this St. Patrick’s Day promo sailed my way via Facebook, ha!, I may have a dozen glasses of red wine a year, no other booze, maybe a case of mistaken Sloan; if everyone in Key West drank as little as I drink, the city would go into bankruptcy
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I read a small blurb in the Key West Citizen the other day about Key West’s Spring Break Drug Court having been shut down by State Attorney Cathy Vogel – no explanation given as to why. City Commissioner Tony Yaniz
had made a big commotion at a City Commission meeting about reconvening the Drug Court for this year’s spring break, so kids arrested for drinking underage and on beaches, buying booze with fake I.D.s, etc. would not end up with criminal records if the chose to do community service. The City Commission didn’t go along with it, so Yaniz on his own got Police Chief Donnie Lee and Vogel to go along with it. The Citizen gave all of that good coverage, and I wondered why the shutting down of the Drug Court therefore had received such scant coverage by the Citizen?
I had never been out at Smathers Beach during the day time in Spring Break, because I had never wanted to be around that many college students. But yesterday I pedaled my bicycle out there to see what it was like, and the lower half of Smathers was packed – I figured maybe 2,000 college students. Except for one really loud boom box with big amplifiers hammering out a loud bass rhythym, which made me darn glad I don’t live in any the condominium towers across the street, I didn’t see anything spectacular or weird going on.
But still wondering about the shutting down of Drug Court, i called my friend Todd German, who sits on the Citizen Editorial Board. Todd said Vogel shut the drug court down two days after it had opened, because there was no takers; nobody was being arrested. I said, after all the fanfare the Citizen had given the Drug Court, I would have expected about as much press covering the Drug Court’s funeral. Todd said it got splashed on US 1 Radio. I said that was not the Citizen, which had given the Drug Court so much fanfare. And Tony Yaniz so much fanfare.
I wonder how much that fanfare cost the city and county taxpayers, before the funeral?
Can’t help but think maybe the Citizen reports what it wants to report, in the way it wants to report it.
Although the Citizen has reported people announcing their candidacy for local office this year, along with interviews of the candidates, today a local attorney running for judge is covered, the Citizen has not, to my knowledge, even reported that I filed to run for Mayor of Key West. Nor has US 1 Radio called me about doing an interview. My recollection is, US 1 Radio and the Citizen are owned by the same parent company.
Here’s the Citizen’s report of yesterday evening’s Historic Architectural Review Commission (HARC) meeting on Peary Court, I added pics:
Peary Court today
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Peary Court vote delayed
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff
The city’s Historic Architectural Review Commission Monday night postponed voting on plans to rebuild Peary Court from the remnants of Navy housing into a 208-unit upscale collection of mostly single-family homes.
Planners for White Street Partners, which last year bought the parcel for $35 million from the Navy and Southeast Housing, agreed to the postponement after a four-hour meeting at Old City Hall, during which about 50 locals showed up to scrutinize the designs.
“I feel like we are negotiating with ourselves,” said architect Bernard Zyscovich, hired by developers a year ago to deliver the plan after the project’s first application tanked at HARC. “We need some help.”
City staff hadn’t any recommendations for the appointed HARC board, led by chairman Michael Miller, saying more information from the planners was needed.
Miller said he couldn’t approve what he saw Monday night. At press time, the meeting was still winding down.
The meeting ended at 9:30 p.m. I have seen Filosa at many City Commission meetings after 9:30, and she had articles in the Citizen the next day, which covered more detail what she reported of the HARC meeting.
“We need the three-dimensional context diagrams to show how the proposed buildings will relate” to existing houses, said the city’s historic preservation planner Enid Torregrosa.
A dozen people who live on the borders of the 24-acre Peary Court, where 49 buildings from 1996 will be demolished for the redevelopment, urged HARC to deny the project, predicting parking headaches and traffic congestion.
“It will create a nightmare for our way of life,” said Ted Baier. “This is our home. Please listen to the neighbors.”
Donna Feldman compared plans for a water tower and multi-family buildings at the entrance to Old Town off the Garrison Bight bridge to Holocaust imagery.
“They are eerily reminiscent of concentration camp photos,” Feldman wrote in a letter that was read into the record Monday. “It is an image I never want to see.”
