Manatees don’t vote

I hate it when elected officials – and those appointed to protect our threatened environment – piss down our backs and tell us it’s raining. . . 

In a recent article by reporter Brenno Carillo writing in The Daytona Beach News-Journal we learned of the tragic death of another distressed manatee found in a New Smyrna Beach canal.

“It is highly likely that the manatee’s poor body condition is related to the extreme loss of forage within the Indian River Lagoon as a result of excess nutrient pollution over decades,’ which ‘has led to a series of algal blooms that shaded out and killed the vast majority of seagrasses within the Indian River Lagoon.”

In short, the manatee starved to death – just like some 1,100 others who died last year – many in the northern Indian River Lagoon.

That’s right here in our backyard.     

Obviously, we’ve made a mess of things.  But what have our ‘powers that be’ learned from it?

In my view, they have discovered how to shoehorn even more development onto threatened areas while convincing us they are spending on “environmental restoration” projects. . .

You read that right.

Last month, while our elected elite gathered in their finery in the Ocean Center – noshing on epicurean delights generously provided by their corporate benefactors, some in the development and construction industry – this unfortunate manatee was struggling for survival in a murky Southeast Volusia canal, the latest victim of a growth-at-all-cost strategy fueled by the unbridled greed of a few powerful insiders with a chip in the game. 

Who gives a shit, right?   I mean, screw the manatees

They don’t purchase zero-lot-line wood frame cracker boxes “from the low $300’s” – they don’t vote – and they damn sure don’t subsidize the political careers of those malleable shit-heels who expedite it all with arbitrary land use changes from the dais of power. . .

It’s no secret that there are untold billions to be made developing and redeveloping waterfront real estate in East Central Florida – draining the land, building ghastly “theme” communities on top of our aquifer recharge areas, and the newest phenomenon, allowing sprawling “cities within a city” – while those elected dullards who rubberstamp land use changes and neuter environmental protections, salve their conscience with band aid solutions, and state sponsored hurt here/help there mitigation strategies, all while wallowing in the political cowardice that does nothing to stop the obscene slash-and-burn sprawl.  

Look, I realize we live in a time when landowners are given free rein to do whatever they want, when they want, with their property – because “private property rights” have been bastardized by those with a chip in the game to mean “shit on your neighbor – money talks – and anything goes.”

Even if it kills, sickens, and maims indigenous wildlife – chokes and pollutes our finite water supply – and endangers future generations by allowing development directly on top of former dumpsites and adds to toxic runoff into the very waterways they claim to be helping, while strategically camouflaging infrastructure projects that facilitate even more growth as “restoration” efforts – all under the deranged belief no one will notice.

Besides, it is easy for these hypocritical assholes to produce videos taking credit for the hard work of actual environmentalists when it comes time to stage the next round of “accomplishments” for the State of the County soiree next year. 

Look, despite popular belief – I’m a big fan of County Council Chair Jeff Brower. 

I supported his candidacy and cast my sacred vote for Mr. Brower – and I remain confident that his intentions are pure as he struggles to live up to his campaign promises to free our beach and slow the ferocity of current growth in the face of Volusia County’s Old Guard – a fusty group of obstructionist’s intent on protecting the pernicious “system” at all costs. 

They say the flak gets heavier the closer one gets to the target – and Mr. Brower is clearly making some very important people uncomfortable with talk of “low impact development” and strengthening environmental protection strategies – while his “colleagues” do everything in their power to marginalize his effectiveness on the dais, and the Old Guard’s goofy mouthpieces spout nonsensical horseshit on social media to question and disparage the very initiatives that got Chairman Brower elected in the first place. 

Recently, craven politicians touted a City of Oak Hill septic-to-sewer project – a phased initiative you and I paid for with some $9 million in “grant funds,” gifts, and loans from various local, state, and federal agencies, such as the Department of Environmental Protection, St. Johns River Water Management District, the Indian River Lagoon Council, and the County of Volusia – which, we were told, will partially pay for helping restore the threatened lagoon by converting some 285 septic tanks in the Indian Harbor Estates area to “. . .a more environmentally friendly central sewerage collection system.”

For the record, Volusia County will lease and operate the sewerage collection system “…to ensure payment of the city’s long-term debt.”

In the same breath, now Oak Hill officials are considering approval of a land use change that could potentially bring an additional 900+ homes and commercial space to the Bills Hill Road area of this once pristine fishing village – a move that would more than double the population of a community which currently hosts one stop light.   

Bullshit. 

In the view of many, this environmental sleight-of-hand merely supplanted Oak Hill’s inability to build adequate utilities infrastructure that will allow additional development on lands near the lagoon.

Is there another explanation?

Look, we get it.

This project isn’t curing the sins of the past – it’s making it more palatable for future development – a publicly funded marketing tool.

So, these faux environmentalists on various commissions, councils, and the legislature can stop the pandering bilge and cheap propaganda of politicians throwing sacks of used oyster shells, paying lip service to water quality projects, and planting mangroves in some vainglorious “look at me” feel-good ruse while backdooring even more development.

