River Science: Lesson 1 The C44 Reservoir

River Science: Lesson 1 The C44 Reservoir

Guest video blogger: Kenny Hinkle Jr

Here’s a little science lesson by my talented friend Kenny Hinkle Jr. from over at Bullsugar.

Traveling Florida Back Roads: Fort Basinger and the Lockett estate

Traveling Florida Back Roads: Fort Basinger and the Lockett estate.

Yesterday Jules and I drove out there.  This is right on the corner of 98 and 721.

Lockett estate, Basinger, Fl

Lockett estate, Basinger, Fl

http://fortwiki.com/Fort_Basinger

“Fort Basinger (1837-1850) – A U.S. Army post established in 1837 by Colonel Zachary Taylor during the Second Seminole War in present day Highlands County, Florida. Named after Lieutenant William E. Basinger, 2nd U.S. Artillery, who was killed at the Dade Massacre 28 Dec 1835. Abandoned in 1850.”

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Pearce-Lockett Estate

http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/fl/basinger.html

“Ft. Basinger was a fort, named after a lieutenant killed in the Dade massacre, from the Seminole wars during the 1830’s. The Kissimmee river fort site is on the Lockett homestead however, there are no remains. Basinger, on the Okeechobee side, is literally the seat of civilization since it was the first part of present-day Okeechobee county where white settlement is recorded. The first settlers moved here after the civil war and by the turn of the century Basinger was a “bustling” cowboy community. The town boasted of two hotels, a general store, clothing stores, and a post office. There were two town periods, one during the 1800’s and another during the early 1900’s. The majority of the settlers were cattlemen, who also hunted alligators and “coons”. The chief weapon of the Florida cowboy was a strong whip, 12 to 18 feet of braided buckskin fastened to a handle of 12 – 15 inches long. The pop or crack resulting from its use sounded like a rifle shot and is claimed to have resounded for several miles. The name “cracker”, applied to natives of Georgia and Florida, is said to have originated as a cattle term for those who used the whips. Early, 1870, settlers to the area were Parker, Holmes, Raulerson, Chandler, and Underhill. Settlers on the Highlands County side were the Daughtreys and the Pearces. There was a steam boat business that traveled up and down the Kissimmee river from 1894 to 1920. It died when the highway system went in. When the railroad past up the area for the town of Okeechobee the town slowly disappeared. Submitted by: Mike Woodfin”

http://www.abandonedfl.com/lockett-estate/

“Today the Lockett Estate and Basinger are just shadows of what they once were. There are no remains of the fort and the hotels and general store are long gone. Neglect and age are starting to take a toll on the buildings of the estate. The main house has rotting floors and roof. The barn is barely standing and several other smaller building are beginning to fall from neglect. There are several concrete lamp posts lining the originally drive, but some have fallen over and the boat house along the river is showing signs of the river’s rise and fall. One of the most important features is the Pearce family cemetery which is nestled under oak trees along Hwy 98. While the property is not being maintained, the cemetery has been secured to prevent wild hogs from destroying the headstones and disturbing the plots.

The site is currently in the hands of the South Florida Water Management District was part of the flood control plan. However, it is now considered excess property and may go up for public auction. Attempts to find a group to take control and keep the estate open to the public have failed. U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Florida Parks both backed out. Highlands County had the site briefly, but their plan to turn the historic location into a golf course prompted SFWMD to take it back. For now, the site is closed to the public. ”

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Pearce-Lockett Estate

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Pearce-Lockett Estate

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Pearce-Lockett Estate

In 1993, SFWMD acquired the Pearce-Lockett Estate through a donation as part of the Kissimmee River Restoration Project. The site was donated by the family on the condition that it wold be open to the public.
The Florida Park Service evaluated the property in 2002 and concluded that the site met or exceeded the qualifications for a State Park but due to constraints prevented them from accepting title from the District.
The Pearce-Lockett Estate is historically significant, but not designated as a State Historic SIte.
Source http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/xrepository/sfwmd_repository_pdf/lass_portfolio_kissokee_kissriver.pdf

This beautiful place could definitely benefit from Amendment One money.

Then this Happened: Amendment One Lawsuit!

So last week I wrote this

https://cyndi-lenz.com/2015/06/20/stealing-amendment-1-money-should-be-a-crime/

The legislature taketh and then they taketh some more.

“How do I know the funds will be spent wisely?
Florida’s conservation programs have a great track record of spending these funds wisely. Amendment 1 ensures that funds are used solely for conservation purposes and cannot be used for any other purpose by the Legislature. Using the state’s existing successful programs as a model, objective criteria will continue to determine how funds are spent in order to keep politics out of the process.

Now that Amendment 1 has passed, who will be in charge of the money?
While citizens can dedicate funding for water and land conservation in the state constitution, we cannot appropriate funds via the constitution. Appropriations are solely the Legislature’s responsibility.”

Citizen Amendments explained by the University of California.

http://www.iandrinstitute.org/Florida.htm

“FLORIDA

Florida’s constitution of 1968 allows citizens to amend the constitution by initiative. The initiative provision was first put to use in 1976, when voters adopted an amendment sponsored by Governor Ruben Askew requiring public disclosure of campaign contributions. During the period 1968-2006, voters over 80 percent of initiated amendments, the highest approval rate among active states. Most amendments have been placed on the ballot by the legislature — of the 110 amendments approved through 2006, 22 were initiatives and 88 were legislative measures.

