Welber on Welber: Special Interest Trumps Climate Action

welber interviews welber

welber interviews welber

“I’m very proud of that,” Monroe County Commissioner George Neugent said after looking through the climate assessment last week. “I’m very proud to be part of an initiation in a region that contains millions of people.”

– Neugent commenting on praise for four-county compact that produced the Southeast Regional Action Plan

Blue Paper

We want to welcome back environmentalist Michael Welber for another in-depth interview.


More like survivalist.

Blue Paper

Oh? And why is that?


You’ve probably been snoozing this month, which would actually be a good thing given the continuing inexplicable actions of some of our fine county commissioners.

Blue Paper

What is it this time? Did they buy another restaurant? Continue reading

Another Founding Member of Sustainability Advisory Board Calls it Quits / Letter of Resignation to Mayor Cates


Dear Mayor Cates,

Please accept my letter of resignation from the Key West Sustainability Advisory Board, effective immediately.

I originally wrote this letter the night the commission voted to return us to twice-weekly trash pickup (2-1-1), but then decided to give myself a cooling-off period to see if it would change my mind. It has not.

Having served Key West as chairman to the Sustainability Advisory Board since its inception in 2009 and as vice chair since 2013, I am proud of the many accomplishments we have achieved. Key West has changed quite a bit during this time.  “Going Green” is now considered a normal part of doing business in most city decision making. I am sorry to be leaving under such circumstances, but feel compelled to do so.

It is hard to convey to you how dispiriting it is that four commissions could so easily overturn the many years of hard work by so many people, and to do so with not one comment from the public requesting a return to 2-1-1 during the discussion period of the meeting. Continue reading

Well Done, David Lybrand.

Dear Editor,

We were in attendance at the Key West City Commission meeting at Old City Hall on 5/20, for reasons unrelated to this letter.

We listened as the Commission read a proclamation honoring and celebrating David Lybrand for his dedicatedvolunteer service on the City’s Sustainability Advisory Board.  We all know why Mr. Lybrand resigned recently, after the vote to return to twice a week trash pickup with a new WM contract.  Mr. Lybrand thanked the Commission for it’s commendation by very succinctly saying that reverting to twice a week haulage was a step backwards and wrong headed (or words to that effect) in terms of sustainability of our environment.  Mr. Lybrand deserves our compliments and earned our respect in the way he exited the Council chambers: with integrity and dignity.  The Commission’s hypocrisy was made all more evident on this occasion. Well done, David.

Karl and Susie Reutling

Key West

Sacred Cows and Hypocrisy at City Hall

sacred cow-1

When Key West city commissioners voted to override staff recommendations and choose a higher bid for trash pickup, people in the audience were stunned. But no one was more stunned than Jody Smith Williams.

Smith Williams played a central role in getting the city to hire Kessler Consulting. Their job was to study how trash in Key West was picked up and then recommend improvements. The key alteration was switching from two trash pickups per week to one. That approach was part of what came to be known as the 1-1-1 plan with one trash pickup, one recycling pickup and one for yard waste. What shocked her most was the return to two trash pickups per week.

For over seven years, she advocated for developing a resource recovery system based on expert consultation that would help Key West do something better with its resources than hauling all the trash all the way to Broward County and burning 93 percent of it in the waste-to-energy incinerator there. Continue reading

Immediate Fallout Due To Controversial Vote On New Waste Management Contract

David Lybrand, a founding member of the City of Key West’s five-year old Sustainability Advisory Board steps down in reaction to the City Commission’s controversial decision to disregard City staff’s and the advisory board’s recommendations when awarding a new solid waste contract.  Below is his resignation letter tendered to Commissioner Teri Johnston and the City Commission yesterday.

May 8, 2014

Key West Commissioner Teri Johnston and the Key West City Commission
Key West, Florida

Tonight’s Sustainability Advisory Board meeting completes 5 years since you appointed me as a founding member of the board.  I have participated in more SAB meetings than anyone and feel good about what the board has accomplished toward improving many aspects of our City’s sustainability, as well as its GREEN influencing on other actions the City has taken.  I was looking forward to continuing to do what I can to help the City progress from its unsustainable ways. Continue reading

GREEN Reactor: GREEN Reactions

GREEN ReactorOver my years of writing for various Key West newspapers, from time to time I have found that I could not restrain myself from responding to anonymous blabbermouths (like me, sometimes) who post their  (usually anonymous) thoughts to local forums like the Voice, local Facebook pages, website comment sections, etc. Thoughts they express with such vigor that one would think they considered themselves experts on a topic.  They’re thoughts that cry out for a second look.

Once again I am at that juncture.  Following are representative of statements made recently in those kinds of places, selected here because of their emphasis on GREEN issues.  Naturally my reactions follow in each case…. Continue reading