No Democracy for Key West

More people need to know how awful Rep. Spencer Roach is.

It’s been a while since my last post and for that, I apologize. I’ve been busier than usual lately, but for all the right reasons. So that’s good…

Hopefully, there won’t be so much time between now and the next one.

Anyway — it’s time to knock off the rust.

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POLITICS

I first had the misfortune of learning about the existence of Rep. Spencer Roach (Ft. Myers, FL) back in March when he introduced a moronic piece of legislation that wanted to put a cap on THC levels in the medical marijuana industry.

Ironically, it was called the “Roach Bill” and I wrote about it here and here.

The gist of the argument behind the failed bill was that a cap on THC levels was needed to avoid another opioid crisis. That logic is so painfully flawed that it really doesn’t merit an explanation, but I mention the fact that Roach compared marijuana to the opioid crisis just to give you a sense of the man.

As a side note, my takeaway from his anti-THC crusade: his interests are aligned with those of the pharmaceuticals (foreshadowing).

Around the same time that Roach was pushing his tell-my-you’ve-never-smoked-weed-without-telling-me-you’ve-never-smoked-weed bill, he was also supporting an equally terrible piece of legislation focused on Key West (despite his district being over 300 miles away).

You see, at the time, the city had voted (by a wide margin) to put some restrictions on cruise ships coming into town. Specifically, they wanted to limit the size of the ships entering the port. Not unreasonable given we were in the midst of a global pandemic.

Roach and his cronies countered the city’s vote with a “preemption bill” that would reverse the voters’ decision and remove the local government’s ability to regulate any cruise-related business.

The tourism industry accounts for ~44% of all jobs in Monroe County. If you’ve ever been to Key West, you know that the livelihood of its residents depends largely on this tourism. So when these same residents are saying they still want to limit the number of people coming in via cruise ships because of safety and health risks, those concerns shouldn’t be taken lightly.

They especially should not be reversed by a group of lawmakers with no local ties or interests. Unless we count interests tied to that of the cruise lines…

The cruise lines who, months before the vote to temporarily pump the brakes on the industry, launched an ethically shady mailing campaign aimed at intimidating Key West residents into voting their way with misleading and ominous information.

A couple of months after the vote, in June, Governor Ron DeSantis — at the request of Roach and his buddies — signed a bill overruling the Key West ship ban (as voted on by the residents of Key West).

A $1M donation to his political committee might have also had something to do with DeSantis’ decision. The donation was made by Mark Walsh, a businessman who owns piers, marinas, resorts, and hotels in Key West.

I’ll let you connect the dots.

To recap: the people of Key West vote democratically to do one thing 👉lawmakers say “nope” and do whatever they want (read: pull favors for rich donors).


Fast forward to this week.

Some dickhead thought it would be funny to draft a bill to abolish the City of Key West and distribute it to lawmakers in Tallahassee.

Why? Who the fuck knows. I suppose it wasn’t enough to force policy onto the residents of Key West. They had to toy with the city in an obvious abuse of power too?

So who wrote it? Nobody knows. Obviously. The ones that would (and likely do) are predictably playing dumb.

Our buddy Spencer Roach (my odds on favorite to be the author of the idiotic bill, given his history of writing idiotic bills) took it as an opportunity to take a jab at the city.

“I’m not surprised there are discussions on how to rein in some of these rogue municipalities”.

Spencer Roach

These are the types of comments you read and hear from politicians that make your blood boil. The only “rogue” entities that need “reining” are the ones like Roach, who abuse their power to actively push a policy that goes against the will of the people who will be affected by it the most.

So, will the City of Key West be abolished and will all of its assets, liabilities, and revenue streams be transferred to the county? No, that is highly unlikely.

But will anything be done to the cogs (Roach, DeSantis, etc) in the corrupt political machine? Also no.

Well, what about the residents of Key West, what do they get?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

TL;DR: Corrupt politicians mess with the delightful City of Key West and nothing will be done about it.