Development Crowd Panicking Over Amendment 4


If money is the mother’s milk of politics, the Broward Workshop is bringing together some of the biggest mothers for milking.

These political donors will gather at an upscale east Fort Lauderdale restaurant next week to raise money to block Amendment 4.

That’s the constitutional amendment which says that you, taxpayers and average Floridians, should have a say in what is built in your neighborhood.

If it passes, voters would have to approve any land use change.

Sounds democratic to me.  But the Amendment reads like Karl Marx to the build-at-all-costs crowd of developers, lobbyists and business owners in the Broward Workshop.

The way it works now, the Broward Workshop types buy and sell tame politicians with campaign contributions.  Then these politicians approve new construction.   

Amendment 4 would even the playing field.

The most interesting name on the invitation below is Mayor Frank Ortis of Pembroke Pines. He’s the chair of the fund raiser. 

Does that mean that the Strip Mall Capital of The World –Pembroke Pines is the template for these anti-Amendment 4 folks? 

The Broward Workshop are the self-appointed leaders of the county.

As leaders, they’ve failed.

Broward has too many second-rate schools and clogged streets.    We have a 1950s tax base, an aging infrastructure and a directionless, weak political system wracked with corruption.  

The Workshop’s answer is to Build Baby Build.

Don’t they realize that their Pave-Over Everything policy hasn’t worked?   

The invitation below is enough to convince me to vote for Amendment 4.  

If that crew is for it, I’m against it. 

19 Responses to “Development Crowd Panicking Over Amendment 4”

  1. When It Passes says:

    This is the stupidest fucking idea I’ve ever heard. Assholes from the hippy generation languishing through their last LSD trip must have hatched this pearl of an idea. Well let’s all get our ponchos and love beads on and vote yes by all means! It will bring this state to a grinding fucking halt and cause at least fifty times the trouble it seeks to solve.

    It shouldn’t take an economics major to predict that when this amendment passes property will quickly devalue. Land is only worth what can be put on it. Development will stop since we hate it so much. Our remaining worthless land will become overtaxed and afterward our homes will need be taxed much more to make up the loss in revenue. Huge job loss will result, economic starvation and the inability to change the constitution will drive South Floridians to demand secession from the rest of this shit kicker state.

    Florida has become a paradise for mindless, retarded shitheads. There is no intelligent leadership here whatsoever. Anything goes here there are no rules no logic no thoughful study. It has become a madhouse of anarchy. We are the laughing stock of America. We can’t think our way out of a paper bag. Party on Flori-duh. What a waste.

  2. Local Govt Employee says:

    The concept of Amendment 4 looks good, but the costs are unrealized. Here are some Q/A about Amendment 4.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Amendment 4

    Q: What is Amendment 4?

    A: Amendment 4 is a proposed amendment of Florida’s constitution which would require taxpayer-funded referenda on all changes to local government comprehensive plans. In other words, this “Vote on Everything” amendment would force Floridians – not the representatives they elect – to decide hundreds of technical comprehensive plan changes each year.

    Q: Would Amendment 4 have any effect on Florida’s economy?

    A: Yes, in these tough times, the Vote on Everything amendment would cause Florida’s economy to permanently collapse. If you like the recession, you’ll love Amendment 4. According to a study conducted by The Washington Economics Group, Amendment 4 will reduce Florida’s economic output by $34 billion annually. Given Florida’s precarious economic climate, that’s the last thing our state needs.

    Q: Has this been tried anywhere else?

    A: Yes, the small town of St. Pete Beach implemented a local version of Amendment 4 in 2006. The measure has decimated their economy, created chaos at the polls, and caused a proliferation of special interest lawsuits. To date, the citizens of St. Pete Beach have seen nearly a dozen lawsuits that have cost local taxpayers almost three-quarters of a million dollars in legal fees. When St. Pete Beach voters approved four pro-economy changes to their comprehensive plan in 2008, Amendment 4 lawyers sued to overturn the results of the election. Nearly two years later, the people of St. Pete Beach are still defending their vote in court. The St. Petersburg Times concluded that Amendment 4 “invites short-term thinking and frequent referendums that are even more susceptible to well-financed campaigns by powerful interests.”

    Q: But proponents of Amendment 4 say that it wouldn’t require voter approval on all land-use decisions?

    A: They are not telling you the truth. The Florida Supreme Court plainly indicates that Amendment 4 would trigger votes not simply on all land use items, but, in fact, on every change to a local government’s comprehensive plan. Citing statute, the court points out that Amendment 4 would lead to referenda on:

    “A capital improvement element; a future land-use plan element; a traffic circulation element, a sanitary sewer, solid waste, drainage, potable water, and natural groundwater aquifer recharge element; a conservation element; a recreation and open space element; a housing element; a coastal management element; an intergovernmental coordination element; a transportation element; an airport master plan; a public buildings and related facilities element; a recommended community design element; a general area redevelopment element; a safety element; a historical and scenic preservation element; an economic element …”

    Q: I am concerned about jobs, especially in this economy – is Amendment 4 going to affect jobs?

