Oct 312014

Issue #86 — Friday, October 31, 2014


Issue 86 Ebola Rats web

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GUEST EDITORIAL: The Key West Height Referendum


This legislation is a proactive measure to protect our homes against flood waters.  Today, 85% of the City of Key West is in the regulated floodplain.  The majority of New Town and Mid Town homes are 2-3’ below floodplain.  Although a section of Old Town is in the  X- zone, over 50% of all Old Town properties lie 1-3’ below flood.  We collectively pay over $ 11,800,000 in annual flood premiums paid by 7,792 Key West flood policy holders.

Passage of this referendum provides an opportunity for a homeowner currently at or below flood to raise their home a maximum of 4’ out of the floodplain.  This will not create “high rises” in Key West and is certainly not a “developers dream”.  This is not an opportunity to build more floors on current homes; it is an opportunity to raise your current floor joist system out of flood waters.  The 40’ cap was instituted to assure that we maintain our height characteristics.   Homes in the HARC district must obtain HARC approval to raise their “below base flood elevation” homes.  This adds another level of scrutiny assuring that the historic district will maintain our unique and historic character and property values.

I will tell you what changes the character of a Community however!  It is losing over 500 Key West families during the 2 years post-Wilma.  It is families who no longer qualify for mortgages. (more…)

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Intelligence Deficits: The National Debt, My Internet Trolls, and George Neugent

artificial intel

The main event today is why Carlos Curbelo’s main talking point, fighting the so-called national debt, is fiscal folly. My best acolyte for the book I got published 20 years ago, The Deficit Lie: Exposing the Myth of the National Debt, is finally writing his own book on this vital topic. He took a break as a regular writer for the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, and has been sending me drafts to vet, so it’s on my mind again.

But first, the Neugent and troll update. My ethics complaint has been assigned to the Florida Ethics Commission’s top investigator, the most senior fellow who oversees the rest. This is good news. I’ll bet anyone $ 1,000 George does not get away without any sanctions.  Any takers?

On the down side, the county got an opinion from Special Counsel for Open Government for the Attorney General’s Office allowing them to keep hiding the transcripts of the closed sessions for their disastrous lawsuit against SUFA. This delay, waiting for the last defendant to settle the case on his terms, is not all bad. If I get vital information after the current ethics complaint has been ruled on, I will have cause to refile on that issue. (more…)

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INEQUALITY IN THE WORKPLACE: It Is Not Illegal Or Immoral To Pay Different Employees With The Same Job Title Different Wages. Here’s Why

equal pay cropped

Government efforts to tell business owners how to hire and pay employees continue to be in the news. While I do not represent myself as an expert in this field, I have had the opportunity to work as a middle manager in New York City with one of the largest corporations in the world as well as to own and operate a small business here in Key West. That at least provides a basis for some thoughts and opinions on this topic and, as is my custom, I will share some of those thoughts and opinions with you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: EVERYONE WHO DOES THE SAME WORK IN THE SAME ORGANIZATION SHOULD BE PAID THE SAME. That concept may sound good when uttered by a naive politician looking for votes, but in the real world, it just is not practical. The truth is that, in any large company or other organization, different employees (men and women) with the same job title are paid different salaries. That is the norm, not the exception. Here’s why. (more…)

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because you never asked ad

Before reaching Spain this year, I had to pass through New York in obligatory attendance of a family function. In so doing, I found myself chatting with the husband of a cousin, a likeable, intelligent fellow I’ll call Ben. Ben’s wife (my cousin) has spent the better part of her life in public education and, for reasons lost in the food, drink, and loud music pounding our brains into thoughts of Tylenol, the conversation turned to so called “charter schools” and other desperate solutions groping for a scholastic environment worthy of such a name. This led me to voice my negative opinion of such solutions, not seeing the value of a few special schools capable of serving a miniscule amount of public education’s constituency. The creation of an elite tier of public education seemed more a surrendering of the idea than an enhancement of it. “For me, Ben, the only proper course of action will always be to try and make public education work for as many students as possible. If it is not working as it should, it is more because millions of children are nurtured (neglected?) in social settings that neither prepare nor motivate them for an educational experience and less because the schools and educators are bad.”

