Monday, November 01, 2004

Getting Your (Stuff) Together

As I walked to the Coffee Plantation via Terry Lane this morning, I passed by one of the conch houses on the lane, next to the public housing . There was a young man on the porch, talking to a young woman who I knew lived there from seeing her there often in the past. He was saying (paraphrasing here): "I know some old pops who got their shit together after a long time, and they're better off for it." I didn't hear her answer, but he went on to say, "You can get your shit together and make something of yourself", and by then I was out of earshot. I imagined him to be some kind of social worker, although he didn't look the part.

It reminded me, though, of something I read in the most recent issue of the monthly Bahama Village Voices newspaper published by the Cocount Woman, Veronica Stafford. Peggy Ward Grant, a Bahama Village resident and advocate wrote about the relative absence of "good" role models for the youth of the community, and the presence of "bad" role models in the drug merchants who are frequently on the streets of the Village, especially during the nighttime hours.

I've been reading through some of the articles that have appeared in Key West The Newspaper over the past five years, those that remain on the internet still, even though KWTN stopped publishing on-line on October 4, 2002. KWTN -- the Blue paper -- is a weekly that features the investigative reporting and commentary of its publisher, Dennis Reeves Cooper (PhD), who is to Key West in his time what Drew Pearson, George Seldes, I. F. Stone, Walter Lippmann, Jack Anderson and Herb Block were in theirs.

I've found a few articles about Bahama Village that reflect some competition, some division in the community. For example, Carmen Turner is the City Commissioner for the district that includes the Village. Norma Jean Sawyer, owner of a local mortuary and director of the Bahama Conch Community Land Trust, it has been reported elsewhere, may be a challenger to Ms. Turner when city elections are held next May, and the two have quarreled publicly over things like where to spend Bahama Village Tax Incentive Fund money. (It's always about money, somehow. Have you noticed?) It almost goes without saying that as more money begins to flow toward the Truman Waterfront property, these rivalries will continue and might intensify. It should make for an interesting municipal election in the Spring.

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