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Round-up 12-22-2011

December 22, 2011

USF Poly

It sure has been an interesting week for USF Poly (and, really, what week isn’t interesting for USF Poly?).  First up, the Tribune ran a long piece detailing the state Senator pushing hardest for USF Poly to be independent (and named what?).  We are not going to go into great depth about him.  As we have already pointed out, he makes threats and tries to keep them.

Then, on Tuesday, The USF President removed the Chancellor of USF Poly, who is the main ally of the state Senator. (see here  and here) [note: He’s going to be getting paid quite a bit to do nothing].

That is interesting.  It seems that she has the power to do that.  The Tribune and Times did a Snoopy dance over the move.  We are not sure that is in order.  There is still a long way to go in this story.

There is a lot of blame to go around in this whole unnecessary issue – especially those pushing an agenda without consensus.  However, there are also some questions about whether the USF model of essentially a mini version of a state university system takes too much energy away for the university itself.

USF has a history of having branch campuses slowly drifting away from the main school (Ft. Myers [interestingly,  the state Senator’s family gave land for FGCU]; Sarasota; New College, sort of; and St. Petersburg [and here].)  What makes Lakeland different?  Is the whole model of semi-independence sustainable in the long run or just a recipe for arguing over the long term?

Also, why is there a plan for a “polytechnical” campus in Lakeland?  Shouldn’t a branch campus be just that – a branch campus?  Shouldn’t the big science curriculum be based on the main campus to reach the most people?

Maybe USF should just cut the Lakeland campus loose today and focus on building the campuses that want to be part of the system – especially the engineering and biomed departments.  Then it can compete with Cornell  without draining USF’s recources.

Best Performance

This is an interesting ranking (you know how we like rankings) by the Milken Institute of the “best performing cities.” It is described as:

The 2011 Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities Index ranks U.S. metropolitan areas by how well they are creating and sustaining jobs and economic growth. The components include job, wage and salary, and technology growth. In most years, these give a good indication of the underlying structural performance of regional economics. The full report can be downloaded here.  

Just something interesting to peruse. Needless to say, Florida and the Tampa Bay area are not in the top of the list.

Renovations

There have been a number of items regarding proposals for projects at the old Federal Courthouse in Tampa  and the Waterworks Building  in Tampa Heights.  We have refrained from too much comment because we have been disappointed with these processes before and because we have not seen the proposals.

We are all for historic preservation and renovation of old buildings.  However, every time we read one of these articles, we just have to think how much hype there has been surrounding so many projects that just do not pan out for various reasons (see Harbour Island Festival Marketplace), some of which are really obvious and easy to avoid.  We hope the City actually thinks long and hard about the proposals it receives.  If the project that is picked does not take off, it can doom a building or neighborhood for many years (which, thankfully, did not happen in Harbour Island).  These buildings have been empty for a while, no need to rush into a bad plan.

Startups

Robert Trigaux wrote a column recently about “start up culture” in the Tampa Bay area.  It was interesting and listed a number of start-up contacts, but seemed to us to miss the essence of the creativity needed for a true culture of start-ups – which is a creative and innovative culture/counterculture.  Don’t take it from us, you can hear Steve Wozniak talk about it here.

Consider, does Tampa Bay fit anything he said?

Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas

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