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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
P: This is Julian Pleasants, and I am in Naples, Florida. I'm with Stanley Hole and
Bob Higgins. It is December 17, 2004. If you would, just give me your
background; where you were born and your education.
H: I was born in the Philippines. My [father, both grandfathers, and all four great-
grandfathers were Episcopal priests]. My mother was a housewife. The marriage
was annulled [and he continued as a priest]. My father stayed in the Philippines,
went through the Death March. He was [an Army chaplain. He escaped from the
Japanese prison camp] and somehow ended up in Australia. [He was on the
rescue team at] the bridge on the river Kwai. [He] served in the southwestern
Pacific [and] ended [his career as] personal chaplain to [General Curtis Lemay].
My mother [brought me] back to the States. She remarried [twice]. I spent some
time in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I went to elementary school there. At the beginning
of the second war, we moved to [Miami, where I attended] junior high and one
year of high school there. I did very well in athletics and was not doing as well
[my] mother thought [I] ought [in academics] and she made a deal with the
Order of the Holy Cross who [had] a monastery in a little town called Sewanee,
Tennessee, [and ran] a [private] school called St. Andrews. I went there and was
very good at what I did. Instead of going intoo the monastery, which I was sure I
wanted to do, I had a very wise Prior of the monastery [who said] go to college,
join the service, find out what the world's all about, then [if] you want to come
back and talk to me, come back and talk to me. So I did [all] that [but never went
back to the monastery]. [For college] I had athletic grants-in-aids, as they called
them in those days. The University of Miami was the one I picked. It was home,
and they had better food than Wisconsin, LSU, [or] the Citadel, which are the
only ones I was looking at. I could have gone there, but I liked Miami [and] I went
there. I spent one year in pre-med and had an absolutely wonderful time [in
sports]. I probably would have flunked out, I mean they would have kept me there
[for athletics], but I didn't learn [much].
Then Korea came along, I think it was June 5 or June 7, and four or five of
us decided we were going to save the world and we all went down and joined the
service. We quit school. It was between semesters anyways. I spent two years
[on active duty], I had the option of [reenlisting or getting out and] go[ing] back to
college. [While in the service] I got married. I got out of the service, and I went to
engineering school [at the University of Miami] and finished a four-year
curriculum in about three years, and did spectacularly well. I [also] worked while I
was going to school.
P: Let me get some dates. You would have graduated from [the University of] Miami
in June 1955, is that right?
H: I graduated in June 1955. The three years prior to that I was at the University of
Miami, and the two years prior to that, I was in the Navy.
P: Where were you stationed?
FWM-11 Hole; Page 2.
H: I was stationed mostly at Opa Locka. I was stationed [also] at Quonset Point,
Rhode Island, [and, for short durations, at] a bunch of different places.
P: You didn't get to go to Korea?
H: I was not allowed to go to Korea. I saved the east coast from submarine attacks
by the Russians. Everybody thought they were going to fuss at us. We flew our
[patterns over] Newfoundland on an anti-submarine patrol route.
P: What did you do after you graduated from the University of Miami? Your degree
H: [Civil Engineering, with a major in] structural engineering. I was really good at
that and I liked it. I [also] taught structures at the University of Miami for a year;
structures and statics. I [taught] a surveying course while I was working. While I
was going to school, I also set up a deal with a contractor for some building [on
Key Biscayne]. I would get some students and we would do clean-up work, and I
would do the night-watching job, because [I] could study and do [that] at night. So
I stayed busy while I was going to school. I got out of school and went to work for
H.J. Ross Associates [consulting engineers and planners in Florida]; a really
good structural firm. I got carried away and went to California for one year to do
stress analysis for Ryan Aeronautical [Ryan Aeronautical Company-founded by
Claude Ryan in San Diego, California, in 1934; previously best-known for building
Charles Lindbergh's transatlantic Spirit of St. Louis, and operating a flying school
since 1928.] I came back to Miami and worked for Connell and Associates. I was
doing structural work; I liked the discipline of the structural process.
P: So you were building bridges?
H: No, we were designing some pretty complex buildings and doing a lot of
consulting work for architects, with Rufus Nims, Victor Lundy, Paul Rudolf, Bob
Brown. I've got books naming me [as] the structural person of the Building of the
Year and House of the Year. It was pretty hot-shot work. I decided about 1960
that I did not want to live in Miami, it was getting too crowded and too full. [Miami
was] going through the process of [becoming home to] Cuba[ns] escaping Batista
[former Cuban dictator; de facto leader from 1933-1949, and president from
1940-1944, and 1952-1959]. [Then, Miami became home to thousands fleeing
from the Castro regime, which has overthrown Batista. We had some of both
groups working at Connell's].
I put an ad in the Florida Engineering Society's Journal, [wanting] to join a
[small] firm in a small town in Florida. About a year later, I got called from a
woman who eventually became a really good friend and was secretary of the
county commissioner in Lee County. She [asked if I was] interested in coming to
Ft. Myers? [They] needed] a county engineer. I said, sure. I didn't have any idea
FWM-11 Hole; Page 3.
what a county engineer was, I didn't know where Ft. Myers was. By that time I'd
been married eight or nine years and [my wife] was pregnant. I made an
appointment and came to Ft. Myers. I went to the local library and read all the
newspaperss that I could get my hands on [and] I found what the county
commissioners did for the preceding seven months. It was very primitive in those
days. [County's] were really ruled [by] commissioners. [They were it. There were
no managers]. They had their own individual barns [and fiefdoms]. They would
receive complaints and they'd go out and fill pot-holes and stuff like that. The
road superintendent, Stacy Bruce, who couldn't read plans, although he had
been a construction manager for the state road department. I talked to him for
about half an hour before the interview, then talked to the commissioners, and
then I thought, well, that's that. It's a good experience. Then I got a call the next
day [and was asked] when [I could] start. It turns out that they had talked to Stacy
afterwards and he said, well, he's not a smart ass; he doesn't know a hell of a lot,
but I can work with him. They'd hired [a county engineer], really, because the
paper [had been on their cases. They wrote] you've got to get somebody over
here who can read plans and who can do a lot more than you're doing and we
don't like having five separate road districts each with it's own this and this and
this; we want to coordinate and put it all together. [The Commissioners] said,
listen boy, you ain't going to get rid of the five districts; but you do whatever you
want. I said, well, there's plenty for me to do, don't worry about it. I [attended] all
the county commission meetings. [The attorney and I sat with the
commissioners]. They had a clerk that was taking down things long-hand. I
[asked if she wanted] me to keep the minutes having to do with engineering? She
said, yes, I've never seen such self-serving minutes [when I was there]. We
[sounded] wonderful. [Within two years they gave me control of "their" districts,
which I merged].
P: You were involved, at this point, in design and bridges maintenance?
H: They said, we don't need to hire these engineers, you can design this, you can
design that. I said, no, no, I will hire engineers who will design it and I'll make
sure that they do it the way we want. Of course, they didn't know what to think,
and they said, sure, whatever. Within three months [I developed] a set of
subdivision regulations. The development in Lee County was just starting to
move. A guy named Jerry Gould had something called Lehigh Acres, [Florida]. It
was just starting. [Then] there was [Leonard Rosen with Gulf American] starting
something called Cape Coral, [Florida]. It was an exciting, dynamic time. They
were building anything they wanted and wherever they wanted, within reason.
Well, [they were building almost] wherever they wanted period, [and I was to try
to control it].
P: You did this from 1961 to 1966, is that correct?
H: [I did this until] 1965, I think
FWM-11 Hole; Page 4.
P: Then you established your own firm?
H: I decided I wanted to go to private practice. I was not going to go into practice in
the county I had been regulating. I would have just been uncomfortable doing
that. So I came to Naples. I made very good friends with a guy named Harmon
Turner, who was county engineer in Collier County. [Remember, I was county
engineer next door in Lee.] We became very, very close friends. When I [opened
my office], he gave me a couple of jobs [and] I [was in] private practice. There
was almost no structural] work; there was almost no work of any kind because
Collier [County] was very, very quiet. It hadn't thought about expanding of any
consequence. There was minimal public work, and the private work was being
done out of somebody's back yard. I was used to doing real good quality work
and there was no demands for it. So I marketed some larger engineering
companies and said effectively, if you need somebody, I can handle the job for
you as a subcontractor. I was smart enough to know how to get things done, and
they were smart enough to know that the only [one or] two people in their
company who could do what I could do were [running] their company. When
they'd hand it down the stream, it would just kind of fall out. So I created a little
niche and fitted into it. As [Lee] county engineer, this might be important, I
established a relationship with Bob Grafton. Bob was attorney for the Central
and Southern Florida Flood Control District-[later South Florida Water
Management District (SFWMD)]. They were in the process of expanding C-43,
the Caloosahatchee system. They had to acquire easements and a lot of land in-
fee, and they needed to work with somebody from [Lee] county, [and I was it]. I
[previewed documents and] worked with Bob. [I also spent time] on the dredge
boat as they were dredging the C-43. I got to know the Water Management
District people. I had a lot of respect for them. They were awfully good people.
They were way up in the hierarchy of engineers as far as sense of responsibility
and sense of quality. Then you can fast forward to the 1972 Water Resources
Act; I have a private practice in Collier County.
P: Let me go back and ask you a question. You established a firm called Sub-
H: I did, and it was quite successful. I established it because I knew that there was a
need to look at things under construction underwater: docks, piers, pipelines,
things like that. Engineers had typically been hiring divers to do that. The diver
would come back and say, well, this is what I saw. The engineer would ask a
question and the diver wouldn't know what he was talking about. I felt there was
a need to put someone on the bottom to look at what was there and be able to
explain to the engineers what was there. Then the next step was to work with
them as I designed a repair system or something to do. The third step was to go
down while it was under construction and inspect it to make sure it was done
right. I was doing that while there was Stanley W. Hole [the engineering firm]
going on because there was almost no [conventional engineering] work [here].
FWM-11 Hole; Page 5.
P: In 1974, Sergio Montes joined the firm to head the surveying department, the
construction management division, and to assist with engineering. In 1976,
Montes became a shareholder and two years later the firm's name was changed
to Hole, Montes & Associates. Hole Montes has played an integral role in the
growth of South Florida], you started doing some wastewater work?
H: In addition to the diving work, as I started being able to generate some
engineering work initially through engineers who are largely doing work in Florida
and elsewhere, they would hire me as I described. As I got busier and busier, I
effectively was giving some [sub oceanic] away to the guys who were working for
it. The work we were doing, classical engineering, was mostly road work. [There
was] a little bit of water and wastewater work. I'd become very good friends with
a guy named Sergio Montes. Sergio was an engineer who worked for Gulf
American. He had moved up with them and was doing very well. He watched the
stocks start to move and he came to me and said, let's set up a construction
management business, you and I. I said, fine. So he quit Gulf American and
came and we worked to set up a construction management business. We never
did any of that, but he was a good civil engineer, [and we needed engineering
help]. So he came to work for me as a civil engineer. It evolved into an effective
partnership. He was a very, very good [business] manager, which I was not. I
could talk to clients, I could get work, I could look at the work being done and I
would know enough to make sure it was being done [right]. There was enough
quality at play there, so the product was good. He could handle the
[administration], so that was a partnership that we kind of struck.
I got a call one day from a good friend named Mary Ellen Hawkins
[currently serving as a BCB board member for SFWMD, term June 1999-March
2005; appointed by Jeb Bush]. It's a name you'll cross and cross and cross who
was, at that time, I think the only woman, and was a Republican, and maybe one
of the two Republicans in the state legislature. She was from Collier County.
