Tag: Red Tide

Open Letter to Kathleen Peters on Common Sense Leadership During an Environmental Crisis

Dear Kathleen,

We need to stop campaigning and talk about environmental leadership.

Today I was contacted by a campaign supporter and was told that you have announced on television that you have suspended your campaign to address Hurricane Michael relief.  While my supporter knows that I have been addressing Florida’s environmental challenges for some time she encouraged me to do it more publicly to compete with you.  There is a better way.

While I applaud you for focusing on this tragedy I would like to encourage you to grow, and extend yourself further.

Real leaders quietly lead during challenging times. They don’t turn tragedy into photo-ops.

Five weeks ago Red Tide hit Pinellas hard.  Leaders said it was the worst they have ever seen.  In Pinellas the air and water has been toxic.  Schools stopped letting children play outside because the air was so bad; fish are dying by the “hundreds of tons;” small businesses are struggling as tourists stay home; and workers along our coast are losing money and are struggling to afford rent. I know one mother who sent her daughter away from the coast while the Hurricane Michael passed by because she was afraid of how the wind-driven toxic air would damage the health of her special needs child.

Kathleen we have had an environmental tragedy on our hands for five weeks.  Where have you been?

At the first sign of Red Tide I stopped fundraising to listen to my community’s needs.  I spent time interviewing workers on the front lines of the cleanup effort, shop owners who only made $15 in sales all day and local fishermen who could no longer fish because their headaches were too bad from the toxicity.  But I didn’t turn it into a photo-op.

Pinellas residents from across the political spectrum participated in a Town Hall meeting to plan solutions to Red Tide on October 1st.

Our community is getting the short end of the stick on Red Tide recovery.

Do you know that the disaster loans small businesses are being given is at an 18 percent rate?  That means someone is getting rich at their expense.  Do you know that Pinellas lifted the fertilizer ban as Red Tide reached our shores?  That means we are pouring gasoline on a burning fire because fertilizers feed harmful algal blooms.  Do you know that south of us, of all the people tested for the presence of harmful cyanobacteria toxins in their nasal passageways 100% tested positive?  Do you realize that the EPA says these toxins can cause nerve and liver damage?  Do you realize that the state currently has no uniform way to quantitatively test air quality and properly inform the public?  Do you realize our community has had a crisis on its hands for five weeks?

After the Red Tide tragedy happened, I reached out to national legal and policy experts regarding the health of our water.  I organized a town hall meeting to bring constituents from across the political spectrum together and come up with a detailed plan of action and then I drafted a policy proposal to make it happen.  Also, as a recent cancer survivor, I did this as the toxic air in my own beachfront neighborhood brought back painful nerve damage that I sustained during chemotherapy.

What did you do?

You hid.

You canceled multiple public speaking engagements with me to discuss the impact of Red Tide and other issues.

Even as I publicly called you out for this you continued to hide.

One of those speaking engagements was with a chamber of commerce that represents businesses hit by Red Tide.  Why would you not face your constituents during such a critical time?  Could it be because you are ashamed of your record on beach privatization, fracking and taking money from big polluters?  Were you afraid I would bring this up?

Instead you made up a lie.  When you cancelled one of our debates you sent copies of the Tampa Bay Times’ hit pieces about me to the debate organizer and you told him that you are a mental health professional (you aren’t).  You told him that in your professional opinion you don’t think I’m stable and that you are afraid to be in the same room as me–all 100 pounds of me.  (If you were a mental health professional you would know that making such claims is a legal and ethical violation).  While you hid, you paid for the internet ad, “TheRealAmyKedron” so that you could spread more misinformation about me.  Earlier in the campaign you promised me you would stick to the issues and not engage in negative campaigning.  I’m still sticking to the issues.

But worst of all, you kept campaigning.  You sent e-mail appeals to raise more money for yourself during this tragedy.  Last week someone hosted a fancy fundraiser for you at $1000 per ticket while your community struggled.  It is still struggling.  But during this time you raised tens of thousands of dollars.

It wasn’t until Tampa Bay Times reporter, Mark Puente, tried to call me out for being outspent last week that I quietly announced that I had suspended my campaign fundraising and many appearances to focus on helping my community instead.  I didn’t politicize tragedy.  This is “Sensible Leadership,” Kathleen.

