A year ago, Rosemary Goudreau didn’t expect to be in her current position. With over 30 years as a journalist, and in her fifth year at the Tampa Tribune, Goudreau started last November as the Tribune editorial page editor. By the end of the month she was another casualty of the Tribune layoffs. As editorial page editor, she oversaw some of the hardest hitting work against the CSX ILC/Orlando Commuter Rail Project.
Many supporters might felt that would hurt opposition to the project, but it seems it merely freed Goudreau to concentrate on the rail project. In her post-newspaper world, Goudreau has decided to focus on CSX, Commuter Rail, and taxpayer dollars. She’s joined the new media transition with an issue site of her own: WrongTrack4Florida.com. Want to guess the focus?
Goudreau is quick to let you know she’s not new to the subject, “I’ve written about this issue a long time.” She’s as quick to let you know where she stands, “This may be the worse deal ever for taxpayers.”
“We make no apologies for having a point of view,” Goudreau adds, with new media journalist enthusiasm. She’ll also tick off what you can expect on the site: content, context, and a laser-like focus on the deal. With reader comments already flowing, Goudreau expects a lot of give-and-take, “I can take on the concerns and arguments and reveal the truth.”
She doesn’t expect much from her opposition though, “In the face of all the arguments, the other side has only one response, ‘Orlando needs commuter rail.'” Goudreau acknowledges commuter rail is a major statewide need, and argues the Orlando plan is a “white elephant” than removes a mere 3600 cars from the road. “It’s going to give commuter rail a bad name. Take that money and create a route to key places.”
Even with strong opinions against the project, Goudreau believes her journalism experience will keep the site a focus for those on all sides of the issue, “I will follow journalism tenets and I am committed to fixing any errors.”
The site isn’t without growing pains. Goudreau states she was originally hired by the Lakeland Downtown Development Authority to create the CSX issue site. She offered that it was a short position, “LDDA and I parted company because they felt heat. I’m committed to seeing it through.”
To build her site, Goudreau tapped into the expertise of elected officials and key citizens familiar with the project, “I tapped into a network of persons trying to get answers.” She’s already placed a lot of information on the site, “I feel I wrote a seven-part series.” Goudreau hasn’t created a static information site though. She’s planning ongoing coverage, “I do plan to go to Tallahassee and cover key parts of committee hearings.” She feels the statewide coverage is necessary, “This deal is bad for Florida. It sets precedents that encourage corporate welfare.”
She believes her current hometown of Tampa will be severely affected, “This deal will create an enormous barrier for commuter rail. It cuts Tampa Bay off from the rest of the state for commuter rail. Florida needs a statewide plan for moving people by train.” She often states her opposition isn’t locale based though, “I live in Tampa, but I’m a citizen of Florida.”
Goudreau points out that her years as an Orlando resident gives her an understanding of the needs for their transit help, but argues the CSX ILC/Orlando Rail project isn’t the answer. More telling is her economic values during her stint on the Tribune editorial board, “The Trib supports fiscal conservativism, and I was under the belief our state representatives did also.” She added she was “shocked” that “the leader of the Senate was willing to toss aside his fiscal conservative values” to support the plan. She expects that the politics part of her site will receive the most attention.
Goudreau also holds key members of the Florida Department of Transportation to task, “DOT delayed projects two years to make money available for Orlando rail.” She said reading through the long process gave her a negative opinion of the FDOT, “It doesn’t seem they are working on the behalf of citizens. They’re working for those who have money.”
While obviously happy with her site, Goudreau took time out to call attention to her former paper, “The Tribune is still covering the story. Let me put in a plug for Lindsay Peterson.” Goudreau pointed out that Peterson, and former Trib reporter, Billy Townsend, uncovered much of the CSX ILC/Orlando Rail Project story. “The Tribune coverage of this issue is a hallmark of its journalism these past two years.”