Big Pine Key: Mother Nature’s Last Stand

key-deer.jpgKey Deer, indigenous Big Pine Key residents staring at the weird alien invasion: humans.

Below, in time order written and posted, are commentaries centered on Big Pine Key and its nearby surroundings. Bisected by US 1, aka The Overseas Highway, Big Pine lies about ten miles below Seven Mile Bridge, which begins just below Marathon. The drive from Marathon to Big Pine provides some of the prettiest seaside scenery in the Keys. Apologies for inside jokes, sometimes explained in the moment, sometimes explained in a later post, sometimes simply not explained. If you don’t like this blog, start your own, or check out bigpinekey.com, particularly the Coconut Telepraph gossip and bitch page. It has a lot more readers than this website, and it publishes most comments submitted. I only publish comments that seem germaine to what the angels assigned to look over and keep after me deem important. (Not an inside joke but generally thought by many in the Keys and elsewhere on and off this planet to be a certain sign I’m nuts, or a liar).

 Sloan Bashinsky, beleagured scribe

FLASH BACK TO:

Big Pine Key: HEART of the RESISTANCE

key-deer.jpggreat-fisher.jpgReceived this email yesterday (24 June 2008). My reply follows.

___________________________________________

Hey Sloan,

So tell the Big Pine property owners what you would do for the future about the HCP & ITP and fish & wildlife.

Dick

___________________________________________

Hi, Dick, and thanks for your question. I will answer it is several ways.

I attended a Planning Board meeting on Big Pine several months ago, and it was then that I got an ear and stomach-full of just how convoluted the formula is for building even one more new home there. I commented to someone at the meeting that the formula seemed to have been designed on purpose, and I saw no way to work with it.

I also spoke with Alicia Putney about building homes on Big Pine and No Name Key. She and her husband Mick, and quite a few other people on Big Pine are very, very committed to keeping that island and its neighbor where they live, No Name Key, pretty much as they are. Alicia and I discussed building permits for residences, and we both agreed that we were okay with permits being issued to people who will build a home on land they own, or have purchased, in which they will live full-time. Otherwise, we both were opposed to new residencies being built on either island.

This position also was pretty much in keeping with my stance toward development Keys-wide, which I started singing when I ran against George Neugent for the County Commission in 2006: No more new commercial development, period, the end. The Keys are already way, way overbuilt, we have thousands of homes for sale, including plenty of homes for sale on Big Pine Key, and it makes no sense whatsoever for any new homes to be built, unless the owners will be full-time residents.

Now I will tell you a story about my own personal love affair with Big Pine Key, and its little neighbor.

In 1995, I lived in Boulder, Colorado. One very cold winter night, sitting in my favorite chair with my writing journal, looking out the window at the moon through the limbs of a large black willow tree, I was seized and wrote down these words: “Go to Big Pine Key. Go as soon as possible. This in important.”

This came from out of nowhere. I was not thinking about Big Pine Key, and had not been thinking about it. But I knew about it, because in March 1966, fishing out of Old Wooden Bridge Fish Camp, several hundred yards inside (bayside) the charred remnants of the old wooden bridge over to No Name Key, I had caught and released my first tarpon. I was fishing with contemporaries of my father in Birmingham, Alabama. As the years passed, I came to view catching that great fish as a rite of passage, a symbolic moving away from the influence of my father into my own destiny.

The night of the advisory for me to go to Big Pine Key as soon as possible, I dreamt that I was at a ticket counter at Stapleton Airport in Denver, purchasing an airline ticket to Big Pine Key, while standing nearby in another ticket line were my father and his brother, purchasing tickets to Islamorada. I had gown up fishing Islamorada, where they both hung out. Now I was going to Big Pine Key, and they were going to Islamorada. So to Big Pine Key I went, not having a clue why.

After one night at the Big Pine Key Inn, I relocated to Parmer’s Resort on Little Torch Key. Then I started fooling around and waiting, and wondering why I was there.

On the seventh day of the trip, I went out to No Name Key Bridge for the second time that week. At the fish camp, I saw a couple getting into a skiff with their bait and tackle. I felt an urge to speak to them and learned they were environmentalists. They said they had lived for a good while on Key Largo, but it had been destroyed by development and they had moved to Big Pine Key because it was the last unspoiled place in the Keys. They were doing what they could to keep it that way, the man said.

I offered to teach them a “prayer,” which I said might help them in their endeavor. The woman seemed interested, but the man seemed put off and in a hurry to get in the skiff and leave. The woman gave me what seemed like an apologetic look and got into the skiff and they cranked up the engine and idled toward the exit from the marina.

By the time I reached No Name Key Bridge on foot, they were headed under the bridge toward the backcountry. When they came out the other side of the bridge, I saw pelicans flying all around them. I told the pelicans to teach them what I had not been able to teach them. Then I walked out on the bridge and across it to No Name Key, where I turned around and started walking back the other way toward the fish camp.

When I reached the top of the rise on the bridge, I was moved to turn and look down Spanish Harbor toward Bahia Honda. Pelicans were flying all around me. Something huge came around and inside of me. My breath was snatched away. I burst into tears. My heart heaved so hard that it felt like it might jump out of my body. I clung tightly to the concrete railing, to keep from falling down. Then I heard, “Because you love this place so much, you will be used to help preserve it.” Then I really started crying and heaving.

That night a poem came to me, as I ate dinner at a restaurant on Big Pine Key, which no longer is there (the restaurant).

Behold the pelican!
Slow, clumsy, ugly afoot,
But in the air,
A great fisher indeed!
And in time of want
It plucks out its own breast meat
to feed its young.

For some years I had known that in the Holy Grail tradition the pelican is viewed as the Christ bird because in time of want it plucks out its own breast meat to feed its young. My middle name is Young. And, that morning I had been surrounded by pelicans. Surrounded.

When I read in the Keynoter two days later that a building moratorium had been adopted by/imposed on Big Pine Key, my heart leaped for joy. The next day I returned to Boulder, wondering what it all really meant and how it would play out? I came back to Big Pine Key that March, hoping to get to the bottom of it. I stayed at Parmer’s again, but nothing developed. I returned again the following Christmas, this time staying at the Old Wooden Bridge Fish Camp, in the apartment above the bait shop. Nothing developed that time, either. So I quit trying to make something happen.

Time went by. Stuff happened I wouldn’t want to see visited on anyone. Finally, in mid-December 2000, I was on Maui, flat broke. I awoke one morning hearing a voice say, “Go to Big Pine Key.” That suited me just fine, because I was weary of Maui and wondering if I was marooned there for the remainder of my days. Yet I had no money, I told the voice. Within three days’ time, this and that had happened, and I was en route to Los Angeles, and not long afterward, was on a Greyhound bus to Key West. Passing through Tallahassee, I passed out and was told I was getting into politics, which scared the living shit out of me, because I hated politics.

On reaching Big Pine Key, I was told to go on down to Key West, where I indeed started getting involved in politics late the following spring. I then was Sloan Young, because I had dropped Bashinsky off my name for reasons I have written elsewhere. I was broke and truly lived like the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. And always in the back of my mind was “Go to Big Pine Key.” What was that about?

In 2006, my circumstances changed, thanks to an inheritance from my father. I purchased a trailer on an acre of land of SR 4A on Little Torch Key, next to a state wildlife refuge. With the purchase came a letter from Monroe County saying, with proper permitting, the trailer could be demolished and removed, and a permanent residence could be built on the property. I started hanging out some on Big Pine Key. Next thing I knew, I was running as an Independent against George Neugent for the County Commission. George’s county commission office is on Big Pine Key.

During that campaign my “letter writing” began. My email list grew. Eventually, I learned of bigpinekey.com, and started checking out it‘s Coconut Telegraph gossip column. I sent some stuff to the web host, who started posting it to a omnibus page on the Coconut Telegraph page. He gave me some editorial advice about how to make my writing more available to online readers. Then he offered to set me up a blog. That’s how goodmorningkeywest.com came into being, and later goodmorningfloridakeys.com.

Along the way, I got to know “Capt. Conch” personally, after Steve Estes, Editor and Publisher of the brave little NEWS-BAROMETER, headquartered on Big Pine Key, told me his real name. After Capt. Conch got where he trusted me, he had me come over to his place, where he was able to sit with me by the computer and show me how to manage my own website. We became friends. I came to see him as a true member of the Resistance.

He and his wife live stuck away in the woods somewhere on Big Pine. A beautiful place. Key deer and other wild life abound. He has much the same view of the Keys that I do, and of most things. He very definitely does not trust the Establishment. Yet another piece of the “Go to Big Pine Key” puzzle, that was first given to me in January 1995.

Another piece of the puzzle is Bill Becker and US 1 Radio, which is headquartered on Big Pine. I got to know Bill, who sometimes interviewed me on his news program. Bill’s show is perhaps the single most important breaking news source in its listener range. US 1 Radio seems more pro-establishment than I’m comfortable with, but it is certainly an important piece of the Big Pine Key puzzle, and the bigger puzzle in which Big Pine Key sits at the heart, in my opinion.

Regardless of how people feel pro or con about development on Big Pine Key (and No Name Key), my view is that God has seen enough development there, and in the Keys in general. Even the State of Florida recognized Big Pine Key as a special area, needing special protection. The State also recognized the Keys in their entirety as an area of “critical concern,” after the people of the Keys did not do that. And it sure looks to me that the center of the Resistance is Big Pine and No Name Keys. They must be protected at all costs, and from there the Resistance just might spread and strengthen throughout the Keys. Perhaps with some help from the pelicans.

Sloan Bashinsky, non-affiliated county commission candidate, District 3 [lies completely in Key West]

Political advertisement, designed by pelicans, written, swiped, swooped, approved and paid for by me

FLASH FORWARD TO:

December 26, 2009

Christmas Nightmare From Big Pine Key

christmas-present.gifDear Santa,
 
I really do hate to bother you after such a hard night’s work you just had, but . . . It’s about my Christmas present that made me feel like shit yesterday . . . A dream that kept recurring leading up to and through yesterday . . . A veritable nightmare . . . Was I that bad this year? The dream went sort of like this . . . It will take a little while to tell . . . I hope I found all the typos, but I probably didn’t . . .
 
Starting with the punch line, I was TOLD BY God to run again for the county commission, next year (2010). Run against George Neugent, again. Meaning, I, suppose, a move back to my rat-infested trailer on Little Torch Key, which lies in the heart of George’s voting district – District 2. His county commission office is located on the next Key up, Big Pine Key.

I was told in the dream that for years the darn capitalistic tree huggers have viewed Big Pine Key and its little No Name Key next-door neighbor as THE HEART OF THE RESISTANCE, Mother Nature’s last stand in the Keys, to be protected at all costs, not only because of their natural value but also because of their symbolic value. I was told in the dream to play close heed to Mother Nature, because she actually was a true fiscal conservative’s best friend.
 
In the dream, I felt a growing distemper in my soul over news stories I kept reading in the local gazettes and hearing on the coconut telegraph about the commies living in homes on No Name Key pressuring the County Commission and the Aqueduct and Electric Authorities to bring, at taxpayers’ expense, water, sewer and electricity to No Name Key. Commies who had purchased homes there knowing there was no public water, power or electricity. Commies who somehow had gotten in into their liberal heads that they were entitled to special treatment just because they wanted special treatment. Commies who seemed to think they were not themselves responsible for their not having public water, sewer or electricity in their homes.
 
It reminded me of people who bought homes under the flight path of a commercial or military airport and then complained about the noise of landing and departing aircraft. That the County Commission and Aqueduct and Electric Authorities were even listening to these commies boggled my mind. I knew that if I had been on the County Commission, I would have told the commies to take a hike when they came begging for relief from their own decisions, relief that would cost taxpayers, espcially this taxpayer, money.
 
Something else chewing on me in the dream was seeing that George Neugent’s bosom buddy, David Rice, is going to ruin, er, run for the County Commission again. David served on the County Commission until he resigned in 2006 (albeit a bit belatedly, the resignation) to run against the commie Ron Saunders for the State Legislature. During that race, I developed a deep dislike of Ron Saunders because of the truly dirty campaign he waged. That, and he owned a dacha in Tallahassee, where he lived when he wasn’t living in his home in Key West. A dacha the likes of which David Rice also would have purchased, if he had beaten Ron, which Ron kept pointing out in his dirty campaign.

[Inside joke – Rice ran a terifficly dirty campaign; the dirtier it got, the more voters switched over to Saunders, who had served with honors in the State Legislature and had left office after term limits were put into law. After a hiatus, Saunders, a Democrat, ran again, beating Rice, a Republican, 60-40.]
 
Through Ron Saunder’s insane capitalistic buddy, Sandy Downs, who was running for sheriff, I had learned that David Rice, all the while he was sitting on the County Commission, was making a wonderful fortune off mental health deals he, a psychologist, had going with the Monroe County Sheriff Office, where his son Mike was #3 in the chain of command and oversaw the part of the operation that did business with his father’s company and with his father personally. George Neugent told me this arms-length deal was perfectly okay, part of our God-given free enterprise system, a sure sign of David Rice’s business brilliance and acumen. Our sheriff back then, Rick Roth, was a Republican, so of course the commie-posing-as Republican County Commission would rubberstamp any budget Sheriff Roth presented for approval, for David Rice’s benefit. That was the true commie way, learned by American Repubicans from the Politburo.
 
I was reminded in the dream that when I ran against George Neugent in 2006, he kept saying at candidate forums, if Sloan got elected, he would bankrupt the county. What caused George to say that was Sloan kept saying he was against any more new development, period the end. He kept saying the Keys already were way over-developed, and not a person in at the candidate forums or in the Keys could look in the mirror and honestly say any differently. That is what would have bankrupted the county, if Sloan got elected: He would have opposed all forms of new development. Well, guess what? The County went bankrupt, pretty near, without any help from Sloan. And what caused it to go busted was, yep, George Neugent, David Rice and other commies posing ast Republicans betting the entire conch farm on new development.
 
Hell’s bells, the commies posing as Republicans on the County Commission would have done those now deep-sixed developers and other nearly deep-sixed developers a real big favor if they (the commies posing as Republicans) had told them (the developers) to take a hike. Thanks but no thanks. We, as God-fearing, flag-waving, patriotic American elected officials are supposed to put the health and welfare of developers and the free enterprise system first. We are not supposed to succumb to a clever capitalistic tree-hugger plot to approve developments that are going to go under and poison the people’s minds against God-fearing American developers. Furthermore, we sure as hell can’t let our misguided developer comrades tear down any more trailer parks and run off their and our hired help. Who would take care of our dachas, hotels, motels, inns, restaurants, marinas and golf courses, if we didn’t have poor people living in the Keys?
 
Then I was reminded in the dream of my own dacha on Little Torch Key, the single-wide, rat-infested trailer I have been letting a poor person live in for nothing, just to keep the place attended at no cost to myself. I was reminded that when I was moved out of that rat-infested dacha, to Key West, by God, I unclaimed my homestead exemption because it would have been totally unAmerican and totally unpatriotic and a major theft of taxpayer dollars for me to continue to claim the homestead exemption and not live there. Then I was reminded maybe there are more than a few properties in the Keys being claimed as homesteads even though the owners live somewhere else, or live somewhere else most of the time. I got sort of burned up thinking about that, because it sure looked like a commie plot to rip off hard-working American taxpayers who live full time in the Keys. I got to thinking I would try hard do something about that, if I got elected.
   
Then was yelling loud and long in the dream about the fact that we still don’t have countywide sewerage treatment. Countywide sewerage treatment that should have been put in place on David Rice and George Neugent’s watches, and on the watches of their fiscally-irresponsible commie-posing-as-Republican predecessors, when the county had the taxpapers’ funds to get it done. Instead, the taxpapers’ money was spent on commie-posing-as-Republicans boondoggles and ego edifices. I was reminded that I have yelled long and loud about people with perfectly good operating private sewerage treatment plants having to give them up to tie onto the countywide system, without being fully compensated for the taking of their private property by the county commies.
 
Then I started hollering in the dream about the fact that George Neugent lives in Marathon, where David Rice also lives. Now there’s nothing wrong with living in Marathon, but most of George’s District 3 lies below Seven Mile Bridge and is rural. Many of George’s constituents are farmers, actually. They practice the revered horticulture of our nation’s Founding Fathers, hemp growing and rope making. Most of George’s District 2 has about as much relationship to and sympathy for Marathon as the capitalistic tree-huggers beloved Key deer have for the Sombrero Country Club, where George plays golf frequently with his Politburo comrades.
 
Now there’s nothing wrong with playing golf at the Sombrero Country Club, or playing golf anywhere. I used to love the game and I still sometimes go out for old time’s sake. In 2006, when I had a summer membership at Sombrero Country Club and played a few rounds, mostly alone, and hit a lot of balls on the practice range, I learned that very few people living south of Seven Mile Bridge play golf at Sombrero County Club, or at Key West Golf Club. They live in a part of the Keys where downstairs enclosures are a really big deal. Not something George Neugent has to fuss with, as his dacha, like my rat-infested place on Little Torch Key, is one-story. Built right in a flood plain, George’s and my dachas are legal, but for someone with a newer two story home, the downstairs of which, on the same level as George’s and mine, is illegal.
 
