Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hiassen on Population

Carl Hiassen's latest column talks about the growing population of Florida: the latest data and what it all means. As usual Hiassen has some excellent comments on the state of State. Below is an excerpt.

The beleaguered sense among many Floridians -- that they're not only being overtaxed but overrun -- will not soon go away. Politicians who resist calls for strict land-use reforms and continue to shill for special interests risk being dumped from office by those whom they've ignored.

It's happened already in scores of municipalities where voters got fed up watching their green spaces malled and paved while the waterfronts went condo.

The social equation isn't complicated. The more people you cram into a place, even a place as vast and geographically diverse as Florida, the more stressful life becomes for everybody. It also becomes more expensive. Ask anyone in New York or California what happened to their taxes as the populations of those states swelled.

A bipartisan group that advocates semi-sane growth policies, 1000 Friends of Florida, last year predicted that the state's population would double to 36 million by 2060, and that seven million acres of agricultural land and wilderness would be converted to concrete and asphalt.

That was before the real-estate market tanked and the subprime mortgage racket imploded, but there's no denying that even an overcrowded Florida continues to hold some mythical allure, whether you live in Dubuque or Port-au-Prince.

Despite their rising disillusionment, about 62 percent of those interviewed for the Leadership Florida poll said they'd still recommend the state as a place for friends or relatives to live.

For strangers? Maybe not. Because growth is an exalted industry unto itself, rather than the natural result of a broadening economic base, lawmakers have always focused on attracting hordes of new residents at all costs. The first casualty of such a fast-buck mentality is the quality of life.

One out of five Floridians surveyed in November say they are ''seriously considering'' moving elsewhere.

This is what's known as a message. And, for those who've sold out Florida's future to enrich their campaign coffers, it breaks down like this:


Anonymous said...

Two items in today's H-T discuss a Sarasota Quality-of-Life issue that
has finally reached critical level.
H-Ts lead article submits elaborate
statistics on the effects of our traffic crisis. The other, a letter-to-the editor, discusses
two people killed on our streets recently.

Our city qovernment has managed to
accumulate data about our most dangerous streets. So, what is the city going to do with that information? Are there substantive plans to develop remedies?

Drivers using cell phones abound; tailgaiting is reampant (H-T's lead article details the devastating consequences.) Has anyone else seen the bumper sticker: "I travel on 41. Pray for me"?

Who determines traffic details of local police patrols? Is it the city or the police department? Why is this never a subject for discussion? Is there ever a patrol car on the Trail, let alone police to un-snag traffic tie-ups? Yet, it seems that whenever there is an accident, many police cars are suddenly on the scene.

Quality-of-life issues are not only
about stemming growth, but also about mitigating effects of growth already gone wild. This means that
Sarasota's traffic problems and infrastructure demand the highest city and county priorities.

SOS1 said...

You make some excellent points. You should let the city manager and commissioners know about your concerns and ask them what they will be doing.

Anonymous said...


Thank you very much for your response. Could you please tell me how to get the word out to the city manager and the ommissioners? I feel most reluctantly that perhaps I should remain anonymous. I notice that most comments on SOS blogs are signed that way. Is anonimity really held to be that necessary?

SOS1 said...

Contact information for the city manager and commissioners is on the
city web page
Many of the dangerous intersections are in the unincorporated county. Contact information for the county manager and commissioners is at the county webpage.