Saturday, September 05, 2015

Turmoil at the South Florida Water Management District ... by gimleteye

The man who would be next U.S. senator from Florida, Gov. Rick Scott, is surely the most tone-deaf in Florida history. Since voters have not held him accountable, why should being tone-deaf hold him back from higher office?

Scott is running Florida's executive branch of government as though it were a corporation and his only shareholders, special interests whose campaign contributions govern state elections.

Take the role of the South Florida Water Management District, for example, as a project of state corporatism. The state's water management districts have taxing authority and are supervised by a board appointed by the governor and ratified by the legislature. In the past, a passing regard was used to select governing board members; ie. inclusion of at least one environmental voice from the public interest sector.

Gov. Rick Scott took the trend of micromanaging water district affairs from Tallahassee to an extreme. That trend started with Gov. Jeb Bush. It suited Rick Scott to a "T". Environmentalists have been swept to the side bleachers of water district arenas across the state.

A few months back, the board of the South Florida Water Management District received word from Tallahassee to "roll back" District millage rates. With billions in outstanding commitments for Everglades restoration and earlier hatchet-like cuts to staffing levels -- mainly from ranks of district scientists and science capacity on water quality and related Everglades issues -- governing board members stuttered. With Gov. Scott, that is apparently a cardinal offense.

First they said, no, after an outpouring of public objection to further cuts in the district budget. Then they said, yes, after Rick Scott's delegated staff put drone laser targets on their backs. Last week, Gov. Scott shuffled top district managers. The names don't matter because in Rick Scott World, players are interchangeable. It was the kind of internal bloodbath that scarcely raised an eyebrow because absence of transparency is the hallmark of the Scott administration.

And what about the funding for all those billions of promised Everglades restoration projects? A knowledgable source says Governor Scott intends to use newly available Amendment 1 money, instead of the District millage rate, to fund Everglades restoration. They get away with it because they can.

That is not what voters thought when they voted for Amendment 1 in overwhelming numbers in 2014. What voters were thinking when they re-elected Rick Scott is the greater mystery. Sadly with Gov. Rick Scott, Florida voters are getting exactly the democracy they deserve.

1 comment:

cyndi said...

I don't know what people were thinking. I spent over 2 hours watching the bear video. It was like SFWMD but insert bears. SSDD!