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Exxon State Park?
June 28, 2011 12:17 PM   Subscribe

Goodbye public spaces? A recent St. Petersburg Times op-ed reports that Governer Rick Scott, through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has drawn up a plan to turn over portions of more than 50 state parks to private corporations to build camping and RV sites.

The initiative would affect some of Florida’s most famous state parks. In one instance, the plan would lead to the construction of 45 campsites on 17.5 acres of Honeymoon Island, to accommodate both recreational vehicles and tents. According to the St. Petersburg Times, the pronouncement has been launched “mostly outside the public’s view."

Is this better than shutting down parks?
posted by anya32 (54 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
This ass is the worst governor in the nation. His approval ratings show it.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:18 PM on June 28, 2011 [11 favorites]


Starve the beast, then hand the scraps over to the private sector.
This has been the plan for decades, kids. We're living the end-game.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:22 PM on June 28, 2011 [37 favorites]


We have destroyed Florida until we can barely destroy it any more, and now we're selling it off. Brilliant, guys. What happened to all the golf courses you were going to put in after you raze the parks?

I grew up down there, and the parks were truly the only good thing about the entire state. Fuck you, assholes. At least I have photographs.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 12:25 PM on June 28, 2011


Ya know what? Fuck it.
Florida sucks anyway.
Let's let the right wing chimps use it as their proving ground for Privatopia.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:26 PM on June 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile in true blue Massachusetts: Investors may fund social programs... it's more than just Governor Luthor.
posted by ennui.bz at 12:26 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Every day I feel like politicians across the country have taken a lesson from fast food distribution and are making secret deals with the Shadow Government to let their district test out the latest Double Down of horrible socioeconomic policy.

Next thing you know, California will be privatizing grades 1-6, Utah will be allowed to publicly flog liquor distributors and my home town of New York will declare martial law on anyone so much as suspected of having seen a cigarette.
posted by griphus at 12:26 PM on June 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Double Down democracy. I like that.
posted by ofthestrait at 12:27 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's hoping this guy and Paul "Bald Eagles Don't Pay Taxes" Lepage of Maine visit the Washington Monument and fall head over heels down every. single. flight. of. stairs.

(*THUMP* *OW!* *THUMP* *ow* thump *ow*thump thump thump thump)
posted by dunkadunc at 12:29 PM on June 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ya know what? Fuck it.
Florida sucks anyway.
Let's let the right wing chimps use it as their proving ground for Privatopia.


I can't agree with you there. Florida is a gorgeous state with some incredible nature, and a couple months out of the year it's paradise. It's the people who ruin it for everyone. I say move the right wing chimps out of there and make room for decent folk.
posted by Pants McCracky at 12:30 PM on June 28, 2011 [10 favorites]


> Starve the beast, then hand the scraps over to the private sector. This has been the plan for decades, kids. We're living the end-game.

Hey, the party's just getting started up here in Canada! I hope everyone in Toronto who voted for Rob Ford enjoys the $60 they saved on the vehicle registration tax he killed (in the name of "efficiency" and "respect for taxpayers") when he guts every public service and initiative he can next year.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:32 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sadly the result of "I just don't like paying taxes for anything" as a guiding ethos.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:33 PM on June 28, 2011 [10 favorites]


Isn't this the guy who's privatizing all the hospitals in Florida? Even third-world dictators usually stick to looting the stuff nobody likes anyway, like oil companies and mining firms.
posted by theodolite at 12:34 PM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's also the guy who was the CEO of the company that pulled off the largest (in $$$) Medicare fraud in history. But somehow, seniors voted for him.

(He also looks - literally - like a dickhead. But that's another story.)
posted by notsnot at 12:39 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


"...a plan to sell off the public parks, a risky bid after his unpopular Kicking Widows And Drowning Kittens act of last year.."
posted by The Whelk at 12:40 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I leave Florida better than I found it."
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:41 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


> This ass is the worst governor in the nation. His approval ratings show it.

I doubt he cares. He got elected and now he's going to make his friends as much money as he can. If he gets voted out next election he'll be offered a plum private sector gig in return.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:44 PM on June 28, 2011 [16 favorites]



Success breeds complacency.

