Tallahassee – Governor Jeb Bush and his Secretary of the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), Steve Siebert, are set to release the results of a “biased” survey designed to support weakening state development rules, according to documents obtained under the Sunshine Act by Florida Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (Florida PEER). The documents show that Secretary Siebert developed the survey as a tool to put “heat under the burner” for “reform” of growth management.
The survey is a detailed, 15-page questionnaire sent out to selected developers, local government officials, and lobbyists. DCA plans to release results this week.
According to the documents, DCA:
*constructed the survey in disregard of expert academic advice. One University of Florida professor said the survey consisted of “loaded questions…designed to elicit negative responses.”
*engaged a well-known “property rights” advocate as its main adviser; and
*decided what the results would show even before questionnaires were tabulated.
“Bush and Siebert have cooked up a campaign to dismantle smart growth and this survey is merely part of the recipe” stated Florida PEER General Counsel Steve Medina. “This particular maneuver is calculated to mask the broad support by ordinary Floridians – those who do not employ lobbyists – for a strong state role in environmental protection and regulation of unchecked development.”
NOTE: Stay tuned for Florida PEER updates on the emerging story of Bush’s and Siebert’s secret plan to “reform” growth management.