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 »
Sep 292017
 
Social Media: When Does "Actively Working With the Government" Become Censorship?

by Thomas L. Knapp……. In a September 21 post, Mark Zuckerberg shared nine steps the  site he started is taking “to protect election integrity and make sure that Facebook is a force for good in democracy,” by “actively working with the government” and “partnering with public authorities.” The day before that, the United Kingdom’s prime minister, Theresa May, used the United Nations General Assembly as a forum to demand that social media networks “ensure terrorist material [read: content that May disapproves of] is detected and [continue reading…]

 September 29, 2017  Posted by at 5:37 am ~ Opinion ~, Issue #236, Thomas L. Knapp 2 Responses »
Sep 222017
 
The United States & America

by Art Winstanley……. “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” – (A. Lincoln) I want to make a pivotal distinction here. . . The “United States” and “America” are not necessarily the same thing. 240 years ago, the British Empire waged war against the America because America was hell-bent and determined to be free and independent of an oppressive government. “WE THE PEOPLE” are America.

 September 22, 2017  Posted by at 10:41 pm Editorial, Issue #235 No Responses »
Sep 012017
 
Veteran Organization Condemns Trump Administration Announcement to Further Militarize the Police

St. Louis, MO.  – Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump administration will lift limits on the 1033 program to once again allow local police departments access to surplus military equipment such as grenade launchers, high caliber weapons, tracked vehicles that look like tanks and bayonets. Veterans For Peace condemns the Trump administration’s choice to allow more combat equipment to be transferred from the Pentagon to domestic police forces.  As veterans who have used military equipment to train for war and in combat, [continue reading…]

 September 1, 2017  Posted by at 12:30 am Editorial, Issue #234 No Responses »
Aug 112017
 
Don't Trust Trump's North Korea Bluff, Bluster, and Brinksmanship

by Thomas L. Knapp……. US president Donald Trump put much of the world atwitter and ajitter Tuesday with his comment to the press: “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Trump’s certainly proving himself  Kim Jong Un’s equal at foreign affairs smack talk. Is he serious? I believe so. I expect some sort of major military confrontation — possibly even outright war — between the US and North [continue reading…]

 August 11, 2017  Posted by at 12:46 am ~ Opinion ~, Issue #231, Thomas L. Knapp 26 Responses »
Aug 112017
 
Google to Employees: Feel Safe Sharing Your Opinions, as Long as They're Our Opinions

by Thomas L. Knapp……. Former Google engineer James Damore is suddenly between jobs. He’s been fired, Bloomberg reports, for writing “an internal memo blasting the web company’s diversity policies.” Google has long cultivated a reputation for hiring smart people, turning them loose, and listening to them. This firing puts a giant dent in that reputation. Media reports describe Damore’s memo as a rant, a tirade, a screed, sexist, anti-diversity, and a whole bunch of other bad things. I was almost afraid to read the 10-page [continue reading…]

 August 11, 2017  Posted by at 12:44 am ~ Opinion ~, Issue #231, Thomas L. Knapp 1 Response »
Aug 042017
 
Why I Still Have Hope for Coral Reefs

Corals in the Pacific Ocean have been dying at an alarming rate, particularly from bleaching brought on by increased water temperatures. But it’s not too late to act, says TED Fellow Kristen Marhaver. She points to the Caribbean — given time, stable temperatures and strong protection, corals there have shown the ability to survive and recover from trauma. Marhaver reminds us why we need to keep working to protect the precious corals we have left. “Corals have always been playing the long game,” she says, [continue reading…]

 August 4, 2017  Posted by at 12:44 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #230 1 Response »
Jul 282017
 
Dilemma?

Letter to the Editor From Eugene E Nanay Jr. ……. Every year the residents of Monroe County are faced with this Dilemma; Do we want the 5–8 Million DOLLARS those LOUD, Noisy, Rude, Nasty, drunken bikers spend down here on their Annual four (4) day pilgrimage to the southernmost city??? Or do we continue the Yearly two(2) day MASSACRE of our local Saltwater Cockroaches, while Destroying our Reef, despoiling the Environment, leaving their garbage and trash, while contributing minimally to the local economy. The Bikers [continue reading…]

 July 28, 2017  Posted by at 12:24 am Issue #229, Letter to the Editor 2 Responses »
Jul 212017
 
Vehicular Assaults, Gridlock & Environmental Destruction...Endanger Our Lives & Islands...

by John Donnelly……. Being scolded and threatened by individuals visiting the Florida Keys with their large vehicles and trailers as they create traffic jams and dangerous driving conditions for the citizens that live here, because we’ve asked our County Commissioners to decrease their destructive impact, via the creation of a “toll road” for entry onto our islands, identifies a certain type of contempt, insensitivity and indifference for the safety and basic needs of Monroe County residents.

