kneeling for National Anthem and third-world country Key West politics invaded the family reunion at secret Colorado Rockies hideout
Howdy from day 5 of family reunion at secret Colorado Rockies hideout, where I once skied all day, several days running, with other Alabama lawyers, using the excuse of a continuing legal education seminar. Now, I can barely limp to the first chair lift and back.
Go figure. I have a much stronger MetroPC cell phone signal in this remote part of the Colorado Rockies, than I have in Key West. Further proof Key West is a third-world country? For when I flew from Key West to Orlando, en route to Colorado, I had to go through Homeland Security, even though I had gone through Homeland Security in the Key West airport.
The family reunion is proceeding well.
The main topic of discussion over dinner last night was provided by the black boyfriend of my oldest granddaughter getting onto Dallas Cowboys superstar quarterback Dak Prescott for saying he was not interested in kneeling during the National Anthem at Cowboys football games. Dak is black. He attended Mississippi State University. My granddaughter’s father is Mississippi State’s athletic director.
It was an … interesting … discussion … during which, I said that I ran across a lot of stuff on Facebook about kneeling during the National Anthem, and I got tired of debating it and I started posting the First and Fourteenth Amendments together, and let the U.S. Constitution, which the anti-kneelers say must be interpreted literally, speak:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Amendment XIV Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Alas, despite the many engaging conversations and warm fuzzy feelings since arriving at the secret hideout, my body has been wracked by various discomforts, including acute G.I. tract pain, all of which I attribute to something metaphysical I’m not addressing properly.
My granddaughter with the black boyfriend works for CNN. She told us last night, that during a staff meeting with co-workers, she was asked if she wanted to handle the news story about a Key West mayor candidate who got a telephone call from God during a candidate forum? She told them that was her grandpa, which caused a bit of chuckling at CNN and her being taken off the case.
I said FOX News’ had emailed me about flying me to NY City to do a taped Watters World interview about my phone call from God, if another mayor candidate agreed to come along. I got an email from FOX just a few hours prior to our dinner, saying they have yet to get another mayor candidate to participate and they will keep trying. They need another mayor candidate to satisfy the federal fairness doctrine.
I opined that I would be happy to do a live interview, which could not be tampered, but FOX will tape the interview and chop it up and spin it to suit FOX, and for that reason I’m reluctant to participate. Amens from my granddaughter, her black boyfriend, her sister, her mother, her father, and my other daughter.
I said that looked like a sign, for I had been thinking, If the other mayor candidates decline to participate, maybe the fairness doctrine is satisfied and FOX can do the interview with just me, I was wondering if I needed to tell FOX that?
DON’T, they rejoined.
I offered to play for them later on, my opening remarks/telephone call from God at Hometown! Key West’s July 23 candidate forum, which ends with Hometown!s Chairman and event moderator Todd German asking if he can get that number? (God’s phone number). The Associated Press pick this up and it went viral in America and was picked picked up overseas. http://thebluepaper.com/key-west-mayoral-candidate-gets-phone-call-from-god/ Key West The Newspaper – Key West Mayoral Candidate Gets Phone Call From God – At Monday’s candidate forum, Sloan Bashinsky, a candidate for mayor of Key West, was speaking to the audience when he was “interrupted” by a phone call – from God himself. “Hello, what, God?” Bashinsky said into his flip phone as the crowd laughed. He and “God” then discussed the City of Key West’s recent plans not to fund non-profits for children thebluepaper.com
And my dreams keep pointing me at that third-world country … emailed a new question to Key West mayor candidates yesterday:
The Key West City Commission recently passed a measure (5-2 vote) to allow a pedestrian or “pocket park” on the southern end of Duval Street (1400 Block). The decision was made after four hours of debate between those in favor and in opposition to the park. Some argued that something needs to happen, as that end of Duval has remained an eyesore for more than a decade, while others argue that allowing private business and sidewalk cafes will lead to pandora’s box in the future. How would you have voted on this item as sitting mayor, and why? (100 words or less.)