Go ahead neocons. Plunder our country all you want. Your names are plastered all over this stuff, and the internet has one hell of a memory.

Eventually there is always a sea change. At some point you'll stick your hand in the wrong cookie jar, and not only is the snake going to bite your hand, but it'll go after everyone with their hands in something.

There's nutcases in every ideology. You may think progressives are asleep at the hitch, and powerless to change stuff like this. Good. Perpetuate this misconception, and hopefully the neocons will continue believing it. Eventually, we'll have a few nutcases, and I am sure that I will be horrified at the disaster they'll unleash (my prediction is hacking of historical preportions). Look at history.

Robespierre was bitter over being snubbed at his coronation when he was only 17 years old, and Louis the 16th paid dearly for that.

In my opinion, it's just a bow that's stretching tighter. This isn't one of those "surely this" deals. We'll only know what "...this" is, when we see its effect.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 12:44 PM on June 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


State parks are for poors. If you were a contributing member of society you could afford a golf club membership like all the righteous people.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 12:45 PM on June 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


I looked up Rick Scott's Wikipedia page to see what else he's done, and in the table of contents there's a headline that says "High-Speed Rail." I think to myself, "hey, all right, I guess he's not all bad. Even some of the worst politicians can trip across some good policy now and then. Just look at Nixon and the EPA." Then I scroll down:

"On February 16, 2011, Scott rejected $2.3 billion in federal funding to develop high-speed rail between Tampa and Orlando. Scott cited concerns about ridership and cost overruns."

oh
posted by theodolite at 12:46 PM on June 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Eventually there is always a sea change. At some point you'll stick your hand in the wrong cookie jar, and not only is the snake going to bite your hand, but it'll go after everyone with their hands in something.

Block that metaphor.
posted by griphus at 12:49 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have a great story about the high speed rail event that just perfectly illustrates the Floridian taxpayer's attitude:

Mr. Stardust and I were at a local science discussion event with some professors from the nearby technical school. One of the professors was a specialist in urban planning and was explaining the benefits of high speed rail. When he mentioned that one of the proposed stations would be a few miles south a bunch of the old-timers groaned. One guy stood up and announced that a rail station here would have to handle the same volume of people as Orlando International Airport for the rail to make a profit. That would lead to a sudden spike in the local population that would require denser urban-style building and low-income housing (in other words, say goodbye to the golf courses and huge lawns). Once such a population boom were to occur, the guy went on to say, the only way to solve urban congestion would be to kill 80% of the population.

And he said this all with a straight face.

And Mr. Stardust, myself and maybe 2 other people in the room were the only ones who were horrified.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 12:54 PM on June 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


Your names are plastered all over this stuff, and the internet has one hell of a memory.

And why would that matter, again?
posted by lodurr at 12:54 PM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Go ahead neocons. Plunder our country all you want. Your names are plastered all over this stuff, and the internet has one hell of a memory.

Eventually there is always a sea change.


Unfortunately, you miss the point that, once the parks are in private hands, once Medicaid is gone, once every nicety and social service is either eliminated or in the hands of corporations, the chances of ever getting them back are extremely thin.

If we don't fight to save this stuff now, you probably won't be able to get them back once that "sea change" you speak of happens.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:55 PM on June 28, 2011 [17 favorites]


Even third-world dictators usually stick to looting the stuff nobody likes anyway, like oil companies and mining firms.

No vision.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:56 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bathtub Bobsled: " the internet has one hell of a memory."