Mary Ellen and I were good friends. She said, we've got problems. The
legislature's going to come up with six water management districts, we're
supposed to come up with five because we don't know [how to connect all the
counties]. There's no hydrologicc] connection between, for example, Monroe
County and Highlands County, there's a big gap. It crosses five rivers. So she
said, we're going to come up with a sixth [district], and I want you to serve on that
[board]. She and Askew [Reubin O. Askew Florida governor 1971-1979] were
good friends. Askew had the ability to spot people, that was his great gift. Jay
Landers, Jim Smith [Jim C. Smith Co-chair, Governor's Select Task Force on
Elections, Florida, 2001; Florida Secretary of State, 1987-1995; Florida Attorney
General, 1979-1987] you can go down the bright lights in the state for the next
ten years, and they all [brought in by] Reuben. He was a good guy. I see him
occasionally; he's still a great guy.
FWM-11 Hole; Page 6.
Anyway, I said, sure, I'll go on. I was appointed by the governor to the
Ridge and Lower Gulf Coast Water Management District. Some people in the
district wanted to make that a district because that's a neat thing to be.
Fortunately, I had one other guy in the district-who's name I can't remember-
who agreed with me that we made no sense as a district. Districts are supposed
to manage water, and how are you going to manage water in Monroe County and
P: So exactly what was the sixth district?
H: The sixth district was an area of land that consisted of Monroe County, Collier
County, a good bit of Lee County, except for the valley of the Caloosahatchee, all
of Charlotte, a little bit of Sarasota, and a little bit of Highlands. They were [parts]
you could not easily look at and say, this goes in Southwest Florida [Water
Management District], or this goes in South Florida [Water Management District].
You couldn't make that decision easily. The [chairman] of the board and I [as
vice-chair] decided that what we would do is spend two years deciding what we
ought to be when we grew up.
P: Excuse me, let me interrupt you again. Is this because the Water Resources Act
of 1972 divided the districts mainly on a hydrological basis? Was this a political
district? How did this district get formed?
H: The state was supposed to be divided into five districts total, which were all
supposed to have something in common with each other; hydrological
boundaries. Obviously, there was nothing in common between Monroe and
Highlands County. The legislature couldn't figure out [how to handle this] so they
created the [sixth] district, and a couple of us quickly recognized that our job was
to make that decision to do these studies necessary to, for example, decide that
Collier County really ought to go in South Florida Water Management, or [at that
time] Central and Southern.
A quick side note, Collier County was not in Central and Southern
because years and years before that, there had been a map prepared by
Harmon Turner and [some other engineer which showed] that water coming out
of Lake Okeechobee never reached Collier County. It went down towards the
center part of the state, [or east and west]. Pointing at a map, Lake Okeechobee
is the [central] place, [the liquid heart]. The water used to come [to] Lake
Okeechobee [from] the Kissimmee and some other areas. It [then] came out of
Lake Okeechobee towards the south and towards the east and towards the west
on of the Caloosahatchee, but it bypassed Collier County because there was a
ridge separating the Big Cypress world, [Collier County], from the Everglades.
P: That's one reason why they called it the Ridge Districts, I guess?
H: Well, not really. The ridge is the ridge up and down the state, and part of that was
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in the original Gulf Coast, and the rest [of the District, except Monroe,] was in the
middle of the Gulf Coast. We engaged a couple of engineering folks and they did
the hydrologic studies and we looked at only the surficial water supply. In other
words, we didn't get into where do the aquifers go, because we could have used
that, the Florida aquifer, as a good connector. But we looked at surface water;
rivers, ponds, streams, stuff like that. We decided that Collier and all of Lee and
that part of Charlotte was that was south of the ridge between the
Caloosahatchee River and the Peace River should go in South Florida [Water
Management District]. That which was north of the ridge and flowed into the
Peace River should go into Southwest [Water Management District] because the
land on the north side of the Peace was [in] the Southwest. We made those kinds
P: In essence, what you're doing is eliminating the sixth district?
H: Our job was to make us disappear. I felt our job was to go away, but to go away
in a way that would accomplish the intents of the Water Resources Act.
P: Was this a five-member board as well, appointed by the governor?
H: Yes, I think we had five appointed by the governor. I was vice-chair. As I recall, it
was interesting that [attorney] Buddy [Blain] kept coming to us out of Tampa
saying, I want a permit for this project or that permit for that project. I kept saying,
Buddy, we don't give permits, we're not in that business, you're just going to
have to wait two years.
P: In effect, you didn't really get into what the other water management districts
were starting to do in terms of developing the rules.
H: We intentionally stayed as far away from that as we could. I was very concerned
that if we started getting that, people would think that we were really a water
management district. We had no need to [do that]. It didn't make sense. Anyway,
at the end of the two years, we had made a recommendation that various places
in ["our" District] would go to various [other] districts. Then Mary Ellen [Hawkins
reinvolved herself] and said, you are recommending that Collier go into the South
Florida Water Management District and I'm going to block it unless you will give
me a basin, talking to Maloy [Jack Maloy former South Florida Water
Management District executive director]. [She said], I want a basin. Effectively,
and I was on the fringe of the way she worked, and he said something like, forget
it, because the basin had been a horrible thing for Southwest Florida. They
hadn't worked-when I say they hadn't worked, they had created a tremendous
number of problems. Then [I think] Mary Ellen made a deal with the Dade-
Broward Palm Beach County legislatures that she could get this if they would do
that; I don't know [nor] care about the details. To shorten a long story, the Big
Cypress Basin was created, but we were limited, intentionally, that we would not
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permit; we could not do a lot of things that the basins in SWFWMD [did].
P: The basin is going to be under South Florida?
H: Yes, [it is] under South Florida [Water Management District]. So the deal that
Maloy worked out...
P: Which is their only basin board, is that right?
H: No. The deal they worked out was that they would have two basins. One would
be Big Cypress Basin, which was us, and [the] Okeechobee [Basin, which] was
everything else. That allowed the process to work. So we became a basin, and
we had our own millage. We paid our fair share for their determination of [the]
planning and permitting [they did for us]. There were a lot of things that they did
very, very well. When I say they, I mean [SFWMD]. It would have been ridiculous
for us to try to replicate them.
P: Now the basin board, was it made up of individuals from the old sixth district?
P: [It was a] different board?
H: No. The basin board was made up of individuals residing within the basin. We
included a little bit of Monroe County simply because we didn't want to be
accused of being only one county, which was a definite element to the basin.
Nobody lived in that part of Monroe County, but we included them.
P: What was your millage?
H: I don't remember. It was very low. But I do remember [soon] after we started, I
brought a guy named Fred Vidzes down. He had worked for the Trustees Internal
Improvement Trust Fund in Tallahassee, and that [organization is] to be all over
your [research]. They were the state landlords. They decided what happened to
the state lands and how it was to happen from the Swamp and Overflow Act,
depending on your personal bias. He came down [first as]to head the bureau
executive director [of] the [Ridge and Lower] Gulf Coast. As soon as we
disappeared, I hired him [as executive director of] the board of Big Cypress
Basin. He did a very, very good job.
P: What did you do mainly with the basin board? What were your goals?
H: Our goals were to try to identify the water sheds within the boundaries of the
basin and to move forward into coming up with some kind of process whereby we
could reserve and preserve as much surficial waters as we could because we felt
FWM-11 Hole; Page 9.
[from] looking at the USGS [US Geological Survey- science organization
dedicated to relevant and impartial studies of the landscape, natural resources,
and natural hazards that threaten the Earth] work that the quality and quantity of
at least the shallow aquifers are totally affected by what went on on the surface.
If we could control that, we could do good things. [By] that time, and this is really
a key point, Gulf America Land [Corporation had] purchased a tremendous
amount of land in Collier County, it became known as Golden Gate Estates
[popular family housing development area in Naples, Florida]. I remember
[Leonard Rosen,] who ran Gulf America [in Cape Coral and] here in Collier
County, explaining how [they] were going to take the massive land in Collier
County and they were going to build roads and it was going to be full of people.
[Collier County folks supported him then.] He was the savior of Collier County.
Bear that in mind, when you're dealing with the county [today, they, with the state
and feds, have] done everything they could to reacquire [much of] those lands
and to preserve, protect, and defend the natural resources in those lands. But in
those days, you'll see the same thing with Central and Southern with our water
storage areas and how we changed when that was recognized as being a
desecration of natural resources.
P: When you were involved in water resources, did you do any permitting?
H: No. The Big Cypress Basin intentionally stayed out of the permitting business. I'd
filed enough applications for permits before the South Florida Water
Management District-Central and Southern-as an engineer in a private practice
to have nothing but really high respect for those guys. They knew what they were
doing. Then the Big Cypress Basin continues as a basin and under Mary Ellen or
somebody's act, each of the water management districts-being SFWMD, St.
Johns, and South Florida-acquired a new board member. I was the board
member that south Florida had to deal with. I was a new board member from
Collier County, so I entered the governing board of the water management
district. Now they [had] ten members instead of nine, they've got to rearrange the
seating and so on. That was one of the really great experiences in my life,
serving on that board.
P: Let me go back and pick up some more information before we get to your time on
the board. One of the things I've read in your resume is that, at one point, you
were involved in some local water management before you got...
H: Collier County, the Board of County Commissioners, was operating under [the
water] management of Harmon Turner, who was [their] county engineer [and]
who had been chief engineer for [the] Collier Corporation, who owned a great
deal of Collier County. He was their chief engineer and one day they said, we
don't want to pay you anymore, we'll let the county pay you, and he continued
doing what he had been doing. He recognized the need for a freshsalt barrier. He
recognized the need to preserve as much fresh water as possible; to keep it from
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being channelized off the lands and thrown into the Gulf [or] the Ten Thousand
Islands. He created something called the saltwater barrier and he built little dams
across all these streams. It was a marvelous idea. It was a great start. He hadn't
picked up yet that the health of the salt water communities were maybe
dependent mostly on being fed by the fresh water and the goodies that the fresh
water carries in it that makes the salt water communities healthy. He was trying
to block all the fresh water and restore it until it got high enough to roll into the
salt water. The county decided that they should have a water management
advisory board to review applications for a development that would drain land. I
was appointed to that board by the county commission and served on it four or
five years. It was just a continuation of Harmon's work, and Harmon was our
engineer. He worked hard to make sure that we minimized over-drainage.
P: Was it an effective board?
H: Yes, it did a pretty good job considering the challenges it faced, and the
challenges weren't overwhelming at that point.
P: You represented Collier County. Was this something that was set up by the
H: This was strictly a county operation of the Collier County Water Management
Advisory Board. I don't know of any other counties that had one.
P: That's why I asked that, I thought that was pretty unusual.
H: It seemed like the thing to do; that's all I can tell you.
P: That's where you got quite a bit of your expertise in terms of your knowledge of
H: I'm not sure expertise is at all valid; I think maybe appreciation is a lot more valid.
The importance of the fresh water communities and the fresh water eventually
controls what's going on.
P: Let me go back to the Big Cypress Basin. Did you acquire any conservation
lands when you were on that board?
H: I don't think we did. What we did was to construct a lot of weirs, dams,
controllable to stop the over-drainage. Through them, we flooded some lands
that we never acquired. It was interesting, because this was just an unusual
thing, and it's quite a bit of money to build all these things. I had a couple of good
board members, good personal friends. At that point, I think it was Graham who
said, who do you want? It was one of those deals. We jumped the millage, raised
it, quadrupled it, maybe five times even, for two years. We paid for it all and then
FWM-11 Hole; Page 11.
we dropped the millage back. Somebody was doing a biography one time and
said, nobody ever drops the millage back. We dropped it back because we didn't
need it anymore. Of course, they're not doing that now, they're storing that
money away. We just said, we don't need it. We pulled the money out, did what
we had to do, [and] dropped it back to what was necessary to maintain it. We
were fortunate that there was an engineering firm in Lee County named Johnson
Engineering [established in 1946; southwest Florida's oldest full-service civil
engineering firm with corporate headquarters in Ft. Myers], who had a couple of
guys who were very, very good with surficial design and surficial understanding. I
knew them from when I was county engineer in Lee County. So we used them
quite a bit. Of course, we wouldn't use our firm, nor would my firm subcontract
from firms that were working for the Big Cypress.
