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

Published September 4, 2010 


According to Wikipedia, a JACKASS is a male donkey -- often pretty cute-looking. But in our daily vocabulary somebody who knowingly makes false or stupid statements is "making a JACKASS out of himself/herself." And here in Florida it seems we have a lot more people making jackasses out of themselves than we have male donkeys.


Reading the "Editorials" and "Letters to the Editors" in our daily newspapers, I often think: "Why are the so-called supporters of VOTE NO ON 4 -- hiding behind the fancy name of "Citizens for Lower Taxes and a Stronger Economy" -- so willing to make JACKASSES out of themselves by writing nonsense that lacks any facts?"


Even the Daily Business Review in the August 30, 2010 edition made fun out of the Chicken Little fable of "The Sky Is Falling", spread by the opponents of AMENDMENT 4.


Here is a quote from the article of the Daily Business Review, a paper that usually is known to be business friendly: "Forget the Great Recession. Florida will be hit with an economic catastrophe more devastating than anything Floridians have experienced. Thousands of jobs will be lost, and hundreds of businesses will close. Developers will abandon the state, and Florida will become an economic wasteland." Even the author of this article is making fun of the nonsense spread by the opponents of Amendment 4, the exact same people that caused the economic disaster in Florida. 


Look at the real facts and numbers as of today:

  • Florida's economy is non-existent.

  • Florida has the highest unemployment rate in the last 50 years

  • Estimated 370,000 homes and/or condos are EMPTY -- number is growing!

  • Florida's real estate market is dead -- you can barely give your home away!

  • The flow of new retirees from up North has stopped. Period!

  • More people are moving out of Florida than into Florida .

  • Florida is ranked No. 1 of the 50 states on a "most corrupt politician" list.


The same people who caused this disaster with greed, corruption and growth-mismanagement are telling us "The Sky Will Fall" if Amendment 4 passes? The facts and numbers actually prove that Florida's citizens need to VOTE YES ON 4 in order to stop this nonsense and get Florida back on the right track -- making Florida THE SUNSHINE STATE again.

On another note: How do you like the argument that Amendment 4 would cause PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS to be violated? That argument is actually ridiculous -- if you care to look at the facts.
Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish was making mincemeat out of this argument against Amendment 4: “Amendment 4 doesn’t take any property rights away from anyone. It takes the lobbyist out of the equation. It allows the residents of a municipality to be the final voice.

First of all, before the arguments get you totally confused, let's make sure that you understand that the existing comprehensive land use plans have room for lots more developments and buildings. Without changing any existing comprehensive land use plan, we could quadruple Florida's population. How about this often overlooked argument?


The real problem is caused by greedy developers. They don't want to buy the properties already zoned correctly -- ready to be built upon. They rather want to buy property that is cheap on the market, because it would require a change of the land use plan. But developers think that buying cheap property makes more profits, if all it takes is giving a few "stuffed" doggie bags to some commissioners to buy their votes. Other commissioners are obviously more into power and are selling their votes for "donations" to their campaign funds. 


In case you have any doubts how this system worked -- without Amendment 4 -- please read the story of father-and-son developers Bruce and Shawn Chait. The Chaits bought their way around Broward County and got off easy, because they ratted out the elected officials they bribed in the first place. This is just one high-profile case. Newspapers are full of many other bad examples!


Would you consider stopping this kind of corruption a "violation of private property rights?"


It gets even funnier when you realize that these folks can't even get their facts straight. While one opponent condemns Amendment 4 for wasting a fortune in tax dollars for all the necessary special elections, the other one claims that Amendment 4 causes businesses to run away because they don't want to wait for the next election.  Which is it -- special elections or long waiting period? Amendment 4 surely can't cause both -- or maybe only in the brains of jackasses?


And a little warning to all the elected officials who speak out against Amendment 4 in exchange for campaign funds: "A strong and vocal Amendment 4 advocate was elected to the Manatee County Commission by a wide margin, beating an incumbent who opposed Amendment 4The victor, Michael Gallen, won despite being heavily outspent by the incumbent, who was largely bankrolled by the developers who she reliably favored by her votes on the Commission. This was an open Democratic primary in which everyone could vote, as there are no Republicans and independent candidates and hence no general election."


Shouldn't that be warning enough for all the candidates who speak out against Amendment 4 -- especially when their campaign finance reports shows that they are already bought and paid for by developers?


I always wonder what it takes to have an adult person, who wants to be called a professional, make a JACKASS out of himself or herself. Why is a professional willing to repeat nonsense, made up by a paid mouthpiece barely out of college who gets paid $7,000 a month to make up these lies, without checking the facts -- or switching on his or her brain before repeating this nonsense? I can only find two plausible explanations: 

GREED and POWER -- or both combined?


It will really be interesting to see how many Floridians will vote against 4 on November 2. I hope they understand that they vote against their own right to vote? Or are Florida's voters really as dumb as the "JACKASSES" from Vote No On 4 claim?