Interviewee: Greg Fauve, WPLT-TV, Miami, Florida News Director
Interviewer: Southern Oral History Program Chapel Hill
Date: May 23, 1974
[One of the interviewers is referred to as J for Jack, the other is W for Walter]
J: Interview with Greg Fauve, WPLT-TV news director, Miami, Florida, May 23,
1974. Tell us a little bit about your own background, you came to T.V. news out
of newspaper right?
F: Yes, I came out of newspaper. I worked in Palm Beach for about three and a
half years, Daytona Beach for a short period of time but prior to that I was in
Mississippi where I was born and raised. My dad was a Southern politician as
well. __ we would get a newspaper and basically gulf coast as well.
Mississippi, Jacksonville, and Florida, Atlanta, Dayton, Ohio. We had a very
brief interlude in Washington with Charlie Rother, I was one of Charlie's
assistants when he went to Congress, and then was with Cox [Communications]
in Atlanta, Cox in Dayton, and when Cox bought the Palm Beach paper, he wrote
me down as editor. When it came to the election of 1972, we went to Daytona
Beach and then came here for the newspaper which was all I had ever done all
my life. I am brand new.
W: So are you with the Miami news here?
J: This is not a Cox station, is it?
F: No, this is Washington Post's station.
J: That is what I thought. And you have been here how long?
F: About ten months.
J: And you have been in Florida, what?
F: Since July of 1969. I was in briefly before that in Daytona Beach but not much
so it is really about five years now in Florida. Palm Beach was a good place to
be. From there you could operate in, close to Miami. I met some energetic
people like Reed [Donald H. Reed, Jr., House of Representatives 1963-1972]
and I got to know people like D'Alemberte [Talbot D'Alemberte, State House of
Representatives, 1966-1972, President of the Florida State University,
1994-present] and Pettigrew [Richard A. Pettigrew, Speaker of the House of
Representatives 1971-1972] and just by my affinity for politics I got involved a
great deal as well as being an editor of the newspaper.
J: My impression is that the Florida legislature is almost a mile ahead of any other
F: Yes, I think so Jack, and when we reorganized, I think it is a great deal more
___ even though we still have some real problems. We broke a story two
weeks ago about the upcoming Speaker, upcoming President, Speaker of the
House, President of the Senate going on a junket with two lobbyists with a race
track interest in Miami, so there is still some of that throw back all in all.
J: Was that story what sparked this challenge by Marshall Harris [House of
F: I guess Marshall is kind of a __ and enjoys doing those kinds of things. Most
of the time, he is right. He is very, very bright, almost too bright for the
legislature because most of those guys do not understand what he is saying and
that is how Marshall gets a lot done especially in appropriations. He explains it
to the legislature and they do not know what he is talking about and then they
just vote. I think that was part of it. I think it is just a general discontent of
people like Marshall with the upcoming leadership with Don Tucker [Donald L.
Tucker, Speaker of the House of Representatives, 1975-1977, 1978]. Don
Tucker was challenged by Warren [Warren S. Henderson, State Senator
1968-1976] over Buddy McKay [Kenneth Hood McKay, Lieutenant Governor,
1991-1998] and I believe [that] would have been a really great treat, a really fine
progressive legislature but he just did not have the votes. It is an archaic system
we operate on when we re-elect the Speaker two years ahead of time. It is really
kind of ridiculous but somebody challenged him [Tucker] and did not quite have
the votes. I think two years if that election were held coming up into the
legislature in 1975, there could be a different __ especially in light of some of
the stories that have come up. We had that system when you had to elect two
years in advance.
J: Do you think the Speaker's race is going to be a factor in upcoming legislative
F: I do not think the average voter understands it enough. I do not think it will be.
In Miami, Don Tucker will not be, unless he were indicted for something, but Don
Tucker would not be a factor.
J: With all the progress that had been made between the great amount and the
significant amount of reform and now it just seems that a lot of the people who
were instrumental in leading that reform are just leaving the legislature in large
numbers for one reason or another. What do you think will be the effect of that?
F: I think it will damage the legislature, the Senate for example lost __ Four
years ago [the legislature] lost a whole slew of good people, Reubin Askew
[Florida Governor, 1971-1979], Bob Shevin [Robert L. Shevin, Attorney General
1970-1978], Dick Stone [State Senator, 1967-1972, Secretary of State,
1971 -1974, U.S. Senator, 1975-1981 ] who was an effective Senator and the
whole list grew and the Senate became very ineffectual, very ineffective body in
the state legislature. The House maintained some strength and then they lost
people like Don Reed, Sandy D'Alemberte. This year they will probably lose
Murray Dubbin [State House of Representatives, 1963-1972] Marshall [Harris,
State House of Representatives, 1966-1974] was talking about not running
again. Jeff Gautier [State House of Representatives, 1966-1972], just another
whole host of people. I think it will hurt the legislature until such time that they
can recruit those kinds of people again. Our main delegation, for example, is
not nearly as strong as it used to be.
