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Gatortrapper
Orlando, Florida
Recent Activity
I've known Dockery some 28 years and I think she has always been fiscally conservative, but not with the rigidity that some of you profess but never adhere to in your own dealings. Rather she is and has been sensitive to the fact that regardless of party preference we are all humans and instruments of God's Grace. And that means sometimes you exhibit flexibility and show the ability to actually listen and even compromise, because no one is always correct; well excepting those who post those nameless pot shots-- you are perfect. Right. I think she is an example of the type of Republican that Ronald Reagan would have warmly embraced for "getting it." Would he disagree with her? Of course. I have yet to meet anyone on the planet with whom I have been in complete agreement on a single area of discussion, let alone on every issue that might emerge in the state legislature. But it's the shared core principles that would be most important to Reagan, in my opinion, and Paula Dockery has been as faithful to them as any other Republican held in high esteem. McCollum is a different story. Sure, he talks like he has a monopoly on conservative principles, but it seems he will quietly ignore them when there is some banking law to support for his bank friends. I guess he and Sink get along pretty good in that respect. But that does not change the fact that he is as plastic as they come and completely lacking when it comes to problem solving. He pulls out whatever hammer his banking buddies put in the bag with the money and uses that. Has anyone ever heard the man articulate an original idea; or even heard him voice someone else's idea that he borrowed and was passionate about? As for all those bloggers who snipe from the position of anonymity, it's sad that you lack the intellectual honesty to step up, give some concrete examples illustrating your criticisms, and have the courage of your convictions sufficient to reveal yourself.
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Let's see: private org does audit and discovers that it's director has engaged in self-dealing that amounts to misfeasance. If it's agreement with the director bars such self-dealing, then there is a breach of contract and cause of action under several theories of recovery. Suit is filed and it plays out in civil court. That appears to be the case here. So why the heck is this going to the AG's office? Can any private organization go to the AG for problems with internal management activity? No. Although I think Greer should be pursued and to the extent he violated his duty to the RPOF, be required to repay the money he siphoned off, I don't think it is the job of the AG to send it to FDLE and how anyone can give the AG an "Attaboy" is beyond me. "Hey, send this over to whosebob at the FDLE." Thunderous applause!!!!! Wow... what incredible skill.... Hell, Mc couldn't even decide if the RPOF contract with Delmar was legal and had to ask another lawyer for his opinion: oh, that's right Mc is a lawyer ROFL.... say's a lot about his ability huh....
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Senator Dockery's calling out the attempt to secretly effect significant policy change by legislative slight of hand should be applauded. Chicanery like this must be stopped or our children are going to be slaves to the debt created by these irresponsible elected officials. We need someone in the Governor's office willing to veto legislation like this so that Atwater and the others have to put their ideas to the test in the light of day and not in the shadows of the back rooms of the Capitol. The only one that seems to have the strength of character to do the job is Dockery. So what can we do to increase her exposure and spread that message statewide?
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If the aim is to avoid distractions during the session, I say it's a BAD decision. At least set down specifics on any "audit" and release by the GOP. By not setting down a timetable to conduct the examination of the accounts and the subsequent release of the statements Cannon and Heidi are prime targets for innuendo and other distractions. In fact, now I'm wondering where they went and spent money? And does the Mrs. know where and with whom?
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This is for Real Tea: I, for one, have posted for Paula and I don't hide my picture; but note that you do. As for your baseless statements about Guetzloe being the source of Dockery’s blog support, I know Guetzloe quite well; and let's just say that I don't get invited to his house. I know Paula even better, and I have socialized with her and her family on numerous occasions. That said, I can just about guarantee that Guetzloe’s support of her is purely his own decision, and likely made because he really understands that she is the real deal. Now it doesn’t matter if Dockery appreciates and wants his support, or would rather that he disappear does it? This is still the US and folks get to freely and publicly announce their positions, including Guetzloe. I guess, to follow Real Tea's logic, that if Guetzloe is a Christian, then Christ is not worthy. I don't buy it but then again I'm not that shallow intellectually.
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McCollum is a loser but has some recognition after 3 decades of ineptitude. A lot of folks are pro mass tran and see Dockery as opposed to it. This is a misconception that Senator Dockery needs to bring some clarity to. The fact is that her opposition to SunRail was purely based on the still unexplained waste of taxpayer dollars and the state's agreement to accept unlimited liability for CSX tort liability. The facts also show that she supports smart development of mass trans alternatives for which Florida is uniquely suited; and has done so for years. People will remember that Senator Dockery and her husband were the backbone of the Florida High Speed Rail efforts. Efforts that were under way until Jeb Bush eviscerated the effort because he wanted to siphon off money for projects his cronies wanted. Ironically, now Tally is falling over themselves for the fed dollars to implement the Dockery vision. How funny is that? She can and will correct the misconception with the voters and on the whole they will park their chips with her, not some washed up DC reject who has shown that he is a panderer to the banks and parses words to justify spending millions of state tax dollars to keep his TV commercial buddy afloat with self promoting PSA’s addressing the least troublesome child abuse issue known. The man couldn’t lead the charge out of a wet paper bag.
