Dear Editor:

My name is Brian Smith and I just wanted to say that I really respect your relentless pursuit of the truth. I too believe that the rules should apply to everybody.

I recently moved back to Key West after 20 years up north, and I’m very surprised at the dramatic change Key West has taken. It’s nothing like what I remember. It used to be such a magical place, completely different from another city in America. Now the uniqueness is gone, and we have CVS and Starbucks on every corner.

The city government has clearly helped a handful of people take complete control over the island, creating monopolies unlike anything I’ve seen. All of the competition is gone. I remember creative street vendors selling stuff on Duval, artists painting on the beach, street performers, and new businesses popping up all the time. What used to make Key West so great was the freedom. The freedom to be who you were, or who you wanted to be. It was a sanctuary for all of societies misfits and dreamers. By regulating everything, the city has pushed out all of the unique characters, and created monopolies which artificially inflate prices and stifle growth.

I also recently learned that the city is not allowing homeowners to use Airbnb, which I think is another nail in the coffin. The monopoly that exists in Key West is what’s causing the prices to be so high. If homeowners were allowed to rent their property, that would create more supply than demand, and the prices would come down. But obviously the city doesn’t want their friends to loose money.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my opinion and let you know that I admire you for what you’re doing. Keep up the good work.

Brian Smith

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