AFFORDABLE HOUSING SOLUTION

Word on the street is the Key West lodging and entertainment industry is having staffing problems. No wonder. The work staff, bartenders, wait staff, hotel workers, etc. are departing. They cannot afford to live in Key West any longer. Irma the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Rents became too high for ordinary Joes and Janes. Many ending up sharing an accommodation with anywhere from one to three other persons.

Irma caused damage in varying degrees to real estate. Renters found themselves without a home. Landlords in many instances became pigs. The law of supply and demand. Raised the rent!

Most were not able to work during the crisis. Two weeks or more  going unpaid.

Can you blame them for leaving? Or would you rather have them live under the Cow Key Bridge?

The heart of the housing problem is that the local law requiring Key West rentals to be for at least 28 days is not being effectively enforced. Forget excuses and difficulty of enforcement. Enforce! Hit violators with the fines permitted under the law, not a slap on the wrist.

Within a year, the affordable housing problem could be resolved. Without the need to construct affordable housing. The high cost of affordable housing itself  a joke.

Berlin proves my point.

Berlin was experiencing a relatively new housing crisis. Rentals became unavailable. Those available experienced sky rocketing rents.

Berlin attributed the problem to Airbnb. The greed of swift big dollars caused homes to be converted to unlicensed, super profitable hotel rooms. Such caused housing prices to be driven up and a shrinking rental inventory. Suddenly, Berlin was unaffordable for the people who lived and worked there.

Berlin dealt with the problem face on. Enforced a long term rental policy. Punished those who violated the policy.

In the first year alone, 8,000 units were returned to Berlin’s long term rental market.

San Francisco had a similar problem. Enforced its long term rental laws. As a result, 6,000 illegal listings disappeared.

New York City is presently complaining of the Airbnb problem. Airbnb has resulted in a raised cost of living for renters.

Unless local laws are enforced sternly, the situation will be as the comedian Robin Williams related regarding England’s unarmed police: Stop or I’ll say stop again!

Key West must use the law and its staff to combat the problem. Give Codes more men, a bigger budget. Resolve cases with significant fines. Of a size that hurt.

Then there will be no need for affordable housing. The working community will be able to pay fair market prices for rentals.

Trump’s State of the Union Address last night. What can I say that is not being bandied about via the media last night and this morning. I thought the address more form than substance. Considered it divisive. The tone Trump’s way or the highway.

Trump is fortunate to have finally discovered the value of prompters. He stuck to script last night. Made him appear Presidential.

Things are happening under Trump which I do not consider in the best interests of our Nation.

I hear purge and cleanse too often these days. With relation to the Department of Justice and FBI. Trump is a destroyer. A member of the Apocalypse.

Trump could have sanctioned Russia yesterday. He already had Congressional approval. He failed to do so. His excuse being he thought the ability to sanction was a sufficient deterrent to Russia.

He gave Russia a free pass. Russia who is out to bury us. A Russia that cannot be trusted. A Russia that only understands force/compulsion.

Trump claims that one of the benefits of the new tax law is that many corporations are paying bonuses in the thousands to its employees. I would buy $1,000. Not the point, however. A recent study shows only 9 percent of Fortune 500 companies have arranged to have their employees share in the windfall.

Whether 9 percent or 100 percent, the corporations who pay something to their employees still come out with huge significant monies remaining.

I am concerned. A society that is 1 percent/99 percent cannot survive. The 99 percent deficated upon will accept it only so long. Social disorder could result.

I worry about the market. So high! Higher every day!

Such cannot sustain itself. Fifty percent of Americans are not in the market, not benefiting.

Herbert Hoover was elected in 1929 when the market was acting as it is today. Upwards, ever upwards! Less than 8 months after his election, the market fell. The U.S. experienced its worse depression in history.

Trump could be the Herbert Hoover of the 21st century.

Irma and Me is now available at the Key West Library. Available for checking out. I am honored.

Syracuse/Georgia Tech tonight at 8. I will be watching the game. I am not sure where yet.

Enjoy your day!

 

PERLE MESTA OF KEY WEST

Liz unquestionably is the Perle Mesta of Key west.

From her earliest years, Liz’s hobby has been cooking. Her preparation spectacular! The results special.

