On Marco Island: Independent Reporting, Documenting Government Abuses, Exposing the Syndicate, Historical Records of Crimes Against the Environment

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Monday, May 31, 2010

Funny if Not Tragic

Not reported in the island's "newspapers" is this story reported … in the Naples Spanish newspaper.

The article is rather comical albeit depressing, put in greater perspective by Marco Island's track record of environmental activism (a total of four people, two who don't live here anymore and the other two don't work for city hall).

Have your gardeners translate the entirety of article for you – much more appealing and entertaining when recanted with their rich sonorous melody.

But just in case you are too embarrassed to ask "those people" (the hoary racial trope quoting Celebrate Marco and the Syndicate), here are the two best parts:

  • (Marco River Marina by Ostego Bay Foundation President Joanne Semmer) She brought with her a trailer as an example for a response to an oil spill (leak). This is a unit that serves to contain a spill only when it does not surpass our resources [idiomatic – abilities] … the BP spill [idiomatic – overflowing] oil in the Gulf of Mexico is an example requiring a much more massive response.

  • We are raising funds to pre-position a response plan to the combustible stain [not making this up] in Marco Island. It's a beneficial project that can be used religiously in any situation when our waters are threatened by contamination. ... Approximately 500 feet [of spanker boom] have been ordered, she said.

Raising funds?

Other than two firemen patrolling the beaches (also noted in the article), action results in a trailer of 500' of boom that may save the marina (maybe) – so at least the tourists can go fishing … so, exactly where are they going fishing if the oil is washing onto our shores?

CLICK THE ARTICLE TO ENLARGE SO YOUR GARDENER CAN READ IT TO YOU IN Epañol.


3 Comments:

  • Marco Island is a barrier island so by natural design it takes the brunt of what man and nature has to offer.

    It is a great day for microza that relishes petroleum. Nature will have a feast of which we have not seen in awhile.

    Sorry its the oceanographer in me. One man's disaster is another organism's treasure.

    By Anonymous ajm3s, at Tuesday, June 01, 2010 10:08:00 AM  

  • the island sure does take the brunt of man and nature - but so far the only major abuse has been from man. and this one will dwarf the hydrogen sulfide/sulfuric acid pumping into the waterways, the asbestos contamination, the "deep" injection well (which goes into the water table and the gulf) and now the just revealed closing of the watershed that is killing the mangroves near key marco. all courtesy of moss-joel-arceri-TURK-tucker-minozzi-trotter-walduck-gibson. nice.

    By Blogger Dr. Mario, at Tuesday, June 01, 2010 12:20:00 PM  

  • So true.

    Keep up the good work.

    By Anonymous ajm3s, at Thursday, June 03, 2010 8:36:00 PM  

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cistern – Five Months Later

After five months of operation, the cistern is performing better than expected. And with an above-average rainfall in the "dry" season, there is water to spare.

So it was decided to open it up and look inside.

The first observation was that some roots had grown into the cistern. These hair-thin roots came into the cistern from where the drain field pipe orifice. The design called for the orifice to be closed, but the city demanded that an overflow valve be installed instead. We should have sealed the pipe leading to the overflow valve when installed. Hindsight is 20-20 – so it was done now.

As can be seen from these pictures, the water remains crystal clear thereby disproving one of the many irrational pretexts against cisterns ("has to be cleaned and decontaminated often"). Regardless, the water was tested:

  • pH: 8.0
  • CLORINE: .5ppm
  • Calcium: 1.5ppm

It is unclear what causes such a high pH (alkaline) though one can speculate that it is caused by the concrete or from the roots that found their way into the cistern. Now that the roots are eliminated, we'll see.

There is more water than is being used. If one had to do it over again, more Mazzei valves would be installed, say five, thereby increasing the usage from approximately 90 gallons per hour to 450 gallons per hour.

Since there is only one Mazzei valve in this cistern-system, it was decided to drain the cistern to help the lawn and to avoid (just once) the swamp created by the city-demanded overflow valve. An $80 pump was purchased that pumps 350 gallons per hour. After less than four hours, the cistern was nearly drained, and the lawn was very grateful. Based on the pump's power drain, approximately 83 cents of electricity was used.

Since the cistern is being filled more than anticipated (disproving another idiocy "in the dry season the cistern will be empty"), the pump will be used often.

