Allan Francis Milledge, one of Florida's most influential forces for sound environmental and water policy, particularly in the southern end of the state, died Friday of cardiac arrest at his home in Flagler Beach. He was 88.
Milledge was the first of three titans of Florida's golden age lost in one weekend -- Milledge on May 24, private-property rights champion Bert Harris on May 25 and statesman-attorney Talbot "Sandy" D'Alemberte on May 26.
All were Democrats, the dominant party in the state until the mid-1990s, but in their case it never mattered. The things they fought for, we all fought for, or so it seemed. These men were easy to like and easy to follow.
"Sandy and Allan were great friends, and the last of the greatest generation of Florida's First Amendment lawyers," recalled Tallahassee attorney Florence Snyder, herself a consultant on ethics and First Amendment issues.
It was appropriate, she said, that they should die back-to-back like Jefferson and Adams. "I think Allan just wanted to play tennis with Sandy again, and drink whiskey between sets."
Like D'Alemberte, Milledge was so many things to so many people during an emerging time the state likely will never see again. He was a longtime chairman of the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board; chaired the Environmental Land Management Study Committee (ELMS II) for Gov. Bob Graham; served as First Amendment and corporate counsel to Sunbeam Television Corp., owner of Miami's WSVN.
Milledge was a South Florida native, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who received his law degree with honors from Harvard Law School. During the 1960s he and Neal Rutledge, son of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Wiley Rutledge, founded Miami law firm Rutledge and Milledge. He most recently practiced law in Miramar, at Milledge & Iden.
Snyder remembers a time when he chaired the Media Law Conference, "back when five or six hundred people attended. ...," she said. "I'm pretty sure it was the one where Katharine Graham (of the Washington Post) was the keynote speaker."
I remember Milledge as a force on the SFWMD Governing Board when I first arrived in Florida. He was so many things, particularly to reporters who covered the region -- deeply involved in addressing pollution of the Everglades, restoring the Kissimmee River, studying the decline of Florida Bay, acquiring Frog Pond and Taylor Slough, and re-plumbing the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control Project. His proposal to create a series of interconnected, man-made marshes along the east side of the Water Conservation Areas is included in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Restudy plan.
In 1973, while he was chairman of the original Environmental Land Management Study Committee of Florida, he created guidelines and standards for the Development of Regional Impact process and drafted the original Local Government Comprehensive Planning Act of Florida. He was consultant to Dade County, for the creation of its first modern-era comprehensive plan adopted in 1975. For 10 years he was general counsel to the South Florida Regional Planning Council. And he served on numerous governor-appointed commissions. During 1994-95, he was instrumental on Gov. Lawton Chiles' Land and Water Task Force.
Milledge was also president emeritus of the Seamen's Church Institute of Florida, Inc., which operates the Seafarer's Center in Port Everglades; and he served on the Board of Directors of Seacamp and Newfound Harbor Marine Institute, a marine science educational facility on Big Pine Key.
He was an officer of the Foundation for Inter-American Dialogue on Water Management and the Water-Web Consortium, Inc. both of which were sponsored by the Organization of American States (OAS).
Allan Milledge is survived by his wife, Cathleen Vogel, sons Thomas, John, Matthew, and David, and daughter Deirdre.
Reach Nancy Smith at email@example.com or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith