Updated Election Results for Nader/Gonzalez State by State

Nader/Gonzalez Supports Florida Hometown Democracy Referendum

Friday, October 10, 2008 at 12:00:00 AM

Press Release
Contact: Marc Abizeid, 202-360-3273, marcabizeid@votenader.org


Ralph Nader and running mate Matt Gonzalez laud the efforts of Florida Hometown Democracy (FHD) — a citizen group determined to give Floridians the choice to approve or reject land-usage proposals.

FHD, which intended to put a referendum on the November ballot that would amend Florida’s State Constitution, hopes that allowing land-usage decisions to be made by the citizens it affects will help protect the state’s environmental sanctity from the ravages of city and county expansion.

In a statement on its web site, FHD writes: "We have the right to demand that our ‘quality of life’ not be harmed by endless construction… Our elected officials take an oath to protect the public interest. But too many county and city commissioners just can not say no to comprehensive plan amendments that are destructive to a community’s well being."

This is a polite way of saying what we already know — that our elected officials have sold out, from the local to the state and national level, consistently siding with big business while turning their backs on the people who elected them. The responsibility ultimately falls on us, the citizens, to be initiators of reform and to, through extensive grassroots struggle, be the counterweight to malicious forces poisoning our government.

"Florida Hometown Democracy is to be commended for its herculean grassroots effort to decentralize to the municipal level the authority over corporate development plans for Florida’s local communities," Nader said in a statement of solidarity. "Corporate interests have always despised direct democracy because they cannot tolerate the will of the people holding them accountable."

But before residents have an opportunity to vote on the measure, FHD must first overcome a plethora of obstructive laws and the wrath of business-backed opposition groups determined to destroy FHD’s campaign.

Florida state law requires FHD to have collected 611,009 valid signatures before a Feb. 1 deadline — nine-months prior to the November election — to qualify the measure for ballot. FHD succeeded in collecting 619,350 valid signatures but the corporate-backed forces led a fierce, deceptive campaign urging signatories to revoke their signatures resulting in the cancellation of 13,247 signatures putting FHD about 6,000 below the colossal threshold.

Florida’s Chamber of Commerce and its wealthy business allies are the driving forces behind the movement to crush the measure and have invested $3.5 million — about twice as much raised by FHD — to launch a counter campaign to prevent the land-usage initiative from reaching the ballot. The anti-local democracy forces created a group that initiated its own, phony, petition drive to draw petitioners away from FHD, and to flood the county clerk with petitions so as to prevent them from being validated before deadline.

FHD engaged in a number of legal battles to keep its drive alive, including challenging the unjust Feb. 1 deadline, but the courts shamefully sided with the pro-corporate foes. However, FHD may still collect the remaining signatures before November 4 in order to qualify the land-usage measure for the state’s 2010 election — a goal the group is confident it will achieve.

Nader/Gonzalez condemns all forces that, in a dictatorial-fashion, engage in abhorrent tactics to gun down democratic efforts intended to shift power from the few to the many.

In 2004, Ralph Nader’s presidential campaign faced similar obstructive tactics to keep the ticket off state ballots when the Democratic Party and its allies filed 24 lawsuits against the campaign in 18 states in just 12 weeks (Earlier this year, 12 Democratic operatives in Pennsylvania were indicted for criminal conspiracy, illegal use of public funds, and other charges for their involvement to knock the Nader/Camejo ticket of the Pennsylvania ballot).

Nader/Gonzalez calls for drastic changes to state ballot access regulations that continue to threaten tenets of democracy. By restricting candidates’ rights and setting extreme thresholds for ballot initiatives, the rights and choices of citizens are essentially being violated.