Wednesday, April 16, 2014

$1.6 billion settlement on water and sewer: tithe the contract value to benefit environmental groups … by gimleteye

I met Bill Johnson, the new director of Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department, during the Homestead Air Force Base (HABDI) fiasco in the mid 1990's. Johnson, a capable facilitator, went on to run another operation chock-a-bloc full of wheeling and dealing: the Port of Miami.

The Water and Sewer Department, previously run by uber-insider John Renfrow, is now set to be a career milestone for Johnson. Yesterday Judge Frederico Moreno approved the settlement agreement between EPA and the county, thanks to a lawsuit by Biscayne Bay Waterkeepers.

Funny how Miami environmentalists set the parameters of the great maneuvering for county contracts. Come to think of it, why not assign 10 percent of the contract fees to a foundation for the benefit of qualified environmental non-profits who act as watchdogs for the public interest? Establish the foundation board from the ranks of the region's universities, provided those universities don't take money from the Great Destroyers.

Imagine how far $160 million would go in building the muscles for groups like Biscayne Waterkeepers or Sierra Club or Friends of the Everglades. Golly, that kind of money might even turn some of Miami's fabled attorneys to work on the environmental side of the ledger, jumping from clients like rock miners, sugar billionaires, and assorted land speculators outside the Urban Development Boundary.

Hell, if 10 percent of water and sewer contracts were put into a foundation for the benefit of public interest watchdogs, even bankers like Leonard Abbess might redefine their interests in local environmental affairs.


Anonymous said...

I don't care who they give it to, but please push so that they assign public outreach and education to a good environmental group. They can't do it in-house! And pray they don't award it to one of the "PR companies" in town.

Anonymous said...

It pretty much has to be some group who works, lives, and pays taxes in Miami-Dade county. We aren't trying to improve the economy of strangers from other places, to take our money some place else. We want that money circulating 5 or 6 times before it leaves the county, and we have plenty of groups who can do the work.

Anonymous said...

Leonard Abbess is one of the largest property owners outside the UDB. He is also a "great" environmentalist. Just so long as what he's protecting is not in his own backyard.

Anonymous said...

Anon above, the worst kept secret in M-D.