Recently, a local businessman and attorney who is not involved in partisan politics or opinion letters sent a letter to the Key West Mayor and Commissioners.  Following is an edited version:

Limiting or eliminating mandatory mask requirements would be counterproductive, dangerous, and would delay economic recovery.

It is undisputed that Covid 19 spreads by someone who is infected exhaling germs, causing others to inhale them, and this then spreads exponentially unless something prevents it. It’s not rocket science to conclude that putting a filter between you and the air around you prevents the spread.  It’s simple logic. 

If we want to have more businesses survive and flourish, and our lives be more normal, we have to conquer this disease.  If masks help us get there, why would anyone reject requiring masks where people are interacting?  If everyone (citizens, tourists, and politicians) acted responsibly and agreed to protect others and themselves, it would be easy to require masks.  But the reality is too many of us don’t act reasonably and, therefore, an enforceable ordinance is required.   

As to the idiotic idea that government doesn’t have the  right to require its citizens to wear masks, any lawyer will tell you the Constitution specifically grants government the authority to pass laws to protect the health, safety and welfare of its citizens. That is why we pass seat belt laws, set speed limits, and establish other laws that protect us.

People don’t have the right to violate laws that are legally created.  Our Mayor and Commissioners are caretakers of our community and have the obligation to take actions, no matter how unpopular, that protect Key West. Requiring masks and following science is one such necessary action.

by John Howe

I’m sure most Americans, especially the friends and families of the more than 200,000 Americans (and counting) who have died from COVID-19, don’t like hearing President Trump say, over and over, that he has the virus “under control.”

For more than a month after scientists told him about it, Trump wasted precious time (and American lives) flip-flopping between praising and criticizing China’s response, imposing slipshod China travel restrictions, calling the pandemic a “hoax,” and insisting that it would magically “disappear” without a vaccine. A Columbia University study later estimated that 36,000 American lives would have been saved if broad social distancing had started only a few weeks earlier.

Trump then suggested injecting disinfectants and hyped hydroxychloroquine as a possible therapeutic, even after medical experts warned that both treatments would be dangerous. He threatened to withhold funding from the World Health Organization. He urged local economies and schools to reopen before it was safe to do so, recklessly ignoring guidelines developed by his own administration’s experts at the Centers for Disease Control.

After many weeks of deriding masks, again ignoring medical science, Trump reluctantly decided he wouldn’t look too bad wearing one, but only as an optional accessory, not a public health requirement.

Meanwhile, he refused to fully invoke the Defense Production Act and develop a national strategy for actually dealing with the virus. Instead he dumped that huge challenge on states and municipalities that don’t have the vast resources of the federal government, dooming them to squabble over scarce supplies of test kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment.

As of August 28, the United States, with only four percent of the world’s population, had by far the most COVID-19 cases of any country. No wonder most Americans, including many Republicans, don’t trust anything Trump says about this unprecedented national disaster and epic personal failure that he’s still trying to dodge. It’s now up to the rest of us to “stop this nonsense” (as Dr. Anthony Fauci, our nation’s top epidemiologist, has politely suggested), beat back the virus, then fully restore our economy, with mutual respect, true grit, and dependable science.

Read more

by Debra Walker, State Committeewoman for Monroe County and Upper Keys Co-Chair.

Any basic economic theory text considers the contrast between a public good and a private good.  In general, a public good is defined as something that benefits society overall, while a private good benefits the individual.  By definition, private goods are marketable and can be bought and sold, but public goods are sponsored by the community at large, generally through taxes, and all benefit from the service.

The grand outline for what constitutes the public or “common good” is itemized in the Preamble to the US Constitution: Read more

by Roger C. Kostmayer In the midst of a deadly and highly contagious epidemic, one unlike any we have seen in our lifetime, the President of the United States wants to overrule our Constitution and give himself, and all future Presidents, what he calls “total authority” over States’ decisions about when to reopen their economies […]

by Stuart Strickland, Precinct #8 Captain, Key West

We can all agree we are living in extraordinary times.  Our entire way of life is changing very rapidly.  We stay at home.  We wear face masks.  We social distance.  But what about of one of our most fundamental constitutional rights and, I say, duties—the right to VOTE? Read more