Letters to the Editor

Improve Florida's environment by passing Amendment 1

Amendment 1 offers possibly the "last" hope to preserve the natural beauty of Florida.

Second only to visiting our beaches, the tourists come to view our wildlife. Both of these venues depend upon water quality.

Birders actually spend more money and stay longer than golfers. In the 1860s there was approximately 2.5 million wading birds in Florida. By the 1960s that number had been reduced to 250,000. That is a 90 percent reduction.

The major reason for this decline can be directly related to the birds' loss of habitat. And yet the developers, here in Manatee County, want to build another 38,000 plus homes, and the politicians are cheering them on.

If this trend continues the only wildlife to be seen will be irate drivers screaming in the gridlock of our streets.

Since the late 1960s at least $400 million had been allocated annually to water quality projects. Past leaders understood the importance of protecting our most valuable resource. The amount that they allocated constituted less than 1 percent of the overall annual budget of $77 billion.

However, the Florida Chamber of Commerce wants us to vote "no" because it would "tie the hands of the legislators." Exactly!

During Scott's four-year administration $1.571 billion of that $1.6 billion (4 times $400 million per year) or 98 percent has been diverted to the general fund, thus displaying a total disregard for the protection of our water quality and our natural areas.

Florida cannot afford to have a governor who does not believe in climate change. He doesn't understand the importance of protecting our most precious resource, water. A sick natural environment will cause our brand to turn into a hollow facade and our economy will collapse.

Vote yes for Amendment 1.

Jaime Canfield