New Poll: Florida Legislators Reading List. PLEASE VOTE! and why reading matters.

A few weeks ago I put out a call for books that people thought would be good  for our Florida Legislators to read. I got a great response. Thank you all so much.  I put up my poll. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the 27 people who cared and took the time to vote.

I’ve done this before. Sent books that I thought was important. Not just to politicians but to friends. I think I have bought at least 50 copies of my favorite book “The Art of Racing in the Rain.”

I can tell you that people from both sides that have never read “The Swamp.” Many have not even heard “Paving Paradise.” Most can’t be bothered. They just don’t want to hear about it.

Our elected officials need to be bothered. They need to read.

If you don’t have time put it in your bathroom and read a little  everyday.

Why? Because reading matters. It really does.

“New technology allows us to see the living brain at work. Reading can help unlock remarkable powers. Reading builds new connections in the brain which in turn helps to create stepping stones to understand other people’s worlds.
A good book literally has the power to change you.”

We should be asking the candidates what was the last five books they read. Take note question askers.

I forgot one book and I apologize to  fellow  WordPress blogger and future Martin County Commissioner Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch. I totally forgot The RiverKids Workbook. Yikes. So I’m adding it in. Because like me you guys forgot also.

Here is the new poll in order :

 

Here is each book :

paving-paradise-pittman-waite-cover-alt

Paving Paradise:Florida’s Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss.

Authors: Craig Pittman and Matthew Waite

“In an award-winning newspaper series, two investigative reporters from the St. Petersburg Times chronicled how federal rules meant to protect the nation’s wetlands were more illusion than law. Now, that series has been expanded into a book, delving into how we got to this point, starting with land speculators making waterfront property out of sand dredged from the bottom of the ocean. Now, read how the nation’s wetlands protections were formed in clashes between developers, bureaucrats, judges, activists and con artists over Florida swamps.”

This is an exhaustive, timely and devastating account of the destruction of Florida’s wetlands, and the disgraceful collusion of government at all levels. It’s an important book that should be read by every voter, every taxpayer, every parent, every Floridian who cares about saving what’s left of this precious place.” — Carl Hiaasen

I am amazed, horrified and delighted that you wrote Paving Paradise! You have uncovered the perfidy that we always knew existed … You have named the key figures that led to the loss of thousands of acres of Florida wetlands.” —Nathaniel Reed

The Everglades: River of Grass Marjory Stoneman Douglas

200px-Everglades_River_of_Grass

“The Everglades: River of Grass is a non-fiction book written by Marjory Stoneman Douglas in 1947. Published the same year as the formal opening of Everglades National Park, the book was a call to attention about the degrading quality of life in the Everglades and remains an influential book on nature conservation as well as a reference for information on South Florida.

Douglas was a freelance writer who submitted stories to magazines throughout the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. Her friend Hervey Allen was an editor at Rinehart, responsible for the Rivers of America Series. Allen asked her to write a story about the Miami River, but Douglas did not find it very interesting, calling it only “an inch long”. She began learning more about the Miami River though, and in her research, she instead suggested to her editor to write a story about the Everglades. Douglas spent five years researching the Everglades, consulting with Garald Parker of the US Geological Survey, who was studying the Everglades hydrology systems, and eventually wrote nearly 40 papers on the ecosystems in the Everglades.

The Quarterly Review of Biology reviewed the book and commented on Douglas’ “convincing evidence” in her assertion that the Everglades are a river instead of a swamp, and declared that “it is hoped that this excellent account of the area and its history may provide the needed stimulus for the establishment of an intelligent conservation program for the entire Everglades.”

The Swamp

IMG_0342

“The Everglades was once reviled as a liquid wasteland, and Americans dreamed of draining it. Now it is revered as a national treasure, and Americans have launched the largest environmental project in history to try to save it.

The Swamp is the stunning story of the destruction and possible resurrection of the Everglades, the saga of man’s abuse of nature in southern Florida and his unprecedented efforts to make amends. Michael Grunwald, a prize-winning national reporter for The Washington Post, takes readers on a riveting journey from the Ice Ages to the present, illuminating the natural, social and political history of one of America’s most beguiling but least understood patches of land.

The Everglades was America’s last frontier, a wild country long after the West was won. Grunwald chronicles how a series of visionaries tried to drain and “reclaim” it, and how Mother Nature refused to bend to their will; in the most harrowing tale, a 1928 hurricane drowned 2,500 people in the Everglades. But the Army Corps of Engineers finally tamed the beast with levees and canals, converting half the Everglades into sprawling suburbs and sugar plantations. And though the southern Everglades was preserved as a national park, it soon deteriorated into an ecological mess. The River of Grass stopped flowing, and 90 percent of its wading birds vanished.

Now America wants its swamp back. Grunwald shows how a new breed of visionaries transformed Everglades politics, producing the $8 billion rescue plan. That plan is already the blueprint for a new worldwide era of ecosystem restoration. And this book is a cautionary tale for that era. Through gripping narrative and dogged reporting, Grunwald shows how the Everglades is still threatened by the same hubris, greed and well-intentioned folly that led to its decline. ”

The Lorax

The-Lorax-book-cover

The Lorax is free online.

“Long before “going green” was mainstream, Dr. Seuss’s Lorax spoke for the trees and warned of the dangers of disrespecting the environment. In this cautionary rhyming tale, we learn of the Once-ler, who came across a valley of Truffula Trees and Brown Bar-ba-loots (“frisking about in their Bar-ba-loot suits as they played in the shade and ate Truffula Fruits”), and how his harvesting of the tufted trees changed the landscape forever. With the release of the blockbuster film version, the Lorax and his classic tale have educated a new generation of young readers not only about the importance of seeing the beauty in the world around us, but also about our responsibility to protect it.”

ecosystemsbook

Between roughly 25 and 31 degrees north latitude, a combination of flat topography, poor soils, and limited surface water produce deserts nearly everywhere on earth.  In Florida, however, these conditions support a lavish biota, more diverse than that of any other state east of the Mississippi.

In this first comprehensive guide to the state’s natural resources in sixty years, thirty top scholars describe the character, relationships, and importance of Florida’s ecosystems, the organisms that inhabit them, the forces that maintain them, and the agents that threaten them.  From pine flatwoods to coral reef, Ecosystems of Florida provides a detailed, comprehensive, authoritative account of the peninsular state’s complex, fragile environments.

The Diversity of Life by Edward O Wilson.

diversityoflife

In this book a master scientist tells the story of how life on earth evolved. Edward O. Wilson eloquently describes how the species of the world became diverse and why that diversity is threatened today as never before. A great spasm of extinction — the disappearance of whole species — is occurring now, caused this time entirely by humans. Unlike the deterioration of the physical environment, which can be halted, the loss of biodiversity is a far more complex problem — and it is irreversible. Defining a new environmental ethic, Wilson explains why we must rescue whole ecosystems, not only individual species. He calls for an end to conservation versus development arguments, and he outlines the massive shift in priorities needed to address this challenge. No writer, no scientist, is more qualified than Edward O. Wilson to describe, as he does here, the grandeur of evolution and what is at stake. “Engaging and nontechnical prose. . . . Prodigious erudition. . . . Original and fascinating insights.” — John Terborgh, New York Review of Books, front page review “Eloquent. . . . A profound and enduring contribution.” — Alan Burdick, Audubon
My Florida by Ernie Lyons

Publications of books “My Florida” and “The Last Cracker Barrel,” compilations of Mr Lyons columns from the Stuart News, can be purchased at Stuart Heritage Museum, 161 SW Flagler Avenue, Stuart, FL.(http://www.stuartheritagemuseum.com)

Here is a blogpost about Ernie Lyons that could simply be emailed.

http://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2015/04/08/remembering-to-enjoy-the-real-florida-ernie-lyons-slrirl/

A Land Remembered by Patrick Smith

A-Land-Remembered-Smith-Patrick-D-9781561641161

A Land Remembered focuses on the fictional story of the MacIveys, who migrated from Georgia into Florida in the mid-19th century. After settling, this family struggles to survive in the harsh environment. First they scratch a living from the land and then learn to round up wild cattle and drive them to Punta Rassa to ship to Cuba. Over three generations, they amass more holdings and money, and move further from their connection to the native, untamed land.

 

And lastly

The River Kidz Present Marty the Manatee

martythemanatee

I love this book and I’m including it because it was geared towards a second grader. It simply is a marvelous accomplishment and enjoyable to read. I sent my niece’s in Colorado a copy each because I want them to know about what goes on here at Aunty Cyndi’s house.

When I call them on the phone they asked me “How is Barney?” then “How are the Dolphins?” then “How are you?”

“The first verse of the River Kidz’ Song, written by River Mom, Nicole Mader, and the River Kidz goes:

“The River Kidz are here; Our mission’s quite clear; We love our river and ALL its critters; Let’s hold it all dear…”

The rest of this wonderful song can be found on page 36 of the new workbook below.

After over a year of creative preparation, and community collaboration, the River Kidz’ 2nd Edition Workbook is here!”

This is from Jacqui’s blog:

The really cool thing about this workbook is that it was written “by kids for kids,” (Jensen Beach High School students for elementary students). The high school students named the main character of the book after Marty Baum, our Indian Riverkeeper.  The students had met Mr Baum in their classroom (of Mrs Crystal Lucas) along with other presenters and field trip guides like the Army Corp of Engineers, South Florida Water Management District, and politicians speaking on the subject…

The books will be going into all second grade public school classrooms and many private school classrooms beginning in February of 2015. Teacher training  will be underway this February at the Environmental Studies Center in Jensen.

