2016 December

Friday, December 16, 2016

The-Coconut-Telegraph-w-CoconutsSince 2002. Published Tuesdays and Fridays
Letters to the Editor with pictures

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Is it just me or are the no-see-ums out in force right now? Holy cow, I can’t even stay on my screened-in porch without getting attacked, let alone working in my yard. I’m looking into spraying cedar oil around the yard and even possibly hooking it up to my irrigation system. Anyone have ideas on this?
rooster-crowing-on-stump[Restaurant Review] The Buck Toothed Rooster is worth crowing about.  Had dinner there tonight. Got there a little before 5, got a table, but by 5:45 there were no seats left. They have done a great job on the interior.  It’s fresh and airy, with lots of light hued wood.  The basic layout of the old Big Pine Restaurant remains, but upgraded and really improved. All new tables and booths, a new counter. All the appointments are first class.  The silver and the dishes are not standard restaurant fare, they are attractive and add greatly to the ambiance. The entire package provides an atmosphere that is inviting and comfortable.  The only complaint is that it is a little noisy.

The menu is phenomenal. It’s the most varied menu that I’ve seen in any Keys restaurant.  The price point is right. The portions are generous. The only problem is that it is damned tough to make a decision.

My bride had a salad, fried grouper and beans and rice.  The presentation was nearly perfect.  She beamed that the food was delicious.  The salad ice cold and crisp, the dressing home made and just right, the fish was a large portion, fresh, and deep fried to perfection.  I had the salmon Oscar, grilled salmon with crab stuffing, sauce Bernaisse, yellow rice, Swiss chard and asparagus. The single complaint was that the asparagus was tough and stringy. My meal was delicious.

The server was friendly and efficient.  She assured us that they intend to make we locals happy campers. She presented us with our “Chicken Scratch” cards–a discount program.

Believe it or not, our server was named Samantha, how many will remember that Samantha and John Littriello were the previous owners of the Big Pine Restaurant, a Big Pine legend that we still miss.  If today’s “soft” opening was any predictor the Buck Toothed Rooster will prosper. It should. ~FTR world famous eater

Bruce Schmitt doesn’t like the Sheriff among others. Link
[Should KW Be A Sanctuary City] Most of the public comments printed recently about this subject have been critical of Commissioner Jimmy Weekly’s suggestion that being a SC would reflect KW values. But my unofficial and unscientific sampling suggests that Key Westers are unclear (or incorrect) about what SC means. When citizens grasp the generally accepted concept of being a SC, it appeals to their better angels and a majority of responders are supportive.
Essentially, a Sanctuary City is one that adopts a policy of protecting undocumented and harmless refugees or immigrants. This is usually done by refusing to prosecute or persecute such non-violent immigrants as “dreamers”, students and those serving in the military – many of whom were brought to this country as infants or children.
The Sanctuary City designation is usually a community decision to avoid using tax payer money to enforce what many see as unfair and harsh immigration laws, and to avoid the illegal policing and profiling inquiries that became notorious under Sheriff Arpaio of Arizona.
If this is what Jimmy Weekly and other commissioners mean by Sanctuary City, they should be congratulated and supported for reinforcing our “One Human Family” values.
No way should this be allowed unless locals want to sell out to developers cheaply. It is all spin to get the islands cheap.



A graffiti artist put a road runner tunnel on a wall. And someone tried to drive through it!

[FTR on Term Limits] Thank God and Greyhound it’s gone…the election season is gone. Nonetheless we should give much thought to the wind that is sweeping our nation.  It heralds a fundamental sea change in American governance. It’s clear that America is fed up with politics as usual, recently the Democrats have suffered crushing defeat after crushing defeat.  The tsunami of change has impacted local, county, state, and federal governance. Recent national polling reveals that nearly 75% of likely voters support term limits for Congress.  Only about 13% are in opposition. Here in Florida our Governor and our Legislators are term limited.  Statewide any local and county officeholders are term limited.  It works!

The time for term limits here in Monroe County has come.  In one recent countywide election a 20 year office holder was defeated by a political newcomer.  Amongst the litany of complaints against the veteran politico were that the incumbent had personally substantially benefited by voting on several public issues.  The fact of that ousting proves that that official should not have held the office for as long as it was held. Term limits stifle personal aggrandizement.

There are arguments voiced against term limits.   The naysayers claim that each election cycle is actually a term limit given that the office holder must stand for reelection.  I believe that argument to be specious. The reality is that every day a public office holder holds office, his/her power grows.  She/he is exposed to an ever-widening circle of persons and interests each pursuing their own agendas.  Human nature being what it is, if the office holder acts in a manner beneficial to the special interests, the office holder will be rewarded with support and donations.  As the grasp of special interests strengthens exponentially, the influence of the individual voter wanes.

