PROMISES MADE AND KEPT
Four, eight, twelve, and sixteen years ago, I campaigned on platforms of issues and
promises. I was very careful not to make promises I couldn’t keep. I
also limited the issues in which I promised to engage to only those
about which I felt most strongly. I feel I have kept all of my promises
to you and fulfilled my obligations to the best of my abilities.
The environment: The preservation of our precious natural resources and
the restoration and protection of our waters has been my first priority
and biggest commitment. I have worked diligently and passionately to
promote every environmental initiative in Martin County and the rest of
south Florida. With the help of many others, I feel my efforts are
yielding positive results. But, environmental protection requires
perpetual vigilance and no victory is final.
Growth management: I promised to vote for controlled, well-managed
growth and good development. As my voting record attests, I have done
just that. I have been labeled a “no growth” and “anti-development”
commissioner by some, but I simply believe that we should grow according
to our existing laws. Our Comprehensive Growth Management Plan tells us
precisely how and where new development may occur and the protection
that must be accorded our resources and existing residents in the
process. However, this Comprehensive Plan was constantly being altered,
amended, and ignored by our former Commission majorities.
Twelve years ago, our Commission majority approved a record 28 amendments
to our Comprehensive Plan. I objected to most of those amendments
because they were inconsistent with our Comprehensive Plan, the Florida
Statutes, and adopted Long Range Transportation Plan, and they were
financially infeasible, requiring much more data and analysis. The State
of Florida agreed with me. The Department of Community Affairs in
Tallahassee agreed with me. They objected to 23 of the 28 amendments.
One would hope that the State’s objections would have put the brakes on
our former Commission majority’s ambitious plans to shred our Comprehensive
Plan. To the contrary, the Commission majority redoubled their efforts even more for the next 4 years.
The Commission majority approved the
notorious Valliere clustering amendment. Then, in 2009, the Commission
majority approved a wholesale rewrite of our Comprehensive Plan, written
by a pro-development faction named the Future Group. In 2010
the Commission majority, not content with the camel’s nose under the
tent, ushered the entire camel into the tent by approving amendments
allowing commercial, industrial, and increased residential densities
throughout our agricultural areas. They created free-standing urban
None of the disastrous Comprehensive Plan amendments approved in 2009 or 2010
by the majority Board provided any demonstration of need. No financial
feasibility assessments were provided.
We found ourselves in the same predictably dreary reality of every
overdeveloped county in south Florida: an overzealous local government
Commission majority was lured by special self-interests to overdevelop
while turning a blind eye at the deficient infrastructure to handle the
building boom that they created. Then, after the construction dust
cleared, the profits were made and the profiteers were gone, we turned a fresh eye
to the infrastructure the previous Commission majority ignored while the boom was hot.
Fiscal conservation: I believe in conservation in all things. I
warned that the housing bubble would burst. My fellow Commissioners
ignored my predictions. As property values skyrocketed and our treasury
grew accordingly, instead of reducing our property tax millage rates,
our majority Board grew County government by leaps and bounds. Flush
with impact fee dollars and gas taxes at the height of the building
boom, the majority Board approved multimillion dollar loans to build
new infrastructure. We are now saddled with $4.5 million debt payments
for the next 20 or so years that were supposed to be funded through
impact fee revenues which are a small fraction of what they were during
I have fought very hard and at every opportunity over the past 16 years
to keep our county’s spending rational and responsible and conservative.
I have tried to keep County contracts reasonable, reduce the amount
spent on outside consultants, and oppose expensive new projects which
have to be funded by borrowing and bonding against our future.
It has been my genuine pleasure and honor to serve you.