“Uncertainty is the worst of all evils until the moment when reality makes us regret uncertainty.”
The news out of Palatka this morning has confirmed my worst fears.
As I sit here at Barker’s View HQ at 8:53am on a crisp, clear fall morning, I’ve come to realize that it’s going to take more than three-fingers of fine bourbon whiskey in my Café Bustelo to get a handle on this one.
It’s ugly, so I’ll save you the cruel humor.
Smart people are awakening to the confirmation that the Sunshine State has been seized by the scum of the earth – and our way will be dark and slippery for a long time to come.
As usual, there are more questions than answers:
How long, Oh Lord, will the good people of Florida be saddled with the utterly corrupt sneak thief, John Miklos?
How long will we suffer a Governor’s personal appointee who openly plays both sides against the center, then gives his figurative middle finger to any regulatory agency or investigative journalist with the temerity to question him?
The answer is: Who knows?
It’s official. We live in the most corrupt state in the union.
On Tuesday, the all-powerful St. John’s River Water Management District’s governing board – you know, that select group of political insiders appointed by the Governor to conserve and protect our sensitive water supply and wetlands – voted to reappoint Long John Miklos to an unprecedented fourth consecutive term as chairman.
We are doomed. That’s all ye know, and all ye need to know.
You may recall that Mr. Miklos owns Orlando-based, Bio Tech Consultants, Inc., an environmental consultancy that has had an incredible run of success in ensuring that his clients – generally big-time developers – get what they damn well want from the very regulatory agency that he lords over.
In the Scott administration’s typical “we do what we want” approach to the myriad of shady deals and backhanded power appointments that have plagued the Governor for years, the SJRWMD board failed to even consider that Chairman-for-Life Miklos is currently the subject of investigations by both the Florida Ethics Commission – and the State Attorney’s Office.
To say that John Miklos is a one-man environmental wrecking ball is an understatement – but, in my view, it is his unbridled public corruption that sets him apart from some of Rick Scott’s other jackals with a title.
You might also remember that Long John commanded $155.00 per hour from the City of DeBary to ramrod the acquisition of 102 acres of sensitive conservation lands owned by the district that the city wanted to churn into a transit-oriented development near the SunRail station.
While working as a contract employee of DeBary, Miklos attended a meeting between city officials and representatives of the St. John’s River Water Management District while serving as the district’s board chairman.
You read that right.
In my view, that meeting best represents the predicate overt act required to prove a criminal conspiracy.
In a state where you can hire the chairman of a regulatory agency to lobby on your behalf before that same organization, anything is possible. And trust me, that rabble at the City of DeBary knew exactly what they were doing when they got in bed with him.
But those flagrant shitheels in DeBary City Hall are far from Miklos’ only co-conspirators.
According to the excellent reporting of the Daytona Beach News-Journal’s Dina Pulver, “Miklos has declared a conflict of interest before a board vote more than a dozen times in the three years since he was appointed chairman in November 2013. But most permits aren’t reviewed by the board. His company has been a party to at least 85 permit applications to the St. Johns district since he was named chairman.”
For the record, the number of permit applications to the St. Johns and South Florida water districts that list Bio Tech as their consultant doubled within the two-years after Miklos became head of the agency’s governing board.
If you think Governor Rick Scott gives two-shits, stop fooling yourself.
That reptilian asshole is the poster boy for the problem of quid pro quo corruption – and he has no qualms about selling his soul, or the State of Florida, to anyone who extends a buck in his direction.
In fact, the only board member to openly oppose putting the fox back in charge of the hen house was our own Maryam Ghyabi – owner of an Ormond Beach-based engineering firm and sister of the High Panjandrum of Florida politics, Mortenza “Mori” Hosseini.
Prior to the vote, Ms. Ghyabi voiced her concern that someone other than Miklos should be granted the opportunity to ascend to the leadership role.
Unfortunately, her plea went whistling over the heads of her fellow board members who immediately shit on her suggestion and voted 6-1 to reappoint Long John as chairman of the board.
Whether this public insult is enough to raise Mori’s infamous wrath is yet to be seen.
Or, perhaps Mr. Hosseini needs Long John’s considerable influence for an up-coming project?
Who knows. It’s a moot point – these people always get what they pay for.
What I do know is that despite on-going criminal investigations – and blistering editorials by two influential regional newspapers – the Scott administration ignored the gamble and gave the nod that put this brazen greed-head back at the helm of Florida’s most powerful regulatory agency.
Because I’m a hopeless romantic – given the heat and exposure – I would have bet you a fistful of new hundreds that even a congenital crook like Rick Scott would have tossed his buddy out of the SJRWMD wheelhouse like a rotten mackerel.
But I was wrong.
We are living in the biggest whorehouse in the world.
Get used to feeling dirty.
Unless and until We, the People, demand that our government officials separate their personal finances from the public agencies they oversee, you can expect more of the same from Rick Scott and his cabal of treacherous scum and rip-off artists who masquerade as ‘public servants.’
The greed-hogs are fully in charge, they have seized the high ground, and their priorities are different than ours.
Aphonse Karr was right. Reality is often more terrifying than our wildest speculations.