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There is a different post today at goodmorningkeywest.com, which you should be able to reach by clicking on this link: Key West cruise ship silt plume foes pants on fire, Key West Citizen Editorial Board and Key West City Commission compete for N Roosevelt Blvd Pearl Harbor Lookout Hall of Fame
Email chain forward yesterday from former State Attorney Dennis Ward,
as I received it; the oldest-first email at the bottom, the last, newest email at the top.
by profession a psychologist with considerable experience in addiction, rehab and recovery, is one of the five Monroe County Commissioners; his voting district runs from mid-Marathon up though Islamorada.
is County Commissioner Sylvia Murphy, whose voting district is Key Largo
Begin forwarded message:
From: “O.Kay Thacker” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: August 17, 2013, 2:06:53 PM EDT
To: Rice-David <Rice-David@MonroeCounty-FL.Gov>
Cc: Bill and Mary <email@example.com>, BOCCDIS4 <BOCCDIS4@MonroeCounty-FL.Gov>, John Dick <firstname.lastname@example.org>, John Donnelly <email@example.com>, Dennis Ward <firstname.lastname@example.org>, D A Aldridge <A2aldridge@aol.com>, Burke Cannon <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Key West Homeless
I have added some names to our group also, also shared info that David Rice’s aide Tammy shared with me…so all of us are on the same page…David you called me a s—stirrer..and I take that as a compliment…Mario might disagree with you, he loves me……har..har..
But what % of the homeless does repeatably fall under getting arrested numerous times…heard one homeless person has gone through MC system in the last 2 or 3 years almost 300 times…come on!..on our dime…As David pointed out the money/grants, etc…that is spent on this problem….KW is just wanting to rid their town of the homeless and put it on our backs… MC and taxpayers in my humble opinion…get the homeless out of their town and away from their tourists… and across the bridge…can anyone tell me some names of the same homeless person going through our system numerous times? Sure the Sheriff dept. can do a search name of repeated offenders and come up with that info PDQ….
On 8/17/2013 1:10 PM, Rice-David wrote:
I read the article and would expect similar results. Homelessness today is greater, at least in part because of deinstitutionalization of our state hospitals that once held the mentally ill, as well as changes in the law that no longer allow arrests for loitering. I am told also that the courts release them from jail very quickly when they are arrested for violation of laws that seem to be selectively enforced such as open container. There is no one answer, since the homeless are not a homogeneous group. They are composed of at least four groups, the chronic mentally ill, substance abusers, and those who present with both. Additionally, there are those with life circumstances which have resulted in homelessness and probably offer the greatest chance of being helped with proper support systems. We also find those who are homeless, intend to stay that way and accept help from nobody, no way.
Sent from my iPad
On Aug 17, 2013, at 12:24 PM, “O.Kay Thacker” <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I have spoken to several citizens that were homeless back in the 70?s up north….they have relayed to me if they had been fed, clothed, roof over their heads, medical and offered all that we do here in Monroe County & KW….. they still would be there and not productive citizens, and homeowners now. (have one now if summit is called will testify to that fact) ..they needed to be where they were and get to the point they did to pull up their boots and get on with life and not be homeless…we can take them to water, but can not make them codrink…also Sylvia said at the Federation mtg. on Wed. as much as 15-20 years ago we did not have the problems that we do now with the homeless (are we making it easy for them to be homeless?) …how many of them keep going through our system…month after month..repeat/repeat????…we make it easy for them to be looked after…I think MC taxpayers gives now til it hurts….David did you read the Blue Paper article on Friday…eye opener for me…
On 8/17/2013 12:10 PM, Rice-David wrote:
The best info I have seen indicates that about 97% of the homeless who have been jailed indicate that Key West is their home. Kotts was established by the city since they could not force the homeless off the streets without having a place for them to go. The facility was placed on county property and funded by the city. Most of the financial questions you have asked do not have an answer at present, although Monroe County presently funds numerous non-profits to the tune of about three million dollars on an Anual basis. Most of them provide service which are delivered to the homeless population as well as others. Most of these programs provide services on a county-wide basis. Most of the cities in Monroe county have some level of homeliness, this program will provide no benefit to them.
