Letters to the editor with pictures since 0202. Published on Big Pine Key’s garbage days, Tuesdays and Fridays.
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|[Oh, Shit!] Did you hear about the 38,000 gallons of FKAA’s raw sewage spilled into the tidal wetlands by Spanish Harbor? The News-Barometer was notified as the second of two sewage forcemain holes was being repaired, and I expected a scoop story, but saw nothing. DOT was replacing signs after Irma and punctured the forcemain Nov 20 and 30 along the fenced “Key deer slaughter chute”. The first pipe hole released 24,300 estimated gallons, and the second released 14,300. How did they measure? They couldn’t — it’s an FKAA guess. How much was recovered? Zero gallons. That is not an estimate or guess, it’s a confession. FKAA crews cannot accurately locate the pipes because they are very poorly mapped and there is no tracer wire to connect a signal transmitter to. Bad design and sloppy inspection. Expect more of these raw sewage spills — something that never happens with septic tanks. Have you seen ocean water quality improvements as more people connect to central sewer? Of course not. It’s way worse. Water quality off Marathon is horrible now, but what would you expect when the sewerage plants’ filters are bypassed and partially treated sewage is dumped into shallow wells. Marathon sewage plants have been operating out of compliance using DEP Consent Orders for years. You learned that here, not in the Citizen.
|Attention Gary Schwartz level 3 inspector 98-2004: The job you did back then was and still is an important job, but it is time to advance into the future, there are more sophisticated, efficient and accurate methods of measuring mosquito population than simply standing around waiting to be bitten and then count the bites. The new methods are more cost-effective than when you were on the job. MC’s new management and administration is saving tax dollars.
The Mosquito Control that you worked with was rife with corruption, waste, and inefficiency. It was Bubbaland. Most who have lived in the Keys for a lot of years will remember the complaints about MC. Complaints of MC staffers sleeping in trucks, complaints that MC staffers were loafing on the job. The fact that a mosquito Commissioner was forced out because he fraudulently claimed Homestead exemption in two Florida counties. The fact that one administrator went to jail for stealing thousands of taxpayer dollars. The fact that MC failed to keep Dengue Fever out of Monroe County. Key West alone had about 100 cases, all locally transmitted. That cost untold pain and suffering and hundreds of thousands lost tourist dollars. Nonetheless, the then MC staffers were paid more than the average Joe Six Pack in Monroe, and more than other Monroe government agencies. But that was then.
This is now. MC, with new leadership, has grown leaner and more efficient at the same time. The number of employees has decreased substantially. Many of the old-line staffers have simply quit. That includes ex-employee and now candidate Ralph Depalma. MC now has a staff that the management and administration are proud of. And you should be too. They are doing an exemplary job, morale is high. Pay now is basically on par with other Monroe Government agencies and the Monroe private sector. Our MC is considered one of, and by many, the best Mosquito Control operation in our nation. They are routinely queried for advice from other MC entities.
Phil Goodman, when first joining the board, set about to cut Commissioners’ pay. He succeeded! He set about to end the practice of free lifetime healthcare for staff and commissioners. He succeeded! Free healthcare for life for staff and commissioners ended in 2010. No new staffers or new Commissioners that come on board after 2010 have that insanely expensive perk. Those ex-Commissioners and staffers on board prior to 2010 were grandfathered in and as a result you and I, the taxpayers of Monroe, are on the hook for millions of dollars. It is possible for an employee hired before 2010 to retire after 10 years, even at age 58. Then you and I, Monroe taxpayers are on the hook for their health care until age 65 and Medicare cuts in. Then Phil Goodman set about to put term limits in place. He succeeded! It took a special act of the Florida Legislature, aided by our Rep, Holly Raschein. Term limits are now in place for MC. The only term limits in Monroe County Government. Our other local politicoes should take note that Mr. Goodman wanted 2 terms, other commissioners resisted, a compromise was reached for 3 terms. I’ll be voting for Phil Goodman. I hope that you will too for all of Monroe County.
By the way, Mr. Gary Schwartz level 3 inspector 98-2004, as I recall our Deer Ed put my email address on my previous post. Just to be on the safe side, it is firstname.lastname@example.org. I suspect that many, if not most CT readers know my name, it’s no secret. I’ll even give you a hint as to my name. My first name is Walt. Figure it out — if you can.
