(A J ale of iwo Women
Marjon Stonemnan Douglas and larijoric 1 larris Carr
Segment: Marjories speak at length about local government and the Water Management District
Source: Interview with Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Marjorie Harris Carr. Videotaped in Islamorada,
Length of Segment: 00:06:13
Transcript and audio recording are copyright 1983-2009 Florida International University.
Interviewer: "At the local level, which is where so many of these environmental issues are finally
decided, land use decisions are made at the local level and they affect the water use and they affect the
air three of the elements that you were talking about before. Do you feel there has been a change, over
time, in the attitudes of the local elected and appointed officials, that you've worked with?
MSD: "Well, I don't think you are quite right in saying that their settled at the local level. The Water
Management District is an overall district area and, certainly, the Corps of Engineers are not a local
thing. That's where the federal influence comes in. The local level has been left to decide some things,
probably wrongly, because when they decided on the local level, at the County level, it's not in regard to
the overall picture. Getting at, in particularly to the question of the East Everglades, well the County has
been left to permit building, in places the State should have never permitted building. The State did not
exercise enough jurisdiction, as it should, to control the flow of water. They've allowed...the County has
gone in and allowed the people to build where the water flow is. Or people have gone in and squatted.
Now they are there and it offers a problem to the State and its water policy. You see? It has been left, in
some places, to the local level and that has not been good. There was a great step forward when Florida
was divided into five water management districts. We already had a district in South Florida. They
changed it from the Central and Southern Flood Control District. The accent was all on flood control.
That's when all the drainage started and that was all bad. So, that having the State now divided into five
water management districts was a great step forward, although I think more work needs to be done, as
a result of that 373 Act, either to interrelate the departments in some way or have some head or
committee reference to it. It's still a little loose."
M Carr: "Right. And that, also, is a place where it's very important who the governor appoints."
MSD: "Exactly! Oh, that falls back on, always, who the governor appoints. (glancing down at M Carr's
approaching hand), What's the matter with me?"
M Carr: (picking a little animal from MSD's blouse), "You've got a little animal walking."
MSD: (unflustered) "What kind of animal is on me?"
M Carr: (gently removing it) "Well, it's the same one that was here before."
MSD: "Oh, was he? Well..."
M Carr: A very pretty little one. (chuckle)
MSD: "No place for him."
M Carr: "A little green one. "
MSD: (speaking to interviewer), "Did we answer your question?"
Interviewer: Well, do you believe that local government is important in environmental issues? And, if
MSD: "Well, yes, but it's got to be coordinated with the overall picture. When you say local government,
do you mean city or county or both? You probably do. In the case of the South Florida Water
Management District, which is the only district I really know anything about. The county and the city
should be coordinated with the plans for the overall district, but they're not sufficiently as yet, and a
good deal of problem has come in because of that."
M Carr: "Yes, there are certain things the local government can do much better. I think those are pretty
much sorted out. There's a fairly logical and obvious division of responsibility. I think what you need is
increased dialogue across contacts."
MSD: "I think especially of the Everglades problem, which is an overall problem for the South Florida
District and the local governments are not properly coordinated with the overall plan, that's what I'm
M Carr: "Right."
MSD: "It depends on other things being equal, I would agree with you, but when it comes to building in
the Everglades, see, that's wrong. You can't do that, but they undistinguishablee)."
M Carr: "Yes. What you need, too, in government, and we have it to a certain extent, you need several
levels...several defenses so that if one group does not perform correctly, there is a secondary defense."
MSD: "Like an appeal court."
M Carr: "Yes. And we...again that does seem to be in effect, but it is very important. Not to have a
crucial part of the environment dependent on just one agency or just one individual."
MSD: "I think that you're likely to find a political influence stronger and harder to deal with on the local
level than on the state level, I think, because with the state level, all the local powers combine, but the
local politics are likely to be the worst, I think."
M Carr: "Yes, though there's always Mr. Chappell."
MSD: "Mr. Chappell?"
M Car: "Mr. Chappell."
MSD: "Who's Mr. Chappell?"
M Carr: "Mr. Chappell is Congressman Chappell, from Jacksonville."
MSD: "Oh, yes!"
M Carr: "Yes.
MSD: "Oh, yes." (chuckle)
M Carr: "oh, yes. (chuckle)
MSD: "I guess we all have our problems. (joint laughter) Shall we say local problems.
M Carr: "He's a statewide problem." (laughter)
MSD: "... becomes so, a burden. (chuckle) The body politic."