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Developers try to mislead signers of 2008 "Florida Hometown Democracy" ballot petition

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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-21-07 09:56 AM
Original message
Developers try to mislead signers of 2008 "Florida Hometown Democracy" ballot petition
In typical Jeb Bush-era fashion, a powerful St. Joe lawyer/lobbyist, Associated Industries of Florida and the Florida Chamber of Commerce are all trying desperately to convince people who have signed petitions in support of a constitutional amendment that would give local residents control over growth-plan changes in their areas, that *they have been tricked by big developers*.

The Florida Hometown Democracy movement is a way to give local residents veto power or approval power over local development in their communities, and a Big JEB/St. Joe lobbyist/Big FL Industry/FL Chamber of Commerce are lying through their teeth to citizens. These bastards really know no bounds.

Here is some background on this battle:

Hometown Democracy means war is brewing, June 25, 2006

If you could line up all the Florida residents who ever fought a Wal-Mart or a new development on one side, and every city council or county commission member who ever approved one on the other side, you would have one heck of a war.

Well, that war looks like it's coming.

This past Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court approved a voter petition that goes by the nickname of "Hometown Democracy."
Hometown Democracy is the ultimate citizen revolt. It would take power away from Florida's city and county elected officials, and give that power directly to local voters.

How? By requiring voter approval for every change to a city or county's "comprehensive plan," which determines what kinds of things get built where.
Each city and county in Florida has one of these maps, usually called a "comp plan." They are the backbone of each community's decisions about future land use.
Where should the industry go in our town? Where should the stores go? Where should the homes, the parks, the green spaces go?

Imagine such decisions placed directly in the hands of voters, instead of city councils and county commissions!


Assuming that Hometown Democracy gets enough petition signatures, it will go on the statewide ballot, most likely in 2008.

This proposed amendment to the state Constitution is the result of a tide of resentment against local government that has been building across our state.
We have seen it in fights over big box stores and shopping centers. We see it today in Yankeetown in Levy County, where development issues have divided the people and led to a state investigation.
We see it in our own back yard in Treasure Island and St. Pete Beach, where voters have risen up to try to take decisionmaking away from City Hall. St. Petersburg right now is deciding whether to amend its comp plan at the request of the Sembler Corp.

Now we are likely to see the fight played out across the entire state. This kind of amendment, more than pregnant pigs or choo-choo trains, is why the Legislature and Florida's business community have fought for the past few years to crack down on voter petitions.

But the Supreme Court's ruling was unanimous, a slam-dunk. The court said that:

1) Hometown Democracy does not violate the rule that all proposed amendments must stick to a "single subject."

2) The ballot language of Hometown Democracy is clear and not misleading.

The second part of the ruling was especially important, because the court had thrown an earlier version of Hometown Democracy off the ballot in 2005 on those grounds.

The amendment was opposed by the Florida League of Cities, the Florida Association of Counties and the Florida School Boards Association.
The court's ruling not only shot down the cities, counties and school boards, but it also contained encouraging language for future voter petitions.

The court said that once a problem in the language of a petition has been fixed, opponents can't just keep raising new arguments and new challenges.
"Allowing piecemeal attacks on a proposed amendment," the court said, "would not only be fundamentally unfair to the proponent of an amendment, it would be a misuse of the process for approval of citizen initiatives."


And if Hometown Democracy passes? Then those who want to build things in places in Florida where they weren't originally intended will have to convince the entire community it's a good idea. What a concept!

And now, here are the lies that the Big Developers are spouting. And just like Jeb Bush, they all think the voters *don't know what they are doing* by signing this petition! Jeb didn't like the smaller class-size amendment that the voters wanted, and he is STILL trying to reverse it, even though he's no longer governor. He succeeded in reversing the will of the voters for the bullet train amendment. (That amendment wasn't *supportive enough* for Jeb's buddies at CSX/FEC, so Jeb had to kill it.)

We must stand up to these greedy, fear-mongering zealots.

Developers urge Fla. voters to renege on petitions

September 20, 2007

Warning! ''Slick lawyers'' and ''special interests'' are tricking citizens into signing petitions for a development-limiting amendment that actually helps ``big developers.''

The message comes courtesy of John Thrasher, a lawyer and lobbyist for one of the state's biggest developers, St. Joe Co. and Associated Industries of Florida, among others. He's urging people in a letter sent throughout the state to take advantage of a new business-backed law allowing voters to revoke their signature on a petition to get a constitutional amendment before voters.

In this case, the proposed ''Florida Hometown Democracy'' amendment would give voters the right to veto or approve any growth-plan change made in their area. And that has developers, the business lobby and local governments worried.

For starters, the amendment could delay some developments by months, and subject even minor projects, such as the siting of a gas station, to a citizen vote. And that could tie the fate of the smallest, least controversial projects to larger developments.


The Florida Chamber of Commerce is hitting back with its own group, Floridians for Smarter Growth, and an amendment that seeks to all but cancel the Hometown plan.

The rival petitions, Thrasher's letter, a debate Wednesday in Tallahassee and a Tampa Bay debate last week show that this will be one of the more spirited campaigns.

Thrasher said in a Wednesday debate at Tallahassee's Tiger Bay Club that the ramifications of the Sierra Club-backed amendment are ''very terrifying'': higher taxes, more politics in planning and less accountability from local government commissioners abrogating their duties via plebiscite.

His rival, Ross Burnaman with Florida Hometown Democracy, said Thrasher is misleading people. Burnaman said the amendment would give citizens a final say over how their community grows, and he pointed out that big developers oppose this plan.

Burnaman said his group is only 100,000 signatures shy of the 611,000 needed by Feb. 1 to get the measure before voters in November 2008.


Thrasher, a former Florida House speaker, hopes to cancel some of those petitions through his letter, which says people have been ''tricked'' into signing by ''mercenary'' signature gatherers.


We are only 100,000 signatures from getting Florida Hometown Democracy amendment on the ballot, and the FL Supreme Court is with us!

Please send these links around to everyone and sign the petition!!

Important Links:

Florida Hometown Democracy Petition

Florida Hometown Democracy Information
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gulfcoastliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-21-07 03:47 PM
Response to Original message
1. I was about to post about this! Me and my GF got the
"Petition Revocation Form" and the lying form letter with it!

Someone is very nervous.

Please, sign the petition and mail it in.
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ellenfl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-25-07 11:03 PM
Response to Original message
2. kick to think about it. eom
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