Monday, February 27, 2012

Morning Light

I heard a story on NPR a while ago about the husband of our fearless US Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Just when we learned that in Florida's redistricting we are likely to get a different representative for the next decade.

Ros-Lehtinen will doubtless be unaffected by the scandal concerning her attorney husband as she is a senior member of the Republican caucus in Congress but it was disappointing to hear it anyway.

Somehow, heaven knows how, the estimable representative's husband got the contract to be the legal advisor to the Miccosukee tribe of Indians. By all accounts he was a strong advocate for environmental protection of the Everglades, traditional home of the tribe.

The Miccosukee are a secretive lot, living well thanks to their gambling palace on Krome Avenue at Tamiami Trail, but their government is a closed book to outsiders. In 2011 a new tribal leader saw mass firings in the tribal police department when half the department protested a hostile work environment and were fired, as though to prove the point.

The IRS have been investigating the tribe which recently fired it's counsel saying Dexter Lehtinen gave them bad tax advice. The story is as weird as a pair of lost panties in a Key West street. The tribe according to the WLRN story, have fessed up to a cool 26 million dollar oversight in their tax bill from the turn of the century as uncovered by Federal investigators.

The confession is, it seems a legal maneuver the tribe felt obliged to take to devolve the blame onto their attorney of record for his faulty tax advice. The only way the tribe could nail Dexter Lehtinen was by accepting that they had screwed the pooch on their tax returns.

The tribe claims that their attorney advised them, erroneously, not to file individual tax returns for the tribe's 600 members and thus they now find themselves with a rather large bill to pay.

Lehtinen's attorney says the tribe is nuts under the new leader elected in 2010 who has abandoned Lehtinen's pro-environment position in favor of focusing on gambling revenues.

Either way it seems like the Miccosukee are not going to be doing the Lehtinens any favors this election year. Se has been a good representative for the Keys, paying attention to the needs of this tiny portion of her South Florida constituency. Even though her support for the embargo is the price she pays for easy re-election by her Cuban base.

Locally the newspaper reported recently that the widow of a power boat racer who died in last year's race is going to sue the medical staff and organizer of the race. As a friend of mine remarked: "Put two people in a fiberglass shell powered by a jet engine and send them across the author as fast as they can go and what do you think is going to happen?"

It used to be people took up dangerous sports for then thrill and relied on themselves to get into and out of scrapes. This suit strikes me as being a perfect example of the inability of anyone to take responsibility for their own stupidity. I hope someone in the legal system shows them the door at their expense.

Meanwhile Key West continues on accommodating thousands of visitors and hundreds of negative comments in the paper bitching about parking and cruise ships and noise and bums and bad manners.

It makes you wonder why anyone bothers t move here, or live here in winter.

I like looking around and taking pictures and reminding myself what a great place this can be.

Winter sunshine, quiet early morning streets and not a complaint to be heard.

Besides I'm not a famous attorney so no one is suing me for untold millions so this must be my lucky day.

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Sammy Creek Park

"We need to go down to Sammy Creek and eat carrot cake," Chuck announced. Instantly I was overwhelmed by a pressing need to eat a large slice of extra rich home made carrot cake. The surroundings only made it better.

Chuck was at pains to point out that the newly created park is part of the kayaking trail through the Everglades and the Keys.

This plot of waterfront land at the very bottom of Sugarloaf Boulevard used to house a house which was demolished when the family deeded the land to the state which created a very fine public open space on the land just as the Sammy family desired.

In a time of increasing and blatant greed among the upper echelons the Sammy donation stands out as a very practical symbol of what can be done by people of good will. We enjoyed the hell out of it!

R-L, Chuck cutting cake, Wayne salivating and on the left their houseguest Kim from California learning to enjoy the year round sybaritic life of the Florida Keys. He will be moving into his Sugarloaf home full time pretty soon and I think he, like me, will enjoy the warmth of the Keys compared to the fog and wet of the northern California we both used to know so well.

Some other people have also discovered this public pocket jewel of a park.

We have had a spell of perfect summer weather lately with mild cool breezes, low humidity and temperatures in the mid 80s.

All of which means a dog likes her shade and Cheyenne found her spot strategically located to catch carrot cake crumbs.

After iced tea and a large slice of his own home made cake Chuck took either Tootie or Zuzu (I can't tell them apart) for a stroll. The Vizslas are nervous hunting dogs and need leashing unlike my lumbering Labrador.

The ocean looked fantastic, offering a whole range of summer colors to the winter sun.

See? Can you tell one dog from the other? One can barely tell Chuck (yellow shirt) from Wayne (white shirt).

It was an hour well spent along the old state road on the south shore of Sugarloaf Key. It's what winter in the Lower Keys is all about, being outdoors and enjoying the mosquito-free months.

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