Tuesday’s BCC: Ad valorem & sales tax hikes sought

From Ginny Sherlock, renowned local attorney, civic activist, and former Associated Press editor: “As Martin County Commissioners continue to approve millions of dollars in spending with no public discussion or explanation, Commissioners will be asked on Tuesday to put measures on the primary and general election ballots this year to authorize a property tax hike and a sales tax surcharge to make up for School District budget shortfalls … Click here to read more

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast of Palm City passed over for VA secretary

From Florida Politics: “President Donald Trump has chosen to nominate acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie to serve in the position permanently, passing over U.S. Rep. Brian Mast of Palm City, who was under consideration for the post. … Click here to read more

Editorial: U.S. House should end sweet deal for Big Sugar

[UPDATE: Big Sugar wins again. A push to reform the sugar program was defeated in the House.] From The Tampa Bay Times: “Longstanding U.S. sugar policy pummels consumers and taxpayers in three ways: We subsidize growers, pay higher food prices and then pay even more for environmental damage sugar production causes in South Florida. The only winners are Big Sugar and the politicians who rake in its campaign cash.” To see who voted how … Click here to read more

May 19: ‘Hands Across the Sand’ with Florida Oceanographic at Stuart Beach

From Florida Oceanographic: “Join Florida Oceanographic on Saturday, May 19 at Stuart Beach for Hands Across the Sand and say no to offshore drilling! Meet our team at 11:45 a.m. at the beach … Click here to read more

Updates from Citizens Against Rail Expansion in Florida (CARE FL)

“Citizens Against Rail Expansion in Florida (CARE FL) has had an unprecedented two months of activity, working with our colleagues in Indian River County and Martin County as we continue to oppose the expansion of All Aboard Florida’s (AAF’s) Brightline passenger rail project into Phase II—the phase of the project that will run from West Palm Beach north to Orlando, resulting in trains speeding through our communities. … Click here to read more

Septic-sewer conversions costing residents up to $11,000 in Martin County

From WPTV: “How much is too much to pay to protect the environment? For homeowners on the Treasure Coast, $11,000 is the price they have to pay and some of them are not happy about it. Don Bartz, who lives at North River Shores in Stuart … Click here to read more

Brightline celebrates inaugural ride, announces launch date for service to MiamiCentral

Press release from Brightline: “Brightline, Florida’s new hospitality-focused express intercity passenger rail service, announces introductory service into MiamiCentral, the new 11-acre intermodal development in the heart of downtown Miami, will begin Saturday, May 19 … Click here to read more

Must-read: ‘Only in Florida: Battle over water, free speech pits billionaire vs. activist’

From The Tampa Bay Times: “This is a story about free speech, government secrecy and a fight over tens of millions in taxpayer funds. The players include a billionaire who once had a hit man kill his horse, two politicians charged with breaking the Sunshine Law and former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno’s sister … Click here to read more

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast (R-Palm City) under consideration to be Veterans Affairs secretary

From The Sun-Sentinel: “A White House official on Thursday said U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, who was elected to the House in 2016, was among the list of candidates for the job heading an agency of 360,000 employees serving 9 million veterans. The White House official would not say if Mast is the leading candidate for the VA position. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations … Click here to read more

Mark your calendar: Energy and environmental issues on Tuesday’s BCC agenda

From Ginny Sherlock, renowned local attorney, civic activist, and former Associated Press editor: “Energy and environmental issues dominate Tuesday’s Martin County Board of County Commissioners meeting agenda, with a presentation on the status of the coral reef tract, an ordinance to implement a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, and proposed amendments to the Land Development Regulations … Click here to read more

MCSO: Convicted sex offender with violent criminal history charged with trafficking in heroin

From The Martin County Sheriff’s Department: “Despite warnings that our interdiction teams are on the roadways, 36-year old John Allen Crane Jr took a chance anyway. Crane’s excessive speed landed him a traffic stop as he headed northbound on Florida’s Turnpike through Martin County. That stop blossomed into an arrest, after a MCSO K-9 Unit detected an illegal substance in the car … Click here to read more