KEY WEST BIKE AND PEDESTRIAN COORDINATOR RESIGNS…..GREAT!

I am rarely excited about the decisions of the Key West City Commission. They make decisions, pass rules and regulations, and then sit in the corner like Little Jack Horner. Each sticking his thumb in the pie and coming up with a plum. Saying simultaneously…..What a good boy am I!

Decisions off the wall. They throw money at everything. Frequently not the solution.

Last year, the Commission hired a Bike and Pedestrian Coordinator. Chris Hamilton. Never met Hamilton. Began to think he was crazy as he got into the job.

The man moved. Earned his salary by making changes. Changes I considered not always good.

Bikes his job. He removed parking spaces and replaced them with bike lanes. He added bike lanes in dangerous places.

The man was pro-bike and anti-car. He forgot we who drive cars worry constantly about hitting a bike rider who with his 5 member family are rolling down a Key West Street. Some of the kids 4-5 years old. Then there is the 60ish woman who probably has not been on a bike in 40 years. She has trouble keeping her ass on the seat and wobbles uncontrollably.

I could go on.

I hope the position remains unfilled. Traffic congestion and parking problems have to be decided at one time by a group. Not piece meal. The City may be moving in that direction.

Got to the Chart Room early. Before 5. Wanted to see John about something. My self phone lost his number.

My game plan was to go from there to bocce. Never made bocce. The Chart Room was too interesting and fun to leave.

Met George. Nice guy. 47. From New Jersey. A software engineer. Could have been an Arts major. Reads everything. Big on Hemingway.

George visits once a year with a group of friends. One a police officer from Red Bank. The officer’s police patch hangs on the Chart Room wall. He proudly pointed it out to everyone.

George told me about Pompous Hemingway. A book of sorts by Hemingway. I tried to find it this morning. Could not. George, if you are reading this blog this morning, e-mail me how to find the book in the Comments section. Forget the long number you gave me. Turned out I did not know how to use it.

The new amphitheater is constantly discussed these days. Who to name it after? That person or company pays a fee for the privilege. Normally, very generous.

Several names have been mentioned. Jimmy Buffett one of them.

The anti-Buffett talk is amazing. Many do not want the facility named after him. Hard to understand. Jimmy Buffet is a part of Key West as much as Hemingway and Tennessee Williams.

A local I had never seen before was sitting at the other end of the Chart Room bar. Attractive. Her feet up on the bar stool next to hear. In her slightly inebriated high pitched voice she was berating Buffett as a choice.

In the very room where Buffett got his start!

Key West has bright stars in many areas of accomplishment. Dr. Cori Convertino is one.

Cori is affiliated with the Key West Art and Historical Society. She is the Curator at the Custom House.

She is a recognized maritime history expert.

Cori recently completed a two year project. The Flagler Railroad section of the Custom House. Fantastic!

She has been invited to speak at the U.S. Naval Academy September 14-15 at a maritime symposium. Her topic to be involves Commodore David Porter and his anti-piracy efforts in 1823 which effectively eliminated piracy from Key West waters.

Sally Rand was a famous fan dancer for many years. Even into her 60’s. She lived in Key West in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.

I met her in 1965. At a convention at Grossinger’s in New York’s Catskill mountains. I was attorney for the group holding the conference.

Sally was retained to perform one evening.

I met her the night before at a small cocktail party at the Grossinger residence. At 60, Sally was still beautiful. We hit it off and I spent much time the next two days when not working in her company.

I was unaware she was the lady friend of one of my client’s officer staff. A secret friend. They had had a tiff.

Three days following the convention, I received a letter advising my services were no longer required and I was terminated.

A learning experience.

Harvey has displaced one million persons. Forty four dead. The number will increase as more bodies are found. Beaumont is a community of 120,000 persons. They have no drinking water.

The sadness of it all.

Irma is on the way. Similar in power to Harvey. Still two thousand miles away. A hurricane already. Expected to be a 4 when it hits in a week. Winds will be 140 miles per hour plus.

Whether it will reach land or turn north up into the Atlantic not yet certain. At this time heading for the Bahamas. Too soon to determine its impact, if any, with the United states.

