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Amigo Jerry Weinstock, M.D., Psychiatry, Ocean and Mother Nature lover and activist, wrote yesterday:
SLOAN: the technology exists to turn sewage human waste into drinking water;
I have seen the plant at lake Tahoe —and drunk the water —excellent….
this is important –it takes will and priorities –and a sense of morality.
wow are we lacking much of that—the people that think like that generally
treat all other people with empathy and humanly. –we have so much hubris
like an attorney I can think of that would destroy completely our ocean and its resources.
What kind of monsters reside next to us in Key West—-sincerely –Jerry
Hi, Jerry – yep.
Several times during the 2007 KW mayor’s race, I promoted further treating KW’s treated waste water, so it was safe to drink. I cited a city in California, where it was dry, which was doing that – pot to tap, it’s called. The idea went nowhere, as I had anticipated. I brought the idea up from time to time thereafter, with same outcome. And, I suggested using what now is being injected into a deep well, or at least part of it, for irrigating city parks, trees, shrubs, etc. Same outcome.
All the going green talk in Key West, and the city is pumping into deep injection wells how many millions of gallons of treated waste water, which originally came from south Florida aquifers and Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority’s desalination plant in Florida City, and was pumped down here through the aqueduct?
All the going green talk in Key West, and the city will not let people plaster their roof tops and yards with solar panels. All the talk about going green down here, and, instead of composting all of the city’s plant waste, the city pays Waste Management to haul it to the mainland, where, I think, Waste Management composts and sells it. Instead of incinerating its garbage locally, Key West pays Waste Management to haul it to landfills in south Florida.
The only green thing I see the city doing, and it’s still got a long ways to go, is the city’s deal with Waste Management to recycle paper, glass and plastic waste, etc. The least green, unless you view it for what it is, thing the city does is receive cruise ships, which happily jettison their sewerage and food wastes and, I imagine, their garbage into the sea outside the 3-mile limit.
Next time I hear Mayor Cates campaign about him being green, maybe I throw a water balloon at him filled with green paint
During the 2007 mayor campaign, at a candidate forum in Tropic Cinema, I asked Mayor Morgan McPherson when the city was going to do something about the toxic waste water cruise ships were dumping into the ocean? Morgan replied, he been taken on a tour of a cruise ship, shown its waste water treatment plant, was told the treated water was good enough to drink, but he didn’t try it. I sat beside him, slowly shaking my head. The audience saw me do that, but did they take it to mean I was saying Morgan was lying, full of shit, out to lunch?
The other day, someone I had only just met asked me what I do? I paused, said, I’m a professional pisser offer of other people. The person chucked, asked how that paid? Not much, I said. The person chuckled again.
Twice in Sippin’ Internet Cafe this week, I was asked if I’m going to run for office in 2016? I said I was running, away. I had dreams after that, which left me feeling the angels were laughing, and not happy also, about my reply to those two inquiries.
One of the people wanted to know if I was I going to run for Sheriff? I nearly fainted. I was working on my author’s manuscript, which, if it gets made into a book, won’t make the Sheriff’s day, nor the Sheriff’s father’s day, nor quite a few other people around Marathon and elsewhere’s day.
The smart author sold his home and moved out of the Keys just recently, and is traveling USA in a camper. The stupid editor of the author’s manuscript is still here, easy to find.
After paying me about 1/3 of what he offered to pay me, which was fair for the amount of work I had done, the author fired me over feedback I gave him about his letting two known crazy, dangerous pilots fly the author’s biplane with paying passengers on board, both of which flights ended with crashes and, miraculously, no one being hurt; and over what I had been told in my sleep about ETs abducting one of the two crazy, dangerous pilots and that caused his crash. Even so, I told the author I would continue working on his manuscript until I had it in what I felt was fairly decent shape. I sent him this email yesterday containing the entire manuscript:
Subject: A fairly well edited manuscript, Boy Scouts are Dead?
