If the font size comes through on your end too small for you to read comfortably, you should be able to enlarge the zoom by depressing at the same time the Ctrl key on the bottom left of your key board and the + key on the top right of your key board. You should be able to reverse that by depressing the Ctrl key and the – key at the same time.
From Larry Murray yesterday:
Didn’t see a blog today?
I wrote back:
Yes there was a post today; click on this link – praise reports from various sectors of the Florida Keys, aka The Asteroid Belt – which should take you to Today’s FlaKey Drivel at www.goodmorningfloridakeys.com for today. Lots in it about School District and hotline, etc. Same post at www.goodmorningkeywest.com today.
The reason you did not get a copy of today’s praise reports is because I lost my keysmyhome.com email contacts early this morning, when Hotmail upgraded me to Outlook Express, permanently. I drove up to Radio Shack, and the young computer tech pro said he didn’t see any way to get the email contacts back.
Probably will explain that in tomorrow’s post. And, that I’m weary of bombing people with email blasts, have been weary of it for several years. I told the angels today, it wouldn’t be much work for them, just wiggle a small wing feather, to herd people toward my websites, instead of me bombing around 300 people a day with email blasts.
Like the angels care what I am weary of. They inundated me with dreams last night, telling me to rebuild my email contacts list so I can continue the daily bombing runs.
Larry helped some with that, by sending some of his email contacts, most of whom I had lost. Later, Larry wrote that his IT specialist, that would be his wife, had figured out how to print out all of 200-plus of his email contacts, but not how to send that to me electronically. So I have plenty of typing to do.
Anyone who reads today’s bombing run, which will get started shortly, who wants to receive the dailys, or who knows someone who does, please send me the email addresses, and I will add them to my new hit list.
That out of the way …
Larry Murray told me on the phone last night that he had seen what the member of The Citizen Editorial Board actually wrote for yesterday’s Editorial about the School District’s so-called Fraud Hotline, and sent to Tom Tuell, Editor of The Citizen.
In my post yesterday, I tore up the way that Editorial ended, and said I wished I knew who wrote it. I now know who wrote the Editorial, not Tom Tuell, and I now know who fiddled with the ending, Tom Tuell. I included the entire Editorial in yesterday’s post, and made comments in the body of it. Here it is again, because it is really important.
Hotline failed, but don’t silence whistle-blowers
After a lengthy and painful disclosure of wrongdoing in the Monroe County School District, culminating in the conviction of its superintendent and his wife, the district’s credibility was scraping bottom. Knowing it takes years to rebuild public trust, the School Board set about to find ways to change what was perceived as a culture of corruption, and to avoid being blindsided by further allegations of illegal or unethical behavior.
One component in that effort to put the district back on track was implementation of a fraud and abuse hotline that citizens and employees could use to report wrongdoing. The hotline was to be operated and overseen by an internal auditor, a newly created position that answered directly to the School Board.
After much fanfare and months of fine tuning, the hotline got up and running. A few reports were submitted to the district’s volunteer Audit and Finance Committee, but then the hotline seemed to fade from view and memory.
Most particularly, the hotline faded from the School Board members’ memory, because it was a public relations stunt all along, designed by the Board members to trick the public into believing the School Board was serious about restoring the public’s faith in the Board and the school system, evidenced by the glaring fact that no member on the Board followed up on the hotline, made inquiries about how it was going, asked what, if any, complaints were being called in, what was being done about the complaints, etc. None of which is news to The Citizen’s Editorial Board, so why didn’t they just say it, and put the blame where it belongs: on the School Board?
But one person who didn’t forget about the hotline was former Audit and Finance Committee member Larry Murray, who submitted a public records request for the hotline records on Oct. 17, 2012. His request was met with excuses and nonspecific summaries. After months of repeated requests, Murray took his request to the next level, soliciting the help of former State Attorney Dennis Ward in an effort to compel the district to provide the requested documents. The prospect of a Government-in-the-Sunshine lawsuit evidently got the district’s attention, as the records began flowing.
