Tag Archives: magic

CRC P24 Comr. of Environmental Protection Presentation, “Save the Florida Goose”

The following are my notes, images, and basic outline for my presentation to the CRC Executive Committee for P24, Creating a Commissioner of Environmental Protection. I will present on January 11th at 11am. JTL

CRC Executive Committee Agenda: https://www.flcrc.gov/Committees/EX/ExpandedAgenda/141

To write to members of Exec. Committee in support or with concerns: https://www.flcrc.gov/Committees/EX/
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Notes: P24, Creating a Commissioner of Environmental Protection or “CEP.” SAVE THE FLORIDA GOOSE

Inspiration

~”Florida has this magical thing— that one person can make a difference…” CRC Chair Carlos Beruff, 4-12-17, interview, Florida Channel

~2 members of the public verbally presented the idea of Commissioner of Environmental Protection thus a Cabinet position for the environment during the  CRC Public Hearings that took place across the state in 2017.

~Public Proposal 700012 was submitted in written form by Mr Gamez below:

PUB 700012: To Make a Broader Approach to Protecting the Environment by Carlos Gamez

ARTICLE IV: EXECUTIVE, New Section. Catchline: Department of Environmental Protection The Legislature may create a department of Environmental Protection and prescribe its duties. The provisions governing the administration of the department must comply with Section 6 of Article VI of the State Constitution.

This led to P24, sponsored by JTL .The people were the inspiration for this proposal.

 CRC - 2017                                                  P 24
       
       
        
       By Commissioner Thurlow-Lippisch
       
       thurlowlj-00025A-17                                     201724__
    1                         A proposal to amend                       
    2         Sections 3 and 4 of Article IV and create a new
    3         section in Article XII of the State Constitution to
    4         establish the office of Commissioner of Environmental
    5         Protection as a statewide elected officer, to provide
    6         duties of the commissioner, and to include the
    7         commissioner as a member of the Cabinet.
    8          
    9  Be It Proposed by the Constitution Revision Commission of
   10  Florida:
   11  
   12         Sections 3 and 4 of Article IV of the State Constitution
   13  are amended to read:
   14                             ARTICLE IV                            
   15                              EXECUTIVE                            
   16         SECTION 3. Succession to office of governor; acting
   17  governor.—
   18         (a) Upon vacancy in the office of governor, the lieutenant
   19  governor shall become governor. Further succession to the office
   20  of governor shall be prescribed by law. A successor shall serve
   21  for the remainder of the term.
   22         (b) Upon impeachment of the governor and until completion
   23  of trial thereof, or during the governor’s physical or mental
   24  incapacity, the lieutenant governor shall act as governor.
   25  Further succession as acting governor shall be prescribed by
   26  law. Incapacity to serve as governor may be determined by the
   27  supreme court upon due notice after docketing of a written
   28  suggestion thereof by four three cabinet members, and in such
   29  case restoration of capacity shall be similarly determined after
   30  docketing of written suggestion thereof by the governor, the
   31  legislature or four three cabinet members. Incapacity to serve
   32  as governor may also be established by certificate filed with
   33  the custodian of state records by the governor declaring
   34  incapacity for physical reasons to serve as governor, and in
   35  such case restoration of capacity shall be similarly
   36  established.
   37         SECTION 4. Cabinet.—
   38         (a) There shall be a cabinet composed of an attorney
   39  general, a chief financial officer, a commissioner of
   40  environmental protection, and a commissioner of agriculture. In
   41  addition to the powers and duties specified herein, they shall
   42  exercise such powers and perform such duties as may be
   43  prescribed by law. In the event of a tie vote of the governor
   44  and cabinet, the side on which the governor voted shall be
   45  deemed to prevail.
   46         (b) The attorney general shall be the chief state legal
   47  officer. There is created in the office of the attorney general
   48  the position of statewide prosecutor. The statewide prosecutor
   49  shall have concurrent jurisdiction with the state attorneys to
   50  prosecute violations of criminal laws occurring or having
   51  occurred, in two or more judicial circuits as part of a related
   52  transaction, or when any such offense is affecting or has
   53  affected two or more judicial circuits as provided by general
   54  law. The statewide prosecutor shall be appointed by the attorney
   55  general from not less than three persons nominated by the
   56  judicial nominating commission for the supreme court, or as
   57  otherwise provided by general law.
   58         (c) The chief financial officer shall serve as the chief
   59  fiscal officer of the state, and shall settle and approve
   60  accounts against the state, and shall keep all state funds and
   61  securities.
   62         (d) The commissioner of environmental protection shall have
   63  supervision of matters pertaining to environmental protection
   64  that the Department of Environmental Protection or its successor
   65  agency and water management districts are required or authorized
   66  by law to implement and administer.
   67         (e) The commissioner of agriculture shall have supervision
   68  of matters pertaining to agriculture except as otherwise
   69  provided by law.
   70         (f)(e) The governor as chair, the chief financial officer,
   71  and the attorney general shall constitute the state board of
   72  administration, which shall succeed to all the power, control,
   73  and authority of the state board of administration established
   74  pursuant to Article IX, Section 16 of the Constitution of 1885,
   75  and which shall continue as a body at least for the life of
   76  Article XII, Section 9(c).
   77         (g)(f) The governor as chair, the chief financial officer,
   78  the attorney general, the commissioner of environmental
   79  protection, and the commissioner of agriculture shall constitute
   80  the trustees of the internal improvement trust fund and the land
   81  acquisition trust fund as provided by law.
   82         (h)(g) The governor as chair, the chief financial officer,
   83  the attorney general, the commissioner of environmental
   84  protection, and the commissioner of agriculture shall constitute
   85  the agency head of the Department of Law Enforcement.
   86  
   87         A new section is added to Article XII of the State
   88  Constitution to read:
   89                             ARTICLE XII                           
   90                              SCHEDULE                             
   91         Recomposition of the cabinet; commissioner of environmental
   92  protection.—The amendment to Section 4 of Article IV relating to
   93  the election of the commissioner of environmental protection and
   94  the inclusion of the commissioner as a member of the cabinet
   95  shall take effect January 3, 2023, but shall govern with respect
   96  to the qualifying for and the holding of the primary and general
   97  elections for the office of commissioner of environmental
   98  protection in 2022.

THE TIME IS NOW for the Environment to get a Seat at the Table.

Florida Chamber’s population growth projections: 6,000,000 more people for a population of 26,000,000 people by 2030…

1000 Friends of Florida “A Population Distribution Scenario for the State of Florida” 2060. This shows the areas projected to become the most populated highly impacting natural lands and water resources.

FEGN- Florida Ecological Green Network Priorities,  2016. This map shows the  importance of creating a priorities  for Wildlife Corridor creation in the growing state of Florida. Done correctly we can have both growth and connected lands for wildlife and water. But we must plan now for the next 20 years and beyond. We will never have this chance again.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection map below shows Impaired Waters of the State: 53% Rivers; 82% Lakes; 32% Estuaries. This doesn’t even mention our very impacted and magnitude lessened springs.

Water management districts have individual governing boards but the Department of Environmental Protection may exercise general supervisory authority over water management districts (s. 373.026(7), Florida Statutes). I think “may” in this sentence needs to be reinterpreted. It is too weak for today’s pressures.

Creating a Comr. of Environmental Protection would elevate today’s “Department of Environmental Protection” giving it more autonomy and less impact from the often destructive and brutal pendulum swings of politics.

Agriculture already has a Cabinet seat and has a Dept of Water Quality that oversees Best Management Practices. Why shouldn’t the environment be on equal footing with Agriculture? The environment and Florida’s tourism industry are the number one income generator of the state, agriculture claims the number two spot.

We must note that since the last CRC in 1998, our waters have become even more impaired and our lands purchases are not always well represented to the Legislature or mindful of the importance of “connectedness.” Having a Commissioner of Environmental Protection would give us leadership for a higher standard, better communication, and better success for all the public to see.

Would the people of Florida support a Commissioner of Environmental Protection? Absolutely. The people of Florida have spoke loudly in 2014. Amendment 1, 2014 now in the Florida Constitution as Art X, Sec. 28 continues to be controversial as the legislature resented what they saw as forced direction of appropriations/money. Nonetheless, it was the will of the people. A Commissioner of Environmental Protection could help ameliorate this situation with the State Legislature and and the public.

*October 2016 Poll: “Top Concerns of Floridians are economy and environment.”~ Miami Herald. (Water related problems top concern 34%; 20% Loss of Natural Lands for Wildlife second.) “The focus on the environment as top concern behind the economy should not surprise anyone who has lived in Florida…Florida’s economy has long been closely linked to its environmental assets.”

As Chair Beruff stated: “Florida has this magical thing...”

We must think about this….

If we lose the magic, if will don’t protect our environment and the people’s love of it, we lose “Florida,” killing our Goose that lays our Golden Egg…

“A cottager and his wife had a Hen that laid a golden egg every day. They supposed that the Hen must contain a great lump of gold in its inside, and in order to get the gold they killed her. Having done so, they found to their surprise that the Hen differed in no respect from their other hens. The foolish pair, thus hoping to become rich all at once, deprived themselves of the gain of which they were assured day by day…” Aesop’s Fables

In closing:

The need for Leadership; Give the Environment a Seat at the Table with a Florida Cabinet member; CRC can put P24 on the 2018 ballot and allow the electorate to vote for a Commissioner of Environmental Protection in 2022. Save the Florida Goose.

Organizational Chart for Florida 2017
P24 proposed change

Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch is a member of the 2018 Constitution Revision Commission: https://www.flcrc.gov/Commissioners/Thurlow-Lippisch

The Stuart Middle School Pond That “Was Made to Disappear…” SLR/IRL

Left, 1947 photo of Stuart High School that today is the location of the Martin County School Board Administrative Buildings. Right, “The Log Cabin,” that is now located at Langford Park in Jensen Beach/Rio. Today’s Stuart Middle School along East Ocean Blvd. is located exactly where this pond used to be. Photo shared by historian Alice Luckhardt from Clyde Counant, Thurlow/Collection.
Google Earth (from opposite direction) shows 2017 image of today’s Stuart Middle School (large roof in middle of photo, marked as #102 East Ocean, Stuart) at corner of Georgia Ave and East Ocean Blvd.  The school is built IN the area where large pond once was located that you see in the 1947 black and white photo above . Notice the small depression to the right of the building. That is what is left of the pond.

This week, with a short reprieve from politics, I have been sharing historic photos and videos of the once wetlands and ponds of East Ocean Boulevard. Land use changes interest me as land use is of course directly connected to the water quality and health of our St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.

After reading yesterday’s blog, historian and family friend Alice Luckhardt, shared the remarkable 1947 photo above. I wanted to make sure everyone saw it as well! Look at the size of that pond that once was at Stuart Middle School! I remember it; do you? Now it’s gone.

The question posed to Alice in a conversation thread on Facebook was “why was the school board allowed to drain and build over the pond?”

It appears “the powers that be” had been eyeing the land under the pond for some time…

Alice has included two old news articles, featured below, explaining how students, two different times, did save the pond from destruction in both 1964 and 1971, but no one spoke up during the real estate boom era of the 2000s when the “new Stuart Middle School” was built. Why didn’t the adults save it?

Now I must state that I love Stuart Middle School as I attended there as a student and taught there as a teacher, but this disappearing pond act is incredible and should be noted. At the time I saw it happening, I did write a personal note of concern and disbelief to the current principal who did not write me back. Now that I am a “politico” person, I understand the principal does not make these decisions.

Many locals who grew up here still have memories of the pond. My Dad does as he went to hight school here in the 50s. Generational Stuart resident Boo Lowery  says:”Jay Davey and I fished in that pond a lot 1949-53, we caught a lot of bream.. there were two  islands then, –they later connected them to shore; I guess to make mowing easier.”

Yes, the goal is always to make it “easier,” for we humans, unfortunately over time this adds to the desolation of our St Lucie River…Easier is not the answer.

Well enjoy Alice’s articles below! Thanks, everyone; see you at the fishin’ pond.

Jacqui

P.S. Go Jaguars!

 

Center JTL 6ht grade at SMS. Nice hair doo.
Full page SMS 1975-76, recognize anyone? 🙂

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Photo Stuart, Florida, in 1947. Source: Clyde Coutant Photography, Thurlow/Collection. An aerial with Stuart High School on left and the pond and Log Cabin on right.

By Alice Luckhardt
Alice can be reached and her Historical Vignettes are available at: http://www.stuartheritagemuseum.com

JULY 16, 1964, THE STUART NEWS, SCHOOL POND IS TO BE ‘SAVED’ BY CONSERVATIONIST GROUPS
The pond at Stuart Junior High School will not be filled. Instead, its water level will be restored, its banks will be graded to stop erosion and it will again be the habitat of water lilies and fresh water fish. Martin County School Board Monday night approved a plan advanced by six local conservation groups: Garden Club of Stuart, Izaak Walton League, St. Lucie-Indian Rivers Restoration League, the Historical Society, Junior Conservation Club and U. S. Soil Conservation Service. Charles Kindred, president of the Isaak Walton League, detailed the plan, which involves grading of the banks with county equipment, stabilizing them with Bahia grass and other plantings, installation of a well and one and a quarter-inch pump, operated by the city, to maintain the water level at three or four feet during drought periods and the planting of bream and bass.

JAN 10, 1971, THE STUART NEWS JUNIOR HIGH POND IS DUG OUT

The pond on the campus of the Stuart Seventh and Eighth School is in the final stages of renovation. Assistant Superintendent of Schools Jack Smouse said that the pond is somewhat of a landmark in the community and that it has been here “as long as I can remember.” School officials have intended to update the pond for some time, Smouse said and with the cooperation of the city and the county the work has been done. The county donated a dragline and the city provided fill for the project. The pond was originally designed with two separate islands in the center. Smouse said the design made maintenance difficult. Transporting mowers and other equipment from one island to the other was virtually impossible without a boat. With the fill which the city provided, the two islands have been connected. Smouse said the pond was originally dug to provide fill for other areas and that the spoil taken from the recent work will be used on the campus. Moves to fill in the pond in the past were blocked by local conservationists, Smouse said. They felt that if the pond is eliminated the city will lose one of its areas of beauty. The digging is now completed and the next step is to clear the area of cattails and other debris. When this work is complete the area will be planted and stocked with fish. Smouse said it will provide a fresh water pond for the area and will be used primarily as a “classroom” by the science department at the school. The pond is filled by surface water from the campus. In the past, storm sewer drainage went into the pond, but with the present drainage system this is impossible, Smouse explained. With the present low water table the surface water will be the only method of fill in the pond. Smouse said that eventually the school hopes to erect a flagpole at either end of the island with a school sign.

2000s: “quiet as a mouse”….pave it over!

Stuart Middle School along East Ocean Blvd. 2017. Photo courtesy of website.
The remaining pond at Stuart Middle School. Photo courtesy of website.

Stuart Middle School:http://sms.martinschools.org/pages/Stuart_Middle_School