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Ali Adair @AliAdair22
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It’s official, FL bill HB 631 is now a law and could affect a beach near you even if you don’t live in Florida. Walton County residents were out in droves yesterday (July 1st) to protest this new law, signed by Governor Rick Scott last month.…
This new #Florida law invalidates local municipalities' #customaryuse ordinances and effectively locks the general public out of using the best parts of Florida’s beaches—unless they can afford to rent (or buy) beachfront property. Lawsuits are pending. #standyoursand
🚫HB 631 bans local municipalities from adopting ordinances to regulate public access to Florida’s beaches above the mean water line.

⁉️But first, where’s the mean water line?

💥In short, it's where everyone wants to sit when they're at the beach.…
❗️The public has free reign over the area which is wet sand or water though. Little consolation. The dry beach—where everyone wants to sit—is for private owners only.

🙁This is bad news for some of the 61,528 residents in Walton County, Florida that earn a living off tourism.
🙁And bad timing: South Walton visitors increased from 3.6 million to almost 4 million last year and tourists had an overall economic impact of more than $3.8 billion.…
As I said, Walton County has a population of 61,528. But that’s the population of the entire county and the beaches in question that people visit are only in #SouthWalton County.

To repeat: nearly 4 MILLION people visited that small area in 2017.…
❓What's an #customaryuse ordinance? 👇

🏛️ Walton County passed a #customaryuse ordinance in October of 2016.…
Naples also passed a #customaryuse ordinance in June of 2018.

But as I said earlier, #Florida’s new law invalidates these local ordinances. And if the local ordinances are invalid, property owners can rope off the sand and keep out the public legally.…
❓But guess who lives in Naples?

❓And owns beachfront property?

‼️Yup, Rick Scott. #NotScott @SenBillNelson for U.S. Senate in #Florida!…
Lawsuits have been filed but the most important one involves a Walton Beach beach owner fighting the #customaryuse ordinance in federal court. This case is more far reaching since it asks if the core idea whether #customaryuse is legal. #30A #FlaPol…
❗️If the Pensacola judge rules that #customaryuse is illegal, beaches across the state could be roped off and local law officials will be powerless to do anything about it.

💥Walton County attorney Sidney Noyes notes that #customaryuse is also used outside #Florida.
⚡️Walton County attorney Sidney Noyes: “This has big implications we’ll see maybe across the country.” For instance, states like #Oregon and #Texas have public beach access rules based on #customaryuse ordinances.⚡️

💥Kent Safriet, the Walton County beach owner's attorney, says he thinks the #customaryuse case could ultimately go to the Supreme Court.

❓And there obviously is scheduled to be a vacancy there which President Trump wants to fill.…
💥Rick Scott & Trump are friends and have known each other for 20 years.…

⁉️Even though in April, Scott seemed to downplay the friendship.…
💥Tourism has been growing in the #SouthWalton beach area since Dr. Stephen Leatherman, also known as “Dr. Beach,” named Grayton Beach (1 of 16 beaches in South Walton County) the top beach in the United States in 1994 & it's consistently in the top 10.…
Grayton Beach State Park in Santa Rosa is #3 this year. Dr. Beach describes the beach: “the sugar-white sand is pure as the driven snow, the emerald green water is perfectly clean and clear and beach development has been restrained so big sand dunes still dominate the landscape.”
In all, there are 16 thriving beaches in South Walton County, FL: Miramar Beach, Seascape, Sandestin, Dune Allen, Gulf Place, Santa Rosa Beach, Blue Mountain, Grayton Beach, WaterColor, Seaside, Seagrove, Watersound, Seacrest, Alys Beach, Rosemary Beach and Inlet Beach.
The closest coastal cities to these Santa Rosa, FL beach areas are Destin (pop 12,305), and Panama City Beach (pop 12,018) and there is almost 50 miles of coastline between them run by #WaltonCounty.
😕It gets confusing because most of these addresses are Santa Rosa, FL because so much of the area is unincorporated.

💡But at least one local group, "A Better South Walton" is working on that problem:
😌But to really understand the have to start from the beginning.

👇It all started when former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and a friend/"political ally" decided to purchase adjoining lots on Blue Mountain Beach in 2009.…
🙂Today Mike Huckabee is probably best known for being the father of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who is the White House Press Secretary.

😇But in addition to being the former Arkansas Governor 1996-2007, he is also an ordained minister (con't).…
▶️Mike Huckabee was also president of two different religious TV channels.

