Protesters Support Amendment 4 in Pasco

01/12/10 Mark Anderson
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Nearly a dozen protesters congregated in front of the Pasco County Courthouse today, to show their support for the Florida Hometown Democracy-supported Amendment 4. The measure would require the establishment of comprehensive growth plans for local governments, and require voter approval for plan changes. The Pasco County Board of Commissioners met today to consider a resolution opposing the measure.

Some Floridians are worried that too much growth is bad, and that our quality of life and services are suffering in support of big developers. A small group of protesters were at the Pasco County Courthouse today to voice their concerns. Clay Colson discussed the Cypress Creek development in South Pasco. He also believes that County Commissioners don’t follow the 2005 growth plan adopted by Pasco, and that developers have too much influence over the Commission.

Protester Jill Yelverton is also frustrated that the plan is being ignored, and that dense development is happening too often.

Florida Hometown Democracy was formed to find a way to modify the way growth is managed in Florida. Janet Stanko is a campaign organizer for the group, and is critical of the amount of influence developers have over the Commissioners.

The amendment's supporters argue that shifting decision-making authority from Commissioners to voters is critical for Florida.

The Pasco Commissioners prepared a resolution opposing the amendment, and scheduled it for a vote at today’s Commission meeting. The resolution says that the amendment will create delay and overhead in managing the rapidly changing development environment. This morning, Commission Chairman Pat Mulieri announced another delay.

At issue is the legality of opposing an initiative that is already scheduled for the general election in November. Today, legal counsel will advise the commissioners on the issues, and if they agree to proceed, it will be voted on at the next Commission meeting on January 26.

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Thanks to the Amendment 4 (Florida Hometown Democracy) supporters for calling the attention of our commissioners -- as well as Pasco residents -- to the importance of good government, and stopping undue influence over commissioners by greedy developers over land-use changes they want in order to make more money. We taxpayers get stuck with the bill for extending municipal services out to cheap land that was designated for farming or for conservation -- before the developers used money or favors -- part of what Gov Crist calls Florida's "culture of corruption" to bring about a vote of approval by our commissioner. They need to remember that they serve us, the taxpayers, and not the developers, even though the developers have, campaign contributions, jobs after they get kicked out of office, shoeboxes full of cash, and lots of other dandy perks for them.