Tuesday, April 10, 2018

In Miami-Dade, Republican Politics Continue To Damage Taxpayers ... and it's worse than you think ... by gimleteye

Today, the Miami-Dade County Commission may rubber stamp an agreement with Florida Power and Light, the monopolistic supplier of electricity to South Florida. The plan -- to re-use wastewater -- is touted as a "win-win". That's spin.

The plan, they claim, is a public good that will stop the outflow of the county's polluted waste water to the ocean and solve the Turkey Point cooling canal disaster at the same time. The cooling canals have been failing for many years, ladling hundreds of tons of super salty water per day into Florida's fragile drinking water aquifer and the waters of a national park.

Here is where the joint agreement falls flat on its face. FPL has neatly camouflaged its claim the waste water will be "clean" by writing the agreement in such a way that water quality standards cannot be enforceable.

It has done so, with broad recognition -- if not by the broader public -- that FPL has run circles for decades around regulators for the state who regularly show up in the revolving door between the company and government. (Mike Sole, former chief Florida environmental regulator, is now the public face of FPL -- and an influential member of the board of the Everglades Foundation.)

At the county level, FPL's arm twisting has been blatant.

If you haven't already noticed (cf. Trump White House and US EPA), the only intact principle of the GOP is protecting the right of polluters to profit at the public expense. It is, for example, the reason that Trump brightly defends Scott Pruitt, an EPA administrator who understands his responsibility to be the dismantling of federal authority to protect the nation's air and water. Gov. Rick Scott? He is right in line with the polluters.

Here is what this acidic observation has to do with today's county commission decision. It is a point of view that the Miami Herald ought to consider amplifying: how the insidious creep of deregulation is leaving taxpayers naked.

The county commissioners, the mayor, and big polluters like FPL understand the new playing field created by the GOP: when you stop environmental regulation at the federal level, and when you cripple rules and regulations at the state level, what you are left with is major decision-making involving difficult science and complexity at the local level: Miami Dade county, where environmental staffers are handed bows and arrows to fight lightning bolts. Mayor Carlos Gimenez and the politically ambitious chairman, Esteban Bovo, are apparently fine with that.

The premise of federal authority is that it is the place where the playing field can be level. Now, with the knee-capping of state regulatory authority -- Gov. Rick Scott and GOP'ers like Adam Putnam fired that metaphorical gun -- taxpayers can only watch the outcomes. That's how state road 836 is going to be extended, along with the rights of developers, further towards the Everglades and over critical farmland and wetlands we know are needed for a safe, secure future for taxpayers. It's also how FPL can get away scott-free, to claim it is delivering "clean" re-use water to badly damaged Biscayne Bay and a national park.

These events don't happen by coincidence. Very smart lawyers and lobbyists are paid handsomely to deliver results for their clients, and they require the acquiescence of elected officials to cross the "t's" and to dot the "i's". The rationales are cooked to perfection like a dulce de leche millefoile birthday cake where everyone wants second helpings. Doubters, ask this question: why is Florida swimming in a sea of pollution today? It is no coincidence. This is what you voted for. The polluters call this "intelligent design" and barring a miracle of sound judgment descending over County Hall -- another example is going to be delivered today.


Anonymous said...

Exactly right FL has voted against our own best interests time and again. With Jeb for Governor, Bush 2 for Pres, Scott twice for Gov, and then the pinnacle the latest abomination. Each has built upon the next to slowly kill the environment of this beautiful state. We deserve what we are getting and sadly mostly to the benefit of a few monopolies. By the time we learn, if we ever do, be to late. Saddened more each day. Soon we won’t even be able to walk all the beaches of our shores unless our feet remain permanently wet. We did it to ourselves.


Milly from Hialeah said...

We are all worried about our water supply and what FPL will or should do, but in Hialeah we have that and bigger or worse problems.

When I watched Rick Scott on Spanish television tonight, in Hialeah, and surrounded by all our very own, Cuban-American politicians, who we need to vote out of office, I knew he had just lost at least . . . hmmm . . . 400+ votes (and that is a lot of votes to lose in just five minutes of air time).

As for Esteban Bovo, he has been a total disappointment; Still waiting for 11+ years when he said he would help fix up this neighborhood but voted with Robaina's plan. Bovo's solution now is to iron out all the old, take industry jobs away from here (instead of revitalization), give incentives to rich, greedy developers (some foreign or out of state) and not the people who call this home, and hope half the population will abandon their cars and take a ride on rail. Old Europe, Soviet and Chinese mentality, if you ask any free thinking Cuban. There are much faster, cheaper and better solutions, but that will not put a lot of money in the respective pockets. I, for one, have recently been amazed on how many great and wonderful ideas people here have to offer . . . if they only listened.

Bovo --- I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that he did not (and has not) fought hard to save our historic, Hialeah Park (where the city council approved a zoning change that would allow 4000+ residential units to be built). Bovo is also pushing his monster plan (aggressively) and I am still waiting for his office to tell me if they are raising taxes for 33% of the county properties that are 1 or 2 miles from the so-called corridors. Their agenda does not match our vision of Hialeah or the rest of the county.

Let's VOTE Them ALL Out of Office - These Cubans do not represent their people - they do not give a damn about us!!!! . . . Thank you for allowing us to sound off.