I moved here to Martin County six years ago. I literally was running away from Palm Beach County. The whole place was closing in on me. The people, the traffic, the constant building way, way out to the Everglades, the traffic.
I had driven up here for years for work. I even came up after one of the Hurricanes. I think it was Jeanne. I needed air conditioning. Everyone was so nice.
I drove up Dixie in Rio and always stopped to take a photo of Mrs Peters sign. I took video of the river and the sailboats.
I always felt special driving under the Jensen Arch.
I loved it because it never changed. It always felt like old Florida to me. A place where the people who lived here knew how to keep it special.
It must be filled with special people and I was right about that!
Then I moved here. People had kayaks and paddle boards and it reminded me of Boulder, Colorado where people drive around with Kayaks on the roof of their cars. A funky downtown with so much potential. An entire area with so much potential to be funky and fun.
Downtown Stuart with all it fun shops was a great place to tell people to meet me for lunch.
It never changed.
I could live here. I can breath here. People smile here. They are polite. They care about where they live. No one was driving up your rear end and yelling and giving you the finger.
In the last few years we have been polluted, multiple trains are coming and we have 200 sober homes here. People are being court ordered here for treatment. People that can be kicked out any time of their sober home to the streets. People are driving up my rear end and giving the finger when I pull over to let them go.
And don’t even start with the NIMBY stuff. I’ll save that for another day. There is a big difference between being a NIMBY and not wanted polluted gross water and junkies. I think that both go together.
A month ago there was someone shooting up heroin at the corner store. Some guy was upset because he had to pay for his gas with his weed money.
Many motels have been sold and now they are treatment centers. Let’s not talk about this or deal with it. Let’s wait until it’s really bad.
These treatment center are not for our neighbors but for people up north. Come to Florida. You can be a junkie here. Live in Florida. You get nothing. If you are over 65 and need alcohol or drug treatment through Medicare there is one choice and that choice will probably put you on a psychiatric unit with a general population and not with the program you need.
The people in charge say there is nothing that can be done. That these homes ( and let me remind you that all a sober home is is a place where people live sober. Anything else is a treatment center and must be governed under Florida Law.) We are learning now that many of these places are just scams run by drug addicts or other scam artists to make money.
A scam in Florida can you believe it?
These places are not Switzerland. If there is something illegal going on there has to be a way to investigate. I think people are not thinking hard enough and they are being snowed.
The water I moved here for is unswimable. So many people I know have gotten sick. I cannot take my grandson or my dog there.
There seems to be no answer or any one taking responsibility for what Martin County is becoming. No one.
The junkies keep coming , the dirty water keeps coming and the trains are on the way.
Last year both our Representatives Gayle Harrell and Mary Lynn Magar refused to lift a finger to do the one thing that would have helped us. Millions of dollars are spent that will never make a difference. Someone is getting rich while we are still getting polluted. US.
We have been taxed in Martin County 75 million dollars to water storage so we don’t have to have discharges. Well that didn’t work. We begged for a reservoir with the water going south as mother nature put it in the first place. That didn’t happen.
In the election in 2006 ” The Palm Beach Post, which criticized Harrell for “too obediently” voting the party line and for having “so little clout in Tallahassee that she can’t protect her well-intentioned legislation from harmful amendments.”Ultimately, however, the conservative nature of the district proved too much for Ramos to overcome, and Harrell won re-election over him, scoring 54% of the vote to her opponent’s 46%
In 2008, The Palm Beach Post endorsed Fetterman over Harrell, praising the incumbent for closing a loophole that allowed sexual predators to avoid prosecution, and once again criticizing Harrell for her record in the legislature, where “she wasn’t known for bucking the GOP leadership.”However, Harrell was able to dispatch Fetterman with relative ease, regaining her seat and earning 56% of the vote to Fetterman’s 44%.”
We know she doesn’t buck the leadership. That’s why she refused to help her own constituents. She is also been conferring with people up north about the voluntary legislation regarding sober homes encouraging people to open them up down here as long as they do a voluntary sign up.
She should be asking herself: Why is everyone sending their junkies to Martin County?
She is no friend of ours and certainly not a friend of the water. She just had some kind of event. Invited all the Republicans , left everyone else out so she has no interest in being inclusive and getting anything done. It’s like all the people that have worked so hard for the water don’t exist.
