Jul 012016
 

KeysAerial LR

Dear Editor,

I don’t know where to begin. I read with incredulity last week’s opinion piece by Mr. Kevin Diaz regarding the Florida Keys Stewardship Act (FKSA). It’s hard for me to comprehend how someone seeking to represent the citizens of Monroe County could so totally misunderstand what the Keys are about and it worries me that he could so totally misread this significant legislation. He has egregiously mischaracterized the Stewardship bill.

Let’s start by explaining that there are some unique realities of land management and development in the Keys. We are a designated Area of Critical State Concern. We have limited land. We have one road in and out. We must be able to evacuate our residents within 24 hours. We are home to an exquisite and sensitive environment and at least 32 endangered species. As a result of all these factors, we have limited new development potential which is regulated through our Rate Of Growth Ordinance (ROGO), and that potential dries up completely in 2023. For the next 8 years, we will be able to give out 3,550 building permits throughout the County including municipalities. There are 11,364 undeveloped parcels in the Keys. It has been a goal of this County commission to retire development rights whenever possible and limit the potential takings liability that would be borne by taxpayers, as well as protect our environment and quality of life.

So the contention that the FKSA was crafted to buy, then sell off, environmentally sensitive land is nonsense. The County and State and to a lesser extent the federal government have invested considerable sums in purchasing land for conservation over the last few decades, with the result that approximately 76% of the land in the unincorporated County is conservation land and protected from future development. In recent years, the State’s acquisition efforts have weakened as Florida Forever funding dwindled. With the passage of FKSA, we now have a steady $5M carve-out of Florida Forever funding for land acquisition, a reflection of the State’s recognition of the value of conservation in the Florida Keys.

Mr. Diaz’s “analysis” itself is fundamentally and structurally unsound from a pedagogic perspective. It is clear that he did not distinguish between the language in the actual bill and the staff analysis of the bill, which by its nature provides thorough background and addresses a broad range of issues. He seems unable to distinguish between this bill (the Stewardship Act) and a long list of prior legislation crafted without any inkling that the FKSA might ever exist. And finally, the “analysis” is in a vacuum, without any understanding of the County’s Comprehensive Plan, environmental and planning framework and strict existing development constraints.

Before going into a point-by-point discussion of Mr. Diaz’s article, let me clarify some basic facts. First, because of ROGO, there is limited new development potential in the Keys. The land acquisition portion of the FKSA was designed to retire development rights on those parcels that may be unsuccessful when competing for a building permit. Second, most of those parcels are considered Tier 1, the most environmentally sensitive, and are prohibited from being developed for affordable housing. Third, the Land Authority has two distinct goals: to purchase land for conservation or land for affordable housing. They are not the same lands. Fourth, the 160% of median income threshold referenced in Mr. Diaz’s opinion piece is a state-created cap, one of four categories of income in the affordable housing realm. Private developers utilizing federal tax credits are constrained to the lower levels of income (60% to 120%), government-run housing focuses on the lowest level, and not-for-profit partners don’t exceed 120%.

Now for specifics. In an attempt to unravel the misinformation and confusion of Mr. Diaz’s assertions, we have broken them down and addressed them individually. In order for you to judge for yourself the credibility of Mr. Diaz’s assertions, you may want to read the bill, complete with line by line references, which can be found at: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2016/0447/BillText/er/PDF. You may also want to read the final staff analysis which can be found at: http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/ 2016/0447/Analyses/h0447z1.ANRS.PDF.

Diaz: The Act essentially allows housing developers to build on environmentally critical land in our community.

•False. The author somehow mistakes clear language in the FKSA which only authorizes the disposal of land under certain limited conditions as authorization to allow developers to build housing on environmentally critical land. Judge for yourself whether the language spelled out in lines 230 to 242 in the Act supports the author’s assertion. It reads:

§ (7) If the South Florida Water Management District and the Department of Environmental Protection determine that lands purchased using bond proceeds within the Florida Keys Area of Critical State Concern, the City of Key West Area of Critical State Concern, or outside the Florida Keys Area of Critical State Concern but which were purchased to preserve and protect the potable water supply to the Florida Keys, are no longer needed for the purpose for which they were purchased, the entity owning the lands may dispose of them. However, before the lands can be disposed of, each general purpose local government within the boundaries of which a portion of the land lies must agree to the disposal of lands within its boundaries and must be offered the first right to purchase those lands.

How does language authorizing a state agency to dispose of lands “no longer needed for the purpose for which they were purchased” and which requires the local government where the land is located to not only decline to exercise its right to purchase that land but also to explicitly approve of that sale equate to allowing housing developers to build on “environmentally critical land”? In short, it doesn’t because if the environmentally sensitive land was purchased for conservation, then it still retains that purpose as long as it is undeveloped. The author’s conclusion makes even less sense when one considers the fact that under current law, the State will not authorize enough ROGO allocations to allow development on all privately held lots. It would make absolutely no sense for the State to exacerbate the ROGO deficit problem by returning these lots to private ownership for development when there are not nearly enough ROGO allocations to build on all currently held private lots.

Diaz: The Act essentially allows housing developers to build on environmentally critical land in our community. To top it off, it labels affordable housing as 160% of the median household income for Monroe County.

•False. The author fails to mention that the Legislature adopted the “160% of median family income” language in 2006, a full DECADE before the FKSA. See, ch 2006-223, Laws of Florida. Look on page 5 of that Act for the 160% language, which can be found online at: http:// laws.flrules.org/files/Ch_2006-223.pdf. In order for the author’s theory to make sense, the 2006 Legislature would have had to have the ability to look 10 years into the future to foresee the language that the 2016 Legislature would adopt. Further, this 160% is a ceiling. In this County,we build for affordable housing at four different income thresholds with the floor being 60% and the ceiling being 160%.

Diaz: That means we’re selling environmentally sensitive land so developers can make a profit, not so members of our community can afford to live in Monroe County.

•False. See above. If the land is environmentally sensitive, it fails to meet the test for disposal in that it still serves the purpose for which it was acquired. Additionally, environmentally sensitive lands, which are classified as Tier I under the County’s Comprehensive Plan, are ineligible for the placement of affordable housing. See, Policy 101.3.3. Environmentally sensitive submerged lands, salt ponds, freshwater ponds, and mangroves are further protected from development under Policy 101.5.25 of the Comprehensive Plan.

Diaz: It took many hours of reading Florida Statutes cited within the footnotes of the bill, as well as reviewing the initial proposed Act and all subsequent amendments, in order to uncover this very clever maneuver. In the interest of not putting everyone to sleep, I have inserted the statuary [sic] language within the footnotes.

•False. First, the word is “statutory” not “statuary”. Second, because the language set forth in the author’s third footnote does not appear in the statute, but rather in the staff analysis, it appears that the author does not understand the difference between the staff analysis of a bill and the actual bill itself. The actual bill contains a grand total of zero footnotes.

