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It is all about the water folks...

June 29, 2016
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editor:

We just need to throw all of our elected officials out and not listen to them at all. They will only lie to save their jobs. We need to bring a full and new group of elected officials in and here is why: They have been in office for a long time and gotten us into the water quality crisis we are in now, and they will not get us out.

We all need to get our heads around this issue of the water quality in our area. The reason people come to buy a second home here is our environment plain and simple. All of our small businesses need our visitors and part time residents in order to survive.

As James Carville, a political operative on the left once said; "It is the Economy Stupid!" Well here is South Florida our economy is based on our environment. They go hand in hand. So, as the environment goes, so goes our economy. Here is my two cents or my humble opinion on how this all works.

The SFWMD Board is not a democratically elected body. They are a board of appointees of and by our state's governor and then approved by the state legislature. So, if the governor has a group of donors from big agricultural concerns and/or big developers and the Legislature also has the same donors from the same big business concerns, we have a big problem.

How can anything ever change like that? I see a system in place that is, by its design, resistant to change.

The SFWMD Board seems only to answer only to the same big business donors of Big Agriculture and Big Development because of these relationships to our politicians.

As a matter of fact, our tax dollars go to support and subsidize the SFWMD Board's decisions. I had attended their last meeting in Fort Myers two weeks ago and I must say it was quite a feeding frenzy. A lot of ring kissing and congratulations being passed around and a lot of 'Aren't we all doing good work' is what I saw and heard. Meanwhile, we receive 11 billion gallons of bad water each day down the Caloosahatchee and that is just our coast.

The SFWMD talk of the C-43 catch basin project that will store less than 10 precent of the water as if it is the great fix of our issue. Ray Judah, our ex Lee County commissioner, stated that as I watched and listened. What our friends on the SFWMD Board are in essence doing is re plumbing a swamp to drain land to develop, sell and farm. They have an annual budget of about $200 million a year of our tax dollars. These tax dollars get spent on what the large business concerns and donor/owners want, not the public.

I heard some board member bemoaning the idea of how hard a job it is and it was taking a very long time because of all the moving parts. So, when I got my three minutes to speak at the hearing (after three hours of waiting), I reminded the over-worked, well-dressed, appointed board members, that the Hoover Dam, another project involving the government and the Army Corps of Engineers and one of this world's engineering marvels, that it was completed in five years. So much for their hard and long unfinished task.

With our tax dollars, we ultimately are subsidizing the business model of big agribusinesses and big real estate developers that care nothing for the little guy, our local small business men and women.

The SFWMD Board is a way of keeping control over something and not allowing the people to have control over it, because we cannot vote them on or off the board. It is our resource and we pay for some of the costs for Big Agriculture and Big Developers. Our only recourse is to vote out our representatives, our elected officials. We have no control over our shared problem and resource. I guess we will continue to be used as a funding source and toilet - unless we send a message, vote our leaders out and demand a change.

This system is working as designed. And, as such, the water management district is not doing what the people want or need to be done. They are doing what their masters want them to do. What that is, is to keep the profits going for their masters and to kick the can down the road and to "obfuscate" the issue as much and for as long as possible.

They are doing the will of the Big Business, Real Estate Developers and Big Agribusiness.

So, I say throw or vote all the bums out !

Charles C. Messina

Saint James City



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