|Algae clogged canal draining/irrigating EAA sugarcane field|
Trump, a part-time resident of Florida for decades, owns a 20 acre Palm Beach estate, Mar-A-Lago. The property is a focus of Palm Beach high society, including Big Sugar billionaires like the Fanjuls who parade at Christmas time. The point is that Donald Trump certainly knows about Big Sugar's influence on Florida water management. It is inescapable as the fresh air in Palm Beach blowing off the Atlantic.
Trump also just accepted Gov. Rick Scott's decision to be the national chairman for the superPAC supporting his presidential candidacy.
The Florida governor is firmly embedded in Big Sugar's sticky embrace.
Literally and figuratively, Rick Scott is adhered to Big Sugar's side. For Trump, taking a position against Big Sugar requires some shucking and jiving.
Consider: Scott's appointees on environmental commissions like the board of the South Florida Water Management District have defended Big Sugar's prerogatives and domination of water policies and practices with more arrogance and disrespect for public critics than ever before. Even Jeb Bush's appointees pale in comparison to the current regime, hiding behind an Iron Curtain of denial that their mismanagement of the water crisis put Floridians' health, billions in property values and a tourism-based economy at severe risk.
Gov. Rick Scott's policies and practices have plunged counties that lean Republican in election years in a bath of toxic pollution.
Scott, who plans to run for US Senate in two years, will have a harder time wriggling out of this dilemma than he did with his own company. Before being elected governor of Florida, Scott skipped away from the health care company he founded as it faced charges and ultimately paid to the federal government the largest civil fine ever assessed for abuses related to Medicare reimbursements.
Donald Trump discovered in Rick Scott his mirror image without seeing what everyone else sees.
To his view, Scott is a successful businessman whose self-belief lead him to a high elected office with no prior public service experience. Others don't see Gov. Scott that way at all. Through Florida's water quality catastrophe, these voters now see a leader whose views were formed through the porthole window of a private jet flying at 35,000 feet and never changed.
This week, the US Army Corps of Engineers sent a remarkable letter to Congressman Patrick Murphy, in response to his request that the Corps initiate at once, the necessary studies for land suitable to storage and cleanse polluted Lake Okeechobee on property now owned by Big Sugar. "The Army is prepared to initiate this study quickly, once a non-Federal sponsor for the study is identified."
By non-Federal sponsor, the Corps means: the State of Florida and Gov. Rick Scott who is busy raising money for Trump's superPAC and leaning on Big Sugar billionaires for campaign contributions.
Donald Trump doesn't need to "learn" anything about Florida's water quality catastrophe. Hobnobbing with the Fanjuls and other sugarcane growers all these years at Mar-A-Lago: he knows they've been making money the old fashioned way.
He should come out right away and say it: let's pay the Big Sugar billionaires for their land in the EAA and fix this problem in Florida. At the same time, end the corporate welfare in the Farm Bill, what Grover Norquist calls "cronyism in its inexcusable, undiluted majesty".
Make the Everglades, Florida's bays, rivers and estuaries, great again: buy the land, send clean, fresh water south. #NowOrNeverglades #FixFlorida