Sunday, December 03, 2006

Two new Links, and a rant

I'm adding a couple of new links to my Link List there on the right side of the page today.

One is for the Bahama Conch Community Land Trust, of which I am immediate past president and still a board member. The other is a link to a newly-discovered site, BigPineKey.com and in particular to a blog of sorts belonging to Sloan Bashinsky. Bashinsky is a recent (reluctant) candidate for Monroe County Commissioner.

Sloan is -- well, different -- a free thinker who receives guidance in his dreams and writes about what he is led to do. He wrote frequent e-mails which he shared with a wide range of other people during the campaign. He's discontinuing the e-mails and will now write at the BPK site. He finished second in the two man race for for the Commission seat, much to his relief as he didn't really want to win. He actively promoted his "opponent" in the race, incumbent Commissioner George Neugent.

Jim Marquardt, new president of the Community Land Trust, asked the other day why I didn't have a link to the BCCLT web site on this blog and on the Bahama Village Blog. I realized then that I have very few links to any non-profit organizations; only the Bahama Village Consortium site and the Bahama Village blog are of that type. Key West is rich with voluntary organizations aimed at charity, culture and community. From AIDS Help, one of the largest charities and beneficiary of much of the largesse generated by Fantasy Fest; to Wesley House with family-oriented health and safety programs; to SHAL, the Southernmost Homeless Assistance League; arts groups like the Symphony and the Art and History Museum; a YMCA program, Boys & Girls Club, baseball, football and soccer programs for kids; and the list goes on and on.

Times are tough for some of these organizations. A changing population, a fragile tourism base, the increasing cost of living in Paradise, tighter government budgets -- all of these things are putting pressure on non-profits to turn to public fundraising to keep their programs working, and to new ways of staffing programs losing employees who can't afford to live here any more. It's why workforce housing is such a hot topic in the Keys, even more so than in the rest of Florida, where it is also a major concern.

I don't know of a single site that has a comprehensive list of all of the nonprofits that operate here. I tried the Key West page at Wikepedia, and the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys site. Someone ought to look into getting that done.

I'll have more to say more on this topic later.

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