Saturday, February 13, 2016

Two coasts, one problem: In Florida, GOP leaders think you are idiots ... by gimleteye

In Florida, there are two coasts — the Gulf and Atlantic — and one problem: elected officials (Republicans first and foremost, because they control of the executive branch and legislature) think voters are stupid. Why do GOP officials think you are stupid? Simple. They think they can hide the biggest pollution threat afflicting Florida, the massively polluted Lake Okeechobee, by shoving it into the Everglades. from David Preston on Vimeo.

Historic rainfalls in January floated to the surface how mismanagement of water resources in Florida serves the profits of Big Sugar billionaires like Florida Crystal's Banjul family or the Mott's of US Sugar. Surrounded by phalanxes of lobbyists and the most highly paid attorneys in Florida, they are holding us hostage to the immeasurable costs of toxics in our water. They -- they, through hirelings in the state legislature like state representative from Collier County Matt Caldwell -- dictate terms of water quality and water outcomes for the rest of us.

Simply, Florida's fresh water resources are channeled through highly engineered system that first uses Lake Okeechobee (I call it, the diseased heart of Florida) as a vast septic tank for agricultural runoff and then, instead of risking it overflowing, dumps extremely toxic, flood water right onto the doorsteps of millions of property owners, residents and taxpayers on both coasts.

Two coasts, one problem. And possibly a solution.

The use of social media to by-pass traditional, economic models of news dissemination to highlight the trashing of Florida by (mainly) Republican officials -- incoming Senator president Joe Negron, aspiring governor-to-be Adam Putnam, and current governor and aspiring US senator Rick Scott -- is up-ending the state’s worst kept secret: how Big Sugar billionaires pull the strings and screw the rest of us.

Call it a social media revolution like the one that started in Tahir Square. The newspapers are running to catch up.

That is why the latest GOP scheme — to use the Everglades as a place to hide billions of gallons per day of toxic filth — isn’t going to work. and allies on both coasts are insisting: buy adequate lands from the Everglades Agricultural Area to store and treat Big Sugar’s mess. The GOP leaders won't do it, because that’s not how Big Sugar can make the most money from you and from me.

They make the most money by keeping things the way they have always been: using the Everglades Agricultural Area as we would an ATM — for frequent withdrawals subsidized by the taxpayer in the form of agricultural subsidies that turn sugar into gold. Great deal if you are one of the insiders; none of whom would risk dipping their toes and contracting a staph resistant infection we could get because they get to dump their filth in our water.

For all these reasons, it is critical for Floridians to understand that how the current Republican plan to divert water away from the estuaries and rivers and hide it in the Everglades is cynical beyond belief. To clean up Big Sugar’s past pollution, taxpayers are ALREADY spending tens of billions of dollars.

The bright fact is: taxpayers will have to spend billions of dollars more before Big Sugar billionaires like the Fanjuls and the Mott Family Trust— allies of the Koch Brothers — release their death grip on Florida.

Two coasts: one problem. They think you are too dumb to understand the facts. With March presidential primaries around the corner, those facts are highly damaging to two of the GOP candidates held aloft while we struggle downstream from their gates of hell spewing Lake Okeechobee filth: Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush.

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