Oct 032014

Issue #82 — Friday, October 3, 2014

AUDIT: County Administrator and Three County Commissioners / Misuse of County Purchasing Cards


Sometimes top County officials buy stolen County iphones.  And sometimes, after they get caught with the iphones and the scapegoat has gone off to jail, they take County issued credit cards and pay for personal items and entertainment and … well, they get caught again.

Let us explain.

Monroe County issues Purchasing Cards [P-Cards] to its top officials.  County Commissioners have them. County Administrator, Roman Gastesi has had 6 of them, sometimes three at a time with a total of $ 75,000 in credit capacity per month.  He also has a tendency to lose them. (more…)

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Did You Miss Hometown PAC’s Final Candidate Forum? Watch it Now…


Hometown! Mission Statement,

Policy and Goals

The mission of Hometown PAC is to promote free expression and exchange of political viewpoints and ideas. To accomplish these goals, Hometown will provide opportunities to educate its members and the voters in Key West and the surrounding environs through candidate lectures, forums, debates and other political discourse. These enabling actions will allow the voters to more fully consider the merits of the candidates and their proposals (i) to unite and give voice to residents, and (ii) to provide leadership and balance for economic growth while preserving the character of Key West. (more…)

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The Shade of Ignorance

Shade of Ignorance

Remarkable laws exist so ‘We The People’ can detect and avoid abuse from our government officials. Unfortunately, too many media and political action groups have abdicated their watchdog roles, keeping themselves and the public in the shade of ignorance.

Florida’s 1967 Sunshine Law was a remarkable accomplishment, influencing the rest of the states and even the Federal government to follow our lead. Basically it requires government officials to open their meetings to the public and maintain open records. There is no common law or First Amendment guarantee of such rights—our Founding Fathers met in secret. It takes legislation like Florida’s to give us citizens the right to monitor how our politicians are deciding our fates. (more…)

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GUEST COMMENTARY: Grinder Pump Attacks Get Personal


In a recent posting to the BigPineKey.com “Coconut Telegraph” an anonymous writer, using a fake e-mail, initiated a personal attack against a number of the activists opposed to the extensive use of grinder pumps in the Cudjoe Regional System.  The posting was lifted from a five page diatribe that Randy Bell, the Grinder Pump salesman, wrote earlier this year and sent to the FKAA.  The posting claimed Dump the Pumps was wasting money, that Walt Drabinski, who initiated the original lawsuits and has been very vocal had no engineering degree, was incompetent and that his economic and engineering analysis were lies. The writer also initiated a really low personal attack against a select few members of Dump the Pumps.  Walt Drabinski responds as follows: (more…)

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With the advances of the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist army in Iraq and Syria, America is once again reacting to the argument that we have to confront the bad guys over there or we will have to fight them over here. So our anti-war president has reluctantly authorized the use of American air strikes on ISIS positions. The new war is being supported by a few allies– including even a few Muslim nations. But the President has solemnly promised that there will be no American boots on the ground. Critics, including a number of military experts, quickly came out of the woodwork to point out that, while even “pinprick” air strikes might slow down the ISIS terrorists, somebody’s boots on the ground will be required to defeat them. I want to suggest here that, under the immediate circumstances, the “slow-down-ISIS” strategy may be the right strategy. (more…)

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There Is Hope


When I read a report on Jefferson County Colorado high school students walking out in protest over proposed changes to the school’s history curriculum, I rejoiced. Anyone that pays attention to current events knows there is a concerted attack on common sense being administered by conservative ideologues and their corporate sponsors. The kids in Colorado have decided enough is enough. Their misguided school board members are proposing a flag waving revisionist history curriculum that emphasizes obedience to law, extolls the virtues of individual freedom and free enterprise, and at the same time dismisses social consciousness, past struggles and victories for civil rights as mere footnotes. Hardly worth mentioning…, and PLEASE disregard the fact that our nation was actually forged in the fires of revolution caused by lack of representation in our government. Yeah…that’d be great. (more…)

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In Case You Have Nothing Better to Do
Are wedding-chests having fusion yet?(Raymond Queneau, Oulipo co-founder)

Are wedding-chests having fusion yet?
(Raymond Queneau, Oulipo co-founder)

While watching Vi Hart’s short film “Twelve Tones” (I recommend it if you have 30 minutes to spare), I was introduced to the word “Oulipo.” It denotes a group of French-speaking writers and mathematicians who thought it would be fun to create works using “constrained writing.” (All of my writing seems constrained. I’ve convinced myself, as they did apparently, that it is enjoyable in spite of this.) Although Oulipo sounds like something started by artistic types high on green fairy juice in the 1800s, it was actually founded in 1960 by Raymond Queneau and Francois Le Lionnais.

Constrained writing simply means there are certain arbitrary rules you must follow. If you want to “snowball,” for example, you have to write a poem where each line is one word and each successive word is one letter longer than the previous word. If you take the N+7 route, you replace every noun in your text with the seventh noun that comes after it in the dictionary (see caption above). Here are two examples of Oulipian creations: (more…)

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because you never asked ad

by Jerome Grapel…….

The fact that something so having to do with science has become such a political issue is not only surprising but significant. We live in a world where the issues proven or debunked by scientific investigation — rationally and patiently proven through an objective set of criteria and methodology — are generally accepted with some degree of Gospel-like adherence. The debate as to right and wrong, true or false, yes or no and what we should finally believe, is generally confined to the realm of professional science. If and when an issue is resolved within this community is almost always what the rest of us take our cues from. This does not mean science is always correct, but what makes professional science the most reliable oracle of truth is its ability to admit its mistakes. It understands the road to truth is pot holed with mistakes and is constantly trying to not just break new ground but to rectify and renew old “truths” that could be leading us astray. Like any other human endeavor, some element of ego might cloud an investigator’s assumptions, but ego gratification in professional science overwhelmingly rests on getting it right. That is why we laymen almost always trust it. (more…)

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MOSQUITO CONTROL: In Response to FKMC Chairman Stephen Smith’s Editorial

The editorial by Stephen Smith, Commissioner, Chairman, Florida Keys Mosquito Control, was a fascinating read, and it was a perfect example of why we so desperately need term limits for all elected officials.   Mr. Smith, who has been a FKMC board member for 18 years missed the mark. He seems to forget that FKMCB has not only a duty to protect us from mosquitos, but it also is a steward of our tax dollars.

First, his mention of his 18 years on the Board was intended to lend gravitas to his opinion. Apparently Mr. Smith wants you to forget the corruption and the waste that plagued the Board during the first 15 years of his tenure. He would have you forget the egregious salaries and benefits collected by the Board during his tenure.  He would have you forget or ignore the criminality of certain staff members during his tenure and his full throated defense of at least one of those staff members. (more…)

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Speaking For Monroe County’s Most Vulnerable Kids

Dear Editor,

The Key West Golf Course community of 350 members is screaming to the City of KW that they will do whatever it takes to stop the possible construction of a nearby homeless shelter. In a published letter the KWGC expressed that it would be reckless and dangerous to create the shelter near their KWGC residential community, a grade school, a college, hospital, senior residential home, and businesses. (An open letter to Mayor Cates and City of KW Commissioners—The Blue Paper  https://thebluepaper.com//article/an-open-letter-to-mayor-cates-and-city-of-key-west-commissioners/ )

Now, I want to speak for those in KW without voices that have been placed in a “reckless and dangerous” place for years. From 2008 to 2013, my wife and I were house parents for the two Department of Children and Families’ licensed foster homes in the Poinciana apartments of Key West that are sandwiched directly between two institutions for homeless adults. (See children shelters address @ 1621 Spalding Court, Key West, FL http://www.monroecounty-fl.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1965 ) (more…)

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A Challenge to Both Mr. Garcia and Mr. Curbelo…

To the Editor,

[Response to “Garcia, Curbelo Trade Insults Again” Key West Citizen, September 30, 2014 p1a]

Conspiracy of silence

At Monday’s Hometown pac political forum at FKCC Key West Citizen publisher and panelist Mr. Paul Clarin made the statement about halfway through the rehashed candidate questions that: “This is like Groundhog Day” (the movie). Ironically, Phil (the protagonist in the movie) was a weatherman caught in a time loop who gets to keep repeating the same sequence of events on Groundhog Day over and over – known only to him. Phil may represent the new American Dream – becoming an “insider.” (more…)

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Back in 1521 , Juan Ponce de Leon discovered the Island of Key West.  The island had been used as a communal graveyard by the Calusa Indians so he named the island Cayo Hueso (Island of Bones). Since that time this tiny island has produced so many interesting and crazy stories. This story is about Key West back in the 1970’s and 80’s, when smuggling was at it’s peak. The characters in (Island of Bones) are strictly fictional and do not represent any citizens of Key West !

