Key West: navigation hazard for sailors, elected officials, homeowners and gadflies alike

sinking ship

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cracked egg

All day yesterday, I felt a great disturbance in the “Force”, and I kept telling the angels that, and I kept wondering what it was and hoping it was not something I had done. Down below is Key West the Newspaper’s “teaser” for its second article on the now sunk Tugboat Tilly. I leave for you to open the link and read the entire article, because it has video links in it, which I am unable to copy there and paste into this post.

* FEATURED STORY *
SUNKEN TUG TILLY COULD COST HALF-MILLION DOLLARS! WHY WAS NOTHING DONE?
BY ARNAUD AND NAJA GIRARD

The storm forecasted for Thursday of last week arrived during the night. For those who knew of the Tug Tilly, the gusts of wind unraveling through the trees on the island meant that a few miles offshore, in the dark of night, completely exposed to the waves building against the tide, the abandoned tugboat would probably meet with the end of its voyage.

What was going to happen was no secret. In rough seas the tug would soon start shoveling water over its stern deck. The water would roll forward (as the bow began plunging into the waves). It would find those large holes rusted through on the midship deck and begin to flood the boat. With no pumps and no one aboard to call for help the boat was going to sink and that’s what it did, early Friday morning.

Of course, we had predicted Tilly’s demise in our previous article but somehow “we told you so” just doesn’t quite say it.

The cursed 81’, 150 gross ton tug is now sunk about one-half mile west of the Main Ship Channel. It has been declared a hazard to navigation, the engine oil has leaked into the ocean, the removal costs, according to local salvor John Coffin, could reach a half-million dollars and the County might have to foot the bill (since the last known owner, Stephen Freer, appears to be a penniless homeless man). [......full article]

www.thebluepaper.com

0 THOUGHTS ON “SUNKEN TUG TILLY COULD COST HALF-MILLION DOLLARS! WHY WAS NOTHING DONE?”

SLOAN BASHINSKY
YOUR COMMENT IS AWAITING MODERATION.

MARCH 7, 2014 AT 7:08 AM
Arnaud told me the other day that he had emailed the county commissioners that the Tilly would sink, if nothing was done, and George Neugent wrote back ridiculing Arnaud for always being an alarmist. I told Arnaud he and Naja needed to publish Neugent’s email in today’s follow up article on the Tilly, and I told Naja the same thing yesterday. And, I asked her to send me Neugent’s email, if they did not publish it, and I would publish it at http://www.goodmorningkeywest.com. I said that would save me having to ask for the email through a public record’s request to the county. That email, as Arnaud described it to me, paints a very different picture of how this came down, than the way it is reported in the blue paper today. Arnaud is a salver. He is an expert on boats at risk. The county commissioners ignored him, and Neugent was abusive in his reply to Arnaud, based on what Arnaud told me. Arnaud also told me that he called the Coast Guard about him towing the Tilly to their dock and they said they didn’t want the boat taken there. I had nightmares throughout last night about something terrible going awry, which other people where supposed to be handling. I was asked to get involved, try to help them fix it. Neugent’s email to Arnaud needs to be published. Neugent is an elected official. He should have taken Arnaud seriously. The rest of the county commissioners should have, too. And what about the Coast Guard’s response to Arnaud? What [Why] wasn’t the Coast Guard all over this themselves? I’m going to publish this at http://www.goodmorningkeywest.com today, as “back up”.

REPLY
SLOAN BASHINSKY
YOUR COMMENT IS AWAITING MODERATION.

