Not just a Key West Problem anymore…
Originally Published January 31, 2018
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!