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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
Interviewee: Frank Caldwell
Interviewer: Julian Pleasants
Date: December 7, 2004
P: Where were you born and how much time did you spend in Florida?
C: I was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and moved to Tampa when I was four years
of age. I've been a resident of Florida except for about seven years when I was in
North Carolina and then Oklahoma.
P: Your talking points [are very helpful]. One of the things that you brought out, that
I think's important, is to understand how the politics and the economics of the
state changed prior to 1972. Would you talk a little about that? Because, in
essence, that set the stage for the 1972 legislation.
C: Yes sir. I think first we need to look at the federal level and what was happening
with the federal [and] state supreme court enforcing one-man, one-vote. That
had a drastic change upon the make-up of Florida's legislature. It pretty well
signaled the end of the so-called Pork Chop Rule by the rural conservatives,
what Representative Harris [Marshall Harris; Florida state representative and
Chairman of the Florida House Appropriation Committee] called the "confused
forces of darkness." [laughs.] Then following upon that, in 1966 through 1968,
the Constitutional Revision Commission met and made a lot of revisions to the
old 1885 Constitution, including creating annual versus biannual legislative
sessions, and a permanent staff that was hired by the legislature. Prior to that,
most of the staffing was done by the executive agencies.
P: So, this is the Florida State Constitutional Revision Commission, revising the
Constitution of the State of Florida, right?
P: Talk a little about how the change in the executive branches in the agencies
would have set the stage for Water Management later on.
C: Well, I was on the staff of the House [Governmental] Reorganization Committee
to implement the Constitution. Article IV, Section VI called for reduction of
executive agencies from in excess of three hundred. We counted everything we
could find and we're not sure exactly how many over three hundred there were
[laughs]. But, they had to all be folded into a maximum of twenty-five
departments (exclusive of agencies that were specifically recognized in the
Constitution the Game and Fish Commission and the Public Service
Commission were exempt).
P: There are a lot of agencies dealing with water around the state. There were
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 2
flood control districts, [and] none of this was coordinated?
C: No. There were special districts, there were hybrid districts that were created by
the local act and then there were the two, the Flood Control District and the
Southwest Water Management District, were in existence.
P: So, there were a lot of different agencies involved in dealing with Florida pollution
control. Now the other thing about the federal court decisions, Baker v. Carr
[and] Reynolds v. Sims, one-man-one-vote, that changed the representation in
the Florida Legislature. How did that shift to a more urban legislature? How did
that [shift] affect the long-term commitment toward water regulation?
C: It gave South Florida a lot more representation from the urban areas. Originally
Governor Askew [Reubin Askew Florida governor, 1971-1979; Florida state
senator, 1962-1970, president pro tempore of Florida Senate, 1969-1970; Florida
state representative, 1958-1962] was concerned about the drought and then the
floods, and the drought and the flood cycles in South Florida. The more he
talked about it, the more educated he became that it was literally a state-wide
problem. [The problem was] not as critical in the Suwanee and Northwest areas,
but there still was a need. People like Art Marshall and Dr. John DeGrove
came to the forefront and said, we need to have the same kind of regulatory
system state-wide. It needs to not follow political boundaries, it needs to go
where the water flows. I think that was one of the chief things that came out
through the legislation-following hydrologic boundaries.
P: And I'm sure that was very difficult because all of these political entities wanted
to protect their own turf. When [the District] crosses boundaries, it theoretically
would create problems.
C: Right. It would try to stagger districts coming in online one at a time, but it never
got anywhere. We just put everybody's ox in the ditch [laughs].
P: When you have these new legislators from South Florida you also have, at least
on the federal level surprisingly so, perhaps with Richard Nixon but you have
the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Most of that was due to John
Erlichman [President Richard Nixon's domestic policy advisor] and Nat Reed,
[Assistant Secretary of Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, 1971-1977] but,
nonetheless, it happened under the Nixon Administration. How did the federal
changes impact what was going on in Florida?
C: I think that the legislature and the executive branch both realized they were going
have to comply with all of these federal acts. The best offense that they could do
was go ahead and get ahead of the federal acts and create compatible state
laws. Of course, all of the federal acts had a carrot-and-stick approach. Florida
chose to take the carrot, and not be forced to comply with the strict regulations of
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 3
most of the laws.
P: Do you have any of the specific knowledge of exactly how, for example, the
Clean Water Act would have impacted Florida and what the legislature would
have done to respond to that?
C: I'm not all that well-versed in the detail of the federal acts. I know that the Wild
and Scenic Rivers Act was one that Florida jumped on somewhat reluctantly in
some respects. Some of the rivers that could of been protected were not
protected as well as they could have been. On the whole, I think Florida reacted
P: During this time, who would have been responsible in the government, prior to
1972, for determining how to accede to the federal laws?
C: Primarily it would be the old Pollution Control Board and what had been the State
Board of Conservation. [That later] became the Department of Natural Resources
as part of the Reorganization Act of 1969.
P: So, part of what happened here, it was pretty clear is they were to adhere to the
federal rules. They needed to reorganize the state government in order to do
C: That is correct.
P: Now in 1970, Reubin Askew was elected Governor. Claude Kirk [Florida
governor, 1967-1971; unsuccessful candidate for U.S. Senate, 1964] was a fairly
strong environmentalist, particularly to some degree because of Nat Reed's
influence. How did things change from Kirk to Askew?
C: It was pretty incremental. There were not just wholesale turnovers in the
departments. Askew had a better rapport with the largely Democratic legislature.
So, he was able to get more things accomplished than Kirk had been able to do
and with a lot less confrontational negatives.
P: When [Askew] came into power, we had the new Department of Natural
Resources, which you had mentioned was [created] in 1969. What kind of
regulatory power did they have?
C: A whole lot. The head of the Department of Natural Resources was the governor
and cabinet. So you had a lot of the individual cabinet officers with their hands in
the pot. The Pollution Control Board was directly responsible to the governor.
That, of course, eventually became the Department of Environmental Regulation,
which is still a governor's agency.
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 4
P: Plus, you had some south Florida people like Bob Shevin, who was attorney
general, come in. So there was a change in the attitude of the cabinet, as well.
Would that be a fair statement?
C: Oh, yeah. O'Malley, Stone, and Shevin all were elected in 1970, as well as the
governor. So that changed the face of the cabinet and made it a more
P: At that time, the Democratic Party was in charge of the Cabinet and [controlled]
both the House and the Senate. Governor Askew called a state-wide conference
on water policy. Tell me about that conference, what was discussed, and what
came out of that conference.
C: Actually, there were two groups that he convened. The first, I don't really know
much of the background on it. It was focused on South Florida, it was down in
South Florida, the Everglades area. That is when he first found out that it was
more than a South Florida problem. That it was, indeed, if not entirely state-
wide, many areas of the state were in need of some more regulation. Then he
appointed a fifteen-member task force and John DeGrove [Governor's
Commission for a Sustainable South Florida, 1993-present; Secretary, Florida
Department of Community Affairs, 1983-1985; member of the board, South
Florida Water Management District, 1972-1978; director, FAU-FIU Joint Center
for Environmental and Urban Problems, 1971-present; chair, professor of political
science, University of Florida, 1958-1964] was chosen chairman of that group.
They put together an American [Academy of Arts and Sciences] assembly-style
of brainstorming, [it was] about a three-day session. They invited probably close
to a hundred people besides the fifteen members of the task force. There were
members of the governor's staff, representation from the two water management
districts, legislators, environmental activists, many industrial-business and
industry were there. Some were more active and some were quite reactive, but
everybody got to have their say. They came out of there with the bones of four
pieces of legislation. The Water Management Act, the Environmental Land and
Water Management Act [ELMS], a bill to offer a referendum that would allow the
issue of state bonds for land acquisition of environmentally sensitive lands, and
the State Comprehensive Planning Act.
P: How involved was Askew in the actual discussion, was he there?
C: He was not there. Jay Landers was his environmental advisor and lawyer, and
Jay was very, very actively involved.
P: What about Askew's attitude toward all this? Had he been talking with John
DeGrove? What got him interested in water management?
C: Yes, very much so, and Art Marshall, also.
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 5
P: In a sense, he started off listening to what we might consider academicians, as
opposed to a group of what we call stake-holders.
C: Well, he had a lot of input from the legislature, particularly Bob Graham [U.S.
Senator from Florida, 1987-present; Florida governor, 1979-1987; Florida state
senator, 1970-1978; Florida state representative, 1966], Sandy D'Alemberte, and
Marshall Harris. They were all very strong supporters of Askew and had his
attention right from the very start.
