Planning Commission dis-appointments
Today the developer’s puppets on our County Commission loaded our City-County Planning Commission with development interests. In appointing Hung Mai and Miller Dowdy to 4-year terms on the growth-guiding board, which already has plenty of builder support, they blatantly chose special interests over the public’s best interests. (See my earlier article and today’s Tribune Op-ed.)
On his application, Mai advertised his connections to these piggy-banks for county commissioners’ campaigns: Ralph Hughes, Stephen Dibbs and the Tampa Bay Builders Association, so commissioners would hear that cash register a-jinglin’ when they voted for him. Dowdy is a partner in Metro Area Properties, with development projects all over the county (download brochure).
When judging a developer’s proposal in a public hearing, how will these new planning commissioners be able to impartially weigh the interests of their colleagues against the interests of other citizens?
Here’s how the county commissioners’ vote broke down:
For Hung Mai: Blair, Hagan, Higginbotham, Norman, Sharpe
For Miller Dowdy: Blair, Hagan, Higginbotham, White
For Seth Boots: White, Ferlita
For Anne Madden: Norman
For Pam Prysner: Ferlita, Sharpe
The only candidate with no ties to developers who got any votes was Pam Prysner. She was the people’s choice, as evidenced by the many e-mails citizens sent supporting her. No other candidate had anything like her support among county residents. Unfortunately, that only matters to Ferlita & Sharpe.
If our Planning Commission becomes a rubber stamp for any Comprehensive Plan changes proposed by any builder, it will surely add impetus to the Hometown Democracy Amendment which would let citizens vote on these matters directly. (petition here)
We now have special interests on the Technical Advisory Committee that will be guiding the EPC Hybrid compromise on our wetlands regulations, and special interests on our Planning Commission, guiding growth in our county.
I’m fed up with developers running this county. If you are, too, please let your commissioners know. And please don’t forget come election time.