Too Soon or Too Late?

“What this is basically showing us is that developers, if there’s money to be made, they will develop it,” said Stephen Strader, an associate professor at Villanova University who studies the societal forces behind disasters. “You have a natural wetland marsh … the primary function of those regions is to protect the inland areas from things like storm surge. You’re building on top of it, you’re replacing it with subdivisions and homes. What do we expect to see?”

–Dr. Stephen Strader, as quoted by Jake Bittle writing in Grist, “Hurricane Ian was a powerful storm. Real estate developers made it a catastrophe,” September 30, 2022

What?  Too soon?

Screw that.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, many believe it is too late.

Floridians can’t say we weren’t warned. 

For decades, Florida environmentalists have sounded the klaxon on natural hazard vulnerability and overdevelopment in a place where greed knows no boundaries, nothing is sacred, and the only thing that matters is profit.

In turn, our elected dullards and those uber-wealthy insiders who own the paper on their political souls, have marginalized those voices of reason – flippantly dismissing concerns while facilitating explosive development across the width and breadth of this sensitive spit of sand – even concocting non-sensical laws in Tallahassee that give large tract land owners/speculative developers carte blanche (while providing political insulation to local elected officials) to do anything they damn well want – wherever they feel like doing it.

Even if it means slash-and-burn clear-cutting, artificially changing the topography of the land, threatening our finite supply of clean water, or drowning their neighbor.

In the fallout of Ian, horror stories are beginning to emerge of entire neighborhoods inundated with water after wetlands were filled under an idiotic “hurt here/help there” mitigation strategy – and existing residents saw the runoff from nearby new development sitting atop what was once our aquifer recharge areas – while underwater residents of Midtown continue to suffer from years of neglect when civic attention turned to “New Daytona” west of I-95. . .  

Now that our worst fears have been realized – with thousands of our neighbors sitting in the dark, their homes, cars, and worldly belongings ruined by standing floodwater, the death toll rising, and thousands across Central Florida left homeless – perhaps it is time we reevaluate our priorities in the Sunshine State?

Politicians tell us that some 1,100 new residents move to Florida everyday – therefore, existing residents are told we have some cockamamie obligation to squeeze-in and make room – sacrifice our quality of life (and our very lives) to accommodate the asinine “build it and they will come” mentality that continues to pave over our wetlands, wildlife habitat, and natural buffers.  


So that some fat cat real estate developer can buy another vacation home in North Carolina or Snowmass?   

In my view, Hurricane Ian should be the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.

Now that the results are undeniable, more development in areas where fill is required – or allowing multi-story buildings east of A-1-A where coastal erosion is already threatening existing structures – isn’t just risky, it should be criminal.     

Mother Nature has exposed the fallacy we have been fed – stripped away the cheap façade – countered the political rhetoric of those cheap tools who accept thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from developers – then look us in the eye, shrug their shoulders, and tell us “Nuttin’ we can do, hands are tied – If you’re not growing, you’re dying!” – while dragging their leaden feet on reasonable low-impact development strategies, wildlife protections, and impact fee increases. 


With the core of our state in tatters and our insurance apparatus insolvent – who will stand up and accept responsibility for the cowardly chain of events that led to one of the most expensive catastrophes in the history of the world?   

Nobody.  That’s who.

With elections approaching, the federal government will print more money (during the worst economy in years) and shower cash on the state of Florida.  What is not gobbled up by recovery contractors, misspent by local governments, (or outright stolen) will trickledown to those who need it. 

But it will take time.

The ugly fact is, most victims will be left to hire bloodsucking lawyers to haggle with what remains of their parasitic insurance company who will lowball them, quibble claims, and dodge responsibility for years

And we’re all victims. . .

My hope is that the November elections come before “Disaster Amnesia” returns – before the glossy mailers convince us to doubt what we see with our own eyes – before we forget the fear and trepidation many of our neighbors’ felt as the floodwaters continued to rise.   

Santayana was right – “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”

22 thoughts on “Too Soon or Too Late?

  1. How many “500 year storms” are we going to have before we stop calling them “500 year storms” and start calling them “storms”? So 4 of the 5 most powerful hurricanes to hit Florida all happened in the past thirty years. That’s not including the other gulf states and the eastern seaboard that have experienced “500 year storms” several times. So who’s going to pay for all this? We are, that’s who. Not just in astronomical property insurance rates. There are tens of thousands of vehicles under water right now. Have you seen auto dealer lots? They have few vehicles. Where are we going to get new vehicles to replace the ones that were destroyed? Insurance experts have crunched the numbers. Only 5% of property owners in Central Florida have flood insurance and the water is still rising in many places. This disaster isn’t over, it’s just getting started.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Warnings from environmentalists? Florida crackers and original settlers (of which our family was a part) have always known of the development limitations inherent in this wetland state. But, as a former local politician once went on record, “Land use plan? What do I care about 25 years from now? I’ll be gone and it won’t be my problem.” It is this mentality that should be purged from government at every voting cycle.