P: The task force, in essence, produced a document and a series of
recommendations. That goes to Askew, who then sends that to the legislature.
What happens at that point?
C: He began talking with legislators and saying, okay, turn these good ideas into
good laws. So, that started the bill drafting process. By then it was 1971 and the
House [of Representatives] passed a House resolution that created the interim
study committee on water resource management. Jack Shreve became the
chairman of that committee and I was Jack's legislative assistant. We didn't
provide for any staff; we were supposed to draw from the staff of the Natural
Resources Committee and the Pollution Control Committee.
P: So, this select committee is a direct result of the response to the Water Policy
P: And your job, most specifically, was what? By the way Jack Shreve was a
freshman legislator, was he not?
C: That's right.
P: How did he happen to get so heavily involved and be so prominent in the
C: A couple of things. He was the City Attorney for Cocoa Beach and had been
very instrumental in their creating a water supply authority that reached outside
of Brevard County over into Osceola County. He was well-versed on water
supply types of issues. The other thing was that Dick Pettigrew [chair,
Governor's Commission for a Sustainable South Florida; Florida state senate,
1972-1974; Florida state representative, 1963-1972; Speaker, Florida House of
Representatives, 1971-1972] was the Speaker of the House. He recognized that
Brevard was pretty Republican, and he wanted to see Jack get re-elected. So,
he made Jack chairman of the Select Committee and Ed Trombetta from
Broward County chairman of a Select Committee, as well (probably healthcare
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 6
P: So, it is partly political, but also partly because of Jack Shreve's background and
knowledge. Talk about how he proceeded in developing the legislation, what
impact he had, and then what was your specific responsibility?
C: He was aware of Dean Frank Maloney's efforts with the Model Water Code. [We]
flew down and met with the dean. The dean and some of his graduate students
that were involved in the drafting of the Model Code came up and met with us in
Tallahassee. Jake Varn was one of the members. We talked to them and one
of the engineers who had been involved in the water supply creation down there
was Garcia Bingashay. He was a strong advocate of deep well injection of waste
water, and really lobbied us good and hard on that issue. [He] was also very
knowledgeable on water management issues in general. We took some of his
recommendations and some of them we had reservations about. Then we found
Art Marshall down in Miami and flew down and talked with him. I had already
made acquaintance with John DeGrove; he was very helpful.
P: I have here the opening statement by Jack Shreve at the first meeting of this
committee. It is a rather effective presentation, I think, because he does talk
about all of these different agencies not working together. He talks about the
problems with the cycles of drought and flood. He really gets into the concept,
and this is the first time I think we hear this term, I'm not sure, "to attain the
highest reasonable and beneficial use of water resources." When you say
"beneficial use" and this actually ends up in the law, does it not? What did you
mean by "beneficial" at that time?
C: Let me check my commentary on the Model Code. The definition of reasonable
beneficial use is, "the use of water in such a quantity as is necessary for
economic and efficient utilization for a purpose and in manner which it is both
reasonable and consistent with the public interest." And the commentary that
goes with that says
the reasonable beneficial use rule is the standard by which water
use is governed under the code. It is a term of art and should not
be confused with either the western prior appropriation term
"beneficial use" or the riparian term "reasonable use." It includes
the standard of reasonable use, but it also requires efficient,
economic use of water, a characteristic of beneficial use. In
addition to the right of other riparians under the code, a water user
must now consider the rights of the general public. Wasteful use
of water will not be permitted under the reasonable beneficial use
standard, regardless of whether or not there is sufficient water to
meet the needs of other riparian owners.
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 7
P: So, the essence of this is the water resources are state resources. Of course, the
immediate difficulty with that is the problem of individual land-owners and right of
eminent domain. From the very beginning, this is really kind of a shift, is it not, in
the concept of water use in the state of Florida? Do you know where that term
"reasonable and beneficial" came from? Did Dean Maloney come up with that?
P: So, that was in his Model as he presented it. Jack Shreve apparently focuses on
that as the essence of what he would like this committee to do.
C: That is correct.
P: What about the idea that function should determine organizational structure?
What do you think [Shreve] meant by that in specific terms?
C: What did I mean by that? I wrote that I got carried away with some of it.
[laughs.] What page was that on?
P: That's on page five.
C: I kind of have to have my recollection refreshed here. Most of this language I
came to believe in my work with executive reorganization in 1969 and 1970. I
think I probably paraphrased a book on organizational management. It was
kinda our bible that we went by in developing the Reorganization Act.
P: So, the point again would be public priority over private priority. I also notice in
this talk, he said that he wanted this committee to be bold, aggressive, and have
a questioning approach. Did the committee take that charge and follow it?
C: Pretty much. Some more than others. Some more conservative, older members
of the committee were reluctant, but they came along. We had them in such a
manner that their hearts and minds eventually followed.
P: This committee is going to come up with the first draft of what we call the Water
Resources Act, is that correct?
C: That is correct.
P: Explain to me how that was arrived at. You've used Maloney's basic model law,
You've talked to DeGrove. You've talked to Art Marshall. Who else was involved
in the actual production of this legislation?
C: A lot of the staff and board members of the two water management districts were
very interested and concerned. Of course, they had a right to be.
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 8
P: Was there some fear that they might lose some of their influence or funding?
C: Yeah. Both of those two districts were created as agencies of the state in
response to a federal mandate.
P: This is Flood Control.
C: Right. Flood Control and South West, both were responding to a federal project.
P: Comment a little bit on the actual relationship of these water management
districts to the state.
C: They are regional, independent bodies. The governing boards are appointed by
the executive branch, but they are regional, independent local governments.
P: Who else has influence here? I mean the sugar industry, agriculture, any number
of statewide lobbyists who have a lot to lose or gain, how did they impact the
process of producing this bill?
C: They were very vocal. The Farm Bureau was pretty much adamantly opposed.
There were some local chapters of Farm Bureaus that said, hey, we need some
protection. [It was the] same with most of the agricultural interest groups. Most
responsible foresters, I think paper companies and so forth, were under a federal
evolving mandate for best management practices. That included a lot of
protection of the waterways in the state and national forests. They understood
that these new things could be helpful to them
P: What about the environmentalists? What was their general view?
C: They were pretty unanimously in favor of it. Hal Scott was the executive director
of the Audubon Society of the state. He was extremely supportive. Sierra Club
was strongly involved. Marjorie Carr and Florida Defenders of the Environment
wholeheartedly endorsed [it]. The League of Women Voters Betty Castor was
a member of the local League of Women Voters [who] came to Tallahassee to
lobby for the bill and for the whole package.
P: What groups were most opposed?
C: Probably the power companies, the DuPont paper companies were. ..
P: Ed Ball...
C: Yes. They were not very favorable towards us.
P: Why would the utilities companies be so opposed?
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 9
C: Because they are such heavy consumptive users.
P: They thought that they would be restricted in their use.
C: Right. That they would have more permits they would have to comply with. [That
they would] have bureaucrats sticking their noses in their [water-use] rights
P: How influential were these groups? Did any of these groups make an impact on
what the initial legislation was-we'll talk later about how it's going to be modified.
Were you aware that, let's say, the utilities companies could come in and
[argue], you need to take this out or put this in, or poison[-pill] amendments, that
sort of thing?
C: Yes. We had a lot of discourse with Florida Power and Light, Florida Power, and
TECO. All of the major utilities were pretty much camped out in our offices
throughout the session.
P: This bill is going to be produced in about a year. That's unusual, I think it helped
because you already sort of had the base with the model bill [from Dean
Maloney]. Did you sort of work from that?
C: Absolutely. It could not have been done with me being the primary staff without
having so much of the language already available, to at least be considered. Not
necessarily adopted exactly the way it was written, but at least that formed the
basis for discussing the issues with the committee.
P: Two of the major provisions, and one we've already talked about, is this
reasonable beneficial concept. What was the other thing you thought was most
important about this legislation?
C: I think the two critical, critical issues are the hydrological boundaries, not political
boundaries, and the reasonable beneficial use definition. I do think there are a
lot of folks that deal with water management that really don't realize just how
important reasonable beneficial use is. They're still talking in terms of riparian
P: Just for the record, explain what riparian water law is.
C: Well, it's the old thing that everybody along the river, lake, water body, has a right
to use that water. They have to share it with the other riparians, but they don't
have to share it with trespassers-non-property-owners on that water body.