MARCH 7, 2014 AT 7:25 AM
P.S. When I looked in my other email account, I found 2 emails from Naja, including what they had sent to the county commissioners, and George Neugent’s reply. Will publish all of that and the above today at http://www.goodmorningkeywest.com
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2014 01:15:27 -0800

Naja
From: najagirard@_________.com
Subject: Fw: Derelict Vessels: Blue Paper article: Seeking comments
To: sloanbashinsky@hotmail.com

This was a draft. The final version is altered and they didn’t see the film until we published on Friday. Note the final line. I have no idea what Neugent is talking about where he says we opposed the solution [along with towboat US]. We’ve never done anything but present solutions that fell on deaf ears. This is in response to your public records request… ;-)

—– Forwarded Message —–
From: naja girard <najagirard@yahoo.com>
To: Sylvia Murphy <murphy-sylvia@monroecounty-fl.gov>; George Neugent <neugent-george@monroecounty-fl.gov>; David Rice <rice-david@monroecounty-fl.gov>; County Commissioner <boccdis1@monroecounty-fl.gov>; Heather Carruthers <carruthers-heather@monroecounty-fl.gov>; County Commissioner <boccdis2@monroecounty-fl.gov>; County Commissioner <boccdis3@monroecounty-fl.gov>; “boccdis4@monroecounty-fl.gov” <boccdis4@monroecounty-fl.gov>; “boccdis5@monroecounty-fl.gov” <boccdis5@monroecounty-fl.gov>
Cc: Naja Girard <editor@thebluepaper.com>
Sent: Monday, February 24, 2014 2:29 PM
Subject: Derelict Vessels: Blue Paper article: Seeking comments

Hello Mayor and Commissioners,

Arnaud and I have put together the following draft for an article for this Friday’s edition of The Blue Paper. We were hoping you might have time to read it and, if you so desire, provide comments. It’s about a developing derelict vessel situation.

Thank you!

Naja and Arnaud Girard
Key West The Newspaper [The Blue Paper]

http://thebluepaper.com

(305) 304-6882

Derelict Tugboat Set To Cost Hundreds of Thousands to Monroe County

“My phone’s about to die! I am drifting southwest of Key West! I need to get off this boat before it’s too late!”

Using the last few minutes of airtime left on his cell phone Stephen Freer would explain how the dock master at a Stock Island marina had towed him and his 150-ton dilapidated tugboat out to sea and how he had left him there, miles from shore, with no radio, no pumps, no steering or propulsion, and no food or water.

Stephen, 66, is retired and lives on $800/month social security and until that afternoon had never been on a boat at sea before. He’d used all of his savings to buy into this great Craig’s List “bargain”: a 1943 tugboat called “Tilly”.

It could be just a matter of days before the tug crashes and sinks somewhere on the coral reef. Incredibly enough things could’ve been a lot worse: the same people who sold the Tilly to Stephen also tried to “donate” a gigantic steel barge as a bonus. The barge is only kept afloat thanks to continuous pumping. When we first met with Stephen he was seriously debating whether or not to add the barge to his collection.

As insane as this story may sound it has actually become a common scenario on Stock Island. With the rapid gentrification of Safe Harbor (Stock Island) some unscrupulous dock and boat owners have resorted to callous practices to evacuate, at no cost, the old fleet left over from yesteryear and the Keys’ shrimping era. They “generously give away” these floating marvels of rust and rot to any willing homeless person or unsuspecting amateur.

Five months ago it was Sonia Eliot’s turn. She too was given a great deal: a 45- foot wooden sailboat that had been abandoned for six years at a Stock Island boatyard. The only condition was that she had to take the boat away as soon as it had been lowered into the water.

“It started to sink right away,” said Sonia, “I pleaded with them to haul it back out, so we could try to fix it, but they said that was not the deal.”

Somehow Sonia, who works at a laundromat in Key West, and her son, who’s handicapped, managed to get towed all the way to the Wisteria Island anchorage where the US Coast Guard and fellow mariners have had to rescue them twice from sinking. Now abandoned, the boat waits to sink to the bottom and to be disposed of at the county’s expense.

Arguably, that cost could seem nominal in comparison with what it will cost to dispose of the enormous Tug Tilly. A lesser boat, the “Lady Luck” casino boat, which grounded during Hurricane Wilma cost around $500,000 for disposal.

