The constitutional amendments are coming!
Eleven of them will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. Voters will decide which to add to the Florida Constitution and which to discard.
Some of the amendments are straightforward; others are remarkably arcane. Some are trivial; others will have profound consequences if approved. And to make things more challenging, the amendments will appear with little explanation on a very long ballot.
In an effort to clear up some of the confusion, the Collier Community Alliance, the League of Women Voters, the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce and the Naples Daily News are joining forces to sponsor an Amendments Forum on Oct. 16 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the NABOR Community Center, 1455 Pine Ridge Road (just east of Goodlette-Frank Road).
Some heavy hitters have been lined up as panelists.
Former state representative Dudley Goodlette will describe how the amendments come about.
Florida ACLU head Howard Simon and Ave Maria president Jim Towey will debate the merits of Amendment 8, which would make public money available for religious institutions, including schools.
Carolyn Johnson, statewide manager of Vote Yes for No. 4, and Andrew Dickman, a Naples land-use attorney, will present the pros and cons of Amendment 4, which would cut property taxes, helping homeowners and realtors but stripping tax revenues from local government.
Char Wendel, head of Planned Parenthood, will debate Dr. Jaine Carter, a behavioral expert and author, on Amendment 6, which would prohibit state funding of abortions.
Ken Ginsberg of Hodges University and Chuck Mohlke, Democratic Party majordomo, will discuss the pros and cons of Amendment 3, which would set a limit on state revenues.
Jeff Fridkin, a prominent litigation attorney, will discuss Amendment 5, which would allow the Legislature to overturn Florida Supreme Court rulings by a simple majority vote of both houses.
Patrick Neale, a Naples land-use attorney, will discuss Amendments 2, 9, 10 and 11, all involving property tax changes.
Jeff Lytle, Daily News editorial page editor, will serve as moderator.
We hope the forum will clear up some of the uncertainties about the amendments and help voters decide what's right for Collier County.
So mark the date on your calendar, bring your questions and plan to join us on Oct. 16. The debates should be lively. You won't be bored. And you should come away a better-informed voter.