My God.  How stupid do they think we are?

A recent rehashed op/ed written for Treasure Coast Newspapers, then republished in Sunday’s The Daytona Beach News-Journal, blared the question, “Manatee death numbers rage into second year. Is there help on way?”

The answer is “No.” 

What is “on the way” is more, more, more paved over sprawl along the diseased spine of Volusia County from Farmton to the Flagler County line and beyond – all facilitated by these spineless bastards that claim to care about the health and welfare of your family at election time – while doing everything in their power to advance this malignancy that is sacrificing our collective quality of life on the foul altar of insatiable greed.

While manatees don’t vote – the citizens of Oak Hill and Volusia County do.

This evening, beginning at 6:00pm, concerned residents will gather for a meeting of the City Commission to discuss the proposed residential planned unit development at Oak Hill City Hall.

Let your voice be heard.   

8 thoughts on “Manatees don’t vote

  1. The only way Bowers will be able to get anything done is to clean house and get rid of all or most of the current council. As for Oak Hill, also take a look at Debary, they crow about cleaning up Gemini Springs and then build apartments and new homes at the edge of it.

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    1. Chairman Brower can’t get rid of anyone on that council, although many wish he could. it’s up to US to vote those deadwood turd floaters out. I know I’m going to.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank You.I do have a gripe as I have been reading and watching any reports I can.The majority of the kill off is fertilizer runoff killing their food and polutting our water.People are now feeding lettuce to the manatees and it seems to be working.Just curious our head of the Dept of Agriculture Nicolle Fried you know her when her picture was on every gas pump does not seem to get involved she is more interested in the medical marijuana industry as she is having a ethics investigation going on about not reporting income from the marijuana companies she represented before her election and keeps changing her amount of money she made.What about sugar burning Fried ?You are more worried about gun registration.You have your eye on being governor and you wont get my families vote.

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  3. Great post. We have a unique opportunity to kick some of these paid off poloticians with all the seats except chair being up for re-election. As you said, time to let our voices (votes) be heard.
    Gary Crews

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What I find most disturbing is that there was no raving applause for the actions you revealed in your “Angels & Assholes for February 18, 2022.” The actions I am citing is “Friends of the Green Lion Café.” As for me, that was a wow, how wonderful is this. The public group maintained decorum and the public speakers appeared to stay on point. A barrage of lambasting the council which got the attention of the council.

    As for Volusia, there is no central rallying point that the concerned public will/can display the same energy that was displayed in Palm Coast.

    I do recognize the work of Ormand Einsteins and Libby Ann Higbee and their associates for the valent work they do with some successes. However, the tools for correcting the rape of Volusia County are available within the Volusia County Charter. You, Mark Barker, correctly summurize the state of politics, certainly within the county, but statewide too. The law is not being faithfully carried out.

    It is distressing that no one has surfaced to challenge Danny Robins, who in my opinion, is all fluff. However, there is a good explanation for that situatiion. Exercising the fiduciary duties of an elected officer requires the qualities of understanding multiple disciplines to some degree. Trusting staff to guide your moves isn’t sufficient.

    From what I observe of the comp plan, as exercised, is a joke. That has been confirmed by the Florida Dept. of Economic Development.The provisions for wetland preservation is unfaithfully exercised. Zoning changes show no respect for the character of the area in question. That happened to the property adjacent to me many years back. I believe the charter provision for the Growth Management Commision has been neutered.

    It seems that the idea of amending the Volusia charter through the petition process is now considered impossible. I believe that surrender is in error. The two failed attempts I know of were not intelligently instituted. I believe both failed due to legal council that didn’t faithfully represent their clients.

    What is the answer, a grass roots movement to legally shake up the movers and shakers of the old order. There are many avenues that could be explored within this area, but what deciding what to do first needs a bit of brainstorming. I have some ideas, but they aren’t necessarily the best as I see the situation now.

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  5. Chairman Brower is part of the problem! He gripes about the right things but offers no plans or alternatives after he stirs everyone up! He puts it on everyone else to do that! Crappy leadership. And Chairman Brower did a fantasy job of leading the State of the County “free lunch” state of the county luncheon event by catering the same way everyone else before him has. Brower is an empty shirt.

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  6. County of Volusia Ordinance, Chapter 50, Article VII, Florida Friendly Fertilizer Use, bans fertilizer from June 1 to Sept 30 within 15′ of any pond or waterways but unfortunately hardly anyone knows about it or follows the ban. This is because the county does not promote it or enforce it.

    I asked the county if they send out reminders to homeowners at the beginning of the ban season or if the let lawn care companies and golf courses know that it is banned but the answer is no.
    The county could work with news outlets, municipalities, and utility companies with messaging to residents around June 1st and include notices on utility bills then fine offenders.
    Chairman Brower could help make this happen.

    Also, it would great if the distance from waterways would be greatly increased, and herbicides and pesticides be included in the ban.

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