Another State Sponsored Giveaway to Sugar Coming?

According to the Miami Herald Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet are poised to give away the farm to Big Sugar yet again. This is an industry that is the leading polluter of the Everglades ecosystem,  arguably the most important driver of Florida’s sustainability. The one of a kind environmental feature is unique to Florida and Florida alone. But many Florida politicians including southeast Florida Democrats have consistently ignored the need to protect and preserve the River of Grass and have become in the process become addicted to sugar money.

Rick Scott has compromised the previous good work of many Republicans on issues related to the Everglades. The lawyers and lobbyists from southeast Florida who worked hard to promote, protect and preserve the Everglades in the 1990s and 2000s were disproportionately Republicans. (While those interested in preserving the Everglades from outside southern Florida were disproportionately Democrats) While many Republicans, including Jeb Bush remained bad on the environment, Governor Charlie Crist was excellent on Everglades related issues and he could draw his lineage from Republicans who as conservationists put protection of our natural resources over campaign cash and polluters.

On the Democratic side, Chairman Rod Smith has brought Florida’s Democrats in close alliance with Big Sugar over the past two years. But even before that, many Democrats were addicted to sugar money. In the past some Democrats have told me that sugar money is essential to funding the party and legislative candidates because the Republicans have all the other corporate money locked up. Democratic candidates, party executive committees, local Democratic clubs and partisan functions have all been recipients of sugar’s generous contributions in recent years.

Nobody believes sugar should be prohibited to playing politically. But when the influence of one industry trumps the greater good as it has for years, Democrats have to think twice about whether this money is worth taking. It is disappointing to see so many progressives not understand the importance of protecting the Everglades and restoring Florida’s ecosystem to something bordering on sustainable- something it is not right now. Under a new Democratic Party chairperson, be it Allison Tant or Alan Clendenin, hopefully Florida’s Democrats will stand tall and protect the Everglades.


28 thoughts on “Another State Sponsored Giveaway to Sugar Coming?

  1. Flo-Sun, known through its subsidiary Florida Crystal Corp., is owned by the Cuban Fanjul brothers and contributed $49,200 contributed to the campaign of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in 2012.

    They also donated to Republicans and Democrats in Florida, including former state Senate President Mike Haridopolos, freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, of District 22, Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, of District 21.

    Neither company returned calls to Florida Watchdog.

    It so happens sugar is backing Tant

  2. Incredible that DWS is taking sugar money for all her claims about being a liberal. Her district is horribly affected by the pollution and degradation of the environment caused by sugar.

  3. Al-Ali, 37, company owned by Boca Raton’s Harry Sargeant III, a longtime Crist confidant who until last month served as finance chairman for the state GOP. Sargeant gave money to Crist and Wexler many times. I think he also gave to Maria Sachs

  4. Anna you are confused. I think you are thinking about Daniella Howard who was arrested. The woman that worked for Wexler, Deutch, Skidmore and Sachs. The one who is now working with Barbara Stuart? No one can keep up with the corruption. I think Dave will though.

  5. This is disgusting. When will our citizens wake up to the damage BOTH Parties are doing to our ecosystem and our state’s long term viability?

  6. Sargeant never gave to Sachs. Look it up. Crist and Wexler yes, Sachs no. Don’t link her into the sordid tale, unless you want to on purpose.

  7. This is about Rick Scott and the GOP. How you manage to make it about Rod Smith and the Dems is ridiculous.

  8. This issue is not as simple as radical environmentalists like the author make it out to be. Sugar being forced out of business would cost the state tons of jobs and an economic engine. Sugar provides great benefits to Florida and going after them means they’ll leave the state and go to Louisiana. That hurts us. Besides most of the problems with the Everglades is due to development and not agricultural.

  9. I am a very proud environmentalist and let me state several issues have led to the decline of the Everglades ecosystem. Obviously, development and the flood control measures by the Army Corp of Engineers triggered the decline of the ecosystem but today phosphorus and other runoff from sugar are the biggest threats and serve to undermine the restoration work being done.

    As for the sugar industry creating jobs, the impact on that issue is so minimal it is a laughable argument. I have heard this talking point over and over again and it is completely off base. If they left the state and went to Louisiana they would join all the other polluters in that state and by the way the Bayou is threatened by many of the same factors that threaten the Everglades. The difference is Louisiana has been less environmentally conscious than Florida historically but hopefully the recent oil spill will change that. Previously we had a bi-partisan consensus in favor of the environment in Florida and sadly now we seem to have developed a bi-partisan consensus against it in recent years.

  10. I don’t buy that all. You seem to forget that we need sugar money because the GOP gets everything else. Yoh should applaud them for bucking the GOP and giving to Dems.

  11. So you support polluters if they give to Democrats? If oil companies gave a higher percentage of $ to Dems than the GOP would you support them as well? Actually oil companies are not as dangerous polluters as sugar as far as I am concerned.

