*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the East Coast Current.
Protecting Florida’s Beaches
I’m an opinion writer. I examine facts and evidence, and then arrive at my conclusions (which are mostly negative), and then I share those screeds here for you to peruse, digest and, hopefully, form your own independent consensus about what’s going on under our fair Florida sunshine.
One thing I believe most Floridians can agree on is that the past is a decent instructor for how the future will unfold. With that said, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Republicans have an absolutely dismal reputation for being the poorest stewards imaginable of our fragile ecosystem. Under Rick Scott, conservative ideologies basically tripped over themselves to be first in line to carve up the most environmentally sensitive parts of this state and hand them over to special interests.
Politics and their Role in the Environment
Under Scott, water management commissions were absolutely loaded with corrupt, nepotist cronies. These boards, charged with protecting natural resources, did anything but. Those appointed to serve were mostly Realtors, developers or political allies of Scott. Naturalists, scientists and plain old citizens were rare as hens’ teeth. Naturally, these individuals served their corporate masters well by opposing environmental spending and legislation and furthering an agenda of pilfer and profit. Some of these losers are still in power, most notably the uber-corrupt John Miklos of the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD). Google him and find out what I mean. Don’t forget to grab you barf bag first.
After being sworn-in, Governor DeSantis promptly canned the entire Scott-appointed dias on the South Florida Water Management District. This is inarguably a good thing… but, caveat emptor! Desantis’ most recent appointees are still developers and old political cronies. Hopefully the change is real and well-intended, and not more smoke and mirrors B.S. from our political elite.
Florida’s Anti-Smoking Bill for the Beach
Speaking of smoke – a new bill moving through the legislature proposes to ban smoking on all Florida beaches. Before scoffing at this, consider that almost 100,000 cigarette butts were removed from Florida beaches last year during a ONE-DAY cleanup. These nasty things take up to a decade to decompose. I only hope that straws and plastic bags are added to the list soon.
If you support this bill, please make sure to convey your feelings to our local elected representative, Tom Leek. But don’t forget to ask him why he voted for a bill last year that diminished public beach access by weakening customary use ordinances. This same bill, being wildly unpopular, may be repealed this year. Ask Rep. Leek to support this repeal if public beach access is important to you.
As always, ask lots of questions. Squeaky wheel gets the grease!