The state legislature and courts have frequently sought to curtail citizen lawmaking. In response to passage of the first initiative in 1976, the legislature approved bills that banned the collection of signatures at polling places, and imposed a 10-cent-per-signature “verification fee” on submitted petitions.

In 2000, environmentalists won a major victory with passage of an initiative mandating creation of a high-speed rail system capable of speeds in excess of 120 miles per hour, and in 2002 voters approved a constitutional amendment guaranteeing a minimum living space for pregnant pigs, an amendment that was ridiculed by some officials as trivializing the constitution. Unhappy with these amendments, in 2003 Governor Jeb Bush vetoed funding for the high speed rail project and in 2004 led a successful initiative campaign to repeal the high-speed amendment. In 2006 the legislature placed an amendment on the ballot requiring a 60 percent affirmative vote to approve initiated constitutional amendments. With the passage of the 60-percent majority amendment, Florida became one of only two states in the nation to require a supermajority for constitutional amendments, and the only initiative state with such a requirement.

In recent years, state courts have been very aggressive enforcing the single subject rule, striking several measures from the ballot after signatures had already been collected.”

Remember the part about the single subject rule.

Our legislature is making is harder and harder for us to have a voice.

muchness

Anything to gag us. Because we elected kings, queens, lords apparently they feel like they have no responsibility towards us. Only for their corporate welfare.

Any group of people that have taken away my right to free speech have got to go.

a room full of voters

a room full of voters

My friends worked really hard for amendment one. Then they worked hard begging for land to build reservoir only to have our water management district, our legislatures and rick scott kicked us and our water in the heads.

The legislature are unable to follow directions.

Then today this happened.

http://postonpolitics.blog.palmbeachpost.com/2015/06/22/breaking-enviro-groups-sue-legislature-over-amendment-1-spending/

Three environmental groups filed a lawsuit this afternoon against the Florida legislature, claiming lawmakers misappropriated funds intended for land and water conservation and land purchases to protect the environment.

The 10-page lawsuit was filed by EarthJustice, a non-profit public interest law firm that has represented environmental groups in more than 20-years of lawsuit over restoration of the Everglades. The groups who launched the lawsuit are the Florida Wildlife Federation, St. Johns Riverkeeper, the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida and Manley Fuller, president of the Florida Wildlife Federation.

“The constitutional amendment is clear,” said Earthjustice attorney David Guest. “A third of the tax on real estate deals is to be used to prevent every last inch of Florida land from getting chewed up by development. But most lawmakers are simply not listening. That’s why we have to go to court.”

The lawsuit was filed in Leon County Circuit Court in Tallahassee.

I just have one word. YAY!

Here is the brief. It’s like poetry.

http://earthjustice.org/sites/default/files/files/Complaint%20Concerning%20Constitutional%20Challenge%20To%20Statute%20Or%20Ordinance.pdf

This past weekend we got to listen  both David Guest and Manley Fuller.

Who does this stuff? Hero’s do.

So who is David Guest?

http://earthjustice.org/about/staff/david-guest#

Personal Story

As managing attorney for the Earthjustice office in Tallahassee, I have savored waging litigation wars with big corporations and their friends in government agencies. In courtrooms around Florida I have tried environmental cases for almost 30 years. In one way or another, they have been mostly about water. Before development, half of Florida was under water during the wet season and its 1,500 miles of coastline were teeming with life. But its beauty invited its consumption. Millions of acres were drained and converted into agricultural, industrial, and urban developments. As a result, rivers and lakes are being polluted and closed off to the public, ground waters are being depleted by uncontrolled withdrawals from aquifers, and the ecosystems that depend on water are threatened.

Most of my career has focused on going to court to fight for everything that can still be saved. Protecting rivers and lakes has not just required many weeks of bitterly contested trials against big corporations in their hometowns. It has also meant late nights poring over ancient maps, military records, and 150-year-old handwritten diaries. It has meant interviewing hundreds of witnesses in dingy restaurants and motels. (One interview was interrupted while the witness removed a 4-foot Black snake from the living room and chased it out the screen door with a broom.) And it has meant many hot days wading waist-deep in alligator infested rivers, marshes, and swamps, finding relief only with the driving rain of the late afternoon.

In the course of my work for Earthjustice, I have moved to the cities of the phosphate mining district of Southwest Florida for trials long and short. I once moved my whole office to a town of 3,000 on the shore of Lake Okeechobee for a six-week jury trial. And I have spent weeks at a time living out of motel rooms in small coastal towns while trying cases to protect manatees from speeding motor boats, estuary sea life from marina development, and sea turtles from the destruction of their nesting beaches.

My earlier water pollution cases were against the EPA, pulp mills and sugar companies. Now, I have come to realize that water contamination is an increasingly serious public health threat to disempowered people. My new cases are trying to halt the growing number of algae outbreaks in Florida lakes, streams and estuaries that kill wildlife and sicken humans.

Solving the hardest environmental problems by taking on the worst actors head-to-head can change people’s attitudes about what is possible. That’s why I’m with Earthjustice.

and here is a good article about Manly Fuller, President of the Florida Wildlife Federation.

http://www.floridasprings.org/protecting/help/good/citizen_wakulla/

Manley Fuller has a history of speaking out for rivers. First, in 1982, there was the battle over the extent of protections offered by the North Carolina Wilderness Act — he succeeded in getting a tract of wetlands and rare coastal peat forest protected. Then there was the controversy over the proposed dam on the New River along the North Carolina-Virginia border — the dam was never built. Then there was the dam on Alligator River . . . and many others

I’ve been involved in land conservation and battles over wetlands and rivers for twenty years now,” Fuller tells me over the phone, “But this time I wasn’t actively looking for a local conservation issue. This problem I just couldn’t avoid because it was right in front of my face.”