Last Monday, the 81’ Tug Tilly was still rolling from side to side in the swells a few miles south of Fort Zach, all alone, with no lights, no bilge pump and an inadequate anchor. Tilly had been idle at the dock for so many years that the barnacles that cover her hull are about a foot thick, so ample in fact that mangroves have now taken root at the waterline. Quite a sight! The cabin was once red with an enormous black smokestack but everywhere the rust has exploded through the metal and spread like dark cancerous flowers.

The only thing that looked new was a bizarre gizmo at the stern of the tug – some sort of giant bracket made of 2X4’s which supported a miniscule outboard engine that no longer had a cover; the strange contraption was completely shattered and every passing wave submerged the little motor.

According to Stephen, this absurd apparatus was what was supposed to keep the dock owner out of trouble. How so? “Well, you see,” says Stephen, “they believe that if they can claim the boat has propulsion, it’s not a derelict and so they didn’t actually abandon a derelict boat out at sea.” According to Florida law any person who stores, leaves or abandons a vessel in a substantially dismantled condition in state waters is criminally liable under the “derelict vessel” statute. Stephen claims that the marina was so eager to get rid of him they installed the engine at their own expense. “But look at the size of it,” says Stephen, “that would only move a ten foot dinghy.”

There’s a good reason dock owners are tempted to “give away” abandoned or derelict boats: The cost of destruction can be astronomical. Last year dock owner Eric Dickstein had two abandoned shrimp boats sink at his dock on Stock Island. The boats weren’t his. Dickstein says FWC arrested him anyway just for having a sunken derelict vessel at his dock. The key element was the fact that Dickstein had moved and re-moored the two boats, thereby making himself the last person who had been in control before they sunk. It cost him over $100,000 to have the two sunken shrimp boats removed and disposed of.

It will be interesting to see if the same rationale will be applied against the dock master of Stock Island Marina Village for towing the Tilly to sea and leaving her there. After all, wasn’t the boatyard the last one in control of the Tilly?

To be fair, it’s not hard to see how Stephen and his tugboat were enough to drive the owners of the marina out of their minds. On January 25, 2013, the day of the Stock Island Marina Village grand opening celebration, he crashed the dock’s cocktail party by having a group of Haitian fishermen tow his tug and wonderful world of rust right up to the dock where more than likely the fancy guests felt like getting a tetanus shot after just looking at it.

The marina called the police only to discover, to their horror, that they had signed a dockage agreement with Stephen for his 81-foot “yacht” two days earlier. Of course they had had no idea what this “yacht” looked like. “Tilly is a yacht to me,” explains Stephen, “my yacht.” If Pirates of the Caribbean had a tugboat, it would be Tilly.

So far, in these cases, the FWC has concentrated on going after the unfortunate people who got lured into a “great deal” and assumed ownership of a derelict vessel. “That is just bad judgment on the part of those people,” Captain David Dipre of FWC told The Blue Paper. He says they should have known better than to buy a derelict vessel.

But that could change. We interviewed Phil Horning, Tallahassee based FWC Statewide Derelict Vessel Planner.

“If someone can prove,” said Horning, “that the seller of the boat knew the boat was derelict and was going to be stored as a derelict vessel on the waters of the state, the judge might hold the seller liable.”

In other words the seller could be held liable as an accomplice to the crime of storing a derelict vessel on state waters. That could certainly help to curb the practice.

Will the county continue to pick up the tab? There are a considerable amount of derelict vessels sinking or ready to sink in Safe Harbor. Not the least of which is a 150-foot yacht called the “Platinum” which belongs to the same people who sold Stephen the Tilly. Platinum was formerly one of the largest most luxurious yachts on the market, but today requires regular salvage intervention to stay afloat. Under the current trend, if Stock Island continues pushing to sea all of its burned out hulks and derelicts the cost to the county could be astronomical.

Many proactive solutions have been proposed to help curb the derelict vessel problem. For example, making sellers liable when they conveniently transfer derelicts to proverbial “dead beats”, creating emergency moorings to process these boats before they run aground or sink, providing immediate response rather than waiting months while costs and environmental damages escalate when and if a vessel is allowed to sink. But, like so many practical ideas, these remain lost in the bureaucratic maze.

