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Clemens challenges mailer saying he supported ocean discharge in Lake Worth

by whoward | July 25th, 2012

Jeff Clemens, a District 27 candidate for state Senate, issued a press release Wednesday challenging a campaign mailer that says he supported Lake Worth’s 2007 plan to discharge briny concentrate from a reverse-osmosis water plant while serving as the city’s mayor.

The flier shows a brownish substance spewing from a discharge pipe behind a photo of Clemens. It says Clemens, then mayor of Lake Worth, supported the utility’s plan to allow the discharge into the ocean off Lake Worth Beach, which opponents argued would harm coral reefs.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Clemens calls the flier “libelous.” His campaign manager, Cesar Fernandez, said he is consulting with lawyers about a possible lawsuit.

 Annette James, campaign manager for Clemens’ opponent, Mack Bernard, said Bernard had not seen the ads, did not approve them and could not comment.

“These mailers were not sent from, nor approved by, the Mack Bernard campaign,” James said.

The mailer accusing Clemens of being weak on the environment was paid for by the Committee for Effective Representation. The committee is controlled by Associated Industries of Florida, the big-busness group that is supporting Bernard in the race for the new Senate District 27 that covers much of east-central Palm Beach County.

In a May 2007 article published in The Palm Beach Post, Clemens is quoted as saying he would not support the water plant’s ocean discharge if it would harm the reef.

“I don’t want to look back 20 years from now and see that we killed the reef,” Clemens was quoted as saying.

“These attacks are just flat out lies,” Clemens said in a statement. “I voted to protect the coral reefs, and we closed the outfall while I was mayor of Lake Worth.”

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection denied the city’s permit for the ocean discharge of the reverse osmois concentrate. Clemens and the commissionvoted against hiring a lobbyist to push for approval of the permit.

The city has since built a reverse-osmosis water plant, which uses a deep injection well instead of an ocean outfall to dispose of its byproduct.

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25 Responses to “Clemens challenges mailer saying he supported ocean discharge in Lake Worth”

  1. Facts are stubborn Says:

    Mack Bernard’s campaign: “We did not (snicker) approve of (hehe) these untrue attacks that were (LOL!) mailed out by our big business friends in Tallashassee.”

  2. Big surprise Says:

    This last mailer was just the latest one in a line of ridiculous attacks on Clemens by Associated Industries.
    Here’s a tip for Democrats who vote: if the big business lobby in Tallahassee is paying for mail to benefit one candidate, vote for the other candidate.
    I have no idea how Mack can even call himself a Democrat after all this.

  3. Ed Tichenor Says:

    The one thing I abhor more then the current political discourse in this county is distortions and lies that are presented as fact for one candidate to gain an advantage over their opponent. One recent attack ad that I can not remain silent about is the portrayal of candidate Jeff Clemens as anti-environmental. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The distortion reflects back to 2007 when Lake Worth was in the process of applying for a permit to discharge nutrient-rich wastewater from a reverse osmosis (RO) processing plant through an ocean outfall onto offshore coral reefs. A plan concocted by consultants for the local utility authority and tacitly approved by Florida regulatory agencies. When environmental groups raised concerns about the flawed plan Mayor Jeff Clemens arranged for coral reef experts to present testimony at a series of public meetings. Once the facts were clear the Mayor and City Council acted quickly and decisively to withdraw the outfall permit application and approve more environmentally responsible RO waste disposal options.

    This is how the system is supposed to work! As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization PBC Reef Rescue cannot endorse a candidate. As an individual I make every effort to distance myself from the unsavory politics of our times. But when misinformation attacks are made to distort what was a responsible environmental position, I must speak up. When presented with the facts Jeff Clemens cast his vote on the side of coral reef protection and continues to actively work with groups and individuals who understand the importance of protecting Florida’s threatened coastal resources.

    Ed Tichenor, Director
    Palm Beach County Reef Rescue

  4. Liberals? Says:

    We really don’t need more liberals like Clemens in Tallahassee. We need more right-leaning Democrats like Bernard who are willing to give up their vote on a few issues in order to pass a bill.
    So yeah, maybe this was an underhanded attack, but it doesn’t change the fact that with Democrats who lean Republican, we can get more done.

  5. Unbelievable Says:

    WHAT?!?! Republican front groups lying about a Democratic candidate?
    I’m shocked!!
    But actually what is interesting is that this time they’re doing it for a supposed Democrat. So the question really becomes, what did Mack Bernard do for the big business groups to warrant this kind of support?

  6. Jon Says:

    Mack Bernard is an empty suit. His campaign is funded by republicans, ran by republicans. Therefore, Mack Bernard is DINO.

