*with apologies to Milan Kundera, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being.” by Rick Boettger……. FDOT has done so many stupid things in Key West, it is almost easier to believe they hate and are intentionally harming us than that they could be so incompetent. The deaths at the N. Roosevelt crosswalks are the worst, but the stupidity of their unwanted installation is merely in line with the sharrows, hundreds of useless signs, misplaced stoplights at the Y, four lights for three lanes, one-waying of the Boulevard [continue reading…]
by Rick Boettger…….. Kathy’s Reitzel’s long whistleblower lawsuit against the School District is coming to a head. There was a blip in a preliminary hearing on whether she could claim non-economic damages, that is, pain and suffering, emotional distress, etc. (hereinafter “suffering”). The school board’s hired, expensive outside attorney, Michael Burke, succeeded with a deft plan to block non-economic damages. In what at first was a bit of a surprise, in the pre-trial hearing in early February, he admitted for the first time in the [continue reading…]
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…]
by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. Key West suffers from an unprecedented housing crisis yet transient rental units seem to metastasize through Key West’s residential neighborhoods at an ever-accelerating rate. Last year we uncovered a disturbing legal process: The City of Key West had discreetly passed a law creating amnesty for people who illegally rent long-term residences to tourists. Instead of the 60 days in jail plus fines contemplated by the city code, property owners who can show they’ve broken the law since April 1, 2010 [continue reading…]
OP/ED by Arnaud and Naja Girard…….. Hurricane Irma has left hundreds of people homeless in the Florida Keys. We wanted to know how the local government was handling the housing crisis. Officials seem genuinely concerned. They hold meetings and workshops on workforce housing issues. But clearly the problem predates the storm. Locals believe that, in recent years, too many residential units have been allowed to be transformed into vacation rentals. In this context we were surprised to learn that this week the City Commission voted [continue reading…]
by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. According to a recent report by FEMA, nearly a thousand residents impacted by Hurricane Irma are still homeless and living in hotels in the Keys at the edge of this new year. Others are staying in tents in yards or at a friend’s home. Many of them lived in trailer homes now blown away or condemned. Others were liveaboard boaters whose homes were sunk or destroyed by the storm. Their fate is uncertain. This is the inspirational story of a [continue reading…]
Compliance with detainers issued solely to investigate immigration status violates Fourth Amendment, groups say The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office must stop its unconstitutional practice of detaining immigrants so that federal authorities can investigate them for possible deportation, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida (ACLU-FL) and LatinoJustice said in a letter this week.
by Rick Boettger……. Commissioner Sylvia Murphy was Least Worst in Show among the four county commissioners hit with $20,000 in fines by the Florida Commission on Ethics this year. She was only off a total of $1,109,000 on her financial reporting, with merely ten additional errors of form. If she had been in this alone, I’m sure she’d have been fined only the $350 or $500 per year as is common for this level of Form 6 misadventure. [Using the “total assessed value” instead of [continue reading…]
They lost. And he was off by over $2 million plus 333 other errors. by Rick Boettger……. Commissioner Danny Kolhage’s share of the $15+ million in reporting errors made by the most recently cited four county commissioners rung up with $20,000 in fines by the Florida Commission on Ethics was “only” $2,254,648, putting him a distant third to Heather Carruthers’ $7.4 million and David Rice’s $4.5 million. But Kolhage was easily in 1st Place in errors of form, omitting 24 addresses and 309 entries on [continue reading…]
by Rick Boettger……. We are taking a break from detailing the individual Monroe County Commissioners’ Ethics violations to report on Tuesday’s Board of County Commissioners’ meeting at the Harvey Government Center in Key West. It was a doozy. We will continue with Commissioners Kolhage (“It’s All Danny’s Fault if We Lose”) and Murphy (“His Weirdness”) in the next two weeks. For Tuesday’s meeting, I wanted to follow up on Commissioner Heather Carruthers’ assertion about it being common for the BOCC to squander hundreds of thousands of our tax [continue reading…]
“….a hundred thousand dollars does sound like a lot of money to a lot of people . . .” by Rick Boettger……. County Commissioner Heather Carruthers had the grossest amount of financial misreporting, at $7,427,421, and an additional 138 errors of form between 2012—2015. But before we get into the continuing grim recitation of the details of our county commissioners’ 700+ form errors plus over $15 million dollars in misreported financials, something was brought to my attention that offers a rare splash of humor.