a variety of morsels from the alleged southernnmost US city, that would be Key West

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There is a The Alchemist: A Memory of Sloan from Twenty Years Ago, by Willow Arthur, accompanied by some responsive musings from the alleged alchemist post today at goodmorningbirmingham.com. It includes a narrative from a woman I knew pretty well when I lived in Boulder, Colorado, which I found myself thinking yesterday I’d like to have read at my wake.



A variety of morsels from the alleged southernmost US city, although Hawaii is further south.

From the Wednesday (today) Keynoter – www.keysnest.com, which still can be read online for free. I added a few thoughts in italics.

Key West mayor launches re-election bid



Posted – Wednesday, April 17, 2013 10:00 AM EDT

Six months ahead of the next citywide election, Key West political candidates have already started preparations for the general election scheduled for Oct. 1.

Mayor Craig Cates will run for his third consecutive term marked by a Tuesday campaign kick-off party that was scheduled at the Square One restaurant in Old Town.

Unlike his first two terms, which were for two years, this time around Cates is running for a one-year term as the city conforms its election cycle with that of Monroe County, Florida and the federal government.

Cates has made addressing issues related to the city’s declining homeless population the centerpiece of his tenure in office and is championing relocation of the Keys Overnight Temporary Shelter on Stock Island, along with an expanded offering of 24/7 services, rather than just sundown to sunup.

To date, neither Cates, nor any city commissioner, nor the city manager, have responded to my telling them at a city commission meeting that they should not mix homeless addicts with homeless who are not addicts in the new shelter. I told them they each should sleep a week at the city’s present shelter – KOTS – to learn why they do now wish to mix addicts with non-users. City Commissioner Mark Rossi’s wife is a psychiatrist. I invite Mark to ask his wife what she thinks about the city mixing users with non-users in the new shelter? I invite Mark to ask County Commissioner David Rice, a psychologist who started the Guidance Clinic of the Middle Keys, which works with addicts trying to get straightened out, what he thinks about mixing users with non-users in the new shelter? I invite Mark to ask Father Stephen Braddock, CEO of Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, which offers addicts and homeless people a chance to turn their lives around, what he thinks about mixing users and non-users in the new shelter? I hope Mark will make those inquires, and then report his findings to the mayor and other city commissioners and the city manager.  The mayor is talking about spending a lot more money on the new shelter than it spends on KOTS. The mayor is talking about the shelter being designed a lot like Florida Keys Outreach Coalition’s shelters, offering a full range of homeless-help services. However, unlike Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, the new shelter will not screen residents’ urine for booze and other narcotics, and will allow in anyone, regardless of how intoxicated or high. This is like mixing a lighted match with gasoline, which is why Florida Keys Outreach Coalition does not allow it.

Last year voters passed an amendment to the city’s charter moving elections from odd-numbered to even-numbered years. During the transition, elected terms for mayor and commissioner will be shortened.

For instance, if Cates is elected to a third term this year, he’ll serve one year term. After that, in 2014, the mayoral term goes back to two years. It’s the same for the district commissioners who serve four-year terms.

When I ran against Craig in 2009, he announced that, if he was elected, he would not seek a second term.

Whoever is elected as a commissioner will serve until 2016, followed by a return to the four-year term. District 1 Commissioner Jimmy Weekley, District 3 Commissioner Billy Wardlow and District 6 Commissioner Clayton Lopez are up for re-election this year.

None of the incumbents have picked up candidacy documents from the City Clerk’s Office but all have indicated they’ll seek another term.

Civic watchdog and former Weekley challenger Tom Milone is reprising his candidacy. When the two politicos met in 2009, Weekley, who had previously served more than 20 years as commissioner and mayor, beat Milone 631 votes to 295 votes.

If Key West really wants change, why does it keep reelecting Jimmy Weekley, who has served several terms as a city commissioner and several terms as city mayor? Jimmy was on the city commission which voted to authorize the city attorney to “grind Duck Tours to dust,” to protect Ed Swift’s conch trains and trolleys. Said grinding boomeranged into a protracted anti-trust case, which Jimmy and other city officials kept boasting the city would win, which the city ended up forking out around $8,000,000 dollars to make it go away. Jimmy’s mantra since he went back onto the city commission, after being  twice defeated in mayor races by Morgan McPherson, has been “quality of life” in Key West needs to improve. Jimmy used that mantra to argue against CityView Trolleys being allowed to have a franchise so it could compete in Key West against Ed Swift’s conch trains and trolleys. I can think of no more graphic and certain way to improve “quality of life” in Key West than to rid the city’s streets and neighborhoods of loud, street clogging conch trains and trolleys. That easily can be done by the city commission not renewing Ed Swift’s and CityView’s franchises when they come up for renewal. Before then, the city commission could ban cruise ships, Ed Swift’s and CityView’s main source of riders, from calling on Key West and dumping half-day penny-pinching tourists onto Duval Street.

