S T A T E O F F L O R I D A
KRISTEN L. BENTLEY
ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.
Representing the Florida Cabinet:
STATE BOARD OF ADMINISTRATION
ITEM ACTION PAGE
DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE
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DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
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FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT INFORMATION BOARD
ITEM ACTION PAGE
FLORIDA LAND AND WATER ADJUDICATORY COMMISSION
ITEM ACTION PAGE
ITEM ACTION PAGE
ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.
2 (The agenda items commenced at approximately
3 9:45 a.m.)
4 GOVERNOR BUSH: We now have a vote for the parole
5 commissioner. On May 13th, the cabinet meeting, we
6 appointed Monica David as chair of the Parole
7 Commission and also appointed a new parole
8 qualifications committee to fill the vacancy on the
9 Parole Commission.
10 The parole qualifications committee process is set
11 out by statute and consists of five people who serve
12 for a two-year period as needed. The current committee
13 is made up of Deputy Sheriff Ed Spooner, Judge Merrill
14 Olowos (phonetic), Police Chief Osadeo Oligo
15 (phonetic), state attorney Jerry Blair, and sheriff Don
16 Hunter. Their purpose is to advertise and receive
17 applications for parole commission vacancies and then
18 forward three names to the governor and cabinet for
19 consideration. I would like to thank all of them for
20 their efforts. The three people that we had a chance
21 to visit with all were, I think, very well qualified to
22 take on this responsibility.
23 The three names are Mr. Patrick Donaldson,
24 Ms. Tina Pate and Mr. Robert Woody. Our vote today
25 will fill the vacancy for the term left by Commissioner
2 passing out the ballot.
3 (Ballots are distributed.)
5 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Governor, as opposed to
6 doing a ballot, I'd just like to move Robert Woody and
7 request the others go along. I believe that Robert
8 Woody is, one, very highly qualified, having his
9 Master's degree from Rollins College. Two, he has the
10 experience necessary. And, three, he also happens to
11 be an African-American. Which, without him being named
12 to this very important position, we would be lacking
13 for the first time in many, many years an
14 African-American representation on the Parole
15 Commission. And that, I think, would be a mistake.
16 If you look at what we have in regards to -- in
17 black males, white males, there is a 32 percent white,
18 66 black. If you look at the female area, you end up
19 with 33 percent black female. 50 percent -- where am
20 I. I had the female one here. Anyway, there is a
21 large disparity among what's in the prisons as
22 opposed -- and we all recognize this problem -- as
23 opposed to in our society. I think it's extremely
24 important we have a very qualified African-American and
25 that that African-American is certainly one that would
2 So I would move that we hire Robert L. Woody.
3 GOVERNOR BUSH: Well, I think the procedures are
4 to have a vote. And I will just tell you that I'm
5 voting for Tina Pate. We've never had someone who has
6 had a track record of focusing on victims. And 100
7 percent of the crimes committed in our state have a
8 victim attached to them. And so I think it's more than
9 appropriate to have that expertise. Robert Woody is a
10 friend of mine. He serves in my administration. He's
11 a very talented man. He's, to put it completely in
12 perspective, he's been the cochairman of my campaign.
13 And I have enormous respect for him. But I think Tina
14 Pate is the proper person. All three of them actually
15 were very well qualified. The other gentleman does
16 great work in the Department of Corrections.
17 GENERAL CRIST: I would echo the Governor's
18 comments. I also have voted for Ms. Pate. I think her
19 experience, particularly as it relates to victim
20 services, is critical. And as the Governor so well put
21 it, every crime does have a victim and we are very
22 fortunate today that we have three extremely qualified
23 people for this position. And Mr. Woody has been a
24 friend of mine as well and continues to be.
25 And, Patrick, had the chance to visit with you
2 fact that you applied. But I think Ms. Pate offers a
3 great breadth of diversity as relates to her experience
4 and background and I think would really serve the
5 people of Florida very well so I voted for her as well.
6 GOVERNOR BUSH: I'm assuming you're voting for
7 Mr. Woody, right?
8 TREASURER GALLAGHER: That's correct.
9 GOVERNOR BUSH: So it's a 2-2 vote which I think
10 is the first time under the new cabinet rules that the
11 governor must be on the prevailing side. And Tina Pate
12 is the new parole commissioner. Thank you all very
14 Now, by law the appointment to the position of
15 executive director of the Department of Law Enforcement
16 is made by the governor with the approval of all three
17 cabinet members subject to confirmation by the Senate.
18 After advertising nationally and speaking to many
19 qualified candidates, I'm pleased to announce the
20 appointment of Guy Tunnell, sheriff of Bay County, for
21 the position of executive director, beginning October
23 I asked the cabinet's approval for my appointment
24 subject to a background review which has already begun.
25 And, of course, subject to confirmation by the Florida
2 MR. WOOD: Governor, I just wanted to let you know
3 that there are citizens here from Bay County who oppose
4 that appointment based on findings of the federal court
5 and evidence that show Sheriff Tunnell is not qualified
6 and I ask for just one minute to be heard.
7 GOVERNOR BUSH: Mr. Wood, you can come for one
9 GENERAL CRIST: Governor, while he's coming, would
10 you entertain a motion?
11 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Sure.
12 GENERAL CRIST: I would move that the cabinet
13 approve the appointment of Sheriff Guy Tunnell as
14 commissioner of the FDLE effective October 1, 2003.
15 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Second.
16 GOVERNOR BUSH: There's a motion and a second.
17 Now, Mr. Wood, if you could, please -- you promise a
19 MR. WOOD: I promise a minute.
20 I provided to Mr. Gallagher a copy of the letter
21 that has been submitted. I asked that that letter be
22 entered into the record today prior to the vote in this
23 case. Attached to that is a federal order by Federal
24 Judge Steven Mickle which has identified substantial
25 evidence of racism on the part of Sheriff Tunnell
3 And I don't believe that this material has before
4 been considered by whoever was considering the
5 appointment or, of course, by the members of the
6 cabinet. And I think it needs to be considered.
7 Sheriff Tunnell, according to the evidence and
8 according to the federal judge, is a blatant racist.
9 And I believe that this evidence should be made public
10 and that people should know about this prior to his
11 appointment. I know I'm probably outnumbered 200 to
12 one here. But in our form of democracy, sometimes one
13 voice can bring to the attention material that needs to
14 be considered before important decisions like this are
16 To have a blatant racist to be the head of Florida
17 Department of Law Enforcement is wrong and you should
18 not allow it to happen today.
19 GOVERNOR BUSH: Thank you. And just for the
20 record, you've sent me more information, my office more
21 information. We've had all of this. It's not news.
22 It's not new and it's not newsworthy in my personal
23 opinion. All this has been looked at.
24 MR. WOOD: You still have refused to order an
25 investigation in Bay County and that's why we have a
2 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Governor, I'd like to say a
3 couple of things if I may.
4 GOVERNOR BUSH: Sure.
5 TREASURER GALLAGHER: First of all, let me just
6 tell you that I think Guy Tunnell is an excellent
7 sheriff. I had a chance to spend a little time with
8 him yesterday after you told us who you had chosen.
9 And I truly believe that he will make an excellent
10 person in charge of FDLE. I would also say that in the
11 future I would ask that your staff would do the
12 background check prior to bringing someone up. I mean,
13 there's not a sheriff in this room that would hire a
14 deputy that would not do the background check prior to
15 naming them.
16 So I know it's a formality, but it's a very
17 important formality that we all have to do. I'm
18 certainly going to vote for him because I like him and
19 was very interested in months ago that he would get
20 this job. So I'm certainly for him. I just would like
21 us to sort of get things in the right order in the
22 future if we could. And I know that's not your fault,
23 it's a staff issue. But maybe this will have the staff
24 do it in the right order. And so therefore, I'd be
25 most happy to vote in favor of the sheriff.
2 as good a cop that this state has and we've got a ton
3 of good ones. And he's a person of unimpeachable
4 integrity and he has the support -- the broad support
5 of law enforcement all across the state. And there has
6 been proper checking. It is a formality and I
7 apologize if you feel uncomfortable about it. But I am
8 completely comfortable with my choice and I would urge
9 a unanimous vote.
10 TREASURER GALLAGHER: You have a unanimous vote
11 because you have a second and I'm certainly agreeing
12 with it. And I'm sure the background check will come
13 in just fine. But I did feel an obligation to at least
14 mention that. So hopefully staff will put it in the
15 right order in the future.
16 GENERAL CRIST: If I might. I think I need to
17 give a friendly amendment to my motion to support the
18 sheriff to add the salary of $124,000. And look
19 forward to the unanimous vote.
20 GOVERNOR BUSH: There's a motion.
21 TREASURER GALLAGHER: I'll second that.
22 GOVERNOR BUSH: Second. Any other discussion?
23 All in favor say aye. All opposed.
24 Sheriff, you want to come up and speak?
2 SHERIFF TUNNELL: Good morning. Obviously this is
3 a very exciting and important day in my life. Needless
4 to say, a few of my friends are here today and I'd like
5 to take the liberty to introduce them. I think, like
6 me, although for probably different reasons, they are
7 having a hard time believing that this is actually
8 taking place this morning. So if I may, I'd like to
9 introduce my lovely wife, Patty. And I'd like to ask
10 the other members of my family who are here to stand,
13 I'd also like to ask my extended family, many of
14 the fine men and women of the Bay County Sheriff's
15 Office, my sheriff's office, who are here this morning
16 to support me to stand too, please.
18 And certainly last but not least, I brought my
19 heavy handers with me this morning. A number of my
20 fellow sheriffs are here and I'd certainly like to
21 appreciate them for their support and being here.
22 Thank you.
24 Governor, thank you so much for this opportunity
25 and the confidence you placed in me in making this
2 Bronson, Treasurer Gallagher, General Crist, thank you
3 too for your support. I look so forward to working
4 with you, gentlemen, and your staffs, your respective
5 staffs in the job that has to be done.
6 Obviously my predecessor, recently retired
7 Commissioner Tim Moore of the FDLE, is a class act. A
8 tremendous leader, proven leader. Definitely I've said
9 this, if I've said it once, I've said it a hundred
10 times in the last 48 hours, his shoes, as big as my
11 feet are, will be difficult to fill. But I pledge to
12 you, along with the fine men and women of the FDLE, to
13 endeavor to do the very best job that I can, to raise
14 the standard for public safety for the citizens and the
15 visitors of the great state of Florida. God bless you
16 and thank you so much.
18 GOVERNOR BUSH: Treasurer?
19 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Let me mention that this is
20 the first time in a long time that we've had a head of
21 FDLE that has come -- actually, the first time ever, I
22 think, that's actually come from the Florida sheriffs
23 and with the support of the Florida sheriffs. And I'm
24 thrilled that you chose one of the Florida sheriffs
25 because there's always been a little bit of contention
2 that. And, in fact, I don't think, I know it will. I
3 think that's a really good thing for law enforcement in
4 Florida. And I know Guy is going to do a great job in
5 having a good relationship with his whole team and the
6 different sheriffs throughout the state. That's going
7 to be a really good thing for Florida law enforcement
8 and for the people of Florida.
9 I know that they'll also work with our respective
10 agencies. You have quite a few law enforcement that
11 work in different -- for your secretaries, Commissioner
12 Bronson does, I do. Charlie, you have some, I think,
13 sworn deputies that do certain things. So it's going
14 to be good for all of us. So you've made an excellent
15 choice. We thank you. I know the sheriffs, they
16 wouldn't be here in the large quantity if they didn't
17 fully agree to that. So I thank you for the choice you
19 GOVERNOR BUSH: Thank you, Tom. And I'd also like
20 to thank Darryl McLaughlin for doing a great job in the
21 interim. FDLE is a great organization with really
22 highly trained, capable people. And Darryl has done a
23 fine job in these months and I have enormous respect
24 for him as well. So I'm excited about this.
25 Next we have a presentation for -- from the
2 here. And Lila Jaber who's the chairman of the PSC.
3 Sheriffs, you don't want to stick around and hear
4 about how our grid is much better than the rest of the
7 Apparently not. It's a riveting subject. I'm
8 just shocked that you want to leave.
9 TREASURER GALLAGHER: I think the celebration is
10 starting now.
11 GOVERNOR BUSH: This is an important subject given
12 what happened with the blackout. I don't know if
13 anybody has seen the satellite picture of the blackout
14 night where there was a chunk, a third or maybe a fifth
15 of the country, almost in a triangle form that was
16 totally black. And the rest of, thankfully, Florida,
17 was totally lit. So it's important to get a review, I
18 think, of where we stand and why is Florida a little
19 bit different than Ohio.
20 MS. JABER: Thank you, Governor Bush and members
21 of the cabinet. We appreciate the invitation to be
22 here certainly. And I think the request is timely.
23 And we hope that between Ken and I we can give the
24 appropriate assurances and be available to answer
25 whatever questions you may have. Recognizing the
2 our comments brief.
3 I wanted to try to answer the obvious question
4 everyone has, Can the kind of blackout that the
5 northeast encountered be possible for Florida. And
6 while Ken and I are not going to say that anything is
7 100 percent reliable or 100 percent guaranteed, I think
8 that there are, as the governor mentioned, some factors
9 that exist within the state that make it far less
10 likely for the kind of blackout that the northeast
11 experienced to occur in Florida.
12 The first and perhaps the most important factor to
13 point out is just the very geography of the state of
14 Florida. We are a peninsular state which means quite
15 frankly that our import capability from other states is
16 limited. We are connected to what's called the eastern
17 inner connection grid by a series of transmission lines
18 into Georgia. But the reality is we only have an
19 8 percent import capability in the very optimal
20 conditions and that equates to about 3600 megawatts.
21 Because of that, Florida has had to be
22 self-sufficient, self-generating. And there is a
23 reasoned, incremental, very thoughtful approach to
24 understanding how much generation the state needs. And
25 we do that as an organization, as the commission, and
2 utilities, DEP, and the Florida Reliability Council, by
3 looking at a ten-year plan that we require the
4 companies to submit every year. And that ten-year plan
5 gives us not only the demands and the generation
6 facilities for the year that we're looking at, but also
7 ten years out in the future.
8 That's a very thoughtful approach to understanding
9 population growth, impact on electricity from other
10 factors such as industry, just people moving to Florida
11 generally. And we look at the ten-year site plans
12 every year. We have, the Florida PSC, has a statutory
13 authority to require improvements or construction based
14 on whether we believe the plan is adequate.
15 In addition to that, but related to those two
16 topics, is the notion that Florida utilities have
17 agreed to a 20 percent reserve margin, an excess
18 capacity that goes to serve load during peak times.
