Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in 2002, "The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around." Many politicians running today think it is the other way around.
Gov. Rick Scott crippled the Department of Environmental Protection and redirected the Department of Community Affairs, previously charged with assuring that development was compatible with local comprehensive plans, now reorganized to be the Department of Economic Opportunity. The shift in focus, from community protection to lax enforcement of environmental standards, is clear.
Locally, development approvals proceed at a breathtaking clip, often with rezoning to accommodate the developers, not the neighbors.
In a few short years, Long Bar Pointe has been rezoned to Res9, then to Mixed Use (with Commissioner Carol Whitmore as the deciding vote) and now Carlos Beruff is suing the county because he doesn't have enough.
We need commissioners who will show regard for the resources that make Manatee County a healthy and prosperous place to live.
Manatee County residents who joined in the battle to preserve the integrity of northern Sarasota Bay's coast at Long Bar Pointe are aware of the energy that commission candidate Terri Wonder brings to the defense of natural resources and neighborhoods. She wants the county to pull new development away from the coastline, out of the Coastal High Hazard Zone, honoring FEMA guidelines and the county's comprehensive plan.
Carol Whitmore, a resident of Anna Maria Island, believes it will take "one big weather event" to reverse the tide of coastal development because "people have property rights" and the county lacks the funds to buy them out.
Wouldn't we rather elect a commissioner who will actively plan for the storm? Terri Wonder has the intelligence and motivation to lead the county to a more secure future.