Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.

Florida News

Morning in Florida:
What will it be like Nov. 3rd?

On November 3rd, Floridians will celebrate bright prospects for the Sunshine State.  Or -- if Amendment 4 fails – big national homebuilders will celebrate permanent victory over the protests and rights of Florida’s citizens, and the bulldozers will be unstoppable.

At the polls, YOU will choose what kind of a morning it’ll be.

You may have heard lots of false information from the developers about the consequences of passing Amendment 4.  The developers' “Say-Anything Gang” wants to confuse you and to protect their power and profits, and all of what they’re saying has been shown not to be accurate.  Let’s look now at the very real consequences if Amendment 4 does not pass.

If the developer forces win and Amendment 4 fails, we’ll see more of the corruption -- via campaign contributions and bribes -- that make Florida the #1 most politically corrupt state.  Our future will be one of continued sprawl-homebuilding, increasing the number of job-seekers in a labor force already suffering one of the country’s highest unemployment rates.  The economy, crashed by the developers, will continue to be dismal and worse.

Florida’s main industries – agriculture and tourism – will be the first to suffer, as they find themselves with tract housing in place of products.  No new businesses will want to come to this abused and ever-poorer state.  Meanwhile, profits from endless homebuilding will head out of state to Pulte, KB Homes, Lennar, Toll Brothers and the others funding the “Vote No” Campaign.  The national homebuilders Anti-4 campaign funds ironically come from your own "bailout" tax dollars.

Without doubt we’ll see an end to Florida’s commendable Growth Management efforts, begun in 1985 and weakened steadily since.  Whoever gets into office will merely determine how rapidly this happens.  Senate Bill 360 (shifting developers’ costs to taxpayers) will pass again, despite the court's ruling overturning it.  The state’s growth watchdog, the Department of Community Affairs, will be dismantled or rendered ineffectual.  These events aren’t guesses; they would have happened already except that Amendment 4 was on the horizon.

Politicians and developers have been sitting on their hands for at least a couple of years, holding back on doing their worst because they’d ignite still more anger among citizens and support for Amendment 4.  After November 2nd, if Amendment 4 fails, their pent-up greed will be unleashed, unstoppably.  

Floridians’ voices will truly be silenced by the newly reinvigorated politician-developer conspiracy.   Floridians’ quality of life will sink, with further soaring taxes, reductions in services, inability to sell our homes, and the bulldozing of the State’s remaining natural beauty, fertile agricultural lands, and life-sustaining wetlands.

If you’ve been told that there are “better” solutions than Amendment 4, don’t believe it!

If you’ve been told that there are “better” solutions than Amendment 4, don’t believe it!  Developer-influenced politicians have already killed off those other proposals every time they’ve come up, and they’ll continue to do so.  Amendment 4 came to be because the other side concedes there's a problem, but has never wanted a solution that will really work.  It's their way or the highway.

And don’t think that if Amendment 4 fails this time, there will be another chance to support it later.  No, Amendment 4 is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  It’s the result of 7 years of strenuous effort by dedicated citizen-volunteers who collected more than a million signatures, and fought off 7 court challenges from developers.  Lacking the opposition’s developer money and paid workforce, Amendment 4 supporters have given this citizens’ initiative their all.

Amendment 4 either makes it or doesn't on November 2nd. This is truly the moment of truth.  Floridians urgently need to protect their rights and their neighborhoods by voting “YES.”

Otherwise, it’s back to wringing your hands and protesting developers’ rampages and politicians’ secret deals.  Back to soaring taxes, plummeting home values, a boom-bust economy, and stagnant prospects for bringing jobs to a State in a downward spiral.

One simple thing you can still do to make sure Amendment 4 passes is this:  Engage others – pass this message to neighbors, relatives, and friends.  Get this message out to all voters:   the hometown that you save will indeed be your own.

Your future . . . awaits your “YES on 4” vote on or before November 2nd.  Before it's too late, take your rightful seat at the table.  Give yourself the right to vote on your community's future.  Your friends, family, children, and grandchildren will thank you.

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