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Proceedings delayed for Hardy property - Bush delays decision on eminent domain against landowner
Submitted by Julie Smithson, www.PropertyRightsResearch.org


PLEASE COMMENT! Reader's Forum: Should Jesse Hardy be forced off his land for the sake of Everglades restoration? Is the government being too heavy-handed? Do conservation areas have to be cleared of all human settlement? (37 comments as of 11:30 PM on May 12, 2004. (For some unknown reason, this URL keeps 'refreshing' or 'reloading' so please type fast to get your comments in, or type them in a Word document and then copy and paste them.)
May 12, 2004 by Paul Flemming, The News-Press Tallahassee bureau, Naples Daily News, Naples, Florida http://www.news-press.com
To submit a Letter to the Editor: letters@naplesnews.com

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Tallahassee, Florida - Deferred again.

For the sixth time, Governor Jeb Bush and his Cabinet delayed a final decision on allowing the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to begin eminent domain proceedings against Collier County landowner Jesse Hardy.

DEP Secretary Colleen Castille afterward would say only “we're in the midst of negotiations” as the Cabinet put off until its May 25 meeting considering the matter again. The case was deferred at the department’s request.

Hardy’s land is the “hole in the doughnut” of 55,247 acres in Southern Golden Gate Estates. The defunct development is part of the second phase of the state’s Everglades restoration effort. The 68-year-old Hardy doesn't want to sell or swap. He’s turned down offers of $4.5 million for his property, and a proposal to give him 160 acres in St. Lucie County as a trade.

Officials say that allowing Hardy to remain on the land would put him in harm’s way as the restoration project floods the area. Furthermore, they say negotiating with Hardy for anything other than outright purchase would raise legal problems for the 1,859 parcels that already have been bought.

In an emotional appeal to Bush and Cabinet members last month, friends of Hardy asked that he be allowed to remain on his land. Bush directed DEP to go back to the negotiating table and look for ways to engineer the project around Hardy’s land.

In documents presented to the Cabinet Tuesday, DEP officials said there’s been no progress.

“Even with the continuances, negotiations are at an impasse,” the department’s summary said.


Here are the Comments so far:
W. Smithson from near London, Ohio in the Darby writes:
No. Yes. No. For more on other parts of America where -- using other names and other agencies -- The Wildlands Project is removing people and their freedom and property rights: www.propertyrightsresearch.org/wildlndsprjctfrms.htm -- www.KlamathBucketBrigade.org -- www.KlamathBasinCrisis.org -- www.freedom21SantaCruz.net -- www.propertyrightsresearch.org/articles/victim_directoryfrms.htm -- www.landrights.org -- and please, share all these websites with others, because, until we understand what is happening under the guise of "environmentalism" or "conservation", we cannot protect ourselves! Learn the truth -- Please!
(Comment 39 of 39. Posted at 12:26 AM EDT, 05/13/2004)

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Julie Kay Smithson from near London, Ohio in the Darby writes:
NO: NO ONE should be forced from home/land/business by the implementation of The Wildlands Project www.wildlandsprojectrevealed.org and the theft of American freedom/property rights, which are one and the same. YES: Heavy-handed is an understatement for the domestic terrorism happening to rural/isolated folks from the Klamath Basin to the Darby of Ohio to Jesse Hardy. NO: "Conservation areas are what people do to make life better for themselves and both domestic birds/animals/plants AND wildlife. This "conservation" or "restoration" is Conned Senses: the use of language deception to make people think that the stealing of their Constitutional Republic is good! www.PropertyRightsResearch.org has much, much more, all verified: please visit!
(Comment 38 of 38. Posted at 12:09 AM EDT, 05/13/2004)

