Grading the Candidates on Bike, Walk, Transit and Streets for People

Article 1 of 4: Weekley and Kaufman Stand Out as True “Friends”

Article 2: Grading the Candidates on Bike, Walk, Transit and Streets for People: District 6 – Challenger Ryan Barnett is a Good “Friend” of Bike, Walk, Transit and Streets for People
Article 3: Grading the Candidates on Bike, Walk, Transit and Streets for People: District 3 – Challenger Kimball Ingram is a Good “Friend” of Bike, Walk, Transit and Streets for People
Article 4: Grading the Candidates on Bike, Walk, Transit and Streets for People: Mayor Teri Johnston is a Very Good “Friend” of Bike, Walk, Transit and Streets for People

Which of the candidates for Mayor and City Commission of Key West are best on the issues of bike, walk, transit and streets for people? Who truly are the “Friends” of Car-Free Key West? We hope to help answer those question with a series of articles over the next week. We’ve tracked past votes and received answers to our questions from all the candidates. Based upon the record and their answers, we are providing scores, grades and recommendations.

In our next post we’ll look at the District 6 downtown race between incumbent Commissioner Clayton Lopez and challengers Dr. Ryan Barnett and John William Smith. Next we’ll review the District 3 New Town race between incumbent Commissioner Billy Wardlow and challenger Kimball Ingram. Finally we’ll bring you our look at the Mayor’s race between incumbent Mayor Teri Johnston and challengers Mark Rossi and Rick Haskins.

In each of these races we looked at the past voting records of the incumbents on 16 different votes over the last four years. We gave a score to each of the votes based upon whether we agreed with that vote or not. Since we didn’t have a past record for the challengers, we sent a questionnaire to every candidate and asked them to help us by filling it out. To their credit, all the candidates responded in one way or another. We similarly scored those answers.

For full transparency, we will provide you with Past Votes and Questionnaire scores. We will also share each candidates answers to the Questionnaire in full. For ease of understanding and comparison, we then gave each candidate a simple Grade of A (Excellent) through F (Fail) based upon those scores. The candidate with the higher grade receives our recommendation. It is that simple.

One thing we plan on doing in the future is providing a rolling Friend’s Votes Walk, Bike, Transit and Streets for People Scorecard for grading the incumbents every year. So we’ll build upon the scorecard spreadsheet and fill it in with new votes and present it each year. We want the Mayor and City Commission to know we care about these issues and are watching. Look for the next Friend’s Votes Scorecard in the summer/fall of 2021 and then another one a year later, just before the 2022 elections.

Scorecard on Current Commissioners Voting Record
CommissionerVotes’ Total ScoreLetter Grade
Jimmy Weekley16B+
Sam Kaufman16B+
Greg Davila10C+
Mary Lou Hoover6C

Since we’re saving the presentation of each of the races over the next few days, today we bring the scores of the newly elected incumbent Commissioner Jimmy Weekley, who didn’t have a challenger, and the other three incumbent Commissioners, Sam Kaufman, Greg Davila and Mary Lou Hoover. This way you can preview the Votes and take a look at the questions. We didn’t ask these folks to fill out a questionnaire.

Commissioners Weekley and Kaufman Consistently Vote for Bike, Walk Transit and Streets for People

With votes always approving the Mall on Duval and increasing metered parking spaces as well as sponsoring establishing slower speeds (Kaufman) and a pedestrian bridge at Admiral’s Cut (Weekley), amongst a host of other positive votes, Commissioners Weekley and Kaufman are consistently in the corner of bike, walk, transit and streets for people.

As they were the lone two votes in February of 2017 against keeping four car lanes on S. Roosevelt instead of bicycle/pedestrian-friendly alternatives and again in May of 2020 against instituting a fare on the Duval Loop for visitors, the two Commissioners stand out for going against the grain and doing the right thing. That’s why they both scored 16 points and received a grade of B+ on our scorecard. We wish everyone on the dais voted on these issues the same as them. Key West would be better for it.

Next article we’ll bring you the results for the District 6 race for Commissioner, so please stay tuned…

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The Scoring and Backup Documents

We’ve compiled a spreadsheet that includes scores from Past Votes and scores from the Questionnaire and provides a final Grade, based upon those scores, for each candidate. A snippet of the Candidates Scoring Spreadsheet is below. You can also download the spreadsheet as a PDF for ease of reading. As we add races, the spreadsheet will grow to include each. You’ll notice it has the Past Votes scores of the existing City Commissioners too. Scores are broken down into four categories: 

  • Duval Street and Downtown
  • Duval Loop and Public Transit
  • Bicycle and Pedestrian
  • Parking Strategies
Past Votes Record and Scoring

We were able to find 16 votes over the past four years on these issues broken down as: Duval Street and Downtown (4 votes); Duval Loop and Public Transit (2 votes); Bicycle and Pedestrian (6 votes); and Parking Strategies (4 votes). In scoring these votes we generally gave a plus one (+1) if they agreed with our position on the item and a minus one (-1) if they didn’t. In a few instances we gave an extra point for some votes we deemed extra worthy or an extra point for the item’s Commission sponsor. Generally a total Score of about 16+ is possible.

