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I sent an email last Friday to Florida governor Charlie Crist regarding the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and what I consider to be the frittering away of funding on advertising tourism when we’re expecting to have a disaster to clean up. I realize people are suffering from lack of business, but I think there is other recourse to compensate them, and that it isn’t right to encourage tourists to gamble their hard-earned vacation dollars on a Florida Gulf beach vacation when we know there’s a good chance of the oil plume making landfall here.
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Subject: Redirect those advertising funds toward saving our Gulf shores!
Dear Governor Crist –
I moved to Southwest Florida 4 years ago from New York. I came here because of the tropical climate and natural beauty of the Lee Island Coast and because of my love for Sanibel, Captiva, Fort Myers Beach and the surrounding out-islands. I love the wildlife sanctuaries and rookeries along Estero and San Carlos Bays, the availability of fresh seafood all year round and our astounding beaches. It breaks my heart to think of all this beauty and abundance covered in crude oil, consequently dead and ruined for generations to come.
The oil gushing into the Gulf has been doing so for over 40 days. Even capped, it is still leaking. I know better than to think that any part of the Gulf states’ shorelines are going to escape some sort of impact. There’s just too much of it out there, and now hurricane season is upon us which will bring unpredictability in the form of currents and winds.
It is unethical, bordering on immoral, to dupe people into coming to Florida’s Gulf Coast, when we cannot guarantee them an oil-free vacation. We are bilking them out of their hard-earned vacation dollars. WHY are we wasting these funds on misleading advertising when they could be applied DIRECTLY to the problem? We could be using the funds to compensate the fisherman and those in the tourist industry for loss of income. We could be conserving some of it to help pay for the cleanup we KNOW we are going to need.
While Louisiana’s leaders are making quite a compelling and widely publicized case for disaster funding, Florida is busy telling people everything is coming up sunshine and lollipops. By this time next week, we could be just as awash in the foul stench of crude oil and decomposing wildlife as Louisiana is right now. Anyone with even half an ounce of sense knows this is true. So why are we being deceitful with our tourists and wasteful with our funding?
Governor Crist, I hope you will do everything in your power to stop this foolishness with the advertising campaigns and start instead and in earnest to prepare Florida’s Gulf Coast for the impact that we all KNOW is coming our way. Start working on BP to step up to the plate and provide compensation for the tourism and fishing industries and funding for the cleanup. Stop worrying about enticing tourists and refocus all that energy – and all those dollars – on ensuring that Florida is prepared to meet the beast swiftly and intelligently when it strikes.
It’s going to be bad. But you can mitigate a lot of that if you will just focus on what matters, on what makes sense and on doing the right thing, always.
Lehigh Acres, Florida
You want me to be happy, don’t you?
DON’T YOU? 😉