Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite Save As Favorite View Article Stats
No comments

General News

Florida Hometown Democracy Countdown to the ballot

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Only five weeks till the end of the year! We are excited and scared--we're close but not yet at our destination. The only number that counts is 611,000 verified petitions. Please, please send your holiday love to Florida in the way of petitions and donations. There are lots of festivities ahead in the coming season to use as an occasion for collecting petitions from friends and family. Let's give this State the biggest gift ever: putting this historic reform on the ballot!
Best,
Lesley
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/community/news/lakenona/orl-maxwell2507nov25,0,2991976.column
OrlandoSentinel.com Proposal to limit growth scares some pols
Scott Maxwell
TAKING NAMES
November 25, 2007
By now, you've probably heard something about "Hometown Democracy." But you may not know quite what it is.

In the simplest sense, Hometown Democracy is a ballot proposal -- something you may get to vote on next year. It would take the power to approve many major developments away from elected officials and place it directly in the hands of the people. You and your neighbors would get to decide whether Super Wal-Mart moves in or a neighboring subdivision can be built.

But in a grander sense, Hometown Democracy is a story of how Florida politics works -- how politicians refuse to deal with problems until we make them.

Here's how this story is unfolding:

For years, growth in Florida has been a relatively simple affair. If you wanted to build something, all you had to do is convince a majority of the members of a county commission or city council.

Such a thing has never been tough in Florida , where you never have to wait until the day after Thanksgiving to get a good deal on an elected official. A few campaign donations here. A steak dinner here. Bingo! You've got yourself the permits to build whatever you want, regardless of what neighbors think.


Obviously, this system hasn't worked as well for us average Joes as it does for the development execs. The same growth that means boosted profits for special interests can mean crowded schools, clogged roads, water woes and pollution for everyone else.


Residents have tried to fight back. They've voiced complaints -- and sometimes even elected politicians who promised that they, too, wanted to slow things down.

But then, even with those "smart growth" pols in office, residents must endure a school such as Timber Creek High in east Orange County , where 4,300 students spend each day in a campus meant for 2,700. Or they find themselves stuck on roads such as University Boulevard or Alafaya Trail, that were once a straight shot, but, now lined with development, are anything but.

And they start to realize that some of these politicians make the National Enquirer seem reliable.

So residents finally take matters into their own hands by amending the constitution. They did the same thing with a class-size amendment when the politicians refused to get serious about education.

This is what scares the politicians. Because now you've threatened to interrupt their gravy train, expose them as part of the problem and infringe upon their power.

This is the part of our story where the politicians suddenly become your new best friends. Suddenly they empathize and understand. Suddenly, they want a solution too . . . just not this solution.

We saw such an argument a few weeks ago when Tom Pelham, secretary of the state's community affairs department, wrote a piece for the Sentinel that called Hometown Democracy "an extreme solution to a real problem."

Pelham said there are "more measured and practical solutions than the meat ax wielded by Hometown Democracy."

He then suggested several reasonable-sounding ones, including legislative action that would reduce the number of loopholes and exceptions that allow development to spread too fast and so wide.

Next Page  1  |  2

 

Take action -- click here to contact your local newspaper or congress people:
Help FHD collect signatures to protect FL from unchecked development

Click here to see the most recent messages sent to congressional reps and local newspapers

Lesley Blackner is a Florida lawyer and wants to give voters a say on how their land is used. This has riled up the Chamber of Commerce and development industry.
Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
No comments

 

Tell a Friend: Tell A Friend


Copyright © 2002-2014, OpEdNews

Powered by Populum