Dec 082017
 
Monroe County has Created a Sub Class of Taxpayers that is Being Discriminated Against

by Eugene E. Nanay Jr……. Dear Editor, Several years ago Monroe County advised the taxpayers that ALL the residents of the CRWS would be charged a fee of $4200. For connecting to the MANDATED Sewer system. Don’t forget I said ALL the residents. County ordinance chapter 20 States AII residents connection points SHALL BE PLACED IN THE ROW AT THE PROPERTY LINE. After a telephone  conversation with an assistant county attorney I was left with the impression that their ordnance ONLY APPLIES TO PEOPLE WHO ARE [continue reading…]

 December 8, 2017  Posted by at 12:28 am issue #246, Letter to the Editor 1 Response »
Dec 012017
 
The Cause of Sylvia Murphy's Ethics Violations: “An Expensive Weirdness” [and George Neugent Steps in It Again]   

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…]

Dec 012017
 
Independent Bakers' Association: "Rep. Carlos Curbelo is Deep in the Pockets of the Fanjul Sugar Cartel"

Dear Editor, Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26) is in the pocket of the nation’s beet and cane sugar cartels!  Curbelo has done nothing to reform the badly outdated U.S. Sugar Program.  Why? It is really quite simple, Congressman Curbelo received well over $45,400 in political donations from the sugar cartels since coming to Washington in 2015. The Sugar Program is a Soviet style command and control scheme that restricts planting and imports.  This inflates the price of sugar in the United States to almost double the [continue reading…]

 December 1, 2017  Posted by at 12:44 am Issue #245, Letter to the Editor 1 Response »
Dec 012017
 
It Looks Like the Monroe County Taxpayers Are Getting Screwed Again

by Eugene Nanay [Dr. Geno]……. Just saw that our Stalwart County Commission is going to get on their knees and go BEGGING for money to pay the state to continue paying FDOT for Highway cleanup. Instead of all the bowing and scraping those crooks should just tell the State to take the moneys out of 2.7 MILLION dollars The Taxpayers of Monroe County GAVE to FDOT to repair their falling down bridge to pigeon Key.  NOTE ! That money was from a fund the voters [continue reading…]

 December 1, 2017  Posted by at 12:32 am Issue #245, Letter to the Editor 1 Response »
Nov 242017
 
ETHICS VIOLATIONS / “It's all Danny's fault if we lose.”

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…]

Nov 242017
 
Davidson: "A joint meeting of the affordable/workforce housing committee and the school board should be convened immediately."

by Captain Ed Davidson……. Some elements in the Schools Administration are unenthusiastic about providing Affordable Workforce Housing directly, and are broadly unknowledgeable of the issues as well — and were starting off half-cocked with practically no awareness of the vast amount of professional-grade work the county-wide Affordable Housing Advisory Committee (on which I had served for more than a year as the School Board designee) had already accomplished. So I decided to pay them a visit Tuesday afternoon [November 14th] when housing issues were workshopped: “For the [continue reading…]

 November 24, 2017  Posted by at 12:38 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #244, Letter to the Editor 2 Responses »
Nov 102017
 
ETHICS VIOLATIONS / Commissioner Carruthers: "Flabbergasted!"

“….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.

Nov 102017
 
Chickenhawk Donald: A Complete and Total Disgrace

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On November 3, US Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who spent five years as a prisoner of the Taliban in Afghanistan, was sentenced to dishonorable discharge, reduction in rank to private, and a $10,000 fine after pleading guilty to charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Without hesitation and displaying reckless disregard for his own reputation, US president Donald Trump courageously mounted his keyboard and charged Twitter to pronounce the sentence “a complete and total disgrace to our Country and to [continue reading…]

 November 10, 2017  Posted by at 12:57 am ~ Column ~, ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #241, Thomas L. Knapp 9 Responses »
Nov 102017
 
Abnormally High Tides Since Spring Solstice / What about you?

by Dr. Larry Murray……. The king tides are abundantly clear in the canal behind our home on Big Pine Key. However, that is nothing new. We have had exceptional high tides all summer, at least since the Spring Solstice. I do not know what is going on, but it concerns me. There is no indication that the tide in my canal is going to return to “normal”, 3-6″ lower than the current state of affairs. I wonder how many others are having a comparable experience.