In the run-up to that election, Milone, a retired New York court clerk, was the victim of a brutal mugging that left him with numerous injuries, including a wired jaw.

The three commission seats not up this year are set for a 2015 contest, meaning all of the terms will be normalized by 2018.

The Oct. 1 general election is followed by a Nov. 5 runoff if needed.

My own personal sentiments aside, I’m getting all sorts of dream and waking life signals which lead me to think maybe the angels will have me move down to Key West and file to run against Craig Cates this year. Otherwise, there will only his perspective on various really important city issues which have not come anywhere close to resolving during his first two terms. Given Craig’s popularity with the voters, unless he was abducted by aliens and held incommunicado for the duration of the campaign in a whatever happened to Bum Farto redo, I don’t imagine Key West voters would have to read in the New York Times that Key West had elected a “mentally ill” person for its mayor. “Mentally ill” is Craig’s view of homeless people. I was homeless quite a while in Key West. I’m the same person now as when I was homeless. 

Meanwhile, there is a theoretical Key West mayor campaign platform and related ponderables  page at goodmorningkeywest.com, in which I theoretically covered Key West issues, which I not theoretically asked Tom Milone to address back to me in the recent Key West currents, undercurrents, and fallen idols post. To that inquiry Tom replied.

Tom Milone (tommilone@earthlink.net)


To: Sloan Bashinsky

Hi Sloan,

I have kept a hard copy of last Saturday’s post. I will respond to all of your questions during the course of the campaign.


Thomas C. (Tom) Milone



I replied:

Hi, Tom –

I was hoping you would respond in writing to me, so I could share your responses with my readers. Otherwise, they may never see/hear your responses.


Tom replied:

I am going to respond to you in writing. Sorry I did not make that clear.

I replied:

Thanks. I figured the issues I raised are familiar to all people involved in KW city politics, and opinions on same are already formed. I thought you might respond to the entire list after announcing your candidacy.


From The Key West Citizen today, which is not free online, I highlighted some of it, and added a few thoughts in italics.

City Hall project moving forward

BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff gfilosa@keysnews.com

City Commissioners on Wednesday approved a $1.7 million design contract with a local architect’s firm to begin plotting out the $15.5 million reconstruction of the 1926-era Glynn Archer School building into a new City Hall for Key West.

The grand total for the project is $17.2 million, city staff confirmed Wednesday at the commission’s special meeting inside Old City Hall.

Architect Bert Bender’s team is set to begin work May 1. The design phase will take one year and demolition will take an additional two months, City Planner Don Craig said.

Construction should start mid-2014.

“Hopefully we will celebrate the new year in 2015 with a new City Hall,” said City Manager Bob Vitas.

Until then, city staff remains in 24,000 square feet of rented office space at Habana Plaza on Flagler Avenue. Key West’s former City Hall on Angela Street was abandoned in late 2011, due to mold, asbestos and structural problems.

But the 6-0 approval Wednesday evening didn’t come without some reluctance from one commissioner over all the details, from the financing to the condition of the aging “tiger school” building on White Street.

Commissioner Teri Johnston at first wanted to postpone voting on the architectural contract because no one from the firm that did the structural analysis was present for the special meeting. At issue for Johnston, was a three-page report by CH2M Hill that cited a host of problems in Bender’s original proposal. A few estimates didn’t add up, according to this report, which is written in construction jargon shorthand.

The report, attached to the night’s agenda, was an outdated internal document, Vitas said after the meeting.

Johnston yielded after assurances from Craig, Vitas and City Attorney Shawn Smith that staff has since held exhaustive discussions with CH2M Hill, the firm that checked out the plans.

Johnston is a building contractor. As far as I know, she is the only elected city official who really knows what might be involved in redoing Glynn Archer into the new city hall. The new fire station was estimated to cost $4 million, and now the cost is estimated to be $6 million. That’s a new building. Glynn Archer is a very old building. I  redid two very old homes in Birmingham, one to live in and one for a law office. I will be really surprised if the cost of redoing Glynn Archer comes in anywhere close to the now estimated $17.2 million. I bet before it’s all said and done, Johnston wishes she had stuck to her position.

Wednesday’s near-unanimous vote means the conversion of Glynn Archer from a school into a City Hall is finally in the works, after years of political debate. Commissioner Mark Rossi was absent.

