385 Guess what Florida is running out of?


Tom Garrett 3 years, 3 months ago

C'mon, take a guess....

• Crooked politicians?


• Sunshine?


• Ex-New Yorkers?


• Ex-Cubans?


Well what is it, doggone it?

Shoot! You quit before you asked about Medicare fraud.

Oh, well; wasn't that either.

It's sand.

Erosion from storms and tides, together with rising sea level keep swallowing up chunks of beach along Florida’s Atlantic coastline.

For the past forty or fifty years communities have just fixed their beaches by dredging up off-shore sand. But now....?

That's running out too.

And before you conclude that this is some kind of environmental disaster, you should know that most of those beaches are artificial. They weren't there back when the Seminole Indians were running around. They were created to attract retirees, who mostly sit in turbo air-condition condos ignoring the sand anyway.

Remember the old commercial that said, "It doesn't pay to fool with Mother Nature?" It's true you know. Take a look at any beach down there and you'll see a breakwater that someone has run out into the Atlantic, thereby causing turbulence that swirls away the sand.

Sand is getting so short in southern Florida that Broward County is seriously thinking about collecting old glass and bottles and grinding it into beach sand.

And, of course.....

“You have counties starting wars with each other over sand,” said Kristin Jacobs, the Broward County mayor, who has embraced the recycled-glass idea as a possible stopgap. “Everybody feels like these other counties are going to steal their sand.”

Steal something? In Florida? Heaven forfend!

Two counties to the north of the southernmost Florida Counties — St. Lucie and Martin — are being asked to donate their own offshore sand in the spirit of neighborliness. Needless to say they are none too keen to sacrifice their sand for the pleasures of South Florida. The last time the idea was mentioned, in 2006, it raised so much anger and so many accusations of corruption the idea was quietly dropped.

When the Corps of Engineers told St. Lucie County that it had nothing to worry about because both northern counties have enough offshore sand for at least 50 years, the comment was:

“What happens in 50 years when all that sand is gone?” asked Frannie Hutchinson, a St. Lucie County commissioner. “Where are we supposed to go then? I told them to take their sand shovels and sand buckets, and go home."

Good for you, Frannie.

Hey! Tell those suckers down in South Florida about this plan:

Get some oil tankers, clean them out, fill them up with fresh water, send them to Saudi Arabia, and trade the water for sand.

That would work.

Wouldn't it?


Pat Randall 3 years, 3 months ago

Getting a little off the subject as usual, but didn't the Japanese fill in the ocean and build one of the largest, most modern airports in the world on it?


Tom Garrett 3 years, 3 months ago

Right, Pat. They didn't build it on sand though.

Does that mean that Japanese have more brains than Floridian legislators trying to attract retirees?

Ever been at the beach, had the waves break around your legs, and felt the sand being swept out from under your feet? That's what those huge, long breakwaters you see in all those pictures cause. That, plus the fact that the average natural beach is about 100 feet from edge of sea to dry land, not the seven or eight hundred feet you see in Florida, which is not natural, is just asking for trouble.

What do you think of my idea of trading fresh clean water to Saudi Arabia, which has to make fresh water out of sea water at great expense, for sand, of which Saudi Arabia has more than its needs?

In case anyone doesn't know how short water is over there, there was a time when the Saudis were seriously thinking about going to Antarctica, grabbing icebergs, and towing them all the way home. It would have taken something like six or eight ocean going tugs to tow a relatively small one, and even with 15,000 miles to go, and all the melting that would have occurred, they thought it was worth it.


Susan Daniels 3 years, 3 months ago

When I lived in Florida, they dredged sand out in the Gulf to build up the Naples/Marco island beaches. That was about 13 yrs ago.


Pat Randall 3 years, 3 months ago

I don't think sand is what draws all the retirees to Florida. I don't know about their taxes but I would bet that has something to do with it.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 3 months ago

Thanks, Susan.

You're right, Pat. Here's some very interesting data I ran across while checking that.

Florida is one of 9 states with no personal income tax and falls in the middle where sales taxes are concerned. But check out where Arizona sits:

Rounding out the top ten states with the lowest sales taxes are Hawaii (4.35%), Maine (5%), Virginia (5%), Wyoming (5.17%) and South Dakota (5.22%).

Tennessee came in as the state with the highest combined state and local sales tax rate with a top combined rate of 9.44%. After Tennessee, the states with the highest state and local sales tax rates are California (9.08%), Arizona (9.01%), Louisiana (8.69%), Washington (8.61%), New York (8.52%), Oklahoma (8.33%), Illinois (8.22%), Arkansas (8.10%) and Alabama (8.03%).

Along with the state sales tax report, the Tax Foundation also studied sales tax rates in the 107 major U.S. cities with populations over 200,000. This study found that the cities with the highest combined state, county, and city sales taxes are Birmingham, AL (10%), Montgomery, AL (10%), Long Beach, CA (9.75%), Los Angeles, CA (9.75%), Oakland, CA (9.75%), Fremont, CA (9.75%), Chicago, IL (9.75%), Glendale, AZ (9.6%), Seattle, WA (9.5%) and San Francisco, CA (9.5%).

We didn't make the list of the ten states with the lowest or highest income taxes. We fall in the middle.


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