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Apparently there is more to the story than just the inept and injudicious decision to forego use of MS Outlook's "Importance" and "Sensitivity" options in favor of using "Highlight" terminology such as "French Toast" to make important e-mails rise to the top of the list. As I understand it the FDOT initially (in 2008) stonewalled inquiries from Senator Dockery. At that time she was looking into complaints by constituents and the City of Lakeland that the planned commuter rail deal, some 50- 80 miles distant, would result in an increase of disruptive freight train traffic in downtown Lakeland. Already pressured by a large number of trains already, the projected increase occasioned by the shift to commuter rail in distant Deland and Orlando would wreck havoc on Lakeland’s traffic patterns and businesses. Even the conservative estimates by the FDOT predicted that the 16 freight trains passing through Lakeland would nearly double to 27. Less conservative projections have the number tripling to nearly 48 a day. In either case the burden more than warranted a legitimate examination of the proposed transaction by Senator Dockery. The FDOT, however, refused to provide much in response Senator Dockery’s friendly inquiries. When FDOT stonewalled a duly elected member of the Florida Senate, and refused to cooperate and share public records to Senator Dockery she was forced to resort to Florida's Public Records laws to get the information that she requested. The FDOT complied– with some 24 Bankers Boxes full of documents, many of questionable relevance. Undeterred by this tactic-- something seen in books, movies and TV shows like CSI Miami -- Dockery persisted notwithstanding the sudden about face by FDOT that the avalanche of documents evidenced and with the help of dedicated volunteers was able to separate the wheat from the chaff. That information resulted in the body of undeniable facts she organized into a compelling presentation made to her colleagues in the Senate who twice refused to approve the FDOT/CSX exercise in excess. Because she was not dissuaded and had the character to persist and wade through boxes and boxes of minute meant to side track her work Senator Dockery found the real facts. She then used the true facts to successfully demonstrate that the agreement brokered under the Jeb Bush administration had glaring inequities and unjustified costs. Costs that Florida taxpayers would have to largely shoulder without suitable compensation or justification. Costs which neither the Crist Administration nor the FDOT have felt compelled to explain – TO THIS DAY. And that was before the fact that Florida's taxpayers, in an act that is the total opposite of generally held beliefs about fairness and responsibility, are indemnifying CSX from its own grossly negligent actions and any resulting damages and injuries to persons and property. With that context the concerns voiced by Senator Dockery appear to be benign and overly fair. I think she could overreact and still be justified. Instead she has merely noted that it is improvident to move forward until the full extent of the conduct is known and understood. It would be sad to find Florida contractually bound to CSX in a bad agreement that was the result of improper, if not illegal, conduct. Don't you? Who knows why Florida is paying some $300 Million more for the railway than its worth. Maybe we should find out first? Or is that unreasonable?
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The response to the Senator is still deficient in a number of ways. The "work product" exemption has a number of conditions that must be present to legally assert it. Some are technical and require close examination and analysis; some are pretty straight forward and fairly easy to comply with. As far as I can tell, and without having the benefit of the earlier response to the Senator to know for certain, if looks as if the DOT has buried some e-mails that would be damaging to the Department and perhaps some political appointees. Given the dollars involved; the inexplicable desire to provide such broad protections to CSX; the contrived need for a "new" department within DOT to do what other departments are doing; the sudden participation and arm twisting by a Governor who refused to engage in the issue last February when Senator Dockery requested his help in trying to find a compromise. So, with that, I make this topical reference to other world events and to a past word smith of great skill and subtlety: "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark"; and in Florida too, as it appears that the corruption may indeed begin at the head of the fish.
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I know Doug, and I know Senator Dockery. In fact, I can guarantee that no one knows them like I know them both. I don't think that anyone should be concerned that Doug is supporting Senator Dockery. I think he sees that she is truly a fiscally responsible conservative, who has compassion as an American and a Christian. He sees that she holds and champions personal and family values that Mr. Guetzloe shares. Although some may say he does not practice those values, I think that we all come up short in that area more often than we would like to admit. Furthermore, knowing them both as I very uniquely and exclusively do, I can say without reservation: Dockery is the real deal. She has my support til the end of days. I also can say that Doug is human just like the rest of us. And he deserves forgiveness and second chances like the rest of us. My mother taught me "forewarned is forearmed" and so I am cautious because I have experience with him. But I am not going to be too judgmental. Speaking for myself, I am condemned to leaving my pile of rocks at home, as I have yet to attain perfection, and I am good with that.
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But that is not the spin that Dockery has urged. No, instead, Senator Dockery has taken the high road. She has taken the specifics, looked for compromise and repeatedly sought to work with SunRail advocates. She wrote Governor Crist in early February 2009 and just about begged the then highly popular Governor, the one who is directly lobbying members of the legislature as we speak, to intervene. She meet with the Governor in conjunction with her letter and asked him to use his powers of persuasion to force the SunRail advocates off their immutable position. What did Governor Crist do? Well the same thing he has done for the last 12 years, he smiled and did nothing. Dockery has been the single, solitary voice of reason. Of all the members of the House and Senate, each of whom made promises to their various constituencies about their desire and commitment to watch out for and protect them as taxpayers, Senator Dockery is and has been the lone torch burning for the people of Florida when all the rest had gone to sleep with the lobbyists. Twice she has used her torch to rouse sleeping colleagues; provided them with facts instead of leadership fed rhetoric and lead them in the fight that has kept Floridians from being subjected to a boondoggle. Now, the third time she stands up for the taxpayer you have the chutzpah to suggest that she is grandstanding. I hope you have the intellectual courage to review what I have written and either contradict it, or revise your remarks.
