Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 at 11:13am

Lauren Ritchie – Hypocrite #4

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“Acting Campaign Manager for Commissioners Renick and Stewart”

The Orlando Sentinel Lake Section liberal columnist, Lauren Ritchie, spoke at a Chamber Alliance March meeting about supporting Amendment #4 during the fall election.  Amendment #4 is a Constitutional Amendment, which would require that all requested changes to zoning ordinances or Comprehensive Plan be approved by a vote of the people.

Zoning and land use issues are governed by the Comprehensive Plan in most counties.  Because planners are unable to see every potential scenario on every parcel of land, it’s extremely commonplace for changes to be made to zoning ordinances and the Comprehensive Plan in order to accommodate reasonable requests for change, so business can grow.  It’s not uncommon for each jurisdiction to have dozens, or more, of these changes each month.  This Amendment would require the people’s vote of approval for each one of these changes.

Lauren Ritchie and The Orlando Sentinel are the “loud speakers” for the anti-growth/anti-business movement, and it is very fair to say that no other person or newspaper has done more to ruin the prosperity of the citizens of Lake County than these two.  The Orlando Sentinel is owned by the bankrupt Tribune Company and it is being led down the path of failure by the bankrupt ideas of Lauren Ritchie.

Ritchie, of course, thinks the business killing Amendment #4 would be a good thing for Florida, even though she admits “serious reservations” about it.  Ritchie first contends that Amendment #4 was a result of the housing boom from five years ago and no one wants to see a return to that type of sprawl.  Okay, right now 13.3% plus people are out of work, with probably another 25% underemployed.  There’s no doubt that if tomorrow the majority of the people in Lake County could go back to the boom years, they would step right into the time machine.  Her concern for traffic and sprawl don’t compare to real life tragedies of unemployment, foreclosure, and homelessness.

Lesson in Democracy

Lauren Ritchie then tried to say Amendment #4 is democracy at its purest and there is nothing wrong for the people voting for things.  If this is the case, then why have elections for political leaders?  Why not have the people vote on everything, like abortion, salaries for county workers, the location of roads, and not enforcing speeding laws?  Hey, why don’t we vote on adding a special $1 dollar tax on each newspaper and donate that money to fund libraries instead of closing them?  We bet that would pass!

America is a republic with representative democracy and the people vote leaders in so the mundane business of government can be done fairly.  Say the Pledge of Allegiance to yourself, and when you get to the part of “republic for which it stands” – that’s why we don’t vote on every issue.  If you want change in government policy, then vote politicians out – just like what’s going to happen in November.  Amendment #4 is not about pure democracy; rather, it’s about adding more roadblocks to growth to discourage businesses from coming to Florida and Lake County.

Taking off the Mask

Then Lauren Ritchie unmasked herself and the entire anti-growth/anti-business movement when she said, “Amendment #4 would stop companies from swooping down in Lake County just to make a profit and it would encourage only local people to do business here.”  Everyone needs to understand this one fact that Ritchie doesn’t comprehend – Lake County must have outside investment because the County doesn’t have the capital within itself to prosper.

There’s nothing magical about Lake County, and without outside investment we will all become impoverished.  Ladies and Gentlemen, we’d better do everything we can to get outside investment in Lake County.  Ritchie is simply echoing the vision of the anti- growth/anti-business movement.  Would you like to know the most ridiculous part of her argument?  The Orlando/Lake Sentinel is owned by the Tribune Company of Chicago.  Unless they find a White Knight with capital, their bankruptcy will mean liquidation.  Is there anybody in Lake County who wants to buy a broken down bankrupt rag like The Orlando Sentinel, or will they need to have an outside investor swoop down and save it?

St. Pete Beach Experiment Failure

When questioned about the St. Pete Beach experiment on Amendment #4, Ritchie said it was not relevant.  Again, the woman is completely wrong.  It seems the government in that jurisdiction adopted a junior version of Amendment #4.  When the people voted, they voted for growth and jobs.  Instead of accepting defeat, the anti-growth movement filed a lawsuit challenging the people’s vote on a law they forced upon everyone.  In one sense, Amendment #4 might be better for Florida because the people will vote for jobs and prosperity.