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Joyce from Texas writes:
I have been keeping up with this thru the newspaper. I think this is just so unreal to try to force this man off his property put a lid on it and let it go. Go around him or whatever it won't hurt to let the man live out the rest of his days happy. Reason I read this paper my mom was an early settler to Bonita Springs in 1970 she died in 2001 in the same house #54 8th St she would have been dead a lot earlier had she had to move. Thanks
(Comment 37 of 37. Posted at 02:06 PM EDT, 05/12/2004)
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Fred from North Fort Myers writes:
No! It is his property and it is not needed for any of the "public good" projects that eminent domain is intended for. If there really is a danger of flooding, it is his choice to take that risk. I think, however, that this danger is just more DEP BS.
(Comment 36 of 37. Posted at 07:24 AM EDT, 05/12/2004)
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Ron from Cape Coral writes:
Jesse. Bill O'reilly loves to get envolved in helping the little guy.I would get your lawyer to get the facts to him. Have you thought about setting some area aside for a boy-girl scout camp.How aboute prison volenteers to build it for them.This could give you and the state a chance to help thousands of kids.Good luck Ron.
(Comment 35 of 37. Posted at 06:00 PM EDT, 04/26/2004)
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John from Cape Coral writes:
This is an interesting circumstance as are the responses. Like protecting the Manatee through dock moratoriums and other environmental issues, why does this suddenly make people realize our freedom to do certain things is being more and more restricted. Are any of you who comment for this man supporters of the dock ban? I must say that not being able to have a dock and getting nothing for it, I can't feel too sorry for someone who is offered 4 million dollars. Somehow I think he could probably find another secluded place to live.
(Comment 34 of 37. Posted at 07:50 AM EDT, 04/23/2004)
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Kelly from Home writes:
It is not about the money. Let Jesse live out his life at home. We should all have that right.
(Comment 33 of 37. Posted at 02:32 PM EDT, 04/20/2004)
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Marlene from North Fort Myers writes:
The government needs to get over the idea that just because they want something that belongs to a citizen, they are entitled to have it. Mr. Hardy purchased land that was considered undesirable at the time, and he made his home on it. He is entitled to keep his home if he wants to, without pressure from the government to give it up because they want it.
(Comment 32 of 37. Posted at 12:43 PM EDT, 04/20/2004)
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petra from salem.oregon writes:
How much more land do they need?Isay let Jesse stay,because he could be of help in this project. He has a good vision in trying to intergrade a fish farm into this project.He could farm local fish spiecies that may otherwise fanish.Why is the dep so narrow minded?It's making me sick to my stomach.
(Comment 31 of 37. Posted at 09:30 AM EDT, 04/20/2004)
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bill from buffalo writes:
let him say where he is.. he needs to be left alone....
(Comment 30 of 37. Posted at 03:04 PM EDT, 04/18/2004)
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David from GG Estates writes:
It's comforting to see the positive remarks on Jesse's behalf. I'm still concerned about comments like those from Craig of Ft. Myers. Craig, have you seen the photos of Naples and Ft. Myers where 41 now exists as well as other areas around Florida? Let this be a lesson to you if YOU do. Many areas of Florida were once considered swamp land and Jesse, now 27 years later, can clearly testify to that! As a previous writer stated, those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Too many people are opinionated as long as they can express those opinions from outside the box. Begin to look from within and that perfect image dissipates quickly. When we chose our homestead more than 15 years ago, we couldn't afford the luxury of living in areas close in, though rainy seasons have proven to us that some of those areas consistently prove to flood time and time again, yet they aren't being considered eminent domain territory! There are many areas in Three Oaks in Ft. Myers with planty of Cypress on it. How would you feel if talk began of telling all those homeowners who poured their lives into their homes, that they would have to give their homesteads up because GG felt it was swampland and those people shouldn't have moved there? Wrong is wrong period! It's the point that Jesse is trying to show you, not just his home that he is trying to protect. Open your eyes! Still, you seem partially empathetic to his plight and we are thankful for that.
(Comment 29 of 37. Posted at 02:16 PM EDT, 04/18/2004)
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dorothy from naples, fl writes:
NO! NO! i think its a shame that they are trying to to do to jesse, and his son. I thought this is America.But it seems like its another country. We are suppose to have freedom, thats what this country was founded on. Guess is your not rich you dont stand a chance anymore. Hang in there jesse. Sincerely, Dorothy
(Comment 28 of 37. Posted at 06:03 PM EDT, 04/17/2004)
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Susan from Naples writes:
