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Key West Cruise Ship Ban May Be In Jeopardy.


Daniel A
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52 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

Just saw this interesting article today.  Read it and form your own opinion:

Key West ponders response to Florida preemption nixing voter-approved ship restrictions (msn.com)

 

Hank

It is an interesting legal maneuver.  I don't know if it will really have any legs, here is the relevant text from the law which extends beyond referendums to include laws and ordinances.

 

(2) Any local ballot initiative or referendum that is in conflict with subsection (1) and that was adopted before, on, or after July 1, 2021, and any local law, charter amendment, ordinance, resolution, regulation, or policy adopted in such an initiative or referendum, is prohibited, void, and expressly preempted to the state.

 

It's going to come down to parsing words.  It will be interesting to see how this develops.  Lots of interesting legal drama during this restart.  

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11 minutes ago, Daniel A said:

It is an interesting legal maneuver.  I don't know if it will really have any legs, here is the relevant text from the law which extends beyond referendums to include laws and ordinances.

 

(2) Any local ballot initiative or referendum that is in conflict with subsection (1) and that was adopted before, on, or after July 1, 2021, and any local law, charter amendment, ordinance, resolution, regulation, or policy adopted in such an initiative or referendum, is prohibited, void, and expressly preempted to the state.

 

It's going to come down to parsing words.  It will be interesting to see how this develops.  Lots of interesting legal drama during this restart.  

A small local group and government trying to stand up to the State is a real David-Goliath battle except in real life David usually ends up at the bottom of sea.  We are actually booked on a December Oceania cruise that is scheduled to stop in KW.  That cruise may well get cancelled for other reasons but if it happens and we get to KW I will enjoy our port day with some reservations.   When DW and I go to KW on a land trip we stay at a hotel that is located about a mile from the Mallory Square part of town that is often packed with cruise ship folks.  We generally do not walk down to that part of town until late in the afternoon when the cruise ship folks are gone which is actually the nicest time to be in KW and enjoy the sunsets.  As a general rule the cruise ships are supposed to be gone by the best time of the day (sunset and the evening) and as long as that continues I think all will be OK.

 

Hank

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8 hours ago, Hlitner said:

A small local group and government trying to stand up to the State is a real David-Goliath battle except in real life David usually ends up at the bottom of sea.  We are actually booked on a December Oceania cruise that is scheduled to stop in KW.  That cruise may well get cancelled for other reasons but if it happens and we get to KW I will enjoy our port day with some reservations.   When DW and I go to KW on a land trip we stay at a hotel that is located about a mile from the Mallory Square part of town that is often packed with cruise ship folks.  We generally do not walk down to that part of town until late in the afternoon when the cruise ship folks are gone which is actually the nicest time to be in KW and enjoy the sunsets.  As a general rule the cruise ships are supposed to be gone by the best time of the day (sunset and the evening) and as long as that continues I think all will be OK.

 

Hank

I too have really enjoyed the sunset parties at Mallory Square.  I still hope to enjoy more.  🙂
 

 

 

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19 hours ago, Daniel A said:

It is an interesting legal maneuver.  I don't know if it will really have any legs, here is the relevant text from the law which extends beyond referendums to include laws and ordinances.

 

(2) Any local ballot initiative or referendum that is in conflict with subsection (1) and that was adopted before, on, or after July 1, 2021, and any local law, charter amendment, ordinance, resolution, regulation, or policy adopted in such an initiative or referendum, is prohibited, void, and expressly preempted to the state.

 

It's going to come down to parsing words.  It will be interesting to see how this develops.  Lots of interesting legal drama during this restart.  


I don’t see how it is parsing words.  The words you bolded are followed by the rest of the sentence which says it only things adopted in such an initiative or referendum are prohibited.  The amendment was specifically changed to only prohibit changes via referendum.  The other ports in Florida were very specific about this and even put out a statement that this in no way affects a City’s ability to regulate their port.

