Mother Jones has compiled the comprehensive account of Mike Huckabee’s political and legal fight to keep the public off the strip of beach in front of his $3 million home near Destin, Fla.
After getting millions in public support to maintain the beach, Huckabee now claims it as his own, with the help of political trickery, including state legislation to override local ordinances in favor of beach access. There’s now a legal contest attempting to enforce historic Florida precedent in favor of public beaches.
Huckabee sounds his usual victimized self.
Huckabee wrote a thank-you note to the Republican cosponsor of the bill, complaining that he and his neighbors were “demonized as ‘greedy, selfish and rich’ owners who want to deprive the poor of their ‘rights.’” He added, “I’ve found used condoms on my walk-down, glass bottles broken, dog feces, litter. Sharp tent poles that can cut bare feet and worse. Large tents with large groups with boom boxes make using my own property very difficult during high season.”
Popular opinion is not on his side. Republican politicians are running from siding with the property owners who’ve used police and private security guards to roust the public from beaches that have been a tourism godsend.
The courts will decide finally if the Huckster gets his private beach. But, notes Mother Jones:
Meanwhile, Huckabee may get his comeuppance for trying to seize a piece of nature for himself. His monstrosity of a mansion was never supposed to be built in the first place. Blue Mountain Beach, where his house is located, was slammed by consecutive hurricanes in 2004 and 2005, which left the beach critically eroded. The lot he purchased was supposed to be unbuildable. It sits atop a state line designating where a major storm surge is likely to reach, beyond which development is prohibited without a special permit. Undeterred, according to a Reuters investigation, Huckabee hired a contractor who dumped sand on the beach to create a fake dune and lobbied environmental officials to say that with the imported sand pile, his building site was adequately protected from storms and met the criteria for a waiver from the law.
If Huckabee’s house doesn’t get flattened by a hurricane first, sea-level prediction maps suggest that it is likely to get flooded regularly over the next 20 years by worsening storm surges. When those disasters inevitably happen, Huckabee will no doubt be asking the very taxpayers he doesn’t want on his beach to help pick up the tab to restore it.