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Yesterday as I just happened to pedal my bicycle by the Moose Lodge on the corner of Eisenhower and Angela streets, I saw Monroe County Mayor Emeritus Shirley Freeman getting out of her car,
so I stopped to say hello. She said she was there for a Peary Court meeting in the back room of the Moose Club.
Peary Court today
I thought to myself, “Oops! Better look in on that.” So, into the Moose Club I went with Shirley.
I mean, clearly that was arranged by the angels I am accused by many people of inventing. Without the angels’ help, I had felt since first learning of the plan to raze the nice Navy housing at Peary Court and put upscale housing there, with more living units, was not only sneaky but was based on pure GREED.
Entering the Moose Lodge back meeting room, I saw maybe a dozen people standing around a table, looking at maps, plans, renderings. Most of the people were Angela Street residents. Angela Street borders Peary Court. One of the people was Naja Girard, co-publisher of Key West the Newspaper - www.thebluepaper.com, which has covered Peary Court hot issues in the past. Two of the people were Jim Hendrick and his new wife Donna. I had no idea they were involved in Peary Court, but I knew they probably were representing the developer, because that’s what Jim does: represent developers.
I knew from Jim in the past, when he and I played chess and sometimes I ate dinner with him and his wife in their home, usually Donna also was there, and Todd German, that Jim had gotten Donna started in a business somewhat related to his business. My impression was Jim fed Donna business. Jim told me that Donna was a friend of theirs, who had tragically lost her fiance to a sudden death and they were trying to help her get through it. I suppose I was the only person eating at Jim and his wife’s home, who did not know Jim and Donna were an item, which I only learned a few months ago.
Anyway, I mostly just stood there listening yesterday, as the neighbors from Angela Street, next to Peary Court, wrangled with and questioned Donna, who tried to answer the questions, and then Jim started answering the questions. The way it sounded from Jim, he and Donna were in the Angel Street neighbors’ camp, mediating for them with the city and the developer. Jim said he and Donna they weren’t getting paid much to do it, and they were the good guys, and the city was the bad guys, trying to make it even more difficult for everybody. Jim said the future buyers of the lots/units in Peary Court have property rights, too (even though they do not yet even exist). Jim said he and Donna now live in a subdivision where there is limited parking, one space per unit, and that causes problems, and they will live in Peary Court, where there will be similar parking problems.
There are no parking problems at Peary Court now; there is lots of parking and lots of green space.
Neither Jim nor Donna were able, or willing, to tell Shirley Freeman, who asked several times, how many bedrooms will be in the new Peary Court, for that is how many car parking places Shirley said will be needed.
Jim said the number of units in the New Peary Court always was 208, think maybe the number of units now there is about half that. However, in the beginning of the “new development” plan, the number of new units was 160, as I recall, but there were not affordable units, so to deal with that, the number was increased to 208, with the city’s blessing, and 48 units, as I recall, would be affordable. Affordable, of course, is a moving target in Key West. Moving toward not affordable.
The Angela Street neighbors were alarmed about the increased parking pressure caused by more units in Peary Court. The Angela Street neighbors were alarmed by the closing of the present entrance into Peary Court from Palm Avenue, and putting an entrance on White Street, and putting parking spaces on White Street, where now there are none. The Angela Street neighbors were alarmed mother-in-law apartments will be put right up to the property line across them on Angela Street, where there is only land now. The Angel Street neighbors were alarmed the swimming pool and rec building will be put close to them, instead over in the middle of the new development, where they feel it and its noise belong.
All the while I stood there wondering what is really going on here, which I, the Angel Street neighbors, Shirley Freeman and Naja Girard are not seeing, but we should be seeing?
I was wondering that because of something which happened the last time I had dinner with Jim Hendrick and his then wife and Donna and Todd German at Jim and his then wife’s home in either late 2009 or early 2010, as I recall.
During dinner, Jim said he was going to try to persuade me that Pritam Singh was a great guy and was not, as I had published on my blogs, possessed by Lucifer. Pritam is a local developer and is perhaps Jim’s closest friend in the Keys. Jim met Pritam when he was developing Truman Annex, or so I was told, and that’s when Jim, a lawyer, started representing Pritam. During one of our chess games at his law office, Jim had told me that his fee in each of Pritam’s real estate developments was a unit in the development. Jim said he had done well at that, he had lived in the units and had paid his children’s college educations with the proceeds from the sale of the units. Yesterday Jim said he and Donna will live in a new Peary Court unit, but they are not being paid well to try to work things out with the neighbors.
So, although I tired to beg off, Jim proceeded that night at his and his then wife’s home, with Donna and Todd listening, to convince me that Pritam Sing was not possessed by Lucifer. Jim said the proof of it was Pritam was the best salesman Jim had ever met. Pritam was such a good salesman, that he could get people to see what he wanted them to see, and not see what he did not want them to see. That was the proof Pritam was not possessed by Lucifer, Jim said. I shook my head, said, That’s how Lucifer sells. I rest my case. I did not say, but I thought it, And that’s how you sell, too, Jim. Birds of a feather flock together.”
