Wednesday, March 23, 2016

On massive fish kills on Florida coasts, there is no mystery: voters did it ... by gimleteye

If you child is running a fever, there's no mystery what to do. You make the child rest and take every necessary step to bring the child's fever down. Entrusting Florida's waters to reckless and ignorant elected officials is exactly the same as parental malpractice. It is like locking a child in a car parked at a mall parking lot while the parent goes shopping.

There is only one excuse for forgetting to take care of our waterways: that the campaign funders and politicians voters elected want it that way.

Brevard County, FL March 2016
The mainstream media are filled with talking points like this: "State wildlife officials could not pinpoint the reason for the deaths of the fish recently." Bullshit. The massive, horrendous, shocking and sad fish kills happening in and around the Indian River Lagoon represent the political corruption infecting the state of Florida.

Here are a few examples: regulations to provide numerical standards for mercury and sulfates in Florida waters? Never happened. 

Regulation to allow local government to stop phosphorous and nitrogen pollution in Florida waters? State legislature and Gov. Rick Scott voted, no. Protection of coastlines from massive overdevelopment? Absolutely not. Support for the U.S. EPA to regulate contaminants and enforce against violations in Florida? No.


Blame the Florida legislature, its leaders like Florida Representative Matt Caldwell, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, Senator Joe Negron, and Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam to start. Blame the most clueless, radical governor in Florida history -- the anti-people governor Rick Scott who never addressed a problem that he couldn't visualize from 30,000 feet in his private jet, or, if he saw one just slammed the window shades shut.

There is no need for science to tell us what's wrong with Florida's waterways and the cascade of destruction from Florida Bay stretching north along both coasts. We know exactly what is wrong: voters who don't care, don't vote, or vote for candidates and incumbents who represent institutionalized corruption.



Who is responsible for the tragedy of Florida waters? Voters who keep returning to office at the county, state and federal level, politicians who are paid to misrepresent the truth. Voters who elect politicians in the pocket of powerful industries and trade associations that routinely make a mockery of democratic processes: Associated Industries of Florida, run by former Jeb Bush ally Tom Feeney, spewing dark money into negative advertising like algae blooms. The Florida Chamber of Commerce. The Florida Farm Bureau. In 2013, 58 business organizations in the state of Florida signed a letter to the US Congress against the EPA's regulation of nitrogen and phosphorous contaminating state waterways. Killing off the EPA itself is a central platform of the GOP.

Every dead fish in Brevard County should be picked up and deposited on the doorsteps of citizens and taxpayers who did not vote, who voted for politicians funded by special interests like Big Sugar, who voted for elected officials who refused to make government work to protect rivers and waterways through tough pollution standards. One dead fish for every lobbyist in Tallahassee and two dead fish for every voter who supported elected officials who tolerate the revolving door between government regulators and the regulated. Three dead fish for every member of the governing board of the state's water management districts, and four dead fish for every voter who returned to office the governor who put those governing board members in place.

Five dead fish for every biologist who feared retribution if he or she spoke against his or her supervisor, afraid to shine the spotlight on pollution. Six dead fish for every voter who supported politicians that cultivate the atmosphere of fear and intimidation in environmental agencies like the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The pollution starts at the top in the executive branch of government and spreads out in a toxic stream as vast as the pollution spreading from Lake Okeechobee. There is no mystery, why. We don't require scientists sifting through diseased tissue of dead manatees and dolphin. There is just one cause: politicians elected by Florida voters. There is only one way out: at the polls in November.

26 comments:

Caffeine Clicks said...

This is a very difficult lesson for all the South Floridians who didn't show up at the polls for the gubernatorial direction. They say the brown algae began to appear in December, and the rains, fertilizers and run off caused it. Others say it's the Lake O discharge. But I have to agree with the Huffington post article and say it was the people who either did not vote or voted for these clowns. Thankfully I voted, and not for Rick Scott, who is a total criminal. November elections are coming up, I hope people show these guys the door.

