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Everglade homesteader needs your letters
5/27/04 submitted by Julie Smithson, www.PropertyRightsResearch.org
Article #1: State, Hardy reach tentative agreement on land buy - "...Cabinet members by a 4-0 vote gave the Department of Environmental Protection authority to wrest Hardy's property from him by condemnation..."
(Note: There are three articles here. Folks, this is a veteran whose land is homestead land. To my knowledge, condemnation has never been used in such a case -- and Jesse certainly didn't ever expect this unconstitutional shredding. Clearly, this is NOT for a road, post office, school, etc. It is for "Everglades restoration," which is part of The Wildlands Project, to use the language deception of "endangered species" to take control of more than half -- and likely more than three-quarters -- of America's landmass, and all the natural resources therein. It is nothing short of criminal. Please, raise your voice and let your public outcry/outrage be HEARD! It's a LONG WAY from being over -- Jesse has not quit; don't you give up on him now! "You'll know it's true ... when it happens to YOU!" Will you wait until then to speak up, and then wonder why no one rallies to help you? Or will you add your voices to the growing number that understand the Control Scheme of The Wildlands Project and the "endangered species" SHAM that it really is? Write a letter to the editor of these papers -- the email address has been researched and furnished for you, to make it easy to get involved! Write/email/fax to Governor Bush: that information, too, is here for you to use. "Someone should do something" is being said a lot these days -- let YOUR name be "Someone" and DO SOMETHING! Contact: Governor Jeb Bush: email@example.com, The Capitol, 400 South Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399, 850-488-7146, Fax: 850-487-0801)
May 26, 2004
By Michael Peltier firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-656-4422
1075 Central Ave.
Naples, FL 34102
Tallahassee, Florida - Governor Jeb Bush and his Cabinet offered landowner Jesse Hardy a carrot Tuesday -- while wielding a stick -- in continuing efforts to uproot him from 160 acres that stand in the middle of local Everglades restoration plans.
After months of negotiations and deferrals, the Cabinet voted on a plan agreed to by Hardy's attorneys that would give him until August 31 to give up his parcel in exchange for an acceptable tract north of his current Southern Golden Gate Estates homestead.
If an agreement cannot be reached, Cabinet members by a 4-0 vote gave the Department of Environmental Protection authority to wrest Hardy's property from him by condemnation, a process they have taken great pains to avoid.
Hardy and state officials are considering several parcels where Hardy could continue making a living in the remote Collier County region. The 68-year-old Navy veteran, who has rejected several lucrative offers to sell, has requested that he and his family be allowed to continue operating an existing earth-mining business and open a fish farm.
Tuesday's Cabinet ruling allows DEP officials to begin condemnation proceedings July 1 if the parties cannot reach a relocation agreement. The rule further requires DEP, if it chooses to seek eminent domain, to initiate such proceedings by August 31.
In the meantime, state officials and Hardy agree that they will work toward finding an alternative site for Hardy to live and work. So far, five sites have been proposed, with state officials and at least one environmental group saying the most promising site is located in northern Belle Meade area.
"Progress," Bush said after the unanimous 4-0 vote to accept the proposal.
Hardy could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but a letter written to DEP State Lands Director Eva Armstrong on Hardy's behalf says he agrees with the agency's recommendation.
"Based upon my conversation of (May 24) with S.W. Moore, Esq (Hardy's attorney) and Jesse Hardy, I have asked you to represent to the Governor and Cabinet our concurrence with the direction sought by the DEP as outlined in the agenda provided to you (Tuesday)," attorney Gregory Rix wrote.
Tuesday's vote is the latest effort by the state to buy out all property owners in the region. Of more than 19,000 parcels under private ownership, only four parcels remain. In addition to Hardy's parcel, the Miccosukee Indian Tribe owns a large tract of non-homesteaded property and is going to court to keep it.
State environmental officials Tuesday referred to Hardy's property as the "hole in the doughnut" of more than 19,000 parcels that have been purchased by the state in Southern Golden Gate Estates. Over the past several years, the state has purchased nearly 55,000 acres from property owners, many of whom sold based on the threat of condemnation.
The project calls for filling canals, removing roads and pumping water into the region, which provides water for the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve, Ten Thousand Islands and future drinking water for Naples.
Hardy shares a modest home with Tara Hilton, a member of a family Hardy befriended in Miami, and her 8-year-old son, Tommy, whom Hardy has reared as his own son. The state has made five offers to Hardy, who first was offered $712,000 to sell in October 2002. The last offer topped $4.4 million.
Since beginning the buyout, the Cabinet has not approved condemnation proceedings on homesteaded property without the owner's consent and had successfully negotiated with 17 homesteaded property owners. Hardy is the sole holdout. Tuesday's vote allows the DEP to begin condemnation proceedings, if necessary, without Hardy's consent.
Last week, the DEP circulated a map labeled "Potential Exchange Parcels" that shows five parcels, one south of I-75 and four north of I-75. All of the parcels are privately owned.
