Feb 182018
 
Downlisting: Don’t Leave Manatees Out in the Cold

Op Ed by Anne Harvey Holbrook, JD, MS Save the Manatee Club……. Last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service downgraded the West Indian manatee’s status from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Save the Manatee Club is concerned that downlisting will further slow efforts to secure key habitat protections needed for the species’ longevity in Florida. In order to sustain the progress made toward recovering the manatee, increased reporting of manatee boat strikes and a stronger emphasis on preserving and restoring warm [continue reading…]

 February 18, 2018  Posted by at 12:26 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #256 No Responses »
Feb 112018
 
"Affordable Housing": Are the Wolves at the Gate?

by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. On January 30, 2018 the Monroe County School Board voted to vacate the parcels of land it owns on Trumbo Road. Their goal is to assist with the workforce housing crisis. One of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the Keys, the 6 acres of waterfront property in downtown Key West, could be transferred, for free, to developers. Under a proposal put forward by Key West’s multi-millionaire, John Padget, developers would then build 480 “affordable” studios and one-bedroom [continue reading…]

Feb 112018
 
Distracted Driving

by Donald J. Lee Jr., Chief of Police……. Passage of House Bill 33 Can Help Save Lives Yesterday, eight people lost their lives. Eight sons, daughters, mothers and fathers were taken from their families and friends. Today, another eight were killed. Tomorrow, eight more. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, eight is the number of people who are killed each day in the U.S. due to distracted driving. Since being appointed Chief of Police for the Key West Police Department more than [continue reading…]

 February 11, 2018  Posted by at 12:36 am Issue #255, Letter to the Editor 1 Response »
Feb 042018
 
Over-Development To Begin

by John Donnelly……. Monroe County Commissioners, County Administrator Roman Gastesi & Planning Director Mayte Santamaria are on the verge of executing a plan that will end life as we know it in our beloved island homes, neighborhoods and communities. My message to them is as follows: I’m at the Miami VA and unable to attend this important meeting. I adamantly oppose and will do all within my power to resist these specious, fallacious and unconstitutional changes under consideration that will destroy our way of life [continue reading…]

Feb 042018
 
The Desecration at Gettysburg

by LTC William D. Hewitt……. Dear Editor, When Americans join the military, they surrender their rights, even unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In return they have certain expectations. Their service will be used in vital efforts regarding national security. Should they be a casualty the nation would, as Abraham Lincoln said, “Care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan.” For those who gave their last full measure of devotion their remains would be [continue reading…]

 February 4, 2018  Posted by at 12:32 am Issue #254, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Jan 272018
 
The Numbers Don't Lie

by Jerry Dykhuisen……. Dear Editor: Having been raised in Chicago, I figured that I had witnessed government corruption raised to a fine art. After living here for a couple of decades, I must admit, however, that the Windy City has nothing on the powers that be in Monroe County.  With a school superintendent who steals nearly a half million dollars and does no jail time, a principal (who just happens to be the son of a previous superintendent) has tens of thousands of dollars disappear on [continue reading…]

 January 27, 2018  Posted by at 12:57 am Issue #253, Letter to the Editor 6 Responses »
Jan 272018
 
"The Uniqueness Is Gone"

Dear Editor: My name is Brian Smith and I just wanted to say that I really respect your relentless pursuit of the truth. I too believe that the rules should apply to everybody. I recently moved back to Key West after 20 years up north, and I’m very surprised at the dramatic change Key West has taken. It’s nothing like what I remember. It used to be such a magical place, completely different from another city in America. Now the uniqueness is gone, and we have CVS and Starbucks on every corner. The city government has clearly helped a handful of people take complete control [continue reading…]

 January 27, 2018  Posted by at 12:55 am Issue #253, Letter to the Editor 1 Response »
Jan 272018
 
Affordable Second Homes

by Joe Messer……. Dear Editor, Over the last 15 years extreme development has taken place in Key West and Marathon via hotels, resorts, restaurants and tourist service businesses. Add to that the elimination of downstairs enclosures and housing for employees has become a significant issue. Affordable housing projects have been continually promoted as the solution. If correct, why is the issue now worse than ever? It is time for Monroe County, Key West and Marathon to do some serious investigation before approving any more affordable [continue reading…]

