What do college football's Tim Tebow and Bobby Bowden have in common with businessman Wayne Huizenga and Everglades demolisher Hamilton Disston?
They've all recently been named "Great Floridians," what is supposed to be a high honor, bestowed upon people "who have made major contributions to the progress and welfare of this state."
That's what it says in the statute books.
But laws are open to interpretation, and Florida has interpreted this one to mean "people who are famous for any reason and/or people the governor would like to flatter."
Tebow is a perfect example. He was a Heisman Trophy winner with a storied college career and an unremarkable pro career so far. But former Gator quarterback Danny Wuerffel and former head coach Steve Spurrier also won Heismans, and they're not on the list.
Tebow is often lauded for his charity work, but I can think of lots of people (Wuerffel, again) who devote themselves to the neediest among us.
In other words, the list of Great Floridians includes a number of "pretty good Floridians" (like Toni Jennings),"rich and politically connected Floridians" (like Huizenga, a big donor to Gov. Rick Scott's political committee), and "who cares about the environment Floridians" (like Disston, who dreamed of draining the Everglades).
How else do you end up with a brutal killer (Pedro Menéndez de Avilés), one of Florida's least memorable governors (Bob Martinez), and a big-time lobbyist (Jim Smith) making the roll call?
Menendez de Avilés is credited with founding St. Augustine. A big deal, yes, but you have to gloss over his butchering of French settlers, if want to include him on what should be an exclusive list of Great Floridians.
Martinez was a one-term governor credited with a series of environmental achievements. He's also known as the only governor to help hard-core rap record sales by trying to prosecute 2 Live Crew for obscenity.
Drawing a blank on Smith? I don't blame you. The career politician-turned-lobbyist is mostly known to Tallahassee insiders. He may be a great guy, but a Great Floridian?
I'm not the only one who thinks the list has become, a little, well, pedestrian.
Secretary of State Ken Detzner, who culls through Great Floridian nominations, said as much.
At a meeting last year Detzner hoped aloud that the governor, cabinet members and House and Senate leaders would stop making so many nominations so the list would have "more meaning," according to minutes from a meeting about the program in October.
No such luck, Mr. Secretary. Two people have already been named this year and more are expected to be announced soon.
Scott has taken a particular liking to the program, honoring 19 recipients since he became governor in 2011 — more than his predecessor Charlie Crist honored in four years and more than Jeb Bush honored in eight years.
And why not? Scott is a wildly unpopular governor headed into a re-election campaign. There is no downside to a photo op with the wildly popular Tebow.
There are a number of deserving people on the list. People like Gov. LeRoy Collins, a leader in both education and Civil Rights and the first person named as a "Great Floridian." And Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the great Everglades crusader who spent much of her life trying to undo the damage done by fellow lister Disston.
Harry T. Moore. Zora Neale Hurston. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Lawton Chiles.
They're all part of the exclusive club of people who changed Florida for the better.
But lately the bar hasn't been quite so high.
Who's next? Carrot Top?
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