Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida unwisely repeals its growth laws

I do not think enough Floridians realize what this governor and this Legislature have done — are doing — to our state.

Let me tell you, brothers and sisters:

It's bad.

It's awful. It is just about the end of Florida as we know it, and a return to bad old days that we ought to have put behind us forever.

From the end of World War II until the mid to late 1970s, Florida sold itself on the cheap to anybody with a dollar and a shovel.

We didn't care if the roads were jammed and crumbling. We didn't care if we fouled and choked the lakes and rivers and bays. We didn't care if our kids went to school in house trailers.

All you had to do to keep building was to buy off the local Boss Hogg. Right after I moved here, the chairman of the Pasco County Commission was indicted. Not long after that, a quorum of the Hillsborough County Commission was indicted.

Floridians finally got sick of all this.

We passed a series of landmark laws in the 1970s and 1980s to clean up the state and to guide its future.

The most important law of all was the Growth Management Act of 1985.

That law said that before a Florida community could allow more growth, it had to have enough roads, enough schools, enough water and sewer and police, enough public services to handle it.

That has been our law for the past 25 years. The state government has played the role of traffic cop, making sure that Florida's cities and counties obeyed it.

But times change.

There is a new, inexperienced generation in power in Tallahassee that does not know anything except money.

And so with no maturity or intelligence, the 2011 Legislature has just repealed the guts of the Growth Management Act.

Unless a miracle happens, Gov. Rick Scott will sign that repeal into law.

They use the catchall excuse that justifies everything in Tallahassee these days: "creating jobs."

So once again, it will be the official policy of our state that We Don't Care about the impact of growth.

The state is removed from its traffic cop role. The state agency in charge has been abolished in the budget.

As for the local Boss Hoggs, they are back in business.

The heart of growth management was a "comprehensive plan" in each city and county, which it could not change willy-nilly.

But that constraint is gone now. Cities and counties can change their comprehensive plans any time they wish, as often as they wish — and for anybody that they wish.

• • •

We will feel the full effect of these changes once Florida comes roaring out of the recession.

This will happen.

And when it happens, Floridians who love Florida will be in for a shock.

The state that we have lived in for the past quarter-century is gone.

The rules that we have lived under are gone. The underlying concepts of "growth management" are gone.

These brittle, ideological, bought-and-paid-for young men and women in Tallahassee do not know any better. The governor is living in a different universe, and he does not know or care.

Is this the Florida you want?

Florida unwisely repeals its growth laws 05/25/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 5:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Judge throws out $458,000 condo sale, says Clearwater attorney tricked bidders

    Real Estate

    CLEARWATER — Pinellas County Circuit Judge Jack St. Arnold on Monday threw out the $458,100 sale of a gulf-front condo because of what he called an "unscrupulous" and "conniving" scheme to trick bidders at a foreclosure auction.

    John Houde, left, whose Orlando copany was the high  bidder June 8 at the foreclosure auction of a Redington Beach condo, looks in the direction of Clearwater lawyer and real estate investor Roy C. Skelton, foreground,  during a hearing Monday before Pinellas County Circuit Judge Jack St. Arnold.  [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times ]
  2. Vision Zero plan to make Hillsborough roads safer to be unveiled

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Vision Zero, the coalition trying to make Hillsborough County safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, is set to unveil its action plan on Tuesday morning.

    Members of the Vision Zero workshop cross Hillsborough Avenue and Kelly Road during a on-street audit of Town 'N Country roads in January. [JAMES BORCHUCK  |   Times]
  3. Pasco EDC names business incubator head in Dade City, will open second site

    Business

    Pasco County economic development officials are busy reigniting their business start-up resources following the departure earlier this year of Krista Covey, who ran the Pasco Economic Development Council's SMARTStart business incubator in Dade City.

    Andrew Romaner was promoted this summer to serve as program director of the Dade City SMARTStart Entrepreneur Center, a start-up incubator service of the Pasco Economic Development Council. He succeeds Krista Covey, who relocated to Texas for another startup position. [Courtesy of Pasco EDC]
  4. Clearwater lawyer and real estate investor Roy C. Skelton, center, attends a hearing on Monday Circuit Court Judge Jack St. Arnold at the Pinellas County Courthouse in Clearwater. The hearing was requested by attorneys representing John Houde, left, who filed a motion to invalidate the sale of a $458,000 Redington Beach condo, a deal orchestrated by Skelton, who stands accused of deliberately misleading bidders in a the June 8 foreclosure auction. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
  5. Sarasota GOP names Dick Cheney 'Statesman of the Year'

    Blogs

    Former Vice President Dick Cheney will be honored as "Statesman of Year" by the Sarasota GOP, a title that twice went to Donald Trump.

    Dick and Liz Cheney