May 062016
Peary Court Purchase Plan B and the Cornfeld Group

by Martha K. Huggins, Ph.D…….. Commissioner Jimmy Weekly has announced a “Plan B” for the City’s involvement in Peary Court: A “family business” is interested in purchasing Peary Court with Key West City government kicking in 12.5 million in Land Authority money to sweeten the deal. For its $12.5 million portion of the Peary Court purchase, Key West government would lock the Robert Cornfeld “family business’” into a deed-restriction requiring that existing Peary Court properties be dedicated in perpetuity to ‘affordable’ rentals—that is, “affordable” for [continue reading…]

 May 6, 2016  Posted by at 1:04 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #165 No Responses »
May 062016
GMO Mosquitoes: Why Are They Even Considered?

by John Prosser……. While the mainstream media successfully whipped most of the country into a Zika-fearing panic, I smelled a rat and started researching. “Always follow the money.” Pesticide peddlers and Oxitec all stand to make a fortune from fear of mosquitoes that have not been found responsible for a single Zika infection in the continental U.S.. It is my opinion that release of Oxitec’s genetically modified mosquitoes in Key Haven may be a very grave mistake. The proponents of GMO anything are quick to call [continue reading…]

 May 6, 2016  Posted by at 1:02 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #165 No Responses »
May 062016
Election 2016: Wherever You Go, There You Are

by Thomas L. Knapp……. Six months ago, who would have bet on Donald Trump as the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, even given juicy odds? But here we are. Who would have predicted the last two Republican presidents, the immediate past GOP presidential nominee, and the Republican Speaker of the House declining even lukewarm endorsements for their party’s horse? Yet that’s what’s happening. Over on the Democratic side, who expected Bernie Sanders to erase Hillary Clinton’s 50-point leads and go toe to toe with her — [continue reading…]

 May 6, 2016  Posted by at 12:51 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #165 No Responses »
May 062016
The End of the Bill of Rights is at Our Fingertips

by Thomas L. Knapp……. I recently got my first “smart phone” (I’ve been a late adopter in that particular area of technology). One of the first things I noticed about it was that I could use my fingerprint, rather than a pesky pass code, to unlock it. Much more convenient, isn’t it? A password can be forgotten, but it takes pretty severe physical trauma to lose one’s fingerprint. If your hand gets cut off, your phone is the least of your worries, right? Unfortunately, the [continue reading…]

 May 6, 2016  Posted by at 12:51 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #165 No Responses »
Apr 292016
“The Voice From the Other Side of the Band Room Controversy”   

Dear Editor: On January 20, 2016, the six (6) members of the City Commissioners voted to approve funding for the “White Boxing” of the Douglass School Band Room & Shop Building and held their vote on whether the building should house the Roosevelt Sands Health Clinic.  The members of the Frederick Douglass School Black Educators Memorial Project (FDSBEMP) had asked for consideration to be given to the fact that Commissioner Clayton Lopez had met with and promised their group over a 5 year period that [continue reading…]

Apr 292016
Peary Court:  The People Said No

Dear Editor, So now we know what PLAN B was for Peary Court, should the March referendum fail as it did. We had been told there were other buyers waiting in the wings…. but they weren’t interested in the deal the city was offered for $55 Million – they wanted MORE for LESS! And it looks like they may get it, despite the voters’ wishes. With a great NEED for ACTUAL affordable housing we need to look at the pros and cons of this latest [continue reading…]

 April 29, 2016  Posted by at 12:46 am Issue #164, Letter to the Editor 4 Responses »
Apr 222016
Guest Editorial: The Don Quixote of Mosquito Control

  by Ralph De Palma……. During 2009-2010 mosquito seasons over 100 cases of Dengue Fever were confirmed in mostly Old Town Key West, more cases probably went unconfirmed. The previous Florida Keys Mosquito Control (FKMCD) director Ed Fussell had managed mosquito control for the US Navy for decades. He later managed mosquito control for the entire State of Florida before coming to FKMCD. He has been the past President of the Florida Mosquito Control Association as well as the nationwide American Mosquito Control Association. He reviewed [continue reading…]

 April 22, 2016  Posted by at 1:22 am * Featured Story *, Editorial, Island Voices, Issue #163, News 1 Response »
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 »
Apr 152016
We Don’t Have a Parking Problem - We Have a VEHICLE Problem

by Christine Russell……. Uncontrolled numbers of cars has lead to increased parking demand and building more garages and surface lots. When will this short-sighted thinking end?! Instead of building 1 or even 2 parking garages – total $11 MILLION – in Old Town, let’s be a little more forward thinking. Maybe take some of that money and create Park and Rides on some unbuildable lots in the lower Keys, Stock island, and entry to KW for tourists, and workers commuting to KW. Maybe spend some [continue reading…]

