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Old 14-05-2014, 04:56   #256
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Re: Florida Law Enforcement ie; FWC

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Originally Posted by tomfl View Post
.

The reason the reef are (as you call it) dead is because too many people anchor on them, dive on them, fish on them, and deposit waste on them. This is the same reason there are LEOs out there, because there are too many people.

There are a lot more people doing a lot more bad things. Too many people and we all lose some freedom.
Really you believe recreational use killed the reefs? It had nothing to do with the shore population explosion and the associated biological and chemical runoff? Just where exactly did you glean this nugget of wisdom?
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Old 14-05-2014, 04:57   #257
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Re: Florida Law Enforcement ie; FWC

It is worth noting that in our "police" state, you are free to leave!
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Old 14-05-2014, 05:21   #258
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Re: Florida Law Enforcement ie; FWC

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North Carolina 1992 or so.

But then there were no $90 tickets there either which the Florida approach has. Again, I'm not arguing with the experiences of others, simply stating that many of us don't share the persecuted, impossible to get justice, police state experiences and opinions. Neither my wife nor I have had what we would consider seriously negative experiences with law enforcement.

On the other hand we've had experiences involving US law enforcement agencies that we can't discuss the specifics of but that earned our respect and gratitude toward many of the people involved. We can never thank them enough for their support. This doesn't by any means negate nor justify those situations where people have been unreasonably harmed by law enforcement.

Now, I'd caution not to stretch a $90 ticket from FWC to a police state. It isn't. And as to the "police state" that is a political issue and discussion and certainly not the topic this thread was initiated over. I know to some the check by FWC may seem like part of much more. But really it's one under trained, under paid, under appreciated lower level officer and it may or may not have been poor judgement on his part. As anywhere there are people who have been terribly wronged. Persons imprisoned and thirty years later proved not guilty by new DNA tests are examples and we need to be careful not to ever equate the minor injustice we receive to theirs.

It's a bit like getting 30 cents change when you were due 40 cents and reacting as if you've just been subjected to grand larceny and were held at gunpoint and your life threatened.

You are absolutely right, these tickets are not equivalent to the injustice a person wrongfully convicted of a major crime suffers. The US justice system is not perfect. There are crooked prosecutors and police that withhold exculpatory evidence just to get a conviction. Sometmes they don't even care who they convict as long as they convict someone. IMO anyone who does this should be sntenced to the same amount of time in prison as the person they helped to wrongfully convict. Withholding exculpatory evidence should be a crime equal to the one charged against the accused.

That being said each and every one of these wrongfully convicted people went through a court process, were tried, and convicted. Wrongfully obviously and maybe because they were poor and didn't get a good defense, but at least they had a day in court. A Jury determined that they were guilty and a judge decided what the sentence should be. They weren't simply picked up by a police officer, declared guilty by the same officer, and put in jail for 30 years, again a period decided by the accusing officer, all without a trial. Then told if they didn't like it they could appeal and oh by the way if you appeal and loose you can get life in prison instead of 30 years. Obviously the scale is different, but that is how the process of administrative fines works in Florida.

Don't get me wrong, I don't sit around obsessing about the police state. I just think that the administrative fine process is wrong. I think that for a government to take away your property, money, or freedom they should have to convict you in a court of law. On the other hand if you did the crime you should man-up and take the punishment.

Looking at the example I stated earlier of the practice of the FWC and local LEOs writing a $250 ticket for an unlocked y valve in the closed positiion when the law calls for a $50 fine. The unlocked Y valve in the closed position is still a violation. So you decide to fight it and appeal the fine. You go up to the judge and tell him I was not dumping overboard, I simply forgot to put the lock on when returning from the Bahamas. The valve was closed. The officer gave me an administrative fine for dumping and he should have only given me one for $50. So he calls the officer to testify and he says he did not see any dumping, but the Y valve was unlocked in the closed position. The judge says not guilty of dumping and you are relieved for a short time, until he says guilty of having an unlocked Y valve. Your sentence is a $1000 fine, $500 in court costs and 30 days in the county jail and of course you now have a police record for a misdemeanor.
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Old 14-05-2014, 05:38   #259
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Re: Florida Law Enforcement ie; FWC

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Originally Posted by forsailbyowner View Post
Really you believe recreational use killed the reefs? It had nothing to do with the shore population explosion and the associated biological and chemical runoff? Just where exactly did you glean this nugget of wisdom?
I think that recreational use has had some impact, but I think that the major impact has been from shore side development. The inshore reefs are heavily silted. The outer reefs are in better shape but have still suffered impacts. One of the major impacts is from nutrient run off (golf courses on a limestone Island are really bad ideas) and the other is sewage. Most septic tanks are gone now and the towns are using deep injection wells. This sounds like a good idea, but I read about a study once where dye was put into the deep injection wells and it showed up in the ocean 45 minute later. So how much do you think the No discharge zone for boats is helping if the sewage that gets pumped out of your holding tank reaches the ocean 45 minutes later?

