The great American playwright and Key West resident Tennessee Williams defined “mendacity” in his play “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” as being about “lying and liars.” The dictionary specifies mendacity as “deceit through omission of facts and deceptive intent.” Key West is currently awash in mendacity with regard to the controversy about cruise tourism in Key West.
Nearly every day, one of the Safer Cleaner cruise tourist haters unleashes a lie about cruise ships. When they say cruise ships have damaged the reef and water quality, it is a lie. There is no data or report of cruise ship transits of the main ship channel harming any sea life. There is no evidence indicating turbidity from ship passage harms corals. They will not say the truth — that no cruise ship has discharged, accidentally or intentionally, any prohibited substance in Keys waters. Mendacity.
Another Safer Cleaner Ships lie is their claim that the pending ballot referenda is a reasonable “compromise” rather than a ban on cruise ships. The truth is they cleverly crafted the referenda to result in a 95% cancellation of all scheduled cruise ship calls. John Martini, an SCS supporter, gleefully admitted in a Facebook post that the referenda would indeed result in a near total ban of ships, saying, “This pretty much shuts down the cruise ship industry as we know it in Key West.” That has always been their goal. Mendacity again.
Mayor Teri Johnston is another prominent anti-cruiseship person. She repeatedly says she has spoken with cruise line executives who are agreeable to the idea of smaller ships. I polled all of our cruise line clients – not one has had that conversation with her. Mendacity? You decide.
The Safer Cleaner Ships committee will never admit they have placed Key West taxpayers in jeopardy. Committee spokesman Arlo Haskell says the referenda argument is about rich Bar Pilots protecting their incomes over “the voters” while SCS accepts big donations from wealthy supporters. He wants to force the city to effectively shut down lawful businesses that were founded in a climate of maritime history and were licensed and promoted by the City of Key West for decades. The businesses that derive most of their revenue from cruise ships create jobs and support local families. Their efforts have pumped many millions of dollars directly into the city treasury and indirectly into the general economy. The abrupt cancellation of these businesses may be a real liability for Key West taxpayers in unforeseen ways. The Haskells, Martinis and other elitists supporting SCS don’t care. Subtle mendacity.
Vladimir Lenin said, “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.” Skilled community organizers, the SCS wrecking crew cynically wields mendacity as a powerful weapon, misleading Key West voters. Organizations that use lies to achieve their goals cannot be trusted.
I call on all Key West voters to become informed of the facts and vote against the referenda and the lies from which they were devised.
John E. Wells
Ships’ Agent (ret.)