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Response to ‘scurrilous lies’

November 2, 2016
Lehigh Acres Citizen

To the editor:

In Matt Caldwell's recent letter, he addresses what he calls "scurrilous lies." His record in the Florida legislature speaks for itself, but I feel a direct response is in order:

In 2014, 75 percent of voters passed Amendment 1 to fund acquisition of conservation lands for Everglades restoration. Caldwell and the legislature instead decided to use the funds to pay for state budget expenses, usually done from general revenue.

He missed the point others have made that he undermined the 1996 Polluter Pays Constitutional Amendment (requires polluters in the Everglades Agricultural Area clean up their own mess) and insulted our intelligence by stating that he was in 10th grade in 1996. He was not in 10th grade in 2013, when he sponsored HB 7065 to amend the 1994 Everglades Forever Act, stopping implementation of the Polluter Pays mandate and limiting the sugar industry's long term obligation to fund Everglades restoration.

Caldwell's attack on the League of Women Voters, which has earned a wonderful reputation for educating voters on political issues and candidates, is unwarranted. Furthermore, the State Supreme Court ruled that the legislature colluded in redrawing legislative maps that violated Fair District amendments to the state constitution.

Opposition to purchase land south of Lake Okeechobee for storage, treatment and conveyance of water to the Everglades will continue to result in devastating impacts to our environment, tourism and property values from algae blooms, red tide and fish kills. Treating and conveying large volumes of fresh water south from Lake Okeechobee, instead of east and west down our rivers, is sound science. Condemning our river to decades of disaster? We've gone through decades of disaster and, through the status quo, the disaster continues. We've seen six years of steadily declining water quality and environmental protections.

Campaign donations are public record. Are we to believe donors who are corporations and polluters pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into political campaigns and expect nothing in return? An official's true colors are reflected in his or her voting record and policy positions.

Expanding health care access or lowering the sales tax and eliminating most exemptions would help working families. Lowering corporate taxes and eliminating property taxes while raising the sales tax, is a disastrous idea that will increase costs to thousands of annual tourists and disproportionately affect lower and middle income citizens.

It's time to transcend partisan politics and work together to fix our state's problems. We must stop allowing big money in our political system to divide us. Your vote is your voice so please vote for leaders who will serve your interests, not big money special interests.

John Scott


Florida State Representative District 79



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