An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Published August 5, 2010 



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Let's face it -- the fight over AMENDMENT 4 is in full swing. The VOTE NO on 4 guys with the fancy name "Citizens for Lower Taxes and a Stronger Economy" are the same ones that ruined Florida's economy and killed our real estate market. There is not even an argument about that -- that is a FACT. But since their credibility is shot, they needed to hire paid mouthpieces -- and despite the good pay, the mouthpieces surely lack quality. Not everybody is born to sell his mouth -- and heart and soul!


These "fat-cats" collected more than $ 5 million in campaign donations in the last quarter alone to kill AMENDMENT 4 to prevent us -- Florida's citizens -- from voting on decisions regarding our community. They obviously feel that their greed is more important than Florida's natural beauty.


They would rather see the old system in place -- the system that caused, according to the New York Times, Florida to rank as the Number One State in America for public corruption.  From 1998 to 2007, 824 Florida politicians were convicted of public corruption -- about seven a month for ten years straight!  Definitely not a statistic that Florida's citizens can be proud of. 


These are the same people who would rather change the existing comprehensive plans with the help of lunch meetings with elected officials, convincing these officials to vote YES on their proposal -- using the help of well stuffed doggie bags. In the end, the corrupt politicians go to jail, while the developers cut plea-deals ratting out more corrupt politicians on their payroll.


Anyone who wants to build can do so right now, because there is ample growth built into our comprehensive land-use plans. Florida’s current comprehensive land-use plans already allow future construction for over 100 (80) million (more) people. That’s more than 5 times our current Florida population of 18 million. If the economy improves, there will be plenty of opportunities for construction and construction jobs, even if voters reject some proposed plan changes under Amendment 4. 
Don't forget: Currently there is no construction -- because there is no demand. 


But to add insult to injury, these developers and special interest groups claim that Amendment 4 will destroy Florida 's economy and create mass unemployment. I always wonder how you can kill something that is already long dead?


With the system they would prefer in place, Florida 's economy went down the drain, our real estate market is dead and we have the highest unemployment rate since WW II. Nothing left for Amendment 4 to destroy! Opponents that claim Amendment 4 is a job killer seem to forget:  There is no Amendment 4 right now, and there are no jobs either, so -- who is the job killer?


Sometimes, when listening to their misleading arguments, I really wonder if the people in charge of Vote No on 4 are playing with a full deck -- or if they have the idea that we citizens are plainly brain-dead?


I know the old saying that even lies turn to credible truth if repeated often enough. And they obviously believe that voters will finally believe their flat-out lies if they buy enough ads to bombard voters with their misleading statements?


Remember: Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels convinced a whole nation that the defeat of the German 6th Army in Stalingrad was actually a big victory for Germany. It's called: PROPAGANDA!


But according to the latest polls, 61% of Florida 's voters will VOTE YES ON 4.  This shows that money can buy the support of corrupt politicians, but not the support of Florida 's voters.  These are voters who are mad about the way they have been treated in the past, when their wishes were plainly ignored.


But if you are interested in the real facts surrounding HOMETOWN DEMOCRACY (Amendment 4), please listen carefully to the debate that was hosted by Helen Ferré on ISSUES [VIDEO Courtesy WPBT2].


Florida's voters may not have the big bucks, but Hometown Democracy has good volunteers, willing to donate their time to set the record straight. Bett Willett is a Deerfield Beach activist, who fights for her neighborhood, trying to protect what's left of its beauty after many years of growth mismanagement. Please listen to her responses to the questions host Helen Ferré is asking: Factual, straight forward -- with nothing to hide!

Bett Willett knew the correct answers for all the arguments brought against Amendment 4 and made it very obvious that her opponent's 

Bett Willett, Citizens' advocate for Hometown Democracy. 

arguments didn't hold water. At some points she even had to smile when her opponent was trying his best to throw her off course with far-fetched arguments that actually didn't make sense! Willett's way to deal with the ridiculous arguments brought on by her opponent show that her answers were coming from her heart -- brought forward with many convincing facts!


Willett's opponent in this debate was Clarence E. Anthony, ex-mayor of South Bay, a little town with a population of about 4000 in West Palm Beach. Anthony is President and CEO of Anthony Government Solutions, Inc., a government relations consulting firm (a.k.a. lobbyist) based in West Palm Beach and one of the paid mouthpieces of Florida Citizens for Lower Taxes and a Stronger Economy. 


Anthony was paid $26,942 from April to June to trash Amendment 4 – big bucks at work trying to deny regular people the right to vote on growth management in their neighborhoods!

Clarence E. Anthony, paid speaker for the folks from NO ON 4.


Despite all the training Anthony obviously received from the big hired mouthpieces for VOTE NO on 4, his answers showed that he himself wasn't sure what he was talking about. Starting sentences with "We feel" and "We think" are typical for politicians who don't want to be called liars later on. The scare tactics concealed in his answers surely couldn't scare Bett Willett -- or even host Helen Ferré.


The result of the debate:
Bett Willett: 49 -- Minimum 7 Touchdowns For Factual Statements

Clarence Anthony: 3  -- A Field Goal For Showing Up!


When voting in November, please remember: Amendment 4 might be our last line of defense, trying to protect what’s left of the natural beauty in our community and our neighborhood.