just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, but Key West might need more than sugar

Mary Poppins

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In yesterday:

Popeye

From: K W (kccwoodworks@msn.com)
Sent: Thu 2/27/14 9:36 AM
To: coconut telegraph (island@bigpinekey.com); guydeboer@konknet.com (guydeboer@konknet.com); heralded@miamiherald.com (heralded@miamiherald.com); kmcneir@miamitimesonline.com (kmcneir@miamitimesonline.com); letters@news-jrnl.com (letters@news-jrnl.com); letters@pbpost.com (letters@pbpost.com); letters@sun-sentinel.com (letters@sun-sentinel.com); nhletters@pcnh.com (nhletters@pcnh.com); editor@thebluepaper.com (editor@thebluepaper.com); gregory bunton (g_bunton@yahoo.com); jamesm98@live.com (jamesm98@live.com); kc_woods@hotmail.com (kc_woods@hotmail.com); keynoter@keynoter.com (keynoter@keynoter.com); mickyleemartin@gmail.com (mickyleemartin@gmail.com); rob.robwilson@gmail.com (rob.robwilson@gmail.com); rodd (kwhatman@hotmail.com); sloan bashinsky (keysmyhome@hotmail.com)

FINALLY!! A mayoral candidate with INTEGRITY! A man who isn’t running to line his pockets with your money! A man who only wants to return Key West to the forgotten values of “One Human Family”! A man who will tell the truth even if it hurts! A man who has no interests in the tourist industry and owes no favors to those who do!

DO WHAT’S BEST FOR KEY WEST!!!
SLOAN FOR MAYOR!!!
Kurt Wagner
St. Thomas, USVI
soon to return to Key West

I replied to Kurt, copied to ALL:

Mike Tolbert, who was born in Key West, and thus is a Conch, but mostly grew up elsewhere, told me at Daddy Bones BBQ, he’s the manager and co-owner, tonight that he’s been telling Conchs they should try on something different and vote for Sloan this year, and they ask him if he is crazy? Did his recent heart attack cause him to go insane? I reminded him that I had said recently that if I were elected, there would be people in Key West who would go insane. The chicken hollering about the sky falling comes to mind. 12 years of Conch mayors, or darn near Conch mayors, Morgan McPherson, whose parents are Conchs, but he was born in Californian, I think, but grew up on Key West, and look at how well the Conch mayors did doing something with Truman Waterfront? Look at how well the Conchs did behind the scenes doing something with Truman Waterfront. Look at how many cruise ships the Conchs let come into Key West. Look at home many T-shirt shops the Conchs let spring up on Duval Street. I suppose I should not mention the strip joint, lap dance parlors and whore houses and certainly not the orgy den. No point in dragging all the bars into this. The Conchs want Fantasy Fest toned down, while the above rages full speed head. Perhaps Conchs have a different definition of insanity.

Here’s a definition I received today from Jerry Weinstock, M.D., Psychiatry.

Sloan: nice and spicy today; the obscene
acts in life are not at all what Capt. Tony
accomplished but what some of our commissioners
support as Cruise Unhealthy Polluting Monsters,
cutting age old trees down, and supporting the
brain searing noise and dirty smelly, Duval street,
not to mention the continual lying and corruption.
NOT all the commissioners just the majority.
Capt. Tony was our best mayor — no question.
( Willamina most virtuous)
Sincerely, Jerry

Someone was moaning yesterday about all the new hotels going up at the top of the Key, I said I told the City Commission not to let the Spottswoods build Beachside, it was not going to work out. There was a fairly affordable Holiday Inn there. Beach side was a financial nightmare, according to someone who darn well ought to know, who said the Spottswoods partner ended up having to honor the note and the Spottswoods skated. Finally, Beachside seemed to become fairly successful as a hotel, or transient rental condo project, not sure exactly what it is, although it has Mariott on it now. I imagine it was di$counted a time or two or three before the owner was able to make money.

