Sierra Endorses Alan Cohn In Congressional Race

This is a reprint of press release received from our neighbors in the Tampa Bay Sierra. The congressional district includes parts of western Polk County.

 “We are very pleased to announce that the Sierra Club officially endorses Alan Cohn for election,” said Sierra Club Florida’s Political Chair David Harbeitner. “We are confident that he will work to protect Florida’s environment for our families and for our future.”

Cohn has been an outspoken advocate for environmental protection, restoring the health of Florida’s waterways and tackling the climate crisis. As a Peabody Award winning investigative journalist he has produced a number of in-depth investigations into environmental issues and challenges over his 30-year career. Topics he covered included environmental issues such as red tide, toxic blue-green algae blooms and the impacts of the phosphate mining industry on our rural lands, aquifer and communities.  Cohn opposes issuing new oil and gas drilling leases in federal waters off Florida coasts because he knows that the health of Florida’s beaches and coastal waters are tied to the health of our economy and lifestyle.  He supports transitioning to a clean energy economy to help combat climate change and he supports rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, both as a means to ensure public safety and create good paying jobs.


Cohn is focused on kitchen table issues that affect our everyday lives.  He is a proponent of fixing our broken healthcare system which leaves too many people without affordable coverage, and raising the minimum wage and expanding social security to help lift workers, families and seniors out of poverty and move towards a more just and equitable society. 


“We look forward to a victory party for the environment on election night and to many more years of Cohn fighting for the environment as a U.S. Representative,” said Harbeitner. 

M-CORES Meetings Winding Down; Next One Is Wednesday

The meetings to discuss the direction the review of a planned toll road corridor through southwest Florida between Lakeland and Naples are in their final stages.

The next meeting will occur from 9 to 5 Wednesday. It will be available online by registering at the project’s website.

There also will be a chance to view the meeting at the W. H. Stuart Center on U.S. 17 in Bartow.

The agenda will include further discussions about panther protection, drafting details to be included in the task force’s final report, which will be delivered to state officials in November, and discussing the public comment period for the report.

The process remains open to public comment at


FDOT Continues to Dishonestly Spin New Corridors Debate

Anyone who subscribes to the Florida Department of Transportation emails regarding the legislative-mandated toll road projects under study by a trio of task forces was probably not surprised by the spin in the latest missive.

It was billed as providing answers to five commonly-asked questions about this endeavor.

The answers ranged from fairly clear (the role of the task forces) to non-responsive (what about the no-build option) because this whole enterprise is still a pig in a poke.

That is, the taxpayers still don’t know what they will be forced to pay for and how much they will have to pay.

It gets worse as you scroll down.

FDOT lists recent news articles about the projects, but only some favorable commentary pieces. News articles and commentaries written by critics were conspicuously absent. This is intellectually dishonest, but hardly surprising.

The timing of this release is not surprising, either.

It comes just days after a team of academics released their evaluation of the project’s financial feasibility and need and concluded the projects failed on both fronts.

None of the news articles regarding that study were listed on FDOT’s news Imagine that.

Polk Water Co-op Supports Hall For SWFWMD Board Vacancy

The Polk Regional Water Supply Cooperative’s board voted unanimously Wednesday to support County Commissioner John Hall’s application to be appointed to the vacant Polk County seat on Swiftmud’s Governing Board.

The seat has been vacant for more than a year after board member Paul Senft’s term expired and Gov. Ron DeSantis did not appoint a replacement. A second Polk seat on the 13-member board is held by James G. Murphy, who was appointed in 2017 by Gov. Rick Scott.

Hall will be leaving the Polk County Commission in November after losing to Neil Combee in this year’s election.

Combee served on the Swiftmud board from 2005 to 2012.

DeSantis has drawn criticism for his inaction in filling seats on some of the state’s five water boards, resulting in cases in which boards did not have or barely had a quorum to conduct business.

The role of the water management districts has been highlighted in recent years in connection with efforts to secure alternative water supplies and to protect the aquifer from overexploitation.


Gov . DeSantis, Why Are WMD Board Seats Still Vacant?


Water policy is one of the most-discussed issue in Florida and has been for decades, but you wouldn’t know it from the dilatory attitude from Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office when it comes to filling vacancies on water management district boards.

Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board is functioning with a bare quorum of seven members out a normal 13-member panel.

St. Johns River Water Management District has only five of its nine governing board seats filled and that’s only after two recent appointments that had left the board without a quorum.

The South Florida Water Management District Governing Board has a full nine-member board, though there are vacancies in the Big Cypress Basin Board.

This is unprecedented and as far as we’re concerned unnecessary.

Part of the problem is that these appointments are more or less political patronage picks, which means you have to be a Republican who has not done anything to anger the governor or his friends.

That leaves many otherwise qualified people off the list, especially people from Florida’s environmental community. Many of Florida’s environmental leaders are Democrats, a logical choice since the recent Republican political leadership in Tallahassee have done little to excite the environmental community and done much to anger it.

Nevertheless, if DeSantis wants to be seen as an “environmental” governor, he would do well to think outside the political silos. Or failing that, maybe he could just do his job and fill the vacancies.