                      Enjoy!   — Big Tuna


PART TEN of Island of Bones Series…  (more…)

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Apply to be a Studio Artist!


Jackhammers, saws, and drills: now that’s the sound of progress! We’re thrilled to (loudly) report, that we’ve secured our final contract with D.L. Porter Construction, and work is speeding along at 533 Eaton.

Back at the office, we’re cooking up all sorts of plans for the 2015 season, including Studio Artists to fill the nine work spaces on the building’s third floor. Most of the gang from the Armory will follow us to our new home, but we’ve held two studios open for new applications.

Intrigued? Click here for details! Our Studio Artists breathe life into The Studios 24/7, participate in monthly First Thursday Open Studios, and find themselves at the epicenter of Key West’s vibrant art scene.

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Reef Relief Hires New Education Coordinator

Reef Relief Education Coordinator Carly Shabo

Reef Relief recently hired a new Education Coordinator, Carly Shabo. She is a graduate of the College of Charelston with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Marine Biology. As Reef Relief’s Education Coordinator, she will be organizing and presenting Reef Relief’s Discover Coral Reefs School Program to the Monroe County School District, also coordinating activities with the Key West High School Reef Relief Club and the summer’s Coral Camp for Kids Program.  She can also be seen staffing booths for Reef Relief at the many community events in the Lower Keys.

For more information about scheduling classroom visits or details about Coral Camp, contact Reef Relief at (305) 294-3100 or by email at reefrelief@gmail.com

Reef Relief is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to improving and protecting our coral reef ecosystem. www.reefrelief.org


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United Way President Margie Smith Resigns To Join Family Investment Firm


Margie Smith, President of United Way of the Florida Keys since January 2010, will leave the agency at the end of this year to join her husband’s investment management firm in Islamorada.

Smith said she is excited about her new position but sad to leave a job that has been so much a part of her for almost five years. “As President of United Way I’ve had the unique opportunity to see a detailed picture of who we are as a county, and to interact with so many public service-minded individuals,” she said. “What we have here is special.  I’ve never felt so profoundly connected to a community as I have here in the Keys.” (more…)

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Sgt. Pablo Rodriguez Recognized for 15 years of service to KWPD

pablo 15 yrs-1

Key West Police Chief Donie Lee recently recognized Sgt. Pablo Rodriguez for 15 years of service to the Department.

Rodriguez was hired in 1999 and started out patrolling the downtown and Bahama Village area. As a patrol officer, he made numerous drug arrests that led to convictions as well as the seizure of drugs and money. In 2002 Sgt. Rodriguez was transferred to the Special Operation Unit where he has been involved in the successful investigation of numerous covert and overt operations, making arrests of drug dealers and users. He was promoted to Sergeant in 2006.

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Ongoing Events:

Aqua Idol every Tuesday beginning August 26 – October 14, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM – come support the candidates’ singers at Aqua Nightclub, 711 Duval Street.  75% of the monies collected will be split among the candidates and 25% would go to the campaign for which the winner is representing.  All monies will be donated to AIDS Help.  Free to attend!  All Candidates

Drag Queen Bingo at 801 Cabaret every Sunday from August 24 – October 12, 5:00 PM – Bingo at 801 Bourbon will divide all proceeds equally among the candidates.  All Candidates

View Fantasy Fest King and Queen Candidates page

All Candidate Events:


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Conch Poet J.M. Varela Featured Oct. 5 at Blue Heaven

The wit and wisdom of popular Conch poet J.M. Varela takes the stage upstairs at Blue Heaven during the first Sunday monthly meeting of the Key West Poetry Guild on Oct. 5, beginning at 7 p.m. There is no admission fee and all are welcome.

Varela, author of the eclectic collection “Inside the Head of a Conch Women,” turns her sometimes jaundiced and often hilarious eye toward Key West history, customs and characters. The Guild looks forward to premiering some of her more recent work, written, she said, “as a wrap up of four days of Conch Reunions in August and a backlash for so many negative comments about raising children in Key West.” (more…)

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Pier House ABC Flyer 2014 FINAL

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Help Support the CoffeeMill Dance Studio! / Third Annual Benefit Sunday October 12th


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 The Blue Paper #82  October 3, 2014  Posted by at 12:00 am # Full Issues #

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