Hometown Democracy opponents raise nearly $5 million

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From Bruce Ritchie of the Florida Tribune: The lead group fighting the proposed “Hometown Democracy” amendment collected a stunning $4.7 million between April 1 and July 16 compared to $138,573 for the group that put the measure on the ballot in November.

Amendment 4 would require voter approval of changes by cities and counties to comprehensive land use plans. Supporters say the amendment is needed to curb urban sprawl and wrestle the growth decision-making process from control by development interests. Opponents say the amendment will cost jobs, stifle the economic recovery and leave uninformed voters baffled.

Citizens for Lower Taxes and a Stronger Economy Inc. is quickly building up a large enough warchest to mount an aggressive campaign to try to defeat the amendment. The organization has now raised $5.76 million and has only spent $440,000 so far.

The group is getting large checks from business interests across the state including ranging from utilities, builders and even retailers such as CVS Pharmacy, which donated $100,000.

Some of the other large contributors from last quarter include: $1 million from the Florida Association of Realtors, $567,000 from Pulte Homes Corp. in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., $440,000 from the Florida Chamber of Commerce, $367,000 from the Lennar Family of Builders in Miami, and $200,000 from Florida Power & Light Co.

“One size does not fit all,” said John Sebree, vice president of public policy at Florida Realtors, formerly the Florida Association of Realtors. “This does not belong in the Florida Constitution.”

Florida Hometown Democracy Inc. received $30,000 from Florida Watch Action Inc. in Tallahassee, $35,000 from Steven Rosen of Davie and $11,000 from Floridians for a Sustainable Population, based in Cross City.

“This is the true David and Goliath saga,” said Joyce Tarnow, president of Floridians for a Sustainable Population. “We don’t have that kind of money.”

Originally published in the Florida Current – exclusively distributed via Lobbytools – Florida’s Premiere Legislative and Media Monitoring Service.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.