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.