Skip to main content

Issues Forum Recap: Defeating Amendment 4

By March 2, 2010No Comments

For CPR readers who missed last Friday’s successful Issues Forum event, here is a quick recap:

Approximately 130 property owners and elected officials from across Central Florida gathered in Orlando for CPR’s Winter 2010 Issues Forum, “Defeating Amendment 4: The Challenge of Educating Florida’s Electorate.” The event was a resounding success!

A warm welcome was provided by CPR President Doug Doudney, followed by introductions by CPR Board Member and Master of Ceremonies Fred Leonhardt of the GrayRobinson law firm. Leonhardt introduced Event Sponsor Jonathan Moore of Acquisition Consultants ( and Keynote Speaker John Sowinski of Consensus Communications, who is the general consultant to the “No on 4” campaign.

Attendees enjoyed an outstanding keynote address and a firsthand opportunity to learn more about the strategic effort underway to defeat Amendment 4 (the Hometown Democracy initiative) from Florida’s leading strategist on referendum campaigns.

Sowinski kicked off his presentation with a historical review of the political dynamics of Florida. He reminded attendees that we live in a political mega-state with unique factors to consider when waging statewide political campaigns to promote or defeat constitutional referendum.  He also discussed specific factors influencing voter opinion, touching on specific impressions of native and non-native Floridians who migrated to the Sunshine State due to the climate and affordability on growth and development, as well as current sensitivities toward jobs and the economy. He also described factors which have influenced the passage or defeat of recent Constitutional referendum in Florida.

An insight he shared with the audience related to the “voter dashboard” as he described the comparative communications efforts to influence voter opinions relative to the issues already on their dashboards (or personal radar screens) vs. introducing new items into their field of vision.

Another key observation he shared was the impact of ballot placement.  Just as individual candidates must take into account the placement and order in which their names on the physical ballot, this same principle applies to referendum campaigns.  Sowinski asked attendees to consider the impact of where Amendment 4 falls on the ballot and how voters might be predisposed to vote on Amendments 1, 2, 3, 5, etc…

Sowinski shared examples of the practical costs which would result from Amendment 4’s passage, including the cost of elections (he showed a physical example of a full-scale 40 page ballot) which would be costly to print and for absentee/overseas military voters to return via post and the cost of litigation, as evidenced by the half-million dollar legal fees which have been incurred by the City of St. Pete Beach which adopted and then essentially repealed a local version of Amendment 4 when the negative economic impacts became evident.

There was little doubt left in the minds of attendees that Sowinski’s reputation as one of Florida’s premier referendum campaign strategists is well-earned. But, even more importantly, attendees left with a crystal clear awareness and optimism that Amendment 4 can be defeated by savvy strategy and the resources to educate Florida’s electorate on the impact of Amendment 4 on Florida’s economy.

CPR’s February 26th Issues Forum also included CPR’s inaugural “Candidates Forum.” At the conclusion of the keynote address, guests adjourned to an adjacent room for coffee, dessert and the opportunity to meet and mingle with candidates for local, state and federal office. Candidates participating or represented at this open-invitation forum included Congressional candidates Sandy Adams(Dist. 24), Peg Dunmire (Dist. 8), Bruce O’Donoghue(Dist. 8) and Paul Partyka (Dist.24); State House candidates Lori Halbert (Dist. 31), Bryan Nelson (Dist. 38) and Steve Precourt (Dist. 41); State Senate candidates Jack Myers (Dist. 15), Orange County Mayoral candidates Matt Falconer, Mildred Fernandez, and Bill Segal; and Orange County Commission candidate Ted Edwards (Dist.5).  Orange County Commissioner Fred Brummer and Apopka City Commissioner Kathy Till also attended (although not campaigning for re-election this cycle) along with Osceola County Manager Michael Freilinger. While CPR does not endorse or support candidates for public office, this fun educational forum provided a great new opportunity for property owners to learn more about local candidates and for candidates to learn about issues important to Florida property owners. Special thanks to CPR member, Earl M. Crittenden, Jr., Esquire, for sponsoring CPR’s first Candidates Forum!


In prior editions, CPR has updated its members on a new proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration which will dramatically impact Florida property owners.  On February 16-17-18, citizens packed public hearings across Florida to protest this proposed rule change which will impact every property with any form of water inflow (rain) or outflow (stormwater runoff). This means all property owners in Florida will be affected. Florida property owners are asked to submit comments regarding this regulation which will uniquely burden Floridians. To view the proposed regulations known as, “Water Quality Standards for the State of Florida’s Lakes and Flowing Waters” please visit the federal website via the following direct link to this proposal where citizens can simply click on the “Submit A Comment” link:  (For additional information on the nature of proposal, please revisit our January 13th edition which contains additional background materials.) The “submit a comment” function of the federal website is very easy to use and citizens can also view the comments of other citizens submitted on this same subject.


If you support private property rights and believe owners should have a voice actively promoting the inherent, natural rights of ownership, help CPR to continue to promote and defend property rights in Florida by joining as an official member. Your annual membership makes CPR activities and special events possible.  Support property rights today by taking a moment or two to contribute online or by calling CPR at 407-481-2289 for more detailed information on individual memberships or corporate sponsorships.

Reader feedback always welcomed!

Carol Saviak
Executive Director
Coalition for Property Rights
2878 S. Osceola Avenue
Orlando, FL 32080
Telephone 407-481-2289
Fax 407-481-0834

Leave a Reply