Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Post Editorial on the Briger Tract and EarthFirst!

Trust me, dear readers, you wouldn't want to be Panagioti Tsolkas, Cara Jennings, or frankly anyone in EarthFirst! (EF) this week. Or for the foreseeable future for that matter. Remember there was a time when Randy Schultz ran the editorial board at the Palm Beach Post and Willy Howard was the staff writer for Lake Worth. Back then, the peeps at EF could usually count on the Post for support. Times were good most of the time. Here is a piece on Ms. Jennings from that period. Interestingly, it refers to her not reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, something that she was known for. In light of the recent invocation kerfuffle, it helps put things in perspective.

However that was then and this is now. EF as you may know has protested several times the development of the Briger Tract in Palm Beach Gardens. The Briger Tract, with its (possible) green indigo snakes and tortoises is and always was the distraction from the actual story: EF's effort to rid much of Scripps and the biotech industry from here in south Florida. The Post editorial board came out strongly in yesterday's paper and detailed the entire story about Scripps and Briger succinctly. I strongly encourage all my readers to read the editorial. Here are two short excerpts:

There are gopher tortoises, which can be relocated, and possibly — based on the excitement of snake-sniffing dogs sent by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — endangered Eastern indigo snakes.

Hearing the pleas of the Earth First! protesters, it’s easy to forget that building on Briger was deemed among the most environmentally friendly of options for the biotech city intended to be anchored by The Scripps Research Institute.
These [plans by Scripps, the Kolter Group, Florida Crystals, et al.] are all positive developments for a piece of land that’s bisected by a highway and surrounded by malls and homes. It’s much more positive than building a sprawling development 10 miles from everything else in the county, a development that encroaches on the northern edge of the Everglades.

Though it’s easy to forget, it’s ultimately the compromise plan for Briger that has managed to put the Earth — and people — first.

The gem you'll get in the printed edition of the paper as opposed to the online editorial is a lovely picture of EF's Lynne Purvis, Lake Worth resident and part of the tribe.

Also in the editorial, the online edition, is a link to the Post's Tony Doris story about the plans for the Briger Tract

What's lost on some, and what EF hopes to capitalize on by causing confusion, is the Briger/Scripps story is not new by any means. The Briger/Scripps story is old news, more than 10 years old now. EF is engaged in a form of social media 'monkeywrenching' (misinformation and disinformation) going so far as to accuse the Palm Beach Gardens police of abuses which never happened. In ratcheting up the hysteria and hyperbole EF hopes to gain support and, of course, dollars. 

The Post's online edition has a link to the EF site, the EarthFirst! Journal. If you would like to help out EF you can do so by bidding on an item(s) in their auction! The auction ends today so act fast. I'm considering a bid on two items myself. Perfect timing for your holiday giving and consuming.

Ultimately, what the Post editorial addresses is this key question: The Palm Beach County population and business community is growing and where do we want these people to be? West of the Turnpike or east of the Turnpike? That is the question. 

For Panagiotti Tsolkas and EF they will not come to the table. For them the goal is simple: to get Scripps out of Florida. Period. In their writings of late they have taken on an angry tone and are not accepting defeat. What exactly does that mean for the future? Only they know that and I am not expecting a news conference by EF any time soon detailing their plans. Will EF employ a diversity of tactics? Expect more from this group in the coming year.