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Here is the video from Saturday.

and this is a clip from our rally last summer.

In 1993, Fuller, who is president of the Florida Wildlife Federation, moved into a small ranch house two miles south of Wakulla Springs State Park. Like others, he was drawn to Wakulla County because it’s still quiet and rural and home to one of the most beautiful spring-fed rivers in the state. Wakulla Springs, however, also lies just eight miles from the sprawling interface of Tallahassee, and most residents knew it was only a matter of time before the developers began knocking at their doors.

Here is his video from the Big Sugar Summit

Our legislators may have lost their muchiness but the people who want clean water still have their humanity and for that I am thankful.

Stealing amendment 1 money should be a crime.

Stealing amendment 1 money should be a crime.

We need an amendment that says if lawmakers do not support our citizen amendments they get charged with a crime. After all it is stealing.

CSFTS logo

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/fred-grimm/article24812611.html

Instead, as Craig Pittman and Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times reported, that great pile of Amendment 1 money is going to pay for items that normally would have been funded out of the regular budget. For stuff like park maintenance.

But the legislators, in cynical disregard of their constituents’ intent, earmarked $13.65 million of the Amendment 1 money to bail out a water storage project that auditors from the South Florida Water Management District had found was wildly out of whack in terms of cost effectiveness.

That’s just $3.75 million less than what Florida Forever will be getting for new land purchases.

The $13.65 million will bail out agricultural outfits like Alico, with major Florida holdings in citrus, ranching, farming and the very lucrative operations known as “water farming.” Alico is the largest of landowners around Lake Okeechobee paid to store water behind earth berms, meant to keep it from exacerbating the problems of the polluted estuaries of the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers. As the Tampa Bay Times reported, a 57-page auditor’s report last year found these water farming contracts cost the public 10 times more if these than storage projects had been built on public land. Water farming is a massive boondoggle.

Which might have been beside the point, given that the South Florida Water Management District had run out of money to fund water farming anyway. But all that Florida Forever money presented the likes of Alico another fat funding source.

http://floridawaterlandlegacy.org/sections/page/faq

The money will be used for water and land conservation, management, and restoration in Florida. The funds dedicated by Amendment 1 will:

  • Restore, manage, and acquire lands necessary to protect Florida’s drinking water sources and protect the water quality in our rivers, lakes and streams;
  • Protect our beaches and shores;
  • Protect and restore the Everglades and other degraded natural systems and waterways;
  • Manage fish and wildlife habitat, protect forests and wetlands, and restore conservation lands that are an important part of Florida’s economy and quality of life;
  • Provide funding to manage existing state and local natural areas, parks, and trails for water supply, habitat and recreation.

All this will be achieved with no increase in taxes.

Why did we need to amend the state constitution? 

Since 2009, the Legislature has dramatically reduced funding for water and land protection, cutting key programs by more than 95%. Amendment 1 would ensure that water and land conservation projects are adequately funded – the funds cannot be diverted to other purposes – without increasing taxes. The only way to secure significant, sustainable resources for water and land conservation, management and restoration for the long-term is to take this issue directly to Florida voters through a constitutional amendment.

The legislature taketh and then they taketh some more.

How do I know the funds will be spent wisely?
Florida’s conservation programs have a great track record of spending these funds wisely. Amendment 1 ensures that funds are used solely for conservation purposes and cannot be used for any other purpose by the Legislature. Using the state’s existing successful programs as a model, objective criteria will continue to determine how funds are spent in order to keep politics out of the process.

Florida Forever and its predecessor Preservation 2000, for example, have been the most successful state land conservation programs in the nation, protecting more than 2.4 million acres of critical water resources, natural areas, wildlife habitat, parks, greenways and trails. Restoration of the Florida Everglades is the most comprehensive ecological restoration project in history. Florida’s land managing agencies and water management districts have done a tremendous job restoring degraded natural systems, including the state’s longleaf pine forests, the upper St. Johns River watershed and Rookery Bay. Amendment 1 ensures funding so that this critical restoration work will continue.

Now that Amendment 1 has passed, who will be in charge of the money?
While citizens can dedicate funding for water and land conservation in the state constitution, we cannot appropriate funds via the constitution. Appropriations are solely the Legislature’s responsibility. Fortunately, Florida has a number of excellent programs already in place for making project selection decisions. The state has a stellar track record of selecting conservation projects based on objective criteria and science, which includes review by citizens and oversight panels composed of experts from the appropriate fields. The existing Acquisition and Restoration Council is one good example. Amendment 1 does not change these existing project selection systems. So while the Legislature must appropriate the funds, the existing tried and true systems in place for project selection would not change now that Amendment 1 has been ratified.

Oh! Remember this?

https://cyndi-lenz.com/2015/04/15/pr-firm-plays-both-sides-of-the-road-makes-stupid-remarks/

One source for money to revive the water-farming contracts was money from the taxpayers from the rest of the state, via the Legislature. But the water district’s governing board, under state law, is not allowed to hire its own lobbyists to pursue funding.

Instead, Alico did it for them.