The County jail costs are heavily influenced by the fact that Key West arrests the homeless are repeatedly arrested by KWPD for minor issues, stay in jail for a couple of days and are released by the courts to repeat the process. The medical needs of this group create significant increases in jail medical services. Bill, I wish that I had an answer, but in 40 years of working with the homeless, I am not sure that an acceptable and effective solution exists for the majority of this group. More to come in the future, I am sure.
Sent from my iPad
On Aug 17, 2013, at 9:25 AM, “Bill and Mary” <email@example.com> wrote:
I want to expand the email exchange we have been having to include David Rice.
I’ve been trying to follow the city’s efforts to address the homeless problem that the city mayor and some of the city commissioners believe they have. Mary works in Key West by the Historic Bight, and I spend a fair amount of time working on telephone systems and data networks all over that city. While we don’t live there, we shop and recreate in Key West. There are a lot of people who look homeless to me, and if I were a tourist, I would not look favorably on the volume.
If the city commission decides to establish a 24 hour shelter and asks the county to contribute, I think the county has an obligation to participate. Questions I would ask are:
1- What percentage of the population will come from unincorporated Monroe. (I know this is hard to answer – they are homeless. But today, they spend the day somewhere.)
2- What contribution does the county make to the KOTS today? As best we can, what is the estimated overall cost to the county from today’s method of dealing with the homeless?
3- Will the proposed new shelter be on county land or in the county’s jurisdiction? Who should / would be responsible for security?
4- Can the county reduce its costs with a new shelter. If costs are proposed to increase, what benefit will the county see in return?
This is a Kew West (perceived) problem. I would like to see Key West decide what they want to do.
I agree with Dr. Marlbut, “…they come for the weather and do not leave.” Free food, a place to stay, and a lucrative panhandling environment do not help.
Implementing a program that requires taking responsibility for one’s self is (I believe) an improvement over what Key West is doing today.
However, I do not want to see Key West transfer a disproportionate share of the proposed funding burden to the county.
What is the county paying today? Why should it pay more?
I replied to Dennis, copied to ALL:
Hi, Dennis – thanks for the forward.
You, Kay, Sylvia and all county commissioners but perhaps David receive copies of my daily posts, a goodly number of which have been on this very topic for some time now.
I had a homeless article in last week’s issue of The Blue Paper (www.thebluepaper.com).
Arnaud and Naja Girard’s article this week was devastating to Robert Marbut.
If you have not already done so, please read that article [In Search of the Mangrovians!] and the articles in the links.
I have written of Marbut quite a few times, and I have written more times of Key West’s homeless policy, which could not happen but for the Sheriff Office and the County Commission going along with it.
About two weeks ago, I talked with Becky Herrin, public information officer for the Sheriff Office. She said the Sheriff’s cost per jail inmate is $86. Homeless inmates tend to cost more per day because they tend to have more problems: detoxing and the DTs, and other medical difficulties handled in house by the Sheriff. Becky said KW does not reimburse the Sheriff for homeless inmates brought to the jail by KW police for homeless crimes – open container, sleeping/camping outside.
I told Sylvia about 10 days ago that Sheriff Ramsay should tell KW he will not accept any more homeless people brought to his jail by KW police for mere homeless crimes, unless KW pays the full freight of the jail housing those homeless people. Sylvia told me she did not think Sheriff Ramsay could legally do that.
If you check around, I think you might find situations were cities pay their county sheriff for housing city inmates.
Furthermore, I think Sheriff Ramsay can refuse to accept KW homeless people arrested for homeless crimes because KW is not paying for it, and let KW try to get a court to force him to take homeless people without KW paying for it.
I think there is a legal reason Sheriff Ramsay can decline to receive KW homeless charged with homeless crimes.
I don’t believe it is legal for Key West to jail homeless people for sleeping outside at night and camping, if KOTS is full and they cannot get into it. KOTS usually is full.
That’s the holding in the Pottinger case in Miami, which the ACLU brought representing Miami’s homeless people.
The United States District Court held it was cruel and unusual punishment for Miami’s police not to let homeless people sleep or cook or camp outside, because those were life-sustaining activities – UNLESS there were shelters where Miami homeless could do all of that and they refused to go to those shelters after being offered a ride to them by Miami police or other Miami staff.
To this day, Miami has to get approval of that federal court for anything new Miami wants to try with its homeless people.