 July 21, 2017  Posted by at 12:38 am ~ Column ~, ~ Opinion ~, Issue #228, John Donnelly 13 Responses »
Jul 072017
 
Academics vs. Sports at Keys High Schools

by Larry Murray……. Dear Editor, If you are interested in obtaining insight to the mindset of the typical Keys high school student, I urge you to read the “Prep Sports: Class of 2018 Senior Spotlight”.  This is a daily feature on the sports page of the Key West Citizen. The Citizen has published this feature for a number of years and I find the comments very insightful. I urge you to pay particular attention to the responses to two questions: “Regarding the sports you play [continue reading…]

Jun 302017
 
Former Sheriffs: Loss of Health Insurance Benefits for County Retirees Will Have "Far-reaching Consequences"

by Paul Ross……. To Citizens and Friends: Recently the Board of County Commissioners held a ‘special’ meeting in where some decisions were made that will affect all of us in one way or another. To say the least I have served 31 years to MONROE COUNTY I started this career when I was 19 years old. NOW I am being told that my insurance will be going up upon retirement to outrageous portions. (Basically making the rates so high you cannot afford them.) Further, YOU [continue reading…]

 June 30, 2017  Posted by at 12:58 am Issue #225, Letter to the Editor 1 Response »
Jun 302017
 
Kudos to the Board

by Walter Lagraves……. Dear Editor: Hey Hey!  There’s some good governance going on.  You may have missed it, but last week the Board of Directors of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control Authority voted to term limit themselves.  They voted unanimously to limit membership on the board to three four year terms.  That is good news and good governance. The entire board deserves kudos, but the prime mover was Board Chairperson, Phil Goodman.   Mr. Goodman, in his previous term on the board, had pushed for [continue reading…]

 June 30, 2017  Posted by at 12:48 am Issue #225, Letter to the Editor 2 Responses »
Jun 162017
 
Exposed: FDEP- Rubber Stamp for The FKAA.

by Eugene E. Nanay Jr…….. Dear Editor, Ever since The GOV. gave Big Sugar and Big Agriculture a Get Home Free pass, Blamed the Florida Keys the Polluter of South Florida, and Issued a MANDATE–Every parcel of property SHALL BE connected to a public sewer system it started. Every time the FKAA issued a permit to do anything with the MANDATED public sewer system The FDEP broke out Their Rubber Stamp. It didn’t make any difference whatsoever, A FORGED ArmyCorps of Engineers analysis, A Permit [continue reading…]

 June 16, 2017  Posted by at 12:34 am Issue #223, Letter to the Editor 1 Response »
Jun 092017
 
A FOND FAREWELL / LifeNet Closes Key West Base

Guest Editorial William Deans, flight nurse and long-time Key West resident……. Call it six degrees of separation, or maybe just how a tight-knit community works: with LifeNet operating in the Florida Keys for ten years, it’s hard to find a resident who doesn’t know someone whose life has been touched by air ambulance service.

 June 9, 2017  Posted by at 1:04 am Editorial, Issue #222 No Responses »
May 192017
 
Term Limits

by Walter Lagraves……. Dear Editor, Term limits are on the Florida Keys Mosquito Control Authority board meeting next Tuesday. The meeting will be at 10:30 AM in their Stock Island offices/boardroom. The Bug Board is considering term limiting themselves. It’s hard to think of a more courageous or worthwhile endeavor on the part of any elected public officials. The effort is being lead by Board Chair, Phil Goodman. Mr. Goodman attempted to put term limits in place a number of years ago, but long term [continue reading…]

 May 19, 2017  Posted by at 12:44 am Issue #219, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
May 122017
 
Expanding Lower Duval Zoning to a Single Property Owner on Greene Street Sets Bad Precedent

by Gregory M Lloyd……. Dear Editor, On May 16th, the City Commission will hear the first reading for the expansion of lower Duval Street Zoning (HRCC-1, Historic Residential Commercial Core) to include the Mel Fisher Museums located at 200 Greene Street between Front and Whitehead Streets. The Mel Fisher Museum is at the cultural heart of our City, surrounded by Truman Little White House, Audubon House, Customs House, Historic Clinton Square with the Aquarium and Shipwreckers Museum and a mere stones throw from there is [continue reading…]

 May 12, 2017  Posted by at 12:50 am Issue #218, Letter to the Editor 1 Response »
May 122017
 
Warning!

by Eugene E. Nanay Jr…….. Editor, Lately there has been stories about alligator attacks in Florida–small boy eaten by Gator at Disney resort, golfer’s arm bitten off by Gator when reaching for ball in water hazard, 10 year old girl opens Gators jaws to escape. It appears that Alligators are the # 1 Hazard in Florida. But hold your horses— Since 1948 there has been 388 attacks and 24(as in twenty four) deaths by Alligators. That’s 24 deaths in 69 years, that’s terrible. Now let’s [continue reading…]

 May 12, 2017  Posted by at 12:49 am Issue #218, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
May 122017
 
Financial Class Discrimination in Monroe County

by Eugene Nanay…… Editor, Back in 2008 or whenever The Gov. proclaimed all properties in the Keys Shall be connected to a Public Sewer System or whatever. So? How many properties are we talking about here? Well, from the Office of the Tax Appraisers Office I was provided with the following–51,307 Residential Units and 17,472 Businesses with physical addresses. From the Office of the Tax Collector, there were 53,001 Trim Notices sent out last November. Now in the Counties plan for The Lower Keys, the [continue reading…]

 May 12, 2017  Posted by at 12:49 am Issue #218, Letter to the Editor 4 Responses »