Lucky for Mark, if the cost of redoing Glynn Archer is considerably higher than what’s being predicted.

Commissioner Billy Wardlow made the motion to approve Bender’s contract, citing his own experience waiting around for the city’s planned new fire station.

Wardlow was backed up by Commissioners Clayton Lopez and Tony Yaniz, who made a joke on the dais aimed at Mayor Craig Cates, who had said he only wanted to serve one two-year term when first elected in 2009.

But projects like Glynn Archer, Cates said, took much longer than he expected. Cates is running for a one-year term in the city’s Oct. 1 election.

“I wouldn’t want the mayor to have to run for re-election 10 more times,” Yaniz said.

Does anyone actually believe Cates really thought he could talk the school board into giving Key West Glynn Archer  to the city, and the city commission hassling all of that out with city staff and the new city hall being built in 2 years, in a city known for varying opinions and infighting? Crates was born and raised in Key West. He ran a NAPA business in Key West for decades. There is no way he could reasonably think he would get a new city hall in two years, nor a new homeless shelter in two years. He has turned into an excellent politician.

Earlier in the meeting, Cates praised the commission for its work in developing Glynn Archer as a future City Hall.

“For all these projects, the city has the money to pay for them, or will have it by the time we start to build,” Cates said, ticking off Glynn Archer, the new bus station, the new fire department on Angela Street and renovations of Nelson English Park and the Frederick Douglass Gym.

“Key West has been diligent in saving money for these projects,” Cates said. “We don’t have to go borrow any. I believe you should save for it, just like you do in normal life.”

I don’t suppose Cates is willing to personally guarantee the final cost of the new city hall, or the results of the new homeless shelter.


From the Keynoter – www.keysnet.com:

Lobbying already starts over Key West Harbor vote



Posted – Wednesday, April 17, 2013 09:59 AM EDT

After opposing sides agreed last week on referendum language asking voters whether Key West should study harbor dredging to allow for larger cruise ships, the partisan lobbying has already begun.

A group called the Key West Committee for Responsible Tourism says its goal is “rejecting the dredging study, viewed as the first step towards actually dredging the Key West harbor channel for the express purpose of accommodating larger cruise ships.”

On Oct. 1, a binding referendum will ask voters whether, at no cost to the city, officials should pursue a $2 million U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study analyzing the economic and environmental impact of widening the harbor.

In an e-mail, committee Chairman Jolly Benson said “we feel there is a good reason to oppose this short-sighted project for many reasons, including economic, environmental and societal. To go forward with this study, which is actually the first phase of the dredging itself — make no mistake about that — is a grave misstep for the overall well being of Key West.”

In a series of meetings between the Key West Chamber of Commerce and environmental advocacy group Last Stand, the referendum language was brokered by City Commissioner Tony Yaniz and circulated by City Attorney Shawn Smith last week.

The question that will be put to voters in the Oct. 1 city election: “Shall the city of Key West request that the Army Corp of Engineers conduct a comprehensive feasibility study, at no monetary cost to the city, to determine the environmental, economic and social impacts of widening the Key West Main Ship Channel for use by modern and longer cruise ships while also addressing navigational safety?”

Smith reported to commissioners in an April 8 e-mail that “an agreement was reached on key points. That agreement was subsequently refined through discussions that [Yaniz] had with both parties. The result is a ballot question that both sides support.”


From me to the Key West city attorney, mayor, city commissioners and other interested parties:

From: keysmyhome@hotmail.com To: sdsmith@keywestcity.com CC: bwardlow@keywestcity.com; clopez@keywestcity.com; ccates@keywestcity.com; jweekley@keywestcity.com; mrossi@keywestcity.com; bluepapermailbox@gmail.com; terijohnston@att.net; tommilone@earthlink.net; tyaniz@keywestcity.com; gfilosa@keysnews.com; keysmyhome@hotmail.com Subject: wording of channel-widening referendum incomplete and misleading? Date: Tue, 16 Apr 2013 11:46:25 -0400<!–


If, as Ed Swift wrote in a letter to the editor in The Citizen recently, the channel has to be deepened, as well as widened, to accommodate mega cruise ships, I think the referendum wording is incomplete and misleading, and legally defective and challengeable in court, if it passes.

I think there also is a problem, if, as Ed wrote, the depth dredging would have to continue to maintain the depth year after year for the mega cruise ships.

I believe the City Commission needs to address these two issues in plain English and in plain view and hearing at a City Commission meeting

Sloan Bashinsky

About Sloan

That's what this website is about, also goodmorningkeywest.com and goodmorningbirmingham.com. If you can't get a publisher to take on your wacky musing, you do it yourself.
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