P: Let me go back to the Central and Southern Flood Control District. You were
working, I suspect, much of that time with the Caloosahatchee?
P: Talk a little bit about how that developed. I know you were working with Bob
Grafton. When I talked to Bob the other day, he was talking about getting right-of-
ways and building canals. What precisely was your responsibility in that period of
H: I don't remember other than looking at the maps that the district would provide on
which would be identified the areas they would need, either fee or easements,
because once you dig the ditch you've got to put the dirt somewhere. Lee County
was just getting into the zoning business. They didn't have zonings, but they
thought they ought to. They the [former] football coach at Miami High [School], to
come over here and be their zoning expert. I remember he prepared the maps. I
remember sitting with him and showing him where the district needed land for
storage so he would zone that agriculture or something.
[Let me tell you a] real quick and very funny story. The first zoning meeting
way out in Lee County, this is kind of a primitive area, I went there with Julian
Hudson, who was the county commissioner who [was then] the only one with an
education beyond high school on the county commission. He was presenting the
zoning maps. A guy walked up and he had a shotgun. Nobody was surprised; I
mean, it was a meeting [perhaps] in Alva. He was probably shooting something
on the way home. He put the shotgun on the table and he said, show me my
map, show me my land. We had a big map open and we said, there it is. He said,
now what are you going to do with that? Julian said, what do you want? He said,
I want to be left alone. Julian turned to [the expert] and said, mark it that way.
The guy was happy, picked up his shotgun, left, and we were happy. This was
basic, how you [made] things happen in those days.
FWM-11 Hole; Page 12.
P: In those days, was the big emphasis still on flood control? Although they were
obviously purchasing some conservation lands.
H: Not for that purpose.
P: Just for right-of-way?
H: [For] right-of-way and storage. Sometimes storage is [overflows].
P: What changed from the early flood control districts to first, in 1961, SFWMD, and
finally the water management district? How did South Florida change and how
did it evolve over the years?
H: I think the legislature changed the name. They added one more person to the
governing board, and then they dropped one off the next time so we continued
with a nine-person board. The district continued in my early years as a flood
control district, it was just called something else. We were in the process of
acquiring conservation areas or perfecting certain rights that we already had. We
did some more things like that. We were very involved in trying to operate and
maintain the system, which was, to a great extent, a really, really marvelous
system in doing what it was designed to do.
P: Bob Grafton told me that it far exceeded the cost-benefit ratio in terms of the
original objective to control floods.
H: There was another objective, and Spessard Holland [U.S. Senator from Florida,
1946-1971; Florida governor, 1940-1945] was key in pointing out that you
couldn't get federal funds unless we had a federal purpose, and the federal
purpose was called Everglades National Park. Now we have federal funds.
P: He would have been probably the biggest supporter in terms of political help for
the flood control district?
P: Dante Fascell, I presume, would have been helpful.
H: He came well after. We're talking about the United States Senator, Spessard
Holland [and], I guess, former governor. From my perspective, he was the father
of the district. Once it got going, the [Army] Corp [of Engineers] developed a plan.
They [-Feds-required a] local sponsor to save and hold the Feds [harmless]
from all evils that were going to occur as a result of building their plan, and to
operate and maintain the system. [So we had] two purposes: save and hold
harmless, and operate and maintain. The water management district developed
[a] the loyal [and very capable engineering staff and] developed a very, very
FWM-11 Hole; Page 13.
good operations team. [Their] names are in the transcript; Zeb Grant,[and many
others], and on and on. These guys were so good at what they did. Maloy was a
marvelous director, and he had good boardss.
P: This is 1973, 1974, and 1975, they're starting to develop the [regulatory] rules,
because there's no standards at all.
H: That's right. This is before [consumptive use] permitting. I told you, we got into
permitting because [the law required us] to permit and we didn't know how. So
we just gave everybody who was a [consumptive] user a permit. There was no
[other] way it could have been done. First, we didn't know why [or how]; we didn't
know what the rules were, and [in the beginning] we couldn't stand the political
heat of telling somebody who had been in business eighty years that he had to
change [without a reason]. [We learned as we went.] We got into permitting that
way. Then we developed a good permitting department, [both consumptive use-
wells-and then] surface water permit. I can remember having real disagreements
with the chairman of SWFWMD, whose name I can't recall, but he worked for
Lykes Brothers [helped to transform Florida and currently run a multimillion dollar
dynasty that includes things such as cattle, citrus, fertilizer, sugar, and
timber]. He had been a Navy pilot; very, very good man. We had wild
disagreements. I wanted to start issuing permits for surface water, and he had
absolutely no use for that and he was going to fight me [to the governor's office].
He was issuing permits for ground water. We didn't really care about ground
water, because you remember the South Florida Water Management District, its
heart and soul and culture is into the environment of [Dade, Broward, and] Palm
Beach County. This is right [along] the [Atlantic] coast. The hydrology of the area
was understood and recognized, and [our people] knew what they were doing
[with the one Aquifer]. It was very, very simple. SWFWMD had all kinds of
aquifers, and they became close to expert in understanding their groundwater
systems and their wells. Dade County would poke a hole in the ground and pull
the water out [in SWFWMD]. Pasco, [Sarasota, Polk,] Hillsborough, [and]
Pinellas, [etc.] it's a totally different world, so they were looking at it through very,
very different eyes than we were. I kept saying, what you put on the ground is
what you're drinking tomorrow. [We've] got to [control through] permit [of surface
water], you've got to be concerned about the quality of the water that [onto] the
ground and where it flows. There were some really good disagreements.
P: Technically, the quality of the water was not, at that point, [the District's
responsibility]; it was [the departments of] Natural Resources or DER or Pollution
Control, was it not?
H: All the water, in Dade County, that was a problem in Dade County water supply.
The same thing in Palm Beach County; they were operating the wells and they
had to meet certain standards.
P: You monitored that?
FWM-11 Hole; Page 14.
H: No, not really [at first].
[End of Side A]
H: [Their] involvement would occur when the water got too salty to treat the way
they had been treating it. This doesn't happen overnight, but the contamination
issue that the coastal counties faced was from salt, and it was, to a great extent,
because you have the ocean here, and you've got, in most areas, the Biscayne
Aquifer there, and when you suck water [supplies] from the Biscayne Aquifer,
[you pull] ocean [water into the aquifer]. You've got some upcoming, but not
much; mostly it would be horizontal. What do you do about it? Theoretically you
pile [fresh] water up in the conservation areas high enough so there's enough
[fresh water] pressure there to keep the water from the ocean [in the ocean]-l'm
really super simplifying this. Or you pull [the old] Dade County trick of [moving]
the wells further and further [away] from the coast. [Miami well fields] used to be
on the Twelfth Avenue [near] Jackson Hospital. Then it [was moved west,] further
from the ocean. You keep moving further and further away from the ocean as
you need to suck more of the water out of the ground. There are things you can
do about that; it depends on the aquifers. SWFWMD had been dealing with this
for a long time, and we really hadn't had to deal with it because there [was plenty
of fresh] water there, and it was so shallow. [SWFWMD] were pulling 150-250
feet deep. I don't know how deep [our-SFWMD-] wells were, but if you go
twenty-five or thirty feet, you had more water than you [needed].
P: Over a period of time you would be doing more well permitting?
H: We would start getting into, and I don't remember whether it was well permitting,
but we would get into where the wells ought to be located. I remember in some
areas, I think around Martin County, they had to shut down one well field, and the
county had to build another one. There was a lot of angst about that. We
gradually evolved into working with the communities and developing ways to
recharge the well fields, [or other ways to] protect the well fields against the
intrusion that would result from lateral movement. Over here in Collier you had
upper movement because one of the aquifers would give you trouble. It was very,
very old water as a result; being old, it was highly mineralized. Because, you
know, water will absorb anything and everything. If it's been running under the
rocks for many years, it's [absorbed large quantities] of [mineral] droppings from
the rocks. So you had upward contamination. It was [also] a big deal in Cape
Coral. [We] became very involved in trying to protect the well fields, even to the
point of helping to build new well fields, helping to recharge out of the
conservation areas through a lot of water to the south, toward the Florida City
well field, just to hype up the water supply. The fresh water surcharge protected
against the salt water moving in. We became very involved with that as an issue.
FWM-11 Hole; Page 15.
We also started recognizing, and I don't remember how we got into this,
we started recognizing the quality issue. DER got into that with some rule that
said you had to store the first inch of whatever run-off there is. If you build a
building, that water is used to run into the ground and be cleaned by the sand in
the ground before it got to the aquifer. If you go build a building and a parking lot,
and that water is going to run in directly and is going to carry all these
contaminants. We'll get rid of these contaminants by requiring that you store the
first inch. I don't think that did [that much] good as far as cleaning up the water,
but it made you store the first inch. They felt comfortable that they had met their
requirement by requiring you to do that. There were all kinds of effective ways to
store the first inch, like putting it on top of the building in some cases. Over here
they put big pipes under the ground and stored the first inch in there. I guess I'm
really wandering here.
[All] water management districtss, [including ours], got into water quality.
At this point, [SFWMD] starting to move from the one-legged stool which is flood
control into water supply. We then slid into natural resource protection, which is
the third-leg [of the] stool. That required a different mindset, a different
understanding. I can remember an applicant coming before the district and going
through all kinds of gymnastics to meet the requirements of the natural resource
department in the district. We had some very good naturalists there. [Someone
came] before us to get a permit. I can remember one of [our] young naturalists
coming to me and [saying], if you approve this we're going to appeal it. I said,
who is we? She said, the Audubon Society, Issac Walton, [or someone, I don't
remember which group]. I said, who signs your paychecks? She said,[the
district], but I wouldn't have a job if it wasn't for the environmental community
recognizing how important it was that you have good [environmental] people in
the district. My job is to do the best job I can for the district, and if you don't do a
good enough job to satisfy our approach, we'll appeal it. Not she personally, but
her organization. I remember looking at her and sticking out my hand and
shaking hands with her and saying, you know, I understand, I appreciate you
telling me. I have intentionally forgotten her name, but those forces at play within
the district trying to cause and do a job that was acceptable to all the
constituencies that were in play.
P: Discuss your relationship from the beginning, when it was a flood control district
all the way through your time on the board with the Corp of Engineers.
H: That was mostly handled by [Jack] Maloy. Having said that, our relationship with
the Corps [of Engineers] was [a] very good [love/hate]; we understood them, they
understood us. As they moved into the environmental protection area, and they
were dragged in kicking and screaming. [They could come in because] I guess it
was [the] 1899, the Rivers and Harbors Act, and all of a sudden they find that
they're there, and there are some new judges that are getting appealed by the
agency whose name I'll remember in a minute maybe, who said, you guys are
FWM-11 Hole; Page 16.
not doing an adequate job of protecting the environment. Your permitting
process, we're appealing you, and we will take over every responsibility. This is
the Department of Interior [challenging] the Corp of Engineers; big players in the
world. Losing the responsibility of issuing the environmental permits [is a very
big deal], and the big thing in the agencies is how many people you have working
for you. They didn't want to lose all their people. They signed a memorandum
agreement. Do you remember, Bobby?
Bob: It was the EPA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife.
H: I thought it was EPA. It was a constant issue with the Corps, trying to get permits
out of the Corps [with which EPA and USFaWL disagreed. The Corps] became
tougher than the district did. We would issue permits and they would turn them
down. Other than that, operationally we got along very, very well. I can remember
there was a board meeting, we were off somewhere, and Jimmy Carter [U.S.
President, 1977-1981] was running for president. They were having the big
convention in Miami Beach [to nominate Jimmy Carter] and there were deer
dying, and the helicopters were chasing the deer out from the deer stands and
they would die of heart attacks or something like that. Jimmy Carter's man in
Florida called me and I'm sitting at the board meeting. He said, I want you to drop
the water in the conservation areas. We don't want any more pictures of dead
deer in the Miami Herald while he's trying to get [Carter] nominated for president.