What’s wrong with that picture, I was asked in the dream? What’s wrong is older homes in the flood plane were grandfathered, newer homes where not. And, yes, the commie-posing-as-Republicans county government did not enforce the new code and people kept building homes with downstairs enclosures, or adding them on, and nobody ever said anything. And nobody ever told subsequent buyers of those homes that the downstairs enclosures were illegal, and all of this was known to the commies-posing-as-Republicans County Commission, who were in bed with the commie Realtors, who very definitely did not want home sellers, or Realtors, to be required to tell home-buying prospects the truth about downstairs enclosures in the Keys.
 
Then FEMA (the commie side of the federal government) got involved and started telling the county and owners of downstairs enclosures that they had to remove them, even though they had been de facto legal as far as the county was concerned. Bending to the commies in FEMA, the commie County Commission and commie Code Enforcement started putting pressure on owners of homes with downstairs enclosures, even as the commie county commissioners fought the commies at FEMA, even as the commie county commissioners keep saying they would do nothing to jeopardized people in the Keys getting flood and windstorm insurance, which the FEMA commies kept threatening to cut off, if they didn’t get their way with downstairs enclosures. If that wasn’t then taking of Americans’ property without due process of law, then what in the hell was it?
 
The way I a true fiscal-conservative American looked at it in the dream,  if you build in a flood plain, you assume the risk of living there. If you can’t get insurance to protect against hurricanes, big winds, rising water, then that’s part of the price of living in the flood plain, and in America. You have no right, Constitutional or otherwise, to have such insurance. If you think you do, then you are a commie. If your commie mortgage lender who jumped through hoops to loan you the money now wants to foreclose because you don’t have flood and wind insurance, then that also is a risk you assumed by buying a home in a flood plain in America. Like mortgage lenders would foreclose in this upside down real estate market, where so many Keys properties are seriously in arrears mortgage-wise. Think of the money people would save by not having wind and flood insurance. With the savings, they could self-insure. What could be more fiscally conservative and American than that?
 
I then found myself thinking in the dream of how much I hate the thought of running for office again. I saw myself saying at candidate forums that I don’t want the job, don’t vote for me; I’m only running because God made me do it. I’m only running because I say things nobody else will say; because I’m not worried about not being elected; because Rush Limbaugh is even too far left to suit me. If he had a home in the Keys, he would want federal flood and wind insurance. He would want special deals with the sheriff office. He would want to get hauled for free to a Miami hospital by Trauma Star’s helicopter the commie-posing-as-a-Republican former sheriff promised Keys people they wouldn’t be billed for using, then he billed the hell out of them.
 
I found myself saying in the dream, if I by some fluke get elected, I will not serve. I saw myself running as a write-in candidate, an Independent. Running write-in would save me the filing fee, but would get me invited to all of the candidate forums. I wouldn’t get invited to any of the Republican candidate functions, but then, I never got invited to any of the Democratic candidate functions before, either. I thought that if had it my way, all races in the Keys would be non-partisan. If I had it my way, a candidate could only serve one term. And then I suddenly the world turned upside down; I was the the state mental. I heard a VOICE, causing me to shake in terror and puke up all of my Christmas turkey: “YOU WILL RUN AS A REPUBLICAN, IF YOU KNOW WHAT IS GOOD FOR YOU.” The filing fee for running as a member of either a Repubican or Democrat, is a good bit more than running as an Independent, because Independent candidates don’t stand for election in the partisan primaries.
 
Some time passed in the dream before I was able to get a grip on myself. Then, I found myself thinking, okay, if my Great White Father in the Sky is going to MAKE me do this, I will go out of my way to piss people off. I will hunt up things to say and do that cost me votes and earn me the undying criticism on commie Keys blogs such as the Coconut Telegraph Gossip Column of bigpinekey.com and the Topix blogs, where I have been vilified plenty in the past. I found myself thinking that I haven’t given those kindergarten commies anything to complain about yet. Kid gloves is all they had gotten from me up to now. I found msyelf thinking plastic explosives, stinger missiles and neutron bombs. I will teach them the true meaning of democracy, free enterprise, property rights, and God-fearing.
 
I found myself thinking in the dream that I will teach the gadfly commies at Key West Citizen and The Keynoter the true meaning of the term “Republican.” I even found myself thinking I will join the Democrat county commissioner, Kim Wigington, in hollering for lobbyiests to publicly register, so we will all know who is pushing our county commissioners and county staff to be fiscally irresponsible. I found myself thinking I will threaten to bring lawsuits against the county and its elected officials, on behalf of its citizens, for mal- and mis-feasance. Sue them personally, go after all of their assets, to reimburse the taxpayers. I found myself thinking I will lampoon and attack every commie I see, their official political labels will be irrelevant. The Red-hater Joseph McCathary will end up looking like a Junior Leaguer compared to me.
 
I found myself thinking in the dream, yeah, maybe if I take that approach I will be able to drag myself out of bed each morning; maybe knowing what a bad boy I will be each day will give me incentive to keeping moving. For sure, my trying to be reasonable, trying to use persuasion, trying to use logic, trying to use compassion, trying to use fiscal common sense, trying even to use God, didn’t stem the tide of the godless commie insanity that drives our county government. The only thing that had any impact on the big commie locomotive racing uncontroled up and down The Overseas Highway (US 1) was Hurricane Wilma. Quite a derailing that fair lady brought to the Keys way of life. Quite a derailing. Even someone so fiscally-scewed-right as me can see it just don’t pay to piss off Mother Nature.
 
I found myself thinking in the dream that I could model myself in Wilma’s likeness without too much trouble. I saw that I could talk at candidate forums about how frenetic George Neugent got every time I went after his bosom buddies, the Goodmans of Cudjoe Key, who run the local Republican Party. They finagled a limestone mining mangrove-cutting permit from the commie-infested Department of Environmental Protection, which allowed the the Goodmans to chainsaw an entire island of mangroves in front of their home, just so they could have a better view, according to what they wrote on the application for the cutting permit. George Neugent never saw anything wrong with that. In fact, he denied the chainsaw masssacre even happened, even though plenty of photos were taken by DEP and others that it indeed did happen. If George had been true to the faith, he would have howled bloody murder for DEP to fine the Goodmans the million or so they owed in fines, which would have lightened the taxpayers’ load, especially this taxpaper’s load, in funding the commies at DEP.
 
I found myself thinking in the dream that George Neugent, David Rice and the Goodmans are fused at the hip: they claim to be fiscal conservatives, but they behave like the Politburo. I found myself thinking that when I ran against George in 2006, I ran the most friendly campaign anyone had ever seen. But when I run next year against him in the Republican primary, it will rival the dirty campain Ron Saunders ran against David Rice, who was plundering the county treasury through a sweetheard Politburo deal with the sheriff office.
 
I found myself thinking in the dream that I will shine the light of democracy and free enterprise on George Neugent, David Rice, the Goodmans, and lots of other commies in sheep’s clothing, who have been getting away with stuff at the tax payers’ expense, especially this taxpayer’s expense – like that cute little deal the Marathon Politburo had with Cape Air to provide the Marathon country club set county-taxpayers-subsidized air service to Ft. Meyers. A deal that nearly got me kicked out of a county commission meeting, so upset was I over it, even as everyone else in the room seemed behind it, since nobody else in the room spoke out against it. Not even any of the tree huggers spoke out against it. Birds of a feather, one and all.
 
I found myself thinking in the dream, maybe if’ I’m lucky, the commies will all band together and have me killed. Maybe they will get some help with that after I lay bare the marijuana and other drug dealings of going on inside the Monroe County Sheriff Office. Drug dealings that don’t get taxed. Taxes that could lower what the taxpapers, especially this taxpayer, pay to keep the sheriff office running.
 
I found myself thinking in the dream that I just can’t wait to see the twitter on bigpinekey.com’s Coconut Telegraph and the Keys Topix blogs. And I just can’t wait to see the commies come screaming out of the woodwork, er, mangroves. And I just can’t wait to hear from the New Age policitcal-correctors, who don’t even believe the devil exists. So correct that they died and don’t even know it yet.
 
Then I woke up. From the smell, I knew I had shit in my pajamas. Thank God, it was only a dream. Thank God.
 
Sincerely, and please, Santa, is there any chance you can just stay at the North Pole next Christmas? 
 
Sloan Bashinsky

December 27, 2009

Big Pine Key

key-deer.jpgTwo replies to yesterday’s “Christmas Nightmare From Big Pine Key” post. The first from a physician now living in the Keys, for whom I did some legal work back when we both lived in Birmingham, Alabama. 
 
KEEP UP YOUR WORK , I KNOW IT IS NOT EASY, BUT YOU HAVE BEEN CHOSEN TO DO IT BY YOUR ANGELS

PS     I DID A LITTLE OF MY PART BY WRITING A LETTER TO THE EDITOR IN THE KEY WEST PAPER AND THEY EVEN PRINTED IT

Thanks. Not just “my” angels. They are assigned to this planet and humanity, among other odd jobs. Sloan 
 

Sloan,

 Read your today’s horror story, hell if all you are worried about is a few rats, I have lots of them…………… they move in when the weather chills a little, eat everything that’s eatable, live until it warms some then move on till the next cool spell. Guess their a lot like politicians, simply lookin for a place to live off of instead of making a real living like the business people of the Keys. If things continue as they are going, we really won’t have to worry about the tax base now will we? But of course no one give a BIG RATS ASS about Big Pine Key anyway. USFW & DOT run Big Pine anyway. What politician wants to F>>K with those two government self serving agencies? Surely not Neugent or Rice, and I bet not even YOU……………… Am I wrong??? I think NOT!

 I’m thinking your dreams of god steering you may be way off course when it comes to the Rats and politicians of BPK.  BPK has already run hard aground in my option. One should be very careful NOT to follow the same fate. Believe me when I say it, because I’m living the NIGHTMARE of BIG PINE KEY, Rats and all!!!

 Sincerely,

 Dick

Richard Beal, President

SkeeterS marine / Caya Place LLC

Big Pine Key, Fl 33043

305-872-9040 Phone 
 
HI, Dick.

You indeed have been through the wringer with your Big Pine real estate, trying for years to get permission to develop it, which finally came through in the depth of a seriously down real estate market, which has wreaked havoc not only on Big Pine but throughout the Keys.

It is true, though, because of the Key deer, a protected species, the politics of Big Pine Key, and by close proximity, No Name Key, is unique to the Keys. The Key deer have made Big Pine and No Name a federally protected ecosystem unto themselves. Mother Nature’s last stand, so to speak, in the Keys.

Protected and guided by “our” angels, I frequently go head-to-head with Lucifer. So the US Department of Transportation and US Fish & Wildlife Service don’t scare me in the least. In fact, I’m usually darn glad they are around, taking a special interest in the Keys. Especially Big Pine and No Name Keys, both of which were assigned to me in January 1995, along with the ocean, to do what I could, with “our” angels and Mother Nature’s help, to preserve. I wrote the details of that COVENANT a couple of times before and will not do it again today.

What I will say here is that I came to Big Pine Key from Colorado, where I then lived, because I’d had a vision and then a follow-up dream telling me to get down here ASAP, it was important. About a week later, standing in the middle of No Name Key Bridge, facing the Atlantic, surrounded by pelicans, airborne and on the bridge, I felt “our” angels and Mother Nature sweep into every fibre of my being, as I heard, “Because you love this area so much, you will be used to help preserve it.” I burst into tears, could hardly breath, so emotional was it.

Maybe three days later, I read in the Keynoter that a building moratorium had been put in place on Big Pine Key and DOT and other federal agencies had decided against the widening of US 1, for ecological reasons. Keys businesses had been lobbying for widening US 1, to bring more people and revenue into the Keys. After the feds’ ruling, the business people said it wasn’t really to bring in more people and business; it was to make it easier for people to evacuate the Keys during hurricanes, to save lives, that they wanted US 1 widened.

Perhaps that was when the rate of growth ordinance (ROGO) smoke and mirrors hatched: the faster people could be evacuated from the Keys, the more houses, condos, hotels, motels, resorts, marinas, etc. could be built in the Keys. A trend that infiltrated every part of the Keys, except Big Pine and No Name Keys. 

When I took my last wife to the same spot on No Name Key Bridge in December 2004, she was overcome by the same sensations, as “our” angels and Mother Nature made themselves felt in every fibre of her being. Perhaps that was their way of telling her that what I had shared with her of my experience there ten years earlier was not a figment of my imagination. Perhaps it also was their way of telling me it wasn’t a figment of my own imagination, either.

Sadly, there is in modern civilization, which poignantly presents in the Keys, a deep and pervasive drive to subordinate Mother Nature to human desires, drives, dreams. This is a truly peculiar stance for humanity to take, inasmuch as people are simply tenants at sufferance on this planet. I told someone the other day that Earth can take care of herself, shake people off her any time she wishes. I should have added that even though that is true, we still have a solemn, reverent duty to be good stewards of this planet, which we simply are not.

The Keys by their very nature are far more fragile than, say, most of the Florida mainland. In the Big Scheme, the Keys were designed by Mother Nature to be a habitat for maybe a few hundred people at most. Meaning, in the BIG SCHEME, most of us who live in the Keys should not even be living here. Human beings are THE INVASIVE SPECIES. Human beings brought in the iguanas, the Brazilian pepper trees, and most of the other invasive species so many Keys people lament. What the wind brought in via storms, sea currents, I ascribe to the workings of Mother Nature.

So when I see the Department of Transportation and Fish & Wildlife crimping human beings’ habit of treating Mother Nature like She is their own personal property, it causes me to cheer. Mother Nature’s “property rights” take high precedence over human beings’ “property rights.” The Calusas, who lived in the Keys when the white man first showed up, knew they did not own land. Owning land was inconceivable to them; the land belonged to the planet, to Great Spirit. They knew this intrinsically.

I have zero doubt that Hurricane Wilma was a spirit interdiction, specifically designed to spare human life while it destroyed the Keys’ real-estate-growth-based economy. Hurricane Wilma was Mother Nature and ”our” angels’ response to human ignorance of and disregard for Nature and Nature’s God acknowledged in the Preamble to the United States Declaration of Independence, albeit perhaps not in the sense the author, Thomas Jefferson, fully intended.

When I bought the almost one-acre and the trailer on Little Torch Key in 2006, at near the top of the real estate market, I envisioned that homestead being my abode until I was no longer physically able to live there. The property came with a Rate of Growth Ordinance (ROGO) letter from the County, which, as you know, allows me to build a single family dwelling under proper county permitting and oversight. I paid a premium for that ROGO. I would not have bought it, without the ROGO. The trailer was a knock-down, obviously temporary.

I saw myself someday building a simple Florida house on stilts. A home with cisterns and plenty of solar panels and its own on-site wastewater treatment plant. A white metal roof, to reflect the sun’s rays, keep the home cooler. A cupola in the roof, to vent hot air up and out. Extended eves to keep the sun’s rays out of the home. Reuse all of the treated water to irrigate the tropical farm I would establish on that near one acre. That was my dream, Dick. That was what moved me to purchase the property, even as I now wonder if that dream will ever come to pass, for I don’t have the money to bring it off.

For all I know, I purchased that nearly one acre and lived there a year to give me physical and spirit standing in that part of the Keys, to do the work required by the COVENANT described above. For all I know, I am to sit on that land because something was infused into it when I lived there and ran against George Neugent for Mother Nature. It was for Her that I ran, not for the people of the Keys. I knew that all along, and if something was infused into that land while I lived there, it may well be that my keeping title is essential for that something to remain there and do whatever it is that it was designed by Mother Nature and ”our” angels to do.

For all I know, I will live there again. But then, for all I know, a storm that pales Wilma might come waltzing through Keys from Key West to Key Largo, sweeping bare these islands in the stream. I suppose that is what it will really take, because I don’t see any other way for Mother Nature to prevail in the Keys. Maybe the entire point of my connection with Big Pine Key and its surrounds is to be used to call in the Perfect Storm.

Because I do see life in such very different ways, I respond to the local political scene very differently than I probably would have before “our” angels abducted me in early 1987. For thirty years prior, I had thought the most important thing about the Keys was my getting to come down here to fish the flats for bonefish again.

Sloan Bashinsky

Note: Little Torch Key is the next island down US 1 from Big Pine Key. I had a young buck Key Deer in my neighborhood. It particularly liked grazing (to the nub) my salad greens and sweet potato vines. I told it to lay off, if it didn’t want to end up in my stew pot. I wasn’t serious, just pissed off that I had gone to all of that work to feed a Key deer. But then, a neighbor raised peacocks and barnyard chickens and ducks, and they had a fine party in my garden, too, and made a heck of a lot more noise than the buck Key deer. I had a gang of racoons and feral domestic cats in residence, too. And snakes and all sorts of lizards and birds. Sounds pretty idyllic, looking back on it. All but the woods rats that took over the trailer and made it easier for me to move out and head to Key West to live.

December 28, 2009

No Name Key

old-wooden-bridge.jpg(Painting of the Old Wooden Bridge)
no-name-key-bridge.jpg(photo of today’s bridge)
no-name-key.jpgReceived this reply to yesterday’s somewhat “mystical” post, “Big Pine Key.”
 
Eventually I’ll be able to vote for you!!! Happy New year, Sloan!
 
