Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dealing with a certain sort of people

I got this in my email today from a friend over on Vieques. I don't normally do things this blatantly, but because of the source and the message, I'm going to do it today. I have a few local people who ask me to turn them on to Americans looking for a place to rent for just the reasons mentioned here, so I'm leaving that line in as well. Certainly I can't reach everyone, but you as a reader can pass along the message. Please.

"I wanted to warn you and anyone you know about a sleaze bag , Charly Cherrier and his wife/girl friend Kara Miller. They finally moved out of a house I had for sale where they had moved in and NEVER paid rent, finally after a court battle they have gone to Culebra. They trashed this nice little house and stole all the appliances and furniture.They even had a bonfire in the drive way, what a mess. This is the second or third house here he has done this too. He set up a hamburger stand called Charly burgers, ripped people off, never paid debts and finally somebody burned him out. He and the wife can be very charming (cutting nasty bit here, just assume charming doesn't go home with them). ...he is crack head, and they are both thieves. I just don't want anyone else burned. Puerto Ricans tend to think American are all good [renters] and will rent to them."

On to the Terruno meeting, what turns out to be the last meeting on this project. We had a fair turnout and some great speakers and law types on *our* side, making hash of a number of assertions from *their* side. There is still time to send a letter with comments. I didn't get all of the info - addresses, dates etc. - but will add it sooner than later.

Crowd of the day

The home team

There were a few interesting moments. One for me was passing through the doors to the room during the lunch break, practically getting belly bumped by one of the Dubon brothers. That close, ok, I had to say something! And what I said was, "I can't believe you can say what you said up there with a straight face." I repeated that in my little bit of time to talk at the end of the meeting.

What I did NOT include was his response to me, which was "We are VERY serious people and I don't need to take this bullshit!" I was, needless to say, ready for a lot of responses, but that wasn't one of them. So I smilingly and gently replied, "But you can dish the bullshit out there, it appears."

A very serious person (dresses better).
I didn't take this photo, but thanks to the person who used my camera!

My Dad warned me what would happen if I kept this look on my face...

Another moment was when a woman with a few zillion credentials from the Planning Board (I'm not sure what it's called in Spanish, sorry) was grilled by the TP lawyer like a chicken. Except, oops, she was Queen of the Roost and had an answer for every single question he bullet shot to her. I have to say, I felt very strongly at that moment that I wished he were on our side. I've been told he was once more of an environmental sort, a kick butt lawyer who has made his bones doing some good things on the big island. Maybe he's just a great lawyer who follows the money, but he is good and I'll give him that.

Sorry I don't know her name, but this woman was very cool under fire...
and I like and respect that

Kick butt lawyer serving his master's pointer bidding

We watched and listened like we were following a tennis match, while a couple of people either side of me (me being pathetically Spanish deficient) kindly summed up the gist of the moments in English. Thanks, y'all!

One of the hardest lines I listened to was from the same Dubon whom I met more than I wanted to in the doorway. He said, and this must be given as a paraphrase, but this was basically it, 'Culebra is an area of tourists and second home owners.' Well, a ground swell of chatter grew off of that one, which then subsided. It's a sad thing when the man claiming to do so much for Culebra doesn't give any more of a damn than the Navy about those who call this home. But then, that's what he's about...getting the bucks out of tourists and second home owners. I made it quite clear that NONE of either the former or latter expresses an interest in such a place as they envision.

Would you buy a used car from this man? How about an abused island?

But of course, this is the same brother who came back to where I was sitting with a journalist friend and blantantly tried to buy him off, right there!, his belly a few inches from my face...this is, rather than a serious person, an arrogant, nasty person, who needs to have himself on a leash next to his lawyer. I don't know anything about his brother, but he did at least seem to behave more civilly than his sibling.

Even a big player on the wrong team seems to be able to tell (listening to his brother)
something smells seriously wrong here - hey, I just take the pictures

Facts schmacts! Hey, is my lawyer ignoring me?

Ok, I'm not sure I understand this...but if what I gathered is true,
F&W should be sued...but what do I know?

Did you know Culebra needed a saviour? And hey! here's one now! Jobs! Education! And of course, suffer the littel children to come unto Terruno...

Huh...a couple of months ago, the photo didn't have that road in it...