In all, a proven success. Sadly not many have taken advantage of such an inexpensive method to save water (and a few dollars). Perhaps the new and positive management of the city will encourage cisterns.

1 Comments:

  • Mario,

    I would love to speak with you about your experience with this project and the process you went thru to get approval.

    Regards
    John Sisco
    President
    Norwich Homes
    john@norwich-homes.com
    Http://www.norwich-homes.com

    By Anonymous John Sisco, at Thursday, September 01, 2011 2:46:00 PM  

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Update on EPA Lawsuit

As the few readers of this blog are aware, I opposed a motion by the U.S. Attorney to change the type of our Freedom of Information Act case from a Track two case to a Track One case.

The federal judge ruled in favor of the government and the case is now a Track One case.

However, in this ruling the federal judge allowed us the opportunity to issue discovery requests – which was my concern if the case track was changed. This opportunity is good news as it will hopefully allow us to make some important inquiries. We cannot issue the discovery requests for some time, per the judge's order.

The federal judge also ordered a schedule of what has to happen and when. The next step is up to the EPA – the agency has to produce an index of all of their documents by early September 2010. Please note that this index is not the documents themselves, but a list of the documents.

Lastly, I have offered to never issue a motion or other request without first checking with the U.S. Attorney handling the case, in deference to his time and workload. While it is extremely important for us to ascertain the extent of the environmental damage and causal health risks, we must also consider that the U.S. Attorney is also responsible for many serious and national issues, ergo my offer.

Don Quixote continues, sans Sancho Panza.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

EPA Delays, Locals Lie, Tragedy Occurs

Read this heartbreaking and appalling story of a town decimated by asbestos – and not because of the lethal particle itself, but because of delays by the agency allegedly responsible for protecting our health and because of local officials lying and obfuscating until it was too late.

Here are some of the article's highlights:

The EPA this month took its first step toward wrapping up its efforts over the next two to three years, rekindling anxieties.

"Everybody wants Libby to go away and it's not going away," said Dr. Brad Black, director of Libby's Center for Asbestos Related Diseases. His stethoscope pressed against the back of a 36-year-old patient who never worked in the mine, Black said the man's exposure likely came from playing in a friend's contaminated house as a child.

Crushing the rock to remove "nuisance" materials set billions of asbestos fibers loose in clouds of dust that drifted the six miles down to Libby, leaving a powdery trace as light as snow.

Little was done — despite state-issued orders for the mine to cut down on dust levels and to upgrade filtering equipment. Federal regulators stayed on the sidelines, and the mine remained open until 1990.

Nine years later, EPA finally joined the fray — after the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper detailed the toll of dead and dying that had become too large to ignore.

Two EPA Inspector General reports, in 2002 and 2006, faulted agency administrators for delays in the baseline scientific risk assessment that typically guides Superfund cleanups. The risk assessment remains incomplete.

Moving forward without the assessment leaves the EPA no way to know when Libby is safe, said Richard Troast, a former EPA toxicologist based in Washington, D.C. who worked on the Libby cleanup for five years. He said staff scientists had been pushing for the assessment since 2001 but their efforts were hampered by senior agency officials.

City Councilman D.C. Orr, who worked as a contractor at the mine for almost two decades, recalls joining with others at the mine to eat raw vermiculite as a way to mock the health concerns raised by activists like Benefield. [sounds like marco island's village idiot, doesn't it?]

For the entire lengthy sordid tale, CLICK HERE.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Who Should Pay EPA Fine for Asbestos Contamination?

Take this 60-second on-line poll – your opinion counts! All voting goes directly to the City Council.

CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE POLL

Also, to see the results of the poll so far, CLICK HERE TO SEE THE RESULTS SO FAR

Pass the word – who will pay the fine is important! Do you want to pay?

2 Comments:

  • Who Should Pay EPA Fine for Asbestos Contamination?

    In as much as Quality Enterprise knew or should have known just what the procedures were for handling asbestos, it is my opinion that QE and QE alone should be held responsible for all costs incurred for the improper handling and disposal of asbestos.

    As to the city officials and employees; the employment of any city employee, still working for the city, that were in any official way involved in the handling or disposal of the asbestos should be terminated.

    All elected city officials presently in office should be recalled for nonfeasance and malfeasance regarding this asbestos matter. All councilors, past and present, were neglect and are still neglect in their duties to protect the citizens of Marco Island.