    Our water supply and ecosystem which ultimately drives our economy and quality of life are under severe threat from these guys.

  12. A truly disgraceful article which misrepresents reality and pretends the Everglades is more important than jobs locally. Sugar are partners in many iniatives including philanthropic ones but Kartik’s continued slanderous and shameful wind ups about a critical industry put him on the extreme fringe of things. We’re much better off having Dave Trotter point out what’s wrong with the party and calling out garbage cash cow organizations like Florida Watch Action & Ruth’s List as well as the danger posed by Scott Randolph & his allies than being subjected to Kartik’s seemingly daily rants against sugar, developers, landowners and private property rights.

  13. This is garbage. All these nonsensical environmental posts from Krishnaiyer actually undermine our party. Sugar unlike other industries has contributed to the campaigns of liberal Democrats and helped in Everglades restoration. This site is going back to allowing Kartik to control the editorial bent something which is no good for anybody. Notice how “neutral” he has been in the4 chair’s race lately? He has obviously fallen in with the Tant forces and reconnected with his radical vegan environmental buddies.

    Dave Trotter was on the right track. Florida Watch Action led by Susannah Randolph and the Orange County Democrats led by her husband Scott Randolph the self appointed tax collector in the county are threats to democracy and to the long term survival of our party. Trotter’s series on the groups backing Allison Tant would be nominated for a Pulitzer if people in this state had any sense. Trotter is a real investigative journalist unlike Krishnaiyer whose opinion pieces and “investigative” articles always center around Sugar funding campaigns and School Vouchers being bad. Call him a two trick pony who has nothing original or creative up his sleeve.

    Trotter did some real digging and exposed the fraud that is Florida Watch Action. The reaction from the Randolph twins has been to close themselves off to DEC members, hold meetings infrequently, censor Facebook posts, block people on social media and hire Republicans at the Tax Collectors office. It is also no secret Krishnaiyer has told people he still thinks Scott Randolph would make a good FDP Chair and that he has a role to play in the future of the party.

    We love Dave’s work but this site is becoming less desirable the more influence Kartik has.

  14. This is not coincidental timing and shows that Krishnaiyer has made a deal with the other side. The Tant forces have been using sugar as an issue against Rod Smith. An anonymous blog probably started by Susannah Randolph has run a story linking Clendenin and Sugar and then asking why TPH endorsed Clendenin given Krishnaiyer’s long standing and very public attacks on the sugar industry and essential part of Florida’s economy.

    As a point of reference it is important to note that Krishnaiyer asked Florida Democratic Party Chairman Scott Maddox in 2003 to fire consultants who worked for sugar and the party at the same time. He made a big issue out of any consultant working for sugar or AIF and the party at the same time. He made a real clown out of himself.

    Now Krishnaiyer has timed an article about sugar to run right before the chair’s race. He has attacked the Florida Democratic Party and Democrats for accepting sugar money just as the anonymous blog attacked Clendenin on the VERY SAME charges. The Clendenin ad has been removed from the site and Krishnaiyer has been writing more neutral articles that actually support Tant and has publicly congratulated Susannah Randolph for her undeserved role in Congressman Gryason’s office, a Hispanic district staffed with gringos. Look at this tweet!

    kkfla737 (Kartik Krishnaiyer) Jan 10, 9:18pm via HootSuite

    Congrats to my friend @SusannahFL on becoming Congressman Grayson’s District Director! She’ll do an AMAZING job!

    The evidence is clear after seeing this.

    All of this points to Krishnaiyer ignoring the real story in Democratic Party politics today the attempts by Scott Randolph to impose a dictatorship on the OCDEC. This so-called watchdog site has been sleeping at the wheel. Dave Trotter we know supports us but we also know he’s been stopped from exposing these things by Krishnaiyer who has made an alliance with the dictators at the OCDEC. I spoke to someone who has worked against Krishnaiyer recently in the soccer word and he said KK is known as the “Minister of Propaganda” in soccer.

    Krishnaiyer used a blog like this to achieve a great victory for the billionaire soccer league owners who works for. He used the same tactics. Dave Trotter on the other hand is a bleeding ideologue a good man whose reputation has been destroyed by the Randolph twins, other crazy women’s groups and the forces that have made our party weak. A strong researcher and great union man, Trotter is a true blue Democrat. Krishnaiyer on the other hand is married to a feminist and is involved so heavily and emotionally in environmental issues he repeatedly praises Republicans and bashes Democrats because of sugar and other non-issues he invents.

    If KK had any integrity he’d report on the stories related to the OCDEC instead of covering them up.

  15. Great info Michael. Sometimes I wonder if these people are Republican plants. Trotter was once a Republican, Randolph hires Republicans, Krishnaiyer praises Republicans, Tant gives money to Republicans, Crist wants to run for Governor as a Democrat and Florida Watch Action is so marginal they help the Republicans!

