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the city has the last word

Postby burningflorida » Sat Oct 18, 2008 10:47 pm

Because my better half is an adviser to the City of Gulfport Florida I hesitated to bring suit in the early stages, assuming that the folks we've known were thinking individuals. My assumptions were wrong, Cronyism tops logic in the political arena here as elsewhere. I set up a website and kept a weekly log under Air Pollution http://www.gulfportinflorida.com/ that various agencies have accessed through the course of the battle. They all pretty much say the same thing, the City broke it, and they should fix it on their own nickel. In the mean time the area suffers, and her office in under a blanket of smoke.
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Postby Wilberforce » Sun Oct 19, 2008 1:22 am

WOW! You have put in a heck of a lot of effort into your project, Florida!
Including yourself, others are asking for the best, latest research information
on wood smoke toxicity. I must get on to assembling a grouping of the very
best of the best in the way of papers pertaining to this.
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Postby turning_blue » Sun Oct 19, 2008 10:23 am

Congratulations burningflorida! The site is terrific! The animal and nature pictures are significant and also they are such beautiful touch. Thank you for sharing your site. It's a great accomplishment!

How about getting petitions signed? You could pass out literature or a flyer (like beeshel) with your website address. Are there other like minded animal lovers you could get support from, since this special ecosystem is so near. Remind these people that the smoke and pollutants will go from the air to the soil and water. That might be "THE TICKET." There should be a natures conservatory group or some wild life preservation organization that could help.

Thanks again burningflorida, for keeping us updated.


By the way woodnyet.....did you ever get beeshel's flyer? If you didn't, she was going to pm it to you so you would post it for her.
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Postby Wilberforce » Sun Oct 19, 2008 11:15 am

I do not have the software to write PDFs, so I gave her Mary's email address. Can you contact her on this also?
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Postby turning_blue » Sun Oct 19, 2008 11:28 am

Thanks Woodnyet for letting me know. I will contact her. Thanks for your great news posts too. I love 'em!!!! :)
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Postby FriendofAir » Sun Oct 19, 2008 5:43 pm

What has the local media said about this being a great news story?
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GULFPORTinFLORIDA.com

Postby burningflorida » Sun Oct 19, 2008 8:47 pm

Hey Woodnyet,
I'm sure you know how much time it takes to gather data. ;-)
The key is photography, always take pictures, they are irrefutable in court and in hearings. Keep all original raw photos secure. Photo editing is time consuming but it certainly gets their attention, it fact, it's the only thing that gets their attention. And it embarrasses them. The City would like to reverse its decision but are finding it hard to do so.

I placed an acknowledgement link on the bottom of the toxic page but could do better if it works for you. I could place your URL in the Meta descriptions on the front page on something as effective?

I just released this URL to the Bots; I had a hidden page on one of my servers for months before I went public. This site is only 4 days old but I suspect in short order anyone looking for Gulfport Florida will find GULFPORTinFLORIDA on the front page of Google/Yahoo/MSN…yada yada.

turning_blue, the fact is that we joined in a City redevelopment and beautification project via personal request. We convinced others to join, we convinced other to buy into the project, and then they dropped this contraption in our midst without a compelling argument. The only justification we could find was that the business owner was a friend of an ex-City Councilman who lobbied the City Staff, planning board, and City council. All the property owners in the effected area signed a petition prior to the planning & zoning board meeting. 4 people stood before them and made their case, but the deal was already made in a backroom somewhere it seemed, and nothing, not even the objections of a Consultant to the City or testimony from an attorney who works for the State would deviate them from their set course. Now they can't figure out how to reverse the bad choice without a costly settlement.

Woodnyet, I have Adobe Acrobat if you need something reformatted.
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Sucess stories

Postby Ernest Grolimund » Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:30 pm

NESCAUM wrote about outdoor wood boilers: 6 out of 6 nuisance cases were settled sucessfully for the plaintiffs out of court in Connecticut. I threatened suit with a lawyers letter, doctors letter and councilman's witness letter and the offending boiler or large stove was taken out. They were trying to save money but got scared over high legal costs. My lawyer said $5-10K but some have gone to $270,000. Nobody has gotten any government to take action. Only chance seems to be threatening to sue with a lawyers letter and showing your hand or enough to convince that you have a good case.