 

as a local, I can tell you if the referendum were voted on again, they would get even greater support.  I feel very confident that both the Mallory Square and Navy Mole Pier which are both run by the City will follow the referendums.  The variable is Pier B, which is privately leased from the State and run by the hotel owner where the dock is.  This is the hotel owner who donated $1mil,ion to our Governor a couple months before he signed the bill.  The City is actively looking at ways to address this, but I feel very certain that the days of three ships in port at once, or ships larger than the referendum allows at Mallory Square and the Mole Pier are over.

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1 hour ago, keywester33 said:

I don’t see how it is parsing words.  The words you bolded are followed by the rest of the sentence which says it only things adopted in such an initiative or referendum are prohibited.  

This is precisely why it comes down to parsing words.  My read of it is that when you read  "policy adopted in such an initiative or referendum, is prohibited" is a separate and distinct concept intended in the sentence which also forbids "any local law, charter amendment, ordinance, resolution, regulation"  The laws, amendments, ordinances, resolutions and regulations are prohibited as well as "policies" adopted in a resolution.

 

We could discuss this until the cows come home and only people who wear black robes will have the final say if KW even tries to block the Florida law.

 

As an aside, nowhere does the sentence say " it only things adopted in such an initiative or referendum are prohibited."  as you claimed. If you can find those words, please let me know because I may have missed them.

 

This is why it will come down to parsing words.  Take each element of the sentence individually.

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Daniel, I’m not an attorney.  I only know what has been discussed by many people in many forums and meetings.  Here is the text I’m referring to:

 

(2) Any local ballot initiative or referendum that is in conflict with subsection (1) and that was adopted before, on, or after July 1, 2021, and any local law, charter amendment, ordinance, resolution, regulation, or policy adopted in such an initiative or referendum, is prohibited, void, and expressly preempted to the state.

 

As you see above, it says “…and any local law, charter amendment, ordinance, resolution, regulation or policy ADOPTED IN SUCH AN INITIATIVE OR REFERENDUM, is prohibited…. This is a single sentence. 

 

Nowhere does it prohibit ordinances adopted by other methods such as the City passing one through the normal legislative process. The Florida Ports Council put out a news release stating “local Government Seaports like the port of Key West will maintain the ability to operate their own ports.”

 

Every member of our City Council committed in a public meeting to do everything they can to support and enforce the referendum.  The main concern is Pier B.  The owner of the Opal hotel is a litigious billionaire and the City does not want to spend a fortune in legal fees and potentially lose a large judgement.  That is why I said Mallory Square and the Mole Pier, both either owned or leased by the City, will likely follow the referendum.  Our City attorney is looking into options to get Pier B to do the same thing.

 

No one knows the eventual outcome, but the State override has only strengthened locals support to keep large ships and too many daily passengers away.  It might be different if we had an unemployment issue here, but we don’t.  Business owners are struggling to find workers and there hasn’t been a single ship here in over 14 months.  Key West loves visitors, including cruise ship visitors, but we also have a small island with a limited capacity and a strong desire to protect our waters.  I guess we will have to see what happens in the coming months.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I was looking for an update on the topic the other day and came across these articles from Mid-July that contained some nuances that I hadn't mentioned seen in some of the others.

https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/fl-ne-nsf-key-west-cruise-restrictions-reviewed-20210713-n5vubkikkrcxxhwo7wosnav5km-story.html

https://www.wlrn.org/news/2021-07-13/key-west-commission-tells-staff-to-create-cruise-ship-limits-like-those-approved-by-voters

 

Most notably are the details about the Pier B contract and the comments from the city attorney in regards to what happens if that contract is breached.

The contract is an auto-renewing 10-year contract that gives the city 1/4 of the port fees (~$1.5 million/year).  BOTH parties have to agree to end it.

When asked about the city ending the contract, the attorney said:  "We pay".  “I think Pier B sues us. I don’t think it’s a threat. I think it’s legitimate”  “I think it’s a breach of contract claim and an interstate commerce claim.”

