Monday, April 30, 2007

Snippets From Around and About

City mulls tattoo shops

The Key West Planning Board will have a special meeting Monday to develop recommendations on the number and location of tattoo shops that would be allowed to open on the island if the city's ban on them is struck down.
The city banned tattoo shops 40 years ago at the request of Navy officials, who did not want sailors getting tattoos. The investors in Key West Ink, 717 Duval St., are suing the city, claiming the regulation violates their constitutional rights to freedom of expression. One of the investors, Jim McAlhany, recently asked city commissioners to work with him instead of fighting him on creating a safe and healthy place for people to get tattoos. The shop now does body-painting and henna tattoos.
If the City Commission approves, Bethel wants no more than two or three tattoo shops on Duval Street, he said, adding that the city could hold a lottery for the licenses.

clipped from
500 RV spots planned
But the Navy has a problem in early going
The U.S. Navy this week released the newest rendering of its noise and safety contour maps, putting a potential obstacle in the path of Cay Clubs and others looking to develop a project in the vicinity of Naval Air Station Key West.
Navy spokesman Jim Brooks and Ron Demes, the Navy's business manager and top civilian employee, say conceptual plans by Cay Clubs to convert a 40-acre parcel of undeveloped land on Boca Chica into an RV park is not compatible with the AICUZ.
“The AICUZ is not meant to be anti-development,” Brooks said. “It's all about compatible use.
The chunk of land owned by the Alfred M. Sears Trust has seven deep-dredged canals known locally as the sub pens. The parcel is nestled in the middle of government land, accessible to U.S. 1 by a restricted access road across Navy land.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

This Could Be Our Chance....

... To rid the world of the foul uselessness that is Paris Hilton.


Paris Hilton will race in a new car for a week and party in a different city each day.

She was given a new Spyker C8 Spyder car to take part in a race from Montreal to Key West in Florida as part of the Bullrun race.

According to the organisers, the Bullrun is a race of good fun, driving and enjoyment. The famous race in their cars for a week and each day party in a different town. It seems that the sponsors picked the right person to promote their new car, TMZ says

I am pretty sure that this bitch just got busted for driving on a suspended licence, due to a dui. Yeah lets give a her freakin car, and pay her to do what she does best. Absolutely nothing.

Where shall will start the the line for those wishing to smash her in the face with a bat?

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Ok I realize there are plenty of things going on that are ar more important than this. But it is really a great example of the signs of the times in the Conch Republic.

The Bloody Battle lost most of its fun element when they moved it out of reach and almost out of sight of anyone on shore, a few years back. Well now the sanitation of it is complete.

No one on shore is allowed to participate in any way, other than watching, through binoculars, as the throwing of rotten veggies, bread and hard boiled eggs is banned.

Heaven forbid a fucking touron gets wacked with a smelly cabbage. Of course those on boats, jet skis etc, can still pelt the docks with whatever they have.

Has this town really got this clean and sober? I almost want to cry, not over this, but at what this ban represents. Its over folks, get used to it.

I am too damn angry to type any more, but I will continue this a bit later.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Not a whole lot going on locally so.........

clipped from
'Captain America' arrested over pants-burrito
Raymond Adamcik, Captain America

A doctor in Florida is facing charges, after being accused of groping a woman while wearing a Captain America uniform with a burrito stuffed down his tights.

The incident, hardly fitting behaviour for a superhero, happened after 54-year-old Dr. Raymond Adamcik went on a bar-crawl with a number of other costume-wearing medics.

Witnesses said that Adamcik was walking around with the burrito tucked into the waistband of his costume, asking women if they wanted to touch it.

When one woman refused to touch the burrito, it is alleged that the doctor removed the snack and groped her.

The police were called, and, according to the official report, 'there were so many cartoon characters in the bar at the time, all Captain America's [sic] were asked to go outside for a possible identification.'

Monday, April 23, 2007

Monday Morning, news.

