Thursday, March 25, 2010

On citizens being part of the "solution" to Florida's development disaster ... by gimleteye

Yesterday I responded to "Brickell Avenue" on the futility of citizens being "part of the solution" to a bankrupt, dysfunctional, and ethically corrupt Growth Machine whose components, from Wall Street, to downtown lobbyists, from mortgage pools to local county commissioners feeding at the developers' trough-- in other words, from sea to shining sea-- pushed the US economy into a time release depression.

The comment section of yesterday's post included the news report from the St. Pete Times that a new bill is moving through the Florida legislature that proves my point-- a point I have been making for years here, at Eyeonmiami, and at Counterpunch-- that the Growth Machine is exploiting the misery of the economic crisis to gut rules and regulations that are meant to protect communities, neighborhoods, our quality of life and environment.

For this reason, the 2010 November referendum for Florida Hometown Democracy, Amendment 4, is shaping up to be one of the hottest election issues in the United States. The measure will give citizens the chance to vote, for the first time, on how well they think banks, land use lawyers, developers and their political hirelings in local and state legislatures have done representing taxpayers and residents.

The Miami Herald editorial board has been mostly mute on this issue, until today when it blasts the ethically corrupt (my words) status quo in a big banner headline: "Stop this developers' handout: our opinion, Bill could fuel anti-sprawl voters' revolt". SB 1752 is a so-called "jobs bill with unrelated provisions to water down permitting rules to the immense benefit of developers and huge expense of local communities. After just a single committee hearing, this travesty is slated for a vote by the Senate Thursday."

Earlier this week "Brickell Avenue" wrote tartly that I should be "part of the solution" to the growth management disaster in Florida instead of part of the "undifferentiated mass" of complainers. At the moment, then, I knew this bill was moving through Yee Haw Junction Tallahassee. It always this way. The yo-yo's sternly wag their fingers from up high in the ether that citizens should be pro-active and helpful, not always complaining or litigating, the very same moment the good ole boys are at the state capitol trying to knee-cap the public interest and capacity to be involved in decision making. That's the Wade Hopping Way. I don't think there are enough or accurate expletives to apply.

What The Miami Herald left out was that this bill is the brain child of Senator Michael Bennett, a West Coast developer and rising GOP star, who was cheered on by party faithful last year to kill off the state agency charged with growth management, the Florida Department of Community Affairs. Gov. Crist-- raising campaign cash from every developer he could lay hands on-- gave Bennett and his crew part of what they wanted, only to find that their nemesis, DCA Secretary Tom Pelham, had out-manoevered them. After the legislative session, Pelham told me that he was profoundly concerned how the bipartisan and enthusiastic support in the state legislature for managing Florida's growth during the 1980's-- when he was DCA Secretary under Gov. Martinez-- had utterly disappeared. Just a few weeks ago, Bennett claimed it was never his intent to behead DCA, a flat-out lie. So now he and his GOP growth-at-any-costers have come up with new legislation that does the same thing. Oh, it must be so fun to shoot these ducks in a barrel. The only thing better, would be to have the same audience as Mark Twain once did.

Vote for Florida Hometown Democracy - Amendment 4.


Anonymous said...

Where is Brickell Bob today?

Anonymous said...

I will vote for amendment 4 and I will tell my friends about it. Thanks for reminding me.

Anonymous said...

Bob's right here. Checked thru last few days of comments, don't see any Brickell name.

Anonymous said...

what happened with the bill today? anyone know?

Malcolm said...

Ever notice how few comments there are when Mr. Farago takes his intellect on the open road and steps on the gas? That kind of brilliance is intimidating.

That why I'm confident that he knows the house we have known as the global economy is coming down. He's too smart not to see it.

In just the past day or so, reports that Social Security will payout more than it will take in this year (six years before they projected), Mexico is so close to failed state status that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mullen is down there to intervene (back here Wachovia is paying a $160 million civil fine for laundering the Mexican cartels money, in fact all the US banks are being kept afloat by drug money), Portugal is the newest of the PIIGS to get a credit rating downgrade, China is kicking out US companies and the US is demanding the yuan be revalued. The signs of economic nationalism and the crumbling of the global economy are all around us.

Locally, the Miami Herald has to rotate its crisis reporting. One day its Jackson Memorial, the next day its the City of Miami, then Miami-Dade County, then the Miami-Dade Public Schools, and now the Florida Retirement System is $30 million in the red. And that's when The Herald isn't hiding its own imminent demise.

The body politic is breaking down and more violence is on the way. Spitting on Congressmen, flying planes into IRS buildings, threatening phone calls and white powder mailed to politicians. Did you hear the Black fellow's call to Rep. Jan Schmidt's office? If anyone ever spit on him...

They'll never play baseball in that new stadium they're building for Jeffrey Lorie, but they might hang some people there.

Our public officials are so far gone they couldn't grasp what's happening if they tried. Our political culture, dominated by the wealthy, has selected an empty-headed buffoon to sit in nominal seats of power. So you get a Crist, a Rubio, a Meek, a Sink, a McCollum, a Flores, a Rivera. I could go on for days. Jeb Bush is an exception and that's why we'll never see him run for office again and why the family bought land down in Patagonia.

Guess I've ranted long enough. This is probably a plea to you Mr. Farago to tell me where I'm off base. What do you see in the big picture? Why isn't this whole damn thing coming down?

Gimleteye said...

Printing trillions can paper over a whole lot of problems. For just so long. In Patagonia, you can see uninvited guests from a long, long way.