P: Once you get the initial legislation, obviously there have got to be some hearings,
and I think I remember there were something like four public hearings on this bill.
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 10
Describe those hearings, where they took place, who was involved.
C: We met in Palm Beach, Tampa, Tallahassee, Pensacola and we had one
scheduled for the Fort Myers area. There was a special session that was
convened at that time, so we had to reschedule it.
P: Obviously, you are going to have those same interest groups participating. What
about just laypeople? Somebody who's an individual farmer, not involved in any
of these other high-power lobbying groups. Did you have just laypeople just
come in and tell you what they thought?
C: Sure. I put out a press release to the local news media and it got quite a bit of
publicity in the newspaper, on television, and so forth. We had good turn-outs at
these meetings. Like you said, just average, interested citizens, as well as paid
lobbyists and so forth.
P: How much time would you give each person to present their views?
C: Pretty much as long as they wanted. We tried to encourage them to have
written, prepared remarks. If we started running short of time, we asked them to
summarize and leave us a copy for the record.
P: How did these public presentations impact the legislation?
C: It gave us some good ideas, particularly in the early stages. We got a lot of
input. We had the four meetings around the state and then we had regular
committee meetings in Tallahassee. Of course, that was not during the session,
that was mostly state agency people from Game and Fish Commission, and
Department of Natural Resources.
P: I was just curious. One of the, I guess, players would be Reedy Creek
Improvement District, which, of course, is Walt Disney. [That] is a very unique
kind of set-up in the state. Did they testify, and what were their interests?
C: I don't recall any direct testimony from them. We went down there and talked to
somebody that Jack Shreve knew, that was involved with the district.
P: Just out of curiosity, how much authority do they have over something like water?
I know they have authority over everything in that district; they [have] their own
police and all that. It's a mini-state, I guess.
C: It's an empire, an "evil empire."
P: What impact did federal agencies have in this? Did the Corps of Engineers
come and testify?
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 11
C: Yes, the Corps testified at length. As best I recall, there was some representation
of the Corps at each of the regional meetings. Either members of the Corps or
former members that were now state agency people testified on behalf of the
P: What was their major point?
C: [Their point was,] just remember that we have to be involved in what goes on.
P: We'll get into this later, but part of this is the Cross Florida Barge Canal.
P: Which has some impact later on. Now, at this point, there were two districts.
There was what I guess were called Swiftmud and South Florida.
C: That was called "Flood Control."
P: Yes, and they were both Flood Control Districts at that time.
C: Not Southwest. Its mandate from the outset from the federal legislation and the
follow-up regional agency had both water management, flood control and water
P: Both of them had ad valorem tax authority.
C: That's right.
P: This is 1971 as we go through the process of the new legislation. Once you get
through with the hearings, what is going to be the process at this point?
Describe what happens as you prepare this legislation to present to the
legislature for passage.
C: I did an awful lot of typing. [I] went through I-don't-know-how-many drafts, I
finally broke it up as the Model Code has been, into parts, and just started
presenting part one to the committee. Next meeting, I had part two ready, and
had made whatever revisions the committee had suggested and adopted on
each part that had already been hashed out. Until we got through all five, or six
P: Is this done by the task force that Askew had appointed? How did that influence
C: No, I personally, well, I had a part-time secretary to help me with the typing and
retyping over and over. I did it and turned it over to the Legislative Bill Directing
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 12
Committee Office. [I] wouldn't let them make many changes. They wanted to do
away with all the [separate] parts of the law and just do it all together. They
didn't like my numbering system.
P: At some point, there was this three-day seminar at Kissimmee River.
C: Right, River Ranch Acres.
P: Who was involved in that and what came out of that three-day meeting?
C: Okay, that was the governor's Task Force with John DeGrove chairing it; they
had break-out sessions. Everybody had their input, but it was not the jot and
tiddle of the legislative bill. It was a conceptual thing. We started out talking
about one omnibus bill that was going [to] do all of these things. Now we said,
wait a minute, there are too many players involved in this thing. Let's focus on
Water Resources [Act], the ELMS Bill, and State Comprehensive Planning Act,
and then the Bond Referendum. Those were the four biggies.
P: This task force was talking in broad generalities about environmental issues as
opposed to dealing with specific legislation.
P: Okay, now going back to where you are, you've got the essence of these four
bills. So, they go before legislature, what happens at this point?
C: Well, I was primarily concerned with the Water Resources Act. Bob Graham
carried the day, pretty much, with the ELMS Act and with the Referendum.
There were a lot of players on State Comprehensive Planning Act. That was
much more than just environmentalists involved in that. I use environmentalist in
a broad term. That had to do with land-use regulations of all descriptions,
everything from zoning issues at the local level to areas of regional impact, areas
of critical state concern. Those of course were environmental zoning and
transportation routes, [and] were only peripherally environmentally sensitive.
P: So, at this time, Bob Graham, who is a state senator, was involved. He set up
this not-for-profit organization.
C: That's correct.
P: Was that in support of all the bills? What did he call that and what was the
purpose of this not-for-profit organization? What was it, Four for Florida,
something like that?
C: Four for Florida's Future. He raised money. Somebody, I don't know who, came
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 13
up with issuing collector stamps that showed an egret, and a palm tree, and an
alligator, a very beautiful stamp. It was about that big, about two or three inch
squares. He sold those individual stamps or a sheet of stamps for four or five
dollars for a stamp or twenty dollars for a sheet, and used that money to
advertise these four issues.
P: How much money do you think he raised?
C: I don't really know. I know he had an awful lot [of stamps].
P: Enough to be effective?
C: Yes, definitely, all four of them passed. The Bond Referendum passed by a two-
to-one margin and the rest of the bills passed in the legislature, in some form,
[End of Tape A, Side 1.]
C: I know that we had an awful lot of those stamps left over. I used to have two or
three cellophane wrapped packages that I carried around for years and years. I
kept hoping that there would be a market for them some day, but they eventually
P: I wanted to ask you about something that you referred to as the Nuttall Rise
Blood Oath, what was that?
C: Nuttall Rise was an infamous place down on the Aucilla River where Rayborn
Home was, I guess, he was a Senate president and was a very influential
porkchopper, whether he was in or out of office he was a lobbyist. He [had] a
little fishing camp down where the Aucilla River rises back from being an
underground stream. The porkchoppers met there and they took this oath
amongst themselves to just fight tooth-and-nail any reapportionment plan that did
harm to rural interests. That was said to be the blood oath. At the close of the
task force hearing, John DeGrove called, who's going to stand with us on these
four bills, just about every hand in the room went up. So he said, okay, we're
gonna hold you to it.
P: Well, that's interesting because one of the things we discussed earlier is that the
legislature [had] changed, there were more South Floridians, it was more urban,
less rural [and it] made it easier to pass these bills. Now we see the
porkchoppers come out in support the bill?
C: No, no, no.
P: They oppose the bill.
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 14
C: Well, most of them were out of office. A lot of them were lobbyists at that point,
and many of them did oppose that bill for whoever's interest they were
representing. But no, it occurred to me as I was preparing these remarks that it
really was a blood oath challenge that DeGrove put to us.
P: Discuss, at this point, just take the Water Resources Act. Tell me essentially
what that act was, as it was presented to that legislature, and how it was
modified or changed.
C: Okay, the Act was in five parts. Let's see, it applies to all waters of the State
unless specifically exempted; it provides mechanism for the coordination for the
local, regional, state and federal water control programs to ensure against the
cross-purposes that have characterized past limited focus water control
programs. It assures that the policies and objectives of the water management
agencies will be functionally integrated into the overall state comprehensive plan.
It establishes five water management districts that cover all the territories of the
state. The taxing powers to existing districts are not impaired by the Act and the
new districts may implement ad valorem taxing program pursuant of the present
taxing provisions of Chapter 378 and Article 7 section, 9B.
P: Now that would take a constitutional amendment to do that?
C: No, they had authority under Chapter 378. All five had that authority now.
P: All five, okay.
C: In 1976, they set the millage rates in the Constitution and that became the
P: Now, what happened to the sixth district?
C: To clarify the ad valorem on taxing programs required a referendum in each
district before a tax could be levied. They did have a mechanism for the new
districts to impose an ad valorem tax.
P: Had the millage already been set for the first two?
C: Yes, in their special acts they created that.
P: Was that changed in 1976?
C: Was it changed?
