Letter by Kristen Guess

Editor's note. Letter emailed to Village of Key Biscayne Council members and shared with Islander News.

Dear council members and mayor,

I am writing to express my outrage over the vitriolic insults and accusations that have besieged all of you and our community. My entire family is upset over this. I don’t know if I will be able to speak these words at tonight’s meeting, so I share them here with you.

What has happened to our election-time tradition of joyfully standing on the corner of Harbor and Crandon? Regardless of which candidate sign was being held, there was always a sense of community and camaraderie.

Unfortunately, this community tradition has followed the way of some chats. As if the chats aren’t bad enough...

I thought that this type of hate was reserved for those that are emboldened to write things they would never dare to say...

Lies, accusations (all unsubstantiated), divisive rhetoric, hate, claiming our community engagement and events are worthless and stealing, and some outrageous things for pure shock value. These things are not purely opinions of theirs, they are stated by them as facts.

What we have now on the corner of Crandon and Harbor is the ugly chat talk being spewed out through an antagonistic loudspeaker, yelling and posters. Shouts accusing you all of theft, trips to Hawaii, cronyism, and all the other vitriol from the chats.

Other candidates or the mayor’s child(ren) brought into the discussion. Photos of children holding signs, accusing all sorts of nasty things. And now, falsely accusing an upstanding older woman in the community of violence against them. The same person also falsely accused the mayor of violence. What has become of our island?!?!?!

And please do not think it is just a few players. This ugliness is spreading. The good people mostly do not oppose as they have more sense, decency, and dignity to engage.


I am embarrassed, outraged and insulted by this, for our government and our citizens. There are candidates that do nothing to stop this. 

Not one of you, or anyone before you, EVER engaged in such loathsome behavior. How will any of you work with any of these candidates should they be elected after this unacceptable behavior?

How is our community to accept these people should they be elected? How will our community be forever changed? Is this to be the “new normal” of our beautiful island? I pray not.

An attack on one of you is an attack of all of you and your constituents. You have a duty to protect Key Biscayne. Please take a stance against this dangerous behavior. This negativity will affect the fiber of our community, our peaceful way of living, thoughtful discourse, the ability to get things done in a civil manner, and so much more.

Ultimately, this ugliness could destroy us. As it stands, people want to leave, are feeling defeated, insulted and exhausted. What on earth would draw people to Key Biscayne with all this nonsense? Please protect our beloved island paradise.

One final note, I’m sure you all have seen the “In their Own Words” ads. While the red X, in my opinion is regrettable, it distracts and diverts from the content. I do not know Karen Levinson personally, but I do know that she is an upstanding member of the community. She is civically engaged and is protected by her 1st Amendment rights, and she is free to express herself artistically. Karen is among the many good people that have been or were viciously and falsely maligned in the chats before this ad.

The attacks on all of you, our wonderful volunteers, and way of life must stop and not be tolerated. You must stand together and protect each other’s positions, values, and credibility of our small government.

Thank you so much for all you do for our community and if you’ve read this far. I will stand up for you, our community values and integrity.

I support you all wholeheartedly and respectfully.

Kristen Guess