Maybe in play, that’s facetious, the School District and School Board knew if Ward filed suit for Murray against the School District, state law required the judge to advance Murray’s public records request to the top of the Judge’s docket, and if Murray prevailed, award him attorney fees against the School District. So what the School District and School Board did was force Murray to hire Ward at Murray’s expense, then give Murray what he should have been given without Ward’s help.
The documents revealed two things: Complaints about the internal auditor who oversees the hotline apparently went no further than the inbox of an intern who worked for him for about two months; and other complaints received little more than a cursory examination. Furthermore, the process of obtaining the records revealed that the hotline had settled into such obscurity that even Superintendent Mark Porter was unaware of its existence.
Perhaps Superintendent Porter never looked at the School District’s homepage, or if he did look at it, perhaps he never looked at the prominent left-hand menu, in which there was and still is a link to the hotline resting in plain view just above the calendar.
The people who put their faith in the district’s whistle-blower hotline might as well have been mailing letters to Santa.
At a School Board workshop last week, newly elected board member Ed Davidson called for the hotline to be abandoned, noting that “the bungling of it has totally destroyed what little credibility there was.”
Board Chairman Andy Griffiths and Superintendent Porter agree.
But while the hotline arguably has done more to erode credibility than restoring it, abandoning a potentially valuable tool for addressing corruption and unethical behavior in the district seems to set a bad precedent. The district has for so long been immersed in fear of retribution against those who speak up, removing the means for reporting corruption anonymously seems self-defeating.
Seems self-defeating? Seems? I’d like to know which politically correct member of the Editorial Board wrote this namby pamby, pansy ass drivel.
The district may have come a long way toward cleaning up the shards of credibility destroyed in the scandals of recent years, but there is a difference in successful damage control and rebuilding credibility. It is too soon to put away the tools.
May have come a long way? May? Tell that to Matthew Gilleran’s family. Tell that to the Teachers Union. Tell that to Cathy Reitzel, who was the State Attorney’s star witness, without whose whistleblowing and testimony the Acevedos would have gotten away with it, for which service to the School District and her community, Cathy was fired.
– The Citizen
Larry told me last night that he hears from Cathy Reitzel, perhaps I have been misspelling her first name, Larry spells it Kathy – apologies, and he knows from her that she reads my ravings. I ran into Kathy on Big Pine Key maybe a year and a half ago, and told her to hold her course against the School District. She had filed an EEOC complaint against the District, and was moving toward filing suit.
I told Larry last night that the School Board and School Distrcit had fucked themselves when they fired Kathy. Now, no one in the schools, who is the keeper of something bad, will come forward with it, if that means putting his/her name and face on it. Larry agreed.
For readers who do not know, Larry ran for the School Board last year, the same race I ran in. He came in next to last in a 6 candidate race Ed Davidson finally won. I easily won the booby prize. Before that, Larry was on the School Board’s volunteer Audit & Finance Committee, which was another fraud the School Board pulled on the public, as proven by the fact that the School Board ignored the AFC as much as it ignored the so-called Fraud Hotline.
Moving to other wings of The State Mengel, er, Mental, this yesterday from a sometimes anonymous writer who goes by the handle of Homebigpine, which I eventually learned from him ain’t really his home, but maybe it once was:
I dunno, the Citizen keeps focusing on the various Duck tours as the real harbour story when it really is that the City has been screwed again. And the Captain seems like such a nice guy on Becker’s show when he’s telling us all the things except what’s really going on every Tuesday!.
As to the tax issue , Citizen may finally have to face reality that there’s something funny going on. . Tim O hara just might get the go ahead to start digging – esp if you keep hinting at the some of the possible scenarios. Good job
Did you know that Scoll’s wife is the editor of the Southernmost Flyer?
I think there has been only ONE printed letter to the editor on Peary Court. A well known local newsperson has suggested there’s a reason the Citizen has been ignoring the BBC issue and Peary Court, but would not elaborate.,
I wrote back:
“BBC issue”, what does BBC stand for? Balfour-Beatty? Who is the well known newsperson?
Looks to me that the Truman Harbor skyfalling, among other things, is more Duck Tours karma for Key West and Historic Tours of America/Ed Swift.
Looks to me the City screwed itself at Truman Waterfront, with all its dicking around.
I think the City has a fair sense of what’s going on with Peary Court and the taxes which didn’t get paid, but I imagine most of the taxes would end up in the County till? The Citizen/Tim O’Hara might do some more digging, but if I was to bet on it, I’d bet on Naja and Arnaud Girard’s digging that field in the resurrected Key West the Newspaper.
I’ve seen a lot in The Citizen about Peary Court, but I think it’s going to take a lawsuit to resolvel the tax thing, and who knows what finally will happen with the redevelopment? Looks to me the City got cut out of that pretty much altogether, in the getting more affordable city housing sense. The Navy don’t seem inclined to give away any more Navy land/housing/harbors, and not just in Key West.
I did not know Jim Scholl’s wife was Editor of Southernmost Flyer, but it seems whatever warm bubba conch/Key West/Naval base Key West connections there were under under Jim’s watch as base commandant have moved some distance toward the polar icecaps.
There is only so much Capt. Ed Davidson can do, just having one vote on the School Board. I have not known him to mince words, nor pull any punches, but I was seriously upset, am still seriously upset, over the way he didn’t deal with what led up at Key West High School to Matthew Gilleran’s suicide. The School District’s duck and run karma will not be pretty.
I imagine it’s a drop dead great wager than there always is something funny going on in pretty much everything funny looking going on in the Keys.
Homebigpine wrote back:
Did you see Chris Belland’s column today? Pretty strong.” The Navie giveth and taketh away”
No doubt the Giraud folks will be digging. I just think it’s disappointing and incredible that the Citizen isn’t… I wish someone would look into the private Military Affairs Committee.
BBC is balfour and sorry, it would be improper to divulge the newsperson.
No, I had not seen Belland’s column today, but I found and read it just now. Belland presents another side, and lots of history. However, I still feel there is more to the story than we have seen in The Citizen or in Belland’s column. Duck Tours karma keeps coming to me. Karma can be really quirky and hard to connect the dots back to the cause. But what was the immediate trigger? Is it in plain view yet? I sort of doubt it. Maybe the trigger is Key West cumulatively, incrementally, pissed off the local Navy base, until a flash point was reached. The County Commission put a lot of heat on the local Navy base, too. Maybe that also is in play. I still don’t see why HTA, its conch trains and its ducks, got to make commercial use of the Outer Mole and the launch in Truman Habor, and Key West citizens were stopped from enjoying the outer mole around the time of, or not long after, the Navy conveyed Truman Waterfront to Key West. Maybe the mystery/ies will unravel, maybe not. Why don’t you approach Naja and Arnaud Girard about you looking into the Military Affairs Committee, and then you write and article about it for Key West the Newspaper?
I figure the odds are zero dark thirty minus Homebigpine will take me up on that invitation. I just love citizen activists who hide behind fake email names. Maybe a year ago, I told Homebigpine that I needed to know his name, if I was going to foist off onto my readers what he was then trying to get me to foist off. It was something that I felt needed a name to go with it. I didn’t hear from him again until yesterday.
Here’s what Belland wrote in The Citizen. The history is interesting. I wonder if there is more to the recent brouhaha, which caused him to write about it. I added the photo.
Ha, ha, ha! We were just kidding! Ha, ha, ha! No, seriously, we were!
By CHRIS BELLAND Citizen Columnist
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Some of the words that come to mind are: Shameful! Disingenuous! Sneaky! Insincere! Confused! But the one that really seems to stick with me most is one from my youth, which is Indian-giver.
Of course, I am talking about the Navy’s sudden, unexpected and, for Key West, totally disastrous decision to renege on returning the Truman Waterfront to its rightful owners, the people of the city of Key West.
This is not a pleasant thing for me to say for a number of reasons. First of all, my father was a proud Navy man who retired as a full commander, having served in World War II. He even came here and taught sonar in Key West when I was in third grade. I went to school at Truman Elementary and watched movies on the base, got my hair cut there and toured submarines. I was very proud of him and our affiliation with the Navy.
