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.

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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

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SFWMD: Dirty toilets affront to citizens.

SFWMD: Dirty toilets affront to citizens. Big giants spiders a bonus!

http://www.courierpress.com/business/dirty-toilets-an-indicator-of-larger-issues

“Dirty toilets,” I repeat. “They signal customers and employees that management does not care about them as people. Most people take toilets seriously. A dirty toilet is an affront to people who care about themselves, their families, and their fellow citizens. Management can always blame the users of the toilets for persistent filth and disarray, but ultimately it’s management’s responsibility.”

The Bathroom at STA 5/6 gross inside and filled with spiders.

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Here are instructions. Please share with your staff.

http://www.wikihow.com/Clean-a-Toilet

Today I want to talk about toilets. I’m a nurse. It goes with the territory.  I know I’m totally perseverating but that toilet at STA5/6 was really disgusting. Does the toilet at the facility reflect on the people who run that facility? Does that then reflect on its bosses? If that’s the case then SFWMD does a really crappy job. I hardly doubt that anyone from the Board of Governors have been to this place.

https://cyndi-lenz.com/2015/06/09/our-sta-56-and-their-good-neighbor-us-sugar-corp/

http://my.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/pg_grp_sfwmd_landresources/pg_sfwmd_landresources_recopps_se_sta5

SFWMD invite you to recreate.

“Located on approximately 17,000 acres in eastern Hendry County, Stormwater Treatment Area 5/6 (STA-5/6) has become one of the premier bird-watching areas in Florida through a long-standing partnership with the Hendry-Glades Audubon Society. More than 200 bird species have been spotted at STA-5/6 on the seasonal, guided bird-watching tours offered by the local Audubon chapter. The site is also popular as a waterfowl hunting area managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Access to STA-5/6 was expanded in 2013 with a public use area with shell-rocked parking, an informational kiosk, restrooms and a trail that includes a covered shade shelter and a boardwalk. Hiking, bicycling and bird-watching are among the activities visitors can enjoy from the public use area. In addition, a portion of the Florida National Scenic Trail runs along the L-3 levee on the west side of the STA.”

I’m quite used to out houses. When I was kid our camp at Sebago Lake in Maine was the first camp in the area to have a toilet. Yet, we all loved the Balin’s outhouse across the road.

My dad took us camping in the woods of New Hampshire.

When my son was in 9th Grade we went on a camping trip to Oleno State Park near Gainesville.

http://www.stateparks.com/oleno.html

We camped in primitive camping

Primitive Camping

Three youth camping areas, each with a covered pavilion, campfire circle, cold showers and restroom facilities. This is primitive camping with NO ELECTRIC. Youth Camping Area reservation can be made up to 11 months in advance by calling the park office at 386-454-1853. Sweetwater Lake Camping Area – primitive camping with fire circle and privy. You must hike approximately 6.5 miles to camping area and pack in all supplies needed including water. Horse Barn Camping Area – primitive camping with fire circle, centrally located bathhouse and 20 stall horse barn are available. Please call the park office at 386-454-1853 for more information.

This place was no problem even for West Boca Ninth Graders.

I’ve been to the outhouse at Splitrocks, WY

splitrock

http://www.outdoorlife.com/photos/gallery/diy/home/2010/07/best-and-worst-outhouses/?image=0

The best and worse outhouses.

Here I’m even providing directions

I hope this helps! How can we even think your taking care of our water with a restroom like the one at STA5/6.

Throwback Thurs: Cane the TV Show.

Throwback Thurs: Cane the TV Show.

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Remember Cane

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cane_%28TV_series%29

Starring Jimmy Smits, this epic drama chronicles the external rivalries and internal power struggles of a large Cuban-American family running an immensely successful rum and sugar business in South Florida. When the family patriarch, Pancho Duque, is offered a lucrative but questionable deal by his bitter adversaries, the Samuels, he’s faced with a difficult choice: Should he cash out of the sugar business and focus solely on rum, which would please his biological son, Frank Duque? Or should he protect the family legacy that he built from the ground up by refusing to sell? This would involve siding with his son-in-law, Alex Vega, who despises the Samuels and foresees multi-billion dollar profits from future ethanol contracts.

It opened to more than 11 million viewers.

Due to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, Cane completed its first season on December 18, 2007. On February 8, 2008 The Los Angeles Times reported that the effects of the writers strike “could spell sudden death for such programs as NBC’s Bionic Woman and CBS’ Cane, industry executives predicted.”[10] It was also reported by USA Today that Cane would be “gone for good. On February 14, 2008, CBS released a statement declaring that Cane is still on “hiatus to accommodate the mid-season launches of Big Brother, Jericho and Dexter.”  In an April 2008 interview, CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler called the drama’s chances for renewal “a real long shot.”On May 14, 2008, CBS officially cancelled the series.

so then we read this

Broadcasting history

The series premiered on CBS on September 25, 2007 as announced on July 18, 2007 by the network The pilot episode was leaked to BitTorrent websites in the same month to the chagrin of studio executives. Cane was unaffected by the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike as all the episodes had been written before the strike started.

writer’s strike I don’t think so.

http://havanajournal.com/cuban_americans/entry/fanjul-family-bring-out-lawyers-to-review-cane-cbs-tv-series-scripts-3356

If you’ve lived around here for a while and those details remind you of the Fanjul family of Palm Beach, you’re not alone. The Fanjuls think Cane might remind viewers of them, and they’re not really happy about it.

