America's Next Bush, by S.V. Date: on Technology

Jeb Bush: Enraged by citizen initiative mandating high speed rail

[Some] citizen initiatives absolutely enraged him: one in 2000 that mandated a high-speed rail system among the major Florida population centers. Jeb did not have a moral aversion to trains, fast or slow. [What enraged Jeb was than the] voters had passed a constitutional amendment over Jeb's objections.

The high-speed rail amendment had a champion, a longtime proponent of fast trains who happened to be a millionaire and was not afraid to take on Jeb. The proponents went to the voters to force Jeb to reconsider a decision he had made in 1999: undoing the long-standing state policy to bring high-speed rail to Florida. True, after more than a decade, the project seemed mired in endless delays.

But set aside for a moment the relative merits of keeping or canceling the bullet train. Jeb failed to understand that there was a much more reasonable way to build a consensus that high-speed rail should be terminated, than the method he chose, which was to decree this by fiat.

Source: America's Next Bush, by S.V. Date, p.148-149 Feb 15, 2007

Jeb Bush: 1998 transition team records not subject to open records law

Jeb's people were not going to release documents they were producing as part of the transition. Here was a guy, occupying publicly-owned office space, using publicly-owned telephones and computers, with publicly-paid employees, doing the work of the public--yet arguing that we did not have a right to see that work product.

Others agreed with me and my "Palm Beach Post" editors that we could not let the governor-elect get away with this one or we would see a guy used to the unaccountability of the private sector set up his government office on that model. A group of us newspapers got lawyers to draft a lawsuit under the state's open records law.

His staff came to our editors with a compromise: they would not admit that a transition team was, in fact, a public body subject to the open records law, but they would give us full access to all the documents we were seeking. We took the deal. It was a huge mistake.

Source: America's Next Bush, by S.V. Date, p.242 Feb 15, 2007

Jeb Bush: OpEd: Promised open administration; but delayed all releases

In Florida, the law states that custodians of public records must make these records available in no more time than it literally takes to make the records available. Even at the start of his administration, which he promised would be the most ethical and open in history, Jeb's office was never forthcoming.

But the more that Jeb's "system" got into place, the longer it took for Jeb's press office to turn over documents. There was, naturally, a good reason for delaying the release of these records, at least from Jeb's point of view. These documents, most particularly the email correspondence among his own staff, were generating damaging press coverage.

The longer you could delay the release of this harmful material, the less its likely impact and the more likely that the reporters in question would have lost interest and moved on to more fertile ground by the time they finally received it.

Source: America's Next Bush, by S.V. Date, p.244-245 Feb 15, 2007

  • The above quotations are from Jeb: America's Next Bush
    His Florida Years and What They Mean For the Nation

    by S.V. Date
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