Key West is killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

Actions taken over the years motivated by greed have resulted in leaks in the dike. One piece of evidence is the difficulty restaurant and bar owners are experiencing in finding/keeping help.

Waiters, waitresses, bartenders, are the mainstay of a tourist environment. The lowest paid also. Forgotten as the rest of the community has pocketed bigger and bigger dollars over the years.

Those making the least are finding it harder to make ends meet. To survive. The cost of living in Paradise too high. Rents out of sight. Two to four persons sharing a small apartment for $3,000 a month. Food costs continually on the rise. Many without health insurance.

The solution for these people simple. They move away. To places cheaper to live. Especially when it comes to rent.

Which means the restaurants and bars are quietly competing for help. Not in the newspapers. Personal telephone calls encouraging people to come to work for them.

Some restaurants have begun limiting the number of reservations they take. They can only handle so many customers because of the lack of help.

Eventually, the restaurant and bar owners will suffer.  Their lifestyles and operating expenses are based on a certain level of business. As fewer customers are accepted, the dollar intake goes down. The employers feel the pinch.

Further evidence that things are tough are the number of empty stores on Duval.  Scary. Understandable. Commercial rents out of sight.

How wise are the money makers in Key West? Can they see beyond their noises? Nothing is forever. Things of value must be operated properly to remain successful. Failure a silent killer. It comes as swiftly as death in the night. 

Which brings me to another Key West problem. One that could be a gigantic problem if not handled properly.

Key West has a habit of buying a pig in a poke. Everything the City does ends up costing significantly more dollars. Tax dollars. Yours and mine.

One of the issues discussed at the December 4 meeting of the City Commission was the possible redevelopment of Mount Trashmore. The landfill remediated many years ago. Now a hill near the golf course. Beautiful. Grass covered.

The talk is to remove the hill in its entirety. Take it down and build on it. Construct affordable housing.

Sounds like a good idea to help the housing crisis.

Beware! All that glitters is not gold. 

If Trashmore is not handled properly, the additional cost to Key West will be in the millions of dollars.

The talk I understand is to take the hill down. Why? Not necessary. It can be built upon.

A whole world exists beneath the grass. Running hundreds of feet into the ground. All kinds of hazardous substances. Living together. Blending together over the years. More potent today than the time years ago when the landfill was remediated.

Solids and liquids. Screw around with them and they move. Find pathways through their environment to the outside world. All of a sudden, what had been a safe landfill is now leaching. Hazardous fluids moving out. The water table affected. Properties nearby polluted. 

The EPA and Florida environmental people will be on Key West’s ass immediately to fix. A fix so costly it will blow people’s minds.

The landfill is not dormant. It lives. Waiting to break out.

I understand the remediatd landfill does not have a liner. Agreed to and done by the City to save money back when. Touch the landfill and the first thing the government will require today is for a liner to be placed underneath. Big bucks!

Pseudo experts a dime a dozen. Extreme caution to be exercised in selecting those to guide Key West if the job is done.

Time a factor. Taking down the hill not a one or two year thing. Must be done to the satisfaction of governmental agencies embodied to protect the environment. Affordable housing will not come into being for a number of years. A 5-10 year job start to finish.

Read an article yesterday that reported the Keys to be the warmest place in the country at the present time. Even warmer than Hawaii.

I share this with you this morning when it is 67 degrees. The high today projected at 69. Fell to 60 during the night. I had the heat on and a quilt over me.

Larry Smith performs friday evening. Eight at the Studios of Key West. The Larry Smith Holiday Jazz Concert.

I have seen every one of Larry’s Christmas specials for 20 years. Each year better than the preceding one. Do yourself a favor and go! He and those ensembled will leave you feeling warm and Christmassy at the end of the evening.

I close with some Hemingway. His youth.

Hemingway and his sister Marcelline were one year apart. Hemingway older by one year.

Their mother Grace had this fixation on them being twins. She held Marcelline back one year so she and her brother could enter school in the first grade as twins.

Mother Hemingway had problems.

Hemingway used to sing songs of little rhymes. Enjoyed performing. Short performances where he recited passages of poetry (like Longfellow’s Hiawatha), told tales he made up.

He enjoyed nature. His father responsible for that part of his upbringing. Enjoyed fishing especially. In those days, fresh water. At 3, he was recognized as some sort of fishing expert. He had a natural talent. He knew when he had a bite.

Boxing already. Mother Grace had a music room. Hemingway would take his friends in the room and box with them. Generally box against them. No matter how many. One at a time, of course.

He played the cello. Unhappily. His mother forced it upon him. He disliked the instrument itself and the one hour a day of practice. He finally was able to give up the cello while in high school. 

Hemingway an avid reader. Books at home, books from the public library. He read Robinson Caruso, Ivanhoe, Dicken’s Christmas stories, the Red Badge of Courage. He read everything!

While in high school, discovered sex. Enjoyed a sexual relationship with a Prudence Boulton.

Hemingway was an excellent student. Except for Latin. He required tutoring.

Tonight, my podcast. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time. A quick moving interesting half hour. I vent about everything and anything. Guaranteed you will enjoy.

Enjoy your day!

6 comments on “HELP WANTED!!!!!

  1. Creating Mt Trashmore was a finite proposition, I never understood why “they” did it. It has shrunk a lot, remember when you could see it from up the Keys?

  2. The problem getting and keeping employees is far from unique to Key West. That has become a problem all across America. It’s a problem with how our economy is currently structured and will eventually work itself out, given enough time. Key West has a bigger problem than that, which it’s relentless march to homogenization. Key West is/was successful because of it’s uniqueness. Who wants to come to Key West where it looks more and more like every other small town in America. There’s a CVS on every corner, a Starbucks every ten blocks, Denny’s and 5-Guys on Duval Street. Tacos are in one form or another in every restaurant and if you talk to any local they they’ll tell you they miss Benihana closing and are happy to still have an Outback. Wake up Key West, we’ll pay more, just make it worth it.

  3. Sounds like someone should figure out a way to build some affordable housing on Key West or a nearby area for the service workers who are necessary for the economy to thrive. Like an apartment building renting only to employed service workers. I know of other areas in Florida where this is done, I’m thinking of an exclusive area of Indian River County where housing is available for the workers at a discounted rate (not free). Something to think about, although I do know that real estate down there is at a premium.

  4. Mt Trashmore was a dumb idea right from the start. Why did it happen? We need an investigative journalist to dig in to it and find out.

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