Some of the parcels equal 160 acres but others are larger; Hardy would have his pick of 160 acres within those parcels, according to the DEP. But hurdles remain. Hardy would have to seek new county approval for his proposed fish farm and some parcels could raise concern from local environmental groups.
Hardy has two conditions to any swap: that he be allowed to continue his earth-mining business and plans for a fish farm, and that he stay in the same school zone so Tommy can keep going to the same school.
Officials say one especially promising tract is in Belle Meade. Currently owned by Paul Hardy, (no relation to Jesse), the parcel is located within one of Collier County's designated Natural Resource Protection Areas.
"The governor and Cabinet continue to be extraordinarily generous and patient with Mr. Hardy, but I think they have finally made a determination to move ahead with condemnation if they have to," said Eric Draper of the Florida Audubon Society.
Two other articles follow, but here's the contact information for Florida Governor Jeb Bush:
400 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Article #2: Bush clearing taking of Hardy's land
(Note: The Wildlands Project is much, MUCH larger than the "94 square miles" stated in this story.)
May 26, 2004
Tallahassee, Florida - Governor Jeb Bush and other Florida Cabinet members on Tuesday gave the go-ahead for state officials to force a Collier County man to give up his home if he doesn't agree to a land swap.
It is one of the final obstacles to a 94-square-mile Everglades restoration project.
The landowner, Jesse Hardy, 68, for two years has rebuffed Florida efforts to buy his 160 acres deep within the failed Southern Golden Gate Estates subdivision. Hardy has turned down offers that began at $711,725 in 2002 and rose to $4.5 million in April.
Hardy has turned down proposed land swaps with the state, but in early May told Florida officials he would reconsider. Brigham Moore, the law firm representing Jesse Hardy, sent state officials a letter Monday agreeing with the plan to attempt a swap. The attorney could not be reached Tuesday for further comment.
Among the new parcels the state is offering is private land owned by Naples land speculator Paul Hardy, a friend of Hardy. The men are unrelated.
Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Colleen Castille said there is no value set on those parcels, and that she would have to enter into new price negotiations.
Three months after the Department of Environmental Protection declared the drained cypress wetlands critical to Everglades restoration, Jesse Hardy received permission from Collier County to operate a fish farm.
Environmental regulators say the aquaculture permit has allowed him to blast and excavate the land, creating pits that further drain the land the state wants to flood.
The DEP has used the state’s eminent domain powers to force more than 1,490 other landowners to sell their property within Southern Golden Gate Estates. One of those suits, against the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians, is scheduled for a hearing today.
But because Hardy lives on his land, he is protected by Florida’s homestead laws.
Tuesday, the [Florida] Cabinet agreed to waive that protection for him if the land swap falls through.
If that happened, a Collier County jury would decide if the state needed the land and, if so, how much it should pay Hardy.
Article #3: State intends to move to seize land of Everglades holdout
(Note: The AP refuses to ever mention The Wildlands Project, choosing instead to mislead the public into thinking that this is a much smaller issue than it really is. This is the setting of a precedent, if veteran-homesteaded land is taken for a huge natural resources control scheme all dressed up as a "restoration" project. Ask the DEP just what time period in history it intends to "restore" the Everglades to -- and how it can get the public to swallow such an obviously unconstitutional and criminal taking. There's only one way: lie about it.)
May 25, 2004
By David Royse, Associated Press
To submit a Letter to the Editor: HeraldEd@herald.com
Tallahassee, Florida - The state's environmental secretary got approval from Governor Jeb Bush and the Cabinet Tuesday to move forward with the seizure of 160 acres owned by a man who refuses to sell it for Everglades restoration.
Secretary Colleen Castille of the Department of Environmental Protection told Bush and the Cabinet that her agency is still trying to work out a settlement with Jesse Hardy, a Collier County man who has refused to sell his fish-farm property the state says it needs for a massive restoration of the Everglades.
If the agency can't work out a deal with him by August 31, it can move ahead with the seizure, she was told.
The agency has offered Hardy as much as $4.5 million, an amount that has steadily increased from roughly $711,000 the state figured it was worth when it first started trying to acquire the land in 2002. Hardy acquired his parcel in 1976 for $60,000. The state said its most recent offer, the eighth it has made to Hardy, was far more than the property is worth now.
Hardy has become something of a folk hero because of his stand against the government's attempt to buy his land. The 67-year-old former Navy SEAL has said he's not interested in moving anywhere other than where he's lived for almost 30 years. His supporters wrote "The Ballad of Jesse Hardy" asking people to "Rally 'round ol' Jesse, boys, and answer Freedom's call."
Hardy's homestead is part of an area known as the Golden Gates Estate South.
If the state acquires the land, it would become part of Picayune State Forest [NOTE: It will become part of the rewilding of the southern third of Florida, part of The Wildlands Project.].
"This piece of property is right in the middle of a critical (area) for Everglades restoration," Castille said Tuesday.
