YMCA, fitness centers have nothing in common


Published: Thursday, January 2, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 1, 2003 at 8:38 p.m.

By the political cast of those appointed to the Board of Governors for the new university governance system, Gov. Jeb Bush has, effectively, thumbed his nose at the almost 3 million Floridians who, on Nov. 5, voted overwhelmingly to pass Amendment 11 to the Florida Constitution.

His appointees to that board, which is the body responsible for implementing Amendment 11, represent only the party faithful and those who went all out to defeat it.

Phil Handy, chairman of the Florida Board of Education, and Jim Horne, secretary of Education, both Bush appointees, have been saying all along that little would change with the passage of Amendment 11.

Now Horne will be serving on the Board of Governors and is in a position to help ensure his predictions are correct. Also appointed was Carolyn Roberts, who chaired the political action committee created to oppose Amendment 11. Her PAC conducted a highly negative campaign, which included in its advertising some outright misrepresentation of facts.

The governor obviously ignored my plea to appoint at least token representation from those who worked so hard for the amendment. Those most familiar with it know what must be done to implement it properly.

Besides, their appointment would have sent a positive message, not only to those who voted for the amendment, but also the public at large. Gov. Bush, however, seems to have little interest in reaching out to those who disagree with him.

The governor's appointees are, in the main, good people, but can they be expected to implement the amendment in good faith, given the fact that so many of them have a well-documented record of being so strongly opposed to it?

The actions of the Board of Governors will be carefully monitored to see if they follow what appears to be the governor's intent to do little to implement Amendment 11 or will they be seriously committed to giving Florida a non-politicized, high quality university system.

Finally, it's worth noting that three of the governor's appointees to the new Board of Governors are former chairs of the Board of Regents. It makes one wonder whether the Regents were really that bad after all.

Or were they abolished, because they wouldn't approve expensive university programs that powerful legislators wanted, but which the Regents found were not needed? The answer is obvious.

E.T. York,

chancellor emeritus,

State University System of Florida,

Gainesville

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