Where to begin? There are so many places.
Here’s what Feldman was looking at:
But here is what the project architect presented yesterday evening; maybe in the future he will be more careful about what he makes public.
The architect’s explanation for this part of the new Peary Court was, back in the old days, there were ugly, big buildings and a water tower, so he wanted to continue with that theme in a modern context. The architect said there would be a cistern under the barracks, and the water in the cistern would be pumped up into the tower and stored there until needed. It would be potable water, for emergencies, and in the meantime would be used for irrigation. He said it would be enough water to irrigate the entire new Perry Court landscaping.
What it looked like to me was the architect wanted to use the barracks to create a privacy screen to block the rest of the new Peary Court from seeing the city bus terminal and other unpleasant construction across Palm Avenue, and to block incoming Palm Avenue traffic from seeing the rest of the new Peary Court.
Here is a link to the latest of the architect’s renderings and photos, which I am unable to copy and paste into this post:
During citizen comments, the Peary Court neighbors said they are gravely concerned with the quality of life impact the new Peary Court development will have on them vis a via increased traffic on their streets, increased competition for already scarce parking spaces, increased noise, etc.
The Angela Street residents, who live just across that street from Peary Court, are gravely concerned about their quiet street and lives being turned upside down and inside out by the new Peary Court, and the construction of it over the next ten years. RAPE is the only word I feel can describe what they will experience if Angela Street is opened to Peary Court residents.
The architect and the developer already had conceded to the Angela Street residents on not opening Peary Court up to Angela Street, except for two pedestrian/bicycle paths, which the Angel Street residents even opposed because they felt, rightly, I think, that Peary Court residents will park on Angela Street and walk into Peary Court, even though there is very little off-street parking on Angela Street at this time.
The developer and the architect also had conceded to leave a small border buffer of land and the fence currently running of the Peary Court side of Angela Street in place, even though the fence lies on Peary Court’s land (according to the architect). However, City Planner Don Craig, and several HARC commissioners, said they want to see Angela Street integrated into the bigger picture; they do not want anything walled off, like what happened at Truman Annex, which walled itself off from the rest of Old Town, even though it was served by city through streets such as this one, Southard Street, which goes to part of the Navy Base and to Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. Eventually, the Navy had to intervene, to stop hoitytoity Truman Annex from putting a gate across Southard Street.
My sympathy lies with the Angela Street residents. There is no telling what kind of people – riffraff, the HARC Chair said – will end up in Peary Court, which apparently will contain transient rental units. The Angela Street residents quiet enjoyment of their homes will be fractured, even if Angela Street remains as is. If Angela Street is opened to through traffic, it truly wil be RAPE.
I do not think Don Craig or HARC have considered the City Commission, which ultimately will decide opening Angela Street and two other crossing streets, Southard and Fleming, will make the final decision on opening those streets. I don’t see the city commissioners and mayor feeling comfortable about destroying the Angela Street residents’ quality of life. On this issue, I think the developer and the architect came to the right conclusion: leave Angela Street be.
However, it seemed to me the architect made up the same story Jim Hendrick had made up Sunday before last at the Moose Lodge, which sits on the east corner of Angela Street and Eisenhower Drive. Hendrick’s made-up story was city staff wanted to close Palm Avenue and not let it continue to be an entry into Peary Court. The architect said yesterday evening that the Palm Avenue entrance only served a very small part of Peary Court. Not so, City Planner Don Craig said. The Peary Court entrance serves over half of the residences in Peary Court. This is obvious to anyone who has actually been in Peary Court. The HARC chair announced yesterday he lives in Peary Court. I wonder if the architect ever figured out that he had gotten caught red-handed?
Don Craig also said he did not see keeping the Palm Avenue entrance open would cause traffic problems on Palm Avenue, since he had never seen traffic problems caused by that entrance in the past. Jim Hendrick took sharp issue with Craig, citing a traffic study showing the Palm Avenue entrance would cause traffic backup on Palm Avenue. Craig said, study or not, he never had seen traffic problems caused by the Palm Avenue entrance, and he lives nearby and travels Palm Avenue frequently. As do I, on my bicycle, and I have never seen traffic problems caused by the Palm Avenue entrance.
