Let’s talk with Mayor Johnston – from Reno!

Key West Mayor Teri Johnston has been in Reno, NV, since last Thursday for the US Conference of Mayors, which is held twice a year.

Mayor Johnston joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning from the airport in Nevada.

Johnston said, “It’s one of the best experiences. We all have the same issues and we just go from session to session. We have about eleven hour days and it’s just a really good group to get some ideas from and to noodle through problems that we all have in every one of our cities.”

Mayors come as far as Hawaii and include cities both big and small.

While Mayor Johnston was able to avoid the storm over the weekend, she was kept up-to-date on how Key West was faring by her staff.

The keynote speaker at the Mayor’s Conference this year was Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris.

Topics of discussion at the conference included gun violence, homelessness, housing shortages, climate change, mental health and equity in all areas.

Johnston said, “We talked about every single one of those issues and what people were doing to make headway in their municipalities and it’s just a great conference.”

When discussing the housing issue, a lot of municipalities have land to build on, but Key West is in a pretty unique situation because land is limited.

Some communities are buying up hotels and turning them into affordable workforce housing.

Johnston said, “This is the first time that I’ve ever been to the Mayor’s conference where every, single municipality was in the same boat with the lack of housing.”

Key West currently has several hundred units in various degrees of completion for affordable housing.

In terms of gun violence, what was discussed for the local level?

Johnston said, “At a local level, certainly we want to make sure that our police are well-funded and well-equipped. There are measures that you can take locally and that’s to have a prepared police force to run drills in emergency situation to make sure that everything is handled effectively and efficiently if you do have a tragedy and just to be prepared…and to be aware of our surroundings and what’s happening in our town.”

Key West City Commissioner Clayton Lopez will be presenting a resolution encouraging state and federal legislators to take action on the gun issue and an upcoming meeting.

Johnston said, “This is basically our wish for them and our direction for them since we do not legislate locally on this issue. So we make our wishes known through resolutions and those resolutions are sent to our representative, our Senator, our governor…to make sure that they know that Key West wants common sense gun laws.”

Florida is behind only Texas in being the most permit-carrying state for guns.

Mayor Johnston will be flying back to Key West today and will be ready for the City Commission meeting tomorrow night at 5 p.m. in City Hall.

The baseball team and the girls softball team will be recognized. A three-year agreement will be discussed for the Tourist Development Association.

The public is welcome to attend in person or via Zoom or on Channel 77.

To view the agenda, click here: https://keywest.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=980260&GUID=F25C2C60-E5D7-4A10-92AB-F3AB8026919F&Options=&Search=