There is so much weird stuff going on locally it's hard to know where to begin, or what to think about it all. Money it seems is no object for a few select people and institutions, and where it is an object, the sources of supply are most unlikely. Take the rather nice little hospital in Marathon, described thusly on a rather expensive billboard advertisement in Summerland Key:Fisherman's Hospital has made the rather startling suggestion that it should raise money by creating a tax district in Marathon and charge residents $70 per $100,000 of assessed property value. The idea is to raise money to buy modern equipment to make the facility more attractive for a proposed sale to an interested corporation. At a time when the federal government is being critiqued for being "socialist" for wanting universal health care, such a proposal from a private facility is rather breathtaking! I like Fisherman's and hope it continues to exist but if that can only be accomplished with a district tax I fear for it's future.
The Florida keys Community College on Stock island has a new (interim) leader. The new president announced in the Citizen that his top priority are the students, a rather rash course of action if the fate of his immediate predecessor is taken into consideration. Jill Landesberg Boyle was unceremoniously dumped after she made a raft of changes at the school that put "students first." She is now on leave, drawing her full salary until June when her term in office will come to a contractual close. For the remainder of this year the college burns up two presidential salaries at public expense, to no visible purpose.
The Monroe County School District meanwhile is doing it's own inimitable waste-of-money dance in public. The School Board majority of Pribamsky, Dick and Mathewson who have loudly proclaimed their aversion to administrative spending are planning on increasing the staffing of upper level staff in the financial department by a factor of three. John Dick, a man of little visible intelligence is telling the newspaper that a staffing report allegedly dumbing down requirements for administrative jobs is the work of the ousted former superintendent Randy Acevedo, he of the three felony convictions. According to Dick the consulting firm responsible for the reduced job requirements"probably" did so at the implied request of the former superintendent who is no longer available to refute the charge. This baseless accusation conveniently exonerates the board from any oversight responsibility. Board Chair Andy Griffith's plan to reduce administrative costs is to fire all Vice Principals. That'll show 'em.
The city of Key west meanwhile is working on it's own quality-of-life-improvement plans, which one can only view with a jaundiced eye. The city manager wants to widen the harbor channel to get bigger than ever cruise ships to dock in the next decade. 1,000 foot long ships are apparently passe. The city commission is looking to add more trolley tours to city streets to keep competition alive and well with Historic Tours of America. By supporting CityView Tours' application the city hopes I suppose to avoid an anti-trust lawsuit. I'm sure we all await the arrival of even more trolleys on city streets with bated breath. There was however a lovely moment at a recent city Commission meeting I wish I had seen in person. The paper says a discussion about monies owed from Historic Tours shows the city has lost all control of it's accounts. When one commissioner wanted to know how much HTA pays the city, all the Manager's well paid assistants were unable to provide the numbers. No one has a clue how much HTA pays the city for it's exclusive franchise, and thus no one knows if their accounts are up to date. This helps explain our lack of raises this year! It is comforting in our upside down world to know that we the city workers are helping subsidize the very wealthy Ed Swift and Chris Belland's corporation. Not enough that we the people fund banks and insurance companies!