Hey, remember that ICE detention facility that prison contractor CCA is trying to build in a remote exclave of Southwest Ranches? Opponents of the project are still raising hell.
For months, the people organizing the protests against the facility have been met with a rebuttal from town officials that it's already a done deal. When Pembroke Pines ramped up its opposition and started to consider canceling its agreement to provide water to the facility, they were told that CCA would just go ahead and drill its own well.
"The time to say you object? That was in the 1990s," Town Attorney Keith Poliakoff told us.
But the backlash appears to have set CCA's public relations department back on its heels -- the company is sending out astroturf mailers saying how much money stands to be lost "if we reject the South Florida Detention Center."
That implies that residents of Pembroke Pines, to which that mailer was directed, have the option of rejecting it -- which doesn't square with the assertion that this is a done deal.
CCA VP Lucibeth Mayberry has stated in public that the company will take care of its own water treatment if services aren't provided to it -- although as we showed in our feature story, Southwest Ranches officials jumped through hoops and sacrificed the town's existing fire/EMS contract to set up the service agreement with Pembroke Pines.
Here's the Pines mailer, provided by antiprison activist Bill Di Scipio:
Here's a similar one distributed in Southwest Ranches. And another, more general flier sent to local residents, trumpeting the benefits of the facility:
The fliers link to DetentionCenterFacts.com, a website cooked up by CCA PR to set the record straight on some issues as they see them -- and to threaten residents with taking away money for their schools and services should CCA be kept from moving to town.
We have a call out to Poliakoff for his opinion on the fliers. As for Di Scipio and his gang, which recently formed a PAC to allow more fundraising and publicity, he believes CCA will still, in fact, go away.
"We've known all along that with a core of residents opposed to the prison, we will turn them," he says.
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As loopy as this prison fight has been -- much to the chagrined surprise of CCA and ICE, we imagine -- we'll just wait and see.