by Margaret Blank.......
Keys media generally serves to downplay the failings of FKAA officials. FKAA documents reveal that Toppino has done over $20 million with the FKAA in the last ten years – $12.4 million of that on the Cudjoe Regional project alone, despite public reports of only $1,000,000 in FKAA contracts. Not only that, Toppino benefited heavily from questionable bid shuffling on the now-failing Big Coppitt project, the details of the bidding process closely guarded from the public. If you want to know how the FKAA’s systems are performing you have to go to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (FDEP) Oculus database and look for yourself.
In other words, government corruption and incompetence run rampant in the Keys, uncovered by the mainstream media. So if our government officials won’t look out for the public, and the local news media won’t look out for the public, then who will?
Many times its the affected citizens themselves. The folks in Cudjoe Regional have fought relentlessly to make sure their project is done right. And it’s not over yet. Not even close. The good news is that citizens don’t always have to fight this battle alone. An organization called Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), is involved now, too.
As you might recall, the FKAA and the county wrote an environmental assessment for the Cudjoe Regional project and attempted to pass it off as being prepared by the Army Corps of Engineers. What actually happened is likely to be a whole lot worse than what has so far been reported. The FKAA used the document to persuade the FDEP to issue a finding of no significant impact. A few years later, the Army Corps became aware that the misleading document existed and demanded that the county remove it from their website. The county complied.