She should be fighting for us instead of cow-towing to the leadership in Tallahassee.
On Mary Lynn Magars Wikapedia page there is nothing. She said the same thing last year. She couldn’t so anything. I can’t find anything she has actually done. I must be wrong. How can this be true? Someone please tell me she has done something.
I say this because of our ( The train is the train and we have to wait for that one) pollution we are loosing our tourist base. We certainly have more people but those people are going to requires services we just don’t have for our people that live here.
In the last election we picked our clean water candidates. They were bipartisan and they reflected the people who understand the water and have the smarts and the know all to get this stuff done. They certainly would not have destroyed the water of South Florida, continued to allow Salt Water Intrusion, discharges and everything else because of their party and because of their ego.
Last year we painted and sent solidarity fish to multiple representatives and senators. The only one that answered was Thad Altman. Not Gayle, or MaryLynn Magar or even the Democrats answered us.
Yesterday, I read an article about eviscerating our ability to get Florida Government Records. No sunshine. Another bill was filed to override us saying we don’t want fracking. Who’s for fracking raise your hands! Come on higher!
In the coming year we have some big decisions to make. I hope that one of them is not voting party lines but voting for keeping our Martin County a great place to live.
We don’t need vindictiveness, stupid games, egos, grandstanding, and more of the same BS. We need to work together or else we’re gonna have a dead river and people shooting up heroin in all our corner stores. We need people that not only understand the issues but understand how to work together with people and are willing to to stand up to get things done.
May 4th,2014 We had a funeral for the St Lucie River and the Indian River Lagoon which had been devastated by discharges from Lake Okeechobee. Both turned green with poisonous green toxic algae. Our lives would never be the same again.
As a way to protest we held this funeral at Phipps Park which the park next to the the “Gates of Hell” where the water out and runs into the river and the lagoon.
Here is a video that Brad Langel shot with his drone. There is a great shot of the St Lucie Locks that will be opened when Lake Okeechobee is too high. That’s when we get polluted with Lake water that destroys mostly because the fresh water hits the lagoon, changes the salinity of the water and kills everything including the oysters that my friends very lovingly place through out.
So we all went to the meeting and what did we find out?
It’s complicated. It’s not what the headlines said. There are other issues.
The item was 8C1 “Septic to Sewer Conversion.” The presenters were Dr Brian LaPointe from FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute; CAPTEC’s Joseph Capra; and a Financial Specialist Group. In my opinion, Dr LaPointe was clear to state “we have to go after all of the sources,” alluding to releases from Lake Okeechobee many times during his presentation. Septic effluent of course is part of the problem killing our SLR/IRL as Dr LaPointe clearly showed and its pollution and bacteria in the rivers should be addressed. Septic conversion was even an item JP Sasser, former mayor of Pahokee, and Florida One Foundation representative, and I agree upon-/having our photo taken together with Dr La Pointe! . Getting behind septic conversation is something we can all try to agree upon as we advocate for the bigger picture—the destruction caused by area canals C-23; C-24; C25 and releases from Lake Okeechobee. As we here in Martin County continue to “get our house in order” as we did with passing local strong fertilizer ordinances, the state can continue to forcefully address issues of agricultural runoff and excess water forced into our watershed. Thank you to the Martin County Board of County Commissioners.
Great quote from our future Martin County Commissioner.
Video from yesterday’s meeting
http://martin.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=18&clip_id=3022We have to move forward in the best possible ways. We have to stay involved and we have to ask questions. What we don’t need is a bunch of buffoons throwing accusations around and someone writing headlines that will divide the citizens of Martin County. I’m not sure who wrote that original headline but they must be new here. Why? Because you just gave Rick Scott, SFWMD, and the Florida Legislator every reason to ignore us and basically stabbed a knife in the heart of all our hard work. There are people who will take that headline and ruin us because of their idiocy and this is what we do not need right now.
We need consensus. This is what Jacqui said when she spoke.
“Today I spoke in favor of moving forward with the beginnings a of comprehensive septic to sewer conversion, a definite piece of a greater SLR/IRL problem, and asked commissioners never to take their eyes off the bigger, critical picture of destructive forces of Lake Okeechobee and area canals–and lobbying Tallahassee and the federal government to move more water south.”This can be done but what is of utmost importance is the public education. Not politics. Not buffoonery. Education.