J: Just in the caliber of people?
F: South Florida representation in the state Senate is a sparkling representation.
We had some good people but between Broward and Dade there is not a heck of
a lot of good people in the state Senate.
J: Compared with say four years ago?
F: Yes. When we had Shevin and Stone. One thing that did help is that Pettigrew
went from the House to the Senate. George Firestone [State Senator,
1972-1978, Secretary of State, 1979-1987] is a very strong and effective and
J: How about Graham [Robert Graham, Governor, 1979-1987, U.S. Senator,
F: Yes, Bob Graham is probably as fine a legislator as there is anywhere in the
country I think. He is dedicated, he has got some real interest in environmental
issues as well as education. He has made himself an expert in those two fields.
He can afford to devote almost his full time at being a legislator.
J: Does he have inherited wealth?
F: He and his brother inherited. His dad owned, west of town [Miami], he used to
own a big farm and diary. Bob and his brother developed it and Miami Lakes is
a development, a very wealthy suburban development, and then they owned a lot
of land on the West Coast. So many of the developers made a lot of money.
They inherited the wherewithal to do it but he and his brother Bill put it all
[Interruption in recording]
W: The state capitol press corps in Tallahassee is a lot more energetic and
aggressive and indeed a lot larger than most of the press corps in this country.
F: I am not familiar with a lot of press corps. This one, Mississippi and Florida and
W: But to say South?
F: I think that is true. I do not think it is near as good as it used to be.
W: Why not?
F: Because I think they have lost a great many of the stars that used to cover
Tallahassee to other fields or other publications, other newspapers. Some great
talent has passed through Tallahassee but it is still more aggressive than most.
There is much more investigative reporting going on in Tallahassee than there is
in Atlanta, for example. The Atlanta papers, when I worked for them, never
really, I think John Pennington did some when he was with the [Atlanta] Journal,
John Akew did some when he was with the Journal and Jack Nelson did a little
bit when he was with the [Atlanta] Constitution but since that era there really is
not any good quality investigative reporting going on in the state government in
Atlanta like there is in Tallahassee. I think one thing that helps is the aggressive
reporting elsewhere in the state by newspapers and television stations by
reporters who are not based in Tallahassee. We have broken some stories.
We broke a story on O'Malley [Thomas D. O'Malley, State Treasurer 1971-1975,
impeached 1975] three weeks ago.
W: But is that not unusual for stations and papers outside of the capital to be
covering state capital news ?
F: Yes, I think that is true. I do not know of any other [state] that does that. I
mean __ does not go to Atlanta and cover the state capital television; the
newspapers may have a correspondent there.
W: Do you ever go there?
F: Yes, every television station usually has a full-time bureau. Every major
television station has a full-time bureau of freelancers working in Tallahassee.
W: Which means how many stations are you talking about?
F: There are three in Miami, three major stations in Miami and Tampa, two stations
in Tampa, two in Orlando, at least two in Jacksonville, probably three in
Jacksonville, so you are talking at least a dozen stations around the state.
J: Are they doing investigative reporting also? The stories that you broke that you
F: We have a full time investigative reporter on staff, by the name of Clarence
J: He used to be with Knight newspapers right?
F: Used to be with Knight and then went to Louisville and broke the corruption
stories in Louisville for the television station there, city government stories.
Then we hired him from Louisville but he was with the Miami Herald.
J: Which stories has he broken in the last few months?
F: He broke the O'Malley story which the grand jury is investigating now. The
Tucker Hahn story.
J: So the basics of that story was what?
F: The basic of that story is that the grand jury is investigating $40,000 in cash
which was collected by the petroleum dealers of Florida as a war chest to keep
out the self service stations. It is alleged that the money went from Bernie
Simpkins who is a dealer, former member of one of Governor Askew's patronist
committees, a former member of the Board of Business Regulation and went
from him to the executive director of the petroleum dealers and so they said it
went to O'Malley. So what we are going to do is investigate ...
[Interruption in recording]
F: __ kept out of the state of Florida which is a decision that O'Malley can make
as a fire commissioner as well as the insurance commissioner. The grand jury
now has subpoenaed a great many records in order to __
J: And he also did the story on the junket with the racetrack?