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Old 14-05-2014, 05:40   #260
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Re: Florida Law Enforcement ie; FWC

I once many years ago sat on a jury, in the trial of a man wrongfully accused. I watched as his public defender, and prosecutor, and judge did their very best to put this man in jail and when we, the jury sent notes out to the judge to get clarification on a couple of matters, we were told on no uncertain terms that we were only to decide the guilt or innocence of the man on one specific point of law. Not happy with the response, we found him innocent. When we returned to the court room and pronounced the verdict, you could have knocked the judge over with a feather as well as the attorneys. It was a long deliberation and you would not have believed some of the reasons that were given by the jury members about why we should find the man guilty, including, being late for an appointment. The PD was absolutely no help to the accused what so ever. The man's only crime was, for being from out of town, and allowing some local thugs to report to the police first. All the energy of the system was geared towards putting the accused in jail and the truth had no place in the equation, he was looking at a year or more in jail if he had been convicted. If you ever get accused of a crime, hock everything you own to buy even a mediocre lawyer, because with a PD your fate is sealed.
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Old 14-05-2014, 06:16   #261
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorboy1
It is worth noting that in our "police" state, you are free to leave!
Also worth noting that record numbers of citizens are renouncing, and doing just that. This year was double last years which was double the year before.
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Old 14-05-2014, 06:26   #262
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Re: Florida Law Enforcement ie; FWC

I agree strongly with Captain Bill's assessment. Changing offenses from criminal to administrative clearly has Thomas Jefferson spinning in his grave. Traffic offenses are a good example. In California, if you're given a ticket, you can appeal to the judge and you have a reasonable chance of getting off. But if you want a trial by jury, as guaranteed by the Constitution, then the maximum punishment goes up as well as being burdened with court costs. So the economics dictates that you pay the fine and don't ask for a fair trail. It sounds worse in Florida.

The pattern that I see here is that the we as citizens let a little of our constitutional protections slip away repeatedly. Each of us thinking, "Is it really worth a few hundred thousand dollars to get the US Supreme Court to tell the State of Florida to give us back our Constitutional protections? Or should I pay the $90?"

No doubt some state legislator saw that the cost of the criminal justice system would go down, and he would be a hero if he de-criminalized minor infractions. Another legislator (or perhaps a bureaucrat writing regulations) heard of some drunk falling off the bow of a ski boat and being chopped up by the prop and made it a violation. Then some poorly trained or poorly selected LEO with a 'the law's the law' mindset saw a sailboat with a trolling motor putting through the water with someone sitting in the bow pulpit and gave him a ticket.

On the grand scale of things, this is no big deal. But then we had George W. Bush's Patriot Act that threw out many aspects of the Bill of Rights and made unauthorized wire taps legal.

Where to we draw the line? When do we say 'enough is enough?' As someone on this thread said, it is not a police state when we can say 'enough is enough' without fear. If we wait until we are afraid to say it, it will be too late. Once it is a police state, we will be like the Germans in the late '30s or the Iraqis in the late '80s. We'll be unable to say 'enough is enough.'

The only what to reverse the tide is through group action. I would like to see a boat owners and sailers organization much like the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, that could afford a full time lawyer who would protect our interests, lobby our legislators and representatives to protect the activity we all love.
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Old 14-05-2014, 06:40   #263
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pirate Re: Florida Law Enforcement ie; FWC

Quote:
Originally Posted by forsailbyowner View Post
Really you believe recreational use killed the reefs? It had nothing to do with the shore population explosion and the associated biological and chemical runoff? Just where exactly did you glean this nugget of wisdom?
I think the Ocean Reef Club development and tropical fish collectors put a giant hit on the upper keys reefs. I saw it happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
It is worth noting that in our "police" state, you are free to leave!
For now.

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Originally Posted by jeanathon View Post
Also worth noting that record numbers of citizens are renouncing, and doing just that. This year was double last years which was double the year before.
Yepper, and we're talking about the small numbers of folks who can afford to leave. Most cannot, wouldn't know how, or even why.

Surprisingly, here on CF, arguably the intelligentsia of the sailing world, we have apologists, ostriches, and party line-toers. How many of us are capable of putting our own beliefs up to even self-examination?

Mates, stick to yer guns or just hand them over and kiss yer tails a long goodbye.

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Old 14-05-2014, 06:49   #264
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Re: Florida Law Enforcement ie; FWC

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Originally Posted by dougdaniel View Post
...

On the grand scale of things, this is no big deal. But then we had George W. Bush's Patriot Act that threw out many aspects of the Bill of Rights and made unauthorized wire taps legal...
The real brilliance of the Patriot Act was the naming of it. I don't think the North Hollywood Shootout had much to do with it. Googlers might be surprised to find out what it stands for.
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Old 14-05-2014, 06:55   #265
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Re: Florida Law Enforcement ie; FWC

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Originally Posted by captain58sailin View Post
The man's only crime was, for being from out of town, and allowing some local thugs to report to the police first.
Off topic, but this is why, if you are ever involved in an incident that you think MIGHT end up with police involvement, you should call 911 immediately and try hard to be first.

For good or bad, when the police go out on a call they expect to find a victim and a perpetrator. That's how they categorize people. The person who made the 911 call is going to be assumed to be the victim. The person who didn't call is going to be assumed to be the perpetrator. They are going to have to find some pretty strong evidence that this is not the case, before they are going to change their assumptions.

