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:
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.