Diaz: First, within the Act it states that an additional 3,550 residential units may be constructed. Having this provision within an environmental protection bill seems strange.

•False. The bill contains no such language. However, the staff analysis of the bill does make reference to 3,550 residential building allocations on page 4. These are not “additional” units created by the Act. That is a reference to the number of new ROGO allocations set by the State of Florida after the 6 local governments in the Keys entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the State regarding hurricane evacuation issues in 2012. The MOU and the 3,550 cap on new units predates the FK Stewardship Act by four years. And what Mr. Diaz does not seem to understand, is that there are over 11,000 privately held, undeveloped lots in the Keys. Perhaps if he did the math he would realize that the FKSA will increase our ability to purchase some of the over 7,000 parcels prohibited from development by that MOU, retire the development rights and limit our takings liabilities and taxpayer burden.

Diaz: Why would we be allowing the opportunity for the addition of residential living units on top of environmentally critical land in a water quality bill?

•The author apparently does not understand that the statutory mission of the Monroe County Land Authority is to carry out the purchase of land to meet two critical and distinct needs: conservation and affordable housing. The Land Authority purchases environmentally sensitive lands for conservation and purchases other completely separate lands suitable for development for affordable housing purposes. These are not the same lands. Land purchased for its environmental value is set aside and preserved in perpetuity and specifically intended to retire all development rights on that land. Non-environmentally sensitive land is purchased for affordable housing purposes. This is obvious to anyone with even the vaguest familiarity with the Land Authority’s role and history, or anyone willing to take 15 minutes to research it. The FKSA contains language that will enhance the ability of the Land Authority to acquire land to fulfill its dual mission.

• The bill is more than just a water quality bill. In fact, the term “water quality” appears in only 5 places among the 16 pages/414 lines of text. The bill is a multi-faceted approach to addressing various needs arising from the State’s designation of the Florida Keys as an Area of Critical State Concern. The Act touches upon topics such as funding sources for acquiring conservation land and satisfying property rights claims, and correcting an oversight that prohibited use of certain state monies within the City of Key West.

Diaz: Second, within the subsection labeled Everglades Restoration Bonds, it cites to Footnote 74, Florida Statute 253.034[1], which labels Capital Facilities and infrastructure improvement as some of the legislative goals of the Everglades Restoration Bonds. What does “Capital Facilities and Infrastructure” mean? Within the surtaxes section of the Act[2], it labels affordable housing as infrastructure. How can affordable housing be an infrastructure need included in this bill, when the purpose of the Act was to receive capital in order to further treat our water concerns and better protect our environmentally sensitive land?

• False. Again, the bill contains no footnotes whatsoever. Instead it appears that the author is confusing the staff analysis with the actual legislation. Footnote 74 to the staff analysis document reads: “Generally, procedures for the surplus of lands do not require local governments to agree prior to surplus. See ss. 253.111, 215.619, and 253.034, F.S.” That footnote follows the sentence: “However, before the lands can be disposed of, each local government within whose boundaries a portion of the land lies must agree to the disposal of lands within its boundaries and must be offered the first right to purchase.”

• The author is apparently referring to lines 230-242 of the FKSA. On those lines, the bill imposes an additional requirement of local government approval before State agencies can dispose of land that was acquired for conservation purposes. That new statutory requirement can be found at F.S. 215.619(7). Because of this language, for the first time ever, local governments have not only a right of first refusal but also veto power over a state agency’s decision to surplus property that have been purchased for conservation purposes with relevant funds.

• Author fails to grasp the comprehensive nature of the bill. In addition to improving water quality and protecting environmentally sensitive lands, the bill also provides tools for addressing private property rights claims arising because of the growth management, environmental protection and water quality regulations that have been imposed on the Keys by the State through the Area of Critical State Concern program.

• In other words, the FKSA is intended to provide greater restrictions to the use of state-acquired land, with enforcement through local oversight. Compound this with the realization that lands purchased for conservation tend to be Tier 1 lands and that the State and the BOCC are seeking to retire development rights and lessen any potential takings liabilities, and again, the absurdity of Mr. Diaz’s so-called analysis is clear.

Diaz: Third, the Act creates a mechanism to sell environmentally critical land.[3]

• False. The contention is nonsense. As set forth above, the Act creates a mechanism where State owned land can only be disposed of as surplus if it no longer serves the purpose for which the State acquired it and the local government with jurisdiction over where the land is located consents to its disposal. The bill says nothing about disposing environmentally critical land. The State, the County and the municipalities expend considerable resources to buy and conserve environmentally sensitive land precisely to protect it from future development. Historically, through Florida Forever, the State also invested significantly in the acquisition of environmentally sensitive land here in the Florida Keys such that over three-quarters of the land in the unincorporated County is protected from future development. The FKSA gives us a $5M carve-out of Florida Forever funding for land acquisition, reinvigorating a conservation program that contracted in recent years due to a lack of funding.

Diaz: The bill cites that the building of affordable housing is a critical state concern. With this language the State has officially labeled affordable housing as a critical state concern and the land authority is authorized to sell off land in order to achieve that goal.

• False. The Legislature made that determination 30 years ago with its designation of affordable housing as part of the critical area program in 1986. See §4, ch. 86-170, Laws of Florida, which enacted the Florida Keys Protection Act. In 1986, the Legislature declared that “mak[ing] available adequate affordable housing for all sectors of the population of the Florida Keys” to be one of the “principles for guiding development” in the Florida Keys.

• Again, nowhere is the Land Authority given authorization to sell environmentally sensitive land for affordable housing because that would be against the law.

Diaz: While I agree that affordable housing is an issue our community needs to address, it should not be at the expense of our environmentally sensitive land. It especially should not be permitted just to allow developers the ability to sell or rent units for ridiculous prices. Under this Act, the price point for what is deemed as affordable housing is for someone that earns nearly $100,000.00 year. In what world is that affordable? I was shocked when I read the State could sell off our environmentally critical land to build housing, but when I saw that it was not even affordable housing, it helped to reinforce the thought that maybe special interest groups got their way again.

• False. No such provision exists in the FKSA. Again, the author appears to confuse the dual missions of the Land Authority. The Land Authority has had a 30-year history of buying land that is environmentally sensitive and different land that is suitable for affordable housing. When appropriate, it will convey environmentally sensitive lands to another governmental entity, such as the State or Federal governments for conservation purposes. When appropriate, the Land Authority will convey land for affordable housing but not land that is environmentally sensitive since such lands are protected from development as affordable housing under the Comprehensive Plan.

Diaz: In my analysis of this Act, the Florida Keys receives $5,000,000.00 in guaranteed funds, and in exchange the State of Florida receives the power to sell off environmentally critical land in order to build residential living units for people that make nearly $100,000.00 a year.

