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.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Citizen Letter to the Editor (Sept. 23, 2007)

(The following letter was written in response to the Citizen's endorsement of the FKACC plan duing the run-up to the election. They had endorsed the plan without disclosing that Ed Block, a member of the FKACC Board, was also a member of their own Editorial board.)

Assisted living plan is not good enough

The Citizen has endorsed the Florida Keys Assisted Care Coalition plan using the same faulty logic that the FKACC has spent a lot of money promoting all over town. The flaws in their assertions must be considered before one votes in favor of this proposal.

You and the FKACC continue to make the false claim that voting against this kills any chance for an assisted living facility. That's hogwash.

The property will remain available and can be used for a more appropriate facility. Killing this plan will merely prevent the giveaway of much of that land that was explicitly planned for assisted living to people who don't need assisted care. A better plan that focuses on affordable assisted care would be welcome there, and can still happen without this vote.

You and the FKACC continue to make the misleading claim that the facility will be available to "all income levels." Actually only eight out of the 95 "independent living" units would be affordable. That's less than 10 percent, whereas the city's standard for new development is supposed to be 30 percent. Even if you add the independent living facility's 95 units to the assisted living facility's 40 units (20 of which are affordable) the total is still only 21 percent affordable. Despite the free land, they don't plan to even be close to city standards.

You and the FKACC continue to downplay how much of this land will not be used for assisted care.

There will not be 60 assisted care units, there will be only 40. (There is room for a second bed in these units, but how many people will share their room) And only half will be affordable.

Most of the free land will be covered by the large, expensive independent units (many of which are 1,200 square feet). The assisted living units are in a small parcel well away from the water.

You even made the claim that the facility is not on the waterfront, despite there being no buildings (only a street and some open space) between the facility and the water.

That's really a stretch.

We can and must do better for our seniors. We can provide MORE assisted care there without giving away land for large homes for people who can still get around.

We CAN provide more affordable assisted care there. Don't let this faulty plan be rammed down our throats. Demand a better plan by voting against this one.

David Lybrand
Key West

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