A few questions came to mind while listening to the Cabinet Aide Meeting of April 7th regarding Jesse's case. 1. They have not yet acquired the 3 Tribe properties. They say they cannot proceed with Phase 2 of their plan before getting Jesse out of the area. Will they be able to proceed with Phase 2 prior to acquiring the 3 Tribe properties? Why/why not? (Why is Jesse's property different?) 2. They said the reason to move the pumps closer to Jesse's property was because the pumps could not pump water fast enough to prevent flooding of the Northern Estates if they were located further North. This begs two questions. a) If the pump location was partially determined based on a desire to prevent the Northern Estates from flooding, should not the pump location also be partially determined by a desire to prevent Jesse's property from flooding? Is not the protection of Jesse's property from flooding afforded him under existing Florida laws? (I have not had time to look up the law, sorry) b) If the pumps don't pump water fast enough to prevent flooding, might they not use stronger/larger/better pumps? Surely that would cost less than $4.5 million. 3. In the Cabinet Aides' meeting there seemed to be a lack of clarity on the actual date that the latest alternative plan was decided on. One would think that a question regarding a date that a decision was made could and should be answered with a simple, single, date. Jesse should be provided with that specific answer prior to proceeding with anything. 4. At one point in the Cabinet Aides' meeting it sounded like Diaz (but I cannot be positive it was Diaz) who referred to the planned activities in Jesse's location as being a "PRIVATE PROGRAM." Jesse should have clarification on exactly what he was referring to when he used that term. Is this plan to waive the eminent domain requirements of the State laws being done in the interests of a "Private Program?" 5. According to a Collier County Commissioner meeting in I believe October of 2003, not all the roads that provide access to Jesse's property were going to be removed. When was this plan changed? The next question for them is, On a PBS documentary (available at www.wfgcu.org) that aired on April 9th, 2004, clearly some roads were going to have the pavement removed, but the limerock roads would remain. Since currently Jesse accesses his property on limerock roads, why would he not be able to access his property on the limerock roads in the future? Sue Murphy CEO Search Engines 411 Inc. www.searchengines411.com
(Comment 27 of 37. Posted at 10:48 AM EDT, 04/17/2004)
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Larry from Virginia writes:
If ever an American deserved to have his quarter-section of land, it's Jesse Hardy. God bless him! He was born with nothing, but he has something he can leave behind to his boy Tommy. However, the bureaucrats in Tallahassee don't give a fig about either Jesse or the right of homesteaders to retain their property. And if those tree-hugging environmentalists knew how much they're hurting their own cause by trying to take over Jesse's land, they would stop harassing him now! I'm in Virginia, but I'm behind Jesse all the way! Hang in there, Son! Larry Bailey
(Comment 26 of 37. Posted at 10:48 AM EDT, 04/17/2004)
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john from marco island writes:
Hardy should be left alone. He is a hero to this country and the Bush man should find something better to do with Florida's money. My dad owns 640 acres near Hardy and he wants to be left alone as well.
(Comment 25 of 37. Posted at 01:52 PM EDT, 04/16/2004)
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James from Fort Myers writes:
Mr. Hardy should not be forced off this land. They can build around him, and they know it. Is the government being heavy-handed? Last I heard, they had offered him $4.5 million for the land...
(Comment 24 of 37. Posted at 10:30 AM EDT, 04/16/2004)
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Craig from Ft. Myers writes:
I also don't believe that Jesse should be forced off his land. But let this be a lesson to all. Don't build on land or buy land in a place that was or could be a swamp (low areas once regularly flooded). Don't ever believe what people tell you when it comes to what happens or could happen on the land you buy. If they used canals to drain it, don't buy there. Canals can be filled in. Good luck Jesse.
(Comment 23 of 37. Posted at 08:48 AM EDT, 04/16/2004)
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(Comment 22 of 37. Posted at 08:20 AM EDT, 04/16/2004)
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Elizabeth from NULL writes:
No, Jesse Hardy should not be forced off of his land. DEP has failed to show scientific evidence to support their claim that Jesse Hardy's land will flood and cause problems for the Everglades restoration project. Jesse hired a court certified engineer in stormwater who has reviewed project information and from this review has determined that Jesse's property will not flood and in fact will be dried out more than he currently is. In addition, this engineer has requested modeling reports and other scientific data from DEP and SFWMD that would support DEP's claim to review. At this time, they have not provided this information because they claim they haven't finished their final report. I believe they don't want him to analysis the information because it probably won't defend their claim. Another thing people ought to know is that a number of employees within some of the government agencies have privatly acknowledged that Jesse's land is not needed. The problem is, the "big wigs" have been claiming they need the property for so long that they can't back down for fear of embarassment. Think about it, right before it went to the Governing board, the offer jumped 3 million dollars, from 1.5 to 4.5 million. In addition, any stormwater technical person listening to the cabinet meeting would know that DEP presented a lot of technically incorrect information.
(Comment 21 of 37. Posted at 08:08 AM EDT, 04/16/2004)
