Let’s Talk About Jack Myers’ Values

Cash Munny

Back in 2010, before Marshall Goodman came under investigation for his expensive taste in Star Wars toys and general incompetence, the ex-USFP poobah hired former Polk County Commissioner Jack Myers to a $50,000-per-year part-time consulting job.

No other candidates were considered, no resumes accepted. Just Marshall Goodman’s good word.

As The Ledger put it at the time in a pretty good editorial:

The Auburndale real estate broker, who once voted for a $5 million appropriation of county tax dollars to speed the building of the University of South Florida’s Polytechnic campus at the eastern intersection of Interstate 4 and Polk Parkway in Northeast Lakeland, has been hired by USF Poly as a consultant.

College officials said the two things were not related. It was simply that Myers “has an extraordinary combination of expertise and background very well suited for the work [USF Poly CEO] Marshall Goodman is asking him to do,” said David Steele, the university’s director of external affairs.

If you’re not entirely clear what Myers did all day to earn that money, well, neither am I.

But when he resigned a year or so later, here’s what The Ledger said about the work he performed:

The terms of his contract said that Myers would be assigned to community and economic development, property evaluations and facilities planning and implementation.

“Basically, he was supposed to promote the incubators and the Polytechnic in communities,” said Interim Regional Chancellor David Touchton.

Hmmmm. Let’s read the Tampa Bay Times summary of the Goodman report.

Among the findings:

• USF Poly leaders laundered state education dollars through building rental payments to pay for unauthorized perks, such as a soda fountain in one of its Polk County business incubators.

• State education money was also used to pay for thousands of dollars in household appliances, including microwaves, coffee makers and vacuums.

• Technology purchases, including a $400,000 video and audio wall that some said was too advanced for students, were made without approval from the main USF Tampa campus.

• There was no proper accounting for thousands of dollars in building rentals and improvements.

You would think Jack Myers’s “extraordinary combination of expertise and background” might have prevented some of these things from happening in the incubators, facilities, and communities with whom he was consulting.

Pausing for a giggle….Done? Good.

Through it all, Myers’ entire stated purpose — indeed the entire stated purpose of the USFP/FPU adventure — was to create a new Silicon Valley along I-4. Innovation would flow like milk and honey and raise all of us backward Polk Countians out of our of wretched circumstances.

Now, let’s pause again for a brief geography lesson. Where is Silicon Valley? To which major metropolitan area is it attached? That would be San Francisco, California.

I mention this because Myers is now a candidate for Florida Senate in whatever senate district eventually includes him. And he has recently sent out a fundraising letter that opens like this:

Dear fellow conservative: If we’re not careful, liberal & wasteful San Francisco values will creep into our city hall.

This is amusing on a lot of levels.

One of my favorite examples comes Marshall Goodman’s own son, who grew up in Silicon Valley and brought his San Francisco values to Polk County and presumably worked closely with Myers at various times. Check out this Poly puff piece from 2010:

According to Goodman, USFP’s Blue Sky business incubator and accelerator can help bolster economic development in central Florida.

“Blue Sky has been successful at bringing in new businesses to central Florida. Not only do many local entrepreneurs have great concepts, but individuals from Tampa have also seen this region as a future place to do business. Universities from around the world, particularly France, have an interest in what is occurring at USF Poly and at Blue Sky.

Goodman points out that Silicon Valley’s culture of innovation developed during the Bay Area’s countercultural hotbed of the 1960s.

“Out-of-the-box thinking inspires innovation,” he says. “You need a culture open enough for the freedom to experiment and innovate. Silicon Valley companies changed the world through devices to make life easier. They believed that if you make a great product the money will eventually come.”

If you see Jack on the street during his campaign, ask him why on earth he would take more $50,000 from a taxpayer-funded institution so fond of “San Francisco values.”

Because it was green. Trust me, there’s no other reason, no other value involved. He doesn’t care about values, San Francisco or family. This mailer isn’t offensive so much as stupid and lazy and amoral. So you can draw your own conclusions about the guy who put it out.

I’m not going repeat all the tropes, but the mailer drones on for three pages. It’s pegged to my request that Lakeland city government allow gay employees to add their partners and children to health insurance just like anybody else’s family. The whole silly mailer is a repetition of the same uncreative, anti-gay silliness that Republican candidates have trotted out for years. And it makes clear that Jack thinks gay people have no role in our community other than as fodder to raise money for his campaign. It also makes clear that Jack thinks you “fellow conservatives” can easily be made to jump at his command. Just say gay. We’ll see. This gets less and less effective every year.

And, of course, Jack Myers is running for state senator, a position that does not get a vote on the city commission. So he’s going to spend a bunch of campaign donations focused on a city in which he does not live and on an issue with no fiscal impact for the state — or even the city for that matter.

This is the kind of clownishness you get from one-party rule or from taking a person’s self-declared “values” at face value.

Creative Commons License photo credit: masochismtango

2 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Jack Myers’ Values

  1. Understanding that this piece by Billy Townsend is an editorial commentary, rather than unbiased reporting (rare these days), I will make my comments accordingly.

    Jack Myers accepted a consulting job, like scads of others who have special skills (but are out of the workforce) and/or professional connections for which he drew payment of contract. He fulfilled the requirements to the satisfaction of Marshall Goodman and left when the contract ended. Myers skill-set being politics and real estate is no different from other workforce arenas such as Engineering, Construction or Sanitation that hire consultants frequently.

    “The terms of his contract said that Myers would be assigned to community and economic development, property evaluations and facilities planning and implementation.”
    “Basically, he was supposed to promote the incubators and the Polytechnic in communities,” said Interim Regional Chancellor David Touchton.”

    What portion of these contract terms and expectations makes you think that Myers, “might have prevented some of these things from happening in the incubators, facilities, and communities with whom he was consulting”, especially in light of the dominance of Goodman in all areas concerning USFP?
    I feel this would be a herculean task no matter who was in that position.

    As for your “brief geography lesson”, you make a huge stretch to connect wording from Marshall Goodman’s son about likening the USFP area akin to the Silicon Valley location of San Francisco to this line in Myers fund raising flyer, “liberal & wasteful San Francisco values will creep into our city hall.”
    It is clear that Jack Myers was talking about the liberal homosexual agenda of demanding special exemptions from established city policy and the additional cost that it would involve to placate this minority.

    By your own admission, the Myers fund raising mailer “isn’t offensive so much as stupid and lazy and amoral”, and “is a repetition of the same uncreative, anti-gay silliness that Republican candidates have trotted out for years.” Amoral? This is one area with which Mr. Myers and I agree. What you deign as “anti-gay silliness” is actually standing up for true family values, especially for the Polk County community. The resounding majority of constituents Myers could potentially serve in the Florida Senate abhor the attack on their faith choices and the values upon which they are built. Those promoting the homosexual agenda ridicule all faiths that do not accept their deviant life choices.

    The only “clownishness” I read in your article is your trying to paint Jack Myers with the broad brush of the homosexual agenda in an attempt to smear something, anything, upon him that might taint his campaign.

    Believe me, there are legitimate arguments to be explored in Mr. Myers campaign, but his contract with USFP or the fact that he still stands upon a moral and fiscal rock to protest against a fringe group who is demanding special exception from established policy, are not the true topics to be debated.

    H. Jackson Hardy
    Lakeland / Polk County

  2. Jackson Hardy sounds like a real teabagger cool aid drinker!
    He probably thinks Dick Scott is a great governor and Mikey Haridopeolous was a great Senate President.
    Gulpity gulp gulp Jackson says! This teabagger tea tastes good!

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