Now the only thing marring this is a road built without permits dumping mud into the bay

If Terruno is built, that second bay will be the beach of the people staying in units
covering the entire hillside, front and back, to Fulladoza -
Say good bye to Culebra being Culebra if this fight is not won

Just a final note here. I do not believe there is anything good about what this would do to Culebra. In my mind there is no FOR Culebra in the equation. Please realize I say that as a person with a business that relies on tourism. Im not anti-tourist. I'm anti tourism that is not acclimated to Culebra. To what we have to offer on about every level there is, from street space to refuse space to gasoline, to beach space to restaurant space (ok, they'd have their own but they have to come out SOMETIME and watch out then).

A very knowledgeable man made a point about the sewer system. One problem with that and I meant to mention it to him, is what Rocky and Carlos told me months ago. The sewer system is designed on a small scale, as a domestic system. It is not meant to serve a Costa Bonita, Bahia Marina, Terruno, or Coranal mega bathroom. To hook up to it, the existing pipes could NOT be used, which means they would have to put in their own pipes at their own expense and just so you know, this system is very, VERY expensive. Which is why the Feds paid for it...

And on and on. Point being...write your letters and sign them. I'll get the address from the powers that know and post it. Or, don't whine about Culebra changing...maybe we won't prevail, but at least we'll have given the devil's tail a damn good tweaking! Join in - and if we do win, you can say, "And ah halped!"

Just another happy day in Paradox!


  1. As someone who is certainly a "touristo" I see no good coming from this project. I have visited Culebra since around 1994, so I have seen the impact that can be caused by "too much." What people like me love the most about your beloved island is how it is still possible to visit a place where peace and serenity are still alive. We do not need a fancy place to stay, we are happy to buy what is available from the locals (with no complaint when we can't find what we thought we needed)and we want Culebra to move in the direction that the wonderful people who live there want it to go – moving ahead with the times is important, but it is not something an outsider should be deciding.(even if he thinks he's and insider!)
    Thanks for keeping us "touristos" informed, MJ

  2. June, people like you are called guests.

  3. As if second homeowners are second class citizens that don't care about what happens to Culebra? I take offense. I don't want that bullshit on my island, no matter whether I live there full time or not. This guys should be locked in a closet with "Target Culebra" until he understands that we are not going away. Crackhole Plumber Big Belly Jerk! I have written my letters and contributed toward the legal defense, but if you post addressees to whom I have not written, I will write again. and again. and again.

  4. I wish you'd say how you really feel, Deb. It's not like you to be so held back!

    A guy from the big island wrote (one of those San Juan guys who love Culebra because it is NOT the Caribbean Riviera, as some would hope one day for...'over there') and came up, unintentionally, with what I think would be a wonderful poster 'Island Molester' Slogans like "Would you leave your island with this man?" "Do you want to live next door to an Island Molester?" the list is endless....I'm hoping someone with a BIG printer goes with the idea and I will happily supply the photos.

  5. That one photo looks like Lon Chaney, and the other looks like Dick Cheney. English OK in the letters?

  6. As ever, you nailed it Doug, thought the same thing. Yes, English is fine. All of these people are, unlike my sorry self, perfectly bi-lingual. Though I'm sure as a respectful measure a Buenos dias, gracias and lo siento for poquito espanol would not be amiss.

  7. MJ,

    I agree with all of the comments above but what is the general feeling among the Culabrense [sp?] At the first meeting, the one which was cancelled, there weren't many Culabrense present.

  8. Arroz, I don't get the idea that there is a *general* feeling. The Culebrense I know well tend to be like minded with myself, the rabblerousers of many a good fight to keep Culebra a good place to live. But I know there are some who think projects like this can be good for Culebra. Personally, I believe local people with that mindset haven't seen the true results of such projects in other places. But whether there at the meeting(s) or not, most Culebrense I know don't want it because they do understand what the truth is. Coming out and saying that is another story...

  9. MJ, My concern is that if letters and protests come only from "second home owners" and tourists who have visited the island, it will be easy for the board to dismiss them. Has anyone tried getting a petition against the development from Culebrense?

  10. There is not the sense of separation your question implies. There are numerous 'born here' Culebrense deeply invested in fighting this project alongside "second home owners" and primary home owners who are not under a 'born here' label. Anything signed like that is signed by everyone interested. I don't think it is easy for the board to dismiss what has been heard from the community. Mr. Dubon, from San Juan, is the one who dismisses the entire native Culebra population, not those of us who live here.

