Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Set of Cojones

Back in May I mentioned that a friend, Bill Estes, was running for County Commission and posted a link to his campaign website (see links, upper right). I told him that I really admired his courage, because when you run for public office (as one insider told me, as if it were a revelation) "they'll say terrible things about you." And Bill was taking on one of Monroe County's powerful "Gang of Three."

Bill had moved to Key West after retiring from Ma Bell and opened a small dive business. He soon became involved in Key West's longest zoning battle, when he bought a condo unit in Key West's Truman Annex Shipyard Condominiums, a development which had been promoted originally as "affordable residential" housing, but which soon morphed into resort condominium units rented hotel-style to tourists. Bill is a big, easy-going sort of guy, so it wasn't a surprise that before too many years had passed, he became chairman of the local Democratic Party.
Bill (and the small handful of full-time residents of Shipyard) lost that battle, although he had plenty to say about it, and moved to a more traditional neighborhood, but didn't sell the condo right away, so with the decline in real estate prices, basically had to hang onto it for a while.

Now, a few days before the election, the local paper prints a story that candidate Estes hasn't been paying his condominium "maintenance fees" ($550 a month: so much for "affordable"), and that the condo association had placed a lien on his property. (Gasp!) Bill explained that he's in the middle of a "short sale," and that everything will be settled up if and when they close on the property.

Conclusion: It does take guts to run for public office. And "they" will drag up anything they can, including fiction if necessary, and you can be sure, "they" had the computers whirring, trying to dig something up. In this case, if that's the best "they" can come up with, Bill's a pretty good candidate.

Postscript: Both candidates remaining in this race, Bill Estes and Kim Wigington are fine candidates. Kim's been "beaten up" as well, and has certainly paid her dues. Both candidates are a testimonial to our country and its Constitution: "regular" people still have a chance to be heard and to be elected.

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