Bill Evans!
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Trouble in Paradise?

There are two ways to look at Key West.

Seen through the rose-colored lenses of a visitorís trendy sunglasses, Key West seldom disappoints. It is truly a great place to visit.

Then thereís the other Key West as viewed through the eyes of locals. Color their sunglasses jaded, as in cynical.

They see whatís happening to their island and they are not all happy campers. They have been reluctant combatants in an endless battle of conflicting interests between businesses intent on filling their pockets, and residents trying to preserve their environment and quality of life.

Sound familiar? 

Iíd like to be able to report that the locals are winning. But they arenít.

Although the gradual changes in Key West have been barely visible from year to year since our first visit here in the early 1980s, the total effect has been anything but. 

As I write this the major issues in Key West are:

A critical shortage of affordable housing thatís at the point of being virtually unsolvable after
years of neglect. 

A fragile water, sewage, drainage infrastructure thatís over extended.

Traffic snarls.

Big business lobbying local government to lengthen the runway of the Key West airport to accommodate larger jet aircraft (full of tourists, of course), and in the process remove the last vestige of environmental open space left on this 2 by 4 mile island.

The lack of public recreation facilities for local teens. ďThere is nothing to do here. I think that the people of Key West should do something about it because kids donít have anything to do,Ē wrote a local teenager in the Key West Citizen. 

Sound familiar?

Iíve observed the politics here during the past couple decades and one thing is clear. No matter how well intentioned they seemed, or how hard they campaigned on promises to honor the residentís concerns, the elected officials have almost always made decisions in office that catered to business interests at the expense of Key Westís environment, and the residentís quality of life.

Sound familiar?

Do you wish for something better for Queen Anneís County?

Are you tired of being a loser? 

There is a solution thatíll require a heroic effort from you. Take the time necessary to study the candidates for county commissioner in the upcoming elections. Listen carefully to what they have to say. Discount the hype and generalities. Demand that they be specific so you know exactly where they stand on the issues most important to you. Be convinced that they are both capable (intelligent) and sincere (honest). And then vote with both your mind and your heart.

Do that and weíll all be winners in this place we once called Paradise.

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© 2000 - 2002 Bill Evans.  Used By Permission.  All Rights Reserved.
Two Cents Worth columns appear weekly in the Bay Times in spite of the editorís usual good taste and judgment.

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