And so this has left yours truly in a major quandary because, as a lifelong Republican, I have traditionally based most of my voting decisions on national politics and my deeply grounded Conservatism. My love of the land and its resources , and I will also admit my personal desire to keep my partially wet private land as natural as possible, has led me to get involved in something quite different for me. I will support and temporarily change my party registration so that I can help Mike Byerly win his contested primary against the big money and the crony-capitalists who have largely taken over Chamber of Commerce organizations nationwide. And I will still be able to switch party affiliation back before the November elections, although it isn't necessary since general elections are open elections and registered voters can vote for anyone.
Now I know I will face some criticism from some of my conservative friends and I already have, but I can handle that. And besides, with some Republican power brokers urging their own party to do the same in reverse in the name of economic development, they have no room to complain. But deep in my heart I know something else: supporting economic development under any cost when it means that people already in place will have their lives uprooted and destroyed is not economic development. It results in a ruined environment and lifestyle, loss of property, excessive tax increases, flooding, sprawling strip malls and ugly box stores and increased crime and misery for many. Meanwhile, the established stores in town close up and move out to the new, leaving blight and boarded up buildings. That is not development; that is disaster and I think we all know it as we shrug and look the other way.
I am proud to know Mike Byerly. I find him exceedingly honest and he always responds to questions I ask, not always with the answers I want but always with sincerity. And when I hear others say something different, I would just have to respond that we must judge people by the way they treat us, so maybe the approach being used is the problem. A number of other Republicans and Independents have agreed to make the temporary change with me as well and I urge that any who want to keep Alachua County unique, not just another cookie cutter community, do the same and keep Mike in office.
Mike will join me today at 1 pm on North Florida Writer Live on Blog Talk Radio to discuss his primary campaign, his view on the ever important growth and economic issues that face our community and Florida and Alachua County, and what his follow-on vision for the future holds. I hope you will tune in and get the facts, not the hype. Here's the link: