends on an unlawful enterprise is a gauge for fairness, or how much one spends in preparation for an act that can’t be consummated is a checkpoint for making decisions, then the Keys will be lost to the deep-pocketed sooner rather than later. We would think that telling 4,000 people they must, at their own expense, rip out a unit that at one time was probably lawful, just because they did it without the requisite permissions in place, or, in many cases someone else did it without the requisite permissions in place accounts for a much larger expenditure of taxpayer money than Kolhage is currently concerned about on No Name Key. We like Kolhage. He will be a good commissioner. But this was not his finest hour.
The News-Barometer’s office is located on Big Pine Key. The Opinion editorial was written by the News-Barometer’s Editor, Steve Estes.
I also attended the County Commission meeting, at which Danny Kolhage said he did not favor the Commission doing anything that would waste the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on running power out to No Name Key. I also wondered what had gotten into Danny? I also wondered if he had been gotten to?
I know Steve Estes somewhat, have had in the past various conversations with him about all of the matters he addressed in his Editorial. I think he is a darn good journalist, and when I don’t know or understand something about No Name Key or Big Pine Key, I go to Steve to get my ignorance elucidated.
Once, Steve told me that shortly after Brad Vickrey and his wife Beth Vickrey-Ramsay, whose father now is a Marathon City Councilman, and whose brother now is Sheriff of Monroe County (that’s the Florida Keys), first bought a home on No Name Key, he (Steve) went online and looked up the real estate company Brad worked for in California. On that firm’s website Steve found a photo of the big quarry, which is near Brad and Beth’s new home on No Name Key, advertised as having development potential. Steve said when he later went back to that website, the advertisement was no longer there.
I used to be a nationally-recognized expert in home buying, Realtors, mortgage lending to home buyers, etc. I could not imagine a real estate man buying a home on No Name Key, which he knew was totally off the grid, unless he (a) wanted to live in a home totally off the grid, or (b) he wanted to use the home to give him “legal standing” to lobby the county government and local utility companies to bring public electricity and water and sewer out to No Name Key, so he could develop land out there.
It is generally known that, shortly after buying their home on No Name Key, Brad and Beth announced their intent to get the island on the grid. So, they did not buy out there because they (a) wanted to live off the grid. I have no doubt they (b) fully intended to use the influence of Beth’s father and brother, to get to County Commissioner George Neugent, who lives in Marathon, and whose voting district includes No Name Key, and whose County Commission office is located on adjacent Big Pine Key. And to get to County Commissioner David Rice, who also lives in Marathon. And to get to any other County Commissioners they could get to.
From all I have seen at County Commission meetings, and have heard from people who attended Commission meetings I did not attend, and from what I have seen reported in The Key West Citizen, the Keynoter and the News-Barometer, it sure looks to me that Brad and Beth got to George Neugent, David Rice and Danny Kolhage. I can’t tell yet if Brad and Beth got to County Commissioner Heather Carruthers. Brad and Beth did not get to County Commissioner Sylvia Murphy, who plainly stated at the County Commission meeting where Danny Kolhage revealed he had been gotten to, that she was flat against rolling over and playing dead for the pro-grid folks on No Name Key, because they all had bought out there knowing the island was off the grid.
One of the pro-grid folks on No Name Key is a retired psychology professor emeritus. From time to time, he has emailed me after I published something about No Name Key. Despite my several attempts to get him to do so, the retired psychology professor emeritus has yet to admit that he is the reason he bought a home he knew was off the grid, and he is the reason he has no public electricity, water and sewer.
I often have wondered, if during his decades of teaching psychology to college and, I suppose, to graduate students, the retired psychology professor emeritus ever once taught his students that the first step in healing mental illness is the patient takes personal responsibility for his/her own actions. And the corollary to that first step in healing is the psychologist does not become an enabler by allowing the patient to keep blaming other people for what the patient did to him/herself.
