Thursday, April 06, 2006

Due Process - They Keep Trying to Kill It

Yet another sad, sad story about the state of our constitutional rights. Here's the opinion, in Longshoreman v. Dade County.

Miami-Dade County, without any individualized suspicion or hearings on individual cases, simply suspended the security cards of hundreds of dock workers due to generalized and vague fears raised by the Coast Guard. Post 9/11 hysteria.

The effect was to through these workers out of their jobs.

Longshoremen sued under section 1983. Circuit court dismissed - no protected property interest. Third District affirms. Finds not only that there is no property interest, but that a broad scale action like this is "legislative" and the only due process applies is ensuring that they passed the decision correctly.

We've sunk to a low respect for rights when the state can first impose the requirement that you hold a "permit" to work, then revoke it completely arbitrarily, with no individualized suspicion or hearing.

It's just wrong. It's inconsistent with any respectable and meaningful notion of due process. It almost certainly violates Article I, s. 9 of the constitution (which Florida courts have held to prevent arbitrary government action even in proprietary type situations). But there you go - big brother isn't just watching, he's putting his (jack) boot on your neck. And the courts are just sitting by and letting it happen.

Sad day for the constitution.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Psychotically Bad Bills Proliferate

Ok, I'm not weighing in yet on the DRI bill(s), or the nacent growth management bills, which mostly seem to be more of the same stuff.

But here are two seemingly innocuous bills, flying under the radar THAT ARE PURE AND SIMPLY EVIL.

The first is the committee substitute for Senate Bill 1112. Here's the link. It started out as an innoccuous bill guaranteeing that when local governments deny development orders, they cite a basis in the local code for it. Someone hijacked it and added a due process violating, evil and wrong provision that says that in quasi-judicial hearings the local government need not provide findings of fact and conclusions of law.

It's a sick statutory embodiment of the Fla. Supreme Court's misguided assault on due process in Snyder, and would overturn over 50 years of due process jurisdprudence that requires quasi-judicial bodies to explain their decisions.

The second really bad bill is SB 1066. Here's the link. It's nothing less than a NIMBY heaven bill, that seems to give adjoining jurisdictions (within 3 miles of a proposed development) a veto power over any land use they don't like. It also requires notice FOR A 3 MILE RADIUS of a potentially objectionable site. THIS BILL IS JUST STUPID. IT WILL ONLY SERVE TO DRIVE ALL INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT INTO RURAL COUNTIES, CREATING SPRAWL, MORE POLLUTION IN UNDEVELOPED AREAS AND GENERALLY BAD PLANNING. IT'S ALSO SO VAGUE THAT ALL COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT WILL BE FORCED TO COMPLY.


It's short, so here's the guts of the text:
When a commercial, manufacturing, or industrial business that has the potential to emit harmful or noxious odors or pollutants or to otherwise create unhealthful or unpleasant living conditions in the surrounding community proposes to locate within 3 miles of a residential area, each county or municipality having jurisdiction over the proposed location must conduct a public hearing on the potential effect of the proposed commercial, manufacturing, or industrial business on the health of persons who live or work in the surrounding community. A county and municipality that share jurisdiction may conduct separate hearings or jointly conduct a single hearing. At least 15 days before the hearing, the county or municipality conducting thehearing shall mail a notice of the hearing to each local media outlet and to each person who owns property, owns or operates a business, or resides within a 3-mile radius of the proposed business, and shall publish a notice of the hearing in a newspaper of general circulation serving the area within that radius. As used in this section the term "residential area" means the area designated for residential use under the future land use map of the comprehensive plan or the land use development regulations adopted by the county or municipalitypursuant to chapter 163.