Then again, fast-forward 55 years to now and I have established a business that has relied on using the basin at the Truman Waterfront. In all candor, this is the smallest issue to consider. It was only a temporary arrangement until a permanent ramp is built elsewhere. The much greater disaster than our inconvenience is the loss of what was given to our city 15 years ago, the right to build a revenue-generating marina on this vital and incredibly valuable water sheet. At the same time, however, it escapes me how our operation compromises national security enough to have to close the entire basin.
No, it has to do with the fact that I originally served on a board that very few people remember called the Key West and Lower Keys Development Corporation, which was the first liaison committee designated to oversee the transfer of Truman Annex, in its entirety, to the city. The Navy had abandoned this property and wharfs in 1969-1970, causing a devastating economic upheaval. This was over 40 years ago! Many of the board members are not even alive anymore. We have been at this for a long time.
But it goes even deeper than that. Part of the Truman Annex property was taken by the Navy in preparation for World War II. I get it. It was a national emergency and although many people lost their property and homes, it was necessary and proper. That, too, was almost 70 years ago.
The real shame of all of this is that the waterfront is the heritage of this community. We have been a port city since 1823 when the Navy first came here. Key West has depended upon the sea to make its living, whether by sponging, wrecking, fishing or now, tourism. The heart and soul of an island is, by definition, the surrounding waters and the community’s relationship with them, and it is no less so for Key West.
This shocking turn of events for our island is all the more egregious given the length of time the Navy has watched and let us walk down the path of planning and wrenching community debate. The Navy has attended virtually every meeting at which the plans for Truman Annex, which include the water sheet in the basin, were presented. The Mole, Truman Annex and the waterfront have been offered, given, taken back and given in various parts several times over the years. Plans were published and vigorously debated and laid out showing the use of the waterfront as a marina to pay for the land-based opportunities, including an amphitheater, public parks, recreational facilities and restaurants.
The marina is the most important part of the entire plan because it is, or should I say was, the primary economic engine creating revenues to pay for everything else. In fact, the transfer of this property and the water rights needed to be “economic based” and, with restrictions on the land use, there was an imperative to build the marina to pay for it. Without the marina, it is highly doubtful that Key West will ever see any of the land-based development because we won’t be able to afford to even mow the grass — unless, of course, that burden is paid for by the taxpayers. Without the basin, there is no marina. Without the marina, there is no meaningful economic revenue stream.
While ownership of property is a right and probably more so when it concerns government, especially military defense, all this seems to me like what happened to Peary Court. For those of you who may not remember, Peary Court was used as a community center for ball fields back in the ’70s and ’80s on an island where open space is the rarest of commodities. The Navy insisted on taking this property to develop housing, apparently telling our long-suffering Military Affairs Committee that, “If we build it, they will come,” which basically meant if we had the facilities here, the military infrastructure would not only stay but grow.
Ironically, after the housing was built, we were downgraded from a naval air station to a naval air facility, which means we were not big enough for a station. We built it and nobody came. In fact, there was and is so much housing available that the Navy let the Coast Guard use Peary Court, and eventually opened it up to market-rate rentals to all comers. Now there are plans to transfer it to private ownership (for God only knows what purpose). It certainly will not be returned to the city of Key West to be used for ball fields.
So, what should Key West do? Should we simply say the federal government is all powerful and just roll over and take this decision as a fait accompli? I’m sure I don’t have to remind anyone that our forefathers have long promulgated the concept of “a government of the people, by the people and for the people.”
Truman Annex and its unique water frontage is the heritage of the people of Key West. It was torn away from us in a time of need and, as far as I am concerned, it was promised to be returned to us. This promise has been reneged upon and I think, and hope, the leaders of this community and the citizens should demand the Navy live up to its word.
Chris Belland’s Hindsights & Insights column appears here on Sundays. All of his previous columns are available on his blog: hindsightsandinsights.blogspot.com. Contact Chris at email@example.com.
