Editorial, Tallahassee Democrat: November 12, 2014
Floridians spoke clearly, with three-quarters of all voters approving of the constitutional amendment
The 2014 midterm election exposed some sharp divisions among Floridians. Gov. Rick Scott won re-election by drawing fewer than half of the votes cast, only 1.1 percentage point ahead of challenger Charlie Crist. Gwen Graham knocked U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland out of office by just a little more than 2,000 votes. Even in the one-sided CFO and agriculture commissioner races, Jeff Atwater and Adam Putnam each got less than 60 percent of the vote.
Then there was Amendment 1.
Floridians spoke clearly, with three-quarters (74.95 percent) of all voters approving of the constitutional amendment to dedicate money for conservation and recreation. We might be divided on medical marijuana and Obamacare and any number of other issues, but Floridians realize the importance of land and water to our health, to our tourism industry and to the quality of life we enjoy in the Sunshine State.
Protecting Florida’s natural resources has been a bipartisan concern since 1963, when the Legislature created the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to support the purchase of parks. Over the years, the state’s land-purchasing efforts changed in name, funding sources and approval processes. Yet, as the pressures to develop lands increased, so did the state’s efforts to protect them — through Preservation 2000 and then Florida Forever.
But with the start of the recession in 2008, that effort ground to a halt. And even as the economy rebounded, the spending on conservation did not. Florida now has more than 6 million acres of protected land, but it also is losing about 165,000 acres of land to development every year, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Floridians were not happy, and Amendment 1 — a citizen initiative — was born.
Amendment 1 directs that the state dedicate 33 percent of net revenues from doc stamps on property purchases over the next 20 years to the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, to acquire and improve forests, wetlands and other sensitive habitats. The money can be used only for these purposes and may not be “commingled with the General Revenue Fund.” Translation: No more raids.
The language that will now be part of the Florida Constitution says these acquisitions will include “lands that protect water resources and drinking water sources, including lands protecting the water quality and quantity of rivers, lakes, streams, springsheds, and lands providing recharge for groundwater and aquifer systems.” It’s a powerful mandate.
What Amendment 1 does not do is change behavior.
Nearly 20 million people live in Florida, and short of kicking them all out and building a fence around the state, we and our neighbors will continue to have an impact on the environment.
Every time we flush a toilet or scatter fertilizer on the front lawn, we add to the pollution that is strangling our springs and rivers and even poisoning our drinking water. In his exhibition “Springs Eternal,” photographer John Moran has documented the ill health of Florida’s springs, from out-of-the-way spots to tourist destinations such as Ichetucknee Springs.
Mr. Moran calls for a new “environmental patriotism.” That can be simple, for example refraining from fertilizing or watering your lawn. It can be expensive, when forgoing septic tanks for central sewer systems. It can be politically dangerous, when it’s time to put pressure on big agriculture to clean up its act.
But we can change. Mr. Moran points to the way recycling has become an everyday activity or the way littering, once common, now is frowned upon. And we have success stories, such as cleaning up Tampa Bay and Lake Apopka.
At stake is not just the beauty we Floridians love but the tourism industry that attracted 90 million visitors and $65 billion last year. If sunshine alone were enough, Mr. Moran points out, then the Sahara Desert would be a prime tourist destination. In a 1972 speech, Gov. Reubin Askew said, “Ecological destruction in Florida is nothing less than economic suicide.”
It’s wonderful that three-quarters of those who voted last week don’t want our state to commit ecological or economic suicide. It’s a significant step. But keeping our waters clean will require a lot more than just checking “Yes” on a ballot.
- Tallahassee Democrat is a Gannett newspaper -
NO WATER - NO JOBS ______________________________
Judging and teaching both at home in Central Florida and all around the country, Susan and Bill Woods each acknowledge over thirty-five years of experience that can help you better understand and train your horse.
They have been active on the national dressage scene since 1980, their dressage specialty arising from broad backgrounds in balance-seat work, both on the flat and over fences.
Both are known for their ability to outline sound, classical goals and to communicate effective techniques to riders of all levels. They carry on the ideals and principles they learned at the American Dressage Institute and the USDF-sponsored Violet Hopkins National Instructors Seminars and which they, in turn, were tabbed to spread to hundreds of teachers and dozens of groups throughout the US at USDF Regional Instructor Workshops.
Susan and Bill are each USDF Bronze and Silver Medalists. They've each trained and shown many horses from Training Level to FEI, and they continue to coach students both at the Florida shows and those whom they meet at clinics and then send off to competitions, ribbons, and medals in their own areas. Their students show at every level through Grand Prix.
Over twenty and nearly thirty years respectively of dressage judging give Susan and Bill a special perspective to help you understand what all judges are looking for and what it takes for you to succeed in the show arena.
In recent months Susan has for medical reasons had to reduce her workload in both the equine and environmental areas. She remains actively committed to the philosophies and principles she has espoused in both these fields over the years. As Bill can testify, she remains a force to be reckoned with.
Find out more about each of them on the tabs to the left.
If you need a point of view to un-selfconsciously
adopt as your own, or if you'd just like to be annoyed all the time . . . .
What do you think, good or bad, of this tendency that I am seeing for riders to be behind the vertical? See it on magazine covers, at shows I go to, etc... I've been told "Need to do it for the extended work." But, well, um, I don't remember seeing it years ago. And "pros" are doing it at lengthening work? Is this correct?