Conservative PSJ, US: Toilet Paper Swipes January 05

Conservative PSJ, US

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Toilet Paper Swipes January '05

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Toilet Paper Swipes cleans up some of the messes of our little local rag that focuses on PSJ and Canaveral Groves. It is just my way of setting the record straight on certain issues and letting people know that the truth is worth finding; no matter how hard some people work to mislead. So, enjoy this first edition. There will apparently be more, considering the source of the initial information.


Desalination Plant

One local politician -- or should I say "activist"? I know, I'll say "polivist" (a combination of "politician" and "activist") -- says in the January 2005 issue of TP (starting on page 10, finishing on 11),

"An interesting item I found in the St. John's River Water Management District's fiscal year 2004-2005 final budget was funding for 'Begin implementation of Demineralization Concentrate Management Plan!!!"
But, is it true?

I have to print a slight correction here. There was a difference in the search results when I searched the internet site's budget and the SJRWMD CD budget I received. I am NOT saying that there is a difference in budgets: I am saying that the search engine worked better on the CD version than on the internet site. When I searched the internet site, I got the first hit on page 73 and no more search results, thus my reaction. However, now that I have the budget on CD, I have three more pages that have the word "demineralization" on them: one of which does have the sentence above -- same wording -- on it. Problem: it still does not refer to the Indian River Desalination Plant Study and it still does not mean that it is a foredrawn conclusion by the SJRWMD that PSJ is going to have one or two desalination plant(s) in it. So, with this slight correction noted, read on to see what the differences are.

Looking at the St. John's River Water Management District's (SJRWMD)fiscal year 2004-2005 final budget I found only one mention similar to this statement in the whole budget when I did the internet search. It was on page 73. Problem: the actual wording of the budget item was:

"Continue implementation of Demineralization Concentrate Management Plan."
When I did the CD search, I found the word "demineralization" on four pages: 12, 79, 84 and 89 (their page numbers, not as the pages printed). On page 12, it is under the heading, "Water Supply" and it is immediately above the subject:
"Investigate Indian River Lagoon Salinity levels related to potential seawater demineralization facilities in Northern Brevard County."
So, you can see that the mention on page 12 does not include PSJ.

The next mention is on their page 79:

"Continue implementation of Demineralization Concentrate Management Plan."
Which is just above the item:
Investigate Indian River Lagoon salinity levels related to potential seawater demineralization facilities in northern Brevard County.
Are we beginning to see a pattern here?

Then there is this little ditty:

"Description: Feasibility of Seawater Demineralization Projects: Seawater desalting technology is continually advancing, and the relative cost of seawater demineralization relative to other alternative water supply sources will likely narrow in the future. The District has completed initial work to identify potential sites for seawater demineralization plants, many of which are located at or near electric power plants. Two sites that may have potential to move forward are located on the Indian River Lagoon in Brevard County. However, although these sites appear promising, there are environmental issues that may limit the yield of these projects. The District is moving forward to evaluate these issues in a cooperative effort with local water supply representatives. This effort is likely to continue at least through FY 2005-2006.

"Justification: Seawater desalting is considered as a general option available to all water supply utilities. However, because of the relative cost and availability of other less expensive options, seawater desalting is not considered among the utility-specific options identified in the District Water Supply Plan. Consultant services are necessary to perform the Feasibility of Seawater Desalting Projects identified in the Water Resource Development Component of the District Water Supply Plan."
And then they talk about money, but not about going ahead with a plant. There is nothing in the budget about financing a building project in PSJ for demineralization.

Page 89 says:

"Description: 1. Demineralization Concentrate Management Plan Implementation - Ocean Disposal of Concentrate Criteria Assessment: Cooperative study with National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration/Florida Department of Environmental Protection/United States Department of Environmental Protection (NOAA/FDEP/USDEP) evaluating the SJRWMD coastal ocean environmental characteristics for dispersion and disposal of demineralized concentrate and the 90-foot isobath criterion defining the applicability of "open-ocean" regulatory requirements as they relate to demineralized concentrate disposal.

"2. Demineralization Concentrate Management Plan Implementation - Continuing Expert Consultant Services Related to Demineralization: Expert consultant services related to demineralization technology including assistance in related rulemaking support/testimony, and peer review.