 

In this second report he was quoted as saying "this is Duck Tours on steroids

Apparently the city settled out of court for $8 million back in 2005 to settle a lawsuit where the city's contract with the parent company of Conch Train was anti-competitive and prevented Duck Tours from entering the city. 

 

This could get very expensive for the city without the mention of the interstate commerce claim which could get quite messy, I think. 

 

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  • 2 months later...

Key West voters will decide on Nov. 3 whether to change the city’s charter to limit the size of cruise ships that dock at the Southernmost City’s three cruise ship piers and the number of passengers who can come ashore on any given day.

The Key West ballot will include three cruise ship-related questions, following a petition drive by the Key West Committee for Safer Cleaner Ships

Ballot questions

Voters will be asked to answer “yes” or “no” to the following:

  1. Shall the number of persons disembarking from cruise ships be limited to a total of not more than 1,500 persons per day at any and all public and privately owned or leased property located within the municipal boundary of the City of Key West?
  2. Shall cruise ships with the capacity to carry 1,300 or more persons (passengers and crew) be prohibited from disembarking individuals at any and all public or privately owned or leased property located within the municipal boundary of the City of Key West?
  3. Shall the City of Key West give preference and priority to cruise ships and cruise lines that have the best environmental record … and best health record?
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3 hours ago, wdowns9 said:

Key West voters will decide on Nov. 3 whether to change the city’s charter to limit the size of cruise ships that dock at the Southernmost City’s three cruise ship piers and the number of passengers who can come ashore on any given day.

The Key West ballot will include three cruise ship-related questions, following a petition drive by the Key West Committee for Safer Cleaner Ships

Ballot questions

Voters will be asked to answer “yes” or “no” to the following:

  1. Shall the number of persons disembarking from cruise ships be limited to a total of not more than 1,500 persons per day at any and all public and privately owned or leased property located within the municipal boundary of the City of Key West?
  2. Shall cruise ships with the capacity to carry 1,300 or more persons (passengers and crew) be prohibited from disembarking individuals at any and all public or privately owned or leased property located within the municipal boundary of the City of Key West?
  3. Shall the City of Key West give preference and priority to cruise ships and cruise lines that have the best environmental record … and best health record?

 

1 hour ago, CT Sean said:

Isn't that the referendum from last year? Election day is Nov 2nd this year.

Yes, that was last year's referendum which was rendered irrelevant by the state legislature and governor. 

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They are currently allowed but none have actually docked yet.  Don't really know why - the Key West cruise calendar from the City of Key West had several ships docking starting October and they were all removed several weeks ago and now the calendar is locked behind a sign in. 

 

City of Key West site with the calendar link towards the bottom for reference

https://www.cityofkeywest-fl.gov/158/Cruise-Ships-Marine-Services

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17 hours ago, CarelessAndConfused said:

So to be clear, as of now, ships are allowed in Key West for the foreseeable future?  And does that future look like it extends to April?

Allowed? 

 

At this point in time, it is lawful for a ship to call on Key West. 

 

However, there are allegations that the Key West mayor and council are acting extralegally, refusing to approve any CDC required paperwork unless the cruise lines follow the nullified Nov 2020 referendum.  

 

 

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On 10/31/2021 at 8:18 AM, D C said:

However, there are allegations that the Key West mayor and council are acting extralegally, refusing to approve any CDC required paperwork unless the cruise lines follow the nullified Nov 2020 referendum.  

 

 

From the purely anecdotal information I've learned, that's exactly what's happening.

Also some speculation that operators of smaller ships are proactively cancelling KW

calls to avoid any involvement in the impending food fight.

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4 hours ago, Donaghadee said:

From the purely anecdotal information I've learned, that's exactly what's happening.

Also some speculation that operators of smaller ships are proactively cancelling KW

calls to avoid any involvement in the impending food fight.

Interestingly, the anti-cruise ship group submitted a letter to the city council to rebut the accusations.  They essentially said it doesn't matter if they're acting extralegally since the CSO is voluntary, so therefore refusing to sign the CDC documents is a-ok.  Interesting argument.  

