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FHD takes on Florida Chamber of Commerce and Real Estate developers

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Greetings FHD supporters! We have now collected about 470,000 petitions total. The state validation count has us at 278,000--many petitions have yet to be verified. Please continue sending petitions and donations, we have ONLY SIX MORE MONTHS to get our required count to make the ballot, and we need every volunteer petition we can get!
These stories illustrate what you get when you have government of the developer, by the developer and for the developer: a catastrophe on all levels…….
Miami Condo Glut Pushes Florida's Economy to Brink of Recession
By Bob Ivry
July 20 (Bloomberg) -- In the middle of the biggest glut of condominiums in more than 30 years, Miami developers keep on building.
The oversupply will force prices down as much as 30 percent, the worst decline since the 1970s, and help push Florida's economy into recession as early as October, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at West Chester, Pennsylvania-based Moody's, who owns a home in Vero Beach, Florida.
''Florida is the epicenter for all the problems that exist in the housing industry,'' said Lewis Goodkin, president of Goodkin Consulting Corp. and a property adviser in Miami for the past 30 years, who also foresees a recession. ''The problems we have now are unprecedented and a lot of people will get burnt.''
Thirty-seven new high-rise condos and 20,000 new units are being built in Miami's 1,040-acre downtown, where sales fell almost 50 percent in May, according to the Florida Association of Realtors. The new units will join the 22,924 existing condos in Miami-Dade County that were for sale in April, according to Jack McCabe, chief executive officer of McCabe Research & Consulting LLC in Deerfield Beach, Florida. That's the most unsold units since McCabe began tracking sales in 2002.
''Have you been to Miami lately?'' Florida Governor Charlie Crist said at a homebuilders' conference last week in Orlando. ''It's like we have a new state bird: the building crane.''
Construction Jobs
While the housing industry is responsible for 10.6 percent of the nation's jobs, in Florida it accounts for 20 percent, Zandi said. Florida construction jobs fell 2.9 percent in May to 626,200 from the peak in June 2006, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The national housing industry's weakness prompted Federal Reserve policy makers this week to cut their forecasts for U.S. economic growth for the next two years.
The economy will grow by 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007 from a year before, compared with a range of 2.5 percent to 3 percent the Fed predicted in February, the board said in a report to Congress.
Florida's robust economy of 2001 to 2005 was driven by the thousands of well-paying jobs related to the real estate market and homeowners who used home-equity loans to pay for items such as boats and big-screen TVs, McCabe said.
''All those jobs are going away now, and we're seeing the trickle-down effect in declining sales in big-box retailers and home-furnishing manufacturers,'' McCabe said. ''Florida is headed to a recession.''
[Read the full story ]
The Lakeland Ledger
Published Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Business Lobby Aims at Amendment

I know this may come as a shock to some of you, but one of Florida's largest business lobbies has hatched a plan to derail the Florida Hometown Democracy Amendment.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce is openly opposing the
amendment and is speaking against it because it thinks it's a bad
I'm not surprised that the business interests are nervous about the
amendment's prospects.

I base that on the results of the recent Polk County Citizens
Opinion Survey.

If there's anything that upsets people more than higher taxes, it's
what they perceive as out-of-control growth.

Here are some highlights:

Eighteen percent said growth management has not improved in
the past year. Only 8 percent said taxes were worse.

Growth was considered the most important issue facing Polk
County, outpacing taxes by at least 2-to-1 and often more over the
past four years in the same poll.

I think you could argue that if the Florida Hometown Democracy
Amendment passes, it would be somewhat similar to the passage
of the tax cuts by the Florida Legislature in one way.

It will be something local government brought upon itself.

For years, in many parts of Florida it appeared as though
development interests had an inordinate amount of influence on
government decision-making.

That was certainly true here in Polk County.
It's not just us.
Next door in Hillsborough County, the development community
has been pressuring the County Commission there to get rid of
local wetlands regulations, claiming - well-documented evidence
to the contrary - that state and federal regulators will do an
adequate job of protecting wetlands.

In Highlands County, planning officials actually solicited
landowners to apply for growth plan amendments prematurely to
avoid any of the effects of the Hometown Democracy Amendment.
Now the county's growth map has too much urban growth
planned in rural areas where it has no business occurring.
[Read the full story ]

LET THE PEOPLE VOTE to control growth!
Help put HOMETOWN DEMOCRACY on the 2008 ballot
Please download and SIGN THE PETITION !
PO Box 636, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32170-0636.
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