  11. I didn't mean to suggest that the separation actually exists. In my limited experience, developers will do anything they can to denigrate the oppostion. As long as the board is getting input from a wide variety of respondents, the developers cannot use this ploy.

  12. It is okay to speak up for what you beleive in, but to ridicule another person is not. Change comes to us all. Shame on you for posting such an appalling photo of Mr. Dubon. what goes around comes around ~ Blessed in Vermont & Vieques

  13. I hear you, and I'm sure my karma will reflect the bounce back and I'm willing to carry the freight. My intention was NOT ridicule. It's almost impossible to express what I feel about this arrogant, bordering on evil person. So I went for the cheap shot, literally...because it is exactly what this man is about...a show of fine cloth, hiding a crude, nasty person, who has the occasional slip - in this case physically. With me, it was verbally. With this island it is a disgusting show of both. Glad you're happy in Vieques and Vermont, but I live on Culebra and rape is not a pretty thing to fight. So...sometimes I don't fight pretty.

  14. Do you really even know Mr. Dubon? The proof will be in the pudding ~ harm no one ~

  15. I *met* him literally in passing. It was a quite unpleasant moment. I don't call that knowing him, but I do consider it knowing something about him that is quite telling as to other facets of his personality.

    Yes. Harm no one is a wonderful life guide. Hopefully you subscribe to it better than I do. And better than Mr. Dubon does as well. At least when I fail to abide by it I don't take out whole populations...

  16. Mr. Dubon is a native are you? Do you own the land or does he? I don't think anyone should tell another what to do with their land if they are not breaking any laws & being respectful.Do yo have any idea how many enviromental hearings have taken place on this project? i have known him for 11 years as a kind compassionate fun person. You might have tried meeting with him. & talking. I do abide by harm no one. it would be wonderful if everything could stay the same but it does not. Be well

  17. He is a native what? Not that it matters, actually, but I am curious what you mean. I own the sea and the bay that are attached to the land that he is supposed to be the owner and caretaker of...that are being polluted because, excuse me, he IS breaking laws. All sorts of laws. I hope there will be meetings about this until Mr. Dubon is complying with the laws. I can't expect him to comply with a moral compass, guiding him to truly do what is best for Culebra, but the laws, as they are written, are being broken every time a bit of displaced soil dug illegally fouls the waters adjacent to his property.
    I'm glad you have such a warm relationship with him. Perhaps that is done by overlooking some aspects of his personality and his actions; I know I do the same and have it done with me by people I consider dear to me. But unless Mr. Dubon is struck, like Paul of th e Bible, to his knees with the blinding light of truth and acts accordingly, I doubt we will ever have much occasion to be brought together in any way but an adversarial one.
    Maybe one day you can come to Culebra and see what others have seen, the destruction of rare plants, the fouling of the water and the wanton willful desire to impose a burden on Culebra that will crush her bit by bit; sacrificing a couple thousand people for a few people's gain. I'd be happy to have lunch with you,. Maybe we could eat some *native* food.

  18. I have watched people(AIG) clear cut & build a huge resort on one of the most scenic treasured places in Vermont to accommodate the rich tourists. I am coming to Vieques late October, perhaps we can share some yummies. Be well

  19. I hope you fought for Vermont as we fight for Culebra. If no one fights for the beauty of the earth, it will be lost, bit by bit. That sounds a lot more warm and fuzzy than I feel, but that doesn't make it any less true.

    Get in touch, I'd be happy to break pan with you (no, not THAT Pan!)

  20. The sad truth of all this is that the land is to be enjoyed by the rich only. Those who are not that resourceful, will have to find comfort in the bread crumbs left behind. The world belongs to those few with the money..

  21. SV, I read your comment a lot of times and thought about it most of the day. I truly disagree with you, even though I think I get your point as far as feeling like those with money do have the power to do a lot of damage to the most beautiful places on this Earth. But 'the land' can be enjoyed by everyone with the senses they have available, eyes, ears, nose, touch. Many cultures don't believe the land (or the seas) belong to humans, we are just guests here, no matter what our bank account looks like. And outside the real or metaphorically gated communities is a whole lot of beautiful world to be enjoyed.
    A very dear friend of mine responded when I shared the gist of what you wrote. I hadn't really known what to say but I wanted to say something, so I said a whole lot of words, when my friend just wrote this to me:

    "That is sad. To that person I offer up one of my favorite quotes, from Oscar Wilde."We're all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at stars"

    (thanks, Tim)