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Final Amendment 4 thread (aren't you glad?)

Posted by Ed Candela 
Final Amendment 4 thread (aren't you glad?)
October 30, 2010 05:26PM
Hopefully, y'all haven't bought the nonsense, half-truths and outright lies brought forth by the:

- 'No on 4' crowd who don't want to lose their power of campaign contributions to cajole, steer and bribe the politicians that have made such a mess of much of Florida,
- local officials, who can't stand the idea of power-sharing,
- people who actually believe what TV commercials have to say,
- and worst of all the media, who have thrown away all principle in the forlorn hope of subscription growth when (and if) folks start moving again to Florida.

Remember back in 2006 when the Citrus Comicle said "they're good to go!" of certain speculators who told us Yankeetonians that neither us nor our laws mattered a whit?

The Citrus Comicle editorialized recently against impact fees that help pay for infrastructure improvements (roads, sewers, etc) that new businesses require. According to them, jobs of course will go somewhere else if we make the beneficiaries of tax breaks pay their fair share instead of dumping their costs onto us via our property tax bills. The Olive Garden and its massive contribution of minimum wage jobs was cited as a good example of how eliminating the impact fee helped "lure" the chain vendor of processed food meals.

One reader commented on the editorial: "Live and let live but don’t ask me to pay for your share of the County roads. It would be better if we were asked."

A responder added "Amen to That" and...

"As it is, we're not "asked" ... we're just BILLED, via our property taxes, and all the inflated fees and tax surcharges that local governments impose.

(If you think that, as a tax-payer, you SHOULD be ASKED, and HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY to say
"No, I really don't want to pay for those guys' future roads & schools" ....
then you NEED TO VOTE "YES" FOR AMENDMENT 4 ... coming soon to an election near you.)"

Duh! Why then do the polls show A4 getting walloped? Again, duh?

Just imagine if the unctuous "Cracker" slips by Nancy Bell. Wouldn't you love to have A4 in place then?
Re: Final Amendment 4 thread (aren't you glad?)
October 31, 2010 12:47AM

A couple of Levy Faces look familiar;
7 politicians, a month, for the last 10 years?
Says it all.
Just click on the link, then click on the Video,
and hang on for the ride.

Florida, the most politically corrupt state in America.
Asinine Ambassadors of Your Hometown
October 31, 2010 11:00AM
The lies keep coming:


Best Pro-A4 video I've seen, thanks, guys, ROTFLMAO!
Re: Final Amendment 4 thread (aren't you glad?)
October 31, 2010 11:38AM
"Show me who You go with and I'll tell ya what You Are"
-Great Grandma

It's good to see turncoats all doing well (health wise) & still stuck in that "We NEED Condos on the RIVER in Yankeetown Lining Waterfront From 1 end to the other to be Just Like EveryBody Else" mode...some things never change; some lizards never lose their stripes.

A Realtor (who doesn't LIVE in YT)
A Business Owner (who's stuff is all MADE IN CHINA)
A Retired Attorney
and a Business Owner (in Ocala) ALL weigh in w/their expertice on YT FHD.

(now You can see the types they scrounged around in the sewers to find for that "St.Pete Hates A4" TV Spot, & how deep they had to dig)

YT's Double DIP in RE Valuations was caused by S&S&S (& a former governing body) not a now expired Commercial New Construction Moratorium, and the Following Up shortly afterward national collapse of the RE Market.
You want to point a finger of 'blame'?
Look to 2026 Aaron Place, Clearwater, FL; home of IWI, LLC (funny, Izaak Walton Investors, doesn't OWN Izaak Walton LODGE any more, their 'namesake'?
Perhaps they should have chosen "Titanic Investment Associates"?...I'm sure the remaining 'investors' can relate)

Just think, With Amendment 4 in Place, HOW MUCH Differently that night of 2/20/2006 in YT School's Gym would have gone?
With Amendment 4 in place, THE HISTORY of the last 5 years HERE would have been a LOT Different (& MORE PEACEFUL)!