Liz’s dinner parties and simple gatherings planned to the smallest item. Her food choices always delicious. All of course prepared by Liz. Her drink choices right on. She knows her wines and stronger alcohols. Mouth watering deserts.

Topping it off, Liz knows how to direct conversations so her guests all participate.

I was her guest at a dinner party last night at her home. Cocktails in the garden. French lasagna the entre. The wines tasteful. The creme cheese desert the end of a perfect evening.

The dinner party small. Liz, Sheila, Barb and Louis.

My today full.

A manicure at noon with Tammy. Cocktails tonight at David Wolkowsky’s. His guest of honor Robert A. Caro. Caro twice a Pulitzer Price winner. He is best known for his biographies of Lyndon Johnson and Robert Moses.

Later in the evening, I will see La La Land. A musical. The first in many many years.

Florida Keys Community College is to be commended. Every person from day one who contributed to FKCC becoming the institution it is today included.

KKCC is now offering a four year Bachelor’s degree. The first class seeking the four year degree began studies this past monday.

Obviously, Cuba is of great interest to Key Westers. A mere 90 miles away. Most attempting to leave Cuba for the freedom of the United States the past 50 years ended up on our beaches or in our waters.

In 1995, President Clinton established the wet foot / dry foot policy. If a Cuban reached soil, he/she stayed. If still in the water, it was back to Cuba.

Yesterday, Obama announced he was changing the policy. Getting rid of it. Effective immediately. He signed an administrative rule authorizing the same. Trump can undo Obama’s ruling when he takes office.

Today In Keys History noted former President Herbert Hoover arrived in the Keys on this date in 1958 for a fishing trip.

Hoover did not believe public funds should be used for private purposes. Like bailing a bank or business out with taxpayer dollars. As Bush 2 and Obama did.

Many historians and economists believe the great depression of 1929 could have been avoided had Hoover opted to bail out some of the businesses going down.

Trump and L. L. Bean. Linda Bean is a co-heiress of the L. L. Bean business. She sits on the L. L. Bean board. She made a $30,000 contribution to a PAC supporting Trump.

There is now a public cry negative to L. L. Bean’s well being. Even some of her co-board members cry the same tune. She should never have supported Trump. The reason why simple. Most items sold by L. L. Bean are manufactured in China.

Trump in support of Linda Bean and L. L. Bean tweeted yesterday…..BUY L. L. Bean.

So much for Buy American.

Some more re robots and automation.

Connor Forrest wrote an article on August 3, 2015 listing jobs in line for robot takeover.

One was assembly line workers. Ford and Toyota already using robots. The beginning of the end for human employees in many assembly line businesses.

Another involved fast food employees. McDonald’s is already using kiosks for ordering in many parts of the U.S. It is anticipated cooking positions in the fast food industry are next.

Table side tablet ordering systems for ordering. Chili a company so involved.

Enjoy your day!

I FOUND MY BIRTH MOTHER

I found my birth mother. A touching statement. Made not by me, but by another.

Let me share her story.

I was in Aqua last night watching Dueling Bartenders. Jean and Joe Thornton there, also. Jean introduced me to her sister. I was not aware Jean had a sister. A half sister. Her name Laura.

Jean was 37 when she received a telephone call from Laura. Laura then 25. Jean did not know she had a sister. Laura said, I am your sister, I am looking for our mother.

Jean was in Birmingham at the time. Laura in Nashville.

Their mother had not made Jean aware she had given birth to another child when Jean was 12 years old.

Laura was taken in by another family and eventually adopted by another.

Laura told Jean she wanted to meet her mother and Jean. Jean made the necessary arrangements and in due course the three met. Their Mother told Jean she had kept the birth secret.

A glorious meeting. Tears and joy. A unit since.

Laura is in key West visiting. She will be here till the end of the month. She now resides in Louisville.

Laura told me she refers to the woman who adopted/raised her as her Mom and her discovered mother as her birth mother.

Jean and Laura loving sisters. So they appeared and acted. Jean could not wait to introduce her sister to me.

God is good. He provided the path and determination for Laura to successfully discover her birth mother and sister.

A lucky threesome.

While still at Aqua, a lovely young lady approached and asked if I was Key West Lou. Her name, Pat Grady. A Key West resident. I am fortunate. A loyal blog reader. Thank you, Pat.

Great game last night! Clemson beat the perennial victor Alabama. By a touchdown made with one second remaining on the clock. The final score 35-31.

