Comm. Murphy Responds

long-25529_1280Comm. Murphy actually responded to the email I sent yesterday.  Here it is in all its glory.

Your e-mail is so mixed up that there is no way I can answer. My statement “over a period of two or three years” has nothing to do with sewers, it had to do with spending money evenly thru-out the Keys and of course the real answer you want is to your question, “Why are the residents of Key Largo paying more than anyone else in the County and why don’t I do something about it”. Keep in mind that I live in this District that supposedly is paying way more than anyone else — so why am I so happy with my waste water bill and general service? Gee, darned if I know! Could it be that the facts just don’t back you up……….. And BTW, I’m delighted to have Robby as my opponent.

There’s a lot to unpack here.  I’ll have to break it up and take it in parts.

Your e-mail is so mixed up that there is no way I can answer.

I don’t know.  I thought it was pretty straightforward.  Plus I’m not exactly all over the place.  I’ve got a whole blog devoted to wastewater.  I’m nothing if not predictable.

My statement “over a period of two or three years” has nothing to do with sewers, it had to do with spending money evenly thru-out the Keys and of course the real answer you want is to your question, “Why are the residents of Key Largo paying more than anyone else in the County and why don’t I do something about it”

Mmmkay…that comment above was made in response to Majeska’s comments about wastewater funding.  So why on earth would I think she’s talking about wastewater?  I’m so silly.

Glad there’s a grand plan to make everything “Even-Steven” in two or three years.  Does the public get a chance to look at this plan?  Or will the county just announce one day that everything’s all fixed up and perfect?

And…um…yes, I would like to know why she hasn’t done anything about the funding disparity.  Her District is taking a big financial hit because of it.  I am very curious as to why she hasn’t been more responsive.  Dollar-wise wastewater is the biggest project to hit the Keys ever.  Why wouldn’t it be a top priority?

Keep in mind that I live in this District that supposedly is paying way more than anyone else — so why am I so happy with my waste water bill and general service?

I’m glad she’s happy with her general service.  I’m glad she’s happy with her bill.  As I mentioned here, single family homeowners in Key Largo actually do pay a lower monthly wastewater bill.  Unfortunately, many other customers do not – and those other customers make up about 40% of Key Largo.  We’re talking about the business community – you know, the folks who generate all that sales tax money the county loves to spend.  Maybe she should care about them, too?

Murphy does pay a higher assessment, and she does pay for the project out of rates.  Overall she, like her constituents, will pay more for the sewer project.  She may not care, but plenty of her constituents do.  Isn’t it her job to help them out?

Gee, darned if I know! Could it be that the facts just don’t back you up………..

Sigh.  Yes, the available facts back me up.  See here and here for starters.  If she thinks my facts are incorrect, perhaps she could provide the latest and greatest to set me straight.  All she has to do is attach them to the email.  It’s easy.  People do it all the time.  She even has an assistant to help her out.

Needless to say, this is a terrible way to respond to a taxpayer’s concern.  The tone is unnecessarily condescending.  I’m sure my email is pretty tame compared to many others she gets.  It’s not exactly friendly, but I’m not telling her to jump off the Empire State building either.  I’m just asking her to clarify her statements and provide documents to back up the fact claims she made.  If she knows what she’s talking about, that should be very easy.

And BTW, I’m delighted to have Robby as my opponent.

Mmmmmkay…is that supposed to be a dig?  It came off as very sarcastic – as in “I can’t wait to kick Robby’s butt in the primary”.  Or maybe she’s just trying to be gracious.  It’s hard to tell with email sometimes.
maxresdefaultConfession time.  I used to think that people in Key Largo were apathetic.  Then I learned for myself what they have to deal with at the county level.  It’s exhausting.  The double talk.  The inconsistency.  The condescension.  The frantic hamster logic.  It just never stops.  Nothing is grounded in fact or reality.  It’s not just Murphy either.  This is typical of what I’ve seen from nearly all top county officials.  It’s an entrenched, wide-spread, longstanding problem.

Cudjoe Regional citizens bumped up against this, too.  But instead of giving up, they got mad.  Really mad.  Then they got results.  I don’t believe they ever got the full truth, but they did get results.

Key Largo’s got the truth.  What they need is results.  But they’re going to have to get mad, too.  Really, really mad.  Honestly, take a page out of Cudjoe Regional’s book.  The lesson there is that the county will crap all over you until you put up a fight and refuse to back down.

Of course, I wrote back.

Dear Sylvia;

The facts do back me up. Here is an analysis performed by the District last November. And here is an analysis of a report issued by your staff when they were attempting to make the claim that the District is “overfunded”. Unfortunately, your staff’s report was misleading and contained multiple errors.

You said yourself that Key Largo pays higher assessments. That is true. Key Largo received $100 million less from the infrastructure sales tax and serves the same number of EDU’s as the other projects combined. That number came from your staff’s report, which I linked to above. It is also corroborated by the Project History report, which was also assembled by your staff.

While the District has built a cost-effective project and has received some state and federal money, $100 million is a huge hurdle to overcome. From a common sense perspective, your claim that Key Largo pays the same makes no sense.

If you have documentation that supports your claims, please provide it. Right now there is nothing that I’m aware of that does. There’s been nothing on any BOCC agenda. There’s nothing on the county’s website. There’s been nothing in the newspaper.

The voters and the taxpayers deserve much better than a handful of unsupported assertions. That didn’t work out so well in Cudjoe Regional. One of these days it will stop working in Key Largo, too.

I look forward to all those facts you’re going to send me. Perhaps then my emails won’t be so “mixed up”. Please be aware that I will verify whatever documents you send. And that I will share this correspondence on my blog.

Thanks,

Margaret

So there you have it.  Commissioner Murphy is happy with her sewer bill and if you’re not, then too bad.  In two or three years it’ll all be squared up somehow that has nothing to do with sewer.  No, she will not explain how all that will work.  Just accept it at face value.

Let’s say I’m totally wrong.  Let’s say the reports I’m relying on are completely incorrect.  Let’s say that the District, their accounting firm and Monroe County staff are all mistaken and have been for years.  Send me the information that sets it all straight.  I’ve asked the county repeatedly.  All I got was the “Craptacular” spreadsheet and the “Overfunded” thing.

They also told me the $100 million wastewater funding disparity is justified because Key Largo gets other huge benefits from the sales tax.  That did not hold up to fact-checking either.  If the county has really got the information to prove their case, then why not make it public?  I could retire from blogging just in time for ski season!  Win-win.

So here’s the big question:

  • If Murphy is not willing to clearly explain her position,
  • If she is not willing to back it up with verifiable facts,
  • If she’s not willing to look at the needs of all her constituents (including the business community),

Then how can she represent District 5 effectively?  If she cannot represent District 5 effectively, then how can she represent all of Monroe County effectively?

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