YankeeTown, the ultimate testimonial to vote FOR Amendment 4.
The Beat Goes On - Why We NEED A4
October 31, 2010 12:20PM
Daytona Beach city commissioner faces voting fraud charges

By ROBERT NAPPER 10/29/10 1:44 PM 5DIGG

A Daytona Beach city commissioner has been arrested on charges of fraudulently obtaining absentee ballots, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Gov. Charlie Crist has suspended city commissioner Derrick Henry following his arrest by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office after a joint investigation with the State Attorney’s Office.

Henry, 41, and his campaign manager, 21-year-old Genesis Robinson, were arrested after the investigation showed the men had illegally obtained more than 90 absentee ballots prior to the council election in August, according to the Orlando Sentinel report.

The newspaper reported that Henry “handily” won the election before the investigation led to his arrest. A runoff election will he held to fill his seat, according to the Sentinel.
The Beat Goes On - Why We NEED A4 - deux
November 02, 2010 06:46PM
Former city official faces corruption charges

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -- A former Tamarac city commissioner facing corruption charges has turned himself.

Marc Sultanof reported to the Broward Main Jail Tuesday. The 89-year-old has been charged with unlawful compensation, bribery, official misconduct and conspiracy to commit unlawful compensation or bribery.

Authorities say Sultanof accepted more than $30,000 for a car from a developer who was building a large residential project in the city. From July 2006 to January 2007, while prosecutors say the developer was making payments, Sultanof voted in favor of the developer - Prestige Homes - on three separate dates without ever revealing that he had a conflict of interest.

Sultanof was elected to the Tamarac commission in 1997 and left in 2008 because of term limits.

Sultanof's attorney, Lewis Fishman, declined to comment.
Sound like anyone we know? Does anyone remember a day without this kind of news?

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/02/2010 06:53PM by Ed Candela.
Last Post
November 03, 2010 11:11AM
The FHD org would like to share this inspirational message from the Yes on 4 campaign manager, Mitch Kates, who wrote this early Tuesday morning before the voting was finished:

Team A-4...

So today is Election Day, otherwise known as the end of a looooong & historic journey in Florida politics. So much has happened throughout these years with so many stories that many of you could tell and share. I just wanted to take a moment to say that it was an honor working with everyone on this noble cause. My only true regret is that I wasn't a part of the team sooner so that there was more time to fight the good fight with you all.

Before the numbers come in and the results are read, here are a couple of quick thoughts/observations that come to mind to think about:

1. Florida has been witnessing out-of-control growth for years and this fight to do something about it has gone on for well over 7 years to get to this day.

2. In those 7+ years the biggest of the Special Interests that in many ways "run" this state have done everything possible to stop this movement, a movement that was started by a few citizens who couldn't sit back and watch Florida continue down this dangerous path. The fact that these Special Interest groups even had to change the Constitution (going from 50+1% to 60+1%) is proof that they would stop at nothing to stop this movement!

3. Ultimately it will be hard to put a hard number on exactly how much was spent trying to stop A-4 and basically crush the voter's right to decide their community's future but early guestimates are approaching, and may well exceed, more than $20 Million. The Supreme Court's decision to give Corporations the same rights as individuals in regards to campaign spending, along with the loosening of reporting requirements are weighing heavy in this election cycle and definitely a factor in this race.

4. Those most responsible for creating the over-growth of Florida and played a leading role in the crash of the Real Estate market pulled out all the stops to defeat us. Funny how scared these big bad Special Interest groups got over the efforts of a relatively few individuals who had the courage to speak up ;-)

5. Can you say "whitewashed"??? Never before has there been such a concerted effort to stop a movement who sole goal was to save Florida from further collapse... Between the big Special Interest groups such as the Chamber, the Florida Realtors and those developers who helped get us to this dismal point in Florida history (is there any home owner in the state who hasn't seen their property values dropped?) to the "mainstream media" and, of course, most of the state's elected officials, this was only a portion of the opposition to A-4 -- and all the money that goes with that type of opposition. This of course leads to...

6. Lies and the lying liars that told them! Lies are an unfortunate aspect of campaigns as most are becoming aware but never before has one effort been so plagued by lies which in the end turned out to be the entire platform of the opposition. I am hard pressed to find one single portion of the oppositions argument that wasn't based on either distortions or complete fabrication of the truth. All I can say is what a shame (I'm trying to be nice right now.)

I could go on and on but let's save that for another time and place...

