Florida Political Attacks: Slime Across the Sunshine State

Inboxes across Florida are getting filled with political attacks from the left and the right. Here’s some of the latest mud being thrown on the campaign trail.

Here comes the green slime and the slime of political attacks!

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is releasing more slimy green water from Lake Okeechobee to all destinations south. The appearance of green water in the South Florida estuaries must be the fault of a politician, right? Repairing the Herbert Hoover Dike and stopping those discharges has become a major issue on the campaign trail. This week, all of the attacks are bubbling through the filthy water to the surface. Lauren Schenone, the press secretary for Gov. Rick Scott’s U.S. Senate bid, insists all U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. has done about the problem is tweet about it.

“Let’s be clear,: Schenone wrote. “If Bill Nelson had done his job in Washington, the water releases and the algae blooms they cause would no longer be an issue. For years, Governor Scott called on the federal government – which Bill Nelson has been a part of for decades – to live up to their commitment to repair the federal Herbert Hoover Dike at Lake Okeechobee. And when Bill Nelson failed to step up and Congress failed to act, it was Governor Scott who secured state funding for Lake Okeechobee, supported legislation to accelerate the EAA reservoir, and has continued to fight to make sure everything possible is being done to protect our waterways. Bill Nelson can tweet all he wants during an election year, but the communities surrounding Lake Okeechobee will always have the same reply: thanks for nothing, Bill.”

While Nelson was touring Lake Okeechobee to see what is and what can be done, the Florida Democratic Party was hosting a conference call with several elected officials. They found the idea laughable that it is Rick Scott fighting to fix the mess around Lake Okeechobee discharges.

St. Lucie County Commissioner Chris Dzadovsky has to see that green algae flowing through his county on its way to the sea.

“In his first year, Rick Scott gutted the regulatory agencies and staff focused on water issues in Florida,” Dzadovsky insisted. “Those are the professionals that keep the contaminants out of our waterways. Eight years later we are experiencing the dire results of those regulatory cuts. Now, we are seeing Scott take credit, when in fact he helped create the problems we have today.”

Funding for environmental projects, including dike repairs and where to send water south, have been major issues for year but they were in the news again last week after a judge ruled the Legislature is violating the intent of the voters for Amendment 1 that was passed in 2014.

Amendment 1 ensured 33 percent of the revenue from “Doc Stamps” in real estate sales are used for preserving Florida’s environment. The Legislature and the governor have consistently defended the practice of funding state departments like the Forestry Service and the Department of Environmental Protection with that money.

With that case on appeal, Aliki Moncrief, the executive director of the Florida Conservation Voters, could not resist saying “we told you” so while attacking Scott.

“Every time there is an election, Rick Scott’s story changes when it comes to his real environmental protection values,” Moncrief maintained. “Not only has Scott laid off scientific staff, completely dismantled environmental agencies, he also spent years fighting water quality standards. Rick Scott cut budgets, while also advancing bad policies. Now, it is too little too late, and he is not even beginning to scratch the surface of what the real solutions are.”

Part of the solution is shoring up the Herbert Hoover Dike, something both sides have been urging the federal government to do for more than a decade. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told the media that it was sending $512 million to Florida speed up those repairs to the dike. Time for both sides in the U.S. Senate race to take credit for the victory, right?

When it comes down to politics, you can always count on mud being thrown across the Sunshine State. We’ll have more for you soon.

Reach Mike Synan at Mike.Synan@floridadaily.com.

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