    Of courses this opinion presupposes that the EPA finds quilt in the disposal and handling of the asbestos.

    Thank you for your efforts Mario.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, May 24, 2010 12:08:00 PM  

  • thank you and i agree.

    my rationale for including the city councilors is predicated on the argument that each of them KNEW that what QE and moss and joel was wrong and outright illegal. the city councilors were informed in council meetings in the newspaper via myriad emails. but instead of halting the practice (or at least stopped until there was an independent review) they denigrated slurred libeled and slandered those of us that brought the illegal acts to their attention. only kiester and froscht spoke out consistently against the asbestos dumping (and the lethal levels of hydrogen sulfide contamination of the city). the others were too busy being corrupt or too busy being stupid (stupidity is not a defense).

    according to florida law these actions by city councilors denies their protection under sovereign immunity.

    so both for ethical and legal reasons the councilors were included in who should pay.

    but you are correct - QE was the actual perpetrator

    By Blogger Dr. Mario, at Monday, May 24, 2010 12:26:00 PM  

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Lisa Douglass Terminated

[former] City of Marco Island Public Information Coordinator Lisa Douglass was terminated today.

The cleanup continues.

Perhaps BP and Obama can hire R2 [Recker/Riviere] to clean up the oil spill mess too.

4 Comments:

  • You are informed and quicker to the story than the Eagle!

    Nice.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Saturday, May 22, 2010 10:07:00 AM  

  • The Marco clean up is not complete:

    Laura Litzen
    Rony Joel

    I believe you have the details as to why they should be dismissed. If not, let me elucidate.

    If you wish to have a direct and major impact at removing the Marco Mafia you must remove the individuals listed. Ms. Litzan for her history and ability to maneuver the council/politics prior to the last election.

    Mr. Joel for his disregard to financial responsibility as evidenced with his lack of project management (excessive change orders, disregard or ignorance of governmental codes) and ability to shift monies from budgets year to year etc. He is a classic example of an A&E's inside guy. (One who actually represents the interest of the engineering/construction management firms he hires and advises.)

    Modus Operandi: Low competitive bid followed by non-competitive change orders.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Saturday, May 22, 2010 10:30:00 AM  

  • agreed - though in my opinion, rony joel should be indicted.

    the wanton disregard for the laws as related to the asbestos matter, then the outright lying about the dewatering are violations of laws.

    the state wont prosecute because the FDEP/iglehart are criminally complicit. but there is the civil process as well as the violation of the federal clean water act - EPA's own emails attest to this.

    but the real culprits here are the city councilors of the past: trotter minozzi tucker willingly let the violations continue and aided the illegal acts. popoff was led around the nose, god knows was disciullo was doing and kiester should have screamed at every meeting until removed from the chambers by carr or some other law enforcement goon. all of them either let it happen or made it happen.

    By Blogger Dr. Mario, at Saturday, May 22, 2010 11:34:00 AM  

  • Amongst others, as you have so aptly listed in the past.

    Watchdogs are few in numbers but I believe the American citizens are getting involved. You are the finist.

    By Anonymous ajm3s, at Saturday, May 22, 2010 12:43:00 PM  

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Movement on Tract K

Please CLICK HERE for latest on the movement to procure Tract K.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Medley of Island Issues

Tract K
Support for Dr. Recker's initiative to buy Tract K from the CCSB – with these expressed written conditions:

  • that it be used exclusively for a SCHOOL SITE or a NATURE PRESERVE
  • that it be forever illegal to commercialize the land in any way whatsoever (that includes building "affordable housing" – a.k.a. Section 9 housing – a.k.a. a slum)
  • that the syndicate be specifically barred from ever having anything to do with the land

For those still living under the false illusion that a school site cannot be built on Tract K – it has been confirmed with the State of Florida director overseeing eagle habitats that a school site (and a nice sized one at that) can be built on the site as originally intended. Just because the syndicate got the "Environmental Specialist" and their minions on the council to parrot the ruse that there was a 330 foot setback from the eagle nest, does not make it true (in fact it is an outright lie).

It is unfortunate that the high school initiative folks are moving ahead with some agreement with the YMCA. Perhaps when there is a visionary board at the charter middle school, Tract K can be used by them for improved academics or sports or both.

