Jesus, Crist! Why not just bulldoze the Fish & Wildlife “Conservation” Commission outright?

Imagine that you were elected Grand Poobah of the Municipality of Shatton, a place notorious for being plagued throughout the years by dangerously high levels of human waste in the water supply, in its public parks and pools, in the produce sections of supermarkets, everywhere. Something must be done, and one of your first tasks is appointing members to a brand-new, three-person regulatory commission called “Shatton No More.” You select:

  • The owner of a thriving Shatton sewage-removal business, whose livelihood depends unconditionally on transporting excrement away from places it shouldn’t be.
  • A tent-dwelling schizophrenic handyman noted in The Guinness Book of World Records as having once held the world record for the largest wedding cake made entirely from faeces.
  • An incontinent senior citizen and self-described naturalist who has lobbied for twenty years to have Depends and other adult diapers taken off the market in light of their alleged “shame factor.”

On top of this eyebrow-raising set-up, it is then revealed that at least one of these people and possibly all three contributed mightily to your poobahnatorial election campaign.
How much trust would you have in this crew to dive headlong into the crap facing their town — your town?
This is scarcely a parody of current goings-on in that proudly deteriorating bastion of backslapping and glad-handing politics, Florida.

Charlie Crist was off to a promising start as governor earlier this year, pleasantly surprising environmentally conscious residents who long ago tired of listening to candidates for office make pro-conservation promises only to forget them once their asses were safely planted in Tallahassee. Crist, a Republican, seemed genuinely interested in restoring some semblance of balance and sanity to the interplay between perennially entitled and influential greedheads on the development side and the state’s nonpareil range of flora and fauna on the nature side.
It’s never been close to a fair fight, but Crist took action apace, hosting a global-warming summit, issuing directives intended to reduce air pollution, moving to install solar panels on the Governor’s Mansion, asking utility companies to build additional windmill generators, and requiring all state vehicles to begin using biofuel blends such as ethanol.
That veneer of concern seems to be coming to an abrupt — and again all-too-predictable — end. Crist last week named three applicants to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, two new faces and an incumbent. They include:

  • Ron Bergeron, a development magnate from Weston (a breast-implant-covered sprawlburb of Fort Lauderdale irresponsibly built on the Everglades itself) and owner of a mining operation. Bergeron was investigated last year by wildlife officials after jumping on a seven-foot alligator while giving a tour of his ranch. The animal bit him, which unfortunately resulted only in two broken fingers.
  • Kathy Barco, the president of a of Jacksonville construction firm and chairwoman of the Southeastern Legal Foundation, which has fought strongly against environmental regulations.
  • Kenneth Wright, presently immersed in a scandal at the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority in which the chairman, Wright’s good pal Alan Keen, allegedly paid off a critic to keep him from telling the truth about a politically consultant whom Keen paid $107,500 for doing basically nothing.

Wright’s record is especially shady. In 1999, Wright, then chairman of the Orlando-Sanford Airport Authority, he redirected a fat contract from a company the board had selected to another outfit, Ecobank, that had hired two of his friends as salesmen. Those friends, Seminole county officials both, split a $37,500 commission on the deal; later, Ecobank hired Wright as well.
Wright’s response to the St. Petersburg Times: “I’m a straight guy.” Maybe, but the good money says he’s also a crook.
The other members of the seven-person commission include an executive with the Panhandle’s biggest developer, a Tampa mall builder, a Miami lobbyist, and a Delray Beach construction company executive.
Perhaps you thought the campy “Shatton” scenario described above was an exaggeration of whatever was to follow. So now I ask you: What the hell do the qualifications and day jobs of these people have to do with protecting wildlife?
Perhaps, you say, stoically stifling peals of laughter in your shirt collar, there was a shortage of qualified candidates. Among the applicants Crist passed over were a biology professor from the University of Central Florida, a former state Department of Environmental Protection official, and the conservation director of a privately owned wildlife preserve. Ha! Go back to your night jobs at Wal-Mart, wannabes.
Obviously, everyone in that paper-pushing, overly thoughtful bunch is overqualified for whatever Florida’s road-pavers and slough-fillers have in store. And all of this coincides nicely with the commission’s Sept. 12 vote on whether to take manatees off the state’s endangered list to satisfy champions of boating and tourism.

2 thoughts on “Jesus, Crist! Why not just bulldoze the Fish & Wildlife “Conservation” Commission outright?”

  1. Good post! I will had right down with my jet-ski and shotgun. Always wanted a manatee head over my fireplace.

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