In a recent Lauren Ritchie column, she gave her evaluation of the candidates for the Lake County Commission. In her analysis, she raises the banner of the extreme environmentalists, saying that since I have the endorsement of the Home Builders Association of Lake County, I must be running so that if I am elected, by some magic, thousands of houses will start appearing on every vacant piece of land in Lake County.
There are two things wrong with that analysis. First, there are literally thousands of empty homes in Lake County, as there are in many other locales. In addition, there are thousands of already approved lots on which to build homes when the time comes and that there is a market for them. Home-building is market driven, and there won’t be any building until our inventory is used up. No builder in their right mind has any interest in or intention to build any significant housing in Lake County for a long time to come. The boogeyman that the environmental community tries to raise is a Trojan horse.
Secondly, I have the endorsements of the Lake County Professional Fire Fighters Association, the Police Benevolence Benevolent Association, the Lake/Sumter Board of Realtors and the Lake County Farm Bureau, to name a few. Why weren’t those endorsements mentioned as special interests?
I am proud to have the support of the business community. I am proud to have a variety of people with a variety of interests supporting me. I have really enjoyed making a difference in this county, like helping the people of Ferndale protect their rural character and charm; or casting the key vote as an elected Water Authority Board member to fight surface-water withdrawals from Lake Apopka. I actively support education in Lake County.
The Karlton project, constantly referred to by Ritchie, occurred over four years ago. I was one of eight people on the Local Planning Agency who voted in favor of a land-use change (not development approval) because by definition, it fit the criteria of the old comprehensive plan for a land-use change. Subsequently, the previously elected commissioners voted the land-use change down. Times have changed, yet some people like Lauren are a one-trick pony. They think you’ll emotionally fall for it over and over again.
My platform from the beginning has been to do everything we can do to make Lake County more business-friendly so that we can encourage new businesses to come to Lake County and create jobs for our citizens.
Right now, 65 percent of our workforce must struggle with clogged State Road Highway 50, morning and night, to go to Orlando to make a living. That model is neither sustainable nor does it make sense from an environmental standpoint.
I believe fostering jobs is our first and most important priority.
When asked recently by this paper what bold steps she would take to foster jobs, Renick said, “Nothing.”
I encourage you to do your homework and not be swayed by emotionalism and paper tigers.