Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Saving St. Augustine: Protecting Twelve Mile Swamp Forever (Including Protecting it From St. Johns County Government)

You have to hand it to St. Johns County's one-party government and its manipulation and control of young reporters with the St. Augustine Record. At times, they make shallowness an art form. See below.
The St. Augustine Record, several weeks after it happened, reported (below) on St. Johns County withdrawing its proposal for an illegal road through Twelve Mile Swamp, a protected area.
Except, the Record didn't report that the hare-brained scheme was St. Johns County's, not the idea of our Florida Department of Transportation's (FDOT) or of our Northeast Florida Transportation Planning Organization (NFTPO). See map below.

Five Republican County Commissioners managed to get good public relations out of withdrawing a bad idea without the public being told it was their idea in the first place.
The St. Johns County Commission make "Tricky Dick" Nixon look like a piker.
My Open Records request to St. Johns County is pending for the information, but the FDOT E-mail (below) makes clear that the road was "a St. Johns County project." Not a FDOT project.
Got it?
So why did St. Johns County propose this idea?
Greed, driven by servicing developers who fuel their campaigns.
Greed. Pure greed.
Five St. Johns County Commissioners opposed the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore at their November 1, 2011 meeting. Perhaps their hidden agenda was this dumb 'ole road idea.
Because our draft of a St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore would protect Twelve Mile Swamp forever inviolate.
Twelve Mile Swamp is 20,000 acres -- currently St. Johns River Water Management District Land, home to wildlife and the City of St. Augustine's water well fields.
Without national park and seashore designation for our protected government lands, St. Johns County government and the developers that own it might carve their initials in Mother Nature's back. In Twelve Mile Swamp. In Guana-Tolomato-Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Indeed, our St. Johns County government felt free to propose a four lane highway without public participation.
How gauche.
How louche.
How insufferably ignorant of our community values.
Thanks to Sarah Owens-Gladhill and Florida Audubon and the Wildlife Federation, the was exposed and the road was stopped.
For now.
Till the next time some big-shot crook wants to harm Guana, harm Twelve Mile Swamp, or do any other crooked thing for money.
For greed.
That's why the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore is necessary and proper, now more than ever, to protect our land, our water, our wildlife, our trees and our people from greed.
Including roads we don't need.
Including roads we don't need through protected areas from which the City of St. Augustine draws our water and which gives homes to wildlife.
It's our future.
Don't let the greedy ruin it.
Yes we can!

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