• False. There is no language in the FKSA that authorizes the State to sell environmentally sensitive land so it can be developed as affordable housing. That would violate the County’s Comprehensive Plan and be against the law. In fact, the FKSA only allows for the disposition of state-owned land if it is no longer needed for the purpose for which it was acquired and if the local government with jurisdiction agrees. If a parcel of land is truly environmentally sensitive, it is still needed for conservation and thus not eligible for disposition under the Act.

• Sometimes the Land Authority will sell land to other State and Federal environmental land acquisition programs, the intention of which is to help facilitate more efficient and lower land management costs. We will continue to acquire more environmentally sensitive land to prevent further development, and the FKSA has secured state funding to help us do this. The Land Authority will continue to identify and acquire other types of land suitable for affordable housing.

• Let’s talk about income thresholds for affordable housing. These are set in state statute that predates FKSA. There are four categories of income thresholds for affordable housing, with 60% of median income as a floor and 160% as a ceiling. Developers of land conveyed by the Land Authority, such as Habitat for Humanity, or those using the federal tax credit (LITEC programs) must apply a significantly lower threshold in order to secure additional government funding that makes it possible to complete their projects. Mr. Diaz does not seem to understand the economics of building affordable projects.

Diaz: As a community we need to begin looking deeper into the Florida Keys Stewardship Act and determine whether this Act needs to be rewritten completely.

• We welcome any effort that can improve upon the $5M that has been secured for land acquisition, and the $100M authorization that has been maintained for water quality projects, or that further enhances the ability of the local governments and Land Authority to continue to buy lands for conservation and affordable housing and the retirement of development rights.

Diaz Footnote:[1] Florida statute 253.034 states “Short-term and long-term management goals shall include measurable objectives for the following, as appropriate: (1) Habitat restoration and improvement. (2) Public access and recreational opportunities. (3) Hydrological preservation and restoration. (4) Sustainable forest management. (5) Exotic and invasive species maintenance and control. (6) Capital facilities and infrastructure . . .

• The author quotes from a small snippet of the entire statute. Precisely, he quotes from F.S. 253.034(5)(b)1-6 which addresses care and management of lands already acquired by the government. It appears that the author has mistakenly equated the concepts of the “acquisition” and “disposition” of conservation lands with the “management” of conservation lands.

Diaz Footnote [2] Subsection Discretionary surtaxes states “[a]ny land acquisition expenditure for a residential housing project in which at least 30 percent of the units are affordable to individuals or families whose total annual household income does not exceed 120 percent of the area median income adjusted for household size, if the land is owned by a local government or by a special district that enters into a written agreement with the local government to provide such housing.”

• This language appears at lines 134-141 of the bill and is an accurate rendition of F.S. 212.055(2) (d)1e. As explained above, this is NOT new statutory language; it was enacted in 2009 and predates the FKSA. See, §19, ch. 2009-96, Laws of Florida. (SB360 2009).

Diaz Footnote [3] Within the subsection labeled Purchase of Lands in Areas of Critical State Concern it states “ [i]n carrying out the purposes of the areas of critical state concern program, the land authority is also authorized to: [a]cquire and dispose of real and personal property or any interest therein when the acquisition is necessary or appropriate to . . . provide affordable housing to families whose income does not exceed 160 percent of the median family income for the area.

• False. This language does not appear in the bill but it represents portions lifted from page 5 of the staff analysis. The author included an incomplete snippet. It reads in its entirety:

“In carrying out the purposes of the areas of critical state concern program, the land authority is also authorized to:

Acquire and dispose of real and personal property or any interest therein when the acquisition is necessary or appropriate to protect the natural environment, provide public access or public recreational facilities, preserve wildlife habitat areas, provide affordable housing to families whose income does not exceed 160 percent of the median family income for the area, or provide access to management of acquired lands.”

The Monroe County Land Authority not only purchases lands but does, at times, sell land to environmental land acquisition programs run by state and federal government agencies. The land authority, when appropriate, does convey land for affordable housing projects to governmental partners.

The Florida Keys Stewardship Act is one of the most important pieces of legislation to be passed on behalf the Florida Keys in recent years. It cements the State’s recognition of the Keys’ environmental and economic value and its obligation to preserve and protect Keys’ resources. With this legislation we have created the framework to receive $20M annually for water quality improvements and secured $5M annually from the State through the Florida Forever program to help us buy land to preserve the environment and retire development rights while protecting local taxpayers from future potential liability costs.

The FKSA is an enormous accomplishment. Its passage demonstrates that good public policy is achievable even in today’s contentious political environment. It is non-partisan and intended only to benefit the people and environment of the Florida Keys. It was vetted and supported by environmental organizations throughout the State, including the Audubon Society, 1000 Friends of Florida and Sierra Club. I believe I speak for the entire BOCC when I say we are extremely proud of the work of our superb staff and partnership with local governments on the FKSA. It is a legacy that will benefit generations to come.

Mayor Heather Carruthers, Monroe County Commissioner, District 3

heather carruthers

Print Friendly
Contributed
The Blue Paper thanks its many contributors.
 July 1, 2016  Posted by at 12:50 am Environment, Issue #173, Letter to the Editor, News, Water World  Add comments

  32 Responses to “County Mayor Heather Carruthers: Get The Facts About the New Florida Keys Stewardship Act”

  1. Kudos to Heather for putting in a heap of time and effort to respond to the Democrat state rep candidate Diaz. My mind became many pretzels trying to absorb Heather’s explanation of the Stewardship bill.

    I had hoped state rep Holly Raschein, the incumbent Republican who sponsored the Stewardship bill, would have responded to Diaz. It is Holly’s bill. She lives on Key Largo. Who better than she to explain her own bill for the Florida Keys?

    I still say developers and their crafty lawyers and land planners will figure out ways (unintended consequences) to make a lot of money off the Stewardship bill.

    This former real estate lawyer never will be able to wrap his mind around affordable housing being infrastructure. Isn’t infrastructure roads, sidewalks, sewer lines, water lines, electric lines, bridges, bike paths, etc?

    Nor will I ever be able to wrap my mind around land owners who, due to ROGO limitations imposed on the Keys by the state legislature, can bring takings lawsuits against the county and cities, who gladly would have issued building permits but for the state legislature making the Keys an area of critical concern. If there is a defendant in such taking lawsuits, should it not be the government entity which “took” the land in the first place – the state legislature – to save the Keys from being made to look like Miami?

    I remain of the view that “affordable housing” seldom is actually affordable – we learned that again, in spades, during the recent Peary Court commotions; and we learned the city of KW and the county commission have zero resistance to giving Land Authority funds to private developers, to make their down payment on existing actually market rate apartments (Peary Court), so the developer gets into the deal with no cash out of pocket.