The Spottswoods then got the City Commission to tie up a chunk of Truman Waterfront for a mega-yacht marina, which would need a great deal of creative financing (mostly non-recourse) to work out, if the mega yachts came. If not, the city would have ended up with the mega-yacht marina and the municipal bond, or what ever was going to finance it, to pay off. The mayor and city commissioners should have killed that one before it ever got out the chute. Graciously, the Navy finally stepped in and, on the grounds of national security, scotched that boondoggle and saved the city from it. Then, somebody-ies, I have not inquired, perhaps the Spottswoods are at it again, I heard years ago they had tied up the land across from the Key, have razed old fairly affordable motels, to put in new more pricey hotels, motels, transient rental condos, or whatever will go in there instead. I wonder how many Conchs are invested in some or more of that?

Someone told me yesterday, no way I could do any worse than what has been done by mayors before me. I have heard Capt. Tony was viewed as a very good mayor; and, I have heard, he was not a friend of development. Perhaps the Conchs should hire a healer to raise Tony from the dead and run him for mayor again.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep plugging away, talking to what is in front of me and everyone else in plain view, and talking to what ain’t entirely in plain view, and talking to what ain’t in view at all to anyone but the people who don’t want anyone else to see it. Citizen comments during City Commission meetings are the best free advertising around, because the meetings are televised locally. While candidates are out politicking and littering Key West with “Vote For Me” signs, which don’t even tell dog shit about candidates, I will be speaking to real issues at city commission and other public meetings. I will be pedaling my bicycle around town watching and listening and talking with people. I will be poking into where nobody wants poked. I will be saying what nobody else is saying, who wants to get elected, or stay elected, or even wants anyone to hear.

I saw a friend tonight at Daddy Bones BBQ, whom I tease about his Sicilian connections. I said I need for him to tell his relatives and friends over there in the Mediterranean that I would much rather have them covering my back, than Uncle Sam or the KWPD, and to also tell them I said they know more tricks and moves than the Conchs ever dreamed possible. My friend, laughed, said he will pass my message along.

Mike Tolbert said he is will keep bugging his Conch friends about voting for me. He said he will enjoy doing it. He appointed himself to campaign for me. Before he had the heart attack.

Sloan

Kurt replied just to me:

Good Morning Sloan,

It sounds like people are already going insane! But then for most of the elite and commissioners, past and present, it will be a short trip if any trip at all.

I researched the history of cruise ships in Key West. The first was in 1969. No doubt that was the beginning of the end for Key West. I went back and read you campaign proposals from “good morning key west”. Getting rid of cruise ships was number one. To accomplish this you need hard facts. Dollar facts work best because most people think and vote in dollars. After the referendum about channel dredging, 70% of the population opposed it. This is a good place to start because the majority of voters obviously are already not happy with cruise ships. Here are my thoughts:

1) How much does the average cruise ship passengers spend? Where do they spend it? (I’ve been on cruises. Very few eat in restaurants or drink in bars, food is free on the ship and drinks are cheaper)

2) Who gets this money? How much goes to the city in sales tax?

3) How much does the city spend on cruise ships? ie. KWPD for security, help in docking, barricade setup and take down, Outer Mole transportation, cleanup, utilities, port operations, etc.

4) How much does the city receive from cruise ships? Docking fees, disembarkation fees, etc.

5) Even if the city is coming out ahead, is it worth the damage to the quality of life of the island’s residents?

6) Many residents and fly/drive in tourists avoid Duval St. and Mallory Square when ships are in port. Without cruise ships, residents and fly/drive in tourists could enjoy a relaxing day on Duval St. and Mallory Square. Ultimately I think this would help the lunch business of many restaurants.

7) With the looming opening up of Cuba, Key West is already going to lose cruise ships to Havana for a variety of reasons.

Your second point was trolleys and trains.

1) How much does the city receive from them?

2) How much does the city pay for maintaining the trolley stops?

3) Who rides these? Mostly cruise ship passengers. Without them the problem solves itself. It will probably reduce the trolleys and trains by 90%.

4) Scooters. Who rents these? To find out, what percent of rentals are for only a few hours?Without cruise ships there will also be a reduction in scooter rentals. Less loud noise, less danger to pedestrians from idiots that know nothing about riding a scooter.

More thoughts later

Kurt

I replied to Kurt, copied to ALL in Kurt’s first email yesterday:

Good Morning back to you, Kurt -

First, my Editorial Board beat me up in a dream last night for what I wrote back to you earlier last night and copied to the others who had received your email. Then came a slew of dreams indicating a preferred approach, whether just for today, or generally, it may be too early for me to say. The gist of the preferred approach is to be nice. And, there was a good bit of nudging toward giving Mayor Craig Cates his due for being a good mechanic, literally and in the general sense, whereas my strengths are I am an artist, poet and visionary, who for years now has offered the city many suggestions which would help the city, along with my many bombing runs rooted in my having practiced law and having been given extraordinary perception by the angels, which results in my seeing things sideways and between the creases and around corners and so forth, which might otherwise remain out of sight.

