Monthly Archives: March 2016

Fla. Gov. Scott orders reviews of state funding private tourism and space programs

Once again Florida papers missed the bigger picture in publishing stories on state funding quasi public-private programs like tourism and space. See the front page story of Fla. Gov. Scott ordering an audit of these programs  Gov. Scott is correct in insuring that our hard-earned tax dollars are spent prudently by government. Months ago, I posted an article on billionaires like the SpaceX group’s use of state and federal space program assets accumulated over fifty years at the Cape Canaveral/Kennedy Space Center.

As this author questioned in prior postings, newspapers in Central Florida like those in Naples and Brevard County have covered the use of taxpayer-funded assets in Brevard County for the Nation’s space programs by the ‘Billionaire Boys’ like Musk and his SpaceX program.  Musk’s grandiose plans for space travel and settlement on a planet like Mars sounds great.  But at whose expense?

For fifty years, state and federal governments have spent billions of dollars on roads, launching pads, more roads, water mains, sewer systems, the Vehicle Assembly Building, more buildings, electricity, and water to supply the space program. For fifty years, to the best of this author’s knowledge, only the federal government’s space program has benefitted from the federal and state expenditures on these tangible assets.

But now President Obama wants a better use of these assets after he cancelled the space program against the lobbying of  scientists and astronauts who know the real value of space. SpaceX and its wealthy friends are just the sort of thing this president has wanted since his first day in office. The general public knows virtually nothing on how several bunches of billionaires have hijacked public land and public assets for private benefit. Was there competitive bidding on the hard assets like public land, roads, and other infrastructure?  Did the federal government or Florida declare any of the space program’s assets “surplus assets” or otherwise unneeded pursuant to law? Were appraisals obtained on the private use of federal property? As I see it, these private billionaires have leveraged assets paid for by the public for private use.

And what about intangible assets like all of the basic and applied science learned and developed at public expense? I contend that none of it can be reasonably appraised by any means because there are no comparable ways to measure the value of scientific knowledge gained over 50 years through the expenditure of public tax dollars and the deaths of astronauts who died in the striving for more knowledge about the universe outside this Big Blue Marble. In America, most of us have believed in democracy. The selling off of public assets to an exclusive club of billionaires when there is no public necessity smacks of piggish plutocracy. Don’t laugh. There are a lot of people who think we ought to sell off our public roads to business entities in foreign countries.

As I see it, there are two large questions.  Why has there been a paucity of news coverage in Florida on private use of publically funded assets used in the space program?  Second,  whether or not the Billionaires have followed all the rules, the taxing of our people to accumulate public assets should place the heaviest of burdens upon government to justify a transfer of those assets to private parties without a substantial benefit to ALL taxpayers equally.  The wisest course may be that the federal government should never transfer public property, whether tangible or intangible, unless there is an equal benefit to all taxpayers.  The United States should never be ‘FOR SALE’.

 

 

 

 

image Canal du Midi Languedoc is France’s longest waterway used for transportation.  

Throughout the 1700’s before the advent of the railway in the early 1800’s, waterways were the chief means for transportation of people and light freight in packet or long boats drawn along inland waterways by horses  on towpaths in England and France.  

Here, the towpath is on the right side of the waterway in this photograph.  This canal is still in use for visitors to France desiring a slow means of travel through France’s picturesque countryside.

The Ghost Orchid of the Big Cypress National Preserve

This posting is dedicated to my friend, Elizabeth DuPuis Freeman, late of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and granddaughter of Dr. John G. DuPuis, one of the first physicians in Miami, Florida.  Dr. DuPuis began one of the the first dairy farms in Dade County, Florida, and was the owner of several large tracts of land in Florida.  Elizabeth spent her youth on the farm in Dade County.  Her favorite flower was the Ghost Orchid, subject of a true crime novel about the theft of the Ghost Orchid.

imageThe Ghost Orchid or Dendrephylax lindenii is found in the Big Cypress National Preserve in the Fakahatchee Strand and is among the rarest flowers in the world. It flowers during only the summer months of June and July, the height of the mosquito season. In the 85,000 acre federal preserve, it is estimated that there are only 315 orchids left. The orchid is symbiotic and must grow in the presence of a certain moss while attached to a special tree.

In the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, a “super” ghost orchid was identified several years ago. In some years, it may bloom any time during the year and often may bloom several times during the year.

The Ghost Orchid has been designated an Endangered Species under both Federal and Florida law.  While trade in rare orchids is a highly lucrative business worldwide, theft  of this rare orchid may land you in prison.  So if you should come upon one of these rare orchids, look but don’t touch.