Inside Vero: Opinion – The squeaky wheel gets the grease, as Vero Beach braces for a modern-day monkey trial

By Mark Schumann  To view original article click here.

At Mayor Craig Fletcher’s request, representatives from the Seven50 regional planning group will come before the City Council next Tuesday to explain their mission and goals.  In putting the now-controversial Seven50 project on the Council agenda, Fletcher said he wanted to, “learn what Seven50 is and what it isn’t.”

At a recent Republican Men’s breakfast, however, Fletcher was not sounding so impartial.  In fact, he indicated that he will likely push for a vote Tuesday, in hopes that at least two other Council members will support him in ending the city’s participation in a planning effort opponents fear will eventually lead to the abolition of private property rights, the deterioration of the American family and local domination by a global, one-world government.

monkey-trial

Opponents of Seven50 make no apologies for sounding extremist, alarmist, perhaps even given to conspiracy theories.  Without the slightest equivocation, they boldly hand out talking points opposed to sustainable development initiatives, all written by so-called experts who are blatantly dismissive of suggestions that there could possibly be any connection between carbon emissions and global warming.

Walking down a dimly lit path, it is quite possible to mistake a stick for a snake.  But shed light on the path and a gnarly, twisted twig can be seen for what it is – harmless.

Representatives of Seven50 will attempt next Tuesday to help the Council and the public better understand how Vero Beach and Indian River County can benefit from participating in regional discussions about building a prosperous Southeast Florida for future generations.  The chances are, though, that no amount of light they might be able to shed on their efforts will help the anti-Seven50 crowd disabuse themselves of their fear of millions of visitors arriving via Amtrak to crowd our beaches and a downtown area transformed against our will into a high-rise slum for the poor and ignorant masses.

Opponents of Seven50 plan to begin filling the Council chambers 30 minutes in advance of next Tuesday’s meeting so that, as they put it, “the black hats will have to stand outside.”

Through next Tuesday’s Seven50 presentation to the City Council may turn into a local, modern-day monkey trial, and though the Council may follow the lead of the County Commission in bowing to pressure from a well-organized, vocal minority, life will go on.  If the 130,00 residents of Indian River County are unrepresented in the Seven50 discussions, that won’t keep the more than 4 million residents of St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Broward, Dade and Monroe Counties from building a brighter future.

The only people who stand to loose from such parochialism are the residents of Vero Beach and Indian River County.  Never mind that refusing to participate in regional planning discussions makes us look like a bunch of hayseeds.  Far more importantly, our absence from the Seven50 discussion may leave the city and county at a disadvantage in seeking future grants for projects such as transportation, infrastructure and restoring the health of the Indian River Lagoon.

In the face of overwhelming opposition last month, County Commissioner Peter O’Bryan bravely tried to help his fellow commissioners understand that by accepting a seat at the table, the county was committing to nothing more than participating in a regional discussion about the future of Southeast Florida, of which Indian River County is a part, whether we like it or not.

The city and county have nothing to loose by participating in Seven50, yet, in the face of impassioned opponents who are fearful the city and county will be swallowed in a regional government subservient to a global authority, the County Commission caved, and the City Council appears ready to follow their ignoble example.

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