Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Article says 'There’s more to Hometown Democracy', then Rehearses the Usual Lazy Narrative

4 or against? There’s more to Hometown Democracy than environment vs. sprawl | Daily Loaf

For a piece attempting to grind a 'politics is complicated' axe, this Creative Loafing article is surprisingly useless in terms of working out what the specific interests and elite political positions actually are. Which is really a shame.

People could use some specifics that cut through the cubic tons of bullshit moneyed interests always dump all over the FHD reform effort.

Taking us ostensibly 'beneath the surface' of the noisy FHD debate, Kate Bradshaw offers what she thinks are telling individual actors...actors whose interests and positions she fleshes out not a tiny fucking bit.

Something about a titty-bar owner...something else about a local politico and "environmental advocate" taking stands we're led to believe are surprising...but what's so surprising?

Is it hard to imagine why a titty bar owner might like the idea of a reform offering possibilities for a nifty bureaucratic disincentive (pricey special elections) as a hedge against any effort at rezoning a particular location out of business? Not to mention the far-from-unbelievable possibility that the guy genuinely supports the reform on its own terms.

And honest to Christ, is there an elected official anywhere in this entire megastate--anywhere in the country, even--who doesn't claim this generic mantle of "environmental advocate" for him/herself? I'd bet money even Mike Bennett, the politico who last session tried (again) to ratf*ck FLs Growth Management agency, would tell you, with big, dewey, alcoholic, puppydog eyes, that he's on the side of the environmental angels. Honest he is.

And to whom is it surprising that FLs moribund unions might side with developers? Not many. Especially, you know, in the middle of a wrenching collapse of the building industry? (Hint: there can be no building trade unions where there's no building trade work.)

Then there's Alex Sink...oh my, is the corporate banker whose premier virtue as a candidate appears to be her ability to get rich people to write her big campaign checks...is SHE against Amendment 4 too? REALLY?!? What a mindblower.

Seems to me there are a whole lot of local and state pols who mix a degree of genuine 'environmental advocacy' with a healthy (if not in fact a positively UNhealthy) dollop of 'pro-business advocacy'. Seems to me this is probably the norm.

And of course these (business and sustainablility/livability) are the opposite of mutually exclusive values.

Seems to me kind of obvious that 'pro-business' political rhetoric is even more ubiquitous than 'green' happy-talk...and far more concrete, too, since business lobbies exert infinitely more political leverage than even the more powerful environmental interests in FL. Which is to say it means next to nothing to point to some person or other who claims some vague 'environmental advocacy' for him/herself, even if once or twice they actually mustered the nerve to tell a developer 'no'.

And this is the very asymmetry that gave rise to Hometown Democracy in the first place.


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