Associated Press reports:
University of Florida faculty vote to deny former Gov. Jeb Bush honorary degree
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida President Bernie Machen says he was “tremendously disappointed” with the school’s Faculty Senate vote to deny former Gov. Jeb Bush an honorary degree.
The Senate voted 38-28 Thursday against giving the honorary degree to Bush, who left office in January.
Some faculty expressed concern about Bush’s record in higher education.
“I really don’t feel this is a person who has been a supporter of UF,” Kathleen Price, associate dean of library and technology at the school’s Levin College of Law, told The Gainesville Sun after the vote.
Bush’s approval of three new medical schools during his tenure has diluted resources, Price told the newspaper.
Bush has also been criticized for his “One Florida” proposal, an initiative that ended race-based admissions programs at state universities.
University officials said they could not recall any precedent for the Senate rejecting the nominees put forth by the Faculty Senate’s Honorary Degrees, Distinguished Alumnus Awards and Memorials Committee.
The committee determines whether nominees deserve consideration according to standards that include “eminent distinction in scholarship or high distinction in public service.”
Jeb Bush’s “scholarship” consists in twisting scientific research on issues like conservation of rare Florida panthers; and promoting the pseudo science of Scientology.
His “public service” consists of helping his big brother with vote fraud in Florida.
So, Jeb very clearly is not up to the standards.
John Ellis Bush, son of Jeb, arrested while drunk: here.
Congressional Masochists & Memory Loss: Have Jeb Bush for President Pushers Forgotten He’s Jeb Bush? Here.
*University of Florida Senate Denies Degree to Jeb Bush*
Posted by: “hapi22” firstname.lastname@example.org robinsegg
Sat Mar 24, 2007 8:06 am (PST)
There IS some justice in this world.
Score one for sanity.
****University of Florida Senate Denies Degree to Jeb Bush**
/by ABBY GOODNOUGH
The New York Times
/March 24, 2007/
MIAMI, March 23 — Pondering his options after eight years in office,
former Gov. Jeb Bush can cross one off the list, honorary degree
recipient at the University of Florida, the largest university in the
The Faculty Senate there REJECTED a proposal on Thursday to award Mr.
Bush an honorary degree this spring. Some members OPENLY CRITICIZED
It is the FIRST time in memory that the group has rejected a nominee
put forth by its honorary degrees committee, said J. Bernard Machen, the
The Senate voted, 38 to 28, AGAINST the proposal, which came from a
former president of the university and was supported by two university
trustees APPOINTED BY Mr. Bush.
The Senate chairwoman, Denaya Wright, said the NOMINATION WAS a
MISTAKE , not just because some faculty members dislike Mr. Bush, a
Republican who called himself “the education governor,” but also because
he DID NOT HAVE the right background for an honorary degree.
“Recipients have pretty much always been DISTINGUISHED scientists,
engineers, artists, nurses, doctors,” Ms. Wright said.
The university, based in Gainesville, has awarded honorary degrees to
five former governors, including Bob Graham in 2004 and Reubin Askew in
1983. All were Democrats. It also bestowed one on Senator John McCain,
Republican of Arizona, in 2004.
Mr. Bush did not respond to an e-mail request for comment.
Mr. Machen, for one, is embarrassed.
“I think it’s a horrible decision,” he said in an interview. “I’ve heard
from lots of alumni today who are very upset.”
Though it rejected Mr. Bush, the Senate approved two other nominees,
Andrew H. Hines Jr., a mechanical engineer and former power company
executive who is an alumnus, and Barry C. Barish, professor emeritus of
physics at the California Institute of Technology.
Kathleen Price, a law professor who voted no on Mr. Bush, said he had
let down the university by vetoing a measure that would have let its
graduate and professional schools raise tuition.
Mr. Machen said that he feared reprisal from the Legislature, but that
Mr. Bush was “probably having a good laugh” about the vote. In sports,
the real passion at most Florida colleges, Mr. Bush roots for the
University of Miami, Mr. Machen said.
Read this at: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/24/us/24florida..html
Task Force Formed to Investigate Florida 13th Election…
Posted by: “Compañero” email@example.com chocoano05
Sat Mar 24, 2007 8:06 pm (PST)
Task Force Formed to Investigate Florida 13th Election
By Rachel Kapochunas
Friday 23 March 2007
Nearly five months after Florida Republican Vern Buchanan narrowly defeated Democrat Christine Jennings in the state’s 13th District, a congressional committee has organized a task force to investigate the controversial election.
California Democratic Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, on Thursday announced the formation of the task force, which she said was needed to investigate “possible voting rights violations” in Florida’s 13th, where Buchanan prevailed by 369 votes.
Bandele McQueen, Millender-McDonald’s chief of staff, told
CQPolitics.com on Friday that Millender-McDonald formed the task force after an August 2006 letter surfaced last week in which Electronic Systems & Software Inc. (ES&S) – the company that manufactured the electronic voting machines that were used in the Florida 13 election – told election officials that the voting screens exhibited slow response times during testing.
ES&S said in the letter that the delays would not affect the “integrity or reliability” of the election – but the company nonetheless recommended machine updates and suggested poll workers and voters be apprised of the slow response time.
But Millender-McDonald’s committee said in a statement Thursday that “nothing was done nor were poll workers informed.”
Jennings and her political allies have long maintained that malfunctions of the electronic voting machines in Sarasota County – the dominant jurisdiction in the southwest Florida district – resulted in more than 18,000 “undervotes,” or ballots on which votes were cast for other contests but not for the House race, and thus cost her the election because Jennings defeated Buchanan in Sarasota County.