    We are the true Democrats and we all oppose these efforts to sabotage our party.

  16. Thanks for these revelations. Trotter is okay. What I was told by a little birdie is that Kartik told Trotter to put the kabosh on the article because it would hurt Clendenin when in fact he was trying to help Tant and the Randolph’s.

    This attack on sugar is well timed to benefit Tant and the Randolph’s. Michael I was not aware of Kartik’s congratulatory tweet to Susannah Randolph but that makes it all very clear. Alan Grayson should be ashamed he would hire someone so disreputable to run his district office. We will be working to get him a strong primary challenge. Susannah Randolph is nuts. Seriously, no one takes her stupid mad rants with any credibility. Her husband? He is as bad if not worse. So he said “uterus” on the floor of the House. Who give a flying you know what!

    That anonymous blog which attacked Clendenin as a tool of sugar was a very clever way of Susannah Randolph working to get Kartik Krishnaiyer on her side. It was obvious that despite the anonymity of such a piece, KK was uncomfortable and started attacking Clendenin and praising Tant on this site. Their is a direct, unmistakable correlation.

    As for sugar they are strong Democrats who unlike other lobbies who consistently give to only Republicans. Rod Smith and Karen Thurman helped us with sugar. Alan Clendenin will keep this relationship going to raise money. Kartik Krishnaiyer was involved in a 2002 attempt to run a Republican, Mary Barley in the Democratic Primary for Ag Commissioner. Barley, a lifelong Republican tied directly to Charlie Crist was the President of Save our Everglades. Krishnaiyer was on the payroll of the campaign and attacked various Democratic elected officials including our very own Bill Nelson as stooges of big sugar. He took Barley around to the DECs and said to people her support for Charlie Crist and other Republicans did not matter because he too would support a Republican who was good on the Everglades. Krishnaiyer is NOT a loyal Democrat. Ask him if he has ever voted for Charlie Crist. Ask him! He’s lying if he says no. He liked Crist because of a single issue, the Everglades. I am telling you he is a zealot on this issue. Just a few weeks ago he started a petition to prevent Alligator hunting in the Everglades.

    What a freaking lunatic tree hugger, or dare I say swamp lover. Do not take advice from someone who puts trees and bugs above electing Democrats.

  17. It looks like Morning Star has a problem with facts. The reality is that Kartik writes the truth and Trotter is just plain angry and crazy. The concern is not one issue. I would like to see this blog dive into some of the donations are elected officials have received regarding charter schools and military contracts. Charlie would not win on that one my friend nor would your diabetic like Democrats in South County. They have been living off of sugar for years. What do you expect from a party with a chair person who is pushing a woman who worked for a company that worked for ChoicePoint (company that stole the election in 2000) or a party that has people like Wexler hurt the entire Jewish community…who is still funding the party with his dirty money tied up with Deutch’s funds.

    Oh add to your list of collections. Why dont you write a story about the overpaid staff, trips and potential money scams happening between Hastings, Deutch and DWS.

    In 2014 things are going to be different. The Republicans are going to look clean compared to what we have in this state.

  18. Sugar creates jobs? As a matter of fact, because of the sugar subsidies, jobs leave the United States. Why do you think candy manufacturers are leaving the US and moving their operations to Canada? Because they can buy sugar at the world market price and not the inflated price that they have here in the US, which is a result of the subsidies as well as the restrictions on imported sugar. Sugar has cost us more jobs than it has created. In addition, even when we are able to increase the supply of sugar (as we did in Louisiana last year), the demand for American sugar is low. The only place that we can sell American sugar is in America. It isn’t even an exportable item!

    Therefore, while I can understand Kartik’s arguments regarding the environmental damage sugar does, I look at the economic damage. I am, by far, an economic liberal first, and sugar is one of the prime exporters of jobs overseas. And the fact that Democrats are supporting shipping jobs overseas by taking sugar money is against every principal I have as an economic liberal. Anyone who takes sugar money, either Democrats or Republicans, shouldn’t complain about jobs going overseas, as they are part of the problem!

    Sugar is an absolute economic nightmare as the US should get out of the sugar business altogether.

  19. I think the anger in Orange County is making the Randolph twins as you call them sympathetic figures. I don’t like them and have clearly noticed KK moving away from his previous pro Clemdenin positions but you people are plain nuts.

    Oh and a Constitutional Officer cannot hire staff based on party. Scott Randolph hiring Republicans is what he has to do.

  20. Tyler,

    No one can hire staff based on party. He can hire who he wants. It might be a good idea to read up on some things. Hey morning star. It is obvious who you are. You should not be blogging on federal time. Word to the wise. You know they are still investigating both parties right?

  21. I’m not going to dignify these posts with responses but let me state that the reason I wrote about sugar has nothing to do with the FDP Chairs Race or the Orange County DEC. This was based on today’s cabinet vote. More on this shortly.

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