Sunday, September 15, 2013




Join News Director Rick Spisak and Special Guest Co-Host Amy Ritter
Laura Fausone, President of NOW Brevard
Vicki Impoco Essayist and Activist 
Trish Sheldon co-Founder of GMO Florida
Rachel Pienta Writer and Political Consultant

Japan Times, Sep 10, 2013: Jota Kanda, a professor at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, pointed out that densities of radioactive materials within the artificial bay have stopped falling recently, despite the huge amounts of seawater that flow in and out every day. 

This indicates a certain amount of new radioactive materials are flowing nonstop from the plant’s wrecked reactor buildings into the sea, he said. Kanda, however, also noted that the total amount of radioactive materials detected in contaminated water samples has been so low that it is unlikely to pose any danger to human health.

NHK World, May 24, 2013: Jota Kanda of Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology who co-organized the excursion called the situation off Fukushima “mysterious”. “It’s very mysterious that the radioactive level in marine organisms stays high. Considering low radioactive level of water, it should be much lower.”
More from Kanda: Fukushima Mystery? TV: Japan expert says radiation levels in ocean too high to be explained by groundwater flow alone -- Must be coming from "other contamination routes" entering Pacific -- "Devastating impact" to come?


2. LIBRARY RESCUED by Activists 
 In a surprise last-minute move, Miami-Dade commissioners decided in the wee hours Wednesday morning to raid rainy-day reserves to avoid laying off 169 library workers and slashing library hours in the coming budget year.

Though the action will save the jobs of employees who turned out in force to a public hearing that began Tuesday afternoon, it will create a whopping $20 million budget hole next year to fund the county’s 49 public libraries at the same level as this year.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez warned against tapping the one-time reserves, since they would not be available again to cover recurring expenses. Unless Miami-Dade overhauls the way it funds and runs the libraries between now and next year, commissioners will have to cut services or hike the property-tax rate in 12 months.

“It’s on us,” Vice Chairwoman Lynda Bell said, acknowledging the burden the board agreed to take on. “It’s our responsibility.”

Gimenez pointedly reminded commissioners that six of them face reelection in 2014 and will almost certainly oppose a tax-rate hike — in which case they may have just delayed but not avoided the steep cuts.

“Eventually, this government is going to have to face reality. I’d rather face it now than later,” he said. “It’s pretty tough to raise taxes when you’re going to election.”

Read more here:

But commissioners appeared thrilled and relieved to find a solution for the time being. They voted 8-4 to use $7.8 million in library reserves.

Bell and Commissioners Bruno Barreiro, Jose “Pepe” Diaz, Audrey Edmonson, Sally Heyman, Barbara Jordan, Jean Monestime and Dennis Moss voted in favor of the compromise. Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa and Commissioners Esteban “Steve” Bovo, Javier Souto and Juan C. Zapata voted against. Commissioner Xavier Suarez did not vote, though he was present at the hearing, which began at 5:01 p.m. Tuesday and ended at 1:35 a.m. Wednesday.

The commission gave serious consideration to a short-lived proposal by Heyman to raise the property-tax rate that funds libraries, in what would have been a stunning reversal of the board’s July decision to hold the rate steady. Seven of 13 commissioners appeared ready to sign off on the hike and delay the final budget hearing from Sept. 19 to October. But fearing a likely Gimenez veto they would have been unable to override without a nine-member majority, they opted for using the reserves instead.

Other cuts to the budget, including the elimination of three fire trucks and layoffs of 59 firefighters, remain. The county has applied for a federal grant to fund the positions and save the trucks.

Even before the compromise, Gimenez had said he was confident his staff would find a way to keep all libraries open for the same number of hours. About a third of the county’s 49 library branches would have otherwise scaled back their hours dramatically, opening a mere 16 hours a week, down from their current 40 hours.

But he wouldn’t have been able to save the jobs of the library employees, many of whom attended the budget hearing, asking commissioners to rethink a proposed budget they said would decimate the public library system.

Despite the deal, Gimenez said he will move forward with the creation of a working group to plan for the long-term future of the libraries. That’s especially important now because the group will have to find how to rework the system in the next year or be stuck with cuts or a significant tax-rate hike.

The mayor also said he has asked the county auditor to examine whether nearly $7.5 million moved from the library budget in 2009 to fund cultural programs inside the library tax district was improperly spent. If so, Gimenez said his administration would develop a repayment plan over several future years to put the money back in the library budget from the general fund.