    A: Yes. Florida’s Agency for Workforce Innovation puts Florida’s jobless rate at 12 percent. However, Amendment 4 would drive it even higher. A study by The Washington Economics Group says Amendment 4 will likely cost Florida 267,247 jobs. Professor Tony Villamil, a former economic advisor to Governor Bush and the lead economist for WEG stated, “Amendment 4’s passage will have potentially devastating consequences to Florida’s economy at a time when the economic situation at both the state and national levels is uncertain and at a time when attracting new businesses to Florida is essential for the future recovery and prosperity of the state and its residents.”

    Q: What are the costs associated with this amendment?

    A: Amendment 4 means higher property taxes and higher costs for all of Florida’s working families. Under Amendment 4, local governments – city and county – would be required to hold expensive referenda on hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of amendments every year. Voters will be asked to vote not only on big development projects but also on all minor or technical changes to their local comprehensive plan. In the last four years alone, this would have meant over 10,000 costly elections across the state of Florida – and more elections require more tax dollars to pay for them. According to the Orlando Sentinel, “The cost to local governments of including the land-use amendments on ballots would soar into the millions.”

    Q: Is it realistic to expect voters to approve every change to hundreds of comprehensive land use plans?

    A: With hundreds of ballot questions every year, Amendment 4 is unworkable, unrealistic and extreme. A review of state records shows that Florida would average over 10,000 local referenda per year. In 2006, the small town of Carrabelle, in Franklin County, would have voted on 617 individual plan amendments. Under this absurd amendment, it would not be unusual for local voters across Florida to be expected to vote on 200 to 300 comprehensive land use plan amendments per year.

    Q: But Amendment 4 proponents say that on average, Florida commissioners only vote to approve three or four local comprehensive land use plan ordinances per year?

    A: Then why do we need Amendment 4? The Amendment 4 campaign is so fond of saying that comprehensive plan changes are “handed out like Halloween candy.” Now, they’re saying that local commissions only approve “three or four” plan amendments each year. The Amendment 4 campaign may not bother to check its facts, but facts are stubborn things. According to the Department of Community Affairs Sunset Review, there were nearly 6,500 changes to local comprehensive plans in fiscal year 2006-2007 (page 72). Amendment 4 does not contain any limiting language and there are no exceptions for state-mandated amendments. The result: Thousands of minor, technical plan amendments would appear on the ballot individually.

    Q: But I am worried about the environment and sprawl – would Amendment 4 provide the solution?

    A: No, the Vote on Everything amendment will make matters worse. Amendment 4 would lead to short-term thinking and piecemeal planning which would promote sprawl, not prevent it. For this reason, leading environmental organizations such as 1,000 Friends of Florida have raised objections to this misguided measure. They know that Amendment 4 will make well-coordinated, responsible growth impossible and lead to the exact type of urban sprawl most Floridians bemoan. When comprehensive planning was adopted in the 1980s, some communities had the resources to create sophisticated plans. But some communities–usually smaller ones–did the best that they could with limited time and resources. The result: Many comprehensive plans simply formalized the existing land use patterns—namely sprawl. By crippling the planning process, Amendment 4 may very well encourage bad development by limiting efforts to curb sprawl through improving our comprehensive plans.

    Q: But the lawyers behind Amendment 4 say this proposal gives decision-making power to ordinary citizens – is that true?

    A: No. Just look at St. Pete Beach—they adopted a local version of Amendment 4 in 2006. The town’s former Mayor, Ward Friszolowski, noted that “Amendment 4 hasn’t empowered citizens; it’s empowered Political Action Committees.” Right now, local neighborhood associations have greater influence in the development approval process – which involves multiple meetings and public hearings and often negotiations between developers and neighbors. But if Amendment 4 passes, voters living in other parts of the city or county will have just as much influence as you do over what happens (or doesn’t happen) in your neighborhood. Let’s say your community needs a new fire station. Under Amendment 4, that might require a 2-year delay and a countywide political campaign. And it might not be approved by voters living 45-minutes away. The voices of those most directly affected by land use decisions would ultimately be diluted in a citywide or countywide political campaign, where important community projects would become high-priced battles between competing special interest groups.

  3. Phil Busey says:

    Buddy has it right. Developers’ lobbyists and elected officials they own say Amendment 4 is mob rule. Truth is they don’t like it because Amendment 4 protects Florida property rights.