The company employed 16 lobbyists last year, and it turned them loose on the Legislature to get $13 million to pump new life into the project. Alico spokeswoman Sarah Bascom said the company was just helping out a state agency in need, and its lobbyists did not specifically ask for money for Alico’s own contract.”

Sugar U: Fanjuls some history and a little trouble in Paradise.

Sugar U: Fanjuls. Some history and a little trouble in Paradise.

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The Fanjul Bro’s

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fanjul_brothers

The Fanjul brothersCuban born Alfonso “Alfy” Fanjul, José “Pepe” Fanjul, Alexander Fanjul, and Andres Fanjul — are owners of Fanjul Corp., a vast sugar and real estate conglomerate in the United States and the Dominican Republic. It comprises the subsidiaries Domino Sugar, Florida Crystals, C&H Sugar, Redpath Sugar, Tate & Lyle European Sugar, La Romana International Airport, and resorts surrounding La Romana, Dominican Republic.

The Fanjul brothers’ were born in Cuba and are descendants of the Spaniard Andres Gomez-Mena who immigrated to Cuba in the 19th century and built up an empire of sugar mills and property by the time he died in 1910. In 1936, his descendant Lillian Gomez-Mena married Alfonso Fanjul, Sr, the heir of the New York-based sugar companies the Czarnikow Rionda Company and the Cuban Trading Company. The couple’s holdings were then combined to create a large business of cane sugar mills, refineries, distilleries, and significant amounts of real estate. Due to Fidel Castro‘s 1959 Marxist Cuban Revolution, the family moved to Florida along with other wealthy, dispossessed Cuban families. In 1960, Alfonso Sr., the father of the current CEO of Fanjul Corp. Alfonso Jr., bought 4,000 acres (16 km2) of property near Lake Okeechobee along with some sugar mills from Louisiana and started over on the US. Alfonso Sr. and his son Alfy Fanjul got the firm off its feet and Pepe, Alexander and Andres joined in the late 1960s and 1970s.[1] Pepe Fanjul Jr. joined the sugar firm in 2002. As of 2008, the company owned 155,000 acres (630 km2) in Palm Beach County.

José-y-Alfonso-Fanjul-Nuevo-Herald

Here are some great articles and blogs on the Fanjul’s.

Make sure you read  http://eyeonmiami.blogspot.com for great commentary!

Here’s a little classic salsa to set the mood!

http://eyeonmiami.blogspot.com/2013/06/big-sugars-money-ball-by-gimleteye.html

But managing water is a state responsibility; Big Sugar’s interest in counties goes deep into the bread and butter of local politics: land use zoning. While Big Sugar wages water use and water quality battles on many levels of judicial review, fighting tooth and nail to dictate every last term of its water pollution control measures, it wages war on the land use zoning front by ensuring complicit county commissioners are well funded. If not sugar cane, then rock mines and inland ports and shopping centers and subdivisions strategically placed to thwart the aims of environmentalists to protect the Everglades and our rivers and streams and estuaries.

http://eyeonmiami.blogspot.com/2010/05/fanjul-family-big-sugar-influence-under.html

Jose “Pepe” Fanjul, one of four brothers who control a sugar empire that includes Domino and Florida Crystals. Fanjul and his family have held at least two fundraisers for Rubio at Florida properties this year, while donors associated with Florida Crystals have given Rubio at least $81,100 since 2009.

(also some money from the Koch Brothers. Koch Industries, the conglomerate run by conservative activist brothers Charles and David Koch: $37,200. (Koch has donated $17,000 to Sen. Paul since 2010.)

Now, contrary to what almost anyone could have imagined, the 76-year-old Fanjul has begun to reassess old grievances and tentatively eye Cuba as a place for him and other U.S. businessmen to expand their enterprises. Quietly, without fanfare, Fanjul has started visiting the island of his birth and having conversations with top Cuban officials.

“If there is some way the family flag could be taken back to Cuba, then I am happy to do that,” Fanjul said in a rare interview, publicly discussing his recent visits to the island for the first time.

Here’s an early story on the Fanjul sugar interests well worth reading: “The power and wealth of the Fanjul family is enormous, so much so that they can quietly control their public image. But behind that image lies a family with a reputation for ruthlessness whose riches were made on the backs of migrant laborers and at the expense of America’s public resources and tax dollars. Without the artificial federal price supports of sugar, their industrial advantage and wealth would collapse.

http://eyeonmiami.blogspot.com/2008/08/dear-alfie-and-pepe-fanjul-no-nyet-non.html

The Fanjuls of Coral Gables and Palm Beach are among the richest farmers in America. The family interests own Florida Crystals/ Flo Sun in lands formerly of the Everglades.

AG049

I wouldn’t care except that the Fanjul’s sugar growing interest in the Everglades Agricultural Area is a home-grown Florida polluter whose influence in the political sphere has contributed to the destruction of millions of acres of publicly owned property and irreplaceable natural resources. What adds to my ire is that in the execution of its business strategy, Fanjul lobbyists and attorneys take maximal positions in defense of the last dime of profit– even when lands like the 50,000 acre Talisman Farm have been committed to public ownership– causing years and years of delay.

Here are some other articles worthy of reading.

From 2003

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/29/opinion/america-s-sugar-daddies.html

Sugar growers in this country, long protected from global competition, have had a great run at the expense of just about everyone else — refineries, candy manufacturers, other food companies, individual consumers and farmers in the developing world. But now the nation’s sugar program, which guarantees a domestic price for raw sugar that can be as much as three times the world price, needs to be terminated. It has become far too costly to America’s global economic and strategic interests.