River Kidz will make the booklet available to everyone. Some will be given away, and some will be used to raise money at five dollars a booklet. To purchase the booklets, please contact Olivia Sala, administrative assistant for the Rivers Coalition at olivia@riverscoalition.org —-Numbers are limited.

In closing, enjoy the workbook and thank you to Martin County, Superintendent, Laurie J. Gaylord for encouraging the workbook and for her  beautiful  letter in the front of the booklet. Thank you to Martin County School Science Leader, Valerie Gaylord; teacher, Mrs Crystal Lucas; Mom, Mrs Nicole Mader; Sewall’s Point artist, Ms Julia Kelly; Southeastern Printing’s Bluewater Editions’ manager and River Dad, Jason Leonard; to River Kidz founders Evie Flaugh and Naia Mader, now 14/13; years old–they were 10 and 9 when this started,—- to the Knoph Foundation, and the Garden Club of Stuart, and to the hundreds of kids, parents, students, businesses, politicians, state and federal agencies, and especially to Southeastern Printing and the Mader Family who made this concept a reality through education, participation.”

 

So that’s it. I’m going for the top five. Also if you have read any of these books please feel free to write a review and I’ll post it.

Thanks in advance!

 

 

Florida! Let the Good Times Roll!

Florida! Let the Good Times Roll!

florida-fun

Sometimes I think I live in this other world where we see things and then there is this other place where things get reported and the only thing I can say is “huh?”

From the Florida Water Daily

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/palm-beach/fl-lake-water-waste-20150704-story.html

What if instead of draining away about 2 billion gallons of water a day, there were better ways to put that water to use?

“nearly 200 billion gallons of Lake Okeechobee water was drained to the east and west coasts to ease the strain on the erosion-prone dike that protects South Florida from flooding.”

*SEVEN MONTHS OF DRINKING WATER: The amount of Lake Okeechobee water drained east and west and out to sea was enough to supply about seven months of drinking water for the nearly seven million people in Palm Beach County, Broward County, Miami-Dade County and the Florida Keys. Water plants in southeast Florida churn out about 840 million gallons of drinking water a day.

*NEARLY 40 PERCENT OF EVERGLADES’ WATER NEEDS: Everglades advocates have called for moving almost 500 billion gallons of Lake Okeechobee water south each year to help replenish Florida’s struggling River of Grass. The volume of lake water drained east and west for flood control between January and June equated to almost 40 percent of that Everglades restoration goal.”

What can I say. I have posted hundreds of hours of video of people pleading to save our water.

This is recent letter to the Miami Herald from Maggy Hurchella.

http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article28476553.html

When you kill the environment to get more water, you end up with less water and you end up with very dirty water.

This is the same James Moran who lectured a crowded meeting room in May.

The crowd was there to ask the SFWMD Board to buy land and send the water south.

Moran said that was impossible and unnecessary, “And I don’t know why you claim it will save the Dade County water supply. They get their water from wells.”

He finally seems to have figured out that Miami-Dade’s wells are in aquifers that are recharged by water flowing south from Lake Okeechobee.

Too late.

Maggy Reno Hurchalla, Miami”

These are people in charge of our water. We know what’s happening. They don’t.

http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/levelthree/water%20conservation

On the website on SFWMD they have loads of information about water conservation and have been on the news multiple time even having the nerve to tell us to conserve ( I don’t have an issue conserving but I do have an issue with them not conserving. Not just not conserving. Just totally wasting millions and millions of gallons of water send out to tide and destroying our estuary.

Then this happened and i knew the world was just turned upside down.

Rick Scott gets an environmental award.

http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/miami-developer-to-give-gov-rick-scott-environmentalist-award-7782775

“But Rodney Barreto thinks Scott has been a tree-hugging warrior for Mother Gaia. The Miami developer, who also chairs the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida, announced via email this week that at the BlueGreen gala this fall, he’ll honor Scott for his conservation work.

“Governor Scott has been instrumental in helping develop a strong connection between fish and wildlife conservation and traditional outdoors activities like hunting and especially fishing,” Barreto says in a release.

Local environmentalists are aghast at the news. “It’s laughable,” Alan Farago, president of Friends of the Everglades, tells New Times. “In terms of the environment, I think he’s the worst governor in modern Florida history.”

Aghast doesn’t even cover it.”

Fishing. Yes I dare you Rick Scott to come swimming in the Indian River Lagoon.

http://eyeonmiami.blogspot.com/2015/07/gop-puzzled-by-gov-rick-scotts.html?spref=tw

“Today, a report by AP’s Gary Fineout, “Florida Gov. Scott against at odds with Florida Republicans” sheds light on the award, in the context of a deeply strained relationship between court-penalized Republicans, shuddering at the prospect of having to draw fair districts, and an isolated governor.

