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