We need consensus and we need to work together. Septic Tanks are an issue. Not THE issue. Hooking people up will help the lagoon.
Ed Fielding, Sara Heard and John Haddix make some great remarks and asked some great questions telling me they know what they are talking about and what they need us to do is be supportive and promote more discourse on this subject.
Discourse. Conversation. Support. Leave your ego’s at home please.
Nathanial Reed was there and spoke.
Marty Baum our Indian RIverKeeper was there and spoke. Mark Perry was in the audience taking notes.
There are federal grants for septic to sewer. Perhaps our commissioners can look into this. Maybe they can call Indian River County and ask.
So far every single person I have pointed this out to has ignored me. I hope they will take some time to consider and not get all political about the federal government. It’s not a time for politics. It’s time to work towards saving our river and lagoon before it’s too late.
There is this Issue of inspections that Senator Joe Negron was part of being banned. Some one asked about this at the meeting. People want to sue for the right. So I decided to ask Siri and this is what she told me.
“Newly anointed billionaire arch-conservative Florida governor Rick Scott—along with his all-GOP cabinet and tea-party-led state legislature—will get around to the state’s budget crisis, its mortgage meltdown, its educational woes, its brain drain, its disaster-preparedness services, and its corruption problems eventually. But not until they’ve finished with their crap storm over, well, crap.
Last spring, outgoing Gov. Charlie Crist signed a landmark bill into law requiring septic tanks to undergo once-every-five-year inspections—the first time in Florida history that such inspections would be instituted. In a state where more than half of its 2.6 million septic tanks are over 30 years old, and 10 percent are estimated to be failing—a state where the water table is usually just a couple of inches below your feet—this didn’t seem like such a bad idea. Not even to last session’s Republicans: The bill’s author was Lee Constantine, a GOP representative from Altamonte Springs. It was a “consensus bill on water policy which the agency involved, local government, environmentalists, business and industry support,” he said
…tea party groups and homeowners in North Florida, where much of the state’s 2.6 million septic tanks are located, have fought against the inspections as costly and unnecessary. The inspections would have included evaluations and pump-outs, with the costs borne by the owner. Septic tank owners who purchased their tank or had it serviced in the last five years would have been exempt from the inspections.”
” When criticizing the original septic-tank inspections last year, State Sen. Joe Negron (R-Stuart) went for the red meat. The controlling issue, he said, wasn’t the possibility of raw sewage, sludge, and grease running off into the state’s drinkable springs and aquifers: It was property rights. “Mr. and Mrs. Jones, 78 years old, live in a house with a 30 or 40 year septic tank,” he said. “Do they have to let the government come inspect their septic tank?”
It would be great if Senator Negron would talk about his reasoning. I’m saying this in the most respectful way. I think it order to come to a good place where we can move forward we need to have all the facts.
Someone said that septic tanks come under the health department. I read somewhere that the inspections was done by a private company and it came with a 120 pump out which is a good deal. I’m not sure how this effects anything but privacy might come into play here as our privacy is protected by HIPPA through the health department. I may be wrong about this but I need to further research.
Another thing was I did ask about pump outs and people told me it made no difference it was pumped out or not. So why make it an issue that no one is pumping out if it’s not an issue? All along this has been an issue. ___________numbers of septic tanks in Martin County ( I can’t find a consensus number it changes daily.) Who knows how many old ones. Never inspected. (Which is not true because I am sure people had their tanks inspected before they bought their houses.) No one is pumping out. Let me see. What else. Blah blah blah. It really did turn out to be blah blah because when I spoke to some folks about helping people that can’t afford to get pump out no one really cared and all of a sudden this became a non issue.
I’d like to hear from some experts. Does it make a difference to the St Lucie River and to the Lagoon if we all pumped out. Can we get a group rate? Will some company use this opportunity to partner with the county and give people a good price for a pump out?
Can we do one thing without all the BS and all kinds of lawsuits? Can we just begin to fix this one thing?
There is a lot more to talk about and I plan to talk about it.
Marjorie Shropshire speaking to Jon Shainman from WPTV.
Crystal Lucus future state rep for 83 talking to channel 12 news. She walks the walk!
The assignment was to write something based on an image. We were given a place to get images. I went there and I donated 8 images and then decided to use my own.
When we had the toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee in 2013 all the birds went away. There were no birds.
I used to wake up to 100’s of birds tweeting in my back yard.
I have seen a few interesting red birds and of course mourning doves and I did see the wood stork last week. It’s fall so hopefully they will be back soon. There are some birds but not in the great amounts there were when I moved here.
“A new analysis by the National Audubon Society reveals that populations of some of America’s most familiar and beloved birds have taken a nosedive over the past forty years, with some down as much as 80 percent. The dramatic declines are attributed to the loss of grasslands, healthy forests and wetlands, and other critical habitats from multiple environmental threats such as sprawl, energy development, and the spread of industrialized agriculture. The study notes that these threats are now compounded by new and broader problems including the escalating effects of global warming. In concert, they paint a challenging picture for the future of many common species and send a serious warning about our increasing toll on local habitats and the environment itself.
Common Terns, which nest on islands and forage for fish near ocean coasts, lakes and rivers, are vulnerable to development, pollution and sea level rise from global warming. Populations in unmanaged colonies have dropped as much as 70 percent, making the species’ outlook increasingly dependent on targeted conservation efforts.
Little Blue Herons now number 150,000 in the U.S. and 110,000 in Mexico, down 54 percent in the U.S.Their decline is driven by wetland loss from development and degradation of water quality, which limits their food supply.”
Here is an excellent article I found in BioScience starring out friend Dr Edie Widder.
“Just as fishes in the IRL depend on mangroves and seagrasses, wading birds depend on fishes as prey. Herons, egrets, and their relatives are a barometer of how the lagoon’s mosaic of life is faring, according to ornithologist Hilary Swain, executive director of the Archbold Biological Station in Lake Placid. In her research, Swain found that wading birds are one of the most widely recognized elements of biodiversity in the IRL, with 16 species recorded. Among them are the great egret, reddish egret, little blue heron, tricolored heron, wood stork, white ibis, and roseate spoonbill.
birds at bird island Jan 2011
Swain discovered that drawdowns—the periodic lowering of water levels in mosquito control impoundments—result in higher numbers of wading birds in those areas, and that many of the lagoon’s wading birds frequent such impoundments, especially when water levels there are shallow (the easier for the birds to catch fish). Wading birds in the IRL are also found only in locations where, in fact, the fishing is good, making information on herons and their kin useful in determining the overall health of the lagoon.
Birds on bird island Jan 2011
Birds on Bird Island Jan 2011
Mangroves, seagrasses, fishes, birds: How do scientists know how many species there are in the Indian River Lagoon? “We don’t know the exact number,” Tuck Hines says, “but we have a pretty good idea of the IRL’s flora and fauna, thanks to years of research that led to a project called the Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory.”
Birds on Bird Island Jan 2011
Developed by the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce, the species inventory is an ever-expanding listing of the species of animals and plants that make their home in the lagoon. Users can access photographic images and taxonomic information via a Web site (www.sms.si.edu/irlspec/index.htm). “The IRL Species Inventory has become the place to go to get information on the lagoon’s biodiversity, whether you’re a scientist, student, government official, or citizen,” Hines says. With some 68 federal, state, local, and other government agencies involved in managing the IRL, Hines adds, “it’s imperative that there be one central place in which this information can be found.”
I think we all need to help inventory the Indian River Lagoon and be on the lookout for all the wonderful birds we use to have to see if they come back.
When will our medical community step and do something about people getting sick and dying in the Indian River Lagoon?
I just want to say THANK YOU to our TC Palm reporters and also to Eye on Miami for actually paying attention to this issue and being a supportive voice and advocate for our Indian River Lagoon.
Three years ago we were talking about this. Before I even got involved in the water but doing research for a potential documentary I read reports about people going into the water and getting sick and dying. Then when we got organized and starting talking to each even more information came forward. One of our local citizens has been collecting data but there is really nothing that is out there and a part of our hospital system and health department.
Here is Robert Lord from Martin Memorial talking about our unhealthy water at our rally last year.
Our friend, Cliff Barnes suggested we called it Lagoon water born flesh rot disease after Gov. Scott. I said “Rick Rot.” Some people said “Rick Scott Rot.”