The cruise ship economics were fleshed out many times during the channel-widening study (war) last year in Key West. The pro-channel widening-study camps (pro-dredging the channel wider so even bigger cruise ships will be able to call on Key West), threw out all sorts of doomsday numbers about the great financial destruction Key West would experience if cruise ships stopped calling on Key West. The numbers were not really new news, it had been tossed out previously, more or less, and it seemed to depend on who reported the numbers and how much they spun it, how much was really coming into the Key West economy from cruise ships. Suffice to say, it is a substantial figure, albeit probably not ten percent of all tourist revenues.

Most of the cruise ship passenger financial beneficiaries are on Duval Street, or nearby, and the main financial beneficiary is Ed Swift/Historic Tours of America, which operates conch trains and trolleys. The city itself loses money on cruise ships, after factoring in it pays Swift/HTA $500,000 a year to ferry cruise ship passengers in from the outer mole pier, and then ferry them back out to their ship after they have spent a few hours in Key West. After factoring in the cost of additional police and other city services cruise ships and their passengers require. The city does get sales tax revenues from what cruise ship passengers buy in Key West. But, as I said, I think overall, the city is losing money on cruise ships.

So, the issue is a small part of the private sector losing money and jobs, if cruise ships are banned from Key West, or if they just stop calling here. This issue is known in Key West. For some people, jobs and business profits trump the environment. For me, the environment trumps everything, including cruise ships. I plugged and plugged Key West having a clothing optional beach to attract hordes of tourists who have money, who come to stay for a while, spend that money here, to offset the economic impact of losing cruise ship revenues in the private sector.

As for conch trains and trolleys, I think the city receives a modest fee each year from HTA and also from CityView, which only operates trolleys. And, the city receives a sales tax on the conch train and trolley rides, just like the city receives a sales tax on all purchases in Key West. The other side it, conch trains and trolleys clog city streets and disturb residential neighborhoods. Again, it’s which is more important: making money, or better traffic flow and quiet enjoyment in residential neighborhoods? So far, it’s making money. Of course, if the cruise ships left Key West, there would be fewer conch trains and trolleys on city streets, and better traffic flow and quieter neighborhoods.

The problem with letting cruise ships start calling on Key West was what that created in Key West: a segment of the private sector largely dependent on cruise ship passengers. I supposed that can be likened to starting to smoke cigarettes. Before you start, you are getting along without cigarettes. After you start and get addicted to nicotine, you can’t get along without cigarettes. Your life seems to depend on smoking cigarettes. Booze can be substituted for, or added onto, cigarettes in this analogy. As can cocaine, marijuana, crack, meth, heroin, etc. be substituted for, or added onto, cigarettes. Big business, drugs, lots of money for the private sector (leave Uncle Sam/IRS out of that equation). The addiction trumps polluting people’s bodies. Making money from drugs trumps polluting people’s bodies. Cruise ships, however, pollute the ocean.

I would not be so stupid as to advocate abolishing cigarettes, booze, street drugs, pharmacy narcotics. It would be a fool’s errand. However, I do not see abolishing cruise ships as a fool’s errand. They are part of what is killing the ocean down here. The city depends entirely on the ocean, which is the city’s only real asset. The city should do all possible to stop whatever is killing the ocean down here. And, the city should do all possible to attract tourists who will replace cruise ship passengers, to mitigate the economic loss caused by their parting ways with Key West. let Havana have American cruise ship passengers. Let Havana see what that does to their reportedly pristine ocean and reefs and beaches and quality of life in Havana. Let Havana have conch trains and trolleys.

Sloan

Mike Tolbert wrote last night:

mud dog

Man some of the looks I got when I mentioned sloan was the right man for mayor they thoght I escaped from DEPOO. They willing to settle for same folks who do nothing except waste money HIGGS BEACH Or outer mole somebody making money there just not city. Or in case of one former mayor now commissioner gets city sued for millions and loses only to get elected again. Its time for new blood DONT GROAN VOTE FOR SLOAN!!