    All those polluted canals – what, 500 of them? – are the result of terrible planning to accommodate development. No rocket scientist needed back when those canals were dredged, to know deep, long, winding canals, dead-ending somewhere, would not be replenished and kept healthy by the tides. The only fix I see – note, I said fix, not band-aide – is to fill in those canals – oops, that would be a taking!

    Maybe I was coming to the Keys before Heather and Holly were born. There was no development, because the waterline the Navy had built from the mainland to Key West was maxed out. If a new house was built, it could not connect to the waterline. But it was thought a new, bigger waterline would be built, some day. Land was bought. Land was subdivided. Canals were dredged. All anticipating the gold rush when the new, bigger waterline was built.

    The gold rush came. The county commission and KW city commission exercised no restraint or concern for the future. The ocean became polluted. The reef started dying: cloudy water from dredging and construction, pollution from septic tanks and cess pits, and just pumping raw sewerage into canals and through pipes into the ocean.

    Finally, the state legislature stepped in.

    All very reassuring, going back to long before Heather, Holly or I were involved in Florida Keys politics.

  2. I have zero trust in Carruthers and will not accept her analysis at face value. I strongly recommend that people read up on her Emergency Services Surtax proposal. It was supported with deceptive statements, and would ultimately have been detrimental to low-moderate income locals. We know from Carruthers’s response to the single-member district issue, that she doesn’t think much of the working people of the Keys. She feels they are unfit to serve on the county commission.

    That said, this Stewardship Act is a complicated issue. The fact that the county commissioners are so untrustworthy makes it even more so. I’m not ready to comment on Carruthers’s analysis at this point. But I will be taking a very close look.

    I suspect that the “Stewardship” Act has little to do with stewardship, and more to do with funneling taxpayer money into questionable land purchases.

    Remember that Carruthers has been a poor steward of taxpayer money throughout her time on the county commission. She blindly overspends and favors negligently unfair funding practices. Like I said, I definitely would not take her comments at face value.

  3. Sorry, Sloan… this time we don’t agree.
    Once you filter out the mudslinging and actually carefully read the language of the bill and consider how it might be reinterpreted by clever development lawyers, instead of reading Heather’s Pollyanna interpretation (sorry, Heather, but that’s how it seems to me), I think Mr. Diaz has correctly forecast how the Act will be misused. We have seen how every County government department and representative panders to the big developers. They will bend or ignore every protective law to enable their plans. I think it is good that Diaz read the staff evaluation of the bill. They are paid to critique and know where to look for the smoke and mirrors. Even if Mr. Diaz is flat out wrong about the details, I appreciate that he looked under the surface gloss and the feel-good impression that every deceitful legislation skillfully portrays. Remember that the Devil is hidden in the details, not the headline. As for Heather, I frankly expected better from one whom I have often defended in the past. I now wonder if she “doth protest too much.”

    • Well said. Carruthers’s defensiveness is over-the-top. Diaz pointed out a potential loop hole. Carruthers lost her mind over it. Why?

      I commend Diaz for taking a close look at this very convoluted law. It’s true that he didn’t distinguish between the language of the Act and the staff analysis. That makes things a little confusing but Carruthers could have addressed his concerns in a less pompous and wind-baggish way. She’s definitely not inspiring confidence with her 3000-word hissy fit.

      By the way, the bill was originally called the Florida Keys Environmental Stewardship Act. They took the word “Environmental” out. Also, the original version called for purchasing land to reduce hurricane evacuation times. To me that sounds like its all about clearing the way for more development. It would make sense that the re-worded bill is just a less obvious way of accomplishing the same thing.

      Just sayin.

    • Halloween, thanks for your in put. I probably should not have used the word “kudos” in my comment to what Heather obvious spent a great deal of time and effort on.

      When I discussed Holly’s silence, so far, to Diaz, and Heather going to bat for Holly, with someone who knows Holly and Heather, someone said it wasn’t a conspiracy between Heather and Holly. They didn’t talk about Diaz’s charges and agree Heather would refute Diaz. I laughed out loud, said, “Are you serious?” Holly and Heather didn’t talk about Diaz’s charges?

      I talked with other people, who are pretty knowledgeable about the issues involved. They were not swooned over Heather’s response to Diaz. Their general problem was it was so long and complex, and Heather seemed to have gotten too emotionally involved, she lost her readers. I said maybe that’s because Heather, not Holly, wrote the Stewardship bill, or much of it?

      Holly should have responded to Diaz. That she did not just does not pass my smell test. Nor do parts of the Stewardship bill. You and I agree developers will profit from this bill. Stewardship?

  4. Mayor Carruthers’ brilliantly researched and detailed response to Mr. Kevin Diaz’s reckless critique of the Florida Keys Stewardship Act, exhibits an extraordinary depth of knowledge and wisdom, as to how this legislation will actually impact the Keys.

    Unfortunately, Mr. Kevin Diaz has not adhered to an adage proffered by my grandmother, one that has withstood the test of time; it is better to keep one’s mouth closed and be thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.

    I’ve had the privilege of participating in Mayor Carruthers’s extensive and informative seminars identifying the government partnerships that are determining the direction and quality of our lives in the Keys. Her reliable and accurate accounts convey the facts as they are; not as one would have them to be. In my dealings with Mayor Carruthers, I’ve found her integrity, ethics and credibility to be beyond reproach.

    Citizens within our community and from across the nation have been worn thin by tasteless and disingenuous political hucksters, attempting to conceal their true intent via skewed distortions and dirty tricks.

    Mr. Kevin Diaz’s reckless zeal as a politician seeking elected office, as exhibited in his ill-advised and heedless comments, exhibits an imprudence and poor judgment that cannot be rewarded nor trusted.

    Mean spirited and thoughtlessly disguised political attacks, are no longer sitting well with “The People”.

    • John, this segment of the people, me, ran three times for the county commission. One of those times was against Heather, two times against George Neugent. I attended a whole lot of county commission meetings. I got deeply involved in a lot of “area of critical concern” issues even when I was not running for the county commission.

      I don’t recall ever seeing you at a county commission meeting, or a county growth management meeting, or a county planning commission meeting, speaking to development, comprehensive plan, land use issues, protecting the environment, saving trailer parks from being bulldozed by developers, with the county commission’s blessing, buying things the county had no business buying …..

      I don’t see you taking your Key Largo neighbor Holly Raschein to task for not replying to Diaz’s allegations herself. Dang. The Stewardship act is Holly’s bill, she sponsored it, didn’t she? Why come she didn’t step up to the plate? Doesn’t her not stepping up to the plate cause you to step back and wonder why she held silent? She’s running for reelection, as a Republican. Diaz is one of her opponents, as a Democrat. This was (past tense) an excellent forum for Holly to show us what she’s really made of, which Diaz created for all of the Florida Keys to see. And Holly did not even show up.

      Is that sort of like desertion of her post she was commissioned by the voters to hold and protect at all costs? You are a retired combat Marine veteran. Did Holly desert her post when she did not respond to Diaz’s charges?