The same federal court has jurisdiction over the Florida Keys, including Key West.
I also don’t think it’s legal for KW police to enforce KW’s open container ordinance only against homeless people.
So, you basically have two civil rights violations: torture (the sleeping/camping outside arrests), and equal protection denial (the open container arrests). I think I recall civil rights violations can be prosecuted criminally or civilly under the US Civil Rights Act, something that might interest the ACLU or Attorney General Eric Holder.
If Sheriff Ramsay and the Monroe County Commission are accomplices, by aiding and abetting KW’s violation of its homeless people’s civil rights, then Sheriff Ramsay and the County Commission are defendants along with KW and its city officials and police in a civil rights act prosecution.
For those legal reasons, I think Sheriff Ramsay can, and should, decline to receive KW homeless people brought to the jail for sleeping outside at night when KOTs is full, or for open container. Let KW build its own jail, there is plenty of room on Truman Waterfront, if the Easter Seals and Mosquito Control Board properties are not large enough.
I have a perspective of homeless people derived from living on the street on Maui and in Key West, and from living in tents and homeless camps in Key West, and from living in FKOC shelters and staying at KOTS, and from staying in homeless shelters in Birmingham and Kansas City.
David is right; it is very hard to make progress with homeless people who are chronic addicts and/or mentally ill. It also is very hard to make progress with homeless people who have become institutionalized to being homeless.
Robert Marbut’s results look good when he speaks of them, but when you read newspaper reports containing interviews with people where he started shelters, you see different pictures.
I doubt many of Marbut’s basic-level shelter graduates are moving into independent living; I imagine most of his graduates are moving into other forms of subsidized living. He admitted to me when he was in KW two years ago.
A big homeless welfare state seems to be evolving because cities like KW are willing to do any and everything possible to try to get homeless people off their streets and sidewalks and out of their parks.
That is an entirely different issue from the County and the Sheriff funding KW’s jail the homeless policy. Are the County and the Sheriff going to subsidize KW’s new homeless shelter, too?
Graduates from the new shelter will not be able to pay market rate rents in KW. They will have to have subsidized housing, if they stay in KW. The Housing Authority has a long waiting list. Florida Keys Outreach Coalition and Samuel’s House have limited capacity.
Marbut made it very clear to the Key West City Commission when he spoke to them recently, I was there listening and watching, that the city will have to persuade new homeless arrivals in KW to turn around and go back where they came from. He also told the Commission that the city will have to export graduates from the new homeless shelter to the mainland. He told me the same thing privately after he had spoken to the City Commission.
It costs money to export homeless people to the mainland, at least a one-way Greyhound bus ticket. KW and the Sheriff tried the Greyhound cure in the early 2000s, and it did not work. Mainland cities today are giving their homeless Greyhound tickets to elsewhere, including to Key West.
There is no getting around KW is a homeless destination because of the weather, ocean and beaches. It’s okay to buy into the Tourist Development Council invitation to come to paradise, come as you are, unless you are homeless.
Key West is an anomaly, thus it might be nothing tried on the mainland will get the same result in KW. Unintended consequences could be exponentially greater in KW than in, say, San Antonio or St. Petersberg, where Marbut’s shelters are proving to have their own untended consequences.
American foreign wars are producing homeless veterans. I think around twenty percent of homeless people in the Keys are veterans.
It is my view that homeless people reflect back to mainstream what is wrong with mainstream and where mainstream is headed. This, I think, has a lot to do with why KW and other cities are so upset about homeless people.
There is no denying, though, that many homeless people go out of their way to aggravate each other and mainstream people.
In all events, it is not Monroe County and Sheriff Ramsay’s job to fund KW’s homeless policy. It’s KW’s job to do that.
It is Monroe County and Sheriff Ramsay’s job to deal with Monroe County homeless people, if that is perceived to be a burning issue in Monroe County. So far, I have not seen it is a burning issue in Monroe County.
I ran for county commission in 2006, 2008 and 2010. I do not recall any discussion at candidate forums about homeless people.
In the fall of 2003, in the Harvey Government Center in Key West, I tried to talk the County Commission out of getting involved in KW’s homeless policy before the County Commission and the Sheriff decided to go along with KOTS being built on county land in 2004.
