Catching Up with Jeb

For those who listened more to the pitter-patter of rain than the local news, Jeb Bush was in Lakeland yesterday. No, not to apologize for perpetuating a pestilence upon the people of Polk County. He was here to discuss “leadership.”

Bush was surprised to find that reporters in Lakeland were not welcoming him home with Nerf ball questions. They wanted to discuss CSX. They were even polite, and asked if they could ask first:

Bush, in Lakeland as a speaker for two Southeastern University events, was asked after his afternoon speech if he had time to answer questions.

He said he wouldn’t if the questions were about CSX. — The Ledger

Over at the Tribune, the reporter found Bush equally forthcoming:

“There was no secret deal … I resent the implication,” Bush said angrily. “I believe a significant number of people in this community support the thousands of jobs it will bring.” — Polk County News Blog

As usual, the number of jobs the rail hub would create was trotted out as the reason for the project.

The Ledger reporter fell back on finding an old number somewhere and tossing it out: “When initially announced, supporters said the rail center would employ at least 5,000 people and be a financial boost.”

I’m not quite sure from which story she got the 5000 number. I’m not surprised the reporter wasn’t up on the latest numbers. This is yet another Ledger reporter covering the story. At the very least, couldn’t Tom Palmer or Diane Lacey Allen have covered Bush?

The Tampa Tribune took the time to send their point reporter on the CSX story, Lindsay Peterson: “The proposed hub, however, will employ at most 200. A second phase of warehouses and distribution centers could employee as many as 1,800, CSX has said.”

In other CSX news:

The state Department of Transportation didn’t go far when it needed a consultant to confirm that its $491 million deal with CSX Transportation was good for taxpayers.

It chose one of the companies that worked on the deal. — ‘Independent Analysis’ Of CSX Rail Deal Questioned

And for those who think reporters shouldn’t ask the tough questions, local writer Lorrie Delk Walker said it best:

Kudos to Robin, or whichever reporter attempted to ask the question. CSX is a huge issue for Polk County residents, it has divided entities on the issue, it will have a HUGE impact on us all, and people want answers. Reporters may not always be liked or appreciated for their actions, but they have an obligation to make reasonable attempts to gather information for valid news stories. — Tales From the Delk Side