Today is the end of a long journey or the beginning of a new one for Florida. You have all fought valiantly and I have been proud to stand and fight with you. As I told John Hedrick & Lesley when I was first joining the team one of the few motto's I live by is this... "Goonies never say Die!"

See you on the other side Team!
Now we can get ready for the Scott/legislature/Levy county onslaught against our quality of life. Can you hear the bulldozers and draglines warming up?
Good night and good luck to all
Re: The Beat Goes On - Why We NEED A4 - deux
November 03, 2010 05:56PM
Tamarac has been an entertainment center in recent months. It gets downright comical sometimes:
Investigators caused panic at Tamarac City Hall

Yesterday's elections, from the state level down, anyway, caused a lot of damage to any attempt to get control over growth.

Seems like law enforcement has become more willing to go after corrupt local politicians. That's about all we have now.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/03/2010 09:17PM by Steve Myers.
Re: Final Amendment 4 thread (aren't you glad?)
November 04, 2010 09:55AM
MAN oh MAN, Steve, this was so good I had to quote some 'best of's' in that article:

`Well, didn't you receive money, too?' '' Glasser said. ``I said, No, I never received` money.' I said, `What are you talking about?' So she said, `Oh well, forget it. Sorry.' ''

Chait and his father, Bruce, said under oath that Atkins-Grad had guaranteed them she would support their controversial building plan.
``It was implied as in you gave her stuff and she voted yes and she continued to vote yes?'' prosecutor Jeannette Camacho asked Shawn Chait.
``Yes,'' he replied, adding that he would not have given her money if he had thought she would vote no.
``I won't confirm or deny that. Good lawyers don't talk about those things,'' Ritter, who is an attorney, said Wednesday. ``I'm confident I can demonstrate to them, if I need to, that I'm a public servant whose priority is the public.''
Ritter has acknowledged in the past that her husband, lobbyist Russ Klenet, accepted a golf cart from the Chaits as a gift, but said Wednesday there was nothing inappropriate about her contacts with the builders. She said she voted both for and against various aspects of the Chaits' plans in late 2006 and in 2009.
Glasser, who is 83, told prosecutors under oath that she received about $500 in legal campaign donations from the Chaits and their Prestige Homes company when she ran for office in November 2008. But she said Shawn Chait also gave her an unexpected gift after she successfully ran Atkins-Grad's election campaign in 2006. Glasser, a private citizen at the time, said Chait gave her either $4,000 or $6,000 and told her she did a good job. Glasser is also a state Democratic committeewoman.
Glasser told prosecutors that Sultanof, the former Tamarac vice mayor, also had a vague conversation with her at a diner after the investigators went to City Hall. She said he told her he was very concerned and that he had received some kind of assistance from the Chaits when he was in office.
Glasser said Sultanof told her the Chaits helped him get out of a car lease and ``helped him to facilitate getting a new car.''

AKA “In Kind Contributions(read=Bribery)” are quite illegal as well as the ‘donations’ for “doing a good job”.
Why DO Folks spend $80,000. campaigning for a $20,000. a yr position? Because of the PERKS! Get Your car paid for, get Your GOLF CART Paid for, get $4-$6k ‘just because’….all from DEVELOPERS?!
But everybody knows, from the governor to the city council people…the system’s not broken and they
Definitely Know What’s Best for US.
They also (or many of them, statewide, in fact far more than in any OTHER State) beleive that Developers are philanthropists who just want to help elected officials out of those tight jams they find themselves in on occasion; What a shocker it must be when THOSE Chickens come home to roost and say..."now if You expect the gravy train to keep delivering, we NEED Your Votes." The question for Tamarac officials unlike Levy Formerly (or "still" ), would be IF Parker were an 83yo & Yearty an 89yo...would the feds have even prosecuted?

When You think about all the folks (elected officials) who did a better job of covering their tracks that Law Enforcement "declines prosecution" on, (which is probably 2x-5x the actual indictments handed down)...gosh, the next 4 years sure is gonna be fun to watch. Sooner or later, the folks (even the 1's driving all those dump trucks) will figure out which way the winds are blowing...probably about the same time the faucets run dry in their houses.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/04/2010 09:57AM by Michael Peters.
Re: Final Amendment 4 thread (aren't you glad?)
November 29, 2010 11:33AM
Judge rules against city in St. Pete Beach development dispute

By Sheila Mullane Estrada, Times Correspondent
In Print: Monday, November 29, 2010

ST. PETE BEACH — A voter-approved comprehensive plan — the legal guide for all development and redevelopment within the city — has been declared invalid.