Meanwhile, for the past several days, the US Coast Guard has been issuing radio broadcast warnings about the Tug Tilly being precariously anchored and abandoned halfway between Fort Zach and Sand Key. What will happen when the weather picks up and the 150-ton iron lady crashes onto the reef blowing holes in her rusty bottom? Who is going to pay for the removal, and what about the blow to the reef?

Will our government finally be able to react to an obvious crisis before its too late? Stay tuned.

Subject: Re: Derelict Vessels: Blue Paper article: Seeking comments
From: najagirard
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2014 05:36:59 -0500
To: sloanbashinsky@hotmail.com

This from George on the 28th. The boat was already sinking or sunk (although we didn’t yet know that) and are article had been published that morning. Sent from my iPhone

On Feb 28, 2014, at 8:20 AM, Neugent-George <Neugent-George@monroecounty-fl.gov> wrote:

Subject: Re: Derelict Vessels: Blue Paper article: Seeking comments

Naja and Arnaud Girard

http://thebluepaper.com

(305) 304-6882

I assume you knew you’d get comment from me.
george

George Neugent

Naja,

The Story: A story which you create distractions to the DV problem that has a solution. A solution which You & Boat US stood before the BOCC and opposed. You can not solve a problem when your line-of-thinking is distracted by chaff. It appears you’re trying to pawn off the DV problem that you’ve now cloaked as a social issue which has no possible solution, as the county’s fault. Unbelievably you say, “developing derelict vessel situation.” This situation has been going on in the Keys for way too long using money that could go to good use. A situation that the Marine Port Advisory committee talks and talks about. Many folks I know would tell you, “that dog don’t hunt.”

It reminds me of the 3rd grade math problems where much irrelevant information is plugged, as a guise, into a simple math problem. First, do you and other whiners really want to solve the problem? Will you work toward solution? Will you help, really help, to solve the problem or just talk and write about the chaff.

Should I truly feel for the 66 year old Stephen who’s cell phone is about to die? Or Sonia who took possession of crap that the public will now have to pay to remove? Were they hoodwinked into buying or is this a way for some one to get rid of his problem at the Public’s expense? I really think that if in fact the owner of the marina, who did that dastardly deed, could be identified – he should be in deep trouble; and rightfully so.

Derelict Tugboat Set To Cost Hundreds of Thousands to Monroe County

“My phone’s about to die! I am drifting southwest of Key West! I need to get off this boat before it’s too late!”

Using the last few minutes of airtime left on his cell phone Stephen Freer would explain how the dock master at a Stock Island marina had towed him and his 150-ton dilapidated tugboat out to sea and how he had left him there, miles from shore, with no radio, no pumps, no steering or propulsion, and no food or water.

Stephen, 66, is retired and lives on $800/month social security and until that afternoon had never been on a boat at sea before. He’d used all of his savings to buy into this great Craig’s List “bargain”: a 1943 tugboat called “Tilly”.

It could be just a matter of days before the tug crashes and sinks somewhere on the coral reef. Incredibly enough things could’ve been a lot worse: the same people who sold the Tilly to Stephen also tried to “donate” a gigantic steel barge as a bonus. The barge is only kept afloat thanks to continuous pumping. When we first met with Stephen he was seriously debating whether or not to add the barge to his collection.

As insane as this story may sound it has actually become a common scenario on Stock Island. With the rapid gentrification of Safe Harbor (Stock Island) some unscrupulous dock and boat owners have resorted to callous practices to evacuate, at no cost, the old fleet left over from yesteryear and the Keys’ shrimping era. They “generously give away” these floating marvels of rust and rot to any willing homeless person or unsuspecting amateur.

Five months ago it was Sonia Eliot’s turn. She too was given a great deal: a 45- foot wooden sailboat that had been abandoned for six years at a Stock Island boatyard. The only condition was that she had to take the boat away as soon as it had been lowered into the water.

“It started to sink right away,” said Sonia, “I pleaded with them to haul it back out, so we could try to fix it, but they said that was not the deal.”