Kathleen Peters I call on you to give the money you raised during the five weeks of the Red Tide crisis back to your donors and tell them to donate it to Hurricane Michael and Red Tide relief instead.  Or perhaps donate the funds you have left over at the end of your race.  You have far out-raised me so you have nothing to worry about.  It is not right to hide behind one tragedy to avoid dealing with another tragedy that your state voting record helped create.

Also Kathleen, I call on you to do something about Red Tide.

Apologize for your past record on not protecting our shores and vow to do better.  Vow to stop taking dirty fossil fuel money directly or through your PACs as you have. Pledge to the public that you will adopt, implement and enforce my Red Tide Plan if you are elected to office. Tell your donors to help set up a fund to implement the Red Tide Plan and assist families, businesses workers and the environment long-term.

Let’s suspend both of our campaigns and spend the rest of campaign season addressing the tragedy in our community together.  My campaign slogan is #ComeTogetherRightNow and I would be happy to put politics aside and work with you on bi-partisan leadership to leave a positive legacy in our community.

This is “Sensible Leadership,” Kathleen. I hope you agree.

Sincerely,

Dr. Amy Kedron

Amy’s Latest Interview with Mark Puente of the Tampa Bay Times

Since blogging about the tabloid-style Tampa Bay Times reporting about my campaign by Mark Puente, I have finally gotten questions from Puente that are more fair and actually allow me to talk about the merits of this campaign.  This interview has not been published in The Times yet, but here is a sneak preview of my answers.  Let’s compare it to what The Times actually covers:

 

How is the campaign going?

We have refocused our campaign to address the impact of Red Tide/Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) on public health and our beachfront economy. Half of my district runs along the Gulf and my constituents are facing serious challenges. Poor air/water quality has reduced tourism and small businesses and workers are feeling the impact.

 

What makes you a better candidate than your opponent? 

All of my donations come from people and small businesses, not special interests or polluters.

Peters has accepted donations from major polluters and has voted for state laws that threaten our water, environment and public health. I never will.

 

What is your strategy to reach as many voters as possible in the coming weeks?

I have worked mobilize my party to work collectively toward a Blue Wave. This is why may campaign slogan is Come Together Right Now: there is strength in unity.

 

What is your plan to move Pinellas County forward?

I am a green economy leader who will represent a beachfront economy that is confronting environmental challenges such as Red Tide, sea level rise and climate change. I plan to protect our natural resources and grow a strong beachfront economy.

 

What are your three biggest campaign priorities? 

I drafted a policy plan to mitigate the impact of Red Tide/HABs that includes:

  1. Protecting public health with proper research, signage, and education.
  2. Giving grants and low-interest loans to small business to help them recover.
  3. Strengthening water, land and environmental management policies to reduce the impact of Red Tide/HABs now and in the future.

My full plan is on my website: https://amykedron.com/2018/10/07/amys-red-tide-plan/

 

 

How are you overcoming the lack of name recognition in a Republican district? 

I lead in times of crisis and I focus on our common interests: a healthy environment, strong community and thriving economy. I have earned the respect and support of several Republican voters.

 

Peters raised $41,000 in the last reporting period. You raised $300. How will you overcome a well-funded opponent? 

Candidates should be leaders first, not piggy-banks. As soon as Red Tide / Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) impacted my district, I stopped fundraising to help.

I held a town hall meeting, interviewed those impacted and worked with experts to draft policies to address the short and long-term impact of toxic algae on public health and the local economy.

Amy’s Red Tide Plan

Have you sent any mailers throughout District 6?

Not yet.

 

Is there anything I should know about your campaign?

I started my leadership career at the age of 19 overseeing a $6 million budget and managing personnel for over 50 full-time workers. Area leaders have said I have the most impressive resume they’ve ever seen.

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UPDATE: I posted this interview to my blog on 10/11/18, the day I e-mailed my interview answers to Mark Puente.  I did this to ensure transparency.  On 10/14/18 Kathleen Peters announced on television that she was suspending her campaign to assist with Hurricane Michael relief.  Only after Kathleen’s announcement did Mark Puente run parts of this interview on 10/15/18.   Read it here.  Read about new evidence that confirms that Kathleen Peters knew and understood the malicious intent of my campaign coverage by the Tampa Bay Times here.   The Tampa Bay Times is the only major newspaper in our region and it holds itself out as the recipient of 12 Pulitzer Prizes.  It has tremendous influence over political races in this area and has recently been sued for defamatory coverage of Democratic candidate Jeff Greene for $500 Million.  They settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.

 

Amy’s Red Tide Plan

Addressing the Short and Long-Term Impact of Red Tide/Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) © 10/6/18

Red Tide is a naturally occurring phenomenon but evidence shows human activity such as runoff from lawn fertilizers, cow pastures, agriculture, sewer systems and septic systems is feeding these Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) making them more wide-spread and long-lasting.  The toxin that has killed several hundred tons of marine life in Pinellas County is also affecting local air quality and can impact public health.

Since Red Tide arrived on our shores, Amy has spent time interviewing clean up crews, small business owners and residents about their experience.  She has also sponsored a special Town Hall about Red Tide to help the community to share their concerns and come up with solutions to this economic and environmental challenge.  She has also spent time talking with Waterkeepers, environmental attorneys, meteorologists and other officials to help address this challenge.

As a result, Amy has established a list of policy recommendations that she plans to implement as a Pinellas County Commissioner.  The plan will help reduce the harmful impact of Red Tide in the coming weeks and years.   We would like to hear your thoughts on this issue.  You are invited to share your feedback at amy@amykedron.com.

Amy is proud that Healthy Water and Beaches has been her top campaign priority since it began.  This is why the starfish is part of her campaign logo.  As a recent cancer survivor she understands the connection between a environmental and human health.  Amy has worked at the forefront of the green economy for twelve years and is looking forward to implementing solutions that helps our ecosystem, economy and community thrive.  Unlike her opponent Amy will never take donations from major polluters; she will protect Florida’s precious waters from fracking, oil drilling and other pollutants and she will ensure that our beaches remain publicly accessible.

 

Amy’s Red Tide Plan:

 

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Monitoring

  • Find and employ more quantitative and efficient ways to monitor air and water quality to keep the public more regularly informed.
  • Educate the public about ways to document the impact of HABs on their health.
  • Educate local businesses about ways to document the physical and economic impact of HABs on businesses and workers.

 

Public Health

  • Ensure there is adequate signage on beaches regarding water and air quality.
  • Educate the public about ways to avoid HABs and their effects.
  • Establish a reliable way to monitor air quality and alert the community as we do with water quality.

 

Water Quality

  • Immediately extend and enforce the ban on fertilizers during HABs.
  • Incentivize Florida Friendly landscaping practices to use less water and chemicals.
  • Minimize sewage overflows by diverting rainwater into the ground through more emphasis on downspout disconnects, rain barrels, swales, rain gardens and permeable pavement.
  • Re-establish and enforce septic system inspections.

 

Local Business

  • Immediately work with state leaders to advocate for small business disaster loans below the 18 percent rate.
  • Educate small businesses about disaster support services and work with area agencies to assist businesses with applications.
  • Work with state leaders to extend the deadline for disaster loans beyond Nov/Dec if needed.
  • Allocate more of the County budget toward strengthening impacted businesses with grants and business development assistance.

 

Justice

  • If legal claims are pursued against major polluters, work to ensure the claims of homeowners, small business owners and others are adequately processed and awarded.

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Sign our Red Tide Plan petition here to help make a difference.

Amy’s Red Tide Town Hall

Turning the Tide: Amy Kedron Campaign Hosts Town Hall Meeting

October 1st at 6pm at Faith Community Church

The Amy Kedron Campaign for the Pinellas County Commission is hosting a town hall meeting entitled, “Turning the Tide: Protecting our Waterways, Beaches and Green Spaces” to address two issues of critical concern to her District 6 constituents.

The town hall will take place on Monday, October 1st from 6-8 pm at the Faith Community Church located on 11501 Walker Ave in Seminole.

The town hall is an opportunity for Kedron and other public officials to listen to local homeowners, small business owners, and concerned citizens about what can be done to preserve and protect local waterways, beaches and green space. Issues of primary concern are the impact of Red Tide on residents and businesses and the protection of the Tides Golf Course, an historic golf course which residents are trying to save from developers.

“It’s important to me to spend time listening to what my community truly values and to craft a plan of action that reflects people’s needs. The goal is to establish practices that will allow our children and great-grandchildren to enjoy our public spaces the way we have.”

The idea for the town hall meeting arose after Kedron’s opponent decided to back out of a debate about green space preservation. The town hall meeting will now take place at the time and location of the cancelled debate.

“My campaign decided to turn this lost opportunity into a better one,” Kedron says.  “Instead of engaging in a debate, I can now spend more time listening to the community, and that’s what matters most.”

Since launching her campaign in May, Kedron’s top priority has been preserving waterways, beaches and habitat. Learn more about the event and Amy’s campaign at https://amykedron.com.

 

 

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Amy’s Priorities and Accomplishments

Platform Points:

Healthy Water, Beaches & Habitats

Our beaches are what makes Pinellas County a truly spectacular place to live and visit.  From the start of this campaign, long before signs of Red Tide, healthy water has been Amy’s top priority.  This is why a starfish is part of the campaign logo.  Amy lives in Madeira Beach and has encountered the impact of Red Tide, first-hand.  She has interviewed beach employees, community members and small business owners impacted by Red Tide and she has been working with these constituents to come up with solutions.  As a cancer survivor, and as a green economy leader since 2006, Amy will make the health of our natural resources a top priority.  Unlike her opponent, Amy will never take donations from polluters like the fracking, oil or gas industry, nor will she allow fracking or drilling in Florida.  Certain issues simply aren’t negotiable.  Our beaches drive one-fifth of the Pinellas economy and it is imperative that we protect Florida’s greatest asset.  If Florida is on the front lines of climate change Amy will work to make sure Pinellas is on the front lines of climate solutions.  She will support renewable energy, public transportation, density, walkability, and many other sustainable initiatives.

Good Jobs & Small Business Expansion

Amy has worked at the forefront of economic development for twelve years to ensure that we are creating not only jobs but true community wealth.  She has worked to create living-wage jobs and she has worked with hundreds of small business owners to ensure that they are a top economic development priority.  Amy has written extensively about the importance of small business.  She has also spearheaded pivotal local policies and state laws to incentivize investment in women, minority-owned and green businesses at the local and corporate level.  Amy helped establish a Community Benefits Agreement for a multi-million-dollar development that left investors, workers and the community with a celebrated space that benefits all.  She is looking forward to doing more of this for Pinellas as well.

Pedestrian and Bike-Friendly Streets

Our region leads the nation in the number of pedestrian and bike-related deaths.  As an avid bicyclist, Amy will work to advance “Complete Streets” and establish roadways and infrastructure that allows all people to use our streets in a way that is easy, safe and enjoyable.  She has been a supporter of organizations like the St. Pete Bike Co-op.

 Strong Veteran Support

Amy will work to make sure that the well being of our veterans is a top priority.  She will work to ensure that veterans have access to the affordable housing, business opportunities and jobs they deserve.

Home Rule

The ability of local elected leaders to make decisions about what they feel is right for the community they know and love should never be dictated by Tallahassee.  All politics starts locally.   Unlike her opponent, Amy will ensure that the government officials that you elect in Pinellas will have the power to make decisions that directly affect our lives.  This is an integral part of ensuring democracy for all.

Amy’s Accomplishments:
  • Amy became the first person in her family to go to college.  She earned a Law Degree and a PhD and recently worked as a department head and professor of a business program at Ringling College.
  • She began managing personnel of 50 full-time people and a $6 million budget by the age of 19.
  • Published author on community economic development,
  • Took leadership to protect hundreds of Madeira Beach residents during  Hurricane Irma,
  • Established historic designation with Preserve the Burg to save a St. Pete neighborhood from being destroyed,
  • Founding CEO of an award-winning community development social enterprise that worked to expand small businesses and build a green economy,
  • Founding board member of a policy think tank associated with the Cornell School for Industrial and Labor Relations, which works to improve local policy in the areas of housing, healthcare, economic development, poverty reduction and social and environmental justice,
  • Worked to pass B-Corporation legislation to help large companies focus on people, our planet and shared prosperity,
  • Provided cost-saving environmental solutions and educational materials to business owners and consumers,
  • Worked to grow small business and create living-wage jobs,
  • Mobilized USF and Ringling College students to strengthen area organizations such as the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Courts, the St. Pete Bike Co-op and the Dali Museum,

If this is what Amy has accomplished before running for office, imagine what she can do for you as your next District 6 County Commissioner.