 April 15, 2016  Posted by at 12:48 am Issue #162, Letter to the Editor 5 Responses »
Apr 082016
Key West’s Black Community Fighting for Survival

by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. Even though the debate at City Hall this week was not officially about race, it shed an unflattering light on Key West’s cultural divide in ways that no journalist could express better than the passionate speakers did on Tuesday night. You’re just going to have to listen for yourself and be amazed. But before you click on the video, we need to make you privy to a few basic facts and to the one little secret that no one “in the know” that night [continue reading…]

Apr 082016
Affordable Rental Nightmare

by Cindy Cody……. I have just realized that I never need to go to Disneyland ever again. If you want the wildest ride in your life do what I just did. I listed a nice clean 2-bedroom mobile home with a big yard cheap on Craig’s List. That’s when it started. I am looking for a long-term renter that takes care of the yard and let’s me know if something needs fixing. It’s 24 hours later and I am tearing out my hair on the [continue reading…]

Apr 082016
An Important Note Re: Fantasy Fest 2016

Mr. Robbins, Mayor and Commissioners, My name is Brian Kelly. I have lived in Key West full-time since late 2003. I would like to throw my two cents in on this subject. Every few years, I attend the Fantasy Fest parade, culminating the end of the largest invasion of my town. I am not offended by the raucous parties nor the varying degrees of dress, or more appropriately, undress. I am grossed out, however, by the grandmas and grandpas that manage to lose their inhibitions, [continue reading…]

 April 8, 2016  Posted by at 8:12 am Island Voices, Issue #161, Letter to the Editor 4 Responses »
Apr 082016
Government Should Give Us All a Break. A Bathroom Break, That Is.

by Thomas L. Knapp……. Apparently government solved all of society’s real problems while I wasn’t looking. Woo hoo! Violent crime has been eradicated. The Islamist terror threat is no more. Poverty? Everyone’s a millionaire with a Rolls in the driveway. Heck, the Cubs may even win the pennant this year. At least I have to assume all that’s been taken care of. Otherwise the politicians wouldn’t have time to argue over who gets to use which bathroom. And that’s what they’re doing, soooo … Charlotte, [continue reading…]

 April 8, 2016  Posted by at 8:00 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #161 No Responses »
Apr 082016
Charting the Course to Excellence: Thank You for Your Support

Twice in the past 18 months the electorate of Monroe County has approved the renewal of financial resources for the Monroe County Schools. In November, 2014, 64% of the voters approved a ten year extension of a ½ cent sales tax for capital projects, technology and school security, and more recently on March 15th nearly 72% of the voters approved a four year renewal of a ½ mill to be used for operating expenses. Both of these initiatives provide essential resources for the Monroe County [continue reading…]

 April 8, 2016  Posted by at 7:06 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #161 No Responses »
Apr 012016
GUEST EDITORIAL: Let’s Keep the Park a Park and Not Build a Big Development Project

by Ben Volpian……. As an Advisory Board member of the Truman Waterfront Park, but commenting here strictly as a private citizen, I would like to make a comparison between my Park Plan and two other plans – the Truman Waterfront Master Plan and a Conceptual Plan that was recently released to the public. First, my Park Plan: I have preserved a great deal of open space while still taking under consideration the need and/or the stated REQUIREMENT of having revenue producing features. Two open spaces [continue reading…]

Apr 012016
The Voting Delusion

  by Ray Jason……. This November, I heartily encourage all Americans to exercise their civic duty by going to the polls and voting for one of the dignified Presidential candidates that have amazed us this election cycle with their wisdom and compassion. Got ya! APRIL FOOLS DAY!!! Unfortunately, this is not a laughing matter. A large segment of the U.S. population is now very aware of the fact that our political and economic systems have become totally corrupt. And yet these knowledgeable people still cling [continue reading…]

 April 1, 2016  Posted by at 12:32 am ~ Column ~, ~ Opinion ~, Issue #160 No Responses »
Mar 252016
Harry Bethel's Open Letter to Governor Scott

Editor’s Note:  After receiving former City Commissioner Harry Bethel’s open letter to Governor Scott [below] we reached out to the Lower Keys Medical Center for comment.  The following is the statement we subsequently received from LKMC spokesperson Randy Detrick: “Lower Keys Medical Center is committed to providing our patients with the medical services and care they need. We encourage any patient who has concerns to contact us directly so that we can investigate and take action as needed for resolution. Any identified issues in Mr. [continue reading…]

 March 25, 2016  Posted by at 1:04 am * Featured Story *, Issue #159, Letter to the Editor 1 Response »
Mar 252016
Hospital - Lower Keys Medical Center

