Cheers: To the Key West Code Compliance and Key West Police Department task force, which continues to make arrests in what is an increasing effort to crack down on illegal vacation rentals. The two arrests so far include a yacht owner who ignored police directives and a repeat offender who owes the city about $1.2 million in previous fines. Both are charged with violating Gov. Ron DeSantis' executive order prohibiting vacation rentals during the COVID-19 pandemic. All this points to the fact that the municipalities should enact some legislation that adds more “teeth” to vacation rental laws as a more severe deterrent. But these legal actions are a solid first step in cracking down on those who ignore the rules.

Jeers: To all of the extravagant luxury mega-yachts that have arrived in Key West ports during the pandemic. We observed four at A&B Marina in Key West Harbor (one of which was already cited, see above) and one at Sunset Key, each a minimum of 100-feet long. Jeers also to the marinas themselves allowing them entry. Just because some have the wherewithal to travel freely on their expensive toys doesn't mean they should, nor should they park it here, either. We are closed to visitors. That includes you.

Cheers: To individuals such as local Key West attorney Bernadette Restivo and Karen Elizabeth Vaught as they have been working in tandem making surgical masks. Restivo has also been offering free legal help during the coronavirus crisis, doing pro bono work drawing up healthcare surrogate documents, which allows a person to designate a friend or family member to make medical decisions if the patient cannot. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of people like Restivo and Vaught doing the heavy, selfless lifting during this time of incredible need.

Jeers: To the Keys residents who contributed to the fraudulent re-entry sticker crackdown. We understand that some families desperately want, and possibly need, family members from the mainland here at this time, but you are putting everyone else in jeopardy. Plus, the lengths some people went to, by adding mainland family members to their FKAA utility accounts, which acted as documentation for these people to cross the checkpoint, shows the extent of their poor judgement.

Jeers: Curiously, to the Key West Chamber of Commerce for its odd timing in sending a letter to the Monroe County School District this week about workforce housing at Trumbo Point. Sure, this can has been kicked down the road for decades, but with what is happening to our workforce today, the need to pressure the School District for action on that prime piece of property now is ill-timed and likely unnecessary. When the dust settles on the pandemic, there is no way of knowing whether we will still need as much affordable or workforce housing, since these service and lower-income families may be unable to remain in the Keys.

The Citizen

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