Bill Benton went swimming in the Indian River Lagoon on a Saturday afternoon. He was dead by Tuesday, a rare fatality from Vibrio vulnificus bacteria.
The bacteria occurs naturally throughout the lagoon year-round, but infections increase in summer, according to researchers at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce.
Benton was among seven people who died from Vibrio vulnificus in Florida in 2014. It’s unknown whether Vibrio vulnificus is to blame in the July 20 death ofPort St. Lucie resident David Trudell, two days after a fin fish punctured him while fishing in the lagoon. Doctors attributed his death to the incident, but did not determine what type of bacteria it was.
Took Bruce to the ER yesterday for an infected left leg. He had a sore on his knee on Monday, went in the IRL on Wednesday. We took several church families out on our new catamaran and anchored off Sailfish point (near the Walgreen house). Of course they all jumped into the IRL from the deck of the boat.
Yesterday Bruce’s knee and leg was black and swollen, hot to the touch and oozing. He had a fever. He NEVER complains of pain but I forced him to the ER. GOOD thing. The doctor thinks it is a blood infection from the bacteria from the IRL water on Wednesday. We will get the culture back on Monday to see what the bacteria actually is.
Gayle Ryan’s link to the TC Palm article regarding the local man who died within two days of a fish fin puncture bringing in bacteria from the IRL into his system, probably saved Bruce’s life. I wouldn’t have taken a closer second look at Bruce’s knee had I not read her article link. The doctor lanced and drained the “volcano” the size of a grapefruit on his knee. His whole leg was swollen and hot to the touch.
Today Bruce’s leg ‘s swelling is down and it is not throbbing anymore. He is on Bactrim and Keflex. Doctor said he was so correct to come into the ER when he did, could have become so dangerous to Bruce. Thank you Gayle Ryan.”
It looked like this.
Here’s is a great piece from our friend at Eye on Miami.
“This post on Face Book should remind Miami that the current water crisis is not just one in a series of crises: it is a cumulative event where impacts are compounded. The mismanagement of fresh water resources in South Florida is mainly to benefit the big campaign contributors to state legislators and to Gov. Rick Scott. Big Sugar.
In a just world, state legislators would be made to swim in the Indian River Lagoon, then see how much they like gambling with people’s water to benefit their patrons.”
You got that right Mista Gimleteye!
A friend of mine asked me if I would go on the news. I said no. This is not about me. What I will say is our local Health Department and People running the hospital need to read the newspaper. Then they need to come up with a plan to alert the physicians in the area and come up with some sort of tracking system and people need to be warned before they go in the water. I know that everyone has a lot on their plates but this is something we have to do. What if I didn’t know any of this and my grandson had a cut and I took him in the lagoon and he died?
“Water quality sensors in the lagoon and its tributaries can’t detect the deadly bacteria’s presence, but the salinity level is a good indicator of whether there’s Vibrio. The bacteria can’t live in saltwater, but thrives in stagnant, nearshore, freshwater — particularly near rainfall runoff discharges.”
Really so the millions of gallons of freshwater discharges have nothing to do with that? Really?
SFWMD and ACOE you need to be aware. After all we have begged you to fix the issue with the discharges. It comes down to one thing: Salinity of the water. So besides all the other damage that you do we can add killing people to the list.
It’s people with cuts and weak immune systems like the elderly, infants, alcoholics, diabetics and those with other long-term illnesses who are at most risk and need to take the threat most seriously.”
HEALTHY PEOPLE ARE NOT LIKELY TO GET AN INFECTION! NOT LIKELY.
“The people most likely to get it — in this order — are: lagoon fishermen, seafood processors and waders or swimmers.”
And the longer this vacuum persists, the greater the threat to Treasure Coast residents who swim, boat, wade, paddleboard and fish in the waterway.
“The bacteria, which is also found in estuaries like the St. Lucie and St. Sebastian rivers, occurs naturally and is not linked to pollution, Barbarite said. Quantities vary depending on climatic conditions.”
But it is connected to the Salinity of the water which also is what kills everything else like our oysters. So by forcing millions of gallons of fresh water down the river into the lagoon the salinity is changed.
“Most likely in spots near freshwater discharges.”