    If you buy property and your neighbor has development rights to build houses, he couldn’t suddenly get more rights to put up a shopping mall. Amendment 4 protects communities and protects the rights of property owners. Truth is the developers will say whatever they think plays well about Amendment 4 because they don’t like the way people will vote.

  4. Resident says:

    Unless you like taking a test everytime you go to the poles to vote, you will hate Amendment 4.

    If passed, ballots would exceed 30 pages, with no explanation of what any of the items are. Can you spell “NO” on everything? That’s what you will have cause the voters won’t know what they are voting on.

    If Amendment 4 passes, everything will grind to a halt on any development. At that point, I’m out of here cause Florida will go quickly down hill, if it isn’t already. No point to invest if it won’t go anywhere.

    What the politicians haven’t screwed up already, the people will finish. And, I don’t want to be around when it does.

  5. Floridan says:

    I know that it’s easy to take the attitude that “the cause my enemies support, I oppose,” but everyone should oppose Amendment 4. It will enshrine the bad planning decisions of the past and create a major roadblock for forward-looking projects such as mixed-use developments, mass transit (such as a FEC commuter train) and green initiatives.

    Amendment 4 appeals to the most parochial interests and asks people who have no knowledge of the technical issues (know what a flex-unit is? how about a TOD or an LAC?)from ignorance.

    It is a myth that under the current system developers get whatever they want. Recently, the Diplomat project in Hollywood was rejected by the County Commission.

    Finally, you’re kidding yourself if you think this will take special interest money out of the equation. The sell job will just be pushed down to the neighborhood level, out of the sunshine.

  6. No Nonsense says:

    By the comments, it looks like the whales are panicking. Keep up the good work Buddy, and keep stoking that fire under their asses.

  7. Stop The Madness says:

    Have you raging lunatics ever stopped to consider the fact that these business owners provide jobs!! At a time when our state unemployment rate is over 12% we do not need any more impediments.
    Vote NO On Amendment 4 – it does not solve your problems, it just creates more.
    A little common sense and less emotion is recomended!!

  8. Trojan Horse Geller Castillo says:

    Watch out for Geller and Castillo. They are developer tools.
    They will build everywhere.

  9. Frank White says:

    I run campaigns. I will be rich if this passes and each new development has to run a campaign. This is great! I am voting for this and urge everybody else to also.

  10. JustTheFacts Please says:

    Amendment 4 is bad, bad, bad for our state. A small gulf coast town has already given this idea a test drive and is suffering from Amendment 4’s negative impacts. See what happened in St. Pete Beach when they bought into the Amendment 4 story.

  11. 52 Year Resident says:


    You are right on and it is interesting to read the comments about how it will destroy the state and our economy. This is good that we can see what the developers campaign is going to be all about!
    I predict Amendment 4 will PASS by a GIGANTIC MAJORITY!

  12. Whoa! says:

    I’m voting FOR Amendment 4. All ofvthe above comment are pro-developer scare tactics. Land can certainly be utilized for developme without any public vote so long as the proposed development is a conforming use under the existing land use plan. Those are the developers’ vested rights, too … and nothing more. Developers shouldn’t expect any more land use changes to increase density, etc., as Florida neighbors will always say no. Growth is fine so long as it is consistent with current code. Again: vote FOR Anendment 4 in November.

  13. Jan says:

    These folks are just afraid that they can’t pass idiotic development projects just by bribing crooked elected officials. See Mayor Frank Ortis. He obviously needs some more retirement money.
    For Florida’s citizens it’s real easy this year: Vote YES for 4 and NO to any candidate for public office who supports special interests against the will of their constituents.
    These developers have already destroyed Florida’s life style for more than 20 years. They had their chance and failed. It’s now tine for us citizens to take charge. If that doesn’t work out special interest can take over again in 20 years!
    Equal rights!

  14. Sara says:

    I still haven’t decided how I will vote on this as I see pros and cons on both sides. I do know, however, that our County and State have not grown in a sustainable manner thanks in part to overzealous lobbyists like Steve Geller and his friends. We need an alternative to irresponsible growth and overdevelopment. But can we really trust the public? When it came to Amendment 1 they voted for instant gratification over long-term sustainability, and look at how much worse we are now wvuae of it.

  15. SimpleMan says:

    The lobbyists and developers have exploited us for years by paying off corrupted, pliable politicians. They have developed without sufficient roads, schools, public parks, fresh water, etc. Look what they have done to the county. Unless you want more unplanned growth that only enriches the developers, lobbyists, and corrupt politicians vote no on Amendment 4.

  16. Floridan says:

    SimpleMan, there is no such thing as unplanned growth in Broward County, at least not any that would be affected by Amendment 4.

