What is the Broward Soil and Water Conservation District?

What began as a simple search for information has become an interesting story that we (Broward voters) should care about.

Last election cycle, I wanted to make sure I voted with information about the candidates I was selecting – and I did some research on a number of roles/candidates I had little knowledge of. One of them was the race for the Broward Soil and Water Conservation District (BSWCD) Seat that was up for election. The two candidates – Fred Segal and Oliver Parker – were completely different animals.

Fred is a very active member of the 4H Club, President of the Broward County Farm Bureau (yes, there are still farms in Broward) and the Kiwanis Club. Oliver Parker was the former Mayor of Hollywood-by-the-Sea who leveraged his name recognition to win this 2008 election (IMHO) to then run for a judgeship (and subsequently lost). Fred’s loss did not effect his efforts in this space – he has stayed involved in the above groups and has applied and succeeded in running unopposed for Seat 4 this season.

This year, Cynthia Thomas and David Kout are competing for one of the five seats up for the 2010 cycle. You can read more about my interview with them via this link:

Cynthia Thomas / David Kout for Broward Soil & Water Conservation District

So, what is the Broward Soil and Water Conservation District?

Funny thing about state, county and local politics – people get involved for various reasons and things get started for a multitude of reasons. Researching the Broward Soil and Water Conservation District has been an interesting effort – since very few people know what it actually is.

According to the CompanyDatabase.org, the Broward Soil and Water Conservation District is:

The Broward Soil and Water Conservation District (BSWCD) is a political subdivision of the State of Florida created to implement Chapter 582 Florida Statutes, in general for the purpose of “conservation of natural resources, preserve wildlife, protect lands of the state and protect and promote the health, safety and general welfare of the people of the State of Florida.” The BSWCD promotes leadership in the conservation of natural resources through stewardship and education programs.

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Cynthia Thomas / David Kout for Broward Soil & Water Conservation District

So this year, I decided to look up more information on the Broward Soil and Water Conservation District once again. Especially since the Early Voting will begin, better to get some content up now – versus later.

David Kout

David KoutMr. Kout has been a lawyer and civic activist for 25 years in the City of Hollywood – been involved in activism for many years. On an old website, you can see that Mr. Kout has been an enthusiastic member of the Broward community in various ways. A sampling of his positions includes:
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Michelle Rhee to resign – why is it so difficult to make a difference?

Reading the news today on the Atlantic Wire, I was saddened to see Chancellor Michelle Rhee having to resign after the new mayor for Washington DC was elected.

I have been impressed with Ms. Rhee’s enthusiasm and vigor in attempting to reshape DC’s school system – and am saddened that she is having to leave DC at the point she is. Change often takes a long time to occur – and seeing the fruits of a labor for children – especially in teaching – is only seen after a generation, not after 12 to 18 months. Unfortunately, Ms. Rhee did not get that chance here. But I hope that her next post gives her a chance to show her stuff.

And I ask the Obama Administration – will you stand up and respect the contract you made with DC Schools and their children – by ensuring that the plans created and designed by Chancellor Rhee are kept when you complete the awarding of the Race to the Top grant? I hope so.

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“Who to Blame” for our economic problems?

Tara Hunt posted this on her Facebook feed and I had to share it…

Who's to Blame by Barry Deutsch

Who's to Blame by Barry Deutsch

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Creating the incentives to accomplish long-term government goals

Yesterday, I spent the day in Philadelphia at Supernova 2010, and enjoyed the people that came. My greatest challenge came from the topics that occurred later in the day, which covered areas on social media (having to do with will SM save media), policy and small business. The topics, while relevant in some fashion, were somewhat the same as I have seen everywhere else. Lots of great rules for engagement, conversations on well-worn case studies, and a couple of gems of details I enjoyed to learn about (e.g. I have not heard about the extent of @twelpforce until this panel).

But what got me spurred the most had more to do with the last panel:

Crossing the Abyss
Allan Frank (City of Philadelphia), Chris Lehmann (Science Leadership Academy), Brad Garlinghouse (AOL)
Organizations that thrived in the prior era will not necessarily succeed in the Network Age. Yet the inertia of established practices, incentives, and culture is extremely powerful. If an organization needs to transform, how can it determine the proper path, and what does it take to achieve real, sustainable change?(emphasis mine)

While the conversation with Brad was enjoyable (hearing about AOL and Yahoo! and the Second Acts), I appreciated the stories, but wanted to hear (in this panel) some suggestions on how to achieve real, sustainable change (see above). When Chris and Allan joined the panel, there were great details on what was wrong and what was needed, but little in what works and what are the next great achievements to drive this change.

I personally got frustrated with the litany of problems that were enumerated and the demands that were to be made – as if there were infinite resources and it could be an instantaneous change that could occur in our schools, our governments and our corporations to bring about the successes we seek. But sorry guys, coming from a ABD PhD, gratification and change comes about slowly and often imperceptibly until the critical mass occurs and then all follow due to the standards of human nature. The question is – how to we determine that path to achieve that change?
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