    • John, read my rant below and then comment on our Honest and transparent Elected officials and how much they’re taking care of the voters/taxpayers. Past civilizations fell from internal corruption and its rearing it’s ugly head right down here in the Fla. Keys.

  5. You lost me about page 3. As they say, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with …”

  6. The Mayor’s writings depend on several big things for her to be able to predict the truth. Keys’ governments are honest > They don’t allow the killing of people > They have never had Keys politicians act dishonestly in any manner > There is no graft or ever has been in the Keys’ governments. > Municipal insurance companies have never had to pay significant settlements on behalf of Keys’ governments . > The truth always prevails in Keys’ governments . Good luck Mayor!

    • Yep, Good Luck Mayor. All of the above apply to Every Elected Official in the whole of Monroe County including all the incorporated areas. When has the taxpayers in all of Monroe County been taken care of by their representatives?? Does anyone remember the election in 2013 when the Voters/Taxpayers Mandated that the extension to the 1(one) cent Infrastructure Sales Tax be used for a Complete and Fully Funded Sewage System, and the BOCC(Heather included) has already Given $2,700,000(Two Million Seven Hundred Thousand Dollars) of the Mandated Sewer Funds to the St. of Florida to repair the St. of Florida’s Infrastructure, while that same BOCC(Heather included) is still Extorting Select Voters/Taxpayers in the CRWS to give away their Private Property and Provide electricity to install and run the Monroe County Sewer System and when Monroe County’s grinder pumps fail the home owners will be forced to maintain Monroe County’s infrastructure. Why does the BOCC feel that it’s more important to take care of the Pigeon Key Historical society-A City of Marathon Tourist attraction(note! Both Comissioners Neugeant and Rice live in the corporate City of Marathon) than is is to follow the Mandate of the Voters/Taxpayers. Look at this extortion-the BOCC doesn’t feel that they have to spend $1600(sixteen hundred) dollars for a traffic bearing lid, pull the electricity off the poles, and place the Counties infrastructure in the ROW as their own ordinances Mandated, as was done on Grassy Key, as the Voters/Taxpayers Mandated in 2013. So if you don’t think that Our BOCC isn’t actively plotting and scheming on how much they can continue to develop out the keys and turn it into Cape Cod just like they did with the KW Golfcourse, Duck Key, Marathon, Little Torch you must be living in Fantasy Land. I’m from the Government TRUST me. LOL

  7. P.S. That same BOCC has also promised an additional $11,500,000( I wont spell it out-U get the picture) dollars that were mandated for Monroe County Infrastructure to the St. of Florida to repair the St of Florida’s infrastructure. What do you think of your Elected officials now??

  8. Sloan,

    Thanks for your response. I’ve been thoroughly involved with “area of critical concern and quality of life issues” since arriving in the Keys. For approximately 40 years, I’ve been a vocal and ardent advocate advancing the aforementioned concerns and issues.

    As you know, many of the meetings you allude to are held at locations up and down the Keys. Along with my fellow citizens, we’ve attended our fair share of meetings from Marathon to Key Largo. We’ve also communicated our views regarding the issues you brought up via e-mails, letters, personal contacts and ‘home association meetings’.

    I’ve spent time in, and exchanged a plethora of correspondence with those officials in Tallahassee overseeing “area of critical concern and quality of life issue” impacting the Florida Keys.

    Witnessing Mayor Carruthers’ presentations addressing the issues you described, are just as I described in my previous comment; brilliant, detailed and transparent.

    Judge Not. Don’t be too harsh on Holly. What’s really important is that the distorted information proffered by Diaz has been corrected.

    Sloan, Holly did not desert her post. She demonstrated leadership by allocating a response to Diaz’s nonsense, so “The People” she represents would be better served and not left in the dark.

    If you were in my squad, I would quickly ascertain your worth and value. I would allocate your duties to those that would best ensure our survival and effectiveness as a combat unit. You would not be walking point or clearing mine fields or making combat action reports. You would be placed in a position to review captured documents and question prisoners from the battlefield with our S-2 and Kit Carson Scouts.

    Because you were being shielded from some of your duties as a Marine, you would not be any less of a Marine nor would you be deserting your assignment as a Marine. You would have been relocated to those duties that enhanced intelligence gathering, thus keeping “The People” or “The Marines In Your Unit” better informed; not in the dark.

    Mayor Carruthers does a great job. Holly is doing a great job. And you would have done a great job, as well.

    • Actually, John, if I’d been elected to the county commission, I would have been assassinated by a hit man hired by the local chambers of commerce/developers/rich people. So how I would have done would never have been known :-).

      It’s great to see Republican Holly Raschein has two hit men, so to speak, defending her against her Democrat challenger Kevin Diaz, which allows Holly to be tending to more important things, like trying to get herself reelected again, without anyone knowing how she would have replied to Diaz all by her lonesome re her own bill she sponsored before the state legislature. That’s real brave grown up, sho nuff’, behavior, I grant you that ;-).

      The way Holly dodged Diaz did one thing for sure, John. Holly lost my vote just because of that.

      I thank Diaz for putting Holly’s so-called Stewardship Act into my thoughts, because I was not even thinking about it; I didn’t even know about it and might have just automatically thought it was the greatest thing since conch fritters. Thanks to Diaz, and Holly’s dodge, I think Holly’s bill is a Trojan horse, stuffed full of developers, their lawyers and land use experts, like Jimmy Hendrick, for example, and local chambers of commerce, and Mother Nature is fit to be tied.

      Gosh, John, if you and Heather had just laid low, I might have slept through this entirely. I suppose, therefore, I should give you and Heather a pat on the back for waking me up, and Holly a pat on the back for ducking a serious test of her metal, which the voters needed and deserved to see. Of heavy metal, Holly is not made.

      Who’s the leader of the gang that’s made for you and me? M I C K E Y M O U S E.

      I imagine John, you know what Vietnam movie ended that way. “Heavy Metal”, for those who didn’t see it all the way through.

  9. Dr. Geno,

    Thanks for your comments. I enjoy, appreciate and value your contributions to “The Blue Paper”.

    The government would not get one red cent, if it weren’t for the citizens that authorize them with this authority, control and revenue gathering power.

    The mandates requiring “sewer systems” throughout the Keys, occurred many years ago. The deadlines and pressure to meet these deadlines, in order to avoid significant fines that would fall directly upon the taxpayers, are being faced by those in elected office NOW.

    Many residents refused to acknowledge and initiate measures that would intelligently, scientifically and expeditiously face these mandates. They did not hold their elected officials accountable; for it was an issue that they did not want to face..

    In the Upper Keys, we established our own “Key Largo Wastewater Authority”. Once the mandates came down, we were ready. We may not have liked them, we may have fought against them and offered viable alternatives; however, we were ready and took our fate and destiny into our own hands.

