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COLUMN

Happytown

The week where the Florida victory of Newtt Romrich almost overshadowed a hearing about how screwed up Republicans have made the voting process, college students revolted against revolting university policies and Lynx got caught in aesthetic overstep. We are going nowhere, fast!

Photo: Christopher Halloran, License: N/A

Christopher Halloran


“I think Rally in Tally was a very productive use of students’ time and I think we made some progress on a lot of the issues,” says Michael Long, a sophomore at New College of Florida and chairman of the FSA. Long, who is also the student representative on the board of governors, says that while lawmakers were receptive to the students’ requests, there were still “predetermined answers to a lot of our questions.” Your government cares about you, you pretty young things.

Even though FSU students may not have been officially rallying in their home city, they’re still taking part in the War on Education™currently plaguing our state. The university has come under fire for accepting a donation from the Charles Koch (rhymes with coke!) Foundation, a group describing itself as one advocating for advanced “economic freedom.” Charles is one half of the Koch brothers, a pair of right-wing billionaires who trickle their money down to advocate for all of those lovely conservative principles like advocating that global warming is a hoax. But apparently FSU’s student senate is Koch-ed out and is bringing forth a resolution denouncing their school’s acceptance of the $6.5 million in grant money over the next six years to endow positions in the economics department, replete with the right to have a say in the hiring process and review employment if profs don’t meet certain goals, like not praising Hayek (Friedrich, not Selma) enough times a day (totally kidding). Jokes aside, FSU’s senate says, “No public institution should accept funding that is conditional upon a willingness to fulfill or conform to a private entity’s ideological goals.” Hear, hear.

Nothing says more about a city than the design of its public transportation. Cities that adorn their buses in sleek advertising wraps are opportunistic go-getters always looking for ways to subsidize the cost of their gas-guzzling people movers,for example, and cities that put bike racks on their buses fancy themselves to be like Portlandia.

Orlando’s Lynx bus system has long been branded pink – not hot pink or salmon or berry, but bright, Pepto-Bismol pink – with a snazzy little paw print to give it some pop. Which says what, exactly, about our city? That it makes us sick to our stomachs to think of riding public transportation? That we love Valentine’s Day? That buses are mainly for old ladies who love cats? We aren’t really sure. But last year, Lynx decided it was time to freshen up its image, break away from the color of internal organs and go with something sleeker, fresher, more forward thinking.

Its new color scheme, at least until they got called out on it and dropped a reported $83,000 on a redesigned website that’s since changed back: Blue (“represents the sky we live under”), pewter (“represents the ground we walk on”)and green (“the environment we live in”). The goal, according to a memo sent to employees on June 23, 2011, “is to make Lynx the first choice in Central Florida, not the last.”

We’re glad they explained it, because for a minute there we thought maybe they were trying to disguise themselves so they could hide from the Amalgamated Transit Union employees, who’ve been protesting the company’s attempts to cut back benefits for workers – 0.5 percent raises, reduction in overtime pay and more. Lynx employees haven’t had a raise in about four years, they point out, and the contracts the company is trying to put in front of them is looking like a pretty raw deal.

At least they can now rest well knowing that the company’s (maybe?) new font is Serpentine, “a typeface that is unique and modern, with moving characteristics,” and that the company is moving away from using words with all caps, “with far less character,” in favor of smaller letters that “give words a distinctive look.” It’s harder to read “fail” when it’s printed smaller.

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