I said, I don't think we can do that, but I want you to talk to somebody, and I gave
him to Nat. I said, Nat, talk to this guy.
P: Nat Reed?
H: Nat Reed, and Nat knew the guy because Nat had been Undersecretary of the
Interior [under Nixon], and this guy had been a [political] something or other.
They talked, and their voices were raised a little bit, but it was under control. I
[asked] Nat what [he told them]-there was nobody [from the public] in the
audience; you go to the hearing and there's few people who show up, and if they
do, it's for an issue. He said, I told him we were not going to do it. He said, look,
we have the keys to the gates, we will open those damn gates up. And Nat said, I
told him, if you open those gates up, we will have you in court the next day for
desecration of [wetlands]. You don't want that in the Miami Herald. So he said,
we compromised, he went away. This was Nat's compromise.
P: One thing Bob Grafton told me, at the beginning, was that the Corp of Engineers,
if they were going to dig a ten-mile canal, they would do it the quickest, easiest,
most efficient way. He was always concerned [that would] create problems for
taking. We're going to have to pay more for this land. Wouldn't it be better if we
could move the canal a few feet this way? He said he was also concerned, it's
something you mentioned, [about] the recreation aspects of this. Was that part of
this negotiation with the Corp of Engineers all the way through?
FWM-11 Hole; Page 17.
H: Probably. It would be somebody as bright, as strong, and as knowledgeable as
Grafton, who would represent the public concern, and I'm sure he did that and
I'm sure we didn't know [the defaults]. I know, as a board, we had great
confidence in Bob, and I know that we very seldom condemned [any land
purchase]. We bought a lot of land, but Bob would go to the land owners and he
would make them an offer. He would come to us and say, this is what I've
offered, will you back me up? We'd say yes. [That is] highly unusual. Elected
boards very seldom will negotiate. Elected boards are very concerned over the
appearance in the paper of giving away money. If we felt it was a good deal, we
did it. The people felt generally that they were treated fairly. It got done in three
months instead of five years. It probably [actually] cost a hell of a lot less. The
ability of practicing the independence that we as a board felt [are] differentiated
[from] having to run for office. A lot of us can do things that we think are way in
the best interest of the public.
P: If you looked back at the very beginning of the flood control district, the district's
really the first land-use plan for the state of Florida. Would you agree with that?
H: I totally agree with that. You can look at the boundaries of the conservation area.
You can look at south Florida and say, why aren't they building out there? Why
haven't they built there? It's simply because that land was no longer available,
and that way preceded any interest in saving the land because of a good reason.
That gets into the huge change, and the effect of that change. Because we can
all remember the fires in the Glades in the 1940s and the effect of those fires on
those who lived in Miami at that time. We can remember the pleasure in the
public hearings in Dade County, the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control
plan which built the conservation areas. The pleasure with which that approach
was greeted, it was absolutely wonderful. It was the right thing to do and we all
loved it, and it certainly accomplished the purpose. A good friend of mine, I still
[disagree with to a point], but she's a wonderful woman.
P: Marjory Stoneman Douglas [best known for her book, The Everglades: River of
Grass, published in 1947; often called the "mother of the Everglades."]
H: Oh yes, she wrote the book. That, along with Earth Day [founded by Senator
Gaylord Nelson and celebrated every April 22], I think started changing the
public's perception of what was right and what was wrong. She said, you
[shouldn't] take a swamp, you [shouldn't] take a river of grass, and turn it into a
lake. Sure you do wonderful things as a result, but you [also] do great harm.
You'll never again see the clouds and the birds, you'll never again see this
because you've killed them. The public not only accepted it, but accepted it with
P: Let me go back to the Water Resources Act of 1972. Were you involved in the
FWM-11 Hole; Page 18.
hearings or any of the activities in terms of the legislation itself?
H: No, not really.
P: Was your view at the time that this series of five bills was going to be an effective
solution to the water problems of the state of Florida? This is a very unique
system, certainly at this time.
H: Yes, I felt they could be. You had the first in time first in right water law [in the
West-U.S.-] and you had the "reasonable beneficial" [concept] on the east side. I
felt, from a very local observer in Collier County, that this had a real good chance
of working. Of course, to pin it to a great extent to the board, at least in south
Florida, with a couple of exceptions, the boards were very good in those days.
The Reuben Askew boards-this is something I wanted to stress, and I can stress
more than Maloy can-the boards, I thought, were very good south Florida
boards. They were independent from too much outside influence, probably
loaded a little bit for agriculture-in fact, I know that in some cases they were
loaded for agriculture. But they were good boards, and they were individual, and
they worked together. They were as individually different as night and day.
Somehow it just worked and worked and worked. When I first got on the board, I
went to Dick Rogers, who had been an intern for an engineering company I had
worked for in Miami, so I knew him from way back. [He headed Regulatory at the
district.] I told him I was being considered for the governing board.
P: What year was this?
H: This would have been 1974 or 1975.
P: 1974 is what I have here.
H: A year before. I said, Dick, [when my company] submit[s] applications for permits
to the governing board of the district. First, I want to, [as much as possible], make
sure that anything that goes to the district doesn't have our names on it. I said,
second, I want you to fly-spect that damn thing. I don't ever want any problem
with anything we submit. [I said], if you will do that, I will go on the board. He
said, if you go on the board, I will do that, and he did. We had an issue that had
come before that would have my name on it or our name attached to it, I would
usually signal to the clerk that I was not there, and I would step out and have
coffee. Otherwise I would have had to abstain.
P: My understanding was that most of the boards were laypeople, whereas you
were really a professional.
H: Yes, and that was a good thing from the board's perspective; I don't know if that
was a good thing from my perspective or not because I didn't use it. I would
FWM-11 Hole; Page 19.
typically disappear. The problem with abstaining, and we had seen that in some
other boards, and I had seen that in zoning matters, is I'd seen this gentleman
say, [or imply], to his [fellow board members], listen, my project is really important
to me and I can't vote on it. I also had a very good friend named Jim Smith [Jim
C. Smith Co-chair, Governor's Select Task Force on Elections, Florida, 2001;
Florida Secretary of State, 1987-1995; Florida Attorney General, 1979-1987]
who was Attorney General at that time. I went to Jim and said, how do I handle
this? He said, well, you've got to abstain, or you just can't be there. He said, if
you abstain, you're going to have that kind of a problem, but with this board, they
don't give a damn about you anyway, they're all so independent.
P: So you only had one vote anyway.
H: I only had one vote anyway. I would use it, and I would run meetings when I was
chairman, I would take a motion, [get a second, asked for, and probably it would
pass, or if the objection made sense, accept a substitute motion]. That was my
way of operating it.
P: You would argue that the great advantage of these boards is the fact that they
are appointed and they are not elected, and secondly, they have a diverse
representation of all of the stakeholders.
H: I agree with that. I would also argue the point that the idea of having a new
board and having only a four-year term is a horrible idea.
P: Because by the time they figure out what's going on, their time's up.
H: That's right. To the complaint that you hear, which is that the boards don't do
anything, the staff runs the district. The shorter and shorter the term of office, the
more and more true that is. I'll give you an example. I went on the board and the
budgets would be like, three telephone books stacked up like this. We would get
the budgets in August and we were to approve them in September. I remember
talking to Bobby Clark, who was the chairman, and who became a very close
friend. I don't know any [board member] that I wouldn't call at two o'clock in the
morning who wouldn't come help me change a tire-even the women, some of
whom could do that. I said, Bobby, I don't understand these budgets. He said,
just approve [it. Later we changed the budget process.] The third year, I think it
was the second or third year, I went to Maloy [and] said, Jack, I don't ever want
to vote against something you recommend, and we very seldom did. [He knew
what we needed and that's what he proposed.] We would often defer. If we
weren't comfortable with what Jack was suggesting, we would defer it and talk to
him afterward and say, Jack, you've got to cover yourself better. Here's some
questions we want to ask. We don't want to embarrass the staff. We cannot
embarrass the staff.
FWM-11 Hole; Page 20.
P: That brings up the question of why people would serve on the board. There's no
pay, it's a lot of work, and it's a very complex process. Why do people want to do
H: It's a great challenge and it's a great opportunity to do some good in an area that
I knew something about.
P: What about other conflicts of interest? What if somebody in agriculture has an
issue about water for their land? What do they do? Do they abstain as well?
H: I'm sure they would. I can't think of one [that happened to]. I just want to finish
my story on the budget. I finally said, here's what I want to do-I was vice chair by
then I think. What I want you to do is I want you to start presenting the budget in
March. One month I want you to give us operations budget, the next month some
other budget, the next month some other, and have these guys come to us and
tell us what's in their budget. Why do they need this money? What do they want
that they don't think is going to work or come through the system? That way
we're going to understand what's going on, and we'll have a budget that we can
honestly, to ourselves, say yeah, we know what's going on, we're comfortable
with this. It's going to be a six month budget process. It's not a one-month
P: Comment on some of the figures that were involved. Ed Dale [executive director
for the water management district before Jack Maloy], for example.
H: I met Ed, but he was gone when I got there.
P: Jack Maloy.
H: He's a marvelous guy. We worked very close together. There are some funny
stories about Bobby Clark and [me] meeting with him [before Sunshine].
P: Bob Clark was chairman?
H: He was the chairman. This is before the Sunshine Law. He and I would meet with
Jack for breakfast and he would say, Jack, you can't do this and this. Jack would
say something, something, something, and I would say Jack, you've got to do so
and so. This guy is going to kill you opening in the office in Ft. Myers. I don't
care. Politically he's going to kill you. Maloy and I were dragged on for a year. As
the story was, Jack says, I'm doing what I think is right. I said, all right Jack. The
next thing you know, he's [relocated him to] Homestead or something like that.
We were very, very open with Jack Maloy. I had no secrets from Jack.
P: How did the Sunshine Law impact you?
FWM-11 Hole; Page 21.
H: The Sunshine Law operationally is a disaster. You've got to declare a legal
reason or there's going to be a lawsuit or a something to [not meet] under the
Sunshine. Before the Sunshine Law, we would meet in the evenings one or two
days before the board meeting. Jack would always bring peanuts and we would
all get to work with Maloy-this is memory now. We would go over the agendas
and would tell where we were concerned in this individually, because we hadn't
met together, but we'd all feed off of each other: what our problems were, what
our concerns were. The next day or two days later they were two-day meetings
-[the] issue [would have come to us] and he would cover it. He would have gone
over it with the staff and he would have had the answers. We would question him
ahead of time and give him the chance to answer the questions. I remember
when the decision was whether or not we would go with this computer system,
we spent forever on artificial intelligence up in Canaveral and all this kind of stuff,
and we'd spent six months meeting staff. I'd spent six months and I'd sit in on
staff meetings because I was interested. Jack came to us the next day and said
to us, Mr. Chairman, we're not ready yet and we were deciding contracts and
he said we're not ready yet, sir. I said, fine, tell us when you are.
P: I understand that even after the Sunshine Law came about, there was a little bit
of a wink and a nod about meeting ahead of time and establishing some criteria.
H: Let me give you an example. I called Jim Smith, who was at that time attorney
general, and I said, Jim, you've got to come down and tell us about this Sunshine
Law. We've [been told] you can't drive in the same car, you can't talk on the
telephone, you can't do [any of] this. In sum, he said, as long as you're not
involved in discussions about something on which you will later vote, you're
clean. The reason that nobody wants you to [talk or be seen together] is because
[of] all the lawyers who are going to defend you. If you've never talked to the guy,
you don't have to go through this explanation of [what you talked about].