19 Now the national normal is 15 percent. But Florida
20 utilities that contribute to 75 percent of the state's
21 electric needs, Florida Power & Light, Progress Energy
22 Florida and TECO, have agreed to a 20 percent reserve
24 The third point, but also equally important,
25 relates to the transmission infrastructure. The
2 transmission capacity and these are 230 kv lines or
3 higher transmission lines according to the Florida
4 Reliability Council load and resource plan. Peninsular
5 utilities -- those are the three largest Florida
6 utilities -- are planning to add another 500 circuit
7 miles of high capacity kv lines over the next ten
8 years. The PSC recently approved for Florida Power &
9 Light a 240 kv line that's making its way to the
10 governor and cabinet.
11 GOVERNOR BUSH: Is that -- what percentage
12 increase is that in terms of our capacity that's being
13 planned for the next ten years?
14 MS. JABER: I don't know what the percentage
15 increase would be, Governor. We can certainly look
16 that up and get back to you. But that in and of
17 itself, Governor, is probably not the complete picture.
18 What I did yesterday, to try to understand more of our
19 transmission infrastructure upgrades, I asked FP&L to
20 give me just a rough estimate of what they've spent in
21 the last couple of years on upgrades and that will give
22 us a better picture.
23 FP&L has invested $420 million the last four years
24 on transmission facilities. The next four years, they
25 expect to spend another 750 million.
2 the year 2000 they spent 180 million. And for 2002
3 they spent 37 million. These are important numbers
4 because if you recall reading some of the fallout from
5 the blackout in the northeast, the accusations are that
6 the companies are not spending any money on upgrades
7 and infrastructure construction. So our companies are
8 doing both. Certainly we'll get back to you in terms
9 of what that adds in percentage numbers to capacity.
10 Finally, complicated systems like power grids,
11 it's very, very important to design a system where a
12 single disturbance won't affect the rest of the
13 customers that are served by other Florida companies.
14 This has been tested in Florida just last year. JEA
15 had a major power outage in their area. The Florida
16 Reliability Council, again, with the assistance of the
17 Florida investor-owned utilities, were able to spot
18 that quickly. They shut JEA down in terms of access to
19 the grid and the problem was isolated to that area
20 alone and no other customer in the Florida area saw any
21 effect of the outage.
22 Just to give you an idea of generation capacity
23 added, Governor, similar to the question you just asked
24 on transmission, the Florida PSC in the year 2002, we
25 approved an additional 2700 megawatts of generation
2 siting board approved those.
3 And the year before that we approved collectively
4 almost 1800 megawatts and we intend to keep looking at
5 those costs and those constructions prudently, again,
6 in the context of a planning process which we are
7 finding out other states really don't have.
8 With that, I'm going to introduce Ken Wiley from
9 the Florida Reliability Coordinating Council for a more
10 detailed presentation.
11 GOVERNOR BUSH: Good morning.
12 MR. WILEY: Good morning, Governor and Cabinet.
13 Thank you, Chairman Jaber. The fact that Lila and I
14 are standing here together at the podium talking to you
15 about reliability in this state is indicative of the
16 fact that this industry and the Florida Public Service
17 Commission have been going hand in hand over the past
18 two to three decades worrying about and watching out
19 for the reliability of the transmission system in this
21 I know the question in the forefront of our mind
22 here today is, Can this happen in Florida? And as Lila
23 indicated, we're not going to say it never can, but I'm
24 hoping to give you some assurances today that we at the
25 Florida Reliability Coordinating Council and the Public
2 in looking after this affair.
3 First, let me explain who the Florida Reliability
4 Coordinating Council is. Acronym is FRCC. It's all
5 the players that utilize the electric transmission grid
6 in peninsular Florida. We have 29 members' companies.
7 We're a non-profit corporation. Our membership
8 includes all the investor-owned utilities, the
9 municipal utilities, the electric co-ops, the power
10 marketers and generators, independent generators.
11 We have existed in one form or the other for four
12 decades. Our responsibility is primarily to set the
13 reliability standards for the transmission grid in the
14 state and to set the policies and procedures that all
15 users of that grid must follow whenever they operate in
16 peninsular Florida. We have an extremely close
17 relationship to the commission as you're aware. They
18 have the statutorial responsibility over reliability.
19 One way that they -- we and they work together is
20 that their staff participate in the day-to-day type
21 activities when we're discussing reliability and
22 operating matters in this state. They don't vote, but
23 they certainly have their input and they hear what
24 we're doing and we have very close coordination with
25 the commission staff.
2 Congress there's a big push for Congress to enact some
3 national reliability legislation. That's one of the
4 titles in the energy bill that is now in the conference
5 committee in Congress.
6 The purpose of the reliability section is to
7 empower a national organization known as North American
8 Electric Reliability Council -- you've read that in the
9 news, NERC is the acronym -- with the ability to set
10 the standards and to have the mandatory capability to
11 enforce the compliance with those reliability
13 The enforcement mechanism that they would utilize
14 is to delegate to the ten regions such as the FRCC in
15 North America the power to enforce the particular --
16 GOVERNOR BUSH: Doesn't that bill also require us
17 as taxpayers to subsidize in essence the utility
18 companies in areas of the country where they've not
19 made the same kind of investment in capacity and
20 transmission lines?
21 MR. WILEY: I'm speaking specifically to the
22 reliability title.
23 GOVERNOR BUSH: I'm speaking about since we
24 invest -- you-all have invested in capacity that goes
25 into the rate base and transmission line investments
2 happened in other places -- we've paid for that
3 investment as ratepayers and now the solution to do
4 something is that we all, and as a nation, are now
5 going to have to pay for the places where that
6 investment didn't take place.
7 MS. JABER: Governor Bush, there are aspects of
8 the bill that absolutely the Florida Public Service
9 Commission has sent comments to the Florida delegation
10 and other members of Congress that have participated in
11 that bill. And absolutely, you're right, there are
12 places where it calls for cost shifting. We've opposed
13 that. We've sent alternative language.
14 With regard to the reliability part of the
15 legislation, the Florida PSC has said, We have to
16 preserve our state jurisdiction in that regard. While
17 the goals are admirable with regard to a national
18 reliability standard, you have to defer to the state's
19 jurisdiction because quite frankly, we can impose
20 stricter standards and more efficiently.
21 So absolutely, it's not a perfect bill. We
22 understand that some parts of the bill may be
23 compromised out. We're anxiously awaiting to see what
25 GOVERNOR BUSH: Okay.
2 of taking the reliability section of the bill and
3 pulling it out of the energy bill and passing it
4 separately. But at this point there's a lot of
5 speculation of whether or not that will happen. And
6 certainly the FRCC has been fully supportive of the
7 reliability part of the energy bill and that's the only
8 thing that we get involved in.
9 GOVERNOR BUSH: But, I mean, we already have it.
10 So why would you want to federalize something that we
11 already do and we do apparently well enough to avoid
12 the problems that the midwest and the mid Atlantic
13 states faced?
14 MR. WILEY: Well, I'm hoping the remainder of my
15 discussion here will tend to answer that question,
16 Governor. But we certainly do not want anything to
17 happen at the national level that preempts Florida.
18 As a matter of fact, I've personally been involved
19 in drafting that national legislation just for the
20 reliability part of it and we have insisted and insured
21 that no preemption of state's authority, such as we
22 have in Florida, would ever happen.
23 The FRCC region does not cover the entire state of
24 Florida. It covers the peninsula. The area over in
25 the Panhandle which is where a few co-ops and Gulf
2 another reliability region. And electrically, they're
3 just not tightly tied to the peninsula. They are very
4 tightly tied to the north. And that's why they're not
5 a part of the FRCC.
6 GOVERNOR BUSH: Can I just simplify this?
7 MR. WILEY: Yes, sir.
8 GOVERNOR BUSH: Tell me if I'm wrong. If we
9 continue to invest in capacity and transmission
10 infrastructure at a rate that is equal to the growth
11 and demand which continues to be a significant issue,
12 and if we import roughly 5 percent or less of our
13 energy from the north of us through transmission lines,
14 in other words, we're taking care of, at any given
15 time, 95 percent of our needs, and if we have a
16 120 percent capacity to peak load demand ratio and if
17 we keep doing that, we're not going to have a problem
18 like Ohio had. That's -- I just want someone to
19 confirm that to give people peace of mind in Polk
20 County. I'm really worried about Polk County right
24 GOVERNOR BUSH: What I'm worried about, these
25 girls have been sitting in a very uncomfortable
2 MS. JABER: Governor, the only thing I would add,
3 because it's certainly a message we all collectively
4 want to get out is I would add the need to continue
5 proactive conservation measures to reduce that level of
6 demand. That's the only thing I would add to your
7 statement. But you're absolutely correct. We're doing
8 it right. We need to do the conservation piece better.
9 But certainly the projections are there and taken care
10 of by these responsible utilities.
11 GOVERNOR BUSH: And the second question is, Do we
12 have one of the issues that exist in -- up north is
13 that it is increasingly difficult to site transmission
14 line capacity and I would imagine it's fairly difficult
15 here. I mean, as I fly over the state, which I do
16 three or four times a day -- a week, you know, where
17 these transmission lines exist typically go through
18 wild Florida. And I don't know, had we not sited those
19 a long time ago how easy it would be to do it now.
20 So the other question is, Even if we have the will
21 and we have the system and we have, you know, a
22 commitment to this, are we focused on siting of
23 transmission lines to maintain the grid.
24 MR. WILEY: Well, the short answer is yes we are.
25 However, subject to the environmental and the siting
2 have right now is that with this recent blackout, I
3 think we're going to see a very big new push at the
4 federal level to have FERC have the siting capability
5 for transmission lines that cross state lines.
6 Now my opinion is we need to watch out for that
7 kind of language at the national level to ensure that
8 any type of legislation in Congress does not preempt
9 the transmission line siting laws that we have in this
10 state because they have been working. I think going
11 forward they're going to need to be tweaked, however.
12 Because those things were written -- those laws were
13 written back in 1974 or five and I think that one of
14 these days when we determine that a transmission line
15 that needs to be built for reliability purposes, and
16 generally those are long distance lines, we're going to
17 find it extremely hard to cross a lot of lands, a lot
18 of state-owned lands which you all control. And I
19 think that we're going to need some legislation
20 eventually to recognize a more streamlined transmission
21 line siting act when it's only for the purpose of
23 GOVERNOR BUSH: Commissioner Bronson and then
24 General Crist.
25 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Thank you, Governor. One
2 natural resources in the Florida senate with some of
3 the environmental groups that were just so adamantly
4 against allowing transmission lines to go over state
5 lands was you can still have a clean power source and
6 protect the environment.
7 But the point of buying that land, even though it
8 was environmental and to have that much land available
9 for the public hopefully one day to all go to, was that
10 that land should never be discounted for the general
11 good of the public if power lines need to go there to
12 support the infrastructure of the state of Florida
13 which includes businesses, homes, and schools, that we
14 should leave open the opportunity, if it arises, under
15 the right conditions to put those transmission lines
16 where needs be to support the public.
17 And it put me at odds with some people, but I felt
18 like we were looking at a head-on train wreck if we
19 didn't at least leave the opportunity open. And I hope
20 the Legislature will maintain that thought pattern when
21 it comes to those issues.
22 GOVERNOR BUSH: General?
23 GENERAL CRIST: Yeah, I just had a couple of
24 questions. Is there any consensus as to what caused
25 the blackout in the northeast and the midwest?
2 investigation. I was on a conference call with some of
3 my peers yesterday and they just have not found -- they
4 are not ready to discuss exactly what the cause was and
5 the sequence of events. It's truly a very complicated
6 matter to go back and get all of these data points that
7 they have and reconstruct the sequence of events. We
8 have done that before, as you're aware, many, many
9 years ago, thank goodness.
10 So I expect by Friday of this week that nationally
11 we're going to have a pretty good idea of what caused
12 and what the sequence of events are.
13 GENERAL CRIST: And, you know, the obvious reason
14 for the question is to try to find out what the cause
15 was so we might be able to avoid it for our citizens.
16 I guess secondly, I've been informed that there
17 are two primary lines that bring energy from outside of
18 Florida, one near Jacksonville, one in the panhandle
20 MR. WILEY: Yes, sir.
21 GENERAL CRIST: Would it be at all advantageous to
22 extend that further or do we produce enough energy
23 within the state that is sufficient?
24 MR. WILEY: I would like to comment on your first
25 question and perhaps that will answer your second one.
2 happened in the northeast, will not happen in Florida.
3 And the reason is Florida is a peninsula. We have
4 electrical connections just to the north. We're able
5 to, through our control systems, we're able to control
6 the power that comes into this peninsula and the power
7 we ship out. We have total control across our
9 When you get up in the middle, in the eastern
10 inner connection or in the midwest, northeast, you have
11 a Florida region -- you know, a region sitting here
12 with other regions on all four sides as an example,
13 even up through Canada. And sometimes you'll have one
14 region shipping to a noncontiguous region and the power
15 flow goes through parties that are not -- another
16 party, a third party who is not part of that
17 transaction. Well, that middle party, while it has
18 excellent control of its region, it does -- it has less
19 control over through-flows that other regions push
20 through it.
21 GOVERNOR BUSH: So what percentage of energy would
22 be -- I mean, if we're at five percent that flows from
23 the grid north of us, a state like Ohio or New York,
24 what percentage of their electricity is interdependent
25 upon this web that exists?
2 dependency upon other capacity. It's this aspect of
3 other people sending power through their region to
4 another region that has the ability to overload their
6 GOVERNOR BUSH: Well, we're saying the same thing.
7 I mean, it's the interdependence is what creates the
9 MR. WILEY: That's correct.
10 GOVERNOR BUSH: I mean, we're blessed to live in a
11 peninsula for all sorts of reasons, but this one is one
12 that no one really thought of until ten days ago when
13 the blackout occurred. This gives us much more safety.
14 And I don't know, Lila, it's something you may
15 want to look at, to do a review on, is the economic
16 development message that we can -- I mean, I hate to
17 take advantage of the misfortune of others but this is
18 a huge selling point for businesses that have to have
19 reliable sources of consistent energy, high-quality and
20 consistent energy for their business process, or
21 manufacturing process. I'd like to know what types of
22 industries are most dependent upon this stability
23 because it will go out and shamelessly promote the
25 MS. JABER: Absolutely, Governor. We'd be
2 factor for the state which is on top of being a
3 self-generating state and approving these plants for
4 construction, we've managed to maintain some of the
5 lowest rates in the southeast region. Our average is
6 7 cents per kilowatt hour. And in terms of attracting
7 the industry and frankly residential consumers, that's
8 a very good electric rate with a very good reliable
10 GENERAL CRIST: Do we need to be approving any
11 more plants?