F: Yes, Tucker Hahn. Yes, those are two stories that Clarence has done out of
Tallahassee. He has done a lot of them here. Also, on Tallahassee
correspondence he wrote a third story just three weeks ago about O'Malley and
an art show that his wife sponsored in which it was alleged that O'Malley wrote
and pressured insurance companies to come by and __ paintings at very high
prices that was one of the __
J: Now when you break these stories do the newspapers pick them up?
J: Is that not unusual?
F: Not in Florida. It really is not in Florida.
J: How many stations have full time correspondents in Tallahassee?
F: It would just be a guess because Ray Starr works for three or four stations, the
Tampa stations have full time, Jacksonville stations __ I say three or four
have full time, everybody else has ...
J: The rest use freelancers?
F: And the rest use a freelancer. We are getting ready to initiate a bureau in
Washington [D.C.], also with our sister station in Jacksonville and cover
J: Do you and your sister station in Jacksonville work together? Out of
Tallahassee does one person service both stations?
F: Yes, [One person] services both stations at the time. We hope to expand that to
two people and will do it probably by September. We will expand our bureau in
J: How large a news operation do you have, how many people?
F: Forty, at this station.
J: Forty at each station?
F: Forty at this station, I do not know over there in Jacksonville.
J: Do you know of any other television station in the South that even approaches
that number of people?
F: Yes, Channel Four in town, but I would guess it would be WSB in Atlanta. __
at least thirty or more. T.V. marketing in Miami is much more competitive than
most any place in the South.
J: Outside of Florida do you know of any television stations that are doing much in
the way of investigative reporting?
F: [In] Charlotte, North Carolina, WBT is trying. I know Clarence went up a couple
of months ago to talk to them, to talk to the staff at WBT about investigative
reporting and some of the things he thinks ought to be done. You see in Miami,
Channel Four, Channel Seven and Channel Ten have people who do nothing but
investigative reporting on these stations. All three stations
J: Is it a one man operation?
F: Most of them are a one man operation but we supplement guys for the other
people on the staff.
W: Is it just competition that prompts this or what is it?
F: I think it all started when Post Newsweek came to Miami. When Post
Newsweek in Miami brought a very aggressive kind of news operation here. It
changed their whole TV outlook in Miami that pre-dated me. Then it got to be a
competitive thing and people at the other stations looked at us and said, hey, we
have got to get into this business also. I think it is going to be a natural
outgrowth. I think in TV it was an embarrassment, embarrassed like hell about
Watergate and other things that had broken in the newspaper and all TV has
done to catch up and that is not really necessary. I think you will see much
more investigative reporting on television and __ they have had a lot of lazy
T.V. stations in the South, WSB [Atlanta, Georgia] was lazy for many years and I
think they had better get off their duff now because they are beginning to get
some competition. The same things happened there that happened here when
Post Newsweek came here. Channel Five and Channel Eleven in Atlanta had
gone out and hired some very aggressive news directors and decided to go out
and try to cover the news.
J: Are they getting most of them from other television stations or from
F: Their newspaper man came from KGU in San Francisco and eleven brought their
news in from another T.V. station.
W: Aren't you atypical?
F: Yes, I guess that is true. There will be more transition. We have for example,
on our staff, Clarence originally came out of newspapers. Jim Malone, our
editorialist, came from the Miami Herald. We have two reporters that came out
of newspapers but most of the people are hired out of broadcast school or out of
television stations. I think the trend is going to be on-going for the best
J: Do you know of any other market in the country that has this kind of competition
F: I guess there are some. In Washington, DC, there are a number of them.
J: With investigative reporting?
F: Washington news has a good guy that is in investigative reporting.
J: So you do not know of any other market that has it?
F: No, there may be but I would not want to make any...
J: But if there were, where would they be. I am just trying to think of some, I could
not think of any.
F: I do not know of any but there could be on the west coast maybe. I do not know.
J: How do you feel that affects politics in this state?
F: I think the news media in the state has contributed partly to the change in the
legislature, part of the result. The St. Pete Times has had a great deal to do
with doing home delivery in Tallahassee so people can read [it]. I think it has
helped make some changes and I think right now you can see a great deal of
fighting going on in Tallahassee and Dempsey Barron (President of the Senate,
1975-1976) and Don Tucker going in to see the Governor the other day and
blaming the Governor's office for leaking stories which is not true. They blamed
the Governor's office for leaking stories about the Calder trip. They are 180
degrees wrong. The Governor's office did not know about it and I called Don
[Tucker] and told him that stories was going to be on the air. That is the typical,
blame-the-press kind of reaction. I think the press has been good for the state
of Florida. Claude Kirk [Florida Governor, 1967-1971] had a very interesting
relationship with the press. I will give you an example, one time he gave Pride
__ a trip at state expense and they tried. Mansfield I think wrote it, no Michael
Johnson wrote it, and they got back and Kirk gave an award for catching him.