Anonymous said...

I've lived in Melbourne since '84 and can remember a time as recent as the early '90's that we could find beautiful cherry stone clams around the spoil islands. That's not that long ago! This sight should bring tears to anyone's eyes that cares even remotely for this planet. I agree with all you said about fault, but I always vote and end up on the wrong side of it every time. A lot of the wealthy live along that river. I'm hopeful this will change a few minds about their need for that pristine and sprawling lawn and their voting habits, but I'm not real hopeful.

George Bishopric said...

It's also a lesson for those who didn't vote for Crist because they "just didn't like him."

You voted for an indicted criminal, but that "something odd" about Charlie made you vote for an environmental terrorist.

Think about your priorities.

snooker said...

My personal belief is voting is all BS. everyone has an agenda and it all revolves around money,,,,,,,,,,, No one is helping the enviroment just take take take SAD TIMES SHORTLY COMIN IF NOT ALREADY HERE....

Anonymous said...

My heart is breaking!! Please - someone do something! How can we help! We just went through this recently.


Anonymous said...

I have friends that are fishing guides and charter captains in South Florida and the Keys. They are predominantly hard-core righties. In fact, I can think of only one who is not.

I have told them that elections have consequences. Your local governments, municipal, county, and state, have a much greater impact on your life than what happens in DC. Pay attention.

Christopher Cross said...
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Heather Clement said...
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thommy said...

@Heather Clement What about the video?

Anonymous said...

Really Heather?? They came out with something called Google a while back. You might try it, or just go to Floridatoday.com Better yet, come on up to Melbourne and just follow the smell...

Anonymous said...

Bottom Line is Term Limits. State and Federal. It's the only way to slow down the corruption.

Anonymous said...

Term limits have not worked in Florida at all: inexperienced legislators end up lining up their next employment opportunity working for regulated industries almost as soon as they are elected. Lobbyists end up even more firmly in charge. Pathetic. But true. I had hope for term limits ... didn't work out in Florida.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I live in Brevard County almost right on the river. It is real and the Florida Today newspaper is not printing pics from 2 years ago. I stood on the river just yesterday and I saw all the dead fish. Thousands of them. If you do not live here you don't have a clue. And no, it is not just the algae bloom. There are surface breathers that are dying as well such as dolphins, manatees, and alligators. And the video says it's from March of 2014 to give an example. But you can go to floridatoday.com and see recent pics and videos from this week.

Gimleteye said...

Some readers noted that the original photo on this post was not from Florida. It was my error and I replaced that photo with one that was taken recently in Brevard County.

Fred Adkins said...

Umm, why is the administrator deleting comments that disagree with the article? Why have a comment section if you don't allow opposing views? Although I agree with the premise of the article it's very disingenuous to censor those you don't agree with.

Pat Barnett said...

Ok, all of this is just fine but where do you find a politician that will not do what the big money says? Or for that matter ANYTHING he says he will do because they all turn for the money once they are in office. All you have is a bunch of rich people running for office bribed by a bunch of other rich people who will then split all spoils between said rich people. That's right all DEMOCRATS and all REPUBLICANS too. It's all rigged folks vote for the independents it's your only hope.

Anonymous said...

Dear Author,
Here is what I read, "there's a lot of dead fish, and no one really knows why, including me. Therefore it must be the politicians fault. It has to be those bad people in the government. Please vote and make the bad man stop." You're pathetic. Don't forget, we still live in a democracy. As it turns out if you win, you've gotten the most votes(particularly in state elections). That means the majority of people are ok with the outcome of having these people in office. If you don't like it, you have several options. 1. Run for office. 2. Get all of your friends to vote to make the bad man stop. 3. Move to another country.

Anonymous said...

Dear anon above, you must work for the Chamber of Commerce. Welcome! Hope all your members resign.

Anonymous said...



Unfortunately, even if you run for office, most voters still vote for the incumbent. They don't like new.

