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.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Letter to US1 Radio (sent September 26, 2007)

(On September 26, a representative of the FKACC appeared on Bill Becker's "Morning Magazine" show on US1 Radio. It inspired me to write the letter below to the US1 Radio news address. In response, Bill Becker invited me to appear on his show on Friday, 9/28. More on that in a later post.)

Subject: The FKACC plan discussed on today's show

Today you provided a "candidate forum' for the promoters of the Florida Keys Assisted Care Coalition (FKACC) plan for the Truman Waterfront. With your other ballot-issue forums you provide for each candidate to state their views over the air. I'm asking that, in concern for fairness, you provide the same consideration for those who have a problem with the FKACC's plan. Someone should be allowed to refute the misleading and downright erroneous statements being made by the FKACC's representatives.

For example, in today's interview the FKACC representative lumped anyone who opposes their plan in with unreasonable people who would, when given a free $100, complain that it wasn't $200. That's ridiculous. The opponents of their plan are against the bloated nature of the project in relation to the amount of affordable assisted care it would provide.

We're not a bunch of unreasonable lunatics, we're concerned that the average citizens will see too little benefit from the plan the FKACC is hyping. We'd be happy to have an assisted living facility on the Truman Waterfron -- just not THAT plan.

Even more erroneous, close to being a LIE, is the statement made several times today that "if this is voted down it's all over". That's hogwash. The FKACC people would be free to clean up their plan and resubmit it in the next election (which will be in January). If they choose to ignore the concerns of the citizens and "take their ball and go home", they wouldn't be showing very good faith.

But even if they do that, the city can, and SHOULD, still provide an assisted living facility there. Just one that actually meets our needs! Not a big give-away of free land for a bunch of good-sized homes that are NOT FOR ASSISTED LIVING (as the FKACC's plan insists is required for this project).

NOT ONCE today did they mention that 80% of the land they want would NOT be used for assisted living! It'll be used for "independent living" -- a glorified retirement community with concierge service. Look it up on their site! 95 large units, consuming all but two smaller buildings "in the back", will be for nice retirement homes. NOT for assisted living. THAT is the issue!

And they continue to IMPLY that any unit in there would be available for "all incomes". BULL. Their specific plan (see their site) says that only half of the assisted units will be affordable, and only 8 out of the 95 "independent living" units (retirement homes) would be affordable. This is far below City standards for the "affordable" component of any development. Can you imagine the waiting list for those, while the wealthy can buy into the others? Is that what we want our land to be used for?

We can provide MORE affordable assisted care there than the FKACC people plan to, despite their claims of doom and gloom if we don't accept their well-financed pitch and build the waterfront retirement homes for the rich. This is NOT a crazy idea -- it's one that is being obfuscated by the smoke and mirrors of the FKACC plan. Let's do better!

This is NOT an "anti-Assisted Living" issue, it's a "don't waste our valuable resources on a facility that's not good enough" issue. We can do better, and we SHOULD.

I hope you give someone a chance to provide the other side of the issue before the election. I'd be willing to speak on that behalf if no one else does.

David Lybrand
Key West

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