Getting Engaged

Valuing Environment

Guest Column by Charles Lee, Florida Auduban

Monday, February 20, 2012 7:00 am

Florida Audobon

In a Letter to the Editor, published by the Orlando Sentinel on February 18, 2012, Charles Lee, Directory of Advocacy for Florida Audubon and a member of the Executive Board of Advisors of, responded to a recent column calling it “wild and unjustified.” It is published here for our Every Monday readers.

Scott Maxwell is usually on the mark with his columns about Central Florida issues and politics. However, he fired a wild and unjustified shot at the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce, Jacob Stuart and the Central Florida Partnership in his Sunday column, "End gravy train of tax dollars to chamber."

As an advocate for environmental issues in Florida for the past 40 years, I am accustomed to dealing with chambers of commerce that run roughshod over environmental values in blind pursuit of economic development at any cost.

The important organizations that have thrived under Stuart's leadership maintain a refreshing respect for Florida's environment, even including important environmental goals in the highest priorities of their advocacy efforts.

The visioning effort, which Maxwell derides, has led many Central Florida local governments to revise their comprehensive plans to curtail urban sprawl and adopt environmentally friendly compact-growth strategies.

SunRail, high-speed rail and the Wekiva Parkway are indicative of the strong pro-environment content of Stuart's advocacy. He and his organizations have joined with Audubon, the Nature Conservancy and others in supporting continuation of the Florida Forever program.

The only thing wrong with Stuart's efforts is that they have not yet had time to become predominant in the philosophy of chambers of commerce throughout Florida.

Count me in as a supporter of Stuart, the Central Florida Partnership, the Orlando Regional Chamber, and their outstanding, public-spirited leadership for Central Florida's future.

Charles Lee Directory of Advocacy, Audubon Florida
Editor's note: Charles Lee is on the executive board of advisers.

Central Florida Partnership - Ideas to Results
The Central Florida Partnership is a collaborative of business and civic leaders committed to procuring a better tomorrow for Central Florida's seven counties - Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole and Volusia. We are thoughtful leaders united by a single, guiding principle - that we have both the power and the responsibility to make change happen.

Working together, through four lines of business – Orlando, Inc. (Regional Entrepreneurship), BusinessForce (Regional Public Policy Advocacy), (Regional Research & Resolves) and Leadership Orlando (Regional Leadership) – the Central Florida Partnership is moving “Ideas to Results.”

About the Central Florida Partnership
Click here to learn more about the Central Florida Partnership.
Click here for the Central Florida Partnership Board of Directors.