the devil’s in the details: journalism and running for mayor of Key West don’t have to be sleep-inducing – zzzzz

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Feather Talk

In today’s Key West Citizen –

Gwen FilosaGwen Filosa

Bashinsky files for mayoral race
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff

A former lawyer who calls himself a “citizen watchdog,” an artist and a mystic is making his fourth run for Key West mayor.

Sloan Bashinsky, 71, who lives in Old Town, filed paperwork Feb. 25 to become the second candidate in the race.

Mayor Craig Cates, elected last fall for a one-year term, has already filed for the Nov. 4 election.

The nonpartisan race is for a two-year term. Last year’s election was for half a term so that the city can sync its elections with statewide contests.

Bashinsky, a constant critic at City Commission and School Board meetings, spoke at Wednesday’s homeless summit at the Harvey Government Center, demanding five minutes instead of the allotted three.

“I am here to speak on behalf of all homeless people,” Bashinsky told the county and city commissioners, who allowed him the extra time.

Bashinsky was homeless for a time in the Florida Keys and in the past has publicly said that angels have told him to run for office.

“If you want a different approach, full transparency, a mayor who owes no favors and is impervious to outside pressure, a mayor who has been active in Key West issues for quite a while, I’m your man,” Bashinsky wrote in his candidate’s statement posted on the county supervisor of elections website.

Bashinsky, who is originally from Alabama, writes a daily blog about Florida Keys politics and social issues,

He has never held office but has run several times. In addition to three bids for mayor, he has run unsuccessfully for the School Board and County Commission.

That’s a fair report, and thanks, Gwen, for including a link to

One correction: I did not “demand” 5 minutes to speak. It was offered by County Commissioner George Neugent to any citizens who represented a legitimate group. County Mayor Sylvia Murphy said okay. So when my time to speak came, I said I had been homeless in Key West and I was speaking for homeless people and would take the 5 minutes offered by Commissioner Neugent. Mayor Murphy objected 3 minutes into my comments. I said again, I was taking the 5 minutes George had offered, which she had approved. Sylvia said that was only for people who represented a legitimate group. I said homeless people are a legitmate group, I cannot believe she said that. Commissioner David Rice said he wished to hear what else I had to say.  Sylvia said okay.

If you did not see my report about all of that, and the homeless summit, you should be able to see it by clicking on this link – passion unleashed vs. playing by the rules, serendipity odds vs. mechanical odds, homeless summit vs. doing something about it, Truman Waterfront vs. Peary Court, Tugboat Tilly elegy vs. what might have tugged; what is vs. what ain’t, in Key West … – and then by scrolling down to the homeless summit part of that post at

You might also be interested reading the Key West Marchman Act part of the ensuing Drunk Asylum: Key West Marchman Act’d by sheriff deputies and other pesky life’s a bitch and then you die take no prisoners hitchhiker’s guide from another galaxy incident reports post at

Meanwhile, Bob Kelly wrote to me yesterday:

Bob KellyKelly

Sloan, I believe that you asked Paul Williams to get somebody to send you the image he was referring to in his Shine Forbes missive.

Truman Waterfront plan

The area in blue is what remains of the 6.6 acres for Bahama Village. It has shrunk down to +/- 2.3 acres. The Navy Mess Hall was originally in the 6.6 and is now gone.

City wants to tear it down and rebuild a new Community Center for several million dollars. Bert Bender estimates that the existing building can be repurposed for much less and sooner.

Fireworks start at 5:30 on Monday.

Bob Kelly

I replied:

See you there. Should I bring my spare Kevlar jacket for you to wear?

What that’s about is reported in today’s KW Citizen:

Monday, March 17, 2014
Truman Waterfront plans fill agendas this week
Powerboat contract also on tap tonight for Truman Waterfront board
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff

Did you hear about the idea to put a restaurant at Truman Waterfront?

“That’s just what we need is another restaurant and a museum,” City Commissioner Mark Rossi said Friday, when told city staff had filed plans to convert an old Navy building into a combination eatery/museum. “It’s news to me. The city’s got to get real with what we’ve got to do. Too many people trying to do these grandiose ideas.”

The approval process required for the creation of the city’s long-awaited Truman Waterfront Park is scheduled to begin gaining traction this week.

In all, four Key West panels on three evenings will consider approving items directly related to the redevelopment of the 28.21 acres the Navy deeded over to the city in 2002.

The Truman Waterfront Advisory Board meets first, tonight, with the City Commission meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday and finally the Planning Board will convene Thursday with an agenda that includes the waterfront park development under the “New Business” section.

At 5:30 p.m. at Old City Hall, 510 Greene St., the volunteer Truman Waterfront Advisory Board and the Bahama Village Redevelopment Advisory Committee are set to discuss funding ideas for the building and lifelong maintenance of the park and the “connectivity” of the waterfront through Eaton, Angela and Petronia streets.

Long-held plans by the Spottswood firm to build a marina at the waterfront collapsed last year when the top Navy brass in Key West closed the harbor to the public, citing the need for military training exercises.

