divergent currents in Key West’s Truman Waterfront and cruise ship referendum fallout, humans’ incipient suicide drive, meaning of 11, Key West’s new overnight drunk resort, village voice

ship of fools

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Truman Waterfront

Truman Waterfront (the undeveloped part)

Jolly Benson wrote yesterday:

Jolly Benson

Hi Sloan,

I’ve noticed you mention the Truman Annex RV Park a few times lately, and thought I would jog your memory.

We were at Jack Flats in November, just talking about this and that. The Truman Annex fiasco came up, and I suggested a European style campground could be something good. My idea was that the city would build wooden platforms, with a storage container and picnic table (maybe with an umbrella!) for each platform. Guests would be able to pitch a tent on these platforms, and use the tables and storage containers.

One parking space is included with the nightly fee. If your car leaves the parking space, you forfeit the camp site, no exceptions. This would lessen the vehicular traffic through Bahama Village and encourage visitors to rent bikes or walk. Parking in Bahama Village would have to be monitored so there isn’t the issue of people taking up spots there.

Bathrooms and showers would be in a central, unairconditioned building. Nothing really fancy. This building should not be expensive to build.

If we were to have say, 75 sites, and charge something like $100 per site per night, this would net $7500 per day, or $225,000 per month at max capacity. Even if its only full for 6 months and vacant the rest of the time, thats still $1,350,000 per year.

I agree with your guest writer that Bahama Village should be running the show here. In fact, they should look into using their 6.6 acres to do something like this and come to an agreement with the city on how to split the revenues and maintenance costs. But the majority of the revenues should go for Bahama Village, which will obviously be the most impacted area.

Now $100 per night is very expensive to camp, but a steal compared to other lodging. It would allow younger visitors to experience Key West, who likely would return for future visits to hotels. We are seeing less and less of visitors in their early to mid twenties, which is when a lot of people have the time to travel but not necessarily the means to stay at expensive hotels. It is also a time in one’s life where Key West can seem magical. It was for lots of people who now live here.

As to the idea of an RV park, I am against it. Those massive, lumbering beasts have no place on our tiny downtown roads. Add to that a running generator all night, and it would drive the neighboring citizens bonkers. No sir. In fact, generators should be banned at the campground as well. I have seen people camping with a generator and portable AC, no joke.

This is all just ideas at this point. But it seems like a viable thing, and more pleasant than another upscale exclusionary diamond-crusted day spa. To me anyway. Bahama Village getting on board is obviously the first and most crucial step.

On another subject, I seem to have lost Heavy Wait in the recent move. I will buy a replacement from Amazon, unless there is a local store to buy it from. I will send you notes on it as soon as I can find enough red pens. May have to buy out all of North America’s stock! Just kidding, you write well.

Hope all is well with you,

Jolly Benson

I replied:

Hi, Jolly –

Didn’t know you had moved, I really liked the location and ambiance of where you lived at the end of Love Lane. You probably can get a copy of Heavy Wait from the Key West library – back in 2006, I gave them several copies for Key West and other branch libraries.

I had thought of RVs, especially the really big ones, lumbering through Old Town en route to Truman Waterfront. Then I thought of the power boat races and what lumbers to Truman Waterfront during that week. I had not thought of generators. Lots of RVs stay at Bahia Honda, and I don’t see who would be disturbed by generators out there on Truman Waterfront but campers. Heavy use of the park by campers, as at Bahia Honda, would be during the cooler months, when there is less reason to run A/C.

Yes, you reminded me of our conversation about tent platforms. All good, but I think $100 a night would not garner a lot of business. $50 a night would be okay. You wouldn’t get much hot weather business; sleeping in a tent down here in hot weather, which I have done, is not pleasant. Sleeping in an RV with A/C is okay, I imagine.

The campground should provide bicycle rentals for campers who do not bring their own bikes; many do bring their own bikes, based on vehicles I have seen coming into the Keys.

They have made a mess of Truman Waterfront, in my opinion – lots of me, me, me, I want, I want, I want; little concern for something the city actually needs overall, which could make the city and Bahama Village good net revenue.