“29.5 percent of cases resulted in deaths (2004-13)”
People affected: Those with Alcohol Abuse, Liver Disease, Diabetes, Heart Disease
I can’t wait to see the spin. Because just two years ago we were assured there was nothing wrong with the water.
“and the longer this vacuum persists, the greater the threat to Treasure Coast residents who swim, boat, wade, paddleboard and fish in the waterway.
Two recent incidents — one fatal — have ratcheted up the importance of identifying the microbial culprits, case by case, and establishing cause-and-effect relationships between exposure to tainted lagoon water and bacterial infections.”
“Health officials and health care providers need to get ahead of the issue. Given the fact doctors don’t have a protocol for testing or reporting waterborne illnesses, it’s easy to see why so many questions remain unanswered.”
It should be standard procedure for doctors to report all suspected cases of waterborne illnesses to the Florida Department of Health.
Moreover, this information needs to be collected in a database. Over time, this knowledge may reveal trends that prove beneficial in protecting lagoon aficionados and treating those who contract waterborne infections.”
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” Salt is the key to safe water.” by Tyler Treadway
I’ll post the link when I can find the article. According to Gabrille Barbarite death are rare but how do we even know this if no one is reporting or logging water born illnesses? So I would refraise that to ” We have no earthly idea how many people have gotten sick from the Indian River Lagoon.”
But keep in mind salinity can change with rain or out going tide.
What do we need now?
Our local lawmakers need to all talk to our health departments and our hospitals and doctors and urgent cares and come up with some kind of reporting system.
Warnings need to be posted for people with immune system disorders, alcoholics, people with liver diseases, diabetes, heart disease , the elderly and infants etc. We have this information now. We have a duty to warn people.
Our wonderful Dr Edie Widder from Orca said in this piece that she suspects these cases have gone unreported for years. She also said she does not think that clinics and doctors are not taking the time to culture the bacteria. How hard is that? One Agar plate zoom zoom zoom done! Or a blood culture. 2 second blood draw.
The world has gone a little wild and we have seen it up close and personal this past year with our legislators. Lets not let this happen with the people are suppose to be taking care of us. I’m sure there is a grant out there that someone can get to do what needs to be done and there are plenty of volunteers in the medical field that would be willing to help.
If we don’t speak up nothing will be done.
Where do we start? Please add your suggestions to this blog post!
Yesterday I had to laugh because if I just had clean water I probably wouldn’t even be sitting here on my day off computing. I would be in the water.
Yesterday after I posted my blog I was having a conversation with my friend Kenny Hinkle and between the both of us we came up with some interesting information. Team work yay. We were both interested in this web site.
I got there because I got a little confused with all the liberty blogs that are out there and different liberty caucuses but then a few things caught my eye.
What could these people possible want with FNAA and our Indian River Lagoon. So I dared to go a little further and they had a whole local section.
“The lagoonists and their goons have banned fertilizers (though no evidence of damaged caused by the fertilizers exists just their presence) and now facing the calamity of rain one has to wonder: Will the loony lagoonists soon ban rain?”
Funny but we are lagoonatics! Get your jargon correct puleeeze Brightlight.
and then I saw that they were all obsessed with Eve Samples.
I love manifestos. Here are some other people that wrote manifestos.
At any rate you get the picture and honestly like I have said hundreds of times. Free speech! Keep on writing. Please!
So we were interested in who owned the website because these people are local and thought it would be a good thing to know. All these funny people hiding behind their nom de plumes! I don’t have issue’s with nom de plumes. Some of my friends have these. I could just never figure out what mine would be.
So anyway, the owner of the site is Registrant Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This I find very confusing since he previously made me very sad with those not so nice posts about Eve Samples.
I’m so confused.
This is his job.
“Creating solutions for local and small businesses to connect with their target audience wherever they are, collecting useful information for how consumers interact with them and implementing steps to increase conversions and ROI for business partners.”
I’m wondering what he puts in to target us? Lagoonakooks?
What would you use to target me? #noseylagoonakook? or maybe #socialistlagoonakook?
“.. scarcity is a reason most people work since their financial resources are limited and finite and work provides them the income necessary to accumulate resources to exchange for the goods and services of another. Consumers demand scarce goods (housing, clothes, a night out, travel, school supplies) and people have to economize their decisions based on scarcity.
In the case of water scarcity, however, we find that the challenge of scarcity is met in some very peculiar ways.