What to do with a governor hunkered down in his coastal multi-million dollar estate from which he doesn’t emerge, except to his private jet clutching talking points? Give him an environmental award! Cheer up his mysterious spirits, unknowable except to special interests and cronies.”

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/os-environment-award-rick-scott-maxwell-20150728-column.html

“On Tuesday morning, I began reaching out to other sponsors of the event. But Tuesday afternoon, the foundation had removed all the sponsors’ names from its website.”

You can’t make this stuff up.

Even the sponsors know its BS. But it will interesting to see who sponsors this event. Let’s stay tuned for that one.

Here is the new guy he picked for the SFWMD board.

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article29209648.html

Accursio, 52, whose family owns and farms 2,000 acres in South Miami-Dade County, has been among farmers bitterly complaining about Everglades restoration efforts flooding fields and causing crop losses in the region.

HERBERT HOOVER DIKE REHABILITATION STRUCTURE REPLACEMENT

I snitched this from my friend Tiki Steve. Tik and I also have a facebook page where we have been documenting for years!

https://www.facebook.com/SaintLucieRiverofLight

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I had asked him a few months ago about what was going on in the construction world after I wrote

https://cyndi-lenz.com/2015/06/10/acoe-and-the-herbert-hoover-dike-we-should-be-up-in-arms-together/

Are the people south of lake any safer today than they were then?

This is from 2013

http://www.hurricaneanalytics.com/2013/02/three_levee_fact

1.The levee is expected to fail. I know that sounds bad, and it is. FEMA is apparently planning to update flood assessments this summer and redraw flood maps for Palm Beach and Martin counties. These flood maps are expected to be drawn as if the levee around Lake Okeechobee didn’t exist. In other words, they are not counting on the levees to protect against flooding.

2. The Herbert Hoover Dike is in the highest failure category of the Army Corps risk scale. Current efforts are being directed at reducing the risk category, but as it stands (and even after millions of dollars worth of improvements) the levee protecting the area still carries the highest risk classification (DSAC 1) of any dam in the United States.

3. There is no emergency spillway, nor is one planned to be built. There is no good, controlled way to drain off excess water from the lake should a large amount of rain fall in a short amount of time. Lake Okeechobee fills six times faster than it can be drained, and a foot of rainfall would result in 3 to 4 feet of water rise in the lake. Current levees will start to fail when the lake rises above 18.5 feet above mean sea level (it’s at roughly 14 feet currently), and significant levee problems are almost certain to occur when the lake reaches 20 feet over MSL.

HERBERT HOOVER DIKE REHABILITATION STRUCTURE REPLACEMENT
Solicitation No. W912EP-15-R-0013
LOCATION: Multiple Cities, FL (Palm Beach Co.)
ESTIMATED AMOUNT: $25,000,000 to $50,000,000
CONTRACTING METHOD: Competitive Public Bids
BIDS DUE: July 21, 2015 at 2:00 PM (To Owner)
No of Days: 1095
OWNER: US Army Corps of Engineers
701 San Marco Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32232-0019
(904)232-3735 FAX# (904)232-2748
Contact: Tedra Nicole Thompson Phone#:(904)232-2016
USE: Federal – Demolition and removal of the existing Herbert Hoover Dike Culvert 10A and the construction of a new outlet work S-271 at the same location of the existing Culvert 10A. The demolition and reconstruction efforts will be performed in the dry requiring the installation of an earthen cofferdam within Lake Okeechobee and a steel sheep pile (SSP) cofferdam on the landside at the L-8 canal in order to dewater the construction site. To maintain flows between Lake Okeechobee and the L-8 canal, a steel sheet pile canal will be constructed to divert flow from the L-8 canal to a three barrel bypass culvert. The bypass culvert will be constructed with 10-foot diameter HDPE pipe and will be operated during the construction of the new outlet works. The bypass culvert will have a sheet pile headwall on the landside and steel pile supported gates on the lakeside. The new outlet works structure will include cast-in-place reinforced concrete headwalls (lakeside and landside), conduit and endwalls. Combination flap/slide gates will be installed in each bay of the lakeside headwall. The outlet works will consist of four (4) barrels that vary in geometry from 10-foot square at the headwalls to 7-foot high by 13.5-foot wide rectangles through the embankment. The reconstructed embankment will feature a cutoff wall, and impervious core, a vertical chimney drain, and a horizontal drain and filter. The reconstructed embankment will match the existing crest elevation of the dike at the site. Riprap will be installed along the lakeside embankment face for erosion protection. A steel sheet pile groin structure will be installed on the lakeside to reduce sedimentation in the entrance canal. A control building will be installed on the landside work platform. Work also includes the demolition and removal of two existing residential structures at the project site and clearing an electrical corridor.
DIVISION:
Div1 general requirements
Div2 existing conditions, demolition, engineering control of asbestos containing materials
Div3 concrete, structural cast-in-place concrete forming, concrete accessories, concrete reinforcing, cast-in-place concrete, concrete finishing, concrete curing
Div5 metals, metal fabrications
Div8 openings, stainless-steel doors and frames, door hardware, louvers
Div9 finishes, painting
Div13 special construction
Div25 integrated automation, integrated automation instrumentation and terminal devices for facility equipment
Div26 electrical, facility lightning protection, interior lighting, exterior lighting
Div31 earthwork, erosion controls, steel piles, timber piles
Div32 exterior improvements, asphalt paving, sodding
Div33 storm drainage utilities, concrete culverts
Div35 waterway and marine construction
Div40 instrumentation and control for process systems

