Recently, I convinced my husband, Ed, to come up to Tallahassee with me for the “State of the State” reception at the Governor’s mansion.
It was very exciting; however, we had waited in line for almost an hour, to shake hands with the Governor and First Lady, when a secret service man told me we weren’t going to make the cut. The line was cut off one person in front of me!
“You’re kidding? That’s a bummer.” I thought. “Maybe they’ve had enough of my controversial Constitution Revision Commission environmental proposals? Perhaps I’ve been put on the Affiliated Industries of Florida’s blacklist? Just chance? Hmmm. I can handle it, but poor Ed!”
I tried to negotiate with the secret service man. He was not budging.
While I moped, Ed seemed unaffected, rolled his eyes, smiled, and headed for the bar.
I, on the other hand, could not let go. I was determined to have the Governor see me, or for me to see the Governor, so I moved as far to the front of the room as I could.
When I was right up with the crowd surrounding the Governor, I saw an empty chair. I didn’t see any secret service men staring at me, so I sat in the chair. I could see everything!
But, right at that moment the Governor, First Lady, and crew made a quick exit, and I was sitting there in my black dress, and fake fur, trying to look cool, gazing purposely at a book on the side table.
It was beautiful, very old, and entitled,”Florida Land of Enchantment.” Old-fashioned keys covered the historic book’s fading green face. I stared at it thinking about how the mystique of Florida is “what built Florida.” And how that historic mystique was, and remains, built on the enchantment of Florida’s lands.
Well, Ed and I didn’t get to shake hands with the Governor or First Lady, but I got to see this magnificent book and I’ll never forget it.
This Friday, at 11:00 am, my fourth CRC proposal, P46, or Land Acquisition Trust Fund, goes before the CRC Legislative Committee. The goal of P46 is to have a very needed conversation and to clarify language in Article X, Section 28 of Florida’s Constitution (Amendment 1, 2014) and direct the state legislature to deposit no less that one third of the revenue, not to exceed 300 million annually, into the Florida Forever Trust Fund. This money would go specifically to conservation land purchase as prioritized by the long standing and once “always funded” Florida Forever program.
I already know, there are many reasons, and many conspiracy theories, about why the state legislature has stopped funding Florida Forever. And no matter what occurs at the CRC meeting, the proposal will not be self-executing. We cannot force the legislature to spend money a certain way. That is their prerogative, a power that is derived for them alone from the state constitution.
But a strong message can be sent. A directive can be given. And shouldn’t they listen? They should.
How many years has that book been sitting by the table? Governors and legislatures will come and go, but if “Florida, the land of enchantment,” is to remain, we must continue to invest in Florida Forever.
Florida Forever: https://floridadep.gov/lands/environmental-services/content/florida-forever
Legislative Meeting, CRC: http://flcrc.gov/Committees/LE/
7 thoughts on ““Florida, the Land of Enchantment?” Then Re-fund Florida Forever. P46, CRC”
Wow, I love your style and how you can put it to paper. Thanks for always sticking up for Florida and our Natural Treasures! Proud of you,
Thank you for your tenacity and unwavering hard work. The rejection you experience is a great sign that we are being heard and we won’t stand down until they listen. We stand by you and Ed!
A terrific experience for you and a great story to remember. You’re a force to reckon with and I believe you have more than one persons attention in Tallahassee.
IMO it’s far too late to be concerned about being on any ones “blacklist” – just keep looking ahead as I know you do.
As for Ed, he certainly has more patience than I do. I would have headed over to the bar before standing in line in the first place ;-).
This book is just a beauty all of its own. I have a first edition copy from 1918. It is one of my most treasured possessions. Please take the time to look through it if you have a chance. I promise it will leave a last impression.
leapen lizards—I am working in Margate(near Miami) and I think maby the Iguanas out number the people there. If you could have talked to the govener you could have asked to rub his bald head for luck. Anyone that can get away with doing all the stuff he has has to be lucky.
Part of the iguanas success story has to be the canal drainage system. I had some fine calcium sand in the back of my truck and put handfuls in several of these clear water canals. To my surprise the sand went straight to the bottom. I would bet money that the banks of this canal system is lined with calcium spoil that was dug out. Plants suck up calcium. I think maby the real reason for the iguanas success may be the vegetation they are eating is loaded with calcium. Perhaps one day a overwealming source of prey could mean preditors like the panther could make a big comeback.
There is a blue lizard with strips that since I was a kid we called a blue racer. At least 7 or 8 times I have found them”hybernating” in calcium sand that was hard as a rock. Rain would soften it up just a little bit and when I would dig– out they would run. There were no holes. It was like they buried themselves up when rains made it soft and then they waited for it to harden. Could they have used acid to create their own oxygen? I know this story seems unbelieveable but it is what I saw.