Geniusofdespair said...

Comments are deleted when we get trolls, we are attacked or people get off topic. This isn't a democracy it is an editorial blog, our blog.

N.Cook said...

We definitely need more attention to stopping or greatly reducing "source" pollution...at the industrial property line, the agricultural run off at the property line, etc....but, the larger "new" pollution in the Indian River from north to south is the vast expansion of urban areas and millions of new people....all adding an incredible level of pollution, from hundreds of thousands of septic tanks to urban storm run off.....much of it directly into the Lagoon...When ever you hear someone say, "I lived here in the 1980's and we did not have these blooms" they are correct...but, in the 1980's everything was basically the same as today...ag wise...some industry has been added but Florida industry gives off little ground water pollution compared to other places...The one thing that has changed drastically is....the number of US...so in fact...we are the problem..everyone one who moved to Florida and love to live on or near the fresh and salt water enviroments...the rivers, lakes and ocean...
Newton

Anonymous said...

The voters are presented with candidates they are given, & Florida will sink deeper into crisis b/c money drives the underlying process. The counterweight against money has to be activism.

The order of blaming:

1) BIG MONEY. Money trumps voters in single member districts. Development interests in Florida rule the roost & look to big agri to take the blame, & sportsmen to do their bidding.
2) GERRYMANDERING. Divide & conquer trumps voters in single member districts. Single member districts are a system of divide & conquer in of themselves, gerrymandering the extreme.
3) MEDIA COMPLICITY. That is large media anchors like the Miami Herald, et alia, who know darned well the system is a bit (lot) rigged against the public interest.
4) LACK OF ACTIVISM. Absent sufficient organising & information, activism can't accomplish much & voters can't invent choices they aren't given.

Malagodi said...

People seem to think - reinforced by articles like this one - that voting constitutes their ~only~ moment of civic involvement, that's all that's required of them, and that the people who are elected are "leaders." None of these supposition are true.

It is utterly simplistic to say that voters are responsible for this disaster. It's like saying the peasants are 'responsible' for the actions of the nobility. Its false premise is that we live in some kind of pre-capitalist Athenian democracy. Need I point out that the entire political infrastructure is run exclusively by two extra-constitutional organizations? Need I remind residents that this crisis of Okeechobee water management didn't begin with the Scott administration, but spans multiple decades and multiple administrations of both parties?

Let us stop encouraging the idea that putting into power the "right" leaders instead of the "wrong" leaders - who aren't leaders at all - will fix anything and start encouraging people to exercise their own power. Of course that means they'll have to do more (a lot more) than voting. But please let's stop blaming all those voters who are apparently too stupid to know how to do it right.

mike Glynn an said...

Thanks for the blog. Marty Baum, our Indian River Keeper is the voice on the video from Tuesday 3/22/16. Date on video is mistake. I know Marty and the woman in this video. I agree with the intent of the blog
. We the People need to change our ways to have a better environment to enjoy, for the future. Call your elected officials and demand clean water. Let them know you, me and we are.watching what they do. Hold them accountable. Scares the crap out of them. Thanks again,
E

Diane said...

Oops: St. Lucie Plant doesn't necessarily draw water from Indian River Lagoon. (Please don't post my most recent note. Although agriculture is significant in Martin? County at the north end of the Lagoon.

The source of once-through cooling water for the St. Lucie Plant is the Atlantic Ocean. At the location of the St. Lucie Plant on Hutchinson Island, the edge of the continental shelf extends approximately 21 miles offshore. Hutchinson Island is a barrier island that extends 22.5 miles between inlets (Ft. Pierce and
St. Lucie Inlets) and attains a maximum width of 1.2 miles at the St. Lucie Plant site. Near shore, in the
vicinity of the St. Lucie Plant, mean water depths typically range from 23 to 32 feet (ft) [National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Chart, 11472]. There is an offshore shoal, Pierce Shoal,
approximately 2 to 3 miles offshore.