"Justification:1. The Demineralization Concentrate Management Plan identified a significant regulatory barrier when permits for ocean disposal of demineralization concentrate are sought. By regulatory definition, open-ocean occurs at the 90-foot isobath. Along the District coastline, the 90-foot isobath lies 14 to 40 miles off the coast, presenting a serious economic obstacle to this method of disposal. This definition was established relative disposal of wastewater effluent. This definitive study is needed to determine if ocean disposal of demineralization concentrate warrants different regulatory requirements from those developed for wastewater effluent ocean disposal.

"2. Expertise in the field of demineralization technology is not present in District staff. Current and recognized expertise in this field is needed for the District to provide credible assistance to regulatory bodies promulgating rules related to demineralization concentrate management and to assess materials related to this field generated by other agencies or special interest groups. Continuing services contracts with contractors recognized and respected for their expertise in this specialized field are effective and cost-efficient."
And then they talk about money again; nowhere giving anything to do with starting to build a plant here.

It's a totally separate issue, a totally different Demineralization Concentrate Management Plan they are referring to when they list the first item, unlike what the local polivist would have you believe. How do I know? I called Mr. James Gross, of the Department of Resource Managment of the SJRWMD and writer of that portion of the budget. He sent me this e-mail statement:

"[T]his is to provide clarification concerning the Indian River Lagoon Salinity Study that is now underway. This project is programmatically associated with our Water Resource Development Work Program and is part of the work for a project named "Feasibility of Seawater Demineralization Projects". The IRL Salinity Study is a closely focused study to look at potential salinity impacts that might result from the operation of one or two proposed desalination plants in the vicinity of Port St. John.

"We also have some related work underway in another project named "Demineralization Concentrate Management Project". One [of] the principal efforts currently underway in this project involves developing the information needed to assess the environmental and regulatory feasibility of discharging demineralization concentrate in the ocean adjacent to the St. Johns River Water Management District. We are working cooperatively with the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, Ocean Division, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Miami Florida. We are working with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on this project."
Notice the second paragraph where Mr. Gross says, "One [of] the principal efforts currently underway..." (my italics) this adds to the proof that the item referenced in the polivist's January writings was actually the one that is NOT the PSJ Desal Plant Study.

The local polivist is trying to scare you into thinking that the desal plant is a foredrawn conclusion: that the SJRWMD has decided the desal plant is going to happen and they've already budgeted for it! Is it the truth? No, but that is what she would have you believe. Is it a scare tactic? Yes. Absolutely. What other purpose could its inclusion in her article serve? None. She intentionally wants you to think that the desal plant is a done deal. It isn't and Mr. Gross's e-mail proves it.

Just to top it off, notice the next budget item, "Investigate Indian River Lagoon salinity levels related to potential seawater demineralization facilities in northern Brevard County." The SJRWMD doesn't say "seawater" in the first item, but does in the second item. This tells you that the item the polivist wrote about isn't a seawater project, which Mr. Gross's e-mail confirms. Another proof that the polivist is not being up front with you.

I think we can swipe that one clean.

(Note: You can order a free copy of the budget on CD to read at home on your computer; it's a State agency, so it's yours for the asking. See if you can find the exact sentence the polivist quoted.)

* * more * *

Community Overlay

The Community Overlay the polivist wrote of in January 2005's page 11 was not quite up to snuff, either. Consider page 3 of the January 1997 PSJHOA Newsletter, reporting on the first meeting of the PSJ Advisory Board (without correcting grammar, etc.):

"In addition, HOA President, Maureen Rupe gave an update on issues the Homeowner's Association has been working up till now, and she welcomed the Governing board to take over responsibility. Vice-president Mary Tees briefed the PSJ Board on the work the Association has been doing to get a municipal overlay for Port St. John. This overlay would basically set up another boundary around our community to tell everyone that we're thinking of becoming a town someday. Even though it could be twenty years from now, it tells the surrounding areas that we are thinking about it, so back off. The governing board was receptive and voted to take over responsibility to sponsor it."
Notice the words, "This overlay would basically set up another boundary around our community to tell everyone that we're thinking of becoming a town someday."