    You may not like the outcome of the decisions made by the various layers of professional planners, advisory boards and elected officials (as well as planners in Tallahassee), but all land use changes have to conform to concurrency regulations as well as to the goals of the comp plans.

    It may be comforting to believe that everybody in the planning process is getting paid off, but it is just not true.

  17. South FL Native says:

    Go ammendment4!
    About time it got to the ballot. I’ve been praying for it for years.

  18. howard sher says:

    May I respond to the SunSentinel blog post regarding the Amendment 4 issue through a consortium of multimillionaires, the same list of who’s who Sentinel advertisers who’s lust for more never ceases to amaze, particularly when it is at the expense of the average citizen’s of the way of life. When development requires comprehensive land changes (CLUC) it invariably involves some form of encroachment.

    They say: The initiators of this Amendment (4) are, “Dubiously named Hometown Democracy.”

    We say: Is not a decision by vote of the people on a (CLUC) the essence of Democracy?

    They say: Would require each of us to vote on every CLUC.

    We say: Voting is still voluntary, not a requirement! On every? – As if these CLUC come up every day. There are very few CLUC requests.

    They say: It would have a devastating effect on our economy when attracting new business to Florida?

    We say: No! It would simply give the people a right to vote on whether a project that was not meant to be built on a site would be appropriate for that site like erecting a private prison for hardened criminals in the middle of Disneyland or a baseball stadium in the middle of Century Village. If the above examples are what is meant by attracting new businesses to Florida by the Vote No on Amendment 4’ers, let’s find more people friendly sane businesses and we will likely recover and prosper much sooner!

    They say: If passed it will cost 260,000 jobs in various sectors.

    We say: Who counted? They are talking about projects not even proposed, so how do they know they will all seek to build where they shouldn’t build, thus requiring a CLUC? Are they anticipating that great a number of bad choices of sites for new businesses? Do that many businesses really want or need to start out on the wrong foot in your Hometown?

    They say: Companies will steer clear of Florida’s disruptive business climate.

    We say: No, businesses coming to Florida will simply look for sites that don’t require a CLUC. It appears the 4’ers assumes that every business coming to Florida will need a CLUC. Is that not absurd? Statements like this completely discredits those who are objecting. Why would any sane business choose to use a site inappropriate for their business requiring a CLUC, why choose to intrude on sites not meant for them. I love this one!

    They say: Our ability to attract industries with diverse, high-paying jobs will be dealt a death blow with the new layers of cost and uncertainty regarding approvals.

    We say: These 4’ers again appear to be assuming that businesses with diverse high-paying jobs will only be happy building where not appropriate. Bad assumption! There are no uncertainties or layers of cost or additional costs if they locate on the sites already set aside and happily awaiting their arrival.

    They say: Election costs will increase.

    We say: We agree but very little.

    They say: Voters will be forced to read through dozens of complicated proposals on each ballot and make decisions on land use changes about which they have little or no previous knowledge. Dozens of complicate proposals?

    We say: Just how many CLUC’s occur in any town over the course of a year? Very few if any! Must the wording be complicated or can it be simplified and condensed to a short paragraph and how presumptuous to assume voters will not be aware of development intrusion attempts into their neighborhoods!

    They say: If Amendment 4 passes, our standard of living will decline, making it impossible for Florida to recover.

    We say: Very simply…………… bull_ _ _ _! We leave the cursing to the 4’ers.

    Now let’s simply tell the truth regarding these 4’ers. They have their eyes on land that should not be developed as they would like and know CLUC’s will not be passed by sane voters when the encroachment is not wise.

    So folks let all pony up the $250 minimum, if your cheap, to attend the profit gluttony orgy of 4’ers kick off dinner. Why are they looking for donors when these guys could pool the money they are seeking with their spare change? Watch out for the deluge of upcoming propaganda to come.

  19. howard sher says:

    It appears that most of the anti 4’ers are the brainwashed ditto heads of the right wing talking head mentality unable to get past those points. The low grade talking points are meant to distort the truth regarding the Amendment. to have their clones or clowns only able to respond with knee jerk reaction rather than a little thoughtful insight. Pray tell, what can’t be built on sites that meet the zoning/CLUC criteria for a building? Has space become that limited to require demand of people unfriendly sites. I know its been a while righties, but try your best to think about all the possibilities that we on the left consider. We want everything that will be good for Florida but we don’t want a forty story condo in the middle of twenty acres of private single family homes or a canning plant on Hollywood Beach,
    don’t you agree to at least the above examples? If you do, open your minds and lets do what makes sense for us all or will put a waste treatment plant next to your home! Hope you get the other sides points.