Actually, Jack Myers Loves Government

I read with some interest a few weeks ago that Polk County Commissioner Jack Myers plans to run for Paula Dockery’s Florida senate seat. I read with particular interest his brief rationale for running:

“Everyone needs jobs. Everyone needs less government,” Myers, a Republican, said Saturday.

Ah yes, less government. If there’s anything Jack is about, it’s less government. Riiight. For starters, after running hard against the relatively modest gas tax approved by the 2000 County Commission, he voted in 2005 for the largest tax increase in Polk County history.

A Simple Question for Polk’s Republican Officials and Candidates: Did ACORN Steal the 2008 Election for Barack Obama?

This is a truly astonishing poll. 51 percent of Republicans think that pathetic little ACORN engineered a massive conspiracy to turn the 2008 presidential election into an electoral college rout. Only 27 percent are sure Obama actually won. We live in pretty Republican county here, so I want to know what the people’s representatives and would-be representatives think: Do you agree with a majority of your party that ACORN stole the 2008 presidential election? If not, does this level of delusion within your party concern you? Email me at I will be tracking all of you down for an answer, so you can save time and effort by emailing first.

USF Football

I was reminded this past week that Polk County includes more graduates of the University of South Florida than from Florida State and University of Florida combined.

I was also informed that the coverage of the USF Bulls is lacking.

So, to replace our coverage of the Lakeland Flying Tigers, I’m going to watch every minute of the Bulls season and bring our readers the inside scoop.

Then I realized I’d have to watch football.

Instead, each week I’m going to link to the best writing I can find on USF Bulls football. Pre-game, post-game, new media, old media, teenage media. All the Bull I can find.

For you.

Just check the tabs on the sidebar Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Instead of, you know, the usual bull you find in this column.

A Rail Meeting to Attend

In a move reminiscent of the Hair tune, Initials (L.B.J.), the FDOT invites you to a PIM to study the FEIS for the FHSR.

In English, the Florida Department of Transportation is hosting a Public Information meeting to showcase the changes made to the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Florida High Speed Rail project.

Look inside for the details…

Mayoral Forum – Live Tweets Redux

During the Downtown Lakeland partnership sponsored Mayoral Forum, I “live tweeted” the questions and answers to and from the candidates. I sent about 56 tweets in about 60 minutes.

The nature of Twitter is 140 characters, with the AP Stylebook thrown out the window. So, as Rod Stewart once sang, “please pardon my grammar.” Read the tweets inside…

This Time Rain Won’t Stop Us

After our last two rain-outs, SPCA, Inc is kind enough to host us in their indoor Education Center!

Date: Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Time: 6:30pm – 9:00pm
Location: 5850 Brannen Road South, Lakeland, FL 33813

(Off of S. Florida Avenue just off the road next to Sonny’s BBQ in South Lakeland

For more information email:

Get tweetup info by following @polknetizens

New Orleans – Feb 29, 1981

1981 Feb. 29 New Orleans

Tom Hagerty picked up a camera long ago. Starting Saturday, the best of Tom’s black and white photographs will appear at

CANCELED: In an unrelated note, please stop by tonight’s Lakeland Flying Tiger’s game to get together with others interested in social media. You can get a special price by telling them you’re coming to Polk Netizens Meetup

Creative Commons License photo credit: Tom Hagerty for Lakeland Local

Durrence Accepts Interim Post

According to a Messenger-Inquirer (KY) report, Larry Durrence has accepted a position as the interim president of Owensboro (Kentucky) Community & Technical College. Lakeland resident Durrence retired as the president of Polk Community College in 2006. Since then he has served as interim president of schools in Texas City, Texas and Lexington, Kentucky. Durrence also was worked eight years as Lakeland Mayor and City Commissioner during the 1980s.

Polk County Netizens Make Another Play

On May 19th, the Polk County Netizens meeting at the Lakeland Flying Tigers game was rained out. We’re going to try again…

The Polk County Netizens are at it again with a get together for fun, food, and conversation. Every six weeks they hold a mixer for those interested in all forms of new media. If you write a blog, publish a news site, tweet, journal, or send smoke signals you’re invited to join the Netizens at Joker Marchant for a special Lakeland Flying Tigers game. Details inside…

The Cost of Crime Rises

Starting tomorrow, the cost of crime will rise for Polk County Jail inmates. To offset the cost of inmate housing, the Polk County Sheriff’s office will charge a $2 fee per day to each inmate. “In honor of the hard working men and women who pay taxes to house criminals, we are now going to charge those criminals two dollars a day—to start—so they can help offset the cost to Polk County’s taxpayers,” wrote Sherriff Grady Judd in a press release this morning. Get the details inside…

Gow Fields Opens the Lakeland Mayoral Race

The next few months will bring us another race for Lakeland mayor. Currently squaring off are city commissioners Gow Fields and Jim Verplanck. We’re reaching out to both men to speak to the community. We’re in it for the whole race, and hope to have many conversations with both candidates during the campaign. First up is Gow Fields. Last Tuesday, we spoke a little about this emerging medium, CSX, and what he’d do with a magic wand.

Polk Schools to Lay Off 1,700 Teachers in 2009-10?

No, probably not. But that’s how many the school district would need to lay off to account for the 15 percent budget cut state officials have told Florida schools to expect next year. It comes to $95 million. The Polk district would need to cut 1,700 of its 7,000 teachers to come up with $95 million. It’s more likely that every employee will receive a significant pay cut.

Obama Won Because He Wasn’t Rude

I’m going to get this out of my system today and then move on. It’s been a tense and fervent campaign season across the country, and I take full responsibility for my role in making it so here on Lakeland Local. I regret nothing I’ve written, and I would do it again. I stand by all of it. But it will be a relief to deflate a bit.

However, I do want to recount an experience I had yesterday that I find to be a bit of a metaphor for where this country’s politics are now.

I showed up at a South Lakeland church serving as a precinct early Tuesday to hold a sign for Scott Thompson. (That didn’t work out so well.) I was wearing an Obama shirt. (Maybe that was a tactical error for that precinct. I have to admit zipping up my jacket after a while.) Anyway, two women were already there holding McCain signs. One was passing out what I assume to be Christian voter guides. I walked up with a Thompson sign and smiled at the ladies. They smiled back, and then the woman with the guides, seeing my shirt, said: “Oh you look like you need one of these [guides] because I know you don’t want to vote to kill babies.”