Letters for April 10, 2003

This Column's No Disgrace

Not surprisingly, what we, the citizens of this state, have gotten in Boca Raton is a 14,000-square-foot abode for FAU's president that cost $3 million! All this while raising tuition for, as Barton's article noted, a school that is ranked "in the fourth (lowest) tier of schools that offer doctorates."

U.S. Senator Bob Graham warned Floridians about this destruction-by-cronyism of the state university system, but with barely 50% of eligible voters actually going to the polls, few, if any cared. At first glance, it might seem that having a "connected" head of a university will have advantages. He -- or she -- will know how to "work" the corridors of the Capitol, persuading and cajoling legislators to fund favored projects. Witness the $10 million Brogan "tentatively secured... for oceanographic studies" at FAU.

It is too early to know what the selection of Wetherell and Brogan will mean on a nationwide level. No doubt, the experiences of the out-of-state candidates for the jobs at FSU and FAU has circulated throughout academia. Florida's universities will earn the reputation they deserve, and potential candidates with excellent credentials and track records in higher education will be discouraged from applying for top jobs. As Florida becomes known as the home of cronyism, it will be increasingly difficult to attract the best and brightest. Future generations of students will pay the price of this favoritism when they have difficulty gaining admission to quality graduate and professional schools. As the reputation of Florida's schools spreads, we will all lose.

Frederick S. Berger

Hollywood

Hole-y Radials, Batman!: Regarding Susan Eastman's March 20 article, "Redeveloping Your Radials": Since moving to South Florida, I've fixed 13 punctures in just under 28 months. Mind you, these are good tires -- not the baldies I drove around on as a teenager. Before coming here, I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area my entire life and had maybe four punctures in 20 years of driving. And I worked in construction for 15 of those years. The problem is the lack of pride and good practice by construction companies and tradespeople. I have never experienced such lethargy; it's disgustingly despicable.

Ken Scott

Deerfield Beach

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