Tag Archives: Senator Joe Negron

Thank you to the “The Man in The Arena,” Joe Negron, SLR/IRL

 

Letter to Senator Negron, 2014

THE MAN IN THE ARENA

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt, from “Citizenship in a Republic,” Paris, 1910

Joe Negron at River Kidz protests at St Lucie Locks and Dam because of Lake O releases in 2102.
River Kidz walk with Senator Joe Negron, Stuart 4th of July Parade 2013

Thank you for keeping your word to the Kidz, and fighting your heart out for Florida’s water future. As you, we will “Never, Never, Never Give Up!”

 

Martin Health’s C.E.O. Rob Lord, A Hometown “Game Changer” for the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

Robert Lord is President and C.E.O. of Martin Health Systems, formally known as Martin Memorial Hospital. “MHS” as it is known for short, is the long time top-employer for Martin County, and a respected and expanding health system.  It has been located in Martin County for 75 years. (https://www.martinhealth.org) The origianl institution sits along the shores of the St Lucie River, near downtown Stuart and has grown into both south Stuart and St Lucie County. It is a literal “lifeblood” of our communtiy.

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I have known and admired the Lord family since my childhood. Bobby Lord, Robert Lord’s father was a local celebrity in Stuart’s early days as he is a County & Western legend. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Lord )I attended both elementary and middle school, and graduated from Martin County High School in 1982 with Robert’s younger brother, Cabot.

I cannot express how much it meant to me last Thursday to see “Robby” Lord, accomplished attorney, now President and C.E.O. of  Martin Health Systems, in his position of leadership and influence, speak in support for Senate President Joe Negron and Senate Bill 10. A bill intended to purchase land south of Lake Okeechobee for a reservoir to begin what must happen to save our river: “clean and send more water south.”

Having known the Lord family all these years, I have followed Rob’s career, especially as my sister, Jenny,  is physician recruiter, and has served the hospital loyally for almost 20 years.

So, Bravo Rob Lord! You have created a “hometown game-change,” and as we all know, it is not easy to speak up. There are tremendous pressures to conform and accept things as they are. Over the past few years, outside powers have moved into our area influencing and blurring the lines.

I believe that Rob’s speaking out will clear the blurred lines and change the playing field forever. There is no mistaking it. Lake Okeechobee’s discharges are a health issue and must be stopped. Our state and federal government can ignore this no longer in spite of the influences of power.

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2016, 239 sq. miles algae bloom in Lake O at S-308 entrance to C-44 and St Lucie River
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St Lucie River 2016 toxic algae bloom brought on by Lake O discharges into SLR

Excerpt from speech:

“…Good morning, my name is Rob Lord. I am President and C.E.O of Martin Health System .. I care deeply about the impact of Lake Okeechobee discharges on the estuaries. I grew up on the Indian River Lagoon. My family moved here in 1969. I have fished these water with my father, my grandfather, and my brother and nephews and nieces. No one values this eco-system more than my family. We watched it change. As CEO of Martin Health System this has been a significant challenge for us. This past year blue-green algae came to our community. We needed to post this sign in our emergency room. We treated this very much like we needed to treat the Ebola situation….”

Dr. Steven Parr, Director of Emergency Medicine at Tradition Medical Center noted  there are studies occurring now to determine whether the toxins trigger certain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ALS also known as Lou Gherig’s disease.

You can view the entire speech here:

MHS: https://www.martinhealth.org/martin-health-system-takes-stand-on-senate-bill-10-for-the-health-of-the-community

Rob Lord, CEO MHS
Rob Lord and Dr Parr of MHS
Rob Lord and Dr Steven Parr

Former blog on Senate Bill 10 explaining intension: https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2017/01/29/presidient-negrons-memorandum-to-the-florida-senate-senate-bill-10protecting-coastal-counties-from-polluted-discharges-slrirl/

Senate Bill 10 Amended,”Our Lost Summer Becomes the Wake Up Call for All Floridians,” SLR/IRL

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Image created by Doc Snook, 2013.
S-80 dumps from Lake O into the SLR, image created by Doc Snook, 2013.
Regarding Senate Bill 10, and the recent changes made to the bill~

I thought I would just go on-line and compare the first bill to the second with its amendments…kind of like juxtaposing town ordinances between first and second reading. Well, I learned over the past week, that this is not as easy as I had anticipated. In fact, to interpret well, I think I need a lawyer, or to become one.