Mickey
 
By that, Mickey meant he someday will live in the Keys. Currently, he lives in south Florida, where he teaches school. During the summer he spends a couple of months in the Keys. We met in the summer of 2006 at Looe Key Tiki Bar on Ramrod Key, the next Key down from Little Torch Key, which is the next Key down from Big Pine Key. That’s how Mickey ended up on my email list. I wrote back that I had thought of him yesterday, when I drove past Looe Key Tiki Bar on my way to No Name Key Bridge to speak with some pelicans who didn’t have the good graces to show up. Even so, it was good to be up there.
 
No Name Key Bridge connects Big Pine and No Name Keys. In the old days, there used to be a wooden bridge connecting the two islands. But that bridge burned, and for some years after that, there was no bridge. I first came to Big Pine Key in March 1966, spring break of my second semester in law school, to fish for tarpon in Bogie Channel with people from my hometown, Birmingham, Alabama. I was staying that trip at my father’s home on Lower Matecumbe Key. The charred remains of the old bridge were still sticking up in the channel. About half-mile toward the backcountry from the old bridge I caught and released a big tarpon, using live mullet on a boat rod. Wore me out. Never wanted to catch another tarpon that way. Never did. The old wooden bridge is where the Old Wooden Bridge Fish Camp at the Big Pine Key edge of the new bridge got its name.
 
I parked yesterday on the No Name Key side of Bogie Channel and walked out to the bridge center. When I got to where the mystical event had occurred in 1995, which I briefly described in yesterday’s post, I remembered what had happened but I felt nothing. Zip. Nada. The only thing that stirred me was a brief conversation with a fellow, who looked close to my age, throwing a cast net for pin fish, to use as live bait. He said he catches big snapper under the center of the bridge, and it was going to be a good tide soon. It was still running in, almost full. When the tide began to turn, he said, which I knew, was when the fish bite the best. I wished him luck, remembered all the times I had thought I would spend a lot of time on that bridge fishing, talking with interesting people from wherever, and had never done it. Maybe some day I would get around to it, I thought. Maybe.
 
Part of what prompted me to drive up there was yesterday’s post. Another part was an article in yesterday’s Key West Citizen giving a lot of coverage to the commotion a No Name Key woman is making over her having to use cistern water in her home for drinking water. She maintains it isn’t safe to drink; she has opinions by experts, one expert was from Texas somewhere, backing her up. She wants the Aqueduct Authority to run Aqueduct water onto No Name Key, so she won’t be at risk. I thought that if I was on the Aqueduct Authority and she came before me, I would say, “File your lawsuit, Bitch. You bought that home knowing it was on a cistern. Caveat fucking emptor!”
 
An irony that occurred to me after waking up before dawn this morning to get to work on this post I had no clue I would write when I turned in last night, was the Christmas Eve dinner I had with a Key West family. The husband has done very well advising developers, one of whom, quite well known, was there with his own family when I arrived, but they left before dinner. I have been in this home a few times and my hosts, from all I can tell, drink only filtered and bottled water. Whenever I ask for straight tap water, they refuse to give it to me. That I tell them I have been drinking tap water in the Keys since 1956 doesn’t sway them; they will not serve me tap water. The bottled water they use is not the kind you buy off the bottom shelves in gallon jugs at Winn-Dixie. It’s the expensive imported stuff.
 
One of their guests tried very hard to persuade me that I was killing myself drinking tap water. She told me about the analysis of Aqueduct Authority water posted at Sugar Apple Health Food Store on Simonton Street; I really needed to take a look at it. I said I used to drink nothing but filtered and bottled water. Not only that, I took wheatgrass juice and grew sprouts and made my own sauerkraut and grew all of my own vegetables, organically. I was a vegetarian and I nearly died.
 
I did not tell her, although the thought occurred to me, of a New Age couple I had once known very well, who drank nothing but filtered and bottled water, and who had used hot water run through their filter into their bath tub for her to lie in and give birth to their first (and only child). They did not realize that the hot water destroyed the filter and they ended up with straight tap water in the bath tub. They ate only raw, organic foods. They both died of cancer in their late-forties. What I did say was that I hoped the Aqueduct Authority water would kill me. She didn’t seem to know if I was joking. I probably wasn’t.
 
The Winn-Dixie on Big Pine always has a healthy stock of cheap, bottled water in one-gallon plastic jugs. The Bitch of No Name Key can stop by there and get safe water every time she gets in her car and comes out to US 1, which I bet is at least once a day. I wonder if before she moved to No Name Key, wherever she came from, was the Bitch of No Name Key threatening to sue somebody for something? I wonder if she has made a career out of prosecuting causes in which she is the principal beneficiary? I wonder if she actually does get Aqueduct water into her home, will she start bitching about what’s in it? I bet she drinks bottled water now, and I might wager that if she gets Aqueduct water she will still drink bottled water.
 
I would love to be the lawyer for the defense who got to depose her. I would especially like to be the lawyer for the defense who got to cross-examine her before a Keys jury in this economic depression, when our local governments are barely able to make ends meet, when most Keys people are struggling to make their mortgage/rent and utility bill payments. I would make her wish she had never been born.
 
People in the Keys have been drinking cistern water for generations. Some still drink cistern water, and not just on No Name Key. They do it with full backing of the County Health Department, which has consistently approved drinking cistern water. There was a time when cistern water was the only water most Keys people had to drink. Some places had potable water in the ground. Big Pine Key has fresh water lenses that I suppose people in the old days used for drinking water, maybe after boiling it, maybe not after boiling it.
 
There is an aquifer under Solares Hill in Key West, where people used to pull drinking water. It’s polluted now, according to what I heard from city government staff. I suppose it would be potable if it was boiled for a long enough period. I also suppose a lot of people in Key West and elsewhere in the Keys buy their drinking water in stores. Given the shelf space allotted in Winn-Dixie, Publix, Albertson’s, Faustos, the convenience and drug stores, there is a brisk business in bottled water.
 
As for me, I’m going to keep drinking that nasty old Keys tap water I’ve been drinking since 1956. Tap water that, after it became available when the Navy built the first pipeline down from the mainland, which was attached to the old bridges, opened the Keys up for development. Eventually development stopped because there wasn’t enough water coming down through the first pipe for any more new construction to tap in to; only cisterns could be used for new construction. This was the situation in 1956 and for a good while afterward.  This was the situation on No Name Key when people built homes there.
 
Only when the new, much larger pipe was brought down and attached to the new, wider bridges, did development really take off in the Keys. Then, anyone could build and tap into the Aqueduct; anyone who built where the Aqueduct had pipes. There never were water pipes on No Name Key. People who built there knew it. People who bought homes already built there knew it. What’s to complain about? Nothing, but their own original desire to go back to Nature and live “off the grid.” There’s no electricity on No Name Key, either. You wanna bet that’s not the next commotion the Bitch of No Name Key will cause?
 
As for Mickey getting a chance to vote for me some day, I appreciate the compliment and trust but nothing in me wants to run for public office in the Keys again. What, I want to have to work hand-in-hand with county commissioners, Aqueduct Authority and Electric Authority board members, who don’t have the sense and guts to tell someone like the Bitch of No Name Key to go fuck herself and file the lawsuit, naming herself at the principal defendant, since she is complaining about something she did to her own self with her fucking eyes wide open?
 
Sloan Bashinsky

December 29, 2009

Water

water.jpgA response from a former nurse, who has contributed many of her thoughts to this column, to yesterday’s “No Name Key” post, which led to my reply taking a curious, unexpected turn that instigated even further dialogue. In an earlier life (before I was moved to Key West in late 2000), I would have gone there straight away, but since I got involved in Keys politics,  it usually takes me a while to get through the grist of that mill into the grist of the soul.
 

Hi Sloan,I lived on No Name, for several months after I retired in 2002, at the home of John and Lenore Lohr (Sheri’s family) and finished Starfish while living there with them. I loved everything about it – after I learned when I could take a shower and still have hot water:) Of course, cistern water is safe to drink. For goodness sakes, what does the lady think we drank when we were kids – I grew up in southern Ohio where for the most part, the only time we had indoor plumbing was when we moved to the city when I was pre-kindergarten to second grade. To my knowledge, none of us died from drinking the cistern water, which was the best tasting water I ever drank, bar none. When we were outside playing, which was the only place we played since there was no TV, video games or computers to make zombies of us – we even drank it straight from the dipper (all of us) when we got too hot and thirsty from all that running around, swimming in the creeks, climbing trees, etc. and we still didn’t die from it!Enjoy your week!Peggy 
 
Hi back to you, Peggy.
 
Thanks for the “hands-on” report on drinking cistern water on No Name Key and elsewhere. Helps to have an expert opinion to back up my ravings. Maybe might even keep me out of the state mental a little while longer.
 
The Citizen article yesterday said, as I recall, that the County Health Department had offered to test the unhappy lady’s cistern water, to see if it’s safe to drink. I got the feeling that she had not taken up that offer. Maybe on her attorney’s advice? Maybe a test would show there is nothing wrong with her cistern water?
 
Every time I eat out, I order tap water, with a slice or two of lime, or if no lime, then lemon. Not bottled lime or lemon, but the real deal. The sour citrus juice neutralizes the chemicals, or so a psychic channeling something called “Ramtha” once claimed. Makes the water more to my taste, in any event. A substitute for soft drinks, although I’ve been known to swizzle some ginger ale, and that I especially like with fresh lime juice. Vitamin-C there, too. Fresh citrus somewhat alkalizes my system.
 
If there is no fresh citrus where I dine out, very rare in Key West, I just drink the tap water. At home, that’s all I drink: tap water. I keep a cold plastic bottle of it with the top off in the refrigerator. I’ve heard letting it breathe evaporates some of the chemicals. On hot days working my garden, I drink tap water straight from the hose. What’s gonna become of me, so much inconsistency?
 
Symbolically, water represents the emotions, the unconscious. If I had to hazard a wild guess (on which I might wager a wild sum of money), I’d say the lady on No Name Key making all the commotion over having to drink rainwater out of her cistern is projecting a wee bit of her own unresolved emotional and unconscious troubles onto her cistern water, and from there onto the Aqueduct Authority and the County Commission, and onto anyone else who won’t let her vent her frustration with what’s in her soul water, which might be totally beyond her ken.
 
I might even go a step further and hazard a wild guess that people who worry about tap water to the extent that they have to have bottled water to feel okay are in much the same boat in their emotions and unconscious as the lady on No Torch Key. Living where they can get tap water, they go to the store to buy bottled water and preach to the likes of me, instead of taking out after the Aqueduct Authority which is doing the best it can to mass produce water people can drink without ending up in a hospital soon afterward.
 
If I lived in, say, Mexico, where tap water is truly unsafe in most places, I’d be singing a very different aqua song. But I don’t live in Mexico, or India, or Nepal, or Costa Rica, or Mauritius, places I’ve been where the tap water is truly dangerous to drink, so I sing the tap water song that drives health food nuts bonkers, basically. Having been one if their kin, I recognize the symptoms.
 
My two friends that were so into natural living were stuffed full of soul poisons that kept oozing out in their behavior. They tried to purify themselves with pure water and pure foods, yoga, tai chi, breathing exercises, meditation, retreats, positive thinking, and they didn’t come close to touching the cancer in their souls that finally manifested physically. Perhaps their physical efforts to reach spiritual purity made their soul cancers even more virulent.
 
This couple were like brother and sister to me. It was difficult for me to stay centered with them even before they got the cancers. Partly due to my having been just like them when we first met, but I changed and went back to being a bit less radical about what I drank and ate, and they didn’t. It became even more difficult for me after I saw their denial and switch over to conventional cancer treatments, instead of turning inward and attempting to get into the heart of their cancers, which was in their souls.
 
My mother died of cancer in her mid-forties. It came and took her very quickly. Outwardly, it looked as if her having smoked two packs of Pall Malls since she was fifteen, a revolt against her Puritan parents, she often told me, had finally killed her. From the soul, it looked to me like her being unable to resolve Puritan parents in her had brought on the cancer. She told me many things, and she did many things, that made it quite clear that she had lived her entire life poisoned by what she had absorbed from her parents.
 
If she had divorced my father, which would have killed her parents, so to speak, she might have stayed alive a little longer. Unable to do that after her mother said she would die if the divorce went through, a couple of years later my mother died and got her divorce from all three of them.
 
I had a pretty strenuous argument with someone the other day, who was raised in Christendom but became Buddhist. He said we will never agree on the emotions. Strong emotions are the product of improper thinking, he maintained. A separate aspect of being human, I countered. The emotions art of the internal female. The heart.
 
Without the emotions, I later thought, we would not have orgasms or passion. We would not be creative. There would be no art, poetry, literature, laughter, joy, sadness, grief, anger, rage. We would, basically, all be dead, if we lived totally from our minds. I imagine if the lady on No Name Key actually were to experience her emotions, her real emotions, she soon would get over her drive to have tap water in her home. She might get over a lot of other things in her life, too.
 
As for enjoying my week . . . This water stuff has brought a fresh dose of poison into me, which is working me over pretty awful physically and psychically. Part and parcel of doing shaman work. Without the full range of emotions, no way could I do shaman work. Not correctly, anyway.
Without the full range of emotions, I wonder if I would be able to stay out of the state mental. If I don’t let my feelings have their say, my mind might just well totally fry, go around the bend to la la land and never come back around.
 
From our interactions, it seems to me that you are in touch with your emotions and are able to let them express themselves. Refreshing. 
 
Sloan
 
I also refuse to buy bottled water, Sloan. Like you, I keep a glass container of tap water in the fridge all the time. I have been known to boil it if it for some reason just doesn’t look as clear as usual, but for the most part, it is clear and tastes good, so that is good enough for me. Probably having dated a guy before I left Ohio at 23, who worked at the water treatment plant, and having been given the grand tour while he checked the levels, etc. sold me on the purity of tap water. I’ve heard from some of the TV magazine stories that some of the so-called bottled water companies simply pour tap water into the plastic bottles and seal them. I doubt a company like Zepher Hills does since there is that huge beautiful clear springs up around Zepher Hills where they produce it, but I wouldn’t put it past a lot of those companies to do something that devious.As for your believing I am in touch with my emotions, I’ve been accused of being too in touch with them at times over the years. I had to be a little quiet mouse during the years of living under my parents’ roof, but thank God for nursing school. It brought me out of my shell and brought out the independent spirit within me that I’d had to stuff all those formative years.Peggy  
 
Interesting dovetail in the “therapeutic” part of your reply, with this p.s. to my previous, which I was just about to send to you. 
 
P.S. I wonder if I would dream, or remember my dreams, if my emotions were not intact and functioning. Nearly all of my dreams have an emotional component.
 
My fifth wife called herself “The Stuff-It Queen,” because she was forever not dealing with stuff that might be uncomfortable for her and or others to be aired out. For years before we got together she had suffered horrible recurring migraines, which she treated with what I call “a horse pill” prescribed by her doctor. Knocked her right out, that pill did. By and by, we discovered together that her migraines were caused by her stuffing what she should have dealt with straightforward but didn’t. So when a migraine came, I started asking pesky questions, which she didn’t always appreciate, until we got to the bottom of it. Then no more migraine. Like my mother’s cancer, her migraines were suppressed emotions. Suppressed by her mind.
 
Like my mother, she was a devout follower of Jesus. Like my mother, she had a very tough time drinking the living water Jesus had provided: saying yes when she meant yes, and no when she meant no. Usually, she said the opposite of what she really meant, as opposed to what she thought she really meant. I loved her dearly, but God busted us up, through her, because she kept trying to bend me to her will, which was being run by her mind and not by her heart, which loved me dearly, as well. Very sad outcome. The Puritans killed her, as they had killed my mother. Spiritual killing.
Sloan I don’t think people whose emotions were not functioning at a high level would remember their dreams. I’m sure I wouldn’t. My dreams also usually have an emotional component to them.I strongly believe those we’ve shared parts of our life with, and who have meant a great deal to us, do come to us in dreams to help us resolve some of those feelings we did not deal with while they were alive. Just as I believe others who have not meant that much to us but with whom we’ve been connected in one way or another, also do the same. You are fortunate to have had the good sense to marry a woman you truly loved, Sloan.PeggyI married four women I truly loved, and three I nearly got there with. As I post this, the poison triggered by what the woman on No Name Key represents is starting to clear out of me, a familiar signal that I’m getting ready for the next spirit weather to arrive. Sloan

January 3, 2010

Interloper

sloan-bashinsky.jpg(moi)

I drove up to Big Pine Key yesterday, just to hang out, cruise around, try to get a better feel for whatever might be going on up there that might have anything to do with me.

Again, I went out to No Name Key Bridge and kibitzed with some fishermen. Again, I wondered if some day I might do some fishing off that bridge. Again, I wondered if I was moving back to my place on Little Torch Key, the next island down US 1 from Big Pine.
 
This visit, though, I dropped in on my buddy Capt. Conch, who publishes bigpinekey.com and encouraged me in 2006 to publish my musings there. Later, he encouraged me to get my own website, and since I didn’t know ding squat about building or even using a website, he built goodmorningkeywest.com and showed me how to use it. Then he built goodmorningfloridakeys.com.
 
He lives stuck away in the woods with is wife and a bunch of Key deer and other local critters. Something moved me to ask about his home, when he built it, how long it took. He said he started out by building a bare-necessities cabin about 20 years ago, and then he started building the home, mostly himself. Took him 18 years, as he earned enough money here and there to purchase materials.
 