NOTES:

NAICS Code: 237990
Liquidated Damages – $5,431.00 Per Calendar Day of Delay & $,1358.00 Per Calendar Day for establishment of landscaping.
Plans: Owner
BID BOND: 20%
Certified/Cashiers Check
PERF. BOND:100 %
PAYMENT BOND:100%
A Site Visit was held on June 17, 2015 at 9:00 AM. Please call Ingrid Bon, Canal Point Communtiy Center, 12860 US Hwy 441, Canal Point FL, 561-472-8888 for additional information.
Industry Type: General/Civil Joint Projects
Industry Sub Type: Dams/Reservoir

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jobsjobsjobs!

http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/LakeOkeechobee/HerbertHooverDike.aspx

Herbert Hoover Dike (HHD) is a 143-mile earthen dam that surrounds Lake Okeechobee, the heart of the Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades system.  The original dike was constructed with gravel, rock, limestone, sand, and shell.  The project reduces impacts from flooding as a result of high lake levels for a large area of south Florida.

Since 2007, the Corps has made a significant investment, over $300 million, in projects designed to reduce the risk of catastrophic failure of the aging structure. Actions taken include installing a cutoff wall, removing and replacing water control structures (culverts), and conducting a variety of studies and technical reviews to help ensure the safety of south Florida residents. Corps teams work daily on the dike, providing contractor oversight, quality assurance, inspections, and dike operations and maintenance. Much progress is also being made behind the scenes at the District, where a team of engineers, hydrologists, geologists, scientists, contract and real estate specialists, budget analysts, and many others, work to ensure the very best rehabilitation strategies are applied to the dike today and in the future.

Here is a site called Florida Bids. You see whats being bid on in your hood.

http://www.floridabids.net/bid-opportunities/2015/07/16/

http://www.news-press.com/story/news/local/2014/10/04/herbet-hoover-dike-region-risk/16737395/

Assessing the risk

Florida International University’s International Hurricane Research Center lists Lake Okeechobee as the No. 2 threat of catastrophic flooding from a natural disaster, behind only New Orleans.

“The current condition of Herbert Hoover Dike poses a grave and imminent danger to the people and the environment of South Florida. In this, we join many other investigators, from grassroots engineers to eminent specialists, who for 20 years have warned that Herbert Hoover Dike needs to be fixed,” reads a South Florida Water Management District report from 2006. “We can add only that it needs to be fixed now, and it needs to be fixed right. We firmly believe that the region’s future depends on it.”

The report goes on to say that making the dike truly safe would likely cost more than the Army Corps of Engineers entire budget for projects across the nation, which was $4.7 billion in 2013. Billions of dollars in Everglades restoration could be lost in one event, which could also damage drinking water aquifers and cause irreversible harm to Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve.

It’s not just engineers and nearby residents who are concerned. Lloyd’s of London issued a firm warning to companies that insure homes and property in South Florida.

This is from 1989

http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/pg_grp_tech_pubs/portlet_tech_pubs/dre-274.pdf

page 18 shows you where this is on the PBC/Martin County line

on page 15 they talk about backpumping saying there were no environmental concerns.

I can’t find a photo of the actual place so if any of your guys do send it over here.

This has been going on for way too long. If you people that live below the lake want to be safe I suggest you pay attention.

Throwback Thurs: What was penny a pound and make the polluter pay?

Throwback Thurs: What was penny a pound and make the polluter pay?

As always, if you have something to add please add it.

What was penny a pound?

