A full-blown effort to abolish Florida’s Department of Community Affairs (DCA) is underway in the Florida Legislature, with conditions in the House the most hostile to DCA and Growth Management generally. On Friday March 6, a Proposed Committee Bill (PCB) was unveiled in the House, which among other things, will transfer the DCA Division of Housing and Community Development and Division of Community Planning (growth management) to the Department of State and the Division of Emergency Management to the Governor’s Office. The House intends to take it up in Committee this Wednesday.
Those legislators who would destroy DCA and gut Florida’s Growth Management Act in the name of “helping the economy” should be advised to STOP and read this article carefully.
The bottom line: overheated, non-sustainable growth combined with sub-prime mortgages available to anyone who could breathe and walk in the door of a lending institution in just 35 counties, mostly in Florida, California, Nevada and Arizona appears to have triggered the worldwide economic recession/depression.
Quoting the U.S.A. Today article: “This crisis was triggered by foreclosures, and a lot of those were in a very small number of areas,” says William Lucy, a University of Virginia professor who has studied the link between lenders and faltering home loans. Banks spread the risk and “it became like a car with no reverse gear. Once it starts to go over the cliff, it’s gone.”
In other parts of the country, the foreclosure wave was barely a ripple – at least until it started swamping major banks that had invested heavily in mortgages. Banking giant Wachovia Corp., for example, was hammered after California and Florida customers of one mortgage firm it bought began defaulting at high rates. The risks of such lending were spread so broadly among financial institutions that, when the loans went bad, it drove the national credit crisis, says Christopher Mayer, who studies real estate at Columbia Business School.”
Perhaps it is time for a forceful pushback against the legislators and developer lobby calling for weakening growth management; overdevelopment and non-sustainable development are at the root of the current economic crisis!
Proposals to “solve” the economic crisis by loosening growth management regulations and de-funding or abolishing the Florida Department of Community affairs make matters worse, not better.
The editorial from Sunday’s edition of the Tampa Tribune offers an appropriate response to legislators who would undermine DCA and growth management at the behest of the developer lobby.