Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, attempting to discredit the many citizens who disagree with him on the Go Hillsborough sales-tax proposal, pompously belittles them all as “3 tea party bloggers sitting in their underwear in their basements in Ruskin.” Disparaging the community of Ruskin is no way to gain our support.
Citizen action won the day last Thursday when the County Commission unanimously approved the Ruskin Community Plan Guidelines amendment to the Land Development Code. A good-sized group showed up at the final hearing to demonstrate support of the Ruskin Plan specifically, and ALL Community Plans in general. Speaking in support of the amendment were Sandy Council, President of the Ruskin Community Development Foundation; Kent Bailey, Chair of the Tampa Bay Sierra Club; and me, Mariella Smith.
Tonight’s Public Hearing on the Ruskin Community Plan code amendment will have to be rescheduled—at the very last minute—because the county just now realized that we can’t get enough of our highly paid County Commissioners to show up for work today!
The Final Public Hearing on the Ruskin Community Plan’s Guidelines is this Thursday, May 29, 6:00 pm. Our attendance at this hearing will show the county commissioners that our Community Plans are important to us—the Ruskin Community Plan specifically, and the implementation of ALL Community Plans in general.
Hopefully, we just need one more batch of emails to get the Ruskin Community Plan Guidelines codified (see sample email). Thanks to terrific community participation and all your emails, our county commissioners and planners heard our complaints about their first draft of the Ruskin Plan Guidelines amendment to the Land Development Code (LDC). They have now written a good second draft which closes the loophole in the first draft, and firmly codifies the Guidelines into the LDC, consistent with the Ruskin Community Plan. But this is still only a draft, so we need to stay involved until the proposed amendment is adopted, to make sure it doesn’t get weakened or delayed along the way.
The first draft of the Ruskin Guidelines code amendment is totally useless. We need to send in LOTS of citizen comments (see sample email below) insisting that the county revise the draft amendment so that the Community Plan’s Guidelines can be enforced as the community intended.