Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Open Letter to Councilwoman Linda Saul Sena and Mayor Pam Iorio

Hi Linda Thanks for coming to our GCA meeting and enduring the slings and arrows, and becoming aware of south Tampa's deep opposition to the Gandy overpass.

Thank you VERY much for meeting me this Friday at Larry and Donna Bevis's home at 115 Adalia on Davis Island to see first hand what the reclaimed water has done to their formerly weed-free, rose-filled, all organic landscape I helped them to care for for 19 years. I am submitting in this e-mail for your records and public record photos I took of their now long dead roses, and formerly dense, lush, weed-free all-organic St. Augustine lawn BEFORE they subscribed to reclaimed. As Donna said by phone, whatever benefit they did the environment by switching to reclaimed has been negated by their in desperation resorting to weed and feed fertilizers for the lawn. Bear in mind that their formerly lovely collection of own root Old Roses, plus a few modern roses on the tough Fortuniana roses, all organically grown and THRIVING for many years with no sprays, began to suffer badly just months after switching to reclaimed water, with most dead a little over a year later. Truly heartbreaking to a rose lover like Donna, and a rosarian like me.

With John Dingfelder ignoring the detailed reports from IFAS I presented, and my own first hand observations as a landscaper and garden columnist, and talking of FORCED subscription to this water deadly to a VAST number of trees, grasses, roses, vegetables and landscape plants, it is imperative that city officials finally be truly aware of the scope of the problem. Since "salt" is not the only issue with this toxic water, John Dingfelder's mantra that we just plant "Florida friendly plants" shows a continued chosen ignorance of empirical data readily available to city staff, even if I had not previously presented it.

I am CCing this to Mayor Iorio in hopes she too becomes FULLY aware of the tragic consequences of not adding reverse osmosis to the current plant, and the construction of two MORE similarly inherently flawed water processing plants as I saw proposed at the reclaimed water workshop. I will also re-attach the IFAS lists of trees ( mostly native and thus "Florida Friendly" ) and perennials damaged or killed by water of this poor quality that I presented to council at that workshop. Attached too is the letter I submitted to council for consideration of FACTS oddly not being presented to them by Mr. Baird.

I look forward to seeing you at the Bevis's this Friday at 5 PM. They have a commitment at 6 PM but Donna will try to be there, and will e-mail you in the meantime. Thank you SO much for your willingness to see first hand the scope of a problem that could ravage Tampa's treescape (and aquifer as this toxic percolates down) long term.

John Starnes
3212 West Paxton Avenue
Tampa FL 33611
813 839 0881


"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic, it is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness -- and if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now, as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself, a marvelous victory." - Howard Zinn

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