For examples, we can look to the Indian River Lagoon, Lake Okeechobee, and the Everglades where water is plentiful, but clean water is scarce. Moreover, we might look to the western United States where an arid climate makes all types of water scarce.
Yet in all of these places there is one thing in abundance — clean and drinkable bottled water.
Why is it that we can we have too much dirty water in one place, not enough water in another, and be surrounded by an abundance of bottled water?
The first thing to be said about this is that on the free market, regardless of the stringency of supply, there is never any “shortage,” that is, there is never a condition where a purchaser cannot find supplies available at the market price. On the free market, there is always enough supply available to satisfy demand. The clearing mechanism is fluctuations in price. If, for example, there is an orange blight, and the supply of oranges declines, there is then an increasing scarcity of oranges, and the scarcity, is “rationed” voluntarily to the purchasers by the uncoerced rise in price, a rise sufficient to equalize supply and demand. If, on the other hand, there is an improvement in the orange crop, the supply increases, oranges are relatively less scarce, and the price of oranges falls consumers are induced to purchase the increased supply.
In the case of droughts government monopolies set prices arbitrarily and this sends consumers distorted prices. Just as bad crops increase the price of oranges so should droughts increase the price of water. Individuals then internalize their decisions to make best use of the scare resources — their own finances and the water commodity. Government distorting prices prevents individuals from acting most efficiently to conserve scarce resources.
The Indian River Lagoon and other areas in South Florida are impacted by the lack of clear pricing signals to individuals. Meanwhile, bottled water is so easy to obtain that this past weekend at the Indian River Lagoon Clean Water Rally, free clean bottled water was given away during an event to protest the lack of clean water in the environment.
Bottled water is the only water product that Americans have routinely priced and marketed. We now happily pay as much as four times the cost of gasoline for potable water that we could have for free from fountains and taps. Of course, economists will tell us factually that bottled water is not the same good. The square Fiji bottle is a sexy statement; and the ubiquitous bottle of water in hand is a fitness and convenience statement. Subjective valuation determines price. A real market in this water product does exist.
Markets for other water products are, meanwhile, mainly nonexistent. We routinely do not pay market prices for most other forms of water. Until recently, water has been viewed and treated as a free good by all Earth’s peoples. As with all free goods, water experiences unlimited demand. But water cannot meet unlimited demand. Water needs prices in order to signal scarcity and inform demand. Different categories of water need different prices to reflect the different preferences of users. Free can no longer be water’s price. The profligate glory days of limitless water everywhere seem to be over.
The lack of market pricing affects the Indian River Lagoon as it encourages pollution. By allowing farms and industries to pump byproduct into the water the waterways are essentially being used as a free garbage dumping ground. The permitting of pollution by government recklessly encourages more pollution by firms rather than firms benevolently opting to pay to have it properly disposed. The business who pays extra to have waste properly treated and disposed of may not be able to compete with the businesses who opt to take advantages of government allowing dumping of byproduct into waterways at virtually no cost.
The lack of market pricing occurs largely due to lack of ownership and governmental edict. With “public” ownership bureaucrats and politicians charged with maintaining resources lack capital value interest in the resources. They only preside over the current use as Hans Hoppe taught us, “it makes exploitation less calculating and carried out with little or no regard to the capital stock. Exploitation becomes shortsighted and capital consumption will be systematically promoted.” The long-term calculations of the bureaucrat is distorted by this.
Ownership being replaced with stewardship and the lack of the profit and loss mechanism prevents the water bureaucrats from making the most efficient decisions. It is not for the lack of caring but the inability to make economic calculation as Mises explained in Bureaucracy:
Bureaucratic management is management of affairs which cannot be checked by economic calculation.
… The bureaucrat is not free to aim at improvement. He is bound to obey rules and regulations established by a superior body. He has no right to embark upon innovations if his superiors do not approve of them. His duty and his virtue is to be obedient. … Nobody can be at the same time a correct bureaucrat and an innovator.
Yet if the same waterways were privately owned the property owners could charge for the all uses of waterways. Non-pollutive by products may be charged less than damaging pollutive byproducts which negatively affect water quality. The scarcity of the water quality would set prices to discourage pollution and incentivize firms to find cleaner and more efficient production methods.