NO. Halpern historically pushed the envelope at this location. Hard to imagine “Halpern Park” being receptive to non-paying customers already not welcome at South Beach. Seaweed problem shared with Higgs, Rest and Smathers beaches. Can seaweed and stormwater drainage problem even be fixed. How much is Halpern willing to pay trying? Too many loose ends and too much tricky history between Halpern and city. Why didn’t the city fix the pollution, if it could be fixed? Easy for the city to make it NO PARKING and pocket park.
the 3rd of the original 5 questions The Weekly emailed the Key West mayor candidates, and the candidates’ answers (see the two prior posts at this blog for questions 1 and 2, and the candidates’ answers):
3. Name one action the City of Key West can take to improve either parking availability or removing traffic off local streets.
Carie Noda 3. As a Conch who actually learned how to drive on Key West High School property, I am proud to say “I can parallel park a 1970’s family car on Duval Street,” that said, we know Conchs love to drive up and down Duval Street, it’s a passage of rights. We do need well placed parking lots that make the city money and gets visitors to park their cars away from central areas. By the way, well-traveled, savvy tourists would not be overwhelmed by this expectation.
Margaret Romero 3. Build a parking garage near the Simonton St. fire station; central to downtown businesses and attractions, quickly accessible to the free Duval Loop – enhancing mobility from Front to United, and points near Whitehead and Simonton. And increase number of off-street parking spaces; generates revenue, takes cars off the street that travel round and round looking for a place to park.
George Bellenger: 3. Build a parking garage on College Road at the transportation center with strong shuttle service to accommodate workers commuting, weekly vacationers and Stock Island residents.
Teri Johnston: 3. Create a “Duval Loop” service for our essential workers with a reasonable schedule and popular stops to get our employees to work without a vehicle or parking requirements.
Nick Foley 3. Only one? Studies have shown that there is no magic bullet to discourage people from driving, but The Duval Loop is a good start (and even better if we can stretch the route out to Stock Island). Giving our all-important workforce the option of not driving to work should lessen Old Town traffic and open up parking spaces.
Sloan Bashinsky 3. Absent a Category 5 hurricane T-bones Key West and reduces the population and motor traffic, more Key West residents could get out of their motor vehicles and walk, ride bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades and city buses.
Randy Becker: 3. Improving our public transit options, making driving a car (especially by tourists) unnecessary. More frequent and regular bus service, safer bicycle lanes, and availability of car-sharing (e.g., Zip-Car) would help to reduce both traffic and parking congestion. emailed yesterday:
Mayor and City Commission Candidate Questionnaire Office you’re seeking: Mayor Name: Sloan Bashinsky Age: 75 Education: B.A., Economics, Vanderbilt University; J.D. and LLM (in Taxation), University of Alabama School of Law Prior elected offices: none Are you currently an incumbent? no Party, if applicable, or non-partisan: non-partisan election, I belong to no political party (Responses to the following questions may not exceed 50 words.) 1.) What do you see as the single biggest threat to Key West’s economic future, and what corrective action(s) is needed?
Big hurricanes, which Category 4 Irma proved. The question I would have asked is: What is the biggest threat to Mother Nature on whom Key West’s economy heavily depends? My answer would have been: we the people.
2.) In your opinion, do the mayor, commissioners and their appointees have sufficient power and authority to say, “No” to development plans, parking variances, transient rental transfers, condo conversions and property expansions? If not, what laws and/or loopholes need to be changed and/or closed?
Yes, but they lack sufficient will to say, No. For examples, they grandfathered lots of illegal transient rentals and they don’t use city police to arrest and jail illegal transient rental operators like Ed Swift.
3.) What role, if any, should the city play in establishing and/or securing a livable wage for working residents?
The city should begin by paying its own line employees a living wage. If the city passes an ordinance that establishes a living wage for local private businesses, will the city enforce the ordinance? Does the city enforce the illegal transient rental and cigarette butt litter ordinances?
