It’s astonishing and yet not surprising that Florida’s top medical official refuses to wear a mask when meeting with a state senator.
That senator would be Tina Polsky, who represents Boca Raton and West Boca. Florida Politics was the first to report that Polsky asked Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo to put on a mask when he came to his office last week. Lawmakers were in Tallahassee for committee meetings. Ladapo asks for confirmation from the Senate, which explains the meeting with Polsky.
Ladapo is skeptical of all methods of fighting COVID-19, including vaccines. He doubts their effectiveness, despite the lack of evidence to support his case. Ladapo particularly opposes the use of masks, also against overwhelming evidence.
In August, Polsky was diagnosed with breast cancer. She should start treatment soon. A positive COVID-19 test would force him to delay this treatment. Cancer patients are also much more susceptible to COVID-19. This is why the virus killed Colin Powell, vaccinated but immunocompromised.
So Polsky’s request shouldn’t have bothered anyone with knowledge of the virus and public health. But Polsky is a Democrat who supports local mask mandates. Ladapo works for a Republican governor who opposes it. Whatever the reason, Polsky told Florida Politics that Ladapo acted “smug” when she asked him why he couldn’t wear a mask and said, on leaving, “Sometimes I try to. reason with unreasonable people for fun. “
Despite the partisan nature of the meeting, Senate Speaker Wilton Simpson – a Republican – noted that individual Senators can request social distancing and a mask in their office even though there is no Senate mask policy. . A sign outside Polsky’s office reads: “Please wear a mask.”
In a note to all senators, Simpson said, “It shouldn’t take a cancer diagnosis for people to respect each other’s comfort level in social interactions during a pandemic.” What happened in Senator Polsky’s office was unprofessional and will not be tolerated in the Senate.
Boca Brightline inauguration moved to December
Brightline had planned to start work on its Boca Raton station in late summer or early fall. On Monday, a company spokesperson told me, “I’m looking at a breakthrough in December based on what I know right now. “
The spokesperson did not explain the reason for the delay, although the global supply chain problem has altered the timing of many construction projects. Separately, Brightline will host a media event in Miami today to announce Brightline +, what the company calls a “door-to-door reservation and mobility fleet”.
The idea is that the company also provides transport for passengers from their home to the station and from the station to their destination. This is the “last mile” segment that planners talk about. The spokesperson said Brightline will offer the service to Boca Raton.
The agricultural reserve under siege again
Five months after the Palm Beach County Commission undermined rules to protect the agricultural reserve area, another attempt to undermine those rules could begin.
The commission will hold a workshop meeting today to discuss enabling more industrial development and workforce housing on the reserve. It is approximately 22,000 acres west of Delray Beach and Boynton Beach which is the only remaining coastal agricultural area in South Florida. In 1999, voters approved $ 100 million in bonds to preserve agriculture as much as possible.
From the start, everyone understood that the reserve had to be unique. Whatever else was going on around the reserve, inside, the county would keep that commitment to the voters. But those who want to build more on the reserve say the rules must change to meet the county’s need for more industrial space – for jobs – and affordable housing – for workers.
Kushner Companies wants to build a 1 million square foot warehouse on 51 acres on the reserve that now houses a nursery. This proposal has not been the subject of a hearing. But it’s over there, which may explain today’s meeting. A memo to the Commissioners states: “Staff will present options to (Commissioners) for consideration regarding future industrial land use designations, appropriate locations and permitted uses. “
In addition, the note notes that the county “has received several requests for changes to private texts to increase residential density” within the reserve. These “private text amendments” come from the developers.
Palm Beach County needs more workforce housing. One of the reasons for the shortage, however, is the reluctance of the board to strictly enforce housing requirements for the workforce. The developers now claim that exceeding the density limits in the reserve will solve the problem. The “options” for higher density are under discussion today.
In May, the commission authorized the Lake Worth Drainage District to sell 276 acres of undevelopable land to GL Homes. In return, GL was able to build 313 homes that it could not have built otherwise. The commissioners said they had no choice.
In fact, they did. They could have said no. What will they say to these new requests to open the reserve? I will have more after the meeting.
PFA to be regulated
The Biden administration last week announced a plan to regulate polyfluoroalkyls, or PFAs. Carcinogens are known as “eternal chemicals”.
PFAs became a problem in Delray Beach last year. Mayor Shelly Petrolia and City Commissioner Juli Casale asked to remove Rob Long from the Planning and Zoning Council because Long, in his capacity as a member of the Soil and Water Conservation District, said the city might have a problem with PFAs in the water supply. .
Long kept his job. And the Florida Department of Health told city officials that Delray Beach had to test its water for a year to monitor AFP levels. The Biden plan would set mandatory standards for chemical levels and require more disclosure from manufacturers who use them. They are in many common household products.
Delray and the Building Safety Ordinance
With the county commission moving away from regulating building safety, it will be interesting to see what happens in Delray Beach.
After the Surfside condominium collapsed four months ago, Boca Raton moved quickly. The city became the first in Florida to approve an ordinance requiring inspections and recertifications of taller buildings.
Meanwhile, Delray Beach was waiting. City officials preferred to see what the county has designed in partnership with the League of Cities. Last week, however, county commissioners said they’d rather wait and see what the legislature does.
It could be a long wait. Neither Governor DeSantis nor legislative leaders have indicated that building security will be a priority for the 60-day session that begins in January. Tallahassee will be consumed by redistribution and abortion.
Even though Delray Beach has fewer buildings at potential risk than Boca Raton, Petrolia has repeatedly called for the county’s progress, or lack thereof. The mayor now has a reason to question whether the city approves an ordinance. The next committee meeting is a week from today.