By Billy Kearins
By this time next week — due to mail-in ballot counting and state contests that are too close to call — we may not know exactly who will be the next leader of the free world. But here in Key West, we’ll likely know the outcome of the contentious local cruise ship referendum.
Really quickly — especially for the non-local folks out there — three questions have been posed to voters on the island which essentially ask citizens whether or not they want to continue to allow larger cruise ships into port. The idea was conceived and eventually formalized into ballot questions during the COVID lockdown this spring/summer after roughly 2500 locals signed a petition in support of limiting the amount of ships allowed to bring passengers into one of three cruise ship docks in the harbor. This side of the debate would ultimately become the “yes” vote — though considering there are three questions, it is, more specifically, the “yes, yes, yes” vote.
At the heart of the debate, and the big concern from the opposing side — the “no” vote — is how this will (negatively) affect local businesses, especially those in…