Letter to Editor: Physicians and staff at Lower Keys Medical Center did not contact my primary care physician after I requested so three times during my more than two days in the intensive care unit following an emergency admission on August 18, 2014. On August 20, after not having heard from my primary care physician, my partner, Rick Boettger, reached him, Dr. Jack Norris, and Dr. Norris called me on my hospital room telephone. He had no idea until then that I had been hospitalized [continue reading…]

 March 25, 2016  Posted by at 1:00 am Issue #159, Letter to the Editor 1 Response »
Mar 252016
56 Years After

To the Readers of the Blue Paper: A poem that celebrates a piece of current news becomes chronologically irrelevant in, like, five minutes. This writer has nothing in his files to commemorate President Obama stepping onto Cuban soil 56 years after I fled Castro’s invasion of Havana on the last plane to Miami and, so, spent the rest of my vacation in my first visit to Key West, changing my life along with how many others then and how many more now? Kirby Congdon

 March 25, 2016  Posted by at 12:58 am Issue #159, Kirby Congdon, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Mar 252016
Taxing the Citizens for Nothing

Dear Editor, I contacted the sewer adviser at FKAA and asked about my new impending utility bill. How is the Sewage portion of my bill calculated? He answered Everything that goes through the water meter is billed as Sewage. I asked what about the 7000 gallons used to top off my pool-Sewage. What about the water I use to irrigate my fruit crops-Sewage. What about the water I use to water my grass-Sewage. How can this be?? Why is FKAA taxing me for something that [continue reading…]

 March 25, 2016  Posted by at 12:56 am Issue #159, Letter to the Editor 3 Responses »
Mar 252016
Election 2016: They Don't Own Your Vote

by Thomas L. Knapp……. With large blocs of Republican and Democratic voters vowing to abandon their parties rather than vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in November — and in the GOP, even some party establishment figures mulling an alternative ticket if Trump takes the nomination — the “wasted vote” argument is peaking earlier than usual this year. We hear it every election cycle, all cycle long, but the heat wave of patronizing rhetoric usually crests in early October as the poll numbers of [continue reading…]

 March 25, 2016  Posted by at 12:52 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #159 No Responses »
Mar 252016
Having a “Trump Talk” with Your Kids

by Dr. Paul Kengor……. I was watching a Republican presidential debate as my eight-year-old, John, sat next to me. Donald Trump, the front-runner, looked left and ripped Ted Cruz as a “liar” before seamlessly pivoting right and skewering Marco Rubio as a “sweating choke artist.” “Lying Ted!” Trump barked. “Choking Marco!” he shouted. My eight-year-old son laughed at the buffoonish spectacle, as if we’d just tuned in to Cartoon Network. “No, John,” I told him. “That’s not funny. We shouldn’t treat people that way.” “Is [continue reading…]

 March 25, 2016  Posted by at 12:50 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #159 No Responses »
Mar 252016
Obama Visits Havana: Cuba Libre for Real?

by Thomas L. Knapp……. US President Barack Obama’s late March visit to Cuba, continuing his initiative to re-establish friendly relations between the two countries, arouses opposition on both sides of the aisle in Washington. The Republican complaints, of course, are to be expected. If Obama walked across the Florida Strait without wetting the hems of his trousers, Ted Cruz would ask why the president can’t swim. But some Democrats also oppose breaking the ice with Havana. “It is totally unacceptable for the president of the [continue reading…]

 March 25, 2016  Posted by at 12:48 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #159 3 Responses »
Mar 182016

Commentary by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. Over 56% of voters said “No” to the purchase of Peary Court in spite of the housing crisis. The $55 Million project to save 157 units rented at $2400/month appeared an uphill battle from the start. “Jimmy [Commissioner Weekley] is saying he prays that Peary Court tenants will not be evicted by the next owner,” says citizen advocate Christine Russel, “I think Jimmy and others who pushed this should pray the mysterious next owner pays at least $55 Million [continue reading…]

Mar 182016
Harry Bethel Puts Local Hospital on the Hot Seat...

An Open Letter to the Lower Keys Hospital District Board and To all Elected State, County, City and Public Agency Officials. Dear Mr. Levin and District Board Members, I am a Conch and a resident of Key West. I have served on the boards of many Keys Institutions and have served as a Key West City Commissioner. There are 4 generations of Bethels living in Key West as I write this letter. By virtue of my standing in the community I come into contact with [continue reading…]

Mar 182016
When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going / Go Bernie!

