Hometown Democracy vs. the Anti-Amendment
Amendment 4 will loom over all other statewide issues until voters cast their ballots in November.
Principals: Citizens for Lower Taxes and a Stronger Economy, an umbrella group organized by the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Mark Wilson, the chamber's president and CEO, has led the chamber's overall effort.
War chest: The business group has raised $4.2 million and has spent $3.9 million of that.
Backers: Florida Chamber of Commerce, Realtor and home builder groups, prominent landholding family businesses such as Duda and Lykes, unions, municipal and county elected officials and administrators and school boards.
Opponents foresee costly, time-consuming campaigns over development and piecemeal, ballot-driven planning rather than comprehensive planning. They say voters will face a deluge of ballot questions in the voting booth, having to vote on everything from routine technical changes to matters involving huge, complicated developments. Neighborhood revitalization plans, giant subdivisions and neighborhood convenience stores all will have to stand for up-or-down votes. The only winners will be the consultants hired to communicate a project to the public and the lawyers who negotiate the process.
"It ends up being a permanent recession for Florida."
— Mark Wilson, president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce
The proposed amendment already has had an effect. The Legislature made changes in the law on citizen-proposed amendments that will affect all future petition drives. And property owners have rushed to get comp-plan changes through in case Hometown Democracy becomes law. In 2007, a typical year, local governments sent the state Department of Community Affairs, which must approve larger comp-plan changes, 8,100 individual changes. As of mid-November 2009, DCA had received 14,000 individual changes.