Thanks for your input.

P.S. As for my doing well, I was doing increasingly okay for me after moving back down here from Little Torch Key at the end of last August. Then, I did the angels’ bidding and filed to run for mayor about ten days or so ago. Then, it felt like the weight of the world descended up on my shoulders. As if gravity and old age needed more help :-).

Hope better for you.

I recently received a few copies of Heavy Wait in Spanish. Given the romance and mysticism in it, maybe it should have been written by a Spaniard :-).

Don Quixote


Jolly led the charge in Key West against the referendum to dredge the channel wider and bring in even bigger cruise ships. Almost 74 percent of the votes cast said, “No way, Hosea!” All along I viewed the referendum as being a poll on how Key West people felt about cruise ships calling on Key West.

cruise ship truth 3cruise ship truth 4

cruise ship truth

Photos of cruise ship leaving Key West, taken by Jolly’s brother Will, a local tarpon guide, some time before a spokesperson representing the Key West Chamber of Commerce would say at a referendum forum that the dirtiest, worst possible cruise ships were calling on Key West – he meant, they dumped their waste water and kitchen wastes and whatever into the ocean.

cruies ship facade

all of which led to me wondering why in the hell the Chamber and Key West’s elected officials and city residents had not clamored for years against cruise ships calling on Key West?

cruise ship butt

This cartoon above, by Arnaud Girard, ran in Key West the Newspaper – www.thebluepaper.com – during the run up to the bigger cruise ship referendum, and this cartoon ran after the referendum was smashed.

nope, not doing it

Alas, interest in cruise ships then pretty much evaporated, except for Jerry Weinstock and me harping that cruise ships should be prevented from calling on Key West, and except for the Chamber harping that the fat lady hadn’t sung yet, they would be back. Then, the City Commission passed an ordinance requiring a super majority vote to overturn the referendum. Then, it was just Jerry and me harping again. Odd alliance, the area’s psychiatrist emeritus and a lunatic who, if elected mayor, will call for a all-out effort to rid Key West of cruise ships.

Elliot Baron sniper

Jerry and Jolly’s friend Elliot Baron on his Facebook page during the run up to the referendum.

Part of yesterday’s post at www.goodmorningkeywest.com didn’t display well, so here it is again, with even later email discussion between Jerry Weinstock and myself:

psychiatrist interviews



Oceans at risk


Difficult to face, our oceans are at risk and fish species are diminishing and in delicate, extremely fragile condition.

Landmark papers, monumental in scope by Thor Heyerdahl, “How To Kill An Ocean,”published in 1975, and E. O. Wilson’s “Is Humanity Suicidal,” both men scientific heavyweights outlined serious problems rushing upon us, tsunami in scope. There is no lack of valid scientific studies since then by teams of researchers from numerous countries including American, British, Canadian and Russian.

As outlined in the New York Times in two editorials, one as recent as Sunday, Feb. 16, not a single square foot of ocean has been left untouched by modern society. Polluting run-off from a multiplicity of sources, overfishing, ruthless bottom trawling, social groupings of spawning fish wiped out never to recover all these and more have contributed to the problems of tragically collapsing fish numbers.

I have personally fished in south Florida since 1939 and in the Keys since 1956 and fish declining numbers and ecological destruction have been indescribable and precipitously sliding steeply downhill.

One of the few bright spots has been the rapidly increasing numbers of “marine-protected-areas,” 87 of these off 40 different countries.

They have to be large enough, protected enough and meet other well managed criteria to be effective. This is a tough call here in the Keys, for me and my commercial fisher and sport fisher friends. We are all passionate about our fishing. Large areas have to be off limits and protected or our fish will surely perish as did the cod off New England putting thousands of people out of work.

So far it appears for the foreseeable future. The reality is the Sanctuary people in their planning of “marine preserves” have it mostly correct. We can cooperate and have hope or resist to what end other than eventual decimation of our cherished marine living resources.