Nonetheless, today I have gathered information to help us understand what is/has happened with Senate Bill 10. The essence of its changes is encapsulated in these recent words by Senate President Joe Negron about the bill:

“Harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee have flooded communities on the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers with massive amounts of toxic algae that destroyed estuaries and harmed the local and state economies. Unfortunately, incidences like these are not unique in our state and are a symptom of the lack of attention to water resource development. The lost summer must be a wakeup call for all Floridians.

Powerful words from a Senate President. And between the lines we see that he is trying to build bridges to garner more support…as the powers that be have been repeatedly clubbing the bill over the head, in form with their outdated ideology.

So the bill has changed, it may be slightly wounded but it is still alive, and the dramatic destruction of our St Lucie/Indian River Lagoon has become the seed of change for our entire state. Wow. This is fitting as Martin County has a history of inspiring change and being  a leader when it comes to the environment.

Ernest Lyons, the great “Stuart News” newspaper man, and others are in their graves smiling I am sure. He may even be smoking a cigar.

Nonetheless, we must remain the epicenter of this state-wide change…we must keep foucs.

The toxic destruction from Lake Okeechobee is a not by accident, but a rather a state and federally sponsored decision embedded in a power culture that has ruled for over one-hundred years. It is time to crack this wide open, thus even though the bill is morphing Senate Bill 10 must keep the EAA land purchase and reservoir component.

And although it has grown to include others, it still has this critical component.

Concerns?

The Florida Wildlife Federation states:

“Unfortunately SB10 has been substantially amended to include funding for water supply developments (pipes and pumps)…The bill changes the direction of the state’s major land acquisition programs from conservation purposes, to acquisition and improvements to land and water areas to protect, restore, and DEVELOP, water resources…These amendments are concerning…” I trust FWF’s concerns are warranted and should be looked at.

Full Capitol Watch Report FWF: http://fwfonline.org/News-and-Pressroom/Capitol-Watch-3-10-2017.aspx#.WMk1OxiZP1w

Now for the fun part! Below you can compare the two bills, it has gone from 14 to 27 pages!

The press releases following help interpret the bill’s intent. Below the Florida Senate links are two reporter’s insights that I feel are quite helpful, Isadora Rangel of TCPalm and Nancy Smith from Sunshine State News.

In closing, we must never give up because we are destined to change the long-standing culture of drainage and destruction for the St Lucie River/ Indian River Lagoon and now for the great state of Florida.

SENATE BILL 10

Original Bill,1-26-17:
https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/10/BillText/Filed/PDF

Joe Negron’s Press Release to accompany original bill:
https://www.flsenate.gov/Media/PressReleases/Show/2620

Changes/ amended, 3-8-17:

Changes to Bill: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/10/Amendment/233860/PDF

Joe Negron’s Press Release to accompany changed/amended bill: https://www.flsenate.gov/Media/PressReleases/Show/2667

SUMMARY OF CHANGES TO SENATE BILL 10

TCPALM, Isadora Rangel

MORE PROJECTS ADDED
Bradley also added projects to garner support from lawmakers across the state. Those include:
• Creating a loan program to help government and private entities pay for water storage projects that prevent it “from being discharged to tide or otherwise lost to protect the waters of the state.” The loan would pay up to 75 percent of the project and give priority to alternative water supply in areas with limited water sources or that are threatened by salt water intrusion.
• $20 million for grants to help local governments convert septic tanks to sewer systems or remove muck in the Indian River Lagoon and the St. Lucie and Caloosahtachee rivers, as Gov. Rick Scott has proposed;
• $35 million per year for the restoration of the St. Johns River and its tributaries or the Keystone Heights Lake Region;
• $2 million annually for septic-to-sewer conversions, stormwater projects, muck removal and other water quality projects in the Florida Keys.

Entire Article: http://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/indian-river-lagoon/politics/2017/03/08/lake-okeechobee-reservoir-changes/98893822/

Sunshine State News, Nancy Smith
The Coast-to-Coast Comprehensive Water Resource Program includes the following:

— Acceleration of the timing and funding for the state share of the Everglades Agricultural Area Storage Reservoir Project. The bill authorizes the purchase of land for the project from willing sellers in the EAA and does not authorize the use of eminent domain.