When he asked if I wanted to see photos, I said sure. So the opened the file on his computer and treated me to a slide show. As it played, I became more and more uneasy. Like, what was I even doing in the Keys? This guy is a barnacle, I’m just passing through. Then, he showed me a slide show of Key West from another era. His old haunts, no longer standing. Buildings he had helped build, paint. I was getting even more uneasy.
 
I told Capt. that his slide shows caused me to realize I’m an interloper in the Keys. I said the same thing had happened when I visited Hawaii the second time, back in 1991. I felt like I didn’t belong there; that white people didn’t even belong there. Similarly I said, when I lived in Santa Fe for a couple of years, I found I didn’t belong at Navaho ceremonies. And when I was in Australia, I didn’t feel it was right for me to visit Ayers Rock, a famous aborigine holy site. I was an interloper.
 
I am an interloper, in the Keys, maybe everywhere. It’s gotten where I can’t go into churches, or into people’s homes as a guest, that something doesn’t happen that causes me to wonder what I’m doing there, I don’t belong, even as I wonder how much longer I will be able to stay before I feel the need to head home, read some more on whatever novel I’m reading, or go to Jack Flats and watch sports, or head to Sippin’ Internet Cafe and hang out, maybe get into a chess skirmish.
 
I ran into a Key Wester at Jack Flats the other day, who is pretty well known about town, came to a lot of candidate forums last year. When he asked if I was going to run for mayor again, I said I gave it my best shot three times and didn’t see what else I had to offer. He agreed. He also agreed when I said we have a good mayor now, Craig Cates.
 
I said maybe I was being moved back to Little Torch Key, or maybe to Birmingham, where I had hatched. He said he had spent some time there, it was a good city. It is a good city, but I don’t like the frequent cold winter days, and I don’t like the air pollution which is nearly constant. When I go back there, it’s familiar, some places draw me in, but even in my hometown I be an interloper. How could I not be an interloper anywhere I am? What’s the difference between me and an ET coming to earth, except I don’t look like an ET?
 
I don’t suppose I’ll ever get out of my thoughts Robert Heinlein’s book, Stranger In a Strange Land, about a human kid, born and raised on Mars, trained by indigenous Martians who were nothing like humans. Then, when the humans were being expelled from Mars, the boy, not a young man, was sent back to Earth with the Martians inside of him, spying on Earth, to make up their minds whether or not to blow it up, like they had once had blown up the planet between Mars and Jupiter, after the beings on that world became a threat to Martians. They blew that planet up with some sort of force generated from their collective minds; thus was the Asteroid Belt born.
 
As for the human kid the Martians sent back to Earth, well, he was a bit different. He started gathering a following. He was viewed like a Jesus. He was killed like Jesus. No sweat for me there. I don’t have a following. I am a professional repellant, have an unlimited supply of skunk oil. Nobody will write any books about me after I’m gone. No desire. And no need – I already wrote them. They might last hundreds of years; anyone can access it, copy it, save it, Capt. Conch said yesterday, after asking me if I was going to publish another book, and I said it’s all getting published on the Web.
 
I found mainstream publishers were not interested in the kind of “Sci-Fi” pouring out of me. It wasn’t fiction enough and I presented it as fact. It is fact. I told someone recently that I’m a living example of someone going through the death and rebirth the ET Jesus taught in the Gospels. Unceasing I am being killed and shoved through the spirit birth canal, a process far more difficult than being physically born and later doing the mortuary scene.
 
It’s not a big seller, nor will it attract a following after I’m dust, because I wrote it all down and it can’t be twisted around to say something nice that it wasn’t. My wife who ended up with most of my money used to tell new people who met us, who asked what I did (as in, for a living), that I was the mail man, I delivered the message. She ought to have known; she lived with me and saw it 24-7, 365.
 
She came down to Big Pine Key with me in March 1995, to see if there was something there for both of us, after the HUGE experience I’d had on No Name Key Bridge two months before, about which I’ve written several times. Nothing happened, it seemed like a bust. We went back to Colorado wondering what that was about? What it apparently was about was our not staying together much longer; my becoming an interloper through and through, for everywhere I went after that, I was the interloper. 
 
I sent Capt. Conch some of my recent writings about ten days ago, to post to the Coconut Telegraph gossip and bitch page of his website, if he wished. He posted the long initial blast lamenting that I was getting “vibes” that maybe I was going to run again for the county commission against George Neugent. Capt. said yesterday that he got a bunch of bitchy replies to that post, so many words to say so little; they threatened to go somewhere else, if I kept showing up on the Coconut Telegraph.
 
Capt. then laughed, said they had nowhere else to go, which is true; his is easily the most popular blog in the Keys; it even has an international following. He said those who had complained about the length of my diatribe didn’t understand writing. I said they didn’t understand much of anything and I enjoy upsetting them. He said it was my best piece of writing in a long time, it all somehow hung together. I gave him the finger.

When Capt. said it bores the reader for me to publish what other people write to me, and then my reply, I said I cannot speak for other people; I have to give them their own voice. Maybe it just bored him for me to write in that way. Maybe not. It’s the way the ETs tell me to write when I get written feedback, although I can write the other way, speak for other people based on my recollection, which I’m doing in this post.

When Capt. asked if I was going to run for the county commission again, I said I sure as hell hoped not. I shot my wad there, running twice already. What else would I say that I didn’t already say?

Let me write and talk about what people really could be, if they really want to be who they really are. Let me do it from wherever I am. The Web is everywhere, I don’t need a human publisher any longer. My Editorial Board is everywhere I am, it follows me everywhere I go. If I miss the Keys, I can always come back, stay in my trailer on Little Torch Key. I will be surprised, though, if I miss the Keys. My getting involved in its politics took the bloom off the rose, killed the romance. The Keys no longer feel special to me. But then, maybe no place on this planet will feel special to me.
 
But then, maybe I would enjoy living on Little Torch Key, if I was absolved of running for office; if I had an ET lady to sleep spoon and share my life with in our own little cabin in the woods; if I felt better physically; if my love for fishing came back; if I was able to drink beer again and thus enjoy hanging out in Keys honky tonks, partaking in the Keys national pastime; if I had some people beating a path to my door, who actually are interested in what it’s like to be an ET instead of a human. Maybe that would pep me up a bit. But then, maybe it would get me accused of being a Satanist and burned at the stake.
 
Meanwhile, maybe back to reality, are these nagging thoughts that started floating in after I woke up this morning; thoughts, along with some dreams, I took as suggestions from the Editorial Board about changes I needed to make to the draft of this diatribe I wrote a draft of last night.
 
I wrote yesterday about the awful karma I brought down on myself by walking away from the lock-and-key country law practice God arranged for me just after I graduated from law school.
 
The federal judge I ended up clerking for, instead of being a county lawyer, came to me in a dream shortly after I moved into the trailer on Little Torch Key in 2006. He took me back to what I had walked away from and said somebody would have to do time for it. I understood that somebody would be me.

Waking up one December morning in 2000, on Maui, my third visit to Hawaii, the VOICE I had come to trust with my life and soul said, “Go to Big Pine Key.” I was broke. Three days later, with no effort on my part, I was in the air headed for Los Angeles. After a layover with friends, I was on the Grey God, er, Dog, booked through to Key West. Maybe I should have gotten off the bus at Big Pine, instead of going all the way down to the end of US 1. Maybe it would have saved a lot of time and some or a lot of grief.

I am a lawyer. Once one, you never get over it; it’s terminal. I quit practicing in late 1985, but I kept doing it pro bono everywhere I went. I told the County Commission year before last that it needed a lawyer on the Dais to keep it out of trouble, because the lawyers working for the County weren’t doing that.
 
Maybe I’m getting ready to be that country lawyer I chickened out on being. Maybe I’m getting ready to be Mother Nature’s country lawyer, headquartered on Little Torch Key. Maybe that will mean I really will run for the county commission again. Maybe it will mean I will become a thorn in the side of anyone who wants to develop land in the Keys, especially land near where I live. Maybe I will even file a lawsuit or two on behalf of Mother Nature. It’s not something you forget how to do; like I said, it’s terminal.
 
At the home of friends Christmas Eve, one of the other guests, whom I’d not before me, looked me over, asked if I was a developer or a Realtor? I was not in my custommary T-shirt, but was in a golf shirt. ”No,” I said, “Developers and Realtors view me as the Anti-Christ.” They viewed me that way when I practiced law, too. I mean, you do get a reputation after writing HOME BUYERS: Lambs to the Slaughter?, and then Jane Pauley interviews you about it on the TODAY Show.
 
Cheers for the New Year!
 
Sloan Bashinsky

Asylum

fools-rush-in_thumbnail1.jpgconch.jpgmother-nature.jpg

Replies from two Key West amigos and a Key West amigo snow bird to yesterday’s “Interloper” post, in which I pondered my theoretical escape from what many who live there call Key Weird. The amigos’ ravings are in italics, to distinguish theirs from mine.
 
——————
 
If you don’t belong in Key West, then who does?  
I think about what you said at one of the forums. Basically, this is the kind of place where a guy like me can run for mayor…anywhere else I’d get run out of town on a rail…amen.
We’re both home old man…stay put and keep on shaking the bush.
Happy new year
RynoWell, Sir Ryno, I do indeed remember saying that, probably more than at just one candidate forum; and maybe I also said KW is the only place I probably wouldn’t just be summarily locked up for my own good and the key probably thrown away for everyone else’s own good.
 
FYI, in the Buddhist tradition is the archetype of the rhino — one who must find his own way; no spiritual master for that one to sit at the feet of — life is that one’s teacher.
 
Maybe if I had a bush to beat in Key West, you get the drift, that would make me want to stay in seat of the Conch Republic  a while longer. Did you ever wonder why the under part of a conch sort of looks the way it does, and why the top part is so hard and spiney?
 
Little Torch Key ain’t all that far away. When I lived there in 2006–07, I got down to KW pretty often. Warn’t no chess players up that way. And it was lonely, living all by my lonesome in that trailer next to the national wildlife reserve without a bush to beat. I watched so much cable TV that I got fucking stupid.
 
When I was moved down to KW, to run for mayor in 2007 (second attempt, first in 2003), I didn’t even get cable run into the flat I rented, although it was new out there on the pole itching-ready to be run it. Don’t even have internet connection in my flat, all of which I had in the trailer, complements ComCast.
 
I figured, surely in Key West there was a lady crazy as me, who likes to do fun and disgusting things. Surely. Alas, I didn’t find her yet, although I did find plenty of crazy women who like to do fun and disgusting things, but not with an ET.
 
Maybe they didn’t have me mistaken with Arnold Terminator, whose lower likeness Sandy Downs maybe swiped of the Internet for the front side of my nude beach campaign T-shirt. Plenty of women went wild over it, but not one teeny weensy nibble did I feel. KW still has no nude beach, and I’m still nibbleless.
 
Maybe I’ve been looking in all the wrong places. Maybe I should head up to the petting farm at the county jail on Stock Island and see if they have a female rhino in residence.
 
Thanks for the bright idea, and cheers!
Sloan———————-
 
You WERE an interloper in the Australian outback, which is still populated by indigenous people.
None of them left in the Keys. Even the Conchs are relatively recent arrivals.
Here you are at home, a lunatic in an open-air asylum.All that you say is true. KW is not only an lunatic asylum, it is an asylum for lunatics, as in safe harbor. Of this have I many times written and even have said at candidate forums, bringing some chuckles, especially when I substituted “zoo” for “asylum.” Alas, as I was woken up by the angels, not all that pleasantly, mostly like standing in front of a Vulcan machine gun, pick either the mind-bending planet from Star Trek or the US Military mind-blowing version, it has dawned on me that, as I wrote with not just a small amount of wrenching in the ”Interloper” post, I’m in a parallel asylum, presently inhabited only by me as far as I see. This parallel asylum has the truly weird characteristic of outwardly looking like the asylum you so accurately described. However, it actually is an entirely different asylum, which provides the bizarre treat of living in both asylums simultaneously, fully aware of the schizophrenia. I’d love to discuss this phenomena with a panel of world-renown psychiatrists at a neutral site chosen by Kurt Vonnegut and William Blake, where huge, muscular orderlies from the planet Klingon are at my beck and call to whisk the good witch doctors off to the thorazine room every time they disagree with me about anything. Once injected with enough of that good legal soma to subdue an enraged charging cow white rhino defending her calf from zoo collectors, then follows a few months of electrical stimulation of various regions of the brain which secretly dangles between their legs under the small elephant trunk-like appendage. Female witch doctors get juiced in the somewhat smaller appendage lying in the same approximate region of their Sigmund-Freud’s. This treatment is humane, actually, because the good witch doctors now are so zoned out on the thorazine that they don’t feel a thing when the electricity is turned on. Many scientific studies already have proven this; the point of the electricity is to further prove the validity of the studies and not to in anywise further subdue or dis-enlighten the good doctor guinea pigs. Gosh, how did I ever get off on that? Must have been another one of my hallucinations from when I imagined I was Jack Nicholson vacationing at the Cuckoo’s Nest, which is a small island, actually, located somewhere not on any map except the one drawn in my brain by life. For karma, as in, what happens to the good witch doctors after they leave this world, they can choose between living alone with several billion women who inhabit Venus, or they can choose to live alone with the Borg. Pick their own poison. No soma, though, do they get to take with them to regulate what surely will be their ensuing radical brain chemical imbalances. This time, when the electricity is applied, there will be no insulation, no studies; the entire point will be torture. The only way out of it is to agree to a brain transplant, wherein baboons gets their brains and they get the babboons’. My mistake, that already happened before they were born this time; that’s how they got to be psychiatrists instead of human beings. Too bad psychiatry doesn’t recognize reincarnation like the Buddhists and Hindus; so much misunderstanding and outright ignorance and barbaric butchery could have been avoided. Instead of getting the brain transplants, psychiatrists simply could all just have come back as baboons; then nobody but other baboons would have ever paid them any mind. Sloan———————————–
 
Hey Sloan,

Your words today touched a chord in me longing for change.  After 15 years Wintering in Key West essentially living under the radar in my van at Higgs Beach while Spring/Summer and Fall-ing up North. I have decided its time for a new beginning.  So I am here finally settled at my condo in Ft Lauderdale trying to make a new life and put down roots and build a family of friends based around the music scene, as I had done in Key West.  I am giving some of my time to homeless kids at Covenant House one night a week.  Have met some wonderful ladies one of whom might be a potential long term partner all while keeping Key West as the escape it has always served for me now just 4 hours away as opposed to 24 hours away when I lived in New Jersey.

So now its time to get serious about what the next step will be i.e. get serious about my writing, do some more world travel to places I have not been or certainly a combination of the two while trying to give something back.
It has become profoundly clear in my 62nd year that the clock keeps ticking and our productive time here is running short.
Time to get going.
Thanks for sharing your innermost thoughts.  Will keep you posted.Emil
 
Hi, Emil. Thanks also for your innermost thoughts. I wonder if maybe people who want me to stay in Key West, or think it’s best for me, would go there if they lived in my skin? I wonder. Probably not. I go where God tells me to go, when God tells me to leave. I have demonstrated this many, many times, and have written about it many, many times. Did you ever watch the movie “K-Pax” staring Kevin Spacey? I saw it one Thursday night at Atlantic Shores, maybe 2002. Great last name for the lead actor in this space-invasion movie. Space invasion of the human mind. Key West indeed is way far out, but it’s like baby pool far out compared to the stuff I experience. If it was filled with people having the kind of experiences I have, I ain’t met one person yet, I would fight tooth and nail any eviction orders. But, alas, in the end, I would leave, because the consequences of not following orders have proven over and over again to be excruciating. I keep trying to explain this regimen to religious types, often quoting similar tales from the Bible and other religious texts, but what I get back ranges between blank stares and askance looks and sometimes comments bearing on my brain function. Such is life, ironically, in the city that adopted as its poet laureate a fellow who summed up his life: “I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference.” Herd thinking is everywhere, even in Key Weird. I hope Ft. Lauderdale profits you in the soul sense; you have to follow the winds that fills your sales, er, sails, to get to where you are going on this asylum (Earth). And, as Sandy Down’s son Preston use to say when he was still among us, you can’t get to where you want to go if you only travel on sunny days. Sandy and Nick Downs (Jane and Tarzan of Tarzan’s Tree Care) came to me in a dream last night with more information about what lies underneath my G.I. disorder, my deceased infant son, along with their hope that I will indeed use my legal experience in Mother Nature’s behalf, which might help the G.I. disorder. County Commissioner Heather Caruthers also came to me in dream last night. I ran against her ran last year and wrote some stuff about her early childhood that really upset some people, although it was offered to provide her insight that might strengthen her in the performance of her duties as a county commissioner, if she won, which she did handily. She has done a good job as far as I see. She encouraged me in the dream to “overcome.“ I took that in two ways. One, Heather is a county commissioner, so it is hard for me to ignore the implication that her soul wants me to run against George Neugent next year, for the District 2 seat on the Commission. My place on Little Torch Key lies in the heart of District 2; in the jungle, so to speak, next to a federal wildlife refuge. Two, if I do this, it might help me with the child molestation I experienced, which also is part of what lies underneath my G.I. disturbance. I appreciate all of the soul guidance and encouragement but feel it will take more than just an act of will on my part for me to pull it off. My love affair with the Keys needs to be restored. I need to FEEL, have PASSION, have AFFECTION. I need to feel the ROMANCE. I need to WEEP and RAGE and LAUGH and SING for the Keys, to do this in the way it needs to be done. I need to WANT to do it and I need to WANT to be on this planet. I simply cannot continue to do this work out of a mere sense of duty. I need to LOVE the work and my life. I need to go to bed at night LOOKING FORWARD to the next day and to wake up in the morning RARING TO GO. I wonder what the baboons would say about that? I wonder what they would say about about me negotiating with God? Baboons don’t study God in their medical schools. God is not on their certification examinations. God is not part of their healing art. That’s why they are baboons. Sloan

January 6, 2010

The Year of the Tiger

tiger.jpgYesterday morning, one of my KW provocateur’s KW came into Sippin’ Internet Cafe while I was putting out yesterday’s “Lambs to the Slaughter?” post. He looked hard at me, said I had caused him to have a horrible nightmare the night before. His dream went like this:
 
He sees thousands of rats running down US 1 toward Key West. Big rats, little rats, middle-size rats. He is freaked out that they are coming down here where he lives. Like I’d had in my place on Little Torch Key, he has had rats in his home and he sure doesn’t want any more. He asks one of the big rats what’s going on? The big rat says something like, “Sloan is moving back to Little Torch Key and we rats can’t live with that and have to go somewhere else.” 
 