KOTS opened and became an instant disaster, a den of booze and other drugs, prostitution, disease, thieves, fighting, as I had told the KW officials would happen. KW then begged Florida Keys Outreach Coalition to take over KOTS and straighten it out, which FKOC reluctantly did, having previously stated it had no interest in running KOTS.
Who will run KW’s new shelter after Marbut leaves? Who will try make it work? The only outfit I know that can try to make it work is FKOC, and I don’t think FKOC will take the new shelter on, if homeless people with booze and other narcotics in their urine are allowed into the shelter. About 90 percent of KW homeless people have booze and/or other narcotics in their urine.
Marbut told me when he was in KW that his shelters take in homeless addicts, then he segregates them from the rest of the homeless people inside the shelters. Then, he dries the addicts out, unless they have high risk of cardiac arrest, stroke, etc. Those homeless he sends to a hospital.
Sloan Bashinsky, ex-lawyer, ex-homeless person
Little Torch Key
Dennis Ward replied to me, copied to ALL:
Very informative Sloan. I will research the Sheriff/Jail issue and see if I can shed some light on that. It seems that Sheriff Nick Navarro, in Broward, may have had some issues with jail overcrowding and he may have stopped taking arrestees from municipalities. But I think he was required to accept them.
Your homeless arrest charges, as grounds for non-acceptance, is interesting and may have merit. We’ll see.
This morning, I replied to Dennis, copy to ALL:
Hi, Dennis – thanks for your prompt reply.
Ultimately, it will take litigation in the courts of Caesar to decide the human legal issues.
The heart and soul issues, however, already are decided in a Court not of this world.
The Monroe County Commission and Sheriff Ramsay now have to choose whether they will continue to aid and abet what KW is doing to its homeless, which aiding and abetting is producing horrible karma for the Commission, the Sheriff and the County, or whether they will refuse to participate further and put the burden on KW to force the issue in Caesar’s courts. The second choice will mitigate the Commission’s, the Sheriff’s and the County’s karma, the first choice will increase their karma.
I feel responsible for it having come down to this, because of what I failed to do back in 2004. I wrote about that and related stuff in yesterday’s My homeless karma, plus – Is mainstream prepared to fund a homeless welfare state? I ask, because it looks to me that’s what Key West’s Mayor Craig Cates wants Key West’s mainstream residents to do post at www.goodmorningkeywest.com.
I had an article on homelessness in last week’s issue of Key West the Newspaper, in which I reported, among other things, my telling the KW City Commission during closing citizen comments at last week’s commission meeting, that sleep deprivation is torture, it is cruel and unusual punishment, like waterboarding. I was not well received.
This link should get you to that KWTN article: What To Do, What To Do About Key West’s Homeless Population (Former Homeless Man Shares His Views)
David Rice replied to me, ALL:
Thanks for your comments. I do get and read the blue paper on line and have appreciated your insight. I thought that your article which gave newspaper links was especially informative. Reading the San Antonio paper brought back many memories since I spent the longest ten years of my life there from 1971 to1973. Keep up the good work of sharing your knowledge of homeless issues.
Sent from my iPad
Kay Thacker of Key Largo replied:
I have sent an inquiry to Rich Ramsay to see what and where his department stands on what Sloan has shared with us…will share his answer with you when I get something back. Yes, Sloan thanks for your information concerning the homeless in KW.
Hi, Kay, ALL -
I would not care to be in Sheriff Ramsay’s shoes. He took an oath to defend the laws and constitutions of Florida and USA, and he is being bled dry by Key West’s homeless policy, and he gets his funding from the County Commission, which gets its funding from the county taxpayers, and that doesn’t even factor in karma.
All but this latest discussion is in a new post today at www.goodmorningfloridakeys.com. I’m going to add your and David’s latest comments, and my reply to you, Kay. I need a few minutes to update it.
I think David’s son, Mike is #3 in the Sheriff Office. I believe he is the Sheriff’s financial wizard. I can’t imagine Mike is happy, either, with what Key West’s homeless policy costs the Sheriff Office, the county government and the county taxpayers.
and you aren’t a member of Key West’s One Human Family, either. Far better for Key West that it never heard of One Human Family, than to claim it as the city’s official creed, and then exclude homeless people. Really, really bad karma.