As Hurricane Ian approaches Florida — now about five days out —storm projections put Longboat Key as its landfall destination.
Longboat Key (LBK) floats along the western coast of Florida, an hour south of Tampa near Bradenton and just 3' above sea level. It’s an exclusive enclave for the rich: The per capita income in Longboat Key equates to an annual income of $404,704 for a family of four.
US Congressman, Vern Buchanan, has his compound on Longboat. Buchanan is the fourth richest man in Congress. (He also snaked over $2 million in forgiven PPP loans while opposing student loan forgiveness. He’s a Republican, of course.)
In order to maintain its exclusive character, the island would prefer any visitors confine themselves to the high end resorts. To implement this, LBK radically restricts public parking backed by hefty fines. The commoners are not welcome to deface the beaches.
Of course we can’t drown the idle rich. Right? Right? (You don’t sound convincing.)
So here’s the offer:
In the event of a hurricane evacuation notice, one vehicle will be allowed bridge access to the mainland for every public parking space on Longboat Key.
Once that number is reached, Longboat Key officials must agree to provide additional public parking spaces based on the one-for-one ratio after the storm passes.
The immediacy of the storm corners LBK residents in unfamiliar territory. Hurricane Ian cannot be bribed, or paid to seek an alternative path. A strong storm can’t be influenced by politics or money. The front gate only gives Ian a frisbee.
It’s a rare opportunity to discover if a bit more public parking is worth a first-hand look at the death and destruction of a Category 3 hurricane clobbering your private estate.
As is often the case, there’s a Bob Dylan song for that: