Purposes of Water: Getting to Know Bill Galvano, the New Senate President

Bill Galvono, Senate President, 2019-20 https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s21

As we know from watching Treasure Coast politician, Joe Negron, being President of the Senate of is a very powerful position, and allows one to direct Florida political policy. West coast Manatee/Hillsborough county’s Bill Galvano follows Joe Negron, and for the next two years will be Florida’s Senate President.

As we navigate our toxic and waters, it is important we get to know Bill Galvano. ~Read his bio. Learn where he is from. Be familiar with his background and former committees.  And most important of all, try to determine what motivates him and pay attention to the dreams of his presidency.

The best way to get this information first hand is to listen to the new president’s induction speech. Thankfully this is recorded by the Florida Channel for those who did not attend. Here is a link; go to about 40:00 to hear President Galvano’s speech.

Florida Channel:https://thefloridachannel.org/videos/102417-republican-senate-president-designation-ceremony-senator-bill-galvano/

The primary goals I picked while listening were civility, innovation and openness; and although, he did not speak directly to water issues, as President Joe Negron did, Galvano does mention Florida working to respect its natural resources. ~I do know that in earlier years Galvano worked to give residents of Florida more expedient information when water resources had been compromised as with the Mosaic phosphate sink hole that took weeks before the Department of Environmental Protection revealed it: (NPR: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/09/29/495936718/giant-sinkhole-at-florida-plant-leaks-polluted-water-into-state-aquifer) (G-Ville Sun: https://www.gainesville.com/news/20160930/galvano-to-take-lead-on-pollution-notice-issue)

The Miami Herald used this quote to sum up Bill Galvano:

“As Senate president, I have very little ability to change the national discourse, or to stem the tide of modern-day incivility that is so pervasive in an era of social media and 24-hour news cycle,” he said, “But I can tell you as Senate president, and while I’m Senate president, that the Florida Senate will have civility, transparency, candor, and provide opportunity.”

Read more here: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article221944615.html#storylink=cpy”

Well as water advocates, it’s our opportunity and responsibility to influence President Galvano by visiting, calling, writing his office, getting to know his staff, and relaying the concerns we have about our natural environment that is quickly going to hell in a hand basket!

Also, I must note, that I just happen to know that new Treasure Coast Senator Gayle Harrell has a good relationship with President Galvano because I saw that she was walking him around at her election night party. (Harrell: http://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s25?pref=full)

Use everything you can to communicate now before legislative session begins and it’s too late!

Links:

Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Galvano

President Galvano’s district includes Warm Mineral Springs, one of the most important Springs archeological sites in the state requiring careful rules of management, something the state needs more of: http://www.floridasprings.org/visit/map/warm%20mineral%20springs/
Florida Archeology: http://www.warmmineral.com/wms/AAUS_1990_7.pdf

Bradenton News: https://www.bradenton.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article221946360.html

St Lucie River May 2016

Florida Senate – Water Senators, 2019

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2019 Senate President Bill Galvano, https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s21, recently assigned senators to their committees.  The new Senate President is following Joe Negron. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Senate.)

Knowing who has been assigned what committees is important. Let’s learn about a couple of “water-senators ” ~those assigned to committees where water will come up. No pun intended.

First, let’s go to the Florida Senate website and click on the Committees Tab. Look around. What titles have something to do with water or the environment? Here you will see a list of committees. Very interesting! Only a few could apply.

(https://www.flsenate.gov/Committees/#com-list )

For sure, when it comes to  purposes of water, under Standing Committees, Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government is key.

 

Who got this position? Wow! Senator Debbie Mayfield has been assigned to be the chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government. She represents Indian River and  Brevard Counties and in earlier years served in the Florida House of Representatives so she knows about all the toxic “Lost Summers,” and the troublesome “brown tide” that affects her area.(https://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/local/environment/lagoon/2018/03/02/again-killer-brown-algae-responsible-2016-mass-fish-deaths-blooming/381630002/)
When you click on her name you will also see she serves on the Environment and Natural Resources Committee and the Appropriations Committee. Senator Mayfield is very well versed in water issues not only because she is our Indian River lagoon neighbor, but because as she was an ally of former Senate President Joe Negron in 2018.

Mayfield: https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/S17

Now, take the time now to click on these links below and see if you happen to know any of the other senators serving on either the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government or the Natural Resources Committee or anything else relevant, perhaps Tourism where water really belongs. Take note of these senators. Do you know anyone who may know them? A friend across the state?