12 MS. JABER: We have an RFP that's pending that we
13 expect next summer. So the answer to your question is
14 yes, to meet ongoing demand, absolutely we'll be
15 looking at new plants. The Florida PSC approved a
16 brand-new competitive bidding rule last year that we
17 look forward to its implementation with this new RFP
18 and that may bring fuel diversity. We're hoping it
19 attracts fuel diversity. So the short answer to your
20 question is yes.
21 GENERAL CRIST: We're growing like a weed.
22 MS. JABER: We are growing like a weed.
23 GOVERNOR BUSH: We're looking at renewable energy
24 sources as well. We have some exciting initiatives
25 hopefully that will become more public in the next few
2 MS. JABER: It's good to be in Florida.
4 GOVERNOR BUSH: That will be the last time you
5 guys get an applause, by the way.
2 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Motion on the minutes.
3 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Second.
4 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded without
5 objection. The item passes.
6 Item 2.
7 MR. STIPANOVICH: Request for approval of fiscal
8 sufficiency of amount not exceeding 300,000,000 State
9 of Florida, full faith and credit, Department of
10 Transportation, right-of-way acquisition and bridge
11 construction bonds, series 2003A.
12 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Motion.
13 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
14 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded. Without
15 objection, the item passes.
16 MR. STIPANOVICH: Request approval of fiscal
17 sufficiency of an amount not exceeding 16,800,000 State
18 of Florida, Florida Education System, Florida State
19 University parking facility revenue bonds, series
21 GENERAL CRIST: Motion.
22 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Second.
23 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded. Without
24 objection, the item passes.
25 MR. STIPANOVICH: Request for approval of fiscal
2 State of Florida, Department of Environmental
3 Protection --
4 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Motion on four.
5 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
6 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded. Without
7 objection, the item passes.
8 MR. STIPANOVICH: Request approval of fiscal
9 sufficiency (sic) of an amount not exceeding 7,500,000
10 tax exempt and 2,000,000 taxable Florida Housing
11 Finance Corporation multifamily mortgage revenue bonds,
12 2003 series.
13 GENERAL CRIST: Motion.
14 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Second.
15 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded. Without
16 objection, the item passes.
17 MR. STIPANOVICH: That's it, Governor.
18 TREASURER GALLAGHER: You have Item 6.
19 MR. STIPANOVICH: Oh, I'm sorry.
20 Request approval of fiscal determination of
21 amounts not exceeding 16,300,000 tax exempt and
22 1,945,000, taxable Florida Housing Finance Corporation
23 multifamily mortgage revenue --
24 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Motion on six.
25 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
2 objection, the item passes.
3 GENERAL CRIST: Thank you, Coleman.
2 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Motion on the minutes from
3 August 12th.
4 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Second.
5 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded. Without
6 objection, Item 1 passes.
7 MR. WATKINS: Item 2 is a resolution authorizing
8 the issuance and competitive sale of up to $180,000,000
9 in Florida Forever Refunding Bonds.
10 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Motion on two.
11 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
12 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded. Without
13 objection, the item passes.
14 MR. WATKINS: Item 3 is a resolution authorizing
15 the competitive sale of up to $300,000,000 in
16 right-of-way acquisition bonds for the Department of
18 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Motion on three.
19 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
20 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded. Without
21 objection, the item passes.
22 MR. WATKINS: Item No. 4 is a resolution
23 authorizing the competitive sale of up to $16.8 million
24 in parking facility revenue bonds for Florida State
2 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Second.
3 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded. Without
4 objection, the item passes.
5 MR. WATKINS: Item No. 5 is a resolution
6 authorizing the distribution of an RFP for underwriters
7 and bond council --
8 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Motion on 5.
9 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
10 GOVERNOR BUSH: There's a motion and a second.
11 Any discussion on this? Without objection, the item
13 MR. WATKINS: Item 6 is a report of award on the
14 competitive sale of $200 million in PECO bonds. The
15 bonds were awarded to the low bidder at a true interest
16 cost of 4.83 percent.
17 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Motion on 6.
18 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
19 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded. Without
20 objection, the item passes.
21 Ben, just for all the taxpayers out in the room,
22 and everyone here is one, how much money did we just
23 obligate the State for in a matter of two minutes, ten
24 seconds? About 600 --
25 MR. WATKINS: 316 -- well, the refunding -- I'm
2 GOVERNOR BUSH: You got Item 6, that counts. Or
3 is that a refunding?
4 MR. WATKINS: Well, that was a report of award.
5 So just a rough estimate, Governor, about $750 million.
6 GOVERNOR BUSH: Okay.
7 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Million here, million there.
8 GOVERNOR BUSH: Thank you, Ben.
2 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Motion on the minutes from
3 June 26th.
4 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Second.
5 GOVERNOR BUSH: There's a motion and a second.
6 Without objection, Item 1 passes.
7 DR. ZINGALE: Item No. 2 is a rule that addresses
8 the forms and procedures for the Department's rewards
9 program. Request approval.
10 GOVERNOR BUSH: Is there a motion?
11 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Motion on two.
12 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Second.
13 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded. Without
14 objection, Item 2 passes.
15 DR. ZINGALE: Item No. 3 provides definition
16 during the course of an audit for adequate records and
17 voluminous records. These definitions afford us an
18 opportunity to aid a taxpayer by doing statistical
19 sampling and collecting the data. Request approval.
20 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Motion on three.
21 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Second.
22 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded. Without
23 objection, the item passes.
24 DR. ZINGALE: Item No. 4 concerns rules dealing
25 with 2002 and 2003 legislative changes that implement
3 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Motion on 4.
4 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Second.
5 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded. Without
6 objection, the item passes.
7 DR. ZINGALE: Item No. 5 is a very
8 taxpayer-friendly rule. Going to take a little bit
9 more time than the previous ones have.
10 GOVERNOR BUSH: Do you have speakers on this one
12 DR. ZINGALE: We have two speakers. I'm going to
13 give about a quick five-minute historical overview.
14 The two speakers will be introduced. We have gotten an
15 agreement from a larger group of people to defer their
16 time to those two speakers. We've kind of -- but it's
17 your discretion -- requested them to limit their time
18 to five minutes apiece.
19 GOVERNOR BUSH: Very good.
20 DR. ZINGALE: There's one amendment on the table
21 that they've agreed to that we can take up and then you
22 can choose to go forward or not with the rule.
23 GOVERNOR BUSH: All right.
24 DR. ZINGALE: The quick history, property
25 appraisers have a daunting job every year to value
2 result of that year-long work ends approximately
3 August 24th with the issuing of a trim notice to every
4 taxpayer telling that taxpayer what the value that a
5 property appraiser has put on that property.
6 The taxpayer, upon receiving that notice of
7 assessment, has the right to go in front of the value
8 adjustment board to appeal that assessment. Value
9 adjustment boards are made up of three county
10 commissioners and two school board members acting as a
11 board. The vast majority of the property appraisers
12 have special master -- or value adjustment boards have
13 special masters to help them with that deliberation.
14 Prior to the 2002 legislative session, the
15 exchange of information between a taxpayer and the
16 property appraiser in front of that board was kind of
17 one-sided. The property appraiser had the right to
18 compel a taxpayer to reveal their evidence prior to the
19 hearing but the taxpayer didn't have the right to
20 compel the property appraiser to reveal their evidence
21 prior to the meeting.
22 So in the 2002 legislative session, the
23 legislators tried to balance that fairness and they
24 passed a statute that required the taxpayer ten days
25 prior to the hearing to reveal to the property
2 contention that the assessment was too high. And five
3 days upon -- after that, upon the property appraiser
4 receiving that, the property appraiser would reveal the
5 year-long work product that the property appraiser went
6 through and exchange that information with the taxpayer
7 so that both sides would see what each was going to
8 bring in front of the value adjustment board prior to
9 the value adjustment board meeting.
10 That went into effect in 2002. We started going
11 through the rule promulgation process that fall and
12 into the late winter, if you want to call that winter
13 here in Florida. A number of property appraisers were
14 concerned with the length of time to respond. So the
15 Department, although we had gotten to this stage once
16 before, requested the deferral of that item to give the
17 property appraisers a chance to go in front of the
18 Legislature to amend the law itself to provide for some
19 extension or granting of time in those circumstances.
20 Those attempts were unsuccessful in the 2003
21 legislation, legislative session. So we're at the
22 stage again of bringing rules. And the primary purpose
23 of our rule is simply to provide standard procedures
24 for every county and every property appraiser's
25 situation to deal with this. There's primarily four
2 One isn't in controversy which is a description of
3 what is the evidence that needs to be exchanged. The
4 second is the method that the information is exchanged.
5 Is it going to be fax, it is going to be E-mail, is it
6 going to be mail. And if the two parties can agree on
7 it, can that take place. And what do you do if the two
8 parties don't agree on how that information should be
10 The third deals -- and this is probably one of the
11 more controversial areas -- deals with the definition
12 of what a day is. Is it a calendar day? Is it a
13 working day? Is it some way we can expand the
14 classification of what a day is beyond what the
15 statutes say? The Department, in this rule, adopted
16 the APA model rule for counting a day. If it's less
17 than seven days, then it's a working day and you don't
18 get penalized by the weekend. If it's greater than
19 seven days, then it's a straight calendar day. We
20 believe that definition, following the APA model rule,
21 affords both of the parties the maximum extent of days
22 allowed by the law.
23 And lastly, there is a right on the part of both
24 parties to explicitly, if you're a taxpayer, request a
25 deferral. If this information exchange doesn't take
2 problems with it, the taxpayer has the right to defer
3 the VAB hearing one time. And it's implied that the
4 property appraiser can request the VAB board to do an
5 extension of one time.
6 So it's a good government thing. We're trying to
7 get information in front of both parties prior to a
8 hearing. It's meant to provide for, in all honesty, an
9 efficient resolution of a lot of these items instead of
10 having to go in front of the VAB. If the first time
11 you ever saw the data was when you sat down in front of
12 the VAB, you're going to wait until the end. And we --
13 there is some hope that a number of these will be
14 settled. But that's the highlights.
15 TREASURER GALLAGHER: I have a question.
16 DR. ZINGALE: Sure.
17 TREASURER GALLAGHER: It's my understanding, and I
18 don't disagree with what the law is trying to do or the
19 rule except that it's -- if you would just sort of
20 touch base with me on -- some of the larger counties
21 seem to have a problem with these time limits. Could
22 you discuss that a little bit?
23 DR. ZINGALE: It's only one large county that
24 we're aware of. During the course of the year or so
25 deliberations, I think a lot of the problems had been
2 71,000 appeals statewide. Two counties, Dade and
3 Broward, have 44,000 of those 71,000 appeals.
4 Twenty-two in Dade and 22 in Broward.
5 A lot of counties have 1,000, 23, 56 appeals, and
6 do it in a very concentrated period of time. It's my
7 understanding that Dade does it 12 months out of the
8 year. It's a year-round process.
9 TREASURER GALLAGHER: I'm sure -- I hope it is.
10 They couldn't do it in 30 days.
11 DR. ZINGALE: And so they expressed concern. And
12 I think that concern was expressed at the last
13 legislative session. There were bills flying around to
14 repeal this. There were bills flying around to exempt
15 a county that had a certain size. There were bills
16 flying around to try to expand the number of days but
17 none of them were passed. So we are left with the
18 basic law.
19 TREASURER GALLAGHER: We at the last session ended
20 up with a very low number of bills actually getting
21 through the process. That's probably good as you look
22 at things. But it was a good 200 or maybe even 300
23 less than what normally would pass in a session which
24 includes little fixes of all kinds of things. So I
25 don't know whether that means something or doesn't mean
2 But the issue is, What do we do -- I mean, let's
3 say Dade and Broward, do we want to put something on
4 them that they can't do?
5 DR. ZINGALE: I talked to Broward this morning.
6 They have no problem meeting their requirements. Dade
7 has a problem and they can express them to you. There
8 is an awful lot in this rule that is good. There is
9 maybe that one narrow piece. I don't think anybody
10 argues that exchanging information prior to a
11 hearing --
12 TREASURER GALLAGHER: No, I think it's a good --
13 DR. ZINGALE: -- know what that is. It's a good
14 positive thing. You can always -- and these are your
15 choices -- you can always move this rule forward so
16 that the majority of it goes -- all of it goes forward.
17 You can always amend this rule down the road in terms
18 of it. You're in the cycle right now. August 25th has
19 occurred. The notices have been mailed out. The
20 formal appeal process starts now. This is the second
21 year since the legislation passed --
22 TREASURER GALLAGHER: When does the rule take
23 effect? Isn't it 90 days or something? 21 days for
25 DR. ZINGALE: If it's not amended today, 21 days.
2 TREASURER GALLAGHER: But say Dade wants to
3 challenge it, then the whole thing gets held up.
4 DR. ZINGALE: Well, they wouldn't challenge it.
5 It would go forward if you passed it today. They can
6 come back and try to work with us to amend it. But I
7 think we have a hard time amending in a rule something
8 that exceeds legislative authority. There were a
9 couple of questions and inquiries of APA, you know, the
10 oversight process, JAPC, to try to do some of that
11 during this last year and we were expressly told by the
12 committee that we couldn't in this rule.
13 GOVERNOR BUSH: Commissioner.
14 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Governor, members, one of
15 the things that came up to me last year and of course
16 it's been over a number of years, it wasn't just last
17 year. But when we change the fact that through
18 legislation that those who are going to claim
19 agriculture exemption must claim on a yearly basis, not
20 expect the tax assessor to automatically send out the
21 fact that your land has been assessed, agriculture
22 value and so forth. There was great discussion and
23 wringing of hands to the fact that there were a few
24 assessors that refused to basically work with -- and
25 I'm only talking about a few -- that would not work
2 to give legitimate agriculture assessments in some
3 cases, which means they're going to be arguing about
4 that from now on. Whether it's to the adjustment
5 board, whether it goes to court after the adjustment
6 board, that's going to be a big factor here.
7 And the other issue that was important to me was
8 whether you're talking about calendar days or workdays.
9 Try to contact somebody in any government office on a
10 Saturday and Sunday. The chances are you're not going
11 to get in touch with them, and holidays. But to make
12 it to where it's fair enough to the assessors that have
13 to do this work based on the law and fair enough to the
14 taxpayer who is going to have to pay it one way or
15 another, whether it's the one that was assessed or the
16 argumentative side of whether they should receive some
17 type of exemption or not.
18 This thing, hopefully, and I understand there has
19 been some agreement on at least some version of this,
20 this thing has gone on now, we deferred it, what, in
21 January, and it's been going on. It's been through the
22 legislative process more than once, more than once
23 while I was in the Legislature. So there has to be at
24 some point in time the end of the road here where we
25 make a decision on what is the most fair for both sides
2 So I think delaying it again, if that's what the
3 issue is, is not going to get us any further down the
4 road than we've ever been. It's better to go ahead and
5 make a decision and then work on that decision if we
6 have to.