Amiga Hope, in Birmingham, Alabama, replied to my artwork in yesterday’sBiker Chick endorses Sloan for Mayor of Key West and other feminine persuasions, plus some chimes from the weaker (other) sex :-) – all work and no play is a drag post at www.goodmorningkeywest.com:

Feather Talkthis one, and all of my “diagonal” soul drawings hang from the top point in the diagonal, which view I am unable to present with this wordprocessor, but if you tip your monitor about 45 degrees to the right, you will see how this drawing would hang 

Good luck with your mayoral run. Maybe this time is the charm. Curiosity makes me ask why your paintings are all on the diagonal. My son and his wife have a painting similar to yours on the diagonal that they bought in Guatemala. Blessings, Hope

I replied:

Hi, Hope – thanks.

I think it was maybe a couple of years after I started doing soul drawings in September 2002, that I started turning them on the diagonal when they came out of me. Sometimes I tilted them to the right, sometimes to the left. I remember being told in a dream to go to tilting the drawings to the left, after I had done a number tilted to the right without realizing they were all tilted to the right. Maybe tilted to the left is more female, tilted to the right more male. I usually don’t give the tilt much thought before I begin a drawing. I imagine there is some reason for the tilting.

Today, after reading your email the first time, I thought to myself that people live in a square world and maybe living on the diagonal is needed. Now comes, it is quicker and easier to get from A to B on the diagonal, than by going around a corner to get there.

The drawings are easy to hang at the top of the diagonal with a push pin. thumbtack or small nail. Framing them is a bit more involved, it can be done, but it takes a lot more effort and expense. I never had one framed, but the framing department in the Ben Franklin store in Key West told me last September how it can be done. The drawings also can be hung by a string through the top of the diagonal and attached to a ceiling, overhead light fixture, top arch of a door jam.

There probably is some spirit/metaphysical dynamic produced by the diagonal hanging, or a different dynamic than square or rectangle presentation. Sometimes drawings are followed by poem that jumps out of me, and I write it on the back of the drawing, on the same tilt as the drawing. I suppose that happened maybe two dozen times over the years.

I suppose in all I have done several hundred drawings, but today I may have only forty in my possession. They used to jump out of me one a day, or more often. I did a few new ones after returning to Key West late last September, and touched up some old ones. That impulse then stopped, again. Maybe it will resume. Sometimes I see something in my mind’s eye, or see something in a feeling way, or am thinking of a theme before a drawing comes. Sometimes I just know I need to draw and I have no clue why until the drawing is forming on the paper, or maybe close to the end of the drawing. Or maybe not even then.

Some drawings are mused by other people’s souls and belong to them, if they show up and want their drawing. I have had drawings refused by the people whose they were.

The only soul drawing, as I recall, that I did after moving back to Little Torch Key in March 2000 was for Erika Biddle’s Hidden in Plain View homeless art, poetry and music exhibition in Key West, I think I did that drawing in the late fall of 2012. It was done on the rectangle, although within it tossed and turned some, and kinda maybe ended up on the diagonal. On the back was a lot of poetry in a circle around a prosaic commentary from the artist about the drawing and the artist’s relationship to homelessness. I don’t know if have a pic of that drawing. It was very large compared to all the other drawings, and ended up in “the lobster trap book”.

Well, I rambled.

Hope all well with you, Hope :-)

Sloan

In Key West the Newspaper today - www.thebluepaper.com

protect and serve 2

CITIZEN REVIEW BOARD CONCERNED ABOUT EIMERS IN-CUSTODY DEATH

Charles Eimers Photo provided by Treavor Eimers

“I am deeply concerned by the circumstances surrounding the in-custody death of Charles Eimers,” CRB [Citizen Review Board] member Tom Milone said Wednesday.

The controversy about the Thanksgiving morning death on South Beach of 61-year old Charles Eimers continues to grow.  Thousands of people have reviewed the video of Charles Eimer’s arrest published by The Blue Paper and have been disturbed by the irreconcilable differences between the events shown in the video and the account initially proffered by the police department.

“There is particular concern over the use of prone restraint,” says Tom Milone,  “We’re considering reviewing the procedures in light of the incident with Charles Eimers and the growing concern about the risk of using that method in the sand.”  The CRB has asked the police department to explain the existing polices at their next scheduled meeting.