Environment and Natural Resources Committee and the Appropriations Committee: https://www.flsenate.gov/Committees/Show/AEG

Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government : https://www.flsenate.gov/Committees/Show/EN

Now for one more water senator. He who holds the purse strings!  Appropriations Chair, Senator Rob Bradley, another Negron ally from last year. Senator Bradley represents Marion County, a region where there are many nutrient pollution/flow/algae Springs issues and concerns about development and over aquifer withdrawal.(https://www.ocala.com/news/20180114/study-finds-nitrates-not-only-problem-affecting-springs) Bradley is no stranger to water!

Click on his link and see what other committees he is on as well.

Senator Bradley: https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/S5

Today I am going to stop here.

There are other important positions, but these two featured Senators that have a track record. These are two you can reach out to now, along with your legislative delegation.

Yes! Start building relationships NOW.

If you can’ reach the legislator him or herself, call, write or go to their office and build a relationship with their staff. Like any relationship this takes time, effort, finesse, and multiple visits. Ask for a meeting just to talk about what is important to you as a citizen, no matter your political affiliation. All Florida politicians represent all Floridians.

Here are some tips about Effective Communication and a visual from last year to refresh our memories about how an idea becomes a law.

Advocate for water now! Once legislative session begins, it’s too late!

https://www.flsenate.gov/About/EffectiveCommunication and also a visual about how an idea becomes a law.

Toxic algae under the Evans Crary Bridge, St Lucie River, Sewall’s Point 2016

What is a Legislative Delegation Meeting? How Can I Speak Up for Our Waters?

I remember the first time, I realized that I had chance to speak before the entire legislative delegation of Martin County. The year was 2008, and I was new commissioner on the Sewall’s Point Commission.

To be honest, at the time, I asked myself “what is and who makes up a Legislative  Delegation?”

A “legislative delegation” is made up of the both the Senator and House  of Representative members from a particular district. For instance, in 2019, in Martin County, our Senator is Gayle Harrell, who ran and won the seat of influential and retiring Senate President, Joe Negron. And we have two House of Representative reps, Toby Overdorf, who won the termed-out  seat of Gayle Harrell; and Mary Lynn Magar, who won her seat again, and is now second in-line of leadership, as House Speaker pro tempore, a great honor.

For Martin County, it is Representative MaryLnn Magar’s office that is organizing the 2019 Martin County Delegation Meeting.

For those of you reading this blog that do not live in Martin County, your specific representatives will organize your delegation meeting and in most  instances there will be overlaps to bordering counties.  The maps below give one an idea. You can learn more by the links below about your representatives for both the House and the Senate.

screenshot 14
Senator, Gayle Harrell, Dist 25
magar
House Represenative MearyLynn Magar , Dist. 82
toby
House Representative Toby Overdorf
Florida state representatives map florida house district map, afputra com
Florida Senate district map

Look up Senators here:

https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators
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Look up House of Representatives here: https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/representatives.aspx

Most Delegation Meetings require a request form for organization and participation. Call a representative from your area for details if you don’t see your meeting advertised on line.

The Martin County Delegation will meet on January 15, 2019.

A Legislative Delegation Meeting is the best time to communicate with one’s  local delegation because once they are through with committee meetings (happening now or soon), and once they are into the the legislative session itself coming up in March, it is much harder to have one’s voice heard ~ as during Legislative Session, everyone is screaming at them at once.

So….communicate now!

Speak up for the St Lucie! Speak up for the Caloosahatechee! ! Speak up for Florida Bay!  Speak up for our Rivers! Speak up for Florida’s Environment! ! Speak up for the Future!

~Republican, Democrat, No Party Affiliation, Everyone!

Most important, be part of the political process of this state we all love.

Links:

Florida Legislature, General info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Legislature

Florida Senate: https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/Districts

Florida House of Represenatives : https://www.myfloridahouse.gov

Manatees, Silver River, Dr Robert Knight
St Lucie River, Rio, 2016, JTL
River Kidz 2017

Implementing Amendment 9: Prohibits Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoors Workplaces 

~2018 Constitutional Amendments, Florida Division of Elections: https://floridaelectionwatch.gov/Amendments
~2018 Amendments, Florida Division of Elections, Amd. 9 Results by County: https://floridaelectionwatch.gov/ContestResultsByCounty/900009
~Ballotpedia Amendment 9 2018: https://ballotpedia.org/Florida_Amendment_9,_Ban_Offshore_Oil_and_Gas_Drilling_and_Ban_Vaping_in_Enclosed_Indoor_Workplaces_Amendment_(2018)

For me, the best thing about Election Day 2018 was the passage of Constitutional  Amendment 9. But that will not be the end of it. Now it is the job of the state legislature to implement the amendment and for us to keep watch that they do.

Hmmm?

Implement?

What does that mean?

Basically, this means that the language that makes up the ballot amendment must be put into the Florida Constitution and “implemented,” or fulfilled.  To be “implemented” the ballot language that composes the amendment must be inserted and followed.

