Sep 232016
 
An Open Letter To The School Board

Gentlemen: At your recent Board meeting, you received a report from your Human Resources Department. The undated report was entitled “2015-2016 New Employee End of the Year Survey Results” and included ” Employee 2015-2016 Survey Results Comparison”. (The District continues to have problems properly titling and/or dating documents, particularly reports.) When I first saw this report, I was pleased and complimented HR Director Dr. Ramon Dawkins. It appears that my compliment was premature. That is what I learned when I read the “2015-2016 New Employee [continue reading…]

 September 23, 2016  Posted by at 1:04 am Issue #185, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Sep 232016
 
ZIKA Is On The March / GM Mosquitoes Are Safe

Dear Editor, My thanks to Mr. Bethune for taking the time to comment on the ZIKA crisis. I must note that I disagree with nearly everything that he put forward. I’ll do my best to keep it brief and to respond to each point, paragraph by paragraph. First and most important: ZIKA is on the march. As this is written there are at least 874 cases in Florida. One out of 10 persons who has been tested has been found to be positive. At least [continue reading…]

 September 23, 2016  Posted by at 1:02 am Issue #185, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Sep 232016
 
@Snowden: Give That Man a Medal, Not a "Pardon"

by Thomas L. Knapp……. In the days leading up to the official premiere of Snowden, Oliver Stone’s eponymous biopic of America’s exiled whistleblower, an international movement came together to pressure US president Barack Obama for a pardon. Executive absolution would make it possible for Edward Snowden to return from Russia without facing a show trial and a life (or even death) sentence for his heroism. It’s a fine idea. I support it. But I think it does get things backward and sends the wrong message [continue reading…]

 September 23, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #185 4 Responses »
Sep 232016
 
Lies, Damned Lies, and Hewlett-Packard Printers

by Thomas L. Knapp……. September 13 was an unlucky day for an unknown number of Hewlett-Packard printer owners. Instead of going dutifully to work, their printers displayed the error message “One or more cartridges appear to be damaged. Remove them and replace them with new cartridges.” The cartridges weren’t damaged, though. The printers had been sabotaged with, for all intents and purposes, malware. And the saboteur was Hewlett-Packard itself. The company built a digital time bomb into its firmware to stop owners of HP printers [continue reading…]

 September 23, 2016  Posted by at 12:52 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #185 No Responses »
Sep 162016
 
Straight Facts on GMO Mosquitoes

Dear Editor, I was dismayed to read Friday’s letter to you on GMO mosquitoes which was so full personal attacks and so scant on scientific information. I’m not sure where the writer got his facts, but on behalf of the over 50,000 concerned citizens who view our Facebook page, Never Again, each week, I’d like to set the record straight on a number of issues that the GMO mosquito salesmen have left out. If Zika is “knocking on our door,” it’s the door of an [continue reading…]

 September 16, 2016  Posted by at 12:52 am Issue #184, Letter to the Editor 1 Response »
Sep 162016
 
Start the GMO Test

To the Editors, The Mosquito Control Board is “fiddling while Rome burns.”  They should authorize the GMO test immediately. I just returned from Europe where all my friends asked if it was still safe to come to the Keys.  [This week], the Miami Herald documents the economic impact already felt in Miami in just a few weeks. A word about regulators:  In Europe, Naled–used here in Monroe–is banned as too risky.  Monroe’s beekeeper’s would agree.  The impact on humans?  Probably unknowable right now.  Are America’s or Europe’s regulators smarter?  [continue reading…]

 September 16, 2016  Posted by at 12:50 am Environment, Issue #184, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Sep 162016
 
Thumbs Up on the Ditching of the Skeeter Taj Mahal

It appears that the Florida Keys Mosquito Control Board is in the process of regaining it’s sanity In its most recent meeting they ditched the Big Coppit Skeeter Taj Mahal.  The vote was 3-2.  Only two very old line commissioners voted for the Taj Mahal.  Commissioners Shaw and Smith.  Shaw is not seeking reelection.  Smith is!  Remember that he wanted to raise your skeeter taxes by 45%,  that’s what it would have cost to build the Taj Mahal that he and Shaw wanted.  Commissioner Craney-Gage [continue reading…]

 September 16, 2016  Posted by at 12:48 am Issue #184, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Sep 162016
 