The question, said David Paul Horan, attorney for the Eimers’ family, “is where do you use the prone restraint method?  Would you use it in the water?  Should you use it in the sand?”

Milone is especially concerned with the risk of asphyxiation. “Because you’re gasping for air, you appear to be resisting police, and they impose more force on you,” he said at the board’s Monday night board meeting.

Interestingly enough, the CRB is poised to revisit an issue which twelve years ago was the very reason for its creation:  the use of excessive force by Key West Police Officers – and particularly excessive force used against homeless people or people, like Charles Eimers, who were perceived to be homeless.

Use of excessive force by KWPD officers at the time was rampant.  One officer, Michael Beerbower had made a name for himself for his particularly poor bedside manner.  However the perception at the time was that Buz Dillon, then Chief of Police, was doing little to nothing to curb such behavior.

Then fresh out of law school, attorney Sam Kaufman, took him to task and the tension started growing.  Back then Kaufman would receive standing ovations from the inmates when he visited the jail.  And then came the big break:  Officer Austin, who had been on the force for only 7 months, broke the sacrosanct ‘code of silence’ and Dennis Reeves Cooper, then editor/publisher of Key West The Newspaper was right there week after week reporting the news (and even getting arrested for it himself by the Chief – which brought national attention to the situation.)

Austin spilled the beans on the excessive force used by Officers Ron Ramsey and Michael Beerbower in a July 6, 2000 incident.

“Austin,” wrote Dennis Reeves Cooper, “told investigators that he was holding the handcuffed Stambaugh face down on the ground “when Ramsey came up behind my left shoulder, kneeled next to me, looked in both directions, then gave the defendant another short blast of pepperspray. It took effect immediately.,” Austin said.  “The defendant screamed in pain.” Stambaugh was then placed in the back seat of a patrol car.  At that point, Beerbower allegedly also paid Stambaugh a little visit.  While Austin and other police officers watched, Beerbower allegedly opened the back door of the patrol car and punched Stambaugh in the face with his fist.  Stambaugh was still handcuffed and recovering from being peppersprayed. A few minutes later, Beerbower reportedly returned to the car and punched Stambaugh in the face again. Austin told investigators that other officers watching Beerbower batter Stambaugh were shouting to him the word “Clear!” when, apparently, there did not seem to be any witnesses nearby.”

Even after Austin formally reported the story to Internal Affairs investigators, the police department took little or no action.

Sam Kaufman and his group gathered the 1400 signatures required to put a referendum question on the ballot and on November 2, 2002, 60% of voters supported the creation of an independent Citizen Review Board that would investigate complaints against police.   The CRB was born.

Last Monday the board made plain that when all of the relevant information is in, it will not shy away from reviewing the death of Charles Eimers, probably the most controversial incident to have hit the KWPD in over a decade.

THOUGHTS ON “CITIZEN REVIEW BOARD CONCERNED ABOUT EIMERS IN-CUSTODY DEATH”

  1. I have learned that these types of police abuses involving the prone restraint and some others have been happening across the country.
    I have left messages and written letters to state Rep Holly Rascheins and State Senator Dwight Bullard. I sent them videos of people being killed by police with these deadly holds.I asked them now that you know people are being killed, how can we expect corrective legislation from both of you ?
    Neither one of them has responded back ? Am I the only one out there calling and writting our elected officials ?http://dailycaller.com/2014/02/25/horror-cops-tackle-beat-pepper-spray-pin-suffocate-kill-innocent-man/

  2. I attended the recent CRB meeting, as did Todd German, the CRB’s first Chairman. We both spoke to the CRB from our own experiences with the CRB, in which I had been initially involved gaining signatures. After the referendum passed, I disengaged from the CRB because I was prejudiced against the KWPD and did not think I should be involved in being in on who was chosen to be on the first CRB. I later became friends with Buz Dillon and, while Sam Kaufman was giving them hell as a lawyer, I was lobbying Buz to rein in his cowboy cops who were making homeless people miserable for the fun of it.

