The people have spoken on water and wetlands: pass WQPO


We must pass a County-wide Water Quality/Protection Ordinance (WQPO) on January 23 or much of the wise growth and conservation elements of the County Comprehensive Plan will be effectively gutted. On that evening it will be the duty of County Commissioners to uphold the November 2000 Charter Amendment 1 in which over 70 percent of voters, 46 of 53 precincts, entrusted its five elected officers with governance over the incorporated and unincorporated watershed and wetlands. This system nourishes hundreds of thousands of citizens in and around Alachua County, and millions across the State of Florida.

We the people have spoken in the most direct form possible, a charter referendum unmediated by elected officials or party affiliation. In crossing the aisles of right, left, town, gown, and country, we mirror the behavior of water, which defies the human pretension of geographic and political boundaries. We love our towns and cities, but we mandated that to give them power over quality of life for the entire County on this issue is irresponsible.

There is zoning enough in existing urban cores to build up, not out, two to three times our predicted needs and wants over the next fifty years. Cities continue to annex under the false pretense that taxes from exurban growth can outspend the decay and inequality this very growth causes to our social fabric and infrastructure. Citizens rarely understand these generational effects of annexation, but they get water and wetlands. They have asked you to protect the one from the other.

The County, its agents, and its staff are by far best equipped to carry out such a large conservation and water quality mandate as Charter 1. Failing to do so will undermine the referendum process, an instrument of direct democracy fundamental to civil society.

Water is life. Referendums are democratic. We entrust you to protect both.

From Unincorporated Alachua County,

James Thompson   

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