9/12: The Appeal to National Narcissism is Alive and Well

by Thomas L. Knapp……. “The narcissist,” someone once wrote on an Internet discussion forum devoted to the topic, “learns nothing, forgets nothing, and forgives nothing.” In conscious appeal to this tendency, the American political class flocks to shrines in New York, DC and Pennsylvania each year to once again cynically wring as much narcissistic flag-waving hoopla as possible from the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. I generally avoid watching these observances. This year my sole exposure to them was video of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary [continue reading…]

 September 16, 2016  Posted by at 12:44 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #184 4 Responses »
Sep 092016
 
DEA Declares (Kr)atomic War on Americans

by Thomas L. Knapp……. In early August, the US Drug Enforcement Administration announced that, contrary to expectations, it wouldn’t remove marijuana from “Schedule 1” (“no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse”). At the end of the month, DEA made another announcement: It intends to add another herbal substance, kratom, to Schedule 1. Why is the DEA picking on kratom? The agency offers numerous excuses — insufficient testing for the plant to have an approved medical use, its historical use as an [continue reading…]

 September 9, 2016  Posted by at 12:42 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #183 3 Responses »
Sep 092016
 
Zika

Dear Editor. While our skeeter killers dither and fail to use every safe and effective weapon that they have in their arsenal, ZIKA is knocking on our door. On Wednesday it was reported that we now have at least 3 cases of ZIKA in Monroe. That’s only the cases that have been discovered and proven. Given that many infected persons have no symptoms, we could have scores of infected persons. It is safe to assume that the authorities ae keeping the number of cases under [continue reading…]

 September 9, 2016  Posted by at 12:38 am Issue #183, Letter to the Editor 5 Responses »
Sep 022016
 
Farm Follies: The Cheese Stands Alone (With Its Hand Out)

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On August 23, the US Department of Agriculture announced its plan to purchase 11 million pounds of cheese, at a cost of $20 million. The cheese will be “provided to families in need through USDA nutrition assistance programs,” but the real purpose of the purchase is to reduce excess cheese inventories, “assisting the stalled marketplace for dairy producers whose revenues have dropped 35 percent over the past two years.” Economics 101: When so many people produce so much of the same [continue reading…]

 September 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:36 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #182 No Responses »
Sep 022016
 
Marijuana Legalization: Give Peace a Chance

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On November 8, voters in eight states will decide whether or not to legalize, to one degree or another, the possession, use and sale of marijuana. If all of the measures pass, more than 86 million Americans will enjoy increased legal access to the plant: For medical use in Arkansas, Florida and Missouri, for recreational use in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada. Earlier this month, the US Drug Enforcement Administration announced it wouldn’t reconsider marijuana’s ridiculous Schedule 1 status (“no [continue reading…]

 September 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:34 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #182 No Responses »
Sep 022016
 
Zikagate

The fight to keep zika out of our community has devolved into a bubbling pit of controversy. Vicious attacks are being made against organizations and individuals who are convinced that the use of GMM can be an effective and safe tool in the fight against mosquito borne disease. GMM is the use of genetic engineering to break the reproductive cycle of the mosquitos that are the carriers of not only the zika virus, but other diseases such as dengue fever. By so doing the resident [continue reading…]

 September 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:30 am Issue #182, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Sep 022016
 
The City Hall Carports: An Open Letter to the City Commission

Dear Mayor & Commissioners, Two things I’d like brought to your attention: I now have evidence showing that the solar array structures are, according to the architect himself,  carports – something clearly prohibited by the HARC guidelines.  The letter, below, from the architect to USBGC Florida, states, “Solar arrays were designed as carport structures”. Therefore, they are in direct violation of HARC guidelines which prohibit new carports highly-visible from the right-of-way.  HARC guidelines state, “The construction of new accessory buildings such as garages or carports [continue reading…]

 September 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:28 am Issue #182, Letter to the Editor 3 Responses »
Sep 022016
 
Building 103

by Ben Volpian……. Why is Building 103 on the Truman Waterfront Park Quay important? Well, 2 major reasons: 1) The city, hopefully with help from the Tourist Development Council, is prepared to spend $5 million on the design and renovation project with preparations to begin in October. 2) If designed and renovated correctly, this building can be a great addition to not only the park, but also for the entire city. Why do I say designed and renovated correctly? The way I see it, the [continue reading…]