I told my amigo that I viewed his dream as God’s way, through him, of telling me I indeed am moving back to Little Torch Key. Pretty fucking funny, huh?

As chance had it, Todd German asked me to have lunch yesterday. A banker by trade, Todd is Chairman of Hometwon! PAC, which sponsors calls to candidates and candidate forums. We met at where we usually break bread, the delightful Chinese restaurant at the corner of Fleming and Simonton Streets.
 
When I shared the rat-invasion dream and my take on it, Todd said he would bet money I move to Little Torch Key and run for the county commission again, even though it’s usually not a good idea to bet against the person in control of the outcome. I burst out laughing, said that was nearly as funny as the rat dream.
 
I said maybe I should start a company called Terminator Pest Control. Maybe we would use Key West wild chickens, feral cats, boa constrictors and pythons for the ordinary kind of rat control. But for the other kind of rats, we would use plastic explosives, stinger missiles, neutron bombs — and the rats’ names, addresses and other vital statistics.
 
Todd looked at the paper place mats, which features the Chinese horoscope, to see if this is the Year of the Rat. Nope. It’s the Year of the Tiger. Probably not a good year for rats.
 
Cheers!
 
Sloan

January 10, 2010

Going Green

mother-nature.jpgFor the past few cold days I’ve been thinking I am very glad I do not live outside. I slept on the streets of Key West a good while, and in shelters a little while. I slept outside on nights like last night’s; it’s 47 degrees right now, and the wind is blowing hard. Felt like mid-thirties walking to Sippin’ Internet Café’ this morning.
 
I went to The Mayor’s Ball last night, at Casa Marina. A “Key West Formal” attire fund-raiser for the Monroe County Children’s Shelter, I was happy to pay the $100 cover charge, but not to have to borrow a sports coat to wear. I got there right after it started, 6:00 p.m., saw a few people I knew, most people there I didn’t know. I wandered around, sipping a ginger ale that cost me $3.25, wondering to myself how I was going to survive the entire evening.
 
Finally, no disrespect intended, I stopped wondering and slipped out, walked to my car and drove back to my flat. Then I did other things more in keeping with me, including watching the late showing “Avatar” at Regal Cinema with Sandy Downs and a Native American friend of hers. My second viewing of this movie that takes the earth term/movement, green, to a whole new level. An incomprehensible level, unless you see the movie.
 
Yesterday morning, I picked up a phone message from “Bicycle” Joanie Nelson, urging me to keep running for office and asking me to call her about some political issues she had on her mind. Joanie lives in Marathon and is the Keys icon for running for office annually — I’m a rank amateur political gadfly compared to her.
 
So, I called Joanie back and tried to have a conversation. Tried, because talking with Joanie is, as I told her once again, like talking with somebody with a mouth and no ears. It’s all one-way, Joanie’s way. I had to stop her yapping and tell her this isn’t a conversation maybe half-a-dozen times during the ten minutes or so we were on the phone together.
 
During one of Joanie’s taking-a-breaths, I asked if Mario Di Gennaro is running again for the County Commission? Yes, that was her understanding. Is David Rice running again? Yes, David Rice is running again, too, Joanie said was her understanding. For the same seat he held before he resigned to run for the state legislature in 2006, which allowed Mario to become a county commissioner for that voting district (#4), because nobody else ran against him.
 
Joanie said she had thought about moving into Di Gennaro and Rice’s voting district in Marathon, so she could run against them. But instead, she is going to run against George Neugent, in whose district she currently lives.
 
I said I was having dreams indicating that I was moving back to my place on Little Torch Key, so I could run against George again. But maybe, one can only hope, I will be let off the hook, if she runs.
 
Joanie urged me to run anyway, I have a lot to say, she said.
 
So what?, I have a lot to say, I said. I’m tired of talking to people who have no ears and are all mouth. Nothing in me wants to run against George, and only God threatening me can make me do it.
 
I said that maybe three times before Joanie heard it. Then she was quiet, and I said it is bad manners and juvenile to talk all of the time, and she needs to get over that, if she is going to run for the county commission.
 
I love Joanie, truly, but with a constant blood alcohol level of around .02, she has a pretty steep climb. I didn’t say that yesterday, but I’ve said it before to her and it didn’t change anything. Every time I see her, she reeks of booze; even at County Commission and Marathon City Council meetings she reeked of booze.
 
Maybe half a dozen times yesterday, Joanie tired to drag me into her concerns and issues with the City of Marathon’s problems. I repeatedly said I’m not interested in the City of Marathon’s problems. They pulled out of Monroe County, started their own government, let them worry about their problems. Joanie said they might be trying to get back under the county government but the county probably won’t take them back. I said why would the county want to take Marathon back, with all its problems? The county has enough problems of its own.
 
Joanie said I should be concerned with Marathon’s problems because it is part of Monroe County, and Monroe County is part of Florida, and Florida is part of the United States, and the United States is part of the world, and the world is part of the Creation, and we are all one. I said I know all of that and I still am not worried about Marathon’s problems; I’m only worried about the county’s problems. I probably shouldn’t have said that, because it might be taken as my caring about Monroe County.
 
Whatever, if Joanie runs against George Neugent, and I told her this, it might make it interesting and funny enough for me not to want to kill myself if I am forced by God to make it a three-candidate race. If I do run, I imagine I will be Mother Nature’s candidate. The Keys I do care about, Monroe County you can have.
 
I also imagine, if I do run, that I will be as hard on David Rice, and on his and George Neugent’s friendship, as I was on the Gang of Three in the 2008 county commission races. No way in hell do the Keys, these islands on which we live, need David Rice back on the County Commission. No way in hell.
 
I keep watching the green people talking about going green. I keep wondering when they are going to actually be green, instead of talking about it and doing rinky-dink stuff that lets them feel green. If I run for the County Commission again, I’m going to make green people wish they had never heard the word green. Maybe I’ll even show up at candidate forums nekkid with Sandy Downs and Aphrodite.
 
Sloan Bashinsky

January 15, 2010

Keys Roundup

cowgirl-rounup.jpgOn lying down for a nap yesterday, I went into a zone that hovers between awake and asleep. I was driving my Toyota Highlander out of Marathon, headed toward Key West. Just after the 4-lane ended, a much larger SUV, same color as mine but it looked more like a Toyota Sequoia or Land Rover, roared by me on the right shoulder, then lurched onto US 1 in just front of me as we reached Seven Mile Bridge. The vision ended.
 
I figured it was about the upcoming county commission races. Probably about the Islamorada fellow described in yesterday’s Key West Citizen, who had filed candidate papers in the Supervisor of Elections’ office, to run against County Commissioner Mario Di Gennaro and former County Commissioner David Rice.
 
I saw Mario in Key West day before yesterday. He had a bunch of petition cards for people to sign so he can qualify to run without paying the filing fee. He said he looks forward to a contested race; he doesn’t want anyone complaining that he got elected because nobody else ran against him. That happened when he was elected the first time, in 2006, after David Rice resigned from the County Commission to run for the State Legislature.
 
The Islamorada candidate served four years as the city’s Vice-Mayor; sounds sort of Keysie don’t it — Vice Mayor. He came across in the Citizen as being well-liked and a straight shooter — like he doesn’t lose any sleep worrying what people think about him. Sometimes he’s called Mangrove Mike. Pretty Keysie nickname, huh? Running as an Independent, he will face off against the winner in the Republican primary between David and Mario.

I told Mario to leave off responding to any dirty tricks David might pull in this race; leave that for me and other people to handle. David ran the dirtiest and most juvenile campaign I had seen in the Keys, when he ran against Ron Saunders in 2006. A Democrat, Ron wiped the polls with David, winning 60-40. George Neugent campaigned hard for David.
 
I ran against George that same year, as an Independent. He whomped me, 2/3 – 1/3. Neither of us did any advertising. We were congenial, except when he told audiences at candidate forums that I would bankrupt the county. Shortly after George beat me, the county was on the path to the bankruptcy court, mostly due to the construction/acquisition of county commission-approved real estate ego monuments, which George had opposed, and to the avarice of developers, which George had encouraged as if they bore the Holy Grail.
 
Had voters, George, and the rest of the county commissioners and our city governments listened to me back then, as I said over and over again, “No more new development in the Keys, they are already way over-developed and can stand no more and nobody in good conscience can argue otherwise,” our county and city governments might be in little better shape today.
 
It later came to me yesterday that the much larger Toyota SUV passed me on the right shoulder in the upper end of George Neugent’s voting district, headed for his county commissioner office on Big Pine Key, which I have often described as the seat of Mother Nature’s last stand, the Heart of the Resistance in the Keys. I then considered that the much larger SUV might represent the right hand of God, as in Jesus. I could use his help, if I run again against George again. No way can I chop all that wood and haul all of that water alone – I proved that in 2006.
 
An unknown who did nothing but show up at candidate forums and participate in media interviews and publish to my growing “bulk email” list (I had no website back then), I received 7,300 votes. A number of people told me I was going to win; I was the only candidate in any of the county races who made any sense. I dreaded the thought of winning and having to put up with what sure looked to me like development insanity on the county commission and in other county departments.
 
I wanted to put a toll booth at the top of US 1, below Florida City, to pay for the countywide sewer system we so desperately needed, which the State had ordered done by 2010. I said it would never happen otherwise. I was told by people who should have known, including George Neugent, that any money so raised could only be spent on roads and bridge repair and maintenance.
 
Yesterday, County Commissioner Heather Carruthers was reported in The Citizen as coming out in favor of what I had proposed in 2006. She had done her research, learned of other toll roads on US highways in Florida, where the fees are used not only to maintain roads and bridges but also relieve stress on the environment – particularly the Alligator Alley toll on I-75, which contributes to Everglades restoration. Heather argued that the Keys are part of a Federal Wildlife Sanctuary and should be entitled to similar toll road fee help for the Keys environment. I could not agree more. Go get ‘em Heather!
 
I ran against Heather in 2008, after I was moved down to Key West by the Keys Development Board (nothing to do with this world). I figured Heather would make a really good county commissioner, if she got over her aversion to people not liking her. How many times did I write and say at forums during that campaign that serving in office is not supposed to be a popularity contest; if you aren’t pissing people off, you aren’t doing the job correctly.
 
I kept banging the Gang of Three on the County Commission: Mario Di Gennaro, Sonny McCoy and Dixie Spehar. While the other candidates stumped for themselves at candidate forums, I said over and over again, if the Gang of Three weren’t removed, there was no point at talking about any other Keys issues. When asked at one forum, what did I see as the three most serious threats facing the Keys?, I said “The Gang of Three.”
 
I had two minutes to answer that question and I answered in three seconds. When the moderator, Ed Scales, in-house legal counsel for Keys developer mogul Ed Swift, said I had not spoken loudly enough, maybe some people hadn’t heard me, I grabbed the mike from him and said again, “The Gang of Three.” Then, I sat down. I did not use the rest of my time to stump for myself. What would that have to do with the question? Nothing, that’s what.
 
The voters banged Sonny and Dixie right out of office. After that, Mario was no longer the County Mayor and started behaving differently. He has my backing against David Rice. It’s too early yet for me to know how I feel about Mario compared to Mangrove Mike.
 
You learn a lot about candidates at forums, which you never learn from the newspapers or candidates’ campaign advertising or their friends. You see candidates dance around questions. You see them talk and talk, and afterward you wonder what they said? It will be interesting to see how Mario does at candidate forums, which he has yet to experience. Mangrove Mike has done it, running for office in Islamorada. David Rice has done it. George Neugent has done it. “Bicycle” Joanie has done it.
 
Five times have I run for office in the Keys: three times for Mayor of Key West, twice for the county commission. I love candidate forums. It’s like going to the zoo and watching the monkeys and apes decide whether they are going to be real people, or just keep eating bananas and masturbating. Hmm, since we have no monkeys or apes in the Keys, maybe I should say iguanas and developers.
 
Sloan Bashinsky, the most reluctant candidate for office the Keys and this nation ever had. So reluctant, it’s going to take God making me an offer I dare not refuse, to get me to run against George Neugent again.
 
Let ”Bicycle” Joanie Nelson chew on George a while. Even when she’s drinking (when is she not?), Joanie, a former school teacher, is smart as a whip. I bet her IQ  is around 160. She proved her native intelligence to me when she said about a week ago, out of the blue, that Tom Robbins wrote three great novels, and they weren’t Still Life With Woodpecker and Skinny Legs and All. They were: Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Just Another Roadside Attraction, and Jitterbug Perfume. Amen, Joanie. Amen.

Another plus about Joanie’s candidacy is she is poor as a church mouse. I have been that poor, even poorer. I was raised in wealth, but it doesn’t impress me in the least. Nor does it impress Joanie. A true friend of the less fortunate Keys residents she surely would be as a county commissioners. People who have trouble paying their rent and utilities, and can’t even imagine what it’s like to own a home. People who do all the little jobs that keep the Keys going and the wealthy from having to do all the little jobs themselves.
 
If developers try get permits to bull-doze low rent housing, including trailer parks, Joanie will call the angels down on their heads, to take them to that special place in hell they deserve to be with any county commissioner going along with it. That, too, would get a big AMEN from me, who hired a Keys lawyer in 2006 to represent a trailer park on Big Pine Key a developer had purchased with a view toward bullozing and turning into a high-end condominium devleopment. Thankfully, that developer went busted.
 
Joanie has run for office in the Keys many times; she is the perennial candidate. The only thing I hold against her candidacy, besides her constant drinking, is she actually wants the job; she really wants to be an elected official. I really don’t want to be an elected official, and that is the biggest reason people should have voted for me in each of the five races I already ran. In fact, just for that reason alone I should have been elected in every one of those races.
 
If I had my way, nobody should be allowed to run for office. If I had my way, only people drafted in grass roots fashion, then elected by the write-in method should be allowed to serve. That’s pretty much how I got rounded up and roped by God. Nothing in me wanted to serve in the way God had in mind for me. I was conscripted, shanghaied. I went along with it because the alternative was way too terrifying to even try to imagine. 
 
Sloan Bashinsky

January 18, 2010

BigWhineKey.Whine

cry-babies.jpgThe drivel first below leads off yesterday’s Coconut Telegraph (Kudos & Whiners) Gossip Page of bigpinekey.com , the readership of which slightly dwarfs that of any other Keys website/blog. My own drivel follows the intro drivel.
 
 

(Ed: He’s Baaaaaaaak! The Coconut Telegraph warmly welcomes Sloan Bashinsky back. It’s our good fortune that he had a dream last night advising him to return to the fold. Sloan’s lead-in to his website will appear just before From the Right guy’s posts. Whatever readers’ opinion of Mr Bashinsky, no one ever has accused him of being boring; and that’s what it’s all about.) 
 
Thanks Dear Ed, for the warm welcome back, but “return to the fold?” Surely you jest. The only fold I’m in you probably ought to be thanking your lucky stars you aren’t.
 
As for how I feel about being back on CT, I ain’t too sure I have a handle on it yet. Maybe I should start a scrapbook of the poison electronic darts I would be really disappointed not to start getting from the state mental escapees. I would say state mental candidates, but they already candidated.
 
The familar web link ( http://goodmorningfloridakeys.com/?cat=3) off my ”teasers” Dear Ed posts to CT takes adventuresome readers and just plain fools to the Today’s FlaKey Drivel file in the menu of goodmorningfloridakeys.com, which Dear Ed set up for me back in the fall of 2007. For which I paid him in real money, just as I pay him in real money to post and link the ”teasers” that get the state mental escapees so agitated — or used to, anyway.
 
I know from conversations with Dear Ed that he hasn’t got a whole hell of a lot of sympathy for the whining about my drivels, when the whiners are getting to whine for free and I’m having to pay real money to hear their whining. The real money helps Dear Ed cope with the whining, he told me in one of our psychotherapy sessions at his home in the pigmy deer woods somewhere I ain’t telling, because I’m positive he don’t want none of the state mental escapees coming around there.
 
