Duval Street let’s drink till we drop street party
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Father Steve Braddock, CEO of Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, sent a link to a treatise on the criminalization of homeless people in USA:
Peggy Butler, formerly of Key West, a retired registered nurse, replied to yesterday’s
Key West enforcing its open container ordinance against homeless people is costing Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay’s jail on Stock Island, the local legal and court systems and hosptial, and county taxpayers heaps of money, while Key West bars and other outlets (and the city treasury) rake in the dough selling oceans of booze to non-homeless locals and tourists, who don’t get busted for open container by city police
post at goodmorningfloridakeys.com:
Good morning, Sloan,
I hope you don’t let up on the homeless open container arrests. I’m like you in that I’d rather the homeless not drink, but also, like you, if a homeless man and a tourist or non-homeless local are standing around with their open containers and there are any arrests made, it should be both of them, not just the homeless man who is arrested. That is against the civil rights act, to begin with. Law enforcement cannot continue to selectively arrest only the homeless for their open containers on the city streets and ignore the hundreds of tourists and non-homeless locals who are walking on the city streets carrying their own open containers of booze. These are the people who are more apt than not to get into fights.
If they want to do something about the homeless drinking, then get them to a detox facility. Jailing them has never been the answer. As for the tourists and non-homeless locals, get the city commission to imposes new closing times on the bars. When bars are open from 9 or 10 in the morning until 4 or 5 the next morning, the streets are going to be filled with drunken people walking around with their open containers.
As for awakening the homeless when they are sleeping on public property, I agree with you that this is violating their civil rights. Sleep deprivation is not going to help the homeless. It is going to es acerbate any problem, mental or otherwise, that they have already. None of us can go night after night with no sleep, without creating serious problems for ourselves. Certainly the homeless are no different. Sleep deprivation could cause the homeless to have a condition that would lead to their deaths, if it goes on repeatedly for a long period of time. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_deprivation Perhaps turning the Easter Seals building into a homeless refuge is the answer. It should have a detox facility on the premises and a van to pick up any homeless persons still walking the streets after midnight so that he or she can go there and sleep in a bed instead of on the ground or a park table.
Whatever you do, Sloan, just don’t stop talking about the problem!
Enjoy this day,
I wrote back:
Hi, Peggy – not a snowball’s chance on Duval Street in August the angels will let me let up. The little email discussion group, including County Commission David Rice, developed, is developing, further today. Will be posted tomorrow. It don’t look like I’m gunning to win any beauty contests or popularity awards. You should know, being nurse, that getting homeless to a detox facility is 99 percent of the time a waste of time and money. The Sheriff detoxes them. Then, they are released and go right back to drinking or taking whatever else is their narcotic of choice. You are dreaming on another planet in another universe in another dimension, if you think Key West will mess with its CASH COW – booze sales, just to try to stop a few homeless people from drinking. Sleep deprivation not only causes mental disturbances, it is torture. Key West doesn’t care, though. It is psychotic about getting homeless out of sight, out of sound. Right now, there is no room at the inn most nights for homeless people, drunk or not, to be picked up and taken somewhere to spend the night. The new shelter won’t have enough room, either, for all KW homeless people. If the new shelter is built according to Robert Marbut’s specs, it will have detox services. Meanwhile, yes, it is nuts taking homeless people to jail for drinking or sleeping at night, and that’s where I’m trying to get traction right now – close the jail to KW’s homeless disappearing program. Sloan
Good luck, Sloan!
I wrote back:
Might be another snowball’s chance, but then, maybe there will be a polar shift and Key West ends up where, hmmm, Greenland is. Now, that would take care of KW’s homeless distemper pretty good, don’t you think? Might be, the many other resulting distempers would cause KW to long for the days when all it had to fret over was a few drunk homeless people
Continuation of Sheriff’s jail housing Key West homeless people email string begun day before yesterday by Kay Thacker of Key Largo:
Date: Tue, 20 Aug 2013 09:15:05 -0400
CC: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: Re: Key West Homeless Reply from Sheriff Ramsay
I think what Sloan has brought forth with the Pottinger case is now something that David Rice, and our BOCC; and Ramsay can take hold of and maybe back out of giving more money to the homeless who are arrested and jailed…now David can Ramsay enforce or will enforce not taking in open container homeless without maybe asking KW to foot the bill instead of MC footing the whole bill if MC does foot the entire bill? How does it work that KW can turn over their people who are arrested, does KW pay MC any money for these arrests or does MC paid for the incarcerations entirely? So much I do not know…hope to hear from others after the email from Sheriff Ramsay.
