Margaret Blank

Margaret Blank is the former General Manager of the Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District. Read more about Margaret, her experience, her research, her opinions on sewering the Keys and more in her blog: therealpoop.

Feb 042018
 
Animal Control: Corruption or Stupidity?

by Margaret Blank……. The image above is a screen shot from the Florida Inspectors General website.  Is the Florida Keys Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (FKSPCA) over-charging the taxpayers to run the Marathon shelter?  Sure looks that way. Are county officials benefiting somehow?  There’s no smoking gun, but documents that would shed light on how much it cost the previous operators to run the shelter are mysteriously unavailable.  And the state attorneys office has made it abundantly clear they cannot be bothered to properly look [continue reading…]

 February 4, 2018  Posted by at 12:55 am * Featured Story *, Issue #254, Margaret Blank 1 Response »
Dec 292017
 
FKSPCA – Jane Fails the Taxpayers

by Margaret Blank……. The Florida Keys Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (FKSPCA) was recently awarded a $425,000 contract to run the Marathon animal shelter under very suspicious circumstances.  I wrote a few posts about it.  Here’s my initial reaction.  Here’s a post that runs through the many questions generated by the situation.  And here’s one that prompted a response from the FKSPCA. FKSPCA President, Jane Dawkins clearly resents the questions that the shady Request for Proposal (RFP) process quite naturally generates.  Rather than attempting to clarify the situation, [continue reading…]

 December 29, 2017  Posted by at 12:40 am Issue #249, Margaret Blank 9 Responses »
Dec 152017
 
FKSPCA Tax Returns...

by Margaret Blank……. The Florida Keys Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (FKSPCA) just received a humongous windfall from the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) courtesy of the taxpayers.  Since these folks are so eager to dig around in our pockets, I think it’s only fair to dig around in theirs, too. Courtesy of Guidestar.org, here are FKSPCA’s tax returns for 2013, 2014 and 2015.  A while back, I took a look at their 2013 tax return as compared to SHARK and HACC, the two other animal shelter operators in the Keys [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:59 am Issue #247 3 Responses »
Dec 012017
 
Animal Control Update – RFP Failure

by Margaret Blank……. Ugh.  The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) is just so buffoonish and incompetent.  It’s very, very annoying to me.  I’m so glad they’ve all been nabbed for ethics violations.  It’s so well deserved. The county advertised a Request for Proposal (RFP) to run the Marathon animal shelter.  They placed ads only in local newspapers. The Key West Citizen, the county’s propaganda arm. The Keynoter/Reporter, Murphy’s mouthpiece. Only one bidder responded, the Florida Keys Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (FKSPCA).  They are [continue reading…]

 December 1, 2017  Posted by at 12:58 am Issue #245, Margaret Blank 2 Responses »
Jan 062017
 
About the County Administrator's Letter to Editor

by Margaret Blank……. Dear Editor, Monroe County Administrator, Roman Gastesi, wrote a letter to the editor touting all the county’s accomplishments this past year. Unfortunately, Gastesi steadfastly refuses to address – or even acknowledge – the county’s many troubling, and very serious ongoing failures. This fundamental dishonesty undermines what is supposed to be a positive message and continues to erode trust in county government. Since Danny Kolhage joined the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) in 2012, long-term debt has sky-rocketed. Despite his posturing as “fiscally [continue reading…]

 January 6, 2017  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #200, Letter to the Editor 6 Responses »
Dec 302016
 
GUEST COMMENTARY: PEER Follows Up on FKAA's Fake Environmental Assessment

by Margaret Blank……. Keys media generally serves to downplay the failings of FKAA officials. FKAA documents reveal that Toppino has done over $20 million with the FKAA in the last ten years – $12.4 million of that on the Cudjoe Regional project alone, despite public reports of only $1,000,000 in FKAA contracts. Not only that, Toppino benefited heavily from questionable bid shuffling on the now-failing Big Coppitt project, the details of the bidding process closely guarded from the public. If you want to know how [continue reading…]

 December 30, 2016  Posted by at 1:00 am Issue #199, Margaret Blank 4 Responses »
Jul 292016
 
CONFLICT OF INTEREST: FKAA $3 Million Contract for Toppino

by Margaret Blank……. Posted this week on www.bigpinekey.com: The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) board is getting ready to award a $3 million contract to one of their own, Richard Toppino. Toppino is a FKAA board member with a high potential for conflicts of interest. His family business, Charley Toppino & Sons, has done millions of dollars worth of business with the FKAA over the years – a fact that the FKAA has repeatedly tried to hide. Toppino was appointed to the FKAA board in December 2015. [continue reading…]

 July 29, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #177 7 Responses »
Jul 082016
 
Margaret Blank: Stewardship Act: Smoke and Mirrors

by Margaret Blank….. I’ve had some heartburn over the Florida Keys Stewardship Act (FKSA) for some time now.  I want to be supportive.  I want to be comfortable.  I want to like it.  But somehow I just can’t quite get there.  The more I read about it, the more uncomfortable I am.  I’ve written about it here and here and a few other places. The Act was supposed to increase the amount of money available for water quality projects and ensure a predictable flow of money for that purpose.  It did [continue reading…]

 July 8, 2016  Posted by at 12:43 am News 4 Responses »
Jun 102016
 
Big Coppitt – More Missing Documents?

by Margaret Blank……. Update: The FKAA responded right quick this time. I sent an email Sunday, got a response on Monday. This is new and different. Here’s a link to the agenda back up for the approval of award to Gianetti. A couple of things prompted me to take a look back at the Big Coppitt project. The Big Coppitt wastewater treatment facility experienced difficulties meeting effluent quality requirements for about a year. I discovered this completely by accident. It’s never been reported in the [continue reading…]

 June 10, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am Island Voices, Issue #170 4 Responses »
May 202016
 
Response to County Mayor Carruthers

Dear Editor, In a recent letter to the editor, Monroe County Mayor, Heather Carruthers, discussed her opposition to single-member districts. The letter glosses over very real and very significant problems with the current system. Carruthers claims that the at-large system allows voters to influence county commissioners from other districts. With SMD elections, you vote for one Commissioner every four years. In our current at-large elections, you get to vote for all five Commissioners every four years, and for at least 40% of the Commission every [continue reading…]

 May 20, 2016  Posted by at 1:04 am Issue #167, Letter to the Editor 13 Responses »
Apr 222016
 
The Best Thing the Governor Can Do For the Keys

by Margaret Blank……. Good news! Gov. Scott signs Florida Keys Stewardship Act into Law The Florida Keys Stewardship Act is now officially law. It’s a blessing but a mixed one. As always, it is subject to interference and manipulation by the usual suspects. The Keys didn’t get everything they asked for but that’s not necessarily a bad thing – the situation being what it is. As beneficial as the Florida Keys Stewardship Act may be, there is one thing the Governor could do that would have [continue reading…]

 April 22, 2016  Posted by at 12:42 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #163 2 Responses »