"My way or the highway" King Jeb Bush leaves a legacy of damage that will shadow Florida long after his departure.
An exploitive outsider, the soon-to-be former Governor's relocation of his family to Florida in 1980 is considered among many as the first move toward the creation of a Bush family political dynasty.
The 2000 Presidential election forever cemented that suspicion in the minds of many Floridians.
I challenge Governor-Elect Charlie Crist to transform the present State of Despair back to the Great State of Florida.
For the betterment of all.
Jeb had no such respect for our enchanted state and its people, trampling over our ways and traditions in much the same way his brother has trashed our country.
Jeb Bush is no Marjorie Rawlings.
But he will soon be history-involuntarily retired by the Florida Constitution that places eight-year term limits on all legislative and executive office holders.
Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Governor.
-The Miami Herald
Robert Crew, an American politics professor at Florida State University.
U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek
State Sen. Frederica Wilson
Bush sought vengeance against anyone who dared cross him. The do-over governor rarely accepted the power of Florida voters, leading the crusade to repeal a constitutional amendment calling for a high-speed bullet train and unsuccessfully tried to foil the 2002 constitutional amendment reducing class sizes.
Jeb Bush vetoed a $2.2 million supplemental library appropriation for Florida public libraries. State funding for Florida’s public libraries has decreased by $1.6 million dollars (from $33.4 million to $31.8 million) in recent years. The vetoed appropriation would have helped make up for inflation and the cost of serving millions of new residents.
“We do not understand why the Governor would veto funding for Florida’s public libraries,” said Sol Hirsch, President of the Florida Library Association.
Arguably, his biggest changes have been just in the way the state conducts its business — his privatization push, his attempt to outsource services like child welfare management and the human resources aspects dealing with state employees.
Any sense on how well those changes have worked?
We ran a cover story in December 2004 about Bush’s privatization efforts, and there have been a lot of problems. There have been scandals, there’s been a lot of no-bid contracting and a lot of companies have complained about the way it’s gone. Bush really pushed privatization in a way that no other governor ever had. Now, the brakes are really on, because so many of the new programs don’t work very well. And now he’s trying to privatize Medicaid.
Bush has tried to streamline state operations in what some would argue was a hasty and not well-managed way. There has not been good oversight with some of these privatization efforts.
A lot of these specific projects have been viewed as failures or have become controversial. Bush still touts that there are something like 13,500 fewer civil service employees than when he became governor, as a result of the outsourcing. But there are plenty of critics, including a number of Republican legislators there, who don’t think it worked out well.
A lot of governments that had pushed privatization hard have found that they need to do better contract management, that they need to do a better job of overseeing the people to whom they’ve given the work, to make sure their goals are being met. And that notion was slow to take root in Florida.Where do you think Bush’s desire to privatize comes from?
You know, I was trying to think of a theme that wed Bush’s ideas together, because he’s been very aggressive in a lot of areas, whether it’s education, economic development or health care or what have you. And the thing that seems to run throughout is this idea — the clichéd phrase would be “running government like a business” — that he likes measurable results. He likes competition and he likes government to be responsive to market signals. So in education, he’s been a big proponent of standardized tests and using those to help determine salaries and determine how schools are rated. He also pushed several different voucher programs, and the idea again was to introduce competition into the mix.
And that would be true of privatization as well, the idea that government might do something pretty well, but there might be a private company that could do it better or more efficiently.
He’s aggressive. He’s known to take on his critics. He has encouraged people to run primary campaigns against Republican legislators who have crossed him on particular issues. He’s unafraid to take on someone from his own party. You hear Republicans use the term “dictatorial” about Gov. Bush.
"...under Bush, Florida's high-school graduation rates have remained among the lowest in the nation. And the percentage of high-school sophomores with proficient reading scores has slightly dropped during the Bush administration. One of Bush's former education officials, Jim Warford, said Bush focused on the lower grades for his reforms because it was easier and would yield more results, to the detriment of ''ignoring'' the harder-to-fix higher grades until his latter-term reforms.
''We were picking the low-hanging fruit,'' he said, ``and we were fighting the wrong problem.''***
Read more at FLA Politics, 12/31/2006
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