Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A protest ...

... just like the good old days.

The Florida legislature is at it again. Denying boaters shore access in an effort to drive us off apparently isn't aggressive enough, so they are back to reviewing anchoring restrictions. They are having a “public” meeting tomorrow: during the hurricane season, during the Annapolis Boat Show, with most of the people who will bear the brunt of their actions a thousand miles away. If one was of a cynical mind one might think the timing was deliberate.

Since I hate to go down without at least the token of a fight, and since we are among those who will be affected who are also a thousand miles away, the least I could do was send them an email. No good is likely to come of it. If history is any guide people who are used to abusing their power never change their minds, and never give that power up voluntarily. Sooner or later someone has to come along who has the will and the means to remove them from power.

It would be preferable if the good people who live in Florida would do that through elections. It is, after all, their jobs and paychecks that will take the real hit.  Unfortunately that would require the US be an actual, functioning democracy. A claim that is open to debate. In any case, all such power shifts start with protests and trouble makers and then lead wherever they lead. So I thought I'd add my two cents worth, just to keep my "trouble maker" card valid. Here is the email I sent to

Dear Sir,

I understand that the State of Florida is, once again, considering trying to restrict the use of Florida waters to citizens at the insistence of the few. It is already well known that one local marine police force has been bribed to harass boaters at the behest of a single home owner. This, all of its own, is an outrage that the politicians in Florida are ignoring.

I would attend the meeting being held on October 8 to voice my disgust personally, but my Florida registered boat (which is also my home) is currently in the southern Chesapeake Bay. Our insurance is invalid if we are in Florida and a named storm damages the boat during the hurricane season. In addition, we have discovered that places like Annapolis, MD are very welcoming to the cruising, boating, and live-aboard community. They enjoy having us as guests. We enjoy spending our money with them.

In spite of the attempted betrayal on the part of Florida's compromised political system, we are looking forward to returning to the southern Florida area, particularly Biscayne Bay, in the next few weeks. It has been our experience that the people of Florida do not share the anti-boating views that their political leaders are being bribed to pursue. Indeed, whenever we share the story of the state's underhanded attempts to serve those who are buying their influence, rather than the public good, people are pretty sympathetic to our dissatisfaction. A good bit of Florida's service industry is supported by boating, cruising, and those who live aboard. Those whose jobs depend on providing that service know who supports their paychecks. And they know it isn't those serving in the State House.

The tide may be turning. Politicians who harm the many at the insistence of the few may soon find that they really are on the wrong side of history. That is never a good place to be. It is my hope that there are enough true public servants in the Florida legislature to turn back this squalid attempt to kneel before the rich once and for all.

Tim Akey
s/v Kintala

Ed Note: You can follow the Florida anchoring debate on Wally Moran's website. He is actively involved in the fight to defend anchoring rights in Florida. You can also send an email to the email address in the body of this post if you are concerned about your anchoring rights in Florida.


Robert Salnick said...

TJ -

Just a note that the same effort seems to be under way in the Puget Sound area. But not thru legislation. Instead, waterfront homeowners plant "mooring" buoys in front of their houses, all marked "private" of course, and probably anchored to a cinder block. Enough "blocking buoys", and there is no room to anchor.


RLW said...

Sadly the problem is that most all of the politicians involved are already bought and paid for and they simply don't care unless you can "up the offer" or scare them.

Economic boycott is the way to go...

While you're up there spending money up in Maryland make copies of all of your receipts and then send them along with a letter to marine buisnesses and explain just why you're NOT SPENDING MONEY in the State of Florida.

You might be surprised how this tactic tends to over excite owners of marine concerns and, as it happens, since politicians DO listen to local buisness owners...

Of course, for such tactics to work you have to not just do it yourself but also convince others to do the same.

Norm Martin said...

Send copies of your marine sourced receipts along with your protest letter. Brilliant. Gonna need a lot of letters with receipts!

Similar problem in Caribbean some years ago. Some independent studies showed that cruisers spend a lot more money/create economic activity than perceived by the shore-based public. The idea of being a cruising sailor is to have low impact. The power boat industry and participants have the opposite objective. Power boat marinas welcome: sailboat anchorages, not welcome.

I sometimes wonder if shore-based people don't resent the liberty of the cruising people.


TJ said...

Norm, I think it might be a bit more involved than that. To be honest much of the cruising life style is a direct rebuke of the consumerist, violent, and ultimately irresponsible “American Dream” that drives pretty much all of the nation's media and politics. The powers-that-be who influence and support the fairy tale economic / political system that keeps them in power, know it. Should our perceptions of a personal responsibility that includes watching out for others, not abusing the environment, and living peacefully and modestly, ever spread to the wider population, the powers-that-be would rapidly become the powers-that-were. In their eyes we really are the enemy.

One the one had this is a conflict that we cannot win, being simply outgunned by those who write the laws, arm the police, and control the courts. On the other hand this is a conflict that we cannot lose. The very system that writes those laws, arms the police, and controls the courts is unsustainable. We all know it. We are all watching it falter, stutter, and implode.

As it does those in power will invent enemies to blame, shame, point at, and abuse. It is one of the ways to keep people from realizing that their Emperors really are stupid enough to walk naked at the head of a parade.