Sloan, I have always agreed 100% with your suggestion that Mayor Cates and the Commissioners sleep a week in the shelter and see what it is like BEFORE they decide to do anything. I expect that one night would freak them all out – a week might give them enough time to begin to think about what needs to happen BEFORE they step in it ……………………
Sure hope that Mayor Cates doesn’t break his arm patting himself on the back!
LOL, them sleeping out there. Their habit is to step in it first, then appoint a committee or hire somebody to clean it off of them. That’s what happened when they built Keys Overnight Temporary Shelter (KOTS), after Father Stephen Braddock, his right hand man Charles Davis and I told them not to do it because they had no idea what they were getting into. But they were so determined to force homeless people to sleep in a shelter at night, despite knowing the shelter they wanted to build was only big enough to sleep about 1/3 of the Key West area homeless people, that they plowed ahead and hired someone who had never had dealings with homeless people to run KOTS.
As Steve, Charles and I had told them would happen, KOTS immediately became a den of dunks, drug dealing, sex, thieving, altercations, disease, etc. That’s when they begged Steve to take over KOTS and run it. Steve told them that would depend on Charles Davis, who by then had moved out west. Steve called Charles and he said he would come back and straighten out KOTS, if he was totally in charge. Steve passed that along to the City Blunderers, and to the Sheriff, and they agreed to it. Charles came back and told them how he was going to do it, and they agreed to it, and he got KOTs straightened out as well as it could be straightened out when people loaded up to the gills with booze and other drugs were allowed in.
Maybe a year ago, I talked with Charles about Mayor Cates’ proposed new homeless shelter at the Easter Seals property on Stock Island, maybe half mile from where KOTS now is. Charles said they have no clue what they are doing and it will be a disaster. I already had heard about the same from Steve. But what do I know? Maybe Mayor Cates has been anointed by God. Maybe he has been given prophetic vision. Maybe he knows something Steve, Charles and I don’t know, even though we have spent years dealing with homeless people up close and personal, and Mayor Cates has dealt with them from his throne. Time and events will prove whose prophesies come true.
Meanwhile, it is madness to build a shelter into which homeless people who are not addicts are forced to live and sleep with homeless people who are addicts. And, there will be no legal way Mayor Cates and his police can make homeless people stay in that shelter. Like any other Americans, they can wander the sidewalks and roads and parks and other public places as much as they please. And they will do that. And all that Mayor Cates and his police will accomplish is forcing homeless people to sleep nights in a shelter, where tourists and locals cannot see them at night. During the day, homeless people will continue to be in plain view, unless they are locked up in the county jail at the expense of every county taxpayer.
I cannot imagine how the County Commission will put up with the Sheriff going along with that. Nor can I understand why the County Commission allows the Sheriff to house any of Key West’s homeless people, who were arrested and jailed by Key West police because they were homeless, but would not otherwise have been arrested. It is not the County Commisson, nor the Sheriff’s, job to enforce and facilitate Key West’s homeless policy. It is not the county taxpayers’ job to pay for Key West’s homeless policy. It is Key West’s job to do that, and if Mayor Cates wants to put the city’s homeless people into the county jail for the crime of being homeless, Key West should pay the entire cost of it. What that will include was laid out by Steve Braddock in The Key West Citizen the other day:
The county jail in 2012 held 111 homeless inmates, down from 181 in 2009, and 138 in 2010, the report said. The county jail on Stock Island costs $80.40 a day to house an inmate, the report said, compared to the less than $8 per person that KOTS costs. “It’s clear from this that the Monroe County Detention Center is operating as a very expensive homeless shelter,” said Braddock, who crunched the numbers as part of the survey. Over the past 10 years, those 99 inmates have spent a combined 62,224 days in jail, Braddock found. The math adds up to a 10-year cost of more than $5 million. One inmate had been arrested 77 times over the past decade, while 26 have been booked into the county jail at least 25 times during the same time period. The all-time lower census count of 658 homeless people in the Keys didn’t surprise Braddock, but he called the apparent criminalization of those without a place to live staggering. “This is just the cost of incarceration,” said Braddock. “It doesn’t include public defenders, courts, law enforcement. You start doing the math and it’s huge. I just believe some of that money could be directed toward prevention.”
Maybe some day, maybe not, my experience with people in Key West is they ain’t all that bright for the most part, they will figure out that if their police are hunting and chasing down homeless people, because they are homeless, then those police sure as hell ain’t walking the streets, scaring off burglars, thugs, etc. Those police sure as hell ain’t out there at night preventing Key West High School thugs from jumping and beating nearly to death the Tom Milones out for an evening walk in their neighborhoods. Those police sure as hell ain’t rafted up around lower Duval Street at night, keeping thousands of drunk locals and tourists in line. Those police sure as hell ain’t doing a lot of things at night, like walking through neighborhoods, which those police need to be doing to protect and serve the citizens who pay their salaries.
