Monthly Archives: September 2014


Amendment One – a proposal to collect $18B in documentary stamps over twenty years primarily for land acquisition – brings to our state several dangers that raise serious questions.

First, how much government owned and controlled conservation land do we need?  Twenty-eight percent of Florida is already in conservation.  Add another 3% for government facilities and we have over 30% of our state owned and controlled by government.  According to Nancy Smith of the Sunshine State News, Florida has “more land under public ownership per square mile than any other east of the Mississippi.” 

Second, is it wise to insert a part of our state’s budget into the constitution thus limiting the budgeting authority of the Legislature?  It is the Legislature’s responsibility to work with the Governor to craft an annual balanced budget to meet the needs of our state.  Through the Legislature, all the needs (including environmental) are considered, debated, and approved by our elected representatives, not just those of a single special interest.

Third, have you considered the impact decreasing acreages of private property will have on local needs such as education, roads, infrastructure, and public safety?  When property is moved from private ownership to government ownership, it is moved off the tax rolls.  Less taxable property means less tax revenue. Local governments will have the choice to lower their spending or raise property taxes.  Which decision do you think they’ll make?  

Fourth, do you know that most groups endorsing this amendment are special interests pushing an environmentalist/sustainable development agenda?  Their petition and campaign has been funded and directed in large part by a Boston-based 501(c)(4).  The Conservation Campaign and The Trust for Public Land have been directly involved in one-quarter of all US conservation finance measures since 1996, generating $35 billion in new public funding for land conservation.  Florida is one of their top priority targets.

Fifth, does government ownership of land enhance wise purchasing practices to protect taxpayer money, good stewardship maintenance of land, or making more land open to the public?  US Congressmen representing the state of Utah (87% federally owned) will tell you “No.” 

The American free market system encourages willing buyers and sellers to transact agreements, and there is a place for government to own land.  But, government should not be handed enormous amounts of tax payer money to buy and control land.

The American dream was founded upon the principle of private citizens owning and using property as a protection against the potential tyranny of the state.  More government ownership threatens that principle with no guarantees of better land stewardship. 

Alternatives exist to conserve land.  For example, rather than buying private farms, the state could simply buy their conservation rights.  The cost would be much less while keeping farms in production and on the tax rolls.

Amendment One brings many dangers to our state and is promoted by very driven and well-funded special interest groups.  These things should be considered before writing an $18 B check to Amendment One advocates.

Dan Peterson
Executive Director
Coalition for Property Rights

“There is no such thing as a Republican or a Democrat pothole.”

Orange County voters will decide in November whether to have party affiliations placed next to the names of candidates for charter offices — these offices include the county mayor and commissioners, which are currently non-partisan.

The ballot amendment would also move the county mayor’s race to the presidential-year election cycle — which means Mayor Teresa Jacobs will only serve a two year term instead of the customary four year term, and be forced to run again in 2016.

This citizen petition proposal is the product of local Democrats and professional activist allies, who are seeking one party rule — Orange County Democrats have a lead of nearly 100,000 registered voters and experience greater voter turnout in presidential year elections.

At lease $111,000 flowed into our community from outside sources, primarily Washington, D.C., in pursuit of the one party rule agenda.

Ballot language is unclear at this time:

Resolution Calling a Referendum On Petition Proposing to Move
Elections for All Charter Offices Elected Countywide to 2016 and Every
Four Years Thereafter, to Abbreviate Any Term of Office Consistent
with this Change, and to Change All Charter Office Elections From
Nonpartisan to Partisan

Day-to-day responsibilities of county government rise above partisan ideologies and center more on service, hence the saying: “There is no such thing as a Republican or a Democrat pothole.”

And for this reason, Orange County Now recommends a NO vote on this amendment. 

*A lawsuit has been filed against the legality of this ballot amendment, but it’s not expected to be resolved before ballots are sent out to voters.

Citizens for Informed Elections paid well to obtain the required number of signatures to place a citizens petition amendment on the November ballot that will, if successful, change charter office elections from non-partisan to partisan, and place the mayor’s race on the presidential election cycle.

Charter offices include the Board of County Commissioners.

These two issues will prove to be hugely beneficial to the activist-controlled Orange County Democratic Party, but the majority of financial contributions to Citizens for Informed Elections originated from sources outside of Orange County.

To help establish local one party rule, Orange County Tax Collector Scott Randolph, the former chairman of the local Democratic Party, gave $26,750 to Citizens for Informed Elections through a political action committee he controls.

But here is a list of “other” donors who contributed to Citizens for Informed Elections, according to records on file with the Orange County Supervisor of Elections:

DC-based Leadership Center for Common Good – $47,500

DC-based Project Vote: $19,500

California-based New Leaders Council – $9,000

Miami-based Democracy Alliance member Chris Findlater – $35,000

*Both Leadership Center for Common Good and Project Vote have strong ties to now defunct ACORN.

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