SDM received a mailer from an organization called “Changing Florida’s Future PC” with a Tallahassee post office box listed as its address. Changing Florida’s Future PC is a political action committee run by Mark Herron, a Tallahassee lobbyist.
The PAC lists many contributors. Some of the larger ones:
- Several local unions ponied up $46,000
- West Flagler Associates, LTD (the corporation behind the Magic City Casino) donated $30,000
- A company called Suniland Associates, Ltd with an address of 801 Arthur Godfrey Road, #600 donated $15,000 (in what may be an odd coincidence, the well-known company Terranova Corporation shares the same address)
- One Julie Levine donated $10,000 despite listing her occupation as “disabled”
- A Lois J. Levine donated $30,000
Most of the remainder of the contributors is made up of addresses located in New York and Palm Beach, though one address in Palmetto Bay was listed accounting for $50 of the $188,000+ raised by the PAC.
So you’re saying, so what SDM? Everyone knows these political candidates wash money through PACs and Committees and such. We don’t really expect Ms. Levine Cava to act any differently, do we? Ms. Levine Cava wouldn’t ask relatives to donate funds to a PAC to avoid the $1,000 campaign contribution limit, would she?
Let’s hold off on the motivations for a minute.
Instead, let’s take a look at one of the claims made in the mailer. According to Changing Florida’s Future PC, Ms. Bell stated on the record somewhere that with respect to “Arsenic… Class “A” Human Carcinogen…Lynda Bell…is not worried. [SDM deleted the punctuation to make this flow a little.]
The mailer goes on to say: “When arsenic was found at a local public school site, Lynda Bell didn’t want to spend the money to do a proper cleanup. She even fought with the local school board, which knew it would take more than scraping away a little dirt.”
Then the mailer adds a footnote referencing the National Resources Defense Council (presumably for the proposition that arsenic is a human carcinogen); three Miami Herald articles (SDM won’t pay the archive fees, but let’s presume they report on the Homestead school issue); a Miami-Dade ordinance without a reference number (instead the mailer includes an item number and a date – you try to figure out what that is referencing); and finally, the important one: a June 5, 2012 BCC meeting and a YouTube video.
SDM decided first to check out the video, so we carefully inserted the web address, and…nothing. The link produces a dead page saying video not available, or something like it.
So, SDM went back – grumpily, because we really are starting to hate watching these public hearings – and watched the hearing for the famous anti-children message.
On the day in question, Commissioner Bell and her colleagues were listening to Congressional Candidate and former Commissioner Joe Martinez’s fantasy of having Donald Trump build a movie studio at Homestead Air Base. At 2:59:30, Ms. Bell is recognized to blather on about how she loves the idea but has some reservations.
In that context, Ms. Bell notes that Mr. Trump’s team may find arsenic on the site but based on her experience as Mayor one can clean up arsenic. She acknowledges that it’s a long process, but it can be done. The clean up involves removing (scraping up) soil and capping the ground. She notes she was familiar with the process because she had to clean up a school site in Homestead that had arsenic. The exchange ends at 3:02:57.
Now, SDM ain’t no rocket surgeon, but for our lives we cannot figure out how Ms. Levine Cava, er, the PAC, can logically twist this discussion into “Lynda Bell is not worried about arsenic.”
You may find this awfully hard to believe but arsenic is a byproduct of modern agriculture and it is found all over deep South Dade. When land is redeveloped, the topsoil is often removed and replaced to mitigate the arsenic. It is SDM’s understanding that the Homestead site where this particular arsenic was located is now occupied by a district school! (Gasp.)
Is the PAC suggesting the school be shut down? Would Ms. Levine Cava support such a dumb idea? Inquiring minds want to know.
SDM Wonders: Does Ms. Levine Cava agree with the allegations in this mailer? Or would she, as SDM does, find this to be a sleight-of-hand or a misdirection?
Ms. Levine Cava also sent out a mailer in the past couple weeks, which contains her Three-point Plan to Fight Corruption. (SDM has goosebumps!) Here is number 2:
Increase transparency: If a County Commissioner is campaigning or fundraising, the Supervisor of Elections should always be aware of it. My plan would require Commissioners to disclose all solicitation activities so the public is kept informed.
SDM’s Question for Ms. Levine Cava: You cleverly say that “Commissioners” instead of “candidates” should disclose solicitation activities, thereby exempting yourself, for now. Would you voluntarily tell the public that you solicited some wealthy family members and unions to fund a PAC working on your behalf by attacking your opponent? Or, are you going to be just more of the same?