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Category: Politics

BREAKING NEWS: LEGISLATURE SAYS KEY WEST CAN’T LIMIT CRUISE SHIPS

Key West’s effort to ban large cruise ships is on death row, the governor its only lifeline. A single signature by Gov. Ron DeSantis will bring a breathless end to Key West’s cruise ship debate today. If DeSantis approves the bill passed by the Florida House late Wednesday night, cruise ships of all sizes will continue coming to Key West. If DeSantis instead vetoes the bill, Key West’s Committee for Safer Cleaner Ships will prevail. But a veto is unlikely given the breadth of the transportation bill that contains the cruise ship legislation.  Just before 10 p.m. Wednesday, the Florida House...

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KKK connection prompts Key West housing board to rename public housing complex

The board of the Key West Housing Authority on April 19 voted unanimously to change the name of JY Porter Place public housing apartments in light of concerns about Porter’s connections to the Ku Klux Klan. The same board is also committed to making its meetings more accessible to the public and to creating a resident advisory board to give residents of public housing a voice. The JY Porter Place housing complex at the end of White Street will be renamed, as proposed by City Commissioner Clayton Lopez, for Lang B. Milian, the second black man ever elected to the Key West city commission...

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FLORIDA HOUSE COMMITTEE VOTES TO VOID KEY WEST’S CRUISE SHIP REDUCTIONS

The bill that would nullify Key West’s voter-approved cruise ship reductions is making its way through the Florida House of Representatives and its committees. The bill already passed three state senate committees and, on April 19, passed the House Commerce Committee. The committee voted 13-5 to support House Bill 267, which prohibits the port of Key West from restricting maritime activity based on the size, type or capacity of ships. During Monday’s 90-minute debate, the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Spencer Roach of the Fort Myers area, and Rep. Tyler Sirois of Merritt Island, said the creators...

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BREAKING NEWS: STATE SENATE PASSES BILL TO VOID KEY WEST CRUISE SHIP REDUCTION

The Florida Senate on Thursday passed the bill that voids Key West’s initiative to significantly reduce the number of cruise ships that can visit the island city. Senate Bill 426, entitled “State Preemption of Seaport Regulations,” passed the state senate with a 25 to 14 vote, with one senator not voting. Florida Keys State Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez, a Republican, voted against the bill that prohibits Key West from restricting the size, type and capacity of ships that visit its port. The bill still has to pass the Florida House of Representatives before becoming law, and the...

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More than 80 apply for Islamorada village manager position

A search for the next Islamorada village manager yielded more than 80 candidates from 30 states. A candidate evaluation is underway by the village-hired consultant firm, Colin Baenziger & Associates, to whittle the number down.  Then-manager Seth Lawless resigned for health reasons last summer. That led to the naming of village Finance Director Maria Bassett as acting village manager.  Recruitment started on March 12 and concluded April 9 with 82 applications received by Baenziger. Interested candidates reside as far west as Washington and north as New Hampshire, and backgrounds range from...

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Three-year terms favorable among Islamorada councilors

There’s no ordinance yet on a proposal to send term length changes to referendum in Islamorada, but a majority of the dais believe they should extend beyond two years on a staggered basis.  An April 8 hybrid meeting of village council brought additional discussion over the idea of increasing term lengths beyond the current two years. Changing village council members’ terms first requires approval of an ordinance to amend the village charter. If approved by council, it would then go to a referendum either at the next general election or a special village election.  Attempts to change term lengths...

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Federal Keys coastal resilience plan enters final stage

A study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers nears completion as various governments confront coastal storm and flood vulnerability in the Florida Keys. With recommendations for shoreline stabilization along U.S. 1, voluntary home raising and  structure floodproofing, fortifying the Keys from future storms and flooding is estimated at $2.6 billion.  Monroe County Board of County Commissioners recently gave the go-ahead to sign a letter of support to accept the $3 million, federally-funded feasibility study, which started in 2018. A final version of the study was presented to government officials...

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EX-DEA AGENT IS RUNNING FOR COUNTY COMMISSIONER

Last week, Tavernier resident Tom Raffanello announced his candidacy for Monroe County Commissioner, District 4, to run against David Rice in 2022. Rice is a longstanding member of the BOCC, with four four-year terms under his belt. Both Rice and Raffanello are registered with the Monroe County Supervisor of Elections. The district includes part of Marathon, through Plantation Key with a small west end of Tavernier. “I’m excited about it,” Raffanello told Keys Weekly. “I’ve got a lot of energy, and I want to learn more and listen to the people.” “A lot of energy” is right. His resume speaks...

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MARATHON COUNCIL TO CONSIDER TAXING DISTRICT, WATERING LAWS

At its next meeting, the Marathon City Council will consider two important topics: the continuation or cancellation of the hospital special taxing district, and the city’s watering laws.  The Middle Keys Health Care Municipal Services Taxing Unit issue is a holdover from the March meeting of the council. At that meeting, lacking detailed financial accounting from Baptist Health South Florida regarding its expenditures on care for uninsured and underinsured patients in the Middle Keys, the council agreed to bring back two resolutions in April — one approving the continuation of the tax and one...

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Islamorada council favors three-year, staggered terms

There’s no ordinance yet on a proposal to send term length changes to referendum in Islamorada, but a majority of the dais believe they should extend beyond two years on a staggered basis.  An April 8 hybrid meeting of village council brought additional discussion over the idea of increasing term lengths beyond the current two years. Changing village council members’ term terms requires approval of an ordinance to amend the village charter. If approved by council, it would then go to a referendum either at the next general election or a special village election.  Attempts to change term lengths...

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