Key West Hometown PAC – Candidate Q&A

I votedI finally got around to viewing the Key West Hometown PAC’s second candidate forum, which was held on August 8.  I actually sent the PAC some questions I would really like answered.  They declined, saying they only take questions from members.  Fair enough.  I’m not quite sure I want to be a member at this point though.  Here’s a link to that email exchange, in case you’re interested.

Of course, I’m especially concerned about the race for Clerk of Court.  This office is so very important.  The qualifications and character of the office-holder make a big difference.  There are three candidates running for the office.  Amy Heavilin, the incumbent, and Kevin Madok will face off in the Republican primary on August 30.  The winner will run against Democrat Ron Saunders in November’s general election. Continue reading

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Kolhage – Financial Disclosure

BOCC_sloppyThis topic has been simmering for a while.  I finally decided to publish a post about it because Commissioner George Neugent is facing sanctions from the Florida Ethics Commission (FEC) over incomplete financial disclosures, and the failure to report a free country club membership.  I’m just amazed that any county official would face consequences for anything ever.  The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) typically operates a laissez-faire operation, completely lacking in accountability.  I guess Neugent, at least, made the mistake of thinking everyone else thinks that’s okay. Continue reading

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What About the Ratepayers?

question-1262378__340The Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District (District) are fighting over the staffing plan.  Commissioner Andy Tobin has long expressed concerns over staffing issues and a lack of transparency.  Rather than seeing to it that these matters are addressed constructively, Commissioner Steve Gibbs has attempted to make this a personal issue – siding with staff and denigrating his colleague for simply asking questions.  That seems to be the way of things these days.

The latest argument is about Rob Bulkiewicz, who is set to be promoted and given a sizable pay increase according to press reports.  I’d rather not get into the details of this particular situation, but the latest blow-up provides an opportunity to discuss what’s really important:  the ratepayers.

Here, briefly, are my concerns. Continue reading

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Thoughtful Letter About the Sin Tax

cautionI saw a letter in the Citizen ( supporting the “sin tax” today.  It was written in response to an earlier editorial, which was skeptical about the “sin tax”.

Let me start by saying it’s only right and proper to look after the less fortunate in our communities.  From that perspective I have no issue with the concept of the “sin tax”.  But context is everything. Continue reading

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The Land Scarcity Chess Board – Part 1

chess-217701__340There’s a finite amount of land in the Florida Keys.  Very little of that can be developed.  And there aren’t enough available permits to go around even for what can be developed.  Real estate is in high demand.  At the same time, the workforce is struggling to hang on.  Pressure is intense.  Competition is intense.  Politics are intense, especially in the secretive, cut-throat political world of the Keys.


Well-meaning people focus on different aspects of the land-scarcity issue:  keeping housing affordable for the locals, preserving habitat, controlling growth, protecting property rights, preserving quality of life.  While these issues are debated, the politicians will do what suits them.  And that rarely has anything to do with what is best for the Keys community.  Citizens have to be vigilant unless they want to see their tax dollars and their ROGO’s poof away into the sky. Continue reading

Posted in Affordable Housing, Florida Keys Stewardship Act, Key West, Monroe County | 4 Comments

Hometown Key West – First Candidate Forum – District 5

I votedThe Hometown Key West PAC ran their first question and answer session of the campaign season on July 25.  They already had a “meet the candidates” event, which I wrote about here.  I’m focusing on two races in particular:  District 5 County Commissioner and Clerk of Court.  These are the biggies for me.  The candidates for Clerk of Court did not appear at this forum so it’s just District 5 today.

District 5 has not had a real voice on the county commission for ten years.  And that has hurt the community.  Badly.  Key Largo citizens unjustifiably pay more for their sewer system than their neighbors in the other unincorporated areas, and Sylvia Murphy could not care less.  Because of the swap agreement that situation may finally be partially resolved.  But it’s taken far too long and it’s still far from certain. Continue reading

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Neugent Facing Sanctions for Ethics Violations

handcuffs-354042__180Wow!  Incredible news from the Blue Paper.  The Florida Commission on Ethics (Commission) found county commissioner, George Neugent, violated ethics laws.  It’s not incredible to me that Neugent would violate ethics laws.  It’s incredible that he actually might face consequences for it.

I’ve said it before.  I believe that Neugent is the “least bad” of all the county commissioners.  It’s not saying much.  Sadly.  But he, unlike any of the others at least played lip service to the notion of wastewater funding equity.

I think the county, Neugent included, was certainly up to no good with the handling of the Stand Up for Animals (SUFA) situation.  But none of those charges stuck.  In the county’s press release, Neugent accepts responsibility for some “sloppy paperwork”.  But what is the nature of that sloppy paperwork? Continue reading

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