I do not wonder if Jim Hendrick figured out that he got caught red-handed. He knew. At the Moose Lodge Sunday before last, Hendrick said he had brought the architect into the Peary Court project, the architect was his dear friend. Just having Henrick represent the developer should raise lots of red flags for HARC, Don Craig and the City Government.
I wrote about a week ago in a post at www.goodmorningkeywest.com that I felt there was something fishy about closing the Palm Avenue entrance into Peary Court, and I urged the Peary Court neighbors to keep pressing on leaving the Palm Avenue entrance open; I felt that would smoke something out. What it smoked out was Hendrick’s and the architect’s made-up stories, and they and the developer not wanting the general public to have access into the new Peary Court from Palm Avenue. If Hendrick and the architect made up stories about the Palm Avenue entrance, what else are they making up stories about is what I am wondering?
The architect said yesterday evening that there is 50 percent more parking space designed into the new Peary Court than is needed. We won’t know the truth of that until after the new Peary Court is built and all the units are sold and occupied. Jim Hendrick was involved in the development of Truman Waterfront, which didn’t end up having affordable housing, as had been promised to the city by that developer, Pritam Singh, who was represented by Jim Hendrick, and would become Jim’s dear friend.
The 5 letters from Peary Court neighbors, which were read into the record yesterday evening, were way too long; it seemed each letter took at least 10 minutes to be read, whereas citizens present later were allowed only 3 minutes to speak. I imagine that’s why other local government bodies down here quit reading citizen letters into the record, and I suggest HARC stop reading citizen letters into the record.
During citizen comments, I said I am from another part of the city, so I don’t have a dog in the fight about being next to Peary Court, and I would speak to the development differently.
I said, the reason we all are here, and everyone in the meeting knows that reason, is –Greed. Greed is why this is happening. Greed is the root of all of this. That needs to be kept in mind at all times. They all know there is nothing wrong with the present Peary Court subdivision, except the developer cannot make a lot of money off it, unless it is razed and a new, pricier development replaces it.
I said, although the HARC Chairman had said we were not to talk about lots of issues, including parking, the architect had talked about parking, and since I was a lawyer, and since the architect had opened that door, I was going to talk about parking briefly. I said, there will not be enough parking inside Peary Court for all of the residents’ vehicles, and that will put more pressure on the scarce parking elsewhere in that part of town.
I said, if the developer was putting solar panels on every roof and a cistern under every building, to help bring Key West into the 21st Century, I could support that; but HARC is not going to let that happen, so I will speak to the architecture itself.
I said this architecture could be plopped down in Birmingham, Alabama, which is my home town, and it would look just fine there. I said it could be plopped down in West Palm Beach, and look just fine there. But it doesn’t look anything like Old Town architecture. It looks like a lot of copycat buildings. It looks mass-produced.
The HARC Chairman asked if I am opposed to Conch architecture? I said, walk the entire length of Angela Street, all the way to the end of Bahama Village. That’s Conch architecture. Put that architecture in this development and I can support it. This is the Historical Architectural Review Commission, isn’t it? Oh, maybe I shouldn’t have said that part.
Later, Jim Hendrick came over and told me he was going to make me really happy. I said, what will make me really happy is for each building in the new Peary Court to be Conch architecture. That wasn’t what he had in mind. Later, he told the HARC commissioners that the developer would be happy to put solar panels on the roof of each building. Then, the architect said that doesn’t always work out well. But, it could be done. The HARC Chair scotched the solar panels idea.
Weird. Key West is at the end of a long chain of islands. All its electricity is generated in fossil fuel and nuclear power plants in south Florida. We are forever hearing about Key west going green. Much hoopla about global warming and rising seas and low parts of Key West going under water. Lots of good reasons for Key West to be as solar reliant as possible, but HARC will not allow it, or roofs painted white to reflect the sun and reduce use of electricity by air-conditioners. Yet razing Peary Court and replacing it with something even more unlike Key West’s Old Town architecture is in keeping with Key West’s historic architectural ambiance. Pee-u.
