TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Thursday, March 17, 2005
Florida Supreme Court Denies State Residents Their
Unalienable Rights. In this controversy it appears to this commentator
that the Fla. SC has denied the state’s citizens their Unalienable
Rights to free speech and to have a final say on how their government
regulates their life.
The debate centers around an effort to put on the ballot
in Florida a proposed constitutional amendment, a Land -Use Ballot Measure
known as the "Hometown Democracy" measure. The measure would
have required voter approval for any changes to the plans that cities and
counties adopt to manage development. Currently this power lies solely in
the hands of city and county commissions.
In a 27 page, 4-3
advisory opinion [SC04-1134 & Sc04-1479] to Fla.’s Attorney
General, the Fla. high court said the proposed constitutional amendment
cannot go on the 2006 ballot because of "emotional rhetoric" in
its ballot summary [the court’s regulation of free speech and politics -
denial of Unalienable Rights].
The court found a problem with the language "Public
participation in local government comprehensive land use planning benefits
the conservation and protection of Florida's natural resources and scenic
beauty, and the long-term quality of life of Floridians." in first
sentence of the summary of the ballot. The court said the ballot summary
was fatally flawed because of "impermissible emotional rhetoric that
misstates the substance of the amendment."
This commentator finds fault with this as the Declaration
of Independence provides:
That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men,
deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, That
whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it
is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute
new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and
organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely
to effect their Safety and Happiness.
The rhetoric is no more emotional than the words found in
the document that declared our freedom and basic rights, our Unalienable
This measure has the potential to put the brakes on local government’s
use of eminent domain abuse. The abuse that occurs when local government takes your land and give it to someone else for what is claimed to be the econmomic good of the community. [ see Kelo v New London]. The Hometown Democracy measure would also
give Florida voters final say over where new homes, shopping malls and
roads are built in their communities.
The sponsors [ two environmental lawyers] who are in the
opinion of this commentator are doing good work.. According to the AP, the
lawyers said they were fed up with crowded highways and schools, lack of
green space and uncontrolled development.
This decision makes this commentator question the Fla.
court’s understanding of Unalienable Rights and if they have ever read
the Declaration of Independence.