Nice Titles Do Not Make Bad Laws Better

Calling Amendment 4 the Home Town Democracy Amendment is putting lipstick on a pig. Amendment 4’s passage would have devastating consequences.

Palm Coat, FL – March 10, 2010 – Amendment 4 will be on the upcoming ballot. Its passage will effectively kill Florida’s economy. I’m not saying that the present system is great. It’s not. But swayed by a misleading title, I’m afraid Amendment 4 just might pass. Supporters of Amendment 4 call their initiative "Hometown Democracy." Amendment 4 is not about hometown democracy. It’s about stopping growth at all costs.
Don’t be fooled by the title. It’s good marketing to give legislation a motherhood and apple pie title. The "Employee Free Choices Act" is nothing about free choices for employees. Quite the opposite it bans the secret ballot for union elections.
Fortunately, Florida has a real example to which it can look. St. Petersburg Beach passed a local version of Amendment 4 a few years ago. It turned out to be an expensive mistake. Watch this video to see what happened in St. Pete’s Beach. We do not want the same to happen to the whole state of Florida. Amendment 4 is not the cure. It’s a malignancy.
7 replies
  1. Alex
    Alex says:

    Supply and demand system

    Assuming that our system operates under the supply and demand system, passage of this Amendment will reduce the uncontrollable supply of houses, condos developers provide. Existing home value, condo values will go up. Furthermore more liquidity will be created. Is that bad???

  2. Denis G.
    Denis G. says:

    when you have no facts demonize the opposition

    Did not know too much about this issue–
    However, based on 2 on the comments I have read, I have to go with Toby!

  3. Bett Willett
    Bett Willett says:

    What really happened by a St. Pete Beach Commissio

    What really happened in St. Pete Beach
    by Harry Metz
    Former St. Pete Beach City Commissioner

    The developer and developer-allied opponents of Amendment 4 (Florida Hometown Democracy) have been misrepresenting what actually happened in St. Pete Beach. Their claims incorrectly link Amendment 4 on the November 2010 ballot with the turmoil in my city over the past three years. I offer this factual report so that any future reference to St. Pete Beach will be accurate.

    Their primary misrepresentation is that the litigation in St. Pete Beach has something to do with Florida Hometown Democracy’s Amendment 4. Actually, if we had had Amendment 4 in place, none of the conflict would have taken place.

    The St. Pete Beach litigation is all about developers who wanted to build 15-story hotels on our waterfront and triple the population density of our small island community. Many residents strongly oppose this. The litigation that resulted dealt with the developers’ attempt to submit their own comprehensive land-use plan to the voters without complying with the Florida Growth Management Act. It had nothing to do with Hometown Democracy.

    The developer-controlled St. Pete Beach city commission miss-used the City’s ordinance-initiative process to submit changes to our city’s land-use plan in a public referendum without going through the Growth Management requirements. The developer-controlled city commission ignored state law.

    Entire areas of St. Pete Beach were rezoned by these developer initiatives. The individuals whose property was rezoned had no public notice, nor were they able to voice any objection at public hearings prior to the vote, as required by the Growth Management Act. Had the Hometown Democracy amendment been in place, this could not have happened.

    The citizens naturally sued.

    In the first lawsuit, the court ruled that Florida’s Growth Management Act procedures must be followed, and that the commission could not use the ordinance-initiative provision to change the land-use plan. But the city and the developers ignored the court’s order. A motion for contempt was filed as a result. None of this had anything to do with Amendment 4.

    The second lawsuit against the city asserted that the ballot language for these ordinances misrepresented them, with the intention of deceiving the voters. For example, in one ballot summary, there was a statement that the ordinance would implement “green initiatives,” when in fact there was not one word about green initiatives in the body of the ordinance. Another proposed ordinance increased allowable building height from 50 to 164 feet, which was not even mentioned in the ballot summary, nor was there any mention of the tripling of density that the initiatives would achieve. Much of the legal expense incurred by the city relates to the ballot language case. Again, nothing to do with Amendment 4.

    Until now, almost all that has been written in an attempt to tie litigation in St. Pete Beach to Florida Hometown Democracy has been ginned up by developers who, as we well know, will use any artifice to attain their goals.

    Much of the misleading information was supported by Ward Friszolowski, a former St. Pete Beach mayor. Currently executive VP of an architectural and planning firm, he has a vested interest in defeating Amendment 4, which gives a community’s voters veto power over inappropriate development.

    Help protect your quality of life Send a donation to:

    Florida Hometown Democracy PO Box 636
    New Smyrna Beach, FL 32170-0636

  4. Toby
    Toby says:

    Reply to Flyman

    The video was created to counter the pro amendment 4 drive. While you may judge it as an ad, the facts behind it are real. The St. Pete’s Beach story is true. Passage of amendment 4 would cause untold harm to Florida’s economy resulting in an increase in unemployment and taxes. In fact, one of the results of amendment 4 would be urban sprawl. The only redeeming part of the amendment is its title – hometown democracy. Over the next months, I will be publishing more on the subject. Keep checking in.
    As for whether or not I’m in real estate, the answer is yes and proudly so. If you think being in real estate has negative a connotation that is your right. However, I hope you take a look at my testimonial page before you make a final judgment. Further, if you own or rent your home or condo, if you pay property taxes, you too are in real estate.
    Urban planning is a complicated process. Take the time to learn about proposed projects and voice your opinions at public hearings. Urge others to do so too.

  5. Toby
    Toby says:

    Reply to BB

    Thanks for brightening my afternoon. I’m reminded of the time I submitted a 75 page document with a cover letter addressed to the "Commissioner of Pubic Works." You can’t rely too much on spell checker.

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