7 DR. ZINGALE: One quick comment, then I'd like to
8 introduce the speakers with your permission.
9 GOVERNOR BUSH: Please. Yes.
10 DR. ZINGALE: The quick comment is, this is in
11 front of a value adjustment board that has the ability,
12 upon facts being presented to them or lack of facts
13 being presented to them, to delay the meeting. I mean,
14 if there is overwhelming evidence that can be presented
15 to a VAB that says, Please reschedule, the taxpayer has
16 the right to do that automatically one time, so that if
17 this data hadn't been ready in the appropriate form and
18 format or hadn't been exchanged in the right way, can
19 be delayed and rescheduled.
20 Same thing from a property appraiser's standpoint
21 if they have to make the case in front of the VAB. But
22 that is an appeal that's fairly easy to make in terms
23 of presenting evidence. And the law is really saying
24 it's their responsibility to determine what that fair
25 hearing should be like. And I believe they have a
2 accurate information in front of them. So there are
3 relief valves.
4 GOVERNOR BUSH: Any other questions? Let's hear
5 the speakers.
6 DR. ZINGALE: The two speakers, the first one is
7 Tom Logue who is an attorney from Dade County Property
8 Appraiser's Office and he's going to talk to you about
9 22,000 VAB appeals.
10 GOVERNOR BUSH: Good morning.
11 MR. LOGUE: Good morning, Governor Bush. It's a
12 pleasure to see you, we've met before, and members of
13 this cabinet. My name is Tom Logue. I'm assistant
14 county attorney. Joel Robbins, the property appraiser
15 of Dade County, could not be here because his
16 mother-in-law died. But I have with me Frank Jacobs,
17 the chief appraiser, if you have any questions. I've
18 come all the way from beautiful south Florida on the
19 other side of this beautiful peninsula to ask you a big
20 favor and that is if you could extend this -- allow us
21 to have discussions for another two weeks. And I'll
22 tell you why I'm asking that. Dade County has a big
23 vested interest here. We have 26,000 hearings a year.
24 That's about 40 percent of all the hearings in the
2 County so unique?
3 MR. LOGUE: I think it's because we have a lot of
4 valuable real estate. I think it's because we're a
5 little bit litigious. I think it's because contingency
6 fees are being used as a way to testify in these
7 hearings. In other words, testimony based upon
8 contingency fees. But that's a whole other issue.
9 Governor, for about eight months a year we have
10 1,000 hearings a week. And if we get off schedule --
11 that's for eight months -- if we get off schedule, it's
12 going to become an endless process. I'm a lawyer. I
13 love process, but, you know, process has got to end.
14 And our concern here is we would like to make this
15 regulation workable. We like the exchange of
16 information, we embrace it.
17 The property appraiser of Dade County is spending
18 a million dollars to make this work. We've bought
19 equipment, there's a fancy name for it, but basically
20 what it does is it allows the scanning of documents and
21 the queuing of them for E-mailing and faxing. We've
22 also got ten new staff positions so that we can have
23 this exchange of information. We think this can be
24 win/win. Because if we get a really meaningful
25 exchange of information it's going to help us work out
2 GOVERNOR BUSH: Will it make it faster?
3 MR. LOGUE: The settlements will make it faster.
4 GOVERNOR BUSH: So are you dealing with the
5 paradigm in which you're in right now but the rules
6 will change to accelerate the, you know, the solution,
7 or the resolution of these issues faster, won't it?
8 MR. LOGUE: If we make this workable instead of
9 just make work and here's our problem. Let me just
10 very quickly -- one thing is as of yesterday we were
11 told DOR is proposing new language. We thank them for
12 their hard work because we've been working with them
13 for a year and a half. As of this morning, you know,
14 some language was going to be put forward. Again, we
15 were told it's not going to be put forward. We honor
16 them working so hard. But I think that's a signal that
17 the work isn't done yet.
18 But more importantly, Governor, our problem is
19 this: There's a problem of delivery by mail.
20 Governor, under this regulation we're required to
21 evaluate the taxpayer's proposal, and that is, by the
22 way, that is something from south Florida.
23 GOVERNOR BUSH: Yes, sir, I'm listening.
24 MR. LOGUE: We're required, the property
25 appraiser, Governor, has to look at their exchange
2 evaluate it, prepare a meaningful response and deliver
3 it within three working days if the hearing is
4 scheduled on a Monday or Friday. We can't deliver it
5 by mail in three working days. We can deliver it by
6 E-mail or fax but it is physically impossible to
7 deliver it by mail and that's what this reg would
8 require us to do.
9 GOVERNOR BUSH: Well, that's not a unique Miami
10 problem, that's a problem all across the state, right?
11 MR. LOGUE: That's why we think the reg has got to
12 be looked at. In the DOR bulletin -- and again, I
13 don't want to punish them for their good work. But in
14 their latest bulletin they actually recommend that
15 because this can't be complied with, when the hearing
16 is scheduled, you should immediately schedule a backup
17 hearing because we pretty much figure that the first
18 hearing is going to be rescheduled. This is
19 government -- I'm a government guy, I'm a career
20 government guy. This is government at its worst.
21 GOVERNOR BUSH: That would never happen in
22 Miami-Dade County government.
23 MR. LOGUE: And I have to admit, we're asking you
24 to reschedule. But the thing is we have a thousand --
25 you know, but with a thousand hearings a week, if we
2 And the idea that we --
3 GOVERNOR BUSH: What's your proposal?
4 MR. LOGUE: Our proposal is --
5 GOVERNOR BUSH: You're welcome to talking more.
6 But I mean if you had a magic wand right now in terms
7 of timing, what would you suggest to be the solution to
8 your problems?
9 MR. LOGUE: Five working days. Give us five
10 working days instead of five calendar days. They gave
11 us --
12 TREASURER GALLAGHER: We got a statutory problem
13 with that, I think.
14 MR. LOGUE: Not with that change. The real
15 solution here is everything is triggered off a
16 20-day -- 20 days before the hearing the notice of
17 hearing is delivered to the taxpayer. And
18 everything -- that's the trigger date. Everything has
19 got to be done within the 20-day truncated period. If
20 the Legislature would push that 20 days out to 25 days
21 or 30 days --
22 GOVERNOR BUSH: But we can't -- I mean, we're not
23 going to have a special session today.
24 MR. LOGUE: So that can't be done. But what can
25 be done is, you know, government lawyer, career lawyer,
2 St. Thomas. I think it's clearly within the
3 Department's authority to go -- to interpret the
4 statutory term "days." The term "days" occurs in the
5 statute. They can interpret that as calendar days --
6 I'm sorry.
7 TREASURER GALLAGHER: What if we just -- I mean,
8 who has a problem with us changing five -- take the
9 word "calendar" out and say, Five days prior to the
10 date of such scheduled delivery in that sentence --
11 first sentence under 5A.
12 MR. LOGUE: If we can just say five working days.
13 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Well, how about if it just
14 said five days and it didn't say working or calendar
15 and then they're going to interpret, most likely,
16 working days?
17 MR. LOGUE: Well, if they're going to interpret it
18 as working days then --
19 GOVERNOR BUSH: Let's ask Dr. Zingale. If this is
20 your main issue.
21 DR. ZINGALE: If you look at the first page of the
22 rule, if you happen to have it in front of you, but
23 this is what the rule reads today: We adopted the APA
24 model rule that said if the time frame workdays were
25 less than seven, then you had to go to working days.
2 period prescribed in this section, intermediate
3 Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays shall be excluded
4 in the calculation. So the rule in front of you says
5 five working days.
6 TREASURER GALLAGHER: But it doesn't. It says
7 five calendar days.
8 DR. ZINGALE: Are you reading the same sentence
9 I'm reading?
10 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Okay. I'm sorry, I got --
11 it says -- right now it says five days.
12 DR. ZINGALE: But if you look at the rule under
13 Section 3, last sentence.
14 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Shall be excluded. Okay.
15 So it does what he's asking for.
16 DR. ZINGALE: Absolutely, and we've been saying
17 that for awhile.
18 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Well, he may have been stuck
19 with the one I'm looking at that didn't say that.
20 DR. ZINGALE: This had been advertised, noticed,
21 been out there for many, many --
22 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Well, believe it or not, I
23 got it somehow.
24 GOVERNOR BUSH: Please continue on.
25 MR. LOGUE: Thank you for your indulgence. One of
2 Governor, I'd ask you to look at Section 4B and
3 Commissioner Gallagher, 4B.
4 GOVERNOR BUSH: We got it.
5 MR. LOGUE: What they did is they worked really
6 hard on this but it's become like a Band-Aid job. In
7 other words, there's been a tremendous amount of
8 changes. And at one point they did give us five
9 working days but then they later took it back. And to
10 tell you the truth, this regulation probably could
11 be -- once we decide what needs to be done, it probably
12 could be written in much clearer form.
13 I think your normal taxpayer is not going to be
14 able to read this regulation and understand it. And as
15 you can see, even the director of the Department, I
16 think, got a little confused there. If you look at
17 5 -- excuse me, Section 4B -- and I don't mean that to
18 be -- pardon me if I was sarcastic.
19 GOVERNOR BUSH: That was close.
20 MR. LOGUE: Forgive me. And I ask the indulgence
21 of the director. 4B, in other words, it says, We have
22 to deliver our information to them five calendar days
23 beforehand. Oftentimes, that will result -- if the
24 hearing falls on a Monday or Friday, we were actually
25 going to bring in exhibits of calendars and everything
2 people. But we worked it all out. If the hearing
3 falls on a Monday or a Friday, we will have three
4 working days to prepare a response and to deliver it by
6 Now Governor, here's the problem, here's our
7 problem. That's -- we can do it -- I mean, it's just
8 make work, reschedule. This will be a good thing if
9 there is a meaningful exchange of information, if we
10 have the time to look at their package and meaningfully
11 respond to it. And we're dealing with professionals
12 like David Zackum, Bill Collum, Ben Phipps, Stan
13 Price -- I mean, Stan Beck. We'll work them out if
14 it's meaningful.
15 But if it's just like everyone doesn't have time
16 to do the job so we're just going to do typical stuff,
17 that's not so good. Rescheduling is not in anyone's
18 interest. Although I say that, I would ask you if
19 you'd see it -- sir?
20 TREASURER GALLAGHER: I guess I ask Jim. On this
21 4B5 and 4B3 where it says five calendar days, why does
22 it say "calendar" in those two places?
23 DR. ZINGALE: Two time frame works. One, the time
24 frame work that the property appraiser has to respond,
25 which is the calendar days, I mean which is the
2 frame work which we can't exceed. I can't exceed the
3 statutory ten days that the Legislature puts out. So
4 when the value adjustment board schedules the meeting,
5 the taxpayer has ten days, okay, to present evidence.
6 Okay. That ten days is -- as we've interpreted
7 that using the APA model language to be calendar days
8 because it's greater than seven and there aren't
9 weekend problems. When property appraiser has to
10 respond, okay, we have chosen to use, because it's less
11 than seven days, that five-day response period, working
12 days so that they don't get penalized by that holiday,
13 they don't get penalized by that weekend. So I can
14 clarify the response.
15 The property appraiser in this rule does not have
16 to respond to what the taxpayer is giving them, okay.
17 They don't have to respond back to the taxpayer in
18 terms of what they said They simply have to present
19 the evidence upon which they base their assessment on.
20 They have to go into their computer and say, Here's
21 what we did to value that property. And that was
22 already a done deal. They knew what the value of that
23 property was the minute they mailed it out to the
24 taxpayer. So they don't have to go out and reassess
25 the property. They don't have to do anything but to
2 If that exchange isn't taking place right, we
3 allowed -- or the rule says, If the property appraiser
4 and the taxpayer can agree on an alternative method,
5 E-mail or fax, to exchange that, a more efficient way
6 of exchanging it, they can go ahead and do that. If
7 they can't agree, then it defaults to mail which is a
8 slower process.
9 So I'm bounded by the ten days. We, using the APA
10 rule, which we think is an excellent rule, tried to
11 give them the maximum days that we could within there
12 to deal with their response. I believe their problem
13 is with the 10-day limit on the whole thing. It's them
14 believing it's not sufficient time to do their job.
15 TREASURER GALLAGHER: What if we loaded up the 10
16 days with more than five days on the front and made it
17 like seven or eight and then -- it says, Two days for
18 the rescheduling.
19 DR. ZINGALE: It says -- the two dates that are in
20 the statute are ten and five.
21 GOVERNOR BUSH: So put aside all this. This is
22 becoming numbing to be honest with you. We have
23 another speaker. But tell me, are we passing a rule
24 that we anticipate is going to create the need to
25 reschedule an already overburdened workload? I mean,
2 we do sue too much down there and this has become a
3 business for people. Intermediaries are driving a lot
4 of this because they get a commission, I assume, and
5 they're making a good living off of it, God bless them,
6 representing taxpayers. For whatever reason, they've
7 got a problem that if they can't comply with this rule,
8 it's only going to be magnified because they all have
9 to be rescheduled.
10 So you're just creating -- the problem grows
11 geometrically. So if that is the premise on which
12 we -- if you conclude like our friend from Miami-Dade
13 government has, that this is going to be the end
14 result, we can't be passing a rule that we
15 automatically know is going to create that problem. So
16 why do you disagree that this won't create massive
18 DR. ZINGALE: "Massive" is a term I have no way of
20 GOVERNOR BUSH: Lots of rescheduling.
21 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Rescheduling.
22 GOVERNOR BUSH: More than a handful.
23 DR. ZINGALE: It has not appeared to have happened
24 that way in any other county. It has not seemed to
25 happen that way in Broward that has the same, almost
2 GOVERNOR BUSH: You don't anticipate this being a
3 problem? I just want you to be confident because we,
4 you know, in terms of public policy, we don't want to
5 implement a rule that is --
6 DR. ZINGALE: The rule is your choice. You don't
7 have to go forward. Statute says 10 and 5. They have
8 to follow that anyway. All this rule does --
9 GOVERNOR BUSH: You don't want to answer, do you?
10 DR. ZINGALE: All this rule does is in all those
11 places out there where these efficiencies can help the
12 process need to go forward.
13 GOVERNOR BUSH: Why don't we get the other speaker
15 DR. ZINGALE: The next speaker is --
16 MR. LOGUE: If I can just conclude, it's hat in
17 hand. Thank you very much. I apologize if I went
18 beyond the line. Sometimes we do that in south
19 Florida. We get excited.
20 GOVERNOR BUSH: Close. You're okay.
21 DR. ZINGALE: The next speaker is Bill Coleman
22 representing the tax agents.