 November 10, 2017  Posted by at 12:49 am Dr. Larry Murray, Issue #242, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Nov 032017
 
ETHICS VIOLATIONS: A Closer Look at Commissioner David Rice's Financial Reporting...

by Rick Boettger……. The big picture last week was that, of the four Monroe County Commissioners who got $20,000 in fines for 16 ethics charges, David Rice made $4,561,558 in self-admitted financial errors, and by my count 228 errors of form on his four Form 6’s from 2012–2015.  The biggest chunk of that was under-reporting the value of his real estate and his brokerage accounts by around $850k each, and his car and boat to the tune of over $400k (around $100k each year for [continue reading…]

Nov 032017
 
BEING A WOMAN IS ANNOYING ENOUGH WITHOUT YOUR HELP

by Rebecca Rankin….. All right, I admit it. Jennifer Appel and Natasha “Tasha” Fuiava pushed all my buttons. I’m a little pissed. I’ve been fascinated by their story, I’ve read every article I could get my eyes on and listened to all the interviews and press conferences I could get my ears on. This article is my opportunity to stand in front of these women and, in a voice low enough not to be perceived as threatening yet firm enough to be clearly and definitively [continue reading…]

 November 3, 2017  Posted by at 1:43 am ~ Artists ~, Editorial, Issue #241, Rebecca Rankin No Responses »
Nov 032017
 
Sorry, Republicans: If You're Not Cutting Spending, You're Not Cutting Taxes

by Thomas L. Knapp…….. President Donald Trump and Republican congressional leaders rolled out their new tax plan on November 2. Since all bills must have titles, they’re calling this one “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” Republican “tax reform” theatrics have worn thin over  many months of waiting, but I still prefer a more theatrical title. “A tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing” rings true. Four centuries later, Shakespeare’s MacBeth is a better description of the matter than any [continue reading…]

 November 3, 2017  Posted by at 1:42 am ~ Column ~, ~ Opinion ~, Issue #241, Thomas L. Knapp 4 Responses »
Nov 032017
 
Pruitt's EPA Strategic Plan is a Cynical Joke

Plan Makes a Mockery of EPA Mission; Goals Undercut by Pruitt’s Actions   Washington, DC — Scott Pruitt’s proposed five-year plan for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is so bad that it is laugh-out-loud funny, according to comments filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).  The group is asking Pruitt to withdraw the plan and come back with something that passes the straight-face test. The public comment period on Pruitt’s Draft FY 2018-2022 Strategic Plan for EPA ends today.  PEER points out that: Its [continue reading…]

 November 3, 2017  Posted by at 1:25 am ~ Opinion ~, Issue #241, News, Public Notice No Responses »
Oct 272017
 
County Commissioners' Ethical Problems Get Worse

Taxpayers to Pay Up to $50k to Help Them Fill Out Simple Form by Rick Boettger……. News break—I just received a copy of Mark Herron’s contract from an attorney in County Attorney Bob Schillinger’s office.  Herron will get $300/hour plus expenses to vet not only the Commissioners’ but their “employees,” whoever that includes, but “. . .do not exceed $49,999.99.”  They say this is authorized by Section 2-58(b)(3) of the county code.  I, and if necessary my Harvard lawyer, will take a close look at [continue reading…]

Oct 272017
 
Evacuation vs. Debris Removal

by Dr. Larry Murray……. When the new county Emergency Management Director took office last year, I called to tell him that the county spent way too much time and energy planning hurricane evacuation and not enough was spent on post-hurricane problems, most prominently debris removal.  Looks like my “prediction” has come true. Monroe County should long ago have designated sites for storing mountains of hurricane debris.  Using the School District property at Marathon Manor is a disaster.  The soil will be contaminated with who knows what [continue reading…]

 October 27, 2017  Posted by at 12:56 am Dr. Larry Murray, Issue #240, Letter to the Editor 2 Responses »
Oct 202017
 
