March 17th, 2013
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The pen is mightier than the sword, thus the sword defends the pen came to me out of the ethers in September 2002, just after I had met Dennis Reeves Cooper, founder, publisher and editor of Key West the (Blue) Newspaper, which mostly covered law and order, or disorder, situations in Key West. I made a soul drawing for Dennis with that poem in it, and gave it to him. He later told me that he had no use for it, and I retrieved it. I don’ t know what happened to that drawing, but if I had it, I would give it to Arnaud and Naja Girard.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
Key West the Newspaper is back in action, as an online investigative journalism newspaper. Its new website link is www.thebluepaper.com. Its new owners, Arnaud and Naja Girard, are smart, battle-hardened citizen activists. Naja now is President of Last Stand. Her range in Key West and the Florida Keys is wide and deep.
Dynamite investigative journalism in the launch issue, and a knock-your-eyes out artist, and plenty more to come, I wager.
I lifted this BELOW from the web site. Click the features links and read for yourself.
If you need a place to advertise your wares, advertise in The Blue Paper. I have no ownership or financial interest in it, in case somebody is wondering about that.
Issue #1 — Friday, March 15, 2013 [would that also be the Ides of March?]
ROOSEVELT BOULEVARD CONSTRUCTION By Arnaud Girard
* Featured Story *
Who is John Chaney?
According to FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation) the alleged drunk driver and cop-briber is not one of the contractors working on the Roosevelt Boulevard construction project. Not only is FDOT lying to us, but interestingly enough for Key Westers, Chaney’s involvement is in laying water/sewer pipe, a portion of the project that is locally funded with 4.3 Million dollars of the City’s money.
This affair began like a police thriller. It was 2:30 a.m. Deputy Sheriff Juan Martin-Reyes was engaged in a high-speed chase behind a black Hummer. [...full article]
* Featured Story *
KEY WEST BATTLES PRIVATIZED MILITARY HOUSING COMPLEX By Arnaud and Naja Girard
To avoid paying 11.3 Million dollars in back property taxes giant British conglomerate Balfour Beatty (BB) is asking a judge to disregard its property title on 890 units of housing located in Key West. BB argues that it’s not the “real” owner of those units, that the homes “really” belong to the Navy and they should be immune from property taxes just like any other federally owned property.
However this new twist could implicate BB in an extensive web of questionable practices including the receipt of millions of dollars of Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) funds that are allocated by Congress for private housing, possibly having misled bond investors as to who owns the houses securing BB’s 587 Million dollar bond issuance, and arguably conducting unlawful secretive private sales of government property such as the Peary Court housing. [...full article]
CRANE POINT ZIPLINE FLOUNDERING By Michael Welber
Some residents of Marathon may be beginning to wonder whether those running Crane Point Museum and Nature Center will be able to manage the process of constructing a controversial zip-line attraction they plan. That could mean taxpayers will have to bear the financial burden of what could be a potential failure and possible foreclosure on the land itself. Originally planned to be in operation by February of 2012, the project is now scheduled to launch no sooner than March of 2014, over two years later than originally announced. The project suffered [...full article]
BLUE is the new GREEN By David Lybrand
After over 50 local articles in most of the local papers (not to mention all those letters to the editors), I’ve happily come aboard the brand new local journal: The Blue Paper. The old “Blue Paper” was just the nickname for “Key West The Newspaper” or “KWTN”; this new journal is really named “The Blue Paper”. This paper won’t be limiting itself to any one topic at a time, it’s ready to follow any important breaking issue at any time. The Blue Paper takes investigative journalism to the next level. I look forward to adding my activistic and educational exposition to the mix. (Did I meet my syllable quota in that last sentence? :- )
For those who haven’t caught my “intro” columns in other local papers, a quick synopsis: My “internet handle” has been Reactor for 20 years. The roots of that nickname come from: 1) my relentless work ethic; 2) my strong social media reflex impulse; and 3) a not-so-well-known album (re-ac-tor) by musical sage and peace and environmental activist Neil Young. To my fellow Neil Young Fans – the Rusties – I have been known as RE*AC*TOR. When I became a full-time Keys resident, the handle expanded to Key West Reactor. Later my column in another local paper shifted that to KONK REACTOR.
But after five years on the board of Last Stand and four years on Key West’s city Sustainability Advisory Board, it became clear to me that the most apt adjective for my re-ac-tivitiy was GREEN. And soon GREEN Reactor was born [...full article]
Also, for Facebook lovers, and a way for them to try to get The Blue Paper viral:
Also on Balfour-Beatty, letter to the editor today in The Key West Citizen:
If Balfour-Beatty does not pay, why should I?
I have lived here for 36 years. I have witnessed “bubba busts,” the “Big Pine 29? bust, a mayor indicted for accepting a bribe, a county commissioner arrested at the airport, a deputy police chief sent away to “college.” Nothing in any of that stinks as much as what the government and Balfour-Beatty are trying to dump on us with Peary Court.