I read “From the Right’s” scrawlings yesterday, and found this particular sentence astounding wrong stupid for someone who writes the King’s English as if he wuz trained by leftist Princeton University literature professors:
 
“You must ignore the fact that American military is now present in Muslim countries only at the specific request of their governments.”
 
Pray tell, Sir Right, when do we get to see the engraved invitations to invade from Saddam Hussein and whoever was the putative head mullah of Afghanistan when America invaded those countries, which had never once started a war with America my country right or wrong?

Maybe we all ought to be on our knees, Sir Right, praying with all of our might that Barack Obama isn’t the Anti-Christ, instead of bonking RepubliKlans who think he is.
 
Maybe we also all need to bone up on our world history a bit, on the subject of what all America did to piss off Islam fundamentalists. Not that their attacks on America are appropriate, but there should have been no surprise whatsoever to any of us who hadn’t traded our brain with a baboon.

That said, I agree with much of what was posted from Sir Right yesterday. Islam really should stand up and take note of the good America has done in Moslem countries that have no oil.

Where there is oil, it gets pretty muddy, trying to separate America’s good intentions from its oil needs. And where there is religion, it gets pretty oily. Islam ain’t been too terribly happy with Christendom since the Christian Jihads in the Holy Land, and it didn’t get better when Christendom carved Israel out of Islam.

A lot of people spend a lot of time Bible studying but not a lot of time Bible doing . . . Action speaks louder. If you don’t like what’s going on, go out and do something about it, or at least try.
 
Right, stand out on US 1 at the Big Pine traffic signal on Sunday morning’s with the couple holding peace signs, urging we bring our heroes home from the Presidents Bush and Obama Godless wars.

Work in a soup kitchen, if you want to help the homeless.

Run for public office, if you think you can do it better.
 
Right, paint bulls-eyes on your front and hind ends; provide your names and addresses, so you are easy for the local skinheads and tree spikers to find.
 
No way am I giving out my address; I have enough trouble with Homeland Security, NSA, CIA, FBI, Interpol and Mossad hit men. My backyard black ops mercenary assassin unknown soldier graveyard already is bursting at the seams, and I would feel terrible if somebody local who has it in for me got unaccidently blown away in a real ammo crossfire.
 
Maybe I’m glad I’m back at CT. Maybe I missed having daily conflagration with my fans, even if Dear Ed doesn’t provide their names to protect their reputations.
 
Cheers!

sloan-bashinsky.jpgmoi

January 19, 2010

No Grid Key

old-wooden-bridge.jpg(painting of the old wooden bridge over to No Name Key)

Today’s FlaKey Drivel concerns the crybabies who don’t want to live with the consequences of buying a home on No Name Key, knowing it was off the grid.
 
My “research” so far into this not so fine kettle of fish consisted of reading Key West Citizen reports, perusing the howlings on the Coconut Telegraph blog of
bigpinekey.com, reading correspondence from Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority and Keys Energy Services forwarded to me by Kay Thacker, speaking on the phone with Monroe County Mayor Sylvia Murphy, and chatting with a Key West lawyer in his office. The lawyer said what really ought to be done with No Name Key is the Feds take it over altogether, buy all of the homes and run everyone off the island, so the Key deer can have it all to themselves.
 
Here’s a summary of the rest of what I remember from the “research.”
 
Once upon a time, there was a wooden bridge from Big Pine Key to No Name Key. Before that, No Name Key was basically uninhabited by humans. Maybe one or two lived there, camping out, in a lean-to or shed, or on a boat.
 
The wooden bridge was destroyed by a hurricane in 1949. Boat became the only way to get out there.
 
During the Cuban Missile crisis, No Name Key was a staging center for CIA ops. The far end, away from Big Pine Key, was a ferry terminal.
 
In 1967, the new bridge was built over to No Name Key. After that, a few homes were built. Completely off the grid. No public utilities of any kind, as it is today. More homes were built later, also off the grid.
 
Anyone who built a home on No Name Key did it because the land was cheaper and/or to live off the grid, in Nature.
 
I don’t imagine I am all alone in in thinking these whiners hope to increase the value of their homes and/or make them easier to sell in this terrible economy, by getting No Name Key on the grid.
 
To that end, they have forted themselves up with lawyers to go after the evil county government that, in conspiracy with other imagined and unimagined con-artists, twisted their arms into buying homes on an island off the grid.
 
Part of the whiners offensive legal offensive is a 1951 County Commission resolution – yes, not an ordinance but a resolution – they found, saying Keys Energy Services can put electricity anywhere in the Keys. In 1951, the CIA had not even set up shop out there. Boat or helicopter, or maybe swimming, was the only way to get there.

The lawyer I interviewed said he recently told County Commissioner George Neugent that he didn’t want to end up paying for No Name Key homes going on the grid. Commissioner Neugent replied, the lawyer said, that’s one of the problems the Commission is dealing with: Who is going to pay for it?
 
The County Commission needs to tell Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority, Keys Energy Services, and No Name Key homeowners who want on the grid, that the taxpayers of  Monroe County are not going to pay for it. It’s going to be paid for by the homeowners who want it. Or it won’t happen. The County Commission won’t levy or collect the taxes for it. And it’s going to be paid by the homeowners in cash, up front, before any dirt is dug or any cable run or pipes laid, to make sure the homeowners don’t later try to pull a fast one and later stick the county and taxpayers with the cost.
 
What I read in the Citizen, which Mayor Murphy confirmed on the phone, is that just to lay the electricity out to No Name Key will cost $900,000 above ground, or $1,500,000 underground. There are 43 homes out there, not all of which want on the grid. Say 30 homes, for calculation sake, want on the grid. That’s a minimum of $30,000 cash, up front, each of those homes pays just to get electricity. Add to that, up front, what each home has to pay for aqueduct water. Homes that want neither cannot be charged. It all should be borne by the homes that want on the grid.
 
This is not unfair. This is giving No Grid Key homeowners what they wanted when they bought homes they knew were off the grid.
 
Sloan Bashinsky

January 22, 2010

Even More Off the Grid Key

no-name-key-bridge.jpg(Today’s bridge over to No Name Key)

A whine to the recent ”No Grid Key” Today’s Flakey Drivel post to GoodMorningFloridaKeys.com. It also was posted to yesterday’s Coconut Telegraph page of bigpinekey.com. I don’t think I know this person, whose first name is Jim (all he gave me), because I don’t recognize his email address. My reply follows. 
 
Sloan – What Are You Smoking? Sloan, my friend, I had high hopes for you on the CT till I read your last post about No Name. Now I thinks the only thing high are not my hopes but you. Are you serious? Writing about what you heard from someone who heard something from another? Getting ‘answers’ from Mayor Smurphy? Please! Your dates are wrong and none of your facts are, well, factually correct.

Let’s start with the numbers. So you say Mayor Smurphy has explained that power will cost $ 900,000? BZZZ! Sorry, wrong answer. The current quoted cost is $ 690,000 and is dropping. Just to bring you up to speed since you have been gone a bit bro, those that oppose power on NNK broker in misinformation and lies. They also like to trump up the numbers every chance possible, $ 1,000,000 being the often quoted figure over the last year. Your Mayor’s figure of $ 900k works nicely to continue the deception and lies but the cost is under $ 700 and likely to go down.

Not that the cost cost matters, or should, to you or the ‘lawyer’ you ‘interviewed’. No Name has 43 homes. 30 of those homeowners have agreed to pay the entire cost, all of it my friend. They have not asked or demanded that the County pay for this service. Now if the County further attacks and trys to stop us from bringing something so unremarkable as power to our homes then your lawyer friend and you might want to worry. But first, if I were you, I’d worry about the type of government that would do what this one has dating back four decades to the islands residents.

You say you don’t like that some on No Name want power to increase the value of their home. Well, this morning I woke up in the United States of America and in my America my fellow citizens thankfully have the right to think and feel however they want. Sloan, are you writing from CUBA? Sure, some want power to increase their home’s values, so what? Some want it for life safety reasons. Some (many, most even) for environmental reasons. Some want it because they just want it and don’t want to be told that you can have it and they can’t. Some want it for all of these reasons. Sloan, why do you want and have commercial power, air and such evil luxuries?

My reply: 
 
Hmmm,
 
I don’t smoke.
 
Or drink.
 
Or take pills, mushrooms, LSD, etc.
 
It’s au naturale with me.
 
Hmmm, although you use a “keysconcerns” email handle, it looks to me that your concerns are isolated to No Name Key homeowners, including yourself, who bought off the grid with eyes wide open, and now want on the grid.
 
The $900,000 above ground estimate for electricity to No Name Key homes was reported in KW Citizen. Sylvia Murphy was not the original source for me, but she had heard the same number. Of course, the final cost estimates are what they are. The lower the cost, the better for No Name Key residents who want power. And water. If it happens.
 
I was not aware there were 30 homeowners on No Name Key who wanted power and water run out there. I picked 30 out of the air in my earlier post, for the sake of having a number to work with.
 
I was not aware those 30 want to pay the entire cost. Nor, from what I’ve heard, does the County Commission know that.
 
If there are 30 homeowners who have agreed to pay the entire cost, is there something in writing from them, signed by each of them, agreeing to pay the cost?
 
If so, do they agree in writing to pay the entire cost up front? Are they willing and able to put the cost into escrow, to guarantee past and future work done by the Aqueduct Authority, Keys Energy and County staff on their behalf is fully reimbursed?
 
People who built/ purchased homes on No Name Key have the same legal rights now that they had when the homes were built/purchased. Won’t surprise me if a local court decides what those rights are. Won’t surprise me that whatever the court decides, there is an appeal. Maybe a few years later we will have a final legal ruling. And it won’t surprise me if the loser has to pay the winner’s litigation costs.
 
Please do not take any of the above as my consent to electricity and water being run out to No Name Key. I oppose it totally. You and the other 29 knew there was no electricity or water on No Name Key, when you made it your home. You knew the restrictions in effect. Either you later had a change of heart, or you had an agenda all along to speculate that you could get power and water out there and profit from your speculation. Either way, I don’t feel sympathetic.
 
I purchased a one-acre lot, with a trailer on it, on Little Torch Key in 2006. I paid cash. I bought at the top of the market. It had a ROGO letter from the County, saying the trailer could be torn down and removed and a dwelling built, all with proper county permitting and oversight. It lies next to a dedicated wildlife refuge. The premium I paid was worth it to me, because of the ROGO letter and abutment to the refuge. I probably could have purchased on No Name Key, but I didn’t want to live off the grid.
 
Alas, the real estate market collapsed, I’d take a bath if I tried to sell it. The market collapsed, in large measure, due to the County Commission letting far too many homes be built in the Keys, many on speculation. I suppose I could dream up some sort of screwy allegations to file in court that the County Commission is responsible for the big devaluation in my property. I saw screwier things happen when I practiced law, much of which time was devoted to representing home buyers and sellers, and even real estate companies and developers before I became a home buyer and seller advocate.
 
I developed a national reputation, infamous mostly, in the residential real estate industry, after I was interviewed by Jane Pauley on the TODAY Show in early 1985, over my first book, HOME BUYERS: Lambs to the Slaughter?, in which I laid bare to the bone the way real estate agents and brokers, mortgage lenders and home sellers “conspire” to fleece the buyer. I was interviewed and reviewed all over the country over that book, and its successor, SELLING YOUR HOME $WEET HOME, and the third book, KILL ALL THE LAWYERS? – A Client’s Guide to Hiring, Firing, Using and Suing Lawyers.
 
So when you speak to me of home buyers’ rights, you speak to someone who used to be the lead lawyer in America on the subject. You speak to someone who would have told you back in 1985, if you had been on TODAY with Jane Pauley, the General Counsel of the National Association of Realtors and myself, that you had no moral or legal right to complain about buying a home on No Name Key that had no public electricity or water when you purchased it. You knew what you were getting going in, and now you have to live with it.
 
Were I a judge presiding over this case today, I’d tell you the same thing. Were I an appellate judge hearing your appeal, I’d tell you the same thing. Even if you were willing to pay for the entire cost of running electricity and water out to No Name Key, all by yourself, I’d tell you the same thing. You have no legal right to it. Not even if you pay for it. What you have a legal right to is what you have: a home off the grid.
 
In some dedicated wild life refuges/nature parks, homes like yours are being condemned and purchased by local, state or national governments, and then torn down and removed. Maybe you should try that approach. Maybe it will prevail because No Name Key now is a dedicated wildlife refuge.
 
Sloan Bashinsky
 
P.S. After making my reply yesterday, I read in KW West Citizen that the U.S. Department of Fish & Wildlife, which overseas the National Key Deer Refuge, sent in a letter asking for more information about running utilities out to No Name Key, and suggesting any electrict service be run in under ground, and that the U.S Government (U.S. taxpayers ultimately) will not pay for any of it. I had read in an earlier Citizen article that underground power to No Name Key was preliminarily estimated to be $1,500,000, which comes to $50,000 each for the 30 homes said to be wanting and willing to pay for it. I imagine running public water out there will cost a pretty penny, too, per home wanting it.
 
Even later yesterday, I received a resend from John Hammerstrom, about cistern water on No Name Key. I sent the original to Ed at bigpinekey.com, to post to the “Coconut Telegraph” gossip page. I don’t know if Ed posted it. It bears on the safety of cistern water generally, so here it is again. I’d not accept any water sample Beth Ramsay-Vickery produces, because I would not be able to trust it was authentic. Were I the county, and I’ve suggested this before, I’d send someone to her home unexpectedly to take samples from her cistern for evaluation in the county lab. 

================================

Sloan,

You’ve no doubt had a full in-basket and plenty of facts, but in case you may have missed it, here’s a repeat of an earlier, related email regarding the attempt to force the Aqueduct Authority to install utility water on No Name Key.

Ms. Ramsay-Vickrey contacted scientists regarding her assertion that rainwater cisterns are inherently unsafe. The answer of at least one of those scientists was not forwarded to the Health Department and the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority.

Below is the email sent to Ms. Ramsay-Vickrey by Dennis J. Lye – Research Microbiologist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Sincerely,

John Hammerstrom

Hi Beth,
 
The letter that I sent you is probably the best that I can do foryou.   There is no evidence that cistern water (in general) poses considerable health risk.   Your particular situation may warrant such a statement but I cannot supply it for you.   Perhaps someone in the local area could support your stance for your particular system (especially as
far as chemical exposures are concerned).

There are hundreds of non-chemist lay people that are successfully implementing multi-level treatments systems and generating potable quality water from cistern systems.  In fact, most users have the opposite opinion that you express.   Most users of cistern systems contend that they are capable of generating potable quality water.

I quite agree that a public system would relieve users of the effort needed to produce good quality water from their cistern systems.

From your description, it would seem that your best presentation would be concerning possible chemical contamination of the rainwater which requires costly remedial treatments.  You will probably have to
produce evidence that your particular cistern system contains water contaminated with specific chemical compounds.

Sorry that I cannot offer more assistance.

Dennis J. Lye
Research Microbiologist

The opinions expressed in these statements are solely those of Dr. Dennis Lye and are not meant to represent any endorsement, recommendation, or policy proposed by the USEPA.

Dennis J. Lye
Research Microbiologist
(513)  569-7870

P.P.S. In case anybody wonders, yes, the county commissoners all receive email copies of of my posts, and some of them tell me they even read them.

Sloan

January 23, 2010

Ship of Fools – No Name Key, Mostly

the-old-wooden-bridge-before-the-hurricane.jpg

On my way up to Big Pine Key yesterday, to mark a few more bushes (territory), I dropped by my landlord’s office to pay my apartment rent. I told the office manager, Frances, that I was giving my two months’ notice. My lease began March 21, 2007, I was moving back to my place on Little Torch Key.
 
Frances and I have had some talks about spirit stuff and this became another one. She said she’d been seeing a lot of spirit in her life, and gave some examples. I said God moved me to Key West, now God was moving me back to Little Torch Key. I wasn’t looking forward to the move, but I felt I’d done all there was to do in Key West. She said she had felt very disturbed on learning of Mick Putney’s death. A leader in Key deer protection and keep No Name and Big Pine Keys they way they are, who would fill that huge void? I said maybe that’s what I’m supposed to do. I told her to go GoodMorningFloridaKeys.com and check out “Big Pine Key: Heart of the Resistance,” the first post in the Big Pine Key: Mother Nature’s Last Stand file. In that post is told what cemented my spirit bond with those two Keys. Frances said she would read it.
 
First stop at Big Pine, after calling ahead to announce my arrival and maybe head off being shot for trespassing before and after warning, was at the home of Capt. Conch, Editor and Publisher of bigpinekey.com. What got me a green pass onto the dispicable old priate’s estate was saying I had my checkbook with me, to pay him for posting teasers from what I write to the Coconut Telegraph and linking it to goodmorningfloridakeys.com. Capt. Conch set up the website for me back in the fall of 2007, and then he came up with the Today’s FlaKey Drivel moniker for my near-daily posts. Maybe he pirated the name from the News-Barometer on Big Pine Key. (newsbarometer.com) It features a Drivel column , written by Steve Estes, the newspaper’s Editor and Publisher.

 
When I said maybe I was going to get him killed, being back on the Coconut Telegraph, Capt. laughed heartily, said, “The more controversial the better!” When I shared what had happened when I was with Frances, he said, “So you’re going to replace Mick Putney?” I laughed, said, “No, Mick was a gentleman.” Capt. said, “Mick didn’t cuss.” I said, “Mick didn’t do a lot of things I do. My role is very different from his.”
 