Of course, I don’t expect any of that to have a snowball’s chance in hell of influencing elected politicians who are masters at smoke and mirrors, and at pointing the finger everywhere but at themselves.
The The Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) of 1982 established the Coastal Barrier Resource System (CBRS) and updated it in 1990 to protect undeveloped coastal barrier areas (16 U.S.C. 3504(a)(1).** On December 18, 2001, the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners adopted Ordinance No. 043-2001, creating Section 9.5-258 of the Monroe County Code which established the CBRS Overlay District, the purpose of which is to implement the policies of the (1996) Comprehensive Plan by prohibiting the extension and expansion of specific types of public utilities to or through lands designated as a unit of the CBRS.
Note: This Overlay was to enhance and clarify the previously adopted Comp Plan of 1996, which discouraged utilities, to eliminate any potential for those seeking to out-maneuver the obvious intent of the original Land Use Plan.
Monroe County’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan was adopted and put in place after much informed consideration.It was adopted and put in place for good reasons.Those reasons have not changed.To change a well thought-out, long-standing protective ordinance would require significant reason.Those reasons do not exist.
No Name Key has electricity.It has long been established that there is absolutely no need for having commercially provided grid electric.There are homes on No Name Key with all the modern conveniences of any other home, including A/C, that do not even own a generator.
In addition, to even consider such a significant change to accommodate the desires of so fewis unbelievable.Only SEVEN of the twenty-two NNKPOA members who have paid to have the commercial grid brought to NNK, actually live on NNK.SEVEN!And, profoundly, FOUR of those SEVEN bought AFTER the highly publicized Comp Plan.Even more incredulous SIX of those SEVEN live in the Federally protected CBRS area.The precise area that Monroe County strived to also protect by adopting their Comprehensive Land Use Plan.Why would Monroe County even entertain changing Code for unnecessary, unwarranted reasons and blatant disregard for existing Codes and Laws?
Considering the roughly $30K that these few people have paid to bring the grid to NNK,for far less, they could have upgraded their solar systems.In fact, for roughly 2/3’sof what they paid, they could have put in new state-of-the-art systems. A completely new, from-the-ground-up, solar system can be installed today for $21,000 (including government incentivies)… stand-alone systems fully capable of central A/C, that will not require any generator back-up.If anyone were truly concerned about being green, this is the only real answer.
A former USFW Refuge Manager made this profound statement, “Electrification of NNK would be contrary to the type of setting that many residents sought when they originally purchased homes there, decided to invest in solar power & live in a low impact manner in the midst of a National Wildlife Refuge.” Does this not say it all.WHYchose to live in a widely-known protected area and then claim “discrimination?”
Note:Jim Newton, one of the most involved and loudest of the grid-seekers, costing the Countythousands of dollars in law suits, does not even live on NNK any longer.He purchased a new home at 1811 Travellers Palm Drive in Edgewater, Florida and the moving vans showed up in force mid December
Of the twenty-two NNKPOA members who paid a pro-rata share to KES, only SEVENlive on NNK.Of those seven, FOUR bought after the 1996 highly publicized County Comprehensive Land Use Plan.And, SIX of those seven live in the CBRS area, protected by Congressional law since 1982.
Eakennot on tax roll built 1988NNK
Brown4-1-1989 built 1991NNK
Fletcher6-1-1990 built 1994-1997NNK
Newton10-1-1988 built 1996-1997MOVED Edgewater, FL
Pichel4-1-1986 vacant lot 2006Medley, FL
only vacant lot on record
Bone7-1-1990Boynton Beach, FL
Coleman7-1-1990 built 1991Coconut Creek, FL
Morris8-1-1989 built 1992Pompano Beach, FL
Kamm6-1-1994 built 1996Oyster Bay, NY
Appignani (Louja Realty)5-21-2004Boynton Beach, FL
McCurdy (Marginella LLC)8-18-2005Fairland, IN
4 vacant lots/commercial
Licht12-1-2008Boca Raton, FL
Phillipp4-1-2010plus 3 vacant lots