I wrote, and added Sheriff Ramsay – firstname.lastname@example.org
Morning, ALL -
My understanding is, each year the County Commission funds the Sheriff’s main budget out of Monroe County Government funds. That funding includes the cost of running the various jails, including the big one on Stock Island where Key West is sending homeless people for homeless crimes, mostly open container, as I understand it.
Maybe the Sheriff has other sources of funding for some operations.
As Sheriff Ramsay explained in his email, all county taxpayers, including those living in Key West, help fund the Sheriff’s operation. However, does that give Key West a special license to use the jail on Stock Island in a way that is far out of proportion relative to how the rest of the county and municipalities use that jail, just to get as many homeless people as possible off Key West streets, even if only for a night or two?
Certainly, any homeless person caught committing a non-homeless crime, say, assault and battery, theft from a convenience or grocery store, should be jailed, just the same as any non-homeless person should be jailed for those and other crimes. That, I believe, is what the county taxpayers pay the Sheriff to do. I do not think the county taxpayers pay the Sheriff to help Key West selectively enforce an open container ordinance against homeless people. Nor do I think the county taxpayers pay the Sheriff to house Key West homeless people in the Sheriff’s jail, for sleeping or camping outside when there is no room for them in the city’s shelter – KOTS.
From all I’ve heard, including an in depth private conversation with Robert Marbut after he recently presented to the City Commission, the new shelter envisioned for the Easter Seals/Mosquito Control buildings on Stock Island will accommodate about twice as members as KOTS now accommodates. Sheriff Ramsay said in his email that KOTS can sleep 140 homeless a night, so twice that is 280 homeless a night.
I am pretty sure there are more Key West homeless than that in Key West. Marbut says there are over 1,400, which I doubt. However, whatever the number of Key West homeless, including people living in vehicles, the new shelter will not accommodate all of them.
Marbut told me the idea will be to go at it in steps. Move 280 homeless through the new shelter into whatever is next for them. Then, bring new homeless into the shelter and move them through. Then, bring in more new homeless, and move them through.
He said some homeless will not stay in the shelter, based on his experiences elsewhere, and some will remain in the shelter and become part of its “infrastructure”, looking after it, helping new arrivals adjust, etc.
He said in the other shelters he got started, he takes in any homeless who are not violent, and he segregates the addicts from the non-addicts. He puts the addicts through detox, unless they are at risk to cardiac arrest, stroke, etc., and those homeless go to a hospital.
Yes, I know I’m repeating myself a little now from yesterday and the day before; bear with me, I’m headed somewhere.
Marbut told the City Commission, the first thing he does with new homeless in his shelters is let them sleep as much as they want to sleep, because they have not been sleeping enough and that has messed up their brain function. He said homeless tend to be reluctant to pee in public, so they reduce their fluid intake and they get dehydrated and that also messes up their brain function. So, he also gets new homeless in his shelters to hydrate as much as possible. Later, they are nudged, or pushed, to get involved in the shelter and trying to transform back into mainstream.
Now, while this sounds good, Marbut’s graduates, for the most part, are not moving into independent living. They are moving into more advanced subsidized living, housing, programs. I don’t think Key West has given that “post-graduate’ level much, if any, thought. Clearly, Key West does not have the subsidized housing for graduates from a Marbut homeless shelter. Just as clearly, graduates cannot afford Key West market rate rents.
Just as clear, Florida Keys Outreach Coalition and Samuel’s House cannot absorb all of a Marbut shelter’s graduates. Exportation, at the shelter’s or city’s and/or sheriff’s and county’s expense, has to be part of the formula. Even as more homeless are arriving in Key West due to weather, ocean, beaches, and a great homeless program thanks to Key West and Marbut, which, of course, the city wants the Sheriff and the County to help fund.
