Supporters of the “Hometown Democracy” Amendment 4 are using Godzilla and vampires to get their message across while opponents on Wednesday were using a Florida TaxWatch report to put the scare into voters.
Amendment 4, which is on the Nov. 2 ballot, would require voter approval of changes to local comprehensive land use plans. Supporters say the measure is needed to wrest control of local growth decisions from development interests while opponents say it creates a legal morass that will harm Florida’s economy.
Florida Hometown Democracy Inc. began airing an ad this week that spoofs old horror movies by warning that “corporate vampires” and “zombie political insiders” want to kill Amendment 4. The ad encourages voters to support the measure and “drive a stake through the heart of special interests.”
“It’s treating a really serious subject with a little humor,” said Wayne Garcia, communications director for Florida Hometown Democracy.
But Ryan Houck, spokesman for the “Vote No on 4” campaign, said the opposition ads instead focus on the economic threat of adopting the measure.
“Top economists estimate that Amendment 4 would put more than a quarter-of-a-million Floridians out of work in the midst of an unprecedented recession,” Houck said in an email. “The special interests behind Amendment 4 may find that humorous — we don’t.”
The opponents released a four-page Florida TaxWatch briefing paper that says residents throughout Florida could pay $44.6 million to $83.4 million for two special elections each year to vote on comprehensive land use changes. Furthermore, TaxWatch said, tens of millions of dollars could be spent on legal challenges to the election outcomes.
“Amendment 4’s envisioned re-structuring of property rights from private to public and the associated change in decision-making from the marketplace to the ballot box will certainly have devastating, lasting effects on Florida’s economy, the taxpayers, and the treasuries of cities and counties throughout our state,” the TaxWatch report stated.
Garcia disputed the TaxWatch findings and other scary economic studies condemning Amendment 4. He said local growth changes could be added to the ballots for primaries and general elections.
“They are basically making up numbers and feeding them into computer models,” he said. “If you don’t put good data in, you don’t get good data out.”
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