NEVER TOLERATE TYRANNY!....Conservative voices from the GRASSROOTS.
Adrian Wyllie: Why do we have potholes and palm trees on I-4?
AUGUST 11, 2013 ·
As the Libertarian candidate for Florida Governor, I was recently asked an interesting question: Why do we spend money planting palm trees along I-4 instead of spending money to actually repair the roads?
Though my staff and I are still performing our complete analysis of the enormous, $74-billion ($74,000,000,000) state budget, I have not yet evaluated the program that funds palm-tree planting along I-4. However, because I have spent the past several years reviewing state legislation and spending, I can give you my hypothesis of why we plant palm trees instead of fixing potholes.
NOTE: The story you are about to read is fictional, as are the names of individuals and organizations. However, it very closely mimics actual events, and the actions of real people, that I have witnessed in Florida.
It all starts with a Political Action Committee. Spouses, children, and siblings of the executives of several global corporations form a Political Action Committee (PAC) called Citizens Responsive to Aesthetic Planning (CRAP). CRAP PAC has plausibly deniable, but clearly evident ties to Global Bottled Water, Fast Trains International Corp, and Mega Stone & Gravel Inc. The Birds & Trees Society openly promotes, and takes an active role in the PAC.
The CRAP PAC is immediately funded with millions of dollars from the above named corporations.
The CRAP PAC then uses the money for non-stop TV, radio and print attack ads against the opponents of incumbent U.S. Rep. Irene Canbebought (D-FL) and incumbent U.S. Sen. Thomas Quidproquo (R-FL) in the upcoming election. The ads all have a disclaimer that reads, “Paid political advertisement by Citizens Responsive to Aesthetic Planning, not approved by any candidate or committee.”
CRAP PAC’s political ads are extremely effective, and tilt the elections in both the incumbents’ favor.
After winning their respective elections, Rep. Canbebought and Sen. Quidproquo are extremely grateful to the members of CRAP PAC. They are both eager to show CRAP PAC their appreciation.
In her capacity as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Canbebought earmarks $465-million for “I-4 Corridor Improvement” as an amendment to a defense appropriations bill. CRAP PAC provides some campaign funding to several other members of the committee, and the amendment is approved unanimously by the committee. It passes the House and moves to the Senate.
Once in the Senate, Sen Quidproquo promotes the bill from the floor, and passionately speaks about how necessary it is to pass the defense appropriations bill in order to protect the children. He talks about how this bill must be passed exactly as amended, otherwise the terrorists win. He tells his fellow Senators there’s no need to read the 2,300 page bill.
The defense appropriation bill — which includes the amendment for the $465-million Department of Transportation grant for I-4 Corridor Improvement — passes the Senate. It is signed by the President and becomes law.
That same week, other relatives and close associates of the executives of CRAP PAC form a new land trust organization.
The newly-formed land trust is called Green Roadway Area Florida Trust (GRAFT), and is immediately granted status as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP). The new PPP’s stated objective is the beautification of our roadways, biodiversity and preservation of conservation land.
Also among the trustees of GRAFT are several spouses and close relatives of key members of the Florida Legislature. Additionally, “stakeholders” closely affiliated with the United Nations now join the board of trustees. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) assign liaison members to the board.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Transportation cuts the check for the $465-million, payable to the State of Florida. According to the language of the federal appropriations bill, the Florida Legislature will be tasked with determining exactly how the money is spent and to whom it is distributed.
About the same time, a bill is introduced into the Florida Legislature which appropriates $22-million of the newly appropriated funds for the purpose of I-4 beautification — specifically planting palm trees. Certain key Florida legislators insert a clause in HB-1874 that reads, “the remaining $443-million of the federal grant shall be used to purchase certain lands within 35-miles of either side of I-4 by a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in order to protect and maintain Florida’s biodiversity and waterways, with an emphasis on preserving Florida’s natural resources and promoting sustainable development.”
The Florida Legislature passes HB-1874, and Florida Governor Scott Ricks quickly signs the bill with no fanfare, having also been the recipient of CRAP PAC funding.
GRAFT is later chosen by the state as the PPP to facilitate these purchases.
The palm tree landscaping project starts right away, and lasts a few months. It creates a total of 87 temporary, low-wage jobs. I-4 now has many beautiful palm trees in medians and at every exit. Everyone agrees it is quite beautiful. All of the 87 workers are laid off immediately after the conclusion of the project, and begin receiving unemployment compensation from the state.
Gov. Ricks calls a press conference touting the wonders the new palm trees have done for Florida’s economy. He talks proudly about the thousands of new jobs the I-4 beautification project created, and how the addition of palm trees will attract millions of new tourists to Wally World.
But no press conference is held when the remaining $443-million is transferred to GRAFT for acquisition of real estate property in a 70-mile wide “sustainable” buffer zone along the I-4 corridor.
Very quietly, GRAFT begins to contact certain private land owners within the 5.9 million acre buffer zone. The trustees affiliated with Global Bottled Water are specifically interested in land which borders freshwater springs and rivers. The trustees affiliated with Mega Stone & Gravel are mostly interested in land that is rich in mineral resources. The trustees affiliated with Fast Trains International Corp. are specifically interested in acquiring a 132-mile long by 2-mile wide stretch which runs parallel to I-4.
Some private property owners happily sell their land to GRAFT at market value. Others, however, refuse to sell. GRAFT now develops a plan for dealing with the holdouts.
GRAFT’s liaisons with the FDEP and FDOT tell the other trustees that they’ll take care of the remaining holdouts. Within six months, all the land owned by all the private citizens who refused to sell has been rezoned and reclassified as conservation land or transportation easements. The holdouts’ land value drops dramatically, because their land can no longer be developed legally for private use.
In a few instances, agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) raid the homes of holdout ranchers and farmers, and arrest the property owners on unrelated charges. Some of the charges include selling raw milk and distributing vegetables without the proper USDA inspection reports.
Reluctantly, most private land owners sell their property to GRAFT. A few bold land owners sue GRAFT in civil court. Eventually, all the plaintiffs’ cases are either dismissed or lost. Others lose their land through Eminent Domain cases initiated by the state. Most of the judges presiding over these cases receive indirect re-election assistance from CRAP PAC.
GRAFT’s land acquisition process takes about five years, but eventually GRAFT owns all the land that they sought to acquire. They used federal tax dollars to fund the purchases, and state regulations and enforcement to ensure they acquired it. All is done under the guise of environmental protection and sustainable development.
GRAFT then begins issuing 99-year leases on the properties for $1 per year to certain “stakeholders.”
Global Bottled Water gets a 99-lease on most of the land acquired by GRAFT which contains freshwater springs and rivers.
Mega Stone & Gravel gets a 99-year lease on most of the land situated on beds of phosphate and limestone.
Fast Trains International gets a 99-year lease on a 132-mile long by 2-mile wide parcel adjacent to I-4.
The United Nations representatives and the Birds and Trees Society members are elated when 700,000 acres of land is classified as a “Human Exclusion Biodiversity Zone,” where development is prohibited for 99 years.
The spouses, children, nieces, and nephews of several key state representatives and senators are hired by Global Bottled Water, Mega Stone & Gravel, and Fast Trains International as “consultants.” Each receives a six-figure salary, with no job description.
And that is why we have palm trees and potholes on I-4.