“A Dangerous Game,” the SFWMD/Sugar Land Ads, Farm Bureau, SLR/IRL

“Jacqui, did you sees the ad in the Stuart News? Who is “We”? Is the ad from the SFWMD? Did the South Florida Water Management District pay for this ad? That would be wrong!”

My husband had already placed the paper by my bedside; the ad’s headline read: WE DON”T NEED SUGAR’S LAND FOR EVERGLADES….With a foggy head, I recalled that there was a full-page ad in yesterday’s paper from US Sugar:

Ad 6-10-15 Stuart News.

Getting up, pouring a cup of coffee, and perusing the ad,  I noted the right bottom corner: “Brought to you by: Western Palm Beach County Farm Bureau.”

I am familiar with Farm Bureaus as my Grandfather Henderson, a soil scientist, teacher, and head of IFAS at UF, was an active member throughout his lifetime. There are farm bureaus throughout Florida and they have long important history is supporting the rights of farmers in our state. They are very powerful, historical entities.

Of course, the Western Palm Beach County Farm Bureau is the largest and most powerful of all… So looking going to my phone, I noted who was listed on their board.

I didn’t know anybody listed except Ms, Judy Sanchez, from US Sugar, Clewiston. I have met Ms Sanchez. She is really nice and an excellent PR lady for the US Sugar; they very lucky to have her. This is her job and she does it very well.  I would imagine the others listed are also “in the business” of the Everglades Agricultural Area south of Lake Okeechobee too…

WPMCFB web site
Board of Directors WPBCFB 2015

So why is this ad in today’s paper with the headline WE DON’T NEED SUGAR’S LAND FOR EVERGLADES “dangerous?” Well, I think it is dangerous because to the public could appear that the ad comes from the SFWMD as it uses information from an Op-Ed written by SFWMD Board Chair Dan O’keefe that ran in the Miami Herald but not here on the Treasure Coast. WE is next to Dan Okeefe’s head. Dan chairs the SFWMD Governing Board. The way the ad reads, it almost appears as if the ad is from the SFWMD itself. WE should be clearly referring to the West Palm Beach County Farm Bureau.

Thus mostly the reason for the early morning call….

In case you don’t know, the SFWMD is a “special taxing district.” If you look at your tax bill you will see we all pay taxes to the District. This money is not to be spent on “ads” but rather on their mission “to manage water and related resources for the benefit of the public: the key elements of the Mission are environmental protection and enhancement, water supply, flood protection and water quality protection.” (Data Directory 1999) Maybe their mission has altered since 1999 but I don’t have time to look for the 2015 version. This should be close enough…

Portion of my and Ed’s tax bill 2014 showing SFWMD assessments taken from our taxes: $150.73.

In information wars it is very important that players show no “questionable impropriety.” In my opinion, this ad does not achieve this goal.

Although born at Travis Air Base, California, Jacqui considers herself a native of Stuart, Florida, having moved there at eight months old. Her father’s family, originally from Syracuse, New York, has lived in Stuart since 1952. Her mother is a 5th generation Floridian from Gainesville. Jacqui is a Daughter of the American Revolution.

Jacqui is journalism graduate of the University of Florida, and an education master’s graduate of the University of West Florida. She went on to teach English and German and later after a serious accident of breaking her neck, started selling real estate. Later, she ran for public office having served on the Town of Sewall’s Point Commission since 2008, and is former mayor. During this time she saw the opportunity to help showcase the work of a locally formed river group, the River Kidz, and this has been her passion ever. She incorporates youth/river education  into her political work for the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.

Jacqui is the treasurer/secretary of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council; has chaired the Florida League of Cities Environmental and Energy Committee; was chair, and a six year member of the Treasure Coast Council of Local Governments; is an alternate for the Water Resources Advisory Commission for the South Florida Water Management District; and is a board member for Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Foundation, in St Lucie County.  She also serves as a board member (ex-officio) for the Rivers Coalition Defense Fund, and is head administrator for her beloved River Kidz, now a division of the Rivers Coalition.

Jacqui’s reach involves not only local, but state and federal government. In 2013,  she served on Senator Joe Negron’s panel for the Select Senate Hearing on the Indian River Lagoon and Lake Okeechobee. In 2014, she actively supported the elections of both Senator Joe Negron and Congressman Patrick Murphy who have both been strong supporters of  Indian River Lagoon issues. In 2015, she is part of the Florida League Cities Treasure Coast Advocacy team to influence and educate Tallahassee. Jacqui received the Everglades Coalition’s 2015 “John V. Kabler Award” for “Grassroots Activism” working to organize and educate the public, generating grassroots support for Everglades restoration.

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  • Posted 9 years ago

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