Great Editorial About Key Largo Fire and Rescue

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Update:  I added a graphic below.

There’s no question that recent events have showcased the dedication and competence of Key Largo Fire and Rescue.  This terrific editorial in the Reporter/Keynoter really says it all.

After rightfully singing the praises of the department, the editorial says this. Continue reading

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What Happened to the Strategic Planning Department?

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How did we lose a whole dang department?

Hey, remember when Kevin Madok was running against Ron Saunders for Monroe County Clerk?  Remember this exchange from Hometown Key West’s candidate forum? Continue reading

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Oceanside/Ocean’s Edge – Lining Up Our Tools

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Let’s get ready to do more digging.

My least favorite part of any project is jumping through Planning Department hoops.  Even so, I understand the need for it.  The rules are there for a reason.

The Key Largo Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant project went through the whole planning review process.  We saved trees.  We moved snails from tree to tree by hand.  We put them in little paper cups stapled to trees and made sure they were pointed in the right direction.  (Apparently, it takes a snail a really long time to turn around, so you have to get that right.)  We did it all.  With the county hindering us every step of the way.

Like I said, I’m okay with rules.  But I’m not okay with obstructionism, goalpost moving, and impossible demands.  Especially coming from people who have no idea what the heck a wastewater treatment plant is even supposed to look like.  And, even worse, don’t care.  The Planning Department wanted the District to plant trees on top of pipes.  And put in loopy driveways so a sludge truck couldn’t possibly turn around.  I guess the sludge is just supposed to stay on site forever?  Or be carried out in buckets?  County planning officials also wanted to route increased truck traffic right past a school bus stop.  Zero regard for safety, cleanliness, or common sense.  I can’t tell you how many hours I logged on pointless arguments with arrogant county bureaucrats who don’t give a damn about the community.

And yet…when a developer wants to come in and build a 175-room hotel, the project sails right on through.  As if there’s no affordable housing CRISIS!  As if there’s plenty of working waterfront.  As if locals don’t need or deserve access to the water.  So what the hell happened?  Why make a beneficial project an onerous slog, while allowing yet another unnecessary and burdensome hotel to gobble up scarce real estate? Continue reading

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Oceanside/Ocean’s Edge – Sender Sites

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The map above shows the locations of the receiver sites and sender sites for the Ocean’s Edge project.  A detailed map of the receiver site is below, and a brief discussion can be found here. Continue reading

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Oceanside/Ocean’s Edge – Getting My Bearings

magnifying-glass-1607160__480Understanding this Oceanside/Ocean’s Edge situation is really important I think.  Lots of moving parts, lots of players.  As discussed in the Land Scarcity Chessboard posts (here, here, here and here), there’s only a finite amount of land that can be developed, and many competing demands. Continue reading

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Oceanside/Ocean’s Edge – Document Tracking

directory-1187128_1280I don’t know much about Monroe County’s Land Use regulations.  Never really wanted to know to tell you the truth.  But the Oceanside/Ocean’s Edge situation has a scandalous tinge to it.  So I’m digging into the documents and trying to educate myself.

You see, Keys politicians have declared that we are in the midst of an affordable housing CRISIS!!!  Yet somehow Ocean’s Edge, a self-described development of 175-guest rooms and suites, has recently been completed in Stock Island.  I don’t understand how approval of this development is consistent with resolving the CRISIS!!!  But I’d like to.  The Blue Paper has done a great job tracking this issue, but even with their straightforward reporting I’m still having trouble following.

I started putting together this tracking spreadsheet with hyperlinks to the documents, which can be found on the Clerk’s website.

Next step is putting together a map.  (I love maps!)  What’s especially interesting is the role of the Hickory House in all the Ocean’s Edge shenanigans.  As you might recall, the Hickory House was proposed as a possible site for a community center serving Stock Island.  The BOCC preferred instead to build a $5 million Taj-Mahal at Bernstein Park despite concerns over the cost and the loss of green space.  They sold the Hickory House to Pritam Singh for a $1.1 million loss after rejecting offers from several other buyers.  (Probably another worthy research project.)

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Keys Media Comparison – Lockouts

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Update 2:  Here’s a press release from Ocean’s Edge about Ocean’s Edge.  The development is described as having 175 guest rooms and suites.  I’m having trouble squaring this with the affordable housing “crisis”.  Anyone else?

Update:  Here’s the latest from the Citizen.  The county commission decided not to investigate.  Shocker.  The good news is that State Attorney Dennis Ward attended the meeting, and asked county staff to provide a report on the project.  Perhaps there will be an investigation after all.

Once you see something, it’s  hard to unsee it.  Such is the case with Keys media weirdness.  I mostly comment on obvious, in-your-face falsehoods (Madok’s CPA license) or massive ball drops (Toppino’s conflicts of interest).  But there are other less dramatic instances of fact-skewing or spin that I notice, too.

I saw two in the online version of the Citizen today.  One is about “land use” issues.  The other is about Mayor Cates’s voting record. Continue reading

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Fighting City Hall

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Background on this accurate but gag-worthy image can be found here.

There are a lot of parallels between what’s going on at the national level right now and what’s been going on in Monroe County for decades.  The Trump administration has ushered in an era of “fake news” and “alternative facts”.  People are justifiably horrified.  Sales of George Orwell’s “1984” are booming.  For people in the Keys, this is just the same old, same old.  Their local governments have pushed “fake news” and “alternative facts” since time began. Continue reading

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Cross Key Letter

writing-1149962__480I saw this thoughtful letter by Howard Gelbman in the Free Press about the Cross Key/Monroe Park situation.  It’s an open letter to Governor Rick Scott.  Scott hasn’t been terribly sympathetic to the Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District (District) or to Keys citizens who would like to reform their own local government.  Unfortunately, I don’t think Mr. Gelbman will get much traction, but it can’t hurt for him to try.  Let’s take a look at his letter anyway. Continue reading

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Change at the District – Looking Ahead

career-479578__480The Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District board declined to renew the general manager’s contract last Tuesday.  There’s an article about it in the Keynoter/Reporter.  Nothing in the sad, old Free Press.  I guess we won’t hear from them until next Wednesday.  Maybe someone should tell them about this new-fangled invention called the “internet“.  They can write their articles right after something newsworthy happens and then publish them right away.  Mind-blowing concept.  Right up there with fact-checking. Continue reading

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