Now a restaurant/museum building is in the works, according to a 40-page report dated March 3 attached to Thursday’s Planning Board agenda.

“Building 103 … will be renovated for a restaurant, public restrooms and a museum,” states the report by park designers Bermello Ajamil and Partners. “The exterior of the building will be restored and updated to respect the historical character of the building.”

The report details parking, lighting and landscaping, along with broad strokes about the $30 million park that includes green space, a community center, horse stables and “a waterfront promenade [that] widens to almost 65 feet west of the grand lawn where there will be numerous opportunities,” the report says.

Tonight, the waterfront advisory board will hold its regular meeting after the joint panel summit to review the specific area reserved to raise property taxes that will go back into the Bahama Village neighborhood.

On the Truman Waterfront board’s agenda is a proposal to approve more than $1 million for landscape, architectural and land surveyor services to Bermello, Ajamil & Partners, Inc.

The contract was approved in November 2011, but commissioners have to approve the task order to release the money.

Also tonight, the advisory board will decide whether to start meeting twice a month beginning in April.

The board’s members are: Chairman Robert Cintron, Pat Labrada, Jim Gilleran, Sandra McMannis, Albert Sullivan, Richard Tallmadge and Sandra Walters.

In that same room on Tuesday, city commissioners will also review the $1 million task order for Bermello, Ajamil & Partners.

City Manager Bob Vitas on Tuesday is scheduled to present the entire history of the waterfront park project, which now includes plans for a $6 million, 3,800-square-foot amphitheater taht city staff included in recent months, and a restaurant that was added just last week.

On Friday morning, the Development Review Committee, which includes city staff and local professionals, formally received the city’s application asking for permission to open a restaurant on the waterfront at the site where the old Navy “Building 103? sits largely empty.

The appointed Planning Board is set to vote on the city’s application for a major development project for the waterfront park at its 6 p.m. Thursday meeting at Old City Hall …

I don’t recall ever seeing in the Citizen, the Keynoter, or anywhere except, that the director of the Tennessee Williams Theater and her production manager (for want of a better job description coming to mind at this much later date) appearing before the City Commission about 2 months or so ago and saying there was no possible way a 250 seat amphitheater at Truman Waterfront could produce positive revenue for the city. I think I recall they said the amphitheater would have to be at least 1,700 seats to have a chance of making positive revenue. As for the Tennessee Williams theater, they were just barely breaking even, and that was with grants and donations coming in. The city commissioners and mayor did not appear pleased to be told that, they asked no questions, and seemed to go on as if they had not heard it.

Truman Waterfront


Right-hand cruise ship docket at outer mole pier, left-hand cruise ship docked at Westin resort

I remain of the view that the city does not need a new pubic park on Truman Waterfront, because it has a beautiful public park right next door,

Fort Zach 2

which is Ft. Zachary Taylor State Park, which homeless people do not use because of the small entrance fee. You will not be able to keep homeless people out of a new Truman Waterfront park, unless you fence it in and charge a fee. Otherwise, they will be able to go in there, sit on park benches, in the amphitheater, etc.

I remain of the view that Truman Waterfront should be used to produce positive revenue for the city and Bahama Village.

In that regard, Bob Kelly wrote to me a while back:

Here’s a thought: why not make the outer mole pier the docking point of last resort? Since the outer mole pier is losing money, largely because of the half-million dollars that goes to HTA for transportation and security, bringing the majority of ships to either Mallory docks or Pier B will eliminate those costs. On a day when both of those berths are is use, then we open up the outer mole to accommodate that third ship. It’s my observation that Mallory is underutilized and that the Navy pier is over-utilized.

As always, the devil is in the details. For example, are there cruise ships that are too big for Mallory? Very well, only schedule those ships for days when Pier B is available. Gradually phase those ships out of the schedule anyway. If they’re too big for Mallory, they’re probably too big for Key West anyway.

Couple that move with raising disembarkation fees and assessing impact fees on Pier B (or renegotiating the split with the Westin) and we should begin to reverse the drain from the Navy Pier.

Your comments directed at John Dolan-Heitlinger and his employment at HTA were well-said. I’ve heard you make them on other occasions; keep on reminding us.


I had said at a city commission meeting, after Dolan-Heitlinger

John Dolan-HeitlingerDolan-Heitlinger

had said the outer more revenues were critical to Key West, that he had not said he worked for Historic Tours of America/Ed Swift,


and back during the run up to the bigger cruise ships referendum last year, Dolan-Heitlinger had a seat on the dais at referendum forums, and he never once disclosed he worked for HTA/Swift.

I said the true beneficiary of the outer mole arrangement with the Navy is Ed Swift/HTA conch trains. The city pays HTA $500,000 a year for HTA to haul cruise ship passengers into Swift’s conch train terminals and gift shops, where cruise ship passengers buy fake conch trinkets made in Asia and pay for conch train rides throughout Key West. I said the city’s subsidy of Swift and HTA goes back a ways, to even before when the city gave Swift and HTA a monopoly on that business, which ended up costing the city about $8,000,000 in an anti-trust lawsuit. It’s time for the city to stop subsidizing Swift and HTA.