He paid [it] back and then he gave him an award.
J: He called him in and offered an award for him?
J: How do you assess the affect of Claude Kirk as the Governor of Florida?
F: Philosophically I do not agree with him but I think he did more for reorganizing
the state than any governor prior to him because he got things done that
normally a Democratic governor might not have gotten done as far as the
reorganization of the state government.
J: Did he actually get them done or did he just stir things up so much and create an
atmosphere in which that legislature did things?
F: It could be a combination of both. I think it was a fear. Part of it was a fear of
Claude Kirk and part of it was to go out against ever having another Claude Kirk.
I think both. He was willing to propose things that other governors had not
proposed but at the same time much of it was a reaction to him.
R: I sort of have gotten the impression that the Florida power is very much diffused
not only within government and there is nobody really outside of government who
is sort of calling things. Is that true?
F: I think it is much truer today than it was many years ago, you know when Ed Ball
[Head of St. Joe Paper Co. and DuPont holdings in Florida] was in a great deal
more power than they do today. It is certainly true today under Reubin Askew
than it was under some of the previous councils.
J: You think that will continue?
J: What effect did the Sunshine Law have?
F: I think that is part of it. I think it had a great deal to do with it.
J: On a chicken-egg situation which came first the Sunshine Law or an
aggressive press or did one just promote the other?
F: I think that the beginnings of an aggressive press brought about the Sunshine
J: And then the Sunshine Law ...
F: Brought about a more open government and more aggressive press because it
did open up some things. So I think they fed on each other from the beginning.
W: Is the fact that the Sunshine Law exists part of the explanation for why there is
much more investigative reporting here?
F: I think part of it. I think that Florida has a great tradition, for whatever reason
and I have not quite figured out the __ reasons, of an aggressive, competitive
press in this state. I know of no state that I have ever been in, in newspapers or
otherwise, where you have a St. Pete Times, a Miami Herald, a Tampa Tribune
and an Orlando Sentinel and a Palm Beach Post, Ft. Lauderdale News. There
is something wrong with all of those papers but they are mostly good, solid
newspapers. Florida has more good newspapers I think and richer newspapers
than any state I have ever been in. I do not understand the history of that. Nelson
Poynter [Publisher, St. Petersburg Times], I assume had a great deal to do with
this over in St. Pete because that is the kind of newspaper he has always run. I
think historically, Florida has just had a very active, strong press. Television
stations have been late catching up and a lot of them have not caught up yet but
in Tampa, Jacksonville, and Miami, television stations are really trying to do
some things. But the newspapers have always been stronger, and have always
been very competitive with each other and they all have strong, strong
advertisers. Take a look at the top fifteen advertisers in the morning
newspapers in the country and you will find Miami Herald number two, St. Pete
Times is probably sixth and Tampa Tribune would be in the top ten. The Palm
Beach_Post, that is the paper where I was editor, [with] less than 100,000
circulation would be thirteenth in the nation. Jacksonville Times Union would be
in the top fifteen. Ft. Lauderdale News would be in the top five among afternoon
newspapers, Orlando Sentinel would be in the top fifteen. So there are about
five or six morning newspapers that would be in the top fifteen and one of the
afternoon papers would be in the top five. Just tremendous advertising __ in
newspapers. A good healthy newspaper situation and growth, tremendous
growth. I think that is part of it. The Governor's Sunshine Law has certainly
helped. It has made the press' role a lot easier, a heck of a lot easier, as long as
people adhere to the Sunshine Law. Lawton [Lawton M. Chiles, U.S. Senator,
1971-1989, Governor, 1991-1998], I see may have some luck, the last time I saw
him he was a little down about his Governor's Sunshine [proposal for a federal
Sunshine law] in Washington but in the papers he is having some...
[Interruption in recording]
J: You were saying something about Lawton Chiles?
F: Yes, and it looks like he is picking up some more support for his Governor's
Sunshine. Reubin [Reubin Askew, Governor 1971-1979] went up for him,
testified on his behalf.
J: Is this, it will be something very similar to the Florida law?
F: Very similar.
J: Really open it up?
F: Except for national security it will open up. It will open up Congress like it has
never been opened up before.
J: I am sure it would.
F: He went up there with that idea and that was going to be his cause as a
J: Did he campaign on that at all?