We continued with what we were doing, [but were very careful with our
conversations]. We would go places together. We'd go in the same bus to the
fields. We always let the press know, and a lot of times the press would go with
us. We would have dinner together, depending on how many press were there
we'd say, pull up a chair. I remember, one time, [at an] Aqueduct Authority
meeting. It was one of those meetings at eleven o' clock at night and everyone is
really, really tired. We [started to talk] about something having to do with the
district. I remember Nat [Reed] said, Mr. Chairman, I think we're getting pretty
close. All of a sudden we stopped and realized that we had shifted discussing
aqueduct authority business at an aqueduct meeting into something that [might]
affect permits that we were giving the aqueduct authority as a water
management district. I said, Nat, thank you so much, and we all backed off. We
tried to watch each other and protect each other from ever getting into that kind
of a problem.
FWM-11 Hole; Page 22.
P: You were on the board from 1974 to 1986, does that sound right?
P: You would have been appointed the first time by Askew?
H: [I was appointed by] Askew and then reappointed twice by Graham.
P: At what point did you become chairman? That was 1984?
H: I don't remember. I can dig it out. I remember after eighteen months I wrote
Graham a letter and gave it to the board. Traditionally the person
who had been chairman had been chairman forever. I said, I will not accept a
reelection [as chairman more than once]. In south Florida, they didn't go to the
governor. In the other districts the governor [named] the chairman. I remember
when I was [nominated, Bob Clark took a break] and [Nat] called the governor.
He said, they're about to elect Stanley as chairman. [Graham] said, that's your
problem, not his. [Anyway], I wrote him a letter and I said, I don't think anybody
should be chairman for more than two years. As chairman, unintentionally, you
acquire the position of speaking for the board, and that's not your job. [You also
learn a lot. I always thought the best board would include a chairman and maybe
three former chairmen.]
P: How much power does the chairman have over and above the individual member
of the board?
H: It depends on the chairman.
P: What about in your case?
H: More than I used. It goes from deciding who's going to sit next to who, to how
you call for the votes, to how you establish committees.
P: Let me get your reaction to several of the bills that were passed. ELMS, the
Environmental Land and Management act, give your view of that.
H: I think it was a good bill. [I enjoyed serving on it.] I think Bob Groves was our
staff. It was a do-gooder bill. We tried to do some stuff. We did some good stuff. I
think that might have been the one that enlarged the original planning councils. I
was appointed by [Bob] Graham [to] the regional planning council. What Graham
did was take that opportunity to put members on the various governing boards of
the districts onto the various regional planning council under the idea that you
should [try] to [integrate land use and] water resource planning. I had written a
paper and presented it [to ULI in London], you probably have it somewhere. Over
here, the regional planning councils were made up of county commissioners and
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city councilmen. It was one of those things that whatever you wanted in your
county, you [got]. There was no integration of planning or anything like that. By
throwing us on, we were able to broaden their concerns or their interests. I knew
[the people] on the planning council well. I walked in and one of them [said],
you're not going to tell us how to do these things [and] we're not going to pay
your expenses. I said, that's fine. Then another one said, okay, I nominate him as
chairman. That's how we started. It was a good process. It was more effective in
other areas. It totally depends on the people. I still want to make the case that
you need a person on the board for [at least] eight years [and reappoint or
appoint in stages], and you need to have people on the board who are
independent. I [was unhappy with] some of the appointments that were made by
the people who followed Graham, like [Governor Bob] Martinez.
P: Do you think they were political appointments?
H: I felt they were terribly political. You can't appoint someone [who wants to run for
a public office]. It's just dumb. I think the boards have been weakened by not
allowing anybody to serve more than four years. They [may have] been
weakened by having the chairman appointed by the governor. If you don't have
enough confidence in [the] board you've appointed to elect their own chairman,
you've made a mistake. It's that simple.
P: Your reaction to the Water Management Lands trust fund, where they took dock
stamp money to buy land?
H: I think I made the motion. If you didn't do that, the next session of the legislature
is going to kill it. So we said, let's go ahead and pledge that damn stuff. It was a
P: What land purchases did you make under that?
H: [Early on] I think there was some stuff up in the northern part of the district. Jack
mentioned it. I read what he had to say, and he was right. I think purchase of
land down around Everglades National Park. I don't remember the gory details.
We did some canals leading down to recharge the Florida City well fields. We
suppose local government would purchase some well fields. I think we had to do
some major clean-up work. I don't remember the details on that. [It became
P: That was a fairly significant amount of money.
H: It was the right thing to do, and the key to it was pledging the documentary]
stamps. The reason you could pledge it and the key to that was pledging it for
P: Because it's a recurring source of income.
FWM-11 Hole; Page 24.
H: It's a recurring source of income if you can take it away from the legislature's
hands. The way you take it away is, you pledge it for something that needs to be
replenished every year.
P: If you look at CARL and all of these other sources, you had enough money to
purchase conservation lands that you needed to purchase?
H: Yes, I think so. I don't remember being terribly excited about that. I remember
being excited about getting things done and getting them done right. I remember
the meeting with the new Everglades National Park superintendent. Every four
years or something they change superintendents-this is a little bit of a stretch,
but not much-but every four years you have a different superintendent who is a
naturalist and they were all very knowledgeable. One liked alligators and one a
few years later liked pink shrimp. This is serious stuff. I remember the pink
shrimp guy needed a different kind of discharge for the best interest of pink
shrimp, and then we needed [a different] one for birds. Of course, then I
remember slamming my hand down on the table and saying, wait a minute;
we've been trying to design releases for individual species protection, but we're
not smart enough, we don't know how to do that. Nobody is. Everglades
National Park is a product of a million years of being left alone. You've [had]
floods [and drought] greater than man has seen, and the product of this is what
you have out there, and it's a wonderful thing. We're going to stop screwing
around trying to manage for a specific species. We'll come up with something
called a [rainfall driven] management system, and we'll say, if it really really rains
hard up here we're going to let that water go. We're going to flood Everglades
National Park. If we don't have the water, we're not going to give it to you. We're
going to come up with a natural system of releases, and it worked for a few
P: With a drought, you would release more water?
H: They would store water to release into the park, and I said, that's wrong. That
park is a product of many droughts that we've never seen and floods we've never
seen. If you want a natural system, let it be a natural system. Let's not have the
greatest refuge for the swallow-tailed butterfly [or any particular species].
P: In that context, did you allow Everglades National Park, although it's in the South
Florida Water Management District, did you more or less let them control what
went on in the Park?
H: We released water to the extent that we had and how we had it, we released
water to them. But yes, they managed their system.
P: You had bonding authority, did you not?
FWM-11 Hole; Page 25.
P: Did you ever use that?
H: Yes, I don't remember the details of it. We probably used it to support local
government and water supplies and stuff like that.
P: Talk about the transition after Jack Maloy left.
H: One of the things that I don't mind telling you is that Woody was there.
P: What was his name?
H: John Wodraska [former executive director of South Florida Water Management
District] He was there [as deputy executive director]. 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; professor of political
science, University of Florida, 1958-1964], just before I got there he had the idea
that every year we ought to bring three bright people, super bright. Just bring
them in and we'll house them, and within ten years we'll be a strong organization.
Woody was one of them. Then there's the story about Jack and the secretary of
DER, Vicky Tschinkel, she was one of the ones in that crash-and-burn episode, I
think; maybe not.
P: You were talking about the transition after Jack Maloy left.
H: We had a meeting in Florida City, and everybody had their point on the agenda.
Maloy had finished the executive directors report, and I remember saying, Jack,
do you have anything else? He said, yeah, I'm leaving, this is my last meeting.
There was just a silence. I said, let's take five minutes. We went outside to catch
our breaths and said, what the hell is going on, Jack? He said, these are the
reasons why I'm leaving and I don't want to get into them. I said, that's fine, but
more importantly, how do you think we ought to go about this? How do you think
we ought to handle the transition? He gave me some idea on how he thought we
should handle it. You've got to throw a search, you've got to go through this and
you've got to go through that, but Jack had been also very tied up in the
aqueduct authority. I read the reasons he said he left. One of the things that did
jump at me out of his report was the enormous pressure he was under as the
executive director of the aquifer authority, as well as executive director of south
Florida. Those were two absolutely full-time jobs. That just had to cost him
personally, emotionally, and of course, his family life, which he did a wonderful
job keeping separate. We can talk about the aqueduct authority, or I can go right
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now into the transition.
P: Finish the transition.
H: The transition process was to develop a national search for somebody to take
Jack's place. We had a number of people, all of whom were vetted in various
ways, and we came down to four. At that point, instead of me just interviewing-
and the Sunshine Law was in effect at that point-we brought them all in. They all
were good. One [I think had been] the head of USGS. These are top level
people. One was a guy named Till Creal, who had headed the Vicksburg Water
Experimental Station for the Corps of Engineers. He was either going to get a
star [meaning, be promoted to general] or he was going to get out, and his
decision was to get out of the Corps. There were two other guys who I remember
being impressed with. [One was Woody Wodraska.] They all had ten minutes to
tell us something. I remember one of them walked up and took his watch up and
laid it on the podium where he was presenting to us, and I thought, oh forget him.
[End of Side B]
H: It came down to Woody Wodraska and Till Creal. I remember the key question to
Woody Wodraska was given by Nat Reed. Nat Reed said, if you don't get this
job, what are you going to do? Woody said, you know, Mr. Reed, I spent my life
training for this job. I am going to be the executive director of the best natural
resource agency I can find, I hope it's here. That was his closing [answer]. Till
Creal was [also] very impressive. When we released them both and then talked
about it, it was really very close between Woody and Till. Woody had started off,
for example, by saying, you see those thirty pictures there and three there, these
are all the board members in important parts of their lives in this district. These
are the three former executive directors. I want my picture up there. You've got to
know Woody to understand this; he is the most self-effacing person I know. This
is [a] real 'jump-out-and-get-you' [comment]. We talked for a little while and we
decided we'd stick with Woody. We called Till back in and said, Till, we
appreciate what you're doing, thank you very much, but we've decided to go with
Woody. He said, Mr. Chairman, I think you did the right thing. He said, at this
stage in your district, you don't need somebody who's not known by your staff.
It's going to take me six months to a year to get to the relationship with the staff
that Woody enjoys right now, so I think from that perspective you did the right
thing, thank you very much for having me. Jan Horvath, who had handled all the
candidates came to me as soon as the meeting was over and said, I think we can
get them both. I said, okay, you, Till, Woody, and I- the four of us [will go] to
lunch. The chemistry between Till and Woody was unusual, it was marvelous
chemistry. Woody came to me afterwards and he said, Stanley, I need a deputy,
and I want to hire Till. What do you think? I said, well, you've made your first
mistake. You don't ask me who you're going to hire, that's your job. Having shot
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at you that way, I want you to remember that he's the second-best person in the
country for this district as far as we're concerned, and that's all I told him. So of
course, he went over afterward and offered Till the job as deputy.
P: That's very unusual, isn't it, that the two people vying for a job would get along
H: And they'd not known each other before.
P: One of the interesting developments that became the responsibility of the South
Florida Water Management District was the problem with the Florida Keys
Aqueduct Authority. As I understand it, the old fifteen-inch pipeline, which had
been put in during World War II had started to deteriorate. Pick up the story and
explain how the South Florida Water Management District took over responsibility
for this issue.
H: I received a telephone call about eleven o' clock one night from [Bob] Graham,
who was the governor. He said, I'm being [pressured] by the chairman of the
Aqueduct Authority. He wants x-number of millions of dollars. He said, we can
give it to him, but I'm concerned. I know the Keys, and it's going to be like
pouring sand down a rat-hole. Can you go down there and find out what the hell
is going on? Why do they need this money? I said, sure, and I called Maloy
instantly. As I remember, Jack and I went to see Graham in the morning.
P: Can you give me a time-frame on this? What year would it have been?