PAUL, HEARD FROM GARY LEE [not KWPD Officer Gary Lee Lovette, who led the charge to kill Charles Eimers] THAT YOU ARE OFF AND TRAVELING, HOPE THAT’S GOING WELL FOR YOU.
I WENT THROUGH YOUR MANUSCRIPT 6 OR 7 TIMES. IF THIS WERE MY BOOK, I WOULD GO THROUGH IT 2 MORE TIMES. I KNOW I HAVE NOT YET CAUGHT ALL OF THE SMALL GLITCHES.
I DON’T HAVE A PRINTER, SO I CANNOT PRINT OUT THE MANUSCRIPT.
THE FINAL PRINTED MANUSCRIPT AND THE ELECTRONIC FILE ON A THUMB DRIVE OR CD CAN BE DELIVERED TO A DESKTOP PUBLISHER, TO BE FORMATTED INTO “BOARDS”, A BOOK LAYOUT, READY FOR A PUBLISHER TO PRINT, BIND, ETC., AND TO MAKE INTO A KINDLE BOOK.
I’M HAVING TROUBLE FIGURING OUT HOW TO SEND THIS FILE TO YOU BY ATTACHMENT, WHICH YOU, OR SOMEONE ELSE, CAN OPEN AND USE. I SEEM TO BE ABLE TO COPY AND PASTE THE ENTIRE MANUSCRIPT INTO THE BODY OF AN EMAIL, AND I SEEM TO BE ABLE TO PUT IT ON A THUMB DRIVE.
TO COPY THIS EMAIL CONTAINING THE FAIRLY WELL EDITED MANUSCRIPT, ENTER FORWARD, LIKE YOU ARE SENDING THIS EMAIL TO YOURSELF, THEN HOLD DOWN THE CTRL AND THE A KEYS AT THE SAME TIME, WHICH WILL SELECT THE ENTIRE DOCUMENT. THEN USE ONE OF VARIOUS METHODS TO ENTER “COPY”, AND YOU HAVE THE FORWARD IN MEMORY IN YOUR COMPUTER, AND YOU CAN PASTE THE FORWARD INTO A WORD FILE, AN EMAIL, A THUMB DRIVE FILE, ETC.
MY EDITORIAL QUESTIONS AND SUGGESTIONS IN THE MANUSCRIPT ARE IN CAPS, LIKE THIS NOTE. THERE IS AN EDITOR’S POSTSCRIPT AT THE END, WHICH IS PART OF THE STORY, BUT IT’S UP TO YOU TO INCLUDE IT IN THE BOOK.
BEST REGARDS, HAPPY TRAVELS, GREAT BOOK SALES, EVEN BETTER MOVIE BOX OFFICE SALES
SLOAN, MAY 1, 2015, email@example.com, (305) 407-4285
Here’s the “editor’s preface” I suggested for the book:
BOY SCOUTS ARE DEAD
When Paul Goodwin first contacted me in Key West and started telling me bits and pieces of his wild adventures up around Marathon, which lies just above Seven Mile Bridge, it never dawned on me that I would get personally involved in those adventures. Yet, that’s what happened.
Why not? I was a published author of maybe 20 books, and was publishing daily ravings at my local website, not entirely to the pleasure of probably any elected official in the Florida Keys. I was an ex-practicing lawyer from Alabama, still trying to quit practicing law. I didn’t believe in coincidences. I didn’t hear a story from Paul, and say, no way that could have happened! Indeed, his stories were so Florida Keys that I would not dare say, no way that could have happened!
You see, three times I ran for the county commission in the Florida Keys, one time I ran for the school board, and four times I ran for mayor of Key West. And once I campaigned really hard for a friend to become our next state attorney, which he did. State attorney is like district attorney, the head criminal prosecutor. That same year, I campaigned hard for another friend to be our next sheriff, which she didn’t get, but, boy, did she cause a great stirring and commotioning in the sheriff quarters. So I kinda know how things go down here in paradise pretend.