23 GOVERNOR BUSH: Mr. Coleman. The tax agents or
24 the tax --
25 MR. COLEMAN: Taxpayers' associations.
2 2001 I had some hair. Now it's completely blown off my
3 head. So if you think you're taxed, look at this head.
5 MR. COLEMAN: We're here in favor of adopting the
6 rules as they're written. I represent the Florida
7 Association of Property Tax Professionals, Inc. which
8 is a taxpayer association which includes the big five
9 accounting firms and we represent many, many thousands
10 of taxpayers in the state. We also -- today I'm
11 speaking on behalf of the Florida Cattleman's
12 Association, the Florida Farm Bureau, and the Florida
13 Retail Federation.
14 The law as passed -- this was a very popular law.
15 And what we're trying to do is level the playing field.
16 It's been antitaxpayer in this state for so many years
17 and we finally got a pro-business atmosphere up here in
18 the Legislature and a lot of the property appraisers
19 don't like this now. But the problem is the law is
20 passed and Dade County is actually working under this
21 law currently. It already has affected the value
22 adjustment boards that have been ongoing since January
23 1st, 2003.
24 So I know they want to change the dates. But
25 they're already working currently under the law as it's
2 GOVERNOR BUSH: With those same dates.
3 MR. COLEMAN: Exactly. And it's going on right
4 now. I just went to hearings a couple of weeks ago.
5 There's an exchange being made --
6 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Why do we need a rule?
7 MR. COLEMAN: Well, the rule is going to codify
8 the law. There are other things in the rule, sir, that
9 aren't necessarily just dealing with the time frame.
10 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Well, how about if we did
11 the rule without the times because the time is already
12 in the law?
13 GOVERNOR BUSH: The statute requires it.
14 MR. COLEMAN: I'm not an attorney so I better
15 watch what I'm saying about legal stuff.
17 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Don't feel bad. I do it all
18 the time and I'm not a lawyer.
19 MR. COLEMAN: I'll defer that to my esteemed
20 colleagues here. If you have a legal question, you can
21 ask Mr. Ben Phipps over here.
22 But the problem is if we delay it -- since it's
23 already ongoing in Dade County and Broward County, and
24 I won't go through the whole history of this thing, but
25 we were actually asked to speak for Broward County for
2 going to go. Anne Richards is the head of the Value
3 Adjustment Board in Broward County. They have just as
4 many hearings in Broward as they do in Dade. It's
5 about 20 something thousand. They've already
6 adopted -- they've already made the rules themselves
7 and this also will enforce the legislation. Dade is
8 currently operating under it. And we delayed this
9 process since last summer of 2002. We had all the
10 public workshops -- yes, sir?
11 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Let me ask you a question.
12 With Broward operating it, do you find that there is a
13 lot of hearings rescheduled?
14 MR. COLEMAN: No, sir, there's not a lot, there
15 are some. And we're assuming that, in all deference to
16 Mr. Logue here, if you can use E-mail, if they'll allow
17 the exchange to go through E-mail or fax, that happens
18 a lot faster than U.S. Mail. What we're saying is if
19 it's deferred -- if they don't agree, then it defers to
20 the U.S. Mail. There will be some rescheduling but I
21 just don't see it as being a mass rescheduling process.
22 They're already going through this thing 12 months out
23 of the year.
24 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Rescheduling doesn't do your
25 profession any good.
2 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Exactly.
3 MR. COLEMAN: We're all -- everybody really is
4 working hard to get the information in. It's just this
5 is the first time that the taxpayers' eyes are actually
6 going to see something prior to a hearing which is a
7 good thing.
8 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Well, I think all of us are
9 very much in favor of all that. What we're concerned
10 about, if the difference is between five days and seven
11 or eight days, you're going to get the information,
12 you're not going to get a rescheduled hearing,
13 everybody is going to be happy.
14 MR. COLEMAN: You can also agree to not exchange
15 which we've done in Dade County this year. We've
16 agreed to not exchange information, let's just show up.
17 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Just bring all the stuff
18 before the hearing officer --
19 MR. COLEMAN: Yeah, bring it there. I'll see you
20 there, we'll see you there.
21 TREASURER GALLAGHER: The hearing officer may not
22 even have time to look at it if he's hearing -- if
23 you're hearing as many cases as there are until you
24 actually get there anyway.
25 MR. COLEMAN: Right. My opinion is -- and
2 through this. This goes all the way back to 2001 when
3 we came out with the concepts and the concepts came to
4 you guys in November, December 2001. Then it went to
5 the session. Then it was overwhelmingly passed. There
6 was debate about the days all during this process.
7 Then we went to the rulemaking process.
8 And Miami-Dade County, granted they were the
9 biggest vocal opponents and we worked with them all
10 during the workshop process. We even -- the DOR even
11 went so far as to delay that process January 2003 to
12 let them try to get something done with the
13 Legislature. Tom's problem is with the legislative
14 language, not with this rulemaking process. He doesn't
15 like the legislation. They couldn't get something
16 changed in the session this time.
17 So my suggestion is, for the benefit of the
18 taxpayers of this state, is to go forward, do not delay
19 the rulemaking process because if you do delay it,
20 you're going to affect the hearings that are happening
21 right now that are going to kick off in the state
22 within the next two weeks. Otherwise laypeople are
23 going to be making decisions.
24 TREASURER GALLAGHER: I have another question. It
25 seems -- well, I guess I'm looking at the wrong --
2 change in the rule.
3 MR. COLEMAN: Yes, sir. I'll defer that to Lisa
4 Echeverri or Dr. Zingale.
5 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Does that help Dade County
6 in their thing at all, that change?
7 MR. COLEMAN: I think so. I mean we're trying to
8 help. We've been bending over backwards for a long
9 time during this process just so -- because there are
10 other parts of the rule that are very good. This is
11 just one -- there are ten something paragraphs in this
12 deal and this is only one paragraph.
13 GOVERNOR BUSH: All right. Any other discussion?
14 TREASURER GALLAGHER: I'd like the answer.
15 GOVERNOR BUSH: Jim, will you answer that
17 MR. COLEMAN: On the change.
18 DR. ZINGALE: Yes, there was a provision in the
19 rule that said, What happens if either party says, I
20 didn't receive the information. And there was an
21 attempt to try to default back to a date something was
22 mailed or something was sent to do that. Both parties
23 felt like they would prefer to take that language out
24 and that amendment. So both the Dade people and the
25 property appraisers and the tax agents all agreed that
2 striking that paragraph, is in front of you.
3 GOVERNOR BUSH: Any other discussion?
4 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Let me do this, Governor, so
5 we can get out of here. I think we need to move ahead.
6 This has been hanging around for a long time. I'd like
7 to move the amendment that everybody agrees to, to take
8 that particular language out. That's about as far as
9 we can go and then move the approval.
10 GOVERNOR BUSH: Is that what you're requesting?
11 DR. ZINGALE: That's what we're requesting, if
12 somebody would --
13 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: I'll second it.
14 GOVERNOR BUSH: There is a motion and a second.
15 Any other discussion? Any opposition?
16 Without objection, the rule passes.
17 DR. ZINGALE: Thank you.
18 GOVERNOR BUSH: Thank you.
FINANCIAL MGMT. INFORMATION BOARD, Aug. 26, 2003 72
3 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Motion on the minutes from
4 August 27th.
5 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
6 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded. Without
7 objection, Item 1 passes.
8 MR. YOUNG: Item 2 is request approval of
9 information technology strategic plan.
10 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Motion on two.
11 GENERAL CRIST: Seconded.
12 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded. Without
13 objection, the item passes.
14 MR. YOUNG: Thank you.
15 GOVERNOR BUSH: Thanks for being here.
2 Adjudicatory Commission.
3 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Motion on the minutes from
4 August 12th.
5 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Second.
6 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded. Without
7 objection, the item passes.
8 Tsquare, how are you?
9 MS. TINKER: Good, sir. Thank you. How are you?
10 GOVERNOR BUSH: Great.
11 MS. TINKER: Item 2, recommend approval of the
12 proposed final rule establishing the Tomoka Community
13 Development District in Flagler County.
14 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Motion to approve.
15 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
16 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded. Without
17 objection, the item passes. Thank you.
18 MS. TINKER: Thank you.
2 MR. STRUHS: There are no minutes to approve. We
3 can go right into Item 1 which is our request that you
4 approve the 2003 Florida Forever priority list. There
5 are a number of items on the list. One of them, of
6 course, is today's main event and what I would like to
7 do is to suggest, if I might, please, that there is a
8 motion and perhaps even a vote on the list. And then
9 there is a number of people here who would like to draw
10 your attention to one of those items in particular.
11 And we did coordinate a list of speakers and I'll
12 review the order of that list so that we can move this
13 thing expeditiously.
14 So if we could get a motion on Item 1, please.
15 GOVERNOR BUSH: Excuse me?
16 MR. STRUHS: A motion on Item 1.
17 GENERAL CRIST: Motion.
18 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Second.
19 GOVERNOR BUSH: Motion on Item 1 and now we'll
20 have discussion. Is that what you're saying or we
21 want --
22 MR. STRUHS: I believe you can go ahead and
23 approve it. There are no objections to the list that
24 I'm aware of.
25 TREASURER GALLAGHER: No, but you're going to have
2 hear them before we vote.
3 MR. STRUHS: Yes, sir. We can do it either way.
4 What I'd like to do then is review the list of speakers
5 on the Cypress Garden item. This will be the order.
6 Mr. Greg Chelius from the Trust for Public Land will go
7 first. Mr. David Siegel, second. Mr. Kent Buescher,
8 third. Ms. Burma Posey will follow Kent Buescher. And
9 then we have Jamie Potter, Georgia Williams, Espen
10 Tanberg, Sylvia Hitchcock Carson, Jean Reed and finally
11 Senator Rick Danzler. And I will give you a list of
12 the names.
13 So if we can begin with Greg.
14 MR. CHELIUS: Good morning again, Governor, and
15 good morning, members of the cabinet. My name is Greg
16 Chelius and I am the Florida State Director for the
17 Trust for Public Land. We are a non-profit land
18 conservation organization with a mission to protect
19 land for people. A few weeks ago, I was called by the
20 Division of State Lands and Department of Environmental
21 Protection to discuss the prospect of the Trust for
22 Public Land becoming involved in the acquisition of
23 Cypress Gardens. Based on our discussion and
24 understanding that the landowners were willing sellers,
25 however, there was no site control of the property, I
2 Environmental Protection that we would be willing to
3 sit down and meet with the owners to see if we could
4 get site control of a portion or all of Cypress
6 Based on those discussions, we were able to place
7 an option contract on 107 acres of the Gardens which,
8 in essence, includes the very core of Cypress Gardens.
9 And if I may, I would like to put a map that everyone
10 can see.
11 GOVERNOR BUSH: You're going to need someone to
12 help you.
13 MR. CHELIUS: Yeah, I don't know exactly how that
15 GOVERNOR BUSH: Eva's very good at it.
16 MR. CHELIUS: Not bad.
17 TREASURER GALLAGHER: You put it right smack on.
18 MR. CHELIUS: What we were able to do is we met
19 with the landowners. And as with any landowner, they
20 were willing to sell us a certain amount of property.
21 What we did was we were able to place an option on
22 everything that's outlined in black which totals 107
23 acres. So it includes the -- clearly the Gardens area,
24 southern corners, the Snivley Mansion, the Butterfly
25 Conservatory and also the carousel.
2 that would like to have the entire piece of property
3 that the owners own. I want to make one thing clear.
4 When we did meet with them, what they did own was a
5 total of 176 acres. They never did own 200 or 230, or
6 250. That was the total amount of property that they
7 did own. They sold 6 acres on the west side of the
9 GOVERNOR BUSH: That doesn't do much good when you
10 point at that screen. You have to point -- if you can
11 or maybe Eva or somebody could help.
12 You can go back over there.
13 MR. CHELIUS: Over here (indicating), I think it's
14 right there, they have already sold that property. I
15 believe that's being residentially developed. Then
16 this property along Cypress Gardens Boulevard is about
17 10 or 11 acres and that is under contract. And then
18 this property right here, the cutout into the property
19 on the west side of Harding Road and this triangular
20 piece, they have retained.
21 Now one thing I wanted to make clear is that
22 although we are appraising everything outlined in
23 black, the 107 acres, we are also appraising the notch
24 and the triangular piece which is about 35 to 40 acres.
25 So we are appraising that property. They have told us
2 option contract that we have.
3 So with that, what we have is 30 days right now to
4 appraise the property, to appraise the 170 acres. At
5 the same time, we are appraising that additional 35 to
6 40 acres. We have a purchase price in our option
7 contract that if the appraisal is at or above that
8 price, we have the ability then to take four months to
9 do our due diligence, work on maintaining Cypress
10 Gardens, hopefully working with the community. We're
11 willing to place money into protecting the Gardens
12 during our contract. And at the end of four months, we
13 would acquire the property.
14 What we would like to do then is to work with the
15 State of Florida who is interested in acquiring a
16 conservation easement for the development rights off of
17 the property. That way, the property would be
18 protected from ever being developed into a residential
19 or commercial development. So the State of Florida is
20 willing to do that to protect the historic integrity of
21 Cypress Gardens. We would then own the underlying fee
22 to the property.
23 And at that point, we would be looking, over the
24 four months, at many options, and nothing has been
25 determined at this point. But I think there are both
2 would acquire the underlying fee and then manage the
3 Gardens long-term. We don't have the answer. I've
4 only been involved in this for about three weeks. But
5 what I would like to do is take as much input as we can
6 get and then work with the State and work with the
7 community on the best long-term solution to the
8 management and operations of Cypress Gardens.
9 So with that, I would like everyone to really keep
10 an open mind, keep a creative mind. Hopefully we're
11 successful in the next 30 days. If our appraisals do
12 not meet the landowners' expectations, we would hope
13 that we could renegotiate with them. If we can't, then
14 the option would terminate and they would end up with
15 the property again. But keep your fingers crossed
17 And I think our goals long-term are really to
18 protect the historic integrity of this Florida icon to
19 allow continued public access. And as important as
20 anything else, provide continued economic benefit to
21 Polk County and Winter Haven. Thank you very much.
22 MR. STRUHS: Is Mr. Siegel here?
23 MR. SIEGEL: Right here.
24 GOVERNOR BUSH: Good morning, David.
25 MR. SIEGEL: Good morning.
2 cabinet. I only want five working minutes.
3 (Laughter.) I don't know how you-all do your jobs.
4 I've been sitting there for two hours watching
5 democracy in action --
6 TREASURER GALLAGHER: We only have to do it twice
7 a month so it works out okay.