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

“Restoration of the Everglades, however, briefly became a bipartisan cause in national politics. A controversial penny-a-pound (2 cent/kg) tax on sugar was proposed to fund some of the necessary changes to be made to help decrease phosphorus and make other improvements to water. State voters were asked to support the tax, and environmentalists paid $15 million to encourage the issue. Sugar lobbyists responded with $24 million in advertising to discourage it and succeeded; it became the most expensive ballot issue in state history.[62] How restoration might be funded became a political battleground and seemed to stall without resolution. However, in the 1996 election year, Republican senator Bob Dole proposed that Congress give the State of Florida $200 million to acquire land for the Everglades. Democratic Vice President Al Gore promised the federal government would purchase 100,000 acres (400 km2) of land in the EAA to turn it over for restoration. Politicking reduced the number to 50,000 acres (200 km2), but both Dole’s and Gore’s gestures were approved by Congress.

http://aec.ifas.ufl.edu/agcommcase/sugar.html

The purpose of this case study was to examine the impact that environmental activism can have on agriculture by focusing on the Florida sugar industry’s reaction during the 1996 “sugar tax” amendment campaign. During the campaign, proponents and opponents of the three proposed Everglades-related amendments to Florida’s constitution spent more than $40 million to sway the public. As a result of the public relations and political campaigns, communicators from Florida agricultural industries realized that they must increase their efforts to project a positive public image.

In 1996, the issue finally was contested when a small, but well-funded environmental activist group named Save Our Everglades Committee authored three proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution, collected enough signatures to get the proposals on the November 1996 ballot, and began a campaign aimed at voters in support of the amendments (U.S. Sugar Corporation, 1997). The Florida sugar industry spent $24 million and the Save Our Everglades Committee (SOE) spent over $14 million on the most expensive public relations campaign in the state’s history (Marcus, 1997). The three proposed amendments were as follows:

• Amendment Four: if passed, this amendment would put a penny-a-pound tax on all sugar grown in Florida. If passed, it has been estimated that sugar farmers would have had to pay $1 billion (U.S. Sugar Corporation, 1997).
• Amendment Five: this proposed amendment, commonly known as the “polluters pay” amendment stated that those in the Everglades Agricultural Area “who cause water pollution within the Everglades Protection area or the Everglades Agricultural area shall be primarily responsible” for paying the costs of clean-up (Kleindienst, 1997).
• Amendment Six: this amendment was designed to establish a state trust fund reserved for Everglades clean-up.

The fight

For several months before Election Day in November, Florida voters were the targets of television and radio advertisements, direct mail pieces, persuasive phone calls, and door-to-door campaigning — all related to the proposed amendments. The sugar industry, which is comprised of two large corporations, a farming cooperative, and numerous small, independent farmers, was unprepared to face a serious challenge from a well-organized activist group. In addition, the industry was surprised by early polls that indicated widespread public support for the measures.

The sugar industry considered the proposed amendments a threat to its very existence. Seldom if ever before had a single agricultural commodity been singled out as “primarily responsible” for nonpoint-source pollution (pollution that is not the result of a direct, detectable environmental accident or contamination). One sugar industry statement said that “there are few times in the life of a business when one event can have a literal life or death impact; for U. S. Sugar and the Florida sugar industry, the threat of the $1 billion tax was such an event” (U.S. Sugar Corporation, 1997).

For two months, the public relations battle continued, with each side of the argument accusing the other of distorting facts and deceiving the public. On November 6, Amendment Four was defeated, while Amendments Five and Six passed. Although the second two amendments passed, the sugar industry claimed the victory since the penny-per-pound tax was voted down.

Over the course of the campaign, the sugar industry responded to being referred to as “Big Sugar” (a derogatory term) by attacking the founders of SOE. The industry referred to chairperson Mary Barley as “a millionaire land development heiress” and to financial supporter Paul Tudor Jones as a “mega-wealthy Connecticut commodities broker” (U.S. Sugar Corporation, 1997). In addition to attempting to promote a negative image of SOE, the sugar industry also aired television and radio advertising portraying employees of the South Florida Water Management District (the regulatory agency with primary jurisdiction over the Everglades) as bureaucrats with a reputation for squandering public money on luxuries such as limousines and jet planes. This particular advertisement provoked then-Governor Lawton Chiles (who had remained quiet about the amendments issues thus far) to write a letter to the sugar industry chastising it for intentionally damaging the reputation of the water management district’s employees (Marcus, 1997).

saveeg

The sugar industry also distributed a number of press releases geared toward informing the public about the progress the sugar industry had already made toward cleaning up farm run-off. The message conveyed in several of the releases (that phosphorous levels in farm water had been reduced by 68% in just three years of voluntary management practices) was well-received by the mass media. In addition, just two weeks before the election, the start of the sugar harvest was delayed so that almost 2,000 employees could go door-to-door and personally ask communities to vote “no” (U.S. Sugar Corporation, 1997).”

An amazing effort by Save the Everglades!

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

In environmental law, the polluter pays principle is enacted to make the party responsible for producing pollution responsible for paying for the damage done to the natural environment. It is regarded as a regional custom because of the strong support it has received in most Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and European Community (EC) countries.

http://www.everglades.org/2012/02/enforce-polluters-pay/

(Miami Herald LTE, Jan 31, 2012) For 15 years Florida taxpayers have been carrying dirty water for the sugar billionaires. When Florida’s voters passed the Polluters Pay Amendment to Florida Constitution, the sugar industry was supposed to pay 100 percent of their pollution cleanup costs. In one of the most cynical abdications of governance in history, the Legislature has refused to implement Polluters Pay. In doing so, they have dumped billions in extra property taxes on the homeowners of South Florida and enabled Big Sugar to dump millions of tons of excess pollution on the Everglades.

