View this email in your browser
Newsletter - Issue No.13 - September 2018
Personal Message from Rep. Bob Rommel

As we celebrate Labor Day, I thought a quote from Milton Friedman was appropriate.  The United States is only 242 years old, yet we are truly the Greatest Nation in the world. Let Freedom ring.

“Because we live in a largely free society, we tend to forget how limited is the span of time and the part of the globe for which there has ever been anything like political freedom: the typical state of mankind is tyranny, servitude, and misery.  The nineteenth century and early twentieth century in the Western world stand out as striking exceptions to the general trend of historical development. Political freedom in this instance clearly came along with the free market and the development of capitalist institutions. So also did political freedom in the golden age of Greece and in the early days of the Roman era.” 
                                                                                      ― Milton Friedman 

Update on Red Tide & Blue-Green Algae & Lake Okeechobee

In recent weeks, Southwest Florida has experienced a perfect storm with red tide and toxic blue/green algae blooms.  Although the timing of these two phenomena have overlapped, exacerbating the impact on our shorelines and marine wildlife, the two are not connected.


Red tide, caused by a single-celled alga called Karenia brevis ("K. brevis"), is a salt water event and is not directly connected to the blue-green blooms and Lake Okeechobee discharges. 

Red tide is a naturally occurring event that usually develops and remains 10-40 miles offshore.  However, wind and water currents can push the red tide blooms closer to the shoreline.  However, the red tide will take advantage of the local nutrients - yard fertilizers, septic tanks, etc. Although there is nothing that can be done to prevent or abate red tide events, we can reduce the impact these local nutrients have on red tide through better management of fertilizer use (avoid those with urea), better stormwater management practices and conversion from septic tanks to sewer systems. 

Dr. Tracy Fanara, a staff scientist at Mote Marine Laboratory, has confirmed that Lake Okeechobee discharges are not the cause of this red tide event.

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is monitoring the red tide affecting southwest Florida.  FWC has confirmed that fish populations are resilient to the impact of red tide events - even after severe and prolonged red tide events.  FWC stated that there should be no long term impact on marine life.

On August 13th, Governor Scott declared a "state of emergency" in several coastal counties including Collier County, which freed up $3million in grants to be used to assist with the current red tide event.  On August 22nd, Governor Scott provided an additional $3million in grants to assist local communities impacted by this red tide event.

You can check if red tide is impacting your favorite beach by going to Mote Marine Laboratory's "Beach Condition app or  You can also get updates at


Microcystis is one of many different types of Cyanobacteria, the microorganism that comprises blue-green algae.  Microcystis occurs naturally in Florida's fresh water and brackish water habitats.  The blue-green algae blooms blossom with high heat, sunlight, abundant nutrients and a reduced water flow.  Florida's summertime conditions provide the perfect environment for growth of these blue-green algae blooms.

Unlike Lee Collier, Collier County has not experienced any beach impact from the blue-green algae blooms because the blooms, coming from the Caloosahatchee and estuary, cannot survive the salt water between Lee and Collier County.  The presence of the blooms in Lee County is due to the influx of freshwater, which reduces the salinity of the Caloosahatchee River and estuary.  Once the blue-green algae blooms enter the Gulf, the blooms die.

Lake Okeechobee and Discharges

To better understand what is happening with Lake Okeechobee and the discharges, a bit of historical background is helpful.

In 1926 the Great Miami Hurricane hit the Lake Okeechobee area, killing approximately 300 people. Two years later in 1928, the Okeechobee Hurricane crossed over the lake, killing thousands.

After the two hurricanes, the Florida State Legislature created the "Okeechobee Flood Control District". The organization was authorized to cooperate with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in actions to prevent similar disasters. U.S. President Herbert Hoover visited the area personally, and afterward the Corps designed a plan incorporating the construction of channels, gates, and levees. The Okeechobee Waterway was officially opened on March 23,1937. The dike was then named the "Herbert Hoover Dike" in honor of the president.

The 1947, Fort Lauderdale Hurricane sent an even larger storm surge to the crest of the new dike, causing it to be expanded again in the 1960s.

In spite of repeated requests, little or nothing was done to the Herbert Hoover Dike.  Through 2008, the water levels of Lake Okeechobee were relatively low.  Rains from Tropical Storm Fay resulted in a 4 foot increase in the water levels of Lake Okeechobee.  In 2013, heavy rainfalls in Central Florida resulted in ever-increasing water levels in Lake Okeechobee. To avoid jeopardizing the integrity of the Hoover Dike holding back the water from inundating the surrounding populated area, the Army Corps of Engineers was forced to release large volumes of polluted water from the lake through the St. Lucie River estuary to the east and the Caloosahatchee River estuary to the west.  These discharges replaced the normal mix of fresh and salt water in those estuaries with a flood of polluted fresh water and caused blue-green algae bloom breakout on the Treasure Coast.  Since that time, when  water levels threaten the integrity of the Dike, the Army Corps of Engineers discharges water from Lake Okeechobee.

Efforts to correct this situation have been on-going for years.  Treating current harmful algal blooms and preventing future blooms requires sound science and comprehensive planning.  There is no "easy fix."  To that end, in 2017,the Florida Legislature passed SB10, which allocated monies to expedite the creation of a reservoir that will provide additional water storage south of Lake Okeechobee, which will reduce the need for discharges. 

In 2018, the efforts of Congressmen Francis Rooney, Mario Diaz-Balart and Tom Rooney resulted in the Federal Government agreement to fund and to expedite the timeline for repairs to the Hoover Dike.  Even with these efforts, the Dike repairs will not be completed until 2022, three years sooner than originally planned.  As Congressman Francis Rooney stated, "Every year saved on these repairs is a year sooner that harmful releases into our ecosystem will stop."

History of Labor Day
Labor Day: What it Means

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Labor Day Legislation

The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed in 1885 and 1886. From these, a movement developed to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During 1887 four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 more states had adopted the holiday, and on June 28, 1884, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

Founder of Labor Day

More than a century after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."

But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

A Nationwide Holiday

Women's Auxiliary Typographical UnionThe form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pays tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

Up-Coming Dates of Interest

Monday, September 3rd    
                 National Holiday - Government  & County Offices Closed

Thursday, September 6th  
Public Hearing - 5:05pm
                 County Commissioners Chambers, 3rd Floor
                 Government Center - 3299 Tamiami Trail E
                   -  Collier's Fiscal Year 2019 Tentative Millage Rates and Tentative Budget
                   -  Pelican Bay Services Division's Fiscal Year 2019 Budget
                   -  Proposed Stormwater Utility and Stormwater Utility Fee
                      For additional information, see

Copyright © 2018 State Representative Bob Rommel, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.