Ben seemed neither convinced nor antagonized. He shrugged ambiguously and talked about the individual, how no two people are the same, that some are smarter than others, that equality does not exist, etc. and etc. He looked at me, awaiting a response. Now it was my turn to shrug. Ben continued, “look, Jerry, you see a baseball game on TV (Ben’s a Yankee fan) and it’s obvious each player has different levels of talent, right?” (more…)

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Race Card Revisited: Recovery Starts With an Admission There is a Problem


My usual “fan club” was out in force last week. I really felt the love. Thank you for reading my essay with an open mind and weighing in with your comments. A simple re-cap; Slavery of Africans on US soil happened. Said slavery has had continuing negative repercussions to this day. Some of my die-hard “fans” decided to ignore those truths and focus on certain details that they felt somehow justified, rationalized, excused and or negated these two historical facts. I’ll repeat; Slavery of Africans on US soil happened. Said slavery has had continuing negative repercussions to this day. Zeroing in on, let’s say, when I pointed out Obama being attacked by the mentally challenged bigots in politics and elsewhere, someone snarked, “Your hero”. He might as well have called me an “Obama lover”. Obama is not my hero. I used his treatment as an example of the symptoms of our country’s diseased bigotry and lack of civility. I think I might have mentioned that recovery starts with an admission there is a problem.

I was accused of suffering from “white guilt” and called a white racist and a “libtard”. I did not write the piece to inflame people. I wrote it to hopefully encourage a constructive dialogue on, not only racism, but the general co-option of our country by the Corporate Pathocracy to the detriment of We, The People. Instead, as it turns out, my thoughts were taken as an affront/attack on White America, completely ignoring the thrust of my words. (more…)

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The Importance of Background and Experience on the Mosquito Control Board

Phil-Goodman-headshotThe Mosquito Control Board (MCB) has a very important mission that affects many aspects of our lives in the Florida Keys. The life experiences of each board member are very important to our success.  Mosquito Control involves a broad range of disciplines from business, finance, accounting, administration, biology, entomology, chemistry, chemical engineering, diseases, flying, law, economy, environment, parliamentary procedures and more.  The MCB is not an advisory board but makes the final decisions that determine our success or failure.  The collective knowledge, vision and experience of that board guide the district in hopefully the right direction.  So we better know what we are doing.

The Board gives final approval of a $ 15,000,000 annual budget, offers guidance to the director, who is a scientist, and has total oversight of what is a highly technical organization.  Not everyone on the board needs, nor should they have, the same background.  To optimally function, their collective experiences should span a wide range of important and relevant disciplines and complement each other.  One of our current members is an attorney and one is a pilot.  Both of these backgrounds increase our scope.  My background as a businessman, developing and managing many budgets much larger than Mosquito Control, my knowledge of the chemistries and technologies we use combined with my knowledge of our local environmental needs also broaden our scope as a board. (more…)

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Money is Available for a Top Notch Sewer System / Enough is Enough…

We are Monroe County. We are the people. Many of us have served the visitors, tourists and winter residents one way or another over the years. Without us there is nothing. We pay the taxes, we bring in the money. We are the reason the money is available for a top notch Central Sewer System. The money is not for other projects. How dare these arrogant people assume that a dozen or so should benefit and the rest of us pay the price as they break the law, break peoples spirits and destroy the environment and everything we have worked so hard for. It is time to get the people who don’t care about what we want out of here. It is time to get the people working on their own agenda out of here. Those of you who have payed attention have a good idea what is going on. Remember this when you vote. Enough is enough…………………….

