Graham leaves his mark on reshuffled water boards

Material Information

Graham leaves his mark on reshuffled water boards
Alternate Title:
Newspaper article by William March in Tribune "Graham leaves his mark on reshuffled water boards."
March, William ( Author )
Physical Description:


Subjects / Keywords:
River basins ( jstor )
Lawsuits ( jstor )
Boards of directors ( jstor )
Spatial Coverage:
North America -- United States of America -- Florida


General Note:
Box 4, Folder 1 ( SF BASIN BOARD CONCEPT ), Item 25
Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.

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University of Florida
Holding Location:
Levin College of Law, University of Florida
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In doing so, Graham ignored the
Graham leav s recommendation of the Hillsbor-
raham leavesough County Commission that the
two should be reappointed. Graham

on resh fler boards Jackson, who agreed to ending the
litigation, although the commission-
ers did not recommend him.
By WILLIAM MARCH Graham reorganized Asked last week whether the
Tribune Staff Writer g controversy motivated Graham's ap-
eight water .basin pointments, Joann Carrin, the gover-
Three weeks ago, Gov. Bob nor's deputy appointments coordina-
Graham threatened to use his ap- boards in the wake of tor, said, "Part of the appointments
pointive powers to end the argument their dispute with the process stemmed from that. He was
between the Southwest Florida aiming for a spirit of cooperation
Water Management District and its governing board. and teamwork."
subsidiary river basin boards. But she said expanding the
In a sweeping move announced boards was done "for more input
Nov. 26 involving appointments to And some said the governor's ef- and a broader range of experience.
eight basin boards, Graham made forts to dictate peace won't work. Some basin board members who
good on his threat, and then some. "If the governor did this to sal- originally supported the suit but ac-
He refused to reappoint two vage Mr. Samson so his campaign cepted Graham's terms for ending it
members of the Northwest Hillsbor- for mayor of Tampa would go were reappointed by the governor.
ough River Basin Board who sup- smoothly, then I'm afraid the gover- One was Berryman Longino of
ported a lawsuit against the district nor made a big mistake," said state the Manasota River. Basin Board,
governing board. Graham also asked Rep. Chuck Smith, D-Brooksville, a who called the settlement "a reason-
a third supporter of the suit, John supporter of the basin boards who able compromise."
Lee of the Alafia River Basin Board, was angered by the news of the ap- "I think the suit accomplished its
to resign, Lee said. pointments. "The controversy is far purpose" in preventing the distri
Graham also added new seats to from over."
the four basin boards, including That controversy centers on from abolishing the boards, Longino
whether the basin boards or the dis- said. He said the controversy "has
those boards most active in support trict governing board can collect gone on too long. It was creating an
of the lawsuit, and appointed new and spend tax money. After an at- impediment to good water manage-
members to fill those seats. tempt by the district governing ment."
Supporters of the basin boards board last year to take over that and Samson, usually one of the main
say that amounts to packing the other basin board powers, several sources of recommendations for dis-
boards with appointees who will be supporters of basin boards filed suit trict board and basin board mem-
loyal to Graham and Bruce Samson, against the district. bers, said he recommended expand-
chairman of the district governing The Northwest Hillsborough ing-some of the boards to add new
board, in order to dilute support for Board and the Alafia River Basin representation and "a different
the lawsuit. Board joined the suit as plaintiffs, as point of view more responsive to the
Basin board supporters last week did individual members of several taxpayers."
responded angrily to Graham's an- boards. He said it wasn't to eliminate op-
c The legal fight resulted in $7.3 position to the district board. "Why
nouncement with charges that he million worth of double taxation on would you pack the boards after
was using intimidation to set water district residents when basin board they've already withdrawn from the
management policy, and to smooth taxes in 1984 were collected twice, suit?" he said.
over the controversy to avoid harm That money, now more than $8.5 Samson said he was concerned
to his own candidacy for the U.S. million with interest, is waiting in an about representation for the city of
Senate and Samson's for mayor of escrow account for the suit to be set- Tampa on the Hillsborough River
Tampa. tied. Basin Board and Northwest Hillsbor-
"They don't want this going on On Nov. 5, Graham brought ough boards, and recommended
during the campaigns, so naturally, many of the basin board members to members of minority groups for new
they eliminate the people who are Tallahassee aboard a chartered seats on three boards.
hell-raisers," said Allan Stone, a plane. In a blunt, 10-minute state- He denied that he made the
member of the Northwest Hillsbor- ment delivered in the Cabinet meet- recommendations to advance his
ough River Basin Board, who ing room, he told them to withdraw candidacy, although he said he ex-
Graham announced will not be reap- support for the suit and agree to pected such an accusation to be
pointed to his seat. terms that left the taxing authority made.
In a defiant letter to Graham, with the district, or else. Samson recommended adding
Lee refused to resign before his The boards did withdraw from one black member to the Northwest
term is over and accused the gover- the suit, but the other plaintiffs are Hillsborough board, Robert Gadson
nor of using "fear and intimidation." continuing it, and some board mem- from Tampa, and one to the Alafia
"It appears my reward for dar- bers refused to accept Graham's Board, Paul Major of Lithia. He said
ing to disagree with your dictates is terms, they will be the first blacks to serve
to be cast aside and trampled In making his appointments, on any board in the district.
under," Lee wrote. Board members Graham did not reappoint Stone and He also recommended adding
are being "forced to choose between Charles Martin to the Northwest + 'a Hispanic Tampa residents, Syl-
their convictions and their appoint- Hillsborough Board. Stone and Mar- a Espinoza and Al Fernandez, to
ments," he wrote. tin, like Lee, sought extra conditions :h Hillsbc rough Board, also partly
before they would agree to abandon ":r minority representation, and be-
the suit.

cause the board had no representa-
tives from the city.
But Samson added that all four
minorityy representatives "are very
well qualified" for the jobs.
Pasco officials charge that the
two new Tampa members overbal-
ance the board toward Hillsborough
County. It now has seven members,
five from Hillsborough County. and
one each from Pasco and Polk.
"It's an extension of the unfair-
ness that already prevailed," said
Allen Safranek, chairman of the
Pasco Board of Commissioners. "We
don't have an effective vote on the
Patricia Pieper of Land O'
Lakes, the only Pasco resident on
the Hillsborough board, said the
board "now is extremely urban-
Samson said Pasco officials' con-
cern overtheir representation is le-
gitimate. He said he would have
recommended another Pasco repre-
sentative, but had no suggestions for
a candidate from the Pasco commis-
Basin board powers are now in
dispute, but their activities in the
past have been important to local
Those include building and main-
taining flood control facilities and
buying property for flood control;
managing surface waters; respond-
ing to citizen complaints on drain-
age; reviewing environmental pro-
grams; and levying taxes to pay for
these activities.
Smith said Graham's appoint-
ments could face opposition in the
state Senate, which must confirm
them. During the last legislative ses-
sion, senators sympathetic to the
basin boards succeeded in blocking
a move to confirm Graham's reap-
pointment of- Samson, Smith re-
Graham responded by giving
Samson a provisional one-year reap-
pointment that does not require Sen-
ate approval.
"I hope the Senate takes a good,
long look at the appointments and
the manner in which they were
made," Smith said. "The contro-
versy is far from over. The litigation.
is ongoing, and I have some legisla- ,
tion to try to address the problem.
"As far as I'm concerned, it can
be a battle royal," he said.
But Samson said the controversy
is, or should be, effectively over, and
that continuation of the lawsuit only
costs the taxpayers money and
wastes the time of public employees.
"I and the governing board mem-
bers would like to see this put to bed
and behind us," he said. "I'd like to
move forward."