    Random ‘free ranging blame, anxiety and contempt’ extended to the elected leadership in our communities; does not accomplish anything. Working with those we agree and disagree with, develops the consensus necessary to get things done.

    As you know ‘personal leadership’, sustained effort and commitment to a goal or objective; will bring you to where you need to be on any issue.

    Acknowledging the realities as they are; will allow one to “improvise-adapt & overcome”…

    • The BOCC routinely lies to Monroe County citizens and gets away with it. They habitually squander and waste taxpayer money. The lies come so fast and so thick, it’s all over before anyone can figure out what the hell happened.

      I know that can be hard to accept. For one, people naturally want to trust in their leaders. They should be able to trust in their leaders. For another, the BOCC and county staff work hard to project a certain image. It can be difficult to reconcile the affable-seeming demeanor with the damage done. But the mask does slip from time to time. The treatment of the plaintiffs in the latest Cudjoe Regional lawsuit is one glaring example.

      All that is to say, the county can easily disable citizens’ defense mechanisms with lies, misinformation, and secrecy. So while citizens are theoretically in charge, it is certainly possible to navigate around them. The county does it all the time.

      Looks like they got us again with this “Stewardship” Act. I’m knowledgeable about Monroe County affairs and I missed the possible implications of this bill. I don’t think Mr. Diaz’s analysis is entirely correct, but he raised some valid concerns and initiated a discussion that needs to happen.

      Rather than furthering that discussion, Carruthers attempted to shut it down. Why? I asked her a few questions on her Facebook page. I doubt I’ll get any straight answers. Never have before.

    • John, firstly I question the Honesty of our Mayor. Did she or did she not buy “Hot” electronics from Lisa Druckmiller?? And what about Roman Guestassi(sp)?? So much fot the Honesty the mayor talks about. Naturally the “I didn’t know they were hot” is just so much bullpoop.
      As you said U’ve been here 40 years then you likely remember when there was district only voting. This gave local independent candidates a chance to win their districts. Then the political Machine decided that they could control the county board by changing the voting to county at large. The political Machine geared up its propaganda media machines, blitzing the voters with all kinds of promices of how the new commission would be able to represent all the voters throughout the keys instead of only the comissioner from their district. More Political Propaganda. When the Machine recognizes an independent interloper attempting to foil their control the Machine mobilizes their Propoganda machine to distract the voters. I grew up in Chicago during the R J Daily Senior’s administration and am totally familiar with dirty Politics as I’m seeing now with our BOCC.
      John, do you think that what the BOCC is doing to the Voters/Taxpayers in the CRWS is the fair and ethical way, Taking their property to install the Counties sewer system when the Counties own ordnance mandates the sewer system be placed in the ROW is the correct, legal thing to do??

  10. Sloan,

    Appreciate your comments.

    As you know, just because someone doesn’t live their life or handle their affairs in a manner that you deem fit; it doesn’t make their handling of it wrong, incorrect or invalid.

    If you want to denigrate the leadership and effort put forth by Heather and Holly on behalf of the citizens living in the Keys, you are free to do so.

    It appears to me that you’ve turned on the very individuals that have courageously pressed forward with a piece of consensus of legislation, which advances some of the issues that you claim to hold dear to your heart (environment preservation & affordable housing). Issues that most elected officials, thus far, seem to have been unable to substantially address.

    Standing on the sidelines, while legislatively bringing nothing to the table, as you pot shot the good works set forth by our Mayor and State Representative; are the marks of a Coward.

    The name of the movie referred to in your previous post is: “Full Metal Jacket”.

    I believe the “Mickey Mouse” they were referring to in that movie, are the fecklessly bored and disturbed minds that enjoy wrecking havoc and destruction, for personal gain and entertainment.

    The following quote from a Man, God, Avatar, Self-Realized or Self-Actualized Being; provides a lesson from which I’ve learned much: “You Hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the Speck from your brother’s eye”…..

    • Actually, the Mickey Mouse Club anthem at the end of the movie expressed the sentiments of the U.S. Marines still alive at the end the movie.

      I once had the awful privilege of hearing the President of the National Geographic say, the Geographic had foreign correspondents in Saigon, when a huge street demonstration was held. Vietnamese carrying posters in English begging America to come save them. The correspondents interviewed quite a few demonstrators. None spoke English. None knew what their posters said. None knew why they were marching. That demonstration was all over America TV. It turned the tide in America against intervention in Vietnam, to intervening. Later, the Geographic dug up that the funding for the demonstration had been paid to the South Vietnamese government by the US Government and America corporations which stood to profit from America intervening for South Vietnam, against the North Vietnamese and VC.

      From my post today at goodmorningkeywest.com:

      *************************

      In the spring of 2004, I attended a weekly “seekers group” in the Key West Unitarian Church, situated about a block from where I currently live. Maybe 10 people showed up each week, including the temporary minister, a woman from Tuscaloosa.

      During one of our meetings, one of the men said he had been in the CIA, in Vietnam, when the French were trying to take it back, after losing it to the Japanese during World War II. The man said, although the president and the US government outwardly were supporting France’s efforts to beat Ho Chi Minh, his outfit’s mission was to help Ho beat the French. America wanted to replace the French there, because of Vietnam’s rubber trees and other natural resources. But after Ho beat the French, America wanted too much. Ho wanted to do business with America, but when he could not, he turned not to China, Vietnam’s historical enemy, but to the Soviets. Ho was not a communist, but was just trying to get his country the best deal he could, the man said.

      I nearly fell out of my chair. I looked around. Nobody was saying anything. It seemed they were in another dimension. I said, “Did you hear what he just said?” No answer. I was astounded. Just as surely as I knew what had saved me from the Vietnam draft, I knew what had put that man into that seekers group.

      *********************

      Holly Raschien should have defended Diaz’s charges, since it is Holy’s bill he attacked. You should have told Holly to respond to Dias. So should have Heather. Bit then, based on what you wrote, vehemently defending Holly and Heather, I could think Heather wrote the bill and gave it to Holly. If that is true, Holly and Heather need to say whose bill it really is, so people who don’t care for the bill can address its real author.

      • Yes, “Full Metal Jacket”, my bad.

        Sorry, John – I’m up to my gills with politicians and their spokes persons.

        I never did like politics, and but for being pressed into politics by angels, after I reached the Florida Keys in late 2000, you may never have heard of me.

        In my very first comment under Heather’s retort to Diaz, I credited her with a lot of heard work making that reply. Alas, I’ve been in Keys politics up to my eyeballs for so long, that I know how developers and their pawns work, and that’s where I come from. If I did not come from there, there would be no point in by speaking to such matters; I’d just be part of the developers’ chorus.

        I recall when you were positive the FBI or Department of Justice would do the right thing in the Charles Eimers case. You wrote reams to that effect in comments under blue paper articles about that awful case. I figured all along the FBI and DOJ would take a pass, even though I hoped they would not.

