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!

 

 

Advertisements

The very funny local Liberty Caucus. Striped men in tights.

The very funny local Liberty Caucus.

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.

photo

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.

photo

and this

photo

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.

http://thelibertycaucus.com/category/news/local/

All kinds of fun things here like

“Treasure Coast June War on Freedom Report

June was an abysmal month for freedom on the Treasure Coast as 290 area residents were violently abducted at gunpoint by men in costumes for non-violent vices.

Saint Lucie

June was a terrible month for freedom in Saint Lucie as costumed men with guns abducted and caged 177 people for non-violent vices.

Indian River

Indian River saw a much lower total with 57 people being kidnapped and caged by costumed men with guns for non-violent vices.

Martin

A total of 56 citizens were abducted at gunpoint by men in costumes for alleged non-violent vices.”

Who are these costumed men who are kidnapping and caging people? If my friend Gayle Ryan was in town she would say “Are they single?”

Did they look like this?

did they look like this?

If the police are costumed men with guns am I a costumed female with a stethoscope?

and then there was this

http://thelibertycaucus.com/visualized-police-militarization-in-florida-and-the-treasure-coast/#.VaG5fUV_h7k

are you sure it wasn’t like this?

and this guy talking about train socialism ( can a train be a socialist?)

http://thelibertycaucus.com/all-aboard-florida-railway-socialism-and-safety/#.VaG7fkV_h7k

and here is someone called Brightlight

http://thelibertycaucus.com/sky-is-falling-chorus-about-all-aboard-florida-simply-misinformed/#.VaG8UkV_h7k

and then Bright light wrote this which I thought was pretty funny. Good stuff Bright Light

A Rain Ban.

http://thelibertycaucus.com/indian-river-lagoon-treasure-coast-rain-ban-imminent/#.VaG86UV_h7k

She wrote:

“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.

http://thelibertycaucus.com/?s=eve+samples&submit=Search#.VaG9hkV_h7k

and that made me sad.

I felt terrible because I was having such a good laugh and then this.

You can go over and search. It’s a good search engine and also has a store where you can buy all kinds of nifty things. Like stickers and books. You can buy the Libertarian Manifesto for 11 bucks!

http://thelibertycaucus.com/shop/#.VaG-X0V_h7k

I love manifestos. Here are some other people that wrote manifestos.

kazinski

kazinski manafesto

holmes

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: gatorlandrhett@hotmail.com

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rhettl (Thanks Kenny!)

15099e1

and works here:

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: 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”

DSC_0016

US Sugar

US Sugar

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_Sugar_Corporation

DSC_0031

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.

DSC_0022

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

SFWMD: Employee Review: Advice to Management. Pray for no catastrophe because you won’t be able to deal with one.

@SFWMD

@JaxStrong

@joenegronfl

@RepMurphyFL

@SteveCrisafulli

Remember this day. The day of Issac. I’ll never forget. I thought I was going to marooned on Floresta. I thought the river was overflowed.. The water was half way up the mailboxes , the ground was caving in on Primavista, Federal was totally flooded. All the news channels were focused on down south and boy did those folks have it bad.

http://gotowncrier.com/2012/09/letter-sfwmd-to-blame-for-the-flooding/

shot the day of issac going north on the Roosevelt bridge

shot the day of issac going north on the Roosevelt bridge

But the SFWMD is pointing their long fingers at everyone else. First, they blame Acreage residents for “building in a swamp, and they deserve what they get.” Well, for the record, The Acreage is not and never was a swamp — at least not before the SFWMD came onto the scene. The vast majority of land in The Acreage is scrub land, not swamp land. Pine trees don’t grow in swamps.

Now, more recently, the SFWMD is blaming Gov. Rick Scott for the flooding. They claim that he cut their funding, which somehow caused the canals not to work right. But Rick Scott has been governor for only a few years. Why hasn’t the SFWMD fixed the canals previously? So basically, the SFWMD can try blaming others for their negligence, but ultimately, the flooding was all their fault — not the Indian Trail Improvement District, not the Acme Improvement District, not Rick Scott, not Isaac, not Santa Claus and not anyone but the management of SFWMD.