Not if facts no longer carry weight, as we've been seeing.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:56 PM on June 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


Where's Clinton Tyree when you need him?
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 12:58 PM on June 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Scott's been dumb enough in the past to do this kind of thing in ways that provided benefits easily traceable to him and his business associates. What will be interesting is to see if he keeps to that pattern. It's cost him nothing so far that I can see.
posted by lodurr at 12:58 PM on June 28, 2011


I'm really interested in how things work out for Rick Scott, because he seems to be working the textbook right-wing asshole strategy: do whatever you want, no matter how mind-bogglingly evil and despicable, because any outcry can be dismissed as knee-jerk attacks by "angry" liberals with Republican (formerly Bush) Derangement Syndrome.
posted by Pants McCracky at 1:19 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kitty Stardust: "One guy stood up and announced that a rail station here would have to handle the same volume of people as Orlando International Airport for the rail to make a profit. That would lead to a sudden spike in the local population that would require denser urban-style building and low-income housing (in other words, say goodbye to the golf courses and huge lawns). Once such a population boom were to occur, the guy went on to say, the only way to solve urban congestion would be to kill 80% of the population. "

I think I know that guy. He berates his son for being a mooch by taking his kids' (the guy's grandkids) deductions on his taxes.
posted by notsnot at 1:25 PM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Robespierre was bitter over being snubbed at his coronation when he was only 17 years old, and Louis the 16th paid dearly for that.

Wrong, in many ways. I will dismiss the 'his coronation', seems a typo. Maxim was chosen to give the Latin address, how is that a snubbing from a lad whose nickname was "The Roman". Did the king fall asleep? Also, the educational model was still preservation of the crown even amongst radical ideas circulating around in 1775. America, for example was "thier" problem.

I don't understand the analogy. Robespierre had 600 livres coming out of school which he left with many honors.
posted by clavdivs at 1:27 PM on June 28, 2011


Ironmouth: "This ass is the worst governor in the nation. His approval ratings show it."

Don't be too quick. There's a lot of competition in that arena. New Jersey just killed its PBS affiliate this morning.
posted by schmod at 1:33 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bathtub Bobsled: "the internet has one hell of a memory."

I wouldn't be too sure of that. Last I checked, people were blaming Clinton (the guy who turned a surplus) for the deficit.
posted by schmod at 1:34 PM on June 28, 2011


Ironmouth: "This ass is the worst governor in the nation. His approval ratings show it"

Never underestimate the power of a huge number of mean-spirited racist bigoted old people.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:34 PM on June 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Goodbye public spaces?[...] In one instance, the plan would lead to the construction of 45 campsites on 17.5 acres of Honeymoon Island, to accommodate both recreational vehicles and tents[...]Is this better than shutting down parks?

Be careful-- if your knee jerks any harder you might dislocate it.

Honeymoon Island State Park is 2810 acres in size. Allowing a private concessionaire to operate a grand total of 45 campsites on six tenths of one percent of its total area is hardly the death of public space. Even according to the OUTRAGED editorial you linked, this would increase the visitor count to the park by no more than about five percent.

Oh, and by the way, Honeymoon Island already has at least one privately operated concession as do many parks of all kinds everywhere across the country. Including National Parks. And this is not a recent development, either. "Private companies have promoted the parks and served visitors since Yellowstone National Park was designated in 1872. "

Is it optimal? Of course not. Far from it. Is it being gone about in an underhanded, slightly sleazy way? Sure sounds like it. But, to answer your breathlessly hyperbolic question, yeah, it actually is a hell of a lot better than shutting down state parks.

So maybe can we dial back a bit on the hysterical "the sky is falling" rhetoric?
posted by dersins at 1:35 PM on June 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Also, who is Robespierre in the analogy, Scott?
posted by clavdivs at 1:35 PM on June 28, 2011


Hey, Nature Conservancy, Natural Resources Defense Council, World Wildlife Fund, can you have your lawyers look into this? I smell a lawsuit (that is, if the public outcry isn't loud enough). I can't imagine these privatization efforts don't violate easements or deed restrictions for lands in these parks.
posted by andyinNH at 1:38 PM on June 28, 2011


Never underestimate the power of a huge number of mean-spirited racist bigoted old people.

Who in the fuck are you calling old.
posted by clavdivs at 1:38 PM on June 28, 2011


I live in Florida. I like it here. I like the beach. I don't like Rick Scott. It's beyond me why anybody would vote into public office a guy who's a crook and proud of it.