I happen to have the minutes of the May 6, 1998 PSJ Advisory Board meeting. They read as follows:

"4. PLANNING REPORT: Proposed Amendment to the Port St. John Community Overlay Boundary to correspond to Canaveral Groves Small Area Plan Boundary.
PSJ RECOMMENDATION:
Bill Workman made a motion, seconded by Maureen Rupe, to accept the amendment to the Port St. John Community Overlay Boundary as proposed. VOTE: ALL AYES; MOTION CARRIED."
So, to be specific about it, there was not a Community Overlay adopted by the PSJ Advisory Board on May 6, 1998: there was an amendment to it adopted. The Community Overlay already existed... Or did it?

Consider two months later, page 5, July 1998, TP: "We must establish our borders via a Community Overlay." Mary Tees wrote for the PSJHOA even though from all accounts I have heard, she was very well informed of what the PSJ Advisory Board had been doing. At the August 10, 2004 County Commission meeting, I asked that any and all overlays on PSJ that included all or part of any surrounding communities (specifically the Four Communities: Delespine, Frontenac, Williams Point and Hardeeville) be totally removed from PSJ and the surrounding communities, or that they be adjusted to include exclusively and only the traditional boundaries of PSJ (Bridge, US 1, Kings Hwy. and Fay Lake Park). The polivist spoke in support of my motion but tried to correct me in my facts, saying that the State put the municipal overlay on PSJ while the incorporation study was being done. Wrong. According to State Statute 163, it is the County, or "a citizen's organization" that does that, not the State. So who did both of these to PSJ? According the things written for the past seven years: PSJ4T, the polivist's PAC.

Did you know that, according to the Brevard County Law Library, the law that authorized Community Overlays was rescinded in 1985; thirteen years before the PSJ Community Overlay was done? How did PSJ4T find out about something that had been obsolete for so long, and how can something illegal be put on us by an Advisory Board or PSJ4T? Who allowed that? Who authorized it? They can't authorize it themselves. I had to go to the County and speak before the County Commission to get it removed. Does that tell you anything?

* * more * *

PSJ Advisory Board

The polivist says on page 11, continued on 12, that PSJ residents voted for the PSJ Advisory Board (PSJAB) instead of using the regular planning and zoning board. She says the PSJAB was an elected board, but then,

"the state brought in stricter criteria for elected officials a few years ago and interest waned."
She says the board has been a "great asset to the quality of life" in PSJ (a matter of opinion, I'm sure). She says that the HOA and "many citizens were always" going to County meetings to fight rezonings but that controversial rezonings are "rarely applied for now". She alleges that the rarity of "controversial" rezoning applications justifies keeping the PSJAB, "by appointment if necessary." She asks you to contact your Commissioners and support the PSJAB.

Of course, I beg to differ. "Interest waned" in the PSJAB almost as soon as it was created. Consider:

  • The PSJAB was so popular an idea when first introduced, that the person who received the most votes was elected with only 4,681 votes; even though there was a 71% voter turnout in Brevard County. We were all allowed to vote for nine people: shouldn't that number have been higher if it were a wildly popular idea?
  • The PSJAB was warned by Peggy Busacca immediately after the first Board members were sworn in that they were not allowed to cover anything they wanted to. As their December 17, 1996 meeting was reported on page 3 in the PSJHOA newsletter of January 1997 (again, without correcting grammar, spelling, etc.):
    "There was quite a bit of discussion on what business the board could have and how that business would be recorded. Peggy Busacca from the county manager's office stated that she had a meeting with Commissioner Scarborough and County Attorney Scott Knox, and that the board couldn't discuss anything unless it was sent from the County Commissioners first, and that the PSJ Board would have to have a recorder appointed for business discussed by the PSJ Board what wasn't under the responsibilities of a county department. There were questions about both aspects brought up, so both issues were tabled to the January meeting where they will also discuss the Board's By-laws. The Governing Board also asked that Commissioner Scarborough attend the meeting to clear up some of the questions. Hopefully, some things can be discussed by placing the responsibilities in the By-laws to allow discussion. If this can't be done, some things wouldn't be able to be heard until after the crisis is already over."
    Apparently being told that they couldn't cover anything they wanted to didn't sit well with the Board because they went ahead and did things their own way, as proven by me to the County Commission as you will read below.

