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Yesterday, the geniuses in Washington D.C. shut down the US Government.
William Benson, of Key West, replied to yesterday’s First, do no harm; Second, make it unexpected – Key West bigger cruise ships referendum post at goodmorningkeywest.com:
Please don’t print this; it is a minor thought.
When reading your headline today, I realized that I should have written, “Second, do the unexpected.”
The reference to “tens of thousands of supporters” has to do with the fact that Willy’s video, “Silver Lining” has had over 50,000 views. It has been seen many times in Washington, D.C.
Willy was able to get the helicopter lined up thanks to David. He invited him to go with him on an excursion to Ballast Key. It was Willy’s first helicopter ride and he realized the potential it had for perspective on the cruise ship issue.
Thanks again for your many kind words about our sons. But Jolly truly does not want to be mayor or a politician in any capacity. He does, however, want to win this battle. I think that he will. It’s unexpected.
William Benson, President
Benson Green Technologies
175 Overseas Highway
Key West, FL 33040
(305) 296 3940
Hi, William – actually, I think be the unexpected was spot on. That includes doing the unexpected. Jolly made it crystal clear to me in an email, which I published the other day, that he has no interest in being mayor. However, during a conversation about a week ago at Jack Flats, he and I had a very different conversation, started by his telling me he is hearing from people that he should run for office. He said he really wasn’t interested, and I said maybe in time he might change his thinking. We talked about what it would take to be a good elected official, and the first thing is to always speak the truth and call it like it is, without worrying about how other people will take it. In sum, Jolly himself planted this seed in my devious mind, and the seed sprouted. Beyond that, this is a war, and all is fair in love and war, and I’m using all the ammo provided to me to try to persuade people to vote No on the referendum. What I really told Joel and Erika last night, which the angels told me to soft pedal in today’s post, was anyone who votes No on the referendum and Yes for Craig Cates is a hypocrite, psychotic. Erika said she could not support Margaret Romero. I repeated what I had said. That evolved into what I wrote today, a third (unexpected) voting option in the mayor’s race, which option I already floated a few days ago. It would be hilarious for Jolly to bag a bundle of write-in votes. It will hilarious in an entirely different way for people to vote No on the referendum and Yes for Craig Cates. I don’t understand why you don’t want me to publish what you wrote to me. Might be the angels don’t want me to publish it, because they want me to come across civil at this time, but what I wrote to you above is how I really feel about it. What I wrote today was how the angels feel about it, with which I agree, but I didn’t care for being throttled down. Sloan
I have a policy about arguing with angels. It’s hard enough to discuss issues with people who drink the tea.
I just didn’t think that people would be interested in more thoughts from me.
I wanted Jolly to run in the Democratic primary for Congress. He would lose, of course, but he might be able to alter the discussion in some environmental areas by telling his version of the truth. You are right about that … always tell the truth. Not too many get elected that way, however.
Do any get elected that way?
Connie Gilbert, of Key West, wrote yesterday:
Loved your David Walkowsky story. Have fingers crossed re vote tomorrow but after assisted living fiasco have little faith that even a No vote will mean much (feeling cynical these days). Will hope I can get your Wed. Post-election analysis.
I replied today:
Hi, Connie -
David Wolkowsky story in yesterday’s post was furnished by William Benson.
Assisted living fiasco was created by the people who provided the wording for that referendum, the same people who wanted the assisted living facility on Truman Waterfront. They did not put into the referendum wording that the developer would be given a $1 a year, 99 year lease, I supposed because they were afraid the voters would not approve the referendum with that wording in it. So, the City Commission refused to give the developer a $1 a year, 99 year lease, and went for a more close to market rate lease. Personally, I always thought putting a senior living facility on Truman Waterfront was a terrible idea, for two reasons. The logistics were awful – a long way, through terrible traffic, from the shopping malls on North Roosevelt Blvd and doctors offices and the hospital and helicopter evacuation pad, and, the deal was going to be marketed to seniors outside of Key West because it was known there was not enough demand in Key West to fill it it and make it profitable for the developer. Ed Swift was a mover and shaker in that failed referendum, as is he a mover and shaker in the cruise ship referendum. I hope that portends a defeat of the cruise ship referendum.