Hurricane Michael’s awful toll: At least 3 dead, 360,000 in dark, coastal towns wiped out. Hurricane Michael’s damage is likely to be massive along the Panhandle and Florida’s Forgotten Coast, now a hellscape of flattened neighborhoods, ruined businesses and upended lives. Link
|[“Key Deer overpasses night speed limit”] Long before Irma the fence was regularly compromised by fishermen cutting the fence to access the bridge to go fishing. I called about deer a inside the fence and the ranger told me it was a continuing problem … maybe now that the fence is being redone for the new bike path across the span the Key Deer will stay on their side of the fence, but so far I think the deer have had far greater and regular access inside the fence than the poster arguing for 45 at night believes.
The next meeting of the Big Pine Computer Club is coming up this Saturday, October 13, 10 am at the senior center. Hope to see you there! Full Menu > Ongoing Events
|Is there any plumbing company reasonably priced for grinder pump hook-up that anyone would recommend? It’s an above ground house and already has electric. Thanks. Your recommendation will be greatly appreciated.
|The New York Times honored Key West’s David Wolkowski with a half page on its obituary page. Link
[Old Judges] Others believe that at 84-years-old, it’s just time for her to go. It is a reality that cognitive function declines after an individual turns 70, and Justice Ginsburg may no longer have the mental capacity to serve on the Court.
|[Grinder Pump Lawsuit Ruled On] Judge Timothy Koenig has ruled in the Louise Delaney vs FKAA & Monroe County case. He said that the two government agencies illegally demanded easements for grinder pumps and an electric service on private property. Everyone was entitled to a gravity connection in the public right of way, even if it went to a grinder pump. Just like on Grassy Key, where City of Marathon followed the law.
However, she was denied Summary Judgement, and therefore legal expenses, because she may have waited too long to sue. The burden is now on FKAA & Monroe County to prove they were unaware that she might sue to maintain her rights and that she intentionally delayed suit to disadvantage them.
This legal battle reportedly cost Louise around $40,000 just to prove that local government officials were illegally trying to rob her of privacy, and her property rights for their convenience and construction cost savings. (We can see about 40,000 reasons why she was not quick to sue).
|[Affordable Housing] How is it possible not to know that the more houses they build the more people move here?
[Movies] “The First Purge” The fourth movie in this popular series is perhaps the worst, with amateurish film making and too many movie clichés combining to betray its attempts at serious social commentary and satire. All black people in cast. Dumbest, worst movie of all time. Actors were awful. The point is, if you do a purge in black communities in NYC, “blacks will not do it because of their humanity”. You’re shitting me right? Video
|Promo for the Marathon Int’l Airport 75th Anniversary Celebration on October 20. The only international airport without an airline. Video
|[Cybersecurity Vulnerable] The Pentagon’s new weapons systems are vulnerable to cyberattacks, government watchdog finds. The Pentagon’s multibillion-dollar weapons systems are riddled with cybersecurity vulnerabilities. And yet military leaders ignored the problem for years, turning a blind eye to security weaknesses in newly developed systems that could potentially thwart military missions. Link
|[Dump The Pumps Meeting] “Grinder Pump Lawsuit Decided“ Dictionary.com defines Extortion thus: “The crime of obtaining money or some other thing of value by the abuse of one’s office or authority.” Sound familiar? I think that “defending our freedom” means much more than following military orders to do battle overseas. The fight for freedom from tyranny begins really close to home, and in fact is indisputably the most important. Thank you, Louise “Constitutional defender” Delaney for your service to this country and the defense of our freedom!
If you can help make Louise financially whole again, you can contribute to her GoFundMe account here.
If you wish to get involved with possible activity that builds on the Court decision, Dump the Pumps, Inc is holding a meeting next Wednesday Oct 17 at 6PM in the Coldwell Banker offices beside the Big Pine Post Office. Bring ideas and suggestions if you have them.
|History is little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind. ~ Gibbon
[Winn Dixie] Weekly ad. Link
|[Pervert] A dirtbag clerk hid his cellphone in the ladies’ restroom. He’s been arrested for voyeurism. Link
|“Sex robot Harmony has a built-in spy chip that sues you after you spank her.” Not only that, she will constantly be nagging you for upgrades. But in the long run it’s still much cheaper than a wife.
