Opponents of River Plan Assail Board
Kinner, Derek L., The Florida Times Union
PALATKA -- The decision was quick and some of the response
Instead of submitting their own application, St. Johns River
Water Management District board members voted yesterday to leave
it up to local elected officials or boards to pursue an American
Heritage River designation for the St. Johns River.
Supporters of the designation saw that as good news. Water
district officials have said a nomination will carry more clout
in Washington if it comes from a high-ranking elected official,
such as Jacksonville's mayor, than from the district.
Board members decided the district only would provide
technical assistance and information to whatever community
decides to apply for the designation.
Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney has said he intends to seek
But after yesterday's vote, several people in the audience
began shouting because they did not get a chance to speak.
Some called the board members Communists, while others said
the designation would somehow give the United Nations control
over the St. Johns River, a notion board member Reid Hughes said
was ridiculous. The notion was not explained.
While most board members said they would like to see the river
get the federal designation -- which according to President
Clinton would help enhance and preserve economic, historic,
environmental and cultural aspects of the river -- members will
have little to do with the final outcome.
Still, the audience insisted on speaking.
Board member Kathy Chinoy agreed with other members to let
the public speak, but she tersely added: "I resent the use of
the word Communist."
Clinton called for the program in February, saying it would
help communities get special consideration when applying for
federal money to preserve different aspects of their rivers. …