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KONK REACTOR column
[Published in the KONK Life newspaper on July 4, 2012.]
Both Sides Now
I’ve done a few ‘reactions’ and ‘reactionaries’ columns in the past, where I answered questions and points made in our Island Voice column and other local voice columns. But sometimes the issues that are raised really need to be examined from multiple points of view. They’re not necessarily open and shut cases. Today I’ll look at some that have come up recently, and try some “point--counterpoint”…
Point: The big “Duck Tour” vehicles that are about to start taking tourists on a circuit through downtown and out on the waters of the harbor are r very big. and will clog up our overcrowded streets.
Counterpoint: They’re really no larger than the unregulated semi-trucks that already make deliveries around town every day. And they won’t park blocking bicycle lanes on Fleming or Southard or other streets while unloading, as the semi’s do now. They definitely won’t back up traffic any worse than the Conch Trains. Maybe they won’t be as bad as we’re psyching ourselves up to believe.
Living in Cars
Point: Our new law prevents a 90 year old veteran from living in his van on the street, and he says he has no other place to live.
Counterpoint: It also stops a lot of younger non-veterans from chipping in on beater vans and using them for ultra-affordable housing all over town (including the street in front of your house). Key West may represent a “free” laid-back lifestyle, but if you think that our issues with the homeless are already a problem, just let them start living in cars….
Point: Tourists spend money here on “personal watercraft” fun, and maybe more of them would spend more – helping our economy — if they could zip through more of the nearby waters.
Counterpoint: Jet skis are noisy and annoy quiet beach-goers and those out fishing on the flats or other quiet areas. And without a great deal of care, they can increase damage to the natural resources that draw so many MORE tourists here. Would there REALLY be an advantage to expanding their range?
Point: Key west has been a Boat Town for a long time, so why shouldn’t those who have been able to get one of their own be able to store it in front of their house when they’re not using it?
Counterpoint: Parking is already a major issue in this town without taking up several extra parking spaces in every block holding sporadically used boats. Not to mention the extra clutter they impart to the streetscape. On the other hand, why not let ONE of them be parked in the owner’s driveway? Seems like a reasonable compromise.
Point: Our speed limit was just dropped but those cops are still speeding around town. Even Sherriff’s deputies are passing people on the seven mile bridge. Why should they get away with it?
Counterpoint: Ever heard of emergencies? And I can only remember one police car crash in the last decade or so, and that one avoided hitting anybody or anything of value (but sadly, losing her life in the process). Is this really an issue, or just belly-aching?
I have probably opened up more issues in this column than I may have resolved. But I urge those about to belly-ache: let’s at least THINK about “the other side” of our issues, before getting carried away in our ranting….
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