The government seizes land from the city, claiming it’s the only place on the island they have to build housing for the military. We all have a soft spot for the military — I’m a Navy brat. They lied to us. As you drive over Garrison Bight bridge, look east at the hundreds of units being built for the military. They did have other places to build than our softball field and park.
The really, really ugly part is that they’re stealing this from us and making us pay for it. They were slapped, rightly, when it became for-profit rental housing and the county told them they owed property taxes. Balfour-Beatty sued, lobbied the Legislature, maybe the biggest slut Legislature in the country, and they — sorry, Holly Raschein — gave in.
OK, Holly, the people living in those houses don’t have kids in school, don’t need fire department or ambulance services, don’t need the mosquito control or the South Florida Water Management District services that my yearly tax bill pays for. OK, let’s wall you in without any of those services you don’t think you need to pay for and see how long you last.
If this goes through, I’m organizing another Conch Republic secession. If they don’t have to pay taxes, why should I?
Not yummy, unless you are into the macabre
Trial balloon: Outsource school finances?
By SEAN KINNEY
Posted – Saturday, March 16, 2013 08:01 AM EDT
Months of bemoaning irresponsible media coverage of the myriad problems dogging the Monroe County School District came to a head Thursday when School Board member John Dick accused the Key West Citizen of “slimy yellow journalism.”
On Wednesday the newspaper’s editorial board called for the state Department of Education to intercede and take over the district’s finances following a two-part series they published last weekend, which analyzed the preliminary financial and operational audit produced by the Florida Auditor General’s Office.
During a Tuesday meeting in Key West, Superintendent Mark Porter said, “There has been what I might describe as a disproportionate amount of media attention given to this matter.”
Director of Finance Ken Gentile, who’s out of a job effective April 18 in part because of the audit, agreed that, “When we have the discussion on the front page of the newspaper…it looks worse than it is. They don’t always get it right.”
Heh, heh, and the school district always gets it right? Heh, heh.
Dick, in a Thursday interview on U.S. 1 Radio, said the Citizen demonstrated a “lack of accountability and ethics,” and accused the eight-member editorial board of “lack[ing] the intestinal fortitude to come out and state their true intentions.”
Dick specifically accused editorial board member Todd German, who is also chairman of the charter Key West Collegiate School’s board of directors, of angling to have Miami-based Academica charter school management company potentially run district finances.
German worked with Academica to take over the 40-student Key West Collegiate on Stock Island and the company now provides financial, technical and operational support along with staffing. “Some of the [editorial board] members have become virtual mouthpieces for the charter school company Academica,” Dick told the Keynoter Thursday.
German said he has known Dick for 10 years and was surprised by the suggestion, while acknowledging that he had reached out to the company.
“People contacted me because of my relationship with [Academica] to see if there was any interest,” German said. “I asked them and they said it’s not what they do. There’s no conspiracy.”
I probably have had around a hundred school district conversations with Todd. He has never said he wanted Academica to take over the school district, and he has never agreed with me that the Florida Board of Education should take over the school district. John Dick is suffering paranoid delusion.
Board Chairman Andy Griffiths has focused his wrath on the Citizens’ two-part audit analysis, which was framed by commentary from retired banker Nancy Beckwith, who is now a member of the Citizen’s editorial board – something that wasn’t disclosed in the articles.
That prompted Griffiths to create a Facebook page on March 10 to debunk “sensational headlines” and rail against the Citizen, calling its audit coverage “an editorial at best, news at worst.”
“They’re trying to take an editorial and write it as fact,” Dick said. “An editorial is someone’s opinion.”
Gosh, Andy, you never write an editorial for the newspapers, or on Facebook, as fact, without spinning facts to suit your opinion? Were you born a spin doctor, Andy? Did you major in spin doctoring in college, and then go onto get a masters, and then a PhD? More to the point, Andy, if you don’t like seeing bad newspaper reports about the school district, stop the school district from giving the newspapers bad news to report. You are in your 6th term, your 21st year on the school board. You cannot say all of this didn’t happen on your watch. Every bit of it happened on your watch. I told you not to run again, to find something else to sink your teeth into. But you were too identified with being a school board member to give it up. Now you are getting what you asked for by running again, and you have nobody to bitch at about it but yourself. That’s right, Andy, you could have called for the Board of Education to take over the school district and fix what you could not, or would not, fix. Instead, you kept spin-doctoring, which, apparently is what most of the voters in your voting district wanted in a school board member, since you beat your lady opponent about 2-1 in the general election.
Citizen Editor Tom Tuell told the Keynoter: “It is unfortunate that some members of the School Board, rather than focus on solutions to the financial challenges that threaten the district’s solvency, have turned to political theater to obscure the gravity of the situation.”
He said Beckwith’s “name appears at the top of the Opinion page seven days a week. Mr. Griffiths may find something clandestine in that, but we are grateful for her expertise and spirit of community service.”