 January 27, 2018  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #253, Letter to the Editor 2 Responses »
Jan 202018
 
City's Deregulation of Transient Licenses Will Reduce Residential Housing

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…]

Jan 202018
 
The Worst Thing About Federal Government "Shutdowns"

by Thomas L. Knapp……. The second worst thing about federal government “shutdowns” is that they’re almost entirely meaningless theatrical productions — tales told by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing — from beginning to end. The worst thing about such “shutdowns” is that they end, usually in a way that undoes most of what little good they accomplished in the first place. I’m writing this on the first (and for all I know, the last) morning of the latest such “shutdown.” It comes [continue reading…]

 January 20, 2018  Posted by at 12:38 am ~ Column ~, Editorial, Issue #252, Thomas L. Knapp 3 Responses »
Jan 202018
 
Is the School Board Turning Over a New Leaf?

by Rick Boettger……. The District made a positive move last week in their legal wrangling with Kathy Reitzel in her whistle-blowing case against them.  They admitted she was a whistle-blower. To recap: Kathy was head of finances for the School District when Monique Acevedo stole over $400,000.  Kathy turned over evidence to board chairman Andy Griffith. The district used this evidence and Kathy’s extended testimony to send Monique to prison and get her husband Randy fired from his job as superintendent.

 January 20, 2018  Posted by at 12:34 am ~ Column ~, ~ Opinion ~, Issue #252, Rick Boettger 2 Responses »
Dec 292017
 
FEMA Trailers

by Dr. Larry Murray……. Editor: Where are all the FEMA trailers?  At one point, the community was promised that there would be 80 FEMA trailers on the property of the old Road Prison.  It was touted as an ideal location as it would be easy to make the necessary electric and water connections.  Now, I cannot find anyone who will admit to ever having made such a promise. I have communicated with a number of people at the county and none of them have any [continue reading…]

 December 29, 2017  Posted by at 12:34 am Dr. Larry Murray, Issue #249, Letter to the Editor 2 Responses »
Dec 222017
 
Florida Keys SPCA Responds to Margaret Blank's Piece Questioning Agency's Tax Returns

To the editor, Key West The Newspaper: Had Margaret Blank bothered to contact the Florida Keys SPCA (FKSPCA) before writing her inaccurate article that was a mixed bag of topics about our tax returns, conflating the cost of our new shelter at our Key West campus with our recently increased contract for animal control in Marathon, and the identities of professionals we have retained to design and build the Key West shelter, we would have been pleased to have given her the information she claims [continue reading…]

 December 22, 2017  Posted by at 1:46 pm Issue #248, Letter to the Editor 7 Responses »
Dec 222017
 
Affordable Housing

by Walter LaGraves……. Dear Editor: It is a very good thing that more and more folks in our lower Keys are irate about the affordable housing situation.   Hurricane Irma brought this Gordian problem into stark focus. One can only hope that in the ’18 election cycle that in the field of BOCC candidates there will be one or more candidates who have the courage to tackle this mess. On Big Pine Key alone there are at least 50 rental units that advertise vacation rental [continue reading…]

 December 22, 2017  Posted by at 1:45 pm Letter to the Editor 2 Responses »
Dec 222017
 
I Will Miss The Pelicans

by Dr. Larry Murray……. Editor: The powers that be are in the process of converting the old railroad bridge at Spanish Harbor Channel to a fishing platform.  That entails installing metal railings from one end of the bridge to the other.  I expect it will make a great fishing location. Unfortunately, the old bridge was a popular roosting spot for large numbers of pelicans and other water birds.  The new railings disrupt the roosting areas.  I will miss the pelicans, much like I miss the [continue reading…]

 December 22, 2017  Posted by at 1:07 pm Dr. Larry Murray, Issue #248, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Dec 222017
 
FEMA Trailers

by Dr. Larry Murray……. Editor: What has become of the 80 FEMA trailers that were to be placed on the property of the old Road Prison on Big Pine Key?  We still have homeless people in our community living in hotels or, worse yet, tents and severely damaged homes.  The FEMA trailers are sorely needed, not just these 80 but many more. Larry Murray

 December 22, 2017  Posted by at 1:05 pm Dr. Larry Murray, Issue #248, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
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 »