I told Joel and Erika Biddle night before last, that anyone who votes No on the referendum and votes Yes for Craig Cates is a hypocrite, psychotic, because Cates is for the referendum, for dredging, for bigger cruise ships calling on Key West. Erika said she could not vote for Margaret Romero. I said, anyone who votes No on the referendum and votes Yes for Craig Cates is a hypocrite, psychotic. I did not publish that yesterday, because I thought the angels wanted me to be nice yesterday.
I suppose I will write about the referendum results tomorrow. I hope I’m in a good mood, because the referendum was destroyed by a land slide.
On another Key West fiasco, in the Key West Citizen today, my interjected thoughts in italics.
Mayor’s homeless shelter fiction, not shared by all
BY TONY YANIZ
Key West City Commissioner
I take issue with Mayor Cates’ guest column in the Sept. 25 of The Key West Citizen. While there is no doubt that we need a shelter in order to comply with federal law, otherwise the homeless would be sleeping in our parks, streets and mangroves like they did a few years ago. However, the Easter Seals site is no longer an option because the mayor chose to forego the basic tenet of cooperation between agencies.
I met with the Rev. Stephen Braddock, with the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, and board member of the Continuum of Care Board (COC) last week and was astonished to learn that the first time the mayor met with that COC Board was a couple of weeks earlier. To not solicit feedback and support from the COC, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, county commissioners, or the residents of the golf course community, for that matter, was shortsighted. If you build a house, you first need a strong foundation. In this instance, the mayor could have had a solid basis by making these pivotal entities part of the team, but he seemed to think that he did not need their support or experience.
As far as I know, Cates never sought Steve Braddock’s input about homelessness in Key West, although Steve was the mainstream person most knowledgeable about homelessness in the area. Nor did Cates ever seek my input about homelessness, even though I am the resident expert on homelessness, who is not currently homeless. Steve and I both told Cates we wanted to be involved, after he asked us to be involved, and then Cates shut us out. Worse, Cates told me Steve was hard to get along with and had not responded to Cates’ overtures, which Steve told me was not true, and he sent me copies of two emails he sent to Cates’, asking to be involved, which emails Cates did not answer.
The homeless shelter at the Easter Seals property is a dead issue. In Mayor Cates’ zeal to force this project down the throat of our citizens, he has set the management approach of the homeless issue back years.
Actually, the management approach never did work, because COC’s predecessor, Southern Homeless Assistance League (SHAL), was headed up by someone who knew zero about homelessness. Steve Braddock told me he quit attending SHAL meetings. I think what now remains of SHAL runs KOTS for the city.
So, in reality, where are we? We need a shelter. KOTS seems like, at best, still a temporary solution the city agreed to take care of eight years ago.
The proposal by my fellow Commissioner Billy Wardlow of placing a tent city in Rockland Key, which I would support, has met with a reply from the Navy stating that option may not be feasible; I presume from the standpoint of the safety/noise issues.
I imagine the Navy is worried about national security and doesn’t want homeless people wandering around the air fields up there.
As I have stated, the Easter Seals site is done; I cannot and will not in good faith support an alternative that gives the homeless AC, HBO and free food while there are a number of elderly in this community waiting in line for housing, and many fellow citizens who work two, and sometimes three jobs just to make ends meet.
I will support any and all benefits and options for our Veterans. I am on the record stating that it is an embarrassment that as a nation we have discarded them after they made the ultimate sacrifice.
Disabled veterans receive veteran benefits. There is VA hospital in Key West. There are treatment programs for veterans in Key West. Homeless veterans cannot, according to Robert Marbut, be required to spend their disability benefits on housing, to get them off the streets. This all needs to be worked into the mix of any program aimed at trying to help disabled homeless veterans.
I am also cognizant that there is a small portion of other homeless that have fallen on hard times and, as the saying goes, “There by the grace of God go I.”
As a society we have to extend them a helping hand; but you’d have to be blind not to see that there is a much larger contingency of homeless that prefer the vagrant lifestyle as opposed to going to work every day, being conscientious citizens, paying their dues and being fully functioning participants in our community. For that group, a tent, a toilet and a shower suits me just fine. I don’t want them cozy here, I’d rather they look for greener pastures somewhere else!