 September 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:28 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #182 4 Responses »
Aug 262016
 
Travel Advice for the Islamo-FraidyCat Set

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On August 18, three siblings boarded an EasyJet flight at London’s Stansted airport. Maryam, Sakina and Ali Dharas were en route to Italy for a holiday. But before the flight could take off, they were asked to debark for questioning by police. Another passenger, apparently an amateur detective, deduced that because they are brown people and the two sisters wear hijabs — Muslim head scarves — they must be Islamic State terrorists. Which, of course, they weren’t. The plane eventually took [continue reading…]

 August 26, 2016  Posted by at 12:28 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #181 No Responses »
Aug 262016
 
War: The Islamic State and Western Politicians Against the Rest of Us

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On July 28, London’s Central Criminal Court of England and Wales, aka “the Old Bailey,” announced the conviction of Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary on charges of “inviting support for a proscribed organization” (the Islamic State). He’ll be sentenced, likely to a long stint in prison, in September. On August 18, social networking service Twitter announced that it has suspended 360,000 user accounts since mid-2015 — 235,000 of them just since February — for “promoting extremism.” While Twitter is theoretically a private [continue reading…]

 August 26, 2016  Posted by at 12:26 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #181 No Responses »
Aug 262016
 
Veterans for Joe Garcia

Dear Editor, I am a Vietnam veteran supporting Joe Garcia for Congress. Joe was there for us in some hard times for us Veterans. There was one Doctor in the Key West VA clinic, the next was a hundred miles away and 10 thousand Veterans in between. Miami VA said to bad no more Doctors. I called Congressman Joe Garcia, he said I’m on it. Joe went personally to the Miami VA Headquarters. It was hair teeth and eyeballs but he got us our Doctor [continue reading…]

 August 26, 2016  Posted by at 12:22 am Issue #181, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Aug 262016
 
Winner(s) in the Hospital Fight

Dear Editor, It is still too early to tell who the ultimate winner will be, the public or Lower Keys Medical Center, in the current fight over services and billing. However, there are indications of short term winners, specifically the local print newspapers. Both sides in the battle have taken out numerous, a dozen or more, full page ads in the Key West Citizen to promote their positions. Mariners Hospital has joined the battle, touting its four star rating as opposed to the single star [continue reading…]

 August 26, 2016  Posted by at 12:20 am Issue #181, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Aug 192016
 
Write-in Mayoral Candidate Sloan Bashinsky's Hilarious Responses to PBA Candidate Questionaire

DADE COUNTY POLICE BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION KEY WEST POLITICAL SCREENING Candidate Questionnaire August 12, 2016 Candidate: Sloan Bashinsky Position: Mayor Address: Contact Number (s): __________________ Date of Birth: 10/7/42 E-mail Address: sloanbashinsky@outlook.com Signature: _________________________ Background: The PBA places great value in the relationships it builds with elected officials. Therefore maintaining open lines of communication is of the utmost importance. Question (s): (a) Would you contact the PBA before speaking publicly for or against any issue of importance to the Association and/or law enforcement? Please explain your [continue reading…]

 August 19, 2016  Posted by at 12:56 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #180 4 Responses »
Aug 192016
 
Guest Commentary: Mosquito Control / Big Coppitt

by Stephen Murray-Smith……. When I was elected to mosquito control nineteen years ago, our program consisted of aerial spraying with a 1940’s aircraft, a few spray trucks, no entomologist or biologists, and a $500,000 budget shortfall. Fast forward to today – our county has one of the best mosquito control programs in the nation. Late 2007, FKMCD began talks with the City of Key West to purchase property in order to build a new structure then vacating the existing building. Appraisals secured at our expense [continue reading…]

 August 19, 2016  Posted by at 12:48 am Issue #180, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Aug 192016
 
Guest Column: FKMCD Board Meeting - November Can't Get Here Too Soon

by Ralph De Palma……. At the recent Florida Keys Mosquito Control District meeting (FKMCD), Commissioner up for re-election, Jill Cranney-Gage, flip flopped and changed her vote on the construction project that has been planned for the past two years, to be more in line with her mentor the Chairman and “Chief Budget Cutter” on the Board, Phil Goodman. The timing of this change appears to coincide with the pending potential 45% millage increase and the effect on her re-election campaign. That was bluntly pointed out by [continue reading…]

 August 19, 2016  Posted by at 12:46 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #180 1 Response »
Aug 192016
 
Mosquito Control: Forget "Taj Mahal" and Do Something about ZIKA!

