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There’s something new in the air in South Florida communities along the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. And believe it or not, this time it’s not cyanobacteria--it’s hope.
Four in favor, one against. Last week Martin County Commissioners voted 4-1 to draft a resolution in support of Sen. Pres. Joe Negron’s SB 10. (Only Comm. Doug Smith voted no.) It was a show of support and gratitude for Negron’s courage, for using his political capital to fight for a solution to the toxic discharges that plague the Treasure Coast, and for opposing US Sugar’s and Florida Crystals' massive campaign to keep the status quo.
Virtually no one outside the sugar industry thinks the status quo is acceptable. As Negron bluntly put it: Are you telling me that in 2017, in the United States of America, with the best research universities in the world, with everything that we have, the best we can do when the water rises is we’re going to flood communities east and west of Lake Okeechobee? I don’t accept that reality and I don’t hear anyone now defending it.
Everglades and Florida Bay stakeholders don’t accept that reality, either, because the status quo protects the sugar industry’s water supply at the expense of these two world-renowned ecosystems. Negron’s solution, backed by more than 200 scientists, delivers badly needed freshwater flows to revitalize South Florida’s environment and recharge the thinning aquifer that Miami drinks from. Support for SB 10 and the Now Or Neverglades Declaration, which outlines the solution, has come from all over Florida.
Of course the earliest and loudest support for the Now Or Neverglades Declaration came from Martin County. As reeking mats of toxic “guacamole” algae closed businesses and beaches, just about every person running for local office signed it--including Doug Smith.
Negron’s SB 10/HB 761 is exactly what Declaration signers asked for: a dynamic reservoir in the EAA to store, treat and send water south--the keystone project in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), funded through Amendment 1 to purchase the land, to cut damaging discharges to coastal estuaries and rejuvenate Florida’s fabled River of Grass. And to follow the Declaration and deliver a win-win for glades communities, SB 10 supporters are working to make economic stimulus for local residents part of the bill. It’s just common sense that CERP, a 50-year, $17 billion public works project, should include training and jobs in the same region where unemployment reaches 40%.
Negron’s plan can be a win-win for Floridians everywhere, because ultimately we all want the same things: access to good jobs and safe, healthy places to live and raise our families.Read more
Has Sunshine State News contributor J.P. Sasser lost his mind?!
“Out of this 40% unemployment, my argument is how much of that 40% is actually employable. How much of that 40% would get up and go to work every morning if there was a job available...very few.”
- J.P. Sasser, One Florida Foundation, quoted in James Patterson’s documentary Murder of a Small Town (2015)
Did J.P. Sasser really say out loud that glades residents are lazy and unemployable? As a former mayor of Pahokee, how could he so rudely insult the people he once called constituents? Who knows why he said it, but he did, and all that can be said now is--at least we know what he thinks.
Last week, Sasser alerted SSN executive director and bankrupt Mississippian Nancy Smith to a comment on our Facebook page dismissing the impact of job loss in the glades. Smith wrote in her blog that Sasser said the writer deserved a shout-out for saying what we really think about glades residents.
Is Nancy Smith really trying to smear Bullsugar with a random, unaffiliated Facebook comment, based on a tip from someone SSN is closely affiliated with, who has expressed offensive, embarrassing views about the glades communities? That’s just too rich.Read more
February 7th's senate hearing in Tallahassee was a win for the Everglades and our estuaries.
Senate Bill 10, calling for the expedited planning and completion of a southern reservoir, took a step in the right direction with unanimous approval from the Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation. This victory brought an air of well-deserved celebration to proponents of Everglades restoration.
Amid the revel, a defining new development took shape. Sparked by residents from the heart of the EAA, several speakers expressed concerns that highlighted the economic hardship of the glades communities, which have suffered poverty and years of 20-40% unemployment, by far the highest in the state.
The message: “We are hurting too. If you have to build this reservoir in order to save the economy and protect the health of the people on both coasts, then find a way in this bill to create jobs here too. Make SB 10 a win-win for both the glades and coastal communities."