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Politics

DeSantis Appoints Four More SFWMD Governing Board Members

February 22, 2019 - 9:15am
Gov. DeSantis in Stuart with Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch
Gov. DeSantis in Stuart with Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch

The South Florida Water Management District Governing Board looks to be back in business.

Gov. Ron DeSantis named four new members to the nine-member board Thursday -- three in Naples and one in Stuart -- giving the board a quorum at its March 14 meeting if five members show up, avoiding a further delay in board business.

The four new appointees are Marco Island resident Charlette Roman, a retired U.S. Army colonel; Carlos “Charlie” E. Martinez, president of CEM Investments LLC and a member of the Everglades Foundation; Cheryl Anne Meads, an Islamorada Village Council member who worked as a contractor to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, a former Sewall’s Point mayor who served on the state Constitution Revision Commission as Sen. Joe Negron's appointee.

Gov. DeSantis in Naples Thursday
Gov. DeSantis in Naples Thursday

 

In Naples DeSantis said, “I’m pleased to announce the appointments of Charlie Martinez, Cheryl Anne Meads and Charlette Roman to officially serve on the board of the South Florida Water Management District. Each of these individuals have demonstrated an aptitude for public service and a firm understanding of the vital role of clean water to Florida’s livelihood. I look forward to working with them to protect our natural resources and water quality for all Floridians.”

In Stuart DeSantis praised Thurlow-Lippisch. “Floridians are excited about the new leadership at the South Florida Water Management District and our mission to protect our state’s environment and water resources. Jacqui will be a champion for our environment and for Floridians everywhere. I’m proud to announce her appointment and look forward to her continued stewardship of Florida’s environment.”

Outside of Martin County Thurlow-Lippisch is best known for CRC Proposal 23, which she introduced and which caused a major stir before it was discarded. The proposed amendment would have provided any Floridian the ability to litigate “against any party, public or private” if they felt their right to a “clean and healthful” environment was threatened. Critics quickly argued the amendment would not only affect businesses, it would also apply to permits that private citizens file for basic home-improvement. For instance, if someone didn't want you to put a pool in your backyard or make an addition to your home, a suit could have been filed against your permit. The proposal’s language ultimately was deemed too vague and would have been open to wide interpretation. But Thurlow-Lippisch argued her case passionately and impressed many with her willingness to fix the amendment's flaws and return another day.

On Jan. 29 DeSantis named to the board Chauncey Goss, a Sanibel City Council member who was once a deputy staff director for the U.S. House Budget Committee, and Ron Bergeron, a businessman and developer from Fort Lauderdale and a former member of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. But as of last week, Goss and Bergeron were still being vetted -- Bergeron by the Senate Ethics Committee and Goss by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. They were unable to take their seats for the Feb. 14 Governing Board meeting.

Without a quorum, there was no vote on two major contracts: the C-43 West basin storage reservoir, in the amount of $524 million; and a near-$5 million material-hauling-and-stockpile contract for the EAA storage reservoir.

Three days after his inauguration, DeSantis had called for a wholesale house-cleaning, demanding the resignations of the previous board, as if those members were responsible for Lake Okeechobee discharges and the algal blooms that fouled the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers and estuaries. Four of them remained through the February meeting. 

DeSantis told TCPalm on Thursday he will name the remaining appointees next week, in time for all to be seated and sworn in at the March 14 meeting. The final three members will have to be from Miami-Dade County, Palm Beach County and "the heartland" of the state, he said.

Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith

Comments

I don’t know the others, but I know Martin County’s rep, Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch. It is going to be a painful process while she struggles with understanding the complexities of the problems. She has a reputation for avoiding the tough issues. She did not even come out to publicly support septic to sewer in her own neighborhood, which as we all know is part of the problem. Weak, weak in leadership and knowledge, and just plain sense. I am hopeful the other appointees are better.

Get ready for nothing but gridlock via lawsuits etc. and ZERO progress. Taking bets now that the SB 10 EAA Reservoir is never built.

Pedictable bunch of environmental radicals appointed by our accidental Governor. With President Trump tilting the scales by supprting the relatively unknown Ron Desantis in the primary against the much better known and highly qualified candidate Adam Putnam, Trump completed his dismemberment of the Republiican Party of Florida. With the radicals in charge of SFWMD, water supply and flood protection for farmers and all residents of Florida are now in jeopardy.

CAN SOMEONE FINALLY TAKE CARE OF OUR RIVER?????? ALL THE REST OF S FLORIDA GETS TAKEN CARE OF WHILE WE GET DESTROYED TO KEEP YOU FROM FLOODING. HEY DESANTIS - YOU HAVE BLOWN OUT THE WATER DISTRICT - HOW ABOUT DEP?????????? THEY LET THE WASTE TREATMENT GUYS ON THE EAST COAST DUMP HUMAN FECAL SLUDGE TO DRY IN THE KISSIMEE RIVER BASIN FOR DECADES. THEN IT DUMPS INTO LAKE O AND THEN GETS RELEASED TO OUR RIVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHEN IS DEP GOING TO CLEAN UP NORTH OF THE LAKE?????????????? WHEN IS THE CALOOSAHATCHEE GOING TO BE TREATED LIKE EVERYONE ELSE????????????????????????????????????????

It would seem that appointees with some type of relevant scientific background would have been more appropriate. (?)

This is all payback to the Foundation and Eichenberg for his election help. This is as political as usual - we just swung the other way. These new guys face the same challenges and not one of them has a clue. EVERGLADES FOUNDATION WILL OPPOSE EVERY GOOD IDEA IF IT DOESN'T HELP END AGRICULTURE SOUTH OF THE LAKE.

Congratulations to Charlette Roman on her appointment to the SWFWM Board. I’m disappointed that a member of the Everglades Foundation was appointed without having a “big sugar” representative also appointed. The appointment of one side without the representation from the other taints the entire Board. Unfortunate!

ZERO BALANCE - JUST AS THE ENVIRO'S WANTED. NOW IT WILL BE THEIR TURN TO FAIL. THEY HAVE NO ANSWERS - JUST SLOGANS TO GET MORE DONATIONS.

long past due for a clean slate and clean water for sure... No big sugar anywhere in site, which is terrific...

You really have no idea - just another slogan buyer. Grow up. Just the fact that you live here is an issue - you contribute. Wanna help? Move north. Ag was here way before you and we had NO issues. You came and polluted. Ag was here for 150 years and no issues until all you northerners arrived. Leave and take your polluting buddies back to NY and NJ.

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