P: Well, the first bill has been passed and that is the Water Resources Act, then the
second bill is ELMS, Environmental Land and Water Management Act. Talk
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 15
about that bill and what process that went through.
C: Well, as I said, I was not nearly as intimately involved with that. I did serve on
the Jay Landers Interagency Environmental Council. [Through] that council, I had
a lot of [insight] into the ELMS and the State Comprehensive Planning Act.
P: The essence of ELMS was that there should be some regional impact statement
made before any kind of development takes place?
P: That includes everything. It includes water, police, roads, [etc.] That is a broader
approach, as it were, than just dealing with water.
C: Very much broader.
P: The third bill was the ...
C: State Comprehensive Planning Act.
P: Tell me about that.
C: Again, I had interests, but not direct input, into that one.
P: And what is the essence of that Act?
C: Well, it provides that there will be a State Comprehensive Plan, that, as you say,
applies to everything from police protection to subdivision development to
location of schools and roads, hospitals.
P: Finally there was the bond issue. What was that to be specifically used for?
C: For the purchase of environmentally sensitive lands.
P: So this is the precursor to CARL?
C: That's right.
P: When you passed these last three bills, it's a pretty broad concept of the state of
Florida dealing with growth on a statewide as oppose to a regional level. Is that
C: Well, yes, it increased the state's presence in the planning process. All of the
bills had a planning component, even the Water Resources Act had a state water
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 16
P: That regional plan for the water management is part of, but separate, from these
other bills in a sense, is it not?
P: Okay, so then the Water Management Plans had to be part of the State
Comprehensive Plan, right?
C: That's right.
P: These bills, particularly the Water Resources Management Act, could not have
become law had not there been some strong leadership by Dick Pettigrew, and
Askew, but support from the Republicans as well.
C: That's very true.
P: Who in particular on the Republican side would have been helpful in the
C: Well, Joel Gustafson from Broward County and Jim Robinson from Pinellas
County were members of the Select Committee, so they had a lot of input. Joel
was a lawyer with a wide interest in all kind of activities, but he was
environmentally sensitive. Jim Robinson was primarily an environmentalist. That
was what he ran on for his entire tenure in the House.
P: So, it never really became a party issue at this time.
C: No, as I mentioned in the talking points, the dichotomy was more urban and rural
rather than Democrat and Republican.
P: What impact did Phil Lewis have on this legislation?
C: He was very vocal. He was at the River Ranch Acres [meeting] and participated
a lot in that discussion; [he was] always interested. You left out one key [person],
in mentioning Dick Pettigrew, [and that is] Jerry Thomas, who was president on
the Senate. He kept everybody's feet to the fire to get the bills out. They stayed
on special order calendar for a long time, but he was pushing and prodding and
making sure he had the votes.
P: And I presume that Dick Pettigrew did the same thing. Because we see Dick
Pettigrew later becomes a major player in environmental legislation, the
Everglades, for example. He obviously has some interest in it at this juncture.
You also mention when the Water Resources Act works its way through the
legislature from the committee. When it first comes out, there were thirty
amendments, most of them hostile. And you do indicate that Buddy Blain
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 17
declared that the bill was dead. [laughs.] How did you turn it around?
C: I would have to say that the speaker [of the Florida House], the president [of the
Florida Senate], and the governor just button-holed legislators and lobbyists both,
and just said, this is must-have legislation. All of those bills were must-pass
legislation, and if you don't pass it in the regular session, don't pack your bags,
because I'm going to call you back.
P: Was the issue that, in order to be successful, you needed all four bills? Or could
there been a situation where, if only three had passed, that would have been an
C: I think when we came out of River Ranch Acres, they kind of said, well, its going
to be hard to get all four of them passed. And that's why they, what I called the
Blood Oath, was administered. I think there were a lot of awful people that were
flabbergastedly surprised when the Water Management Resources Act was
P: That was the most difficult to get passed?
P: Who was opposed that, specifically? Could you give me an example of some of
the hostile amendments, what they were trying to do?
C: Dick Jones was a lobbyist for Florida Power and Light, I think. He got an
amendment in there that called for closed water systems to be exempt for most
of the permitting process. They still had to meet some standard.
P: Closed water systems would apply to the utility company.
C: Yes, that's their cooling ponds, and things of that nature.
C: As long as it is completely contained within their property. The size of that thing
changed several times, [it] kept getting bigger and bigger.
P: How did you overcome the influence of the utility companies?
C: Well, we accepted that amendment, but tightened it up a little bit and got some
concessions from them. I don't remember the exact nature of all of that.
P: But, in the long run, when this bill is completed, were you and the people of the
task force satisfied with it? Or was it the best you could get?
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 18
C: It was the best that we could get. There's a saying in the legislature, if
everybody's happy, then there is something wrong with the legislation. You want
to have a level of discomfort on behalf of the opponents and the proponents. We
had that. Nobody was one hundred percent happy with it.
P: How did you feel about it personally?
C: Exhausted. Just absolutely whipped.
P: As I recall, one of the other exceptions, there were some restrictions on eminent
domain? What would they be?
C: Essentially, eminent domain could only be used for water supply. Once the
eminent domain had been exercised, you could have recreational use on it, but
you could not condemn land strictly for recreational use.
P: Also, it would be a restriction on entering private property at any time to evaluate
the water I can't remember exactly how it was worded.
C: Anywhere there was a use permit ...
P: Already in existence ...
C: Already in existence the House Bill had some language that, frankly, I was
concerned about being overreaching. Any authorized agent of a water
management district or the Department of Natural Resources could go on to any
private property that had a use permit. No notice, no subpoena.
P: And the final bill did require both notice and a subpoena before you could do
C: No, it was removed in the Senate, all that language was just taken out in the
Senate. And I felt a lot better about it. The water supply and the flood control
were the primary uses of eminent domain.
P: In this original bill, it seems to me what is going to be regulated is water quantity,
as opposed to water quality. In fact, water quality was removed from the bill?
C: All references to water quality were removed.
P: Who was in favor of getting that out of the bill?
C: Obviously, the old Board of Pollution Control didn't want to share power.
P: So, this was sort of a bureaucratic conflict then?
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 19
C: Well, no. All water users had a reluctance to blend the two. Water quality and
water quantity traditionally had been separate issues. I used to say that the
water managers didn't care if it was pea soup, and the water quality people
wanted it to be crystal clear.
P: Is that the way it should be? Because I remember the water wars with the
authority and the district, you know, there was some conflict about those kinds of
issues. Should the regulator be the person who is dealing both with quality and
quantity of water?
C: It makes an awful lot of good sense to do it, but I can see the reluctance that was
very much in the majority at that time.
P: What would you say about today?
C: I think it's working pretty well today. The Department of Environmental
Regulation has districts that exactly mimic the Water Management District. I
think for the most part the two agencies work real well together.
P: So, it's still basically divided between the two state agencies. DNR does the
quality, water management does the quantity?
C: It's blended.
P: Let me get back to this bill. Once the bill has passed, explain what happens in
the process of developing the water districts.
C: The first thing that had to take place was the legislature was not about to draw
the boundaries; had they done so, it would have been a big mess. So, we
delegated that to the Department of Natural Resources to draw the boundary
lines along the hydrologic basins and include all territories in the state in [some]
P: How did they ultimately do that? This is DNR that does this, right?
C: Right, they had a lot of it already done up; I've got the map in here someplace.
P: There's going to be this sixth district that's around, what happened to that
C: It never really got off the ground. I don't even remember it that much; it must
have been in. .. let's see, I left the legislature in 1973 after the session, so it
must have been in 1974. Is that when the Coastal Ridge Proposal was floating
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 20
P: So, the sixth district was ultimately incorporated into the other five. At this time
you were working on the environmental coordinating council? What was that and
what was your function?
C: It was made up of just about all of the state agencies that had any kind of
involvement in land-planning, water use planning, pollution control the flood
control and water management district had representation. It just provided an
opportunity for all of the players from all of the agencies to get together about
once a month to give a status report on what's going on in transportation, natural
resources, game and fish, so forth. The legislature was invited to participate and
that's why I was there.
P: How long did you stay in this position?
C: From 1970 to 1973.
P: At some point, you leave the legislative staff to go to work for the Democratic
Party, is that right? What was your function there?
C: I was Deputy Director. There were two deputy directors there, and an executive
P: So, how did you get involved with the Northwest Florida Water Management
C: I happened to run into Jay Landers on the street one day and I said, you know,
I'm not working for the state anymore, I'd be interested in getting on the Board.
