Thursday, June 30, 2016

"How Florida Republicans (and we) Became Losers"

This Huffington Post article by Alan Farago lays bare the crude facts and dangerous failures of Republican Leadership fostered by Rick Scott, Joe Negron, Pam Bondi, and Adam Putnam since 2010.  With the upcoming elections, it would be our foolishness to let that failure continue in any form.  Whether you're Democrat or Republican, leadership that will return the state to an educated respect and countenanced balance between the need for protection of property rights while effectively and scientifically protecting and preserving what remains of Florida's natural systems is existentially important for Florida if the way of life it now provides us is to be sustained. - Sandspur

 Some Quotes from the article:

"Massive toxic algae blooming around the southern half of the Florida peninsula, coating public health, tourism, business and real estate on both Florida coasts with dangerous scum, is the real consequence to taxpayers and voters of losing their bet on Republican leadership: Gov. Scott, Senate President Joe Negron, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam, state representative Matt Caldwell, US Senator Marco Rubio, and all the insiders and cronies they corralled to serve on boards like the water management districts and Public Service Commission. This isn’t hyperbole. A real bet was made by voters. A real bet was lost."

"One of Gov. Rick Scott’s first acts as governor was to axe the science budget and staff at the state agency charged with protecting fresh water resources in Florida. By eliminating scientists at the South Florida Water Management District, Scott erased the institutional memory of an agency nominally charged with balancing the needs of people and the environment with the needs of industry. Specifically, Big Sugar."

"Scott appointed members of the governing board of the South Florida Water Management District with no experience or compassion for the environment. The Scott way distilled to a simple formula: cede regulatory control to special interests who had the most to earn by limiting the impact of regulation on their profit models."

(Scott was systematic through out the state doing the same thing at all five of its water management districts and its Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Community Affairs - Sandspur)

"Florida’s shadow government, exemplified by Big Sugar, could not have been more pleased. Scott, as a newbie, needed training. He came to Tallahassee without a game plan or qualified staff. He would need to be brought up-to-speed and who better to bring him up-to-speed than the shadow government comprised of lobbyists and insiders who populate the state capitol, Tallahassee, and report back to employers in Palm Beach, Tampa, Jacksonville, Naples and Miami. Scott was, fortuitously, exactly what the shadow government had been looking for all along: a smart guy perfectly in sync to streamline their profits by eliminating government regulatory functions to the maximum practical extent."

(The writer must have been in audiences I've been speaking to for the last 5 years.  This is almost verbatim what I've been saying. See my presentation notes - - from a talk I gave to the Florida Springs Institute on 12-11-2015- Pages 5-14                          - Sandspur)

"Today’s ecological collapse in the St. Lucie River, connected estuaries, in the Caloosahatchee River, along both Florida coasts and stretching down through the Everglades to Florida Bay is a neon sign flashing in front of taxpayers and voters. When Gov. Rick Scott, Marco Rubio and Adam Putnam killed the US Sugar deal, they ignored the history and science of Lake Okeechobee, the massive fresh-water lake in the middle of Florida. Scott had already eliminated the science capacity of the state water district. By allowing political science to trump fact and the imperative for government intervention, Florida’s GOP created political conditions for deadly cyanobacteria to destroy the treasures of South Florida, including public health and personal real estate"

"If Democratic voters are furious, what is the word to describe Republican voters in Florida? Losers. Losers, because over a long period of time, they elected Republicans who turned their back on history, on bipartisan consensus and the lessons of the past. They did so with the confidence that insiders and special interests could protect the public better than regulations and enforcement because they get paid when customers are happy.

See the full article here:


  1. Removal of "institutional memory" at the water management districts is exactly what the Scott-led team accomplished at SWFWMD. The cuts targeted the most experienced staff members in every department, including legal and human resources; not just in resource regulation.

  2. The algae bloom off of Florida's southeast coast has been blamed on polluted water coming out of Lake Okeechobee. I wonder if the diverted surface water being used by agricultural interests had been allowed to flow into that lake, would the discharge have been so diluted as to minimize growth of algae