I lamented how lonely it was when I lived on Little Torch in 2006-07. Capt. said Key West has plenty to do, but the only thing to do around Big Pine and Little Torch is go to bars and since I don’t drink that indeed is lonely. I can’t drink, it makes me physically ill. And I’ve been told in not too subtle ways that if I do drink, there will be hell to pay.
 
Capt. Conch emailed me the photo above, which he had taken way back when. Way back when he sometimes went out to the end of No Name Key, and to the end of the ferry pier that went out a ways to the deep water where the ferry used to dock. Way out to the end of the pier where Capt., no, did not receive smuggled drugs, guns, rum and women slaves, but took trips under the stars with the aid of certain experiementals given to him by Phizer or some big drug company, to see if they were safe for human consumption. Capt. never has told me where he did his smuggling out of when he was a real pirate, instead of the he old-fart he is now

I left Capt. with some booty to help assuage the ire he had raised with some of his consituents who don’t pay him a farthing, by letting me back on the Coconut Telegraph. Then I drove around Big Pine Key marking a few trees and bushes, wondering why some people still think the same kind of limestone lies under Big Pine that lies underneath all the other Keys. If that were so, all the other islands would be habitat to same pine trees, don’t you think?
  
Whatever, I had lunch with Rose Dell at Coco’s Cantina in the Winn-Dixie mall on Big Pine. We talked about this and that scuttlebut. When she asked me about leaving Key West, I said I’d done all I could there, including giving the city a sure cure for its economic ills, which wouldn’t have cost the city a farthing, and they ignored it. I paid Rose the ridiculously low bill for a great lunch I couldn’t get anywhere in Key West.

 
Waiting for my food, I had pulled a current News-Barometer (newsbarometer.com) from the stack on the counter. This issue features a comprehensive article on the No Name Key war between the 30 home owners who want public electricity and water run out there, and the 13 homeowners owners who don’t. I read that prior owners of No Name Key property, who back a ways had sold their property at distress prices to the refuge, because they couldn’t get public electricity and water out there, want their land back, or damages, if the 30 owners get what they seek. Some mention of litigation against Monroe County, litigation I didn’t see much way for them to lose, if the 30 get what they want.
 
So I called Steve Estes off the number in the News-Barometer. I suppose I should not have been surprised that he was at the office. We had a pretty long talk. He reminded me that this whole mess was already in court once, and the judge ruled against the No Name Key owners who wanted public electricity and power run out there.

 
When I asked who the main agitators out there are now, Steve said a man, last name Nichols. A woman, last name Ramsay-Vickery, who is Rick Ramsay’s sister. Rick is #2 in command at the Sheriff’s Office; Ramsay-Vickery’s husband lives part time on No Name Key, part time in California, and is a real estate speculator. And a woman lawyer, last name Bakke (spelling?), who just recently passed the Florida Bar (she had practiced somewhere else before moving to No Name Key maybe three years ago). She is representing the No Name Key Homeowners Association, and will file the lawsuit on their (and her) behalf, if they don’t get public electricity and water.
 
When Steve mentioned a lawyer who has himself for a lawyer having a fool for a client, this ex-lawyer laughed heartily. If, in fact, this case already has been decided by a court and is brought again, it could, without too much imagination, be viewed as a frivolous and/or malicious lawsuit, abuse of the court process. If it heads in that direction, a Defendant County/County Commisson could, and should, ask the judge to award punitive damages against the No Name Key plaintiffs and their lawyer, in addition to litigation costs.

 
I’d love to be a fly on the wall if lawyer Bakke has to explain that not so happy ending to the other two members of the No Grid Key Gang of Three, and to the rest of the fools who let her represent them in the lawsuit. I hope Lawyer Bakke has a heap of malpractice coverage. And I hope she has friends in the Florida Bar Association Disciplinary Section, where she will have to report the outcome of being successfully sued for filing a malicious civil lawsuit.
 
I am in agreement with Steve that the County Commission should do nothing about running utilities out to No Name Key. Order county staff to lay low until the future putative plaintiffs, led by the Fool Key Gang of Three, have gotten the okay from the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service and the Florida Department of Community Affairs.
 
If and when that happens, which might be a BIG IF, the County Commission and county staff should continue to lay low, on the ground that the case has already been decided in court: res ajudicata bars it being brought again.
 
If the putative plaintiffs and their lawyer fool around any further and actually sue Monroe County, that’s when the county’s defense lawyer cross-sues for punitive damages, claiming abuse of process of the court. Cross-sues the No Name Key Homeowners Association, each Association plaintiff individually, and Lawyer Bakke, who has a fool for a client and 29 other fools for clients, too.
 
Sloan Bashinsky, ex-lawyer-turned-fool

January 24, 2010

man-o-war-bird.jpg(man o’ war bird)
 
First below, in italics, is the tail end of a heated clobber of yours truly on bigpinekey.com’s Coconut Telegraph page yesterday (Saturday). The whole clobber can be read by going to bigpinekey.com and clicking on the Coconut Telegraph page and going back one day.
 
As to you my friend, my experience in life is that those that most loudly blow their own horn either have a reason to do so or a very small horn that they want to seem larger than it is. As they say in Texas, ‘Big Hat, No Cattle’. For all of your self touted experience and expertise you sure sound and write as if you are stupid. You are, of course, entitled to your opinion but it might be nice to get your facts right, at least once in a while, even if your view differs from mine.
 
This was the second Sloan clobber from this writer. His name, Jim, and his email address, keysconcerns@gmail.com, were on the his first Sloan clobber copied to GoodMorningFloridaKeys.com. I’m hardly Jim’s only clobber target online, so he ought to have some personal identification, don’t you think?
 
I picked this clobber up using the wireless internet connection at Good Foods Conspiracy on Big Pine Key yesterday morning. On the drive up there, I passed under two man o’ war birds, which always herald impending demonic attack. I asked the birds, “I wonder what you bring to me today?” I found out about thirty minutes later.
 
Yep, I touted my residential real estate law credentials in another life, earned in the trenches, to show Jim and others who read that post that at one time I was a T-Rex when it came to defending home buyers. This was well known in Birmingham, Alabama, where I practiced law, and well known in the National Association of Realtors nationally. Yet and despite having been a home buyers’ champion, I can not now bring myself to sympathize with Jim and the other No Name Key homeowners who want public electricity and water, because they could could have bought/built homes anywhere else in the Keys. They knew what they were doing, and I hate to think there might be a judge in Florida who will sympathize with them.
 
Jim held forth in yesterday’s clobber that he is bigger than being just concerned about No Name Key. He said he is concerned about the welfare of all of the Keys. Alas, I have yet to see one word he has written since he made my acquaintance that indicated he has any concern for any part of the Keys but his own back yard: No Name Key.
 
Maybe Jim woke up, became a born-again environmentalist. But then, maybe he had in mind all along acquiring on the cheap (compared to other Keys residential real estate opportunities) a home on No Name Key, so he could launch this very war to get power and electricity out to No Name Key, so he could make a tidy profit.
 
From having practiced law too many years for my own good, people law mostly, and from having been in worse trenches since then, I know people shade their words in the light most favorable to them, and it is really dumb not to keep that ever in mind when they speak of something in which they have a personal interest, especially a pecuniary interest. Pecuniary means money.
 
I have plenty of faults, but prevarication is not one of them. I did far too much of that when I was a lawyer, and before that. After God shanghaied me, I was broken of twisting facts to suit my own personal interests. I also was broken of pursuing my own personal interests. I was told, not too subtly, that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
 
Even if you had never seen a turnip truck to fall off of, you would know this is pure business for Jim and has nothing to with the environment. I don’t blame him for trying to get his way, but I am not going to roll over for him. I hope the County Commission, Fish & Wildlife, DCA, and whatever other agency might be involved don’t either.
 
The County Commission, Fish & Wildlife, Department of Community Affairs are not bound by the same laws homeowners are bound by. The County Commission, Fish & Wildlife, DCA could jimmy this around and give Jim and his cohorts what they want. And No Name Key property owners who sold at distressed prices because they could not get public electricity and water could then sue all of the above agencies for changing their tune. Those former No Name Key property owners probably would receive a great deal of sympathy in the courts.
 
Jim and his cohorts on No Name Key don’t care about that or the financial condition of Monroe County, which such a lawsuit would certainly worsen. All Jim and his No Name Key cohorts care about is changing their spots and making a bundle doing it.

As for the now much-hyped pollution being put out by the 43 homes on No Name Key, it is miniscule compared to the pollution being put out by the septic systems alone on neighboring and far more densely populated Big Pine Key, and compared to the pollution being emitted by cars, trucks and buses driving through Big Pine Key on US 1. Miniscule.
 
As for the suggestion that No Name Key is a great location for the biggest solar farm in the Keys and even in Florida, No Name Key is a federal wildlife refuge. To make it into a solar farm would destroy the habitat. Fish & Wildlife would never go along with it. Never.
 
I write about No Name Key mainly for people Jim is attempting to influence, or already has under his influence. Although he keeps calling me his friend, he doesn’t mean it. His soul, however, knew what I would feed back to him and wanted him to hear it.
 
Sloan Bashinsky

February 6, 2010

Look Before You Leap – No Name Key

pied-piper.jpg(Pied Piper)

I drove up to Big Pine Key yesterday and had a wonderful lunch at Coco’s Kitchen, with Rose and her mom and lots of other people, at a price so shamefully low that I felt guilty eating it.
 
Waiting for my food, I read the No Name Key piece in the News-Barometer. Then I read it again. And then again. I had to confess to myself that I didn’t really understand all of it, so I paid Rose and went by the News-Barometer and asked its Editor, Steve Estes, to try to explain it to me. Then I went off and looked somebody else up and got that person to try to explain it to me.
 
Now I’m going to try to explain what I think I know about what’s going on at No Name Key, and how all of that might affect Big Pine Key next door, and Monroe County and its taxpayers. I’m going to try to do it in plain English, leaving out all of the agencies and formulas that go by capital letters. I ask my local expert advisers from yesterday to let me know if I messed up the explanation too bad or left something important out.
 
The entire cost of running power and water out to No Name Key, and any cost of infrastructure mitigation, and any costs of litigation incurred by Keys Energy or the Aqueduct Authority, will have to be paid by the property owners who want power and water run out there. They will have to pay this money out of their own pockets. They will have to pay it up front. They will not be able to get a loan from any institution that has federal connections. Probably that excludes every bank and mortgage lending institution in the Keys, or anywhere.
 
It is said that a No Name Key resident named Robert Reynolds, purportedly very wealthy, has promised No Name Key residents that he will lend them the money they need to pay for their share of the costs of running power and water out to No Name Key. I imagine Robert the Good will require them to execute mortgages on their homes, to secure what he loans to them. I imagine a time might come when Robert the Good demands repayment and, if it is not forthcoming, he forecloses and ends up owning a subdivision or two or three on No Name Key. I see in my mind’s eye the Pied Piper leading lemmings, like lambs to slaughter, over the edge of a tall cliff, but, like any smart wolf in sheep’s clothing, he doesn’t go over the cliff with them.
 
Some homes on No Name Key are not up to the current electrical code. They will have to be upgraded to connect to power Keys Energy runs out there. The upgrade cannot be avoided. The electrical code requires it. I would be dangerous not to enforce the code. These homes could catch on fire and burn down. People could be killed. The county could be sued for not enforcing the code. The taxpayers would pay the lawyer fees and damages. Robert the Good would not reach into his pocket and reimburse the tax payers. He’s a high-leverage fellow, I have heard. Meaning, he likes to buy real low and sell real high, and he likes to use other people’s money, mostly, to pull it off.
 
Galleon Bay owns 13 lots on No Name Key, and has been lying in wait, after prevailing in a court case, to cash in on damages it suffered when it was not allowed to develop the lots it had purchased on No Name Key. It is expected that, if power and water are run out to No Name Key, Galleon Bay will try to get as many building permits as possible. 7 permits are available for No Name Key under the existing formula and restrictions that apply to the No Name Key and Big Pine Key federal wildlife sanctuary. Mitigation on No Name Key is far more “expensive” than mitigation onBig Pine Key, because No Name Key is far more environmentally sensitive.  If Galleon Bay were to get 7 permits for No Name Key, the 129 outstanding building permits tentatively issued on Big Pine Key would be wiped out. (Affordable housing permits on Big Pine Key would not be affected). No more regular houses could be built on Big Pine Key under the current formula and restrictions that apply to the sanctuary.
 
Mitigation on Big Pine Key has not been getting paid by the people who get building permits for Big Pine Key. The county has been giving its own land on Big Pine Key to mitigate the construction of homes on the Big Pine Key part of the sanctuary. The Big Pine mitigation is calculated under a complex formula I myself, who have two law degrees, may never be able to figure out. The purpose of the mitigation is to replenish the sanctuary wildlife and flora habitat destroyed by a house being built. The formula requires 3 lots in mitigation for 1 lot where construction of a home is allowed. If a permit holder had to purchase 3 mitigation lots on Big Pine Key at fair market value,  to put into the sanctuary, the price would be about $90,000 per lot. Meaning, the taxpayers of this county are paying about $270,000 per new house permit issued on Big Pine Key. (Again, affordable housing permits are not part of this.)
 
Two, perhaps three, forms of endangered wildlife on No Name Key have not yet been given protected status. A determination will have to be made about that. A determination made by the United States Department of the Interior, under which the United States Fish & Wildlife Service operates. Fish & Wildlife looks after the federal wildlife sanctuary that encompasses both Big Pine Key and No Name Key. It might take a good while for a determination to be made. If it is determined that these other species are entitled to protection, that will affect putting No Name Key on the grid. It may prevent it even happening. Certainly, it will increase mitigation requirements.
 
Steve Estes said a Realtor informed him that she had been involved in the sale of 3 homes on No Name Key. Contrary to popular thought, those homes sold at a premium to homes not on No Name Key, because the buyers wanted to live off the grid and that was the only place they could do it. They wanted to live in nature and the lower utility bills would help them pay for the home. If homes on No Name Key sell at a premium, then running power and water out there will reduce the value of those homes down to what homes on nearby Keys go for.
 
Although it is no secret I side with the people on No Name Key, who want it to remain off the grid, I took that hat off to write today’s post. I put on the hat I wore when I was a Ralph Nader-type lawyer looking out for homebuyers and sellers, who were being ripped off without even knowing they were being ripped off. I knew what was up. I was not very popular in Realtor circles, although I had Realtor friends who cheered me on, because they saw the same problems I saw.
 
Robert the Good and two or three others on No Name Key are trying to get the rest of the homeowners out there to do their bidding. I’ve tried today to tell the rest of the No Name Key homeowners, and the residents of Big Pine Key, the Monroe County Commission, and the taxpayers of Monroe County how it looks to me. I’m telling them all, “I told you so,” in advance.
 
Sloan Bashinsky

February 9, 2010

Sacred Ground – No Name Key

key-deer.jpg(No Name Key citizens)

I was challenged on the Coconut Telegraph page of bigpinekey.com to meet with the 30 owners of homes on No Name Key (NNK), who want it put on the grid, and hear their side of the story and get my facts straight.
 
Sure, I’ll come to the meeting. Just let me know what day and time. I hope all of the 30 are there, including those who may not live here full-time. Here’s how to reach me: keysmyhome@hotmail.com. Maybe they will help me get my facts straight about stuff I’ve been hearing on the coconut telegraph (the local grapevine, not the Coconut Telegraph page of bigpinekey.com).
 
Word has it, Beth Ramsay-Vickery told a neighbor just two days after moving into her home on NNK that she couldn’t wait for public electricity to be run out there.

Word has it, Dick Ramsay knows County Commissioner George Neugent — they both live in Marathon — and that Dick has really been in George’s face to get power out to No Name Key for his daughter, Beth Ramsay-Vickery.
 
Word has it, George initially said encouraging words about expanding county sewerage out to No Name Key and running power out there, if all of the homeowners out there agreed to it. Then George said he would be okay with it, if it a super majority of them wanted power. Then he said he would be okay with it, if it was just a majority.
 
Word has it, the first attempt to get power out to No Name Key came through allegations the key was a sewerage hotspot, so public sewerage lines and treatment needed to be run out there, accompanied by public power to make it all work. Turned out the allegation didn’t pan out.

Word has it, when the hotspot movement fell through, Beth Ramsay-Vickery led a movement to paint cistern water dangerous to drink, even though people have been drinking cistern water on NNK and everywhere in the Keys for generations, and, as far as I know, nobody ever died or even got sick from it.
 
Go into Good Food Conspiracy health food store on Big Pine Key and get an earful about how bad for you Aqueduct water is. Me, I’ve been drinking Aqueduct water since the mid-1950s. If I ever am able to build a home on my property on Little Torch Key, I will put in a cistern and drink from it, and water my garden and wash my clothes with it. I will put in two holding tanks, so I won’t run out of real water during dry spells. 

Word has it, when Ramsay-Vickery’s cistern argument petered out, a movement began to accuse all NKK property owners of being polluters, by running air-polluting generators and using lead batteries to store their solar power. That’s when the on-the-grid movement started sounding to me like a Holy Roller revival, and I wondered if any tents had been set up out there, but I never saw any.
 