He said, well, that wouldn't be a bad idea. Next thing I knew, I've got a
P: Why Northwest?
C: That's where I lived, in Tallahassee.
P: Did you know anybody at the agency at all, when you started?
C: Well, Calvin Winter had been hired at our first meeting, as the Executive Director
of the Board. He had, I think, he had two or three employees that he had gotten
from the Department of Natural Resources. Rich McWilliams and Sally
Saunders, who became Sally McWilliams, was secretary. And Jim May, I think,
was already on board.
P: Let me ask you a little about these boards. They are appointed by the Governor
at this time, so obviously in this case you were appointed by Askew. How would
you assess [his] appointments, at least to the Board you were on? Were they
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 21
good appointments? Were they diverse appointments? Did they cover the range
C: The initial Board was stacked. I didn't think too highly of several of the board
members. Some of them were really good, Dick Hood, Benson Skelton, James
Ward, were very, very conscientious.
P: Stacked in what way?
C: Conservative, almost reactionary. [They would ask,] why should we have a
district in Northwest Florida?
P: Why would Askew make those appointments?
C: He let Harvey Cotton make them.
P: Did that restrict the development of Northwest Florida Management District?
C: Yes, it, frankly, let Calvin Winter run amuck for way too long.
P: Why would anybody serve on a Water Management Board? It is a very complex
subject. There is no pay. There are no perks. It's an important job, but it is,
obviously, a extremely difficult job. So, why would you want to serve on this
C: I just wanted to keep a hand in it.
P: Since you had some influence [from the beginning.]
C: It was my baby, and I at least wanted to try and influence how it got off the
P: Can one person on a board make much difference?
C: Yeah, it was pretty much a five-four split on the board. Four people with very
limited knowledge of what they were there for and five were conscientious, not as
environmentally as friendly as me perhaps, but wanted to do well for the district.
P: So, the board is nine people appointed for what term?
C: Four of them were appointed for a four-year term and five of us were appointed
for a two-year term.
P: If we just look at the Board: what about conflict of interest? What if an issue
comes before the Board and somebody is representing utilities and an issue
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 22
comes up that directly affects that individual? Do they recuse themselves? How
does that work?
C: Occasionally, someone would recuse. Most of the time they would say, I have
an interest, but I think I can exercise proper judgment.
P: How could you remove a member of the Board?
C: Get the Governor to do it.
P: On what basis?
C: Misfeasance, malfeasance, or failure to fease.
P: So if someone simply didn't attend meetings or didn't do their work, they could be
P: When you look at the initial process, what you were doing here, literally, was
drawing up rules and regulations from the get-go. Explain how that process
worked, and how much influence the Executive Director had and how much
influence the Board had.
C: Well, the Executive Director had too much influence. I think he overwhelmed the
Board with minutiae. They had packets literally that thick for every meeting and
nobody was reading it. He would slip some important stuff in there. [He] slipped
it in so far deep in the pile [then] he'd be able to pull it out and say, but you
agreed to this six months ago.
P: What kind of early projects were the Board and the district involved in?
C: Mostly we were engaged in coming up with our regional water plan to become
part of the [DNR State Water Plan and State Comprehensive Plan].
P: So one of the things you would do was scientifically determine what the
resources in the district were, what the problems were, and make a report to the
board about what should be done in the future.
C: That's what the staff was there to do. They had good credentials.
P: That's the next thing I was going to ask about, the staff. In the very beginning,
did you have a lot of good scientific information? Did you have a hydrologist, the
engineers, the whole diverse gamut of scientific input?
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 23
C: Yeah, we had a biologist, several people with engineering backgrounds. Jim
Stidham was an engineer. Rich McWilliams had worked for the U.S. Geological
Survey, and [he] had a master's degree in, I don't remember what his master's
was in. He had done most of his work toward a Ph.D. in an environmental field.
P: How many people were on staff in the beginning?
C: It was about twelve, I think.
P: This was by far and away the smallest district, in terms of staff?
C: I think Suwanee was probably about the same or smaller. St. John's hit the
ground running with a pretty big staff.
P: When you started, did you get much information and guidance from Swiftmud
and South Florida?
C: Yes, James Ward, Dick Hood, I think Benson Skelton and I, flew in Ward's plane
down to Brooksville and spent a day there in the office in Swiftmud.
P: Speaking of that, where was the location of the [Northwest] headquarters and
who decided that?
C: The initial location was in an office complex in Tallahassee. It was one of Lee
Everhart's developments and Calvin Winter made that recommendation to the
Board. I guess it was about 1975 when we moved out to Midway?
P: Where exactly is Midway?
C: It's midway between Tallahassee and Quincy.
P: It [is] interesting; in almost all the districts the location is never in, except for
South Florida, I guess, an urban area. Somebody has argued in the past that
this was to develop places like Brooksville and Palatka. You know, allow the
state to have a presence in these smaller communities and help build these
communities up economically. Was that an issue at all here?
C: I had never heard it articulated as such.
P: So, why would it be moved from the state capital to Midway?
C: It was a nice piece of property that had been declared surplus by the Division of
Forestry. At one time, [it] had a fire tower on it; it closed down and dismantled the
tower and was on their inventory of unnecessary land. It was too small and had
a good-size creek running through it, so it wasn't something they could put a pine
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 24
plantation or anything like that.
P: So the Board voted to move from Tallahassee to Midway. Was that unanimous,
or without much controversy?
C: Without much controversy. The price was very reasonable for what was there.
P: People could still commute from Tallahassee to Midway, you didn't have to
C: Oh yes. We had members of the Board from Pensacola to Jefferson County.
P: Physically, it is a pretty broad district, isn't it?
C: Thirteen counties.
P: What would you say would be the main characteristic of this district in terms of
C: At that time, it appeared to be unlimited. [It was] of good quality and unlimited.
We saw the writing on the wall pretty quickly when we started getting at the
scientific data-where the growth was being located, along the coast. So much of
that whole district is in government ownership, Eglin Air Force Base, state parks,
state forests, national forests. So, there's not much tax base in that district.
P: When you started out, while you were on the board, you were also personnel
director, is that correct?
C: The personnel committee.
P: What did you do? I guess at some point you had to draw[-up] descriptions of
jobs because you're starting to hire these people.
C: That's right. That's what the committee did, myself as chairman, Benson Skelten
and Dick Hood. We were all [living in] either Tallahassee or Quincy and could
P: So, you would use that committee to design the workforce, in addition to
describing what their job would be?
P: What kind of innovations did you have? I know at one point one of the concepts
was the public information officer. And I know from other agencies at this time,
that was not always a popular view-we don't need a public information officer.
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 25
Was there some discussion of that at the time?
C: No. Nobody in the general population knew about the Northwest district. We
needed to generate some information, not propaganda, but tell them what it is
that we're proposing to do. We're not going to be issuing permits for every little
drop of water in the district or anything like that, we're just good old boys. We're
not the enemy. It's local government, we're not a state agency.
P: What was your description of that job? As to the functions of the public
C: To put out press releases, communicate with groups; I spoke to several services
clubs like Rotary and Lions and so forth. Just getting out and spreading the word
that this new agency was here to help you.
P: Once you read the description, you thought that would be a good job for you.
[laughs.] So, in order to take that job, you had to resign from the board.
P: When you took this job, one of the issues that comes up a lot later is that, not
only is it educational information, but it is also, to a certain degree, public
relations. Was that part of your charge when you started out?
C: Sure. To, well, as I say, go to the service clubs; I spoke to Leon High School
P: Would you get involved in legislation in Tallahassee? You represented the
district, as it were, in those activities.
P: How much time effort and money would have been spent on publication, vis a vis
the rest of the organization. Was this a very significant part?
C: No, probably less then ten thousand dollars, substantially less than ten thousand
P: You were the only one? Did you have help?
C: Well, there was the secretary assigned to three or four of us.
P: Once you resign from the board, you go back to law school at Florida State
University, is that right?
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 26
C: Well, not immediately.
P: What happened after you resigned from the board? You do the public
information, how long do you do that?
C: I'm not real sure. Probably about a year.
P: Probably 1975? Does that sound right? Then you resign that position. why did
you do that?
C: Because Calvin told me to juggle the budget figures to present to the legislature.
I told him I couldn't do it.
P: You mean juggle as in present false, misleading information?
P: What was the thinking behind this? What was he trying to do?
C: He was trying to increase the budget. [He was] trying to say he had spent all of
the money from the current year's appropriation when he had not spent it. The
board had not authorized him to spend it.