Millender-McDonald said the task force will “review and raise questions such as, `What went wrong, how long before the election did state and county officials know of this malfunction, and why were safeguards not taken by state and county officials.”
Rep. Charlie Gonzales, D-Tex., will chair the three-member task force, which will also include Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and a Republican designated by Michigan Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers, the ranking Republican on the House Administration Committee.
Jennings said in a statement Thursday that she was “pleased” that the task force had been organized.
Jennings and voting rights groups filed lawsuits in Florida courts that are pending. Jennings last December formally contested the election in the House of Representatives.
Salley Collins, a spokeswoman for Ehlers, told CQPolitics.com on Friday that the House Administration panel should defer to the pending legal action in the Florida courts.
“We strongly believe that we shouldn’t even be having hearings or
dealing with any of the issues surrounding the contest until it’s had a chance to play out in Florida,” Collins said.
Collins said that Republicans will “hold off” on appointing a GOP member to the task force until Republicans receive clarification from Millender-McDonald on the task force’s agenda.
Gonzales told CQPolitics.com on Friday that Democrats recognize the role of the courts but said that “nevertheless, there’s a role for Congress reflected in the Constitution of the United States” regarding contested elections.
McQueen said that the legal system could no longer be “relied upon.”
“Had that letter been discovered and was turned over as part of discovery, and the legal process was going along without any hiccups, there might not have been any need for the task force to be created,” McQueen said. “Upon looking at that information, the chairwoman determined that it was important for the committee to step in to safeguard the rights of all the voters.”
After two recounts of votes, Florida Secretary of State Sue M. Cobb, a Republican, on Nov. 20 certified Buchanan as the winner by 369 votes in the race to succeed two-term Republican Rep. Katherine Harris, who left the seat open to pursue a Senate bid that was unsuccessful.
Jennings and her supporters cried foul, pointing to the large undervote in Sarasota County. Because Jennings prevailed in Sarasota County, her backers said that Jennings would have won had the electronic voting machines worked properly.
But Buchanan and his allies said the undervotes in Sarasota could be attributed to where the contest appeared on some ballots – or that voters simply opted not to participate in the election.
FLORIDA CONTEMPLATES LEASING TOLL ROADS
Posted by: “Corey” firstname.lastname@example.org cpmondello
Sun Mar 25, 2007 10:19 am (PST)
FLORIDA CONTEMPLATES LEASING TOLL ROADS
Toll-road plan passes on party lines
By Michael C. Bender
Palm Beach Post Capital Bureau
Friday, March 23, 2007
TALLAHASSEE € ¦’· Private companies could operate most state toll roads and collect increased fees while helping pay to widen highways and build bridges, under a bill the Florida House approved Thursday.
“This makes sure that moms and dads are spending more time around the dinner table with their kids and less time in rush-hour traffic trying to get home after work,” said Rep. Gary Aubuchon, R-Cape Coral. “This is a bill to strengthen Florida’s economy and Florida’s families.”
The bill (HB 7033), approved 74-40, was the 10th the House adopted this session and the first to pass on party-line vote. It would let companies lease toll roads or bridges in the state, except for Florida’s Turnpike, for up to 75 years.
While lawmakers in the House Republican majority said leasing toll roads to private companies would help reduce current shortfalls in road-building budgets, Democrats warned that such a move could put future state revenues at risk.
“It establishes a horrible precedent that we’re going to mortgage off our assets to spend money now,” said Rep. Susan Bucher, D-West Palm Beach.
Gov. Charlie Crist said the state would need fair compensation in a lease for the plan to work.
“It could be – could be – an innovative way to raise revenue to build more roads and have less congestion,” Crist said. “It’s good for consumers to have choices. Even the consumers that use our roads.”
An analysis of the bill by House staff did not estimate potential gains or losses the state could net from the leases, saying the impact on state revenues was “indeterminate, but anticipated to have a positive impact.”
The analysis also did not report what the state collects each year in tolls, but did estimate the value of four toll roads, based on current revenue projections plus an annual 2 percent growth in tolls for 50 years. Those values are $3 billion for Alligator Alley; $1.3 billion for the Bee Line Expressway in Central Florida; $6 million for the Pinellas Bayway; and $8.2 billion for the Sunshine Skyway over Tampa Bay.
The Senate has not considered similar legislation, but leaders said there was some support for the idea.
The House bill was ripped from the pages of House Speaker Marco Rubio’s book, Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Future. Rubio wrote the book in response to problems in Florida, such as congested roads, and it has become the agenda of House Republican leaders.
“A leased highway provides valuable income to the state to enhance other transportation projects, lowers annual maintenance costs and allows private companies to enhance the quality of service on the highway to the residents and visitors who utilize it,” Rubio wrote. He pointed to similar projects in Toronto, Chicago and Indiana.
In January, the Spanish company Cinta, which is involved in the Chicago and Indiana projects, presented the proposal to House lawmakers.
“They told us we were sitting on a gold mine,” Bucher said. “They said they could take our roads, they’d cut us a check right now and we’d figure out the terms of the contract later. And that’s exactly what this bill says.”
She and other Democrats said the bill was too vague and didn’t offer enough safeguards for the state, which uses tolls to build and maintain roads.
“We’re not willing to establish our budgetary priorities and tighten our belts,” Bucher said. “We’re hiding behind a private company that came and told us how to do this.”
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