Yesterday, 9:30 AM, May 5, 2020, at a Martin County Commission Meeting there was a nondescript preset entitled: Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) – Indian River Lagoon (IRLS) South Presentation.
I learned about this presentation after the fact and was not invited to attend by the South Florida Water Management District. At no time was I ever briefed that the District or the Corp would be making a presentation in my hometown. I found out that not only was CERP discussed, but Drew Bartlett, Executive Director of the South Florida Water Management District and Col. Andrew Kelly of the Jacksonville District, Army Corp of Engineers were the presenters.
The most simple courtesy normally extended to all Governing Board Members, was not extended to me. I wonder why I was not included? Of that I will never be sure, but I will be sure today to say what I would have shared, or have insisted be shared if I were at that meeting especially because Part D of Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order 19-12 reads: “Instruct the SFWMD to immediately start the next phase of the EAA Storage Reservoir Project design and ensure the US ACOE approves the project according to schedule.”
Yesterday Col. Kelly announced to the Martin County Commission that 130 million dollars has been put towards the C-23/C-24 Reservoir/STA. The C-23/C-24 getting money is a good thing, however I do not believe it was made clear where that money is coming from. That money is on the books to be re-channeled because of the “New Start” status of the EAA Reservoir. Yes, the money that the EAA Reservoir would have had for *2020, is now going to C-23/24 Reservoir/STA project.
So what is a “New Start,” other than a complicated bureaucratic word with nuances to confuse? A New Start basically means a project cannot get the funding it was to receive. Oh yes, of course it is possible to get it in the future, but we all know what that means when it comes to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers as clear in this video at 1:56.
After I was so rudely not informed to attend the Martin County Commission meeting, I did receive a phone call apologizing from the District. In that phone call and following email I insisted that the New Start language be explained clearly to the public and put on a timeline so that those who have given their lives advocating for EAA Reservoir could be informed. I was given the following one pager that is helpful. Thus today I share it with you. Please click to read the following: EAA Reservoir and STA New Start
My take on this? If you know me, you know what I’m thinking. It’s time to start fighting again. As necessary as the C-23 C-24 STA and Reservoir is, it is not the most important fix. The most important fix for the St Lucie River is to stop the putrid discharges that destroy the St Lucie River from Lake Okeechobee.
JTL vs the Political Machine, A Retrospective, Part #5
When I saw my mother yesterday, she said, “Jacqui, I think you need to stop writing about those PACs…I get it now…” One of my Grassroots Team members implied that I may ruin my reputation for running a clean campaign, and compromise my chances to run again, with all the harsh comments coming in on my recent posts….My husband looked at me wide-eyed over a glass of wine: “I thought you tried to keep your campaign out of the blog…?” Joe Catrambone, CEO of the Stuart Chamber, who I like very much, sent out a group email saying: “Jacqui isn’t accepting defeat very well! Speaks volumes doesn’t it!!!”
For those of you who are uncomfortable, or think I am a sore loser, please don’t fret. Today will be my final day investigating those who spent time and money to affect my loss for Martin County Commission District 1.
I do apologize to the Stuart Chamber as they really don’t belong in the category of reptiles as they chose not to send out a negative post card against me, just for Doug Smith; I was simply trying to make the point that the influence of Tallahassee affects home.
Early on, in my own head, I knew that whether I lost or won, I would be reporting on the outcome dynamics of the campaign in my blog. Writing on this issue is all part of my river journey. I know what I am doing, and it will be shared. These insights in time will help us get closer to saving our dying river…
Mom, “don’t worry,” I will stop taunting the alligators very soon! 🙂 But first we must try to see the truth behind the scenes.
Here we go:
Our last PAC to add to the previous three days of postings: Write in Candidate Chase Lurgio; Martin County Firefighters Union’s “Citizens for Public Safety;” C-Pac; and “Committee to Elect Real Conservatives;” (all ridiculous names) and today’s”Committee to Protect Florida.”