I also said, before the Navy gave Truman Waterfront to the city, civilians were allowed to go out to the outer mole to sunbathe, swim, fish, picnic, watch sunsets, if there was no warship in port, which was seldom. But after the city was conveyed the land, civilians were not allowed to go out there any more; only Ed Swift’s conch  trains got to go out  there.

I said Robin Lockwood, M.D.,

Robin LockwoodLockwood

the Key West Chamber of Commerce’s current President, had said at one of the bring in bigger cruise ship referendum forums that the dirtiest, worst possible cruise ships were calling on Key West, which had been going on for a very long time, and would continue to go on. So why was not the Chamber and the City Commission doing all they could to put a stop to that? The sea is Key West’s only real asset; as the sea goes, Key West goes.

I said the referendum actually was a referendum on cruise ships calling on Key West, and nearly 74 percent of the voters said how they felt about that. As did Key West the Newspaper –

cruise ship butt

nope, not doing it

I replied to Bob Kelly yesterday:

Bob, for some reason I didn’t reply to your outer mole comment, I don’t recall getting it flagged in my email account, which is what alerts me to comments at this website. My choice, of course, is to ban all cruise ships from calling on Key West. Meanwhile, I wonder if any real effort is being made in city hall to get out of the outer mole lo$ing arrangement underway for $ome time now. Sinking all cruise ships in deep water might fix the HTA subsidy problem, too, and create new artificial reefs, and eliminate no telling how many T-shirt shops, and there might be a few less conch trains and trolleys roaming city streets, and well, that’s one way to look at quality of life enhancement for Key West folks, although it wouldn’t be a happy moment for the folks addicted to cruise ship passengers roving on and near Duval Street. Maybe I should write a screenplay about this.



Look! No cruise ships!

I will be at the Truman Waterfront and the city commission meetings this evening. I may speak at the Truman Waterfront meeting, and I will speak to a few items on the commission printed agenda, and probably during closing citizen comments . The commission meeting is televised on Channel 77. I always try to make city commission meetings interesting.

If I am elected, city commission meetings will become a lot more interesting. The angels hard on my case are forever feeding me information in various ways, some human, some not human, about stuff they give me to engage. Information which has been hidden, which bears on what I am engaging. In city commission meetings, I will say it, on television, and I will report it the next day at, just like I do now each day, along with all sorts of other juicy and not so juicy city and other stuff.

Journalism is

compliments Erika Biddle, yesterday

Erika one zombie familyErika Biddle FBErika

Back to Truman Waterfront,

Pearl Harbor lookout

Pearl Harbor lookout

it looks to me that there never has been a viable plan. I still think Truman Waterfront should be made into a city-run RV-tent camping park, similar to the one at Bahia Honda State Park, with the net revenues divided fairly between the city and Bahama Village. The park could be closed during the annual power boat races, so there will be plenty of parking out there for the power boat people.

I also still think the upland area the Spottswoods wanted for the mega-yacht marina, which I figured would not do well and the city would end up taking it over and paying off the debt with city taxpayer money, should be offered to the Walsh-Bernstein group on a 99-year, $1-year lease, for them to build a 5 star hotel there, which the Walshes know how to do and operate, as per the Westin resort just around the corner,


as per Sunset Key across the channel from the Westin,

Sunset Key ariel

as per other Walsh 5-start resorts on the New England seaboard. In return, Key West receives 1 percent of that development’s gross revenues, and the Bernsteins deed to the city any interest they may have in Wisteria Island

Wisteria Island

across the channel next to Sunset Key,

Wisteria Island

subject to voter approval in a referendum, for the island to be a fee-paid city public day and camping park, in perpetuity. The city runs a ferry out there and back from Mallory Pier. The Feds might love that idea, because their US Fish & Wildlife doesn’t want to look after Wisteria Island. The Feds might be delighted to convey whatever interest they think they may own in Wisteria to Key West, on condition that the island be a public park.

Above are examples of the kind of criticisms, constructive and otherwise, I make at city commission and county commission meetings.


Who invented the rule

that running for mayor requires

littering the land with “Vote for Me!!!” signs,

and polluting the air waves with “Vote for Me! blasts,

which tell voters ding squat about a candidate,

other than he/she spent money trying to beg your vote?

Ain’t there a no-panhandling ordinance in Key West?


Who invented the rule that running for office

has to be ordinary, boring, politically correct?

Ain’t Key West the refuge of artists, street performers,

musicians, poets, rebels?


Who invented the rule that some things just are not said?

Ain’t Key West’s come on,

“Come as you are to where the weird turn pro?”

So, yes,

Please tell me who,

Yes just who

invented all those silly rules?

Surely, it wasn’t the maker of the first stone –

Otherwise, there’d be no stones

to break all those stupid slaving rules!

Sloan at Coco'sSloan in collarSloan with troll

sloan for mayor

Higgs Beach party

dark horse


Sloan Bashinsky

Political advertisement paid for and approved by Sloan Bashinsky,

for Mayor of Key West

About Sloan

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