Somehow Sonia, who works at a laundromat in Key West, and her son, who’s handicapped, managed to get towed all the way to the Wisteria Island anchorage where the US Coast Guard and fellow mariners have had to rescue them twice from sinking. Now abandoned, the boat waits to sink to the bottom and to be disposed of at the county’s expense.

Arguably, that cost could seem nominal in comparison with what it will cost to dispose of the enormous Tug Tilly. A lesser boat, the “Lady Luck” casino boat, which grounded during Hurricane Wilma cost around $500,000 for disposal.

Last Monday, the 81’ Tug Tilly was still rolling from side to side in the swells a few miles south of Fort Zach, all alone, with no lights, no bilge pump and an inadequate anchor. Tilly had been idle at the dock for so many years that the barnacles that cover her hull are about a foot thick, so ample in fact that mangroves have now taken root at the waterline. Quite a sight! The cabin was once red with an enormous black smokestack but everywhere the rust has exploded through the metal and spread like dark cancerous flowers.

The only thing that looked new was a bizarre gizmo at the stern of the tug – some sort of giant bracket made of 2X4’s which supported a miniscule outboard engine that no longer had a cover; the strange contraption was completely shattered and every passing wave submerged the little motor.

According to Stephen, this absurd apparatus was what was supposed to keep the dock owner out of trouble. How so? “Well, you see,” says Stephen, “they believe that if they can claim the boat has propulsion, it’s not a derelict and so they didn’t actually abandon a derelict boat out at sea.” According to Florida law any person who stores, leaves or abandons a vessel in a substantially dismantled condition in state waters is criminally liable under the “derelict vessel” statute. Stephen claims that the marina was so eager to get rid of him they installed the engine at their own expense. “But look at the size of it,” says Stephen, “that would only move a ten foot dinghy.”

There’s a good reason dock owners are tempted to “give away” abandoned or derelict boats: The cost of destruction can be astronomical. Last year dock owner Eric Dickstein had two abandoned shrimp boats sink at his dock on Stock Island. The boats weren’t his. Dickstein says FWC arrested him anyway just for having a sunken derelict vessel at his dock. The key element was the fact that Dickstein had moved and re-moored the two boats, thereby making himself the last person who had been in control before they sunk. It cost him over $100,000 to have the two sunken shrimp boats removed and disposed of.

*********|>It will be interesting to see if the same rationale will be applied against the dock master of Stock Island Marina Village for towing the Tilly to sea and leaving her there. After all, wasn’t the boatyard the last one in control of the Tilly?

To be fair, it’s not hard to see how Stephen and his tugboat were enough to drive the owners of the marina out of their minds. On January 25, 2013, the day of the Stock Island Marina Village grand opening celebration, he crashed the dock’s cocktail party by having a group of Haitian fishermen tow his tug and wonderful world of rust right up to the dock where more than likely the fancy guests felt like getting a tetanus shot after just looking at it.

The marina called the police only to discover, to their horror, that they had signed a dockage agreement with Stephen for his 81-foot “yacht” two days earlier. Of course they had had no idea what this “yacht” looked like. “Tilly is a yacht to me,” explains Stephen, “my yacht.” If Pirates of the Caribbean had a tugboat, it would be Tilly.

*********So far, in these cases, the FWC has concentrated on going after the unfortunate people who got lured into a “great deal” and assumed ownership of a derelict vessel. “That is just bad judgment on the part of those people,” Captain David Dipre of FWC told The Blue Paper. He says they should have known better than to buy a derelict vessel.

*********But that could change. We interviewed Phil Horning, Tallahassee based FWC Statewide Derelict Vessel Planner.

“If someone can prove,” said Horning, “that the seller of the boat knew the boat was derelict and was going to be stored as a derelict vessel on the waters of the state, the judge might hold the seller liable.”

In other words the seller could be held liable as an accomplice to the crime of storing a derelict vessel on state waters. That could certainly help to curb the practice.

