Tampa Bay Values Study - Mayor Rick Baker -- by Seán Kinane

WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday

This afternoon at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, the mayor of St. Pete, Rick Baker, was one of two speakers at a luncheon focusing on the use of values in determining what type of growth the Tampa Bay region will see in the future. In 2005, Baker was appointed by then-governor Jeb Bush to chair the Century Commission for a Sustainable Florida. This Commission was challenged to come up with a 50-year plan for the state. In order to create their plan, they came up with what they called Florida’s Essential State Interests. Baker says these are “all tied together.”


“Providing for Floridians needs. Obtainable housing … housing, healthcare, education, economic development, land, water, climate change …” Last week, the Century Commission for a Sustainable Florida released its Five Recommendations. Baker said that the first is to reduce Florida’s dependence on foreign oil.


“To develop research which enables Florida the opportunity to establish a date certain when Florida will become independent of foreign oil by reducing its consumption to the state’s proportionate share of domestic production while improving our environment with an emphasis on a reduction of carbon emissions.” But despite the problem that some Florida legislators still believe human-caused global climate change is a myth, Baker said that the legislature and governor will be on board because the recommendation is being framed from the point of view of national security as well as the environment.


“I will tell you, this legislative committee supports this, I believe the governor is going to come out publicly and support this, and I think it’s going to do well by the state.” The other four recommendations by the Commission were:Sustainable land and water use and climate change, conservation of Florida’s most natural places, understanding citizen goals and values, and working together in regional collaborations regarding how the state wants to grow. Dr. Dee Allsop is the President of Harris Interactive Solutions Research Groups. He conducted a study on the values that are held by the residents of the East Central Florida region, which includes Orlando. He will be comparing those results to his ongoing study in the Tampa Bay area.  Allsop found that residents in the Orlando area value three things above others, safe communities, nature, and education.


 “Three Dominant values hierarchies about how people in that part of central Florida orient their lives and make their decisions. One had to do with safe secure communities, the other had to do with nature and the outdoors, and the other had to do with education. In fact when we were working here in the Tampa Bay region, we found lots of support for those same orientations.” Allsop has completed two of the three stages of his study on the values of Tampa Bay residents. But unlike the third, quantitative phase, the first two are qualitative. So, Allsop was able to make some predictions about what his study might eventually expose about the values of Tampa Bay residents. One of those is that traffic is more important to the people of Tampa Bay than it is to those of the Orlando area.  “Values that people care about are being more effected by transportation than even education … that’s actually probably a pretty good thing for you [because people need to hurt before they take action].” One area of criticism of local governments in the Tampa Bay region that Allsop has found in his survey is their handling of growth management.  “There is a significant amount of negative feelings about how you’re managing growth. People are completely unimpressed and upset about what they see as poor growth management. And your task is cut out for you in terms of changing peoples’ minds to engage them so they will invest, they will care about their future.” If you would like to get involved in planning for the future of the Tampa Bay region, you can attend what is called Reality Check Tampa Bay on May 18th at the Tampa Convention Center. Find out more online at realitychecktampabay - dot - org.  FMI  Reality Check Tampa Bayhttp://www.realitychecktampabay.org/ Tampa Bay Partnershiphttp://tampabay.org Orlando survey resultshttp://myregion.org/    

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