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Trust the Voters, Help the Greyhounds

Throw me a bone, willya?

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Incredibly, last year, when the voters of Miami-Dade County were offered the opportunity to vote in favor of allowing parimutuel wagering at the greyhound torture grounds known as the Flagler Dog Track, they turned the gambit down. Allowing OTB to set up shop at the faltering Havenick-family owned park would have potentially increased human foot traffic there, keeping its doors opening and keeping the greyhounds running. Greyhound racing is on its way out in civilized states, having been outlawed in seventeen of them. Here in Florida the industry has stumbled in recent years as online and casino gaming — as it's benignly called — takes over the real estate.

On Tuesday, though, the parimutuel lobby, unwilling to cede the greyhound tracks to history just yet, is looking for a boon in the little-discussed Amendment 3. Basically, the amendment would hold citizens' initiatives to a different standard than regular elections, which go by a straight majority.

Howard Troxler, the renowned St. Petersburg Times political columnist said this to say: "Amendment 3 is about exactly one thing: taking power away from the citizens of Florida so that it will be harder for the people to trump the Legislature, which is firmly in the pocket of business groups. At its core, Amendment 3 is based on the 'stupid voter' theory."

"Due to the success of citizen's initiatives by several social movements, including the animal protection movement, a coalition of developers, agribusinesses, utilities and other corporate interests want to make it nearly impossible for voters to participate in this kind of direct democracy," said Carey Theil, founder of Grey2K, the Florida-founded rescue group for retired racing greyhounds. "The greyhounds can't speak for themselves, and need our voice. Don't let Tallahassee and Big Business take that voice away!" —Jean Carey

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