********Will the county continue to pick up the tab? There are a considerable amount of derelict vessels sinking or ready to sink in Safe Harbor. Not the least of which is a 150-foot yacht called the “Platinum” which belongs to the same people who sold Stephen the Tilly. Platinum was formerly one of the largest most luxurious yachts on the market, but today requires regular salvage intervention to stay afloat. Under the current trend, if Stock Island continues pushing to sea all of its burned out hulks and derelicts the cost to the county could be astronomical.

*******Many proactive solutions have been proposed to help curb the derelict vessel problem. For example, making sellers liable when they conveniently transfer derelicts to proverbial “dead beats”, creating emergency moorings to process these boats before they run aground or sink, providing immediate response rather than waiting months while costs and environmental damages escalate when and if a vessel is allowed to sink. But, like so many practical ideas, these remain lost in the bureaucratic maze.

Meanwhile, for the past several days, the US Coast Guard has been issuing radio broadcast warnings about the Tug Tilly being precariously anchored and abandoned halfway between Fort Zach and Sand Key. What will happen when the weather picks up and the 150-ton iron lady crashes onto the reef blowing holes in her rusty bottom? Who is going to pay for the removal, and what about the blow to the reef?

Will our government finally be able to react to an obvious crisis before its too late? Stay tuned.

From: sloanbashinsky@hotmail.com
To: najagirard
Subject: RE: Derelict Vessels: Blue Paper article: Seeking comments
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2014 07:22:48 -0500

Thanks, I made a reply already to your article which does not include Neugent’s email. My dreams last night were awful about something being done wrong, and I was supposed to get involved and try to show them how to do it right, and I kept waking up trying to figure out what it was and I couldn’t figure it out until I woke up just before 7 a.m. for the last time and went online and saw your email with the link to this weeks blue paper edition and read the article. I simply do not understand, Naja, why you left out so much? Were you two more concerned about getting future salving business from the County and from the Coast Guard, than reporting what all really happened, as Arnaud explained to to me the other day?

Afterthought: 

Charles Eimers, suspected of being homeless, died Thanksgiving Day under Key West’s finest the day after he arrived in Key West. Tugboat Tilly rests hardly in peace. One can only wonder where Key West’s homeless policy (run them all out of the area) might next take us?

Moving laterally in Key West, two emails from me last night to a group of neighbors of Peary Court, which I wrote after reading and viewing a bunch of stuff they had received from one of their members, which was copied to me. 

Peary Court lay out

sloan bashinsky 12:53 AM

To: Keywestspd, et. al.

Are you folks, as a group, represented by legal counsel?

If so, will your lawyer be there Monday night to speak to the HARC members?

If not, I think you should get together and hire a lawyer who knows this area of the law.

I looked at the developer’s “plans” on the city website. I don’t know much about reading plans, but I don’t see much, if any, resemblance to anything historical. I don’t see any blend-in with your neighborhood.

The closing of the Palm Ave. entrance makes no sense to me, if the stoplight and entrance to the Navy housing across Palm Ave. will remain in use.

HARC, besides probably being way out of its depth with this size development, does not want white roofs and solar panels on roofs. If HARC is that picky about architecture in its domain, it’s hard to imagine HARC blessing this new development with a straight face.

Years ago, the Florida Keys were designated an area of critical concern by the Florida Legislature, because Monroe County had not dealt with septic tanks, cess pits and sewering the Keys. I am pretty sure it was after Jim Hendrick lost his law license that he started his own consulting company, Critical Concern, Inc. He helped Donna Boswold start a parallel company and mentored her and fed her business, as I understood from him. That was before they were married, which I think happened fairly recently.

Jim was more than a face man for Pritam Singh in the Truman Waterfront development. Jim was Pritam’s lawyer. Before Jim went into private practice, he was Monroe County’s in house lawyer. I heard he also had a private practice, and that had something to do with him leaving his position with the County, conflict of interest and private practice more lucrative. However, it was when he was with the County that Jim learned a great deal about development and land use law in the Keys.