Maine passed an outdoor wood boiler bill but the state DEP is refusing to enforce the law. Same old story. Fear of suits is often brought up. It was another source of inspiration to threaten to sue. You could threaten to sue the city. When you threaten you do not have to go through with it. I thought of small claims to keep costs down too. I tried to find pro bono help but could not get it. My legal costs were about $100. Cheap. This is making me think of threatening the city or state the same way. However, the government has deep pockets and the state has deep legal help including the Atty Gen and appointed judges.

Lawyer said nuisance was a threat to life, health, safety, welfare because doctor did. Md wrote this because he was a member of the AM Lung Assoc and they were speaking out against OWB's. Got Am Lung letter too. Councilman just said " I saw smoke around house and at door to a bothersome degree". Had opacity readings from a Sears Envirosense air cleaner. Had pictures, no where near your quality. I'm an engineer ( by education anyhow) and my wife is a Med Tech at a hospital. The opposition lawyer was a relative to a senator of note and his brother lived nearby. We made a big stink like mother bears protecting cubs. Have been studying since preparing for anything. Governor is promoting wood burning. DEP has woodburners as the majority on staff. Secret deals and corruption and cronyism is huge as you say. Got tech help from DEP scientists but no action. Wrote 2 letters to neighbor. One said the ALA testified that 30 mcg of pm2.5 for a few hours can cause heart attacks and asthma attacks knowing he had heart disease and had two heart attacks. Said we were concerned about his health too and cared about all of God's children. Anyway, it got results.
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Getting Old

Postby burningflorida » Tue Oct 21, 2008 9:56 pm

Ernest Grolimund, thanks for your contribution, you seem to know what we're up against. A lawsuit was brought against another SmokeHouse just west of our town and it was not successful. Tens of thousands of dollars were spent to no avail. Florida doesn't like to be restricted on avenues of commerce, and SmokeHoueses are a new trend that generates revenue. Our best option is to show up at Council meetings on camera and continue to pound away at their culpable negligence. To point out the laws that they broke, the damage they are causing, the devaluation to the marketability and value of the surrounding properties, and the health and environmental challenges. I will create T-shirts, take out ads in the news paper, dress up like Smokey the Bear and stand outside the Smokehouse taking pictures of the patrons being fed smoked food while the neighborhood in being fed smoke.

This is a tourist town and they are very sensitive to bad press, so a few ads in the NY Times, Boston Globe, Chicago tribune might help. A letter to the editor of our local paper, titled "Getting Old" made the public aware http://www.thegabber.com/07_24_08/letter2ed.html and we do get calls and email from friends and strangers asking what they can do to help. Support is growing and as long as we keep the pressure on I think they will get tired of us and do something constructive. Last night was the first time we observe the police monitoring the smoke with a camera, so incrementally this will be addressed and with support from the population and lack of support for the smokehouse from the city, the business may just go away before they're forced to stop.
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Postby Wilberforce » Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:19 am

Florida,

This may be a good time to start a nation-wide campaign to educate the public on the toxicity of the
so-called "smoked" foods.

This cooking technique is being made ever more popular by the (overabundance of) TV cooking shows.
Nothing is ever said about the poisonous nature of the chemicals in the food. Then again, people reason
that if they don't get sick (or suddenly fall over dead) from eating the food, then it must be safe to eat.
Same reasoning as with a cigarette: "Still alive after all these years" does NOT mean all is well.
The unseen internal bodily damage can be astounding.

Perhaps make an attack on smoked food as part of your mission. When fighting ignorance, (as with
fighting a war) use all legal means necessary to accomplish one's goals. You have our support.
Is there anything specific which you would like us to do? I don't think I have much in the way of research
papers on this (although I'm sure there are many out there on smoke-treated food)

W
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BF: Good ideas

Postby Ernest Grolimund » Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:36 am

Good Ideas BF. I'm trying to do some of them at the state level in Maine.
Just had an idea. Put up a sign that says ' NO SMOKING ZONE'. Put up a sign that says ' No Tespassing; smoke too". Or try: Woodsmoke: Hazardous to health per Surgeon General'. Or 'boycott this polluter for putting out dangerous levels of smoke'. Be careful with that one, but it might hit him where it hurts. At least you would not have to stand there.

Mary thinks I may have been lucky and she may be right. But I am on your side. You can try the letter and then back off if it does not work, and then you will have evidence that you tried to communicate, tried to eliminate the problem. A letter a week trying different things? Maybe you will break him down slowly. Get up on a ladder and plug the chimney in the night? Just kidding. You could go to jail for that.
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Smokehouse Closed but not removed

Postby burningflorida » Thu Feb 05, 2009 6:24 pm

I have managed to get the word out and the result is that the business could not be sustained. Not that I had anything against restaurants or the operator, it was purely a matter of emissions. Apparently the folks in this City have voted against the City's negligence and did not patronize the establishment.

Now it's election time and my turn to vote. One of the folks running for City Council stood up at the hearing and supported the smoker, joked at the possibility that anyone would be bothered. Joked about serving his beer, and now wants to be elected in another district. He has emailed me with a retraction, admitting that it was not a good idea, but after 7 months of torture his opinion hardly seems relevant. The incumbent Ms. Stull has avoided the issue like the plague, and continues to make incompetent suggestions on every issue before her. This issue will haunt this city from here to eternity while our nincompoop, Mary Stull sits in the council seat.

http://www.gulfportinflorida.com/toxic_ ... rt_fl.html
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Good work. Thanks!!!

Postby Ernest Grolimund » Sat Feb 07, 2009 6:21 pm

Thanks for telling us and others of your sucess. It gives us hope and encouragement and ideas on what to do.

I'm sorry that the business had to fail. Nobody wants that. But it is better that than a continuation of the health problems or threats to health and interference with the enjoyment of property.

I had sucess with my smoke problem too, and so have others, but it requires a lot of work. You have done your neighborhood and city a big favor.

I hope you are regaining your health.
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Congrats Florida!

Postby pm2.5mary » Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:17 pm

Yep, too bad the business failed. Maybe they got sick also. Who owned them? Many are owned by out-of-state companies. Hard to get at them.

Here in California the problem (wood smoked & cooked food) is growing. Now grocery stores are running big barbecues out doors. The wood smoke billows over people in the surrounding shops. Working people with no medical insurance who have no idea what is happening to them. Thanks for your site. We will link to it.

Keep it up, this is the issue of our time.
"Particulate pollution is the most important contaminant in our air. ...we know that when particle levels go up, people die. " (Joel Schwartz, Ph.D., Harvard School of Public Health, E Magazine, Sept./Oct. 2002)
Find more at http://burningissues.org
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email campaigns

Postby burningflorida » Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:38 am

I will share with you something that I had picked up through this process and that is the use of email campaigns.

Take photos, post them as evidence, and then come to this site and post the email addresses of the political party responsible for the violation.

As the email comes to the councilman from around the world with stories of their own, the councilman begins to see that they are being packaged in a trend that doesn't help their image.

Find an opponent of theirs and appeal to their competitive nature, demonstrating how inept the councilperson is, and how detrimental they are to the community.

If this issue was in it's infancy one of the first things I would have done, knowing what I know now, is to post email addresses of the responsible parties and have the world let them know that they are being scrutinized.

The emails should be productive, containing food for thought. Don't just blast them but show them how other communities have dealt with the issues. Tell them your own stories, point the way to a brighter, cleaner future and they will at least begin to question their position and be more susceptible to change.

This is a Great Site, with a knowledgeable group of people that just needs to consolidate their power into a force of nature. Email can be that force; I've seen it with my own i's.


Best wishes.
2iview http://www.2iview.com
burningflorida http://www.gulfportinflorida.com/
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