Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Editorials

Closer look at emergency services needed

By just one vote, the Pinellas County Commission took the right approach this week in hiring a consultant to study how to make the county's emergency medical services operation more efficient and less expensive. If $300,000 in public money is going to be spent on a private consultant, the least that taxpayers ought to expect is a thorough review of all of the options.

The county's current EMS system that uses both fire departments and a private contractor is no longer affordable, and County Administrator Bob LaSala proposed reasonable changes last year. That triggered a fight with St. Petersburg, some fire departments and the firefighter unions that are more interested in their cash flow and job protection. It's tempting to say wake us up when the gridlock ends and somebody decides something, but EMS is an essential service that demands attention to the details.

The county staff already has poked enough holes in a proposal by some firefighters for fire departments to take over emergency transport to hospitals from the private contractor. That hasn't silenced the critics and conspiracy theorists. LaSala is understandably frustrated, but an independent study that analyzes all of the options is the only way out now. It's an awfully expensive way to clear the air, and it delays a solution to a festering financial mess. But there's no other way forward. Commissioners Susan Latvala, John Morroni, Karen Seel and Ken Welch reasonably voted for the wide-ranging study by the consultant. The conservative obstructionists who voted against it: Nancy Bostock, Neil Brickfield (who are both seeking re-election in November) and Norm Roche. Remember: Elections have consequences.

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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

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

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Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

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

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

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Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

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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
Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

A state investigation raises even more concern about medical errors at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and the venerable St. Petersburg institution’s lack of candor to the community. Regulators have determined the hospital broke Florida law by ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18
Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

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Editorial: HUD’s flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Editorial: HUD’s flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Housing Secretary Ben Carson has a surefire way to reduce the waiting lists for public housing: Charge more to people who already live there. Hitting a family living in poverty with rent increases of $100 or more a month would force more people onto ...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/18/18