The aircraft accident in the Keys was apparently filmed by the blimp the plane hit. Look for it to surface on Youtube any day now. I also find the description of Cudjoe Key as "a remote island' a bit off.
clipped from


8 killed in 2 separate crashes of small planes

The U.S. Coast Guard identified five friends whose plane went down off Fort Lauderdale hours after another crash in the Keys.

Five friends who were headed to the Bahamas on a fishing trip were among eight killed in two separate plane crashes off the South Florida coast this weekend.

U.S. Coast Guard searchers late Saturday had found some debris, but no survivors and no explanation for the crash of a Piper Aztec that dropped off the radar about 17 miles off Fort Lauderdale on Saturday morning, said Petty Officer 1st Class Jennifer Johnson.

The night before, off Cudjoe Key, three people were killed when a Cessna 182 crashed into Florida Bay. That plane took off from Key West and was in restricted military airspace when a wing struck a cable tethering a blimp. The pilot and two passengers were not identified.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Update, Mayor vs World

Had a bit of a weekend and must catch up a bit. First off, I see the Rum Barrel oddness has flared up into a quite fantabulous, scandal. I hate to re post entire articles, but this one is just too good for me not to. From the current Keynoter:
McPherson says he'll use arrest to fire Avael
Key West Assistant City Manager John Jones was charged Friday with two misdemeanor counts of falsely impersonating a certificate holder.

Jones turned himself in and was booked at the Monroe County Detention Center and was released later in the day.

Jones is accused of illegally signing a temporary 90-day certificate of occupancy for Pat Croce's Rum Barrel bar and restaurant on Feb. 3, 2006.

But the unfolding investigation revealed a new charge stemming from an incident Jan. 17, 2006, when Jones signed a separate certificate granting the state Department of Children and Family Services trailers to serve as offices. The agency's previous offices were flooded by Hurricane Wilma, State Attorney's Office spokesman Matthew Helmerich said.

According to the arrest affidavit, Jones was not authorized to sign either certificate. A certified building official is the only proper signer for such a certificate.

A written statement from Robyn Barineau, executive director for building code administrators in the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation, appears in the arrest affidavit:

“A thorough search of the board's official records pertaining to John Hugh Jones showed that he has not and does not hold a license issued by the Building Code Administrators and Inspectors Board,” it reads.

“There's a lot of hype about it,” Jones said in a phone interview Thursday. “If they don't accept my data, then they do what they have to do, but I don't really care. I didn't do anything wrong.”

Jones filed his report to BPR in February, describing in his words what happened. He was waiting to hear from the State Attorney's Office before publicly disclosing his reasons for signing.

Jones disclosed his reasons to the Keynoter Friday, revealing letters he sent to BPR Regional Program Administrator Guillermo Tejeda.

Referring to the Rum Barrel in the letter, Jones stated he went over a checklist with inspectors and the fire marshal and “it was determined that the building could be opened with a temporary certificate of occupancy without any safety problems if marshals were hired to be there when the building was opened....”

Jones also wrote he “received a call from Marc Cerceo of Pirate Soul on Feb. 2 complaining that he had not gotten his temporary certificate of occupancy and he had to have one by Feb. 1....” Pirate Soul is a museum and part of the Rum Barrel business.

Jones wrote he signed the certificate so the restaurant could have its opening Feb. 8. Joe April, the building official at the time, was out of town when he signed the certificate.

April was also under investigation due to complaints that he was obligated to inform the state licensing authority of Jones' action. The City Commission authorized the funding for April's legal representation during its April 3 meeting.

Jones' arrest affidavit notes that investigators questioned April, who refused to sign the certificate. He said, according to the affidavit, the “restaurant's construction was not completed and that several inspections (including electrical, FEMA, flood panels, elevators, etc.) were yet to be performed as final.”

April also confirmed that the temporary certificate for the Rum Barrel expired, leaving the facility without a license for “several months.”

April is now director of engineering.

In the wake of Jones' arrest, Mayor Morgan McPherson hopes he might have a little ammo in his quest to fire Avael because of allegations that he coerced Jones to sign the certificate. Avael is slated for retirement in November.