The HARC Chair, himself an architect, took the developer’s architect apart about there not being any tennis courts or ball fields in the new Peary Court, and not utilizing a low area, but letting it be a water collection area (swamp), which criticism I found comforting. I was not comforted, however, by the HARC Chair wanting to open Angela Street all the way up.
Before citizen comments, the HARC commissioners had not spoken; it was not yet known they favor opening Angela Street up all the way. Had I known of that, during citizen comments I would have said that would amount to RAPE.
Well, perhaps that’s enough today about Peary Court; I’m sure there will be plenty more opportunities to dissect it.
Received yesterday over Monroe County Mayor Emeritus Shirley Freeman’s email address:
March 12th is a special evening in Key West!! Two of Key West’s favorite soloists team up for an evening of “Unleashed Passion”. If you love them as soloists, imagine the fireworks when they team up to bring us a concert to remember! Please join us for this special recital. For more info you can call 305-295-7676 or click below to reserve online. The concert has been moved to the Cabaret to create a more intimate setting. Don’t wait to call, limited seating available.
You can also join us at Shirley Freeman & Harvey Server’s beautiful home on Tuesday, March 11th for a special reception in honor of Zuill and Natasha. Information is provided for you through Keystix.com or through the symphony office.
Thank you for your support throughout the years of Key West’s Symphony.
CLICK HERE to reserve your concert seats or call the box office at 305-295-7676
To which I replied:
Thanks, Shirley, will include what you sent in tomorrow’s post at www.goodmorningkeywest.com. I already agreed to do something Wednesday night, which I may not be able to change. I can attend the reception at your place tomorrow night, but due to limited social opportunities, I have no clue what Splendid Black is. I have a black polo shirt, but I think maybe that’s not the same thing :-). And to think I actually once did have a black tuxedo a long, long time ago, in a universe far, far away (Birmingham, Alabama).
When I bumped into Shirley day before yesterday, she said she might not be able to make the HARC meeting because of a big party she was having at her home the next day, for which she needed to be getting ready. At the Moose Lodge Sunday before last, she made crystal clear her concerns about there not being enough parking for the new Peary Court development.
Key West officials and residents howl long and loud about the lack of parking in Old Town, but that never seems to get in the way of a new residential development getting approved. Greed comes to mind, again.
Shahdaroba Rodd wrote yesterday:
good morning,Sloan; I hope you’re well. When the homeless issue comes up, you many times correctly say that KWPD & the city are using the county jail for a solution. And you are quite correct on many other aspects of the homeless issue, but there is on aspect that I think you fall way short of discussing, and perhaps assigning blame to. And that is the local court system. When I say the court system, I mean not only judges, but also the State Attorney’s office and the Public Defender’s office as well.
You know as well as anyone if the courts would stop babying the city & the KWPD by condoning their illegal behavior and actions, then I’m sure the situation would be different; maybe not cured, but certainly way different. The judges and the attendant attorneys for the SA and PD at first appearances could — and SHOULD– question more fully what the cops have written in their reports, instead of blankly rubber-stamping them. For a prime example, I’ll use my April 2009 arrest for BUI (BOATING under the influence) on Duval Street by Luis Sanchez when I was riding a bicycle and there was not a boat anywhere around.
Prior to every first appearance court session, it’s my understanding (garnered from a former private attorney, now an asst. PD) that the judge for the day, a staff atty from the SA office, and one from the PD office get together in the judge’s chamber and decide what action will be taken against each and every person coming before the judge a bit later. They supposedly discuss probable cause issues, etc.
WELL, EXCUSE ME, MR. JUDGE AND ATTORNEYS, BUT WHERE, OH WHERE, WAS PROBABLE CAUSE ESTABLISHED TO CHARGE ME WITH BUI WHEN THERE WAS NO BOAT INVOLVED, AND NO MENTION OF A BOAT ANYWHERE IN THE REPORTS?
And then there’s the issue of “open container” arrests. It’s too bad some judge here doesn’t have the balls to stand up to the hypocrisy of arresting only locals (and usually only homeless ones at that) like a Jacksonville FL judge had a few years back when he ruled that city’s open container law to be unconstitutional because it was selectively enforced. that case was handled by the PD’s office so at least somewhere in America some people in the legal system do give a shit about the law, but not here.
this legal system here ought to be put out of business for the way they do business. It’smy personal opinion that each and every judge, prosecutor, and public defender should be arrested and charged with conspiracy for conspiring to violate arrestee’s right to have an attorney represent them at a first appearance, and for doing what they all conspire to do to persons arrested for open container arrests.