Mahala Literacy Activist

Desperate to find alternative funding for libraries and other county departments, Sosa went as far as to suggest Miami-Dade establish a mechanism for residents to donate to their chosen programs. The parks department already has a foundation, and the library department also has a fundraising arm.

At one point Tuesday, a group of about 35 library staffers and supporters stood behind the microphone, some of them with their arms draped around each other. They noted that libraries serve the community’s most vulnerable, including children, the elderly and the unemployed.

And they emphasized that the taxes that fund libraries, which are separate from the county’s general fund, have been drastically reduced since Gimenez took office in 2011.

For two years, the library system operated using surplus funds from previous years. Those have now run out — so the county must raise the tax-rate to fund the system or considerably shrink its expenses.

Gimenez’s administration should have foreseen the budget gap and made a plan two years ago to sustain the system, librarian Ellen Book said. “Now the library’s financially bankrupted,” she said.

While a majority of the 100 or so people who spoke opposed service cuts, a few said they could not handle a higher tax bill.

“No more taxes. Enough already,” elderly resident Modesto Perez said in Spanish.

Despite police detecting a suspicious package just outside County Hall an hour before the meeting began, the hearing was not delayed. Miami-Dade police closed two parking lots by the Government Center Metrorail station for about two hours until a bomb-squad member blew up the abandoned duffle bag.

Inside the commission chambers, not all of the comments centered on libraries. A couple of speakers said the county shortchanges its sanitation workers. Others called for more funding for community-based organizations. One woman said Miami-Dade needs to invest more money in mental-health services for jail inmates.

Fire-union representatives dressed in matching yellow T-shirts to oppose cuts to that department. Fire Rescue Lt. Lisa Wood urged commissioners to find more dollars to keep a venom response unit in place — instead of “redeploying” its staff to other fire operations duties — as the department plans to do.

“We feel that our services that we provide are more valuable than the risk that would be presented by losing our 24-hour coverage,” Wood said.

The mayor said the department would keep its anti-venin reserve and medication-dispensing licenses and distribute the antidotes through rescue personnel.

Dressed in their signature red, proponents of the Pets’ Trust, an initiative to stop killing dogs and cats at the county shelter, repeatedly pointed to a non-binding question approved by an overwhelming majority of voters last November endorsing the animal-care project.

But most of the night was dominated by library activists in white “Save Our Libraries” shirts. Their backers included the mayors of Pinecrest and South Miami, the vice mayor of Opa-locka and the chairwoman of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party.

“This would be the first time in my three-and-a-half years as mayor that my residents have contacted me to raise their taxes on anything,” South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard said. “It’s an unusual situation.”

Speakers at the hearing directed much of their anger at Gimenez, who was absent from the dais for an extended period having Cuban food for dinner in a room adjacent to the chambers. His communications director said the mayor, who previously held six town-hall style meetings on the budget, was watching the hearing while he ate.

During the hearing, an automated telephone poll reached out to some voters, who were asked among other things about the tax rate and Gimenez’s job approval. The telephone recording did not identify who was behind the poll.

The mayor’s initial budget in July proposed hiking the tax rate to maintain library and fire-rescue services and fully fund the Pets’ Trust. He then backtracked, citing political pressure and a lack of commission support. On Tuesday, speaker after speaker chided Gimenez for failing to stick to his original intentions and selling a higher tax rate to commissioners and the public.

At the beginning of the night, Gimenez said his administration does not take the proposed budget’s “real and significant impacts” on residents and county employees lightly.

But he also made a point of saying county librarians, with their required master’s degrees, make an average annual base salary of $70,300 without counting benefits — suggesting their labor union should negotiate personnel costs to avoid layoffs. Activists disputed the salary number, countering that many of the library workers in line to lose their jobs are not full-fledged librarians and make less money.

Gimenez highlighted other portions of the $4.3 billion day-to-day operating budget, including that it envisions hiring four new classes of police officers.

“Striking the right balance between the services that our residents expect and doing so at a price they can afford is always a challenge,” Gimenez said. “This budget maintains the vast majority of services that we provide to our residents.”

