To some who live in Sarasota County, Florida the word “developer” is a pejorative. For people like Dan Lobeck and groups like the Sarasota Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA) having anything to do with a “developer” is like associating with someone infected with Ebola. Developers are pariahs and cause unspeakable damage to communities. These people complain from their company offices and homes in the very city and neighborhoods built by none other than — developers.
The worst crime any candidate or elected official can commit is to, heaven forbid, take a campaign contribution from a, dare I say it, developer.
A developer is defined as a person or thing that develops something. To read a short history of American real-estate development click here. Developers build homes, apartments, neighborhoods, hotels, theme parks, office buildings, grain combines, barns, hospitals, churches, schools, factories, roads, libraries, bridges, highways, railroads and entire cities. No one hates a software developer so why do some people hate those who develop their own land?
It is all about dirt control.
He who controls the dirt, a.k.a. individual property rights, controls the person, neighborhood, city, county, state and nation. Those who believe in central planning, designed to keep an individual or group of individuals (e.g. a company or church congregation) from real-estate development, want to, by proxy, control all of the dirt. These people work hard to put politicians in office who want to control dirt. They are against anyone who wants to control his own dirt and what he or she does with their dirt. I have even talked with some real-estate developers who want to control other real-estate developers dirt – a dirt oxymoron.
Florida is infamous for its draconian neighborhood associations, regional councils, regional planning councils and those politicians who want to control the people by controlling the dirt. From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to the local city and county commissions, its always all about dirt. Control dirt and you control the person.
Some argue that developers should pay their own way. What these people do not understand is that like any business, all costs pass thorough to the consumer. It is the consumer who bears the burden. Some argue that with increased development comes more traffic, but these same people are for density restrictions, which packs and stacks people into limited areas, thereby causing other negative social anomalies. They have a “not in my back yard” mentality when it comes to new development. They have their dirt but you can’t have yours.
Mark Shousen, writes, “In his classic work, The Spirit of the Laws (1748), Montesquieu expressed the novel view that the business of moneymaking serves as a countervailing bridle against the violent passions of war and abusive political power. ‘Commerce cures destructive prejudices,’ he declared. ‘It polishes and softens barbarous mores . . . . The natural effect of commerce is to lead to peace.’ Commerce improves society: ‘The spirit of commerce brings with it the spirit of frugality, of economy, of moderation, of work, of wisdom, of tranquility, of order, and of regularity.’”
For those who have emailed me while drinking your morning cup of coffee or tea in your home, built by a developer, or from your office, built by a developer, or from a Starbucks, built by a developer, I thank you for reading this column. I hope you will leave a comment or two about my musings.