F: That was one of his issues. Mostly he campaigned on but that was one of
the issues he campaigned because he was very strong for it in the state
legislature. He is identified with that issue.
J: Was there some investigative reporting by someone who started first disclosure
of the Governor's problems?
F: Miami Herald. Miami Herald has been investigating doing that for about a year
and a half. Mike Baxton and Jim Savage, two of the young reporters who has
always done nothing but investigate the __ with operations in Florida and his
connections with Mary Williams who worked for him, Houseky, a builder here in
town and other builders and eventually, whatever connection may or may not
have with Gurney [Edward A. Gurney, U.S. House of Representatives,
1963-1965, U.S. Senator, 1971-1975]. So they have been investigating that
almost a year and a half now and they will register once a month. It is a major
Sunday story. It really was started at the Miami Herald and kind of turned it over
to the U.S. Attorney's office to start investigating. It was their initiative as opposed
to any governmental initiative. The Herald has done some good investigative
reporting. St. Pete does it a little more consistently, The St. Pete Times, on the
state level. They do it a little more consistently.
J: What do you think has been the effect of those stories that Mansfield [Bill
Mansfield, newsman] and Bruce Charles did with the ... what is that?
F: Give it and . what is it ... take it?
J: Who gave it, who got it. Is that it?
F: Yes, Who gave it, who got it? I think it has made politicians in town and in the
state much more cautious of who gave it, who got it. Because every time Bill
Mansfield goes back and says so-and-so voted for such-and-such, and the
contradiction that shows that such-and-such gave. I think when you look around
and see Mansfield peeking over your shoulder you are going to be much more
cautious. I think it has probably helped in the public disclosure. If we get a
public disclosure bill that is one of the things that helps get that and other people
in the state like that.
J: In the past, the Miami Cuban population has registered predominantly
Republican and has voted predominantly Republican. Is that changing?
F: No. I did a show last Sunday with three [people], two educators and one editor of
a Cuban magazine with questions __ and it has not changed anything. I think
it may change over a generation or so. The Cuban population is getting older.
The older Cuban population is getting ahead of the game. They associate
Kennedy and all of the Democrats with the Bay of Pigs [U.S. government
sponsored invasion at the Bay of Pigs by Cuban exiles who opposed Fidel
Castro]. They have strong, strong feelings still. They do have Alfredo Duran
who is a member of the school board appointed by Governor Askew.
[Interruption in recording]
F: Alfredo Duran, a very wealthy man but he was appointed by Askew into the
school board. Alfredo is a Democrat, he was very closely aligned with Bobby
Kennedy [Robert F. Kennedy, U.S. Attorney General, 1961-1963, U.S. Senator
1965-1968, assassinated while running for U.S. Presidency, 1968] but he is in
the minority among the Cubans. They have a strong, strong allegiance to the
J: The Cuban involvement in Watergate, has that had any local political affect?
F: No, not really. There has been some hero worshiping among some elements of
the Cuban community for those who were involved in Watergate, but there is not
a total feeling either among the Cubans. They feel that is a part of the CIA,
those people belong to the CIA and that is different.
J: Is there any feeling at all that they have been taken advantage of or misused?
F: By them, but I do not think it is a general feeling among the Cubans. Cubans
really are super patriotic people. They wrap themselves in the flag and charge.
I guess that is just a human feeling, once you have lost one country. It makes
sense that that is the way they express it.
[Interruption in recording]
F: Fifty-two percent of the city of Miami.
J: What percent of registered voters?
F: That is just in the city. There are 400,000 Cubans in the county of a population
of a million, million and a half maybe.
[Interruption in recording]
F: For the first time ever the Cuban population are now the dominant population in
the city. Registered voters are about 35,000 to 40,000.
J: In the city?
F: Well, in the county. Most of those are in the city.
J: 35 to 40,000?
F: Cubans have not registered. That has been one of the frustrating things with the
Cuban leaders. A great many Cubans have not given up on going back to Cuba
so therefore they have not felt that they belong to this community yet.
J: So they have not gone through the citizenship process?
F: A great many have, a great many have not. But even though some of them
have, they still feel more Cuban than American and they have not given up hope
for Castro to be overturned and therefore they have not participated fully as
citizens in the United States yet as far as voting concerns, as far as operating in
J: Do you see any serious challenge to Askew this year?
F: No, I do not. I think it will be an entire Askew vote because of his stand on busing
and because a lot of big business people in the state will be out to get him. I
know Jerry Thomas [State House of Representatives, 1960-1964, State Senator,
1964-1972, President of State Senate, 1971-1972] quite well, living in Palm
Beach County for three and a half years. I do not think the polls indicate
anything. The Governor really should not have any problems.