Tom, most Citizen readers would never think to look at the Editorial Board masthead to see who Nancy Beckwith was, especially given her newness on the school board. Hell, I did not even know who Nancy was when she was quoted extensively in Terry Schmida’s two articles, leading up the editorial, which freed the rabid mad dog from his cage. Of that critter, my buddy Nashville J wrote to me yesterday: “Sloan: Been away a couple days but now catching up. JOHN DICK – what a perfect last name for him!”
Schools watchdog Margaret Romero, responding during the public comment portion of Tuesday’s board meeting, said she was sick of the complaints from the board about media coverage.
“I am tired of hearing certain people on the board try to wax eloquent that there are not really that many problems. I for one am certainly glad the Citizen and the Keynoter… follow what’s going. That’s the way most people find out. Please show accountability amongst yourselves.”
Kudos to you, Margaret. Kudos to you. I think maybe what was left out and replaced by the … was, “the blogs.” Far as I know, the only blogs which go hard and straight at school district, county, city and other Florida Keys issues, are the Key West Citizen blog and goodmorningfloridakeys.com and goodmorningkeywest.com. And now, The Blue Paper is back. They don’t have anything about the mad dog and his terminally dysfunctionally insane school district in their opening SPLASH. They invite guest opinions. Maybe I’ll dream something blue and yellow up. My two favorite colors, mix them together, you get green.
From my niece named after me:
Greetings To My Favorite Uncle Sloan,
For our little correspondence, I think of you often. Living and being your authentic Bashinsky, keeps me entertained. I also wish that you will email me back with current updates of you and Key West!
Next Tuesday, I will be a Park Tower resident. Floor #7. I bought Richard Dabney’s place.
I wrote back:
Hi, Sloan – Thanks, always glad to hear from you. Hope your new digs work out great for you. As I recall, that’s the same floor Deborah Bashinsky and I lived at Park Towers, in her condo. If you see her around, tell her I hope she is doing well.
Will “reinstall” you to my daily hit list, had no idea you wuz watching the morning virtual cartoons from Little Torture Key. A triple header today, counting an especially battish one on the Birmingham website, which I don’t imagine will make the top ten hit parade at the Southern Baptist Annual Convention, nor should the few recent not exactly papalistic morning cartoons before it at that website.
I went though the killer dark night of the soul, the black night, as described in the commentaries of St. John of the Cross, when I lived at Park Towers. February 1997-June 1998. It was horrfic beyond words could begin to explain. It was made much worse by pyschiatry and its killer drugs, which ravaged my body and my soul. After living through that, most of what followed was pretty tame.
I saw on CNN last night that America and Brazil, I think was the other country, are the only two countries where medical drug makers can advertise their products. Everytime I see an ad for a medical drug, I eagerly await the possible side effects warning required by Federal Law. I wonder how anyone could take one of those drugs after listening to an explanation of the possible side effects? I wonder how such drugs even get approved by the Food and Drug Administration? Greased alms, er, palms, come to mind.
I also saw on CCN last night a horrible report on life in Bagdhad today. Far worse conditions, far more dangerous than it was under Saddam Hussein. Later on TV, I watched the end of a Dick Cheney documentary. He said if he had it all to do over, he would do it the same way. He really meant it. I wonder if George W. Bush would do it the same way, if he had it all to do over?
I wonder if Barack Obama would accept the Nobel Peace Prize, if he had that to do over?
consider this higher education howler, which got posted into the Mystics, Madness & Muses open Facebook group –
Ok, you have to go to the source documents to gain the full story. The assignment was for a critical writing class. Was supposed to be “edgy”. And nothing off limits. Was this man foolish to not be more politically correct? Is he creepy as some are claiming? Or are thought police running amuck these days?
Ugh, if it isn’t bad enough being a 56-year-old college student, Joseph Corlett turned in a writing diary titled “Hot For Teacher” that talked about his overwhelming attraction to his Oakland University teachers. He rhapsodized about peeking at their panties in class, how he is incapable of paying a…
The blog comments below the brief article are mostly amusing. His wife must be thrilled, or candidating for sainthood. Maybe he secretly wanted his wife to find out – can I ass-u-me all of his teachers were women? Maybe subconsciously he wanted a divorce, or to be tied to a pole in the basement and beaten with a whip, or a chain. This sitcom is about madmen and muses? Was what the pigeon wrote meant to be a joke? Maybe he should become a public relations spokesperson for President Obama, the Pope, Village Voice’s Back Page, Playboy, or Hustler. I hope he’s glad he wrote it; might be, the school will have trouble in the lawsuit, since the teacher said to write about anything. Hell, he might be on his way to being a rich and famous novelist, or a rich and famous circuit speaker. Hell, maybe he is the next D.H. Laurence.
There is a new papal dilemma – the office and the church post at goodmoringbirmingham.com. The night before posting it, I dreamt the Swiss Guard were coming to get me and my army, and Germany and France sent their armies help me and my army fight the Swiss Guard and the fellow who sent them, new Pope Francis.