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Karen from Golden Gate Estates writes:
Should he be forced off - absolutely NOT. Gvt. Too Heavy Handed? Definately. The DEP is out of control, they need a reality check before they environmentally protect even themselves out of their homes. As to clearing humans from all conservation areas. No they do not. It's normal to have islands in areas of water.
(Comment 20 of 37. Posted at 11:58 PM EDT, 04/15/2004)
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Patti from GG Estates writes:
My blood boils when I see other people vote yes! At one time, every one of your properties were enjoyed by living creatures and trees and now you can throw stones from glass houses? Who are you to judge why another human being who fought for your life in this free country, who for over 20 years never asked for electricity, a phone, a store, a golf course, nothing. All he's done was help build your roads with the fill from HIS property. Now he lives with cancer and you want to give him additional stresses by forcing him to move?! This began as a willing seller program. How many of you KNOW about the land being purchased around you now? It's being done all around here and many don't know it could be their day. My children had the honor of playing with Tommy too. I won't be the one to explain to them why he was removed from the yard he learned from and loved all this time! Any support I had for the WWF has just ended due to Nancy Payton's (FWWF)comments and the way this man is being treated. Take a stand against bureacracy. This could be you! It takes a village to raise a child in which we are all a part of.
(Comment 19 of 37. Posted at 11:08 PM EDT, 04/15/2004)
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Helen from Fort Myers writes:
Yes, of course he should be forced off his land. Everglades restoration is very important.
(Comment 18 of 37. Posted at 08:20 PM EDT, 04/15/2004)
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danny from fort myers writes:
By all means. Why not? Eventually through some fluke his property will likely make a grand golf course and end up being a gated community overlooking the beautiful Everglades. Clearly I'm being facetious. But am i? Stranger things have happened. The obvious is no longer just that, obvious. When you think justice will prevail and the parties involved will do the right thing according to the way we were taught - somebody finds a way to do just the opposite and manages to find a way to say it's legal. Since rules are always being broken in order to demolish wilderness for the sake of the wealthy developer, how about once changing the rules for someone who has been playing fair and minding his own business? Leave him and his family alone and worry about the real dangers to the Everglades. Big Developers, Big Business and careless smokers.
(Comment 17 of 37. Posted at 07:51 PM EDT, 04/15/2004)
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ellen from cape coral writes:
No, Yes, No. I want to say also I am ashamed that the Newspress actually advocates eminent domain which runs contrary to our Constitution, especially in this case.Jesse's property by the way is worth ALOT more than $4.5M due to his contract with Collier Co which digs and hauls away the limestone on his property to be used for roadbeds, etc.This is a hallmark case for property rights and if Jeb caves in, Tallahassee should be blitzed! Again, Newspress, get the facts before you go supporting a Green Goliath which is stomping the average citizen into the dirt.
(Comment 16 of 37. Posted at 06:48 PM EDT, 04/15/2004)
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Susan from North Carolina writes:
No I do not believe that Mr. Jesse Hardy should be forced off his land. If this goes through where will it stop. jesse Hardy has served his country with great courage. His dedication is carries through towards his city. Please do not inflict on his sanctuary.
(Comment 15 of 37. Posted at 04:52 PM EDT, 04/15/2004)
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James from Hong Kong writes:
Leave Jesse Hardy alone to live out his few remaining days. This is not necessary. There is much to be done irrespective of Jesse's parcel. Leave him in peace.
(Comment 14 of 37. Posted at 02:05 PM EDT, 04/15/2004)
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Jesse James Hardy from South Golden Gate Estates writes:
I would like to thank the Governor and the Cabinet for their consideration and for instructions to the State and the DEP to negotiate in good faith with my attorney and me. I also want to thank all the people of the State of Florida and others across the country who have helped me so far. Updates to my situation will be at my website www.jessehardy.com . I may still need your help again before this is over. I am not out to to any harm to the environment or the people of Florida, I just want to save my land. Jesse James Hardy
(Comment 13 of 37. Posted at 01:20 PM EDT, 04/15/2004)
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Matt from Naples writes:
No!!! Mr Hardy should not be forced off his land!!At what point in this country did we decide to foresake private property rights for the rights of plants and animals? I believe that Mr Hardy has every right to live in his homesteaded property with the full rights and priveledges associated with home ownership. Very sad in this whole mess is that this man faithfully served his country in the armed forces and now that same country is turning its back on him. Keep up the fight for whats right or you could be next.
(Comment 12 of 37. Posted at 12:51 PM EDT, 04/15/2004)
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Karen from Connecticut writes:
