Letters to the Editor
The alleged "disturbances" cited in "Cracks" [Southeast Around the State, December] about the $8.4-billion Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan are based primarily on a few selected Palm Beach Post editorials and outspoken, self-styled environmentalists decrying the hiring of a mid-level employee and negotiations involving a public relations firm -- issues unrelated to the restoration work itself.
In the meantime, we continue to make significant restoration progress. In addition to the construction and operation of stormwater treatment areas that are already reducing phosphorus levels, the newly launched Acceler8 initiative will put eight critical projects in the ground at least a decade ahead of schedule.
Your readers would be much better served with a more balanced perspective on Everglades-related issues.
Nicolas J. Gutierrez Jr.
Governing Board chair, South Florida Water Management District
In the December cover story, "Shell Shock", detailing the controversy over siting the Scripps Research Institute on Mecca Farms in western Palm Beach County, reporter Mike Vogel accurately notes that the troubles with Scripps stem from Florida's reluctance to enforce the laws designed to stem sprawl.
Florida passed the Growth Management Act 20 years ago to make sure that infrastructure keeps pace with development and that the state doesn't bulldoze all of its natural resources for profit.
1000 Friends of Florida has made the difficult decision to go to court in the face of massive political opposition to uphold these anti-sprawl laws.
Palm Beach County is allowing Scripps and its associated developments -- which will eventually total the area of 13 shopping malls sprawling over an area the size of downtown West Palm Beach -- at the edge of the Everglades, a resource that taxpayers are paying $8.4 billion to restore. This part of Palm Beach County was never intended for intense growth. It has no infrastructure. The project sits at the headwaters of the National Wild and Scenic Loxahatchee River, one of the last free-flowing subtropical rivers in the nation. Even if you don't care about the environmental attributes, you should care about the enormous bill that this sprawl will leave for taxpayers.
The decision to go to court was a last resort. We are not anti-Scripps. We tried to steer this project to more suitable sites -- and there are more suitable sites. We are not some wild-eyed spoilers. Some of the state's most prominent citizens have served on the board of 1000 Friends of Florida, including governors.
We choose to stand and fight. We urge the citizens to join us. Let history show that our courage amid this headlong political rush will have benefited future generations in Palm Beach County and in all of Florida.
Executive director, 1000 Friends of Florida
I had the pleasure of being coached by Dick Vitale in high school. He was a significant factor in my life! He taught me that nothing comes easy and you had to work for what you wanted. I was going directly into the service after high school, and he convinced me that the best path to follow was to get an education. He played a major part in getting me into Roanoke College.
I thank you for letting others know that there is more to Dick Vitale than just being an outstanding sports broadcaster. He deserves the recognition, and more people need to know that he is the "real" thing -- he is awesome!
East Rutherford High School, Class of 1965
The Jim Moran Foundation is a private 501(c)3 foundation and does not operate under the umbrella of JM Family Enterprises.
Precision Response Corp. is based in Plantation.
LETTERS TO FLORIDA TREND
Mail: Florida Trend, P.O. Box 611, St. Petersburg, FL 33731
All letters should include the author's telephone number. Florida Trend edits some letters for length and clarity.