Speaking of Failing Academics
Rand Paul (Ron Paul's son) won an election today. The first thing he said was:

… if he could, abolish the Education Department, get rid of No Child Left Behind, eliminate all federal funding to education and encourage competition.

There is hope for America yet.

"Alleged" Asbestos
Settlement over the alleged asbestos that was allegedly pulverized, allegedly crushed, allegedly illegally buried and allegedly improperly removed must be conditioned that the City NOT pay one cent.

The cost MUST be paid by Quality Enterprises, Bill Moss, Roger Reinke, Rony Joel and each city councilperson that allowed this "alleged" crime to continue. Let this cast of characters fight it out amongst themselves.

By the way, is there some reason that the local "alleged" paper and the syndicate still think that the EPA is pursuing criminal fines over something that is "alleged"?

Truly Befuddling
When it was suggested that the CRA advisory committee be comprised of 18, as opposed to 7, the confused opined that 18 would be unruly, it would be chaotic, that the rapture would occur, that the seven horsemen would ride and that fire and brimstone will hail from the heavens.

And because democracy requires that the masses be placated, even the intellectually challenged and historically ignorant, the city attorney had to make a legal determination that yes, 18 is perfectly legal.

Thank God for attorneys because without them we just can't govern.

By the way, for those that have yet to realize what country they are in, the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was comprised of 55 people. And even without the two geniuses of those days (Thomas Jefferson was in France, John Adams was in England) look what a great job they did – proving that it isn't the numbers – it's the quality.

Another Suggestion for the Trotter Bridge
A suggestion was made that a diving board be installed at the zenith of the span on the new Trotter Bridge. We encourage the pursuit of this idea, perhaps by first vetting the idea through an advisory committee of 36 (pending city attorney approval of course). And those happily spending tax dollars for no rational reason (other than their ego) can also install the now legal red-light cameras as just approved by the defunct Crist.

Finally
Does anyone know whatever happened to finding out why the city's outside law firm was the entity that has paid over $100,000 to CRM and under who's authority?

3 Comments:

  • Keep up the vigilance and reviews. I love your historical references and I also believe we need to restore the founding principles of this nation.

    And to your last question, I believe Lisa Douglass is the official public information coordinator, but I suspect she is unabled to get an answer. Again, it may fall on the backs of those pesky citizens to do the digging to uncover the facts.

    And you do it all without remuneration.

    By Anonymous ajm3s, at Thursday, May 20, 2010 9:54:00 AM  

  • I haven't figured out yet why the EPA is "negotiating" with the guilty parties. They certainly have enough evidence, if not they can consult your blog to get it. I thought their job was to fine people who violated the rules, so how will there ever be any justice served up to those who knowingly ignored the law?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sunday, May 23, 2010 2:13:00 PM  

  • that is what i thought too the EPA was supposed to do. but after chasing them down now for 2+ years, and the FOIA law suit, i have learned that the EPA is political agency whose primary purpose is to employ people and occasionally harass a private (read: corporate) entity into paying a fine here or there. and of course now to be a taxing agency with no oversight (cap and trade). the congress is afraid of the EPA as i found out - a senator (nelson) and a congressman (mack)would rather have 15,000 of their constituents suffer from unknown health effects than demand that the EPA turn over ONE piece of paper.

    dont expect the EPA to do anything in this case. the FDEP was criminally complicit so the iron triangle wont indict themselves.

    By Blogger Dr. Mario, at Sunday, May 23, 2010 10:22:00 PM  

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Irrationality in the Courts

Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a minor cannot receive a life sentence except for first-degree murder.

Not too long ago in American history, stupid decisions were for the most part rare, as in Dred Scott and Wade. But now, they seem to be a yearly occurrence, as in Kelo, Guantanamo Bay and now this one today, Graham.

We seem to be stuck on stupid; congress, president, agencies (especially the EPA, Department of Energy, Department of Education), and now out of habit the Supreme Court.

But if there is any saving grace, read this brilliant dissenting opinion by Justice Thomas:

The integrity of our criminal justice system depends on the ability of citizens to stand between the defendant and an outraged public and dispassionately determine his guilt and the proper amount of punishment based on the evidence presented. That process necessarily admits of human error. But so does the process of judging in which we engage. As between the two, I find far more "unacceptable" that this Court, swayed by studies reflecting the general tendencies of youth, decree that the people of this country are not fit to decide for themselves when the rare case requires different treatment. That is especially so because, in the end, the Court does not even believe its pronouncements about the juvenile mind. If it did, the categorical rule it announces today would be most peculiar because it leaves intact state and federal laws that permit life-without-parole sentences for juveniles who commit homicides. See ante, at 23. The Court thus acknowledges that there is nothing inherent in the psyche of a person less than 18 that prevents him from acquiring the moral agency necessary to warrant a life without-parole sentence. Instead, the Court rejects overwhelming legislative consensus only on the question of which acts are sufficient to demonstrate that moral agency. The Court is quite willing to accept that a 17-year-old who pulls the trigger on a firearm can demonstrate sufficient depravity and irredeemability to be denied reentry into society, but insists that a 17-year-old who rapes an 8year-old and leaves her for dead does not.

2 Comments:

  • Priceless. I have faith in America that the founding principles will be restored by the likes of the 9/12 project and its ancillary organizations.

    Liberal thought was once the adjective that resounded with the foundation of our country. Now it represents a political sect that seeks to undermine the foundation of this country to a vision of socialism and other isms that believe in central control, social justice and global governance. Ahhhhhh!

    By Anonymous ajm3s, at Tuesday, May 18, 2010 5:16:00 AM  

  • i agree - and the reason is because these movements are the people. it finally took a cataclysm to awaken the wonderful American spirit. the 9/12 and tea party and goooh movements is the American dream being revisited through action, after having been stolen by career criminals (a.k.a. career politicians, the marco island syndicate) and their shields and proxies in the agencies that respond or report to no one. The road is long and arduous for these groups to re-gain control of their country, since the political machine, their incestuous relationships with global companies and the rest of iron triangle (EPA, etc...) have a stranglehold on freedom. I hope that they prevail soon as time is short.

    By Blogger Dr. Mario, at Tuesday, May 18, 2010 9:18:00 AM  

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Update on Oil Spill – BELOW the Surface is the Problem

Chemical dispersants approved – long-term effect of dispersants unknown. Dispersants break up the oil into droplets – which go exactly where?

COAST GUARD AND EPA APPROVE USE OF DISPERSANT SUBSEA IN FURTHER EFFORT TO PREVENT OIL FROM REACHING U.S. SHORELINE (5-16-2010 11:30AM EDT)

 Agencies Reserve Authority to Stop the Use of the Dispersant At Any Time

Key contact numbers

  • Report oiled shoreline or request volunteer information: (866) 448-5816
  • Submit alternative response technology, services or products: (281) 366-5511 
  • Submit your vessel for the Vessel of Opportunity Program: (281) 366-5511
  • Submit a claim for damages: (800) 440-0858
  • Report oiled wildlife: (866) 557-1401

Deepwater Horizon Incident

Joint Information Center

Phone: (985) 902-5231

(985) 902-524

ROBERT, LA - The U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced they have authorized BP to use dispersants underwater, at the source of the Deepwater Horizon leak.  Oil spill dispersants are chemicals that attempt to break down the oil into small drops and prevent it from reaching the surface or the U.S. shoreline.  Dispersants are generally less harmful than the highly toxic oil leaking from the source and they biodegrade in a much shorter time span.

The use of the dispersant at the source of the leak represents a novel approach to addressing the significant environmental threat posed by the spill.  Preliminary testing results indicate that subsea use of the dispersant is effective at reducing the amount of oil from reaching the surface – and can do so with the use of less dispersant than is needed when the oil does reach the surface. This is an important step to reduce the potential for damage from oil reaching fragile wetlands and coastal areas. 

"We will continue our relentless efforts to secure the source of the spill.  In the meantime, we will employ every available technique we can to minimize the environmental impact on coastal habitats, communities and the marine ecosystem.  This requires a responsible assessment of the risks and benefits of specific tactics," said Coast Guard Admiral Thad W. Allen, the national incident commander for the spill.

"Based on the scientific analysis of the EPA and NOAA and review by the National Response Team, it has been determined that the use of dispersants at the subsea source is the prudent and responsible action to take along with other tactics including surface dispersant, skimming and controlled burns."  