“If he told his subordinates to do something and they did it, and they're arrested, then I think he should be held accountable for it,” McPherson said.

McPherson plans to write a resolution for the May 1 City Commission meeting calling for termination of Avael's contract with cause.

Helmerich said “we have no evidence Julio Avael has committed a crime.”

BPR's findings would suffice in justifying disciplinary action against Avael, said McPherson, who will move for immediate termination.

Under McPherson's desired circumstances, the city would keep the $71,423 of Avael's severance pay plus a year's worth of his health insurance benefits, $7,872.


This was always going to be interesting, but an arrest? Wow. Almost unheard of, for a city employee anyway. What could this mean. Accountability for our elected officials and those they hire? Yeah right. We shall see.

In other news, local philanthropist and all round good guy humanitarian, etc etc, Pritam Singh, has trundled, in his charming and seductive way, all over almost every piece of legislation covering, housing density, transient licences, the planning dept and the city commission.

In one fail swoop. And if that was not evidence enough of the mans' mad skills, he uses convicted tamperer Jim Hendrick as his "land use consultant".

I said MAD SKILLS, did I not?

The whole story here, from a fishy perspective :
The FishWrapper.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Hickory House

Looks like Dixie's little property flip is going ahead as planned. Of course nothing in this town is ever as it seems so I am naturally not holding my breath. The front runner in the non bidding war, is Kings Pointe, Oceanside Marina or the more charmingly named parent company Cortex. Does that not sound like something out of a bad 80s sci fi movie?
County Commissioner Dixie Spehar, who lobbied hard for the purchase of a Stock Island bar and restaurant last fall, says her push to sell it just five months later is financially driven.

But some wonder if there's more to the story.

“It goes from stupidity to premeditation when the request for bids is directed at just three or four people,” said Commissioner George Neugent, who has criticized the $3.12 million purchase and in fact voted against the 2006-07 county budget because the restaurant purchase was contained in it.
Here is Dixie back in March...
The former Hickory House is one of Monroe's first efforts to preserve public access to the waterfront - but it's a long ways from being the public park “where people can dip their feet in the water,” as County Commissioner Dixie Spehar envisions it.
Public park eh? Whatever. Fast forward to today.
Spehar initially proposed the purchase, arguing vehemently that the parcel represents the last opportunity for Stock Island residents to have public access to the water.

Now, she said in a statement released this week, she wants to recoup the cost of the property while retaining an easement to “ensure permanent public access to at least a modest piece of our historic and treasured Stock Island waterfront....”

Skeptics like Neugent question the parameters proposed for the bid request. As it is proposed, it suggests the building be converted to a bait shop and convenience store.
Surprise, surprise it it going to be.... drum roll please... housing. With a whopping 5 affordable units. This is just getting better and better. I would have thought a bait shop and convenience store would be far more in keeping with both the area and the physical attributes of the building.

Read the entire article here

Monday, April 16, 2007

Look Out!!

Something caught my eye the other day, that I find highly amusing. If you didn't know, there is another 'luxury development' planned for Stock Island called Kings Pointe. (Otherwise known as Oceanside Marina etc etc) No doubt more hideous faux Conch style plywood boxes with million dollar price tags. On Stock Island.

Pardon me while I titter.

This new thing though is definitely aimed at the ignorant wealthy. Not only are they going to have to fight their way through the forests of trailers and broken down vehicles etc to buy a gallon of milk from the gas station, they are now going to have to wear earplugs and/or head protection 24/7. The Navy ain't fer budgin'.

The Monroe County Planning Commission approved the King's Pointe Marina project at its meeting Wednesday, despite a Navy request to postpone the vote and discuss the noise issue. The commission approved the project after Chairman Jim Cameron said a decision was needed that day.

So basically the county has approved building a 'luxury' condo unit, in the potential line of jet crashes and insanely loud maneuvers! Gotta love it. I shall be watching this one with glee.