Pasco-Pinellas Circuit Court Judge David Demers ruled against the city Wednesday in a long and bitterly fought case.

The case, along with others pending, mirrors much of the recent debate over a state constitutional amendment that would have required voter approval of local comprehensive land use plans. Called "Hometown Democracy" by its supporters, Amendment 4 was defeated by voters in November.

St. Pete Beach has spent nearly a half million dollars in legal fees so far to fight the suits against it. Now it appears the city may be forced to spend even more to reimburse resident Bill Pyle for the costs he incurred in fighting the development regulations approved by voters in 2008.

His attorney, Ken Weiss, said Sunday those fees are "well in excess of $100,000" but "a fraction" of what the city has spent.

"Yikes," said St. Pete Beach Mayor Mike Finnerty. "This is truly an unfortunate situation for St. Pete Beach. The city is in dire need of redevelopment. I don't know where this ruling puts us."

The ruling involves four ordinances approved by voters that changed the comprehensive plan, particularly as it applies to redevelopment of the aging hotel row along Gulf Boulevard.

Demers found the referendum ballot summaries did not meet requirements of state law or the City Charter.

"Obviously, I am gratified with the judge's decision, which was elegant and decisive. If I had been on the other side, I would be less pleased," Pyle said.

He asserted voters were deceived about the real impact of the 2008 comprehensive plan changes. The judge agreed.

"Plaintiff is right. The ordinance misleads voters," the judge ruled, describing one ballot summary as "wordsmithing" and another as "illusory."

The amended comprehensive plan initially was drafted by Save Our Little Village (SOLV), a pro-hotel group that subsequently joined the city in fighting Pyle's attempts to reverse the referendum's results.

There are other suits involving other aspects of the comprehensive plan pending against the city filed by residents Bruce Kadura and Richard McCormick.

Those suits are also before Demers and a ruling on them is expected by the end of the year.

Finnerty said the court ruling and its implications will be discussed at the next regular City Commission meeting Dec. 14, or possibly before if a special workshop is called.

Weiss described the judge's decision as a "vindication."

"All the city and SOLV had to do was tell the citizens the truth. But they hid the real issue — that the proposed comprehensive plan increased height and density on the beach for hotel owners," he said.
Poster: The 'NO on 4' folks must be thrilled that their lies about St Pete Beach carried the day. The city's legal fees were due solely to actions by developers and city officials acting in concert to deceive the voters.

Way to go, Ken, too bad this didn't come out before Nov 2.
Re: Final Amendment 4 thread (aren't you glad?)
November 30, 2010 10:04AM
the TWO People, in individual law suits filed against the town: "Bruce Kadura and Richard McCormick".
They were BOTH featured in "Vote No on 4" television commercials (without citing WHO they were or that they were conflicted regarding any comment on St.Pete Beach's FHD Version passed) noting that the Charter changes had led to "Endless Lawsuits" (of course omitting that THEY had been the FILERS OF THOSE LAW SUITS)!

Perhaps there are better examples of hypocricy?
I can't think of 1.
Re: Final Amendment 4 thread (aren't you glad?)
December 25, 2010 10:33AM
December 31, 2009
A lesson in how not to manage growth
By Times Wire

Florida voters will decide this year whether to move local land use decisions to the ballot box, and St. Pete Beach's three-year experiment along a similar path offers a good lesson on the downside of letting voters manage planning by election.

There are indeed some important differences between what has happened in St. Pete Beach and Hometown Democracy, the constitutional amendment expected to appear on the statewide November ballot. But the concept of giving residents a "yes" or "no" vote over land use decisions that were previously decided by elected officials is being thoroughly tested in St. Pete Beach. And its version of "hometown democracy" has proven to be divisive, expensive and an impediment to much-needed redevelopment.

