Supporters of growth measure go after Florida Chamber

Supporters of Amendment 4 say the Florida Chamber of Commerce, a major opponent of the proposed growth management measure, is encouraging employers to pressure their workers to join the opposition.

Amendment 4 would require voter approval of changes to local comprehensive land use plans which say where development can occur. Supporters say the measure is needed to remove control of local growth decisions from the developers and their allies.

But opponents say the measure would cost jobs and kill the economy. Supporters of the “Vote no on 4” campaign include more than 100 cities, local chambers of commerce and economic development councils, businesses, trade associations and unions.

Lesley Blackner, a Palm Beach County attorney and founder of the Florida Hometown Democracy Inc. PAC that helped put the measure on the ballot, said the Aug. 25 e-mail from Florida Chamber Vice President Adam Babington revealed the effort to pressure workers to join in opposing Amendment 4.

In an e-mail to other opponents, Babington wrote that the “Vote No on 4” campaign will be leading an e-mail registration drive of advocates opposing Amendment 4. Groups and businesses can help by providing a “detailed list of your interested employees, organization members, friends and families.”

“This is a recipe for coercion on the workplace,” Blackner wrote in a press statement Wednesday. “It is a full-court press that no Florida worker trying to keep his or her job will be able to resist and make fully informed decisions.”

She added that such politicking would be against the law in public agencies. And she asked that any employees who feel wrongly pressured to report any wrongdoing at the Florida Hometown Democracy website.

Babington denied there was any coercion represented by his e-mail. He said workers in industries that will be affected by Amendment 4 should be told that their jobs are at stake.

“If they [employees] don’t want to help out for the campaign and don’t want to help out on the ‘Vote No on 4’ campaign, there is no one requiring them to do that,” he said. Asked if the Florida Chamber should tell employers not to cross the line towards pressuring workers, he said, “We don’t feel a need to tell our members how to interact with their employees.”

Story provided by the Florida Tribune. Story copyrighted by Bruce Ritchie and Do not copy or redistribute without permission, which can be obtained by contacting

1 thought on “Supporters of growth measure go after Florida Chamber”

  1. Babinton's position is unsupportable.

    First, the people who will be getting the inserts in their paychecks already have jobs – jobs they have managed to hang on to despite the reckless overspeculation on the part of developers and local governments.
    Second, there is already enough growth allocated on comprehensive plans throughout the state to keep construction going for decades as long as homes, business and industrial uses are built where they are already approved.
    Scaring people into denying themselves the right to vote by insinuating their job is at risk is deceptive and pathetic.
    It's even more Orwellian coming as an insert with your paycheck.

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