J: What do you think will happen?
F: The one guy in this country who can really be helped by all of this, whatever
happens with Watergate or here in Florida, is Governor Askew. The one thing no
one has ever questioned is his honesty.
J: On a head-to-head race with George Wallace [Governor of Alabama,
Independent Party candidate for U.S. presidency, 1968] in a Florida Democratic
Presidential primary in 1976, how do you think it would come out?
F: I think the Governor would win.
J: Do you think it would be close?
F: Yes. But I do not think the Governor would get in that kind of primary.
F: I just do not think he is interested. People do not believe him when he tells them
that he does not want to be considered for a national ticket, but it is true.
J: Right now, but I am talking about ...
F: I think further down the road it is true. I know for a fact that he is discouraged.
He refused to meet with the New York Times editor. He refused an invitation to
meet with the Washington Post editor. He could have done those things without
anybody knowing about it. He has turned down at least half a dozen speeches
which would have given him national exposure in other states. Donna Lou, I
think, his wife, really did not want him to go to Washington among other things
and I do not think the Governor has come to a conclusion that he would like to be
Vice-President, or that he would like to be President. He enjoys being Governor
and I do think he is ready to even decide that himself. He told me, and I
believe him, that he would never enter a presidential primary and I believe it.
J: In Florida though, cannot his name be put on the ballot and then he has to take
part of the step to get it off?
F: Yes, I think he would do that too.
J: Do you think he would take that step to get it off?
W: Where do you see the Republican party going?
F: In Florida?
W: Yes. Statewide.
F: I thought __ into that intra-party squabble back in 1970 with Carswell [Harrold
G. Carswell, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court, Tallahassee, Florida] and
Cramer [William C. Cramer, U.S. House of Representatives, 1969-1971]
[Carswell and Cramer ran against each other, along with George Palmer, for a
U.S. Senate seat in 1970]. I think it was moving along in the wrong direction. I
think if anything, it hurt the Republican party. Just as the Carswell/Cramer fight
hurt the Republican party. But I think it has become a viable party in the state
and I hope it is. I do not think that Tommy Thomas has been the greatest leader
Paula Hawkins [U.S. Senator, 1981-1987] has been elected state-wide
now and Lou Frey [Louis Frey, Jr, U.S. House of Representatives, 1969-1979] I
think could be a strong state-wide candidate. I think it [the Republican party] will
emerge over time.
J: Frey came out of the State Senate, did he not?
F: Yes, Bill Young [C.W. "Bill" Young, State Senator, 1960-1971, U.S. House of
Representatives, 1971-present] came out of the State Senate.
J: Are they doing anything with Chiles in the Freedom of Information Act?
F: No, the strongest support Chiles has got in the House is Dante Fascell [U.S.
House of Representatives, 1971-1993], who is from Miami.
J: Is he a former legislator too?
F: Dante has been in the Congress for twenty years now. He has introduced the
companion legislation in the House to Lawton. In fact the House is broken up
more than the Senate already and that is because of Dante. Dante pushed
greatly for that. So that is where most of the support is. But I do not think there
is any legislator in Florida who dares go against Government in Sunshine in
Washington. That will be one of the few times you will see the unanimous vote
on any issue among the Congressional delegation. Chiles would go for it and all
the Congressmen. It is just an accepted fact in Florida. I think the Republican
party can grow but I think it is going to be a slow process. In Broward County,
North Broward once you get out of South Broward, into North Broward, you
cannot find anything but Republicans. In Palm Beach County, where the
Democrats out-register the Republicans, they vote Republican much more than
they vote Democrat. So South Florida with a great influx of upper middle class
____ and migrants from the north, it has turned into a Republican __ Broward
and Palm Beach.
W: How about this planned 50,000 community of retired electrical workers in
F: I think they have so many planned retirement communities we are going to build.
I hear that one outside Daytona Beach is going to be 600,000 people before so
J: This whole peninsula is going to sink. The country, probably .
F: Yes, and one really big thing we hope to come out of the legislature is a real
sane growth policy, but it will not happen this time. Maybe a couple of legislative
sessions down the road. We are just not going to get it this time. Bob Graham
[Governor 1979-1987, U.S. Senator 1987-present] has been fighting that bill.
J: Has Askew failed to provide real leadership on that issue?
F: I think he was not ahead of the issue as much as I would have liked to have seen
but I think he is picking up. He was late coming to the issue because his issue,
that he got elected on, was taxes.
