About Me

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He started his career in the family real estate and hotel business in Florida from which his concern for the environment steered him in public life. He has served six Florida governors and two presidents in many positions, including terms as chairman of the Florida Department of Air and Water Pollution Control, and Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Beyond his government service, he helped found 1000 Friends of Florida and has served as both president and chairman of the board of the organization. He currently or has served on the boards of the Atlantic Salmon Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Geographic Society, Yellowstone National Park, Everglades Foundation and Hope Rural School.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Vote YES for Amendment #1 on November 4, 2014

On November 4th, voters statewide will be asked to approve Amendment #1 to the constitution, which will set aside funding for purchasing environmentally sensitive land to protect water resources and wildlife habitat.

As of January 2014, more than 683,000 signatures have been obtained from 14 districts.

The Florida Water and Land Legacy Amendment requires no new taxes. Instead, it calls for one third of the documentary tax paid on real estate transactions to be set aside for conservation spending programs, such as land purchases, management, and Everglades restoration.

The amendment would allocate 33% of existing excise tax on documents (the Documentary Stamp Tax) to fund these projects. Amendment backers, which include such groups as Audubon Florida, the Sierra Club and 1000 Friends of Florida, estimate the measure could raise as much as $10 billion over its 20-year life. If approved, the measure would go into effect July 1, 2015, and would expire in 2035.

While the amendment is a continuation of the collection of funds from the Florida Documentary Stamp Tax, this amendment would restrict the use of the funds for the very specific purposes of land and water preservation. It also would prevent the Florida Legislature from using these funds for other purposes. In addition, the amendment would not increase or decrease revenues or costs to the state or local governments, and would not use condemnation as a tool for acquisition. It also would not increase the rate of any tax, and continue the historical precedent of water and land preservation protection, which was the major recommendation of my chairmanship of Florida’s Environmental Future to then Governor Robert Martinez.

Florida once led the nation in environmental land purchases with programs named Preservation 2000 and Florida Forever, both of which were financed by using Documentary Stamp taxes. However, in recent years, the Legislature has sharply cut the money used for land buying, and fund balances are diminishing.

It may be that the Water and Land Legacy Amendment is warranted simply because it accomplishes a worthwhile goal, does not increase taxes or create new ones, and would benefit not only Martin County but the entire state. There also seems to be wide support for this proposal from a divergent source of individuals and groups who seem willing to make a long-term commitment and investment in the future of our state.

All Aboard Florida - Rejected OpEd by Palm Beach Post due to Length

Date:               April 21, 2014
To:                   Rick Christie, the Editor of the Palm Beach Post
From:              Nathaniel Reed

I must admit that I was flabbergasted that the Post’s editorial staff would support All Aboard Florida!

Although we have all seen the problems of subsidizing any business, the everglades sugar ‘industry’ must be at the top of the list, the thought of subsidizing with ‘our money’ for a high speed connection from West Palm Beach through 40 plus coastal communities situated near the Florida East Coast tracks is ‘ludicrous’.

Shame on you!  Captivated by the thought of high speed trains in Japan and France, you have been taken in by a private group of investors who want major financial grants from the federal and state governments to run a two car high speed train to Orlando and back to Miami under the assumption that it will make money.

I do not know of a singular investor or financer who thinks the proposition makes any financial sense.  The ‘investors’ will be back insisting on an ‘operating subsidy’!

The Post ignored the realistic possibility of a track change.  What is the attraction of the east coast track system?  If the high speed train is really going to be promoted as a financial success, the interior route is the obvious least offensive.

The National Environmental Policy Act is supposed to insure that federal agencies must spell out adverse environmental impacts and layout clearly among numerous options including costs of a preferred option. The federal grant by the Federal Railroad Administration makes an Environmental Assessment, if not a full blown Environmental Impact Statement, essential

The decision by the promoting agency is subject to legal opposition.

Legal action is obvious to thousands of citizens opposed to the east coast route.

It must be obvious to the Post’s Editor and Editorial staff that opposition is growing.  Forty plus east coast communities are gathering their forces who are united in the reality of a 100 plus mile per hour series: 32 trains a day will devastate the quality of life that brought so many of us to live quietly by the route of the once vital Florida East Coast Railroad that opened up south Florida and gave us the opportunity to travel here from anywhere in the country.  We have learned to live with the eight plus lengthy railroad cars that creep past our communities now.  We are all concerned about the length of trains when the Miami and Ft. Lauderdale super ports are able to accept vast quantities of huge containers maneuvered through the newly enlarged Panama Canal.

Anyone who has had the misfortune of being stuck at a crossing in Montana when 250 to 350 train cars carrying coal inches along knows what the future could hold for the east coast property owners and business if the east coast route is approved.

Think again.  Be honest.  Make a real effort to understand the ‘outrage’ of our fellow Floridians who live and realize that they will be significantly adversely impacted by the All Aboard Florida scheme.

If there is to be high speed trains racing from West Palm Beach to Orlando, then let them go west and scare the cows and buzzards!  I cannot imagine the train being able to pick up speed between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale or Ft. Lauderdale to West Palm Beach or even West Palm Beach to Stuart.  Let’s not forget Stuart to Ft. Pierce, onward to Vero Beach and right on through community after community where the noise and associated problems dealing with this bizarre proposal will impact.

Back to the drawing boards!  Every politician who supports the east coast route is in dire jeopardy of losing the next election.  I know of no political issue that will unite opposition to a taxpayer supported, private operation that has so many impacts.

Think again: Obama Administration, your Railroad Commission, authors of the Impact Statement, Governor, and Members of the east coast Congress, the Florida Legislature and county and city commissioners.  This is a political ‘bombshell’, as it impacts hundreds of thousands of Floridians who want to live in peace and that includes unwanted noise that they would be paying for.

Nathaniel Reed