Weird Politics

surprised_faceAlabama, I owe you an apology.  I just assumed you were going to send a child molester to the United States senate.  I didn’t even pay much attention to all the analysis and debate.  I figured it was pointless because the race was already decided.  But you surprised me.

I’m sorry I thought so poorly of you.

Sure, Doug Jones’s victory is a win for Democrats, but way more importantly it’s a win for decency.  Thanks, Alabama, for taking off the partisan blinders and doing the right thing.

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Hurricane Debris Staging Areas

 

Hurricane debris is still a major issue in the Florida Keys.  The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) held a special meeting on November 29, which was attended by an angry mob.  If you weren’t there, watch the video!  Heather Carruthers pretended to almost fake-cry.

I asked Kevin Wilson, Assistant Monroe County Administrator, to provide the locations of the debris storage sites.  Here’s a link to that.

I took the list and mapped it as best I could.  Be warned – it’s a work in progress.  One major open outstanding item is to figure out which sites are still in use.  Kevin partially answered that question.  See here.

 

Posted in BOCC, Hurricane Irma, Monroe County | 2 Comments

FKSPCA Tax Returns

road-sign-63983_1280The Florida Keys Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (FKSPCA) just received a humongous windfall from the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) courtesy of the taxpayers.  Since these folks are so eager to dig around in our pockets, I think it’s only fair to dig around in theirs, too.

Courtesy of Guidestar.org, here are FKSPCA’s tax returns for 2013, 2014 and 2015.  A while back, I took a look at their 2013 tax return as compared to SHARK and HACC, the two other animal shelter operators in the Keys at the time.  FKSPCA actually compared favorably to the other two, but that’s not saying much.  Continue reading

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Animal Control RFP – Many Questions

banner-1090830__480What would the result of a fraudulent, corrupt competitive bidding process look like?

  • Would you get multiple qualified bidders or only one?
  • Would you get a fair price for services or an inflated one?  Say 70% higher than what you’re currently paying?

If the winner has already been predetermined, how might you ensure the desired outcome while trying to give the impression that the process is open and competitive? Continue reading

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Animal Control Update – RFP Failure

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Update 2:  The response from the state attorney’s office was even more underwhelming than I anticipated (and my expectations were really low, I promise).  They basically parroted back Bob Shillinger’s weak response.  No wonder the county feels free to screw our eyeballs out.

Update:  I can’t leave this one alone.  I sent an email to Kevin Wilson and Bob Shillinger regarding another matter and asked about this situation.  Here’s that dialog so far.  I also submitted a complaint to the state attorney’s office.  I doubt anything will ever come of that, but it sure would be nice to have somebody look into this.  It’s shady as hell.

Shillinger tried to make the argument that by posting the RFP on Demandstar, the county reached plenty of bidders.  But notice the plan holder list submitted above.  Only one was a shelter operator.  The rest were construction-related outfits.  The county obviously did not reach the right audience.

Shillinger also fails to address the end result of the county’s failed RFP process.   They only got one bid.  It came from the current operator, and it was 70% higher than the current price.  The contract was awarded anyway.  That alone is extremely questionable.  Add in the county’s past conduct when it comes to the animal shelters plus the ongoing ethics violations scandal and it becomes really hard to believe that this was a legitimate competitive bidding process.

End of update.

Ugh.  The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) is just so buffoonish and incompetent.  It’s very, very annoying to me.  I’m so glad they’ve all been nabbed for ethics violations.  It’s so well deserved.

The county advertised a Request for Proposal (RFP) to run the Marathon animal shelter.  They placed ads only in local newspapers.

Only one bidder responded, the Florida Keys Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (FKSPCA).  They are currently running the Marathon shelter for $249,000 per year.  This RFP gave the FKSPCA the opportunity to up their price by $175,000 per year.  That’s a 70% increase.  I’d love a 70% raise, wouldn’t you? Continue reading

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Lower Keys – Local Oversight Needed

Meet_the_parentsUpdate 2:  A thought.  If all you do all day is figure out how to game the system to benefit yourself, then how in the world will you know how to step up for the community when it really matters?  There’s a reason the county can’t get it together.  Just sayin’.

