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Jacksonville's Port Authority
I enjoyed Lynn Koller's article examining the motivation behind the effort to split the Jacksonville Port Authority into separate airport and seaport entities. There is no business justification for creating two government agencies where one currently does the job quite well. In fact, such a move will cost more than $25 million and create bigger government. This is why no bimodal port authority in the nation has ever been split in two.

The proposed split is spearheaded by Mayor John Delaney, who has long lusted for control of the JPA, created in 1963 as an independent agency specifically to insulate airports and seaports from local politics. Frustrated by the JPA's political independence, Delaney wants the existing agency split into two entities, both run by boards controlled by the mayor's office. Delaney seeks this split and subsequent control under the guise of "good business." But he fools no one. I fear that Jacksonville's airports and seaports, which have thrived under an independent JPA, may soon be swallowed by the city's political machine. And guess who will foot the bill?

Robert Marsallis
People Against Wasteful Spending (P.A.W.S.)

Regarding the chart on orange leaders, I am pleased to report that Hendry County has moved up substantially on citrus production since its No. 4 showing in the 1997-98 season.

According to the 1999-2000 harvest figures published by the Florida Agricultural Statistics Service in September, Hendry was second only to Polk County in oranges, at 28.8 million boxes. Polk had 32.4 million boxes.

And according to the latest commercial citrus inventory (August 2000), Hendry led the state in the number of citrus trees, with 15.3 million. St. Lucie and Polk were next with 11.8 million and 11.6 million, respectively. As these young trees in Hendry mature, the harvest figures will go up. So keep an eye on us.

Ron Hamel
Executive VP, Gulf Citrus Growers

The Rev. R.B. Holmes is pastor of the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee. The church was misidentified in January's Tallahassee Trend feature.