A Pirate Looks at ... a High Cost of Living?

This weekend, thousands of Jimmy Buffett fans (known as "Parrotheads" to the uninitiated) will descend upon Key West for the group's annual "Meeting of the Minds" convention. Among the highlights: a walking tour of Buffett's Key West haunts, a street festival and a bunch of bands playing easy rock tunes.

Here's the thing, Parrotheads. As you enjoy all the quirkiness and fun Key West has to offer, remember this: life is getting more and more difficult for the working class on the island. Folks are hustling two and three jobs and still not making ends meet. Also, the island is losing its artsy flavor. A recent survey of islanders said "upscale development" is the number one threat to the community. Also read this week's New Times story about one "luxury" proposal facing Keys residents -- and what one wise, formerly homeless, gentleman thinks of Jimmy Buffett.

In speaking of Buffett, he played in Tampa last night. He was introduced to the crowd by Gov. Charlie Crist, who praised the crooner for helping save the state's manatees. For that, we thank ol' Jimmy. But we also want to remind him that he may want to save another endangered species in Florida: the working class. Maybe he should pony up some of his cash to build affordable housing for the beach bums who were drawn to the Keys because of his songs. --Tamara Lush

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Tamara Lush