Key West needs more and better care facilities for its senior citizens. This blog will discuss ways to do so. The grandiose give-away promoted by the "Florida Keys Assisted Care Coalition" is not the best way. We can do much better.

Friday, September 28, 2007

US1 Radio Morning Magazine (September 28, 2007)

As mentioned the other day , Bill Becker of US1 Radio's Morning Magazine show invited me to come onto the show and discuss the problems with the FKACC plan for the Truman Waterfront. Originally I was to appear near the end of the show, but the Mayor cancelled his scheduled appearance earlier in the show -- so they moved me to his slot, right up front.

Basically, I talked for about 5 minutes, covering several of the issues that are discussed in depth in my letters found earlier in this blog. Bill's questions were probing without being confrontational. I was very nervous, being my first radio interview, but I think that I articulated my points reasonably well.

If you're a glutton for punishment, you can listen to the entire one hour show here. There are a few teasers in the first 5 minutes or so, and the actual interview starts about the 10 minute point.

It did appear to me that Bill was trying to get me to point fingers and/or espouse "conspiracy theories" with some of his questions. I guess it would have been more interesting to some people if I started making insulting accusations against members of the FKACC, or if I theorized about whether some developer or corporation was trying to influence the direction they've taken.

But the fact is: I do not know anything about that aspect of the project, and I won't speculate in that direction.

Anyone who has read my letters knows that I am solely concerned with how poor the FKACC plan is. About how little affordable assisted living it provides. I have not accused the FKACC people of any dastardly deeds -- only with locking in on a poor plan and sticking with it without regard for the actual NEEDS of Key West. I have stated more than once that they are good people with a good cause -- but that they blew it. That may be taken as an insult, but only to those who insist that they know what's best for us all without asking us. Those who DO take the time and effort to find out what the community really needs would not be insulted.

One statement I made drew a significant response. Bill asked me about how much nursing care would be available in the INDEPENDENT living component of the project. I correctly stated that there would be none. I also stated that there wouldn't be "nursing" in the Assisted Living component either. Unfortunately in my nervousness I left out the word "care" (ie, "nursing care"). This left the FKACC people an opening to challenge my statement.

I did correctly state that when a resident of the facility reaches a point where nursing care is required, they would have to MOVE OUT and seek a nursing home or convalescent center elswere. That statement was valid and correct.

But the very next day (Saturday morning) the Citizen newspaper rushed to print TWO letters from the FKACC board refuting my statements on the radio. (I can't remember the last time I saw them print letters that quickly -- usually it takes several days before a response letter makes it into the paper.) Of course the Citizen has a member of the FKACC Board on their own Editorial Board which tends to get things expedited. Nothing like "fair and balanced" journalism....

Both of the letters generally just rehashed their standard talking points about how this was the ONLY chance to get an assisted living facility (totally false), etc. But they did make an effort to refute my statement about nursing at the facility. They described how a nurse would be "on staff" at the facility. But of course there's a big difference between "nurse on staff" and "nursing care". One involves just monitoring the situation, the other involves actual medical care. Again the FKACC clouded the issue, and right before the election.

But that wasn't the end of it. The following Monday, Bill Becker brought back the FKACC people to do "damage control". I had struck too close to home and so the big guns came out on the DAY BEFORE THE REFERENDUM and once again got their opportunity to repeat their same old story, with the same inaccuracies and fuzziness. All this while Bill Becker made such a point about how much he respected their opinions, and without any challenging questions.

I felt compelled to send Bill the following email:
Date: 10/1/2007 8:47 AM
To: Bill Becker - US1 Radio News Network
Subject: One last comment

It's a shame that the FKACC people get TWO oppotunities to give
their side, while those who dispute them only get one. She
continued the same old "poor poor pitiful elderly" that they've
been doing for the last 3 years. I (and others like me, who
are far more than "a few" as she claims) want to do MORE for
those people. THEIR plan doesn't do enough.

She ignored the gist of my complaint -- that MOST of the land
will be used for people who are NOT "poor pitiful seniors".
I wanted MORE of the project to focus on them. Of course they
know that if they don't cloud the issues their plan would
never be accepted.

I realize that your show isn't a "debate" show, but it would
have been nice if her assertions were challenged as much as
you challenged mine.

But regardless, thank you for letting me at least try to
counter their attempts to push the "poor pitiful seniors"
into the back of the property by the dumpsters while setting
up a bunch of nice retirement homes for the wealthy. (They
may have had better intentions than that, but that IS what
their project has become.) Most likely too little, too late,
but at least I tried.

David Lybrand

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