wild queen conch
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Florida Keys have been Bamboozled
as usual. The Army Corps. of Civil
Engineers have a devastating history
of environmental disasters. They must
be supervised by the EPA. Putting the
Fox in the hen house to guard the
chickens is the Corps. The Commissioners
will probably try and restrict voting to
downtown Key West and Bar owners
and Historic Tour employees so we in the
Keys will have no say so.
cities do not have Cruise ships sitting in the middle of the city.!!!
equivalent of 13 million cars————–Jerry
—– Forwarded Message —-
From: ”Dominique Browning, Moms Clean Air Force” <email@example.com>
Sent: Thu, May 16, 2013 8:20:14 PM
Subject: Air pollution & asthma
When Dennis Reeves Cooper still had KWTN, Rick Boettger wrote a piece in favor of channel-widening and referred to Mad Sloan’s blog and this pic, which Rick said he might have to try to verify.
There is little doubt that flats fishing has a major impact on the Florida Keys economy, but a study released this week gives a clearer picture of just how much revenue it generates.
The fishing conservation group Bonefish Tarpon Trust’s study says flats fishing has a direct economic impact of $249 million. That number rises to $427 million after factoring in fishermen’s expenses and how their earnings trickle down in the local economy, said Tony Fedler, who conducted the study.
The direct impact of guided flats fishing trips is $62.6 million a year; $107 million after the local trickle-down, the study states.
Flats fishing supports 4,340 full-time jobs in the Keys with an associated annual income of $131 million, the study states. It says flats fishing also generates $31.5 million in federal taxes and $25.9 million in state and local taxes.
Fishing in general in the Keys reportedly has an economic impact of $433 million; $741 million after factoring in fishermen’s expenses. It supports 7,536 full-time jobs in the Keys with an associated annual income of $229 million, and generates $54.8 million in federal taxes and $45 million in state and local taxes.
“This study makes a clear point that the economics of the Florida Keys are tied to a healthy marine habitat,” Lower Keys flats guide Capt. Will Benson said. “Flats fishing is a major economic component of our community and requires a vibrant and plentiful shallow water resource, which reinforces the need for prudent conservation.”
I keep wondering why I have yet to see one bone fish on the flats near my home. The flats there are beautiful. I see barracuda, rays, needle fish and mullet, but no bone fish. All that I can think of is water pollution. I think of that, because I don’t see any conch there, either.
The study also shows fishing is not a secondary or “ancillary” reason why tourists come to the Keys, Benson said. There is a “dedicated, loyal” group of fishermen that “travel to the Keys with the express intention of pursuing game fish in one of the finest fisheries in the world,” he said.
Fishermen from all over the world come to the Keys to fish for permit, tarpon and bonefish, he added.
“This is a fishing destination, and not, as tourism officials have said, that fishing in the Keys is a secondary activity,” Benson said. “This study reveals that fishing is the foundation of our economy and is very important to the Keys.”
For three decades, starting in 1956, I came to the Florida Keys from Alabama to fish the flats. That was why my father’s older brother Leo came to the Keys. That was why a lot of people came to the Keys. I don’t suppose that has changed much, although from what I hear around and read in the newspapers, bone fish, tarpon and permit are a lot scarcer. I imagine increased fishing pressure is part of the reason. I imagine water pollution is part of the reason. I know jet skis and other boat traffic in shallow water is part of the reason.
The study will most likely wind up being part of the debate over whether to dredge a portion of the Key West shipping channel in order to accommodate larger cruise ships. Fishermen have said dredging will chase away tarpon, as portions of the channel and Key West Harbor are a mecca for tarpon fishing. Thousands are known to migrate through that area in spring and early summer.
“One of the biggest to suffer would be the tarpon,” Lower Keys guide Capt. John O’Hearn agreed.
The Florida state record tarpon was caught in Key West by Gus Bell. The 243-pound fish was caught on conventional tackle with 20-pound test line.
There is no way dredging a one-mile long 150-wide swatch of native sea bed will not disturb the tarpon in that area. That’s not the issue. The issue, as usual, is: What is more important, disturbing tarpon and tearing up that much sea bed, or bringing even more and even bigger cruise ships into Key West?
O’Hearn also questioned the economic benefit of dredging, as cruise ship passengers spend “significantly less” than fishermen and other tourists who come to the Keys.
The Bonefish Tarpon Trust study states that the average daily expenditure from flats fishing is $288, and $315 for fishing in general. By comparison, a study by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration economist Bob Leeworthy in 2009 found that the average cruise ship passenger spent $84 per trip.
I remember when flats guides got $40 for an all-day trip and $25 for a half-day trip. I think today flats guides get around $800-$900 for all-day, $500 for half-day. Flats fishermen stay in motels, eat in restaurants, go to bars after fishing all day. There is no way to compare flats fishermen to cruise ship passengers, other than to say there are a lot more cruise ship passengers than flats fishermen, and if you want quantity instead of quality, cruise ship passengers are what you want.
Voters will decide Oct. 1 whether the city of Key West will ask the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a study to determine the impacts of a potential dredging project.
