Today, I am angry for a whole host of reasons. All of those things that are making me angry are out of my control, but there is one thing that I feel like I should voice my opinion on. This case: Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection was heard in oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court this week. You can read the oral argument transcript here. It is a doozy of lines from the attorney representing these selfish, greedy homeowners who basically are looking to profit for themselves off of publically paid for beach renourishment that created a small, public beach in front of their ugly, oversized stucco monstrosities. Yes, at the end of the day, this is what they are arguing for, as their counsel points out on pages 15-16: “Now the state may at the end of the day say well, we are not going to claim title to that; we are going to reinstate your boundary as the mean high water line – that would be eighty feet further out – and no compensation in that case would be due.” Yes, their counsel in essence admitted that his property owners should be entitled to own (free of charge mind you) land formally owned by the state of Florida and its citizens or in the alternative, be compensated for the loss of their littoral rights, even though they lost no actual property! According to these people, the state of Florida should just give them 80 more feet of beachfront property (paid for by the taxpayers of the state of Florida) just because they own property adjacent to the state’s property. Excuse me while I vomit profusely in my trash can.
Here is the thing, I make no secret of the fact that if it were up to me, all of this beachfront land and the barrier islands were publically owned and no one was able to build private dwellings upon them. Not only does it take away from the natural scenic beauty of beautiful beaches, but the costs of insuring this high risk property has nearly bankrupted the state as well as responsible property owners who choose to build in less ecologically risky places in Florida. The fact is, because these morons choose to build on a place that was designed by nature to be a natural buffer against hurricanes for the mainland of Florida, everyone has to pay higher insurance rates in the state of Florida. And then, when the state of Florida attempts to improve the shoreline and build it back from some of the hurricane erosion that took place, these same people complain. I really hope that the State of Florida wins this one. I could go into the legal reasons why I think that these homeowners have a weak case, but I will refrain for the time being and just state I don’t see how this could constitute a judicial taking of property. Instead, I want to tell the state of Florida what they should do, should Kennedy decide to skirt on over to the side of Alito, Roberts and co. on this one.
Florida – Don’t let these people win. First of all, if you lose this case and it gets remanded back, then I am sure that you will do a good job of arguing that they didn’t lose any value to their property because the value that they gained from the increased beach protection (including the value to their insurance costs) more than offsets any losses to their property value. I am sure that you will do just fine with those arguments. Instead, lets think of some long term legislative fixes that these people deserve.
1. Don’t let them be eligible for Florida’s state assisted and funded insurance. It just isn’t right. They shouldn’t be able to benefit from those kind of public services where the cost of their intransigence and selfishness is passed on to others. Write them out of it.
2. After hurricanes, if they haven’t been receptive to state efforts to renourish beaches and provide increased erosion protection, then guess what, they aren’t eligible for state grants or rebuilding assistance. The same logic goes as above. Again, these people shouldn’t be able to benefit from taxpayer assistance when they have been jerks to the taxpayer. Federal government, I am looking at you to back up the state of Florida on this. You shouldn’t let these people be eligible for federal natural disaster assistance funds either when they have refused to allow the state to make realistic efforts to stop beach erosion and prevent losses and damages from erosion and hurricanes. It isn’t right.
3. Whatever you do, Florida, don’t give them that new beach. It is wrong. The taxpayers of the state of Florida paid for that new beach and these jerks may think they deserve it for free, but it isn’t right. It is not right.
I could go on and on about this. I could go on and on about how this kind of beach erosion is partially caused because of these ridiculous houses built on the beach. I could write a whole different entry about how these sort of beachside dwellings are damaging to the habitat of critically endangered turtles and about how they need beach renourishment to ensure that they have enough habitat for nesting and laying their eggs.
The fact is, people from Northwest Florida, except for these jerky owners, are pretty much unified behind beach renourishment efforts. It is vital to the continued success of the tourist economy of Northwest Florida to have actual beaches. It contributes to everyone’s well being to have beautiful stretches of white sandy beaches. This is a classic case of someone being so self-interested, they refuse to see what is best for the good of the entire community. Depressing.