|The "new" Rick Scott|
One would think Rick Scott has become a chameleon and turned a verdant green over his newfound appreciation for all things environmental. But only those least jaundiced by his past sins against it might find his new costume even remotely believable. The more politically astute will know that it’s just election-year smoke and rebranding, the typical re-striping that occurs every election cycle. There has been no internal epiphany. There has been no deep revelation. There has been no newly acquired knowledge-based appreciation for natural Florida. This man has not changed and those who might be fooled into thinking so, will be suffering just that. Aristotle noted that the chameleon’s “change of color takes place over the whole body,” but changes not the animal’s interior or behavior.
Such devious strategy just might work, however, because the voting public is so gullible on the one hand and starved for something good to happen on the other. After having experienced the last three years of his fumbling and disastrous attempts to manage the complex problems of this state, it just may be ready to believe anything.
The reality is, this sudden acknowledgement of problems environmentalists have been frantically trying to educate him and his cadre of hard-core anti-environment minions about is nothing more than a carefully constructed tactic to deflect criticism coming from both environmentalists and like-minded democrats. The brilliance of it is that instead of using his own ill-gotten money to molt his public persona he now has hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars at his disposal to do it.
Are we really to believe he has suddenly gained a legitimate appreciation for what The Everglades actually represents to Florida? Remember, this is the guy who decimated the local sponsor of the Federal project that interfaces directly with the United States Corps of Engineers and the myriad of interests involved. The South Florida Water Management District is singularly the only tool the state had that could field the machinery, generate the dollars through its ad valorem taxing authority, and focus the minds of the phalanx of scientists needed to get this complex job done with any level of competence. And yet, he destroyed the district’s leadership, cut through its scientific staff with a slingblade and without any apparent responsible thought, hacked through cartilage and muscle to the very bones of its budget. It is a whimpering, weak shadow of its former self. With over a thousand years of institutional memory summarily fired, its capacity to properly maintain and operate safely the dozens of structures and canals, much less the state’s enormous responsibilities to improve the degraded “Glades” from its sad state, is in question.
The real Scott is still very much beneath his nouveau-green skin. He is also now proposing – callously – to throw hundreds of millions of your tax dollars at the state’s iconic, world-renown freshwater springs. After three years of blistering criticism from the environmental community and a rising chorus of outrage from even the most casually concerned, Scott is seeing his re-election in serious jeopardy. So now he wants the legislature to hurry up and fix the almost irreversible damage these rare and unique hydrologic phenomena have suffered. How obvious can he get! And how eagerly some have praised his vainglorious and thinly veiled attempts to look different than he will always be, an inept guy who cannot distinguish between special interests and those of the public or those of a state whose future depends absolutely upon a fine understanding of the differences. Surely, their praise can be no more sincere than his newly found concern for natural Florida.