Top Three Takeaways – June 3rd, 2021
- It’s time to finish what we’ve started. For years many of us have been fighting for meaningful change to improve our waterways, combat toxic algae and restore the Everglades. With record toxic algae in Lake Okeechobee, contaminated algal drinking water within the Palm Beaches and record manatee deaths – the effort looks like a failure. Instead, perhaps it’s a case of it being darkest before the dawn. None of Florida’s water problems happened overnight and the solutions to them – now several years in the making, have been anything but easy to achieve. The Everglades Restoration Project has advanced to the point where most water discharged east and west from Lake Okeechobee can now been sent south into the Everglades. According to Congressman Brian Mast, the Army Corps of Engineers will choose from one of five plans in July which will determine the future of discharges and specifically how much water will head south as nature always intended. The plan he’s advocating called “CC” would send the most water south into the Everglades and would reduce eastern discharges by 75%. A subsequent completion of the southern EAA Reservoir for Lake O’ runoff water would then have the potential to permanently end east-west discharges from the Lake. None of this helps the manatees, or the Palm Beaches today. All of it will have a huge impact on our tomorrows. It’s time to finish what we’ve started by having the CC plan selected by the Army Corps of Engineers, building the southern reservoir and replacing Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried with someone who will comply with the Clean Water Ways Act. Aka, someone who cares more about our waterways than agricultural lobbyists (or her personal marijuana stake as the case may be).
- Budget Turkey’s were slaughtered. It’s not Thanksgiving and DeSantis is Florida’s governor, not president. That’s to say that Florida TaxWatch’s budget turkeys weren’t pardoned. They were slaughtered. Apparently, all of them and then some. Budget turkeys, as defined by TaxWatch, are spending items that passed the legislature but hadn't been thoroughly vetted. DeSantis wasn’t having it and as a result numerous “turkey” projects in South Florida won’t be happening. Palm Beach County led the state with $6 million in projects vetoed, followed by Miami-Dade with $4.2 million and Broward at $3 million. Speaking of turkeys...
- When did you know how much you earned in 2018? No, this isn’t a joke but if you’re Florida’s Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried, you didn’t figure it out until yesterday. Prior to her term as Florida’s Agricultural Commissioner, Nikki Fried was a lobbyist for the marijuana industry. In 2016 she created the lobbying firm Igniting Florida to lobby politicians on behalf the marijuana industry of which she has a personal interest – in addition to her fiancée being a leading player within the state. Anyway, in her initial disclosure report she said she didn’t earn any money from the firm. In 2020 she filed an amended statement saying she earned $72,000 in 2018 related to her lobbying work. Magically, just prior to filing for governor, that now three-year-old disclosure number jumped to $351,480. Now did Nikki just magically discover that she went from earning no money lobbying for the marijuana industry in 2018, to eventually $72,000 and now $351,480? Or is this shenanigans? And are these shenanigans perhaps related to her failure to comply with the Clean Waterways Act which could potentially show Florida’s cannabis industry is a key driver behind the record containments in Florida’s waterways leading to record toxic algae problems across the state? Either Nikki Fried’s so wealthy and so careless that she doesn’t even realize when she makes $351k or something stinks here. And the smell resembles toxic algae.
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