Anyway, this is as good a place as any to link to this.
posted by lordrunningclam at 2:01 PM on June 28, 2011


Celebration, FL (wikipedia)
posted by finite at 2:09 PM on June 28, 2011


This douche makes Jeb look like the ugly new kid rather than the smartest sibling in a neoaristocratic dynasty, and that's saying a LOT. When I was growing up, we had Martinez and Chiles, who were corrupt as fuck but it was old boy corruption; sugar money: dependable, reliant on the status quo. Both of them were Floridians, they understood what they had to take care of. Not just the cities and tourists/Mousetown but the other four Floridas: the aristrocratic north, the Deep South crackers, the migrants, and the keys. If there was ever a state that needed to be run by someone who understood its heritage, it's Florida, because it's maddeningly complex. Instead, we get these strip-miners who just dig everything up and process it through their little shell corporations. All we're going to have left is parking lots and decaying strip malls and a million abandoned McMansions.

Well, I moved away, but you never really leave.
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:14 PM on June 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


Maybe Gov. Scott is looking at the future. He knows that many of these parks will be partially or fully underwater in 50-60 years and he wants to place the cost burden on the private sector.
posted by perhapses at 2:40 PM on June 28, 2011


Thorzdad: "If we don't fight to save this stuff now, you probably won't be able to get them back once that "sea change" you speak of happens."

The "Sea change" that brought about these things in the first place happened back when workers were willing to look down the barrels of rifles to get what they want. The government is much, much better at squashing rebellion now, at spying, dividing and conquering, you name it.

Basically, if you want things like public services, or education, or healthcare, you have to threaten to throw a fucking revolution and be able to follow up on your promise. What if the military had Apache attack helicopters during the general strike in Seattle or at the Pullman strike?
posted by dunkadunc at 3:09 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Honeymoon Island State Park is 2810 acres in size. Allowing a private concessionaire to operate a grand total of 45 campsites on six tenths of one percent of its total area is hardly the death of public space. Even according to the OUTRAGED editorial you linked, this would increase the visitor count to the park by no more than about five percent.

Terrific. What about the 55 other state parks that the DEP wants to privatize?

But, to answer your breathlessly hyperbolic question, yeah, it actually is a hell of a lot better than shutting down state parks.

Since it's so much better than shutting down state parks, why virtually no public notice? Or should that even matter?

In any case, I'd like to see a little more than one St. Petersburg Times editorial and one short-on-detail eight-paragraph Orlando Sentinel article before launching the outrage fusillades, as vile as Rick Scott is.
posted by blucevalo at 3:47 PM on June 28, 2011


Rick Scott is exactly what FL needs to wake people the fuck up.

I was born and raised in FL and I'm so tired of hearing the old people/ tea party say they don't want to pay property taxes so that other people's brats can go to public school. They also think they shouldn't have to pay for parks, social services, fire fighters, police officers or really anything at all. Well guess what, they elected a guy who's calling their bluff and now they want to bitch about how Scott is going to force them to go to his urgent care clinics to spend their medicare/ medicaid dollars and how Scott is going to privatize everything he can and turn the parks into golf courses.

Scott has pissed off every civil servant in the state including the cops and firemen who seem to vote republican. The teachers are pissed. The social workers are pissed. All the people who make up the fabric of working-class society in FL want his head on a pike. I love it.

Rick is shaking the apathy right out of the populace and it's incredible to watch.
posted by photoslob at 3:56 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Forgot to add, Scott is hated so much here in FL that his PR folks have posted a template letter that they're asking people to fill in and mail to the FL papers.

Colbert loves the idea.
posted by photoslob at 4:00 PM on June 28, 2011


If Rick Scott was shaking the apathy out of the populace, I'd be excited -- but I'm not so sure.

Take the Miami-Dade County Mayor Recall election. Both of the candidates that made it to the run off campaigned on a Tea Party, small government, cut taxes platform. We're at the point where if they follow through on those campaign promises; not only will there be no libraries, social services, arts funding, etc., they will also have to significantly cut police and fire. And this is in a relatively "blue" part of the state.

If folks are waking up, then why has voter turnout been so low for this runoff? Why did we allow a billionaire auto salesman to convince us to spend $15 mil on a recall election in the first place?