"We believe that the underwater use of dispersants could lessen the overall impact of the spill," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "Dispersants are not the silver bullet. They are used to move us towards the lesser of two difficult environmental outcomes. Until the flow of oil is stemmed, we must continue to take any responsible action that will reduce the impact of the spill, and that is what we are doing."

This course of action was decided upon with thorough evaluation and consideration of many factors as well as consultation with stakeholders. Because subsea use of dispersants is a novel approach, several tests were done to determine if the dispersant would be effective in breaking up the oil and helping to control the leaks.

While BP pursues the use of subsea dispersants, the federal government will require regular analysis of its effectiveness and impact on the environment, water and air quality, and human health through a rigorous monitoring program. EPA's directive to BP, including the monitoring plan the company must adhere to in order to ensure the protection of the environment and public health, is publicly available at www.epa.gov/bpspill/dispersants

 The federal government will work with caution and strong oversight and reserves the right to discontinue the use of this dispersant method if any negative impacts on the environment outweigh the benefits. 

For information about the response effort, visit www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com 

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Friday, May 14, 2010

How NOT to Enforce Laws

Attorney General Holder makes a "judgment call" on a law without reading it - threatening federal legal action against the new Arizona immigration law. Watch this video from congressional testimony today (5-15-2010).



It appears that he (or his subordinates - the assistant u.s. attorney's) have not read the Freedom of Information Act law either.

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Simple Solution to Oil Spill Clean-up?

Amazing ...

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Warning: FDEP at it AGAIN

If there is still any doubt that the Florida Department of Environmental "Protection" is inept or corrupt or both beyond belief, and incapable of protecting this island from the oil slick, read a rare public statement by a lead researcher:

Richard Snyder, director of the UWF Center for Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation voiced frustration about the difficulties he's faced while trying to get cooperation from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and other agencies monitoring the environmental effects of the spill.

"They won't even tell us where they're sampling, none the less what they're sampling or testing for," Snyder said.

(CLICK HERE FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE – published today May 12, 2010)

So … the $2billion per year department that facilitated the asbestos crushing, burying and illegal removal, and gave us the millions of gallons of toxic effluent being pumped into the waterways, and gave us the clouds of near-lethal levels of hydrogen sulfide, and gave Highlands County their asbestos dump … is now going to "protect" us from the world's worst environmental disaster since Chernobyl?

Once again, just like what occurred on Marco Island, experts and concerned citizens offer to help, offer information and evidence, only to be repulsed, treated with indifference and ultimately wind up with an environmental problem that could have been easily averted or remediated.

The bureaucracy of the senseless.

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Hillsdale College - Imprimis

This month's issue is of Imprimis an imperative read for those desirous in forestalling the seemingly inevitable collapse of your constitutional republic.

The most salient observation - "... the constitution is a document that is the heritage and responsibility of every American citizen."

Hillsdale College - Imprimis

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Freedom of Information Act Suit against the EPA - Continues

This week's meeting with the US Attorney defending the EPA was cordial and cooperative as to the administrative issues relating to the case. As to obtaining the documents, the government's position is clear and unwavering – the government will fight this case for as long and as hard as it requires so that no other documents are released.

The justifications posed: there is a public health concern; that We the People have a right to know; that the documents contain no military or other security details that would jeopardize our safety; that the environment was contaminated – and more were unpersuasive.

So, onto preparing for a trial. The following was submitted subsequent to the meeting as a case status report.

1. Status of Case

This is an action under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filed with this court September 8, 2009 and the Defendant was duly served on December 11, 2009. This action followstwo years of the Defendant not meeting its legal duty to respond to the Plaintiff's FOIA request within the required time.


 

The Plaintiff has not received all of the documents in the possession of the Defendant. Additionally, the Defendant's position (via a motion presently in front of the court)is that itis obligated to produce some abridged list enumerating the documents that they claim exist. If this is correct, then why has such list not been produced.


 

Hence, an action brought forth because of public health and environmental ramifications is once again up to the Defendant to comply.

2. Discovery

This case is presently a Track Two case, and as such the Plaintiff is entitled to discovery starting immediately after the initial conference. Said conference was had on May 7, 2010 and at that time the Plaintiff offered to serve discovery on the Defendant. The Defendant stated that the discovery would be contested via motions. So as not to burden the Defendant's counsel, the Plaintiff volunteered to not submit the already prepared discovery requests until the court rules on the Defendant's motion and Plaintiff's answer to change this case to a Track One case.

