TCPalm by Treasure Coast Newspapers Editorial Board
April 19, 2018
Pity the poor South Florida Water Management District.
All the $758 million taxpayer-funded agency wants to do is serve the public. But sometimes the public can be so unreasonable.
We might, for instance, want to know how our tax money is spent.
Outraged at that audacity, the district is turning to intimidation as public policy.
How else can we describe the district’s threats to subpoena personal emails, letters and memos of citizens who dared — dared! — request information about a pivotal meeting that led to an out-of-court settlement with the billionaire owners of the controversial Lake Point rock quarry in western Martin County?
The Lake Point saga began in 2008 and led to an avalanche of litigation, including a 2013 lawsuit against the Water Management District for breach of contract. Following an Aug. 23, 2017, closed-door meeting, the district announced it would settle, agreeing to buy 50,000 tons of rubble annually for 15 years and giving Lake Point the right to mine rock for 50 years before turning over the land to the state.
The deal raised eyebrows and led the nonprofit Everglades Law Center to file a public records request, seeking transcripts of the Aug. 23 meeting and other closed sessions. Two months later, a second request was filed by Maggy Hurchalla, a former Martin County commissioner who had been sued separately by Lake Point.