Also yesterday, I received a second email from Howard Thurston – I have not been able to find anyone who ever heard of him. Howard seems to have made it his current mission to beat me and Alicia Putney up over No Name Key. His style of writing and thinking sort of reminds me of the braveheart Raven, who took to beating me up from behind his email handle, but I have not heard from that braveheart for several months and was sort of missing his jihad. At least Howard Thurston puts his name on his attacks, if that is is name.
I published Howard’s first assault, and my response, a few days ago in the the last samurais, No Name Key post. His second assault, yesterday, was very long, diatribe came to mind. It began:
Howard Thurston (firstname.lastname@example.org)
To: sloan bashinsky
Thank you for your thoughtful response and time.
Part of me wonders if writing a response wastes your time and mine and part wants to offer insight that is always, it seems, missed or, at the very lest, diluted as it does not serve your own perspective and passions nor those of the few on that island that don’t want commercial power. In the hopes you are the fair, honest, man I think you are I will offer a few comments in response;
1) Math 101
Let me start with the ‘math’ that you say someone sent you in an email recently related to supposedly who is for or against commercial power on No Name. Not that it matters, the law is on the side of power being installed and permissible but the numbers you mention are simply not correct. Using incorrect data, along with loud lies, threats, fiction and such are all the ploys of Ms. Putney. The fact is that if you took a vote today you’d find between 30 and 35 homeowners eagerly voting FOR power. Who paid for what, when or how matters not since it was paid for in full and did not cost the power company or its other customer’s a dime.
Now, if you took a similar poll of No Namer’s against commercial power you’d have, liberally, 7 to 13 folks taking that position. How many of those that would actually, publicly, take that position is another question as some who are often countedin Ms. Putney’s group are simply trying to avoid Ms. Putney’s wrath in the form of a knock on their door and ‘chewing out’ should they mention that even they too might ‘connect’ so as to net solar meter. Thus a few that she counts stay silent …
I wrote back:
I wore out reading your rejoinder, and gave up. Maybe I will find the juice to go back and finish it later today.
You carry on as if you live on NNK, but nobody I spoke with out there had heard of you.
The only thing Alicia told me at Coco’s the other night, which I published, was that she didn’t think you live on NNK, and she didn’t recognize your name. I was reluctant to post your first email, until I ascertained whether or not you lived on NNK.
The numbers I published the next day were furnished by someone else to me by email, not at my request, before I ran into Alicia at Coco’s.
I wrote that people would see the hand of God at work in that post, and would pretend they didn’t.
I know why I am involved in NNK’s goings on, but I don’t know what is your interest. Perhaps you should lay that out in plain view, to resolve that mystery.
If you have kept up with my writings about NNK, which it seems maybe you have not, I explained in at least two posts, and perhaps in more, that when Steve Estes told me about seeing the quarry near Brad Vickrey’s NNK home advertised as property with investment potential on the website of the California real estate company Brad worked for, Steve did not not make a copy of the ad. And, he told me, when he went back to the site later, the ad was not there. Perhaps instead of banging me for reporting what Steve told me, you man up and go to see him about it yourself.
I don’t know if I will publish your rejoinder, not because of the content and tone, but because of the length. That will be up to the angels who arranged for Alicia to be at Coco’s when I got there to decide.
Perhaps you should start your own blog, Deer Ed at the Coconut Telegraph gladly will link your writings to your blog, if you pay him to do it, and in that way you can reach his entire readership, get a dialogue started on the Coconut Telegraph, which I imagine most of its readers will find redundant, boring and useless, since that’s how most of them already seem feel about No Name Key stuff posted on the Coconut Telegraph.
Meanwhile, I will continue publishing what I am given to publish about NNK, for the reasons explained in my earlier reply to you, which reasons I have published in numerous posts about NNK.
Might be, Howard won’t get any more air time on my websites until he comes clean on why he is so interested in No Name Key. For all I know, he is a developer; or maybe he is Raven; or maybe he just has to have something to detest, to keep his heart beating.