However, the Plaintiff is entitled to all manner of discovery.

The Defendant has refused to produce all of the documents in their possession as required by the Plaintiff's initial Freedom of Information Act request made nearly two years ago. Since the subject matter of the documents involves contaminationdeleterious to the public and the environment, the documents requested by the Plaintiff are of extreme public interest.

The Plaintiff believes that neither the public nor the court should rely solely on some summarized list enumerating the documents that the Defendant opts to note. Hence the only means by which to inform the public as to their health consequences, and that of the environment, and to comply with the Freedom of Information Act, is by the Plaintiff seeking discovery and having the Defendant comply with the law – neither of which has yet to occur.

3. Scheduling

The Plaintiff asks for expediency without compromising his right to discovery.

Opinion
It appears that the government is fighting this case just because it can – simply because the established rules and protocols are overwhelmingly in the government's favor. Which, as odd as it appears, the government is NOT us.

The only other rational explanation, assuming the government is rational, is that there is some damming information that it just does not want the public to see.

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Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day -

Enjoy mother's day as others are not allowed.
This picture is of the
Damas en Blanco (Ladies in White) - a small group of mothers that march every sunday seeking the release and humane treatment of their sons presently being tortured and serving life sentences for simply disagreeing with their government.

This past sunday the ladies were assaulted and roughed-up by the state goons.
And that is what happens when governments become omnipotent.

Nobody here cares as there is no uproar that this abuse is happening in some third-world hell-hole ... but careful it doesn't happen here.

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Update on EPA Lawsuit

Clearly, this action precipitated the relatively recent "enforcement." The meeting between the City and the EPA is pending.

But now into the 8th month of this odyssey, and TWO YEARS SINCE DOCUMENTS WERE REQUESTED, the lawsuit against the EPA continues as it seeks under the Freedom of Information Act all documents from the EPA that are in any way related to Marco Island.

The U.S. Attorney – the lawyer(s) that defends the EPA – has recently sought to change the means by which this case is to be tried. They have asked the federal court to change the case so that it is adjudicated based on what is tantamount to an inventory list of the documents – not the documents themselves. The court reviews the inventory list which is compiled based on what the EPA/US Attorney decides what documents to note on that list and how these documents are described.

If this request is granted, the Plaintiff, i.e., We the People, cannot challenge what is on the list or how the documents are categorized. If this motion prevails, there is no discovery, no right to ask questions via interrogatories or request for admissions, and no right for the documents themselves to be inspected.

Naturally this maneuver is being opposed by a legal brief that will be submitted this Friday May 7, 2010.

Chances are still exceedingly remote that We the People will prevail in obtaining the release of all of the documents since there are no lawyers and no experience in constitutional law on our side – while the EPA has the entirety of the U.S. Department of Justice and their own well-trained lawyers.

Opinion
At this point we can only speculate as to what is being withheld by the EPA. While we have no interest in who inside the EPA did what, we find that all else is relevant to the citizenry.

We can only hope that the documents reveal if, when and how the asbestos was removed from the island; if, when and how the toxic effluent that was dumped into the Gulf of Mexico was remediated; if the myriad toxic clouds of harmful gas was tested as to the health of the people in the gassed areas.

Secondary is the information as to which individuals were responsible, and why to date there has been no prosecution.

You would think that the Environmental "Protection" Agency would have a legal and moral obligation to inform the citizenry of the health risks if any, as to how their environment has been cleaned up, or not, and why there have been no individuals prosecuted.

You would think so since presumably the EPA works for We the People.

Keep your fingers crossed.

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Monday, May 03, 2010

Just for Reinke

Federal Court Strikes Down Florida Statute That Criminalized Free Speech When Criticizing Police Officers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

May 3, 2010

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida today announced a victory in its lawsuit challenging Florida's law making it illegal to publish information about law enforcement officials on public Web sites. The decision, issued late Friday by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Smoak, is being hailed by the ACLU as a victory for free speech in Florida.

The court held that while the state has a compelling interest in protecting law enforcement officers from the threat of bodily harm, the Florida statute went further and allowed the state to punish criticism of police officers.

"It cannot be a crime to publish truthful information," said Randall Marshall, ACLU of Florida Legal Director, who cheered the court's decision. "With very rare exceptions, courts protect the publication of truthful information that is already available to the public."

