To the editor:
Florida's water, land, beaches, shore, parks and wildlife and even Everglades restoration will be funded by this initiative. The Audubon Club of SW Florida and other organizations are gathering signatures which will be put on the 2014 ballot. State funds such as Florida Forever which is a fund to buy environmentally sensitive lands has been raided by the State Legislature and Governor. They have slashed funding for conservation programs by 97.5 percent since 2009.We simply can not turn our back on the Everglades, neglect water quality in our rivers, lakes, springs and the oceans and buy wildlife lands .
Ballot Title: Water and Land Conservation-Dedicates funds to acquire and restore Florida conservation and restoration lands. Ballot summary: Funds the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to acquire, restore, improve, and water resources and drinking water sources, including the Everglades, and the water quality of rivers, lakes and streams; beaches and shores; outdoor recreational lands; working farms and ranches; and historic or geologic sites; by dedication 33 percent of net revenues from existing excise tax on documents for 20 years. This excise tax has historically been used to fund Florida Forever which, again, is the state program to buy environmentally sensitive lands. It will not raise your taxes one bit. since it is already being collected .It will ensure that we get one half a billion dollars over the next 20 years to preserve Florida's beautiful lands and water .
We need 680,000 signatures to get this on the 2014 ballot. So far, the volunteers state wide have collected more than 68,000. We have until November to collect the rest. Please help me to get more. Email me at email@example.com. I would greatly appreciate it if area Churches , Kiwanis Clubs , Rotary, Elks Clubs and other Civic organizations etc, members would sign this petition I will come out to one of your meetings .If you would like to volunteer let me know, too. Call Laura, at 850-629-4649, she can help your club endorse this Amendment or other questions you may have .
With this many signatures we have passed a big milestone in that the Florida State Supreme Court will now review our petition, hopefully within 60 days, and endorse it to go on the ballot. This is just a law formality and should be approved easily in my opinion.
The people on the Board and other supporters are quite impressive. Sen. Graham, Board Chairman, Will Abberger ,of Lands for Public Trust; Eric Draper, Florida Audubon ; Manly Fuller, Florida Wildlife Federation; and Frank Jacalone , Florida Sierra Club. The Thousand Friends of Florida are endorsing it.. Many local clubs throughout the state have signed on , too.
Since this will be a Constitutional Amendment, these funds will be safe from being taken away from us by Florida Government. Georgia and Alabama have similar programs in place. Who knows, maybe we will get a chance to buy Southwest Florida's DRGR for the millions of gallons of water we need to support another one and new residents in our area. Please sign a petition and sign up to be a supporting and endorsing member.
Local Audubon President
I speak for all the wild animals