Read more here:


3. SE FLA Regional Climate Change Action Plan
The subject of climate change is heating up on a local level, with two items of interest to the Loxahatchee Group members: presentation of an action plan in August and our general meeting in September.
First of all, the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Action Plan (RECAP),  a regional plan that provides over 100 action items for planning and mitigating the effects of climate change, will be presented to the Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday, August 27th at 10:30 in the Commissioner’s Chambers (301 N. Olive, WPB, 6th Floor) for a discussion and vote.  Many citizens, and organizations such as the League of Women Voters and South Florida Climate Action Partners, will attend the meeting to support RECAP and the county staff that will be presenting it.  The Loxahatchee Group urges you to become familiar with the document and to attend our September general meeting to learn more.
The general meeting for September will feature Robert Robbins, Director for Palm Beach County’s Department of Environmental Resources Management (ERM).  Mr. Robbins serves on the RECAP Land and Natural Systems Work Group and will speak about solutions and adaptive management for land and natural systems.  Recently, he was a panelist for the Arthur R. Marshall Foundation’s Sea Level Rise Symposium and a speaker for an all-day workshop sponsored by the South Florida Climate Action Partners   Mr. Robbins oversees the restoration and management of more than 31,000 acres of county-owned natural areas and nearly $100,000,000 worth of salt water and estuarine restoration projects, most located within the Lake Worth Lagoon.  He also directs manatee and sea turtle protection programs and implements the County’s regulatory programs including petroleum contamination clean-up and water quality related programs.  Kate Harmer will speak about her recent training in Chicago with the Climate Reality project.
When: Thursday, September 19, 6:30 pm.
Where: Palm Beach County Lantana Rd. Library - 4020 Lantana Road; Lake Worth, FL 33462
Directions: By Bus: Palm Tran Route 71 and Route 63.
From I-95: Take Exit #61 Lantana Road; go west to Lawrence Road and turn left at light. Library is on the southwest corner of the intersection. Parking is in the back.
From Florida’s Turnpike: Take Exit #93 (Lake Worth Road), go east to Military Trail, turn right (south) to Lantana Road; turn left and get in the right lane and turn right into the library parking lot just before the traffic light at the corner of Lawrence Road.
Sierra Club meetings are FREE and open to the public, bring a friend. Special “green book exchange,” think nature, green energy and transportation, sustainable food, anything that effects our environment.
Bring a book to exchange or be prepared to make a $5 or $10 donation for an interesting new read. (Any donation is acceptable).


4.Apple's Fingerprint ID May Mean You Can't 'Take the Fifth'
By Marcia Hofmann, Wired Magazine
15 September 13

There's a lot of talk around biometric authentication since Apple introduced its newest iPhone, which will let users unlock their device with a fingerprint. Given Apple's industry-leading position, it's probably not a far stretch to expect this kind of authentication to take off. Some even argue that Apple's move is a death knell for authenticators based on what a user knows (like passwords and PIN numbers).
While there's a great deal of discussion around the pros and cons of fingerprint authentication - from the hackability of the technique to the reliability of readers - no one's focusing on the legal effects of moving from PINs to fingerprints.
Because the constitutional protection of the Fifth Amendment, which guarantees that "no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself," may not apply when it comes to biometric-based fingerprints (things that reflect who we are) as opposed to memory-based passwords and PINs (things we need to know and remember).
The privilege against self-incrimination is an important check on the government's ability to collect evidence directly from a witness. The Supreme Court has made it clear that the Fifth Amendment broadly applies not only during a criminal prosecution, but also to any other proceeding "civil or criminal, formal or informal," where answers might tend to incriminate us. It's a constitutional guarantee deeply rooted in English law dating back to the 1600s, when it was used to protect people from being tortured by inquisitors to force them to divulge information that could be used against them.
For the privilege to apply, however, the government must try to compel a person to make a "testimonial" statement that would tend to incriminate him or her. When a person has a valid privilege against self-incrimination, nobody - not even a judge - can force the witness to give that information to the government.
But a communication is "testimonial" only when it reveals the contents of your mind. We can't invoke the privilege against self-incrimination to prevent the government from collecting biometrics like fingerprints, DNA samples, or voice exemplars. Why? Because the courts have decided that this evidence doesn't reveal anything you know. It's not testimonial.
Take this hypothetical example coined by the Supreme Court: If the police demand that you give them the key to a lockbox that happens to contain incriminating evidence, turning over the key wouldn't be testimonial if it's just a physical act that doesn't reveal anything you know.
However, if the police try to force you to divulge the combination to a wall safe, your response would reveal the contents of your mind - and so would implicate the Fifth Amendment. (If you've written down the combination on a piece of paper and the police demand that you give it to them, that may be a different story.)
The important feature about PINs and passwords is that they're generally something we know (unless we forget them, of course). These memory-based authenticators are the type of fact that benefit from strong Fifth Amendment protection should the government try to make us turn them over against our will. Indeed, last year a federal appeals court held that a man could not be forced by the government to decrypt data.
But if we move toward authentication systems based solely on physical tokens or biometrics - things we have or things we are, rather than things we remember - the government could demand that we produce them without implicating anything we know. Which would make it less likely that a valid privilege against self-incrimination would apply.
Biometric authentication may make it easier for normal, everyday users to protect the data on their phones. But as wonderful as technological innovation is, it sometimes creates unintended consequences - including legal ones. If Apple's move leads us to abandon knowledge-based authentication altogether, we risk inadvertently undermining the legal rights we currently enjoy under the Fifth Amendment.
Here's an easy fix: give users the option to unlock their phones with a fingerprint plus something the user knows.
Rare video of the Protected & Endangered Florida Panther caught on film in the vicinity of the proposed drill site.
Video of location of home closest to the proposed drill site:
Petition on
Preserve Our Paradise - Facebook page that is local & direct action to raise awareness and offers a wealth of information:
Preserve Our Paradise - A  501(c)(3) nonprofit
 group that is doing public speaking to raise awareness and raising 
funds for possible future litigation and also has a wealth of 