Wild!

Tonight Syracuse/West Virginia. West Virginia a 4.5 point favorite. I will stick my neck out. If Syracuse plays as it has in its last two game, Syracuse will win decisively.

I continue to learn.

Enzio Pinza was a great singer and movie actor in the 1950s. He was vacationing at the Casa Marina.

The mood at various times of the day at the Casa can be revealing, overwhelming. At some point one evening, Pinza was seated on the Casa’s terrace overlooking the ocean and moon. He was so taken by the sight, he stood and sang Some Enchanted Evening. A song he had made popular.

The Casa and Pinza singing a fitting combination.

I am listening to Session’s Senate confirmation hearing. Just began. Two Democratic senators have already spoken who have failed the Nation. Both were supportive of his nomination. Disgusting. The man is an obvious bigot. Will work to restrict civil and voting rights. Not support them.

I am ashamed of the two Democratic senators. They lacked the courage to do the right thing.

I have to hustle. Barb is visiting for two weeks. I pick her up at the airport in an hour.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

VERY SATISFYING EVENING

Last night, pleasant and satisfying. A night with Liz.

Began with drinks at her home. Then to Bruschetta for dinner. Followed by a return to Liz’s home for home made Christmas cookies while seated on Liz’s Christmas decorated front porch.

Company and cookies excellent! Bruschetta good!

Bruschetta is a new Italian restaurant in downtown Key West. At 112 Fitzpatrick Street. Decor comforting.

Marco is part owner and operator. From Italy. A warm personality.

The food! Real Italian. A step up. Portions large. We left with doggy bags.

I enjoyed a linguine dish. Liz, a veal one.

Marco is giving a locals’ discount. Ten percent. Not enough. Should be at least 15 percent, if not 20. He apparently does not understand you can’t make it in Key West with out local business. The summers are long. His problem may be he does not realize the generous discounts being given by other restaurants.

The Key West Citizen makes two contributions to today’s blog.

Today In Key West History mentions that the movie Caribe Gold was being filmed in Key West in 1955. Ethel Waters, Coley Wallace and Cicely Tyson starring.

Lisa has a large colored print announcing the movie. Magnificent. It hangs in her living room. The print rare today.

The Citizens’ Voice carries an interesting comment. I repeat it in its entirety.

“No one felt sorry for the public phones when cellphones came around, no one felt sorry for letters when e-mails came around, no one felt sorry for Blockbuster when Netflix came around. Why feel sorry for the taxis because Uber came around?”

Homeless Memorial Day is December 16. Seventy six homeless persons died thus far this year in Monroe County. Their remains will be interred at a prayer service that day at Key West Cemetery. A recognition that everyone should be remembered.

Three years ago, I wrote a KONK Life COMMENTARY Column about Jeanette Rankin.

Rankin was a pacifist. Elected to Congress for the first time when World War I broke out. She voted against entering the war. She was defeated in the next election.

She ran again for Congress in 1940. Won. Pearl Harbor occurred. Rankin was the sole vote on December 8 opposed to declaring war on Japan.

Visitors abounded in the House that day. She was chased from the Chamber to a telephone booth. The police had to extract her and guide her out of the building to safety.

She did not run for re-election after casting her negative vote. The handwriting was on the wall.

Rankin commented as she cast her vote: “As a woman, I can’t go to war and I refuse to send anyone else.”

The House has a year end spending bill. It will be voted on thursday by the House. On friday by the Senate.

Some oddities in the bill.

New York City has increased responsibility guarding Trump and his family. The City asked for $35 million to assist with the protection. The House bill only appropriates $7 million.

Flint still waits for significant financial assistance to assist with regard to its lead contaminated water problem. Politicians are all talk with little help.

The House bill provides for $170 million to communities struck by contamination water problems. Note, not Flint alone. Communities.

The $170 million is also contingent on the passage of a separate water bill authorizing the funds.

Good luck! It will be a long time if at all before Flint receives proper help from the federal government. No one seems to care. The feds see it as a state problem. The state sees it as a federal problem. In the meantime, Flint water remains contaminated.

A newscaster this morning made mention that the Trump cabinet is the most conservative since Herbert Hoover. I hope Trump does better than Hoover did!

Syracuse/BU saturday at noon.

Enjoy your day!