Jim and Pritam are very close friends and I imagine Jim is involved in every deal Pritam does. When I was playing chess one day with Jim in his old law office, after he had lost his license, a fellow came in and he and Jim talked a while. The fellow got around to asking Jim if he thought he would ever try to get his law license reinstated? Jim was then on federal probation. Jim said he didn’t think so, he was doing everything he did when he practiced law but go to court.

Make no mistake, whatever Jim calls his business, whatever he say he is doing, he is using every bit of his legal knowledge and experience. He consults for the Bernstein and the Walsh families with respect to Wisteria Island. He has other substantial clients. He is the go to person for big developments in this area, in my opinion. I’m telling you all of this, in case you do not know it already. You could not have a more formidable adversary.

As I wrote in the column at goodmorningkeywest.com this past Monday, Jim was in the habit of taking a residence in Pritam’s developments, as his fee. Jim said last Sunday that he and Donna will live in the Peary Court.

As I also wrote last Monday, Jim once told me that he viewed Pritam as the best salesman Jim had ever known, because Pritam is a master at getting people to see what Pritam wants them to see, and not see what Pritam does not want them to see. I imagine Jim is about as masterful in that way as Pritam.

Although I’ve had no experience before HARC, I’ve had some experience with other Key West city government departments and their politics. It is weird terrain, to say it mildly. Common sense, fair play, the law, all can be moving targets, chameleon-like, or just plain upside down and backward. Doublespeak is common. Memories blur, fail. Promises evaporate.

Personally, I think it’s nuts to raze the existing Peary Court and replace it with something far less compatible with Old Town and your neighborhood. Personally, pure greed seems to be the motive. the city has for some time been a good friend to developers. As if development is sacred.

If I were in you folks’ position, I might do all possible to keep the Palm Ave. entrance like it is. That just might smoke out something else not yet visible. I am not yet convinced it’s all coming from the city to close that entrance.

Sloan Bashinsky
ex-lawyer (I quit, practicing law didn’t agree with me)

sloan bashinsky 1:05 AM
To: multiple recipients

In past times, I have seen city staff create parking places out of thin air for developments and redevelopments, and then be called on it during city commission meetings, and then it got fun, weird, maddening – another moving target.

That hotel Pritam is building next to and behind Coffee Plantation, between Caroline and Green Streets, I saw him get grilled in a city commission about where his parking was going to be. Parking for his guests, parking for his employees. He got mad; first time I ever saw him lose his cool. I don’t know how it finally went.

When I was looking over the plans online a few hours ago, This part below, with barracks and guard tower, reminded me of a concentration camp, I thought Auschwitz might be a good name for it.

In addition to having a lawyer with you at Monday evening’s meeting, who knows what he/she’s doing, I suggest you also have an architect with you, who has been over the “plans” with a fine tooth comb.

Peary Court barracks

Also from Key West and the blue paper today:

Alex Symington

MARCH 06, 2014
BITCH BITCH BITCH
by ALEX SYMINGTON

Alex Symington pepper head
Periodically I ask myself why I write these essays. Perhaps it’s because by the exercise of writing I might accidently stumble across some action that could modify or even correct some wrong somewhere. Sort of like when John Kerry made that flippant off-hand remark about how the only way the U.S. wasn’t going to invade Syria was if Syria agreed to get rid of their chemical weapons. Kerry thinking, no way that would happen and we could get on with the business of war as usual, but no… Kerry had accidentally stumbled across a peaceful alternative to invasion of a sovereign nation and inadvertently talked our empire out of yet another war. I guess we could call this accidental diplomacy.

Perhaps I write to jettison, albeit temporarily, the harmful toxic data swirling around in my head ala Colonel Kurtz’s “the horror”, the data that assaults the senses and defies logic. Not to pick on John Kerry, but he uttered some baffling words on a Sunday talking head show. In reference to the Russians invading Ukraine he actually said with a serious straight face, “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text”. WHAT?!! To prove that Corporate Media is the flower girl in the sick polygamous marriage of Corporate, Government, Military and Finance, not one “journalist” called Kerry on that, at best absurd, insult to the American people’s intelligence. Not even a single word of protest was spoken on this outrageously, supremely ballsy statement/lie.