4.) How can the city discourage conversion of multi-family, long-term rental properties that house several working residents into single-family homes that stand vacant most of the year?
I don’t recall reading in The Citizen of this happening, although I’m sure it does. This former practicing attorney sees no legal way to prevent people selling apartment houses, which used to be single-family homes, which are converted back to single family. Far worse, developers buying trailer parks.
5.) Tuesday night’s City Commission meeting included repeated references to “public-private partnerships.” How can the city share the housing burden with private-sector employers?
The city should partner with the Housing Authority to build actually affordable rental housing on city land for city government employees only. Private sector businesses should build actually affordable rental housing for their employees. And/or the city and private sector raise wages.
Key West City Candidate Questionnaire Thank you very much for taking the time to fill out this questionnaire. We look forward to reviewing your responses. Please note that all answers will be made publicly available to our membership. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any special needs or requests. Email address * email@example.com Candidate Name: * Sloan Bashinsky What office are you running for? * Mayor of Key West Key West City Commissioner, District 4 Key West City Commissioner, District 5 Party Affiliation * none/independent Issue Questions: How would you defend the rights of everyone in Key West against unlawful traffic stops, searches, seizures, and detentions, regardless of race, religion or perceived immigration status? * Vigorously, once having reasonable evidence of any such incident(s): by speaking with the city manager and city attorney, to whom KWPD answers (if KWPD was involved); by speaking with the sheriff, if sheriff deputies were involved; by speaking with federal authorities, if federal law enforcement officers were involved; by speaking with the local state attorney; by bringing it before the city commission at a regular commission meeting and asking pesky questions and moving for action that might not please local law enforcement; and by reporting and commenting on it at my daily blog, afoolsworkneverends.blogspot.com. NOTE: The city’s Charter does not allow elected officials to manage, boss, etc. city employees, say the police chief. Elected officials have to go through the chain of command, at the top of which is the city manager, and, with respect to KWPD, also the city attorney. How do you view the role of newly mandated school resource and safety officers? Will you support requiring comprehensive implicit bias and de-escalation training for all school officers? * Yes, it’s way too late for ARMED and TRAINED school resource and safety officers. Yes, to comprehensive OVERT and IMPLICIT bias de-escalation training for all school safety officers. What steps would you take to make it safer to be on a bicycle in Key West? * I have no motor vehicle. I get around KW on my old lady’s Sun cruiser, with front and rear basket. I don’t see much way for the city government and its police to make bicycle riding much safer in KW, other than perhaps on North Roosevelt Blvd, by making the pedestrian crossings safer. There are motorists, who have little, to no, respect for bicyclists. There are bicyclists, who have little, to no, respect for other bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists. I try to respect them all, and I try to look out for me when I am on my bicycle. I think it is insane for people to write letters to the editor stating bicycles should be banned from sidewalks and required to use city streets. I think it is insane to ride a bicycle on North Roosevelt Blvd, instead of on the parallel sidewalks. I think the local newspapers should educate the general public that bicycles are as legal on sidewalks as pedestrians, and while pedestrians have the right of way over bicycles on sidewalks, pedestrians need to be on the lookout for bicycles coming toward and from behind them, and bicyclists need to be courteous and yield to pedestrians. Do you support making Duval Street a pedestrian street? If yes, how would you implement this change? * I first promoted making lower Duval pedestrian during the 2007 mayor’s race. Then, in the 2009, 2014 and 2016 mayor races. This year, with input from Duval bartenders and servers, and friends, my view evolved to doing a test by making Duval, between Southard and Green Streets, pedestrian only from sundown to closing time, with street artists, musicians, performers, etc., allowed to ply their trades, and local restaurants allowed to move chairs and tables out onto the sidewalks. How can Key West stay ahead of sea level rise? * I first started visiting the Florida Keys in 