8 MR. SIEGEL: I have a totally new respect for you.
9 I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for a great
10 Floridian. Burma Posey, would you stand up, please. I
11 want you to be recognized. (Applause.) And all the
12 people, all the former employees of Cypress Gardens,
13 the water skiers, the Belles and all the Friends of
14 Cypress Gardens, why don't you-all stand up and show
15 that we kind of dominate this room. (Applause.) These
16 people came a long distance from Winter Haven, Lake
17 Wales and such to come up here to show their support
18 for what is Florida's treasure.
19 Today is a very historic day in the state of
20 Florida. We're here to save Cypress Gardens. We're
21 here to save all of Cypress Gardens, not 107 acres, not
22 an easement, but all of the Cypress Gardens that these
23 people have worked at and all of us have gone to over
24 the last 67 years, many occasions, maybe not often
25 enough to make it financially feasible, but that's all
2 we should save Cypress Gardens, and I know you will,
3 Cypress Gardens to Florida is like the World Trade
4 Center was to New York. Unfortunately, they couldn't
5 save it. We do have the option here to save Cypress
6 Gardens. It's our oldes tourist attraction. It's what
7 people think of when they come to Florida. It's what
8 the real Florida was before the Disneys and Universals
9 and Sea Worlds and Busch Gardens came. And it needs to
10 be saved. It's a beautiful park. There's nothing else
11 like it anywhere in the world.
12 I travelled all over the United States recently
13 and everybody is talking about Cypress Gardens, even in
14 other states. And I'm sure with my urging you heard
15 from a few of those people. But we're here today, not
16 to make any great proposal. I think it's been well
17 publicized what I intend to do if I end up with the
18 management of the Gardens. We want to make it the
19 Smithsonian of the south and bring in exhibits of all
20 types from antiques to pageantry to automobiles, to
21 concerts, to -- the Florida Sports Hall of Fame wants
22 to move there. I can go on and on but I don't want to
23 take up your time. I think you've already heard from
24 Burma about all the plans for the Gardens. If I ever
25 need a press agent, I'll definitely hire Burma.
2 Gardens. We think the Trust, what they have done, is
3 just the down payment on the park. We can't seem to
4 agree whether it's 170 acres or 230 acres. But
5 whatever was there operating as Cypress Gardens, that's
6 what we want you to save. Some of it apparently has
7 been sold off. I know there was one piece that was
8 illegally cleared. The developer was fined heavily and
9 now he's planning to build homes on it. That was also
10 once part of Cypress Gardens. It's kind of beyond my
11 imagination how you can do something illegally and then
12 profit from it.
13 But we don't want to save a park that is going to
14 be surrounded by shopping centers and 7-11s -- I have
15 nothing against 7-11, but just don't want to look at
16 them as we're pulling into the park. We want to leave
17 it pristine. Also, we don't want to lose our parking
18 lots because we're planning to have big concerts, big
19 events. And part of the property that is not included
20 in the trust is the parking lots. And they're planning
21 to line Cypress Gardens Boulevard with strip shopping
22 centers and fast food restaurants and that is not what
23 we envision for Cypress Gardens.
24 In fact, according to this plan, we won't have any
25 property left on Cypress Gardens Boulevard. So it's
2 107 acres. We want it all. (Applause.) My badge says
3 "all". Their shirts say "all". What we're here for is
4 to urge you to vote today to save all of Cypress
6 GOVERNOR BUSH: Thank you, David.
7 Since the day is long, and there is no opposition,
8 please come forward. I don't think anybody is going to
9 be opposed to including this on the list and you-all
10 have travelled so everybody has a right to speak. But
11 if you could just be mindful of the fact that -- David,
12 being a great salesman, could appreciate this -- if
13 you've already made the sale, you know, if you keep
14 selling, you may not make the sale.
15 So -- we do want to hear from you, but if
16 everybody could be as brief as possible, I would really
17 appreciate it. I'm the only guy, David, by the way,
18 unlike my colleagues in the cabinet, that has to sit
19 here because they can all go over there where the
20 restroom is. But since I preside, I have to be here.
21 So I'm begging you to be sensitive to all of our needs.
22 TREASURER GALLAGHER: He's afraid what will happen
23 if he dares to get up is what it is.
25 MR. BUESCHER: Governor Bush, members of the
2 today. My name is Kent Buescher. I'm the president
3 and majority owner of Wild Adventures Theme Park in
4 Valdosta. And like all of the folks in the room today,
5 we were saddened to hear about the closing of Cypress
6 Gardens. And I immediately thought that it could be an
7 opportunity to create, once again, a great and mighty
8 Cypress Gardens and have worked for the last four and a
9 half months meeting with members of the DEP staff who
10 have been working diligently to find a solution to
11 allow that to happen.
12 And I got to tell you, first of all, that your
13 folks have done a wonderful job, moved immediately to
14 try to put a plan in motion that would allow that to
15 happen. We are in concurrence with the idea of using
16 an environmental easement to ensure that the lands are
17 preserved and saved. And like all the folks here
18 today, we want to make it go. We do have some
19 differences of opinions on what Cypress Gardens should
20 become. But if we have the opportunity, ultimately
21 Wild Adventures and hopefully working with the Trust
22 for Public Lands and the State to become the operator
23 of the park, then our goal is to make it relevant for
24 families once again.
25 You know, I have an 11-year-old daughter and she's
2 occasions. And she's like, Let's go, Dad, it's boring.
3 And what we've created at Wild Adventures is, first of
4 all, the only theme park in America that's grown in the
5 last three years. It's the fastest growing park in the
7 We've grown since we started our inception in 1996
8 when we opened to the public with less than 100,000
9 guests to this year, about 1,400,000 guests. And we've
10 listened to the public, we've listened to what they've
11 asked for. And our principal marketing vision is to
12 serve families. If we have the opportunity at Cypress
13 Gardens, that is what we intend to do. What's been
14 missing from Cypress Gardens is, is that we've somehow
15 missed out on what I think are the kids and the young
16 families and the static things of yesterday.
17 I remember going as a child and it was great and
18 marvelous and the ski show was just wonderful. And
19 those should be preserved. And if we have the honor of
20 ultimately of being a part of it, then we will preserve
21 those things. And that is our plan to do that. But we
22 believe that there need to be other attractions added
23 to the Gardens and we would do that as well. And, yes,
24 this would include rides because the idea is to bring
25 kids to the Gardens. If they don't want to go, then
2 important today. And I understand, I think we're at a
3 foregone conclusion that we're going to get this thing
4 on the list and that's wonderful, we want to do that.
5 And we look forward to working with the DEP staff and
6 the TPL and anybody else that may need to come forward
7 in this process. Because like everybody in this room,
8 we hope that we can make Cypress Gardens, once again, a
9 viable place for today and for the future. Thank you
10 for your time.
11 GOVERNOR BUSH: Thank you. Good morning, Burma.
12 MS. POSEY: I first would like to commend that
13 wonderful teacher that was here earlier, Janet. What
14 an amazing example she is for us all. And I like the
15 fact that she said she wanted to have a funeral every
16 year for the word "can't". And I think at Cypress
17 Gardens we'd like to have a celebration day every year
18 for the word "all".
19 I'd like to thank Tom Gallagher for your kind
20 words for our Belles too, they appreciate it. These
21 young women lost their jobs with three days notice.
22 And this is their fourth trip to Tallahassee. They've
23 made arrangements for babysitters and are financially
24 hurting but they love their Gardens so they are here
25 for the fourth time. And I'd like to thank Attorney
2 Commissioner Bronson. Your faces are well known
3 through our E-mails in all 50 states and now in 14
4 nations because they've gone out in thousands and
5 thousands and thousands of newsletters. But before, I
6 would like to emphasize that I feel we are most
7 fortunate to live in the state of Florida with a
8 governor who actually takes the time to read the
9 E-mails and learn the needs of his constituents.
10 GOVERNOR BUSH: Can we slow them down a little bit
13 MS. POSEY: I'd like to thank him for being
14 overloaded with the cares of the Cypress Gardens
15 people. On the first -- the day before the Gardens
16 closed, I wrote to Governor Bush and told him what was
17 happening and asked would he consider the State saving
18 this and he wrote back immediately and said he would
19 consider it. So my daughter and I woke up our printer
20 the next morning and we had him print 20,000 flyers
21 with Governor Bush's personal E-mail address.
22 (Laughter.) We handed out 14,500 of those. And
23 do you know what? Those people went home that had
24 never been involved in the political process before and
25 didn't think their voice had significance, but we told
2 And our great governor went on television the very next
3 day in Tampa and said because so many people love this
4 park and because of its historical and cultural
5 significance, he would pursue investigating the State
6 purchasing it.
7 And if it weren't for Governor Jeb Bush, right now
8 at Cypress Gardens they would be bulldozing the
9 property. So thank you so much, Governor Bush.
11 After that, we formed the Friends of Cypress
12 Gardens. We're a grassroots organization. I've
13 received over 3,500 letters from 112 cities in Florida,
14 from all 50 of our states. And now we've received --
15 we have members in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Egypt,
16 England, Germany, Holland, Japan, New Zealand,
17 Scotland, Wales, Italy and Africa. Cypress Gardens is
18 loved all over the world.
19 We have members that are from age 7 to 84 and
20 everything in between. They're all races and all
21 genders and all economic backgrounds. But the one
22 thing all of these people have in common is their
23 genuine love for this sacred piece of land that we call
24 Cypress Gardens. Out of those 3,500 letters plus, I
25 have only received two letters that wanted to save part
2 save all of this property. I'm glad the map is still
3 up because I'd like to point out -- if I could go over
4 and point to that.
5 This is Cypress Gardens Boulevard. And the
6 property that Mr. Maxwell has wanted to keep from day
7 one was all this property that he hoped to get
8 commercial zoning for so that he could do a Wal-Mart or
9 Target or whatever he's going to do. That was all of
10 the property that's used for parking. The 107 acres
11 preserves the park and it leaves us no parking. If you
12 have a successful venture, you got to have a place to
13 park the guests.
14 We anticipate having 20,000 people a day so you
15 have to have a place to park the cars. So it's
16 imperative that we save all of this land. The owners
17 planned a development over the entire property as long
18 as a year ago. I saw their professional architectural
19 drawings that were dated 2002 and they planned to
20 develop the entire property. I think that it is quite
21 appalling that they gave their employees, the 529
22 employees, some of them that had worked there for 20 to
23 30 years, some that were second and third generations,
24 three days' notice. They should have given them 60
25 days' notice to make their plans.
2 passes to sweet senior citizens that are on limited
3 incomes that scrimped and saved to buy annual passes
4 three days before they closed their gates. I think
5 that the owners have wanted from the very beginning to
6 save the commercial property. And as sweet as it seems
7 that they're working with Public Trust Lands, I think
8 that they still have the goal of saving this property
9 and getting a commercial zoning for it and we want to
10 save all of this property for Cypress Gardens so that
11 we can make it.
12 The owners were not good in the way they marketed.
13 And the city leaders have from day one supported saving
14 only part. First they only wanted to save 36 acres,
15 then 75. And to be quite honest, I can understand this
16 because living there they saw Cypress Gardens fail for
17 so many years it's hard for them to imagine it being
18 successful. But I've lived in Florida for 33 years,
19 and central Florida, the tourism capital of the world.
20 And I know how important marketing is. You have to put
21 it in front of the tourists' face for them to know it's
23 So with proper management and marketing, we
24 believe we can make this a world class destination.
25 And the spillover is going to benefit the businesses in
2 In closing, because -- and we have a film that's
3 five minutes long, that you might can go next door on,
4 Governor Bush. On behalf of the thousands of people
5 who are here at this very moment while we're in this
6 meeting, these thousands of people around the United
7 States and around the world, Governor Bush, right there
8 they're at home on their knees in prayer for you-all,
9 for you to have wisdom. And we humbly beg that you
10 declare the entire property the easement and that you
11 save all of Cypress Gardens for us.
12 Thank you very much.
14 GOVERNOR BUSH: Burma was going to sing for us.
15 She has a beautiful voice and I'm sure it would have
16 been great. Appreciate you being here. And I
17 appreciate your grassroots involvement in all this. It
18 really has made a difference. One of the best -- the
19 E-mails that we have, the stories that people tell
20 about their experiences at Cypress Gardens, are truly
21 remarkable. The one I like the most was your mom that
22 E-mailed me last week and said how proud she was of you
23 and your active involvement in trying to save Cypress
24 Gardens and she's justifiably proud of you.
2 GOVERNOR BUSH: We've been hearing at least one of
3 those little critters.
5 MS. POTTER: Good morning. It's an honor to be
6 here and I'm very humbled and at the same time, I'm
7 very saddened to be here, even to need to be here to
8 discuss this. I'm Jamie Potter and this is my family.
9 My husband, Tim Potter. My daughter, Cypress, and my
10 other daughter, Lily. And --
11 GOVERNOR BUSH: I thought you were going to say
12 Garden. That would have been too much.
14 MS. POTTER: Our connection with Cypress Gardens
15 began when we were married there in 1996. And at that
16 time, we knew it was such a beautiful place. But when
17 we had our children, we not only commemorated our
18 wedding, but we also celebrated the whole entire
19 experience and the park. We named our children after
20 the park. When I think of the park and I think about
21 whether or not we're looking at saving part of it or
22 we're saving all of it, I really think about my
23 childhood experiences and I remember as a child going
24 to Mount Rushmore. I remember my family taking me
2 what would it be like if they only saw part of the
3 presidents' heads. All of a sudden they decided to
4 take some of them off and they weren't going to keep
5 all of the park. The whole entire park is so vital to
6 the entire experience. And when I heard about other
7 plans and about young families and about children and
8 if they didn't have rides, they wouldn't come, I'm here
9 to stand up for those young families to say, We will.
10 We want the wholesomeness that the traditional Cypress
11 Gardens represents. Thank you.
12 GOVERNOR BUSH: Thank you very much for being
14 MR. STRUHS: We can save a little time if Georgia
15 Williams and Espen Tanberg and Sylvia Hitchcock Carson
16 and Jean Reed were all to queue up now, please.
17 MS. WILLIAMS: I'm Georgia Williams and Burma
18 asked me to talk. I talked in June. And I'm going to
19 cut it short and cut really to the chase. The reason
20 she asked me to come back is I'm a flight attendant.
21 I've been a flight attendant for 33 years. I've flown
22 hundreds and millions and thousands of people to
23 Florida over the years to come for vacation. I was
24 directly affected, all of us were, September 11th and
25 the only joy we had for those months afterwards was
2 get away from the stress of their daily lives.
3 I do agree children love to go to rides and
4 everything, but they also, my memories, my dad drove me
5 to Cypress Gardens, but I still remember the Belles and
6 I think I was seven, and the ski show and all those
7 beautiful trees and flowers. I do think that we have a
8 valid reason to keep the traditions as they are and
9 save all the park.
