Monday, April 12, 2010

The Best Chance for Florida: Amendment 4, Florida Hometown Democracy ... by gimleteye

"To the ATT attorney, congratulations. You've obviously made your rounds through here." 12 words came out so spontaneously last week, from County Commissioner Joe Martinez. They didn't need to be spoken. Martinez praised the lobbyists for how well they greased the skids. That's what he meant, and he meant it in a good way. Then a simple CYA question that is plain embarrassing for its obvious staging and simplicity. That's the shape of democracy in 2010. That's also how big land use decisions are made by local elected officials, put there by campaign contributors who get their way long before any public hearings on changes to the form and shape of our communities. Martinez was congratulating ATT and its lobbyists for "making the rounds" to secure votes to not infringe on distribution* of the Yellow Pages: a relic of the horse and buggy whip economy.

"You've obviously made your rounds through here" accounts for how taxpayers are stuck with the real rounds: gridlock, job uncertainty, economic malaise and massive budget deficits. It is how we got here. The treadmill. It is the reason for voters to approve, in November, Amendment 4: Florida Hometown Democracy.

Everyone knows that accommodating land use changes by local government officials was cannon fodder of the housing boom. Wall Street couldn't get all its fixes without farmland zoned for construction or condominiums for which there was no real demand. The lobbyists who waltz through city and county halls across the state got what they wanted: a Ponzi scheme that made a few people very rich. Taxpayers and citizens got the bill.

Unfunded infrastructure deficits manifest as clogged traffic, overcrowded schools, a degraded quality of life and environment: thanks to the power of backroom dealing making in Florida, we have exactly the set of conditions that businesses flee, when they can. The worst part: the fake economy is all sold on the promise of "jobs, jobs, jobs".

But, the perpetrators -- who still get the inside pages of the mainstream newspapers-- continue to work their magic like ATT did: delivering votes for the buggy whip economy. Stanley Price, picked to oppose Amendment 4 by the builders and lobbyists, gets his inside page in The Miami Herald today. He writes: "... Amendment 4, if passed, will have potentially devastating consequences for Florida's already fragile economy."

A fright campaign is all that Mr. Price and the land use/speculators have. The evidence is otherwise. Florida Hometown Democracy: look it up on the web, not the Yellow Pages.

* Lobbyists secured votes to stop a proposal by Commissioner Katy Sorenson to help citizens "opt out" of receiving the Yellow Pages. Almost all the commissioners agreed that getting the Yellow Pages should be mandatory.


miaexile said...

To reasoned folks, fear doesn't work. What could be scarier, after all, more of the same or a shot at change. Let's pass Amendment 4 and take back our communities.

Anonymous said...

again seriously, I say to all amendment 4 supporters, you want to trust the same voter that votes the county commission into office to vote on all comp plan/development/growth amendments.... an uneducated voter is an uneducated voter!

Anonymous said...

You don't have to be educated to know a bad land use decision when you see one. You also don't need to be highly educated to know how you would like your community to grow.
Judging by the kinds of growth this state has seen in the last 10 years, the "experts" have not been doing a very good job of it either.
People who have to live with the consequences of arbitrary land use changes should have veto power of decisions they feel are not in their best interest.

miaexile said...

anon #1 - you don't make a convincing argument. By your logic, we should stop voting, period. In fact, your statement underlines why this amendment is needed - if the same bad politicians keep getting re-elected, amendment 4 is a good chance of stopping what the bad politicians who work for no one but the builder lobbyists continue to propogate - illogical development.

Skinning the cat said...

No prob. We'll just buy the viejitos another round of Pollo Tropical.

Anonymous said...

Amendment 4 on the November 2nd ballot is very simple. Let me spell it out for the truth challenged members of the Floridians for Higher Taxes and a Crashed Economy or whatever the Anti Amendment 4 people are calling themselves.

1. There will be no littered ballots. Florida voters will vote yes or no on LAND USE CHANGES, just that. Do you want the golf course to be changed from recreational use to residential so housing can be built on it? Simple, won’t even take 75 words.