1956. I moved to KW in 2000. I have not seen any sea level rise in the Keys. My personal view is, if you own improved real estate here, which sits on, or near, the ground, you should be able to raise your building on stilts, if you can afford it. I think raising road elevation will be difficult to the infrastructure and costly. I think if sea levels do rise, it will be slowly and we all might be dead by then. I think the rational thing is to move to to higher ground, if faced with significant sea level rise. Meanwhile, we can do our individual part to reduce global warming, by using motor vehicles less, for example, and walking or riding bicycles more, for example. What would you do to diversify our economy and rebrand our city to support sustainability? * Understand, a mayor or city commissioner only has one of the seven votes on the City Commission. That said, KW sits on top of an earth energy vortex (power center) similar to the Peru, Himalaya, Sangre de Cristo, Sedona, etc. vortexes. I recognized the KW vortex shortly after moving here in 2000. I realized its energy is rooted in the limestone and various ocean currents, and its energy runs up the Keys into eastern USA and Canada. Perhaps KW being at the western tip end of the Bermuda Triangle also in play. I met two KW residents, one a native (Conch), who knew of the vortex. The Conch learned of it from her mother. The other resident is a Tarot dealer at Sunset Celebration each evening. Kinda tuned in. If word of the vortex is publicized, the kind of people who pilgrimage to other vortexes, their numbers are large, might be attracted to visit KW. Meanwhile, I said this at a county commission candidate forum in 2010, when asked much the same question: I hear marijuana grows well in the Keys; if local law enforcement turned a blind eye, I’d heard of an island where sheriff deputies were growing weed, then perhaps a cottage industry would spring up, and it would all be brought to a central location and packaged as “Key West Gold” and advertised online to Colombia, Mexico, America, Canada, Europe, Asia, etc.; everyone would know what it was, with that name. And KW city got small franchise fee from the sales. Do you support the creation of an easily referenceable database of police shootings and allegations of use of excessive force by law enforcement in Key West? * Yes. I rent an efficiency apartment in the home of Arnaud and Naja Girard, who publish Key West the Newspaper (thebluepaper.com), and are not on KWPD’s favorites list, nor am I. I told Mayor Cates and the six city commissioners, during citizen comments at a commission meeting, that their police had murdered Charles Eimers. because they thought he was living in his van and was homeless. Would you sponsor or support local legislation to mandate paid family and medical leave? If yes, how? * Yes, but as a former Alabama practicing attorney, I don’t see right now how the City of Key West, for example, or the Monroe County Commission, can pass an ordinance that is legal, which requires private businesses to provide paid family and medical leave. Perhaps the Florida Legislature can do that statewide? I don’t know if that even would be legal. Perhaps it would have to be passed by Congress, and maybe that would not be legal. I can’t imagine a Republican-controlled Congress passing such a law. Nor can I imagine a conservative U.S. Supreme Court smiling on such a law. I think the city and county governments, and other local governments (electric company, aqueduct authority, mosquito control, school district), can provide family and medical leave to their own employees, if they have the money to do it. Maybe I’m not tuned in enough, but I think right now the biggest concern for most local working people is the very high cost of housing. I don’t see any realistic solution for that. This is a very expensive place to live, and I don’t see that changing, absent a Category 5 hurricane reconfigures everything.
Naja Girard, of Key West the Newspaper (thebluepaper.com), made a YouTube of my stand up comedy remarks at Hometown!’s June 22 Meet the Candidates event, which begins with me being introduced by Todd German as his good friend who represents the lunatic party:
Hometown Candidate Forum June 22 2018 Sloan Bas…
Below is a link to the mayor candidates part of Hometown!’s July 23 candidate forum. Compare the professional weirdo’s answers to the panelists’ questions, to the six amateurs’ answers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOELKrkt7A0&t=4358s
Hometown! Live Stream “Q&A “CANDIDATE FORUM #2”” July 23, 2018 – 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Location: TThe Studios of Key West, 533 Eaton Street, Key West To help all voters learn about the candidates and races… www.youtube.com political advertisement created by unwitting co-conspirators, Sloan Bashinsky and God