    During that time, Sam and I talked from time to time. We became friends and he became my lawyer. We had first met in the spring of 2001, at Mallory Pier, when he met with a number of homeless people who were upset about being arrested for open container. After speaking with them, Sam and I wandered off alone and he asked me what I thought about the selective enforcement issue – I had told him that I once had practiced law. I said I thought there was an equal protection violation, but I myself could not bring myself to ask a local judge to make it easier for homeless people to drink themselves to death. I said I felt there were other homeless issues, especially police brutality, which were more important. I was homeless at that time, and later.

    My impression at the CRB meeting was there were 4 CRB members, Tom Milone was one, who wanted the CRB to make a public statement of its interest in the Eimers case, and there were two members, including the Chairman, who wanted to keep a low profile pending the completion of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation and that report being made public. It was agreed among the CRB members that Gwen Filosa’s article on that meeting, Gwen was there taking notes furiously, would get the word out to the public that the CRB was interested in the Eimer’s case. Gwen’s article did that two days following.

    One CRB member said it had been reported that the hostess at the beach club at South Beach had seen the whole event and then had been talked with by several police officers and impressed with her need to keep quiet about what she had seen. This CRB member came back to that a couple of more times. Todd German, also a friend of mine, told me the next day that the CRB’s lawyer had told him that day that, if the hostess was threatened by the police officers, that was far worse witness tampering than what Jim Hendrick had been prosecuted for, and convicted. More than just witness tampering, also obstruction of justice and conspiracy, I thought.

    At last week’s City Commission, during citizen comments, I said the reason Eimers’ died was because he was initially profiled as being homeless, and it has for some time been the city’s policy to have its police to do all possible to cause homeless people to leave the area. I said Eimer’s death was the city’s karma for its homeless policy and that karma might get pretty rough now that the Eimers’ family is represented by counsel.

    After speaking with Naja Girard about it, and she encouraged me to do it, I sent this email a few days ago.

    From: keysmyhome@hotmail.com
    To: pclarin@keysnews.comgmaitland@keysnews.comsfrederick@keysnews.com;alindhardt@keysnews.comtdgerman@my100bank.comeditor@thebluepaper.com;dlee@keywestcity.comccates@keywestcity.comtjohnston@keywestcity.com;bvitas@keywestcity.comsdsmith@keywestcity.com
    Subject: letter to the editor
    Date: Sun, 23 Feb 2014 11:18:15 -0500

    Letter to the editor to the Key West Citizen:

    A while back, I received an out of the blue email from someone out west, who once had lived in Key West, about the video of the Thanksgiving Day apprehension by KWPD officers of Charles Eimers on South Beach in Key West, which Eimers did not survive. Here’s a link to that video , which is in first Key West the Newspaper article on that sad story. I include the video link – video – because the Citizen has run several articles on Eimers’ death, which mentioned the video, but the link was not provided for Citizen readers to see the video for themselves.
    The correspondent said he recognized an old Key West friend in the video, walking on the South Beach pier, looking back at the KWPD apprehending Eimers. The correspondent said his friend on the pier was named Dustin, and at one time he lived in the Porter Place housing project at Trumbo Point, operated by the Housing Authority. The correspondent declined to provide Dustin’s last name. A friend of mine living at Porter Place said he knew a Dustin, but not his last name, who had lived in Porter place, perhaps still did, but my friend did not know which apartment.
    The Housing Authority does not provide information on its residents. Perhaps if the Citizen publishes this letter to the editor, Dustin, if he is still around Key West, will see or hear of it and be inclined to contact Police Chief Donnie Lee, the Citizen and Key West the Newspaper, so they can ask him what, if anything, he saw happen when Charles Eimers was apprehended on South Beach.
    Sloan Bashinsky
    1711 Seminary Street
    Key West 33040
    (305) 407-4285

    Todd German, who sits on the Citizen Editorial Board, later told me that he didn’t think the Citizen would publish the letter, because I had named someone and the Citizen does not publish names. I said I saw no other way but to publish Dustin’s first name, he’s a material witness, how else to get the word out that Naja and Arnaud, at least,wish to speak with him about what he may have seen and heard that terrible day at South Beach?

Jesus homeless

Yesterday, I offered a woman at a bus stop on Stock Island a ride to Marathon. She seemed glad for the offer and climbed into my Toyota Highlander with her belongings. She was homeless, she said, but not staying at KOTS, Key West’s “temporary overnight homeless shelter”. No way she will stay there, she said, with addicts, robbers, sick people, drug dealers. She said she recently applied for truck driver’s school on the mainland and was told she’d have to wait two more months before they could accept her, because of an arrest last year in Key West. A year had to pass after the arrest, before she would be eligible to apply to the truck drivers school.