Trust me, you don't want to be assumed to be the perpetrator!
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Old 14-05-2014, 06:58   #266
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Re: Florida Law Enforcement ie; FWC

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Originally Posted by dougdaniel View Post
I would like to see a boat owners and sailers organization much like the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, that could afford a full time lawyer who would protect our interests, lobby our legislators and representatives to protect the activity we all love.
We have BoatUS. I don't know if they have full-time lobbyists on the payroll, but they most certainly do engage in lobbying at times. They sent a representative, ready to testify, to the Florida Senate hearings on the anchoring laws recently.
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Old 14-05-2014, 07:41   #267
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Re: Florida Law Enforcement ie; FWC

I still have that memory of the voting fiasco (Gore vs Bush). we all know Florida is god's waiting room, during your last years on earth, your brain diminishes. look at that current governor, he is already brain dead. most people leave for Florida who are there already and that accounts for the idiotic politicians when they try to vote and even then can't get it right. so be kind to the fuzzy friends they can't help it. enforcing laws they don't understand makes them a bit humorous and hits a nerve when you grin at them. treat them like a child and do not scold them. after all, you do not have to live with them.
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Old 14-05-2014, 07:47   #268
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Re: Florida Law Enforcement ie; FWC

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Originally Posted by dougdaniel View Post
I agree strongly with Captain Bill's assessment. Changing offenses from criminal to administrative clearly has Thomas Jefferson spinning in his grave. Traffic offenses are a good example. In California, if you're given a ticket, you can appeal to the judge and you have a reasonable chance of getting off. But if you want a trial by jury, as guaranteed by the Constitution, then the maximum punishment goes up as well as being burdened with court costs. So the economics dictates that you pay the fine and don't ask for a fair trail. It sounds worse in Florida.

The pattern that I see here is that the we as citizens let a little of our constitutional protections slip away repeatedly. Each of us thinking, "Is it really worth a few hundred thousand dollars to get the US Supreme Court to tell the State of Florida to give us back our Constitutional protections? Or should I pay the $90?"

No doubt some state legislator saw that the cost of the criminal justice system would go down, and he would be a hero if he de-criminalized minor infractions. Another legislator (or perhaps a bureaucrat writing regulations) heard of some drunk falling off the bow of a ski boat and being chopped up by the prop and made it a violation. Then some poorly trained or poorly selected LEO with a 'the law's the law' mindset saw a sailboat with a trolling motor putting through the water with someone sitting in the bow pulpit and gave him a ticket.

On the grand scale of things, this is no big deal. But then we had George W. Bush's Patriot Act that threw out many aspects of the Bill of Rights and made unauthorized wire taps legal.

Where to we draw the line? When do we say 'enough is enough?' As someone on this thread said, it is not a police state when we can say 'enough is enough' without fear. If we wait until we are afraid to say it, it will be too late. Once it is a police state, we will be like the Germans in the late '30s or the Iraqis in the late '80s. We'll be unable to say 'enough is enough.'

The only what to reverse the tide is through group action. I would like to see a boat owners and sailers organization much like the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, that could afford a full time lawyer who would protect our interests, lobby our legislators and representatives to protect the activity we all love.

A friend of mine who lives in Florida sued the state over anchoring laws and spent a lot of money and won a judgment. we all owe a debt of gratitude to Dave Dumas for this action.
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Old 14-05-2014, 08:07   #269
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Re: Florida Law Enforcement ie; FWC

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Also worth noting that record numbers of citizens are renouncing, and doing just that. This year was double last years which was double the year before.
I think people are renouncing their citizenship because of tax reasons. They are not renouncing and leaving but already live abroad.

The US is the only country on earth where citizens and legal residents must pay income tax to their government and report all of their personal finances regardless of where they live, where they have their money or where they earned their money.

Many expats find that they just cannot afford to keep their citizenship. Additionally living in an EU country or Switzerland, there are few benefits to being a US citizen.
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Old 14-05-2014, 08:35   #270
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Re: Florida Law Enforcement ie; FWC

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Originally Posted by forsailbyowner View Post
Really you believe recreational use killed the reefs? It had nothing to do with the shore population explosion and the associated biological and chemical runoff? Just where exactly did you glean this nugget of wisdom?
Is English your first language. Please re read what I posted. Let me help you out with it.

Originally Posted by tomfl
.

"The reason the reef are (as you call it) dead is because too many people anchor on them, dive on them, fish on them, and deposit waste on them. This is the same reason there are LEOs out there, because there are too many people.

There are a lot more people doing a lot more bad things. Too many people and we all lose some freedom".

If that is too long let me condense it:

Originally Posted by tomfl
.

The reason the reef are (as you call it) dead is because too many people ... deposit waste on them.

Runoff is a real problem. But at one time folks use to take explosives out to the reef to collect coral to sell in the tropical fish stores on the mainland. They use to use bleach to drug tropicals and sell them in Miami. For the most part LEOs have stopped a lot of this.

You should be careful about putting words in people's mouths.



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