St. Pete Beach became ground zero for the hometown democracy movement in 2006 after city officials amended the comprehensive plan to increase height and density allowances. Residents who feared the changes would lead to rows of 15-story hotels along the barrier island organized a citizens petition to undo the changes. Voters approved the measure, repealing the changes in height and density allowances and amending the city charter to require all comprehensive plan amendments to pass voter approval - the first city in Florida where the public had such sweeping authority.

It didn't take long for the growth advocates to get in the game. In June 2008, a different citizens group proposed a comprehensive plan more friendly to developers that won voter approval. Critics filed lawsuits against the city and the citizens group. Settlement negotiations have collapsed, the city's legal bills have exceeded $300,000, there are serious questions about whether the city violated the Sunshine law and development has ground to a halt.

In the November city election, St. Pete Beach voters decided they didn't need to vote on all comprehensive plan changes but just those affecting height, density, intensity of use, or land use categories. They also voted to retain control over any height-related changes to another city document, a set of laws known as the Land Development Code, unless those height changes had been approved in a previous referendum.

Defenders of the statewide efforts are technically correct when they say their measure isn't as sweeping as what happened in St. Pete Beach. Yet the potential for dysfunctional government is the same. Comprehensive plans are thick, technical documents usually written by professional planners. Elected officials are best situated to shape those plans to match a community's long-term vision for its future. Putting that control under direct democracy, as happened in St. Pete Beach, invites short-term thinking and frequent referendums that are even more susceptible to well-financed campaigns by powerful interests. It also invites lawsuits and retards economic development. Florida has serious growth management issues, but Hometown Democracy is not the solution.
Re: Final Amendment 4 thread (aren't you glad?)
December 27, 2010 09:15PM
"By Times Wire"? Huh?

"Times Wire" is a New York Times exclusive term, per Google, and per the same, did not publish this "article," a completely false nonsense perpetrated by the 'NO ON 4' campaign financed by BP's ransom and Obama's stimulus funds.

The same old lies lies keep coming. Why now?

The lies about the St Pete Beach experience are well worn and have been exposed here and elsewhere to no avail. The fact that 2/3rds of the voters bought the lies speaks for itself.

The people of Florida long ago sold their souls to surreptitiously save a few bucks on taxes at the expense of their and their children's quality of life, as well as the waters, forests, wetlands, marshes, estuaries, air, flora and fauna of what once was a fabulous place.

It's really over now for the state with the slaughter of Amendment 4 and the election of criminals to the governorship and legislature and, of course, county commissions.

You and your ilk won. Happy bulldozing, if that's what makes you happy.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/27/2010 09:20PM by Ed Candela.
Re: Final Amendment 4 thread (aren't you glad?)
December 30, 2010 11:57AM
And, just in case you think the use of the word "criminal" is frivolous:

Grand jury calls for reform, citing pervasive government corruption.

By Janet Zink and Michael C. Bender, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau
In Print: Thursday, December 30, 2010

TALLAHASSEE — Saying corruption is "pervasive at all levels of government,'' a statewide grand jury released a report Wednesday calling for reforms to combat "mismanagement and theft'' by public officials.

"Fraud, waste and abuse of state resources'' punishes taxpayers by driving up the cost of services, the panel said. They called for the repeal of what they dubbed "Florida's Corruption Tax."

The grand jury used the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to underscore the depth of the problem. In that agency, supervisors flagrantly circumvented purchasing rules, a practice that become common knowledge and prompted other employees to act unethically, the panel says.

"We were told employees would steal items such as flat screen televisions from the office. Depending upon the position of the employee, the supervisor often took no action," the report says. "Due to the unethical conduct at the supervisory level, a systemic acceptance of corruption was born."

The panel urges the Florida Legislature to address public corruption in the upcoming session. Among the recommendations in the 127-page report:

• Expand the definition of public employees to include private employees participating in government contracts.

• Require lawmakers to abstain from votes if they stand to gain or lose money as a result of the vote's outcome.

• Authorize the Ethics Commission to initiate investigations and give it the power to levy fines of up to $100,000.

• Require the governor, lieutenant governor and each Cabinet member to put all their private financial interests into blind trusts.

• Strengthen bid tampering rules by, among other things, banning the practice of splitting bids into smaller work orders to avoid the competitive bid process.

