Updated: May 18
Hypocrisy isn't an admirable trait.
Imagine if you will, a scenario where the all-knowing cabal of self-righteous career politicians in Washington DC passes legislation prohibiting the States from changing any of their own statutes. To them it makes perfect sense: consistent legislation nationwide - what a great idea! Governor Desantis would come unglued! HOW DARE Washington DC think they know what Floridians need more than their own legislature! Tell me that isn’t EXACTLY what Governor Desantis would be screaming at any reporter willing to listen.
Yet our Florida State legislature passed Senate Bill 250 (SB250). Maybe you've heard of it but do you understand what it means? The Vice-Mayor of Naples Florida sure has - he railed against it very effectively at a recent City Commission meeting. [watch here]
SB250 states, among other things, “A county or municipality located in an area designated in a Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster declaration for Hurricane Ian or Hurricane Nicole shall not propose or adopt more restrictive or burdensome procedures … it’s comprehensive plan or land development regulations, development permit or development order, to the extent those terms are defined by s.163.3164, Florida Statutes, before October 1, 2024.”
SB250 in a nutshell:
Cities and Counties in Florida are handcuffed - forbidden to change certain ordinances for almost a year and a half. That is fairly appalling coming from a legislature that likes to think of itself as champions of freedom. Do our overlords in Tallahassee really believe they know what Daytona Beach needs mores than those of us living here? I certainly do not.
What is “Home Rule”?
The Florida Constitution states in Article VIII, Section 2(b) for municipalities: “Municipalities shall have governmental, corporate and proprietary powers to enable them to conduct municipal government, perform municipal functions and render municipal services, and may exercise power for municipal purposes except as otherwise provided by law.”
Is SB 250 even constitutionally sound?
It's an honest question. Our state constitution should protect us from any legislation dreamt up by legislators that conflicts with it.
We need to have a serious, meaningful discussion about the future of our beaches.
Stroll down to any of the beach access points and you’ll likely still see damage from the 2022 hurricane season. Stacks of rubble that used to be sea walls, and County beach access ramps still washed out and unusable. Cruise down to Daytona Beach Shores… anyone remember the news stories from there? Pirates Cove Condo lost part of their patio as it fell into the water. Crabby Joe’s suffered severe damage, only now being repaired. Homes in Wilbur-By-The-Sea sustained massive damage as well. How can anyone see this damage to our beaches and buildings and think 'let’s just keep doing what we’ve been doing, it’s working so well'.
This is absurd. Limiting LOCAL governing bodies' constitutional authority to regulate their jurisdictions as they deem appropriate will help how?
Our natural resources related to our beaches, combined with the massive economic draw they have for the area demands a conversation. Why isn’t Tallahassee willing to have that conversation? Why won’t they listen to the experts like Dr. Wendy Anderson, PhD from Stetson University?
Dr. Anderson recently gave a presentation to the Sons of the Beach [downnload here], outlining her concerns related to ongoing storm damage to our coastline. She presented scientific data to support her concerns; none of which was heard by anyone in Tallahassee, where protecting business development interests seems to be taking precedence over protecting our natural resources, and representing the will of the people.
Representative Government FOR The People
Those of us that live here DEMAND that we be heard by our representatives - local, State and Federal. This is our home, not just some business investment property. We walk these beaches every day. We take our kids to swim among the waves, walking over the rubble of a failed system every time.
To the Mayors of our local municipalities: where you at? You’re supposed to represent the citizens but you’ve stayed quiet about this important issue – it's time to take a stand. We the people are tired of electing politicians to office on promises of civil service, only to see them kowtow to the will of elite corporations.
I strongly encourage every red blooded American to take a moment to realize that this power dynamic has gotten twisted. Our form of government is supposedly one of REPRESENTATIVE governance. We elect these people to represent our will, to be our voices in the legislation, but at times like this it seems our voices are falling on deaf ears.
We want to keep our beaches. We will not allow corporate donors to dictate our children's future. We will not allow politicians to say one thing, and do another. To every bureaucrat reading this, hear me well… now is the time to change course. You must take off the handcuffs and allow We The People to protect our natural resources as WE see fit.
Contact your Representatives! Tell Governor Desantis NOT to sign.
Contact Governor Desantis: 850-717-9337.
Your Florida State Representatives:
Find your Rep here: https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/FindYourRepresentative
Tom Leek (Dist 28): email@example.com
Webster Barnaby (Dist 29): firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Renner (Speaker of the House/Dist 19): email@example.com
Sen. Hutson (Dist 7): firstname.lastname@example.org
Stan McClain (Dist 27): Stan.email@example.com
Chase Tramont (Dist 30): Chase.firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Danny Burgess (Dist 23): Burgess.email@example.com
Sen. Tom Wright (Dist 8): firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Jonathan Martin (Dist 33): email@example.com
Attention Municipal, County and State Elected Officials: We would welcome a statement about this issue sent to the Sons of the Beach at firstname.lastname@example.org.