2007/09/19 – Debate on the Proposed Florida Hometown Democracy Constitutional Amendment

Debate on the Proposed Florida Hometown Democracy Constitutional Amendment

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

It is an issue that has gathered enormous attention because of its revolutionary and in some circles “radical” implications. The issue “makes the veins throb in the foreheads of developers across Florida” and has been referred to as an “ill-conceived” plan that would have devastating implications for the state and its economy. Critics of the proposed amendment say it ignores the principle of representative democracy and will create land planning by referendum based on emotion rather than deliberation. Critics include the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Home Builders Association, and local governments and school boards across the state. Proponents of the proposed Hometown Democracy constitutional amendment, including its two co-founders Lesley Blackner and Ross Burnaman, assert that Florida has suffered because of “government of the developer, by the developer, and for the developer.” Moreover, they assert that local government comprehensive plans “are not guiding growth but that growth is guiding the plans.” In essence, the proposed amendment would call for citizens to vote directly on all proposed changes in local government “comprehensive” land-use plans, basically taking that authority away from local elected officials and instituting a referendum on all decisions related to the comprehensive plans. To bring the most up to date information on this critical issue, Tiger Bay has secured former Florida House Speaker John Thrasher (opponent) and Hometown Democracy co-founder Ross Burnaman (proponent) to debate the purpose and implications of the proposed amendment and address the questions of our membership. Please join us on Wednesday, September 19 at the Silver Slipper for this important public policy debate.