21 November 2023

TDC director suspended - Weekly briefing - November 21, 2023

Human-curated Florida Keys news, all in one place. 

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Our Community

Tourist Development Council audit fallout continued. 
City Commission recap. The Key West City Commission met on Tuesday, Nov. 9. 
  • Contentious. The commission rejected both of Mayor Teri Johnston’s candidates for the Key West Housing Authority board after a contentious discussion. Commissioners Billy Wardlow, Jimmy Weekley and Lissette Carey opposed the appointment of Thaddeus Cohen, citing his potential upcoming run for the City Commission. Commissioners Clayton Lopez and Mary Lou Hoover joined them for that vote, and for one to reject her nomination of Robert Cintron to replace Robert Dean, 92, who has been on the board for four decades.
  • Calling foul. “I find this type of objection very off,” Johnston said, calling the lack of ratification “a very dirty process. I’ve been appointing people to boards in this city for 16 years, and the housing authority appointments are never questioned and always approved by the commission,” she said. 
  • Smaller ships are coming. Commissioners unanimously approved an agreement with American Cruise Lines to use the Mallory T-pier with overnight stays, subject to limitations. 
  • December meeting. The next commission meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 14, at City Hall. 

Triangle traffic headache. Linda Cunningham wrote about how traffic in and around the Triangle came to a halt on Nov. 14 and went on to talk about Monroe traffic and development. 
  • Per Linda: Three of five Monroe County commissioners chose feeding the tourism machine over mitigating development when they rejected their 2023 traffic study. Accepting the 2023 study would have meant no new development (except single-family homes) without adequate traffic mitigation.

Evacuation Model. FloridaCommerce (formerly the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity) presented its Hurricane Evacuation Model for Monroe County on short notice in webinars on Nov. 14 and 16. No public comments were allowed, but questions submitted in advance were answered, superficially. 
  • Don't blame us. FloridaCommerce representatives repeatedly stressed that they do not make recommendations about issuance of building permits. 
  • Follow-up meeting. The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners met at 11 on Monday, Nov. 20, to review the model results. No decisions were made, but unlike FloridaCommerce's hearing, public comments were permitted
  • Columnist and Oh, Florida! author Craig Pittman wrote that Florida lawmakers love developers so much, they want to put us at risk of being killed by hurricanes
Florida drag shows win temporary victory. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to reinstate a Florida law that punishes businesses for allowing children into drag shows.

Battle of the Sexes. Mandy Miles mused about the differences between men and women.

Birds don't care what you call them. Mark Hedden wrote about bird naming.  

Our Eyes

A Cooper’s hawk, named after the ornithologist William Cooper after he collected a specimen in 1828. MARK HEDDEN/Keys Weekly

Previously in Key West Voices

Traffic study rejected. In a split 3-2 vote, the BOCC chose not to accept a U.S. 1 traffic study that could have halted development except for single-family homes and instead chose to kick the can down our overcrowded road and conduct another study in 2024. 

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