As regular readers of this forum know, I take a pretty dim view of those who rape the land for personal profit – specifically, unscrupulous real estate developers and the sutlery of lawyers, fixers and political insiders who facilitate their massive and continuing environmental crimes.
These parasitic bastards have descended on the Sunshine State like a shit-storm of predatory, gluttonous money-hogs – corrupting local elected rubes with grandiose ideas and open quid pro quo bribery, all while taking full advantage of the Scott administrations complete disemboweling of Florida’s environmental regulatory and oversight agencies.
Florida has become a surreal place where the wolves are allowed to greedily gorge themselves, churn sensitive wildlife habitat and conservation areas into primordial ooze, and build even more strip centers, cookie-cutter condo’s and gaudy housing developments with absurdly pretentious names like “Riviera Bella” and “Magnolia Preserve,” all strategically designed by real estate marketers to better fleece retirees and refugees from the northeast.
And under the current “economic development” scheme employed by most local governments, they do it almost entirely with our tax dollars.
If you still need proof that these insatiable thieves are actively feeding on the very soul of our state despite dire warnings of the consequences to our natural resources, please read Dr. Robert Knight’s outstanding piece in the Daytona Beach News-Journal, “Building a springs restoration road map.”
Dr. Knight is the director of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute, a not-for-profit research organization focused on improving our understanding of springs ecology and fostering the development of science-based education and management actions needed to restore and protect springs throughout Florida.
Suffice it to say, Dr. Knight is no lightweight – he’s been studying the ecology and hydrology of Florida’s aquifer for over 35-years.
The crux of his message: “Florida’s springs are dying due to excessive development and lax enforcement of environmental laws, and this train wreck can only be stopped by the coordinated efforts of the concerned public and state officials.”
In my view, our current “state officials” have created an environment where abject avarice rules the day, and our regulatory agencies have been neutered down to mere rubber stamps – if not blatant co-conspirators – for facilitating environmental crimes by well-connected developers.
We live in a place where scumbags like John Miklos – the uber-powerful chairman of the St. John’s River Water Management District’s governing board – you know, the very watchdog charged with protecting our water supply – can openly sell both his soul, and his huge influence, by representing private clients of his obscene “environmental consultancy” in front of the very agency he is sworn to oversee.
It is beyond ludicrous – its criminal – and the City of DeBary’s recent attempt to surreptitiously acquire and develop the Gemini Springs Annex is a shining local example of how, and why, this environmental thuggery has become so prevalent in Florida.
According to Dr. Knights piece, during a recent symposium on issues adversely affecting our springs, former employees of the state’s environmental agencies made it clear that the current leadership, both in Tallahassee and the water management districts, cannot be relied upon to enforce existing environmental laws intended to protect springs. “Political pressure to accelerate development is just too great for agency staff to oppose.”
I think that sums it up.
If you think Governor Rick Scott gives two-shits, you’re fooling yourself – he’s the poster boy for this gross form of quid pro quo corruption – a reptilian asshole with no qualms about selling the whole damn state to anyone who throws a buck in his direction.
Governor Scott and his wealthy cronies will couch it as “economic development” (our state’s code word for open graft, political corruption and ethical morbidity) but he knows as well as you do that it’s common thievery.
As most of you know, I’m not an optimist. In fact, I am dark and brooding. Most people can’t be around that level of gloom for very long, and I have come to understand and accept that.
But if you seek the truth, it is necessary to take the self-protective blinders off.
I am convinced that our system of governance in Florida has transmogrified into an open kleptocracy – a Turkish Bazaar where big money and corporate oligarchs rule and political influence is bought and sold to the highest bidder.
However, it appears that Dr. Knight believes our priceless natural springs can still be saved from total destruction.
He trusts that a “knowledgeable and concerned public” still has the power to counteract what he so aptly describes as “the seemingly invincible influence of dark money.”
I hope to God he’s right.
I encourage everyone to take a moment to sign the petition for “Floridian’s Clean Water Declaration Campaign.”
This grassroots effort is committed to the simple premise that the people of Florida have an inalienable right to:
Clean drinking water whether that water is drawn from public sources or private wells.
Safe lakes, streams, springs, rivers, canals and coastal waters for swimming and fishing.
Protection from water pollution and its effects.
Know the sources of pollution that threaten Florida’s waters.
Protection from water privatization and its effects.
Abundant water for drinking, fishing and recreation.
And that the people of Florida, the state government, and the industries that benefit from Florida’s natural resources have the responsibility to:
Stop pollution at its source rather than allowing it to enter our waters.
Protect Florida’s waters, as well as the people who depend on them, from over-consumption and privatization.
Protect the natural environment which is critical to the health of Florida’s people, wildlife and economy.
Provide clean water for future generations.
Unfortunately, we live in a strange time and place where our elected officials – and the regulatory agents who are sworn to protect our precious natural resources – blatantly steal from those they are sworn to serve, while federal officials in a position to do something about it stand idle.
As Dr. Knight suggests – it really is up to us.
In my view, joining quality efforts like the Floridian’s Clean Water Declaration campaign is a thumb in the eye – a proud middle-finger to the face – of powerful greed-hogs and corrupt politicians.
Please find the petition here: We Want Clean Water