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delays water board
The delay is viewed as chastisement of
Southwest Florida Water Management District
board member Bruce Samson.
By PATRICE FLINCHBAUGH his chairmanship, he would consider
Tribune Staff Writer resigning at that point.
The House last week passed a
TALLAHASSEE The political watered-down version of a bill spon-
slaps continued Tuesday over water scored by Brooksville Rep. Charles R.
management in the Tampa Bay area "Chuck" Sniith that addressed the
as a Senate committee held up con- year-old power struggle between the
firming the reappointment of Bruce district and the basin boards. Fear-
Samson and three other members of ing "dynasties" were forming, Smith
the Southwest Florida Water Man- in the same bill had attempted un-
agement District. successfully to limit the tenure of
The move further chastised Sam- the chairman and to allow the chair
son, an unannounced candidate for to vote only in cases of a tie. Despite
the 1986 Tampa mayor's race, for defeat, Smith succeeded in sending a
his board's attempt last year to message to the district board, partic-
usurp the budget authority of local ularly Samson.
basin boards within the water man- Tuesday, by a 3-1 vote, the Sen-
agement district. ate Executive Business Committee
"I frankly thought that once this declined to clear the way for confir-
basin board stuff was cleared up, mation by the full Senate of guber-
they (confirmations) would go natorial appointees Samson, former
through," said Samson in an inter- legislator Donald R. Crane, Jack
view. Straughn, and James P. Taft.
Samson said that "as long as the The committee twice in April
governor is going to be happy with also put off the confirmations be-
me, I'll continue to serve." cause, according to one senator, the
Gov. Bob Graham can reappoint pending basin board bill was not yet
Samson in lieu of Senate agreement resolved.
for a one-year term. Next year, he Sen. Betty Castor, D-Carrollwood,
would be subject to a confirmation a member of the Executive Business
hearing. Committee, dissented Tuesday but
Samson, a distant cousin of was outnumbered by Sens. Ken
Graham's, is expected, however, to Jenne, D-Hollywood, W.D. Childers,
soon open a campaign account for D-Pensacola, and Toni Jennings,
the mayor's race. Should campaign- R-Orlando.
ing this fall or winter interfere with See DELAY, Page 2B
*From Page IB
"There obviously are Sofne Sena-
tors who don't want to ee those con-
firmations made," said Castor in an
interview. Castor said she was sure
the basin board flap was -a factor.
"They just want to punish him *to
(Samson) more," said Sen. Curt
Kiser, R-Palm Harbor. He was refer-
ing to several senators, including
Tampa Sen. Pat Frank, a Democrat,
Sen. Curtis Peterson, D-Lakeland,
and Sen. Karen Tburmond, D-Dun-
Some political insiders suggested
Frank may be motivated by her own Bruce Samson
desire to rin for Tampa mayor in
Y1986. a p "When we sit in negotiation, we
"Several people have talked to have to disclose (under public
me about it (running for playor), but -records law) what our own ap-
I'm not considering it," said Frank. praiserr has found," Samson added.
"I'm staying right where I am now." "In effect, we start from our own ap-
Frank disagreed that the basin jpraisal and work up instead of bar-
board controversy was the prime gaining down, so we end up paying
reason the reappointments were 10 percent to 15 percent above the
Scratched this session. appraisal value."
"There were a lot bf questions A bill pending in the Legislature,
about several land purchases the dis- in which Samson had input, would
trict made.... There was widespread allow water management districts to
concern in the Senate," she said. keep their appraisal reports confi-
"The question is,;is (the water dential until after the purchase of
management district) being admin- environmentally sensitive lands was
lStered in manner that's appropri- complete.
ate?" '- As for the basin board melee, the
Sahnson Confitrmed that'questions matter is far from over.
were raised about the piiichase of Kiser has proposed an amend-
agricultural land along the Withla- Anent in the Senate that would
coochee River from a timber com- 'clearly state the district board had
pany. The purchase price was $500 final say in budgeting. The subject
to$600 an acre more than the ap- was not settled in the House bill and
praisal listed for tax purposes in the is in fact the core of a lawsuit
Pasco County courthouse. against the district by Citrus Mutual,
"There may be some problems, several basin boards and counties.
but we've decided to look at it," said "There will be a flap over that,"
Samson. sighed Samson.