Employee Review from Indeed

http://www.indeed.com/cmp/South-Florida-Water-Management-District/reviews

Best Days are in the Past
HR Professional (Former Employee), West Palm Beach, FLMay 8, 2014
Pros: benefits and co-workers, working in beautiful s fl
Cons: executive management, hr and compensation
Politics overwhelmed every work day with the science and technology taking a back seat.
Yes (9)No (1)

employee review

http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Employee-Review-South-Florida-Water-Management-District-RVW5935370.htm

FEB 2015

OK place to work, but VERY political environment.

Current Employee – Senior Real Estate Professional in West Palm Beach, FL

I have been working at South Florida Water Management District full-time (More than 10 years)

Recommends
Positive Outlook

Pros

Benefits such as health insurance, vacation leave, sick leave and holidays are all very good. The work itself is fulfilling. Central Palm Beach County, Florida location is good.

Cons

Three words – Political, Political, Political. The SFWMD is dictated by the Governor, and it was never so bad as now. Since the new governor came into office four years ago, the organization has become mediocre (versus the envy of the world) and the employees have lost numerous benefits including paid vacation accrual, holidays, educational reimbursements, leave buyout at termination and a much weakened defined benefit program.

Advice to Management

Do the right thing regardless of what the state politicos want you to do. Make efforts to regain trust and loyalty of your employees.

JAN 2015

Used to be a family, now it is a political whip for the Gov.

Former Employee – Anonymous Employee

I worked at South Florida Water Management District full-time (More than 10 years)

Recommends
Neutral Outlook

Pros

Great benefits, however getting worse with the current political agendas. Great work life balance and investing opportunities. For an agency of the State, they provide a semi-competitive salary. Excellent computer technology and top of the line systems. Better than even some large private companies, this organization attempts to provide the best tools to it’s employees in order to be more efficient.

Cons

After the reorganization, moral has dwindled. Benefits continue to be cut, and the agency is headed toward being run like a state agency. Highly political. Decisions often made contradict laws and rules of Florida.

Advice to Management

Don’t lose the “family” feeling by beating up employees just to satisfy the Governor.

Dec 2014

Used to be a great place to do great work

Current Employee – Anonymous Employee

I have been working at South Florida Water Management District full-time (More than 10 years)

Doesn’t Recommend
Negative Outlook

Pros

The work has the potential to be very fulfilling and meaningful. Above average benefits.

Cons

Working for a governor and state legislator who think government employees are akin to welfare cheats. Pay is below the market rate (and that’s OK) – but now no raises for 7 years, people who are working at higher levels still aren’t getting promoted, and work that is supposed to be getting done, isn’t because the staffing has been cut back too far.

Advice to Management

Pray for no catastrophe because you won’t be able to deal with one. No enough of the right (trained) staff and funds.

Yikes. Not what you want to be reading right before Hurricane Season.

This is already happening.

Yes they have used eminent domain before.

http://florida.newszap.com/okeechobeenorthlake/119601-113/luna-family-continues-to-fight-sfwmd-in-court-over-land

“OKEECHOBEE—During eminent domain trial proceedings Wednesday, surveyors from the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) admitted that property the district is trying to take was never surveyed.

The district is trying to acquire over 300 acres along the Kissimmee River in northern Okeechobee County that belongs to members of the Luna family. The district now says the property is needed for the Kissimmee River Restoration Project.

“The family is willing to grant them easements, that’s all they (SFWMD) need,” said Mr. Wright.

But instead of taking easements, the district is also wanting to take approximately 263 acres in fee simple. This means the SFWMD would then own that property outright and could do whatever it wants with the land.”

As we can see SFWMD is not the happiest place on earth. Not only have they screwed up but somehow they have made what was a non partisan issue partisan. All this time we have been going there they just told us they couldn’t do what we asked but they never said “We think we have a better idea.” Why?  Because they don’t.  They apparently don’t believe in sea level rise, or salt water intrusion, or in CERP that was suppose to be a water storage project south of the lake, or the fact that Everglades are dying, and wells in south florida are filling up with salt water.  They are full speed ahead to privatize our water. Stay tuned to a water bill near you.

what ever happens we’re gonna need a bigger boat.

Michael Grunwald at the Elliot Museum

IMG_0342    

 

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.