09 January 2024

Former Trumper seeks Supervisor of Elections office - Weekly briefing - January 9, 2024

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Former Trumper seeks Supervisor of Elections office. Republican Sherri Hodies filed to run against Democratic candidate Ron Saunders, who has the endorsement of several prominent Republicans, including Monroe County Commissioner Craig Cates and Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay.
Four incumbents filed to run for office in Monroe County.  Jim Scholl and Craig Cates filed for reelection to the Monroe Board of County Commissioners. Tax Collector Sam Steele and Property Appraiser Scott Russell also filed. Details at the Supervisor of Elections web site.

Vaccine disinformation is so last year. Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo recommended against mRNA COVID shots, contradicting guidance from the FDA. Experts lambasted the recommendation, which is based on debunked conspiracy theories. 

Closer, but no garage agreement. The City of Key West and Keys Energy have not reached a lease agreement on the Park N Ride garage at Grinnell and Caroline streets. The topic is on the agenda for this week's City Commission meeting. More details here

Hurricane evacuation model. WLRN did a deep dive into the status of the controversial model, which could come before the Florida Legislature as early as today (January 9th). At stake are the number of new building permits that will be issued. The county and the city seek a delay, a working group, and possibly a referendum. The topic is also on the agenda for this week's City Commission meeting

She didn't win. But Mandy Miles imagined what she'd do if she won the lottery

Not Disney, not a big city. Linda Cunningham reminded us that in many ways, Key West isn’t a small town. Or is it?

Our Eyes

Free as the breeze - John Teets

Previously in Key West Voices

Looking forward. While other news sources were providing retrospectives and top-ten lists, Key West Voices looked forward to 2024, and expects:
  • New faces at the City Commission. No fewer than three, and perhaps even more than four new faces will appear on the dais at Key West City Hall. Commissioners Lopez, Wardlow, and Weekley are leaving due to term limits, Mayor Johnston has not yet announced her intent to run for her third and final term, and the coconut telegraph is noisy with speculation about candidates already filed and yet to do so. 
  • Campaign issues. The newly-constituted City Commission will likely be pressured to revisit two key topics; re-opening the city berth at Mallory Square to larger cruise ships, and the looming expiration of 160 transient licenses in Truman Annex (some say the number is higher) in 2025. There will likely be plenty of posturing and lawyering. 
  • Building permits. The Florida Legislature and the Governor's cabinet department will decide how many new building permits will be granted in Monroe County for distribution by the County and its municipalities, in the wake of newly released and hotly contested results from the hurricane evacuation model. The Monroe Board of County Commissioners sought to delay the process. 
  • Traffic will get worse. 
  • TDC audit. The outside audit of the Tourism Development Council will result in no sanctions, few substantive changes, and continued non-stop promotion of the Keys as a tourist destination.
  • The 239 year American experiment with democracy may come to an end. 
A seat at the table. Key West attorney and developer Robert Spottswood was named to the Citizens Property Insurance Corp. board of governors and the selection could give the Keys a greater voice in shaping not only rates but policy.
  • Expressing his concern about the cost and continual increases in rate, Spottswood called the subject matter “voluminous and complicated.”
  • FIRM (Fair Insurance Rates in Monroe) welcomed having a Keys resident back on the Citizens board to give the island chain representation again.
No court consolidation. The Florida Supreme Court turned down the proposal to consolidate some judicial circuits across the state, including merging the 16th Circuit in Monroe County with the 11th Circuit in Miami-Dade County.
  • New battle. Monroe County State Attorney Dennis Ward warned of a new battle over the autonomy of state attorneys. A bill has been proposed that would give the Florida Attorney General power over individually elected state attorneys, similar to the power the U.S. Attorney General has over appointed U.S. attorneys in various federal circuits.
A rainy and chilly week. Linda Cunningham reflected on a quiet and cold week for locals, and offered visitors a concise list of recommended activities. "Locals are the ones with the hats, coats and gloves when visitors are in shorts and T-shirts...we’re freezing and complaining like it’s a Chicago winter."
  • Linda also updated three stories: Bahama lofts (the so-called 3.2), a tardy filing by Fantasy Fest planners, and ROGO/BPAS and the hurricane evacuation model. 
Dove bar. Mark Hedden's feeder attracted two varieties of dove, who aren't exactly dainty eaters

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