— Funding of the state share of all existing Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) projects in the integrated delivery schedule (IDS), including the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Project, the C-43 West Basin Storage Reservoir Project, the C-44 Reservoir Project, the Western Everglades Restoration Project, the C-111 South-Dade Project, and the Picayune Strand Restoration Project.

— Direction to the Army Corps of Engineers to begin the reevaluation of the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule to take into account repairs to the dike and new southern storage features to increase storage in the lake as early as possible.

— A new bonding program, building on the Florida Forever model that recognizes the need to bond for water resource protection and development across Florida. The bill transfers the remaining $3.3 billion of existing bonding authority from Florida Forever to the Florida Coast-to Coast Water Resources Initiative. The bill does not create additional bonding capacity.

— A new revolving loan financing program and statutory tools to allow the state, water management districts and local governments, to develop and operate water storage and supply facilities to service regional populations addressing the growing need for water supply in the state.

— Dedicated LATF funding to expand Legacy Florida to include projects addressing water quality and restoration with the St. John’s River and the Florida Keys.

— Funding to aggressively address the retrofitting or conversion to central sewer systems of outdated septic systems consistent with Gov. Rick Scott’s leadership on this issue.

— Provisions that encourage reuse by establishing a water reuse grant program, specifically to assist wastewater treatment facilities to expand capacity to make reclaimed water available for reuse.

Entire article:http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/arm-twisting-time-negrons-suspect-reservoir-bill-filed

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A biography of the late Ernest Lyons, Stuart News editor and nationally recognized for his writings in support of the environment and the St Lucie River: http://www.flpress.com/node/63

Former JTL Blog on the Lost Summer in Martin County 2013:https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/tag/lost-summer/

#SupportJoeNegron

Don’t Kill the Albatross, Florida Legislature 2017, SLR/IRL

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The Albatross from the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge 1772-1834.

Today the Florida Legislature convenes for year 2017.  As we look down from the Heavens upon our great state what do we see? Mostly water… And yet water is such a problem for us. As the third largest state in the nation, and for the children of the future, it is imperative that we get this water problem straightened out….starting with the St Lucie River and the destructive discharges from Lake Okeechobee.

Because of Senate President Joe Negron,  I am very hopeful. Let’s just hope the state legislature doesn’t kill the albatross. The albatross? Let us remember the story of the albatross.

Remember 8th grade? Remember reading Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem the “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner?” You may at least recall these lines:

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

The very deep did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.

About, about, in reel and rout
The death-fires danced at night;
The water, like a witch’s oils,
Burnt green, and blue and white…

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St Lucie River 2016 toxic algae bloom, JTL

In case you have forgotten, in this famous poem, the Mariner is punished by the crew for killing the albatross with no good reason, a sign of good luck and of hope, and thus bringing devastation upon all.

We the citizens have been in a sea of frustration and thirst with “no wind” for years; we have watched our water as before the tortured Mariner turn blue and green and white. But hark, the  wind is blowing; the albatross is flying over… we have hope – a sign.

How shall the state legislature react? My hope is that they recall the lesson of the “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner,” and remember, to whom they answer, and from whom they derive their power.

Water, water, everywhere…

_______________

Watch interview with Senate President Joe Negron on TC Palm regarding water issues Destruction of St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon via Lake Okeechobee/Goal for EAA reservoir to offset: http://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/indian-river-lagoon/politics/2017/01/26/negron-defends-lake-o-discharges-bill/97047520/

_________________

Florida Bar Calendar of Legislative Dates: https://www.floridabar.org/tfb/TFBLegNW.nsf/dc7ee304c562ed5b85256709006a26ee/47cccd05ad13623785256b2f006ccfa6?OpenDocument

“March 7, 2017 Regular Session convenes (Art. III, &3(b), Fla. Const.) 12:00 noon, deadline for filing bills for introduction (Senate Rule 6.4(4))”

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Full text, Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, Smauel Taylor Coleridge: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/43997

Negron, ACOE, Inflicted Harm is not Safety, SLR/IRL

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Senator Negron 2014, JTL

President Negron’s recent press release about his visit to Washington DC to discuss Lake Okeechobee discharges is below as addressed to the Florida Senate. It pleases me to see that his words are in keeping with his first op-ed on the issue published in TCPalm on October 17, 2012. Some people don’t realize how long Senator Negron has been working on this.

In 2012 Senator Negron wrote:

“While the Corps claims that public safely is its top priority, it ignores calamitous results actually inflicted on the St Lucie Estuary. Its erroneous logic goes something like this: in order to avoid possible harm, we will inflict certain harm. The Army Corps is killing our oyster beds and sea grasses, while turning the St Lucie River into a grotesque brown cesspool unfit for swimming or fishing…”

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Senator Negron 2014, JTL

President Office — Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 2, 2017
CONTACT: Katie Betta, (850) 487-5229

MEMORANDUM: UPDATE REGARDING LAKE OKEECHOBEE DISCHARGES
TO: All Senators

FROM: Joe Negron, President

Florida Senate: http://www.flsenate.gov/Media/PressReleases/Show/2658

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, I had the opportunity to meet in Washington with Senator Rubio, Senator Nelson, Members of Congress, senior budget staff, and high-level representatives of the Army Corps of Engineers to discuss the best way to reduce and ultimately eliminate the devastating discharges from Lake Okeechobee. After completing these meetings and reviewing related documents, here are five things I know:

1. If Florida advances funds to complete the rehabilitation of the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee, the federal government will not repay the money to Florida. We will have simply spent hundreds of millions of dollars of General Revenue funds on what is unquestionably a federal responsibility.

2. As I have consistently advocated from day one, Florida’s best scientists should determine the Lake Okeechobee Release Schedule (LORS) and not the Army Corps of Engineers. Achieving this goal would take an act of Congress, a highly unlikely outcome.

3. Once the Herbert Hoover Dike rehabilitation is complete in 2024, the Army Corps of Engineers is not committed to storing one more gallon of water in Lake Okeechobee. The LORS must go through a multi-year review process, with the Corps predicting only negligible modifications to the release schedule. The Corps wants to avoid expected negative impacts it believes would result if the Lake is managed at higher levels than the present.

4. Under both the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) and the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP), redirecting damaging Lake Okeechobee discharges southward to improve the flow, timing, and distribution of water through the Everglades has already been authorized. The issue is not if we will have additional southern storage, it is when and where.

5. If the Florida Legislature approves and funds additional water storage south of Lake Okeechobee, the Army Corps of Engineers will reevaluate the order of priority in the 2016 Integrated Delivery Schedule (IDS). Florida is a partner in Everglades restoration and its decisions influence and impact federal participation in the 50-50 matching program. An example of this reality is the Corps’ recent initiation of the Lake Okeechobee Watershed one year earlier than planned after adverse discharge events.

I look forward to discussing this important issue further when we reconvene in Tallahassee next week.

Blood in the Water, Senate Bill 10, SLR/IRL

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Shark feeding frenzy,  public image.

http://animals.howstuffworks.com/fish/sharks/shark-feeding-frenzy.htm
https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/0010

The time is now to fight for President Joe Negron’s Senate Bill 10 to purchase land in the EAA for a reservoir to offset the sometimes toxic, and always damaging, discharges from Lake Okeechobee. The powers that be know the bill is taking some hard hits. They smell blood in the water. Like sharks going in for the kill they are coming from every direction. Just remember, in many instances during a feeding frenzy, sharks turn on each other. So not being a shark myself, I say, “let the games begin…”

Some Major Groups Working Against Negron’s Senate Bill 10.

1. Stand Up For North Florida

http://www.politico.com/states/florida/story/2016/10/front-group-new-entity-pushes-north-florida-cities-counties-to-oppose-negrons-everglades-reservoir-plan-106035

http://floridapolitics.com/archives/tag/steve-southerland

http://standupnorthflorida.com/read-our-resolution/

2. Sugar Labor Management Committee
(US Sugar, Fanjul Corp.) (see letter at end of article)

http://saintpetersblog.com/tag/steve-southerland/

2. Martin County Economic Council “Finish the Projects”
Website: https://www.mceconomy.org

Resignation of long time member and co-founder, Bud Jordan, citing USSC influence: http://www.tcpalm.com/story/opinion/columnists/eve-samples/2017/02/24/eve-samples-economic-council-co-founder-resigns-citing-us-sugar/98270284/

3. Pro development, Martin County Commissioner, Doug Smith, only commissioner to vote against SB 10.

http://www.bullsugar.org/one_angry_man

16 County Summit represents agricultural interests and will be hosted by MCBOCC:
http://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/indian-river-lagoon/health/2017/02/21/martin-county-commissioners-propose-16-county-sfwmd-water-summit/98211938/

4. Lake Okeechobee Regional Compact division of Florida Regional Compact:
http://www.floridaleagueofcities.com/resources/florida-regional-compact
http://www.flcities.com/docs/default-source/default-document-library/lake-okeechobee-regional-compact.pdf?sfvrsn=0

5. Glades Lives Matter advocacy group of United States Sugar Corporation

http://www.ussugar.com/news/icymi-glades-lives-matter/

6. Senator Simmons Senate Bill 816 proposing to Raise the Level in Lake Okeechobee. (Destroying the ecosystem around Lake O is not the answer)
http://gladescountydemocrat.com/lake-okeechobee/sb-816-let-lake-okeechobee-rise-19-ft/

7. South Florida Water Management District

https://www.sfwmd.gov/news/statement-re-florida-senate-appropriations-subcommittee-hearing

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/opponents-line-up-against-joe-negrons-everglades-restoration-plan/2310901

8. “Save Our Farms/Stop the Lies”
http://save-our-farms.com

9. “Florida Sugarcane Farmers,” a consortium of U.S. Sugar Corp., Florida Crystals and the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida, ran ad arguing against Senate President Joe Negron’s proposal to buy 60,000 acres in the EAA, by Tyler Treadway
http://www.news-press.com/story/news/local/indian-river-lagoon/health/2017/01/13/analysis-sugar-growers-ad-blasts-lake-okeechobee-reservoir-plan/96342032/

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Great White Shark, public image.
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Cartoon Andy Marlette, News Journal published in TCPalm.

From Protest to Prayer… Join Citizens4CleanWater Saturday, February 18, SLR/IRL

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If you are from Martin or St Lucie County, I’m sure you remember….how the river movement came to an unexpected raging head during the Summer of 2013. It was after the River Kidz had held a gathering at the locks; and after the public had been screaming the St Lucie River was a putrid mess; it was after the Stuart News had been writing; and it was after organizations that had been working for years continued to bang their fists. Yes, after all this, that something new occurred…a surfer named Evan Miller posted on Facebook to protest the damaging discharges from Lake Okeechobee at St Lucie Locks and Dam. Evan had no idea! Social media was new. Shockingly, over 5000 people attended the event: mothers and fathers, children, grandparents, business people, local city and county politicians, environmentalists, people from afar, long time residents and newbies…..”everyone” was there…even Senator Joe Negron…

Things were never quite the same after this as a true movement materialized, and the seriousness of the matter was exposed. The event was reported across the state catching the attention of Florida’s most powerful and influential.

Shortly after, more protest were called by Miller who with help from Leon Abood, the beloved chair of the Rivers Coalition, reactivated and expanded the local Citizens 4 Clean Water chapter drawing members mostly from the younger generation.

Well, Evan called me yesterday and said “times are calling for a new kind of protest” and the young people of C4CW are calling for prayer and meditation, rather than protest in support of what is called the Negron Bill, Senate Bill 10, that calling for land purchase in the EAA for a reservoir.

“Wow,” I thought. How does the saying go? “God works in mysterious ways…”

C4CW’s Facebook page reads: “Rock painting with Children For Clean Water begins at 4pm at Sandsprit Park.  Viral photo of thousands in prayer 5:30 pm. See everyone there to support the SB 10 bill in legislation now. Let’s get that land! #buytheland #senditsouth https://www.facebook.com/events/1874182396131037/?ti=icl

Well “times are a changin”…and miracles do occur!

Please join Citizens4 Clean Water Saturday for a new kind of photo for our river. A photo of thousands in prayer. https://www.facebook.com/citizens4cleanwater/

Sandsprit Park
3443 SE St Lucie Blvd
Stuart, FL 34997

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Evan Miller at a Rivers Coalition meeting 2013
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From protest to prayer for the St Lucie River, photo Jenny Flaugh

C4CW’s Mission Statement: Take the challenge and become a Citizen For Clean Water by becoming part of the revolution to bring forward people who will lead the way for a cleaner and brighter tomorrow. When you become a Citizen For Clean Water you are taking on the responsibility of taking care of your environment teaching others your knowledge and stepping up to make a leading example for the rest of the world by becoming a voice for the voiceless. http://www.citizensforcleanwater.org