After Harvey, I am concerned. I have a feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Enjoy your day!

 

TO GARAGE OR NOT TO GARAGE

Pru Sowers…..one of Key West’s finest newspaper writers.

She reports in this morning’s KONK Life E-Blast re the on and off Greene Street garage proposal. The title of her article similar to Hamlet’s soliloquy…..To be or not to be. Pru’s….. To garage or not to garage.

The article a reflection (from my perspective) of the City Commission’s disarray.

Parking a recognized problem. Two new parking garages bandied around since 2011. One on Greene Street. The City Commission in its divine wisdom voted unanimously in September no garage on Greene Street.

Not a group to let sleeping dogs lie, the City Commission voted to reexamine the issue on November 15 by a 5-2 vote. The vote does not signify that the garage will pass. It is thought most who voted to reexamine will subsequently vote against the garage.

So why waste time looking at the issue again? To accommodate the desire of Commissioner Richard Payne. A retired Florida State Judge. He has a tendency to screw things up.

Kate Miano is one of Key West’s leading citizens. Owner of the highly successful Gardens. The Gardens is across the street from the relatively new public parking lot behind the new City Hall.

Kate walks her dog three times a day by the parking lot. Pru’s article reports Kate’s comment that the lot is never full. I can attest to that. I park there almost daily. Only twice in a year was there not a parking spot.

Kate went a step further. She walked over to the City Parking Department and asked questions. She learned that in the year running from October 2015 to October 2016, parking lot revenue was down. Fell 18.7 percent from the previous year.

Key West needs parking. Desperately. Not a garage on Greene Street, however. Part of the parking problem would be relieved if the City Commission voted to allow Uber and Lyft to operate. Difficult. The Bubba system stands in the way.

Dinner last night with Liz and her house guest J. Richard Hunt. An enjoyable evening. Liz an excellent cook.

I learned that being the Dean of a law school has become a business in itself. Liz was Dean of two. Richard, one better. Of three.

It is cold this morning. Second day in a row. Cold is 70-74 degrees. Yes, such is cold in Key West. I am wearing a sweat shirt as I write.

My home town Utica in upstate New York is experiencing big time snow the past 24 hours,. More today. Already 12-15 inches. Temperature in the low 20s. Chill factor even lower.

One thing I have learned living in Key West these many years. when it is cold cold up north, it is cold in Key West.

Installment 19 of Key West Rotary history.

Disaster strikes. Sometimes we do not appreciate the practical impacts.

The 1935 Labor Day Hurricane was a 5. Blew out many Flagler railroad bridges. Parts of the highway gone. People could not get back and forth to the mainland. Miami not accessible. Ferries could not operate. Mail significantly reduced. Food prices shot up, where food was available. The law of supply and demand.

The Key West Rotary’s Annual Report issued January 1, 1936, stated the greatest community need was the reestablishment of adequate transportation facilities with the mainland. Noted specifically that parts of the railroad and highway were destroyed by the hurricane.

At the January board meeting, the Club took several steps.

First, the financing of a delegation to Cuba. Interesting why. To obtain the assistance of Cuban government and commercial agencies in having the railroad rebuilt.

I could not determine if the delegation ever went and what, if any, was its success.

The board formed a special committee to correspond with U.S. agencies directly or indirectly concerned with the problems caused by the hurricane.

The February 17, 1936 board meeting centered on air mail and passenger service. The need to improve them. Without the railroad, highway or ability of the ferries to operate, airplanes were the only thing left.

Passenger planes only carried four passengers. More seats on the planes required.

Mail service next to non existent. The suggestion was the airplanes be used to carry first class mail.

The lack of bus transportation a concern.

Key West had become isolated.

The March board meeting noted some progress. The highway had been cleared. Bus transportation began in late February. No vehicular traffic, however.

Letters of support, etc. had been received from Postmaster Farley and Florida’s two federal senators.

Bascom Grooms was outspoken at the meeting. He convinced  the Club to support the conversion of the railroad bridges to handle vehicular traffic.

Enjoy your day!