by John Donnelly…….
Being scolded and threatened by individuals visiting the Florida Keys with their large vehicles and trailers as they create traffic jams and dangerous driving conditions for the citizens that live here, because we’ve asked our County Commissioners to decrease their destructive impact, via the creation of a “toll road” for entry onto our islands, identifies a certain type of contempt, insensitivity and indifference for the safety and basic needs of Monroe County residents.
Intrusions from the vehicular invasion that’s upon us, has resulted in increased deaths, injuries and property damage in Monroe County. The regular stream of litter and pollutants deposited by visitors on our roads and waterways has reached epidemic proportions. Civic minded citizens living here, have been forced to routinely pick up extensive fields of debris strewn along our shorelines and roadways by reckless visitors to our islands, in an attempt to stave off the more “toxic infestations” resultant from lethal waste and poisonous chemical disposal.
The quality of life we sought via the monetary investments we made when purchasing our homes, has been eroded and destroyed by unrestricted and excessive vehicle congestion, which has intruded into every facet of our lives, destabilizing and darkening our normal routines.
Reasonable and responsible leadership from those in positions of governance; requires immediate action that will maintain our infrastructure and protect our reefs, while safeguarding our waterways and fragile aquatic ecosystem so that the people who live here are not ruined and crippled by the unrelenting onslaught of nonresident conveyances. Coalescing with forces that are destroying our neighborhoods and communities, identifies a particular type of callousness not usually exhibited by “democratically elected officials”, entrusted to safeguard and represent the best interests of their constituents.
A recent headline addressing the barbaric conduct of some mainland visitors we’ve welcomed into our communities: “Men hog-tie 3 endangered Key deer, put one in the trunk” and “One of the 3 hog-tied Florida Keys deer must be euthanized”.
Inviting cruelty and killing into our island communities and neighborhoods via a never-ending stream of traffic bearing poachers and garbage heaving litterers, illustrates a reckless incompetence and callousness by those charged with protecting our health and well-being.
Along with chronic “resource violators” routinely coming done to the Keys to pilfer and kill undersized and endangered sea life there are the innocuous “day trippers” tossing lighted cigarette butts, dirty diapers, cans, bottles and fast food wrappers from their moving vehicles.
I pay many Miami-Dade County tolls going to and coming from the Miami VA, every time I seek treatment for my combat wounds. Vacationers can most assuredly pay “one” Monroe County toll to offset the infrastructure and environmental expenses we’re subjected to, in order to keep and maintain the structures and services these visitors seek and enjoy on our islands.