Letter to the Editor: Martin Commissioners receive money from Lake Point
In 2012, TCPalm turned over a rock pit rock and described what crawled out from underneath. They reported that “Commissioner Doug Smith and former Commissioner Ed Ciampi received a total of $9,000 each from Lindemann and his companies in the past five years…Lindemann-related companies contributed a total of $5,000 to Brandon Tucker, an agricultural real estate broker who lost a bid to replace Ciampi in Commission District 5.” Fast forward five years and we are greeted with the spectacle of Martin County reversing its previous position on the long-running contract dispute with Lake Point and agreeing to a settlement of the litigation that benefits Lake Point at the expense of Martin County taxpayers. Both Ciampi and Smith are current BOCC members and voted for the settlement. Mr. Tucker was recently appointed to SFWMD, and that agency adopted a similar agreement.
If you thought the appearance of legalized bribery followed by a sweetheart deal would be the main subject of current discussion on the settlement, you would be wrong.
In an era in which the voice of money often drowns out the voice of the people, the main topic of discussion in the public forum is emails. If you supposed that the emails under examination were between commissioners who supported this outrageous giveaway and private parties who stand to benefit, you would be wrong again. The offending emails are from the accounts of commissioners who sought to forestall the giveaway of public funds and water rights. I kid you not. They were sued by the same people who gave campaign donations to Commissioners Ciampi and Smith. If our elected officials are more concerned about receiving campaign contributions and dodging SLAPP suits than responding to the needs of our citizens, our “Martin County difference” will soon be an archaeological relic.