Home News Compromise in Politics: A Rare Phenomenon – Naples Florida Weekly

Compromise in Politics: A Rare Phenomenon – Naples Florida Weekly

Compromise in Politics: A Rare Phenomenon – Naples Florida Weekly

You only don’t see it much anymore, the willingness to just accept half a loaf. Compromise seems all but dead in America and definitely in Florida, where the one-party system is well entrenched.

On the federal level, the take-it-or-leave-it Biden administration has been telling Congress for months that $61 billion, not a penny less, should be approved for Ukraine. Otherwise, Russia wins the war.

How a couple of compromise, a middle ground? Unblock the impasse. Approve something. At this writing it seems about to occur. Whether it does or not, you possibly can make sure it won’t be the last uncharted plea for money.

What’s next? Probably rebuilding our military, reducing greenhouse emissions, containing the flood of illegal migration. Will we accept middle-ground solutions — realistic, measured, inexpensive? Unlikely. We’ll probably just open the spigot and jack up the national debt.

It’s that spendthrift mentality that makes any compromise a breath of fresh air. So let’s rejoice the compromise on Conservation Collier that the county commissioners and a clutch of environmentalists reached last month. No person got every part they wanted, but everybody got something they needed.


The brouhaha began last September when the commissioners, in search of ways to offset budget cuts, snatched $53 million of Conservation Collier funds, which they said were gathering dust with few land acquisitions planned.

As most know by now, the Conservation Collier program — overwhelmingly approved by voters — calls for a 0.25 mill increase in property taxes for use for the acquisition of “environmentally sensitive land.” Those purchases are said to slow development, protect wildlife, and safeguard sensitive wetlands. Some 4,700 acres of land purchases have been revamped the past several many years.

Fast forward to the current. Environmentalists raised hell over the pilfered $53 million and, worse, over a revision of the ordinance that may have allowed the commissioners to make further withdrawals.

The outcry spooked the board. Commissioner Hall, in full retreat, said, “It is a one-time thing we did, never to be done again … It was never our intention to rob Conservation Collier and use it as a slush fund.”

And it turned out that way. Negotiations with tree-huggers led to a real compromise. Ordinance revisions included …

¦ Allowing the commissioners to set the tax rate annually, in addition to the share going into maintenance and acquisition funds

¦ Allowing diversion of funds only “within the event of an emergency” as defined by the commissioners

¦ Promising the diverted money can be paid back “as soon as practicable”

¦ Allowing existing Conservation Collier land to be sold so long as revenues are returned to this system

¦ Detailing criteria for land acquisitions to hurry up the approval process

¦ Allowing acquisitions through everlasting easement, a brand new option

County officials said those changes should unlock “north of $20 million price of purchases” in April.

Driving the ordinance revisions, the chief hell-raisers were Collier County Waterkeeper Ray Bearfield, and Brad Cornell of Audubon Western Everglades and Audubon Florida.

Like all good compromises, this one produced no clear winners or losers.

Cornell was quoted as saying the vote would “limit any future borrowing of Conservation Collier trust funds to emergencies only and commit to exchange all future borrowed funds.”

The commissioners retained the whip hand for outlining the “emergency” that may allow borrowing and the “practicable” timing for repayment.

The most beneficial consequence of this will be that everyone seems to be watching now. Come budget time, no sleight of hand will go unnoticed.

What about repaying the $53 million looted last September? Nothing yet. Only silence. But, hey, no compromise is ideal. ¦


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