Joseph Klock Jr., Miami-based general counsel for the Fanjul’s West Palm Beach holding company, Flo-Sun Inc., said Friday lawyers for the Fanjuls are in communication with CBS and the scripts are being reviewed.

“We want to make sure it is absolutely clear it has nothing to do with the Fanjuls or their companies,” said Klock, of Epstein Becker & Green. “None of this conduct is the kind of conduct the Fanjuls engage in.”

Cane, which some industry observers describe as a “Cuban Sopranos,” is filled with the usual TV mayhem you’d expect from a glitzy prime-time soap: sex, violence and murder. There’s also an internal power struggle between two brothers in the powerful, fictional Duque family. The chief protagonist in the series is Alex Vega, an adopted son of the Duques played by Jimmy Smits, a well-regarded actor of Puerto Rican descent most recently featured on The West Wing.

Barbara Miedema, spokeswoman for the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida in Belle Glade, which includes the Fanjuls in its membership, said she doesn’t see much realistic about Cane. “From what I have seen, it looks like pure fiction.”

Cantens, the Fanjul spokesman, said when the family first learned about Cane a few months ago, they thought it was going to be a documentary. They learned differently a few weeks ago, he said.

“Someone sent me an e-mail. Then it went to the legal end of the building,” Cantens said.

“People are going to say, ‘Oh, my God, it must be about the Fanjuls,’” he said. “That is their concern: if there are going to be similarities.”

So the show was already written so its cancellation had nothing to do with the writer’s strike. Having a show like this in South Florida brings in a lot of money for our local business and work for our actors and other film professionals.

Bring it back! There’s so much more to write.

cane

Our STA 5/6 and their good neighbor US Sugar Corp

@SFWMD

@joenegronfl

Our STA 5/6  and their good neighbor US Sugar Corp

This past weekend my friend Jules and I went to visit STA 5/6. I wanted to see the STA’s. The Board of Governors were all over these places and how fabulous they were. I needed to see for myself. They could not have been talking about this place. Do you think they have even been here?

What is an STA?

Here’s a good link

http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/xrepository/sfwmd_repository_pdf/bts_sta.pdf

This is what they had on their website for STA 5

http://my.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/pg_grp_sfwmd_landresources/pg_sfwmd_landresources_recopps_se_sta5

Photo on TOP

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So this is what I thought I was going to be seeing

Stormwater Treatment Area 5/6 (STA-5/6)

Stormwater Treatment Areas (STAs) are constructed wetlands designed to aid in Everglades restoration. STAs remove phosphorus from runoff water by channeling it through shallow marshes filled with aquatic plants such as cattail, southern naiad and algae. These plants take up or absorb phosphorus from water traveling through, reducing to very low levels the amount of the nutrients reaching the Everglades or Lake Okeechobee.

STAs provide another bonus – prime home and visiting territory to wildlife including wading birds, ducks and American alligators. A variety of nature-based recreational activities are allowed at several of these wetland locations.

Located on approximately 17,000 acres in eastern Hendry County, Stormwater Treatment Area 5/6 (STA-5/6) has become one of the premier bird-watching areas in Florida through a long-standing partnership with the Hendry-Glades Audubon Society. More than 200 bird species have been spotted at STA-5/6 on the seasonal, guided bird-watching tours offered by the local Audubon chapter. The site is also popular as a waterfowl hunting area managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Access to STA-5/6 was expanded in 2013 with a public use area with shell-rocked parking, an informational kiosk,

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restrooms

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Gross inside and filled with spiders.

and a trail that includes a covered shade shelter and a boardwalk. Hiking, bicycling and bird-watching are among the activities visitors can enjoy from the public use area. In addition, a portion of the Florida National Scenic Trail runs along the L-3 levee on the west side of the STA.

The Trip to STA 5/6

The road to STA 5/6

The road to STA 5/6

Signage for STA

Signage for STA

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sugar fields in Clewiston. Notice the brown stuff near the water.  herbacides?

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These are canal on the side of the road filled with vegetation.

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and then we got lost

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and then we were found.

So when you pull onto Deerfence Canal Road  the STA is straight ahead and to the right to US Sugar Corp.

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Gate for US Sugar Corp

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This is the water coming from the west running along side US Sugar Corp

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This is the water going towards the STA. Note Brown decayed vegetation on right looks like its bee sprayed with herbacides.

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This is the water on the other side of the street going toward the STA

Then we got here. I have no idea what this is or what’s it for.

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but then after the water looked like this.

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Again no judgement I have no idea what I’m looking at

We drove up the the STA’s

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Building at STA 5/6

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STA 5

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sta 6

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sta 5

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STA-5 is accessible from the north or south.

