Sunday, July 15, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: A spirit of unity for the job ahead

Florida bent but did not come close to breaking through Hurricane Irma, and we will bounce back stronger. This historic storm was a uniquely shared experience for the entire state. Floridians must remain united as they begin the weeks and months of cleaning up and rebuilding.

Before dawn Monday, law enforcement officials throughout Tampa Bay began surveying the damage as tens of thousands remained in shelters. The eagerness by all to return to normal routines as soon as possible is understandable, but that will take a while. Floridians must be as patient and prudent as we are resilient.

Millions throughout Florida and hundreds of thousands of Tampa Bay residents remained without power Monday morning. Airports remain closed for the time being. Gas shortages can be expected until ports reopen and fuel deliveries resume. Floridians are resourceful, but working through the coming days and weeks will require cooperation and understanding.

The recovery will require a united effort at every level. President Donald Trump approved Gov. Rick Scott's request for a major disaster declaration. That will allow federal money to flow for emergency costs, debris removal and affected families in some counties, including Pinellas and Hillsborough. Congress should be prepared to provide more help as it did after Hurricane Harvey in Texas, and so should the Florida Legislature after the scope of the damage and the need becomes clearer. Floridians will not face Irma's aftermath alone.

Despite all of the challenges ahead, Irma could have been far worse. The combination of smart preparation and changing weather conditions spared Tampa Bay and most of the state from the predicted catastrophic damage. The governor was a constant, consistent presence in sounding the alarm and urging evacuations, which surely saved lives. Irma's path along Cuba's coastline and landfall at Marco Island after slashing through the Florida Keys enabled Tampa Bay to avoid a direct hit, the strongest winds and the highest storm surges.

Yet for all of the good pre-hurricane preparation and Irma's fortunate weakening, the damage often can look worse after daylight and a closer look. The Florida Keys took a hard hit, and more significant damage occurred in Southwest Florida and Polk County. Even weakened hurricanes can leave deep scars.

Now the recovery has to go as well as the preparation. The praise for the Trump administration and for Scott's performance will quickly fade unless emergency supplies and other aid arrives promptly. The cooperation between federal, state and local officials that has been praised by Scott, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and others has to continue.

Floridians did their best to prepare for Irma. Now they will need some help to deal with the aftermath. But this is a state that perseveres, and with help from all levels of government we can come out stronger. Tampa Bay dodged the worst, and now the recovery begins. Let's get to it.

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Editorial: A vote for preserving waterfront parks by St. Petersburg City Council

Editorial: A vote for preserving waterfront parks by St. Petersburg City Council

The St. Petersburg City Council made the appropriate but difficult decision to reject a contract with renowned artist Janet Echelman for one of her aerial sculptures. It would be wonderful for the city to have one of her signature works, but Spa Beac...
Published: 07/13/18

‘Everybody needed to know what happened’

The brutal murder of Emmett Till, a black Chicago youth, in Mississippi nearly 63 years ago went unpunished, but not forgotten. A decision by his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, to allow an open casket at Emmett’s Chicago funeral represented an act of def...
Published: 07/13/18
Editorial: Personal bias taints Florida’s clemency system

Editorial: Personal bias taints Florida’s clemency system

A recent exchange between the governor and Cabinet and a felon seeking to have his civil rights restored underscores the arbitrary unfairness of Florida’s clemency system. A long waiting period, a ridiculous backlog of cases and elected officials who...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/13/18

Trump should work with Congress on immigration

Donald Trump’s resounding victory in the 2016 presidential election came at least in part because the New York businessman grasped the disconnect between how millions of Americans and the political establishments of both parties felt about immigratio...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/13/18
Editorial: Trump’s trade war hurts American consumers

Editorial: Trump’s trade war hurts American consumers

Voters who looked to Donald Trump to make America great might want to look at their wallets. The president escalated his global trade war this week, threatening new tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports — everything from seafood, beef and ...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/12/18
Editorial: Rays stadium cost should be fairly shared

Editorial: Rays stadium cost should be fairly shared

The imaginative Ybor City ballpark proposed by the Tampa Bay Rays fits nicely into the 21st century vision of a sophisticated city and would secure major league baseball’s future for the entire region. It also carries an eye-catching cost that will h...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/12/18
Editorial: Supreme Court pick qualified, but confirmation process should be vigorous

Editorial: Supreme Court pick qualified, but confirmation process should be vigorous

For the second time in less than 18 months, President Donald Trump has nominated a well-qualified, conservative federal appeals court judge to the U.S. Supreme Court. That does not mean Judge Brett Kavanaugh should get an easy pass through Senate con...
Published: 07/10/18
Updated: 07/11/18
Editorial: Nobody uses fireworks to scare off birds

Editorial: Nobody uses fireworks to scare off birds

Americans are accustomed to celebrating the nation’s birthday by blowing up Chinese fireworks for days — a rite of recklessness that kills seven people a year and sends another 13,000 to hospital emergency rooms. The tragic toll struck close to home ...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/13/18
Editorial: Let local governments regulate short-term rentals

Editorial: Let local governments regulate short-term rentals

The Florida Legislature’s meddling in local issues has created another mess for neighborhoods across the state. No family should have to put up with a short-term rental next door that overwhelms their street with constant visitors, traffic and noise ...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/10/18
Editorial: The real forces behind mass shootings

Editorial: The real forces behind mass shootings

It’s the refrain by gun advocates in the wake of every mass shooting: The attacker was mentally ill. They obtained their gun illegally. The message is that gun violence isn’t about guns but mental instability and gaps in law enforcement. But a recent...
Published: 07/08/18
Updated: 07/09/18