I am a Florida native and I am an environmental engineer. I have worked much of my career at the Southwest Florida Water Management District and I am a member of the Florida Conservation Coalition. I have also been a county administrator in two Florida counties and the public works director in two Florida counties. I represented Hillsborough County in the major environmental permitting phases of both the desalination plant and the very large fresh water, public supply reservoir near Brandon. These experiences qualify me by some observers to be a “tree hugger” and a whole list of things my Mother would not want to hear! But I thought I had seen it all----until these last two sessions of the Florida Legislature.
What is remarkable to me is that one or two people in the Florida Senate seem to be dead set to destroy many of the few remaining assets our great State of Florida still enjoys. I am just not clear on the motives other than plain ego, greed and power.
Certainly many of these changes being “ram-rodded” through the legislature in the name of efficiency, jobs and that often used term “the benefits of privatization,” will just plain be terrible for Florida. These couple of Senators, Haridopolos and Alexander, along with our governor, are able, in their “leadership roles”, to herd most of the rest of the Senate (thank goodness for Dean, Fasano, Latvala and Dockery), into following a course headed for disaster. Check out what has occurred in education, privatization of state prisons, re-districting, funding for USF, “Sunshine” government (no public review of developing contracts, exemptions from the Sunshine Law), AND WATER AND GROWTH MANAGEMENT.
Not enough has been said lately about the dismemberment of water management in Florida and-----the complete abolishment of growth management in a state that grows and uses resources like few others during “good economic times”. SB 7092 (now SB 1986), in Senator Alexander’s Budget and Finance Committee, carefully stowed away in committee to avoid debate and public scrutiny, will move water management funding and major project approval into the hands of the legislature. This removes the long standing, generally positive regional water management system in place for decades. Why? Because it gives those in power in the legislature complete authority over the money and projects currently in the hands of regionally governed water management districts.
If we as responsible Florida citizens have any concerns about the direction the 2012 Florida Legislature is headed regarding our water resources, we had better do something-----quick! "Doing something" amounts to either e-mailing or calling Senators and Representatives and urging them to kill this bill.
And, in future elections, we all need to VOTE for the candidates that will take responsible action to manage this State's exceptional water and environmental resources!