Continuing this questioning of writing I could ask, “What is the point?” especially when I am witness to statements like the above and the lack of a “WTF?!” response. A dear friend at a dinner party the other night said to me, “All you do is point out the bad stuff, but you don’t offer solutions.” I said fair enough statement, but first people have to see there is a problem before they can do something about it. The individual is powerless, but the politically active en masse can exact change. One dude pointing things out ain’t gonna do it.

I suppose I write to chronicle events in my life, make a record, compare now to “then”. I am just putting entries into a diary that anyone can read. I can’t help but take personally the immoral destruction of our planet by unchecked Big Oil. I can’t help but take personally the demented capitalist ideology that money trumps humanity along with all precious life. I can’t help but take personally the theft of our great grand children’s future by those same lunatics. I am exhausted by the idiocy in Washington DC, the place where good ideas go to die, where possible solutions to critical problems are diddled with by corporate special interests until they are dead on arrival when signed into law. Aren’t most of us exhausted? So many of us are numb from working two or three jobs trying to make ends meet…trying to balance checkbooks and raise children. I am aware that there isn’t much left of us at the end of the day and the idea of tackling the “world’s problems” is just too daunting. The power elite are counting on our apathy.

I have been thinking about my friend’s comment at dinner and I do have some pro-active suggestions. Numero Uno: Stop watching corporate sponsored TV “News”. Read a few different newspapers. Read things that make you uncomfortable and don’t fit with your preconceptions. Read internet publications that are funded by readers and not Corporate. Expand your news sources beyond our borders. Al-Jazeera English and BBC might give you a broader spectrum of information from a different perspective. Truthdig and Truthout are two internet sources of “clean” untainted journalism. Bill Moyers is a trusted and venerable journalist that can be seen/read on the web. Journalists Henry Giroux and Chris Hedges are invaluable sources of the raw, painful truth. William Rivers Pitt likes to open eyes, as well. Please try to get out of your comfort zone.

Recovery starts with an admission there is a problem.
THIS ENTRY WAS POSTED IN ALEX SYMINGTON AND TAGGED ALEX SYMINGTON, KEY WEST, KEY WEST NEWS, KEY WEST THE NEWSPAPER, THE BLUE PAPER. BOOKMARK THE PERMALINK.
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SLOAN BASHINSKY YOUR COMMENT IS AWAITING MODERATION.
MARCH 7, 2014 AT 9:00 AM
What do you think, Alex. John Kerry forgot clean about the barbaric US invasion of Vietnam, in which he proudly participated, then he came home and decided he should not have been proud after all? That was under a Democrat president, Lyndon Johnson. Kerry also forgot about the barbaric invasion of Iraq, that was under a Republican president, George W. Bush. Can’t say the subsequent US invasion of Afghanistan was particularly civilized, not to mention a seriously bad idea – did G.W. forget what had happened to the Russian barbarians after they invaded Afghanistan? Is one definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. As for reading what news people not on the take write, people like you, Alex, people like, hmmm, Naja and Arnaud, people like me at http://www.goodmorningkeywest.com, are we making any money at it? Rhetorical question. Does that mean making money and publishing something meaningful are mutually exclusive enterprises? That might be a rhetorical question, too. Hell, it ain’t just the Republican news shows that twist and spin the truth, and my goodness, look at the great changes that Barack Obama promised would come, if he was elected in 2008. Who’d ever have thunk a US President waging his predecessors wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize? I suppose we could have thunk, once that happened, it was a done deal that he would accept it. Hell, Alex, I never read anything to indicate Socrates ever did anything but run his mouth and upset lots of insular apple carts. He proved that being a gadfly was a noble way to get yourself killed. So cheer up, Alex. You never know when you might be the next gadfly to be offered a graceful exit from this ass-backwards, head up same quite a ways world :-) .

Socrates

Sloan Bashinsky
keysmyhome@hotmail.com

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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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