H: [We] had Joe Allen, who was state representative from Monroe County, and we
might have had Dante Fascell there. [That may help with time-mid to early
1980s.] [Senator Graham] explained to us in more detail than what he'd spent
thirty minutes on the phone with me about; the major water supply problems. We
knew that; they didn't have fire protection. Motel operators were complaining that
they couldn't get water to the second floor of their motels. They had all kinds of
problems down there. I said, okay, we'll take a look at it. Jack went down and he
took diesel mechanics, he took all kinds of people down. Jean Bellamy, [SFWMD
Board member] went down-I asked her to go [see how the Authority was viewed
by the media]-I went down, and several other board members went down to try
to find out what we could do. [Perhaps fifteen years before] I had done some
work for the Aqueduct Authority. Actually, [it was the Naval Facilities Engineering
Command from Charleston who operated the system. Some of the old Navy
engineers were, by then, working for the FKAA.] I started driving around with one
of guys from the Navy Aqueduct who had been running it before they gave it over
to the Aqueduct Authority. He was saying, it's a terrible, terrible place; it's very
poorly run. About that time, some call came on the radio and somebody wanted
something done on a pipe or a pump and I asked him, who is that? He said,
that's the chairman of the board. I [was surprised] the chairman of the board
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[had] got a radio. He said, yeah, he checks everything. He's a mechanic and he
checks everything's done. I said, oh my God. Then, when the accountants came
back, they said, they haven't sent bills out for two months. There's a billing
service in Miami Beach that's responsible for sending bills out; the billing service
in Miami Beach hasn't been paid, so of course, they hadn't worked. Nobody
really knew [anything]. It was just...spacy is the best way I could describe it. I met
with the governor and he said, okay, the legislature is in session, we meet
tomorrow. He said, we'll remove the elected board and replace it with an
appointed board-which is highly unusual. The appointed board will be [the] South
Florida Water Management District. I said, you're not asking, are you? He said,
no, Stanley, we're not asking, that's it. I said, who do you want as a chairman?
He said, that's up to you all, you decide. So, [as the new FKAA], we had an
emergency meeting two days later in Coral Gables, [Florida]. Of course, Jack
had been through this whole thing, he knew what the problems were. I mean,
you'd pick up an oil stick out of a diesel engine, and Jack said there would be
water in it. It was just horrible.
P: The pipeline, which was a steel pipeline, had just deteriorated? Is that it?
H: That was the least of the worries, but it had deteriorated. The pump stations were
gone. They didn't know how to send out bills. They had had a [de-salinization]
plant built by Westinghouse [Electric Company], and after a year they decided
they'd maintain it themselves, and they didn't know how to do it. You'd walk in it
and it'd be like a rain forest. They had little pieces of wood stuck in all of these
pipes, and it was a reverse [osmosis desalinization] plant. Anyway, we attended
one of their meetings and they began their meeting by the chairman got up and
offered a prayer. All their meetings had prayers. Lord, protect us from those
who'd overthrow the elected form of government, and all of us in the back were
[During that] first meeting, [we] got the report from their staff, [some were
good and some] were really out to lunch, [and some were really and good and
are still there]. They were just lost, emotionally upset. This whole thing was being
turned over on them and they knew that they had caused it, or they had not
stopped it from happening. There was a tremendous amount of internal jealousy
and all kinds of problems. Anyway, I said, what are those two stacks of checks?
He said, those are pay checks. Those are last weeks and this is this weeks. I
said, wait a minute, you haven't paid last weeks? No. I said, why haven't paid
last weeks? He said, we don't have money in the bank, we can't issue the
checks. The chairman refuses to sign them because we don't have money in the
bank. This was Thursday. Nat Reed says, okay, Stanley, I move Stanley to be
chairman, and you've got to sign the damn checks. Everybody laughed and I
P: Did South Florida pay it?
FWM-11 Hole; Page 29.
H: No, South Florida couldn't pay it. [Jack Malloy arranged with the exchange bank
in Tampa and] I went personal [on the note]. I [also] signed all the payroll checks.
I said, Jack, do you think we can cover it? He says, yeah, I can get the cash [but]
says, you'll have to sign the note. He released them Saturday ,then Jack went
down and did something that some folks would say would be inappropriate. He
sold, I think, water futures. The big problem in the Keys was that nobody could
get permits to build because there was no water. There was some substantial
developers who wanted water, and [I think] he [agreed] to [get] them water if they
would pay for it ahead of time. We created a supply of dollars, paid the bill to the
billing service, had them send all the bills out, and that's the way the thing
started. It had to be totally redone from the ground up. We hired a couple people
from Miami who were engineers who I trusted. We rehired the [FKAA] lawyer
who was [really] a fine guy who everybody trusted [and their accounting firm]. It's
hard to find people in the Keys that aren't already involved in everything. It
worked. It took a number of years, but it worked.
P: You just completely rebuilt the pipeline?
H: We had to rebuild a water treatment plant, which was totally inadequate, we had
to rebuild some massive pump stations. We had to rebuild a pipeline. We had to
reestablish confidence that there was going to be a water supply. I remember the
second meeting which we had in Key West, there was a requirement that they
would issue three permits a month-that's all the water they had. I said, I want
you to know we have plenty of water. It will take them time to get it, but we have
plenty of water. If you want permits, you can come get the permit, but we're not
issuing three a month. [We'll issue] as many permits as you want [quadrupled the
permit fee]. We raised the [water] rates from $4.00 per thousand to $12.00 per
thousand. They were the highest water rates beyond the continental lines of the
United States. We said, that's what it's going to take. You want water, you pay for
it, and here it is. We radically changed the whole thought process of water in the
Keys. Yes, there's water, and sorry you don't have any pressure-you won't have
it for six months, but my God, six months without pressure? It worked.
P: As water today is still a cheap commodity and there is going to be less and less
as more and more people move to Florida, shouldn't the price of water go up?
Should there user fees?
H: Sure. There are a number of people who need to use water, not the least of
which is the environment. The [current] systems exist because of huge quantities
of fresh water that have been supplied by God or somebody. You've got to
continue providing that supply or you lose the system that brings people to
Florida, if you want to be crass about it. The natural resources need water.
Agriculture needs water. They need good, clean water. You can't afford to run
ground water through a water treatment plant to put on tomatoes. I've overstated
it, and there are a lot of things that they're doing to reduce the demands on water
FWM-11 Hole; Page 30.
for agriculture, but agriculture needs water. People need water. People need
water because they have industries, they have businesses, they have hospitals,
they have all kinds of things, and they need high-quality water, but they can
afford to pay for it. It's going to be expensive, and it's going to cost people more
money, but you're not going to have a lack of water. We went through that with
the drought. I was on the board when we shut down nurseries in Palm Beach
P: Is this the 1981 drought?
H: Probably. We shut down car washes. We shut down a bunch of businesses.
You've got to be pretty damn sure of what you're doing [to do that]. We wouldn't
let them irrigate, for example, fairways. Sometimes you're talking about public
[courses] and [sometimes] private. We went through a huge control on water
supply, and we told each other, never again. We've got to start looking at this
P: That's an interesting point. How do you enforce [those restrictions]?
H: Public water supply is pretty simple because they've got meters. There's a
certain self-enforcement when we raise water rates. As far as agriculture is
concerned, that's a problem. For the limited time that I was with the board, when
agriculture was under that kind of a problem, they were very responsive because
they knew that you could afford to lose a crop, but you can't afford to lose the
plants. You can afford to lose [a crop of] oranges, but you can't afford to lose the
P: If you had certain restrictions, would they be given to the county commissioner
and enforced by the sheriff, and the city or the county would fine them?
H: Yes, very occasionally would you go to local law enforcement. Most people were
pretty careful about irrigation. Of course, the ultimate enforcement is to reduce
the water pressure so you're not pouring thirty gallons in and out of your shower,
you're pouring five. The local governments, from my experience, have been very
supportive. It's their dollars you're playing with; they don't pay the district. They
know they're going to have to provide new well-fields or they're going to provide
this, and they're going to have to pay for them, and that comes out of increasing
water rates, and that's never a popular thing to do.
P: In trying to deal with the drought, you would search for new well fields? I
understand there was an attempt at cloud seeding. Did you all get involved in
H: Yeah, it was another bright idea that didn't work, but it was something we had to
try. The issue, obviously, is that if there's plenty of water up there, if it's possible
FWM-11 Hole; Page 31.
to get it, we'll get it [down] here. They went through the same thing in Colorado
trying to get it for their snowfalls, which is not only because you want to have
snow, but it's also their water supply for next year. We tried condensating. I think
we concluded that the best thing to do was manage it in the ground.
P: How did you relate with and get along with the Department of Natural Resources
and DER? You had to make, I assume, certain reports to them?
H: DER, I felt, as a board member, that we got along very well with the DER. Vicky
Tschinkel was the secretary at one point, and she had a young [man] named
John Whele, who she sent to all the water management districts as her spy to
find out what was going on and then to report to her. It took about thirty seconds
watching [him] before it was obvious what was going on. At the end of the
meeting I said, here, come here, we're going to call Vicky. You're her spy, aren't
you? He said, yeah. I said, we're going to call Vicky right now. So we [went] back
to the office and [called] Vicky, and I said, John, you tell Vicky what you think
went on today, [then] I'll tell Vicky what I think went on today, and then she can
ask her questions. That's how we handled Vicky's spying. [Soon, we became
comfortable with John and the three-person calls stopped.] [Vicky] was very, very
supportive [of our Water Management District]. Every once in a while her people
would come in and see the water management districts doing [something for
which they felt they should] permit and [say] you can't do [it without state
permits]. I said, no, we're not issuing ourselves permits, we're doing permits.
Then somebody in her department said, send us copies of the plans or
something for some of the stuff you've done. We probably had 10,000: pumps,
pipes, weirs, all over south Florida. There probably was nobody [in Tallahassee]
who even knew what the hell they were, much less how to assess them, much
less how to go through it. At Maloy's farewell party, Vicky Tschinkel came down,
and she said it best. She said, you know my first year here I said, Mr. Maloy, we
need to have this and this and this done. He said, yes ma'am, [we'll] look into
that. She said, I came down the next year and I said, Mr. Maloy, you remember
last year? I need so and so and so? He said, yes ma'am, Ms. Tschinkel, we'll
take care of that. She said, he still hasn't. But on the big issues we got along very
well. If they had a problem they'd call [someone] and we'd try to resolve the
problem. A lot of that was because of Maloy's ability to override inconsequential
issues without making bitter enemies.
P: Eventually DER starts working much more cooperatively with the water
H: Yeah, but we were always cooperative. We wanted to cooperate with them on
things that we wanted to cooperate with them about. Then Jack, of course,
offered them office space and this and that. We co-located in other places. We
would try not to put them in a position of having to object to something we'd
permitted or permit something we objected to.
FWM-11 Hole; Page 32.
P: When you look at the early water management districts, how would you assess
both the strengths and the weaknesses of the early ones?
H: I don't know about the early ones. I can give it to you from ...
P: From the time you were on the board at least.
H: Even before that, in the early 1960s. They were very effective as a flood control
district, and they were a flood control district. As they continued as a flood control
district, they continued being effective. As they started to slide into natural
resources, they became less effective because nobody really knew, and
sometimes still don't, what natural resource protection really means. [They would
ask] are you talking about fresh water, are you talking about salt water? What are
you talking about? I remember saying that we were not going to get into salt water
because the [Corps of Engineers] took care of salt water. We were not going to
issue or accept applications for permits for anything that [had] anything to do with
salt water. We tried to divide it up. We were concerned that the DER was mostly
an environmental fresh water system process control run by a bunch of people
who really didn't have any experience. Ten years before, [there were few]
environmentalists. This was a new business; these were creatures of creation.
These were people who wanted to do something [good and important, but how?].