Furthermore with ownership provides the long-term capital value incentive which encourages conservation. We see this in forestry where forests are replanted to ensure the forest owner has income in the future. We see this at Adams Ranch where the stock of cattle is not wiped out all at once. Adams Ranch does a particularly good job of conserving grass to feed and support their cattle because the land they have to raise cattle on is limited. If grass goes so does the cattle.
In the case of the Lagoon, waterway owners might decide not to allow pollution. Instead, deciding that the boaters, fisherman, divers, swimmers, etc., are a preferable source of revenue for decades into the future.
Prices would help owners calculate that using the water for leisure and conservation is more efficient and useful than making it unusable dumping grounds. Prices would help consumers appreciate the use of clean waterways. Up the Kissimmee River Disney is able to charge huge entrance fees to maintain a safe clean park and facilities. In other unmaintained areas people dump litter in the river, like they do on the roadways. Notice, other than on trash day, people do not litter their own driveway. That is because of the tragedy of the commons. Nobody has an incentive to keep it clean as nobody owns it.
When we fail to understand the basics of scarcity and prices, however, we are left with the current and dominant view of water in which everyone owns it, and action to maintain it can only be undertaken communally. We see this attitude reflected in recent social media posts (1, 2, 3,) on the Indian River Lagoon, including: Thousands of people came out to rally for the lagoon cleanup and to raise awareness and money. Obviously, a clean lagoon is valuable to many people, but we will never know just how valuable as long as government precludes pricing from working in the lagoon’s favor.
In other words, let’s allow the people who care to put money where their mouths are and allow the marketplace to incentivize the people who are most motivated to have a long-term stake and interest in conserving the capital value of the lagoon.
Only the market can provide this, for no matter how hard bureaucrats try they cannot imitate market forces. Lilley explains:
And, no, command economies cannot play at market. There is no third way. Only private property and the rule of law can create a viable market; bureaucratic mandates can deliver only shortages, higher costs, and poorer quality.”
Alrighty then. ok. Funny about the clean water at the rally. We were concerned that people would get dehydrated so we made sure that everyone had water. Don’t read into it. I’m a nurse and it get’s very hot out there in the summer and we didn’t want anyone passing out. We all know this past winter’s failure to buy the land is a part of the big picture to privatize out water. But is it to increase bottled water sales? That’s interesting.
As for the rest I think the whole thing is very thoughtful but misguided and I hope some of my experts will chime in here on my blog or you can go to there and read about men in costumes with guns. Maybe Robin of Loxley will show up. And don’t forget “You gotta be a man to wear tights.”
update: 7/11/15 I just got a correction from a friend of mine that this person was let go from scripts. More on that later.
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”
The 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:
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.
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.
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.
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
Sugar execs, w/ Gaston Cantens of Florida Crystals and Robert Coker of US Sugar, just huddled in back room of #IndianRiverLagoon hearing.
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 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!
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.
“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?”
“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.
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.”
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?”
The Dolphin Ecology Project is establishing a long-term field research and monitoring program to collect these data and evaluate how dolphins respond to changes in ecosystem health. Throughout the year, Project staff, scientists and volunteers photograph individual dolphins for identification and observe their activities, along with sampling environmental parameters and identifying and measuring the abundance of important dolphin prey species. Over time the Project intends to gain a better understanding about how dolphins utilize the different habitats that comprise the Florida Keys. The Project’s educational goal is to increase public awareness about dolphins and the interrelated nature of the Florida Keys’ habitats and the importance of South Florida ecosystem restoration efforts.
Volunteer to help with this exciting Project! Contact the Volunteer Stewardship Exchange of The Nature Conservancy at 305-289-9060. Become a Dolphin Ecology Project Member. Your contribution will support the ProjectÕs research and education programs, ensuring a sustainable future for humans, dolphins, and the ocean environment.
If you go to the link above there is a membership form link on the left, you can print the form and send it in with your tax deductible contribution.
They also have a nice poster with all the local dolphins on them and their t-shirts are beautiful.
Let’s make sure we support this wonderful project that supports our neighbors, the dolphins of the southern indian river lagoon.
Most of all lets support our good neighbors the dolphins of the southern indian river lagoon.
Who could blame them if this happened?
“So long and thanks for all the fish” from the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy.