Threatened with rising sea level, officials want South Florida to break off into its own state – ‘South Florida’s situation is very precarious and in need of immediate attention’Posted by Jim at Sunday, November 09, 2014
By Adrienne Cutway
21 October 2014
(Sun Sentinal) – Officials in the City of South Miami have passed a resolution [pdf] in favor of splitting the state in half so South Florida would become the 51st state.
Vice Mayor Walter Harris proposed the resolution and it passed with a 3-2 vote at the city commission meeting on Oct. 7.
Harris told the commission that Tallahassee isn't providing South Florida with proper representation or addressing its concerns when it comes to sea-level rising.
"We have to be able to deal directly with this environmental concern and we can’t really get it done in Tallahassee," Harris said. "I don’t care what people think -- it’s not a matter of electing the right people."
Mayor Philip Stoddard agreed with Harris' reasoning, saying during the meeting that he's advocated for secession for the past 15 years but never penned a resolution.
It’s very apparent that the attitude of the northern part of the state is that they would just love to saw the state in half and just let us float off into the Caribbean," Stoddard said. "They’ve made that abundantly clear every possible opportunity and I would love to give them the opportunity to do that.”
But the vote wasn't unanimous. Commissioners Gabriel Edmond and Josh Liebman voted against the resolution with Edmond, a history teacher, being the most vocal about it.
"I just want you guys to be careful because if you vote for this you’re setting a precedent that if other people in this city don’t like our representation or feel we’re not responsive to them they might say ‘we want to break away from the city of South Miami’.” [more]
RESOLUTION NO. 203-14-14297
A Resolution of the Mayor and City Commission of the City of South Miami, Florida, advocating the legal separation of Florida into two separate states, creating the 51st state in the Union and naming it "South Florida".
Whereas, presently, the state of Florida consists of 67 counties in an area of approximately 56 thousand square miles with a population of approximately 19,135,000 people; and
Whereas, the new proposed state of South Florida would have 24 counties ("which counties shall herein after be referred to as "South Florida"). These 24 counties are 35% of the total number of counties in the current state of Florida and they would comprise approximately 23,000 square miles in area. Thus, South Florida would be comprised of 39% of the area of the current state of Florida and would have a population of approximately 13,375,000 people which is 67% of the total population of the current state of Florida; and
Whereas, presently, the state of Florida collects approximately 22 billion dollars in sales and documentary taxes from all of Florida, of which 69 percent, 15.25 billion dollars, is collected in South Florida; and
Whereas, the new state of South Florida will consist of 24 counties with its northern border being Brevard, Orange, Polk, Hillsborough and Pinellas and include the other 19 counties south of those five counties; and
Whereas, South Florida Water Management District starts in Orange County and includes most of the aforementioned Counties in South Florida; and
Whereas, the average elevation of the present state of Florida is approximately 100 feet above sea level. North Florida is approximately 120 feet above sea level while the average elevation of South Florida is less than 50 feet with a very large portion of South Florida averaging less than 15 feet above sea level. Many sections of South Florida are 5 feet or less above sea level, including Monroe County and the Gold Coast, consisting of Palm Beach County, Broward County and Miami-Dade County. This area also includes the Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, Biscayne National Park and the Turkey Point nuclear reactors. These reactors are 42 years old and less than 5 feet above sea level with in excess of 2.5 million pounds of nuclear waste buried on the grounds of the nuclear plant.
Whereas, Lake Okeechobee, located in South Florida, is the second largest freshwater lake in the United States and the source of much of the fresh water supplied to South Florida and could be severely compromised by rising sea levels; and
Whereas, climate change is a scientific reality resulting in global warming and rising sea level; and
Whereas, it is estimated that there will be a 3 to 6 foot sea level rise by the end of this century. In addition, South Florida has very porous rock and, as the level of the sea rises, the pressure will cause water to rise up through the ground and flood the inland areas; and
Whereas, South Florida's situation is very precarious and in need of immediate attention. Many of the issues facing South Florida are not political, but are now significant safety issues; and
Whereas, presently, in order to address the concerns of South Florida, it is necessary to travel to Tallahassee in North Florida. Often South Florida issues do not receive the support of Tallahassee. This is despite the fact that South Florida generates more than 69% of the state's revenue and contains 67% of the state's population; and
Whereas, the creation of the 51st state, South Florida, is a necessity for the very survival of the entire southern region of the current state of Florida.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE MAYOR AND CITY COMMISSIONERS OF THE CITY OF SOUTH MIAMI, FLORIDA:
Section 1. The recitals contained in this resolution are adopted and made a part hereof by reference and they reflect the exigency that now exists and the need for immediate action.
Section 2. The Mayor and City Commission of the City of South Miami, Florida, hereby advocate the legal separation of Florida into two separate states, creating the 51st state in the Union, and naming it "South Florida". It is understood that this is only the first step in a very complicated process and it will ultimately require the approval of the electorate of the entire state as well as Congressional approval.
Section 3. The City Clerk is directed to send a copy of this resolution to all municipalities in Miami-Dade County, the members of the governing bodies of all 24 counties that are in the proposed South Florida region, and their respective league of cities.
Section 4. Severability. If any section clause, sentence, or phrase of this resolution is for any reason held invalid or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, the holding shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this resolution.
Section 5. Effective Date. This resolution shall become effective immediately upon adoption by vote of the City Commission.
PASSEDAND ADOPTED this 7th day of October, 2014.
Commission Vote: 3-2
Mayor Stoddard: Yea
Vice Mayor Harris: Yea
Commissioner Edmond: Nay
Commissioner Liebman: Nay
Commissioner Welsh: Yea