And, back when I practiced law, I had tried a complicated airplane crash case in federal court, which had learned me a thing or two about bad pilots, air traffic controllers, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which investigates airplane crashes.
And, after graduating from the University of Alabama School of Law, I had clerked for a federal judge in Birmingham, who presided over all federal criminal prosecutions in the United State District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. I watched a heap of criminal trials defended by top-notch defense lawyers and prosecuted by top-notch US Attorneys. I sat in my judge’s chambers with the lawyers, as they talked about stuff in private, which the jury would never hear, nor the newspapers.
I also saw in action heaps of darn good trial lawyers in civil litigation, defense and plaintiff lawyers. Although I was not in those lawyers’ league, nor in the criminal defense lawyers and the US Attorneys’ league, I knew what good lawyers, judges, FBI agents and US Marshalls did in Birmingham and north Alabama. I can’t say I found the same standard of jurisprudence and law enforcement in the Florida Keys.
When Paul and I first connected, he was blasting the Internet with snippets of his adventures, mostly on Facebook. I told him to stop doing that, and to simply write it down, starting at the beginning, and tell it like a dunce ought to be able to understand it. Ought. So, Paul started writing. Then, he asked me if I would edit the manuscript? He would pay me. A novel thought, getting paid for doing something – novel to me. I said I probably could do it, after writing about 20 books, and being edited by very good editors in publishing firms, and by a desktop publisher later, after my own books went so far off the human chart that I had to self-publish them, or let them die.
As I read Paul’s manuscript, I saw a lot of railing and preaching, mixed in with a lot of gripping, educational, hilarious, maddening reports. He kept shifting from past to present tense, and from present tense back to past tense. I felt a New York publishing house editor would basically rewrite Paul’s book, so it didn’t sound much, if at all, like Paul’s voice. Sort of like, hmmm, a New York publishing house’s editor might like to edit an Alabama redneck’s report on snake handling churches in tucked away backwoods places, and snagging big catfish barehanded out from under river banks, and getting drunk sitting on a tail gate before the Iron Bowl, where Auburn and Alabama go at it each late November on the gridiron.
No, I wasn’t gonna make Paul sound like somebody I didn’t know. I was gonna let him tell it his way, in his voice, and I wuz gonna fix the grammar and sentence structure a bit, where it needed some band-aiding, and I wuz gonna tighten the story up here and there, where it was too loosely goosey, so any dunce ought to be able to understand it. And, I recommended creating an APPENDIX for the Marc Hightower “mahogany alarm clock miracle” tale from beyond belief, which followed Paul’s first chapter in the manuscript, because Marc’s tale seemed mostly an entirely different affair. Mostly.
I told Paul, me once having been a lawyer, or so I claim, that I didn’t figure any publishing house would want to publish his book as he had wrote it, because the probable proximate result of the book being published that way was the publisher getting the shit sued out of it for libel (written defamation). Note, I said sued. I did not say successfully sued. You see, the truth is always a defense when you publish that some low down, worthless, lying, cheating, thieving, murderous skunk is a low down, worthless, lying, cheating, thieving, murderous skunk.
I told Paul, if he did get sued over his book, he didn’t need no lawyer to represent him. All he needed to do was answer the plaintiff’s complaint, in writing, in the court where it was filed, and to attach to his answer a Request for Production for of all of the skunks’ cell phone and land line records, and emails and Facebook and other social media stuff going back five years, so Paul could ascertain further the nature of the character of the skunks to prove the skunks should have sued them own selves for libel.
I also suggested an Author’s Preface, such as the one below, which I wrote to kick off the book and let it be told as Paul wrote it, and not as a New York publishing house editor would rewrite it and make Paul out to be somebody he ain’t. Given he was fond of redneck and dialect, and given he wrote, “The trouble ain’t that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain’t distributed right,” I don’t imagine Mark Twain would have much complaint with that approach. Or with my leaving mostly alone Paul’s not entirely Oxford-educated way of writing and expressing himself.