P: Did the budget get submitted with false, misleading information? Because you
said you wouldn't do it, did somebody else do it?
C: He tried to get a lady, because she was, I guess, the office manager, and she
didn't want to do it either. I think she finally felt the pressure that she got it
modified somewhat. Made it more reasonable, but still.
P: Did anybody find out about it or challenge it?
C: Not to my personal knowledge.
P: Is this why you resigned?
P: Okay. You had also had mentioned earlier, you thought the Executive Director
had, perhaps a little too much power, had been acting rather erratically. So, it's
clear you didn't have a high regard for him as Executive Director anyway, and
this would have been a specific issue.
C: He had run off so many of our scientists.
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 27
P: He ran off scientists, that's a good question. Because there's been this sort of
criticism that [Water Management Districts] are not always amenable to listening
to hard science in making decisions. Was that the case when you were on the
C: No. We weren't doing a whole lot of regulation. We were still trying to be the
good neighbor. Just good old boys, like the rest of the district.
P: Okay, at that point you're going to end up getting back on the board. How does
C: Well, I wrote, basically, an indictment of Winter and had documented all of the
things. I had tried to get it behind us, I don't remember all of the things. By the
time I got back on the board and made the motion to remove him, there were
only two of the original staff that were still on board.
P: The rest of them had left, or had been fired.
[End of Tape A, Side 2].
P: Now, once you're back on the board of the Northwest Florida Water Management
District, you're going to bring up a vote of no confidence against the Executive
C: That's correct.
P: Explain what happened under those circumstances and the result of that vote.
C: Well, I made no bones when I got back on the board that I did not approve of his
conduct. The first board meeting that I had attended, there was an item on the
agenda to consider everybody's job performance that was on the staff. I called
for division of the question and asked to vote on each one of them individually. I
voted "yes" on everybody but him. So, he was on notice right then.
P: Was he aware that he was going to be voted off?
P: Did the board change from the time you were on it before until this time?
C: Yes. Just like it was a fortuitous event, I ran into Jay Landers and expressed my
interest to be on the board to begin with. That day I went to Tom Coldaway with
my list of charges and my concerns and then I came back and I delivered the
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 28
same package to the Director and he said, well, you're fired. [I replied,] I can't be
fired because I've already turned in my resignation to the chairman, your boss.
So, he demanded that I clear out my office and get out of there as quickly as
possible, which I did. I stopped for gas on my way home and I ran into Jim
Apthorp [Governor Askew's chief of staff]. He said, Hey, Frank how you doing?
And I said, Well, it's hard to tell, I've either been fired or resigned [laughs.] So, he
wanted to know the details, so I gave him a copy of the letter, the indictment.
P: We should mention Jim Apthorp was key advisor to Governor Askew.
C: Either Chief of Staff, or Assistant Chief of Staff, I forget exactly which.
P: So, he wanted to know what was going on, and I gave him the stuff. That was on
a Friday afternoon, he said, well, how about [you give me] a candid assessment
about how you feel about the members of the board. I said, I'll think about it and
get back with you on Monday. I went in on Monday and I told him, we've got
some deadwood on that board. He said, I kind of got that impression. We'll see
if we can't change it, because it's about time to reappoint.
P: Four of them had two-year appointments, right?
C: I'm not sure which. ..
P: But anyway their appointments were up?
C: Yes. That would have been the four-year people.
P: What did Askew do about the composition of the board?
C: Put me back [up]. Put General Henry Lane on from Pensacola. Excellent
retired General. I don't remember who the others Lloyd Hinote was not
reappointed. Jerry, somebody from Pensacola, I can't think of his last name.
P: [Askew] changed the composition of the board to be less friendly to the Executive
Director. Would that be correct?
C: Yes. What I did then was, I didn't initiate any conversations with anybody on the
board, but I just noted when James Ward said something, I jotted it down. Dick
Hood said something; I jotted it down. When I was convinced that I had a super
majority, I made the motion.
P: What was the vote?
C: Well, it was a voice vote and nobody voted to retain.
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 29
P: What happened at that point? Was he in effect fired?
C: We recessed for a few minutes and then came back. I made the motion to
dismiss him immediately, and again, it was without objection.
P: Was he shocked?
C: He knew it was coming. A lot of people thought it would happen the month
before it did. But I just wanted to be sure we absolutely had the vote. We did it
in his hometown of Pensacola. Boy, did that seem awful.
P: How long did you stay on the board at this point?
C: Until 1978.
P: How did things change after that point? You have a new Executive Director.
C: Right, we had an interim. We appointed Jim Stidham as the interim Executive
Director. Then initiated a nationwide search and Bill McCartey became
Executive Director. Things went real well during my term on the board. I moved
to Tampa, as I said in 1978, but McCartey had a much more professional
attitude. I understand it later on it got almost as bad as the previous director. I
was not aware of that.
P: Once you have a new director [in] 1978, what kind of projects are you working on
at this junction?
C: We were into regulating wells and developing rules to issue consumptive-use
permits to large developers and power companies.
P: What kind of standards did you have for these permits?
C: I don't really remember. We pretty much adapted the regulations from the older
established districts. I don't remember the real details.
P: Was there a development of a lot of new well-fields?
C: Not well-fields. There was a lot of new construction, both residential and
commercials, Large-scale shopping malls and things of that nature used a lot of
P: In this case, you still had plenty of water.
C: At that time, we knew that one of the problems we were seeing develop, and it's
still a problem today, is the Chattahoochee River is flowing into the Apalachicola
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 30
River. [We've] been trying to get a tri-state agreement between Georgia,
Alabama, and Florida forever on that.
P: [This dispute] may go on forever.
C: I'm afraid so, but we were very concerned about the Apalachicola and a lot of the
other rivers, the Black Water, Chocktawhatchee.
P: Were you interested in developing new sources of water?
C: No, I don't recall that being a real concern so much as just being sure that we
didn't get too many wells impacting on our flowing springs.
P: How about wetlands mitigation, were you involved in that?
C: The term was bandied about, I don't recall us ...
P: It was probably a little early.
C: Yes, it was a conceptual idea.
P: How about land purchases?
C: We started doing major, major land purchasing, particularly along the
P: Where did you get the money? Did you get it from CARL? Did you have your
C: There were some direct general appropriations to all of the districts for land
purchase. I don't recall the exact source of all the funding.
P: Can the water management district [issue] bonds to raise funds?
C: They can.
P: Most of the money would come either from state appropriations or your ad
P: When you were on the board, what were your biggest problems? Other than
personnel and executive directors.
C: There was definitely a contingent on the board that was from Missouri; they really
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 31
had to be convinced of the need to make these outlandish purchases of land.
[They would say], buying up more land, Northwest Florida, it's already got too
much public land. It took quite a bit of discussion to bring them around, to show
them the need. We went on field trips and stuff like that, took them out and
showed them what the quality of water was. Even though we didn't have all that
much authority in quality, we'd look at the sandbars in the Apalachicola River, the
turbidity, dissolved oxygen levels, fish kills, and stuff like that. We were able to
convince everybody. We tried to operate more by consensus, rather than 5-4
P: How important was the chairman of the board, as opposed to an individual board
C: The chairman sets the tone. Tom Coldaway had been chairman for four years, I
guess, and then Henry Lane became the chairman at the same meeting where
we discharged the director. There was a change in leadership style. Coldaway
tended to demand votes, General Lane was a much more consensus-builder.
He was on the phone a lot.
P: How did the Sunshine Law [law that provides a right of access to governmental
proceedings at both the state and local levels] impact the board's deliberations?
C: We were careful of it. Like I said, I was particularly careful not to engage in any
plots in my activities. Particularly after we got indicted, we got real careful about
P: Can you tell me about that [indictment]?
C: Well, there was a grand jury in session in Pensacola, and so Mr. Winter went
over there and got the ear of the assistant state attorney who was counsel to the
Grand Jury. At first they returned a no true bill. Then he said something else,
and they reconvened and then indicted seven of the nine members.
P: For violation of Sunshine Law. In other words, he was trying to say that you had
a cabal to overthrow him, and in so doing, you had violated the law?
C: That's right.
P: And the ultimate result?
C: The judge quashed the indictment and issued an order that all of the parties were
not to publicly discuss the matter.
P: When you look at the process of purchasing land and controlling water
distribution, how did you get along with or how did you relate to local
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 32
C: We mostly were concerned with the local county commissions of the adjacent
counties along the Apalachicola River in particular. We worked quite extensively
with them to keep them informed about what we were considering for purchase.