Dear Editor, Steve Smith is a 20 year incumbent on the Florida Keys Mosquito Control Board. He is once again running for another 4 year ride. Mr. Smith tells us that he has been your good and faithful servant for lo these many, many, years and that he has tried his damndest to wisely spend your tax dollars. But he complains that all too often a majority of the board has overridden him and forced the board to cut taxes, cut expenses, and otherwise minimize [continue reading…]

 August 19, 2016  Posted by at 12:44 am Issue #180, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Aug 192016
 
Fear Not My Fellow Conchs

Dear Editor, They say that a wasted vote is voting for someone who doesn’t represent you, and I agree, and I believe the people of the Florida Keys, in our lofty island paradise, also would agree with the sentiment. Out of the 319 million Americans, we’re taught that we must pick one of two to take the position of the most powerful leader of the free world, the Presidency of the United States of America. It’s easy to sit back in between media attack ads, [continue reading…]

 August 19, 2016  Posted by at 12:42 am Issue #180, Letter to the Editor 2 Responses »
Aug 192016
 
Clinton: Unhinged?

by Thomas L. Knapp……. Following multiple damning email leaks and disclosures, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign decided, in the weirdest attempt at damage control I’ve ever seen, to invoke the late Allen Ginsberg’s “America”: “America it’s them bad Russians. Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. And them Russians.” Forget the content of the leaks. Just focus on their alleged (not proven, alleged) source. IT’S THEM RUSSIANS! Never mind that one of the leaks uncovered the Democratic National Committee’s secret program to deliver its party’s presidential [continue reading…]

 August 19, 2016  Posted by at 12:41 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #180 3 Responses »
Aug 122016
 
Part Two of an Evaluation of the Risks vs. Benefits of the Proposed Release of GMO Mosquitoes in Florida

by By David McKalip, M.D…… Risk: The OX513A bugs could establish a new subspecies and actually survive in nature. Implications: The FDA thinks the risk of this is low, but bases their conclusions on some assumptions that are not entirely accurate. However if the survival rate, percentage of females released or genetic assumptions are wrong, then the GMO mosquito could establish itself permanently. Introduction to Part II. The FDA has approved a genetic experiment on humanity and the ecosystem in Key West Florida. They propose to [continue reading…]

 August 12, 2016  Posted by at 12:38 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #179 3 Responses »
Aug 122016
 
ZIKA Index Case Monroe County

Dear Editor, Monroe County now has its index ZIKA case. ZIKA in Monroe County is no longer a hypothetical. It is here. It is a real, not a theoretical, threat to our health. Especially the unborn. Enough is enough. It is time to use all the safe, proven, and effective weapons we have at our disposal to fight ZIKA. It is time for The Florida Keys Mosquito Control Board to ignore the threats and posturing of the special interests of big real estate, and to [continue reading…]

 August 12, 2016  Posted by at 12:26 am Issue #179, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Aug 122016
 
Bread & Circuses

Dear Editor, Let’s look at the Olympic Games for what they are. A Gigantic Money Making Machine. Once upon a time the Olympics was about Amateurs competing in the Classic field events and they were interesting But boring, and boring means No Money. So then a group of Big Money people got together and said, hay-if we get this Un-Boring We can make Lots of money so let’s create new games that more people will spend lots of money supporting their game, and another Big [continue reading…]

 August 12, 2016  Posted by at 12:24 am Issue #179, Letter to the Editor 1 Response »
Aug 122016
 
Florida’s State Teachers Union Pays 43 Employees at Least $100K

By William Patrick – From Watchdog.org……. Next week, students and teachers will meet in classrooms across the state to begin a new public school year. A new year also means another round of dues for the state teachers union. The Florida Education Association is the largest labor union in Florida. It’s an affiliate of national powerhouses American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association, and it has dozens of local affiliates under its statewide banner. The FEA promises to provide its 128,264 members “a voice on [continue reading…]

 August 12, 2016  Posted by at 12:18 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #179 No Responses »
Aug 052016
 
$400 Million: The Partial Price of Peace?

