Sunday, February 15, 2004

Community News Pop

Headlines from today's Key West Citizen"

Chamber members say they have their own plan

Chamber chairman puts new light on newsletter

Both articles refer to the still-developing conflict between the Key West Chamber of Commerce and the Mayor over the Mayor's Ad Hoc Planning Task Force.

I haven't had a chance yet to read the report thoroughly, so I'm not sure what it says and what it might mean. But at least its out there, you can download a PDF copy of the complete report -- even including the signatures. The Chamber's competing report, called Vision 2020, was completed in 1998, based on data from the mid-90s. The Chambers Executive Committee seems to believe that a new study isn't necessary, that all that needs to be done is to bless the Vision 2020 "plan" and everything will be hunky-dorey. I'd like to be able to compare the two plans. Only problem is, it seems to be unobtainable right now. I went to the Chamber web site and just found that there is a copy of the plan there. It's labeled "Draft H" and "For discussion only. Please do not reproduce." The link is labeled Final Version, but what's there clearly is not the Final Version (for the Final Solution?).

The Chamber has shot itself in the foot -- in both feet over this one. What a public relations disaster. My brother Tom always says that Public Humiliation is the cruelest punishment that a body can endure. I would add that self-inflicted Public Humiliation is the cruelest of the cruel.

In the years that I belonged to the Chamber (1999-2001), I never knew Virginia Panico to do anything stupid, and I don't think that she is behind this debacle. The interview with Michael Browning, new Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Chamber may provide some insight. Read it and tell me what you think in the Comments button below (Comments are posted and available to all visitors read).

And tell me if you don't think that Ralph Morrow and Tim O'Hara are doing a good job of reporting on this today. I know that the Citizen has a reputation as an instrument of the establishment, but I read it every day, on-line, from up here in NH and I'm pretty impressed with the even-handedness which I see in the 'news hole' and the paper over all. In fact, if I have a complaint at all, it is that I don't get to hold the physical paper in my hands to start the day. Well, it's 91 days and counting 'till we leave, so it won't be long now.

I was checking "Position Available" notices at the web sites of the City, County, and School District. It's still to early for us to deal with that step of our moving plan. Nevertheless, we're pretty sure that we won't have trouble finding work once we arrive. We'll want to have our first two weeks back to be uncommitted, so we can get back in touch with friends and acquaintances, visit our usual haunts, and get back into the flow of KW life. And find a place to stay. We're still thinking houseboat but if we feel a sharp yank on the reality chain right away, we'll switch over to a land-based hunt for space. We have our eyes wide open about the cost of living in Key West. We've learned how to live frugally without giving up the things that are important. Our plan, if it succeeds, should allow us to survive and thrive. Not too much thriving though, only enough to enjoy what we enjoy most -- friends, music, warm breezes ....

For now, hoist one for us (both of us). That makes two. Speak in friendly manner to the next person you meet.

Bob & Janet

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