That was the concept that was originally pitched to the commission and to the citizens, as well as the other aforementioned entities, although inexplicably the participation of those parties was sought neither by the mayor nor the city manager. At some point that plan went haywire: The city paid $20,000 to a consultant and all of the sudden the plan went from tents to AC, etc.
If the city was determined to have a homeless shelter, all the city ever needed for the chronic homeless, addicts mostly, was a bigger KOTs. That’s still all the city needs for that homeless population, who should not be mingled with non-addict chronic homeless and new homeless, who have a much better chance of being turned around and gotten back into independent living – that is where the city should put 90 percent of its time, effort and money. A bigger KOTS, which could sleep all of Key West’s chronic homeless addicts, could be located on city land adjacent to the west side of the airport. If I were Key West, I would give FKOC (homeless men and women) and Samuel’s House (homeless women only) the financial assistance they need to increase the size of their shelters to accommodate more non-addict and new homeless people in their recovery programs.
Last Thursday at the Key West Rotary Club weekly luncheon, Mayor Cates reiterated that all the players were on board and that the yearly cost to the city of Key West of $400,000-plus in the annual budget would not increase. All of that is just plain not the truth. We need to provide a basic shelter that meets the federal law, provide help for those that are willing to seek it, and provide for our veterans … period.
In lieu of waiting for the “Summit” or any further time-consuming studies, I have reached out to the COC, the sheriff and County Commissioner Carruthers to bring their visions and recommendations to the table. They are on board. Furthermore, I am reaching out to the Key West Golf Club residents and, via this letter, to all citizens as well as to my fellow city commissioners, Mayor Cates, our state and federal representatives to come up with viable alternatives.
I just provided viable alternatives. However, this is a Key West crusade, and the Sheriff and the Monroe County Government should not help Key West pay for it. That is not fair to the rest of the county taxpayers living outside of Key West. The Feds should pay for any homeless veteran rehabilitation, since it was the Feds who sent them into harm’s way, for nothing, as far as I am concerned.
If there is one thing we all agree on, it’s that this is a problem that affects all of us, therefore we must all be part of the solution.
Stay tuned, and thanks to all of the parties that have reached out looking to come up with answers.
Larry Murray, of Big Pine Key, wrote yesterday:
There is an interesting article on Page 4A of today’s Herald touting a homeless program in Atlanta. Might want to take a look.
Dr. Larry Murray
Fiscal Watchdog and Citizen Advocate
After finding and reading the article, I replied:
Hi, Larry – thanks. I wonder what this program costs Atlanta in $$, the article doesn’t say.
I don’t think Key West has the land or the financial resources to provide homes to all of its chronic homeless people.
Florida Keys Outreach Coalition and Samuel’s House and the Battered Women’s Shelter can absorb some of Key West’s homeless people, assuming they are willing to stop using their drug of choice.
The rest of the homeless can go to a Key West City homeless shelter, but where do they go after that?
The M-H article does not touch on the relapse rate for addicts, who are homeless, nor do any other articles or reports I have seen. The relapse rate for addicts is very high.
Seems in the article that first focus is on getting homeless veterans cleaned up and into housing, which is fitting, since most of them suffer battle shock, which led them to become addicts and homeless. I think the US Government should pay for helping battle-shocked veterans in that way.
Ten years from now, maybe sooner, will provide a true read on the Atlanta homeless turnaround, and what it cost and who paid for it. and still is paying for it.
Nashville J sent yesterday:
There is a special place in HELL reserved for these animals. They should hang those who do this in the middle of court square – “FUN”, wonder how FUN it would be if they were the ones being hunted and killed?
Shocking “bum hunts” on the rise?
Agreed. Bum hunting is not new to Key West, several homeless people have been killed by bum hunters – may they rot in hell. Several Key West cops are not far behind.
If you vote No on the referendum and Yes for Mayor Cates, you are a hypocrite, psychotic.
Far better to vote No on the referendum and not vote in the mayor’s race, if you cannot vote for Margaret Romero, a Conch (Key West native), retired IBM executive, who early voted No against the referendum and who opposes Mayor Cates’ homeless shelter,
or write-in Jolly Benson, a Conch, for real environmentalist, businessman, playwright and poet,
This morning, Erika Biddle wrote to say her husband Joel is writing in Jolly for mayor, but not being an American citizen, she cannot vote .