by Thomas L. Knapp……. When the US government sends $400 million in cash, stacked on pallets, to Iran on the same day the Iranian government releases four imprisoned Americans, it looks an awful lot like ransom. On the other hand, when the US government decides to keep $400 million sent to it by the Iranian government pursuant to an arms deal for 35 years without ever shipping the arms, it looks an awful lot like stealing. And when the US government reaches a settlement to [continue reading…]

 August 5, 2016  Posted by at 12:45 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #178 No Responses »
Aug 052016
 
Snowden and Media Friends: L'etat, C'est Nous

by Thomas L. Knapp……. “[T]he return of this information to the public marks my end,” Edward Snowden told the Washington Post’s Barton Gellman prior to telling that public — under the auspices of several journalists and publications — about the NSA’s PRISM program and other horrors of the modern American surveillance state. Snowden did indeed suffer for his good deeds: These days he lives in exile in Russia, awaiting a day when he might return home to some fate other than life in a prison [continue reading…]

 August 5, 2016  Posted by at 12:45 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #178 No Responses »
Aug 052016
 
FKMCD Director Doyle's Resignation - Set the Record Straight

by Ralph De Palma……. Michael Doyle’s resignation is not very surprising. The proverbial handwriting has been on the wall since the Board of Commissioners rescinded his raise last year. He’s going back to the lab. It’s where he’s most comfortable. Managing a sophisticated operation like FKMCD was overwhelming and he performed mediocre at best. Managing people and processes can be tedious and boring at times not sexy like releasing GMOs. He’d never managed any organization of this size and was immediately in trouble at FKMCD. He never [continue reading…]

 August 5, 2016  Posted by at 12:39 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #178 No Responses »
Aug 052016
 
"C’mon FKMCB….get to work.  Use all the weapons that you have to protect us from ZIKA."

4:30 PM Monday, August 1: 10 NEW ZIKA CASES IN MIAMI. Miami-Dade asks for help from Monroe County in combating the ZIKA mosquitos. The Bloomberg News headline is “ZIKA NIGHTMARE HITS MIAMI.” The article chronicles the arrival of Florida’s first home grown cases of ZIKA. The YAHOO NEWS head line is “MIAMI BLOOD DONATIONS HALTED OVER ZIKA FEARS.” The article chronicles the fact that Federal authorities have called for a halt to blood donations in Miami as a result of local cases of ZIKA. The [continue reading…]

 August 5, 2016  Posted by at 12:38 am Issue #178, Letter to the Editor 1 Response »
Aug 052016
 
America is Dead, Obituary to Follow

Dear Editor, The eulogy was given by the current director of the FBI. Who are these people who are Too Important to Prosecute? Why is the American Injustice system failing in dealing Management Crime? Management crimes are such that a person of responsibility who is or should be aware of a situation, has the ability to influence and choose to do nothing or cover it up. A simplistic-example; a worker bee observers a manager perform an act that is a threat to national security. The worker bee [continue reading…]

 August 5, 2016  Posted by at 12:37 am Issue #178, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Aug 052016
 
A Special Thanks For Decision on Quay Walkway

Dear Editor, As a member of the Truman Waterfront Advisory Board but commenting here as a private citizen, I would like to take this opportunity to commend and applaud the Mayor and Key West City Commission, acting as the Local Redevelopment Authority, for their wisdom in voting “YES” to accept the recommendation of the Truman Waterfront Advisory Board’s decision to keep the Truman Waterfront Park’s Quay Walkway at its present 70 feet width. As sometimes happens in life and also in government, a slight compromise [continue reading…]

 August 5, 2016  Posted by at 12:36 am Issue #178, Letter to the Editor No 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 292016
 
Watercraft, Algae are Double Whammy for Manatees in 2016

Op Ed by Katie Tripp, Ph.D. Director of Science & Conservation Save the Manatee Club The number of watercraft-related manatee deaths has been ticking steadily upward since the start of the year. Cheaper gas, a recovering economy, a mild winter, and a HOT summer have meant lots of boating in Florida. The current record for manatee watercraft deaths was set in 2009. That year, through mid-July, there were 58 manatees killed by boats in Florida waters. This year, through that same time period, 67 manatees [continue reading…]

 July 29, 2016  Posted by at 12:44 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #177 No Responses »