THE REAL FACTS AND SOLUTIONS

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

Published July 27, 2010

  

It's time for us voters to have a “seat at the table” -- a chance to vote for ourselves and for our neighborhoods.  It is time for us to decide how we want to live.  It is time for us to stop greedy developers and corrupt politicians that have totally failed us and destroyed most of Florida's natural beauty.  It is time for us to make the final decisions. In short: 

AMENDMENT 4 IS LONG OVERDUE!

Voters having the final say is not a substitute for the regular approval process we have instituted here in Florida. It's an add-on -- creating the final say!

   

Even with Amendment 4, enacted local city or county commissions will study, hold public hearings, and vote on proposed changes to the comprehensive land-use plan just like they do now. 

  

BUT IN THE END ONLY WE VOTERS WILL DECIDE BY DEMOCRATIC VOTE IF WE APPROVE OF THEIR DECISION!

    

Most of us have attended city or county commission meetings, trying to persuade the commissioners not to approve some plans that we felt would hurt our neighborhood.  We pleaded and pleaded -- usually to no avail. And in case we wondered why the commissioners didn't listen to our desperate pleas, we only had to check the campaign reporting for the next election. You could see little city commissioners boasting campaign war chests of more than $100,000. 

   

Others took the money more directly -- in doggie bags!  According to the New York Times, Florida now ranks 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 Florida's citizens can be proud of.  Amendment 4 aims to seriously decrease this number of corrupt politicians. 

   

Currently, the system we have in place promotes irresponsible over-development that has stuck taxpayers with the meltdown of their home values, crazy traffic, empty strip malls, foreclosed condos, lost green space and rising taxes.  Studies show that existing residents have to pay for up to 40% of the cost of providing services to areas of new development.  We should get to vote before we have to pay!!

 

These decisions that impact our neighborhoods and quality of life are just too important to leave entirely in the hands of elected officials.  If we pass Amendment 4 in November, citizens will have a check and balance on these destructive backroom dealings.  

  

That's why it is so important that we vote YES ON 4 in November. Even if you are sick and tired of all the politicians listed on the ballot, please vote -- even if your only check mark is behind YES ON 4.

With Amendment 4…

We the People will have:

A Way to Protect Our Hometowns!

_______________________________________________________________

Here’s the ballot title and summary you will see on the November 2010 ballot:

BALLOT TITLE: Referenda Required For Adoption And Amendment of Local Government Comprehensive Land Use Plans.

BALLOT SUMMARY: Establishes that before a local government may adopt a new comprehensive land use plan, or amend a comprehensive land use plan, the proposed plan or amendment shall be subject to vote of the electors of the local government by referendum, following preparation by the local planning agency, consideration by the governing body and notice. Provides definitions.

(Full Text see below!)

On Election Day, November 2, 2010 

VOTE YES On AMENDMENT 4

_______________________________________________________________

With Amendment 4…

THE HOMETOWN YOU SAVE

WILL BE YOUR OWN.

_______________________________________________________________

 

PROBLEM - Over-development crashed our home values and raised our taxes. Recent studies show existing taxpayers end up paying for almost half the cost of services for new development.

SOLUTION – Florida’s local master plans have growth built in to add 80 million more people to today’s population of 18 million. Under Amendment 4, your local government will study and vote as usual on requested changes to your local growth plan. But there’s one new step: YOU. You will get to vote those plan changes up or down on the next regularly scheduled election day.

WE SHOULD GET TO VOTE BEFORE WE ARE FORCED TO PAY.

866-779-5513                                      flhometown@yahoo.com 

VOTE YES! On AMENDMENT 4

    

THE FALSE PROPAGANDA AGAINST AMENDMENT 4:

As you can imagine, all the folks who have money at stake -- especially greedy developers and corrupt politicians -- have formed a coalition against AMENDMENT 4 and dumped millions of dollars in an attempt to buy the NO-votes of Florida's voters with misleading propaganda, scare tactics and false claims.

The name of the organization created to fight our right to vote on changes to our neighborhood speaks for itself: "Citizens for Lower Taxes and a Stronger Economy."  The Three Stooges couldn't have come up with a more misleading name.  Actually, it's plainly pathetic!  Never forget: The people behind this organization are exactly the same folks who destroyed much of Florida's natural beauty, made our taxes go up, and killed our economic and real estate markets with a total lack of growth management, with speculation, with house-flipping and over-building. 

Their favorite statements in opposition:

  • Passing Amendment 4   will cost Florida tens of thousands of jobs and hurt working families. We’re in the deepest recession in our lifetime and it’s no time to pass an amendment that leading business groups call a "jobs killer." That's a really great argument, considering it comes from the same people who created this "deepest recession," killed the jobs, got hard-working families into financial trouble and are responsible for the disaster we are facing in Florida. It seems to be common policy to always blame others -- like Amendment 4 -- that wasn't even enacted when the growth management “house of cards” collapsed in Florida .

  • The required votes would create very costly SPECIAL ELECTIONS paid for by the taxpayers. WRONG: Nothing in Amendment 4 requires special elections; votes on plan changes can be set at the same time as other regularly scheduled elections. But, if a developer is in a hurry -- can't wait -- the developer can pay for it.

  • St. Pete Beach has already passed a local version of Amendment 4; it’s been a disaster, costing local taxpayers nearly $1 million in legal fees. This is a really desperate argument, considering the fact that the St. Pete Beach ordinance that the No-Sayers are referring to was actually created by developers who wanted to build high-rises on the beachfront of the quaint community. Developers created a “citizen’s group” called “Save Our Little Village” -- another misleading name. And when it all didn't work out the way they had it planned -- they sued. But this shows how desperate these folks are, because if Amendment 4 would have been in place, none of the conflicts would have developed into costly lawsuits.

  • Florida's voters don't understand the issues of these amendments to the comprehensive land use plan and would be totally overwhelmed. In short: We citizens are too dumb, incapable of intelligently deciding what kind of community we voters want to live in with our families. Not only is that an insult to Florida 's citizens, but it shows the same attitude we citizens face all the time: Shut up -- we know what's good for you!”

Hopefully, Florida's voters are smarter than the greedy developers and corrupt politicians give them credit for and ....

  

FULL TEXT OF PROPOSED AMENDMENT:

BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF FLORIDA THAT: Article II, Section 7. Natural resources and scenic beauty of the Florida Constitution is amended to add the following subsection:

Public participation in local government comprehensive land use planning benefits the conservation and protection of Florida 's natural resources and scenic beauty, and the long-term quality of life of Floridians. Therefore, before a local government may adopt a new comprehensive land use plan, or amend a comprehensive land use plan, such proposed plan or plan amendment shall be subject to vote of the electors of the local government by referendum, following preparation by the local planning agency, consideration by the governing body as provided by general law, and notice thereof in a local newspaper of general circulation. Notice and referendum will be as provided by general law. This amendment shall become effective immediately upon approval by the electors of Florida.

For purposes of this subsection:

1.       "Local government" means a county or municipality.

2.       "Local government comprehensive land use plan" means a plan to guide and control future land development in an area under the jurisdiction of a local government.

3.       "Local planning agency" means the agency of a local government that is responsible for the preparation of a comprehensive land use plan and plan amendments after public notice and hearings and for making recommendations to the governing body of the local government regarding the adoption or amendment of a comprehensive land use plan.

4.       "Governing body" means the board of county commissioners of a county, the commission or council of a municipality, or the chief elected governing body of a county or municipality, however designated.

     

ARTICLES
AMENDMENT 4
HOME

HOMETOWN DEMOCRACY

HOME PAGE