After having lived in Key Weird I have to wonder why anyone goes there. There are SO many problems in Key West. After much thought, I think I’ve figured it out.
First, you must be the type of person who likes to live on the edge. On your first day in Key West you take the chance of being MURDERED by the Key West PD. If you survive your first day you will be rewarded with another day.
Second, if you make it to day two you can start looking for employment. GOOD LUCK! If you don’t have a permanent address, you will not be hired. The larger resort/hotels (ie. Casa Marina and others) would rather hire eastern Europeans here on a six month visa, pay them squat, pack them in 3-4 to a room and charge them for it. Many ads in The Citizen say “local address only need apply” Again, GOOD LUCK!!
Third, until you are lucky enough to find employment, you will probably live in your vehicle, at K.O.T.S. or on the street. Either way you will be harassed, looked down upon, reviled, accused of being an alcoholic or drug addict, continually harassed by the Key West Gestapo.
Fourth, if you are really lucky, and find employment you will not be able to afford to live in Key West. You will only be able to afford a crappy place on Stock Island or further up the keys.
If for some oddball reason you can afford to live in Key West, (especially if you can buy a place) you will have many other problems.
The city will not do anything about or even admit the water around Key West is polluted with fecal matter. If you go to the beach, STAY OUT OF THE WATER!!! (advise from doctors at the hospital)
The city council accomplishes little to improve life on Key West. There is the cruise ship controversy going on for years. Destroy more of the reef to benefit certain members of the council, or dump the cruise ships and save the reef and waters around Key West?
Then you have the Truman Waterfront. 12+ years and nothing accomplished. You will also have the TREE COPS telling you not to trim trees, the BS about loud music on Duval St. (once again this only benefits certain members of the council). You have too many restriction on codes.
And most recently, the shit wars about sewage and the burning of yard waste.
So what is the solution to these problems?
1) Disband the Key West Police Department and let the county take care of Key West like they do most of the other keys. At least (from my observation) they are not as heavy handed. And do not hire former city police. Few of the police officers (I use that term loosely) would make it past probation in a real city.
2) Stop hiring non US citizens. There are many homeless who WANT a job.
3) Stop voting for any one who has an interest in the tourist industry.( they only care about their bank account, not what’s best for Key West)
4) Dump the cruise ships. (they don’t spend that much money and only benefit a select few) This will attract more fly/drive in tourists.
5) Build the park at Truman
6) Designate a place for vehicles to park overnight.
7) Stop arguing about sewers and do what’s best for the Keys.
8) Make Duval St. pedestrian only. (except for early morning deliveries)
9) Forget about the noise ordinance. (the bars were there when you moved in, deal with it)
So will any of this ever happen? I seriously doubt it. The elite of the island keep voting for the same idiots. The idiots keep supporting and giving orders to Donnie Lee and covering up for the KWPD, the idiots keep reaping the profits from the cruise ships, the idiots forgot what made key West was it is.
The diverse assortments of crazies, nutcases, oddball people, the “leave well enough alone” attitude, is what attracted people to Key West. It brought color and flavor to this piece of paradise. Now the “elite” want to change it to their own idea of a cash cow.
A relative of mine came to Key West in the early ’60s. He owned his own plane and fast boat. He made his millions the same way the “elite” made their millions. Yes, he is 91 years old and still lives there.
After living in the Virgin Islands for a while I can tell you the difference. In the VI no one cares about money. There is very little crime. There is no group of elite that try to run the island. The bum looking guy in the shack has millions, a $60,000 dollar boat in his front yard. The cab drivers make 150K to 200K a year. The water is so clean you can see 30-40 feet deep clear as day. The reefs are thriving thanks to research. The marine life is thriving, you can buy fresh caught seafood anywhere you go.
Will I come back to Key West? HELL YES!!! As soon as I’m finished in St. Thomas, V.I. I will be back to do my best to restore Key Weird to what it used to be. Will I get arrested by the Gestapo, probably. Will it be worth it? YES!!!
Temporarily in St. Thomas VI
When I, Sloan, was headed to St. Thomas in March 1995, a good friend in Birmingham, who had been there, told me to stay on the main roads and sidewalks, if I didn’t want to get mugged and robbed, and when I got money out of an ATM, to be sure I was right in front of it so nobody with a spyglass could see me type in my security code. I spent one night there and the next morning got on the ferry over to Tortola, which is a British Virgin Island. No problems whatsoever on Tortola. I hitchhiked everywhere I wanted to go for 2 months. Then, I went to Dominica (not the Dominican Republic) and did the same there for 6 weeks.
I do not agree that Truman Waterfront should be turned into a public park, per se.
There is a beautiful public park right next door – Fort Zachary Taylor State Park.
I feel Truman Waterfront should be turned into a city-owned-and-operated RV and tent campground similar to the one at Bahia Honda State Park, just above Big Pine Key.
That’s a really popular campground. I imagine a similar campground in Key West also should be really popular. It would make money. It would not be hard or expensive to build and operate. The money could be divided between Bahama Village and the city government.
Bahama Village long got the short end of the stick in Key West. That is starting to change based on what I see going on in Bahama Village now.
The Martin Luther King Center and its adjacent park are getting a nice renovation.
The large swimming pool topside of the Martin Luther King Center remains to die for – I was there yesterday, what a great pool and view of the Atlantic Ocean. Key West’s best kept secret, less than half dozen people where at the pool when I got there at 4:30 p.m. The lifeguard said it is crowded when school is out, not so when school is in.
There now is a lot of nice-looking affordable Housing Authority rental housing in Bahama Village.
Maybe Key West needs to abolish the city commission form of government and establish a dictatorship,
so someone can get something done with Truman Waterfront, whatever it is. And do something about the noise when something needs to be done about it.
I agree with Kurt: Duval Street is noisy, has been quite a while. However, just the other day, as I pedaled my bicycle toward Duval Street, I heard a block off a singer blasting away from somewhere. I pedaled through Duval Street and found the singer and his electric guitar and amplifier at Cowboy Bill’s streetside bar. He was set up right beside the sidewalk, aimed up at Duval Street. He clearly was trying to lure people on Duval Street down his way. He clearly was not trying to entertain anyone in the bar, which was barely populated. I would have left if I was in the bar, because of how loud he was playing.
This is not okay.
I told Tom Milone the other day that it’s embarrassing to Bubba Justice that a redneck from Alabama has to go to city commission meetings and explain to them how to deal with excessive noise, like really loud churches, really loud Harley-Davidsons, really loud boom boxes in cars, trucks, on bicycles, really loud bars, and bass. Code enforcement officers and city police simply separate the really loud noisemakers from their instruments of noise. Loud bars and loud churches are closed down for the rest of the day. Loud bikers are taken off their bikes, loud car and truck drivers are taken out of their vehicles. Their bikes and cars and trucks are towed. End of noise. No fuss, no muss, no lawyers, no fines, no courts, no judges. Redneck Justice.
Maybe many homeless people want a job, but I ain’t convinced they want the jobs the East Europeans want. I ain’t convinced they want to live the way the East Europeans live. I ain’t sure they want to give up their addiction so they will be reliable employees. I ain’t sure any van dwellers I know want the East Europeans’ jobs in Key West.
Otherwise, I pretty well agree with Kurt, and wonder if he is gearing up to come back from the Virgin Islands to run for Dictator of hardly virgin Key West?