Make no mistake, trying to keep homeless people out of Key West is more important to Mayor Cates and many Key West people than anything else. I am still hoping for God to call Mayor Cates out. I hope if God does it, it will be done in such a way that nobody like Steve Braddock, Charles Davis or me has to explain it to Mayor Cates, which he most likely would ignore. I hope it is done in such a way that Mayor Cates and everyone in Key West have no doubt whatsoever that it came from God because of Mayor Cates’ homeless policy. In the early part of this year’s mayor’s race would be a splendid time for God to pat Mayor Cates on the back.
Meanwhile, a Keynoter article about Mayor Cates’ other pet project.
Bender to design new Key West city hall
By SEAN KINNEY
Posted – Saturday, February 09, 2013 10:20 AM EST
By SEAN KINNEY
The Key West City Commission selected architecture firm Bender and Associates to come up with a design to turn Glynn Archer Elementary School into a new city hall. A notable Bender historic conversion is the Gato Building on Simonton Street, a former cigar factory that now houses Monroe County’s government headquarters.
Key West architectural firm Bender and Associates will design and manage the conversion of the historic Glynn Archer Elementary School on White Street into a state-of-the-art city hall. That’s what the Key West City Commission decided Tuesday, selecting Bert Bender’s firm over two others vying for the anticipated two-year, $20 million-plus historic rebuild.
Bender was selected over William P. Horn Architects, also of Key West, and Rodriguez and Quiroga of Coral Gables.
Bender stressed his experience with similar projects designed to preserve historic structural elements while integrating modern technology and layout, specifically pointing to the conversion of the Gato Cigar Factory into Monroe County government’s headquarters and a 10-year rehab of the Custom House that houses the Key West Art and Historical Society, which he called the “crown jewel of Key West.”
Bender is working on the project with Miami-based architecture firm MCHarry Associates.
“We’re a strong local team,” he told commissioners. “We’ve established a reputation for doing exactly this type of project.”
Bender was chosen in a 5-2 vote with commissioners Billy Wardlow and Tony Yaniz opting for Horn.
Mayor Craig Cates praised Bender’s dedication to the Glynn Archer project, pointing out he previously performed structural assessments of the building for the city and even donated some of his services.
“He has a passion to restore that building,” Cates said. “Even without getting any pay for it, he has been there supporting this. You can’t buy that; you can’t pay for that. That’s something that’s coming from within him.”
Commissioner Mark Rossi stressed to city staff he doesn’t want to see any change orders — which cost money — on the project, and wants the city to hire an independent construction manager to monitor progress.
“That’s a prerequisite here for me,” Rossi said. “Cost overruns are not going to be something here that this dais is going to tolerate. Don’t be coming to us with change orders. I’m going to put you on the spot right now.”
“I can’t promise you there won’t be a change order,” City Manager Bob Vitas responded. “They need to be minimal. You don’t want cost overruns. There might be change orders but as a routine, it’s not going to happen. A budget is a budget and we’re not going over and we want it on time.”
Commissioner Teri Johnston, a contractor by trade, was selected to be commission liaison for the construction project.
Personally, I like restoring old buildings, and I think Glynn Archer is a great location for a new city hall. However, Commissioner Ro$$i, I can flat out promise you there will be change orders. It is flat out impossible to redo an old building, especially one the size of Glynn Archer Elementary School, and not run into stuff you did not anticipate. It is flat out impossible to do better than a best guess of what such a redo actually will cost after it’s all said and done.
I ain’t guessing in saying that. I redid two historic run down homes in Birmingham, one for my residence, one for my law office. The cost went considerably over the estimates, due to both change orders and guesses by the contractor of what the total cost would be. Of course, the contractor was working on a cost-plus contract, so he didn’t take a bath with me on my new home, and with my law firm on its new law offices. I saw other law firms, and accounting firms, and architect firms go through the $ame waltz with their architect$ and contractor$.
Commissioner Ro$$i, if you have not already done so, maybe you should dig up the old records of the Gato Building redo, and see if you can ascertain what the original costs estimates were, and what the final bill was. Commissioner Ro$$i, if you really want the new City Hall to only cost $20,000,000, you need to do all you can to get the architect and the prime contractor to personally guarantee that is all it will cost. I think bonds can be purchased to cover cost misguesses. However, I bet Commissioner Johnston, herself a building contractor, will tell you LOL on getting the architect and prime contractor to personally indemnify the city for cost overruns.
I bet when change orders and cost overruns are brought to the City Commission for approval, you will be out-voted, Commissioner Ro$$i.
I bet when it’s all said and done, because of the final actual cost nobody but Mayor Cates really will be happy with it, but the city government’s public relations propaganda blitz will pat Mayor Cates on the back.