Clearly not cruise people as we all know that the cruise lines are following the CSO (and other CDC 'guidelines') regardless of their perceived legal status.

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On 10/31/2021 at 7:23 AM, CT Sean said:

Don't really know why - the Key West cruise calendar from the City of Key West had several ships docking starting October and they were all removed several weeks ago and now the calendar is locked behind a sign in. 

 

City of Key West site with the calendar link towards the bottom for reference

https://www.cityofkeywest-fl.gov/158/Cruise-Ships-Marine-Services

The Following link still has the Key West port Schedule accessible:

https://www.cruisemapper.com/ports/key-west-port-121

Look under the Schedule tab - you can also select the month..

Still shows some ships scheduled to dock in November & December, and beyond... 

 

Our cruise is currently planned to dock January 31st...so we shall see. I would certainly not "Bet the Farm" we will be having Key Lime Pie for lunch on the beach that day.

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7 hours ago, RGEDad said:

The Following link still has the Key West port Schedule accessible:

https://www.cruisemapper.com/ports/key-west-port-121

Look under the Schedule tab - you can also select the month..

Still shows some ships scheduled to dock in November & December, and beyond... 

 

Our cruise is currently planned to dock January 31st...so we shall see. I would certainly not "Bet the Farm" we will be having Key Lime Pie for lunch on the beach that day.

I read a local online newspaper and they are saying that some cruise line execs met with the Mayor who stated she would not sign off on the local port paperwork required by the CDC CSO.  Even though it's Florida and the CSO is not mandated in Florida, it seems that the cruise lines don't want to lose their Conditional Sailing Order by calling at KW without the local port agreement in hand.  On another front, the city attorney is warning the city council that it's not legal to withhold the paperwork and the resulting lawsuits could bankrupt the city just with the legal fees alone, let alone any judgements.

 

It's still playing out.

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We'll - I guess it sort of depends on what ship you are on.

The Key West port currently/still has three ships listed as docking on November 27th.

But...Not sure I would be booking non-refundable port tours - there is a finite possibility you may be...disappointed if you do- IMHO.

But - Hope Springs Eternal

27 November, 2021
Saturday
Viking Star    
27 November, 2021
Saturday
Crystal Serenity 07:00 17:00
27 November, 2021
Saturday
Azamara Quest 07:00 16:00
Edited by RGEDad
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On 11/10/2021 at 7:39 AM, Daniel A said:

I read a local online newspaper and they are saying that some cruise line execs met with the Mayor who stated she would not sign off on the local port paperwork required by the CDC CSO.  Even though it's Florida and the CSO is not mandated in Florida, it seems that the cruise lines don't want to lose their Conditional Sailing Order by calling at KW without the local port agreement in hand.  On another front, the city attorney is warning the city council that it's not legal to withhold the paperwork and the resulting lawsuits could bankrupt the city just with the legal fees alone, let alone any judgements.

 

It's still playing out.

I haven't seen any reports of those lawsuits being filed (presumably by the port agent and/or the owner of pier B).  I don't think those suits will go well for the city if/when they happen. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
7 hours ago, RGEDad said:

Little bit of Good News I suppose:

A couple of ships have docked at Key West:

Guess there is hope our late January Carnival Dream cruise will also be able to dock..2 Months to go.

 

https://www.flkeysnews.com/news/local/article256200272.html

The two ships that called on Key West sailed from outside of the US and were therefore not requiring the CDC forms that the city is refusing to sign for other ships.  

 

Odds are that there will be a legal battle before any US-based ships call on KW.

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8 hours ago, RGEDad said:

Little bit of Good News I suppose:

A couple of ships have docked at Key West:

Guess there is hope our late January Carnival Dream cruise will also be able to dock..2 Months to go.

 

https://www.flkeysnews.com/news/local/article256200272.html

Allowing two ships that meet the capacity criteria set by the voters is  far cry from permitting a 3,600 passenger behemoth that doesn't.

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