10 Recently, I have had some of the most exciting and
11 most unique experiences in my career because in the
12 winter we went to war. And I signed up to do the craft
13 military charters to Kuwait. And in the early part of
14 the war, it was not too much fun taking our soldiers
15 over there to fight. But in June, it was quite
16 wonderful to start bringing them home. I brought over
17 a group of Marines. I brought them back to home in
18 June and these were the men that were making the news.
19 They had not seen the news but they were embedded and
20 they had risked their lives for several months. Some
21 of them happened to be from Florida.
22 And I met a young man and he lived just down the
23 road from me and we got to talking because I was
24 wearing my Cypress Gardens, Save All of the Gardens
25 badge. He could not believe that part of his home was
2 fighting for his home. He was going to come home and
3 take his son, sure, to go see the mouse with his kid.
4 But he said, I want my son to be able to go to the park
5 on a field trip like I did.
6 We do need to keep the Gardens. Since then I've
7 done other military men and women coming home. I've
8 met many more Floridians. They're all amazed that the
9 Gardens were ever in jeopardy. And they are so
10 thankful that we have had this effort to save it,
11 whatever it is, it does represent home. And they are
12 glad to be returning to it. Thank you so much.
13 GOVERNOR BUSH: Thank you for being here.
14 MR. TANBERG: Governor, members of the cabinet.
15 My name is Espen Tanberg. I own and operate a dinner
16 cruise ship inside Cypress Gardens, which is desolate
17 now but we are still sailing. And we are excited about
18 everything that's happened here now especially with
19 Greg Chelius coming up front. We want to applaud Bob
20 Ballard and Burma, of course, for keeping us in the
21 forefront and also the task force. I think everybody
22 has made this such a key issue, especially you,
23 Mr. Governor.
24 We're obviously concerned that it happens quickly.
25 It's very difficult to operate within a theme park
3 GOVERNOR BUSH: How do you do that, out of
5 MR. TANBERG: Excuse me?
6 GOVERNOR BUSH: How do you do it?
7 MR. TANBERG: Well, very difficultly. It's
8 difficult to work with the present owners. They have
9 no intention of anybody coming to the property. There
10 is nothing really maintained there. And one of our
11 fears, of course, about two years ago around Halloween,
12 we had a major freeze. Most of the botanical gardens
13 needs to be protected. There's over 128 species of
14 different plants in there. If they're not heated or
15 warmed, they will die. If the Gardens dies, well,
16 there's not much more to save. So time is really of
17 the essence.
18 Of course everybody gets disappointed when they
19 walk through and see this beautiful place like it is.
20 So time is -- my concern is time is really of the
21 essence to get in. I think everybody should be
22 applauded for how quickly they worked. But really
23 needs to even work faster. We maintained our
24 employees. It's been very difficult. Our captain, as
25 a matter of fact, is a Mexican-American from the city
2 So, I don't know if that helps. (Laughter.) We do
3 appreciate everything. But once again, it's very
4 concerned (sic) and we have six years left on our
5 contract there and a great expense. Brought this
6 authentic river crew ship, one of only 22 in the United
7 States, to Cypress, to Cypress Gardens. It was brought
8 in sections. It can't come back out of there. And the
9 more that is saved, the more likely it will be
10 successful. So we thank you for your time. And once
11 again, speed is of urgency. Thank you.
12 GOVERNOR BUSH: Say hello to your captain.
13 MR. TANBERG: I will.
14 MS. HITCHCOK CARSON: Thank you, Governor, and
15 your cabinet members. My name is Sylvia Hitchcock
16 Carson and back in 1967 I won the title of Ms.
17 Universe. I started out representing the great state
18 of Alabama. But I must tell you, all my formative
19 years, and 55 years, has been here in this great state
20 of Florida. And I can't tell you being raised in Miami
21 how much that meant to me. We went to the Everglades.
22 These are the things I do not find boring. I do not
23 find that my children should find this boring. I have
24 always presented them to what Florida has had to offer,
25 its natural resources, and I feel that's what we should
2 to continue.
3 Florida has so much to offer to their tourism.
4 Burma has worked so hard with her staff. And these
5 beautiful Belles have come here and I'm just feeling
6 that Cypress Gardens -- you know Dick Pope and Julie
7 and the entire family has worked hard for what Cypress
8 Gardens is today. And I see Dick Pope Junior here and
9 I know his involvement. The Gardens is so important to
10 the state. It's important to our tourism. It's
11 important to our revenue and it's important to our
12 future to keep our land intact and not to be developed.
13 I was raised in Miami where I saw the banyan trees
14 and the beautiful coconut trees and the pine trees that
15 I loved as a child, along the beaches, disappear.
16 Crandon Park is all that I see now. So I'm just
17 telling you please help us preserve all of Cypress
18 Gardens. We need it to further Dick Pope and Julie's
19 endeavor to save and nourish and keep our state what it
20 is, the beautiful state that it is. Thank you very
22 GOVERNOR BUSH: Thank you.
23 MS. REED: Good morning. My name is Jean Reed.
24 I've been in Florida for 20 years. And one of the
25 reasons we moved to Florida was -- and settled in
2 my friends could not be here today. Many people in
3 Winter Haven were unable to attend, but they have
4 signed this and this is their way of being here and
5 knowing and telling you that they care about what
6 happens to Cypress Gardens and asking you to save all
7 of Cypress Gardens and we appreciate what you've done
8 so far and we look forward to enjoying Cypress Gardens
9 in the future.
10 I'd like to flip this over for a minute. I just
11 want to tell you quickly that the children love Cypress
12 Gardens. Not one person, not one child did not jump
13 for joy to sign this and be represented as saying they
14 love Cypress Gardens. They can't wait to get back
15 there and we hope that you will help fulfill their
16 hopes and dreams. Thanks so much.
17 GOVERNOR BUSH: Thank you.
18 SENATOR DANZLER: Thank you very much. Governor,
19 members of the Cabinet, my name is Rick Danzler. And
20 since April I have been the chairman of the task force
21 operated through the Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce
22 on the future of Cypress Gardens. And I'm here today
23 to offer a few comments about the issue. But before I
24 do that, let me recognize a few people in the audience
25 first. And there is a reason why they might be here.
2 question you may have about Cypress Gardens and its
4 First of all, Sylvia mentioned that Dick Pope
5 Junior was in the audience with us. And let me
6 introduce him. He is the 1950 World Water Ski
7 Champion. He was the national water ski champion more
8 times than I can count. He was the chairman of the
9 board and president of Cypress Gardens for many years
10 and my father-in-law. So I don't know if that helps or
11 not. But I'm very proud of him. I'm not sure he's
12 proud of me all the time, but I'm proud of him.
13 And, Governor, someone mentioned a personal story
14 that may help and let me mention mine. He is wearing a
15 tie clasp that was given to him by your father. And if
16 that helps, I wanted to offer that. (Laughter.) And
17 at the time your father gave him that tie clasp, he had
18 just caught his first tarpon on fly. And so Dick gave
19 your father a silver tie clasp shaped in a tarpon. So
20 who knows. We're doing anything we can do for a vote,
21 aren't we. (Laughter.)
22 But let me introduce Bert Lacey also. Bert was
23 the director of public relations for the Gardens for
24 many years and he wrote this 60th commemorative edition
25 that celebrated the 60-year anniversary of Cypress
2 you might have about Cypress Gardens. And Bob Garner,
3 he's the executive director of the Florida Chamber of
4 Commerce, but he's also the unofficial city historian
5 for the city of Winter Haven and he understands the
6 context of how Winter Haven and Cypress Gardens have
7 had this synonymous relationship for all these years.
8 And Jennifer Schwank is here. She is the four-time
9 world barefoot champion and she can certainly provide a
10 perspective of the water skiers as well as others in
11 the audience that I know and recognize and we're really
12 glad they're here.
13 Before I offer a few comments about the issue, let
14 me recognize State Representative Baxter Trouttman. He
15 would like to say a few words. Representative
16 Trouttman has Cypress Gardens within his legislative
17 district so he has a great interest in the outcome here
18 and I'd like to recognize him at this point.
19 GOVERNOR BUSH: Sure.
20 SENATOR TROUTTMAN: Governor, members of the
21 cabinet, thank you. Obviously there is a lot of
22 passion in this room. This is very important issue to
23 Polk County and to Winter Haven. And, Governor, like
24 you, I have also been in the cross hairs of Burma's
25 E-mails and all the recipients --
2 SENATOR DANZLER: Thank you. I appreciate you
3 adding me to that list. (Laughter.) As I started
4 this, there is a lot of passion here. But more
5 importantly to me as kind of a pro business individual,
6 there's -- if you get to the economics of this issue,
7 to our area, it's very important. We laugh and we joke
8 and we're having a good time and that's important, but
9 to be move it to a little bit more serious of a note,
10 500 jobs in our county and in our city is a big deal.
11 We are not Orlando, we are not Tampa.
12 The economic impact of the hotels and the
13 restaurants and the surrounding businesses that work
14 off and, if you will, feed off of Cypress Gardens is
15 very important. You've heard from one of those
16 business owners here today. I believe that for me to
17 weigh in as to how the Gardens should be run in the
18 future, be it the gentleman from Georgia or the
19 gentleman from Florida, I understand now there's yet a
20 third party who's interested. I don't know necessarily
21 that it's your job, it's certainly not my job to weigh
22 in and decide on which one of those parties should run
23 that Gardens.
24 If you do decide to preserve all the Gardens, I
25 think that the open market will take care of that. But
2 with you that it's very important, it's very critical
3 and I would strongly urge your speedy decision on this
4 issue because it's already been four months. It's
5 going to take more time. And in the Gardens,
6 Commissioner Bronson, you understand agriculture, it
7 doesn't take long for your plants and animals to get
8 away from you. So thank you very much for your time.
9 GOVERNOR BUSH: Thank you.
10 SENATOR DANZLER: Governor, the mayor of Winter
11 Haven was going to be here today but they had a late
12 city commission meeting last night and he called. And
13 frankly, I suggested that he not drive five hours in
14 the middle of the night to be here. But I do want you
15 to know that he wholeheartedly on behalf of the City
16 endorses the announcement that Florida Communities --
17 the Trust for Florida Public Lands made yesterday and
18 greatly appreciates your support and involvement in
19 this as well as DEP and all of those who have had a
20 hand in this.
21 The chairperson of our county commission is here,
22 though, Randy Wilkinson, and he would like to say a few
23 words as well.
24 GOVERNOR BUSH: Good morning, Randy.
25 MR. WILKINSON: Good morning, Governor and
2 pleased us with your purchase or the purchase by the
3 National Trust, I'm going to put that away and just say
4 thank you. Thank you, Governor and cabinet. Thank you
5 on behalf of the five county commissioners, the 500
6 employees of Cypress Gardens, the 500,000 residents of
7 Polk County, the 1.5 million visitors who spend the
8 night in hotels, motels in Polk County, the 500,000 who
9 spent or 5 million I would say that spend at least the
10 day in Polk County visiting attractions such as Cypress
11 Gardens. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts
12 and we want to applaud your efforts. Let us know how
13 we can help in any way. Thank you very much.
14 GOVERNOR BUSH: Randy, there is one way -- thank
15 you for being here. There is one way, maybe you could
16 help. The one thing I've not quite completely
17 understood is what development rights are embedded in
18 this property today and what are these actual -- has
19 the property been rezoned or has it been zoned for
20 development rights or is there an implied value because
21 of the surrounding areas, there may be development
22 rights of certain densities, and what role would the
23 county commission have if that's the case that use its
24 powers to make sure that we don't create a situation
25 where we're maximizing value while the intent of the
2 developed for a Wal-Mart or a Target.
3 MR. WILKINSON: Thank you for asking that
4 question, Governor. And I was told yesterday that
5 there is an offer on the table already for the ten
6 acres along Cypress Gardens Boulevard, along the
7 highway at $450,000 per acre.
8 GOVERNOR BUSH: What's the property zoned for
9 right now?
10 MR. WILKINSON: Well, it's all zoned for the
11 recreational. And the county commission has discussed
12 this. As long as it is county property, we do know the
13 City perhaps --
14 GOVERNOR BUSH: Do you know where I'm going with
15 this? I mean, if the property is zoned recreational,
16 is zoned theme park or whatever the term would be, and
17 someone has plans to build a shopping center that would
18 have inherently a higher value for that property, is it
19 the proper role for the State to buy the property at
20 the to-be-zoned price or for --
21 MR. WILKINSON: Well, let me first get
23 GOVERNOR BUSH: We have this topic of conversation
24 all the time just so you know. It's not our job to be
25 having to pay for decisions made at the local level
2 MR. WILKINSON: Those 10 acres may be zoned
3 commercial at this time. The rest of it, I believe, is
4 the recreational which we would preserve.
5 GOVERNOR BUSH: Can you put the map back up so I
6 can get a sense of where those ten acres are?
7 SENATOR DANZLER: Governor, if I could clarify
8 that point.
9 GOVERNOR BUSH: Perfect.
10 SENATOR DANZLER: There is a contract that exists
11 over approximately 10 acres.
12 GOVERNOR BUSH: Can you show where that is?
13 SENATOR DANZLER: Eva is showing that now.
14 GOVERNOR BUSH: That's 10 acres?
15 SENATOR DANZLER: And I just confirmed with staff
16 that that is already zoned commercial.
17 GOVERNOR BUSH: Okay. And what about the bigger
18 chunk that has the platted -- no, the blank area where
19 the parking lot is and below. All of that is zoned
21 MS. ARMSTRONG: This is zoned commercial and this
22 is either single family back in here or multifamily,
23 Rob? This is commercial corridor.
24 MR. LOVERN: All of it is marked tourist
25 commercial corridor except for the southern --
2 conversation later. I just want to be on record --
3 MS. ARMSTRONG: This is commercial.
4 GOVERNOR BUSH: I'm putting my friend Randy on the
5 spot a little bit. I don't want -- what would be
6 unfair is if the City or the County accepted a comp
7 plan amendment or a rezoning that maximized the value
8 and then everybody comes up to Tallahassee for us to
9 write a big check. If this -- and I appreciate your
10 being here and showing support for maintaining this as
11 is, if that's the case, then please don't take actions
12 locally that would maximize value and put us in a
13 position of having to pay for something that we
14 shouldn't have to pay for. Does that make sense?
15 MR. WILKINSON: I can assure you that is our
16 intent. I misspoke, but we do plan to keep the zoning
17 at the current categories and you want to retain -- our
18 goal is to retain as much of the park as possible.
19 105 acres is good. If we could do the whole park, that
20 would be even better. But we thank you for what you've
22 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Governor, if I could. This
23 is going to be historic if we vote to put this on the
24 list which it appears it may be going this way. But it
25 is historic to some great deal because now we're going
2 preservation -- definitely some preservation hold to it
3 and combine that with the parking area and the
4 commercial side of that whole acreage. And we know,
5 we've had to buy whole parcels to buy the piece that we
6 really wanted to save before.
