Jacksonville politicians want to go along with the crowd.
Because almost every other county in the state has jumped on the bandwagon, the City Council now is considering a bill to create a “resiliency” office, at an initial cost of $300,000 a year.
The new “tide czar” will do…. What?
South Florida newspapers are panicky over the creeping sea level. They have urged the state government to create a resiliency office too, and succeeded.
Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Dr. Julia Nesheiwat as Florida’s first Chief Resilience Officer in July. During an interview, she described her job as “a coordinating role, to work with all the departments and agencies.”
She added, “Some key areas are trying to catalyze private and federal investments, trying to obtain funding for projects, working with local officials, and trying to cut bureaucratic tape and accelerate projects.”
That suggests the whole idea is to pry more money from the federal government, which never seems to run out of money to hand out despite being $23 trillion in debt.
Piling political correctness on top of political correctness, Senate Minority Leader Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, wondered if a proposed Statewide Sea-Level Rise Task Force would have “diversity,” (the bill makes no provision for that).
Despite the alacrity with which politicians are acting, the reason for alarm isn’t clear.
Global sea level has been rising steadily over the past century, and continues to rise at a rate of about one-eighth of an inch per year, according to the National Ocean Service.
At that rate, it would take 59,232 years to submerge the Bank of America Tower in downtown Jacksonville.
In other words, there is plenty of time to adjust to rising seas – if they continue to rise. There is no tsunami on the way.
People who live on the oceanfront can sell their houses if they wish and move inland. Public buildings also can be sold, or abandoned. There is no obvious need for another bevy of bureaucrats to help guide people into using common sense.
Speaking of common sense: noted climate alarmists Al Gore and Barack Obama both have bought oceanfront property in recent years. If it is a pressing threat, why would they do that?
But there is another major problem with creating another local office, and spending more money for dubious results.
Jacksonville has a very detailed and comprehensive emergency plan, and a sizeable bureaucracy to implement it already.
The Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan is an 84-page document adopted in 2017 by the City Council.
It clearly sets forth the duties of city officials in case of an emergency. There are detailed plans for action in almost any kind of emergency, including flooding.
If rising seas constitute an emergency, the existing structure should be adequate. If it is not an emergency, why can’t it be dealt with as needed?
City Councilman Matt Carlucci is the head of a special council committee on resiliency.
He says Jacksonville is not resilient.
Carlucci is in the insurance business and he handles flood policies. He says he has had a number of clients whose waterfront property has been flooded.
He also says the government is predicting more frequent, and stronger hurricanes.
There are several local policies that indicate the lack of resiliency, Carlucci told Eye on Jacksonville.
For example, the planned new JEA building is being built to hurricane Category 3 standards, which means it would be vulnerable to worse storms.
Also, Lot J – the property near the football stadium that is slated for multi-million-dollar development — is flood prone. The city’s Buckman sewage treatment plant is also, which could be an unsavory problem.
Carlucci said the government could buy property and use it for parks, as one way of ensuring resiliency.
The idea is only in the discussion stage and no bill has been written, he said.
Carlucci said the new office would not duplicate the efforts of the existing emergency apparatus. “We plan to try to prevent the emergency from happening,” he said.
Carlucci’s committee is continuing to meet and discuss the proposal.