Amendment 9 was made up of two parts. During the Constitution Revision Commission process,  I had sponsored Proposal #91 Prohibiting Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling, and Commissioner Lisa Carlton had sponsored Proposal #65 Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoors Workplaces. These two proposals made it through the arduous CRC committee process and then were “bundled” by the CRC Style and Drafting Committee relating as “Clean Air and Clean Water.” Thus on the ballot, married, what were P#91 and P#65 composed a new whole: Amendment 9 ~ Prohibiting Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoors Workplaces.

As everyone who followed the election knows, the #RoadToTheBallot wasn’t easy, and Amendment 9 was criticized unmercifully by the press, and even went before the Florida Supreme Court. In the end, the court supported the bundling  and the people of Florida did too. The voters read, studied, and decided for themselves, Clean Air and Clean Water in Florida is very, very important. The required 60% passage was exceeded;  the amendment passed by 68.92%!

See how your county voted here: https://floridaelectionwatch.gov/CompareStateToCounty/900009

The people  have spoken and now the state Legislature must do its work and implement the amendment by placing  the ballot language into the Florida Constitution.  See the language that comes off the Florida Division of Elections website below.

Prohibiting Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling will go into Article II and Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoors Workplaces will go into Article X. See a copy of the full Florida Constitution and all its articles here: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?submenu=3

There have been times in the past,  as with Amendment 1 2014,  Florida’s Water and Land Conservation Initiative, where the state legislature did not follow the intent of the language once it was in the constitution. They interpreted it rather to benefit the state power structure. Some say this is partially because the  language  was vague and a court case was brought to try to clear up the amendment’s interpretation by the state legislature.

https://ballotpedia.org/Florida_Water_and_Land_Conservation_Initiative,_Amendment_1_%282014%29

Thankfully, the language of  both P#91 Prohibiting Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling and  #65 Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoors Workplaces are legally solid, specific,  and should not leave any cracks open to be perverted by the state legislature. Nonetheless, we must keep a very watchful eye, as when it comes to Florida’s Legislature there is always the chance for corruption…

Read this article below to see why….

What do they say? “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely….” And who is the most powerful of all? The State Legislature!

New push for offshore drilling as Florida awaits recount results

FLORIDA POLITICS, STAFF REPORTS
November 15, 2018, 4:02 pm
http://floridapolitics.com/archives/281341-offshore-drilling-recount

CRC Commissioner List: http://www.flcrc.gov/Commissioners.html
CRC Web-site: http://www.flcrc.gov/Commissioners.html

~Cayo Costa in Photographs

I have had such a reaction to my blog post on Cayo Costa that I have decided to share more of my photos. Ed and my recent visit along this very special place will never be forgotten. A place I did not even know about, until I went;  I still am having trouble with its tongue- twister name! Thank you to those who helped protect this barrier island from development. It is a tremendous gift today, and for future generations. Enjoy.

https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/cayo-costa-state-park

Thankfully, it was not.

 

Screenshot of location iPhone

Links:

Audubon: https://www.audubon.org/important-bird-areas/cayo-costa-pine-island

Historic Cemetery: https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/2277307/cayo-costa-pioneer-cemetery

General Info, Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cayo_Costa_State_Park

Useppa ~Very Different Waters Indeed

I was still stewing over thinking that Charlotte Harbor was the Gulf of Mexico when the trawler docked at Useppa.

The sunlight reflected off impressive white structures lining the island. An American flag flew prominently atop what Captain Glenn said was once a Calusa Indian midden ~the tribe whose arrow maimed, later killing, Ponce de Leon.

There was certainly an air about the place, that for eternity, it had been a center of power and influence.

As I walked with Captain Glen and Ed beyond the docks, the front office gave hints to the days of Baron Colliers’ famed Izaak Walton Club, clearing, dredging, filling and building, to make available Florida’s most famous of Tarpon filled waters.

ca. 1906 https://www.useppa.com/legacy/izaak-walton/, courtesy  web site, Useppa

Looking around, I saw messages and awards written on Tarpon scales, enshrined in glass casings of an era long gone by. It made my heart ache for a time of healthier Florida waters, times when nutrient pollution, toxic-algae, and over-drainage were not killing our state. I decided be thankful for this looking-glass of history and enjoy a walk.

The island remained absolutely beautiful…and such strange and wonderful treasures! As we walked up the mound, I gasped at the wonder all around me.

I saw night-blooming cactus vines like hundreds of green ropes covering the huge ancient oaks trees; Spanish-moss swaying in a light breeze: an empty beach catching the colors of coming sunset; orchids and bromeliads blooming everywhere high and low; a gigantic banyan tree, a gift from Thomas Edison, standing like an aging hurricane-weathered sentinel – old limbs broken and reformed, arching over houses and sidewalks alike!

There were animals too. We met a friendly, stowaway orange cat that had arrived on a supply vessel and now was the mayor of the town. And also an old gopher turtle happily clipping grass with an awesome multi-entrance and exit gopher tunnel.

At the end of the sidewalk tour, the famed Collier Inn stood atop the ancient Indian mound looking out over the waters. It was beautiful yes, but I knew, in spite of the awe around me, with no tarpon jumping, those were very different waters, indeed.

 

Links:

Useppa resident speaks up: https://www.news-press.com/story/news/2018/08/22/toxic-algae-florida-scientists-question-health-departments-stand/973593002/

Calusa Indians, Fl: http://www.pbchistoryonline.org/middle-school-lessons/001-Calusa/001-Calusa1.htm

Historic Society, Useppa: http://www.useppahs.org/pages/useppa_history.html

Izaak Walton Club, Collier: https://www.useppa.com/legacy/izaak-walton/

Note Useppa Award from Captains For Clean Waters: https://captainsforcleanwater.org

West Florida Sailing and Cruising School: http://www.flsailandcruiseschool.com

https://captainsforcleanwater.org

Getting to Know the Very Big Caloosahatchee and Beyond, SLR/IRL

Cape Coral along the Caloosahatchee River across river from Ft Meyers, Lee County, FL JTL

Recently, Ed and I took a trawler ride along the Caloosahatchee River and beyond with Captain Glenn. I learned so much, and got to see up close the condition of their waters.

The first thing that hit me was just the sheer size. The St Lucie River/Southern Indian River Lagoon, in comparison, seemed like the tip of a pen.

Flying in, one sees sprawling Cape Coral, once scrub and swamp, now carved with canals and spotted with endless houses. Like Port St Lucie on steroids. On the ground, four lane highways run through neighborhoods walled with strip malls. But old Florida houses are here and there, and one can tell this place was once a quaint hometown tropical paradise.

Remnants of Old Florida remain, a double-headed cabbage palm greeted us along Silver King Boulevard and the adventure began: P102, Inland Powerboat Cruising at the Florida Sailing and Cruising School.

As the old Grand Banks rounded the ben, the conversation went to Punta Rassa. It took me awhile to remember the areas historic importance in Florida and Cuban trade as the destination of the Florida cattle drive, as prominently featured in Patrick Smith’s famous novel,  A Land Remembered. 

 

Screenshot location from my phone

 

So a trawler goes slow, and the dolphins liked playing in the wake of our bow. I was happy to see them after reading about the many killed due to red-tide and blue-green algae outbreaks this past summer. There were dolphins everywhere! Calves and mothers too.

When we finally turned north into Pine Island Sound, again, the scale of the waterways and surrounding lands was amazing. I cannot imagine what a fishing haven this place was in its day! There could not be a more perfect combination of rivers, sounds, bays, and barrier islands.

Eventually, we made it north beyond Useppa, the once fishing camp of famed Florida developer Barron Collier, and up to Cayo Costa, a seven mile long state park. We anchored in Pelican Bay and then Ed and I made to the park’s dock. Looking down into shallow salty waters I saw what Captain Glenn said was turtle grass, along with drift algae. There were minnows and a few bigger fish. A good sign, but not particularly healthy looking.

Ironically, our pilot friend, Dave Stone, had sent us an aerial of Cayo Costa showing visible red-tide a couple of days before, so I was curious what Ed and I would see on the Gulf of Mexico side of the island. Thankfully, it was beautiful. I collected shells, admired the bird life, saw a manatee, and got lost in the simple beauty of the place praising those who must have worked miracles to keep it from turning into condominiums and green lawns belching nutrient pollution into the waters.

11-8-18 8000 feet off Captiva and Cayo Costa. Pilot Dave Stone.

 

As much fun as that day was, I was getting sick at the beginning of the trip and now I was coughing out of control. I went to bed early and when I awoke the boat was moving; the sound of the engines humming along.

I peaked my head out seeing a huge expanse of water thinking we were going through the pass between Cayo Costa and Boca Grande.

“Is that the Gulf of Mexico?” I yelled from the cabin excitedly.

“No, it’s Charlotte Harbor,” Ed yelled back. “We’re turning around to visit Useppa.”

The wind blew and the sun shone…

“God, I’m an idiot,” I thought to myself. I just thought Charlotte Harbor was the Gulf of Mexico.”

Things are bigger on the west coast and there’s a lot to learn around here!

 

Links:

Altering the Caloosahatchee: http://nsgl.gso.uri.edu/flsgp/flsgpm02003/flsgpm02003_part4.pdf

Lee County Watersheds: http://www.leegov.com/naturalresources/WaterQuality/watersheds/caloosahatchee