County Games

cube-2038343__480Saw this item in the Citizen.

Supposedly, the county is purchasing property to preserve working waterfront.  From the Citizen…

The goal of the project is to help preserve commercial fishing on Stock Island, a community that is facing tremendous development pressure from Pritam Singh, Roger Bernstein and other land owners wanting to develop their land into high-priced resorts catering to yacht owners and other high-end visitors.

Hmmm…well,  needless to  say, I’m skeptical.  After all, the county tripped all over themselves to sell the Hickory House to Pritam Singh for a $1 million loss.

All this “confusion” reminds me of something George Orwell once said…

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.

Orwell was talking about convoluted and contradictory statements, but I think this quote could also apply to stated aims versus actual outcomes – like Ocean’s Edge.  It’s always worth remembering that the Citizen is not a real newspaper (not in my opinion anyhow).  It’s a mouthpiece for dishonest public officials who want to cover their asses or amplify misinformation.

Bottom line…if this purchase is really about protecting the working waterfront, we’ll see it in the end result.  If it’s just another way to skirt the rules and/or enrich a private entity with public money, that’ll show in the end result, too.  Of course, the county might actually come through on this one because…

  1. They’re suffering a black eye from the Ocean’s Edge debacle.  They need something to actually go “right” as far as the public is concerned.
  2. They’ve got a state grant, which theoretically means adult supervision, although we certainly can’t count on that.

The BOCC likes to play this game where they pretend that developers like Pritam Singh are the “bad” guys.  Even as their own supposed bungling allows those “bad guys” to skirt the rules.

As I’ve said before, developers provide a needed service and they do it at significant financial risk.  They provide communities with places to live, work, play, etc.  But they have to play within the rules, and they are very aware of those rules.  It’s up to local governments to keep them in check and ensure outcomes that line up with needs of the community.  It’s not the Pritam Singh’s of the world that are failing the Keys community.  It’s the BOCC and Monroe County staff who fail us over and over and over again.

If Singh or Bernstein or any other “bad guy” developer vanished tomorrow, there’d be ten more lining up to take their place.  And the county would be equally as ineffective at dealing with them.  We don’t know right now whether that’s because of collusion or incompetence or both.  But the state attorney has expressed an interest in possibly sorting it out when it comes to Ocean’s Edge.

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