NO($) YES(principal) NO! (displacement) I have been following this travesty since the beginning and have read MUCH about both sides. Seems to me... Jesse has a valid argument and good reasons for fighting back. Money is NOT the issue here, but the principal that what is proposed should NOT need to harm Jesse's land. MANY Humans have been given more consideration in the past to remain on their land, even when EPA feels the need to reconstruct things. Let's protect our environment, yes... but remember that Jesse and Tommy ARE part of that environment, and we need to protect THEM too. My prayers are with you; Jesse, Tommy and all of your supporters! Keep up to date at: www.jessehardy.com
(Comment 11 of 37. Posted at 12:01 PM EDT, 04/15/2004)
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Pat from Naples writes:
To Jim from Sanibel: The public is not being served. This project started out as a willing seller program and was supposed to provide recreation and drinking water for Collier County. Those conditions have been removed. How much market value would you put on 160 acres in Collier County? Mr. Hardy does not want the money and is willing to pay for the dyke around his house. The DEP still hasn't proved that they can "flood" this land. It is 10 to 15 feet above sea level.
(Comment 10 of 37. Posted at 12:00 PM EDT, 04/15/2004)
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Rick from Fort Myers writes:
It is his property and he should be allowed to do whatever he wants. What is it about Florida that makes people tell others what to do with their property, house, kids, etc.? There was less pressure to conform in Nazi Germany. Plus, as a added bonus, he have a guy from Sanibel talking about the "public good". Wow, that is comedy gold.
(Comment 9 of 37. Posted at 11:18 AM EDT, 04/15/2004)
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Susan from Naples writes:
To Jim from Sanibel: Since putting up the dike would cost less than 4.5m, I don't think your argument holds water.
(Comment 8 of 37. Posted at 11:00 AM EDT, 04/15/2004)
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Jim from Sanibel writes:
yes, for public good and fairness to other that relocated, he will be paid to find property to relocate No , they are paying way over market value, somewhat over is fine but 4.5 m is beyond reason, they should go to court and have it decide, Hardy is totally unreasonable. Yes , in this case because purpose of buying area is flood and to put in dike just for this area is not practical or cost efficent.
(Comment 7 of 37. Posted at 10:50 AM EDT, 04/15/2004)
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Marion from North Fort Myers writes:
No, Yes, No. This is merely another example of BIG government flexing its muscles. We have allowed the environmentalists far too much power and the inevitable result is that we citizens no longer are the government of USA but merely subjects to be manipulated. Jesse Hardy is willing to face the possibility of being flooded. This is the same treatment accorded the native fauna. Or are the authorities removing them as well? Leave Jesse Hardy alone.
(Comment 6 of 37. Posted at 10:02 AM EDT, 04/15/2004)
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Sue from Golden Gate Estates writes:
Should YOU be forced off of your land for the sake of flooding it? You decide after you visit www.jessehardy.com and read what may happen to you. Would YOU consider the government to be too heavy-handed if they forced you off of your property? You decide. Are ALL conservation areas cleared of all human settlement? No, there are many areas of the country where state and federally owned conservation areas where humans have been allowed to remain. In order for this to happen, the engineering plans for the area have to have to give the HUMAN inhabitants the same high priority that they give the plants and animals.
(Comment 5 of 37. Posted at 09:44 AM EDT, 04/15/2004)
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Pat from Naples writes:
NO. YES. NO. Everglades Restoration, my foot. The Everglades are 50 miles away. This started out as a CARL project (Conservation and Recreational) and when the DEP ran out of money they latched it on to the "Save the Everglades" project. Jesse Hardy is not in their way and if he is eminent domained it will set a precedent that will allow the DEP to eminent domain anyone in the state of Florida for an environmental project. Are you next?
(Comment 4 of 37. Posted at 09:37 AM EDT, 04/15/2004)
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Barb from Golden Gate Estates writes:
NOBODY in Golden Gate Estates should be forced off of their land so that SFWMD and DEP can flood it. Why is FEMA rezoning all of Golden Gate Estates into highrisk flood zones right now (www.femainfo.com)? Why are we first told our properties will ONLY be purchased if we are WILLING SELLERS, and then when we are not willing, we are told that they are going to take the properties anyway?
(Comment 3 of 37. Posted at 09:30 AM EDT, 04/15/2004)
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BOB from Naples, Florida writes:
Jesse's land is not standing in the way of the restoration project. He just wants to be left alone. Why can't the government understand this? Write to Gov Bush and let him know that you feel that displacing Jesse would be a travesty.
(Comment 2 of 37. Posted at 09:27 AM EDT, 04/15/2004)
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Larry from Virginia writes:
Yes, yes, and NO! Jesse is an honorable man who has given far, far more to society than he has taken, and now the Tallahassee bureaucrats are doing their level best to kill him and his dream. If bureaucrats can lead the charge to evict Jesse from his homesteaded property, they can (and will) go after other land that they want to control. Floridians: PLEASE help Jesse by writing Governor Bush!
(Comment 1 of 37. Posted at 09:05 AM EDT, 04/15/2004)
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