"What Ray did was select a good CEO and then gave him his support," says Peter Winship, an SMU law professor. "Ray helped Ken reorganize things at a difficult time." 

Pye was only president for seven years before he passed away from cancer in 1994. To replace him, the board chose Gerald Turner, who lacked Pye's scholarly credentials but earned the trust of the faculty—even those who adamantly opposed the Bush library.

Some faculty members feel the board of trustees orchestrated the push for the library complex, while Turner merely executed their wishes. The board boasts a long list of loyal and wealthy Republicans including Hunt, Laura Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney, who was a trustee until Bush selected him as his running mate and during the time trustees decided to begin buying units at University Gardens.

Pat Davenport wrote a letter to SMU saying she felt the school had forced her to sell her home at University Gardens “totally against my wishes.”
Mark Graham
Pat Davenport wrote a letter to SMU saying she felt the school had forced her to sell her home at University Gardens “totally against my wishes.”
In December 2005, the SMU-controlled homeowners association of University Gardens sold all the condo’s units to Peruna Properties, SMU’s real estate arm, but the demolition of the complex wasn’t complete until 2007.  A swimming pool was of little value to the last remaining occupants of the condominiums before its demolition.
Mark Graham
In December 2005, the SMU-controlled homeowners association of University Gardens sold all the condo’s units to Peruna Properties, SMU’s real estate arm, but the demolition of the complex wasn’t complete until 2007. A swimming pool was of little value to the last remaining occupants of the condominiums before its demolition.

 "I think what has gone on with the Bush library from the planning to the real estate part of it has come at the behest of the board of trustees," says Alexis McCrossen, an associate professor of history, who opposed the think tank. "It was said openly amongst faculty members that if SMU did not receive the bid for the presidential library, Turner would be fired. That was common knowledge."

Other professors take issue with that assessment, or at least part of it. "I wouldn't put it that baldly," says Dennis Foster, the outgoing president of the faculty senate and a professor of English. "There are very, very strong supporters of Bush on the board of trustees. It was unquestionable that they wanted the library here, but early on Turner looked at this as a way to bring recognition to SMU that I don't think had much to do with his politics or fear of the trustees."

That Turner had set his sights on bringing the Bush library to campus was evident from an e-mail he sent to Pierre Mawet, a Dallas consultant in February 2001, one month after Bush's inauguration. In the e-mail, Turner notes that SMU has "a lot of interest" in the project, and we "certainly have been making preliminary plans for approximately one year." This would put SMU in the planning stages six months after Bennett told University Gardens residents that their homes were safe with SMU—and six months before Bush received his party's nomination.

"The major challenge we have is land," Turner wrote. "We are currently underway with efforts to obtain land on the east side of campus and will be developing plans for the presidential library there."

One month earlier, on January 2, 2001, Turner e-mailed a local architect and wrote that one possible site for the Bush library was where "University Gardens now sits." But at this point, SMU had yet to acquire a controlling interest in the complex. SMU would later use the condo site in its architectural renderings as a part of its November 2005 proposal for the Bush library. 

Although the school never revealed its plans to the residents of the complex, likely to keep down the asking price, it didn't take long for SMU to make its intentions known to the Bush administration. Ray Hunt became SMU's pitchman for the project, bringing up the subject when he and his wife were invited to dine at the White House with the president and first lady shortly after the inauguration. According to Hunt's deposition, the two couples retired to the living room, and "It was five minutes or so of me suggesting that when the time came for him to consider a library, SMU, I would hope, would be on the list."

Bush was "interested," Hunt recalled, noting Laura Bush, who sat on the SMU Board of Trustees, was a librarian. There was a "nexus there" that the president hadn't really focused on before, Hunt said. 

Though Hunt and Bush were contemporaries, the two men didn't really know each other until Bush ran for governor in 1994. Six years later Hunt was one of the biggest fund-raisers of Bush's presidential campaign. The oil scion had even closer ties to Cheney: The two served as SMU trustees together, and Hunt once served as a member of the corporate board of Halliburton, where Cheney was CEO from 1995 to 2000.  Hunt, through a representative, declined to comment for this story. 

By the summer of 2002, while the school was leaning on condo residents to sell, Hunt continued to push the library project.  On a sizzling day in August 2002, Hunt and Gerald Turner met with Bush at his ranch in Crawford. Harriet Miers, then-assistant to the president and a former Locke Liddell partner, was also there. This time the group spent 90 minutes discussing the details of the proposed library.

Toward the end of Bush's first term, as he was locked in a razor-tight re-election campaign with John Kerry, SMU was finalizing its proposal. And, as the presidential campaign drew to a frenzied close, the school made arrangements to meet with Bush to talk with him again about the library—even if he lost the election. 

Of course, there was only one problem. SMU hadn't secured one of the proposed sites. The school hadn't finished buying out all the residents of University Gardens. 

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3 comments
ajain31
ajain31

History is here and now and it does not bode well for George W Bush the 43rd President of USA with a library or witout one!