Jerry Weinstock

Key West

I commented at KONK Life:

I agree, Jerry, this is a tough issue to resolve in a way that does not leave a lot of human casualties. I started fishing the flats around Islamorada in the latter 1950s. It was my favorite thing to do, even though I lived in Alabama. I saw and heard stories of the decline in fish populations. We understood over-fishing was the cause. We saw the conchs and green turtles diminish in numbers. We were not aware of the chemical runoff effect coming out of the Everglades and rivers into the Bay of Florida. The phosphates and nitrogens. I attended a Marine Sanctuary Steering Committee meeting a few weeks ago at the county government center in Marathon, which focused on the pilot program for fixing, or trying to fix, the polluted canals in the Keys. Just a few of the canals, as they don’t have anywhere near the funding to tackle the entire problem, and they are still in the studying, trying to figure out stage. When I told them about the chemical runoff problem coming back around, with respect to that having killed most of the reef many years ago, they did not seem receptive. The lower Florida district head of Department of Environmental Protection chaired the meeting. Understatement. I came away from the meeting not feeling encouraged that the Marine Sanctuary was looking out for Mother Nature first. For a very long time I have not been encouraged that the fishing industry was looking out for Mother Nature first. Perhaps the fishing in the Keys is fated to go the way of the reef. Perhaps the fishing industry is fated to go the way of the salvaging industry, which was so dominant in the Key West economy many years ago. Perhaps the fishing industry is going the way of the dinosaurs. The fish catch photos in the Key West Citizen suggest as much. Years ago, no self-respecting fisherman would have posed photos of such paltry catches.

Jerry replied:

SLOAN: appreciate your thoughtful and lengthy answer. Donna and I have testified at sanctuary meetings when they asked for input (public)
They are NOT a well grounded group in critical biological knowledge
and they and the local EPA seem controlled by commercial fishing dynamics
and they will never mention cruise pollution ever. Yes, land based nutrient
runoff has contributed and lowered the bio-sphere immune system but the
cruise SILT and bunker OILS and SEWAGE have done the homicidal heavy work.
My book (INSULT) covers all of this in about 300 pages and graphics—I have worked on for 9 years. The phytoplankton the base of our food chain heavily compromised—–no doubt –lobstering and stone crabbing have recently collapsed.
We have pictures of party boat catches comparing from the 1950’s until now
and it is worse than pathetic. Light is Life and Copepods are the food of all crustaceans; tiny Copepods feed on microscopic Plankton that have to have light energy and CLEAR water like we had when you and I remember the “Golden age of fishing.” it is all quite tragic and writing the book was heartbreaking at times—MY BEST TO YOU –SINCERELY !!!— Jerry
Protected Marine Preserves are one of the only hopeful entities left. Jerry

After seeing I had posted his letter to the editor and my reply at www.goodmorningkeywest.com, Jerry wrote:

SLOAN: thanks for adding your comments and putting in the
letter about the state of our fisheries— particularly unless
we get our synapses operating we will have a shriven, shrunken
future in our once great ocean. I thought today I could
relax a bit–no way–driving a friend home –lives just to the
west of Bernstein Park—all around an estuary once
thick –yesterday–with healthy Mangroves they are
tearing them down –inquiring no one knows why–
something serious has happened to our brains
as we go about merrily tearing down trees –it is a
MESS— once a grove of CO2 sucking trees -flood control also.

I cannot process our suicidal plunge into self-destruction. ??? Jerry

I wrote:

Hi, Jerry –

I didn’t see your reply until I had already published today’s dunces and wizard’s post.

It’s all very sad. From a fly on the ceiling view, or an ET in a space ship, I imagine it looks like humanity is incipiently suicidal, given how it treats its home, which is this planet. Chemicals killing forests, rivers, lakes, oceans, atmosphere, animals and even humans; genocide against various animal species for food, sport and even aphrodisiacs. Perhaps the real problem should be at least admitted: We have met the enemy and we are it – humans. I keep wondering when Mother Nature will say, “Enough!”, and the planet hiccups, throws off the fleas. The collateral damage to the non-invasive species (all species but humans) would be catastrophic, but perhaps not quite as catastrophic as the fleas killing the planet.