Populist might fit Paul getting up on his bandwagon at times in his tellings. I kinda have a feeling he says what lots of people without Oxford educations are thinking, or wish they were thinking, and wishing they could say it without getting red dots lasers make on persons in the crosshairs of high tech pistols and rifles familiar to snipers and SWAT teams.
Suggested Author’s Preface
Okay, since I’m the main minor player in this whacko true life report on bad pilots and bad, or badder, law enforcement officers, I’m going to provide a little foreplay, which, if you are into slam, bam, thank you m’am, you can skip over and K-Y Jelly yourself straight to the “Wrong Way Corrigan” (chapter 3), which is what spawned this entire maddening, outrageous, hilarious, orgasmic, aerobatic upchuck.
But not to worry. When required, I point you back to the foreplay, to fill in the back story, subtexts and undercurrents, and who I am and my pilot credentials, which you didn’t read all about because you were in such a big K-Y Jelly hurry. And, after the multiple main orgasms, you can read bits and pieces of the puzzle I didn’t know about during the multiple main orgasms. You might view that part of the book as the afterglow, interrupted from time to time by minor orgasms.
the man with a death wish, which means something to you, if you live in the Florida Keys, where people long before 9/11 and Homeland Security, have been known to just up and disappear without a trace, forever.
And here’s the editor’s postscript re ET abduction:
Editor’s postscript: After reading Marc Hightower’s tale several times, as reported by Paul Goodwin, I was told in my sleep one night, by a familiar voice, “MARC HIGHTOWER WAS ABDUCTED BY ALIENS.” I took that two ways. Way one, that’s what happened to Mark and to his passenger and Sweetie Pie Too, and that’s how come they all got back safely to the airfield, as aliens tend not to harm humans they abduct, but return them alive, with amnesia. Way two, the angels, who edit me ongoing, wanted Marc’s tale abducted from the front of the book, where it was stalling the the Splash tales, which were why Paul wrote the book in the first place. Marc’s part of the book, although interesting, was incidental to telling how Splash and his various evil empire confederates proved boy scouts are dead, if you really don’t believe in Luke Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobe, Yoda and the Force. Also, it might well be Marc’s prior difficulties in the air also were caused by his being abducted by aliens and resulting amnesia. Paul’s tale, and the sum of its parts, all happened on, or near, the edge of the Bermuda Triangle, which ain’t entirely science fiction.
On the current hot topic, in Key West, in today’s Key West Citizen (keysnews.com):
from “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Racial profiling exists, can be corrected in communities
There used to be a section in the Citizen for letters to the editor. My guess is, now that we have the Voice there are a lot less letters to the editor.
In this age of tweet and Instagram, we have learned to shorten our responses to issues with less characters. This means we do not give complete thoughts in our opinions. This is what prompted me to write this letter to the editor.
The Citizen printed a comment in the voice eluding to it being a fact that “black folks” are inherently bad.
The police target the black community, making it seem that crime is rampant and making it appear the people who live in these areas are criminal minded and are bad representatives of a people. It is obvious that the author is not black and does not live or frequent the neighborhood.
If, he/she did, they would have a different life experience and would not make that assumption.
This person would’ve known what it is like to have your family and friends stopped, searched and questioned with no probable cause. When you are the target of law enforcement you are more likely to have encounters. More encounters mean more opportunity for arrest and more chances for violence.
The police have an “us against them” posture from the beginning in certain areas. I have never heard of a sting being conducted in New Town. Only, Bahama Village and Stock Island are targeted for stings. In my experience being a black man in America I have been stopped many times and many of the encounters where unnecessary and clearly racial profiling.
When a cop pulls me over, in my mind this could be it. I could end up dead or in jail just because he thought I was about to do something or the officer is having a bad day. We have to teach our kids how to survive a police encounter.
