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GREEN Reactor column
[Published in The Blue Paper newspaper on March 15, 2013.]
Blue is the new GREEN
After over 50 local articles in most of the local papers (not to mention all those letters to the editors), I’ve happily come aboard the brand new local journal: The Blue Paper. The old “Blue Paper” was just the nickname for “Key West The Newspaper” or “KWTN”; this new journal is really named “The Blue Paper”. This paper won’t be limiting itself to any one topic at a time, it’s ready to follow any important breaking issue at any time. The Blue Paper takes investigative journalism to the next level. I look forward to adding my activistic and educational exposition to the mix. (Did I meet my syllable quota in that last sentence? :- )
For those who haven’t caught my “intro” columns in other local papers, a quick synopsis: My “internet handle” has been Reactor for 20 years. The roots of that nickname come from: 1) my relentless work ethic; 2) my strong social media reflex impulse; and 3) a not-so-well-known album (Re-ac-tor) by musical sage and peace and environmental activist Neil Young. To my fellow Neil Young Fans – the Rusties – I have been known as RE*AC*TOR. When I became a full-time Keys resident, the handle expanded to Key West Reactor. Later my column in another local paper shifted that to KONK REACTOR.
KONK REACTOR column
[Published in the KONK Life newspaper on January 17, 2013.]
Dept of Environmental Rejection
In the 1970s, riding the wave of environmental enlightenment as the nation woke up to the escalating damage from rampant development and profiteering, Florida established its Department of Environmental Regulation (FDER) — formed from various other agencies, including the Department of Air and Water Pollution Control (established by Florida’s FIRST Republican governor) and the Bureau of Sanitary Engineering. By the 1990s it included oversight of Florida’s water management districts, and was retitled Department of Environmental Protection. Our DEP was one of the largest such protection agencies in the nation, and took its responsibilities toward our quality of life and our very future quite seriously.
Even under Florida’s next Republican governor, Jeb Bush, the DEP diligently maintained its role as the protector of our state’s precious resources, (more…)
KONK REACTOR column
[Published in the KONK Life newspaper on July 19, 2012.]
Conchs and long-time locals all have their tales of our Island’s past, recalling such famous scions of Key West history as Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Shel Silverstein or Bum Farto. Those of us with a shallower history here also have memories of departed icons of the Island. Generally they’re more touristy ones — but icons nonetheless. Here’s a batch of them that have disappeared from our streets over the last decade or so…
The Cookie Lady. Marilyn Kellner sailed into Key West in the 80s and quickly started (more…)
KONK REACTOR column
[Published in the KONK Life newspaper on May 24, 2012.]
Cruise ships are not evil
As a Director and VP of Last Stand, people are surprised that I’m not pushing to keep cruise ships away from Key West. Indeed you will find that there are Last Stand members who do NOT wish to see the cruise ships disappear from our waters. Sure, some would be gleeful if that did happen, but by no means do all Last Standers feel that way. Like many within the Key West population, I believe that our cruise-ship visitors have a place within our City’s economy. And that most of those visitors are good folks who don’t do much damage.
The problem, of course, is one of SCALE. The cruise visitors we get cost us some money and effort to deal with, but they do spend a bit while here. Studies have shown that they contribute somewhere under 10% to our city’s economy – not a big component, but significant. To the businesses that have grown to rely on the tourists disembarking from the ships, it’s VERY significant. I have friends with businesses in Old Town that sweat the days when there’s no ship in port. You know — those days the rest of us love so much… (more…)
KONK REACTOR column
[Published in the KONK Life newspaper on February 2, 2012.]
Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’
Back in the ‘80s my family would visit Key West regularly, and came downtown for the sunset celebration two or three times during each visit. One night we got there and found a massive wall on the western side of Mallory Square. It was an amazing site – a huge cruise ship parked there, mostly empty because it had disgorged its passengers among the ample crowds of tourists and locals who had come to see the famous, but now blocked, view.
We were flabbergasted by the thought that anyone would find it logical to allow such an intrusion on this venerable celebration. WTF??? But of course the next night it was gone — and so we assumed it was an aberration. Little did we know that it was just a portent of Key West’s rapid slide into the maw of the cruise ship industry.
By the turn of the century, Key West was pulling in 400 ships a year with over 600,000 passengers. (more…)
Key West Reactor column
[Published in Key West The Newspaper on October 28, 2011.]
Key West Reactionaries
A previous column talked about how I’m partly known as “Key West Reactor” because of my public reactions to current events or the deeds of others. But few who know me consider me a “reactionary”, the term that commonly describes those who “shoot from the hip”. Those who “go off half-cocked”. Those who “engage tongue before putting brain in gear”. However, judging by our local daily newspaper column that calls itself the voice of our citizens or by some of the responses posted to local news stories or local blogs, Key West seems to be FULL of reactionaries…
[Please note that the quotes following are NOT direct copies of comments posted elsewhere. That would be plagiarism, or a usage violation -- and I must follow the “Journalists’ Creed”. However these quotes are very close to what your neighbor or my neighbor has spouted off in public media – usually under the protective cover of anonymity.]
Consider this common sentiment seen regularly in our papers: (more…)