A sure way to get elected to public office is to have the backing of a powerful lobby such as the Save the Manatee Club (SMC) which was founded by former Governor Bob Graham and Jimmy Buffett. The organization is represented on facebook, YouTube, twitter, and myspace. They sell T-shirts, bumper stickers and license plates. Not only won’t I get their support; I’ll be lucky if no one throws a shoe at me when I’m speaking about manatees.
Before the SMC puts out a fatwah on me; I wish to mention that my Manatee Stew Recipe, posted on the internet, was only a joke.
I knew all this going into a recent public hearing hosted by a committee of boaters and environmentalists set up by the Broward County Commission, to review and comment on the proposals of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The FWC is considering the first changes to speed zones in 17 years, using updated information on both manatees and boating patterns.
The FWC has a $290 million annual budget. In addition to protecting manatees they do keep a few statistics on boating accidents and fatalities involving humans. I could not find any state agency that specifically looks out for boaters or the $18 billion boating industry. I did find the RSVIPP, the Reusable Space Vehicle Industry Prize Program. I suggest that a better use for the soon to be unemployed rocket scientists would be to start the MADE ME program i.e. the make a diesel engine more efficient program.