The less defensible a federal policy is on its merits, the greater the likelihood that it generates (or originates from) a great deal of cash in Washington, in the form of campaign contributions. Sugar is a sweet case in point. The Fanjul brothers, Florida’s Cuban-American reigning sugar barons who preside over Palm Beach’s yacht-owning society, were alone responsible for generating nearly $1 million in soft-money donations during the 2000 election cycle. Alfonso Fanjul, the chief executive of the family-controlled Flo-Sun company, served as Bill Clinton’s Florida co-chairman in 1992 — and even merited a mention in the impeachment-scandal Starr report, when Monica Lewinsky testified that the president received a call from him during one of their trysts. Meanwhile, brother Pepe is equally energetic in backing Republicans, so all bases are covered.

The Fanjuls harvest 180,000 acres in South Florida that send polluted water into the Everglades. (A crucial part of their business over the years has been to lobby not just against liberalization of the sugar trade, but against plans to have the sugar industry pay its fair share of the ambitious $8 billion Everglades restoration project.) The Fanjuls had been Cuba’s leading sugar family for decades before Fidel Castro’s takeover. Crossing the Straits of Florida, they bought land in the vicinity of Lake Okeechobee, which feeds the Everglades, and imported platoons of poorly paid Caribbean migrant workers. Their business was aided by the embargo on Cuban sugar. The crop is protected from other competition by an intricate system of import quotas that dates back to 1981.

The government does not pay sugar producers income supports as it does many other kinds of farmers. Instead, it guarantees growers like the Fanjuls an inflated price by restricting supply. Only about 15 percent of American sugar is imported under the quota rules, and while the world price is about 7 cents a pound, American businesses that need sugar to make their products must pay close to 21 cents. Preserving this spread between domestic and world sugar prices costs consumers an estimated $2 billion a year, and nets the Fanjuls — who have been called the first family of corporate welfare — tens of millions annually. The sugar exporters who are able to sell to the United States also benefit from those astronomical prices. The Dominican Republic is the largest quota holder, and one of the big plantation owners there is — surprise — the Fanjul family.

The sugar situation hurts American businesses and consumers, but its worst impact is on the poor countries that try to compete in the global agricultural markets. Their farmers might never be able to compete with corn or wheat farmers in the United States, even if the playing field were leveled. But they can grow cotton and sugar at lower prices than we can, no matter how advanced our technology. Our poorer trading partners bitterly resent the way this country feels entitled to suspend market-driven rules whenever it appears they will place American producers at a disadvantage.

In fairness, the United States is not alone in distorting the sugar trade, and the European Union’s massively subsidized exports of beet sugar make it the biggest culprit. The American sugar lobby uses that fact as a shield, arguing that the crop not be included in any regional trade deals until distortions are addressed by all countries at the World Trade Organization. But quotas are set between trading partners, not on a global level. Right now the United States is negotiating the creation of a hemispheric free trade area that would benefit many United States industries, including other agricultural sectors. It is ridiculous for the sugar lobby to argue — as it does vociferously — that sugar should not be included in the agreement even though it is one of the few products that some Latin American republics can hope to ship to the American market.

So far the Bush administration has rightly rejected the sugar lobby’s push to keep the commodity off the table. The danger, however, is that American trade negotiators might still prove far too deferential to sugar industries when hammering out the trade deals’ specifics. For instance, any move to phase in elimination of sugar quotas over a period longer than a decade (as was done in the North American Free Trade Agreement) would undermine any promise a trade deal might hold for poor farmers in Latin America. The strength of the protectionist sugar lobby in Washington — which unites Southeastern cane growers and Midwestern beet farmers — was apparent in the success of Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana last year in bashing Nafta’s modest sugar provision during her re-election bid.

If the sugar trade were liberalized, world prices would start creeping up and domestic prices would fall, which would benefit both the developing world and the American economy. The industry itself cites ”alarming” studies that if the United States imported an additional two million metric tons — roughly the amount Central America exports — domestic prices would be cut in half. But that is no argument for opposing trade liberalization. That is an argument for the handful of individuals who control the sugar business in this country to start thinking about a new line of work, and be grateful for the long run they had.

Harvesting Poverty: Editorials in this series remain online at nytimes.com/harvestingpoverty.

The Fanjuls are looking back to the future with Cuba

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/sugar-tycoon-alfonso-fanjul-now-open-to-investing-in-cuba-under-right-circumstances/2014/02/02/4192b016-8708-11e3-a5bd-844629433ba3_story.html

Now, contrary to what almost anyone could have imagined, the 76-year-old Fanjul has begun to reassess old grievances and tentatively eye Cuba as a place for him and other U.S. businessmen to expand their enterprises. Quietly, without fanfare, Fanjul has started visiting the island of his birth and having conversations with top Cuban officials.

“If there is some way the family flag could be taken back to Cuba, then I am happy to do that,” Fanjul said in a rare interview, publicly discussing his recent visits to the island for the first time.

