It’s Blue Paper Friday again! Some good articles as usual.
Florida Keys Stewardship Act
Most important to me is the story about the Florida Keys Stewardship Act. It’s a run down of supportive comments from representatives of various government entities. The Stewardship Act definitely has the potential to be a great thing for the Keys. A dedicated revenue stream allows for better financial planning and less risk. For that reason, I believe it can bring the cost of future projects down. If it can finally provide financial relief for Key Largo, that makes it even better. But that’s very unclear at this point.
We have to hope that Monroe County won’t interfere in a negative and destructive way. Unfortunately, they have a history of such behavior. I documented some of that here and here. There are more watchful eyes these days, so I doubt they’ll get the opportunity. But if they do, they’ll certainly take it. A leopard doesn’t change its spots.
They also published my letter to the editor, which I very much appreciate. It’s about Sylvia Murphy’s word salad. People need to know what’s going on with these county commissioners and what they’re really all about. Murphy has been a disastrously ineffective advocate for District 5 and the Florida Keys in general. Even worse, she is incapable of speaking honestly on the subject of wastewater and is dismissive of her constituents concerns.
I understand that wastewater isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it is the largest infrastructure project in the Keys. It is Murphy’s duty to make sure she is well-informed on the subject – especially in terms of how it impacts her constituents. At the very least, Murphy’s statements to the Free Press are unsupported by the facts. At worst, they are intentionally dishonest. More here and here.
Hopefully the 2016 election will bring an honest, competent leader who cares about the issues. This will not only be good for District 5 but for all of the Keys. Certainly, significant improvements could be made in District 1 and District 3 as well. But so far those incumbents are running unopposed. Remember, of all five these two commissioners are most responsible for blindly spending us into oblivion on the Cudjoe Regional project.
There’s also a nice profile of Sam Kaufman, Key West’s newest city council member. It sounds like he has his head on straight. Time will tell. People may wonder why I’d care about a city councilman from Key West. How does this effect Key Largo?
Keep in mind, that the Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District (District) has secured state and federal funding with the cooperation of other government entities. Monroe County attempts to take credit for a lot of this, but the truth is they’ve done much more to hurt than help. However, the District has partnered successfully with the City of Key West, the City of Marathon, and particularly with the Village of Islamorada.
Besides, I couldn’t agree more with Kaufman’s message:
“Why isn’t it reasonable to assume that city staff can get the work done within existing budgets?”.
That actually is very reasonable, of course. But it’s worth noting that it’s not always the staff. The Cudjoe Regional project is a great example of this. It was the county commission that aggressively and foolishly drove the cost up. Their noodle-spined staff certainly didn’t do much to talk them out of it, but at the end of the day it was the county commission that drove the excessive over-spending.
Mr. Kaufman ought to keep that mind.