I have always been one to admit that I am a consummate pen thief.
There is no writing instrument that is safe it it’s within arm’s reach.
I have a collection of pens that would rival a manufacturer’s warehouse.
Knowing all this, I have to ask myself the question…why can I never find a damn pen when I need one?
For instance, last week I was driving to Cudjoe Key. I got a call on the cell phone and it was someone who wanted to give me information about another number I really needed to call.
I keep notebooks in the car. I need them frequently and very seldom do I use one while driving. But I do.
My handwriting is so bad that only I can read it all the time anyway, so I take notes in the car without even looking at the notebook. I scribble what I hear, keeping my eyes on the road, and decipher it later when I need the information.
But this day, it wasn’t the notebook giving me fits. It was the collection of ink pens that usually fills my dash.
As more and more sewer collection pipes go in the ground throughout the Cudjoe Regional Wastewater System service area, the time grows ever closer when property owners will have to start working their way through the county permitting system to hook their drains into the pipes in the street.
Permitting office officials have estimated that more than 7,500 permits will have to be pulled by property owners before everyone gets hooked into the central pipe that will flow eventually into the regional treatment plant on Blimp Road on Cudjoe Key.
Just last month, the Monroe Board of County Commissioners decided that establishing a temporary office, for probably four years or so, was an expense it didn’t want to take on, particularly when there is talk of the budget rising anyway this year by three percent or more.
But the proposal shouldn’t die, particularly when initial budget requests reveal that there is a proposal to add personnel to the building department to do exactly what the folks in the Lower Keys will need done in the coming years.
I heard the other night words I never thought I would hear from someone involved in a customer service job in a position of management.
I was so floored when I heard them that I actually was speechless. And that’s not an easy thing to do to me.
Let me set the stage.
It’s looking more likely every day that in the very near future the largest single source of workforce housing on Big Pine Key may well disappear.
One group or another has been trying to tap into the pot of building allocations that is Seahorse Trailer Park on Big Pine Key for most of the last decade.
The plans have always been to take the building allocations, a scarce commodity in the Keys to start with, and move them to some prestigious waterfront development where a workforce is needed to maintain and service the users of that development.
July 4 is one of those holidays you just have to like.
You usually get a day off work. You get to eat things you wouldn’t normally. You get to drink beer before 5 p.m. You get to mingle with friends and neighbors you might not see very often. You get to watch a fantastic light show after dark.
And you get to remember why America came to be, and oftentimes how America came to be. We have to remember that July 4 is a uniquely American holiday. Other countries have no reason or desire to celebrate our birthday. The folks in England, I heard, have actually petitioned their government to remove the date from their calendars for some unknown reason.
Of course, the fact that the holiday has many good aspects doesn’t stop the idiots from taking the revelry over the edge. Nothing stops that. It’s just that they seem to get more creative around holidays.
And the July 4 holiday usually goes hand in hand with explosives.
Idiots and explosives—a dangerous combination.
As is said nearly any time of any year, “Costs continue to go up.” We heard that from Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi this week during initial budget discussions for the coming fiscal year as staff outlined a proposal to jack up property tax rates by about 5.7 percent over the current rate.
We all understand that costs continue to go up.
What we need is for local governments to realize that the taxpayer is already paying more for the same things government agencies are paying for, and then are being asked to pay more for those same things again for the government agency.
It’s a cycle that has to stop.
Before I begin, let me use the disclaimer method.
The stories you are about to hear do not in any way shed a negative light on any particular group of persons. Every group has its poster children for cranial-rectal-inversion, and its sufferers from hedupyerassitis while the reminder are, for the most part, relatively normal.
These stories simply point out some truth-is-stranger-than-fiction instances.
A business acquaintance of ours recently had to try and hire some help. The job market is slow. Jobs are at a premium, and the competition for those few jobs is intense. The way to get hired is to put your best foot forward, not your foot in your mouth.
One fellow member of the business community needed a delivery driver for short runs. Delivery of food is often a lucrative undertaking for the driver. People who order in generally are willing to tip well to avoid the hassle of going out for something to eat.
But they do expect some consideration.
As long as is the tradition of volunteer fire departments in this country, almost as long is the tradition of the phenomenon known as a fundraiser.
Volunteer firefighters, who every day put their own lives on the line to protect our lives and property, have historically received little or no governmental support for their heroic efforts. We live in a county, fortunately, where the governments realize that volunteer firefighters are a necessity to fill out the ranks of the fire rescue services and do toss a few bucks their way come each budget cycle.
But those few bucks don’t go near far enough in paying for training and equipment costs needed by our heroic volunteers to provide the levels of service we have come to expect.
Thus was born the first need, a need that continues today, for fundraisers.
Has anyone out there ever “Googled” their own name to see what their namesakes in other areas of the world are doing with their time?
It wasn’t an exercise I had ever tried until a few weeks ago when someone asked me the same question.
That piqued my interest, and once my interest is piqued, I, of course, must quench that thirst for knowledge.
So I pulled up Google and typed in my name.
There were more than 12 million entries on my name.
I never did find me. I guess I’m just not that interesting to a lot of people to bring me to the top of a search engine page on the internet.
But I was still amazed at the number of people who share my name.
Our controlling state political party tends to spend a great deal of time ignoring science, particularly when that science deals with our minor problem of impending sea level rise.
But what the rest of us all know to be true is about to hit our controlling, science-denying leadership right where they least like to be hit. The wallet.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will be visiting Monroe County, as well as Miami-Dade and Broward counties, next month to begin the public input process on a project that is designed to update that agency’s Flood Insurance Rate Maps.
Of course, science will be used to update those maps, and that means that sea level rise projections will come into play at some point.