  • Within the first year of its existence, in November 1997, the PSJAB had to fill at least one vacancy due to a member's resignation, even though the positions were for no less than two year terms.
  • In the first year of Board elections, 1996, there were 18 candidates for nine positions. In 1998 there were four seats up for election: one was taken by an unopposed candidate; one actually had two people trying for it; and two were left empty, to be appointed by the Board itself. By 2000, five of the nine seats had to be filled, but there were only four candidates; all running unopposed, thus their names didn't even appear on the ballot. In 2002: four seats were available; only one candidate qualified, and was thus elected unopposed, his name not appearing on the ballot. In 2004: six of the seven seats were available; one unopposed candidate qualified. (Note: The Supervisor of Elections Archives page has links to all of this information.)
  • The Commission agreed in January 2001 to reduce the number of seats on the PSJAB from nine to seven and even still, they have a difficult time filling seven seats. There has recently been talk of lowering the number to five.
  • Since the year 2000, there has been more people appointed to the PSJAB than elected, even though it is supposed to be an elected Board.
  • The PSJAB was breaking the law, as proven by myself during the County Commission meeting of July 23, 2002. The Commission found the information I provided on the PSJAB so disturbing (according to this e-mail) that when the PSJAB tried to meet on August 7, 2002, Commissioner Truman Scarborough told then-Chairman, Carmine Ferraro, that if they
    "met this evening it could be interpreted as a violation of State law and the County would be compelled to refer the matter to the State Attorney's office for potential criminal prosecution."
  • Those who do run for election, do so unopposed, and then resent having to spend the money for being an "elected official" since those who are appointed don't have to spend the money.
  • At the last PSJAB meeting, November 10, 2004, one Board member said that the County "just uses them". Of the five members present, only one said that he wanted to be on the Board again, but he had not filed to be elected. The members complained that the Board has no more "power" since the County took all of its power away and the Board members no longer want to be a part of it. This e-mail from a Board member to Comm. Scarborough proves I am not lying. By the way: This member is the only member who has been on the PSJAB from beginning to "is-this-the-end?" Notice he volunteers to be on the PSJAB again after he signs his name. He is one of those who forgot to qualify for being on the Board again this time. Does the trouble the Board has had say anything about longtime members? (Note: The part in the Board member's e-mail to Comm. Scarborough about me writing something about a flaming sword never happened. I have checked my e-mails -- including the one he alludes to -- and I never said anything about a flaming sword.)
  • As of November 16, 2004, there are two members in good standing on the PSJAB: Bill Ainsworth and Martin McClellan. I have nothing against either of these men. I have met and like them both. They were elected without opposition. Right now, all other potential members (that could be as many as five!) would have to be appointed by the Commissioners.
  • Remember, that the PSJAB's history of being a mostly appointed Board instead of an elected Board, as it was supposed to have been according to the County ordinance that created it, is what got this Board into the condition it is in; so bad that Comm. Scarborough threatened them with "criminal prosecution" if they met without the County telling them to do so and watching over the meeting!
  • So, what thinks you? Do you really want the PSJAB to continue as it has been? Do you want a Board whose members say they are "used" instead of feeling they "serve"? Do you want a Board that has a history of breaking the law and being warned by the County that even meeting would be a crime? Do you want a Board that has so few people interested in serving on it that the County is considering taking the number down to five, when it started at nine? Is the PSJAB really serving its purpose, or should the County admit that the PSJAB experiment has failed and chalk it up to experience as it abolishes the Board and deletes its "charter" (for lack of a better word)? Wouldn't that be what is best for PSJ? Contact all five Commissioners as the polivist would have you do; but remember these points and the truth about the PSJAB's history as you do so.

    Now, do you think the polivist told you the truth about the PSJAB?

    * * End for this month: read next month's exciting issue! * *

    Find the TRUTH!



    Carmine Ferraro E-mail

    TP Publisher E-mail

    Drawing Blood

    Receipt

    My E-mail to Scott Knox

    Knox's Reply

    Dezendorf's Email to Peggy Busacca

    Dezendorf Responds to my inquiry

    Shut me up within the PSJHOA

    Kick me out

    Door Sign: Members Only

    Page 1 Community Center Report

    Page 2 Community Center Report

    The PSJHOA's 2004 Filing with the State

    This page last updated January 10, 2005. 2003 - 2005 Linda McKinney. All rights reserved