Thursday, May 24, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: A grass roots revolt does the state's job in Manatee County

Two years ago, Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature disbanded the state's growth management agency, complaining it hurt the economy. Now it falls to ordinary Floridians to stop even the worst development projects. And last month — in one case, at least — they were successful.

Manatee County developer Carlos Beruff wanted to build a grandiose resort on Sarasota Bay. Named Long Bar Pointe, the 463-acre tract, looking west toward Longboat Key, was designed to include thousands of homes, office and convention space, hundreds of hotel rooms and a marina for 300 boats. As Beruff told the Tampa Bay Times' Craig Pittman, he envisioned the resort to rival the Breakers in Palm Beach. "We were trying to create an icon," he said, something "to lure people there."

But people are already there. And they made themselves heard last month, when the Manatee County Commission sat through a 12-hour hearing on the project, with 1,000 people in attendance at the county convention center. Environmentalists, anglers, local businesses and historians opposed the project for the damage it would cause to the fishing economy and the historic character of Cortez, a century-old fishing village just around the corner.

Before the state eliminated the Department of Community Affairs, the project would not have gotten this far. Joe McClash, who spent 20 years as a Manatee commissioner, said DCA would have objected to the plan. A former agency secretary, Tom Pelham, agreed.

The public outcry was the last, best chance to defeat it. And it was an uphill battle.

Beruff, the man behind Long Bar Pointe, is one of the most powerful people in Florida. He contributed heavily to Scott's campaign, and he and his partner also contributed to the commissioners. But the enormous crowd, the thousands who signed petitions and the collaboration between so many disparate groups with a shared stake in preserving something of Florida won out. Commissioners fashioned a deal that allows the residential portion of the development, but only after the marina was stripped from the project.

Of course, the project is not dead, and the developers can't say if they will try again for a marina. But the episode shows what Floridians need to do now that their state government has abandoned its responsibility.

Comments
Editorial: Trump right to cancel North Korea talks on nuclear weapons

Editorial: Trump right to cancel North Korea talks on nuclear weapons

Regardless of the reason, the cancellation of the U.S.-North Korea summit to address Pyonyang’s nuclear program is hardly the worst possible outcome of this high-stakes diplomatic gamble. President Donald Trump was unprepared, North Korea’s Kim Jong ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Legislation that waters down the 2010 Dodd-Frank law and was sent to President Donald Trump this week is a mixed bag at best. Some provisions recognize that Congress may have gone too far in some areas in the wake of the Great Recession to place new ...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Another voice: The chutzpah of these men

A new phase of the #MeToo movement may be upon us. Call it the "not so fast" era: Powerful men who plotted career comebacks mere months after being taken down by accusations of sexual misconduct now face even more alarming claims.Mario Batali, the ce...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has begun the important work of rebuilding trust with its patients and the community following revelations of medical errors and other problems at its Heart Institute. CEO Dr. Jonathan Ellen candidly acknowledges...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Big Sugar remains king in Florida. Just three of the state’s 27 House members voted for an amendment to the farm bill late Thursday that would have started unwinding the needless government supports for sugar that gouge taxpayers. Predictably, the am...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

In barely six weeks, President Donald Trump has gone from threatening to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to extending a lifeline to ZTE, a Chinese cell phone company that violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran and North K...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Lots of teenagers are walking together this week in Hillsborough County, a practice they’ve grown accustomed to during this remarkable school year.We can only hope they keep walking for the rest of their lives.Tens of thousands of them this week are ...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18