This, I’m sure, will make Marco Rubio’s head spin.

http://news.yahoo.com/here-s-where-marco-rubio-gets-his-campaign-money-204131516.html;_ylt=A0LEV79NuX5VmnIAgronnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTE0MjRrZ2t1BGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDRkZYVUkxMl8xBHNlYwNzYw–

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, made the following statement on reports of Cuban-American sugar tycoon Alfonso Fanjul considering investing in Cuba:

“At a time when the democracy activists on the island are facing even harsher reprisals from the brutal Cuban regime, it’s pathetic that a Cuban-American tycoon feels inspired to trample on the backs of those activists in order to give the communist thugs more money with which to repress. The only little old thing that is standing in Alfy’s way of realizing these sleazy business deals with the devil is US law. He doesn’t talk about the arbitrary arrests of pro-freedom leaders in Cuba or the continual beatings endured by the peaceful Damas de Blanco. Oh no, for Alfy, the only hindrance to turning a profit off the suffering of the Cuban people is pesky US laws and he is working with groups to undo those laws. It is sickening to read that he brings up the separation of the Cuban family when he is doing all he can to exacerbate that problem. Shame on him..”

A little trouble in Paradise!

Despite the Fanjul family’s influence over U.S. policy and access to government officials at the highest levels of power, Alfy Fanjul has never become a U.S. citizen. He remains a permanent U.S. resident who maintains Spanish citizenship. Alfonso Fanjul served as co-chairman of Bill Clinton’s Florida campaign in 1992 and is a major contributor and fundraiser for the Democratic Party. His brother Pepe, who is a U.S. citizen, contributes to the Republicans.

How to grow your own sugar cane. DIY

Sugar U: The US Sugar Corp

@sugarcard2

In a few week we’ll be going to the Sugar Summit that is being put together by our great friends, the Florida SIerra Club. I thought it was a good time to bone up on who’z who and what’s what.

Please feel free to chime in. Even at sugarcard2 – we want to hear from you!

Yesterday, my friend Jules and I went out to Clewiston. The headquarters for US Sugar Corporation resides there.

They call themselves ” America’s Sweetest Town.” Maybe sweet in sugar but not sweet people. The last time I went out there was to shoot “The Sugarland Rally”

Sugarland-540x675The Sugarland Rally was a really sincere effort to bring people together to discuss our water issues together. Lead by our friend Justin Riney. This was their message.

An open letter to Florida residents from The Sugarland Rally Committee:

Dear Florida,

Please read these important details regarding a bicoastal rally we have planned for September 1st on Lake Okeechobee. There are multiple organizations involved in planning this event, and we need your help immediately to get the word out.

 The Sugarland Rally will unite the east and west coasts of Florida in a peaceful, historic demonstration to speak out against the pollution of our estuaries from Lake Okeechobee discharges. We support both immediate and long-term solutions, but ecosystems and communities along the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Estuaries are in crisis. We cannot afford to wait for ecological and economic collapse. We urge all stakeholders–especially local, state and federal governments–to act immediately.

 We chose Clewiston as a central location to unify east and west at Lake Okeechobee, the source that is polluting our estuaries, and because we believe Florida’s sugar industry can be part of the solution. Please don’t misinterpret our intentions–we are NOT holding a rally at Clewiston to protest or point fingers at “Big Sugar.” It’s quite the opposite, actually. We invite Florida’s powerful sugar industry to join us in crafting an immediate solution to the ecological and economic crisis caused by discharges from Lake Okeechobee. Here’s a golden opportunity to earn the respect, loyalty, and trust of Floridians for generations to come–to squash the stereotypes–by standing with the people in support of a solution. Without the healthy longevity of Florida’s land and water, we’re all out of business. Our children and grandchildren are out of business. We invite Florida’s sugar industry to stand with us in support of preserving the wonderful land and water that keeps us all in business. We must think longer term, we must think sustainably, and the time to act is now.

 Our message is a peaceful one to emphasize a powerful sense of unity needed among ALL Floridians, and to urge local, state, and federal governments to act immediately to stop the pollution of our estuaries from Lake Okeechobee discharges. We are all entitled to healthy land and water, and it is our responsibility as citizens, working with our government, to preserve these treasured assets and ensure their longevity for generations to come. Let’s all unite as Floridians in support of both immediate and long-term solutions. The Sugarland Rally will be a peaceful demonstration that we can all be proud of.

 Join The Sugarland Rally conversation on the event page at http://www.bit.ly/sugarlandrally, and please share this post with as many concerned Floridians as possible. This is a call to action, and we need your help.

 Respectfully,

The Sugarland Rally Committee

This was a rally to have a discussion to pull us all together.  US= east coast, west coast, and the people of Clewiston. For us it was to make sure we respect the people that live in the south of the lake and make sure they are safe. Human being stuff. Community stuff.

Here is the video I shot. As you can see at the beginning we were quit stoked to be there.

After the rally we went on the invitation of the Mayor to the Roland Martin Marina for some food. When we got there they refused to serve us. Every person in the room stared us down and honestly if they had guns they would have shot us down.

We went next door where I met up with friends Bob and Lisa Riney (parents of justin) and ate lunch and my friends did end up getting a few drinks because Mayor Roland showed up.

Mind you, I’m the video girl, who’s only job was to document the event. And I was starving, hot, tired. So so much for Southern Hospitality. So much for olive branches.

Afterwards in the Clewiston New’s more hate came from the people who were quite verbal, quite nasty and totally unwilling to listen to any kind of reason.

To this day, I still believe in the mission of the Sugarland rally and our extended Olive Branch.

olive branch

I can’t tell you why. I’m not a psychic. I can only tell you what happened.

In spit of that, I still worry about the people who live there and how much work is being done on the dike and always hope they will be safe.

