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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Lost and Not Forgotten

There is a story in today's Key West Citizen that locals and anyone thinking of buying a home in Key West should read and ponder. It relates to the homeless population in Key West. CLICK HERE for the article.

According to the article city officials and citizens are complaining about the homeless population. "At a meeting Wednesday, city officials pressed Police Chief Bill Mauldin to do something it. Mauldin acknowledged the issue, even admitted his staff could do a better job, and promised certain strategies to tackle the problem." Hah. That's a laugh.

A few years back Key West elected a new mayor who was a compassionate soul, but a terrible leader. She wanted to create clean and comfortable space for the homeless to congregate. Drama, drama, drama, not in my backyard, more drama. A lot of well intentioned people wanting to help people who will not help themselves. Many are emotionally disturbed--or worse.

A couple of years ago an official from the City of Key West (worked directly under the City Manager) spoke to our office regarding a variety of city issues. I asked him why the City of Key West refuses to do anything to curtail the homeless situation like locking up people who violate the law. I specifically pointed out the Palm Beach does not have a homeless population. They don't allow it. No tolerance.

He came back and said that it costs some exaggerated dollar amount to arrest anyone and hold them in our new county jail. The figure he cited was in the several hundred dollar range.

I went right back at him and said his figures were ludicrous. I said if you include the amortization on the cost of the jail, the staff of the Key West Police Department, the staff of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, and their respective retirement plans, then maybe the cost per inmate might amount to that figure. I added that the Sheriff is renting cell space to Miami-Dade County so that our county is profiting from the out of county inmates, whereas putting our own lawbreakers in jail costs us money. Why would anybody in their right mind put away people who cost you money when you can lockup people who make you money. I get it!

The homeless of Key West may be lost, but they are not forgotten. I will now get off my soapbox.

The pic above was taken by a tourist in the Key West Cemetery. What a nice way to remember your vacation in Key West.

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Gary Thomas in a Nutshell

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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.