Florida: Sailing Access and Sunscreen
Published on November 6th, 2019
ACCESS: Local voters provided sailing enthusiasts with good news on November 5 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Among the issues approved was a referendum allowing a long-term operating agreement between the city and the St. Petersburg Sailing Center.
The referendum provides a 20-year lease agreement between the city and St. Petersburg Yacht Club’s St. Petersburg Sailing Center that would run through 2040.
Under that agreement, the yacht club will pay the city at least $800,000 for upgrades to its sailing facility. The referendum is necessary because the city charter requires voter approval over any leases on city-owned waterfront or park property that is commercially zoned.
The sailing center wanted a longer-term lease to protect its investment in the facility and voters approved that referendum with 84 percent of the vote.
“We thank all the citizens who took the time to insure that the children and adults in St. Petersburg have a place where they can take part in sailing which is rich in our city’s history,” said Mario Farias, a consultant who worked to pass the Sailing Center referendum.
SUNSCREEN: Florida tourist haven Key West wants to protect coral reefs that attract divers, so it’s banning sunscreens that contain chemicals that could harm them. But Florida lawmakers who think it’s more important to protect humans are moving toward outlawing Key West’s sunscreen ban and making sure no other local governments impose similar ordinances.
The battle pits local governments against state government and environmentalists against dermatologists in an argument about coral bleaching and skin cancer.
“Melanoma is a very, very serious thing,” said Republican Sen. Rob Bradley, who is sponsoring the bill to ban sunscreen bans. “We’re the Sunshine State and a lot of people stay outside, and we should be encouraging people to use sunscreen, not discouraging it.”
If the bill doesn’t become law, the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone or octinoxate in Key West will be illegal starting in 2021. Research has shown the chemicals can cause coral bleaching, and the reefs around Key West attract divers, snorkelers and fishing enthusiasts.