2016 is not a time for politics as usual, especially for a progressive person who is forced to watch the deterioration of his nation and its founders’ dreams of freedom and justice for all. Our government has been virtually high-jacked by corporations, which have always been the bane of the 13- states that ratified the Declaration of Independence and the Constitutions — with its attendant Bill of Rights. Corporations not “We the People” are now in political control with their astronomical wealth. The American middle-class [continue reading…]

 March 18, 2016  Posted by at 12:41 am Issue #158, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Mar 182016
Animal Control

Letter to the Editor: The Upper Keys animal shelter still has the highest kill rate of all the animal shelters in the Keys. By far. According to numbers submitted to Monroe County, the Upper Keys took in 736 cats and dogs in 2015. They euthanized 468 or 64%. Compare that to the Middle Keys shelter which euthanized only 19% percent of370 cats and dogs received or to the Lower Keys shelter which euthanized only 22% of 1025 cats and dogs received. Why is there such [continue reading…]

 March 18, 2016  Posted by at 12:40 am Issue #158, Letter to the Editor 6 Responses »
Mar 182016
Election 2016: "One Person, One Vote" Kills Real Choice

by Thomas L. Knapp……. As you may have noticed, we’re in the middle of yet another American presidential election (our 57th). The news is full of musings about party primaries and delegate counts and possible brokered conventions, but if things proceed as usual, as many as 130 million Americans will cast votes in November. A winner will be declared based on popular votes in the states as transmuted into a total of 538 electoral votes (if no candidate receives at least 270 such votes, the [continue reading…]

 March 18, 2016  Posted by at 12:26 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #158 No Responses »
Mar 132016

It is past time for the other City Commissioners to join Margaret Romero and just say “NO” to “business as usual” in Key West. Buried near the bottom of the upcoming City Commission Meeting on March 16, 2016, is the innocuous sounding agenda Item #14, which calls for a one year extension of the agreement between the City and the TDA (Tourist Development Association). If adopted this would extend the Fantasy Fest contract for another year, putting the taxpayers on the hook for another subsidy [continue reading…]

 March 13, 2016  Posted by at 1:09 pm Letter to the Editor 1 Response »
Mar 112016
PEARY COURT: It's Just Another Development

by Harry Powell, It’s just another development for Pete’s sake, so nothing special or what we really need. It’s not a “good deal. ” Commissioner Romero is correct. The resolution earmarking “profits to an affordable housing trust fund” is clearly a marketing ploy to convince the voters that “this is a good deal.” Some City officials are asking us to worship this sacred cow of Peary Court “in the name of affordable housing.” It’s not what we need to buy. There is likely going to [continue reading…]

Mar 112016
Voting Really Matters

To the Editor: Here we are a week away from election day, and I’m wondering: is anyone else out there feeling as conflicted and fearful as I am? I know, though, that the foundation of our democracy (democratic republic, actually, but same difference) is the true and collective will of the people, and the only was to determine that is at the ballot box. I know this election season is crazy-making. I know I’d often like to toss the TV out a window. I know [continue reading…]

 March 11, 2016  Posted by at 12:36 am Issue #157, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Mar 052016
School Board Member Davidson: Vote Yes  / Don't Punish Striving Students and Dedicated Teachers

by Captain Ed Davidson……. There are a number of highly significant, precedent-setting, and historically impactful policy-level issues arising from the HOB daycare mis-funding/cover-up scandal that the School Board should discuss forthrightly after having had the time to carefully review the results of the thorough composite investigations that have now occurred — discussions that were not possible at the last meeting when the ink was still wet on investigative reports that had been delivered to the Board (and the public) at literally the last minute.

 March 5, 2016  Posted by at 9:56 pm ~ Opinion ~, Letter to the Editor 4 Responses »
Mar 042016
The Devil is in the Details

Dear Editor, They say, “The Devil is in the details.” So true when it comes to the March 15 referendums on Peary Court. We citizens of Key West are offered what appear to be two similar referendums. But, read more carefully. One is titled: “Authorization to purchase Peary Court to use as workforce housing.” Nothing in this referendum mentions “affordable” housing! It seeks to purchase, use, and hold the property for workforce housing. “Workforce housing” requires 70% or more of residents’ household income be from [continue reading…]

 March 4, 2016  Posted by at 12:52 am Issue #156, Letter to the Editor 2 Responses »
Mar 042016
OPINION: Vote "No" on Peary Court Purchase

by Diane Beruldsen……. I attended recent  affordable housing workshops and felt there were many people who were not getting listened to. The meetings scaled over concerns that the group being protected (those who can afford to pay $2400/month in rent) were the wrong group to protect. For this reason, I wanted to hear the opinions of people in the streets of City of Key West. I set out Sunday, February 28th on bicycle, into Key West and approached anyone I came across to ask if they had an [continue reading…]

 March 4, 2016  Posted by at 12:50 am ~ Opinion ~, Island Voices, Issue #156 21 Responses »