Native Floridians decry Yankees, pink flamingos
Tampa, Fla. — Amid all the chamber of commerce ballyhoo urging the nation's weary and shivering masses to ''come on down'' to sunny Florida, a small group of die-hard Floridians is waving the red flag and hollering STOP.
Known as the Florida League Against ''Progress'' (FLAP), this loosely organized confederation says ''The Sinkhole State'' has more than enough people, thank you.
These environmental defenders, who operate out of the tiny central Florida hamlet of Frostproof, are convinced that the state has been overrun by Yankees who allegedly plant plastic pink flamingos in their front lawns, pave over any natural beauty with asphalt, and drink the state water supply dry.
The only requirement for membership in this self-proclaimed anarchic organization is to repeat its oath: ''I believe in FLAP because most of what passes for progress, isn't. I pledge never to say anything nice about Florida.''
Among its New Year's resolutions to try to turn back ''tons of Yankees'' are:
* To write on the envelopes of all letters leaving the state: ''If you must come to Florida, bring water.''
* To persuade a state legislator to file a bill to implement FLAP's ''Keep Florida Livable'' plan that would allow a new resident to move in only when a present Floridian passes away or leaves the state for good.
* To send prospective immigrants one letter a month describing the state's humid and stifling summers, and to ''counter the hogwash about Florida's delightful winters'' by filibustering on cold waves and freezes.
* To call the local chamber of commerce and Gov. Bob Graham and ask why they are trying to bring more residents to the state when the end result is higher taxes, more traffic congestion, and more crime.
FLAP's ''Good Doer of the Year Award'' went to a Fort Myers, Fla., newspaper columnist for his one-man crusade against plastic pink flamingos.
''We did it just to get people chuckling about things, and then maybe thinking about things,'' said Bill Partington, a FLAP member and director of the Environmental Information Center. ''We've had a good response from conservation groups . . . - people who want to keep the original Florida.''