So when we look at the third negative post card that came out against the JTL campaign, we see on the bottom it reads: “Paid electioneering Communication for by Committee to Protect Florida, PO Box 102005 Tallahassee, FL 32302.” It is yet another ad full of lies, but I do appreciate that they used two of my favorite pictures of myself, my younger looking real estate head shot from 2007 and the hysterical “piranha photo” Ed took of me in Peru along the Amazon River.
This PAC’s chairperson is Mr Roger “Rockie” Pennington. Mr Pennington is a very well-known in Tallahassee politics. I first heard about Mr Pennington, when I was told in the last campaign cycle that he ran Doug Smith’s campaigns. At the time I wondered why Doug would use someone from Tallahassee….
Rockie Pennington owns Southern Campaign Resources, and according to his website “has been a fixture in Republican politics for nearly four decades.” You can read more here: http://www.southerncampaigns.com
Let’s look up who contributed to his PAC: ironically the Florida Chamber of Commerce at over $100,000 dollars, Florida Jobs Pac, $50,000. These are the same PACs that gave money to C-PAC and Committee to Elect Real Conservatives from yesterday with sprinkles of the sugar industry.
But what is even weirder is when you look up “Nature Coast Conservatives” that gave the lion’s share of the donations, $100,000s of dollars. This PAC is run by Roger Pennington’s partner in Southern Campaign Resources, Mr Mark Zubaly who is listed along with Rocky Pennington on the bio page of Southern Campaign Resources.
As the bio states “(Mark) is a partner in two Tallahassee-based companies that count at least one-fourth of the Florida Legislature among their clients: Southern Campaign Resources, a political consulting and lobbying firm, and Summit Communications, a media production firm. He also serves as the campaign consultant to a number of Florida’s city, county and judicial elected officials.”
And yes…Mark Zubaly was also Rockie Pennington’s PACs treasurer…
Of course as you dig deeper the money keeps going and going and going….
So The Doug Smith Campaign had its own campaign manager with his own PAC with his own partner funding the PAC from his own PAC that uses many of the same questionable donors that were linked to, C-PAC, and the # 2 post card of Josh Cooper who ran opposition research for the Governor. On top of this there was the Firefighters Union PAC, Citizens for Public Safety, sending out positive post cards for Doug Smith, sending out negative post cards against JTL all the while building signs, placing signs, making negative phone calls against JTL, pulling up opposition JTL signs, and waving….
I’d say we did pretty well considering our opponents! What an alligator pit!
I feel like we’re in a Carl Hiaasen book! We don’t even need to go to Miami!
In conclusion, The Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch Grassroots Campaign lost to this Political Machine by 2.9% or 677 votes…raised considerably more money and had considerably more diverse support. Supported a clean river and land purchase south of lake…in any case, did not support the status quo…
Wow! What a race!
It was exciting!
And now that we know who we’re in the pit with, maybe next time we’ll get them on their backs and Protect Florida For Real.
It was reported by the Stuart News and others that a gentleman died suddenly after being “stuck by a fish.” He had put in his line in the Indian River Lagoon, near Harbor Branch, in St Lucie County. Just a few days later, the headlines noted the experience of Mr Bruce Osborn whose “knee and leg turned black, swelled up, and became hot to the touch after he dove into the confluence of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. Mr Osborn was boating near the Sandbar which is located within sight of the St Lucie Inlet…
Mr Osborn had an open sore….he recovered with prompt, emergency-room, antibiotic-treatment and a good wife.
Today in Stuart New’s “Letters to the Editor” a retired New York sheriff is of the opinion that the news of the fisherman had been “sensationalized” noting that “no autopsy had been performed on the man– who died…..”
Who is right? Who is wrong? Or does “truth” lie somewhere in between?
Who knows…But it is all certainly worth thinking about.
Interestingly enough, in this river or near-ocean story, the culprit would not be a shark or anything scary like that, but rather a microscopic bacteria or virus that cannot even be seen….
Bacteria is everywhere. In soil and in water. On our skin and in our bodies. For humans there is “good” and “bad” bacteria.
How do we know where there “bad” bacteria is in the river?