COMMISSIONERS' ETHICS VIOLATIONS: Misreporting Totaled $15.36 Million

by Rick Boettger……. It’s official: the Florida Commission on Ethics affirmed the 16 ethics violations committed by Commissioners Sylvia Murphy, Danny Kolhage, David Rice, and Heather Carruthers at their meeting in Tallahassee today [Friday morning, Oct. 20]. The total fines were even higher than I reported last week, because they imposed a violation for a year for which I did not even file a complaint—in all, it came to $20,000 for the four. The amount of their errors was astounding, far more than I estimated [continue reading…]

Oct 132017
 
Four County Commissioners Fined for Sixteen Ethics Violations

by Rick Boettger……. All four admitted violating their sworn financial reporting requirements for the years 2012-2015. David Rice was fined $1,500 for each year; Heather Carruthers and Danny Kolhage, $1,250; and Sylvia Murphy, $1,000 for a total of $19,000 in fines, levied by the Florida Commission on Ethics. In addition, all hired lawyers to meet with the Commission’s investigator and, as I will discuss next week, help them prepare their amended Form 6X’s for all four years, 2012—2015. That was likely more expensive than the [continue reading…]

Oct 062017
 
GOP Tax Plan: Hardly "Reform," But Tax Cuts "Cost" Nothing

by Thomas L. Knapp……. The Trump administration and congressional Republicans released their grandiosely titled “Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code” on September 27. The plan looks a lot more like a grab bag designed by lobbyists than like any kind of carefully considered plan for “tax reform.” It’s full of smoke and mirrors. For example, the one-page highlight sheet brags that “the framework roughly doubles the standard deduction so that typical middle-class families will keep more of their paycheck.” I’d hoped that this [continue reading…]

 October 6, 2017  Posted by at 12:20 am ~ Opinion ~, Issue #237, Thomas L. Knapp 6 Responses »
Oct 062017
 
Veterans Express Dismay at "Vietnam War" Series

St. Louis, MO. –  With the conclusion of the Burns/Novick “The Vietnam War” series, veterans express dismay over the lack of attention paid to civilian deaths and the legacy of the war on Vietnam. Veterans For Peace, (VFP) founded after the prominent days of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), featured in the series, has actively opposed every U.S. military adventure since its founding in 1984.  Starting with the Reagan administration’s “contra war” against Nicaragua, to Bush, Obama and now Trump’s wars in Iraq and [continue reading…]

 October 6, 2017  Posted by at 12:19 am Editorial, Issue #237 No Responses »
Sep 292017
 
Hurricane Irma Local Assessment and Concerns

by Joseph Hopp, Big Pine Key resident……. HOTELS, HOTELS, HOTELS For years the hospitality industry has been lobbying against any vacation rentals but their own; the very people who invited the hotels into the Keys; hotels that, from mile marker to mile marker charge $200 to $1,200 a night year round. They lobbied against one of the first B & B’s on the islands, I know personally because my parents had one of the very early Bed & Breakfasts in the Florida Keys. The properties [continue reading…]

 September 29, 2017  Posted by at 5:47 am Issue #236, Letter to the Editor 1 Response »
Sep 292017
 
The Russia-Blamers Think You're Stupid

by Thomas L. Knapp……. “Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit America’s racial and religious divisions,” the Washington Post claims in a September 25 headline. Over at The Daily Beast, Dean Obeidallah explains “How Russian Hackers Used My Face to Sabotage Our Politics and Elect Trump.” And US Senator James Lankford (R-OK) thinks that “the Russians and their troll farms” (as opposed to Donald Trump and professional football players) are behind the current “take a knee” kerfuffle between Donald Trump and professional football players. Because, [continue reading…]

 September 29, 2017  Posted by at 5:37 am ~ Opinion ~, Issue #236, Thomas L. Knapp 4 Responses »
Sep 292017
 
Privacy and Politics: The Hypocrisy of the Surveillance Statists

by Thomas L. Knapp……. The New York Times reports that at least six members of the Trump administration used personal email accounts to discuss White House matters. Given president Donald Trump’s campaign and post-campaign harping (as the Times puts it) on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s illegal use of a private server and mishandling of classified information, it’s unsurprising to hear charges of hypocrisy from Democratic quarters. But the hypocrisy here  a matter of  political class elitism, not partisan politics. Those in power, regardless [continue reading…]

 September 29, 2017  Posted by at 5:37 am ~ Opinion ~, Issue #236, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »