Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Citizens' Voice

I'm going to crib from the Key West Citizen today, in particular, from the Citizens' Voice which has several good entries, the kind that make you go hmm!, hah!, or hey!

Citizen's Voice of the Day

"I read the interview of Mayor McPherson by Mark Howell. Will someone try to explain what the Mayor was trying to say? It made no sense."

I can see why someone might say that. The Mayor begins by taking another swing at Norma Jean Sawyer-Atanda, executive director of the Bahama Conch Community Land Trust. McPherson believes that Norma Jean has been mismanaging the land trust and should be fired. Nevertheless, outmaneuvered by Sawyer and her deputy, Wheeler Winstead; residents of Bahama Village; and the organization's board of directors, McPherson capitulated.  He voted with the rest of the Commission to grant permission for the BCCLT to be paid for ten years of unpaid expenses that were legitimately owed to the organization by the City.  That money comes from the Bahama Village Tax Increment Fund, a separate tax imposed only on property in that area.

McPherson has been trying for the three years since his election to move forward a plan to build hundreds of units of workforce housing in what he calls his "Big Idea", to house 1,000 workers in his first 1,000 days in office, but there are roadblocks. He's fairly well plugged in to the political establishment in Key West, the Keys (Monroe County), and in the State, but those connections haven't borne fruit for him yet.

The mayor walked delicately around questions of corruption in the city and problems in the Key West Police Department. Rumors of FBI investigations, lawsuits that have dragged on for years, developers manipulating the city's codes to get approval of permits to keep on building are taking more and more of the Mayor's and the Commissioners' time, while falling revenues and rising expenses have finally reached a point where city workers are being let go, laid off or fired, in order to balance a budget that keeps shifting.

Meanwhile, a caller to the Citizens' Voice reminds us all:

"June. Bright , blessed days. the full June moon was wonderful. Every man who has lived, including Christ Jesus, has looked up and wondered at that moon. June is one of the best months here, and so many leave. June, summertime, here is better than anywhere."

Another caller, less sanguine, has this to say:

"I love all the great people I met in Key West, but enough was enough. Prices on everything are out of control. I will never tell a tourist to visit Key West; it costs too much money. Run away from here. Rent is much cheaper in the west, food is cheaper, and we only [?] pay $4.07 for gas. I hope the big guys that thought they would make a fortune on all the unfinished condos are sleeping well."

Key West is not for sissies. And the Mayor said I could be a Conch. "What a Conch is", he said, "is someone who sees this place as paradise and will do what it takes to live here."

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