In 2008, Tallahassee resident Rob Brayshaw was arrested after he posted the home address, telephone number and other personal information about a Tallahassee police officer on the Web site www.ratemycop.com.

In addition to the personal information that Brayshaw posted online, he also criticized the performance of the police officer. The personal information Brayshaw posted was obtained from already-public Web sites via internet searches.

In his comments on the Web site, Brayshaw characterized Officer Annette Garrett as being verbally abusive, rude and unprofessional, pointing to an investigation she had conducted regarding him for trespassing as a property manager. No charges were brought against him as a result of that investigation.

Brayshaw posted Garrett's home address, cell phone number and age, all of which were publicly available on the internet. He was arrested, charged and prosecuted twice under Florida Statute 843.17, which criminalizes the publication of a police officer's name, address and/or phone number without permission of the police department.

The Florida Statute reads:

Any person who shall maliciously, with intent to obstruct the due execution of the law or with the intent to intimidate, hinder or interrupt any law enforcement officer in the legal performance of his or her duties, publish or disseminate the residence address or telephone number of any law enforcement officer while designating the officer as such, without authorization of the agency which employs the officer, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida sued the City of Tallahassee and the Leon County State Attorney on Brayshaw's behalf, claiming that the statute violated his rights under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Smoak (N.D. Fla.) agreed with the ACLU's argument and declared Fla. Stat. 843.17 unconstitutional. The order prevents enforcement of the statute and orders the City of Tallahassee to pay Brayshaw twenty-five thousand dollars to cover his attorneys' fees, court costs and damages.

James K. Green, a cooperating attorney with the ACLU of Florida, who was cocounsel in the case, noted: "This Florida statute is but one in a long series of statutes that have tried to limit speech that is critical of public officials. The courts have again driven home the point that the First Amendment protects the right to criticize public officials."

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Saturday, May 01, 2010

Continue Building Trust in Local Government

Last week we were presented with the first step at restoring a semblance of respect for democratic principles by summarily firing the city manager. With a legacy of obfuscation, conspiracy, cover-ups and a despicable antagonism towards many citizens, the inherited putrefaction of hometown democracy was jettisoned.

But we have a bigger problem.

Bigger than the asbestos dumping and conspiracy cover-up, far more lethal than pumping millions of gallons of effluent into the waterways and then lying to federal law enforcement about having a permit, and much more insidious than naming a public building after the rustic Attila the Hun, was a singular act where one of the five enumerated rights in the First Amendment to the US Constitution was summarily stripped from all of us.

Robert Glaub's right to free speech was violated by both the then Chairman Popoff and Police Chief Carr. While the former has repeatedly proven to be ignorant of the rights and protections afforded to citizens by the constitution, the latter followed an unlawful order. Ignorance effectuated illegal force, in this case via brutish intimidation as evidenced by the comment "I'd be happy to" when ordered to escort Mr. Glaub back to his seat.

So exactly what pleasure did a police chief have in escorting a disabled veteran away from being able to continue his right to speak? What part of "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech …" is unclear?

Any honest soldier would have rejected the request, realizing that protecting one man's right to free speech is by far more important than protecting a job. It takes no courage to intimidate an old veteran with disabilities into sitting down. It does take courage to say "No sir, what you are asking violates our most fundamental right."

How sad it is to watch the rights of freedom being washed away by the very people who purportedly have sworn an oath to protect those rights. Worse, they don't even realize that it is them that are destroying this country faster than all of the Obamas, Bin Ladens, Ahmadinejads, Kim Jon Ils and Pelosis combined. For those of us that have lived through this circus once before, it's like watching an avoidable tragedy: Shut up one man that dared to speak and you have shut up a nation.

There is still an opportunity to correct this travesty here at the local level – where it matters most. And by doing so the building of trust in the local government can continue.

To the four city councilors that daringly and expeditiously voted in the face of the insidious syndicate to start the process to open government, you are respectfully asked to immediately respect the right to speak our opinion by simply apologizing to Robert and Karen Glaub.

Please issue a motion and vote again to undo an egregious wrong by simply, on behalf of the City of Marco Island and all its citizens, apologizing to Robert and Karen Glaub. And by doing so you address a hideous wrong, you continue rebuilding the democratic principles in this local government and restore the most precious of rights to all of us.

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