Florida County Government And Homeowners Association Force Disabled Woman with MCS Out Of Home
The Leon County Government in Tallahassee, FL has been collaborating with a Homeowners Association for many years to spray a woman's home and property which has been officially placed on a "No Spray List" due to her serious medical risks associated with MCS, Lupus and Environmental Illness Syndrome. Kathy Termotto lives in Orchard Walk and has repeatedly asked the Leon County Mosquito Control Program (LCMCP) to stay far enough away from her home in order to prevent the highly toxic ANVIL from contaminating her property.
Ms. Termotto suffers from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Lupus, as well as a very serious allergy to synthetic pyrethroids, the killing agent that is ejected into the air by the mosquito spray truck. Her physicians and attorneys have sent letters to the Leon County Commissioners and Administration for fifteen years and yet the LCMCP continues to be called by the OWHA to spray their street – a mosquito control procedure that has been proven to be very ineffective and toxic to life and the environment.
Ms. Termotto has created an environment in her home out of medical necessity. Every time the LCMCP truck comes down the street, the noxious insecticide aerosol that is sprayed falls on top of her property as it migrates with air movement. After a night's street fogging the insecticide is found on her organic garden, her automobile, as well as all over her entire yard – patio, grass, shrubs, trees, etc. The most serious problem, by far, however is when it gets into her home via the air conditioning system. This eventuality completely destroys an environment she has painstakingly created over many years in order to preserve some degree of quality of life, as she has been unable to work outside the home since 1995 because of her disability.
The Leon County Government agreed earlier this year to grant such homeowners a one-quarter mile buffer zone to protect them from these toxic chemicals. They then, however, mysteriously rescinded the program because the Leon County Commission Chairman was under election threat. He collaborated with some other commissioners to quite abruptly torpedo this much more effective and safe program, which had taken fifteen years to put into place. Ms. Termotto called this underhanded political maneuver a shocking betrayal of the many environment health advocates who had worked so hard to formulate and implement the new procedures.
"According to the Leon County Commission Meeting minutes, it was clear that Chairman Rackleff completely hijacked the agenda around this item, and then shut down debate from those well intentioned Commissioners who were adamantly opposed to chemically assaulting Leon County residents who asked not to be sprayed for health reasons", says Ms. Termotto. "Those same commissioners saw the potential lawsuits coming because the County was essentially committing chemical trespass on individual properties, and, in some cases, committing chemical assault on the concerned residents themselves." she goes on to state with all the authority of one who has become an expert in this matter.
Ms. Termotto is the Vice President of the COALITION AGAINST CHEMICAL TRESPASS (CACT) an organization that has worked closely with CAP in Canada, which was successful in enacting legislation through the Canadian Parliament to terminate the barbaric practice of systematic, indiscriminate, wide-area spraying of residential subdivisions. Her organization has called many county mosquito control directors over the years and she found that the LCMCP was the most seriously flawed and improperly administered of them all. What follows is a synopsis of a formal report which was prepared by the CACT in preparation for their next presentation to the Leon County Board of Commissioners.
"The Leon County Mosquito Control truck-spraying policy is unique among the counties of Florida, but, unfortunately, unique in a way that is so absurd that it defies human reason. For in Leon County the decision to implement truck spraying has been taken out of the hands of the experts, the mosquito control staff, and put into the hands of the general population. Here's how it works: In Leon County one single person can call LCMC and request his street to be truck-sprayed. LCMC is not required to verify the necessity of this spraying, nor does the caller have to present any evidence or testimony whatsoever of the need for this spraying. This caller does not have to get the permission of anyone else on his street, nor are any of the unknowing residents of the street informed ahead of time about this spraying unless they have specifically asked to be notified."
"We have researched and spoken to the managers of mosquito control programs in several Florida counties, and we have failed to find a single county that has such a policy. In every other county, the truck spraying is conducted by the mosquito control departments and not by private citizens. In these counties truck spraying is implemented based on sound scientific data regarding the density of the mosquito populations and never on the whims of someone who just wants the county to pay for his personal pest control. In fact, when we related the policy here in Leon County, it evoked such responses as "that is a totally reckless disbursement of pesticides", and 'that is completely irresponsible and a waste of the taxpayers money.'"
"How such an illogical policy ever came into being is beyond understanding. However the past is the past. In these times when it is more important than ever to protect our environment which is in such a critical state, and when it is crucial in these hard economic times to cut useless spending, we call upon our leaders to step up to the plate and completely rework the truck spraying policy in Leon County. Our environment needs to be protected, the health of our citizens needs to be protected from indiscriminate use of dangerous insecticides, and our pockets and pocketbooks need to be protected. Any commissioner who fails to act on this has no business being in office."
Ms. Termotto points out that the real problem, which has resulted in her neighborhood from such an inherently flawed policy, is the predicament in which she and her husband have found themselves with respect to their homeowners association (OWHA) for many years. The OWHA has demonstrated a pre-meditated pattern of using the LCMCP street-spraying as a weapon against them. When asked how so, Ms. Termotto responds that every time either she or her husband have identified the many ways that the OWHA has been in violation of the Covenants and Bylaws or, more seriously, of flagrantly breaking the Florida Laws (Statute #720 in particular) concerning the lawful governance of homeowners associations, the leadership has called for mosquito trucks to spray their entire street, including her property.
Ms. Termotto admits that such an ongoing chemical assault has been difficult to bear all these years, but the Leon County and State of Florida have only empowered these law-breaking officers and board members by supporting their illegal requests year after year. Ms. Termotto has a file drawer of legal briefs, lawsuit documents, physician reports and letters to both the OWHA and the Leon County Government documenting years of abuse, victimization and threats to her health and life. It has gotten her nowhere and she wonders how government can be allowed to commit such crimes against the citizenry with such impunity.
"When the Manager of Mosquito Control tells you that an OWHA officer has asked for the entire street to be sprayed, even though his property will not be, and he tells the LCMCP to spray our end of the street knowing of my extremely dangerous allergy to the insecticide spray, what other conclusion can one draw?" As for the OWHA, she wonders out loud, "Here you have a Tallahassee Police Officer sitting on the OWHA board who allows a resident to be assaulted, as well as a State Officer who works in the Capitol Building calling for our end of the street to be sprayed knowing of my fragile condition!" Ms. Termotto goes on to ask, "What in the world has happened to our society where the officers of the State, who are entrusted to protect us, become the very perpetrators of the crimes themselves?!"
Ms. Termotto is now consulting with her attorneys to consider the filing of criminal charges against the Leon County Administration, specific Leon County Commissioners, as well as all the various officers and board members of the OWHA who have initiated the many instances of both chemical assault and chemical trespass over the past fifteen years. The following hyperlink connects to a letter of notification to hold personally responsible the many Leon County Commissioners and Officials who participated in these crimes against a disabled woman with Lupus and MCS who was simply trying to protect herself from a medical emergency, or worse.http://concernedcitizensofflorida.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/letter-of-notice-to-leon-county-commissioners/http://concernedcitizensofflorida.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/letter-of-notice-to-the-leon-county-government/
In the meantime, Ms. Termotto is forced to leave her home for 3 days every time the street is sprayed. When she does re-enter the home, she must contend with detoxifying her entire home because of how little of the insecticide can trigger a full-blown allergic response. If left untreated, a life-threatening medical condition known as anaphylactic shock can develop, which usually requires immediate medical attention. Ms. Termotto quite poignantly asks, "If Commissioner Rackleff's wife suffered from such an ailment, do you think his neighbors would call for the street to be sprayed. And if they did, would the county even DARE to send out a truck."
Board of Directors
Healthcare Professionals for Clean Environment