  3. Brother Barker, you have hit the mail squarely on the head. The time is running out so fast and the consciousness growing so slowly, I fear the predictable out come is upon us. You are not too early. I agree. You are too late.


  4. Why would The St. John’s water management allow this unless they were in the pockets of a developer My home is on the Verge of being under water. My whole back yard sits under water.


  5. My entire property was underwater but my house was spared I was living on an island . Still don’t have electric

    Every storm gets worse and worse and the next one is going to take my house out . Not going to play Russian roulette with my home. Hoping to relocate before next cane season . Have nowhere to go going to have to reach out to community maybe the Carolinas but it’s time to move on


      1. Was in Coral Springs with 170 mph winds .All Palm trees falling dow and Homestead and the airforce base destroyed.My wifes new glass 25 story office building destroyed in Miami


      2. We are talking about the worst storm to hit “Central Florida,” which is seeing flooding like never before seen in “Central Floria” history because of GREEDY BUILDERS OVERBUILDING adding more and more concrete to heat up FLORIDA and the storms more because the builders have plowed down hundreds of thousands of trees! No more shade! The Green Deal junkies think it is just gas emissions ruining the planet! They need to open their eyes! No more trees, no more shade, but ya smart let’s take out all the trees and grass and put down more and more and more concrete, what do you think that causes? It’s always about the root of all evil calleD GREEDY MONEY HUNGRY BUILDERS! Now, watch your taxes, common insurance, home, insurance, and fled insurance call sky high to the point where no one will be able to afford it! Great synopsis, don’t you think?


    1. We moved to western North Carolina from central fl 2 yrs ago..our first year here a hurricane from fl came up and got us and knocked down trees that took out power for 5 days. Please don’t think you’re going to find utopia here..they’ve also been hit in this area by bad tornadoes. Oh, and overdeveloping? It’s happening here as well…


      1. I would rather be here…. The citizens need to get involved in the local politics so that over development is controlled. Infrastructure/impact studies need to be thoroughly conducted and understood. We love it here… let’s fight for responsible decisions in the areas we love!


  6. Allstate refused to cover a house built in 2014 and concrete but they wont insure a home that is less than 4 miles from water .We are 3.47 miles per them in Ormond.Every time I see hurricanes that wipe out home built on the beach they dont meet current codes and made out of wood or mobil homes.One resident had concrete piles and no damage from the last hurricane in the gulf .The first thing you should do no matter where you buy is go to an insurance company and they will give you flood numbers.I have hurricane and flood insurance and $1000 deductable not 2% and in a community of 245 homes all concrete and current building codes two oak trees down and I have a leaner that a tree company can straighten and will not put a claim in .We looked at homes on the St.Johns river but decided no rivers as they flood out and no beach.


  7. Mark writes “My hope is that the November elections come before “Disaster Amnesia” returns…”

    Yes, my thoughts are that this event may be enough of an impact to change the makeup of the county council and possibly city councils, if there are any/enough responsible candidates running.

    Then, are there enough voters able to comprehend the possibilities from electing credible officials and interested in spreading the word.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Anyone know where the 2 time loser who is running for mayor of Ormond Beach is .Rob Bridger.Got an email from the dem party and told them they will have a 3 time loser in Ormond Beach .No signs up either.This is a horrible way to force me to vote for Partington


    1. Peter, Bridger has some signs around town, just not along Granada on the properties owned by commercial developers who all have the same group of pro-development candidates who they donate money to, knowing that they will be on paid back with approval of zoning changes and variances and be allowed to continue the clear cutting, destruction of wetlands and filling of floodplains. If you want this to continue then go ahead and vote for Partington, Kent and Briley.
      Bridger has put himself out there three times, proudly trying to get elected so he can make a real difference when no one else will. He is a good man with great ideas for Ormond and would be 100% improvement on no-show Partington.


      1. Sorry about how you feel about me but unless you have debates and get in front of people Partington has a walk in because no one knows what this guy looks like or cares about him being endorsed by the Sierra Club or being the president of the HOA.It is the fault of the dem party who as a dem sent me a flyer who to vote for in every election and who are Dems.My payback for this farce is my family is voting all red especially for DeSantis and Rubio.Close the border.Stop inflation and start drilling for oil as the Arabs are cutting back 1 to 2 million barrels.


  9. I live in Citrus County, and through the former town manager of Crystal River and the head of Main Street, was able to initiate a meeting about climate change planning in the town. The real estate agent who was invited did not attend, and all but one of the men in attendance pored over the maps to see how their own personal properties would be affected in a severe storm. The effects on the community at large were not discussed until ten minutes before the end of the meeting. And to my knowledge there was never a second one.


  10. What Tim Grigsby said!
    Tim, don’t bother with Peter – I’ve argued with him before – he’s obviously a Partington fan and enjoys the annihilation of our town – it’s not worth your breath.
    Especially after Ian you should be able to see what’s going on! It’s not rocket science!
    Time for a change – vote your conscience in November – if you have one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not a Parington fan but will take the best of the worst.Bridger a 3 time loser after November with experience of runnung an HOA and backed by the Sierra Club.One mayor does not control all the building .


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