I was in their home, their guest. I felt I’d said enough, although I could have said that, and I could have told the various times Jim had tried to do the very same thing to me, perhaps not seeing that I saw what he was trying to do.
I told some of the Peary Court neighbors yesterday that I would write something about the meeting on www.goodmorningkeywest.com this morning. I did not tell them I am running for mayor, or anything else about me, including that I once practiced law. I did tell a couple of them that Jim Henrick had practiced law until he was disbarred after being convicted in a federal court for witness tampering, and that he was Pritam Singh’s good friend and lawyer, and now Pritam’s adviser, and that he, Jim, is the smartest and best land use lawyer in the Florida Keys, and they need to be on their toes and they need to attend every city government meeting about Peary Court and speak and argue their points.
This is one of those days I wish I did not wake up. I care a great deal for Jim, and for his now ex-wife, and for Donna, and for Todd, but my dream maker was adamant last night that I had to tell all of this above today.
I hope Jim and Donna really are fighting for the Peary Court neighbors, but if the developer is paying Jim and Donna, there is a bit of a giant conflict of interest. And, if the city is the bad guys, I wonder why?
And, I wonder what possessed the city to decide to close off the existing Palm Avenue entrance into Peary Court, which has been there for years, and there is a stop light there. Moving that entrance over to White Street just doesn’t make sense to me. Nor does razing the nice development presently there, and replacing it with something with more density (units), more jammed together, and probably not in anywise architecturally compatible with Old Town’s architecture. This a pure greed enterprise.
After this post was up today, just barely, this came in from one of the people at yesterday’s meeting:
Peary Court – Moose Club Meeting, March 2, 2014
About 26 local residents showed up and 18 of you registered your name, email address and local street address. We needed this meeting to prepare for the important HARC session next Monday, March 10, at 5:30 at Old City Hall on Greene Street. The discussion lasted until just after 2:30.
Donna Bosold and Jim Hendrick, representing Critical Control Consultants, opened the meeting at the Moose Club with large charts showing Peary Court and the Meadows from different aspects. They raised many issues: housing, “mother-in-law” housing, parking, the 48 affordable housing units, Angela Street, and the always tense access to Peary Court issue.
Of particular importance was the issue of access to Peary Court from Palm Avenue. And, of course, from Angela Street. Will our narrow Angela Street, already over parked be clogged with more vehicles because of the Peary Court project? It certainly appears so. As to pedestrian and bike access to the new Peary Court, eight attendees voted to carve out one in front of my house at 1212 Angela Street. Nobody wants it in front of their house, and neither do I.
Many more issues continue to play out.
I suggest that you attend the HARC meeting next Monday. Offer a presentation. Remember you may speak for 3 minutes. That really means 2 minutes and 58 seconds. Speak clearly and slowly. After you state your name and address, say “Mr. chairman, Members of HARC” in a respectful manner. Then tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then sum it up in one sentence. Say thank you. Smile and the 3-minute buzzer goes off. Bravo!
Comments welcome. Steve Dawkins
Moving elsewhere in Key Weird,
Key West’s first poet laureate, who once wrote:
I attended a very interesting and entertaining first Sunday of the month Key West Poetry Guild meeting last night in the upstairs room of Blue Heaven in Bahama Village. No way I can describe what all went on. Poetry speaks for itself. Always has, always will. If you stick around poets long enough, you realize all of life is poetry: the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly.
In that regard, Father Steve Braddock, CEO of Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, posted this to Facebook the other day.
Elsewhere regarding Key Weird, Kurt Wagner replied to yesterday’s yesterday, La Cosa Nostra endorsed Sloan for Mayor of Key West ;-), today the Irish endorsed him ;-), tomorrow maybe the Mermaids – anything’s possible, but meanwhile there’s still heaps of manure to shovel and lots of pretty and not so pretty things to see and do in Margaritaville, including a feminine approach to campaigning for public office post at www.goodmorningkeywest.com:
Good morning Sloan,
I myself was surprised at the fly/drive vs. cruise data. Who’d a thunk it? The best the city can do with the homeless is to continue harassment and keep them moving from place to place. They are fooling themselves if they think they will ever rid the city of homeless. Myself and about a dozen others all had small light weight beach chairs we could carry on our bicycles. Most of us hung out in the shade where the coconut peace sign was. We were rarely bothered as we looked like tourists.
The garden is a tremendous idea. I’ve lived in many areas of Chicago and other cities that had community gardens. They were divided into 20′ x 20′ (some smaller) plots. first come first serve. Some even supplied water. You can find them all over Chicago’s suburbs.
Meeting the voters one on one has always proved effective. It can only gain you votes, never lose votes. It’s human nature to accept and hopefully agree with someone if it involves human contact. Without that contact, it’s very difficult (nearly impossible) to get your message across. Voters stay with the incumbent, for fear of the unknown. As to your friends Tom Milone and Todd German knocking on doors, I seriously doubt it cost them the election. As well like and respected they may be, maybe the voters didn’t agree with their message, or was not presented properly.
