Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fred Grimm gets heat over article on Florida Hometown Democracy Amendment 4

After Fred Grimm of the Miami Herald wrote: Fat cats hate slow-growth amendment (see article below) he's been getting a lot of nasty emails from developers. When an Amendment 4 supporter wrote him to compliment him on the story he replied that he was being bombarded with ugly comments.

My letter to Fred:
You are so right that in a perfect universe we would not need Amendment 4. But, as you noted Florida is far from perfect.

I have been working to get A4 passed for years in spite of the dirty tricks the opponents have used. Sadly the YOLO gang and their hand picked and financed politicians have had free reign over Florida for decades, and they don't want that power taken away from them.

Their arguments are the whining of spoiled brats who just cannot see why they cannot continue having their way in spite of what they have done to our quality of life, ecology and water supply.

Because of what they and their not-often-enough-convicted bought and paid for commissioners have done to Florida, WE the people, who have been ridiculed, ignored, and disenfranchised by our "representatives" are fighting back. We want a seat at the table.

When I first started to collect signatures for Florida Hometown Democracy I went to events and gatherings, when people heard what we were doing they were eager to sign, and very often they stayed to tell me tales of what happened to them in their communities when they dared question what the city commissioners were doing.

One told me that the Mayor called her a weirdo; all had an instance of some overdevelopment horror, and frequently they rubbed their fingers together indicating that they thought the politicians were bought by developers.

I could tell you many similar instances of my city, Deerfield Beach, where the land speculators got their way in spite of outraged uproar by the residents.

Please, Fred, keep up the fight against the YOLO crowd. And, be ready to have very powerful people try to shut you up.

After all, real journalism is rapidly disappearing, in part, because the advertisers don't want their feelings hurt, and fearing loss of revenue, editors kowtow to them.

Why else would the editorial staff come out against Amendment 4? Any right thinking person who cares about the future of Florida will welcome it.

Fat cats hate slow-growth amendment

BY FRED GRIMM
fgrimm@MiamiHerald.com

Power boys do love YOLO, Fort Lauderdale's slickest pickup joint, where they can valet their Italian sports cars, order Cristal and make believe that pretty girls in tiny dresses are oblivious to pot bellies, thinning hair and acute Viagra dependency.

Wednesday night was different. The lobbyists, builders and business titans who gathered at YOLO, just across Las Olas Boulevard from Scott Rothstein's old law offices, were more interested in deluding voters than young women.

They came to kill Hometown Democracy, or at least raise a couple of hundred grand toward defeating the proposed constitutional amendment.

Outside the restaurant, a few dozen decidedly less flashy demonstrators carried signs supporting the slow-growth amendment. One placard, featuring a black feline in silhouette, said, ``Yes Amendment 4. No Fat Cats.''

Fat cats hate restrictions they'd endure under Amendment 4, which would require voter approval before Florida cities or counties approve developments prohibited by comprehensive land-use plans.

The amendment would cripple Florida's construction industry and stifle the state economy, they argue.

The catch phrase among the YOLO set was ``job killer.''

Despite such foreboding, polls indicate 61 percent of Florida's likely voters are apt to vote yes. It hardly matters whether the amendment would actually improve governance. Just the fact that the YOLO gang opposes No. 4 inspires a yes -- make that hell yes -- vote.

It's just too much to hear talk of good government from the same selfish interests who transformed South Florida into mindless sprawl, creating Ground Zero for a nightmare recession with a giant inventory of foreclosed houses, deserted shopping centers and unsold condos.

They invented this Ponzi-scheme economy based on perpetual growth that forces older residents to pay ever-escalating taxes to finance roads and other infrastructure in new developments.

Voters watched as representative democracies were supplanted by lootocracies, with city and county commissioners acting as wholly-owned subsidiaries of lobbyists, voting to approve whatever awful project could come up with the requisite campaign contributions. Or, as the unfolding scandal in Broward has revealed, outright bribes.

In a perfect universe Amendment 4 would amount to a lousy idea. But in Florida's universe, state and local governments have evolved into retail outlets. (Only the occasional federal indictments deters the influence business.) South Florida has devolved into a place where the single most powerful person in government has no official capacity. The self-proclaimed ``super lobbyist'' Ron Book, by the way, hates Amendment 4.

Retiring Miami-Dade Commissioner Katy Sorenson, a champion of actual government reform, understands the frustrations propelling Hometown Democracy. But she worries that special interests will simply pour gobs of developer money into low-turnout land-use referendums with expensive campaigns designed to ``confuse the issue.''

The YOLO gang ought to steal her much more persuasive argument: ``Vote no on Amendment 4 because us fat cats will get what we want anyway. We always do.

``Vote yes. Vote no. Who cares? We win either way.

``Hey, baby. Wanna take a ride in my fat cat's Maserati?''

1 comment:

  1. Well said and oh so true. Thank God there are journalists like Fred willing to call it the way they see it.

    ReplyDelete