September 25, 2017

Hometown 'Is Already Here'

Mike Vogel | 3/1/2007

Stemming the tide: Public relations consultant Patrick Slevin says the Hometown effort is inspiring local growth opponents statewide. He advises developers to communicate better and conduct grass-roots outreach. Photo: Ray Stanyard

Patrick Slevin, a Tallahassee-based public relations consultant who specializes in overcoming neighborhood opposition to new projects, has a message for builders, developers and businesses worried that Lesley Blackner's Florida Hometown Democracy amendment will come to be: "Hometown Democracy is already here."

Death by a thousand cuts is in the offing for developers, Slevin says, citing eight Florida cities that held referendums last year over building heights, densities or other development issues; 10 of the 13 anti-development initiatives passed.

Hometown Democracy has "kind of metastasized," says Wayne Bertsch, political affairs director for the Florida Home Builders Association. "We have a huge concern the way it's spreading around the state."

Slevin says Blackner's effort is inspiring local growth opponents statewide. To combat the trend, Slevin counsels early intervention -- well before initiatives secure enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. He also encourages elected leaders, land-use professionals and businesses to conduct grass-roots outreach and communicate better with the public.

Hometown Democracy and the local referendums indicate a "growing dissatisfaction with the way we're dealing with growth," says Tom Pelham, Florida's new Department of Community Affairs secretary and a lawyer who represented St. Pete Beach, one of the referendum cities, in its losing fight against anti-development referendums. "It behooves everyone around the state in a decision-making role to be sure they do a better job with dealing with growth ... and improve how we deal with public participation."


  • Florida Hometown Democracy:
  • Florida Chamber of Commerce:
  • Growth Debate: Hometown Democracycounsel Ross Burnaman and opponent Patrick Slevin debated the proposed amendment, "A Discussion: NIMBY-ism," in the February 2004 issue of the Florida Bar Journal available online at Search the site's Florida Bar Journal archives for February 2004 then look for the two pieces titled "A Discussion: NIMBY-ism."

Tags: Politics & Law, North Central, Government/Politics & Law, Housing/Construction

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  • Breaking News: Nova Southeastern University calls $200 million commitment from Patel Family 'transformational'

    Today, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) announces the largest philanthropic gift in its history from Tampa-area cardiologist Dr. Kiran C. Patel and his wife, pediatrician Dr. Pallavi Patel. The commitment from the Patel Family Foundation includes a $50 million gift and an additional $150 million for real estate and facilities. The money will be used to expand the university's programs in osteopathic medicine and health care sciences, and also to develop a new 27-acre campus for NSU in Clearwater, Fla. The Patels are renowned in Florida for their philanthropy, community service and entrepreneurship.

    “This gift and additional investment will enrich NSU’s ability to educate highly-qualified physicians and health care professionals who understand how the medical disciplines can and must work together. These future leaders will represent the cultural diversity of our region, our nation and our world so that they can better serve their patients and communities,” said NSU President Dr. George Hanbury.

    Their $50 million gift, one of the seven-largest to any Florida university in history, catapults NSU to more than 84% of its goal to raise $250 million by 2020 for its Realizing Potential philanthropic campaign.

    Read more at the news release, here.

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