Perhaps your book, once published, will be a public indictment by one of the “State’s Witnesses” of the fleas.


Jerry wrote:

HI Sloan: I just saw your response –after I wrote another
we both concluded the human race is progressing
post-haste into pronounced suicidal mode.
This planet was magnificent and so were the Keys when
we first arrived here. tragic—really !! we have our
memories…..!! Jerry

fish or cut bait

From Tim Gratz yesterday:

Tim Gratz

So how is this?

A customer called Domino’s last night and as always I began by confirming his delivery address, which was such and such a street, Apt 11. Well the computer tracks all customer orders and I noticed that he had ordered from us 11 times before. So I joked with him that he was in Apt 11 and the last time he ordered was his eleventh order. He thought this should give him some discount and I said well that was for last time. So he ordered a pasta or whatever and it came to a shade under $10.00. But then he added a drink and so I ran a new total, and the total was $11.11!!! Just after we had joked about 11 and 11!

How about that? But no cosmological significance that I can see.

I replied:

What do you figure were the odds against that happening?

In Las Vegas, the odds were 100 percent against.

In Heaven, the odds were 100 percent in favor.

What I would wonder, if that had happened to me, was what it meant as far as I was concerned?

If it had been me, I would have thought, “Hmmm, 7 come 11, 7 is the number for the mark of God on an event or person. ”

No cosmological significance, of course :-).

Therefore, I would have asked the angels who run me to explain it to me.

I would not have asked you, or anyone else, to explain it to me :-).

I might have wondered, “Hmmm, 11th hour, time’s a running out. Maybe I need to get my affairs in order, on this planet, with God.”

No cosmological significance, of course :-).

In my line of work, Tim, what you described is called a waking dream. Or a sign.

And yes, it might have had much the same meaning for the messenger who brought it to you. And it might have the same meaning for me, too.

Time’s running out on something. No cosmological significance, of course 🙂


P.S. 7 and 11 both win at craps. Maybe a winning roll is in the wind :-).

seven come eleven

Just in after I published all of the above today:


Subject: Homeless Drunks and Addicts
Date: Sat, 15 Mar 2014 08:11:44 -0500

Although Sloan Bashinsky’s thoughts about what to do with the drunk/addict homeless has merit and seems to makes a lot of sense, there are a few inherent problems with it.

1) Where would this “special facility” be? It would have to be a secured building with KWPD guards. Just like KOTS, no one would want it in their neighborhood. How about an outdoor area with a 12 ft’ fence and razor wire? Maybe Truman Waterfront? How about Mallory Square (reminiscent of being put in stocks) where they can be seen by all? Maybe in Mayor Cates or Tony Yaniz’s front yard?

2) Why only the homeless drunks/addicts? There are hundreds of tourists on Duval Street 24/7 who are as bad or worse. How about the “elite” residents of Key West? There are plenty of them also. We all know tourists and “elite” residents and their friends get special treatment.

3) Who would pay for it? The current city commission won’t. (unless they can pocket cash from it) They’re happy passing the cost off to the Sheriff and hospital. How about a special tax on alcohol? Let the drunks (homeless, tourists and elite residents) pay for their own incarceration.

Kurt Wagner
St. Thomas, USVI
soon to return to Key West

I replied:

Aw, Kurt, there you go again killing them softly again :-).

I think the city’s overnight drunk resort ought to be some place mutually convenient to the drunks and the cops, say, hmmm, the old city hall on Angela Street, which I understand used to be a jail :-). It’s only a half-block from Duval Street.

I wuz wondering if you, or someone, wuz gonna point out that Key West’s national pastime is getting drunk, and what a great learning experience it would be to put all the drunks into one resort for the night; it might even cause them to see they are more than slightly distantly related :-).

Ciaosky, Trosky

the beatings will continue

Someone in Key West told me yesterday that I am the village voice. Good thing the angels do not tell me to sing, I’d be arrested under the city noise ordinance for cruel and unusual punishment :-).

Sloan at Coco's


Political advertisement paid for and approved by Sloan Bashinsky, 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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