Florida Association of Realtors fiddles (with money) while their members burn
We turn now to one of the more obscene gestures made by the Florida business community during its desperate and all-encompassing fight against Hometown Democracy and the people's right to vote on development issues that could cost them higher property taxes.
Consider this: At a time when many individual Realtors are suffering in a horribly overbuilt Florida housing market and downturned economy, their parent organization, the Florida Association of Realtors, has used its "Advocacy Fund" (fueled in part by a $10 per member advocacy surcharge on their annual dues) to contribute $4.25 million to oppose Amendment 4.
This makes the Realtors association's Advocacy Fund the largest single contributor to the anti-Amendment 4 campaign at a time when things are so bad for Florida Realtors that they even got a $16 million settlement from the BP Gulf oil spill. (And Realtors looking to be fully compensated from that settlement shouldn't hold their breath. Realtors association lobbyist John Sebree said in reports published Aug. 24, 2010, that the BP money "might not go terribly far.")
At a time when the Realtors association should be financially helping its members, it is wasting more than $4 million to attempt to preserve the very system of growth that put its members out of work in the first place! The very system that depressed housing values (and therefore commissions when/if homes are sold in this market).
And the $4.25 million from the Realtors' Advocacy Fund isn't all the Realtor money that has found its way to oppose Florida Hometown Democracy. State Division of Elections records show that the Florida Realtors Association gave another $25,910; the Realtors Political Issues Committee-FLA gave $5,500; and the Florida Gulfcoast Comm. Association of Realtors PAC gave $250.
Just how over the top is the Florida Association of Realtors in its largesse to the No on 4 crowd? Consider that the next biggest contribution given to the No on 4 political action committee is $567,000 from Pulte Homes Corp. (Pulte got is own bail-out, by the way, an $800 million tax break from the federal government, according to Builder magazine in Feb. 2010, tucked neatly in a 2009 unemployment compensation bill.)
Yes on 4's website address is www.floridahometowndemocracy.com.
Pd. Pol. Adv. By FloridaHometownDemocracy, Inc. PAC, P.O. Box 636, New Smyrna Beach, FL.