• Ban for life any contractor or vendor from doing business with the state if the person has been convicted of a public theft or procurement crime.

• Ban so-called "three-pack" political advertisements that allow political parties to pay for ads that candidates do not have to report as expenditures.

• Require candidates to live in a district when they announce their intention to run for office.

The grand jury was convened in Fort Lauderdale in February at the request of Gov. Charlie Crist after a spate of high-profile arrests of public officials and major campaign contributors in South Florida.

Former state House Speaker Ray Sansom resigned in 2009 after he was charged with manipulating the state budget to benefit a campaign contributor and Panhandle college that then gave him a job. His trial is pending.

In South Florida, a rash of corruption cases culminated with the arrest of fundraising powerhouse Alan Mendelsohn, a Hollywood, Fla., eye doctor and onetime Crist supporter who pleaded guilty this month to a charge that he conspired to bilk the U.S. government and secretly gave a former state senator $82,000 in political donations.

Also, Jim Greer, Crist's hand-picked chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, was charged in June with six counts of money laundering, theft and fraud.

The report notes that if all the federal corruption convictions in Florida between 1998 and 2007 were added together, they top 800, more than in any other state in the nation.

State Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, who replaced Greer as chairman of the state Republican Party, said the Senate would "take a hard look" at the report.

"I'm sure these are serious and well thought out recommendations that we will take seriously," Thrasher said.

In the House, several different committees could look at the report, including the House Government Operations Committee. Chairman Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City, said he would discuss with House Speaker Dean Cannon what issues to address.

"It's definitely a sensitive subject," Patronis said.

To support its recommendation to subject private contractors to public corruption laws, the report cited the case of a nonprofit organization that awarded state money to a company later accused of bid-rigging, kickbacks and bribery. The grand jury said even if the nonprofit's leaders had been guilty of criminal wrongdoing, they couldn't have been charged under Florida ethics rules because its employees aren't officially "public servants."

The panel also heard from witnesses concerned about private prison guards accepting bribes but avoiding prosecution because they don't work in a state-run prison.

"All of this is frustrating and absurd," the report says. "It is clear that any entity which contracts to perform services for the state must be held accountable for any violation of criminal laws."

Regarding the Legislature's own rules, the panel said when a public official casts a vote that is a conflict of interest — one that would lead to private gain or loss — that should be a crime.

"The public is tired of officials who abuse their position or ignore conflicts of interest," the report reads. "While Florida has not criminalized voting conflicts of interest, other states have."

Under current Florida statutes, state lawmakers don't have to reveal that a vote might have benefited them personally until 15 days after the vote occurs. And the report cites a double standard, noting that the law forbids local officials altogether from voting on any issues that benefit them personally.

Witnesses said state lawmakers needed looser standards because they vote on so many things it would be hard to keep track of which votes impact them personally, the report said.

"We find this to be an insufficient reason," the report says.

If lawmakers don't want to go so far as to criminalize those conflicts, the panel recommends at least forbidding legislators from voting on matters in which they have a financial interest.

Former state Sen. Dan Gelber, a Democrat from Miami Beach who several times pushed for stronger ethics rules, is skeptical that the grand jury report will make a difference even though it's full of good ideas.

"The problem has not been the ideas. It's been the unwillingness of the Legislature to really reform itself and public offices around the state," he said. "The Legislature refuses to seriously address public corruption. I commend the grand jury for cataloging a lot of the ideas. At the end of the day, unless there's the political will to implement them, it will be meaningless."

The grand jury acknowledged that very point. "We cannot ignore the reality that it is often hard to impose more severe restrictions on one's own interests," the jury wrote.

But the need for reform is critical, they said, adding: "When the legislature fails to act after its own members flagrantly abuse their positions, the citizens lose respect, faith and interest in government.''

Lawmakers will have at least one shot in the 2011 session at addressing concepts addressed in the report.

State Sen. Paula Dockery, a Republican from Lakeland, filed a bill that would ban lawmakers from voting on legislation that would benefit them, their family members or employers. She calls it the Restoring Trust in Government Act.

And now we got a guv who's main claim to fame is record Medicare fraud and a record number of times invoking the 5th. Enjoy!
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