by John Donnelly…….
Bamboozled, hoodwinked and indoctrinated for many years by government and developers into believing an inauthentic maxim has damaged our fragile aquatic ecosystem, while allowing the introduction of virulent toxins into our communities.
Widespread fraud and deception by government officials are nothing new to the citizens of Monroe County. Research has produced evidence identifying a long-standing, cozy and quid pro quo type of relationship existing between politicians and developers. This arrangement has been eloquently described on numerous occasions in a plethora of periodicals.
Over-development and over-population on our string of tiny islands are gradually turning our neighborhoods, and the waters in which we secure our livelihoods and recreate, into a wasteland. Our lives, homes and families are being disrupted and disturbed over the almighty dollar.
Chronic traffic congestion, litter, pollution and hazardous accidents on our road and waterways have reached epidemic proportions. According to many divers and boat captains that I’ve spoken with, approximately 90% of the coral reef has already been destroyed.
Inquires from conscientious residents concerning the demise of our environment are often met with denials, obfuscation and feigned concern. ‘Standard Operating Procedure’ on the part of those running roughshod with our future, requires the selling and telling of falsehoods, in the hope of minimizing and concealing the extent of devastation accrued via their actions.
Perhaps it’s not a lie, if you’ve been indoctrinated with inaccurate information and become committed to an ideal that has taken on a life of its own. We’ve all been betrayed and led astray. Conceivably, a more accurate expression identifying this skewed reality, might be ‘delusional’.
Although the ruse has been uncovered, the ‘Trojan Horse’ continues to be paraded around as though it’s actually a benefit, offering a real solution for a perceived problem.
The sweet deals created vis a vis accommodations exchanged in kind, between consenting and conspiring partners is the real news. This ‘Trojan Horse’ has been examined, exposed and compromised, taking hits and being unmasked as an empty and barren enterprise, offering no relief for the targeted population.
Marketing and promoting an idea, which by design undermines the proposition that it purports to support, has a mischievous and treacherous undertow to it. Millions of dollars have been spent to exert a myopic and hypnotic pull upon many conscientious, intelligent and compassionate citizens so they’ll mesmerizingly embrace a belief in something that doesn’t exist.
Before I continue, what I’m about to say is not applicable to the esteemed members presently serving on our county commission nor does it relate to our distinguished county manager and his staff.
I’ve lived here a long time. Going back some years, turbulence, dishonesty and corruption were a part of Monroe County’s effort to promote “affordable and workforce housing”. Many misguided relationships between commissioners, staff and developers were agreed upon. Far too many of these transactions had damaging consequences that caused environmental destruction, decreased property values and ‘quality of life compromises’ deleterious to family life.
In a bid to stir the gravy, it seems the City of Key West is seeking to enter into another ‘affordable housing misadventure’ with the Peary Court properties. Predictably, it appears that the arguments for the project are not going to be based in fact. Twisted words, distorted reasoning, convoluted contractual agreements, veiled threats, stonewalling and prevarications will attempt to rule the day, as social media and public promotion will be the chosen methods to control and manage the debate. Referendum outcomes are frequently determined by such designs.
During my lifetime, I’ve come to the conclusion that the government should not be in the real estate business. As a simple man from the South Bronx, “Affordable Housing” is: “Living in a house that you can afford.” “Workforce Housing” is: “Living in an apartment or home that you can afford to live in.”
The Florida Keys are “built out to the max,” thus the need for deceptive (feel good) language, myths and notions that are politically correct (affordable housing//workforce housing). These descriptions are necessary, so a justification of sort may be given for the excessive building and development that is eroding the quality of our lives and communities.
Denser, congested and crammed ‘housing projects’ are being built throughout the Keys. Some of these developments lack proper planning and access for emergency vehicles. Many of them appear to have insufficient parking, along with inadequate accessibility for vehicles to safely merge onto and exit from US 1.
With these types of politically correct projects it becomes simple and convenient for governments to give developers what they want. ‘Waivers’ have been granted to builders allowing them to by-pass ‘set back requirements,’ while ignoring ‘space ordinances’ that at one time required homes to have a set distance from one another. In many instances, re-planting trees and plants, which have been illegally destroyed because of the “excessiveness” of a particular development are not required of the builder.
Traveling the Keys, I’ve witnessed construction materials being amassed at some development sites, which appear to be significantly inferior in quality to the products I utilized in building my home. Craftsmanship and adherence to hurricane building code practices do not seem to be strictly enforced.
Profitable businesses and cities taking in billions of dollars in taxes, revenues and fees have the capacity to pay their employees’ salaries commensurate with the wealth they’ve accrued.
Some businesses and municipalities provide unique living quarters which are extremely clean and beautifully constructed for their employees. Both private and public domains have offered these benefits and services to staff with extraordinary success.
In closing, keeping one’s eye on the ball concerning South Florida’s vanishing water supply is another area of critical concern. A clear and present danger for the ‘sustenance maintaining all life’ will become a reality when the cessation of a clean and secure source of drinking water is upon us.
‘Wastewater treatment mismanagement and confusion’ along with sewage dumping and leakage added to threats stemming from excessive demand and waste of this invaluable resource have coalesced into a menacing and emergent crisis that will only become more severe.
Contamination of the Biscayne Aquifer via a plethora of intrusions still hasn’t been adequately shored up. It appears the official response to these foreboding breeches has been continued building and development, by whatever means possible, while inventing kinder and gentler terms (affordable & workforce housing) along the way, so as not to alarm the masses to the imminent hazards awaiting them.
Continuing to strangle ourselves on copious amounts of debris, waste and filth, resultant from disproportionate development, is an extreme and regrettable form of suicide.