We worked out some land swaps with some of the counties. I don't remember
much of the details, which counties they were.
P: Let's just take for example, Escambia, which is a big county. Would they be
supportive or resistant when you began as a water management district?
C: They were suspicious. Of course, Escambia, in particular, has had a long history
of not being one of the stellar counties. They all wanted to know what was in it
for them, not every member, but a number of them.
P: Would they try to prevent decision-making on your part, [or bring] lawsuits, or
would they disagree with you? How would they express their discontent or
C: In my tenure, there was not any threat of a lawsuit. One or two commissioners
would come to the board meetings and they would write letters to us individually-
to the board members, to the executive director. You know, just expressing their
point of view. I didn't feel coerced or anything like that. [I] just wanted to get
input, really. Glad to have it.
P: So, when you were Public Information Director, one of the objects of your
education would have been, particularly, the county commissions. The bigger
counties, I presume, would carry more weight.
C: Probably, with the majority of the board, they would.
P: How do you feel about appointing board members as opposed to having them
C: As you said earlier, it's a thankless job. There's no question, you have to be a
political animal to want to do it. I think that we've been very fortunate to have
enough people that have been willing to put up with it, to be appointed. Some
were very knowledgeable, some didn't know beans about it when they started
and became knowledgeable.
P: The argument is that some Governors could appoint political hacks who had
agendas, and if they were elected they would be more responsible to the people
of the district.
C: The populist in me would like to believe that to be true, but I just don't know who
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 33
would subject themselves to running for an office, particularly if it continues to be
P: A lot of people would argue that by being appointed it gives them a certain
degree of independence, and that's a strength as opposed to a weakness.
C: Yes, I think so. That you don't have to be quite as careful about public opinion.
You can be independent.
P: Every time you run for reelection obviously, that's going to affect the kind of
decisions you make, right?
P: In this case, if you don't do your job, you can be removed, as we've seen. Are
there, generally speaking from your experience, enough people who ultimately
know about water management to make good decisions. In essence the board
runs the water management district, is that correct? Or is the idea you hire the
best people you can hire and let them do their job?
C: I think most of the boards preferred to have an oversight role and let the experts,
the staff, come to the board with recommendations [to] keep the board fully
apprised with what's going on.
P: Did you have any problems similar to the water wars with Swiftmud?
C: Not at that time, I think they've had some since.
P: How do you feel about that? If growing communities, Tampa-St. Petersburg, for
example, don't have enough water for their constituents, as it were, and your
district has surplus water. What's wrong with [St. Pete] using that water? Since
the state mandates that it is a state-wide resource, what's wrong with taking the
water from an area that has more and giving it to a community that lacks water?
C: Well, first I need to tell you my first interest in water was growing up in Northwest
Hillsborough County. The statute of limitations has run [out], so I can admit this
now. We had adults that were dynamiting water-control structures in the lakes
and Northwest Hillsborough County. Us teenagers decided to be more
responsible and so we went out and painted on all of the St. Pete pumps,
"Keystone Si, St. Pete, No. We don't steal your green benches, don't steal our
water." Some of them finally got caught. Luckily I was on a date that night.
P: Hillsborough, with the river, sort of has their own water, don't they?
C: Well, back in the early 1960s, it was so polluted, fish kills and so forth, that it was
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 34
not a viable option for potable water.
P: So you would be opposed to taking water across water management districts.
P: What would be the main opposition to that?
C: That there's not a surplus. We've got what's called Local Sources First
legislation that was introduced here in Citrus County. It is the law now.
P: Plus, it changed the hydrology of that district, wouldn't it?
P: If you were pulling water out of that district, it has to change the water-table.
C: The Senate Natural Resources Committee had a series of public hearings
around the state last year. My lady friend and I went up to Chiefland; she's from
Levy County. We went up there and they filled the high school auditorium. They
had us sitting in the gym. The gym was over half-full too, well over a thousand
people in attendance. It was unanimous nobody was in favor of transferring
outside of the district.
P: This is a little bit off the subject. Now Bush [Jeb Bush Florida governor, 1999-
present; Florida secretary of commerce, 1987-1988] has appointed a statewide
water board. Do you see that as a threat to the water management district?
That the statewide board might come in and usurp some of their decision making
C: Yes, I don't believe that's a sound policy.
P: When you were Public Information Director at Northwest, what would you and the
board do about conservation of water? What kinds of programs would you
C: We had some canned public information spots on low-flow toilets, just general
"don't water excessively" messages. Some of the cities already had local
regulations on days of the week that you could water, and how much, and what
times periods, that sort of thing.
P: What about waste water, grey water, things like that?
C: There is a grey water treatment plant in Tallahassee that was already in
existence. We just pretty much monitored that activity. We didn't try to regulate
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 35
it in any way.
P: Was desalinization ever an issue? You probably had enough water so it
probably wasn't a prominent issue. Is that a solution for increased water supply?
C: Well, if Tampa Bay is any [indication], it seems like such a source, but it never
has been effective in this country. Israel apparently has the solution, it works
over there, but I haven't heard of a de-sal [de-salinization] plant anywhere in this
country that's really been cost effective.
P: It's very expensive. Did you as a board ever issue any emergency orders? I
know that is sort of unusual but under certain conditions I guess you could -
severe drought, something like that.
P: Did you frequently, during drought, issue for the region a hold on washing cars,
or watering lawns, or restrict it to Monday, Wednesday, Friday? Did you have
the authority to do that? Or would you just tell the local governments to do that?
C: We had the general authority. We never needed to exercise it during my tenure.
P: How would you enforce something like that?
C: Well, here it is supposed to be enforced by the sheriff, but there's not very much
that's been done to actually enforce it. It's just more peer pressure from the
neighbors, and that sort of thing.
P: Would you say that the education of consumers in terms of conservation has
helped the problem over the years? I would guess that most people either don't
know or don't think about it. Most people have no idea where their water comes
from, nor do they care as long as they get it.
C: I think it's true that most don't care where it comes from, but I think by and large
the general population is pretty cognizant that we're on at least the borderline of
severe shortages. Citrus County is growing so fast right now that we can't afford
to continue to build at the rate that we're building and get the increased
population that's coming in here.
P: So, whose responsibility does that become? Local government, [the] state
legislature? There's really not much the water management districts can do
about that, except educate.
C: Yes, it is an educational function for the districts. The State Comprehensive Plan
needs more teeth, I guess, to just make good land-use decisions and not just
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 36
keep building and building and building.
P: What would be your view, particularly with your experiences, of the weaknesses
of the water boards? And, obviously, your experience with Northwest, what are
the major weaknesses?
C: Time demands on the board. I would spend a minimum of ten hours a week on
water management business of one sort or another. [I was] reading reports,
visiting with the staff in the office, you know, I only lived a few miles from the
headquarters, even when it moved to Midway.
P: All of these people have other jobs?
C: A few of them were retired. Some of those reports are damn boring and hard to
P: Some people argue that the water management districts, particularly with the
taxing authority, had too much authority. They really don't answer to anybody,
they're not really regulated by the legislature. They're not really regulated by the
natural resources, or by DER or whatever was the parent organization. How
would you respond to those criticisms?
C: My impression is that there is a good working relationship between the DER at
the district level, co-terminus boundaries, and, I guess, probably most cases they
are co-located right in the same building or nearby. So, there's more collegial
back and forth.
P: At the end of every year, did the board, or the executive director, have to submit
a report, to the DER, to the legislature about what you had done in the past year?
C: Yes, I think, in the budget request we would highlight activities where the money
had gone, and that sort of thing.
P: And you were audited by the state?
P: Was there a sort of water management inspection team that would come by and
see if you were doing what you were supposed to be doing?
C: Not to my knowledge.
P: Should the water management districts be more responsible to the local
governments in the expenditure of these ad valorem taxes? I know, for example,
both the state and local governments are requesting water management districts
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 37
to do all these new projects. I don't know how that's changed since the time you
C: We were not overwhelmed with requests.
P: Let me get back, before we run out of time, to the constitutional amendment [of]
1975 which would set up the ad valorem millage rates for all the districts. Can
you talk a little bit about that? How the millage was set?
C: Well, it initially was set after the constitutional amendment was the law, that it
was established at one mil for the four districts and .05 of a mil in the Northwest.