A person seeking a term limited office is more likely to seek office with a sincere desire to actually be a public servant rather than to seek public office for personal enhancement. Long term office holders often become enamored with their self perceived power and worth.  Power is intoxicating. The hoary adage that “Money is the Mother’s Milk of Politics,” is a truism that is as fresh and relevant today as it was decades ago when Big Daddy Jesse Unruh first uttered it.  Incumbents, especially long term incumbents, have a built-in advantage over challengers.  They nearly always have the backing and fiscal support of those they have benefited.  A simple examination of public records that chronicle political contributions will reveal that to be true.

In a county election, a few years two candidates for Monroe County wide office squared off.  One was a long-term incumbent. The other a long-term Keys business person with a rich history of volunteer public service.  The incumbent’s campaign took in tens of thousands more dollars in cash and “in kind” than did the challenger. The lions share of the incumbent’s donations were from business interests.  Most of the incumbent’s donations exceeded $500. Most of the challenger’s donations were $200 or less. The challenger, while known county wide, did not stand a chance against the juggernaut of the incumbent.  The challenger lost.

Term limits will engender new ideas and fresh perspectives to solutions of the gordian problems attendant to governance. Holding elected office should not be a profession. The best public servants are those that realize that they are doing the work of the people for a specific, and limited, period of time. Then it is time for new blood, new resolve to serve the governed rather than the government.

It’s time for Monroe County to move for the establishment of term limits on county wide offices.

[Redbeard Rocks Christmas] Stream Playlist 1. Audio
holds-fish-on-rocking-boat[Restaurant Review: Fish on Sugarloaf Key]
Food: 5 stars
Service: 5 stars
Location: 4 stars
Value: 5 stars
Super fresh, mostly local, seafood creatively prepared and priced for a great value. You may remember Kaya’s? This is the same place under new ownership and a new location. A small dedicated group run the place and their passion is evident. We visited on a Wednesday night at 8-ish and there were about a dozen guests in the restaurant and bar. We tried the tuna ceviche (key lime juice, grapefruit, hint of mint) as app. His and hers entrees: Grilled wahoo and wahoo fish tacos. Entrees include a side dish and the Catch of the Day can be augmented by a variety of sauces (not needed, as the fish is delicious as is.) Generous serving sizes and very professional and attentive service. Well lighted space with local art. (when it was Kaya’s, it could get loud when it was crowded.) Plenty of on-site parking. Great spot for sunset viewing over the bay. Only 4 stars for location because it’s a little bit out of the way for Piners, but worth the drive!If you’re looking for high end fresh seafood at a reasonable price, this place is for you. Great service and the view is bonus.
Bill Cosby attacked what lawyers called “vague, remote and often inconsistent” allegations from 26 women whom prosecutors are seeking to call as witnesses at his sexual-assault trial next year. All 26 woman must be wrong and Bill must be right because he says so.
rooster-head-chicken[Restaurant Review] I ate at the new Bucktooth Rooster on its opening day, Thursday. My first impression was very positive – from the building redo, the owners and staff and, of course, the diverse meal offerings. Our entrees were fresh, warm and served on decent sized plates (for a nice change from Keys famous itty-bitty plates, paper, etc.). The family orientation is obvious and the “bar” counter will cater to those in a hurry or a beer. Plus this eatery will be open Mondays when everyone else is closed! I suspect that this new BPK restaurant will generate more revenue per square foot than most other local restaurants because they seem to deliver what locals and visitors want when they eat out. I would not be surprised if other places will eventually feel a money pinch from this welcome competition. Also it’s very easy to park and go. Best wishes to the owners and staff.

PS: John and Samantha who formerly owned and operated this facility for a long time should be happy that their tradition of quality food and service will continue!

USDA has released 51 million sterile screw flies. I want to know where they keep 51 million flies when they aren’t needed.


The Monroe County Tourist Development Council’s new website is designed like a digital postcard, to make visitors wish they were here. Link

US claims that Russia hacked official emails, without evidence, are “indecent”, the Kremlin has said. Link
Yahoo shares slid Thursday on worries that Verizon will walk away or slash its $4.8 billion offer for the company’s digital operations after another massive data breach of 1 billion user accounts in 2013 after disclosing a separate hack in 2014 of some 500 million accounts in September. Go to Yahoo and change your password.
1957-chevy-convertableFlorida Keys Southernmost Car Club will hold a car show from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 18, in the parking lot at Greene and Elizabeth Streets. Organizers will collect unwrapped toys for the children at the Monroe County Domestic Abuse Shelter.
[“Disgruntled customer”] I guess there’s hope that they’ll only be disgruntled for a week and then they’re gone – and good riddance. The attitude in those emails were horrible.  What a way to go thru life. Those of us who live here know what it is and isn’t, and we chose this.  If it’s not your cup of tea, just move on, don’t trash others.
[Letter Sent to Sewer Company] The other day I received a letter from your general contractor for The CRWS , Mr. Kurt Zuelch, informing me that per Monroe County ordinance number 01–72002, it was mandated that I connect to your public sewer system by December 12, 2016 (enclosed).  The letter goes on to explain the financial aspects of this mandate.