2. The WEG study done about job loss was to put it technically GIGO, “garbage in – garbage out”, according to the Nassau Analysis Group, a not-for-profit group of economists, who rejected the findings. The numbers were pre-recession and reflected what has already happened in Florida.

3. St. Pete Beach is a little town where developers put a provision right on the ballot without following State law. No commission vote, no public hearings. So of, course they were sued. The St. Pete Beach proposals that followed the law had no problems. Former St. Pete Beach commissioner Harry Metz endorses Amendment 4.

4. The fact is, developers have plenty of land set aside for building right now and into the future. They aren’t building because they overbuilt in a frenzy of greed and crashed the market, wrecking our home values, increasing taxes to cover the cost of building the infrastructure to support their developments, and putting thousands of people out of work.

5. New businesses want to locate in communities without massive traffic, with good schools and a stable economy. Not the boom and bust overdevelopment of Florida which caused the economic mess and caused our home values to crash. Right now supply far outweighs demand.

Developer-controlled city and county commissions won’t control development; we must restore control to the people. We need to vote yes for the Hometown Democracy Amendment, Amendment 4 in November 2010.

Anonymous said...

ok... when I said educated voter, I meant educated in the sense that they educated themselves on who their vote was going toward. Geez. people sure have a chip on their shoulder.

Malcolm said...

This is your "recovery is for suckers" news from 4/10/2010.

Northern Capital Insurance is insolvent. 70,000 policies, most in South Florida are void.

Jackson Memorial Hospital software system conversion malfunctions result in 7,844 employee paycheck errors.

City of Miami's credit outlook downgraded by Moody's from "stable" to "negative".

Black spot fungus presents new existential threat to Florida citrus industry.

Dwayne Wade sells the Pinecrest home he purchased in 2005 for $4 million and asked $8.9 million for. Settled for $2.5 million.

This has been your "collapse is more like it" reporter Malcolm.

Anonymous said...

If the Republicans don't like the FHD initiative, then the Republicans plenty of time to take the teeth out of it by passing legislation that achieves many of the same goals but isn't quite as onerous to them. It is going to be a hell of a lot easier for them to say "we don't need this anymore because we already fixed it" (albeit less strongly) than it is to say what they are saying now, which is "we don't need this Prop 4 baloney because everything is honky dory". Ignoring and denying that there is a huge problem today isn't exactly helping their credibility. We need a real economy in this state.

Cato said...

OK So we didcussed the neighbiors rights and how bad the politicians have done on land use so far. None of you have even considered the PROPERTY OWNERS rights in all this, that's sad.
Property owners are stuck between the mob (neighbirs) and the mobsters (Politicians).
No matter what happens in November propertyy owners are screwed.

Does anybody havea wipeee my computer is ooozing slime since I wathed Martinez video.

Milly Herrera, Hialeah said...

While I wish Amendment 4 were more aggressive, I believe it will help control misguided future growth and land use changes.

We must also pass it for three important reasons:

It gives citizens an opportunity to participate in the process of voting for or against future land use changes in their city and county.

It earns us some needed respect from public officials, developers and lobbyist.

It allows us some power in decisions now made by public officials that affects us and does not always affect them.

Let's all vote YES for Amendment 4 in November!

Anonymous said...

I am voting for Amendment 4 because Stanley Price, the lobbyist for developers and the man who thinks all of Florida should be paved, is against it.

I can assume if Stanley Price is against it then it must be great.

Anonymous said...

Cato. When you buy or own land the land comes with zoning. Amendment 4 has nothing to do with that. Amendment 4 only only only governs major changes to the land use of your property. Why is making a change a proprty right?

Geniusofdespair said...

Regarding the Premeption referral he made in the video...many times when the 'behemoth' want to get around a local ordinance they go around the county up to the State -- leaning on them to cut a hole in the local legislation. It happened with Martinez and the requirement for generators at gas stations. He was being cynical with that question...

Anonymous said...

All rehearsed. Joe breaking in a new horse.