So I decided to call Alicia Putney, one of the long-timers living on NNK. I invited myself to her home, because I wanted to see just how much evil pollution her home actually was putting out. I had to to see if her soul was in need of salvation.
 
Alicia confessed right away. She said nobody should be living on NNK; it never should have been allowed. She and her husband, Mick (recently deceased, a huge loss to the Keys and humanity), were astounded to learn they actually could build a home inside a federal wildlife refuge. To them, it was like being allowed to build a home in Paradise. They wanted to live off the grid, in Nature.

I told her to say seven Hail Marys and drink a gallon of holy water a day for a week from her cistern to wash all the evil out of her.
 
Alicia said she and Mick stopped using their generator when it broke in June 1999. Mick had kept a hand-written record of when they used it posted on a wall next to it. I saw the last notation.
 
She said propane is used in her home to run the stove, dryer and heater, and as backup for solar hot water. She said propane is less polluting than gasoline, and far less polluting than diesel. They had converted their generator to propane and that’s what it ran on until it broke. All the rest of her home is solar-powered.

She said commercially-generated (coal powered, oil powered, nuclear) power isn’t very green, nor is commercially-generated power’s infrastructure. Nor is public water, which takes energy to get out of the ground and chemicals and energy to purify, and there is nothing green about waterlines.
 
She said several No Name Key homes besides hers, even if they have them, do not rely on generators; and several homes, including hers, are running air conditioning off solar panels to cool and heat portions of the living space. She asked at her front gate if I heard any generators running in her neighborhood? I didn’t hear any.
 
She said PV solar panels are the absolute cheapest greenest thing to do, and PV panels are at their cheapest ever. NNK homeowners can add solar panels and stop using their generators and be greener and save a lot of money over they will have to pay to get public electricity, water and sewerage lines/treatment run out to NNK, and then pay the monthly costs of using same.

Alicia said she and Mick had both had ephiphanies on No Name Key Bridge.
 
I have written a few times before that I had an epiphany out there in early January 1995, after being forced to write in my journal one cold winter day in Boulder , “Go to Big Pine Key. Go as soon as possible. This is important.” That night, I dreamt of being at a ticket counter in the Stapleton Airport in Denver, purchasing a ticket to Big Pine Key.
 
The epiphany came on the 7th day of my trip, out in the middle of NNK Bridge, when I was surrounded by pelicans, facing the Atlantic Ocean. Something huge took me over, took my breath away. I burst into tears, felt my heart was going to jump out of my body. I had to grab the rail to keep standing. Then I heard, “Because you love this part of the world so much, you will be used to help preserve it.” (Back then, I associated 7 with the mark of God on a person or event. I still do.)
 
Two days later, I read in the new Keynoter that the US Department of the Interior, the US Department of Transportation, and the US Attorney had come out against the proposed widening of US 1 in the Keys, because of the adverse impact that would have on the fragile Keys ecosystem.
 
According to the article, the widening of US 1 had been heavily promoted by Keys businesses, especially lower Keys and Key West businesses, to make it easier for tourists to come down into the Keys. Now the business people were loudly denying they’d ever said it was to increase tourism and help their businesses. All along, they cried, they only had wanted US 1 widened to allow for faster hurricane evacuation and save lives!
 
Thus, I imagine, was born the quaint policy: the shorter the hurricane evacuation schedule in the Keys, the more homes could be built here. A dragon flown from hell, if ever there was one.
 
Also in that January 1995 Keynoter was startling news of declaration of a total, indefinite building moratorium on Big Pine Key. Total. Indefinite.
 
Well, darn, maybe I hadn’t just dreamed up going to Big Pine Key ASAP. Maybe it WAS important. As if to prove to me I didn’t dream it up, when I took my last wife Patricia onto NNK Bridge in early late December 2004, she had the same thing happen to her that had happened to me in the same exact spot ten years earlier. She lost her breath, burst into tears, shook all over, nearly fell to the sidewalk.
 
It all made me feel I really am supposed to do all I can to protect this Sacred Ground.
 
I should mention, before ending today, that most homes on NNK, perhaps all of them, use septic systems. Assuming all 43 homes out there septic tanks, that’s hardly a burden on the eco-system compared to the burden septic systems on Big Pine Key alone put out. A mosquito compared to an Exxon super tanker. Mother Nature can handle mosquitoes, but it has been conclusively proven She can’t handle super tankers.
 
(Subtext: Commissioner Neugent, focus on stopping the Exxon Valdezes from polluting the Keys and leave it for mother nature to deal with the mosquitoes.)

As for my meeting with the 30 who want on the grid, maybe I should say what nearly dropped me and Patricia to the ground on NNK Bridge will come with me. Maybe it will turn into a revival. Hopefully, the kind that happened on the planet Pandora at the end of the movie, ”Avatar.”
  
Sloan

District 2 Intrigue

bald-eagle.jpgI’ve developed a healthy squadron of hecklers on the Coconut Telegraph of bigpinekey.com, since I started posting regularly there again, about a month ago. If there were no hecklers, I’d feel I was doing something really wrong. So good to see you guys and dolls again.
 
But for goodness sake, if you don’t like what I post, what keeps you reading it? If you don’t like Ed of bigpinekey.com letting me post there (he loves it because I pay him and he loves controversy), why do you keep reading the Coconut Telegraph? You see the problem? If not, you are in a lot worse shape than I had imagined.
 
When I stopped by Coco’s Kitchen on Big Pine yesterday, Rose Dell said she’d recently seen herself described on the Coconut Telegraph as “Sloan’s wench” and Alicia Putney as “Sloan’s witch.” Amazing allegations, apparently by someone who doesn’t know Rose or Alicia. About as independent-minded as any two people I know. If I tried to give either of then orders, they would tell me where to stuff it.
 
I told Rose Alicia is a saint, and, by implication, Rose is headed in that direction. She may be the only member of the Aqueduct Authority Board who actually thinks for herself about what’s best for the Keys and its people.
 
I pulled this comment by someone off yesterday’s Coconut Telegraph; it was the lead comment:
 
Commissioner Neugent if you have “never taken a gift” then why are you protesting so much and fighting against the gift and lobbyist ordinance?
 
Amen, I say.
 
If George never had a nice lunch or dinner bought for him by someone(s) doing business or hoping to do business with the county, or by somebody(ies) hoping to get something through the county commission, I’ll get naked and stand on my head in the middle of US 1 at the turn-off to his county commission office on Big Pine Key. I still know how to do both.
 
If it were my call, I’d make it illegal for all county employees, including county commissioners, to accept any gifts at all, even $1 gifts, even a pack of chewing gum, from anyone doing business with or trying to do business with the county, or anyone trying to get something approved by the county commission. I’d make the penalty for violation automatic termination of employment, even for county commissioners.
 
If it were my call, I’d pass a county county ordinance requiring any county staff who speak to any agenda item at a county commission meeting, including county commissioners, to first state who outside of county staff that county employee as spoken with about the item, and what was the substance of the conversation. I flat guarantee you’d see some seriously red faces. I flat guarantee it.
 
In closing today, I perhaps should say on my drive up to Big Pine Key yesterday, I passed under a mature bald eagle sitting atop one of the concrete power poles that line US 1. Black body, white head, about four times bigger than an osprey. I’ve seen bald eagles before down here, and every time I saw one something really big came in behind it. Something really big.
 
Perhaps I also should say, for me the eagle represents Archangel Michael. If Rose Dell and Alicia Putney are my wench and witch, does that make Archangel Michael my warlock?
 
Stay tuned . . .
 
Sloan Bashinsky

February 11, 2010

The Smell of Sulfur – District 2

somebody-farted.jpgReceived this reply from George Neugent to yesterday’s “District 2 Intrigue” post.
 

I truly believe you consciously enjoy hurting good people while playing the fool while dragging them through your own personal mud hole with your sick sexual innuendoes.

 As for me accepting anything beyond what the rules allow – you loose! but what’s new. However, please do your jig outside  of District 2.

 Make the rules as tuff as one would like, and, when that is the rule I’ll follow it to the letter. If you don’t like the State Statutes, as they exist, which regulate our actions, propose a change. No one to date has done that, no one. There is a procedure to do such, of which you should know how to proceed; get one of your close friends on the commission to sponsor it to the legislature through an appropriate vetting process. As for the proposed lobbying ordinance, which I don’t believe has been appropriately fleshed out to date but will be coming before the BOCC in Key Largo… I’ve supported it once by vote.

What I consciously try to do is what I’m told to do, and not do what I’m not told to do.

If I had my way, I wouldn’t even be living in the Keys any more. Or on this planet. I’d be living on Venus, surrounded by all the old women movie stars George once bulk-emailed out nearly naked photos of over the county’s server. Got all over the newspapers, the backlash from people who didn’t like George’s sexual innuendo on the taxpayers’ dime.

That happened some time before he compared a nude beach to prostitution at a county commission meeting, which was the same day he encountered Aphrodite (later in the day) at Salute Ristorante on Higgs Beach in Key West. The Goddess showed up unannounced at a Hometown! PAC call to candidates and yanked off her tank top and hollered, “Nude beaches for Key West!” George was so offended that his tongue was hanging out about three feet, along with a lot of other tongues belonging to prominent and unprominent men.

Later that night, George got onto his bicycle and then got knocked off it by somebody opening a car door into him, and fractured his left arm when he fell to the ground. To this day, he has not connected the dots. It just ain’t too smart to piss off Mother Nature or one of her daughters. It just ain’t too smart.

I dunno know. Maybe what I wrote yesterday about George caused him to maybe wonder if I was suggesting he was a member of the oldest profession? I bet the Chicken Ranch people who wine and dine our pubic officials and government staff aren’t doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. We all know how business and politics are done in USA, Inc.

But then, maybe the oldest profession had nothing to do with George’s allusion to my sick sexual innuendos. Maybe he had a subconscious premonition about the dreams I was having about him and Marathon City Councilman Dick Ramsay, father of No Name Key’s very own Snow White, having sexual congress. Not George and Snow White having sexual congress. George and Dick having it. County Commissioner Heather Carruthers was one of the people in the dreams who let me know about it. Another dream person was former County Attorney Jim Hendrick, of whom George thinks highly.

Somebody accused Alicia Putney on yesterday’s Coconut Telegraph of bigpinekey.com of shacking up with me at her home on No Name Key. This person must not have given too terribly much thought to hoof-and-mouth disease. Libel on its face, that accusation.

I don’t recommend it, but just for the purpose of discussion, let’s assume Alicia were to file suit for libel and punitive damages. The super clever author then would have to prove Alicia had shacked up with me at her home. Unable to do that, he would dance to whatever damage tune a jury of a grieving widow’s peers felt the heartless bastard ought to pay her.

The fact of the matter is, I have been in Alicia’s home three times. Twice in 2006, to visit her and Mick, then to meet some of their Key deer-protection friends. I was trying to get help finding a charity that would accept a donation of my place on Little Torch Key. A charity dedicated to preserving that section of the Keys until the end of time wouldn’t be long enough.
The third time I was at Alicia’s home was the other day, about which I wrote.
I went back out to No Name Key the next day and drove up and down all the roads that are public, trying to hear those awful air-polluting generators Snow White and her dwarfs keep howling about turning No Name into another Los Angeles. I drove real slow, with my windows open. I found one generator working at the end of the road across from where the abandoned quarry is, next door to where the fishing boats are in dry dock.I had to don my gas mask because somebody had farted. I wondered if was Snow White, but decided it wasn’t, because she lives on the next street over to the east. Nope, it was Mother Nature who had farted. She farts a lot around the seashore in the Keys. Everyone who lives here knows it. Especially people who live in remote areas like No Name Key.Next thing we know, Snow White and her dwarfs are going to be asking for permits from the US Department of Fish & Wildlife, allowing them to remove all of the sea grass around No Name Key because the noxious fumes Mother Nature puts out are dangerous to their health.

The same genius (rhymes with heinous) who libeled Alicia on yesterday’s Coconut Telegraph accused me of having dealings with the devil. An accurate allegation. I have dealings with the devil every day and night of my life. It’s what I do. Everywhere I go, I smell sulfur. And this fellow puts it out as good as anybody I’ve run into lately.

Wouldn’t surprise me at all if he belongs to the same country club set as George Neugent, Inc. The same country club set the developers belonged to, who wanted to bulldoze Seahorse Trailer Park on Big Pine Key and turn it into yet another unneeded snowbird vacation resort. The trailer park I hired a lawyer to defend, while the Snow White and the country club setters were off scheming on a golf course how they were going to get power and water out to No Name Key.

Sloan Bashinsky

February 12, 2010

Seahorses, Mostly – Big Pine Key

seahorses.jpgCounty Commissioner George Neugent and I have been having a pretty spicey series of email exchanges. He accuses me of being only out for myself – it’s all about ME, I, Sloan. He jumped me for taking back half of the money I had put up for Seahorse Trailer Park on Big Pine Key in 2006, so they could hire a lawyer to try to keep from being evicted by a developer that had bought the park and was going to bulldoze it and turn it into upscale vacation condominiums. Here’s what I wrote back to him. I added a couple of bracketed extras, to help sentences make sense to someone who had not read all of the emails, or who does not live in or keep up with Keys politics.
 
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I did indeed pulled one-half of the $10,000 I had put up for the lawyer for Seahorse. It came about as follows:
 
Other than you and your Administrative Assistant and Bill _______ [a well-known, respected Big Pine resident], nobody in the Keys knew from me about my giving money to get Seahorse Trailer Park residents a lawyer. Bill chose Robert Cintron, whom I hardly knew other than he was the Key West Citizen Review Board’s lawyer.
 
After some time passed I was told in dreams to come forward about having put up the money. I was not happy about it. I didn’t want the publicity and felt taking public credit went against the teachings of Jesus. I had often given money away when I had it before, without ever getting any public recognition. Most of the gifts were to individuals in need and not tax-deductible for me.  
 
After publicly acknowledging the Seahorse gift, I went to a neighborhood meeting at the trailer park organized by Diane Bureldsen. She introduced me as the donor. They clapped and cheered. I wept, told them to thank God, not me, as it was God’s money. I said they needed to go see [County Commissioner Dixie Spehar], to try to get her to ally with them. I said she was poor, might understand their plight. I had been told in dreams to tell them to do that. At Diane’s suggestion, the next day I put up flyers at the laundry at Seahorse explaining why they needed to go see Dixie.

I went to another meeting at Seahorse and got onto them about not going to see Dixie. Some of them bitched and moaned about how much trouble it would be. They had to work. They had no money, no transportation. I said there was a bus running down there and back several times a day. They could use some of the $10,000 for bus fare, or to pay for gas for car-pooling – some of them had vehicles. A lot of them got mad at me. I left the meeting dreading what might be coming.
 
And not long afterward I was told in dreams to pull what was left of the legal fund, which turned out to be $5,000. Bill said he had not given that half to Robert yet, so I didn’t have to get it back from him. At my request, he sent me a statement showing he had worked something over $5000 off the fund. I didn’t expect to get it back and didn’t pay Robert for the part over $5000. He said he had seen it coming, and when I asked if he was at liberty to say why?, he said he was not. Bill told me he had told the Seahorse people they had not done their part to help themselves. I felt horrible about it, and Bill knew it.
 
Some time later, after the election that year, Bill called and invited me to breakfast at Big Pine Inn. I thought maybe he was going to get onto me. Instead, he spoke about what I was writing, that it often moved him, and what a load I must be carrying. He encouraged me to keep doing what I was doing. I burst into tears.

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I felt all along that God was trying to use the Seahorse threat to reach Dixie, open her up. Maybe if the Seahorse residents had gone to her, maybe if they had all cried together, gotten mad together, it would have moved Dixie in ways that would have headed off the what became known on the county commission as ”The Gang of Three.” A 3-commissioner majority many Keys people, inluding George Neugent, came to feel were doing the Keys, Keys people and the Monroe County government a great deal of harm.

When I ran for the county commission in Key West in 2008, I told the audience at every candidate forum that it was critical to get rid of the Gang of Three. “If you don’t do that, you can forget all the other stuff you are worried about having happen.” Two of the Gang of Three were up for reelection that year, and they were soundly defeated. One of them was Dixie, in District 1. I ran in the District 3 race, as an independent. Gang member Sonny McCoy got knocked out by an unknown, Carlos Rojos, in the Republican primary. Democrat Heather Carruthers beat Carlos and me in the general election. As usual, I came in last.
 
I’d love for someone to show me how my running for office is all about ME, I, Sloan. I’d love it, because then maybe I’d start enjoying running for office. I’d rather be dead instead. I could tell many stories like the one I just told about Seahorse Trailer Park that might help explain why I detest politics. Another way would be to post George’s and my entire chain of emails to its own page at goodmorningfloridakeys.com. It might interest some people, but I’ll have to sleep on it, see what the angels George says don’t work for God or I invented them have to say about it. George is certainly not the only person who feels that way. In fact, he’s got a lot of company.
 
Sloan Bashinsky

Later .  .  . I posted the above about 2 a.m. today, then was finally able to get to sleep. Dreams indicated I was to post George’s and my chain of emails, which I will do in a little while to the new “George & Sloan” page of GoodMorningFloridaKeys.com. You might see sides of George, and  me, that you will never see in the newspapers, at candidate forums or county commission meetings. Or hear on US 1 (104.1) Radio.

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