Petting the monkey, feeding the shark: Lynda Bell -- beleaguered county commissioner facing a tough re-election -- was caught in the commission chamber pandering to the constituency that most cares about her reign of petty jealousies at the Miami-Dade county commission: wealthy farmers and developers whose main goal is and has always been their own bank accounts.
It was a sly little move that Bell pulled, a resolution asking for an increase in flood protection in an area where flood protection has already been locked down by special interests, as a state and federal matter. Likely, she was given the task in return for "support" during this last phase of her campaign against challenger Daniella Levine Cava.
EOM guest blogger, Ann Hinga, details the action in Part 2, but here is a quick interpretation.
Miami-Dade's industrial farmers (row crop farmers) and developers pay lip service to the environment. Lynda Bell pays lip service to the environment. The big industrial farmers and Lynda Bell see eye-to-eye.
What they really want is to control regulations: in particular, they want to control whatever flood control measures are implemented by regulatory agencies in state and federal government. When they can't get what they want, their fall back position is to delay, delay, delay.
Big industrial farmers who have taken taxpayers to the cleaners get whatever they want. What Lynda Bell did the other day is the best example how they do it; the best example taxpayers and voters have had in a long time. In putting a resolution outside the four day rule, Lynda Bell straight out lied.
She lied when she claimed to have gotten support from the environmentalists. That's utter, complete bullshit. (In fact, it serves the Everglades Foundation right -- that's the one group Bell called out -- they were taken advantage of. But Bell had reason to believe they would be her patsies because she used the photo op they created for her on a recent Everglades "tour". When she used the photo op to claim her environmental credentials, the Everglades Foundation did not complain. Her thinking: why would they raise a fuss, now?) But they did, they said publicly they did NOT support Lynda's resolution.
The intent of the Bell resolution to INCREASE flood control for farmers shows that the incumbent county commissioner is willing to go to bat for them -- despite the fact they already dominate water supply in South Florida. The flood control for farmers was settled many years ago with the Army Corps and Lynda knows that.
So, yes. This is about politics. It is also as Ann Hinga -- our guest blogger -- points out, about Jim Humble, the South Dade multi-millionaire from the Frog Pond hijacking (another story) -"ringing the Bell" just like reviving the engines at a drag race.
It is also about Bell's colleagues on the county commission. Any one of them could have pulled this item from the county commission agenda because it hadn't been properly noticed within the required time frame. The public could have been given the chance to speak.
Who knows why the county commissioners turned a blind eye: was it ignorance, cowardice, or simply the privilege of incumbency being offered to one of their own, so that when it is time for their own re-election, they can pull similar tricks? (Remember then county commissioner Joe Martinez -- now running for Congress -- and the egg lady from the 8.5 Square Mile Area performance? Check our archive.)
In any case, Lynda Bell was asked to perform, but to perform in a way for her backers in a way that shows a sly disregard for fact, a willingness to toe the line for special interests, and talent for pushing around fellow county commissioners on the dais. Jim Humble is tickled pink and so are the Miami industrial farmers and developers, too, who are being called upon to support Bell's political campaign.
As for voters in District 8, we expect they will know what to do when their elected representative is caught petting the monkey and when there is a good challenger to do the right thing by them and not for special interests.
See Part 2 or hit link