My sympathies are with the residents of Santa Clara Condominiums. What has befallen them is humorous, ridiculous and sad.

Santa Clara is a 111 unit condominium building. The City of Key West recently found it deficient and worn out in many respects. In need of significant repairs. The City has warned if steps not soon taken to correct the problems, it will condemn the building.

The condominium owners each face an increase in their monthly assessments to make a pool from which to pay for the repairs. The increase will begin November 1. The amount anywhere from $7,000 to $11,000 per month.

If condo owners are without funds, they will have to borrow the increases.

I doubt any of those living at Santa Clara can afford that kind of money. Reasons not warranted. The money and conditions in Key West cannot stand a hit of this magnitude.

Santa Clara condo owners are not sufficiently independently wealthy to handle such sums. Were they, they would not be residing in Santa Clara. They would be living in Truman Annex, the Casa Marina area, and perhaps even Sunset Key.

I hurt for them.

Rents in Key West keep rising. As if there were no limits. Which is the problem. There are not. Landlords are not bound by limits or caps.

Rents skyrocketing. In a market where too few apartments have been built and affordable housing is scarce. Houses rather than apartments are being constructed. Such is the market today in what many describe as the Keys “housing boom.”

South Florida overall is becoming the nation’s worst place to rent.

I do not have the Key West numbers. However I share with you what I was able to find. Since the first of the year, Palm Beach rentals have risen 21 percent, Fort Lauderdale 16.1 percent, and Miami 11.6 percent.

Wages obviously have not kept track with the increases.

It is well established that “landlords will do whatever they want because they know that people need a place to live.”

The situation is “getting worse.”

Florida laws protect landlords, not tenants. Landlords have broad discretion  to raise rents as they see fit.

Florida laws prevent local governments from establishing rental price controls. With one exception: Unless there is “a housing emergency so grave as to constitutes a severe menace to the general public.” The “crisis” must first be determined to be factual. Then an election is required to get an ordinate passed for any rent control to come into play. A step worse. The election is a yearly one. A new vote each year to keep the program going.

Florida is fraught with all kinds of problems. Healthcare another, for example. South Florida is #1 in healthcare fraud nationally. Rip offs costing Medicare and insurance companies billions of dollars a year.

The new healthcare field of telemedicine leads. Closely followed by substance abuse and COVID-19 programs.

The numbers tell the story. South Florida accounts for 20 percent of healthcare fraud nationally. Such having assisted in making Florida referred to in the medical field as the “healthcare fraud capital of the world.”

Recent 9/11 observances brought to mind a conversation a month later. I was having dinner at the Yacht Club. Terri and Donna were my guests.

Part of our conversation involved 9/11.

Terri never ceases to amaze me. She told us she lived near the 9/11 area at the time. Her neighborhood was affected for months. Grocery and drug stores were non-existent in the neighborhood after the tragedy. Many elderly resided in the area.

Terri organized with the police a system for getting food and drugs to those in need. She spent 2 1/2 months doing it. She received a plaque and commendation afterwards for her efforts.

An unusual experience yesterday. I lunched at the Eaton Street Fish Market.

I was required to be out for a doctor’s visit. Figured I would grab a bite while out. The Eaton Street Fish Market has been around for about 10 years. An excellent reputation. Especially for lobster rolls. Maine lobster rolls.

I figured why not? It’s about time I tried the place. I love Maine lobster rolls.

The Market is in a former gas station. Well done inside and out. Seating outside in shady areas.

I bought the large lobster roll. $30. Worth every penny!

Try the place. I plan on going back. It was that good.

Enjoy your day!


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