Graham leaves his mark
on reshuffled water boards
By WILLIAM MARCH Graham reorganized
Tribune Staff Writer eight water basin
eight water basin
Three weeks ago, Gov. Bob boards in the wake of
Graham threatened to use his ap-
pointive powers to end the argument their dispute with the
between the Southwest Florida
Water Management District and its governing board.
subsidiary river basin boards.
In a sweeping move announced those boards most active in support
Nov. 26 involving appointments to of the lawsuit, and appointed new
eight basin boards, Graham made members to fill those seats.
good on his threat, and then some. Supporters of the basin boards"
He refused to reappoint two say that amounts to packing the
members of the Northwest Hillsbor- boards with appointees who will be
ough River Basin Board who sup- loyal t6 Graham and Bruce Samson,
ported a lawsuit against the district chairman of the district governing
governing board. Graham also asked board, in order to dilute support for
a third supporter of the suit, John the lawsuit.
Lee of the Alafia River Basin Board, Basin board supporters last week
to resign, Lee said. responded angrily to Graham's an-
Graham also added new seats to
the four basin boards, including See WATER, Page 7B
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE, Monday, December2, 1985 7-B
And some said the governor's ef-
forts to dictate peace won't work.
W ater "If the governor did this to sal-
vage Mr. Samson so his campaign
From Page 1B for mayor of Tampa would go
smoothly, then I'm afraid the gover-
nouncement with charges that he nor made a big mistake," said state
nouncement with charges that he Rep. Chuck Smith, D-Brooksville, a
was using intimidation to set water supporter of the basin boards who
management policy, and to smooth was angered by the news of the ap-
over the controversy to avoid harm pointments. "The controversy is far
to his own candidacy for the U.S. from over."
Senate and Samson's for mayor of That controversy centers on
Tampa. whether the basin boards or the dis-
"They don't want this going on trict governing board can collect
during the campaigns, so naturally, and spend tax money. After an at-
they eliminate the people who are e n ta x moneict governing
hell-raisers," said Allan Stone, a board last year to take over that and
member of the Northwest Hillsbor- other basin board powers, several
ough River Basin Board, who supporters of basin boards filed suit
Graham announced will not be reap- against the district.
pointed to his seat. The Northwest Hillsborough
In a defiant letter to Graham, Board and the Alafia River Basin
Lee refused to resign before his Board joined the suit as plaintiffs, as
term is over and accused the gover- did individual members of several
nor of using "fear and intimidation." boards.
"It appears my reward for dar- The legal fight resulted in $7.3
ing to disagree with your dictates is million worth of double taxation on
to be cast aside and trampled district residents when basin board
under," Lee wrote. Board members taxes in 1984 were collected twice.
are being "forced to choose between That money, now more than $8.5
their convictions and their appoint- million with interest, is waiting in an
ments," he wrote, escrow account for the suit to be set-
On Nov. 5, Graham brought from abolishing the boards, Longino "It's an extension of the unfair-,
many of the basin board members to said. He said the controversy "has ness that already prevailed," said
Tallahassee aboard a chartered gone on too long. It was creating an Allen Safranek, chairman of the
plane. In a blunt, 10-minute state- impediment to good water manage- Pasco Board of Commissioners. "We
ment delivered in the Cabinet meet- ment." don't have an effective vote on the
Ing room, he told them to withdraw Samson, usually one of the main board."
support for the suit and agree to sources of recommendations for dis- Patricia Pieper of Land O'
terms that left the taxing authority trict board and basin board mem- Lakes, the only Pasco resident on
with the district, or else. bers, said he recommended expand- the Hillsborough board, said the
The boards did withdraw from ing some of the boards to add new board "now is extremely urban-
the suit, but the other plaintiffs are representation and "a different heavy."
continuing it, and some board mem- point of view more responsive to the Samson said Pasco officials' con-
bers refused to accept Graham's taxpayers." cern over their representation is le-
terms. He said it wasn't to eliminate op- gitimate. He said he would have
In making his appointments, position to the district board. "Why recommended another Pasco repre-
Graham did not reappoint Stone and would you pack the boards after sentative, but had no suggestions for
Charles Martin to the Northwest they've already withdrawn from the a candidate from the Pasco commis-"
Hillsborough Board. Stone and Mar- suit?" he said. sioners.
tin, like Lee, sought extra conditions Samson said he was concerned Basin board powers are now in
before they would agree to abandon about representation for the city of dispute, but their activities in the
the suit. Tampa on the Hillsborough River past have been important to local
In doing so, Graham ignored the Basin Board and Northwest Hillsbor- residents.
recommendation of the Hillsbor- ough boards, and recommended Those include building and main-
ough County Commission that the members of minority groups for new training flood control facilities apd
two should be reappointed. Graham seats on three boards. buying property for flood control
reappointed one member, Frank He denied that he made the managing surface, waters; respond
Jackson, who agreed to ending the recommendations to advance his ing to citizen complaints on drain
litigation, although the commission- candidacy, although he said he ex- age; reviewing environmental pro-
ers did not recommend him. pected such an accusation to be grams; and levying taxes to pay tor
Asked last week whether the made. these activities.
controversy motivated Graham's ap- Samson recommended adding Smith said Graham's appoint-
pointments, Joann Carrin, the gover- one black member to the Northwest ments could face opposition in the
nor's deputy appointments coordina- Hillsborough board, Robert Gadson state Senate, which must confirm
tor, said, "Part of the appointments from Tampa, and one to the Alafia them. During the last legislative ses-
process stemmed from that. He was Board, Paul Major of Lithia. He said sion, senators sympathetic to the
aiming for a spirit of cooperation they will be the first blacks to serve basin boards succeeded in blocking
and teamwork." on any board in the district, a move to confirm Graham's reap-
But she said expanding the He also recommended adding pointment of Samson, Smith re-
boards was done "for more input two Hispanic Tampa residents, Syl- called.
and a broader range of experience." via Espinoza and Al Fernandez, to Graham responded by giving
Some basin board members who the Hillsborough Board, also partly Samson a provisional one-year reap-
originally supported the suit but ac- for minority representation, and be- pointment that does not require Sen-
cepted Graham's terms for ending it cause the board had no representa- ate approval.
were reappointed by the governor. tives from the city. "I hope the Senate takes a good,
One was Berryman Longino of But Samson added that all four long look at the appointments and
the Manasota River Basin Board, minority representatives "are' very the manner in which they were
who called the settlement "a reason- well qualified" for the jobs. made," Smith said. "The contro-
able compromise." Pasco officials charge that the versy is far from over. The litigation
"I think the suit accomplished its two new Tampa members overbal- is ongoing, and I have some legisla-
purpose" in preventing the district ance the board toward Hillsborough tion to try to address the problem.
County. It now has seven members, "As far as I'm concerned it can
.. .five from Hillsborough County and abasIe'o ncern ed,
one each from Pasco and Polk. be a battle royal, he said.
But Samson said the controversy
is, or should be, effectively over, and
that continuation of the lawsuit only
costs the taxpayers money and
wastes the time of public employees.
"I and the governing board mem-
bers would like to see this put to bed
and behind us," he said. "I'd like to