All the pictures of bacon giving me da munchies! Put oven rack in upper part of oven, preheat to 420°, place bacon on 1/2 sheet pan and throw in oven when up to temp. Usually 18-20 minutes, depending on how well-done you like your bacon. Good stuff, no turning or messing with, just set the timer. I usually put aluminum foil on the pan for easier clean up (yes, aluminum foil is safe if you don’t use it with acidic foods).
|[“Key Deer overpasses night speed limit”] There’s no bridge in the fenced area of the deer overpass. Plus, there’s no parking on the highway for the fisherman who were supposedly “cutting the fence to access the bridge to go fishing” What bridge? I think Tuesday’s poster was thinking of some other place, not the only deer overpass on the east end of the island. Also, I never saw that black fence cut at any time.
|[Development] Several local businesses have stepped up and contributed to funding and building the 10 unit affordable housing development named “Loewy Landing” on Big Coppitt Key.
[Catch and Release] Catching and releasing fish could be as harmful as keeping them. New research says that catch and release may spell doom for hooked fish. Tony Spitz has the details. Video
|[Flats Fishing] Hurricane winds were key in cleaning out Florida Bay. Fishing community enjoying results of some of the best flats fishing for bonefish and permit in years. Link
Tex Ritter – Blood On The Saddle
|[Cliché’s] How can you tell when people from the government are lying? Their lips move. How bad is it? it depends on which end of the shotgun you’re at. And finally:
God is on the side that has the best artillery. ~Bonaparte
[Zinc Air Batteries] These Could Change Energy Storage. Making the batteries rechargeable and lowering their cost are seen as important advances in enabling the electric grid to depend on power from renewable sources. Link
|[Illegal Land Clearing] Florida Keys residents using Hurricane Irma as an opportunity to illegally clear vacant lots and other parcels of land have put $15,000 so far in Monroe County’s pocket in paid code compliance fines. Two months after the Sept. 10 hurricane, illegally cleared properties totaled 50 in the Upper Keys, 18 in the Middle Keys and 17 in the Lower Keys. The Upper Keys number had more than doubled from 19 in mid-October. Since then the numbers have continued to rise. Link
[Cult of Home Depot] I never understood how someone could walk into a Scientology center and be completely duped into giving all their money away for nonsense… until I went to Home Depot today and walked out with as much as my car would carry.
|[Charo] Plays Malagueña live in Morongo Casino 12/13/2013. Damn, she can actually do something! Years back I thought she was a might daft with the “cuchi-cuchi” stuff. She’s an awesome musician and linguist. Video
|[Speed Trap] “Key Deer overpasses speed limit” I would like to see the revenue collected from speeders on this stretch for the past five years. That may explain why it is still at 35 MPH.
|Florida’s annual alligator hunt kicks off Aug. 15 and runs through Nov. 1. Permits cost $272 for Florida residents. You must be at least 18. You can apply here or in-person at a license agent or county tax collector’s office. Caveat: No guns allowed. Among the weapons you can use are bows and crossbows, snatch hook, gigs, harpoons, spears and spearguns. Link
|Another Key West man is killed in bike crash. It’s the second one in a week. Link
|[“The beginning of the end of Key West”] Ha! If you were there in the late 70’s and early 80’s you’d see it died a long time ago – right about the time you moved down from New Somewhere Else. Key West is done son. It’s a money pit where the Bubba’d few pull thousands a day from tourons.
Those of us who’ve left have found a new party spot, fresh Florida seafood, too. The sidewalks are crushed oyster shells like the parking lot in front of the Half Shell used to be – when parking was free! No, I ain’t tellin’ you where, I’ll just say it’s not a tourist hot spot, and the folks that live there are conservative in mindset.
[“$10,000 sex robot”] Why is everyone excited about driverless cars and sex robots? Soon every job around the world will be automated, except for the person who has to clean the sex robots between customers.
|[Crook] A Pennsylvania man scammed two Keys residents, including a 90-year-old woman, out of nearly $17,000 by pretending he was a licensed contractor in Florida. In one case, he is charged with working in the contracting business without a license during the state of emergency declared by Gov. Rick Scott due to Hurricane Irma and also grand theft of $10,000 or more. He took more than $15,000 from a woman, prosecutors said. Both are felonies that carry up to five years in prison upon conviction. In a second case, McCormick is accused of swindling $1,300 from another woman. If convicted of the misdemeanor, he will face up to one year in the county jail. Link
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