7 But I do hope with the county and with cities in
8 that area, with the tourism aspect of it, that the
9 public/private partnership of this thing comes out very
10 strong. So whatever endeavor comes into this area as a
11 private partnership and whatever the county can head up
12 as far as tourist development tax to help the county
13 side of this so that the whole package is put together
14 to save the whole park but it's done with a
15 public/private partnership.
16 GOVERNOR BUSH: Good point.
17 SENATOR DANZLER: Governor, just to finish the
18 discussion about the 10 acres because there's been some
19 misunderstanding about what that is. There is an
20 existing contract over approximately ten acres for
21 approximately $5.4 million. That's 540,000 an acre.
22 And the value of something is whatever someone will pay
23 for it. Now there is a clause in that contract that
24 allows the State or anyone else to buy that contract
25 for five to ten percent of the purchase price. So if
2 ability for 5 to 10 percent of the purchase price. You
3 would have the ability to buy that contract.
4 TREASURER GALLAGHER: You mean above that price?
5 GOVERNOR BUSH: A 90 percent discount or
6 10 percent above?
7 SENATOR DANZLER: No, 10 percent above. But what
8 I'm -- you would be able to buy the contract, but then
9 there would also be a 5 to 10 percent price on top of
10 that that would cost you in order to assume the
12 GOVERNOR BUSH: I've tasked the Department to
13 really give me a briefing on the development rights
14 that exist. Rick, we've had -- this is kind of, my
15 fellow cabinet members know, I'm a little obsessive,
16 perhaps, about this. But local development decisions
17 have impacted us at the state where we have bought
18 property at higher prices because of those local
19 decisions. I'm as pro private property rights as
20 anybody in this room. And I'm not suggesting that we
21 take property rights that are already embedded in the
22 property away. I'm just suggesting that we don't make
23 local decisions that will enhance it. And I don't know
24 if this 10 acres fits that or not.
25 So we will pursue that, but the commissioner gave
2 SENATOR DANZLER: And I support that as well.
3 GOVERNOR BUSH: And I assume Winter Haven is in
4 the same -- the city is in the same situation since
5 they make the decision, don't they, not the county, are
6 they in the same --
7 SENATOR DANZLER: Well, the property is in the
9 GOVERNOR BUSH: Oh, it's in the county?
10 SENATOR DANZLER: Yes. It would have to be
11 annexed into the city and I haven't had any
12 conversations with the commissioners, the city manager
13 about what their long-term plans are. But in any
14 event, that 10 acres is out there, that's an issue.
15 The point is, if you want it badly enough, you can get
16 it. The existing contract allows that.
17 And the task force, I hope you keep this in
18 context. When Cypress Gardens made the announcement on
19 Thursday that it was going to close the following
20 Sunday, we had no idea if there was going to be any
21 interest on the part of the State in stepping in to
22 assist. And frankly, Governor Bush, when you stepped
23 forward at the first of that week and said that you
24 would like to pursue at least the alternative or the
25 opportunity of the State to assist in some way, that
2 if you hadn't done that and thank you very much.
3 But we had our first meeting as a task force the
4 following Thursday to try to get some feel for what we
5 might be willing to do and able to do. And the
6 recommendation before you, you have it in writing, and
7 we submitted our report, but let me be absolutely
8 clear, if the State wants to buy the entire park, that
9 is great. We do not object to that. But what the
10 legislative delegation had asked us to do,
11 understanding that we might not be able to buy the
12 entire park, but identify the part of Cypress Gardens
13 that really is its heart and soul. And at the end of
14 the day --
15 (Audience sighs.)
16 GOVERNOR BUSH: Please, please, please.
17 SENATOR DANZLER: That's what I was told by the
18 legislative delegation. That's what I thought my
19 charge was.
20 GOVERNOR BUSH: Well, I appreciate you saying
21 that. And I think whatever happens, as Commissioner
22 Bronson said something I want to repeat because it's
23 really important. That is, the ultimate solution of
24 this, we'll find out over the next 60 days as the Trust
25 for Public Lands pursues whatever options are
2 expressed today and the community support, Rick, of
3 your task force really be evidenced by the
4 public/private support on an ongoing basis. I mean, I
5 have no idea where we're going to end up with this.
6 But in order to make this a tremendous win, it's going
7 to require everybody's active involvement in the city
8 and in the county, irrespective if there's an operator
9 that comes in to run the park again. It's really going
10 to require a lot of help.
11 For example, if the Gardens are at stake right now
12 because nothing has been done and we're moving into
13 cooler season, is it possible for us to be able -- if
14 we have an option or you-all have an option, can you
15 access the property now? Well, there may be some
16 community projects to do a little weeding, for example.
17 I mean, there needs to be some support.
18 SENATOR DANZLER: I assure you there is an army of
19 volunteers that is willing to step forward and assist
20 in this regard. I've had people that I don't even know
21 send me checks wanting to help with Cypress Gardens in
22 some sort of preservation effort that I've had to send
23 back because we didn't really have a way to deal with
24 that but we do now. And the announcement yesterday
25 from the Trust for Public Lands, I think, is a grand
2 begin maintaining the property again, it keeps the
3 properties or the buildings from falling into disrepair
4 any more. So this was a great thing. And frankly, it
5 couldn't have happened without the kind of creative
6 work on the part of your staff and I want to commend
7 them again publicly. They've done a great job. And
8 thank all of you for your assistance.
9 GENERAL CRIST: Governor, could I ask a question?
10 GOVERNOR BUSH: Yes.
11 GENERAL CRIST: David, I wondered -- are you done,
13 SENATOR DANZLER: Yes.
14 GENERAL CRIST: Thank you for being here.
15 I was curious, David, if you could just make it
16 clear to us. The project as proposed to be included
17 under the Florida Forever Act, would that, in fact,
18 include all of the property of Cypress Gardens?
19 MR. STRUHS: Attorney General Crist, we designed
20 this item on this list so it would give you and the
21 cabinet maximum flexibility. We've crafted it so it
22 includes potentially the entire 176 acres under
23 conservation easement. Obviously, any other
24 arrangements that might come forward over the next 30
25 or 60 days would also be allowable. But we felt, to
3 GENERAL CRIST: Governor, I don't know if there is
4 a motion on the floor, but if there is not, I would
5 like to make the motion that it would include all of
6 the property for Cypress Gardens.
8 GOVERNOR BUSH: I think that is the motion, isn't
9 it, the flexibility? It's there on the list and we
10 have the ability --
11 MR. STRUHS: Yes, that's how the list was
12 prepared, to include the full acreage.
13 GOVERNOR BUSH: All right. There is a motion. I
14 think we already had a motion and a second --
15 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Second.
16 GOVERNOR BUSH: -- we've had ample discussion
17 which we appreciate people coming up to provide added
18 insights. Is there any other discussion? Is there any
19 objections to this list? Which, by the way, for the
20 folks that are exclusively interested in Cypress
21 Gardens, our state leads the nation in the purchase of
22 pristine preservation lands. It's something that we
23 all should be very proud of. We buy more land -- this
24 list is a reflection of that -- than the federal
25 government even. More than California. More than New
2 great bipartisan tradition that, I think, is one of the
3 great success stories of state public policy. So
4 you-all participated in something a little broader than
5 just the Cypress Gardens inclusion on the list. It's
6 the list itself that we're approving. And without
7 objection, the motion passes.
9 All right. We have a little bit more work to do,
10 the rest of our agenda. If you guys -- I don't think
11 it's going to take long. I don't want you-all to sit
12 back down again though. (Laughter.)
13 MR. STRUHS: The third substitute item, No. 2,
14 Governor, is a land exchange with the City of Lakeland.
15 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Motion on two.
16 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Second.
17 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded. Without
18 objection Item 2 passes.
19 MR. STRUHS: Item 3, Governor, I would like to
20 take just a moment and introduce the City of Miami
21 Beach commissioner, Jose Smith, who is here. There you
23 MR. SMITH: Hello, Mr. Governor, members of the
24 cabinet. I'm Jose Smith, a member of the Miami Beach
25 City Commission.
2 MR. SMITH: My pleasure. And on behalf of our
3 mayor --
4 GOVERNOR BUSH: Could we have everybody's
5 attention, please? We're still fighting through our
6 agenda here. Thank you. Thank you.
7 MR. SMITH: And on behalf of our mayor, David
8 Dermer, who sends regards, and my colleagues on the
9 commission, I'm here to express our gratitude and our
10 thanks for your support on this very important issue.
11 This Altos Del Mar Park, which is part of the North
12 Shore Open Space Park, is one of our most beautiful
13 resources. It's the most beautiful park. It's in the
14 North Beach area where I live and the City of Miami
15 Beach has $2.9 million in GEO bond proceeds that we're
16 going to be spending to beautify this park. And,
17 again, thank you very much for your support.
18 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Motion on three.
19 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
20 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded. Without
21 objection, the item passes. It's probably the most
22 expensive state park -- or park land on the east coast.
23 Thank you for being here.
24 MR. STRUHS: The second substitute, Item No. 4, is
25 an exchange with the Board of Trustees in the
2 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Motion on 4.
3 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
4 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded. Without
5 objection, the item passes.
6 MR. STRUHS: We recommend approval of Item 5 which
7 is an option agreement for two-tenths of an acre for a
8 pharmaceutical school at FAMU.
9 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Motion on 5.
10 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Second.
11 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded. Without
12 objection, the item passes.
13 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Motion to defer No. 6.
14 MR. STRUHS: No, actually --
15 GOVERNOR BUSH: No, we want to approve Item 6. I
16 deferred it last time.
17 MR. STRUHS: We're prepared on Item 6 if you are.
18 TREASURER GALLAGHER: I guess I don't have any big
19 problem with it.
20 GOVERNOR BUSH: I misspoke last time.
21 MR. STRUHS: On Item 6, if I could just very
22 quickly ask Chilton Hines -- where is Chilton? If you
23 would stand up. Please rise. This is Mr. Chilton
24 Hines. Chilton is the new director of our Bureau of
25 Appraisals for state government. And he's well aware
2 the issue of appraisals. He's new to Florida. We
3 hired him from the outside. He's going to bring some
4 fresh perspectives to those efforts.
5 GOVERNOR BUSH: I hope you came from a state that
6 had low property appraisals.
7 MR. HINES: Alaska.
8 GOVERNOR BUSH: Alaska. Oh, I guess that depends
9 on where you are.
10 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Just a lot of property.
11 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Motion to approve 6.
12 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
13 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded. Without
14 objection, Item 6 passes.
15 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Move to withdraw 7.
16 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
17 GOVERNOR BUSH: There's a motion to withdraw and a
18 second, Item 7. Without objection, the motion is
20 MR. STRUHS: Recommend approval of Item 8.
21 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Motion on 8.
22 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
23 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded. Without
24 objection, the item passes.
25 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Motion to defer 9.
2 GOVERNOR BUSH: There's a motion to defer Item 9
3 and a second. Without objection, the item is deferred.
4 MR. STRUHS: We recommend approval of Item 10
5 subject to special lease conditions and payment of
7 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Motion on 10.
8 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
9 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded. Without
10 objection, the item passes.
11 MR. STRUHS: Item 11 is the rules, the adoption of
12 rules for telecommunications. We recommended approval
13 of this item and I'm prepared to discuss it if you
15 GENERAL CRIST: Second.
16 GOVERNOR BUSH: Moved and seconded. Any
17 discussion? Without objection, the item passes. Do
18 you have any speakers?
19 MR. STRUHS: No. I know that Commissioner
20 Gallagher has something to say on this.
21 GOVERNOR BUSH: Oh, you do have something to say.
22 TREASURER GALLAGHER: After that's approved. Now
23 that we approved the telecommunications rule, I'd like
24 to have us direct staff to contact Florida Teleport
25 advising them of our action, our rule. And if Florida
2 terms of their easement to be consistent with the rule,
3 Florida Teleport should be allowed to, without having
4 to go through the three-to four-month application
5 process, to reapply. I think this will fulfill the
6 desire of our approval, that Florida Teleport does not
7 create an advantage or a disadvantage for them. So I'd
8 like to move that they get that opportunity.
9 COMMISSIONER BRONSON: Second.
10 GOVERNOR BUSH: There's a motion and a second. So
11 this is an addendum to the --
12 TREASURER GALLAGHER: Well, this is separate. The
13 rule is the rule is the rule. and this allows them to
14 come back and take advantage of the rule if they choose
16 GOVERNOR BUSH: It's very fair. Without
17 objection, the resolution passes.
18 MR. STRUHS: Appreciate that very much.
19 GOVERNOR BUSH: I just want to pause. I got
20 really excited because -- how long have we been doing
22 TREASURER GALLAGHER: A long time.
23 MR. STRUHS: I would like to invite you to stay
24 for just one minute, if I could, please. I have an
25 issue that's not related to Board of Trustees. But
2 is you began the meeting with a conversation about
3 electricity in Florida and that prompted me to remember
4 that we are prepared at the department, over the course
5 of the next couple of weeks, to issue an operating
6 permit for Florida Power & Light's facility in Manatee
7 County, in Parrish.
8 The Siting Board approved this in the fall of
9 2002. And at that time, you asked me to come back as a
10 courtesy and advise you when we as a department at the
11 regulatory level were prepared to issue the permits.
12 We're prepared to do that over the course of the next
13 couple of weeks. One thing we are doing as part of
14 that is holding a public meeting in Manatee County so
15 that the residents there have an opportunity to review
16 and comment on the draft permit.
17 But, again, as a matter of courtesy and keeping
18 the promise to you, we wanted to circle back and let
19 you know we're prepared to do that at some point in the
20 next couple of weeks.
21 GOVERNOR BUSH: All right. Thank you very much.
22 (Thereupon, the proceedings adjourned at
23 12:20 p.m.)
2 CERTIFICATE OF REPORTER
4 STATE OF FLORIDA )
5 COUNTY OF LEON )
7 I, KRISTEN L. BENTLEY, Court Reporter, certify
8 that the foregoing proceedings were taken before me at the
9 time and place therein designated; that my shorthand notes
10 were thereafter translated under my supervision; and the
11 foregoing pages numbered 1 through 122 are a true and
12 correct record of the aforesaid proceedings.
14 I further certify that I am not a relative,
15 employee, attorney or counsel of any of the parties, nor am
16 I a relative or employee of any of the parties' attorney or
17 counsel connected with the action, nor am I financially
18 interested in the action.
19 DATED this 4th day of September, 2003.
21 KRISTEN L. BENTLEY, Court Reporter