J: How do you assess Askew as Governor?
F: I think he has been effective. The first two or three years he had to fight a hell of
a lot of moral battles that left him scarred in some ways. He was always
mounting a white horse and handling those kinds of things that most governors
had never done, with the exception of LeRoy Collins [Governor of Florida,
1955-1961], no governor had done that before. These were things that had to
be done. So in fighting those battles it kind of left him not enough time to do
some other stuff, education, we have got more education legislation under his
administration than any that grew out of a committee, a commission he had
appointed to serve for two years and make recommendations to the legislature.
I think the government was not very strong in health care. All the social kinds of
issues he believed very strongly in. I think his thoughts and feelings were in the
right direction, but now he is just beginning to put some muscle into it. If he is
re-elected I think he will sit for another__ next term. Generally speaking I think
he grades well. Good grades for the Governor. But what he has provided more
than anything is strong moral leadership and I think that has been the greatest
contribution he made.
J: Getting back to the question of 1976.
R: Without question, Askew's sincerity in what he said and what he now believes
about not being interested [in the Presidency]. Do you see him as the type of
person who could change his mind on that subject?
F: I think he said I am not going to obviously close the door to anybody. I think he
could. I personally think that, I do not know who could talk to him or talked
about him in various terms about the national ticket. I see him as a real potential
vice-presidential candidate. But I have a feeling that if he had wanted it last time
he could have had it. He absolutely let it be known that he was not interested in
talking about it. I think much would have been, say if he was the vice
presidential candidate, potentially who was the presidential candidate.
J: Do you consider him to be really keen politically, I mean the type of person who
has a really keen political mind?
F: I think he has a lot of instincts which of course has helped him through as a
J: Political instincts?
F: Yes, but not a real keen observer, not necessarily.
J: I mean he would have the type of keen political instincts so that if looking at 1972
would have said, if you have interest in national politics, this would be the wrong
F: I think he could have made that nomination [for Vice-President on the Democratic
ticket] and I suspect he did. He is keen enough to evaluate a __ he is keen
enough to look at his own future in politics and know that being a
vice-presidential candidate, from a Governor, would not have helped him
necessarily, in his life.
J: And not have made him vice-president either.
F: And not have made him vice-president and probably would have cost him his
governorship so I think his instincts told him that, I am quite sure.
[Interruption in recording]
F: It is a strange thing because he is certainly not _ all kinds of battles
___ to benefit the larger urban populations of Miami and South Florida. He
fought against closing the schools, things that the people in his district, the
majority of them, were opposed to. But somehow he has been able to
transcend those differences by having people believe that he is extremely honest
and has a hell of a lot of integrity and that he votes his conscience.
J: What do you think about what the people in the __ saying that when Askew
runs again he could not win his own Escambia county ?
F: I am disappointed. That is a __ news job, which is funny, really funny. It did
everything but ask him his __ and stuff like that. I think that is a great change
and I think people who read that will mistake two things. One, I think there are
some people who have been against him, who will not be for him and I think they
really lose sight of the fact that people out there like having a governor from
their home area. They have an inferiority complex in that part of the state
waiting over there, waiting for the Senators of Miami, Orlando and Tampa. It
has been a hundred years since they had a Governor from Pensacola, a hundred
years since they had a Governor from that part of the Panhandle and I think they
like the idea and they wanted their own boys but now the government is the state
of Florida. I think that is what helped them good deal in that part of the country,
back in 1970.
J: If he ends up in a presidential primary against Wallace in Florida, which is at
least a possibility, is that likely to be a force in that election, the question of home
F: Yes, I think so. I think it would be. And that, I would say, in the northern part of
Florida where normally __ is much more pro-Wallace, much stronger Wallace
country than other parts of the state. He has pockets of strength behind him
also but I think that would end up being part of it.
J: Is Askew doing well in north Florida?
F: I think he would hold his own against Wallace in north Florida, given the fact you
were talking about a presidential primary which may boost him to be the
presidential candidate. If he was on that basis then I think he might. Because
the only issue there would be, the main issue would be busing and people. I
think the Governor has gone through that. Hamilton and Associates did an
interesting poll. One of the things they do in states is they match the Governor
of the state against Walter Cronkite [CBS broadcast journalist]. Only one or two
states, in all of the states they have done that with, the Governor beat Walter
Cronkite. That says two things. One, maybe they do not have many CBS
outlets. The major stations in the state are CBS outlets because they reach
more people than any other television station in the state.
J: Is this one CBS?
F: This is CBS.
W: What was the other state, you said there were two states?
F: Yes, I am thinking of what the other state was.