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I wish readers like "at least I've decided" would know some facts before spouting off. In fact Senator Dockery has repeatedly sought to shape the SunRail terms so that they are acceptable, as she does support mass transit solutions, just not ones that waste taxpayer dollars. . Unlike the proponents, Paula Dockery has pointed to specific factual issues so that they can be addressed. For example, 1) she has pointed out the excessive price per mile; 2) questioned ancillary improvements being made at taxpayer expense but bearing no relation to the rail line being purchased; 3) challenged the efficacy of buying when federal law requires CSX to allow state passenger rail usage at much lower cost; 4) contrasted that option with purchasing the track that allows the seller, CSX, to RETAIN some 75 percent of its usage but ALLOWS CSX to jettison the real property tax liability, the tort (lawsuit) liability and much of the maintenance responsibility. In contrast, the proponents generally avoid facts. Instead they toss out platitudes about the benefits in providing relief to congested roadways (projected ridership is some 3500); said we need the jobs that it will bring (I understand that the mature Tri-Rail system in south Florida employs 330); give credence to the incredulous suggestion that SunRail is a condition precedent for Florida to get a piece of the $8 Billion in federal dollars set aside for High Speed Rail development. Guess what, there are 45 applications from 24 states for a total of $50 billion in long-term, high-speed rail corridor projects, and another 214 requests from 24 states for a total of $7 billion for the smaller, shovel-ready work. 259 applications totaling $57 Billion competing for $8 Billion?! Although it does appear that the Federal Rail Administration (FRA) wants some tangible demonstration of Florida's commitment, and according to a December 4, 2009 letter, jointly signed by U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and George LeMieux, the key is "a dedicated funding source for existing and future rail projects...." Not that they force feed a bad state commuter project down the throats of Floridians. It is grandstanding for Senate President Atwater to say otherwise, and really calls into question whether he is capable of being Florida's CFO. So does that mean that Florida has to approve SunRail? No! SunRail, which is unquestionably paying a premium price and giving enormous side benefits to a private, for-profit corporation, on poorly negotiated terms that results in ownership that the seller retains usage of for the vast majority of the time? A financially flawed local rail service that will require local governments to pony up and pay the budget shortfalls (estimated at about $90 Million a year) and which not even directly overlap with any proposed HS Rail route? (That will really facilitate ridership for both, huh?!) SunRail, whose projected ticket fares will not ever begin to cover the actual costs of operation and maintenance. The answer is clearly No! No, SunRail approval is not necessary for Florida to remain in the federal High Speed funding pool. What it does underscore is the one question that no one has answered, why are Crist, Atwater and Cretul trying to force SunRail in a hasty Special Session. Maybe if we put transmitters on the tens of millions of dollars that SunRail means to CSX we would find out. Where would those transmitters tell us the money went? Or maybe Jeb Bush can. His team negotiated the deal didn't it?
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Funny to watch Wright go off. Must be frustrating to be him. All that gas and nothing to drive. One thing I have learned, you cannot use logic to try and win over those who are close minded to facts that undermine their position. They just bury their heads deeper. Sean T.'s must be up near his navel by now.
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Bulls Fan: Don’t you love it when someone tries to switch the subject when they are caught misstating the facts. Oh, sorry. That was you. As for the comparison of the “Tri-Rail” assumption of liability agreement, which may or may not be comparable to the one proposed for SunRail, do you subscribe to the notion that once you have made an error in judgment you are irrevocably tied to that error for time immemorial? That would align you with the inflexible Mr. McCollum who is incapable of admitting error (or having an original thought for that matter). In Congress he appeared to be the errand boy for banking interests and special interests; has that changed? Show some energy and make a case for SunRail citing some facts that would make it a compelling priority for funding. Just be intellectually honest about it when you do. Now regarding Dockery: Paula Dockery did not seek this fight: she was brought into this mess by her constituents who were concerned about the impact on Lakeland. She investigated the DOT proposed agreement and was forced to resort to the Public Records law to get the details. The response of the DOT and other agencies was voluminous and filled dozens of banker’s boxes. To my understanding, Senator Dockery and her staff were physically overwhelmed by the reams of paper and may well have been so throughly covered over that they would not have found the critical facts that illustrate what a bad decision SunRail would be; a position supported by other Senators through two bruising sessions. But, thanks to a volunteer who went through the files; a single volunteer who examined the thousands upon thousands of pages and found the facts, Senator Dockery did get command of the situation; saw that it represented bad policy being implemented for the wrong reasons at the expense of the Florida Taxpayer and she acted. That’s leadership. Leadership we need in the Governor’s mansion, now more than ever.
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