The Florida Story

By Diane Ross
Posted March 8, 2011


Property owners in the remaining part of 8.5 square mile area, Hialeah and South Dade in Dade County, Florida have been subjected to attacks on their private property rights by the Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM) along with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and various government officials.

ICLEI (aka The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives) has a commitment to “sustainable development” throughout the world which in essence results in a private property land grab veiled in warm and fuzzy terms. ICLEI comes up with regulations and other ideas that restrict property owners from using their land. Their regulations include the Endangered Species Act, wetland regulations (as in Dade County) and a myriad of other laws governing the use of plants, animals, air, water, land and sea. ICLEI has infiltrated local governments in the USA and around the world.

Harvey Ruvin, Miami Dade Clerk of the Court, was Vice Chair of the Executive Committee of ICLEI, a non-elected position. He is also Chair of the County’s Climate Change Advisory Task Force (CCATC). He, with the Mayor of Miami Dade County appoints the Financial Director. He also serves on the Executive Council of CCOC (Florida Clerks of Court Operations Corps) which discusses budgetary business for the 67 clerk offices in Florida. He has the power and contacts to help implement United Nations Agenda 21 policies that take people’s rights away in the name of the “environment.” Pam Evans says, “Miami Dade County is run by a government that is proud to be a model city for ICLEI – a United Nations program implemented through local town councils, planners, mayors….”

The Everglades Restoration Modified Water Deliveries Project was originally estimated to cost $83 million in 1989 and now the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is projecting that the “improvements” could cost as much as $600 million of taxpayer money. It is under programs like the Florida Restoration Project that property owners are losing their rights and the environment is degrading.

Property owners are understandably distrustful of government using the arm of DERM (which is funded through taxpayer dollars, fees, fines and grants) to potentially confiscate their property. DERM declares people’s property a “wetlands” without supplying documentation of soil tests and other criteria that are stated on their website. The documents have been requested from DERM but so far DERM has never presented any.

There is no mention of wetlands in deeds. One landowner has an Army Corp of Engineers document stating his land is not a wetlands but DERM chose to declare it a wetlands anyway. These people have been productive property owners for years, and are now threatened with bankruptcy through court cases, fines and intimidation.

Among the leaders of harassed and intimidated landowners, is Aida Fernandez. She, along with others, took part in a hunger strike in an effort to defend their rights as property owners. She created the website in order to get the word out and explain her mission.

Many heartbreaking stories have evolved through the tyranny of DERM. Property owners have been ordered through Cease and Desist orders by DERM to remove crops, not mow their lawns, remove all soil on their property, to cap rock and let it re-vegetate, as well as paying fines and fees.

Madeleine Fortin was threatened but continued to fight, exposing how miners were involved with the government in their land grabs. Her home was suspiciously set on fire and 5 of her beloved dogs were inside. She finally left the area as she could not endure the situation any longer.

Oscar Soto, after having been issued fines, fees and regulations resulting in the loss of 3 farms, including the one he was living on, finally set fire to his home, truck and himself, ultimately shooting himself twice. He ended up in critical care at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

The residents of the Everglades are not the only property owners under attack in Florida. In the case “Stop the Beach Renourishment Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection,” coastline landowners faced the threat of losing property rights. An article published by the Ayn Rand Center in January 2010 discusses the problem.  The case was settled in June 2010,

Pam Evans supplied the following indented information:

Some landowners, after being dragged to court because DERM insists they are a wetland, are paying residential taxes or Agricultural taxes. Residential tax might be $20,000 & wetlands tax might be $500! Yet when they call the property tax appraiser, NOBODY KNOWS!

They say that is how it is done…& they receive calls with this same question daily! Miami Statute 33B-54 through 57 (Dade County Code) deal with disclosure of wetlands property unless being sold to South Florida Water Management District. There is No disclosure when these people buy. One landowner bought her property last year, had title search, & nothing came up. South Florida Water Management is selling land right across from these landowners. The ad says Nothing about being a Wetland. What will happen after the landowner buys the property? 

There have been cases where the land was resold to developers AFTER the property owners had to give it up. Did it suddenly become a dry land or were there mitigation credits involved? Always follow the money trail. We already know that Rock Mining companies can mine even on protected land as long as they pay those mitigation credits. Similar to Carbon Credit trade off.

Suspicious fires, helicopters hovering 4-5 x a day, sometimes once a night, & sometimes LANDING on their property, getting harassed on weekends, on & on….  

Contacted Inspector General’s office & so far no call back even though we firmly stated we felt lives could be at risk. The Mayor, Commissioners, Congressmen, & other officials KNOW that something does NOT smell right. They are either part of this or too scared to stand up for what is RIGHT & JUST!! You will recognize names on the World Congress ICLEI documents as those in our current MD government. I HAVE ATTACHED A DOCUMENT WITH LINKS TO BACK UP THESE STATEMENTS.

THIS IS A STICK UP” – MIAMI LAND GRAB LINKS  from 2005-stating costs of Modified Water Deliveries Project  Carmel on the Case (7 TV) 1-DERM determination by drive by  Wildlife Officer intimidated by DERM for telling truth under oath 

Carmel on the Case-7 TV

Miami Dade Statute 33B-54-57 from Miami Dade County Code-Wetlands Disclosure  

Land being sold extremely close proximity to these landowners By SFWM

Rep Mario Diaz-Balart moved on….
Miami Dade County & ICLEI/AGENDA 21 Legislation-
Harvey Ruvin sponsor for Miami Dade County joining
ICLEI-International Organization

1st World Congress on Cities & Adaptation to Climate Change-
Bonn, Germany Commissioner Seijas & Harvey Ruvin on report-

Future Of Cities World Congress 10-5-2010 Incheon, Korea
Speakers include Harvey Ruvin (listed as Miami Dade Clerk of County Court)-never have found who paid for this overseas trip.

IRS + 501(c)3,,id=96099,00.html
Long Term CO2 Reduction Plan for Miami Dade County
Mayor Alvarez, Commissioners, & Harvey Ruvin are on this plan

(Note sentence – Harvey Ruvin has set priorities Legislating CCATF recommendations with assistance from Assistant County Attorney Abbie Schwaderer.) This is dated 9/2010

Miami Dade County 2010-11 Adopted Budget – look at Adobe Budget Pg. 216 (DERM Budget), Pg. 223 – Environmentally Endangered Lands Program (EEL), Pg. 304 (DERM Grant Fund-State & Fed)

Harvey Ruvin Links-

shows Vice Chair ICLEI EXEC Committee (1998-2002)
FL Clerks of Court Operations Corporation


This horrendous threat to our lifestyle and the Constitution is making rapid progress, infiltrating every aspect of our lives from the air we breathe to the food we eat. It has to be stopped and only we, the citizens, can expose this insidious movement. It is destroying our rights and freedoms. Spread the word and expose corrupt conditions such as exist in Miami Dade County.

Update: Mayor Alvarez recalled! Miami Herald story here.

The Florida Story by Diane Ross

[This article contains links to outside sources not controlled by Freedom Advocates and therefore are subject to change.]

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