So Sloan I think you should address this aspect of our local legal hassles in your blogs.
Rodd, the Key West Hatman
Hi, Rodd -
Will you be at the “homeless summit” at Harvey Government Center on Wednesday, starting 2 p.m.? That will be an excellent time for you to speak to these issues. However, I would not speak from conjecture, but only from facts of which you have personal knowledge directly or from someone else who told you what happened to them with the police, a prosecutor, or a judge.
Was there an assistant state attorney involved in the prosecution your lodging in a vehicle case? I thought the prosecutor was a an assistant city attorney. Was there an assistant state attorney involved in other cases the city prosecuted against you? I understood “homeless” crimes are prosecuted by assistant city attorneys in the county misdemeanor court.
Public Defender lawyers are supposed to do their best to help their clients; that is required of all defense lawyers, of all lawyers of any kind. Unfortunately, I was one once as a court-appointed lawyer in criminal cases, new lawyers don’t know the ropes, get bamboozled by the prosecution. Unfortunately, criminal defendants don’t tell their defense lawyers the truth much of the time.
Unfortunately, judges routinely side with police officers. That’s the way is was in Birmingham, Alabama, that’s probably the way is is in Key West and everywhere else in USA. That, and blaming their defense lawyer long ago now became a popular post conviction tactic to try to get a new trial, regardless of how hard the defense lawyer tried, or didn’t try, to represent a criminal defendant; regardless of whether the criminal defendant was guilty.
It has not been given to me to try to reform the American criminal justice system, nor even Key West’s criminal justice system. Sometimes I am inserted into particular cases, such as your lodging in your vehicle case.
During two different meetings with you at Higgs Beach, I gave you what I felt was the best defense to use: that your van is your home, the only home you can afford, and the city made you a criminal for living in your home, and deprived you of your property and human rights. None of that did you mention that to Judge Miller. Nor did you put on a defense. Nor did you even testify. All after you had turned down Judge Miller’s offer, actually, his strong advice, that he appoint a Public Defender lawyer to represent you.
I agree, the enforcement of the open container against only homeless people is out out bounds, but I will not contest it, because I feel homeless people should stop drinking and I will not do anything to try to help them drink themselves to death.
I feel, and have written quite a few times, that the Sheriff is nuts to let city police bring homeless drunks to the jail, because the sheriff has to detox them (or send them to the ER room at the hospital), and take care of their other medical problems. I contend the city should at least have to pay the Sheriff and hospital back for that cost. And even that would be nuts, because, upon release, the homeless drunk drinks again, and is back in jail or at the hospital, over and over again that goes.
I told the City Commission a few months back that they should have a homeless shelter with and armed guard on duty 24 hours a day, where homeless arrested for open container are taken and kept for the rest of that day/night, and they are released the next morning when the other homeless people have to leave. They are released on foot, because they were required to lock up their bicycle wherever they were arrested. Keep doing that to them, maybe they will get tired of drinking. Maybe they will get tired of living in Key West and go elsewhere. But do not burden the Sheriff and the hospital with the city’s drunk homeless people.
If I were a local judge, I would toss out all open container cases against homeless people on the ground you say the Jacksonville judge used. I would toss out all other “homeless” crime cases, too. If I were the State Attorney, I would not prosecute such cases. That might not be legal for me to do, under the laws of Florida, but I would do it anyway, under a Higher Law, which I would describe as the US Constitution and the Law of God – you pick. However, I am not a local judge, nor the State Attorney.
It looks to me, Rodd, that some of what fuels your zeal right now is you lost your case and now you are fighting it sideways. Perhaps you should use some of your zeal to round up votes for me in the mayor’s race. I am the best friend homeless people in Key West ever had, and probably ever will have. Craig Cates, Tony Yaniz, Margaret Romero, to name other possible future mayors, would have homeless people deported from the Keys, if they could be king or queen for a while.
Political advertisement paid for and approved by Sloan Bashinsky, for Mayor of Key West