Click on the above image to enlarge it and read it more easily or download it using the button below.
The Votes

Duval Street and Downtown

  • Aug 21, 2018; Approving Lease of 1400 Block to Southernmost House in exchange for them building a pocket park (FOR)
  • April 2, 2019; Item 22, Vote to Extend Mall on Duval through May, June, July & until midnight (FOR)
  • August 20, 2019; Vote to Extend Mall on Duval through November, 2019 (FOR)
  • November 19, 2019; Vote to Extend Mall on Duval twice a month through February 17, 2020 and then cease (FOR)

Duval Loop and Public Transit

  • August 6, 2019; Item #11, Approve submission of 10-Year Transit Development Plan (FOR)
  • May 5, 2020; Item #10, Authorize $1 Fare for visitors on Duval Loop (AGAINST)

Bicycle and Pedestrian

  • February 7, 2017; Item #23, Authorize FDOT to proceed with 4 car lanes or no changes instead of FDOT and publicly recommended 2 car lanes, middle turn lane and protected bikeway (AGAINST)
  • March 20, 2018; Item #16, Recommend City Manager make efforts to hire a Transportation Coordinator in a timely manner (FOR)
  • September 20, 2018; Item #27 Revisit Speed Limit Map, establish limits to greatest extent (FOR)
  • March 5, 2019; Item #21 Accepting Key West Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Transportation Plan (FOR)
  • September 19, 2019; Authorize rebuilding Atlantic Boulevard Multi-Use Path (FOR)
  • November 16, 2019; Admiral’s Cut discussion sponsored by Weekley. Withdrawn from Agenda (FOR bridging Admiral’s Cut)

Parking Strategies

  • September 20, 2018; Item #14, Accepting Parking and Alternative Transportation Report (FOR)
  • September 4, 2019; Item #22, Meter 1500 block of Reynolds and 700 and 800 blocks of Seminole (Casa Marina) (FOR)
  • September 4, 2019; Item #23, Meter Smathers Beach (FOR)
  • December 3, 2019; Meter Jackson Square and 500 block of Thomas Street while accepting Employee Pass (FOR)
Questionnaire Scoring

Each of the four categories includes three questions and one final overall question for a total of 13 that we sent to the candidates. They are scored the same way with up to one point (+1) for a good answer to minus a point (-1) for a bad answer. There were a few answers we deemed good enough for an extra half point. Generally a total score of 13 is possible on the Questionnaire.

The Questions

Duval Street and Downtown

  1. Do you favor funding the Duval Street Revitalization Study in the fiscal year 2021 budget? Will you fund the recommended improvements in the next year? Answer limited to 100 words.
  2. What are your ideas for interim projects (before the Study makes recommendations) on Duval or Downtown that would make it more pedestrian friendly and people oriented? Answer limited to 100 words.
  3. Do you think removing all parking on Duval Street would enhance the downtown environment? Would you support an ordinance that would allow parklets (benches or tables and chairs on a platform) to replace parking downtown? Answer limited to 100 words.

Duval Loop and Public Transit

  1. Do you favor returning to a free Duval Loop for visitors to our island? Do you favor fare free rides on other City routes for everyone? Answer limited to 100 words.
  2. Do you believe a third-party consulting firm should be retained to assist the City with branding and marketing the Duval Loop, Key West Transit and Lower Keys Shuttle programs? Answer limited to 100 words.
  3. Do you believe compensation of bus drivers should be increased to attract and retain a stable base of drivers?  Answer limited to 100 words.

Bicycle and Pedestrian 

  1. Please name a few bicycle and/or pedestrian projects (they can be from the Bike/Ped Plan) you would vote to fund in your term. Answer limited to 100 words.
  2. How often do you ride a bicycle and for what purposes?  How do you propose we get more people to bike and walk in Key West? Answer limited to 100 words. 
  3. Do you believe increased traffic enforcement (speeding) will improve public safety for pedestrians and people on bicycles? Or do you believe that infrastructure improvements will improve safety? Or Education? Perhaps nothing more is needed or perhaps all 3? Explain how public safety should be accomplished. Answer limited to 100 words.

Parking Strategies

  1. Do you favor raising the price on Residential Parking Permits to the $35 proposed in the FY21 budget? And even more for 2nd and 3rd vehicles? Do you favor going incrementally higher in future years? Answer limited to 100 words.
  2. Do you favor instituting Residential Permit Parking by Zone so that the permit allows one to park near one’s own home? Answer limited to 100 words.
  3. Should the City hire more parking enforcement officers since it has been demonstrated that these positions are self-funding and that residents desire increased enforcement efforts. Answer limited to 100 words.

GENERAL/CATCH ALL

  1. What do you think of when you think of Car-Free Key West and its mission and how do you propose to make it easier and safer for more people to bike, walk, take the bus and use streets and why do you think this is important? Limit 300 words.

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