Ron Demes, business manager of Naval Air Station Key West, wrote to county officials before the King's Pointe approval, expressing concern over the redevelopment of the Stock Island marina because it's inside a safety buffer zone surrounding the military air base on nearby Boca Chica.

The military creates Air Installations Compatible Use Zones (AICUZ) for its air bases that outline where home development is discouraged due to excessive noise levels and to protect civilians from plane crashes.

Demes wrote that the King's Pointe property falls into the "very high noise area" and would require extensive sound abatement to the proposed condos, and that it is nearly impossible to soundproof boats.

"We are extremely concerned about an expansion of that use," he said.

Source - The Fishwrapper

Hahahahahahaha, oh man this is going to be a laughfest of epic proportions. Watch as everyone plays the blame game, in particular the rich bastards who bought into the "key west fantasy' on Stock Island.

I am currently digging around in the cess pool which is, Cay Clubs, Kings Pointe, The Real Estate Company of KW and a few other sordid players in the new Wreckers game. Much fun and laughter to ensue.

Update - Key West Ink

"As most know we have filed a suit in the circuit court of Monroe County that a complete ban on the artistic expression of tattooing is unconstitutional and violates the First amendment to freedom of expression of the Constitution of the United States and the State of Florida. We have have asked for an expedited hearing for Declaratory and injunctive relief. The circuit court of Monroe County, Fl has granted our request and we will have our hearing May 9th at 9 a.m. This is an open court so all are invited, We are quite confident that we will prevail. At this time I would like to thank everyone that has supported us. This has been a battle, but I belief our time has arrived."

Source - KW Ink

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hickory House.. Byeeeeeee!

The concept of 'Land Grab' philosophy is very common here in the Keys. Basically, any spit of dirt, preferably on the water, is grabbed by any means necessary by big corporations, so that they can build ugly concrete blocks, to cram as many millionaires in as they can.

I just picked up the email bulletin from Dixie Speher, she of the total humour void, discussing a nice bit of oceanfront property on Stock Island. She rambles on a bit about how important it is to keep such properties accessible to the common man, etc etc...

Late last year the County Commission purchased what is commonly known as the “Hickory House Restaurant” property, located in my district on Maloney Avenue in Stock Island. It is no secret that there is in the Florida Keys, and indeed throughout the State of Florida, what is tantamount to an unabated “land grab” of waterfront property. This phenomenon is likely to continue, as Florida, our nation’s fourth most populous state—projected by the Census Bureau to rapidly overtake New York as the third most populous state—continues to see substantial population increases with people and businesses pressing to the land’s edge in order to enjoy direct access to Florida’s outstanding Gulf and Atlantic waters.

Unfortunately, these seemingly irrevocable demand pressures on limited shoreline property will, in perhaps too many cases, result in increasingly diminished public access to the waterfront throughout our state and here in the Keys, with escalating waterfront property prices leaving state and local governments, in these times of austerity, unable to buy waterfront properties on, or to secure long-term public access rights to, our scenic waterfronts. Stock Island had, until our Hickory House purchase, no direct routes to the waterfront guaranteeing public (in contrast to ‘private’) access down the road. It is also no secret that Stock Island, particularly its waterfront areas, are in the midst of an almost frenzied acquisition and redevelopment process, fueled by natural beauty, a true deep water port area and the looming opening of Cuba. We had to step in last year, and we did.

Now I have requested that the County Attorney place on the County Commission’s agenda and item for the approval to sell or go out for bid to sell the Hickory House property, wherein I hope to recoup our purchase price for the property while, in the context of a sale, reserve in our deeds of conveyance easements or similar rights that will ensure permanent public access to at least a modest piece of our historic and treasured Stock Island waterfront, while at the same time permitting a purchaser to make the best economic use of the property that our community’s character and our land development regulations will allow. I believe the Hickory House purchase was right for Monroe County when the purchase opportunity presented itself last year, and that my proposed sale plans are the right thing to pursue now.

Dixie M. Spehar,

Ok, is it just me, or does she end this piece by announcing that she is going to recommend SELLING this lovely bit of property? To the highest bidder? WTF?