Hardy has also rejected an offer to swap the land for a similar parcel elsewhere in South Florida.
Castille told Bush and the Cabinet that the DEP is still trying to work out a land swap and has identified three potential areas where Hardy could live that would still allow him to continue his tropical fish farming business.
But she made it clear that that DEP could start eminent domain proceedings, a court process for the taking of land for public purposes, as soon as June 25 and no later than August 31 if a deal isn't worked out.
Attorneys for Hardy weren't at the Cabinet meeting and his main lawyer was in court and didn't return a call for comment Tuesday.
Castille presented a letter from one of Hardy's lawyers saying he agreed to continue good faith negotiations, and Bush and the independently elected Cabinet approved the beginning of seizure proceedings after June 25 if they can't.
If Hardy and the state can't work out a deal, and the state begins eminent domain proceedings, it could still take several months to condemn the property and force him off.
ON THE NET
Jesse Hardy: http://www.jessehardy.com
Also (VERY IMPORTANT):
Wildlands Project Studies Wolf
Viability in Northern Appalachians
Rewilding Vision Has Global Influence
The Wildlands Project’s vision of wilderness recovery and protection in North America has helped inspire several large-scale wildlands conservation planning efforts overseas. One of these initiatives has emerged in Australia, where more than 150 species are known to have gone extinct since British settlement in the 18th century. The WildCountry program of the Wilderness Society (Australia) is in the process of creating a system of interconnected wildlands for the entire continent -- more than 1.2 million acres of habitat have been permanently protected in northeastern Australia alone. To support this important effort, the Wildlands Project signed an agreement with the Australia Wilderness Society to assist with scientific methodology, campaign strategy, and fundraising. Meanwhile, organizations in Italy, Scotland, Poland, and South Africa have launched their own efforts to reconnect, restore, and rewild damaged landscapes.
In case you are still thinking that The Wildlands Project just "couldn't be" in your neighborhood:
The Wildlands Project
By Michael Soule
The Wildlands Project
P.O. Box 455
Richmond, VT 05477
Fifty years ago, the earth's
human population was half of today's six billion.
Large tracts of roadless tropical and temperate
forests and savannas still survived, as did
unspoiled coastlines and estuaries, unexploited
fisheries and healthy populations of gorillas,
rhinos, lemurs, sea turtles and frogs. Now, the
explosion of our numbers, commercial globalization
and the invention of new technologies for land
clearing, agriculture and fishing have changed all
this, with dire consequences for nature and
Michael Soule bio:
Michael Soulé is a biologist, writer,
conservationist and a founder of the
Society for Conservation Biology and the Wildlands
Project. He has written extensively on
ecology, genetics, conservation biology and the
social context of contemporary conservation. He
was elected a Fellow of the American Association
for the Advancement of Science and has received a
Guggenheim Fellowship, the Archie Carr Medal and
the National Wildlife Federation's National
Conservation Achievement Award for Science. In
1998, Audubon Magazine named Soulé one of
the 100 Champions of Conservation of the 20th
A Checklist for Wildlands Network Designs
Conservation Biology, Volume 17, Issue 5, Page 1270
The Wildlands Project and Department of Biology, University of Central Florida
4000 Central Florida Blvd.
Orlando, Florida 32816-2368
Also: 2205 Sultan Circle
Chuluota, FL 32766
Systematic conservation planning requires rigorous methods.
Methodological rigor and scientific defensibility are enhanced by conceptual frameworks, standards, and criteria for guiding and evaluating individual plans.
The Wildlands Project is developing wildlands network designs in various regions across North America, based on the goals of rewilding/restoration of wilderness qualities and intact food webs and biodiversity conservation.
The project employs such modern conservation planning tools as spatially explicit habitat and population models and site-selection algorithms.
I created a checklist to assist staff, contractors, and cooperators with the Wildlands Project in the development of regional conservation assessments and wildlands network designs that are consistent with currently accepted standards for science-based conservation planning.
The checklist also has proven useful in the peer review of plans.
The checklist consists of eight general standards, each of which includes several specific criteria that relate to the qualifications of staff, choice of biodiversity surrogates and goals, methodological comprehensiveness and rigor, replicability, analytic rigor, peer review, and overall quality of scholarship.
Application of the checklist is meant to be flexible and to encourage creativity and innovation.
Nevertheless, every plan must be scientifically defensible and must make the best use of available data, staff, and resources.
Moreover, some degree of consistency is required to link individual plans together into a continental-scale network.
The checklist may provide a template that other conservation organizations, agencies, scientists, and activists can adapt to their programs.
Florida: State acres: 34,558,000
Acres of wilderness: 1,422,245
Managing agencies: FWS, FS, NPS
California: State acres: 99,823,000
Acres of wilderness: 14,085,258
How many wildernesses: 130
Wildlands Project MAPS, direct from their source:
The Wildlands Project: Map page
Listed below are links to high resolution Wildlands Project maps, showing details of their strategic planning. (These maps will take a little while to load as they are 1 mb in size).
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