The week that the county and the city made (fake) nice, rail made more racket and justice took a markdown.
Published: March 3, 2011
Anyway, the unspoken factor through most of the charade, Lady Ramsberger, was eventually spoken of by a TV reporter, an act that made her literally materialize out of thin air (or from behind a concealing DPAC placard). Did she feel like she was still cut out for this job?
"Yes," her eyes blinked like so many headlight deer before her.
"She has the full confidence of our board," Pugh added, puffing his chest a little at any suggestion otherwise.
In related news: Wrestling is fake.
Speaking of losing battles, on the evening of Feb. 23 about 50 people gathered along the western edge of Lake Eola Park to protest Rick Scott's decision to forego $2.4 billion dollars in federal funding for a high-speed rail system that would connect Orlando and Tampa by 2014. After loitering at the intersection of Washington Street and Rosalind Avenue for about 45 minutes, the protestors - a mix of young professionals and professional activists - went on an impromptu march toward Orange Avenue, demanding that they be given The Rail, now.
The protest came in the middle of the supposed do-or-die week during which a federal deadline loomed over the rail's backers to come up with a Plan B, lest the high-speed rail money be given to another state. Early in the week there was the continued stewing and obsessing over the question of whether Scott's rejection was actually legal; State Senator David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, backed away from his prior suggestion of a lawsuit against the governor, perhaps knowing the Scott had plenty of other cards up his sleeve to kill high-speed rail, such as, say, firing the people associated with the project. Despite intense lobbying by officials at the U.S. Department of Transportation and the state, Scott was still unmoved on Thursday, affirming his rejection of the federal project (while he beheld the launch of a federally funded space shuttle from Cape Canaveral) on the grounds that Florida taxpayers were still "on the hook" for potential financial overruns (despite repeated assurances from DOT officials that this would not be the case).
On Feb. 24, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood betrayed his pity for Floridians by giving the state another weeklong extension, leaving everybody in Tallahassee who isn't Rick Scott to scramble to the drawing boards once more. The following Tuesday, state senators Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, and Thad Altman, R-Melbourne, seized the baton from Simmons and filed suit against Scott in Florida Supreme Court.
The governor evidently has some supporters, however, evidenced by two counter-protesters at the Feb. 23 event in Orlando. One of them, the burly, middle-aged Chris Adamik, told us that he came out because he was incensed at the pro-rail bias in the media and argued that it "wasn't the department of transportation's job to create jobs," to which passerby and civil engineer Joe Lopke replied: "Anything we need to do to get people back to work in this state - I don't give a shit how they do it."
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