Susan Marburger,

Summerland Key

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Richard Rohe halloween

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State improving accessibility at polling places, training of poll workers; should adopt online voter registration, expand opportunities to vote before Election Day

Common Cause report looks at 10 swing states’ records implementing recommendations of Presidential Commission on Election Administration

WASHINGTON, DC— As the 2014 election enters its final days, Florida is making progress in addressing the problems behind the long lines, clerical errors and misallocated resources that bedeviled the 2012 election, according to a new report from Common Cause. (more…)

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Call to Artists for the 3rd Annual Key West Chalk Festival
Sarasota based artist Stig Lindow is shown putting finishing touches on his 2013 Key West Chalk Festival creation, a larger-than-life rendering of Key West Art & Historical Society mascot, Robert the Haunted Doll.  Photo by Carol Tedesco

Sarasota based artist Stig Lindow is shown putting finishing touches on his 2013 Key West Chalk Festival creation, a larger-than-life rendering of Key West Art & Historical Society mascot, Robert the Haunted Doll. Photo by Carol Tedesco

The Key West Art in Public Places Board announces a call to artists for the 3rd Annual Key West Chalk Festival.  November 19-23, local and visiting artists—from novices to world-class artists—will use the promenade alongside the seawall at the Truman Waterfront as their canvas for elaborate and colorful chalk art creations, with prizes awarded in student and adult categories. The AIPP Board is happy to announce that Denise Kowal, Founder and Chair of the Sarasota Chalk Festival is working with AIPP to help make this year’s Festival the best yet. Artists may register using the event submission form available online at artinpublicplaceskw.com. Ongoing information and updates are available on the Key West Chalk Festival Facebook page.

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Love Lane Gang! They’re Just Plain Fun!

Love Lane Gang 20140713-01

The Love Lane Gang is a homegrown band that charms both locals and visitors with their rollicking raucous ruckus. With an age range among the members of over thirty years, they bring a wide variety of experience and musical tastes to bear and appeal to music lovers of all ages. They’ve brought back skiffle and updated it for the present. It’s impossible to keep from smiling amidst their mirthful musical mayhem.

The emphasis is on ragtime and swing from the 1930s and 1940s, done in a refreshing new style that melds Hot Club gypsy jazz with island flourishes. Also, Dust Bowl ballads, old school country from Hank Williams and Dolly Parton, rockabilly and surf music classics and rarer gems, tunes from Sixties stars like The Beatles, The Kinks, and The Rolling Stones, and carefully chosen songs from current artists like Andrew Bird, Mason Jennings, and The White Stripes all fit in alongside original songs that sound like they could have come from any of those eras.

Offbeat instrumentation, including mandolin, fiddle, accordion, ukulele, washboard, and a kazoo horn section, added to familiar guitar, bass, and harmonica, creates a broad musical palette which they use to color their performances.

But you needn’t pay too much mind to all that serious musical analysis – they’re just plain fun!

They will be playing regular gigs at Saluté On The Beach Sundays at 5:30 PM and Sunset Pier Wednesdays at 5:30 PM.

Scheduled appearances:


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Key West Art & Historical Society Museums Free for Monroe County Students

Seward Johnson’s larger-than-life rendition of Pierre Auguste Renoir’s Dance in the Country flanks the historic Custom House Museum. Photo: Todd Feit

When most people think of history, they don’t often look to the future. But that’s exactly what Key West Art & Historical Society, one of the Florida Keys’ oldest not-for-profits and steward to The Lighthouse Museum, Fort East Martello and Custom House Museum, has in mind.

With a mission to promote and preserve the island’s arts and historical and cultural heritage, they are turning their sights towards the students of Monroe County. By supporting children in grades K-12, they hope to empower these students to take ownership of their island community’s history to inspire the next generation of Hemingway’s, Mario Sanchez’s and Suzie dePoo’s.

One simple way they currently do this is by allowing all Monroe County students free admission to their Custom House,  Lighthouse Keepers and Quarters, and Fort East Martello museums.  (more…)

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City of Key West Sightseeing Franchise Input

The Key West City Commission wants to hear your views and ideas regarding the franchise agreements between the city and sightseeing enterprises. These agreements will be reviewed by all commissioners from now until February. The commissioners want to hear from the community. Please click the following link for the online form. Or you can send your comments to 3132 Flagler Ave, Key West, Florida 33040



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Key West Poetry Guild Has A New Home!

Effective Sunday Nov 2nd 

Key West Poetry Guild monthly meetings will be at

Andy’s Cabana
308 Petronia Street

7:00 PM

Featured Poet for Nov 2nd is Edgardo Alvarado Vasquez.

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 The Blue Paper #86  October 31, 2014  Posted by at 12:00 am # Full Issues #

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