BY ARNAUD AND NAJA GIRARD
The infamous green fence that hid the Boulevard worksite blew away last week in an unexpected gust of wind. It revealed the same moonlike landscape, unmanned machinery, and lack of progress and has renewed the perplexity of passersby jammed in traffic.According to local mainstream press, some Key West politicians, and FDOT everything is swell on the Boulevard. One might think business was thriving. The Key West Citizen even reported last week that new businesses are opening up and Commissioner Billy Wardlow, in whose district the project lies, declared himself proud of the achievement. It really looked as though no one has bothered asking those business people on the Boulevard about their side of the story.
So here it comes. It may be unpleasant work but someone’s got to do it: [...full article]
By SEAN KINNEY
Posted – Wednesday, May 15, 2013 09:25 AM EDT
The decade-long quest to build an assisted- and independent-living facility on the Truman Waterfront in Key West could come to an end if a June 28 deadline is not met — and it looks like it won’t be.
That’s the date city staff has required the Florida Keys Assisted Care Coalition to have a lease with a developer willing to build the 110-unit complex on part of the city-owned 33-acre property at the end of Southard Street.
The same deadline came and went on Dec. 31 but the City Commission granted an extension, something it vowed to not do again. And it appears that might be that.
The “city is getting a bad rap but I don’t think we’re going to budge,” Commissioner Teri Johnston said. “We have to get some sort of remuneration for this valuable piece of property.”
Commissioner Tony Yaniz agreed that another extension isn’t in the cards.
The latest version of the plan calls for 60 assisted living units and 50 independent living units with a variety of configurations and price points. Wendover Housing Partners is the developer.
Documents submitted to the city last week show a total cost of $14.6 million, with $12.1 million derived from tax credit financing.
Throughout lease negotiations, city staff has focused on financial items such as proposed developer fees, duration of construction, annual rent and an up-front payment for use of the property.
The Assisted Care Coalition wants a lease with the city for $1 per year for 99 years.
City voters approved the concept of an assisted-living facility in a 2007 referendum but there’s lingering disagreement on the spirit of that vote.
“The claim that the voters believed the agreement was to be a dollar a year for 99 years is simply false,” City Attorney Sean Smith said.
“What was put to the voters contained no representation that the lease would be for a dollar a year,” he said. “City staff has been vigilant in ensuring that a fair lease is developed. This includes making sure that a piece of taxpayer property is not given away for little or no value so that a private party can make a substantial profit.”
Assisted Care Coalition board member Joan Higgs took up the lease rate, among other things, in a letter to the Keynoter.
“The understanding of the FKACC, the voters who supported the referendum and even the vocal minority who opposed the project had always been that the land would be provided pursuant to a 99-year lease at virtually no cost.”
“Nevertheless, the city has now taken the position that the city should receive additional revenues, such as a substantial upfront payment and monthly payments for the life of the lease.”
The next step for the proposal is a May 20 review by the Truman Waterfront Advisory Board, beginning at 6 p.m. in Old City Hall. In the meantime, Smith and city staff continue lease negotiations.
Smith said the coalition’s posture on the financials is an attempt “to influence public sentiment with misleading and inaccurate statements.”
Coalition board members Sandy Higgs and Sheldon Davidson declined comment.
Assisted care is not entirely accurate. Assisted care means being taken care of, assisted. Only part of the facility was to be assisted living, the rest of it was to be a waterfront retirement facility for ambulatory seniors who could take care of themselves. As they grew less able to take care of themselves, they would receive more and more assistance.
It was understood when the referendum was overwhelmingly passed by the voters, that the Truman Waterfront land would be leased to a developer for probably 99 years for a nominal annual rent. It was understood free land was the incentive for a developer to build the elder living facility.
I wondered why Key West area developers, like Ed Swift, the Spottswoods and Pritam Singh, who seemed ever ready to attempt a new development, never showed interest in being the developer for the elder living facility. I concluded they never showed interest because they didn’t figure they could make money off it, even if the land was free.
I remember when coalition committee member Peter Batty said at a public meeting, that there was no place in Key West but Truman Waterfront to put the elder living facility. Peter was as real estate broker. He knew the elder living facility could be put on the city’s East Seals property on Stock Island. He knew that was closer to the hospital and the helicopter-evacuation pad. He knew that was closer to the shopping centers and doctors offices on and off of North Roosevelt. He knew there was horrible traffic between Truman Waterfront and all of those places. He and the other coalition committee members wanted an upscale waterfront elder living facility next door to upscale Truman Annex.
The voters never were told the whole truth, not unlike the voters are not being told the whole truth in the run-up to the channel-widening study referendum. So, instead of already having their elder living facility at the Easter Seals property, Key West elders have only the nursing home on Stock Island for assisted living. Or, seniors stay where they are and hire people to come into their homes and assist them. Or ambulatory seniors can apply for senior housing with the Housing Authority. There is affordable senior housing in Key West for ambulatory seniors, but it’s not on Truman Waterfront.
The city intends to spend a good deal of money building a full-spectrum homeless facility at the Easter Seals property, which will cost twice as much to run annually as Keys Overnight Temporary Shelter (KOTS), which the city is talking about keeping open for homeless people who do not wish to stop using their narcotics of choice and try to turn their lives around. The city is far more interested in bedding down homeless people at night in a Stock Island facility, and trying to keep them corralled there during the day, at city residents’ expense, than the city is interested in providing what the voters thought they approved in 2007. Approved, it was not a binding referendum.
Well, that’s another bundle of joy praise report, isn’t it?