So not only do the sugar billionaires get unearned taxpayer dollars through unnecessary federal import quotas and subsidies, but they get their pollution cleanup costs paid by the taxpayers of South Florida. Our legislators need to swear off their addiction to sugar campaign money and make them pay all their cleanup costs.

Albert Slap, Key Biscayne

Fast forward to our present legislators and Rick Scott and you’ll hear in the video they changed the law.

http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-make-polluters-pay-in-everglades/2109203

The measure, HB 7065, would rewrite the state’s plan to clean pollution flowing from farms in the Everglades’ agricultural zones to the protection areas in the south. Supporters say the legislation is needed to codify the agreement between Scott and the federal government that calls on Florida to spend $880 million over 12 years to build storm water treatment and water storage to intercept runoff from the farms, preventing further pollution of an ecosystem that is vital to the state’s economy, environment and drinking water needs.

The legislation, though, does far more than that. It would roll back the enforcement of water discharge permits, clearing the way for farming operations to pollute regardless of how much the state erred in issuing them a permit or policing it. That opens a door for polluters and increases the pressure on regulators at the South Florida Water Management District to follow the Legislature’s lead in going soft on the industry. Even the district opposes that measure. It would rather keep the permitting process intact than create a public impression that the system is corrupt.

The measure also caps the industry’s financial obligation for funding the cleanup. While the legislation would extend the $25 per acre agriculture tax until 2024 — eight years longer than under current law — it holds that those payments and improved management practices would “fulfill” the industry’s obligation for the cleanup under Florida’s “Polluter Pay” requirement in the state Constitution.

That is an outright sellout. Extending the agriculture tax generates less than $7 million per year — pennies compared to the $880 million that taxpayers will spend to treat the polluted water. The very governor who forced the water management districts to cut their budgets now intends to ask Florida taxpayers to commit $32 million a year for 12 years for this program — all in addition to the money that will come from property owners in South Florida. Meanwhile the industry responsible for two-thirds of the pollution entering the Everglades walks away from any long-term obligations even before the new water projects are in place.

Just two weeks into the legislative session, HB 7065 has sailed through two committees and is headed for the House floor. This bill has leadership’s blessing, which is why Scott and the Senate are likely the last defense. Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-New Port Richey, who is shepherding the Senate bill, which is much better, needs to do what the House and several of his bay area counterparts failed to do and insist that the polluters pay their share. Shifting these costs onto the public is unfair, and every dollar the state spends on behalf of polluters is a dollar it won’t have for police, schools and other legitimate priorities.

http://audubonoffloridanews.org/?p=13332

Audubon and other organizations have objected to these changes to the Everglades Forever Act. We are hoping for some serious discussions about increasing the amount of money sugar growers pay to clean up the pollution coming off their land. We have also objected to the part of the bill that nullifies enforcement of discharge permits. This section of the bill seems deliberately written to eliminate the basis of a recent legal challenge to three discharge permits for the dirtiest Everglades farms.

The Senate companion bill – SB 768 – has none of the offending provisions.

Why Your Voice is Important

The sugar industry has dozens of lobbyists.Money has been given to legislators and political committees. Many members of the Florida House have already made up their mind on this bill. Some have been, by their own admission, heavily lobbied by the sugar industry.

– See more at: http://audubonoffloridanews.org/?p=13332#sthash.Lbu29sfm.dpuf

 hypocracy

“Back when he first ran for governor of Florida as a self-styled outsider, Rick Scott lambasted his opponent in the Republican primary for taking campaign money from U.S. Sugar, one of the worst corporate polluters of the Everglades.

Scott indignantly squeaked that Bill McCollum had been “bought and paid for” by U.S. Sugar. He said the company’s support of McCollum was “disgusting.”

“I can’t be bought,” Scott declared. Seriously, that’s what the man said. Stop gagging and read on.

Four years later, the governor’s re-election campaign is hungrily raking in money from U.S. Sugar, more than $534,000 so far.”

 So to review, and please if I got this wrong help me out!
In 1996 the Save the Everglades Committee authored three proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution, collected enough signatures to get the proposals on the November 1996 ballot.

Amendment Four: if passed, this amendment would put a penny-a-pound tax on all sugar grown in Florida. If passed, it has been estimated that sugar farmers would have had to pay $1 billion (U.S. Sugar Corporation, 1997).
Amendment Five: this proposed amendment, commonly known as the “polluters pay” amendment stated that those in the Everglades Agricultural Area “who cause water pollution within the Everglades Protection area or the Everglades Agricultural area shall be primarily responsible” for paying the costs of clean-up (Kleindienst, 1997).
Amendment Six: this amendment was designed to establish a state trust fund reserved for Everglades clean-up.