I don’t know, but I do know numbers of bacteria everywhere in water communities are highest in the sediment. Sediment is the sand, clay and other soil types that build up on the bottom of the river in the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon and all estuaries of the world.
In our area, the most recent hundred years of sediment, this “muck,” has been heavily affected by human alteration of the environment, especially by drainage canals, like C-44, the drainage of Lake Okeechobee, C-23, C-24, and C-25, as well as shoreline development’s tear down of native vegetation along the shoreline. (That can no longer filter runoff.)
Giant, mile-long canals drain mostly agricultural lands from out west. Many if not most of these lands never even drained into the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon in the first place. Not by God. Not by Nature. Just by “us” since around 1920.
So now literally thousands of pounds of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, metals, oils from cars and roads, septic effluent…..the list goes on and on….so these pollutants run into our waterways building up in the sediments of the river, —-to be re-suspended with every storm, with every boat that races by……as the sediment builds and flocculates, bacteria grows–especially if it is warm..many fish live on the bottom of the river….
On the positive side, as far as water, many things have changed for the better since my childhood.
During my lifetime, in the early 60s, sewage was directly dumped into the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon from homes and boats….I swam and skied in this water every weekend….Not many people lived here. As kids, we did not know or notice although we used to make jokes about “logs passing by…”
And yes, since the 1960s and 70s tremendous improvements in sewage treatment plants, packaging plants, septic systems, “Best Management Practices” for Agriculture to lower runoff, etc…have been made. This is fantastic.
But we can never catch up….We are always chasing our tail….Because we keep putting more pollution into the system than we can clean up. Like putting too many fish in a fish tank, and not cleaning your gravel often enough…our relatively closed lagoon system has met its limit…
The chart below just goes to the year 2000. Florida is now the third most populated state in the nation with over 19 million people. 19 million people’s’ waste….19 million people’s yards, and not just small time farmers anymore, but agribusiness– hundred of thousands of acres of fields and chemicals….a huge portion seeping into our water. Best Management Practices. That’s just not enough…Oh. Let’s not forget what runs down from Orlando….
What’s the truth? The truth is there are too many fish in our fish tank. And we whether we know the cause or not, until we stop draining so much of our personal and agricultural waste into our waterways, we will continue to “drown in our own filth.”
I have decided that we need a flag. The first flags were used to assist military co-ordination on battlefields, and flags have since evolved into a general tool for rudimentary signalling and identification, especially in environments where communication is challenging.
Thus, I have created the “Toxic Flag”of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.
I would like to thank friend Toby Overdorf and his father for going to Port Mayaca yesterday around 4:30 PM and taking photos of the toxic algae bloom still there at the gates both east and west S-308, Port Mayaca, Lake Okeechobee. I have used one of Toby’s photos to create the flag. A dead fish floats in the toxic bloom that was sent into river this morning at 7AM.
I would also like to thank Even Miller and all those who attended the BUY THE LAND and toxic algae protest yesterday at St Lucie Locks and Dam. Also thank you to Katy Lewey for her rally this morning. It is necessary to make a statement against these toxic discharges.
The “flag” I have created in the first image of this blog post is based on the Gadsden flag, one of the original American flags that in sprite of its many associations stands for every American in that we as Americans are not afraid to fight tyranny. That toxic waters are dumped into the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon is a form of tyranny. It is a practice that is now understood and must be changed.
Below are the webcams as kindly sent by the Army Corp of “Engineers and the Environmental Conditions Report” from the South Florida Water Management District that I could not find the other day. The links to the web cams allow one to see a photo every five minutes from S-80 and S-308. S-308 is at Lake Okeechobee and S-80 is located in the C-44 canal at St Lucie Locks and Dam. I do appreciate these links being sent and I must state that I understand that it is not the individual people of the ACOE and SFWMD that purposefully dump on our waters. It is the bureaucracy of these institutions that have morphed such over the years that they no longer respond to the people or to the voters. Time for a change.
Fly this flag with pride and remember: “Don’t Dump on Me.”
From the ACOE: As promised, following is the URL’s for Environmental Conditions Report of SFWMD (see right bottom under Operational Reports)