        At our respective ages, we just might be spared what lies ahead for Mother Nature in the Florida Keys. Or, perhaps She takes things into her own hands, since because the people living her kept putting her in hind position, behind development, tourism, capitalism, free enterprise, property rights, as if human beings can own and control Her.

  11. John, aren’t our elected officials supposed to set the example for us to follow?? This is what I’ve been brought up to believe. We didn’t elect them to act unethically, to act dishonestly. We AssUmed they were above Buying questionable merchandise from questionable employees. But that’s what we’ve got a Dishonest, lying mayor and the rest of the BOCC and there’s nothing we can do about it because as long as there’s County wide voting the machine controls. Why are the incumbents so much again district only voting?? The Machine isn’t as effective in tayloring the election process. What happened to the Government of the people, by the people, for the people?? Seems that it was taken over by the Greedy, Corrupt and it appears to be heading in the same direction as All previous civilizations/governments. Collapsed from inside Rot.

  12. Dr. Geno,

    As usual, your astute hard hitting comments identify a ‘political system’ that is fractured, in oh so many ways.

    Money is the mother’s milk of politics. Ethics, integrity and political accomplishments; not so much.

    Individuals are all very much imperfect. Perhaps political power and authority serves as an aphrodisiac, advancing our baser instincts and defects of character.

    You may not agree with all of the provisions; however, the Florida Keys Stewardship Act is a well-thought out, detailed and comprehensive measure that addresses many issues and concerns held by an abundant of our residents in the Florida Keys. It represents a “work product” that garnered consensus, support and approval by our representative form of government.

    This ‘act’ addresses “areas of critical concern & quality of life issues” that many of our elected officials, for years, have treated like a hot potato.

    In an attempt to create a more responsive government, attending to the needs of its citizens, the Villages of Islamorada were incorporated. You know; the government that has chronically been referred to, since its inception, as the Village of Idiots. The same Village, whereby many of the residents, who were so upset with its leadership’s incompetence and ineffectiveness, pressed forcefully to have the Village’s Charter Dissolved. There are other instances in the Keys, where the same type of desperation, calling for the dissolution of a city charter, have been actively sought.

    The Dissatisfaction With Government Rule Will Remain The Same…

    It’s not the form of government that is necessarily the problem. It’s the fact that Human Beings, with all their seriously flawed human characteristics, will be at the helm of each and every last department and political office; in all of our systems and institutions.

    As you may be aware, I’ve proposed a detailed project, to be installed into our school district, whereby $10,000 in scholarships and programs would be brought into our 3 high schools each year; so that our future graduates would have the opportunity to develop a mindset, character, consciousness and awareness; that would bring integrity, ethics and honesty into the world and our political systems.

    Thus far, this school system has not demonstrated any interest.

    • John, my issues, besides the fact that we’ve got corrupt politicians running our county,the mayor included, are that as you’re aware, what this act was Originally called “The Florida Keys ENVIRONMENTAL Stewardship Act. And then the Politicians took the ENVIRONMENT out of the act. So John, no matter how much the politicians rave about what a great thing this is for the keys They still left Loopholes for our crooked politicians exploit. No matter how much the Machine tries to spin it. Given time the Keys Will look like Cape Cod except not so classy. You’ve been here 40 years and uve seen enough county corruption during that time as i have n the 30 years I’ve lived in Big Pine. In my opinion the only hope we have is changing to single district voting and get rid of the machine. Of cours None of the incumbents want that cuz there goes their shoe in for reelection.

  13. Sloan,

    Appreciate your valued insights.
    Please allow me to correct you on one point. Many of us pressed for the DOJ and FBI to conduct an independent and complete investigation of the Charles Eimers’ Killing. Having gotten to that point, along with many others, I forwarded to them the evidence, as I knew it to be.

    I never wrote, nor held the attitude, that as you say, ” I was positive the right thing would be done”. I knew the proof of their holding an honest and ethical investigation would be in the pudding. They’ve failed their assigned tasks.

    It is my understanding that the “fat lady has not sung”. I’ve been down this road before, the same agencies approving the execution of an innocent man; are made to reexamine the evidence; and lo and behold, they come up with a different finding.

  14. HI again, John –

    Sure looks to me like the Fat Lady sang in the Eimers case, with FBI, DOJ, Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), KWPD, KW City Commission, State Attorney Catherine Vogel and her salted grand jury.

    I’d already watched the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and the Florida Grievance Commission prove they were a joke.

    And the Monroe County Commission.

    You should go back and read your many comments to the blue paper under the Eimers case articles, and letters to the editor you sent to other local newspapers – there were many from you, as I recall.

    What I truly cannot fathom, John, is why you are arguing Holly should not have to respond to Kevin Diaz. Holly is our state rep in Tallahassee.She sponsored the Stewardship Act. It’s her bill. But she does not have to defend it when Dias challenges it? That just don’t work for me, John. Even if I’m the only person in the Florida Key, and in Florida, it don’t work for, it still don’t work for me.

    The thought has occurred to me that you also might be one of the bill’s authors, given how you have defended it, and Heather, and Holly.

  15. Sloan,

    As always, intriguing perspectives and heartfelt commentary; from a ‘man of conscience’.

    Holly’s integrity, credibility and dignity; are a matter of record. She has courageously stood on the firing line of life, on behalf of citizens in Monroe County, when it would have been politically expedient for her to stand down. How do I know this, I’ve been a witness to it. Disenfranchised and ordinary citizens in her county, whom no one really wanted anything to do with, were spared the wrath of a corrupt political machine, through her advocacy. Enough said….

    Now on the Stewardship Act; Holly’s expertise and knowledge concerning the creation and components within said Act; are second to none. She is perfectly capable of responding to Kevin Diaz. No one has said, or is arguing, she should not respond to Mr. Diaz. Everything in due time.

    I’m surprised by your jumping on this politician’s bandwagon. Mr. Diaz stands on the sidelines, while legislatively bringing nothing to the table, as he pot shots the good works set forth by our Mayor and State Representative; are these really the signs of brilliance and integrity we want governing us? Particularly, when Mr. Diaz’s representation of said act are inaccurate, skewed and distorted.

    To me, they are the marks of another political huckster. Haven’t we enough of them? Another politician unable to fend for himself, when the ‘rubber meets the road’.

  16. Sloan,

    Diaz hasn’t any tread on his rubber. No traction, no grip, no penetration; all distorted and convoluted political rhetoric, solely designed to hurt Holly; not to inform the people of Monroe County. And you want Holly’s world to stop and be put on hold, so she can attend to Diaz’s nonsense and baloney? Ridiculous, the misinformation spewed by Diaz are the marks of an inauthentic and disingenuous ‘wanna be’. Besides, our Mayor has already published a detailed response to Diaz’s foolishness.