She said how the arrest came about was she had been sent to the Pier House by a local job placement agency, to apply for work there. When she got to the Pier House, the job placement agency had people there taking employment applications. They told her she would not fit in at the Pier House and to seek other employment. Yet, she had been sent there by other employees of the same job placement service.

Bummed out, she left the Pier House and bumped into a man she knew. She also know the man’s wife, who was not there. They were not homeless. On hearing her experience at the Pier House, the man said let’s go somewhere and get a beer. They went to a store and bought beer and then went somewhere and were drinking it, when KW police came by and arrested the woman for open container and took her to jail, where she stayed 45 days. That was the arrest she was waiting a year to pass, so she could apply to truck drivers school.

The woman named half a dozen places in Key West she had worked in the past, restaurants mostly. She lost all of those jobs.  Not her fault, she said. I wondered, of course. She said one place she worked as a cashier, Faustos, she was fired by the manager for not settling up in half hour one day. It took her 32 minutes. I wondered. She said the manager had asked her to move into the home where he lived with other men. She said she felt the manager had an ulterior motive, and regardless, she did not wish to live in a house with several men.

I said I’d just seen Tim Gratz the night before at Dominoes Pizza, where he works, after dreaming of him the night before that. She said she had worked at Dominoes before, and at Albertson’s nearby. I told her I would tell Tim about her, and for her to go to Dominoes and see if he could help her get on there again.

She said street drugs are trafficked ongoing in Duval strip clubs and bars. She stays away from those places. She said she does not drink any more. She is afraid of doing 90 days in the county jail. She stays away from street people drinking and doing drugs for the same reason.

She said she has stayed at Samuel’s House and was run out of there for no reason. I wondered. She said she paid $400 a month at Samuel’s House to share a room with 3 other women, each paying the same. When she moved up the ladder in Samuel’s House to the next level, she paid $600 a month in a different building, for a room she shared with other women. She said she and the other women did work for the Samuel’s House staff and supervisors for free. Work for them, their personal needs, not related to Samuel’s House. Even as she and the other women clients were working full time, and doing their chores at Samuel’s house, and attending all the recovery meetings.

She said she had seen mothers with children kicked out of Samuel’s house for being late to recovery meetings, kicked out in the nighttime. She said she did not like Samuel’s House.

I said I knew Jenna Stauffer, a local TV journalist, who might like to do interview for her show, and I would give Jenna the homeless woman’s name and telephone number. The woman had a cell phone, which she said a woman friend in California was paying for.

The woman said she had been in San Francisco not long before, after getting out of jail in Key West. She said the street people problem in that city is far worse than in Key West. She said Key West’s homeless problem is paradise compared to San Francisco’s.

When I was in San Francisco in 1998, I was not homeless but was staying in a Hyatt near Fisherman’s Warf, I saw how bad the homeless problem was near that hotel. Far worse than Key West’s homeless problem when I arrived in Key West homeless in late 2000. Far worse than Key West’s homeless problem today.

I told Todd German last night on the telephone that maybe what Key West should with Truman Waterfront is put affordable rental housing out there. Let the Housing Authority have it. There is a lot of subsidized Housing Authority Housing in Key West already, but a lot more is needed based on the long waiting list for Housing Authority apartments.

Women who graduate from Samuel’s House’s recovery program, and men and women who graduate from Florida Keys Outreach Coalition’s recovery program, which is similar to Samuel’s House, need somewhere to live they can afford, or they will become homeless. Homeless couples with or without children need some place to live they can afford. Seniors who aren’t rich need some place to live they can afford, or they will become homeless.

Compliments Debbie Love of Keith & Snars, who are doing Monroe County’s new Comprehensive Plan:

“Love all; trust a few; do wrong to none.”

— William Shakespeare

Sloan at Coco's

Sloan Bashinsky
keysmyhome@hotmail.com

paid political advertisement by Sloan Bashinsky, candidate for Mayor of Key West

About Sloan

That's what this website is about, also goodmorningkeywest.com and goodmorningbirmingham.com. If you can't get a publisher to take on your wacky musing, you do it yourself.
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