  7. toni Says:

    Jeff Clemens is a honest respectful candidate that has never attempted to attack or be dishonest about anything. He is the person I would want to represent me both personally and politically.
    Mr. Bernard your campaign, you and who ever else has tried to tear down Jeff Clemens give it up. We the people do NOT like dirty nasty underhanded politics. ENOUGH!
    Toni Beth

  8. Monty Says:

    Clemens is a joke. Why dont you actually start talking to people in Lake Worth. He did not have a real race in the city or in his house seat. He is just a joke. Clemens is full of it.

  9. Yep I agree Says:

    Monte, well said. This guy thinks because he is a former newspaper reporter that the journalists will just support him and because he agrees with all the critics and folks will think, That’s Right! Please. We can see what Jeff is this campaign — a guy who doesn’t have a real job in search of a way to have one with some health care benefits, and a pension. Goodbye Jeff. You got lucky last time.

  10. Confused Says:

    I’m confused. Do I vote for the guy who’s supported by big business or the cry-baby.

  11. Jessie S Says:

    Why is Mack Bernard not putting his picture on any of his mailers? Is he hiding the fact that he’s black? Why else would he do it? That’s disappointing.

  12. Michael Davis Says:

    I have known Jeff Clemens for over a decade, and for the Republicans and his opponent to suggest he is weak on the environment is ridiculous. He has consistently proven to be an effective defender of our waters and natural resources, including his time in the legislature. It troubles me that Mack Bernard would resort to such attacks and suggest otherwise.

    As a 33 year environmental policy professional (23 years with federal environmental agencies) I do have a good sense of good environmental policy makers – - Jeff is one of them.

    Michael L. Davis
    Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army
    Former Federal Clean Water Act Enforcement Officer

  13. RUSerious Says:

    Jeff Clemens has the best voting record in Tallahassee, rivaling Mark Pafford. Clemens represents his constituents above corporations, unlike his opponent, who also supports school prayer and school vouchers.

  14. Lake Worth Says:

    Who the heck is Monty? I see Clemens in Lake Worth ALL the time. His office is downtown, for Pete’s sake.
    I’m assuming this is one of Mack’s supporters. Which makes sense, because instead of commenting about YOUR candidate’s dirty campaigning, you try to re-focus the discussion.
    This article is about Mack Bernard’s lies. Come on, Monty, comment on that!

  15. Facts please Says:

    Clemens was named one of the three most promising rookies legislators in the state by Florida Trend magazine. The Professional Firefighters named him Legislator of the Year. Yeah, I’m sure that’s way worse than being supported by big insurance, big banks and all of their sleazy lobbyists.

  16. Jack Says:

    Actually, I remember how concerned the Mayor was when the projected discarge pipe was too close to brain coral. I believe one of the considerations was a $1,000,000 extension of the pipe further out into the ocean.
    The ensuing consideration of alternatives led to the switch back to completion of the RO Plant with discharge back into the deep acquifer.

  17. Funny Says:

    I see Jeff is busy on the blogs tonight. The 3 right above this one are so full of insider language he can’t help himself. By the way, having an office downtown and being in it are two different things. Think of the empty chair ads, now you have Jeff. He conveniently shows up when there’s a camera or reporter, not much else. Jeff got had and he can’t stand it. The mailer was legitimate. And there’s probably more of it to come… it’s not like Jeff doesn’t have plenty of material to work with. This is what happens when you insult everyone in Tallahassee just to get a headline… they don’t tend to forget. Sorry Jeff but you played it wrong from day one.

  18. Dee Says:

    Jeff I am voting for you.

  19. Save my Beach! Says:

    Mack Bernard has my vote. Jeff Clemens has made it clear his only mission in Tally is to get rid of Governor Scott. In a majority ruled Republican Senate, I want a Senator who can reach across the aisle and compromise. The voters will decide if the Governor should stay or go. My Senator should be looking out for the interest of his/her district. Jeff is not the man to send to Tallahassee.

  20. wow Says:

    Wow, at every debate Jesus Jeff has been Bashing Mack every chance he got. Now that he’s taking a shot he wants a lawsuit? The man has a week chin. That’s not what Palm beach county needs in Tallahassee. He is on the ropes.

    How many times can one campaign member change their name on this comment section. Shame. Desperation.

  21. Really, wow? Says:

    Wow, I’ve been at some of those same debates. And you’re right, Clemens has been pointing out all of Mack’s bad votes. But here’s the kicker: they were all true!
    This last mailer from Mack was just a flat-out lie, as this articled points out.
    So stop defending lies. Bernard votes with the Republicans, and they in turn throw him some scraps. We have a term for that where I come from.

  22. Jeff is getting desperate Says:

    Jeff – You are obviously blogging and you are coming across as desperate. Calm down. Politics is not and never will be gentlemanly. If you’re platform of being a true democratic is all you have, you are certainly going to lose. The people want a moderate, not an extremist. Except, of course, Allen West.

  23. Searcher Says:

    I’ve met Clemens on many occasions. He seems like a normal, respectful individual to me. Beat him on his record, don’t lie about it. I would vote for him, but he’s not in my district.

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