▶️Huckabee ran for President in 2007, had a Fox News weekend show, an ABC radio show and ran for President again, starting in 2015. In May of 2016, he dropped out and endorsed Donald Trump.🍊
So after buying the #SouthWalton beachfront property in 2009, Huckabee and his longtime friend/"political ally" filed permits to build two sprawling mansions. Blue Mountain Beach is on the Florida panhandle, east of Destin and west of Seaside, FL on Walton County Road #30A.
⚡️Seaside, FL is well-known in the architecture world: it was one of the first communities built with the values of New Urbanism which are: create walkable neighborhoods, encourage bicycle riding & public transportation, build public spaces (cont'd)...
ℹ️Seaside, #Florida, (cont'd): context-appropriate architecture and de-emphasize the evils of suburbia and commuting to work by car.

Parts of the THE TRUMAN SHOW were shot on location in Seaside, FL. Clip above. 🔼
🐘Republican alert: Karl Rove lives in nearby Rosemary Beach, #Florida. Former Florida State Senate President Don Gaetz (and Congressman & Trump flunky Matt Gaetz’ father) lives in Seaside, FL.…
⚡️So Mike Huckabee bought his lot in #SouthWalton County using a trust called Angus B. Wiles Trust (trustee is Bryan Jeffrey, a Little Rock, AR accountant) for $800,000 and plans a $2.2 Million construction project, including a pool.

⚡️But there’s an issue. Not a small one.
⚡️The lot that Huckabee & his friend purchased are proposed on a severely eroding beach.

#Florida is prone to hurricanes & was recently devastated by Hurricane Irma. But this was 2009. The state had just been hit by 5 major hurricanes: Charley, Ivan, Jeanne, Dennis and Wilma.
❗️The remaining dune (that protects the houses from flooding during very high tides) on Huckabee's property was too close to the street to allow both houses, both planned to be 11,000 square feet.…
🙉So Huckabee hires a structural engineer that dumped truckloads of sand on the beach to fortify the dune.

🚫Officials at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) still said no on the permits.
😡Instead of dealing with the underlings, the structural engineer went straight to the top and decided to call Mike Sole, who was Secretary of the DEP (2007-2010). Sole was appointed by Charlie Crist, the Governor that preceded Scott.
🤝Huckabee and the friend reached a “consensus” as they agreed to move back their homes five feet.

❗️Yeah, five feet.

🙄The state of #Florida then issued the permits.
⚡️Construction was completed in 2011. By then Rick Scott took office, starting on January 4, 2011. The saga was not over. Huckabee started a battle with the Walton County Commissioners about a proposed “beach nourishment” project.…
😬Rick Scott, who is on his third state Secretary of DEP, "has repeatedly said he is not convinced that climate change is caused by human activity, despite scientific evidence to the contrary."

💥Former DEP attorney Christopher Byrd & several other former employees said that they were FORBIDDEN from using these terms:

Climate change
Global warming

“That message was communicated to me and my colleagues by our superiors in the Office of General Counsel.”
🙄So now there's an organization called "Our Generation" trying to influence elections in the area, Koch-style.

❓At first, no one knew who was behind it, but they were accused of suspicious activities and "propaganda."…
⚡️But then, although Mike Huckabee denied any ties to Our Generation, an organization that had been playing a big role in two Walton County Commission races, well...its ad campaign is being run by Wickers Group.…
❓Who's a partner in the Wickers Group?

⚡️Mike Huckabee's son-in-law, Bryan Chatfield Sanders. Husband of Sarah Huckabee Sanders.…
❓And while they were trying work out issues with the #customaryuse ordinance in #SouthWalton County, who was Vice-Chair of the The Customary Use of Beaches Committee?

⚡️You got it!

💥Mike Huckabee!…
⚡️In Panhandle press, he’s known as South Walton’s [Mike] Huckabee:…
🤔No telling how long Mike Huckabee and Rick Scott have known each other, but he was defending Rick Scott #NotScott on Fox "News" in 2011:…
1 thing is certain, a small community like #SouthWalton County is ill-equipped to deal with the political money machine that Mike Huckabee & his political allies can steamroll them with.

& no doubt there needs to be at least one central area that is incorporated along the coast.
😬This summer if you were planning a vacation to #Florida and you're not renting (nor do you own) beachfront property, you may not get close enough to see this because you may be locked out from the beaches.…
🧐According to politifact, HB 631 will make it harder to guarantee public access on beaches that were already privately owned.

🤪People who want to gain public access will have to sue. For now. But there is a federal case pending—which could be appealed.…
😌And, as I previously mentioned, there's hope that organizations like

will get some parts of #SouthWalton County incorporated.

⏲️Until then, maybe a lot of signs and ropes like this:…
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