When we went out yesterday I even wore my Marshall Tucker Band T shirt. I mean who would shoot a video girl with a Marshall Tucker Band Shirt? (Really didn’t stay there long enough to find out)

This stop BTW just a pit stop on our way to STA 5/6.

On the corner of “Happy and Healthy”

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US Sugar

US Sugar

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_Sugar_Corporation

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They also run the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Central_Florida_Express,_Inc.

South Central Florida Express, Incorporated (reporting mark SCXF) (originally known as the South Central Florida Railroad (reporting mark SCFE) and run by the Brandywine Valley Railroad until September 17, 1994) is a short line railroad in southern Florida run by US Sugar Corporation. It serves customers at 26 locations.

U.S. Sugar, the only sugar company in the continental U.S. to transport sugarcane by rail, owns private trackage to take the cane to the SCFE. From there, the SCFE runs around both sides of Lake Okeechobee. The west side connects to CSX‘s Auburndale Subdivision at Sebring, and the east side crosses CSX at Marcy and interchanges with the Florida East Coast Railway at Fort Pierce, with haulage rights to CSX and Norfolk Southern at Jacksonville, Florida.

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US Sugar Corp campaign to help cancer

Here are some people you may know that work there.

Robert Coker

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http://www.ussugar.com/press_room/bios/coker_bio.html

Robert Coker is Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, of United States Sugar Corporation. He is responsible for managing the company’s federal, state and local government affairs department and the company’s corporate and charitable giving programs encompassing numerous community and employee-relations activities. As a member of senior management, Coker also actively participates in corporate matters involving real estate, environmental regulation, budgeting and allocation of capital.

He is a former Chairman of the Board of Regents for Leadership Florida. He serves on the board of directors for the Florida Sugar Cane League, the Board of Trustees of BIZ-PAC of Palm Beach County and is a member of the Board of Governors for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the Board of Trustees and serves on the Executive Committee of Florida Taxwatch.

Malcolm “Bubba” Wade

mbw

http://www.ussugar.com/press_room/bios/wade_bio.html

Malcolm S. Wade, Jr. is Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Business Development of United States Sugar Corporation. He has been employed by the Company for more than 27 years and has been a member of the senior management team for over 20 years. Wade, a certified public accountant, joined the company as Director of Internal Audit in 1982 and subsequently was named director, vice president and senior vice president of the Administrative Service Group and is currently senior vice president of sugar operations.

For more than 20 years, Wade has been involved in developing and overseeing the Company’s environmental responsibilities. Through his appointments by two governors and the South Florida Water Management District to working groups on South Florida environmental issues, Wade has helped shape public policy regarding Everglades Restoration.

In March 2005, Governor Bush appointed Wade to a four-year term on the South Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board, a position he resigned in 2008 due to the State’s proposed acquisition of U.S. Sugar. Previously, Wade was a member of the team representing South Florida farmers that spent more than a year negotiating with the Interior and Justice Departments, the State of Florida and the South Florida Water Management District to resolve the legal disputes over Everglades Restoration. He represented farmers on the technical mediation committee that crafted the Technical Mediated Plan for Everglades Restoration, which was adopted by the Florida Legislature in the spring of 1994.

He was appointed by Gov. Lawton Chiles to the Governor’s Commission for a Sustainable South Florida, which worked for four years to establish a consensus plan for Everglades Restoration. The work of the commission became the framework for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) approved by Congress and is currently being implemented throughout south Florida.

Wade’s work on restoration issues continued with his appointment by Gov. Jeb Bush to the Governor’s Commission for the Everglades. He is a past member and co-chair of the South Florida Water Management District Water Resource Advisory Commission (WRAC) as well as a past member and chairman of the Lake Okeechobee Advisory Committee of the WRAC. He is also a past member of the District’s Lower East Coast Water Supply Planning Committee and the Budget Review commission. In addition, Wade served on the South Florida Agricultural Council Water Commission, the Caloosahatchee Water Management Advisory Committee and is a director of the Everglades Agricultural Area Environmental Protection District.

Wade is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Internal Auditor. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Institute of Internal Auditors.

JUDY C. SANCHEZ

sanchez-full

www.ussugar.com/press_room/bios/sanchez_bio.html

Judy C. Sanchez is the Senior Director of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs for United States Sugar Corporation. She joined U.S. Sugar in 1994, transferring from its South Bay Growers vegetable division where she worked as a Marketing Specialist.

Mrs. Sanchez attended the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications and graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a degree in communications. A fourth generation farmer, she has spent most of her life in and around the sugar cane industry, both in Florida and Louisiana. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Western Palm Beach County Farm Bureau, Childcare of Southwest Florida, and the Agricultural Institute of Florida.

She lives in Belle Glade, Florida, with her husband and two sons.

Judy follows me on twitter so I hope she reads this. We night not like what Judy does or says but for her boss’s she does a great job! Check out the tweets!

I think this tweet says it all.

Here are some fun videos for our friends out in Clewiston.

Don’t be a bad arnie!

Sure glad my visit to Clewiston yesterday didn’t end like this.

or this

What can we do about the death of Florida Bay, our water, our river, our eastuaries? Bring me the person in charge!

What can we do about the death of Florida Bay, our water, our river, our estuaries?

Feeling frustration? Yes me too.

This just in from the keys free press.

Why is Rick Scott destroying Florida?

http://pdf.keysnews.com/weeklys/freepress.pdf

 Opinion piece that is in this weeks Florida Keys Free Press at http://pdf.keysnews.com/weeklys/freepress.pdf that reads as follows:

Florida Bay needs clean water now

Unless the South Florida Water Management District takes immediate action to restore flows of clean fresh water to the southern Everglades, its governing board and the man who appointed them, Gov. Rick Scott, will go down in history as the people who destroyed South Florida’s coastal fisheries.

Most estuaries in the district’s jurisdiction are on the verge of collapse. By assaulting the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers with billions of gallons of filthy runoff and depriving Florida Bay of clean fresh water, the district is knowingly destroying many of the iconic waters that make Florida the Fishing Capital of the World.

The discharges out the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers get the most media attention, since they’re urban waterways and always in the public eye. But what’s going wrong in Florida Bay is also reprehensible and costly, especially in the context of Florida Keys tourism. One of Florida Bay’s most popular and prolific fish species, the spotted sea trout or “speckled trout,” has virtually disappeared. Recent studies confirm what veteran anglers like me witness on the water — a near absence of the second most commonly caught fish in Florida Bay, which also happens to be the state’s most commonly targeted species.

You really have to work hard at destroying an estuary to crash spotted sea trout populations. Female trout spawn as frequently as each full and new moon from March through October, broadcasting hundreds of thousands of eggs into waters where they’ve spawned for millennia.

These offspring can survive in a pretty wide range of salinity levels. However, water that’s too salty causes brown algae blooms that block sunlight from reaching seagrass meadows, killing seagrasses and depriving juve- niles of essential cover. Annual hatches of shrimp and crabs, which provide nutrition for juvenile trout, depend upon spring- and summertime influxes of fresh water as well. Without clean, fresh water mixing in the bay, the little trout and many other species don’t get enough to eat. Extremely salty water also interferes with a juvenile trout’s ability to breathe.

Boating and fishing are two of Florida’s biggest economic engines. So you’d think the state that touts itself as the Fishing Capital of the World would bend over backwards to ensure that its most fertile coastal waters get the right amount of clean water at the right times, to maximize the numbers of fish and other marine life these waters can produce. After all, recreational fish- ing in salt water alone generates at least $7.6 billion, with more than $1 billion of that income generated in Everglades watersheds.

Instead, fishermen like me embrace science-based fisheries management and adhere to catch limits recommended by scientists, only to watch fisheries and the ecosystems they belong to crash because of water mismanagement.
We’re tired of being ignored. Florida Bay needs more fresh water, the same water that’s destroying the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee. To restore our coastal fisheries, the district needs to expand water storage, clean the water and send it south from Lake Okeechobee to the Everglades and Florida Bay. … Our fisheries are running out of time, our jobs are on the line and our patience has run out.

Capt. Matt Bellinger, Bamboo Charters, Islamorada

One way you can help this weekend is to attend one of these rallies.

http://floridawaterlandlegacy.org/sections/page/may30events

Finish the Job: May 30 Eventsmay30eventsmap-updated

Click on any city below for more information.

Alachua

When: 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Where: 15935 NW US Hwy 441, Alachua, FL 32615
(Parking at Lowes, Sonny’s BBQ, or other nearby lots. This is the stretch of 441 that everyone uses to get to Spring Country!)

Lead organizers: Heather Culp, hculp@floridaspringsinstitute.org and Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, merrilleeart@aol.com

Bradenton

When: 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Where: Manatee County Courthouse, 1115 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34205

Lead organizer: Sandra Ripberger, sandrarip@yahoo.com

Fort Myers

When: 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Where: Lee County Alliance of the Arts, 10091 McGregor Blvd., Ft. Myers, FL 33919

Lead organizers: Ray Judah, ray.judah@icloud.com and John Scott, greenguy@smartgreenhelp.com

Jacksonville

When: 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Where: Walter Jones Historical Park, 11964 Mandarin Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32223

Lead organizers: Jimmy Orth, jorth@ju.edu and Lisa Rinaman, lisa@stjohnsriverkeeper.org

Melbourne

When: 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Where: Grills Riverside, 6075 N US Hwy 1, Melbourne, FL 32940
On the Lagoon, east side of US Hwy 1, just north of Pineda Causeway.

Lead organizer: Spence Guerin, spenceguerin@earthlink.net

Miami

City of South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard invites you to a public meeting with the Water and Land Legacy Coalition.
When: 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Where: South Miami City Hall Commission Chamber, 6130 Sunset Dr., South Miami, FL 33143

Lead organizer: Tabitha Cale, tcale@audubon.org

Orlando

When: 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Where: Eagle’s Nest Park, 5165 Metrowest Blvd, Orlando, FL 32811

Lead organizer: Deborah Green, watermediaservices@icloud.com

Stuart

When: 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Where: Terra Fermata, 26 SE 6th St., Stuart, FL 34994

(Stick around for the Dirty River Jam, benefiting Indian Riverkeeper!)

Lead organizer: Marty Baum, indianrivguy@yahoo.com

Tampa

When: 10:30 am – 11:30 am

Where: Cypress Point Park, 5620 W. Cypress St., Tampa, FL 33607

Lead organizers: Elizabeth Fleming, efleming@defenders.org, Kent Bailey, kent.bailey@florida.sierraclub.org, Frank Jackalone, frank.jackalone@sierraclub.org

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This has got to be fixed. All these people are in charge

SFWMD

The Legislature

Rick Scott

Seems to me like its a concerted effort to destroy Florida. or at least privatize it.

or even better!

and we are still being destroyed