Environmental Champ’s Well-Deserved Honor

 

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

Amid the toadies, troglodytes and thieves on the Broward County Commission, Kristin Jacobs always stood out. 

They always wanted to know, “What’s in it for me?”

She always wanted to know, “What’s in it for us?”

Her colleagues’ vision was more concrete and asphalt. 

Her vision was preserving Florida’s natural beauty for future generations. 

Jacobs’ decades of work is on the verge of being formally honored after her death from cancer at 60 in April, 2020. 

A bill is winding its way through the Legislature to create Kristin Jacobs Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation Area off the coast from Miami-Dade to St. Lucie Inlet.  It would encompass miles of reefs, part of the largest remaining shallow reef system in the continental United States and home of many unique sea creatures.

Jacobs deserves the honor.

 

 

Kristin Jacobs

 

 

Decades ago when most Broward’s politicians were paving over almost every acre they could find,  Jacobs was warning about our environment. Preserving the environment was a big part of her first campaign.

A community activist in a working class pocket of northeast Broward, Jacobs decided to run for Broward County Commission in 1998. She targeted development industry darling Sylvia Poitier.

Poitier’s vote on the Commission was important to builders. So important that her campaign was run out of a leading development lobbyist’s office.  

Jacobs campaign was run out of her kitchen. And her car.

Jacobs environmental message was simple: Safeguarding our way of life — beaches, the Everglades, our water supply — required more skepticism about development. 

Lobbyists and their lackeys, used to always getting their way, were apoplectic. They poured $230,479 into Poitier’s campaign. 

Jacobs raised only $15,682 from her neighbors.

I remember sitting in commission offices while the very comfortable fat cats of the real estate and building industry derided the newcomer Jacobs as a “tree hugger” who could never win with so little money.

But they never realized she had a secret weapon: A warm, engaging personality, a winning smile and an opponent, Poitier, who was a puppet of developers. 

Jacobs won easily — 54 to 46 percent. 

Once on the commission, Jacobs proved she wasn’t the bomb thrower that building interests feared. She fought them with data and reasoning, not bombast. 

And Jacobs quickly expanded her aims to tackling climate change. She rightly saw rising sea levels as the biggest threat to Florida’s future.

Leaving the commission for Tallahassee in 2014, she continued her sometimes lonely battle for the environment.

Her views stayed consistent with that first commission campaign. Right up to the end, Jacobs envisioned a future where Florida’s precious and fragile environment was taken more seriously.

That future is here.  

Unfortunately, it took flooded streets and ever more extreme weather for climate change to be taken seriously.

And unfortunately, Jacobs is no longer here to fight for us. 

 

XXXXX

 

The bill honoring Kristin Jacobs is SB 588, linked here. It is sponsored by State Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation.  The bill is being carried in the House by Rep. Christine Hunschofsky, D-Parkland, who now represents  Jacobs’ old seat.

 



5 Responses to “Environmental Champ’s Well-Deserved Honor”

  1. Julie Fishman says:

    This is a beautiful way to honor her memory. Thank you for this article.

  2. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    She died too soon but left a large positive legacy.

  3. Sam the Sham says:

    Kristin Jacobs had good timing. She ran against Sylvia P, a deeply flawed and obviously corrupt politician that people were tired of.

    The longer Kristin stayed in politics, the more of a good Democrat soldier she became. But not to speak ill of the dead, she was not all bad. She helped with over $1 million of funding for a couple of my pet projects. I won’t tell you which projects though.

  4. Art Seitz says:

    Buddy, thanks, that’s one of your best ever posts!

  5. Davie Blvd Lawyer says:

    Why do we have to name anything after her?
    Why can’t we just admire the person she was by writing a nice article about her like you have? Naming parks and buildings after people, especially politicians who are paid to do their job, is a bad idea. There is a reason Lauren “Federal Highway” Book is sponsoring this bill.

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