Therefore, I must put you on notice that your contractor failed to provide me a gravity connection at my property line as mandated by your ordinance, which he is contracted to follow or he is breaking your law. Because your contractor has made it impossible for me to comply with your aforementioned ordinance for services, which is impossible for you to provide, it is in my open union illegal and possibly fraud. Why are your contractor shows or was directed not to follow your own ordinances is puzzling?  Mr. Zuelch A former states attorney for Monroe County should known that he is required to follow all laws and ordinances.

I direct you to tell your contractor to comply with your own ordinances by providing me with a gravity connection at my property line.



Happy Holidaze Florida Keys. Be glad this isn’t you. Send sun! ~cold in Michigan

[“Legalize pot”] Wait until you’re out of the doctor’s office to wave the prescription like a winning lottery ticket.
[School Bus] As I understand it from newspaper reports and other sources, MCSD provides bus services to students at the Big Pine Academy, the Collegiate High School and perhaps others.  I would like to obtain a copy of the procedures used to determine busing services for charter school students and the formula used to determine the charges for those busing services.
Why doesn’t the School District do an RFP to solicit interest in purchasing the transient units or whatever category at Marathon Manor?  With the continuing shortage of building opportunities, developers may be interested in purchasing the entire units.
The fact is, the Southern slave-owners believed that, in some way, the ownership of slaves conferred a sort of patent of nobility—a right to govern independent of the interest or wishes of those who did not hold such property. They convinced themselves, first, of the divine origin of the institution and, next, that that particular institution was not safe in the hands of any body of legislators but themselves!



Which is the smartest bird?

Boneafide Fishing Charters  on Little Torch Key. Business Directory > Boats, Kayaks, Charters
an_bulbs-threeThose curly CFL light bulbs, that were supposed to save the world from global warming by reducing energy use, emit “high-energy visible light” or HVL (also known as “blue light”). The same hazardous light is emitted by your cell phone, laptop and LED bulbs. What’s so bad about HVL? According to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, blue light can penetrate “the macular pigment” and damage the retina. The macular pigment acts like internal sunglasses protecting your retina. No retina, no eyesight. Old fashioned incandescent bulbs with their warm light are still available from old stock but have been outlawed by legislators that fell for the marketing hype promoting new technology. CFL bulbs should never be used indoors anyway due to mercury vapor release if broken. The EPA has a 3 page instruction on how to best clean up the broken bulb and you should know that a vacuum cleaner will spread mercury vapor everywhere. The typically imperfect coating on CFL bulbs also allows UV radiation to damage both skin and eyes. Link
[Marathon Manor] From the bits & pieces of both facts and misinformation I’ve picked up over the years here is my current understanding. It is based on County code. Marathon code may be different but the concept from DEO’s perspective should be the same.

1-    Marathon Manor is more like Bayshore Manor or the KW Health & Rehab Center than an apartment building.

2-    The living units at Marathon Manor require a ROGO (or are exempt because they existed pre-ROGO) so they have value and can be moved/transferred.

3-    The type of ROGO (since this is within Marathon, they are called BPAS) is technically not transient – it is Institutional-residential.

My sketchy understanding is that during the purchase negotiations the school district received indications (In writing?) from DEO (then DCA?) that these institutional ROGOs could be considered and transferred as transient unit building rights.

marathon-manor-fenceOver the years, these ‘indications’ may have withered. That ‘understanding’ may no longer exist.

From the school districts perspective, I would think the land and building rights have more value as teacher housing than revenue from the sale of a building right.

Marathon community leaders have a better perspective but a community swimming facility with some employee rental housing for teachers who need/want it might be a good use of the property.

The building has single/double occupancy rooms with common use facilities. It does not have apartments. The configuration and building age and its lack of use make extensive renovations or a complete rebuild likely.

Institutional-residential use means a place of permanent or temporary residence where unrelated persons reside in a commercial setting with centralized heating, recreational and health care facilities, like nursing or convalescent homes.

Transient residential unit means a dwelling unit used for transient housing such as hotel or motel room, seasonal residential unit, or space for parking a recreational vehicle or travel trailer.

Tourist housing use or unit means a dwelling unit used as transient housing for tenancies of less than 28 days duration.

What do you think of my idea of MCSD selling the transient rental units?

[Friday Dirty Joke] A farmer went to a local bar and ordered a glass of champagne.
The woman sitting next to him said, ‘How about that? I just ordered champagne too!’
‘What a coincidence’ the farmer said. ‘This is a special day for me. I’m celebrating.’.
This is a special day for me too, I am also celebrating,’ said the woman.’
‘What a coincidence!’ said the farmer. As they clinked glasses he added: ‘What are you celebrating?’
‘My husband and I have been trying to have a child and today my gynecologist told me that I am pregnant!’
‘What a coincidence!’ said the man. ‘I’m a chicken farmer and all last year my hens were infertile, but today they are all laying eggs again.’
‘That’s great!’ said the woman, ‘How did your chickens become fertile?’
‘I used a different cock,’ he replied.
The woman smiled, clinked his glass and said ‘what a coincidence!”
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