1) GEORGE W. BUSH oversaw the suffering of millions in New Orleans in KATRINA disaster and did little in a timely fashion resulting in the death of thousands! 


2) GEORGE W. BUSH increased our deficit by fighting TWO wars on the credit card, implementing the Medicare DRUG Plan on the credit card and two BIG TAX CUTS on the credit card. 


3) GEORGE W. BUSH presided over the greatest economic meltdown of the American economy since the Great Depression.

4) GEORGE W. BUSH presided over the greatest terrorist attack on the US soil since Pearl Harbor which was responsible for more than 3000 deaths. 


5) GEORGE W. BUSH's IRAQ war was responsible for nearly 5000 American soldier deaths and 3000+ American contractors. 


6) GEORGE W. BUSH had Osama Bin Laden in his sights in Tora Bora in Afghanistan but he let him escape by not providing enough troops to capture Osama Bin Laden. 


7) GEORGE W. BUSH shifted focus from a legitimate war in Afganistan to an unnecessary war in IRAQ. 


8) GEORGE W. BUSH's Administration has been conclusively linked by a 576-page report from a task force of the bipartisan Constitution Project to have used torture.


9) GEORGE W. BUSH turned a surplus nation into a debtor nation by advocating for so much deficit budgeting.

10) GEORGE W. BUSH's Administration had a GDP growth adjusted for inflation at 2.2% with a ranking of 9th in 13 recent Presidents.


11) GEORGE W. BUSH's Administration had a 0.3% increase in jobs with a ranking of 11th in 11 recent Presidents.


12) GEORGE W. BUSH's Administration had a inflation-adjusted changes in worker per capita income of 1.3% with a ranking of 8th in 11 recent Presidents.


13) GEORGE W. BUSH's Administration had a increase in national debt of 88% during his Presidency with a ranking of 3rd HIGHEST in 12 recent Presidents.


14) GEORGE W. BUSH's Administration had a Dow Jones Average’s annual change of -2.0% with a ranking of 11th in 13 recent Presidents.


15) GEORGE W. BUSH's Administration had a final job approval rating of 27% with a ranking of 11th in 12 recent Presidents just above Nixon.


16) GEORGE W. BUSH's Administration had a lowest job approval rating of 19% with a ranking of FIRST in 12 recent Presidents i.e. the LOWEST among all 12 recent Presidents. 



Ajay Jain

ajain31@gmail.com

Twitter Handle @ajain31.

Mobile: 214-207-9781

ajain31
ajain31

50 Reasons We Despised George W. Bush's Presidency: A Reminder on the Day of His Presidential Library Dedication


1. He stole the presidency in 2000. People may forget that Republicans in Florida purged more than 50,000 African-American voters before Election Day, and then went to the Supreme Court where the GOP-appointed majority stopped a recount that would have awarded the presidency to Vice-President Al Gore if all votes were counted. National news organizations verified that outcome long after Bush had been sworn in.

2. Bush’s lies started in that race. Bush ran for office claiming he was a “uniter, not a divider.” Even though he received fewer popular votes than Gore, he quickly claimed he had the mandate from the American public to push his right-wing agenda.  

3. He covered up his past. He was a party boy, the scion of a powerful political family who got away with being a deserter during the Vietnam War. He was reportedly AWOL for over a year from his assigned unit, the Texas Air National Guard, which other military outfits called the "Champagne Division.”

4. He loved the death penalty. As Texas governor from 1995-2000, he signed the most execution orders of any governor in U.S. history—152 people, including the mentally ill and women who were domestic abuse victims. He spared one man’s life, a serial killer.

5. He was a corporate shill from Day 1. Bush locked up the GOP nomination by raising more campaign money from corporate boardrooms than anyone at that time. He lunched with CEOs who would jet into Austin to "educate" him about their political wish lists.

6. He gutted global political progress. He pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol which set requirements for 38 nations to lower greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change, saying that abiding by the agreement would “harm our economy and hurt our workers.”

7. He embraced global isolationism. He withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, over Russia’s protest, taking the U.S. in a direction not seen since World War I. 

8. He ignored warnings about Osama bin Laden. He ignored the Aug. 6, 2001 White House intelligence briefing titled, “Bin Laden determined to strike in the U.S.” Meanwhile, his chief anti-terrorism advisor, Richard Clarke, and first Treasury Secretary, Paul O’Neill, testified in Congress that he was intent on invading Iraq within days of becoming president.

9. Ramped up war on drugs, not terrorists. The Bush administration had twice as many FBI agents assigned to the war on drugs than fighting terrorism before 9/11, and kept thousands in that role after the terror attacks. 

processtheologist
processtheologist

Truly shameful. SMU and the Methodists detested the Bush2 administrations' botched Iraq invasion. I can't think of a worse place to try and polish the turd that is the Bush2 presidential legacy; a Bush2 "think tank" isn't going to do it.

That SMU treated these good people in such a way, many alumni, is truly disgraceful. There is a cloud already over the Bush2 Libarary.

 
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