This is without doubt a prime example of commissioners gone barking mad. I know she is going to try and turn this around, to make it somehow a good thing. She is after all recommending an easement. A fucking EASEMENT? Ok that means that no matter what ugly building/condo goes up, the developer must retain a path of some kind, accessible by the public.

Honestly, if Dixie had announced this on April Fools, I would have said kudos! Funny!

What a crock. This is screaming out for active protest. Enough of this shit already.

Its Done, Apparently.

Its kind of sad when the realisation that Key West is officially ruined, is shoved in your face. Usually we are ignored by the media outside the lower keys, and that is half the reason why so much terrible behavior is gotten away with. No one is looking so bits get sold, remodelled or simply torn down so fast that by the time anyone realises it, they have lost another piece of town. I find it sad when I read comments like this, a letter to todays Sentinel,
It looks as though greedy developers are on their way to ruining another one of Florida's unique communities. I have been to Cedar Key several times to relax and enjoy an unspoiled place free of most commercialism. I fear that the residents of Cedar Key will experience what has happened to Key West.

People move to these towns because of the special "charm" of the place only to systematically destroy it. If people want a squeaky-clean, perfect copy of Old Florida charm, move to one of the many prefab communities and leave the few special places for the rest of us to enjoy.

Becky Witek

As far as she is concerned Key West is done, over. She is worried that a community local to her is going to end up the same way. Hey, history says it most likely will. But maybe the fact that Cedar Key is not an isolated speck on the map, may help save it. I highly doubt it, but I will be watching.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Wet Foot, Dry Foot?

This is not exactly hot off the presses, however its pissing me off.

Early last Thursday morning, while the Department of Homeland Security were eating pancakes at Denny's, over 20 Cuban migrants armed with homemade nuclear weapons showed up at Key West International Airport.

OK no nukes but no passports, visas or plane tickets either. Come to mention it, they were kinda damp, like they swam the last few yards ashore. Who'da thunk it, with our borders being so rock solid secure and all?

This is yet another wacky example of Homeland Security playing Keystone Cops. While mothers are being asked to drink expressed breast milk at airports to prove the milk is not in fact the secret liquid bombs now being used by terrorists, Cubans are washing up all along the South Florida coast with impunity. So are Haitians, for that matter, but because they are black and have no political power in Miami, they are immediately sent back to Haiti while the Cubans are given houses and benefits and the freedom to burn US flags.

They really need to rename the wet foot/dry foot policy White Foot/Black Foot.

Monday, April 9, 2007


As predicted, the City has handed over the leases of Turtle Kraals and Half Shell Rawbar to Cay Clubs. Gone, under our noses and not a peep was heard from anybody. From Keynoter,
“Who is Cay Clubs?” Commissioner Harry Bethel asked. “I don't have any names. I don't know who the players are,” he added.

Amazing really, I guess Mr Bethel thinks the Internets Tubes are too complicated for him. A simple typing in of will give you all the players listed in alphabetical order.
City Attorney Shawn Smith conceded these were legitimate concerns.

Commissioner Bill Verge responded to public input that advised the commissioners to be wary of incremental changes in development, along with the dangers of pandering to wealthy tourists.

“Life changes,” Verge said. “I have a lot more gray hair but there is nothing I can do about it.”

Well no Bill, there's nothing you can do about it now, its a done deal. How did these idiots ever get into office? We simply must get rid of these dusty old fossils and get some intelligent, forward thinking people in government. Hey a girl can dream ok. It amazes me to think that these people cannot even use the most basic of office equipment.

They also, judging from their complete and utter lack of awareness as to what is happening around them, have zero interpersonal skills. I am thinking something along the lines of, "Hey (insert secretary/janitor name here), what's this CAY CLUBS business I keep hearing about?" How freakin' hard is that?

FYI, here are a few 'affiliated companies' of Cay Clubs.

