Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cooper City Commissioner for Amendment 4

John Sims, a Cooper City Commissioner (Cooper City is in Broward County) wrote this excellent article on Amendment 4, it has well stated reasons supporting Florida Hometown Democracy’s Amendment 4 and for voting yes on November 2.

Cooper City, FL – An attempt to take away more of your rights regarding oversight of ‘government’ is on the next agenda for Cooper City’s Commission. The Florida Hometown Democracy Land Use Initiative will appear as Amendment 4 on the November 2010 ballot.

Amendment 4 will give you, the voter and taxpayer, a vote on growth in your community. The amendment proposes to require voter approval of all changes to local comprehensive land-use plans, in order to give voters more say over development. In order to pass, the amendment needs at least 60% of the total votes.

Each of us has a huge stake in growth decisions that can drastically alter our community's future for generations to come. Each community has adopted its own comprehensive plan: a long-term master plan for sensible growth.

Currently, elected city and county commissioners have exclusive power to make changes to the plan. Rising taxes, falling home values, gridlocked roads, dwindling water supplies and Florida's disappearing beauty are just some of the devastating consequences of Florida politicians' habit of rubberstamping speculative plan changes.

Hometown Democracy Amendment 4 changes all that by giving voters veto power over these changes to your community's master plan for growth. Florida’s Legislators have pretty much given free rein to developers to continue building; quality of life and the state's natural resources be damned, even though there are currently 300,000 homes in Florida sitting empty.

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.

Direct democracy on land use changes may be the only way to promote smart growth in Florida. As Richard Creedon (in his letter to the Editor in the Sun Sentinel) said “Amendment 4 should be approved. Why? It's so simple. We ordinary citizens have found that, with some notable exceptions, our elected representatives seem to forget about us as soon as they are elected. They start remembering us again when it is time for re-election. It's like clockwork. Just follow the money.

Amendment 4 will give power back to the people, finally. Changing and toughening growth-management laws will not work because soon the politicians will gut them all over again. The [Sentinel] is naive to think that government can be trusted. History shows us that, sadly, has not usually been the case.

Why should we expect the future to be different? Rather, trust the wisdom of the people and vote for Amendment 4 in November. Florida can be protected only if Amendment 4 is in the Florida Constitution. It's so simple.

Whom do you trust more, The People or the politicians?”

For those who understand the hidden costs to society and the resulting increased tax liability, this is the last straw. In South Florida, paving over paradise, by dredge and fill destruction of wetlands, has reduced our watersheds. This takes the cost of water supply for Florida residents in the opposite direction taken by New York. As the Everglades watershed has diminished, the effect is a local call for deeper drilling in the Floridian aquifer, reverse osmosis and desalination, all at a very high cost.

What development has done is to transform a natural asset to societal liability, with significant reduction of quality of life for all Floridians. As a recent editorial noted, "Unchecked growth is an unsustainable extreme."

In the quest for an approach to nearly unconstrained development at great cost to the taxpayers, Amendment 4 is the unintended consequence.

Consider another externality: The developers' cost of political contributions to keep this tax debt spiral going.With Amendment 4, your power to vote on growth will enable you to preserve your neighborhood and your community and protect the value of your home. Can you say taxation without representation?

With "4" there is a chance of representation and restoring the process of democracy. Without "4," past history and current events tell us nothing will change for the better.

Don’t let your Cooper City bureaucrats vote to help take away your oversight of your land! Be at the next Cooper City Commission meeting and strenuously oppose this power grab by big (and small) government! Read more at

1 comment:

  1. Thank you! I was able to use most of the info from the website at

    Let's fight this travesty!