Now more news: a month after Gov. Scott's secret hunting trip he appointed the top manager of the King Ranch operation in Florida to the board of the South Florida Water Management District.
Call it: crony capitalism at its most explicit. Florida voters would not know it even happened, except for a pair of intrepid reporters at the Times and the support of their newspaper.
There is a further point to make about the King Ranch. In Texas, water has been privatized just like oil. The King Ranch is as powerful in Texas as the oil industry.
The rest of the nation conceived the public responsibility to manage water resources differently. Private utilities have always played a small role, because water was first recognized as a public right. That's exactly the kind of thinking that crony capitalists despise.
Florida conceived the water management districts, all supervised by boards appointed by the governor, in order to balance the allocation of water resources. Clean, affordable fresh water: ring a bell?
In Texas, dominating water resources is a neat business model when cities and the environment are thirsty. So why not change Florida to the way things work in Texas?
Voters don't need to track back much further than 2011 -- that's three years ago for those who can subtract -- when Governor Scott's environmental chief, Herschel Vinyard, debunked the notion to the Tampa Bay Times' Craig Pittman (one of the reporters who broke the King Ranch/Big Sugar/Rick Scott scandal), "... he's interested only in saving the taxpayers money through greater efficiency, not seizing control of the water supply. "I'm not a conspiracy theorist."
The follow up question would now be: if you are not a conspiracy theorist, in light of the recent scandal, what exactly are you?
Influence peddling, crony capitalism, and deceit (redistricting, anyone?) is all part of Florida's GOP program.
It is time for voters to take ownership of the mess we've permitted; that's the real take-away from serial scandals roiling the GOP.
Tampa Bay Times
After Scott's secret trip to King Ranch, he tapped ranch employee for state regulatory board
July 31, 2014
TALLAHASSEE — A month after Gov. Rick Scott took a secret hunting trip to the King Ranch in Texas last year, he faced a big decision.
A seat had come open on the board that oversees Florida's efforts on the multi-billion-dollar project to repair damage to the Everglades caused by agriculture. To fill that position, Scott picked a corporate executive named Mitchel A. "Mitch" Hutchcraft.
Hutchcraft's major qualification for a seat on the South Florida Water Management District board: He is the vice president in charge of the King Ranch's Florida agricultural acreage.