One Capitol: The people and politicos mingle in the tower of power | Living Here 2019
You can’t miss it, whether you fly or drive into Tallahassee.
2020年欧冠赛程表It’s the tallest building in town, a white behemoth poking through our carpet of treetops as a monument to political compromise and plain old power. In what may have been the first of thousands of give-and-take deals in Florida politics, this city halfway between Pensacola and St. Augustine was chosen as the seat of government by British and Spanish settlers early in the 19th century.
More:The Florida Capitol: A timeline2020年欧冠赛程表 by Gerald Ensley
And, in a tribute to the kind of clout local legislators no longer yield, some Old South politicians prevented the capital from being moved to Orlando about 50 years ago. Urban legislators, who run the House and Senate now, still try periodically to set up a study committee and study the idea of finding a more central location2020年欧冠赛程表 — one with decent air service, for instance — but their predecessors literally cemented our status in place at the t-square juncture of Apalachee Parkway and Monroe Street.
The Big Bend’s efforts to remain Florida’s capital nearly a half-century ago included legalizing liquor sales and starting our annual Springtime Tallahassee celebration. The big parade and street festival were part of the town’s plan to impress legislators, who had newly begun annual 60-day sessions.
2020年欧冠赛程表They used to meet every other year.
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There are actually two capitol buildings. The “Historic Capitol” housed state government until the 1970s, with suites for the governor, secretary of state, attorney general, education commissioner, state treasurer (who doubled as insurance commissioner), comptroller and agriculture commissioner. All were separately elected statewide for four-year terms.
They reorganized in 1998, and now only have the governor, attorney general, agriculture commissioner and a chief financial officer voting on executive decisions at Cabinet meetings.
With the state growing fast after World War II, in commerce and population, the computer age brought a need for more modern facilities. Planning for a new capitol began in the late 1960s — right after they settled that business of keeping the home office in Tallahassee — and initial plans called for bulldozing the old capitol and putting in a sunny mall, with bubbling fountains and shady trees down the eastern hill.
History buffs wouldn’t stand for knocking down the old capitol. It was said that the strength of your passion to “Save the Capitol” was inversely proportional to whether you worked in the drafty, leaky, inefficient old building. Anyway, it got saved and restored to pretty much how it looked with President William McKinley visited, and serves mostly as a museum now.
2020年欧冠赛程表There was some argument between the “domists” and the “slabbists” — those who wanted a modern flat roof on the new building vs. traditionalists who insisted capitols must have domes. The domists won, resulting in those two humps over the House and Senate chambers.
And if you’re wondering, no, there were no women among the governor and Cabinet officers who selected that two-domes-and-a-shaft silhouette.
In another compromise of minor historical note, the 22-floor building is two-faced. Panhandle residents used to say the Old Capitol turned its back on West Florida, facing the populous and prosperous eastern peninsula. Perhaps Gov. Reubin Askew being from Pensacola had something to do with it, but the new design incorporated those bubbling fountains, pretty plants and an aluminum sculpture of frolicking dolphins on the Duval Street side of the big building.
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It looks more like the headquarters of a big bank or insurance company — which is why politicians usually film their campaign commercials on the steps of the Old Capitol. They inaugurate governors on that side, too, every four years.
There’s a very nice observation deck on the 22nd floor of the “new” Capitol, which is really over 40 now, with a panoramic view in all directions. It has a snack shop on the 10th floor and a bigger cafeteria at the lower level, along with historical markers in numerous locations.
2020年欧冠赛程表The governor and now-three Cabinet members have their offices on the first floor, and the Legislature meets 60 days a year — and usually a little longer — on the Capitol’s fourth floor.
Bill Cotterell is a retired Tallahassee Democrat reporter who began covering state government in 1969, when the Old Capitol was the only capitol.