If you are not black you will never know the feeling. I submit there is less crime and fewer criminals living in Bahama Village then in many other sections of Key West like Duval Street, Simonton Street, New Town and the graveyard but, there are no stings or random stop and search operations that target these neighborhoods.
How many undercover operations have you heard of in the Key West bars, hotels and restaurants? Understand the problem in Key West is the same problem all over America. We don’t know each other.
We believe what we have been told. Not what we have lived. This can be fixed.
All we need to do is: First, take the police out of the cars. Partner them up and have them walk a beat. Make sure they interact with the people who live in that neighborhood and we all must do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The golden rule applies.
Up Baltimore way, it’s quieter now, but this ex-lawyer also thinks the black prosecutor has a long, difficult row to hoe, because nobody seems to know, or is willing to tell, what happened inside the back of the police cruiser to cause the suspect’s death.
In the news
BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore’s top prosecutor acted swiftly in charging six officers in the death of Freddie Gray, who suffered a grave spinal injury as he was arrested and put into a police transport van, handcuffed and without a seat belt.
Back down Key West way, one of the usual suspects got nailed, again …
2009 candidate forum, left to right, mayor candidates Mike Mongo, incumbent Mayor Morgan Mcpherson, Craig Cates, who would win the primary without a runoff, and moi threatening to drop trow
Homeless man screams,
threatens to drop pants
KEY WEST — A 59-year old homeless man who has been arrested six times in the last two years threatened to drop his shorts in a profanity-laced arrest on Duval Street, according to Key West police. The man faces charges of brawling and resisting arrest. Both are misdemeanors.
Keep reading, to get the back story.
The incident occurred at 12:45 p.m. on April 23 on the 500 block of Duval Street when Officer Frank Betz allegedly saw the man drinking alcohol, reports say. When Betz told the man he needed his identification in order to give him a notice to appear in court rather than arrest him, the man reportedly began screaming curses.
Great detective work, Officer Betz. You perceptively saw the man drinking alcohol, surrounded on all sides by other people doing same. Perhaps you should be called “Eagle Eye” Betz, henceforth.
At one point he told the officer to “Kiss my ——- —! as he raised up again and moved to drop his shorts,” reports say. The man was in a wheelchair, but was able to stand, though he reportedly did have a prosthetic leg.
Throughout the ordeal, the man used “many colorful phrases,” directed at police and went limp falling on the ground as police went to arrest him, yelling, “Help! Help!” He was taken to Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island.
Dang, I would love to know what those colorful phrases were! All because the man was, yep, homeless. I hazard a wild ass guess that the man’s prior arrests stemmed from him being homeless. Lesson, don’t be homeless, and you can get drunk on Duval Street and be given a key to the city by the mayor and Officer Betz.
So, here’s Mayor Craig Cates’ and some of the city commissioners’ solution for getting homeless people of the streets of Key West. When pigs fly.
Sunday, May 3, 2015
$1.2M to relocate homeless shelter
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff
It will cost the city at least $1.2 million to relocate its overnight homeless shelter several blocks down College Road, including about $650,000 for building improvements, according to the latest staff report made public.
Currently, according to Mayor Cates and CityManager Jim Scholl, the city has no money to build the new homeless shelter. The mayor hopes to persuade the Florida Legislature to enact legislation which allows the Monroe County Housing Authority to build affordable housing with its funds, which funds the mayor then hopes to persuade the Housing Authority to give to Key West, to build its new homeless shelter, because the mayor says the new homeless shelter affordable housing, although the only reason the existing shelter was built in 2004 was so city police could put Key West’s homeless people in jail, who did not use the shelter. Back then, very few homeless people wanted a homeless shelter, and today most of them who use it don’t like it, but only use it because they don’t want the police on them about sleeping outside at night. There are about as many homeless people in the Key West area not using the current shelter, as now use it.
“Based on assessment of building condition and proposed use, staff recommends mainly superficial repairs, plumbing upgrade for laundry and ADA compliancy,” states the report by City Manager Jim Scholl scheduled for presentation to the city commission at their meeting this week at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Old City Hall, 510 Greene St.
The rebuilt homeless shelter would be slightly smaller than the existing one.
The “established sleeping capacity” at the former Easter Seals site, 5220 College Road, is 120 people, the report states, citing a code requirement of 50 square feet per person. KOTS (Keys Overnight Temporary Shelter) currently has room for 140 on any given night at its 5537 College Road location.
But KOTS’ relocation remains in the planning stages, Mayor Craig Cates said, when asked about the proposal to reduce the capacity by 20 people. He hadn’t seen the new capacity number and said he knows of no push to create a smaller shelter, about which the commission reserves the final say-so.
“We just want to know what is allowed there now and then we can see what to do,” Cates said Saturday. “We’ll probably discuss
that. I don’t know if we could give a variance to allow more.”
As directed by the commission in February and March, Scholl’s team has begun providing regular updates on the relocation of the shelter, which the city promised to do in order to settle a lawsuit by nearby condo owners who claimed the shelter was built in 2004 without proper permitting.
According to the report, which is written in list form, various city administrators have made site visits to the old Easter Seals location, where commissioners finally decided in a split vote to plant the homeless shelter. Staff has also met with the shelter’s managers, who work for the nonprofit Southern Homeless Assistance League (SHAL), located next-door to the sheriff’s office, and plotted a basic budget of $1.2 million.
As for the sleeping area of the new shelter at Easter Seals, the city’s best bet is to construct a 3,000-square-foot building shell rather than go with a building that has “roll-down side weather curtains,” according to the report.
“Based on favorable cost comparison, staff recommends sleeping area with closed sides,” the report reads. “Provide metal exterior walls; access doors; incorporate screened window openings with window curtains. Better security. Improved weather protection. Structurally more sound.”
While staff says the old Easter Seals building, on city-owned property, needs only “superficial repairs,” the fixes will cost at least $150,000, while “building improvements’ are estimated to run $630,000.
The $1.2 million budget includes a contingency fund of $154,000, reserved for unexpected costs down the road. The fund is 15 percent of the project’s overall cost of $1,176,000.
Also, the report includes a preliminary sketch of the new shelter site, calling for a 6-foot-high opaque fence around the property plus a 5-foot-wide landscape buffer. Two sleeping buildings are on the designs, along with a “Time-Out Area,” proposed for corralling drunk or disorderly people.
The new KOTS would add a dining area to the city’s shelter, bike racks and storage for “client personal effects,” according to the designs.
“We do have very limited storage for clients who volunteer and who work outside jobs,” said John Miller, interim executive director of SHAL.
Miller said the proposed dining area is where St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen, which serves a meal daily at its Flagler Avenue outdoor site, would relocate to the new shelter.
The final sentence of the four-page report states, “Staff requests guidance from commission on how to further proceed.”
On Feb. 3, commissioners voted 4-3 to move the homeless shelter at the city-owned lot that formerly housed the Easter Seals nonprofit’s office. The vote came months after a 3-3 vote killed a proposal to put it there.
priceless Arnaud Girard “cartoon” highjacked by me from Key West the Newspaper, www.thebluepaper,com, published online, only, each Friday by Arnaud and his wife, Naja, where journalism a contact sport – same, but a bit different, at this website, www.goodmorningkeywest.com.
Here’s the Key West Citizen Editorial Board’s plan in today’s Citizen – some might say, “What plan?” – for building affordable housing, so there won’t be even more homeless people in out-of-sight-cost-of-living Key West:
Can city afford its affordable housing?
Key West City officials are scrambling to create a strategy, a plan and a means to finance 3,000 affordable housing units they estimate the city needs to build or acquire.
The latest two city staff plans delivered to the City Commission outlined the prospects of building three-story apartment buildings at a portion of the Truman Waterfront and at Poinciana Plaza in New Town.
According to consultant Don Craig, the former city planning director, Key West has room for up to 201 apartments at Poinciana Plaza and up to 70 units at a corner of Truman Waterfront.
That would mean three-story buildings at each site, with the average size of an apartment being 850 square feet, according to city staff.
On the city-owned land at the Truman Waterfront, city officials estimated the proposed affordable housing apartment project would cost $23 million based on a formula of $392 per square foot for construction.
Math tells us that each of the 70 850-square-foot units on the Truman Waterfront — arguably some of the most valuable property in the city, state or even in most of the country — will cost approximately $330,000 per unit to build on city-owned land.
According to the Key West Association of Realtors, the median selling price for a condo/townhouse in Key West for January 2015 through March 2015 was $357,000.
This data indicates that the proposed Truman Waterfront “affordable” units are not significantly lower in unit price than a “market price” Key West condo/townhouse.
Is the city suggesting that the average “market” priced housing unit is in essence the same as an “affordable” housing unit?
And considering the city’s poor track record of construction cost control — think City Hall and Simonton Fire Station, which are both at least 40 percent over their initial proposed budgets — why would citizens trust that this construction estimate is anywhere close to reality?
According to city reports, since 1999, the Key West Housing Authority has built, acquired or rehabilitated 369 units at a total value of $30 million.
Math tells us that the value of each of these units is approximately $81,300. These existing units were either one heck of a deal or the proposed $330,000 for each affordable unit on the Truman Waterfront is, shall we say, not such a great deal.
These reports also paint another facet of progress or lack of progress in the City’s efforts in acquiring affordable housing units.
If it took 16 years to build, acquire or rehabilitate 369 units, or 23 units a year; the City ‘s ambitious goal of 3,000 new affordable units will take 130 years.
And if the city’s construction estimate is correct at $330,000 a unit, the goal of 3,000 units equals a staggering $990 million — just shy of a billion dollars, yes “billion” with a “b”.
This staggering financial implication without a funding source is just one hurdle in the city’s strategy. Another is acquiring enough building permits under ROGO, or the Rate of Growth Ordinance that controls growth in Monroe County, and lastly, identifying enough land in Key West on which to build thousands of units.
Of course, there are those like City Commissioner Tony Yaniz who immediately suggested raising building height to six stories, or about 60 to 70 feet depending on flood zone restrictions.
We’ve seen this movie before, as raising height restrictions only opens a can of legal worms that have caused many resort communities in Florida to become corridor canyons of expensive high rise condos while their affordable housing problems persist.
Is the city’s only affordable housing strategy to throw gobs of non-existent money at proposed high-rise apartment buildings on precious waterfront parkland, ignoring restrictions of building permit allocations and the resulting negative impacts on density, congestion and safety of hurricane evacuation, while calling for easing of height restrictions?
We certainly hope not.
— The Citizen
How about the City Commission voting Key West a dry city, no booze. That would kill the Key West economy and reduce its resident population from about 25,000 to maybe 5,000, and, goodness, what self-respecting homeless person addicted to booze and who knows what else would stay in Key West, either?
Here’s the Monroe County Commission’s plan to build housing Keys people can afford, so they won’t be homeless – note former Key West City Planner Don Craig’s estimate of 6,500 needed new affordable housing units, which is only 3,000 new units in the Editorial Board’s editorial.
Sunday, May 3, 2015
Report: Keys face significant challenges with affordable housing
BY TIMOTHY O’HARA Citizen Staff
Monroe County faces a “quadruple impact” when it comes to dealing with its affordable housing issue, according to a recent study that referred to the county’s affordable housing problem as a “crisis.”
The four main challenges facing the Florida Keys are high land values, limited land and environmental restrictions, housing supply limited by controlled growth (the Rate of Growth Ordinance or ROGO) and a tourism economy with a prevalence of lower paying service-sector employment, according to a study by the FCRC Consensus Center at Florida State University.
In August 2014, the Monroe County Commission commissioned the FCRC Consensus Center to assess the housing issue in the Keys to better determine the mission of the county’s workforce housing committee, which has been recently resurrected after a roughly seven year hiatus.
The Monroe County Commission disbanded the affordable housing committee shortly after the housing market crumbled in 2008. An increase in property values and an ever strengthening local real estate market motivated the commission to reconvene the committee.
FCRC Consensus Center released a 68-page report this month that outlines many of the Florida Keys affordable housing issues. The report is to serve as a starting point and resource for the affordable housing committee. The county commission is scheduled to discuss the report and establish meeting dates and criteria for the affordable housing committee when the county commission meets next on May 20 in Key Largo.
“The findings of all of several recent reports on Monroe County’s current housing situation confirm that there is a significant and growing shortage of affordable workforce housing, both rental and ownership,” wrote Robert Jones, director of the Consensus Center.
“This stakeholder assessment report confirms that there is wide agreement that Monroe County is facing a significant and growing workforce housing crisis with shortages for both affordable rental and ownership units.”
Unlike many other reports on affordable housing, the consensus center report detailed what a living wage in the Keys has to be in order for a person to rent or buy. In Monroe County, an hourly wage needed to afford a two-bedroom at fair market rate is $26.27 an hour. In order not to pay more than 30 percent of family income on housing, a household must earn $4,553 monthly or $54,640 annually, Jones said. Residents who pay more than 30 percent are referred to as “cost burdened.”
The Consensus Center report cited one recent study that found that 51 percent of Monroe County households pay more than 30 percent of income for housing while the statewide estimate is 43 percent. More than half of Monroe County renters pay more than 30 percent of income and about 45 percent of Monroe County homeowners pay more than 30 percent.
Mark Moss, executive director of Habitat for Humanity’s Key West and Lower Keys chapter, was interviewed for the report and called on the county to look at every possible solution. However, he called funding the most important solution.
“Without money, it’s not serious,” Moss said. “We need to explore every possible approach to have an effective solution … We need to look at mother-in-law units. We need to look at accessory units. We need the shopping center guys to look at placing units above their commercial properties. We need to look at building height.”
In addition, the county and local city governments must deed restrict affordable housing projects in perpetuity and be vigilant about enforcing those deed restrictions, Moss said.
The FCRC Consensus Center report sited an audit on the loss of deed restrictions in the Keys, which found that out of a total 1,089 affordable units, 223 are expected to have their deed restrictions expire, or have expired by the end of 2015.
There has been several instances in the past where Key West city officials only deed restricted properties for 10 years or less, which did nothing to help resolve the long-term affordable housing problem, Moss said. One example is the Shipyard on Truman Annex, whose units can now be rented out to tourists on a weekly basis.
People illegally renting out their homes and apartments to tourists has become a major issue that is negatively impacting the affordable housing pool in the Keys. The issue has Key West and county code enforcement officials actively investigating those who advertise their properties online in attempt to rent them out to tourists.
County Commissioner Heather Carruthers called the affordable housing and affordability issues among “the most pressing” in the Keys.
Former Key West Planning Director Don Craig projected a deficit of more than 6,500 units of affordable housing units in the city of Key West. County officials did not have recent specific estimates on the deficit of affordable housing.
“It has many prongs — cost of housing, cost of living, insurance,” Commissioner Carruthers said. “This is a very real issue for the people who make up the fabric of our community.”
The Consensus Center report can be found on Monroe County’s web page athttp://www.monroecounty-fl.gov/index.aspx?nid=657
How about Key West commandeers cruise ships after the reach Key West, and turns them into affordable rental housing :-)?
another priceless Arnaud Girard “cartoon”