Picking Florida's carcass clean didn't start with the Bush presidency or even Jeb Bush, who in two terms as Florida governor, steered the state in the direction of policies to accommodate production home builders and land speculators who formed his political base in Miami. Florida's economy has relied, for generations, on the conversion of wetlands into developable lots where economies of scale could flourish where wading birds once nested.
Along this line, it comes as no surprise to learn from The Palm Beach Post that the second-in-command at the South Florida Water Management District, Bob Brown, "conducted personal business with a close friend whose companies were regulated by departments Brown headed for years." The Post details the inside dealings that have always marred the District; in particular, the operation of the canal system to benefit Big Sugar at the expense of the Everglades. Brown is the former director of environmental compliance and permitting.
"Brown's friend made millions when he sold a mined-out shell pit in Okeechobee County to the district for $8.1 million -- 18 percent over its appraised value and just five years after he bought it for $150,000. While the deal was in the planning stages, Brown headed the district's Okeechobee office."
"Bob Brown is as honest as the day is long," said the son of the friend, now deceased.
The same would be said of Miami's land speculators of each other, including many in Mueller's audience at the Greater Miami Chamber who could honestly claim that their business activities -- production homebuilding in wetlands, for example -- are only following what is allowed by code and by regulation.
Recently, county commissioner Lynda Bell demonstrated just how slippery and slimy the slope is; through which taxpayers are saddled with immense liabilities in order to foster "what the free market wants". Bell -- whose proudly lists her support among evangelical faithful as a motivation for her political activities -- has launched a jihad against county environmental regulations. The net result will be to make it much easier for development and rock mines to spread into wetlands and open space. Yet in local newspapers she has written about "restoring faith in government".
In the local Community Newspaper she wrote, "We must learn from the egregious actions of Jack Abramoff (the powerful Republican lobbyist and felon who served a prison sentence for public corruption) in the halls of Congress and other examples of government at its worst. We need to take steps to ensure that history is not repeated."
Yet it is repeated time and again, and by Bell herself who ends her editorial, "... trust is all we have and we have ignored it to further our own ambitions once again."