Amendment #4 will be a disaster for Florida because it will deter investment creating jobs, quadruple the cost of elections, disenfranchise voters because of 40 page ballots, and create havoc in the name of anti-growth.  Most importantly, national companies will pass over Florida because it will simply be too hard to get operations started here.  Rest assured, the governors of Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina are encouraging the passage of Amendment #4.  Only anti-business/anti-growth zealots like Lauren Ritchie support this job killing Amendment – so beware.

Can’t Handle the Truth

Finally, Lauren Ritchie’s actual bark doesn’t match her pen’s bite.  Her presentation at the Chamber Alliance meeting was that of a mealy mouthed scriber who couldn’t put two reasonable arguments together.  After the meeting, Alliance Members said that when Ritchie was asked to speak to the group, she asked if there was going to be a debate on Amendment #4.  Ritchie was okay with a debate format, as long as she wasn’t debating Don Magruder, Chairman of Citizens for Better Government, L.L.C.  After hearing the comment, Magruder said, “Lauren Ritchie hides behind innuendo and lies on most of her arguments.  The reason she is scared of an honest debate with me is because her ideas are devoid of reason – but any place, any time she would like to debate – I welcome the opportunity.”

On Top of this, Ritchie is a Hypocrite

Lauren Ritchie has written three columns suggesting business leaders in Lake County are sinisterly behind the scenes trying to find candidates to beat her friends, Commissioners Elaine Renick and Linda Stewart.  Why wouldn’t they be doing this?  Commissioners Renick and Stewart have brought Lake County to 13.3% unemployment and have ruined the County’s business reputation.  If business groups weren’t trying to find qualified candidates to run against these two economic destructors, then something would be wrong with the business leadership in this area.  Heck, more people ought to be involved!

Ritchie’s hypocrisy comes in with her own behind-the-scenes dealings with Stewart and Renick.  Citizens for Better Government, L.L.C. is in possession of email after email between these three black hearts of business wherein they are communicating positions and strategies.  Lauren Ritchie is Renick and Stewart’s mouthpiece, and in these three columns she attempts to make these two Commissioners look like pitiful victims.  If anything, Ritchie has decided to be their unofficial campaign manager.

Don’t kid yourself as to what is really going on.  Just read this quote from Ritchie’s first column, “The first is Elaine Renick, county commissioner from District 2. She’s an educated, well-spoken environmentalist and slow-growth advocate who is up for re-election in November. She has a marvelous wardrobe of tailored suits and spends tons of time studying the small print. No elected official is better informed.”

In those few sentences, Ritchie demonstrates what these columns are all about – the re-election of the two most business hating Commissioners ever in Lake County’s history.  Renick isn’t well spoken, she doesn’t know the fine print on issues, and her tailored suits are just an indication of her elitist attitude.  More importantly, as recent events show, she will backstab even her own constituents in the name of her ideology.  How many working women can afford tailored suits?  That’s the reason Renick can’t feel the pain of Lake County’s unemployed, because she is a rich, out of touch woman driving a Mercedes SUV who cares more about environmental issues than feeding families.

Renick a Heroine?

In Lauren Ritchie’s last political commercial, she actually calls Commissioner Renick a heroine in the Niagara Bottling lawsuit.  What fifth dimension planetary universe does Lauren Ritchie live on?  Renick was the cause of the entire Niagara mess in which Lake County lost its original case and this lawsuit was about Niagara getting its legal fees back.  Do you hear that Lauren Ritchie?  Lake County lost the original lawsuit and it has thus far cost Lake County and Groveland almost $2 million in legal fees.  How is any politician a hero when he or she just cost the taxpayers millions of dollars they can’t afford?

Lauren Ritchie is so far out in the black hole of the universe that it’s really hard to understand how she can write such nonsense.  If you’ve ever questioned whether Ritchie tells the truth, then this column confirms one real important fact – she’s a liar.

All joking aside, if you were a candidate running against Elaine Renick, you should demand equal time and space.  These are blatant, political advertisements by Lauren Ritchie to try and rehabilitate her friend and confidant, Elaine Renick.

The next time you see Lauren Ritchie, ask her why she’s afraid to debate Don Magruder on Amendment #4.  Obviously, there’s not much real ink in her ideas!   It’s time everyone exposes Lauren Ritchie and The Orlando Sentinel.  Pass this email to everyone you know who is sick and tired of both of them!

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