The following is a letter submitted by a reader in Brevard County.
By John Bertran
Thad Altman, who represents the 16th district, which includes parts of Brevard and Indian River County’s, has residents like myself scratching our heads with his latest legislative attempt.
Altman, who has a history of being conservative on most issues except the expansion of high speed rail, is proposing that the state spend hundreds of millions of tax dollars on purchasing land south of Lake O. Close to half a billion to be exact.
Senator Altman, for some reason thinks that his carbon copy amendment of the failed land buy of the U.S. Sugar land in the Everglades, is the solution to the same problems. It even gives the government carte blanche authority to seize property from landowners who are not keen on selling it to the state. What the heck Thad!?
What is most disturbing about this whole matter is the fact that Senator Altman is looking to solve a problem in South Florida, when he has one big stinking problem right smack dab in his own district; THE INDIAN RIVER LAGOON.
The legislation, which will come as an amendment to the states budget during the special session, has the state spending $45 million dollars on purchasing the land… and borrowing another $450 million to fulfill the obligation.
The South Florida Water Management District, the Governor and the legislator all passed on a similar option earlier this year… and they should have.
Environmental experts and noted scientists agreed that the land and plans for the so called “restoration” of the land were not feasible, anywhere near effective or even remotely beneficial to protecting and preserving our natural treasures.
For years, experts have noted that the Indian River Lagoon is suffering greatly from dangerous algae blooms and septic tank pollution. Something stinks, and it’s right in his backyard… yet for some reason, his focus is on South Florida. It’s possible theSenator is being lobbied and pressured by a group of special interests, and that would explain his departure from his normally sound legislative mind.
As a politically inclined resident of Brevard County, I am baffled. As someone who cares about our environment, I am disappointed.
He is normally a solid legislator. Why is he spending so much time focusing on this land grab and financial boondoggle? The Indian River Lagoon needs his help.
Democratic activist Sean Ashby, an East Orlando resident who campaigned in Brevard during his run for state house in 2012, said restoring the lagoon is imperative and needed.
“I understand the need to focus on restoring the Everglades, but I learned very quickly during my campaign that the lagoon is an important issue to a lot of people in that area. One should not overshadow the other, and it would seem that Senator Altman should be focused on his district.
We know you can do better Thad. Buck the special interests, save the state half a billion dollars and take care of your district.
John Bertran is a Melbourne, Florida resident.