These were the sons and children of Earth Day. They didn't have any rules and
they were making them up on the fly. Up to a great extent we would try to help
them. Of course, we'd get cross-webbed, because, as engineers, we were very
structured. We knew what we were supposed to do and we'd been doing it since
the Romans, and these kids were twenty-five years old. It was more trouble for
them than it was for us. It was very easy for them to say, well, you can't do this
and say, okay, are we going to tell Palm Beach County that they can't pump water
tomorrow? They had no concept of the consequences. As they started getting
some experience, and as they started putting some of the [Docters], people like
Eric Heald and Durban Tabb, really hot shot students from the University of Miami
out to help them, and they would help them with identifying which of the resources
were salvageable and which were productive. Then they started making very
P: One thing that people told me that was an early advantage, it was regional
planning, that they were independent lay boards and they were beginning to use
more science as they developed these rules. Would you agree with that as a
strength of the water management district?
H: Yes. As to the flood control, it was very scientific and very engineering rules. You
knew exactly, within reason, where you stood. How much of the early
environmental issues were science, and how much were feelings that you're not
doing the right thing is hard to say. You couldn't find very many books on
FWM-11 Hole; Page 33.
environmental science, you really couldn't. This was a brand new field. The Corp
had a terrible time hiring environmentalists; there weren't any. There really
weren't. There were kids that wanted to do something, but they didn't know how to
do it. They didn't know how to preserve the wetlands. The engineers would say,
tell me where you want the water, just tell me [and we'll put it there]. How many
months do you want the water there? Tell me. If they were honest they'd say, we
don't know, let's try this. So there was a fair amount of trial and error, [and there
still is]. My relationship with DER and Vicky was very positive. She was trying to
do the right thing. She knew where she was weak, she knew where she was
strong, and she knew where we were weak and where we were strong. We had,
from person to person, absolutely no problems. Graham was very good at
allowing the system to work its way through.
P: By the time you leave the board, several things have changed. One, the political
scene changes to a large degree when the pork choppers leave and the people
from south Florida start to take over more control in the legislature. By, I would
say the mid-1980s, the environmental groups are starting to have more impact.
Would that be true for South Florida?
P: How did they change your decision making, let's say the environmental groups?
H: I told you the story about the young environmentalist who said, we're not going to
stand for this and we're going to challenge you. That was in good humor, and we
had a number of environmental groups. I can't remember the little old lady's name
over there in Palm Beach County-Rosa [something]. She would come to the
meetings and she would complain about some things we were doing and some
things we were doing right. I'm sure she still does. I respected Rosa. She would
bring things to light that we hadn't considered because they weren't engineering in
nature. We were still an engineering-driven organization, there were significant
conflicts within the district between departments of the engineers who would want
to know from the environmentalists, what do you need? God, just tell us what you
need. What's your protocols? How do you need this to be fashioned to accomplish
your goals? I think it's a lot better now because many of the environmentalists
were a lot more experienced and what they're trying to accomplish is a little better
defined. I've gone to several meetings where I had been on a committee on the
Caloosahatchee on deciding how to shift the flows so you're not totally straight up
the estuary. I've been very impressed with the quality of environmental science
that now is being offered.
P: Of course, even the environmentalists don't always agree, nor do the scientists.
H: Nor do the engineers. That's right. I hate to say this, but as long as you have good
people trying to do a good thing, you could work it out.
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P: Were you involved in any wetlands litigation?
H: Oh yes. We developed something called the CREW Trust [The Corkscrew
Regional Ecosystem Watershed, comprised of local, state, and federal
government representatives, and agriculture, conservation, and business
interests, is formed to protect 56,000 acres in southeast Lee and northwest Collier
counties]. I served on that [board and chaired it. It included parts of] Collier and
P: It was called the CREW?
H: Corkscrew Regional Eco Water System. It's a bunch of do-gooders that are trying
to protect a major part of the water supply to the Corkscrew Sanctuary, which is a
very important bird refuge.
P: Was South Florida involved in that?
H: South Florida was very involved in that.
P: When you were on the board?
H: Yes. It was required that the governing board members of South Florida would be
on the CREW Trust, either as chairman initially or other. Then I got Porter Goss'
[Porter Goss Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, 2005-Present, U.S.
Representative from Florida, 1989-2005] wife, [and eventually, Mary Ellen
[Hawkins, former state representative], for a while. It was really a very good group
of people. We bought a lot of land using Lee County money and using district
money. Some of it was because we thought the land was important, some of it
was because the water from the land was important, and some of it was because
the district was unable to provide flood protection to lands in Lee County, and
they're not alone, and permitted without flood protection. When it really floods like
hell, they go see the district, even though the district may say, what development?
It wasn't a development that would have been permitted. It was an area in which
people built a lot of houses. Yes, I've been involved in acquisition and quite a bit
of stuff. I didn't get into panther litigation or anything like that.
P: What was the position of South Florida Water Management as the evolution of
what we called the Everglades Restoration took place? How involved in those
activities was South Florida?
H: I think they were very involved. I think it was almost a good done deal when
[Governor Chiles got reinvolved]. [Florida governor 1991-1998 (died in office);
U.S. Senator from Florida, 1971-1989; Florida state senator 1967-1971; Florida
state representative 1959-1967]. You wouldn't have thought that. We had won the
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lawsuit, and I guess he became frustrated when he retired, and he said, we give
up. He fell out of sort.
P: This is the lawsuit saying ... ?
H: I don't know about details, but it was a huge, huge horrible deal. I'm sure you
know more about it than I do. We should talk about it and refresh me a little bit.
The restoration of the Everglades is a huge conflict. The part that I remember
being involved in was the changing requirements or requests by the park for
different supply levels depending on, from my opinion and the opinion of some of
the other board members, which species they were trying to protect at that
particular time. You can't protect all species at the same time- some require more
water and some require less water and that kind of thing. The decision was taken,
and you remember who the guy was Bob who said, we're not smart enough to
protect any single species. The park is going to go drought or flood like it has for
generations, and we need to come up with some kind of a rainfall driven model
where when it is as wet as hell you're going to get wet, you're going to flood, and
when it's dry you're going to have a drought, and eventually you're going to
reproduce a park that existed before we started screwing around with it. They had
developed that model. I don't know how it worked, but it was in operation, I guess,
for a few years. I suspect they've totally gotten away from that now.
P: As the Everglades restoration begins, this is a federal project as opposed to South
Florida Water Management being involved?
H: I think it's a federally mandated project, but South Florida is a local sponsor of
P; What is your view, for example, early on the Corp of Engineers, as you know,
straightened out the Kissimmee River, and now, the process is to go back and-at
least to some degree-[restore] it like it used to be on its own course. Does that
sound like a viable solution for the problems of water distribution?
H: Yes. We authorized the [construction] of a model [of the river]. [The] University of
California-Berkeley] professor Dr. Chang Chow-he had done the Yangtze River
[in China]-and our concern was that Congress had authorized the reconstruction
of the Kissimmee to provide flood protection to the Kissimmee/Orlando area. We
came through the upper chain of lakes, [like Hatchineha] The river runs effectively
from Orlando/Kissimmee down to Okeechobee. It was a meandering stream more
or less, but because it had limited capacity, when it rained in the upper chain of
lakes, Orlando and Kissimmee went under water. There are many photographs of
the town of Kissimmee being up to its eyeballs in water, and of course, there's
something called Disney up there now. Then the challenge comes in of how do
you provide the flood protection that you have guaranteed and upon which so
many people rely, how do you continue those protections? Yet, we saw the values
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in those huge wetlands, so the water management district contracted with the
University of California at Berkeley to model it. They had done the model and we
did some checking through the Corps project in Vicksburg; they'd done the
Mississippi, the Ohio, and a couple of other big rivers. They know how they can
do it and it's a matter of getting it done. There's a lot of money involved and
there's a huge amount of land. I sat in on some group sessions when the decision
was eventually taken, and we would acquire and buy those lands-that's where
some of that money went-then we would lease it back to the farmers and
ranchers because they had been managing the land for several generations and
they knew how to do it. Of course, then you run into the problem of a lot of
contamination from an awful lot of dairy cows into the lake and it changes to
various levels, which are bad things, and you've got to try to upgrade the quality of
the water that you drop into the lake. But it's a viable part of the project, so they
parted the project, and it's probably an important thing to do.
P: One of the areas that you've obviously had to make a lot of decisions about was
Lake Okeechobee, and originally, of course, building the dike and protecting the
area from flooding. But over and above that, you end up with a problem of the
river levels in the way.
H: As you know, Okeechobee is called the Liquid Heart of South Florida, and it
receives its water from a bunch of small and a couple of big rivers, and Maloy has
covered that. When hurricanes came before it was diked, the wind would come in
and blow the water [over] the south side of the lake and into the [farms and] into
the little communities and [it] would kill people. There were significant investments
made, particularly in agriculture, and I'm not talking about the present huge
agricultural system. It's part of the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control
District. They developed a big dike around the lake. The water levels in the lake
are influenced-its differentiated by control-are influenced by how you meter the
water out of the lake, how you discharge it, whether you go east out the St. Lucie
or west out of the Caloosahatchee. If you have a big lake in the middle, there are
three ways to drain it, you go west, east, or south. Remembering that the lake is
maybe elevation nine, ten, eleven, or twelve, depending on what conditions have
preceded that, and the elevation of the ground in the south part of Florida is zero,
and you had maybe [60 to 120] miles, you don't have any slope. You've got to get
the water out and relatively quickly, and that means by the Caloosahatchee or the
St. Lucie. One of the problems with that is that both of them are very [valuable]
estuaries. By dropping a bunch of fresh water in at the wrong time, you destroy
the values that those estuaries offer, or you deteriorate them for a period of time.
So what do you do about that? You try to release waters in anticipation of things
happening so that you don't all of a sudden either lose a dike, or you have to open
all the gates up and just flood the hell out of these really valuable estuaries. You
had fresh [potable] water supplies down in the Caloosahatchee area that need
continuing recharging, all of that kind of stuff. I'm losing the question.
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P: How do you continually deal with those problems?
H: We set a series of schedules. You say, if it rains x-amount in the Kissimmee
Valley, then we need to, in anticipation of that kind of rain, release [water] out of
the east/west releases and to the south toward the Miami Canal. The problem
comes in when the rain that comes into the valley is even a little more or little less
than you anticipate. The second problem comes in that the environmental value of
the lake is changing. It's a moving target. It didn't used to be anything more than a
place where you got bass and had a little fun in the lake, but now it's become of
nationwide value. It's pretty hard to say where you want the water to be because
you're not sure of the effect of your water. Is that really where you want it to be, or
is that your way to provide flood protection against the lake being overtaut? To
complicate the matter, you have quality of the water you're dealing with thrown in
there. Do you want to get the lake so low that you can set fire to the bottom of the
lake in the southeast part and get rid of a lot of vegetation-that is choking the
health of the lake? Should you go the Apopka route and drain the lake down and
plow it under? There are so many questions about what's the reason for the lake?
P: There's probably a reservoir, right?
H: More water evaporates from the lake than falls on it. It's hard to say. It's a place
where there's a lot of water that serves a lot of purposes. In serving those
purposes, you have a problem with the various qualities that are created as a
result of where you got the water. There are those who will tell you, and [it's]
probably true, that the [muck] system-huge and marvelous-[is] far less than what
it once was because you're using it all up feeding plants. You put enough fertilizer
on something, the plants get bigger and the fertilizer is gone. That's an easy way
to look at that. So yeah, it's a reservoir, but it serves many purposes.
P: You mentioned Key West and the desalinization plant. What do you think of that
as a new concept to provide additional water for the state?
H: First, I don't want to argue about how new it is. Second, it's obviously one of the
many solutions, but then the thing that many people get hung up on is its
converting sea water to drinking water. Sea water is probably the most difficult of
water available to convert because it's got the highest mineral content. The higher
the mineral content, the more money, the more power it takes to convert it, the
worse quality the brine product. There's an awful lot of ground water that has
been [treated by various de-mineralizing processes] for. You may or may not call
it reverse osmosis, [but] there are a lot of different ways of demineralizing water-
and that's being done in Florida a lot right now. The last thing you want to do is
have to go out to the Gulf. The next worst thing is to have to go into the estuaries
and pull brackish out, which Tampa does. The best thing is to find some [deep]
water that is mineralized, but you can treat it just fine. They've made enormous
advances in filters, power supplies, you make the deal with the power company,
FWM-11 Hole; Page 38.
like Tampa Electric, who furnishes power to you on the off-season, we have off-
hour rates. Sure, it's a very good way to go.