I'm no fan of Scott and glad to see that his approval ratings are low, but I'm not sure that means the population of Florida has woken up.

I'd be happy to be proven wrong. Overjoyed. And maybe it will take Miami-Dade County voters a budget cycle without anything to see what their decisions mean. As we are now learning with Scott.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 4:15 PM on June 28, 2011


Why worry about Scott or Walker or Christie hiding anything when they can steal our shit right in front of our eyes and nobody will muster a response?

I said this way back during Shrubya's first term: It used to be that government at least tried to hide their dirty deeds. But Rove and Cheney realized they could do shit right out in the open. They started small, but each potential outrage turned into a non-event. So they kept stepping it up. This is just a continuation.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:26 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and btw, look who Rick was hanging out with over the weekend: the Koch brothers.
posted by photoslob at 4:55 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


MeFi is one thing I read most days and I have learned far far more than I have, or will, in anyway contribute. I have also noticed a few posters who feel free to bash "oldsters" (me) in ways that would not be acceptable to other groups including "youngsters". Tea Party supporters are very representative of the public at large (Gallup) and the most conservative(Republican) cohort vis a vis liberal is the 35 to 50 not over 65. Even though there is a trend towards increasing conservatism as cohorts age democrats still outnumber republicans. What I think what does exist is that older persons have more time to make speeches, more time to protest and more experience in refining inane/stupid/radical positions whether liberal or conservative. However, when damning conservatives you can hardly go wrong with old, white and wealthy.
posted by rmhsinc at 6:04 PM on June 28, 2011


> This ass is the worst governor in the nation. His approval ratings show it.

I doubt he cares.


Well, from what the Colbert Report was a reporting yesterday, he does seem to care about his own image. Good links there too, to offer your own opinion of the governor.
posted by Metro Gnome at 6:28 PM on June 28, 2011


> the most conservative(Republican) cohort vis a vis liberal is the 35 to 50 not over 65.

True, I know a lot of Libertarians from my cohort, Ayn Rand radicals. They may not think of themselves as "conservative" in the old school sense, but they would be in good company with the Koch brothers.
posted by stbalbach at 7:47 PM on June 28, 2011


photoslob: Rick is shaking the apathy right out of the populace and it's incredible to watch.

I can't even put my response to this into words. You're saying that Rick Scott was a *good* thing for Florida because you're amused by what he is putting the entire state through, just because he's somehow "sticking it" to the older Republicans/Tea Party-ers? He is still heavily supported by the Tea Party supporters and the older Republican Democrats. The people he is affecting are the people that you are seemingly so amused by- I'm not sure how social workers/teachers/cops/firefighters hating Scott somehow symbolize sticking it to all the people that originally backed him.

I live in Tallahassee, and I've heard that he no longer goes anywhere on the west side of town because of the general reactions to him. A few friends of mine were at a rally at the Capitol a in April and said that when people saw him walking, they began chanting "Down with Lord Voldemort!" Yes, he is hated in the state...by pretty much everyone but the people who voted for him. He was elected with less than 50% of the vote, so a 30% approval rating isn't really that much of a drop in terms of those who voted for him.
posted by kro at 10:52 PM on June 28, 2011


This move is straight out of any political playbook. Overreach on something the public feels strongly about, then dial it back and pick up a win on something they care less about.

Next week, cutting funding for Universities and teacher pay.

Bush did this with great success when he floated the balloon of privatizing Social Security. He had to know that privatization had not a hope in hell of passing. But it served to distract everyone from the other issue on the table at the time, which I believe was the Patriot Act.

I have no idea what's going on in Florida, but I'll bet there's some other issue that is or was on the table. Tax breaks maybe?
posted by atchafalaya at 10:55 PM on June 28, 2011


I lasted 8 months in Lee County. One of the most noteworthy souvenirs I have of that period is a map listing all 90+ golf courses within the county limits.

Maybe they can pave over Sanibel or Captiva and put up a nice concession stand?
posted by feloniousmonk at 7:00 AM on June 29, 2011


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