Margaret Romero was elected to this seat in 2014. In 2018, she is running for Key West Mayor. District 5 is located in the center of Key West, running from Higgs beach north to Patterson Avenue. Key West City Commissioners serve a term of four years.
Key West City Commissioner, District 5
Position salary: $20,000 per year
1. Major cities around the country are putting restriction on the number of Airbnb or VRBO rentals allowed. Do you think this is necessary and what extra restrictions/requirements would you propose — length of stay, or number of units available for rental, or complete elimination?
2. What is the greatest need in your particular district and how do you address those needs?
3. Name one action the City of Key West can take to improve either parking availability or removing traffic off local streets.
4. Should the City of Key West retain control over the amphitheater management, or subcontract it out to a professional group?
5. What’s your process, or vision, for the selection of a new city manager and other various administrative positions that will need to be filled in the coming years?
Editor’s notes: Candidates’ answers appear as they were submitted.
Mary Lou Hoover, nonpartisan
Mary Lou Hoover has called Key West home since 2001 after retiring from public works construction. Hoover studied Hotel & Restaurant Management at St. Louis Community College and studied Business Administration at the University of Purdue and Indiana University. She is a graduate of Leadership Monroe County, the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys Leadership Academy and former Fantasy Fest Queen. She is also the founder of Girls Night Out—a women’s networking group. Hoover’s husband, Charlie Waite, is local business owner.
• Top three issues: Affordable workforce housing, sea level rise, clean and safe streets
• Campaign website: MaryLouHoover.com
1. With the housing crisis we are facing in Key West, I think we have to look at how we deal with all forms of housing and rentals. In the case of Airbnb, VRBO and others, I think they need to be treated like a business, including having to have a license to rent the home, pay local and tourist related taxes, and abide by local ordinances for trash, recycling, parking etc. In addition, any homeowner who allows their home to be used as a short term rental would be in danger of losing their homestead exemption.
2. I have heard from several District 5 residents how unsafe our streets have become for our children. With all of the road work that has taken place over the last several years, our citizens and tourists have found new routes that run through our neighborhoods. Many of our streets have become speedways for cars heading in and out of town. I would look at lowering the speed limits in residential neighborhoods to make our streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians and use all means available to slow traffic to safe speeds.
3. I would start by accepting the Parking and Alternative Transportation Committee’s recommendations to make parking spaces near parking garages either pay to park or make them residential spaces. That would increase revenue as well as address the issue of not having parking for residents near their homes.
4. Without a business plan on how to manage the amphitheater, I would recommend that the city manage it for the first year. The amphitheater should be for all of our citizens to enjoy, not just those who can afford high-priced concert tickets. So those aspects would need to be considered in the overall plan.
5. Finding a qualified City Manager to replace Jim Scholl is one of the most challenging tasks facing the new Mayor and commissioners. I have spoken with Jim Scholl to see if he would be willing to stay another year to give this new commission time to prepare for finding someone to replace him. I think we will know his answer shortly after this election cycle. Having his help in developing a list of requirements and skill sets for the new City Manager, based on his 10+ years in the job, would be invaluable.
Wallace “Wally” Moore, nonpartisan
Wallace “Wally” Moore was born and raised in Key West and is the Transportation Manager at NAS Key West. Moore is a graduate from Mary Immaculate High School class of 1983 and studied Marine Propulsion at Florida Keys Community College. Moore has two children, Wally Moore III and Charles Moore and has been married to his wife, Valerie, for 25 years. Moore serves on he City’s Parking and Alternative Transportation Board.
• Top three issues: Workforce housing, public safety, giving back to Key West.
• Campaign website: Get More With Moore KW on Facebook.
1. Yes; stricter code enforcement.
2. Cleaner and safer streets. Work together with city staff and hold meetings with the citizens of the district to here there concerns and get them solved.
3. Build parking garages where benefit the most they will serve starting with the Southard Street parking lot that used to be there and already has plans in place
4. It should be contracted out to a business that specialized in that type of business.
5. I am a firm believer in promoting from within first as these are the people that have rose through the ranks and already know the needs and the lay out of Key West.