Anger reached a fever pitch on the Caloosahatchee this week, as everything from catfish to tarpon to Manatee lay dead or dying in algae covered water. On the east coast near the St Lucie, it was the exact same scene, minus the red tide. Social media lit up like it hasn't since the 2016 toxic algae crisis, and celebrities like surfer Kelly Slater and environmentalist Erin Brockovitch expressed horror from afar.
But there was cause for hope too.
On Wednesday in Stuart, two politicians held press conferences just miles apart. Brian Mast is a conservative Republican, and Chris King is a progressive Democrat. But their messages were nearly identical:
"This is a health disaster. This is an economic and environmental disaster. Send the water south long-term, but change the way the system is operated now so you don't hurt or kill people. Help the communities and businesses harmed by these toxic discharges."
Pretty obvious, but it's amazing how difficult it can be to understand something when you are being paid not to understand it. And that's the point-- these two politicians are not being paid by US Sugar and Florida Crystals, so they speak the truth with passion. Florida Crystals and US Sugar have obstructed progress on Everglades restoration for decades, and used their influence to control the existing water control system to their benefit and everyone else's misfortune.
If we want to take back our water, we need to "Vote Water"—by choosing candidates who are not in the pocket of the sugar industry, who understand the problem and solutions, and who will make it a top priority to fix it.
In 2018, there are many Republican and Democrat candidates who are good on water-- and many who are not. The best are usually "Sugar Free," and the worst are dripping with sugar money. It's really not hard to see, when you look.
We have to "Vote Water." If you're still not convinced, consider this: The Fanjul brothers, who control Palm Beach based Florida Crystals, are the most notorious sugar barons in the world. Pepe is a Republican, and Alfy is a Democrat. They are not concerned with party values. They divide and conquer to maximize their political influence and campaign expenditures. We don't have their billions, but we can play the same game, if we start "Voting Water."
Please take a look at bullsugar.org/vote. Thanks.