[End of Side C]
P: Let me mention some criticisms of the water management districts, and then get
you to react to those. Some people argue that water management districts have
too much authority, they have too much money, they don't listen to scientific
evidence as much as they should, and they're not as closely regulated as they
should be. What would your reaction be to those criticisms?
H: I've had legislatures tell me when I was on the board that [they] are going to
publically emasculate you for what [I'm] doing, [but] don't change. We want you to
be the guys who are doing the right thing; we can't be because we have to run for
office. That may answer part of your question as to who regulates us. I don't know
if there's anybody who knows enough to regulate us. We have a pretty good
regulation program from what I would call the environmental community. We're
getting advice that is a hell of a lot better than [before] they were then, and some
of the issues are very constructive. Then of course, you had a regulation that
would take you to court, and that's the least logical place to solve a problem. I
think the environmental community does a very good job. As to listening to which
side, were you listening enough to science, it's hard to find two scientists that
agree on almost anything if they're really good.
P: There is some resentment to the fact that the water management district has this
ad valorem taxing authority, but they're not elected, and theoretically nobody
really determines how they spend that money. I can remember at one point some
people were complaining about St. John's two airplanes. Did you hear that kind of
H: Yes, we heard it, but again, I relate you back to the legislators that say, yes, keep
on doing it. As to whether you are properly spending the money or not, you still
have to go before the taxpayers, you submit your budgets to the taxpayers. Then
the legislature is getting more into setting limits on how much you can spend. It's
easy and it's valid to criticize people for spending too much money. As a board
member you sit back a little bit and you say, wait a minute, and you ask yourself
that question-is this really that important? Is it the right thing to do? Your basic
answer is that if it wasn't the right thing to do, you wouldn't be doing it. You just
have to have a lot of confidence in yourself and that comes from knowing your
job, and that's why I'm so concerned about short-term board members. They don't
know, in some cases, what the hell they're doing, and [some may] have other
agendas. That is scary. When you get to that point, you're almost ready to start
looking for a different solution. I think that's about it. I don't know a better solution,
but they're screwing up the one we've got.
FWM-11 Hole; Page 39.
P: One of the things that Jack Maloy mentioned is that over a period of time, the
legislature and the local governments-realizing the amount of money that the
water management districts have-want them to take on political projects. [Local
and state governments] don't want to pay for them, so they say, let's let the water
management do it. The water management was beginning to be responsible for
doing things outside of their [original purpose].
H: Jack's very bright, [and correct], in that local governments want you to take on
their projects sometimes. The counterpoint to that is that sometimes the water
management district wants the local government to pay for something the water
management district should be doing. I'm talking about the water supply issues.
They look at the water supply and they say, we think you ought to raise your water
rates and pay for this. It's a tough call. You have to decide which are kind of
regional and which are the foundations of the systems, and which are operations-
I'm talking about water supply now. They're the responsibility of the end user,
which is the person who turns the water on and off, which means it's the utility
authority as to whether or not there's enough water in the conservation areas, if
you want to call them that. Or making sure the walls don't go bad, that's probably
the water management district's job to do that kind of thing. I think it's a shared
responsibility, and that's where you run into problems with short-term board
members who come in with an agenda; we're going to do this and we're going to
do that. There [was] a water board member from Lee County, she just recently
[ran] successfully for the legislature. When she first got on, she called all of her
fellow engineers in and said, we've got this budget, what do you think we ought to
do about it. I remember they all said, cut the budget! These were all these hard-
line conservative engineers. I said, don't do that, [you first need to] learn the
budget. What are you spending the money for? Is that really important? Is that
what you need to be doing, or are you doing something you shouldn't be doing?
That's your job, to learn the budget.
P: What about water wars? Do you see that it might be necessary to move water
from one management district to another?
H: I don't see that from South Florida, and I really don't know about the other
P: Now SWFWMD obviously has had that problem.
H: SWFWMD has been playing back and forth between the counties, and for good
reason. You have Pasco [and Polk and Pinellas with little water but lots of people],
and you have that kind of issue, and you have an allowance of major phosphate
mining, which has been in years past eliminated, a major water supply which
wouldn't be needed for thirty more years. But they couldn't look thirty years into
the future, and who can? They'd say, we're going to require this and this to be
done, and somebody would look at them and say, what the hell are you talking
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about? Like if somebody had said the River of Grass is important, don't build
those water storage areas, they would have been run out of town on rails[ then-
not now]. The biggest problem is that you've got to have a system that allows
enough flexibility so that when challenges evolve of which you're unaware, you
can meet them. That's hard to do because you change.
P: Governor Bush talked about putting together a state-wide water board. What
would be your view of an organization like that?
H: That would give Governor Bush a hell of a lot of brownie points all over the place.
P: Would it be effective? Wouldn't it destroy the integrity of the water management
H: I don't know; there may be two or three people in the state of Florida who would
know enough to be effective on it.
P: It would be a political board, right?
H: It would have to be a political board, and how are they going to develop a staff
that's going to tell why they're there? I think it's bizarre. California is a totally
different situation. You can go to the California Water Board. They have different
challenges. They've got the Colorado River and things like that they can deal with.
Have you talked to Woody Wodraska?
H: He'd be a good one to talk to. As I mentioned, he was one of the bright lights hired
by the district over the objection to a number of board members who didn't think
bright lights were necessary. I'm not sure they were, but I'm sure it was a good
idea. [After leaving us as executive director] he headed the California Water
Board, and he [then] hired Jack to come out there working as either an assistant
or a consultant or something.
P: What should the water management districts be doing in say, the next ten years?
What should their goals be?
H: I think they've got to stay appointed. We used to debate that all the time. I said,
what do you want me to do, go to U.S. Sugar [powerful Florida agri-business] and
say, I need $1,000 for my campaign? Come on guys. I think, one, they have to
stay appointed. I think the appointment process, at this point, is totally dependent
upon the governor, and that can be either good or bad. It would be good if they
could have something like the bar association uses, whereby they have a group of
folks interested- I'm not even going to say applicants in the job-who would be
vetted by this organization. They would then say, I think these people are maybe
qualified, and I suspect that it'll be an eight year term. Throw out a term limit, or
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maybe four years [with] no term limits. That is just bizarre.
P: It's sort of like a law review board for judges.
H: Absolutely. It opens the governor's options to appointing from that stack.
P: Is their goal now going to be more towards the quantity of the resources, the
quality of the water? What will be the focus in the future?
H: For South Florida?
H: I don't know enough to talk about [others]. I know some of the others real well, but
I don't know enough to talk about that. It's going to be the quality of use of the
P: What do you think today the average public knows about water management
districts? The average citizen.
H: Nothing. [Not much].
P: How do you change that?
H: I don't think you do. I think what they know they get from an occasion, like the
Everglades catching fire and burning, or they get a major hurricane that floods an
area. Don't forget south Florida had some rainfalls that would have put parts of
the country in a disastrous status, and they never missed a flight from [Miami]
International Airport from Miami-Dade; that airport operated.
P: This would have been the middle 1960s when they had a lot of rain and
H: No, it's been in the past ten years. We've had some big [stuff]-that system works.
I just want to make one point on the budget. At one budget meeting, eleven o'
clock at night and everybody's very, very tired, and we're about to approve the
budget, [I think it was] Nat Reed [who] said, I want a Zeb Grant and this guy and
this guy, all our department heads, up here in front of us. Maloy-he was the [ex
director]-said, you know, this is very unusual. I said, it's late at night, it's unusual
that we're working at eleven o' clock at night. There was nobody in the audience
except for us. Jack got them up there, and Nat said, I want you to tell me what you
need that we haven't given you in this budget. I think it was Zeb or somebody who
said, we need [the Australian] pines cut down-we've been trying to get that done
for twelve or fifteen years and it's never made it through. Now understand, it's a
complicated system, you don't get everything you want, but this mickey-mouse
FWM-11 Hole; Page 42.
item didn't get through. Nat said, why do you need it cut down, and most of us
knew the answer. He said, because if they fall in the canals, the canals won't
work. If the canals don't work, your flood system doesn't work. If the flood system
doesn't work, you get water in people's houses. It's that simple. Jack, [or maybe
Woody, agreed and it was done] Then we called them all and said, what else do
you need? They were just mickey [mouse items, they really were]. Some guy
needed new motors for pump stations. The motors run out, the motors are hand
made, and it takes five years to make a motor. [He advised us to] start now.
P: To get back to the question, I know that SFWMD does public service
announcement and they provide information for school kids.
H: We do that; South Florida does it.
P: Does that really make any difference?
H: I think it does on a global scale. I think South Florida is very good at that. Their in-
depth reports are works of art almost. They'll take you back to the beginning of
time, to the Swamp and Overflow acts, and how the railroads came into play and
how these lands became public or didn't become public. There are [also]
museums in which the districts has major exhibits. I think they do a good job. I
remember when they started doing them in Spanish. I took one of them back to
my partner who was running the company while I was out playing water manager,
and I said, what is it? He said, no, this is school Spanish, this is not Cuban
Spanish. I said, thanks. So I took it back, and at that time it was Woody, and I
said, Woody, whoever is doing these things, [needs to] speak Cuban Spanish to
write a note for you. Now I think they do them in Creole and others [too]. I think
they're making an effort. The water side is a work of art. When I say nobody
knows, obviously I'm wrong, but the general public, I don't think they know [much].
P: One of the major issues obviously is conservation. What did you all do specifically
to encourage conservation more?
H: On the public side, from the homeowner's side, we go through all kinds of things
about asking the local governments to limit irrigation to certain times of the day
because you don't have as much evaporation when it's dark. There are a lot of
plant reasons why you want to do it between four and six in the morning or three
and five. That, of course, drove the utility people nuts because all of a sudden in a
three-hour span, instead of having to be able to service all of their tanks up and
down the water system, they're going to need to pump all this water out. There's a
major feeling, I think, in the public, the need for conservation of water. That's a
buzz word. Agriculture, I think, has been very responsive to it. They've changed,
to my knowledge, [from] talking to the IFAS [Institute of Food and Agricultural
Science at the University of Florida] people and going to meetings of the Institute
of Food Agricultural Science out of Gainesville who advises the agriculture, and
FWM-11 Hole; Page 43.
from my experience, do a very good job. They did a very good job of coming up
with the different kinds of irrigation systems. Drip systems aren't spraying the
area, and on and on, the utilization of the drip system, fertilizers, soil
strengtheners. I think the agricultural community has accepted happily and
willingly and effectively, water conservation, probably more than any other group I
P: Do they use gray water and low-flow toilets and all of that?
H: Yes. Gray water, that's a buzz word, and it's a good thing, and it needs to be
done. They're doing it here in Collier, and I guess they're doing it in a lot of places.
To flush the toilets you get a lot of complaints, I've got to flush the damn thing
three times? They'll have a private club and they build a new clubhouse and they
have showers, they leave the showers off and they won't even put them back in
the new ones because they can't get enough water out of the new ones. There's a
certain amount, but an equilibrium comes. I think including the building codes is a
good thing. You see it a lot. You see the little flush 1.0 liter per flush or whatever
the number is in a lot of public buildings. You see it in a lot of public-use buildings.
P: Is there anything else we have not covered that you would like to discuss?
H: I don't want to discuss this, I just think that our relationship with SWFWMD,
Southwest, was very, very good. It was probably better than the others because
they had been in business a long time. They came in [as the] Three Rivers District
for the Corp project, and they had really, really good people. We fit in with them
very easily, but the others it took a while. But I think it's a good process. If you
have good board members, it can be a great process. I'm not fussing that I'm not
P: On that note, we'll end the interview.
H: Thank you.