Update:  I saw this and this in the Citizen about hurricane debris removal.  Ugh.  It’s long past time these areas incorporated.

Rick Boettger is continuing his series about the shady shenanigans of Monroe County commissioners over at the Blue Paper.  Last week he shared the wonderful news that he intends to run for George Neugent’s seat on the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).  Boettger is one of the few who can see through the BOCC’s nonsense and expose it for what it really is.  On top of that he’s managed to extract some measure of accountability by successfully filing ethics complaints.  His skills would be invaluable to all Keys citizens.

Even one competent, capable, non-corrupt county commissioner would be a major improvement over what the Keys has now, but I think a lot more needs to be done.

Continue reading

Posted in BOCC, Bubba System, Monroe County | 2 Comments

Cujoe Regional Field Report

deceive-1299043__340It’s challenging to tease out the facts about the performance of the Cudjoe Regional sewer system during and after Hurricane Irma.  Here is an example of two contradictory reports in the Key West Citizen.  Unfortunately, the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) tends to lie and the Citizen tends to enable them.  So how do we get down to the facts?  Well, we have to rely on field reports from the people affected.

Here’s a good one that landed in my inbox.  It was also published over at www.bigpinekey.com. Continue reading

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Creeping On – Ethics Violations in the Media

Update3:  Goodhue’s article is back.  Maybe its temporary disappearance was just a glitch?

Update2:  Hmmm…when I went to check back on the Reporter/Keynoter story all I found was a dead link.  I had a feeling the piece might disappear and/or get a make-under so I saved it for posterity.  (Besides, I realized I forgot to include a link the first time around.)  Here’s the original in all its one-sided glory.  It’ll be interesting to see what, if anything, takes its place.  Also, Rick Boettger has an update in today’s Blue Paper.  The hearing went smoothly and the fines were imposed.

Update:  If you want an adult take on the ethics violation scandal, here’s a story by Tim O’Hara from the Citizen.  Yes, the Citizen is the adult in the room this time around.  It’s astonishing. 

Speaking of adults and astonishment, Rice responded by saying:

“I made a mistake,” Commissioner David Rice said. “I’m not perfect. I will pay whatever they fine me.”

Wow.  Facing responsibility and accepting consequences.  That’s new and different for a county commissioner.  My guess is he knows when he’s busted and doesn’t see the sense in making it worse.  Smart.

End of update.

So after my nasty-gram, the Keynoter/Reporter published a story about how four county commissioners got busted for ethics violations.  It’s heavily slanted, unfortunately.  But that’s to be expected I suppose.  It’s the way of things in the Keys.

The excuses are flying fast and thick.  Whatever the commissioners may lack in mathematical ability and common sense, they more than make up for with their incredible excuse-making talents.  Sadly, excuse-making doesn’t do much for the public.  It does plenty to the public, but it doesn’t do anything for the public.

Here’s the run-down. Continue reading

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Creeps Aplenty – More Ethics Violations

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Just follow the slime trail.

Loads more ethics violations for the county commissioners.  Looks like “Grinder-Pump-George” isn’t the only sleaze, or even the worst.  Outstanding work by Rick Boettger at the Blue Paper.

There’s a great song by Lyle Lovett, “Creeps Like Me”.  It runs through my head a lot when I think of the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), the iPhone Bandit, and all their squirmy little minions.  Here’s a few lines packed full of wisdom. Continue reading

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Affordable Housing Scam?

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Update:  County staff referred my questions to Manuel Castillo, the Executive Director of the Key West Housing Authority.  Apparently, the Key West Housing Authority (KWHA) manages public housing units owned by the county?  It’s reminiscent of the county’s “partnership” with the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA).  Remember that Frank Toppino, Richard Toppino’s daddy, serves on the KWHA board.  Anyhow here is Castillo’s response

There truly is an affordable housing crisis in the Keys, and Irma has made it even worse.  Monroe County has permitted many, many affordable housing projects in the Keys, but what happened to them all?  Where are they?  Are they still around?  Are they actually affordable?

And how many commercial permits, especially for hotels, have been permitted?  There was a moratorium on new hotel rooms at one time.  It seems to have fallen by the wayside in the midst of the “crisis”. Continue reading

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