And Now What?
Assuming that the syndicate and their minions in the "staff" and on the council don't torpedo the septic-to-cistern program, all residents with a soon-to-be decommissioned septic tank can save on their water bill, save the $1,000+ from not having to destroy their septic tank and more importantly, save water.
But this victory – yes, a victory since the "staff" has acknowledged it fought this idea – has raised some interesting questions. Namely,
- What to do with those homes that are on a soon-to expire deadline for demolishing their septic tank (and their front lawn in the process)?
- What about those homes that already have had their septic tanks unnecessarily destroyed?
Yes, we prove unnecessarily destroyed because the city organs (both present and past – as if they were distinguishable) knew of this program quite some time ago. To wit, from the State of Florida:
The application for the latest WaterSIP is online now [WaterSIP is the septic-cistern rebate program]. Since the program was created in 2002, the District's Governing Board has invested $3.4 million in 116 projects that saved an estimated 5.8 million gallons of water a day. That's enough water to meet the typical daily needs of approximately 32,400 South Florida residents.
This blog has confirmed that the "staff" had been repeatedly made aware of this program. Additionally, there are records confirming that the city staff and the city council were made aware of the septic tank-to-cistern benefit even before the STRP started. And lastly, this very blog raised the specter quite some time ago that ordering the destruction of private property without due compensation is unconstitutional per the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (popularly known as the eminent domain clause)1 and the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (popularly known as the due process clause);
But as it is with all immorality, the consequences appear repeatedly, at times unexpectedly, and always pose intractable moral dilemmas.
In this case, what will the city do for those homeowners that were intentionally denied an opportunity to save money and water, were forced to unnecessarily destroy their septic tanks, and had their constitutional rights violated?
Even if one were to argue that instituting a federal lawsuit against the "staff"/city/syndicate would consume years and treasure and hence should be avoided, what does one say to those that unnecessarily destroyed their septic tank, and could have saved money and water if only the "staff"/city/syndicate would have simply revealed a program that they knew about?
And by the way, there have been scores of other water conservation programs and grants both at the federal and state level that could have been pursued – compounding the abuse.
Here is what the city should NOT do – form yet another committee plagued with the usual suspects to arrive at the expected conclusion.
How about a Bernie Madoff-style outcome: all of those in the "staff"/city/syndicate that had anything to do with this conundrum, indict them, and strip them and their families of all possessions to compensate those that were wronged – for after all, what is the difference between not being forthcoming to investors and hence denying the investors their money as opposed to not being forthcoming to citizens and denying the citizens their money?
How about a South Africa-styled Truth and Reconciliation Commission where the "staff"/city/syndicate publicly apologize, we all forgive them and just move on?
Since these suggestions are akin to the meaningless clinging to the pipe dreams of The Iceman Cometh, then, as to those who were unnecessarily forced to pay for the destruction of their own private property and denied money and water savings, now what?
For the syndicate lawyers: the 5th Amendment does state “… nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation”. But a Supreme Court decision stated “… that a public use does not have to mean public occupation of the land; it can mean a public benefit.” And syndicate, by your own repeated ad nausea statements, septic tanks had to go as a public benefit because … “There be fecal in the waterways”. Ordering the destruction of private property, without compensation suffices to violate the 5th Amendment.