Led by Floridians for Smarter Growth, the business community is ready for battle

(ORLANDO, FL – June 22, 2009) The radical “Hometown Democracy” proposal failed to reach the ballot in 2004, 2006 and 2008. However, the Secretary of State today certified the anti-jobs amendment for the 2010 ballot. It will appear on the ballot as Amendment 4.

Amendment 4–a “Vote on Everything” initiative that would force taxpayers to fund elections for thousands of technical planning changes–is opposed by a broad coalition of over 135 environmental, business, labor, planning and community groups throughout the state. This growing coalition includes 1000 Friends of Florida, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Florida League of Cities, the Florida Council of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and the Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association.

“The ‘Vote on Everything’ amendment could mean a permanent recession for Florida’s economy,” said Mark Wilson, president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and treasurer of Floridians for Smarter Growth. “This amendment will hopelessly complicate the planning process and indefinitely stall our state’s economic recovery.”

A local version of Amendment 4 has already been tested in the small Pinellas county town of St. Pete Beach, which adopted a “Vote on Everything” measure in 2006. Since then, local residents have suffered through a virtual economic collapse and endless lawsuits at taxpayer expense. In St. Pete Beach, “Vote on Everything” supporters have even filed numerous lawsuits to overturn the very election their amendment required.

“The story of St. Pete Beach is proof positive that this idea costs jobs and wastes taxpayer money,” said Ryan Houck, executive director of Floridians for Smarter Growth (FSG), the statewide campaign opposing Amendment 4. “Far from empowering voters, it has caused endless frustration at the ballot box and needless litigation at taxpayer expense.”

“Floridians for Smarter Growth has organized a very strong grassroots campaign organization,” said Wilson. “We have expanded our local leadership teams and grown our statewide coalition. Floridians for Smarter Growth is prepared to debate the ‘Vote on Everything’ amendment in every community in Florida.”

Floridians for Smarter Growth (FSG) was founded by Sunshine State business and community leaders to educate voters on the impacts of Amendment 4. Today, Floridians for Smarter Growth leads a grassroots team of nearly 1000 dedicated volunteers and 135 opposition groups.


Marketing Mondays | This was too good to pass up!

From Catch Your Limit Consulting:

I was thinking about how the basics in life are the basics in business….being honest and consistent in your business practices and brand-messaging. Don’t over-promise…over-deliver. These sorts of thoughts run through my head all the time. I don’t separate my life into work and other. Work is one of the ways I invest my time as I live my life. As such, I don’t have one set of values for work and another set for the rest of the time.

It’s hard work finding customers. I want to keep them. It’s too expensive to just work with people once. I feel the same way about my friends. However I found them, I appreciate them. I’ve invested in our relationships and I don’t want to squander that investment.
So, whether it’s at work or elsewhere I behave in a manner that I believe encourages trust. I believe I’m worthy of people’s trust and I behave accordingly.
I mentioned being honest and consistent about what I say. I do my best to manage expectations. I want people to feel they get more out of their time with me than it “cost” them. I want people to want to have a relationship with me, business or otherwise.
I treat people with respect. I do my best to be on time and I want others to show me the same courtesy. I listen to people when they talk to me; I want others to give me their attention when I am speaking to them. I treat people fairly and want to be treated so in return.
This is beginning to sound like a rant and that’s not my intention.
What I’m offering is the belief that treating people with respect is appropriate behavior at all times: at work, behind the wheel of your car, at home, everywhere. Not everyone has gotten this message. All I can do, is do my best to lead by example.
I am asking everyone who reads this, to do your best to lead by example, as well. Holding ourselves accountable to the highest common denominator standard of behavior will enrich all of our lives. I think that’s what civilization is supposed to do for us.
If I may, let me encourage you to choose civility.
Lynnette Leathers
This is so important now, when it’s easy to cut corners and wring our customers for every last penny.  It’s not much more than the Golden Rule, but as it applies to our businesses; an area that can be easy to overlook.
What are you doing to raise the common denominator?



LAKELAND, FL (June 15, 2009) – During today’s Utility Committee meeting, the Lakeland City Commission voted unanimously in favor of reducing the current fuel charge by $2.15/1,000kWh effective July 1, 2009.  Starting in July, Lakeland Electric’s fuel charge for residential customers will be $54.75/1,000kWh.  With the newly established rate, a residential customer will pay $113.24/1,000 kWh, making it the second lowest residential rate in Florida.

Below is a breakdown provided by the Florida Municipal Electric Association that compares the rates of similar sized municipal operated electric utilities, neighboring investor owned electric utilities and other utilities operating in Polk County.

July Residential Rates for 1,000 KWH

Utility Base Rate Fuel Charge Total

Florida Power & Light                     $51.89                   $54.92                   $106.81

Lakeland Electric                               $58.49                   $54.75                   $113.24

JEA (Jacksonville)                            $60.97                   $55.14                   $116.11

Progress Energy                                $63.72                   $56.00                   $119.72

OUC (Orlando)                                    $77.25                   $42.07                   $119.82

Tampa Electric                                   $51.92                   $64.16                   $125.23

GRU (Gainesville)                             $71.60                   $61.00                   $132.60

Tallahassee                                         $64.80                  $76.05           $140.85

Bartow                                                 $68.52                   $72.96                   $141.48

Fort Meade                                        $110.86                 $82.00                   $192.86

Lakeland Electric commercial customers will also enjoy the benefits of the lower fuel charges.  Lakeland Electric’s largest industrial energy users will have the lowest commercial rates in the state starting in July.

Lakeland Electric bills are broken out for customer convenience to show the base charge and the fuel charge.  The fuel charge on a utility bill is exactly that, the actual costs for fuel used to generate the amount of electricity used within a residence or business.  Most utilities subscribe to the same billing practice and break out the base rate and the fuel charge for their customers. There is no mark-up in fuel.  In fact, fuel is a straight pass-through to customers.  Lakeland Electric makes no profit in fuel.

Lakeland Electric is Florida’s third-largest public power utility.  Lakeland Electric provides electricity to more than 120,000 residential and commercial customers. Power is generated at Lakeland Electric’s two main power plants, the 941-megawatt McIntosh Power Plant and the 176-megawatt Larsen Power Plant. The utility also operates a group of energy-efficient generating units capable of providing up to 50-megawatts of additional electricity when other units are out of service or during periods when demand for electricity is highest.




At 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 16, the University of South Florida will announce via live webcast and press conference the next steps in development plans for USF Polytechnic’s new campus at the intersection of Interstate 4 (I-4) and the Polk Parkway in Lakeland, Fla.

USF Polytechnic, Florida’s only polytechnic, focuses on hands-on learning and research in the applied arts and sciences, business and education. The new campus, which has been anticipated for almost a decade, will be an important landmark on the highly traveled I-4 corridor and help anchor economic development activity along Florida’s High Tech Corridor.


10 a.m. EST, Tuesday, June 16


Speakers during the live webcast include:

· Judy Genshaft, Ph.D., USF President

· Marshall Goodman, Ph.D., USFP Vice President and campus executive officer


Online: http://www.poly.usf.edu

In person: University of South Florida Polytechnic

3433 Winter Lake Road, LTB 2155

Lakeland, FL 33803

Parking is available directly across the street from LTB. For more information, visit http://www.poly.usf.edu/parking.


Tom Hagerty, USFP media relations coordinator
(O) 863.667.7077, (C) 863.286.9450