guest blog by Ann Hinga- Don't vote for Lynda Bell
|Lynda Bell at May 6th County Commission Meeting.|
In 2000, Congress authorized the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan to restore the Greater Everglades Ecosystem. Among the conditions placed on CERP by Congress, CERP implementation required the maintenance of then-current flood protection levels.
Since CERP was authorized, some agricultural interests, some development interests, and some elected officials have sought to misrepresent the authorization and claim that CERP is meant to provide enhanced flood protection. This is untrue. Yesterday, Miami Dade County Commissioner Lynda Bell actively participated in this misrepresentation by putting forth a resolution she claims was in support of full implementation of the C-111 CERP project and the Modified Waters Delivery Project (which is a foundation ecological restoration project that was meant to pre-date CERP). If her intention was truly to forward these critical CERP projects for ecological restoration, LYNDA BELL would not have included the language highlighted below:
RESOLUTION URGING THE SOUTH FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT AND U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS TO FULLY IMPLEMENT AND OPERATE THE MODIFIED WATER DELIVERIES PROJECT AND THE C-111 PROJECT TO END FLOOD IMPACTS TO AGRICULTURAL PROPERTIES IN SOUTHERN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY CAUSED BY WATER MANAGEMENT ACTIVITIES
You can view the webcast of the hearing here, it comes at 3:28 on the counter:
Some things to keep in mind as you review the resolution and video…
1) This resolution did not go to a Board of County Commissioners committee and thereby avoided public hearing.
2) This resolution was on the 4-day rule portion of the agenda, meaning Commission Lynda Bell's colleagues did not get the required four days needed for adequate review. Any of the other Commissioners could have asked for a deferral for the simple reason they did not have enough time for review. Unfortunately, the other Commissioners are not fluent enough in CERP and did not recognize the bait and switch Commissioner Bell was pulling.
3) Commissioner Lynda Bell claimed she contacted environmental groups prior to putting this forward. Another lie. Only one group - the Everglades Foundation - acknowledges they were contacted, but their representative gave public comment earlier in the day that they could not support the project because it created false expectations of flood control. (see 1:48 min. on the webcast link for the comments by the Everglades Foundation.)
4) The only non-elected person that spoke on the item was MDC Agricultural Manager Charles LaPradd. No professional staff from DERM, nor anyone that could speak about the environmental issues, provided any testimony.
5) Commissioner Bell acknowledged right at the beginning of her comments that this was related to discussions she had with the Farm Bureau and some of the South Dade growers.
Ironically, as if a well-choreographed dance, south Dade resident James Humble was at the combined Water Resources Advisory Committee / South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force meeting also asserting that south Dade is entitled to enhanced flood protection under CERP. This meeting was at the same time as the Commission meeting; one reason why the environmental groups were not present in Commission Chambers when Bell's item was heard.