Why worry about we-lands when
t is one of the privileges of moving to
Florida, more pleasurable than post-
card skies and the lack of an income
You can become a hypocrite overnight.
They have cleared cow pastures and
oak hammocks for a subdivision where you
can buy a house for a fraction of what you
paid back home.
They have drained wetlands for your
golf course, and wetlands for your mall,
with its sprawling off-price department
store and its bagel shop that sells bagels as
good as the bagels back home and its hun-
dreds of choice parking spaces.
They've drained another wetland for
the office park where you work. Outside
your window, you can see how they've
even populated the carefully landscaped
drainage ditches with some really cute
ducks, so you can think you're in the mid-
MARY JO MELONE
-U COLUMNIST 7,z '
die of some PBS nature show even when
the boss is glaring over your shoulder.
Not a stick of shade is in sight but they
put woodsy-sounding names on every-hing
on the wild chance that when you're tum-
per to bumper on Dale Mabry you might be
fooled into believing this is paradise.
Then you sign up with the Sierra Club
so you can howl about the rape of the land-
scape. And you vote for politicians who
jump up and down about what tree-huggers
You do this. I do this.
The politicians know we do. That's why
a bunch of them from all over the bay area
posed last week in front of a dried up Pasco
County lake to complain about how those
bad, thirsty people in Pinellas County are
drinking the rest of the bay area dry.
And Ed Turanchik, Hillsborough Coun-
ty commissioner and poster boy for the
great yuppified outdoors, went galloping
off on a horse his gazillion dollar
high-speed train to move people through
Tampa Bay's congestion not being avail-
able yet. Turanchik comes from Ohio, for
heaven's sake. What right does he have?
The goofiest part of the politicians'
stunt was the timing. In the middle of the
rainy season, when the odds of getting
you've got good bagels?
drenched at 4:30 are about 98 percent, it's
hard to get worked up about water. That's
like asking a nudist if naked bodies turn
him on, when he's suffering from naked
The truth of the matter is that nobody
cares about water, until the county road
crew inadvertently cuts the line to your
house and you can't flush your toilet. Then
you call and scream at your commissioner.
Nobody cares about the beach as long
as they don't have hypodermic needles
washing up like happened in New Jersey.
And no matter who poses in front of
what dried-up lake, where there hasn't
been a decent bass caught in 70 years,
eventually most all of Tampa Bay will re-
semble Pinellas County, which is to say it
will look like Jersey.
People will start going back then. All
those guys with .357s on the front seats of
their pickups and bumper stickers on the
back demanding to know why don't we all
go back up 1-95 will finally get their wish.
And the inscrutable fights about water
in which the kingpin of Pinellas, County
Commissioner Chuck Rainey, always got
his way by pounding his shoe on the table
like an old Russian commissar, will look
like sandbox disputes.
A lot worse is coming, because more
people are coming, and they're moving to a
place as polluted as all the rest of us have
made it, including those of us who miss egg
creams and cheesesteaks.
Any environmentalist will tell you this,
including the ones who live in condos on
But why dwell on it? Being a hypocrite
.is so much fun.
Cal Mary Jo Melone with a tip at 226-3402
or -mail her email@example.com