Another Hometown Key West Candidate Forum


Decisions, decsions.

I finally got around to watching the Hometown Key West candidate forum from September 26.  (Sorry.  I’m a slow poke.)  Of course, I’m focused on the clerk’s race.  I think that’s a very important one.  On her watch, Amy Heavilin, corrected improperly recorded transactions having to do with the wastewater projects.  She also conducted an audit that found several county officials had misused their purchasing cards.  Unfortunately, Heavilin lost the primary on August 30, and is now facing a county-initiated investigation.  I’m sure the county was none too pleased with Heavilin’s fact-finding.  The voters choice in the general election is Republican Kevin Madok or Democrat Ron Saunders.

For me, Madok is an extremely problematic candidate. Continue reading

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Young Bubbas Running Amok

alcohol-428392_1280There’s this story about Robert Bethel getting into trouble for DUI…again.  He’s the son of Harry Bethel, former Key West city commissioner.  Harry Bethel was also a long-time Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) employee.  He apparently got his son in there, too.

This makes me a little sad to be honest.  I spoke to Robert a couple of times when I needed some GIS data from the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA).  I remember him being helpful and nice.  It doesn’t sound like he’s doing too well.  All that coddling really isn’t healthy.  Finally facing some consequences – the kind faced by non-bubbas – might actually be a good thing.

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Beauties and the Beast

So I was scrubbing my toilet and cleaning out the cat box  today, and for some reason it made me think about the events of this past Friday.  We’re all aware by now of Trump’s icky comments regarding the unwanted grabbing of women’s body parts.  He’s all for it and feels he can get away with it because he’s a “star”.  Ewww.

Anyhow, two of the targets of this…er…”locker room banter” have spoken up.  And have done a fantastic job.

Nancy O’Dell:

“Politics aside, I’m saddened that these comments still exist in our society at all. When I heard the comments yesterday, it was disappointing to hear such objectification of women. The conversation needs to change because no female, no person, should be the subject of such crass comments, whether or not cameras are rolling. Everyone deserves respect no matter the setting or gender. As a woman who has worked very hard to establish her career, and as a mom, I feel I must speak out with the hope that as a society we will always strive to be better.”

Arianne Zucker:

“I am a strong, independent, hard working mother, business woman and partner to a great man,” she wrote. “I have grown to learn that the words of others cannot effect the value of my self worth or define the content of my character. How we treat one another, whether behind closed doors, locker rooms or face to face, should be done with kindness, dignity and respect. Unfortunately, there are too many people in power who abuse their position and disregard these simple principles and are rewarded for it. In understanding the magnitude of this situation, I choose to stand tall with self respect and use my voice to enrich, inspire and elevate the best of who we are as people.”

Trump tried to explain away the exchange as “locker room banter” but several professional athletes are having none of it.

Terrific responses all around.  Thanks to these two ladies for handling the situation with such courage and dignity.  Thanks to the athletes for reminding us that most guys do not think like Trump, and are in fact repulsed by his behavior.

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Neugent to Accept “Censure and Reprimand”

gavelUpdated to add thoughts regarding the statute governing ethics violations and the statute governing criminal violations.

According to this item in the Blue Paper, county commissioner George Neugent is going to accept the findings of the Florida Commission on Ethics (FCOE).  He apparently failed to disclose a free country club membership and he failed to provide adequate information on his financial disclosure forms.

FCOE didn’t find any evidence that Neugent misused his position regarding the Stand Up for Animals (SUFA) matter.  But it appears that few if any public officials are ever sanctioned for misuse of position.  Rick Boettger, who filed the ethics complaint and who has been following the SUFA situation closely from the beginning is digging into the FCOE’s handling of such complaints. Continue reading

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Finally – A Response


Paying double for fire service?

The county finally answered my public records request about fire and emergency vehicles.  It took them three weeks from beginning to end.  I submitted my first request on September 10.  I got the information on October 3.  What’s interesting is that the county had a quick response when shooting down the Key Largo Fire and Emergency Rescue District’s (KLFREMS) request.  Yet it took them three weeks to respond to my inquiry.  Clearly, the information I requested was easily accessible.  So why did it take three weeks?

Here’s a link to the updated email chain.  And here’s a link to the attached document, the latest project history report. Continue reading

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Letters – Cudjoe Lawsuit and Canals

truth-257159__340It’s well-known that the Cudjoe Regional sewer project is a train-wreck.  It’s been mismanaged from top to bottom by Monroe County and their “partner”, the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA).  Not only is it needlessly expensive and $49 million over budget, but it’s also been the subject of many lawsuits.  There’s a good letter to the editor on the Citizen’s website about the latest one.

In the last few weeks, I have read several newspaper articles that included quotes and heard a radio interview with Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority’s Executive Director Kirk Zuelch that were fraught with misinformation.

Well, that’s par for the course.  It is very rare that Keys media actually checks into what they’re told by the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA). Continue reading

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Problematic Editorial From Reporter/Keynoter

baseball-1487699__340You don’t hit a home run every time you’re at bat that’s for sure.  The Reporter published an editorial with their recommendations for the November 8 election.  Not their best work.

They recommended Sue Heim and Steve Gibbs for the Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District (District) board.  I can get behind Sue Heim.  She’s involved.  She’s knowledgeable.  She cares.  She’s not afraid to ask questions and speak her mind.  She’s got the potential to be a good commissioner.

Unfortunately, I have to disagree with their recommendation of Steve Gibbs.  I think Steve is a decent enough person, but he’s wandered off into the wilderness lately.  Here’s how the editorial characterized Gibbs’s outlook on his role as a board member. Continue reading

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