St. Petersburg Times
 tampabaycom
tampabay.com

Print storySubscribe to the Times

Court hears arguments over 2006 ballot issue

The proposed amendment would require voter approval of local governments' changes in growth plans.

By Associated Press
Published November 3, 2004

Precinct-by-precinct

THE PRESIDENCY
This time, key to presidency lies with Ohio

THE SENATE
Martinez lead at just under 1 percent

THE STATE
Five judges on way to easily keeping seats
Justices' jobs appear safe, judging by early returns
Voters call it a draw in doctor-lawyer battle
Senate lead at just under 1 percent
Cantero, Bell easily hang onto seats

TAMPA BAY
Coats easily beats former shock jock
Lines pose biggest problem for voters
Local roots, support boost Burke's victory
Pinellas Suncoast race close; fee hike fails
Voters approve higher tax to help Pinellas teachers, schools
Biggest voting gripe: long lines

PASCO
Pasco pulls off smooth election
Kurt Browning bests Bergy
Fiorentino secures job after tough quest
Incumbent Hildebrand sails to sixth term
Jack Mariano upsets Peter Altman

HERNANDO
Voters pack polls with vigor
Fagan leads decisively, vows to seek consensus
Nugent 'thrilled' as he heads to easy win
Precincts experience only minor problems
Pugh cruises in 1 race; recount likely in other
In Hernando: experience, Democrats

CITRUS
Fervor, dignity meet at polls
Spivey charges past Takac for seat on bench
2 incumbents win, another defeated by former chief

Related 10 News video:
Bush camp says he's won, Kerry not conceding
Ohio's "provisional" ballots may decide presidency
Bush defeats Kerry in Florida
Martinez claims victory, Castor refuses to concede
Voters pass minimum wage measure; gambling measure deadlocked

TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Supreme Court focused Tuesday on a potentially explosive issue voters could face on Election Day 2006: Who gets to decide where new homes, shopping malls and roads are built?

The power now rests with city and county governments, which are required by state law to develop detailed plans to manage growth.

A proposed constitutional amendment sponsored by a grass roots group, Florida Hometown Democracy, would require voter approval for any changes to those growth plans.

To make the ballot in two years, Hometown Democracy must collect a half-million signatures and convince the state Supreme Court the proposed change is fairly explained and deals with only one subject.

So far the group has collected 60,000 signatures.

During Tuesday's oral arguments, justices questioned attorney Ross Burnaman, one of the group's leaders, about the scope of the amendment.

Chief Justice Barbara Pariente asked whether the measure would require voter approval for things like changes in traffic patterns and other issues that force thousands of changes in growth plans.

"Absolutely not," Burnaman replied. "That is the argument that the opponents would like to have you believe, that changing the center line stripe on a highway would be subject to a referendum vote. That is simply absurd and ridiculous."

Justices also questioned whether the ballot summary crossed the line into improper advocacy by referring to the need to protect Florida's natural resources and "scenic beauty."

Burnaman defended the summary.

"Every decision that involves a comprehensive land use plan will ultimately affect the natural resources of the state in one way or the other," he said.

An opposition group, Foundation for Preserving Florida's Future, was represented by attorney Barry Richard, who managed President Bush's 2000 election legal case.

"Clearly this is a radical change in the power of local government," Richard told the justices. "Today one of the broadest exercised and most significant powers of local government is the ability to control land use.

"This would put a screeching halt to a vast array of local land use plans."

The Florida Association of Counties opposes the amendment, and Justice Raoul Cantero asked its attorney, lawyer Arthur England, what other issues besides environmental protection might have to be decided by referendum.

The list includes location of schools, mass transit, housing, coordination with other government agencies and stormwater and sewer projects, according to England, a former justice who sat on the high court from 1975 to 1981.

[Last modified November 2, 2004, 22:49:10]


Florida headlines

  • Ailing smokers ask Florida justices to restore $145 billion award
  • Bullet train issue may still be alive
  • Panhandle, president drive Martinez's win
  • Sewage spill leads to Sulphur Springs warning
  • Court hears arguments over 2006 ballot issue
  • Editorial editor retires after plagiarism inquiry
  • High court considers Florida death row case
  • Mom who poisoned 3 kids gets life sentence

  • Election 2004
  • A sigh to behold: Problems down, turnout soars
  • District 11: Mike Fasano overpowers Mattingly
  • District 15: Dockery wins another term
  • District 3: Argenziano cuts a broader swath
  • District 44: Well-financed incumbent Russell coasts past Hughes
  • District 47: After a tough GOP primary, Ambler coasts to re-election
  • District 52: Farkas vanquishes challenger
  • District 58: Henriquez takes early, strong lead in quest for a 4th term
  • District 60: Homan confident, cautious about his strong early lead
  • District 62: Republican Rich Glorioso pads his lead over rivals
  • Five appellate judges likely to retain seats
  • Five judges on way to easily keeping seats
  • Justices' jobs appear safe, judging by early returns
  • Voters call it a draw in doctor-lawyer battle
  • Castor team considers challenges
  • Senate lead at just under 1 percent
  • District 43: Incumbent Dean holds on to top political novice, retains House seat
  • District 45: Anderson wins rematch
  • District 51: Waters enjoys lopsided win
  • Cantero, Bell easily hang onto seats
  • Former Miami-Dade police director wins office
  • Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111

    new
    used
    make
    model