This might not go down well in some circles, but if you can get an old-timer in AA or NA to level with you, I imagine David, you have some insight into this, 95 percent of people who enter AA or NA relapse. 5 percent stay dry/sober. This, too, I do not think Key West has considered, or is ignoring. Make no mistake, regardless of what you hear out of City Hall, Key West’s motive is not altruistic. Key West’s motive is to do all possible to keep homeless people out of Key West, especially at night. Ironically, homeless are all over Key West during the day, and there is nothing the city can do about that.
Back to the beginning.
The Sheriff can tell Key West, “No mas” – don’t bring me any more of your homeless addicts, unless you pay me what they cost me and the hospital to take care of. Same for homeless you arrest for sleeping outside at night. If you have a problem with that, then sue me and we’ll let the courts decide it.”
As I told Kay last night, if Sheriff Ramsay does that, then he has done all he can do, and if the courts overrule him, then the county taxpayers can blame the courts and not Sheriff Ramasy and the County Commission for doing Key West’s homeless bidding. To me, that’s an elegant and honorable way for Sheriff Ramsay and for the County Commission to go about it.
Another just as elegant and honorable way to go about it is for the County Commission to tell Key West and Sheriff Ramsay, that Sheriff Ramsay will not receive funding for Key West incarcerating homeless for open container and/or sleeping outside. Sheriff Ramsay can provide the County Commission with the cost to him and the hospital of receiving Key West’s homeless jailed for open container and sleeping outside, and that is lopped off his annual budget. He pleads poverty to Key West. “Pay for it, or don’t bring them to my jail. If you do’t like that, then sue me and the County Commission, and the courts can decide it.
This approach, of course, is not politically correct, it is not nice, it is not interlocal. It is, however, rational and responsible.
What it boils down to, as I see it, is this: Do the Sheriff and the County Commission have the guts/spine to do the intervention? For that is what this is, an intervention, which is quite familiar to people who work with families who have an addict. Key West is a big family with lots of addicts, and its poor addicts it is sending to Sheriff Ramsay’s jail for him and the County Commission to foot the bill.
David, you surely have considerable experience with dysfunctional families with addiction issues. You surely have considerable experience with designing interventions for dysfunctional families with addiction issues. You know it’s a tough love approach. You know nothing changes, if members of dysfunctional families do not step up to the plate and do a needed intervention. You know enabling must stop for change to have a chance of happening. You know insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. You know all hell often breaks loose when a family does an intervention. You know the family intervenors have to hold their ground no matter how much hell the addict raises.
Key West is addicted to sending its homeless people to Sheriff Ramsay’s jail, and to Sheriff Ramsay, thus the County Commission, thus the entire county taxpayer base, paying for it. The Sheriff, thus the County Commission, thus the entire county taxpayer base, are enabling Key West to do this. You can bet the conch farm the addict, Key West, will not intervene against itself. So, that leaves Sheriff Ramsay, the County Commission and the county taxpayers to do the intervention, not expecting Key West to send rose buds and hugs.
Likewise, Key West’s new homeless shelter is intended to be used to get Key West’s homeless out of sight and sound. That’s the motive. Key West is trying to lure Sheriff Ramsay and the County Commission and the county taxpayers into paying part of the new shelter’s freight, even though the motive for the shelter has nothing whatsoever to do with homeless living outside the Key West area. Don’t you think Key West, therefore, should pay the full freight?
If Key West wants deputies stationed at the new shelter to provide security, shouldn’t Key West pay for that? Can’t Key West more easily station its own police at the new shelter? If Key West wants jail trusties to clean the new shelter, shouldn’t Key West pay for the cost to Sheriff Ramsay of the trusties being there and doing that?
The old adage, fish or cut bait, just floated into my thoughts. Are Sheriff Ramsay, the County Commission and the county taxpayers going to stop the tail from wagging the dog? Or, are they going to let the tail keep wagging the dog?
Kay wrote to All but Sheriff Ramsay:
An interesting article that was shared with me this morning
Miami is back trying to deal with homeless deviant behavior (i.e. Pottinger), and not arrests and filling the jails –
I wrote to ALL, including Sheriff Ramsay:
Hi again, Kay.
I feel Sheriff Ramsay should be copied with further entries into this discussion, since it’s his jail we are talking about.
I had heard Miami was going to try to get the federal court to change the Pottinger agreement. Miami cannot unilaterally change it.
As you see in the article, Miami seriously reduced its street homeless with a massive subsidized housing program. Now, according to the article, that program is maxed out.