P: Now there's been some discussion that it really was suppose to be .5, instead of
.05 and it was just a typographical error of some kind?
C: Well, I don't know exactly what it was. As far as I know, there was not a
submitted amendment. It was by voice vote that it was changed in the committee
and nobody felt badly enough about it to try to correct it.
P: Nobody from this area had any opposition to it? They could see clearly that this
was a dramatically smaller millage than the other four districts.
C: Yes, most of our board members were pretty upset about it, but they didn't really
want to be seen as advocating tax increases.
P: That's what my question was. You would think, because the major opposition
would probably have been in this district, in the Panhandle, to taxes, that the
major support would have already been in South Florida. Do you think they
changed it for political purposes? That it would be easier for the constitutional
amendment to pass if there were less taxing on the Northwest District?
C: I'm sure that was the intent. Quite frankly, we probably didn't need a full mil up
P: It seems to me that .3 was suggested or .5 was suggested. Wouldn't that have
been a much more reasonable option than .05?
C: Yes. At the first meeting of the select committee we asked what the millage rates
were in the two existing districts. One was .3 and one was .5, that's what was
actually being the tax rate.
P: What is the impact on Northwest with this low millage?
C: It had to be more creative of finding other sources of grants. They don't seem to
be too poor.
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 38
P: So, in the long run, would you say this was sufficient for their purposes? On the
assumption that any agency would like to have more money.
C: I just don't have personal knowledge of what their budgets are these days.
P: But at the time, when you were on the board, it did impact the development of
Northwest. I mean, clearly, they are not going to have as much money to do
C: That's right.
P: [To] hire people [and] to purchase land, that sort of thing. Your district would
have evolved more slowly?
P: Particularly St. John's, as an example. Talk about how this constitutional
amendment was passed? Obviously, people went around the state in support of
it. There was a lot of money spent on education. You were opposed to it, why?
C: Well, in the first place, I particularly did not like the discrimination against my
district. I argued, number one, that the ad valorem tax as the primary source of
revenue for the districts in general was not the [best] way to get money; it puts
the boards in a posture of almost having to promote growth to promote revenue.
I didn't like that and I particularly didn't like it for the Northwest district, who
already had much of its land in public ownership and had some of the lowest
property values in the state, to get the double whammy. [I mean] if you don't
have the tax base and you've got such a ridiculously low millage rate.
P: So you weren't opposed to the concept of funding these districts fairly and
equitably, you just didn't particularly like ad valorem taxes. What would have
been better? Permit fees, user tax?
C: User tax. Water use tax, and just pennies per thousand gallons.
P: But if they had put in a water use tax, a user tax, would that constitutional
amendment have passed?
C: I don't think so, not without a whole lot of education.
P: So, again to some degree, the political issue here is, if [the state included] these
ad valorem taxes, it is more likely that the constitutional amendment will pass.
They had to have that in order to have these districts function properly, right?
C: Yes. I knew it wasn't going to win, but I just wanted to let the public know that
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 39
there are some alternatives out there.
P: In this process, where were the environmental groups? Did they support this
C: The state Audubon society opposed it, but the tropical Audubon in Dade County
and Broward County, they supported the amendment.
P: In the long run, as you look back on it, when you try to assess the Water
Resources Act and all the millage decisions, how do you see that working out?
Did it work out better than you anticipated, or not as good?
C: I'm reasonably satisfied.
P: What makes the water management districts in Florida so unique? There's
nothing else like it in the United States, is there?
C: Not that I'm aware of. I think it is sort of like the bumblebee. The miracle is not
that it can fly, but that it can fly well. It's aerodynamically unsound, but it works. I
don't really know why it works, except that a lot of people have good faith and put
a lot of effort into making it work.
P: So you think the water management districts have been good stewards of the
Florida environment and water?
C: Yes. Mistakes have been made, but it's humans that are involved, so there are
always going to be mistakes.
P: You always have the legislature to deal with, so they can meddle in various
C: For good or ill.
P: Something I'd forgotten to ask about earlier, what impact did the Cross Florida
Barge Canal have?
C: Nixon [Richard M. Nixon U.S. President, 1969-1974; U.S. Vice President under
Eisenhower, 1953-1961] had already stopped it. [He] had issued the executive
order, and it went to court. The court said that he didn't have the authority. That
Congress had started the ball rolling and Congress would have to act. By that
time, there was enough of a nation-wide environmental movement, if you will,
that it was dead in the water. It was just a matter of, what do you do with the
structures that are in place? What do you do with the taxes that had been
collected by the counties along the route? and that sort of thing.
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 40
P: You think that was a correct decision to stop it?
C: Oh, absolutely. Although at the time I said jokingly, but kinda truthfully too, that I
thought we ought to go through with it and then just stomp up and down on the
south side of it until South Florida just breaks off of it and goes into Cuba.
P: Yes, that would have created some opposition. What do you think should be the
functions of the water management districts in the future?
C: Keep on keeping on and discourage growth. I know that's unpopular.
P: What do they need that they don't have now? Do they need more authority? Do
they need more money, what?
C: More conscientious board members.
P: Better appointees?
C: Better appointees. More dedicated public servants.
P: Could you change it favorably if you were to begin paying board members?
Maybe you could get a higher quality individual, for example, some
environmentalist you may not have been able to afford to be on the board.
C: I would be reluctant to try to set a salary or a stipend or whatever.
[End tape B, Side 1].
C: There has been discussion, even as the bill was working its way through back in
1972, that, perhaps, we needed to have designated professions or qualifications
among the board members. One is that they need to come from all areas within
the district. That then there ought to be a soil scientist, a hydrologist. [That there
should be a] background in some kind of educational or professional
qualifications for board membership.
P: So, that would be as opposed to having one farmer, one environmentalist ,and
somebody representing utilities, that you would go more towards professional
qualifications to be diverse. So that you would have a hydrologist and an
engineer as opposed to people representing businesses or segments of the
C: Yes, in general. I'd want some input into what those qualifications are.
P: What else do water management districts need that would enable them to deal
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 41
with what is, in many cases, let's take Citrus County, almost runaway growth?
C: A better educated population. The districts can't be responsible for doing all of
P: Isn't the key generally county commissions? I mean, they're the ones that are
going to make the approval for a new development?
C: Yes, ultimately. We have a citizens' board here that makes all the development
recommendations, but it has to be ratified by the county commission.
P: The water management district will, obviously, have input into that citizens'
C: They have the right to come to the meetings and express their [opinions].
P: The problem is that the water management boards gets stuck with all of this. As
the development comes, they then say, well, we need more water; we need more
efficient use of water. At some point, in this state, my guess is, they are going to
have a hard time keeping up with their demand. Is that right?
C: I am very, very concerned about that.
P: What will happen at that point? Will the cost of water go up? Will they have to
bring in barges of water from Puerto Rico or somewhere?
C: I hope not. There's got to be some mechanism that makes it economically
infeasible to continue to grow.
P: Ultimately, the cost of water will likely will be like a gallon of gasoline. At that
point, somebody's going to get the idea that we're not going to be able to afford
it. Now water is so cheap, people have no reason to conserve it, do they?
C: No. It is way, way too cheap. We've already got one offshore bottling company
here in Citrus County, and there's a permit currently winding its way through the
process for another one, almost at the springs of the Little Wiciva River up there
in Levy County.
P: What can be done about these private companies? If they buy up these springs,
they buy all this water, what can water management do? How are they
C: They basically are not regulated. I'm very involved with this new one up there, all
they're going to do is take it out of Levy County and ship it to South Florida in
tanker trucks, and take it down there. That's withdrawal from the district.
FWM-8, Caldwell: Page 42
P: Water Management District can't control that?
C: Not at this stage.
P: The state legislature could, but won't?
C: Could, but won't. [The] bottled-water industry is one of the most powerful lobbies
in the nation.
P: I didn't know that. It's going to get more powerful. What would you recommend
[that] the state do about these private water companies?
C: Well, most of them are not withdrawing directly from springs. They're putting in
P: But that comes out of the aquifer.
C: Oh yes. We need to beef-up well-permitting regulations and go from there.
P: So, technically, Water Management District could deny these permits. That's
one way to stop it.
P: Before we quit, is there anything else that we haven't discussed that you would
like to discuss and would like to bring up?
C: Not at this time.
P: Okay, on that note, I would like to end the interview and thank you very much for
your time. I would also like to note for the record that Buddy Blain has been here
the whole time and has helped us with his wisdom and knowledge of water
management and I appreciate his contribution.