    Leaders, lead. They delegate authority and demonstrate their value and worth to the communities they represent via their legislative diligence and success. They’re not like Pavlov’s Dog, interrupting their duties to strike out at every inaccurate and hurtful political attack piece, that’s directed their way.

    The poise, confidence and intelligence of individuals such as Holly; protects them from being drawn into the gutter for a street fight, against rank political armatures. Holly doesn’t run from the truth, for her actions are based on the facts that she has before her.

    For those involved with the issues facing the Keys; Holly’s stature, wisdom and integrity needs no defense. Her caliber as a legislator, serves as a model for the rest of the land.

    Fear not, all your questions will be answered in time; if in fact it’s answers you really want….

  17. John,
    I simply wanted to see Holly’s reply to Diaz, since he is running against her. I viewed the blue paper forum as a candidate forum. I may have attended more candidate forms, as a candidate, than any person in the Florida Keys, because I have run for local office 8 different times, starting 2003. I use forums to size up candidates in all races vetted at forums. I have never once seen a candidate at a forum defer to someone else in his or her camp to answer a question. Even the most inept, unqualified, undeserving candidates made some attempt to answer questions posed to them. I have heard Holly answer questions at candidate forums. She did not turn and ask someone in her camp to answer questions put to her. But that is what she has done here, and that simply does not pass my smell test. It showed me a side of Holly I had not yet seen in plain view, although I already had sensed she could be foxy, if she wanted to be. But then, that’s the nature of politicians, being foxy, when they don’t want to be straightforward. Using diversionary tactics, when they don’t want to simply deal with something head on. Attacking their opponent’s character, or sending someone else to do it, instead of manning up. During our back and forth, John, I more and more have been telling you in my thoughts that you should consider running for public office, because you would make a great politician.
    Sloan

  18. Sloan,

    With all due respect, if you hold such a low opinion of politicians; why is it that you are a politician? Perennially seeking to be elected to a political position, does not appear to be a noble endeavor in your scheme of things.

  19. I figured you would come back with that, John.

    Fresh from my post today, from a radio interview yesterday by a local radio station of me because I am a write-in mayor candidate this year, what I have published countless times at my websites:

    I told Wayne Dapser on the air that I detest politics and I run for public office because angels tell me to run.

    Dapser continued:

    “Which angels?, Wayne asked. Archangel Michael, Jesus, Melchizedek. You’ve heard of them? Oh yes, Wayne said.”

    For sticking to that position from which I never have wavered, since I ran for mayor of KW the first time, 2003, I have caught all manner of criticism, including I’m makiing that up and am a pathological liar, I’m insane, I’m demonically possessed. Just today, my emotionally volatile girlfriend, Kari Dangler, perhaps for the 100th time, lit into me about my running or mayor this year. Yesterday, she lit into me about the Dapser interview.

    I bitch at the angels ongoing about them making me run for mayor this year. I started bitching to them about that in late 2014, when I first heard them in my dreams, telling me I would run for mayor this year (2016). I bitched at them ongoing from that moment until just before I went to the supervisor of elections to file at 11 a.m. last Friday, one (1) hour before the filing deadline. I filed because I was terrified of what the angels would do to me if I did not file. Another story I have published many times at my websites: why I’m terrified to cross the angels.

    I do not think any of that is news to you, given how many of my posts you have received and read.

    If I had my way, it would be a hanging offense to belong to any political party. And it would be a hanging offense to even file to run for any public office. Candidates would be generated by grassroots writing-in movements only, and if drafted, it would be a hanging offense to decline to serve, if elected.

    You have done everything possible, John, to deflect away from Holly Raschein did not respond to Kevin Diaz’s critique of her Stewardship Act. Diaz obviously did a great deal of reading and thinking on Holly’s bill before he sent his letter to the blue paper, which is not run by idiots, as you well know, because you are heaping praises on them all the time. I know for a fact Naja and Arnaud were abashed at Heather’s tome, which I doubt 1 in 100 blue paper readers read from top to bottom. I know Naja told me she emailed Diaz’s to Holly.

    Just my opinion, John You and Heather might have done much better to lay low, because in protesting way too much, you two drew far more attention to Diaz and his letter critiquing Holly’s bill, that no amount of money he spent advertising could have done.

    Holly lost my vote, John. But no matter, I’m no count. Even my my girl friend says so, nearly every time I see her. She’s from Key Largo. She’s homeless.

    Kari was arrested in her boyfriend’s home and charged with aggravate assault with a fire arm, for defending herself, her boyfriend, her boyfriend’s invalid son, and their home with her boyfriend’s unloaded, holstered, revolver, from a drunk, abusive, yelling, threatening tenant. Her pubic pretender lawyer up your way mounted zero defense, even though he knew everything I just wrote to you above, even though he knew about the age old self-defense doctrine and the very controversial Florida stand your ground law. She could not make bond, her boyfriend died while she as in jail, and finally she pleaded out to get probation and out of the county jail on stock island, to be homeless in Key West, a city she did not know.

    I’m recommending to Kari that she get on the next Greyhound to Key Largo and look you up, for you, as team leader, and Holly and Heather as your trusted soldiers, to do all you three can to get Kari’s very unjust felony record expunged from the state criminal justice system records, so she might be able to get a paying job that lets her live inside, instead of on the streets of Key West.

    In closing, John. I’m ashamed to be a mayor candidate. I’m ashamed to be in the same sewer with politicians. But that’s where the angels have me incarcerated, because I do not speak or behave like any politician I ever knew or heard tell of. I simply tell it as I see it, no matter whom it pisses off. So that’s where I am. In that garbage bin.

    Sloan

  20. Sloan,

    I don’t remember ever identifying anyone as a Man of Conscience. Such is the description, I’ve respectfully affixed to your name.

    Like myself, I believe you’ve gone through the emotional wringer. I choose to love you, my compassion and understanding are freely given.

    Any trust or confidence you place in me, will be taken seriously and to the grave. That’s the way I roll…

    I believe we make our own unique and separate contributions to the world at large. I’m not afraid to stand up for myself, or make a mistake. When a correction or amends is required of me, I’m quick to facilitate said action.

    I don’t expect perfection from myself, nor any other human being. For the most part I don’t judge others, you know how that goes; hate the sin, love the sinner. I’ve been able to acknowledge the facts before me, as they are, and accept said reality. Thus, a baseline is established from which I can proceed.

    I haven’t walked a mile in your shoes, nor will I ever know you well enough to judge you. The same can be said of your understanding, or lack thereof, of me. Riding loosely in the saddle of life, while wearing the material world as a loose garment works well for me. Not taking myself too seriously, frees me up to enjoy what moments of life I have left. Perhaps, we should both lighten up a little bit.

    I’m aware that you march to your own drummer. I respect that. However, isn’t that the case for all of us.

    I’ve learned a lot from you, as your insights stimulate consciousness expansion, while I explore your positions and takes on life. Thank you…