The Real Estate Company of the Florida Keys
Tranquility Bay
The Singh Company

None of the City Commissioners knew this? Hello? Wake-up you bloody morons!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

A Short Afternoon Stroll

Federal Judge Rejects Venue Change for Men Accused of Smuggling Cuban Ballplayers

Defense attorneys for three men charged with smuggling Cuban baseball players into the United States asked to move their upcoming criminal trial scheduled for Key West, Fla., to Miami.

Among other things, they figured that Miami jurors would be more sympathetic to their clients' efforts to get Cubans out of Fidel Castro's Cuba.

But last week, without explanation, U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore denied the request. It was opposed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Daniel, the lead prosecutor in the case.

Miami attorney Susan Dmitrovsky, who represents Major League Baseball agent Gus Dominguez, a defendant in the case, argued in her motion that the trial, which begins today, should be in Miami because the defense attorneys, prosecutor and testifying agents for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are based in Miami.

Dmitrovsky also cited the high costs associated with transportation and lodging for the weeklong trial in Key West. She accused the government of "manufacturing venue" by asking for the trial to be held in Key West.

"The only nexus between the evidence in this case and any location within the Key West division of the Southern District of Florida is the allegation the aliens were detained by Monroe County and U.S. Customs officials," she said. "No other fact alleged to comprise the criminal conduct in this case occurred within the boundaries of the Key West division."

Dmitrovsky said in an e-mail that her defense team is not planning an appeal on the venue issue "at this time," but is preparing for the trial in Key West. "The expense and timing logistics for both parties to get all witnesses to Key West is quite daunting," she said.

Two defendants have taken plea deals in the case and will be cooperating against the three others.


Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The Mayor vs The City Manager

I do not know all the ins and outs of this current debacle. What I do find curious is the reason given why the Assistant City manager signed off on a permit that should only have been signed by someone from the building department.

The Rum Barrel is a bar, not a hospital or even a police station, why was there this apparent emergency that made the bars' opening "early" such a priority? Like I said, its a bar. I think the people of Key West would have been able to take the 3 or 4 week wait for the proper permits to be signed by the proper people.

Why the big rush, and why the big secret?

clipped from
It's no secret that Key West Mayor Morgan McPherson wants to fire City Manager Julio Avael without cause.
Surfacing now are questions about an investigation into permits issued last year that allowed an early opening for Pat Croce's Rum Barrel on Simonton and Front streets.

McPherson said there were some questionable actions taken by Avael and assistant city manager John Jones, and that if the investigation finds anything improper, he would push “a resolution that looks at suspension with charges,” he said.
The Rum Barrel permits date back to February 2006. Typically, only building officials are authorized to sign off on the certificates needed to open, but Jones said that circumstances - which he cannot fully divulge at this time - required the bar and restaurant to open early with his consent.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

A bit of Sunday Sillyness

You might be a Floridian if:

"Down South" means Key West.

"Panhandling" means going to Pensacola.

Flip-flops are everyday wear.

Shoes are for business meetings and church.

No, wait, flip-flops are good for church, too.

Socks are only for bowling.

Orange juice from concentrate makes you vomit.

Tap water makes you vomit.

Sweet tea can be served at any meal.

An alligator once walked through your neighborhood.

You smirk when a game show's "Grand Prize" is a trip to Florida.

You have a drawer full of bathing suits, and one sweatshirt.

You get annoyed at the tourists who feed seagulls.

A good parking place has nothing to do with distance from the store, but everything to do with shade.

Your winter coat is made of denim.

You can tell the difference between fire-ant bites and mosquito bites.

Anything under 70 degrees is chilly.

You've hosted a hurricane party.

You understand the futility of exterminating cockroaches.

You understand why it's better to have a friend with a boat than have a boat yourself.

Bumper stickers on the pickup in front of you include various fish, the NRA and a Confederate flag.

You know what the "stingray shuffle" is and why it's important.

You dread lovebug season.

You think a six-foot alligator is actually pretty average.

You can pronounce Okeechobee, Kissimmee, Withlacoochee, Okahumpka and Loxahatchee.

Well ok, I can pronounce 2 of them ;)