Below are all the contact address, email addresses, phone numbers, etc. Please write; please spread the word.
Thank you kindly for your support and time. If there is any other information, etc you need. please let me know.

Nick Wiley (Executive Director)
℅ Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
620 South Meridian Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600

Eric Sutton (Assistant Executive Director)
℅ Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
620 South Meridian Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600

Karen Ventimiglia  (Chief of Staff)
℅ Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
620 South Meridian Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600

Thomas Colios
℅ South Florida Water Management District
PO BOX 24680
West Palm Beach, FL 33416-4680
(561) 686-8800  /   (800) 432-2045

Ed Garret, (Chief of Minerals, Mining, Oil & Gas)
℅ Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Bureau of Mining and Minerals Regulation, Oil and Gas Section
2051 East Paul Dirac Drive, MS 715
Tallahassee, FL 32310
(850) 488-8217 ext.12

Danielle H. Irwin, (Deputy Division Director)
℅ Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Bureau of Mining and Minerals Regulation, Oil and Gas Section
2051 East Paul Dirac Drive, MS 715
Tallahassee, FL 32310
(850) 488-7843

Steve Spencer ( Professional Geologist)
℅ Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Oil and Gas Program
2600 Blair Stone Road, MS 3588
Tallahassee FL, 32399-2600
(850) 245-8405

Levi Sciara (Engineer)
℅ Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Bureau of Mining and Minerals Regulation, Oil and Gas Section
2051 East Paul Dirac Drive, MS 715
Tallahassee, FL 32310

(850) 245-8406

Paul Attwood, (Local Professional Geologist)
℅ Florida DEP / Mining, Mitigation and Delineation
Oil & Gas Section - Fort Myers Field Office
2295 Victoria Avenue
Suite 179
Ft. Myers, Florida 33901

Pierre Bruno (Environmental Specialist III)
℅ Florida DEP / Mining, Mitigation and Delineation
Oil & Gas Section - Fort Myers Field Office
2295 Victoria Avenue
Suite 179
Ft. Myers, Florida 33901

(239) 344-5611

Here are a few more contacts: 
Larry Cole
Environmental Protection Agency
(404) 562-9474

James Ferreira
Environmental Protection Agency
(404) 562-9399

Wilda Cobb 

Joe Haberfeld
Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection

United States Army Corps Engineers Jacksonville District
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 4970
Jacksonville, Florida 32232-001
Phone (904) 232-1177 Fax (904) 232-1904
SUBJECT LINE for email type:
Regulatory Division

United States Army Corp of Engineers
Fort Myers Permits Section
1520 Royal Palm Square Blvd., Suite 310
Fort Myers, FL 33919
Phone (239) 334-1975 Fax (229) 334-0797
SUBJECT LINE for email type:
Fort Myers Section


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