J: I thought this was the only state.
F: I heard it was two. May not have been but I heard it was two. It is rather
remarkable that Walter Cronkite beats all of those governors. It is rather
remarkable that Askew beats him in the last poll. In the Orlando Sentinel poll,
that is another thing, the Orlando Sentinel was really anti-Askew four years ago.
The Orlando Sentinel was supporting Reubin Askew this time. And as a strong,
strong Republican newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, a conservative newspaper
and they were in support of Reubin Askew this time. In the history of
newspapers __ it is one of the few newspapers in the state that really
influences voters. The Sentinel, and some of the Tampa Tribune, probably
influences the voters more than any other newspapers in the state in their area.
And the Orlando Sentinel will support this. So there have been changes like that
and I think that they are strapping down.
J: It would really revolutionize American politics if politicians throughout the country
suddenly perceived the greatest political issue they can run on is being honest,
would it not?
F: Sure as hell would. I think that may be coming across. It is real interesting
that the Democratic primary for the Senate will be the most interesting race in
[Interruption in recording]
J: If Shevin had run for Senator this year instead of waiting to run for Governor, do
you think a lot of these others would not have jumped in, is that it?
F: I think it would have pushed Stone __ and Pettigrew to make a decision after
that. Stone especially. Guys like Mallory Horne [Speaker of the State House of
Representatives, 1962-1963] were starting to have second thoughts and
probably next to Askew, Chiles has the third highest name recognition in the
state. He is a very aggressive candidate. He has traveled the state the last
four years and he could, I think he could, win. I think he wants to be Governor
more than he wants to be Senator.
J: What has he done as a ?
F: Every day you pick up the paper __ journalism majors giving this opinion or
giving this opinion. The Attorney General's office is really not a law enforcement
[End of side A1]
J: Is it presumed that what they will be doing is writing amendments primarily or will
they do the whole thing over?
F: I think they will be writing amendments and I think you will see a real effort to
abolish the cabinet system. Especially if a guy like Chesterfield Smith [Florida
Attorney] is chairman, which he would love to be, and I suspect if Askew is
Governor, there is a good chance he will be just because he is the President of
the American Bar Association. I mean there is a real __ the guys who are
just licking their chops to get to 1978 to get rid of that cabinet system. That may
be a really great opportunity so much depends on who is the next Governor as to
who is on that commission as to what they do with the cabinet system.
J: The next Governor would also depend, to some extent, as to how the voters are
going to react to the proposed law?
F: That is true. And in the rewriting of it they start appointing some of those officers
instead of electing them. Why should we elect a Secretary of State who is
really nothing, you take away his cabinet job, and he is really nothing but a paper
shuffler or an Insurance Commissioner or a Banking Director for the state.
Those guys really ought to be appointed. I think the move will be to abolish the
cabinet system and appoint those people. They may not be able to get a vote in
one bite. Somehow Floridians have got this thing that every time we take away
an elected officer, we take away the power of the people and if you appoint
somebody. There have been many charters in the state defeated because we
have done away with electing the Constitutional officers, so they (the voters)
defeat the charter.
J: The new Constitution chopped away at the powers of the cabinet.
F: Some. It put more power into the Governor's office and if they ever knew what
___ to really make up a strong governor, let him stand or fall for what he does
and Florida would be a heck of a lot better off. I think there would also have to
be an effort to do something about knocking out the income tax prohibition, which
is now written into the state Constitution.
J: What is your reaction to the argument we have for Tallahassee that the cabinet
system is good because it brings executive decision-making into the open?
F: I disagree. What we have done is some people see it as another check and
balance and I thought that is what we had the legislature for and the court system
for, as well as the executive.
J: You think having a strong legislature now serves that function.
F: Absolutely. The legislature has a lot of power out there and they are just
exercising it. In fact, all of government in Florida has a lot of power, local
government, the legislature has given a great deal of home rule powers to local
governments, county governments. It used to be that they sent everything to
Tallahassee so if they would not have to make decisions and they could blame it
on Tallahassee. Tallahassee said the hell with that. You make the decisions
so we are going to give you all these home rule powers.
J: Consequently there is probably more accountability of public officials in Florida
than any other state is there not?
F: There is a hell of a lot of it. I cannot judge it on another state but more than there
is in Georgia, I guarantee.
J: I am sure you would guarantee Mississippi too?
F: And Mississippi. I have not seen a lot of accountability for anything, well, I have
not seen much to account for in Mississippi.
J: Do you have any more questions, Roy?
J: End interview, Greg Fauve, no more transcription this tape.
[End of the interview.]