  • From the north: Travel about one mile east of Clewiston on U.S. 27 to C.R. 835, (Evercane Road), or find this intersection about 13.5 miles west of South Bay.Once on C.R. 835 travel south and west about 26 miles to Deerfence Canal Road.
  • From the south: Use I-75, travel about 25 miles west of U.S. 27 on I-75 turn north at Snake Road exit. Follow this road northward 25 miles to C.R. 835 and turn east three miles to Deerfence Canal Road.Once at Deerfence Canal Road go east one mile to STA-5, cross the bridge and proceed to the east end of the public parking area.

MAPS

http://my.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/xrepository/sfwmd_repository_pdf/sta5-pub-access-102213_with_levees_closed.pdf

Here’s some bird watching information

http://my.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/xrepository/sfwmd_repository_pdf/sta5_birdwatch_information.pdf

Check the eco-tour it looks like fun!

Again. I’m not a hydrologist or geologist but it seems very dry down there. The canals were low. What good fortune for US Sugar Corp to have all this water just next door! Isn’t it? Who needs a reservoir when you have all the water you need right next door. I could definitely see why no one wants to mess with this.

I’d definitely bring my own potty! and don’t forget to stop by the US Sugar Corp guardhouse that sits next to the STA and say hi.

The Uninvited. Barking up the wrong tree.

the-uninvited-movie-poster-1944-1020170508

So you know when you call someone on the phone and you talk and talk and then they interrupt and say ” You got the wrong number.” Then your embarrassed and apologize and try to figure out what number should have been called. Sometime’s you just dialed wrong and sometimes you have the wrong number.

Or you go to the wrong house and the kindly people at the door direct you to the correct place. That!

You know human things that we do. Honestly. Politeness. Respect of our fellow human beings. Every day life with our fellow travelers.

So, our good friend of the Indian River Lagoon  and awesome blogger Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch wrote this blog.

http://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2015/06/01/trying-to-understand-the-structure-of-the-sfwmd-within-government-st-lucie-riverindian-river-lagoon/

“A few months ago when the South Florida Water Management District was ignoring a desperate and pleading public that had come before them begging for the purchase of the US Sugar Option Lands through Amendment 1 monies, to help save the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon and Calooshatchee, I drove to West Palm Beach and met with high level officials. They were very nice but it was a frustrating meeting. Basically I asked them, “What are you doing?” “Why are you acting like this?”

The answer?

“Commissioner, you know the power isn’t in our hands anymore anyway…”
“What do you mean?” I inquired.

A conversation around the table ensured:

SFWMD: “Well after the debacle that occurred 2008-2010 with then Governor Charlie Christ, the recession, and the attempted buyout of all of US Sugar’s lands, basically a water district was trying to purchase a corporation…..the Florida Legislature got fed up.  So later,  in section 373.556 of Florida Statutes, the Florida Legislature made sure the District would never be in a position to do that again….Significant legislative changes have occurred related to water management budgeting with substantial ramification for Water Management District land transactions. In 2013, Senate Bill 1986 provided that certain District land transaction should be subject to the scrutiny of the Legislative Budget Commission. As this bill renewed the authority of the Governor to approve or disapprove the SFWMD budget, as with all water management budgets of the state, we can no longer do things we have done in the past like oversee giant land purchases using the monies from our ad-valorem taxes…There is a lot more to it but that’s the main difference now. You are talking to the wrong people….”

I stood there just staring…..”I didn’t know this gentlemen, so how do you expect the public to know this ? Are you telling me, the SFWMD has no power to purchase those Sugar Lands?”

“I am telling you the legislature is in charge of the budget and we don’t have enough money to buy the lands, and couldn’t without their approval….”

“So why don’t you explain that to the public?” I asked.

Stares….

Long awkward silence….

The reply was more or less: “It’s best not to get involved in such a discussion…..”

I lectured them on the importance of communication and education and said they certainly still have influence even if they say they “do not” …..but this did go over particularly well… the meeting ended. I shook their hands. I felt like an idiot. I drove home.”

Poor Jacqui.

We were the uninvited.

“Shall I tell you who taught you the things you’ve done. The things you’ve said”

So my question is  who does that?  Why not just say so. Why not just say “Your barking up the wrong tree?”

Big Sugar Summit Update: Awesome Speakers! Check it out!

Paddlefest 2015: RiverKidz

Paddlefest 2015: RiverKidz

We have an amazing group of RiverKidz!

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This year, I caught up with Katy Lewey.

Here is some video of the Riverkidz speaking out.

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The River Kidz have some cool new tee shirts. I just bought a bunch for my grandson and nieces.  Nice white cotton. Perfect for the summer.

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and cool new bags.

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River Kidz Martin County https://www.facebook.com/pages/River-Kidz/237123116309196?fref=ts

River Kidz St Lucie and Indian RIver County https://www.facebook.com/riverkidzslc?fref=ts

Join the River Kidz http://riverscoalition.org/riverkidz/membership-registration/