As you probably saw in the paper, Charlie Crist, Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Florida, visited Stuart on Wednesday, October 3, 2014. Very exciting! I have been waiting for the governor’s race to crank up and for the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon to be in the spotlight as it should be.
In my dream of dreams Governor Scott and Charlie Crist would come to Stuart debate. For now, I will be satisfied that this year both have visited and spoken and are aware of health issues facing the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.
I had seen Charlie Crist speak before at the Florida League of Cites, in Hollywood, but it was fun to see “the man, the myth,” our former governor, up close, face to face, along with his beautiful wife Carol.
I shall tell you of my short experience…
As I did not learn of the visit until the day before, I already had commitments and thus was one hour and a half late to Mr Crist’s planned arrival to tour the lagoon at the invitation of Marty Baum, Indian Riverkeeper.
This was inconsequential as the Crist team was late itself, so when I arrived at Sandsprit Park, Mr Crist and his team had just gone out in the boat with Marty Baum, Mark Perry of Florida Oceanographic, and others.
As Mr Crist came off the boat I moved to greet him and grabbed his hand to help him onto the dock. I thanked him for his visit. His wife, Carol was at his side holding a sign that read, A FAIR CHANCE FOR FLORIDA. I knew that the couple had married in 2008 and that she was a very successful business woman who ran the family business, Franco American Novelty Co . and was most well-known for inventing the slogan: “Where Fashion Meets Halloween,” and creating sexy Halloween costumes that were big sellers. She is a talented marketer.
I wondered what she thought so far of Stuart. She smiled, stepping off the boat in high heels.
Once off the boat they got their sea legs as apparently a big wave had hit…the small crowd loved him and gathered around.
Mr Crist composed himself, a calm and confident speaker. This was obviously a man used to being in the public eye.
The questions from the reporters about the lagoon were many, and Mr Crist did a good job answering. Nonetheless there was an awkward moment that must be noted.
Tyler Treadway from the Stuart News asked Mr Crist about how he would stop the discharges from Lake Okeechobee and Mr Crist answered that “he would put the right people on the South Florida Water Management Board and the discharges would stop; like they did before, when he was governor…”
There was silence. Tyler’s lips quivered; he said something like …”Sir I don’t know how you can say that? …That you stopped the discharges….”
Charlie Crist repeated again that he had.
I watched this crowd who adored and appreciated Mr Crist but they were too educated and too far into this not to know that stopping the discharges is a lot more complicated that that….and that they have NEVER stopped for long.
The was the pregnant pause….Silence….Tyler looked at his writing pad….the crowd stared into space.
As usual I could not stop myself and I finally blurted out: “Temporarily…..”
Charlie Crist looked straight at me; I respectfully held my gaze, head slightly down.
We all looked at each other….and stared. It was time to go.
We all thanked him. It was a great visit.
I believe Mr Crist’s intentions are good, I just don’t think, he like all politicians, is used to speaking to such an educated public.
We know the truth, we need a third outlet from the lake and other water holding areas, there are no saviors, no boards that will fix our terrible St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon/Lake Okeechobee problem.
“Why didn’t he speak about his US Sugar buyout plan from 2008?” Said someone as we were all walking away?
“He didn’t know who he was taking to,” I answered. “The most educated public in the state. Politicians are not used to that…”
We waved goodbye. And Charlie flashed us that winning smile. We hope he’ll come again.