With the proper, 5 – 10 minute presentation it can ONLY GAIN support. Unfortunately you have to have skin as thick as a telephone marketer. Lot’s of people will close the door in your face because they don’t care who runs their city. Complacency is the reason for the shape of our government today, nobody cares enough to get involved.
I have never known any candidate to win with a passive campaign. If the angels told you to run, wouldn’t they want you to do everything possible to win?
Hi, Kurt -
Again, thanks for your thoughts and input.
After coming to Key West in late 2000, I met two people, don’t even remember their faces, much less they names now, who told me they had won city races as last minute write-in candidates; they were drafted by disgruntled voters and voted in without them having much to say about it. Maybe that’s where the seed was planted in my sideways upside down brain that grassroots write-in was the way all elections for public office should go?
As I wrote to yesterday, candidates who litter the landscape with vote-for-me posters, and who pollute the airwaves with vote-for- me radio and TV advertising, I find repugnant. I do find repugnant knocking on doors, if they wish, but it does not seem to be what I am being told to do by my Campaign Committee, who never have acted normal since I first met a couple of them in early 1987, which was a long time before they shoved me into Key West’s politics in 2001.
I can see it now. I knock on a door, say, “I’m Sloan Bashinsky, and I’m running for Mayor of Key West, can we talk for while?”
“Okay, come in. Why are you running?”
“Because angels of God told me to run.”
Maybe if it got past there, they would be able to handle my saying I don’t go to church and I don’t think Christianity has a clue what Jesus or God are about because Christianity is possessed by Lucifer. Nothing wrong with Jesus.
It’s the pretenders who hijacked his good name and deeds who are the problem.
If it got past that, maybe they would be able to handle my saying, the first thing I will do if I am Mayor is try to get cruise ships banned from Key West, and here’s why … Cruise ships are killing the sea and the reef …
cruise ship leaving Key West’s outer mole pier last year, 2013
And I will not tamper with Fantasy Fest (which the City Commission has on its agenda tomorrow night to do).
And the next thing I will try to do is get Key West a nude beach, and here’s why … mucho new tourist wampum …
Miami’s Haulover Beach
And, the next thing I will do …
You know my campaign issues and positions, Kurt. Down the list I would go until I was asked to leave, if not already asked, if I even got past their front door.
Two different trains of thoughts, Kurt.
It will take people like you, who are fed up with how things are going in Key West, to campaign for me, get me votes. You, for example, know people I do not know, who might get on board and try to get me votes. The people they know might get on board and try to get me votes. All the while, I am raising one commotion after another, such as the one I raise about Peary Court in today’s post, which you have not yet seen because I’m still working on that post. It will be up shortly at www.goodmorningkeywest.com.
I’m a serious weirdo by mainstream standards. However, Key West has lots of weirdos. Let me use some lables. Pissedoffs. Malcontents. Misfits. Dropouts. Onthelams. Naturists. Atheists. Mystics. Anarchists. Radicals. Revolutionaries. Freethinkers. Poets. Artists. Musicians. Streetperformers. I figure there may be enough of them to get me past the August primary election into a runoff in the November general election. Then, it could be a funfest between the “normal” people and the mutants, who, by the way, view the “normal” people as the mutants :-).
That runoff race would grab national and international headlines. FREE ADVERTISING for Key Weird, where the weird really do turn pro. Maybe some of the normals decide to become mutants, born again, so to speak :-). Perhaps they might need a slight nudge.
I hear there might be an interesting presentation at Studios of Key West this evening.
Here’s the promo in the current issue of Key West the Newspaper - www.thebluepaper.com. Cuba is really important to Key West, and might become a lot more important.
Cuba analyst Brian Latell is next presenter at the Friends of the Key West Library lecture series—Monday, March 3, 6:00 p.m., Studios of Key West, 600 White Street. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Latell’s topic is “The Castro Brothers and Cuba: What next?” Author of two books on Cuba, After Fidel and Castro’s Secrets, Latell has frequently advised U.S. and foreign policy-making organizations regarding Latin American and Caribbean affairs. He taught at his alma mater, Georgetown University (PhD, history), served for many years in the CIA and National Intelligence Council, and is currently Senior Research Associate and Adjunct Professor at the Institute for Cuban American Studies, University of Miami.
The Friends of the Key West Library weekly lecture series is free and open to the public. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis. This year’s lectures are every Monday, ending on March 17. Next lecturer is TV and fiction writer, Hy Conrad, March 10. FOL’s newsletter, including a list of lecturers, is located athttp://friendsofthekeywestlibrary.org.
Meanwhile, calling all mutants! Normals welcome, too. It’s a secret ballot, nobody has to know you voted for a mutant
paid political advertisement by Sloan Bashinsky, candidate for Mayor of Key West