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David Lybrand guest editorial
[Published on the KeyNoter newspaper Opinions Page on February 25, 2009.]
‘Keynoter’ editorial was way off the mark
Under the title “TAMPOA’s arrogance hard to believe”, the KeyNoter again shows its contempt for a neighborhood full of good citizens. The editorial puts together a mishmash of falsehoods and distortions to draw the conclusion that this community — that contributes a full 10% of the entire property-tax base to the City of Key West — should be “blown out of the water”. Usually the KeyNoter is slow to participate in such muckraking, but someone there obviously has an axe to grind.
The first error in the editorial is that the gate work at the Truman Annex neighborhood entrance began “without warning”. On the contrary, the job went through the full permitting and compliance process and all work has been fully licensed by the city. There was nothing to hide.
The editorial talks about places on the “other side” of the Truman Annex neighborhood — such as Fort Zach and the Eco center — as if people are going to be blocked from them. The fact is that TAMPOA has made it clear that they will always allow access whenever those places are open to the public. Is it important that the general public be able to get to the locked entrances of those facilities when they are closed? Regardless, the tiny few who may wish to do that do have other ways to get there.
You speak of TAMPOA’s “claim” that the piece of Southard inside the neighborhood is private property as if it that hasn’t been resolved. Indeed the City has already accepted that TAMPOA’s due-diligence in pursuit of title was sufficient to concede that point. You can drag that out again if you wish, but that’s a dead horse to beat.
And the settlement that TAMPOA reached with the city was not keyed off dropping a $30,000 “access fee”. Part of the original mediation called for the city to pay TAMPOA for additional maintenance of the street due to the extra traffic the City’s new waterfront projects would bring. In the final settlement the city took over the maintenance of the street rather than pay TAMPOA to do so. That was just one of the compromises in the agreement. But the implication of extortion in your editorial does sound so much more nefarious – again helping to sell newspapers.
And despite how nettlesome it may be to continue to repeat the claim, there really is not a push by TAMPOA to “reroute traffic” through Bahama Village. The Truman Annex neighborhood accepts that Southard Street will always remain open when something is going on at the Waterfront. The new Petronia Street entrance to the waterfront, which is actually quite popular among those who live in the Village, just provides an alternative path there. The tired old claims of “TAMPOA stomping on Bahama Village” are passé.
But that reality, once again, doesn’t help sell papers.
Oh, and by the way, the “skirmish at the gate” that was instigated by a couple of city officials was a separate incident from the “protest march”. Better check your newspaper’s archives a little more carefully to get the facts straight in your next attack on a neighborhood full of good people. People who really don’t deserve to be painted with such an ugly brush.
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