Key West cannot do that, it has not the land for a subsidized housing development – well, there is Truman Waterfront. Wonder how a federal judge would feel about telling KW to build subsidized housing for its homeless on Truman Waterfront? Wouldn’t that make for interesting reading in the Key West Citizen?
It’s time deal with what’s chewing up Sheriff Ramsay and the county taxpayers. Miami is not chewing up Sheriff Ramsay. St. Pete is not doing that. San Antonio is not doing that. The problem is in Key West and in Sheriff Ramsay’s jail. That needs to be addressed, firmly; I just sent another missive on doing that, with some new wrinkles.
Or, quit talking about it and let Key West keep calling the shots and the county taxpayers keep paying for it.
Thanks Sloan for your input…good to see you for a few minutes at the Mosquito Mtg. . last night..sorry I did not include Sheriff Ramsay in emails, though he had plenty on his plate with the job his has, but will continue to include him…he needs to be part of this discussion as to how the citizens/taxpayers feel about the homeless situation, and how he is handling the homeless, so have added him back into the discussions…..I disagree as to let KW call all the shots and county taxpayers footing the bill…as you stated, let us not try to re-invent the wheel and check out other cities and how they are handling the homeless situation…that is one of the reasons I think that David has included us and wanting our thoughts and help him to find solutions if there is one…it is a hard nut to crack, but not one that can’t be opened up and looked at…. and ideas offered…so let us get our heads to work and see what we can bring.
Hi, Kay – others,
I disagree, this is not a hard nut to crack, if the nut is the $ pounding Sheriff Ramsay is taking from receiving Key West’s homeless charged with homeless crimes, mostly open container, maybe to some extent sleeping outside at night.
Sheriff Ramsay and the County Commission can just say no to Key West, and let Key West sue or build its own homeless jail, or whatever.
Same for the Key West’s new homeless shelter. Just say no, let Key West deal with it.
There is no need to talk this to death, in this small discussion group, or by appointing a committee to study on it and talk it to death, or by seeking the input from so-called experts ….
David knows about systems. He knows they are like living organisms and view any change as life-threatening, so they fight to the death to resist change. David knows you cannot change a dysfunctional system by playing by its rules. David knows you must jump out of a dysfunctional system altogether, go outside its box, and make it play by your rules for there to be any hope of change happening.
Either Sheriff Ramsay and the County Commission jump the dysfunctional system they are in with Key West – there are no victims here, all parties have agreed to it, so far, and the county taxpayers have gone along with it, so far; or they don’t jump it. It’s on Sheriff Ramsay and the County Commission to decide.
We can talk about this for months, years, and nothing will change. We can seek expert input from the mainland, or from Moscow, or from Mars, and nothing will change. Only Sheriff Ramsay and the County Commission can cause this bad situation to change, because it is their jail on Stock Island, which is causing the problem for them and for all county taxpayers.
Them who have the gold make the rules, comes to mind. Sheriff Ramsay has the jail. He can make the rules based on common sense and constitutional law arguments. He can stop receiving Key West homeless charged with open container or sleeping outside at night, until a court tells him he has to do Key West’s bidding.
That intervention is not politically correct, nor nice, nor interlocal. And, it’s not bubba conchs stick together. That intervention is survival. It’s fair. It’s responsible. It’s grown up.
There was more back and forth with Kay, which didn’t add much new other than me boasting about being the local resident homeless expert Key West doesn’t listen to and now remains to be seen if Sheriff Ramsay and the County Commission will listen to me.
One thing I thought was pretty funny, which I shared with Kay and the others, was how a headline might look if the ACLU got involved:
“READ ALL ABOUT IT!!! ACLU sues Key West, Florida Keys Sheriff Rick Ramsay and County Commission for conspiring to prevent homeless people from drinking in public in Key West, by putting them in jail at huge cost to county taxpayers, while encouraging everyone else in Key West to drink until they can’t stand up.”
That might have inspired former State Attorney Dennis Ward, now in private practice, to send me:
I have sent a PRR to the jail asking for all Open Container arrests and their locations within the city of KW, for the past two years.
We need to know how bad, or not bad, it really is. I’m going to be upset if it’s not bad.
There is a different post today at goodmorningkeywest.com, which you should be able to reach by clicking on this link: