2022 General - Voter Guide Ranking

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Campbell Rich

City Commissioner District 1

2022 Clean Water Questionnaire Responses

To read each question, answer and candidate comments click below.

  • Question 1 : Yes
    1) The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is finalizing the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM), and while the plan should reduce harmful discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries, discharges will still occur when the level of the lake gets too high. Do you agree the Army Corps and the South Florida Water Management District must send more water south during the dry season in order to minimize the possibility of discharges and their impact on human health and the environment?
    Candidate Comment:

    Yes, they should. The LOSOM plan is an improvement over the 2008 Lake O Release Schedule. Kudos to Merritt Matheson who has the ear and the respect of the Corps of Engineers. However, objective circumstances have been on our side recently with the lack of major storms and very little rainfall. When circumstances get more challenging, will the Army Corps do all in its power to adhere to the agreement or maybe even more? However, with the City having only recently begun to challenge the water management of Lake O, we have to continue to apply the maximum pressure we can to limit all discharges to the East from Lake O.

  • Question 2 : Yes
    2) Florida is booming, with an estimated 1,000 people moving here every day. As a result, development is pushing growth further into Florida’s rural and natural areas, imperiling wildlife and natural resources like clean water. Will you oppose changes to your county’s Comprehensive Plan/Urban Development Boundary that would allow non-agricultural development in rural areas outside the urban, most densely developed area(s) in your county?
    Candidate Comment:

    As a resident of Martin County, I oppose this proposed amendment to the Comp Plan. The County is not prepared for and is not fully aware of how many acres of land this designation will apply to. For example, it also includes golf courses, which are notoriously incompatible with keeping storm-water runoff free of harmful nutrient loads. However, this issue would not come before me as a City Commissioner.

  • Question 3 : Yes
    3) State legislation, FDEP data and the Blue-Green Algae Task Force all report agriculture as the dominant source of phosphorus and nitrogen within most impaired watersheds of Florida. Do you agree industries and property owners should be held to clearly enforceable pollution standards and penalties; including mandatory adoption and verification of best management practices, and to implement inspection programs targeting septic, agriculture and industrial wastewater?
    Candidate Comment:

    I do believe this. However, as we learned this weekend in the TC Palm/Stuart News article, the State of Florida has failed to address 87% of the Algae Task Force's recommendations. In fact, I stood up just as a citizen on Monday night at the usual City Commission meeting to raise the alarm. As a founder of the US Sailing Center of Martin County, we have been raising our concerns with FDEP for decades and getting little to no action and only feigned concern. These are our children we've been putting in the Lagoon and we have seen numerous issues with water quality long before these algal blooms appeared in Lake O and on the St. Lucie. As I told the City Commission on Monday, these government bodies love to meet, study and then with great fanfare issue a report ... and then do nothing. We learned in this article that they even passed bills, which they then ignored. Agreement and expressions of concern are not implementation of corrective actions. The only good thing about that article on the inaction by the State to the Algal Task Force's recommendations is at least we know where we stand now.

  • Question 4 : Yes
    4) Key water bodies along the Florida coast, including the Indian River Lagoon and Biscayne Bay, are plagued by excess nutrient pollution which kills seagrass. This in turn has led to increased turbidity and reduced habitat essential for fish, birds, marine mammals, and other marine species. If elected, would you support aggressive measures to address water quality problems, including (but not limited to) a mandatory septic inspection program, increased investment in septic-to-sewer conversions and upgrades to municipal sewage treatment facilities, increased stormwater pollution controls and tougher fertilizer restrictions coupled with strict enforcement?
    Candidate Comment:

    Absolutely I would support all these measures. And if the residents of the City of Stuart were informed they could clean up the rivers by changing their personal behavior, I have no doubt that they would do whatever it takes. Unfortunately, this is not the primary source of our problems. The City of Stuart has actually done a pretty good job along these lines. We are behind on septic-to-sewer conversions as originally projected. The money we invest in promoting conversions comes back to us many times over with user fees. So, we definitely should prioritize this effort.

  • Question 5 : Yes
    5) Special interests in Florida spend lavishly to influence elections at the local, state and federal level. The sugar industry, phosphate mining industry and big utilities, among others, spend millions to aid candidates who then back their preferred legislation - too often, at the expense of clean water. Do you agree your campaign will accept no contributions from any source with ties to polluting industries including, but not limited to, the sugar, phosphate and utility industries?
    Candidate Comment:

    Yes, of course. But we need to form our own special interest. I propose forming a coalition of willing municipalities from Stuart to Ft. Myers and all those in between that have been negatively affected by the discharges. In addition, this coalition would partner with those groups who have undertaken this fight. We have to raise a lot of money and challenge the policies pushed by these special interest on every front possible and lobby the hell out of our legislators. I have been in these fights before. I sued the Federal Government and the largest public utility in the State of Florida. I sued WalMart. I know how determined and persistent you have to be.