We lost the penny-a -pound tax but we got polluters pay and the Everglades trust. Then under Rick Scott, The measure, HB 7065, would rewrite the state’s plan to clean pollution flowing from farms in the Everglades’ agricultural zones to the protection areas in the south. Supporters say the legislation is needed to codify the agreement between Scott and the federal government that calls on Florida to spend $880 million over 12 years to build storm water treatment and water storage to intercept runoff from the farms, preventing further pollution of an ecosystem that is vital to the state’s economy, environment and drinking water needs.

What it ended up doing was rolling back the enforcement of water discharge permits, clearing the way for farming operations to pollute regardless of how much the state erred in issuing them a permit or policing it. This opens a door for polluters and increases the pressure on regulators at the South Florida Water Management District to follow the Legislature’s lead in going soft on the industry.

Then, the very governor who forced the water management districts to cut their budgets now intends to ask Florida taxpayers to commit $32 million a year for 12 years for this program — all in addition to the money that will come from property owners in South Florida. Meanwhile the industry responsible for two-thirds of the pollution entering the Everglades walks away from any long-term obligations even before the new water projects are in place.

So we went from polluters paying to us paying, the voters.

Remember us.

Slick.

Sick.

Slicky RIcky

omg

But don’t forget folks your getting ten bucks back on your inflated cell phone bill and no taxes on your textbooks.

Where was the news when this happened?

So it all comes down to one thing really. We have to make sure that we have legislators that cannot be bought off by an industry that pollutes, that really does nothing for our economy and fills the pockets of corrupt politicians. We have to pay attention and we must vote.

 

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

coker-full

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

Michael Grunwald at the Elliot Museum

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Last night, with a sold out crowd,

Michael  Grunwald came to talk to us all at the our new and improved Elliot Museum. The event was sponsored by BullSugar and anonymous supporters. It was first of what I hope will be many lectures we can attend at Elliot.

The video taken will be available at Elliot and also from Bullsugar so other’s will be able to watch.

I bought my third copy of this book last night. I have no idea where the first copy went and the second is out there somewhere. This one is signed so it stays in the bookcase.

This is one of my top ten favorite books ever. It’s not an easy read not because it’s hard to understand. There is a huge amount of detail. In order to understand the sad sad story of Everglades you have to understand the detail.  You have to understand the plumbing. The Universe created The Everglades. Man screwed it up. We screwed up the plumbing

 

This was suppose to be a storage project yet there is no storage.

 

and he also said “There is no Plan B”

Which is correct. I think I said the same thing yesterday because we never asked (or maybe we did and they just never answered)  them what was their plan to stop the discharges, recharge the aquifers, send water to the Everglades, stop salt water intrusion and prevent sea level rise. What are the people who are in charge of the plumbing doing to protect our water and deal with these issues?

https://cyndi-lenz.com/2015/05/13/if-its-thursday-its-sfwmd/

https://cyndi-lenz.com/2015/04/10/so-here-i-am-telling-the-board-of-govenors-about-my-trip-to-the-beach/

 

Also noted Rober Coker     was in the house. Robert is Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, of United States Sugar Corporation. 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 lives here. He is also a trustee on the http://www.stuartmartinchamber.org/trustees.asp

(That’s interesting)

 

People got frustrated at the end because they felt Michael was defending big sugar by saying they had a right to be a business, and they have cleaned up their act. (you’ll have to watch the video when its released).

I think at the end it got a little mooshed up and Michael does not quite understand what our particular issues are  here right now.

Yes, big sugar has a right to be a company, but most companies have to live and die by their own devices not on subsidies created by Corporate Wellfare. So Big Sugar pull yourselves up by your bootstraps. We don’t get Medicaid Expansion why should you get corporate subsidies.

Next, we went out there to talk to talk to these  guys and they  vilified us.

When this whole thing happened in 2013 we were told we had to have discharges to protect the people south of the Lake. What has been done to fix this particular spot so these people will be safe and the lake can hold more water? Why is this not fixed two years later?

The Big sugar corporation is the one behind us not getting the land to build the reservoir. It’s their influence in Tallahassee and SFWMD that is in the way of stopping our discharges, recharging the aquifers, stopping salt water intrusion, and sea level rise. Big Sugar is standing in the way of fixing the plumbing.

 

I could write forever and bore you all to tears but the bottom line is the bottom line.

The plumbing has to be fixed and what is the plan to do so?

Thank You Michael for coming! Hopefully one day you can come back and bring your family and go swimming in our lagoon.

Everyone else be sure to look for this video on Bullsugar.