Friday, April 20, 2018
Editorials

Commission should grab drone testing potential

Hernando County commissioners get a mulligan this week after their prior inexplicable failure to consider the merits and economic advantages of joining a federal research program on unmanned aircraft.

On Tuesday, commissioners shouldn't hesitate to endorse a resolution that would allow the county and its Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport to partner with the state, its major universities and NASA in seeking to participate in the national testing and development of drone aircraft. The Federal Aviation Administration, under congressional mandate, is seeking six test sites to incorporate drone aircraft into civilian airspace by 2015.

Two weeks ago, commissioners punted their own opportunity for the county to apply for direct participation as a test site. But after public criticism of their short-sightedness and Chairman David Russell's unwillingness to even hold a legitimate public debate on the application, the commission gets a second chance. It is now presented with a new opportunity to join the statewide application, which could open the door for Hernando to serve as a test site if the FAA selects Florida as one of its successful applicants.

Clearly, the resolution does not guarantee success, but without it, Hernando County will not be a part of the Florida team nor share in the windfall if drone testing does come to the state. There is plenty of competition. Fifty teams from 37 states are seeking to be test sites and the accompanying opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the civilian market for unmanned aerial vehicles.

There are legitimate concerns about safety and privacy issues surrounding drones, but, as Hernando Aviation Authority Chairman Gary Schraut correctly put it, "how can I evaluate the concerns if I can't even do the research and due diligence to address them?''

Joining the state application should allow that process to begin. Hernando commissioners shouldn't let this opportunity fly past the county a second time.

Comments
Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

For all the symbolism, Raul Castro’s handoff of the Cuban presidency this week amounts to less than meets the eye even if his handpicked successor, the Communist Party functionary Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, is the first person not named Castro to le...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Editorial: A missed chance for open primary elections

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission did a lot of things wrong this week by combining unrelated or unpalatable provisions into single amendments that will appear on the November ballot. It also wasted an opportunity to do one thing right. The...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

The Hillsborough school district planted a fruitful seed with the opening of Nature’s Classroom five decades ago on the cypress-lined banks of the Hillsborough River northeast of Tampa. • The lessons taught there to some 17,000 sixth graders each yea...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: Equality pays off on Southwest Flight 1380

The passengers of Southwest Flight 1380 can be thankful that, 33 years ago, the U.S. Navy took the lead on equal opportunity.Capt. Tammie Jo Shults was piloting the flight from New York to Dallas on Tuesday when an engine exploded, blowing out a wind...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Anyone looking to make Hillsborough County government bigger, costlier, more dysfunctional and less of a regional force should love the idea that Commissioner Sandy Murman rolled out this week. She proposes enlarging the seven-member board to nine, e...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

A new foster care provider in Hillsborough County is poised to take over operations in May, only months after its predecessor was fired for what was alleged to be a pattern of failing to supervise at-risk children in its care. Many of the case manage...
Published: 04/18/18

Another voice: Back to postal reform

President Donald Trump is angry at Amazon for, in his tweeted words, "costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy." Yet in more recent days, Trump has at least channeled his feelings in what could prove...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

A bipartisan Senate bill clarifying that only the attorney general or a high-ranking designee could remove a special prosecutor would send an important message amid President Donald Trump’s attacks on the investigation into Russia’s inter...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18
Editorial: Don’t fall for Constitution Revision Commission’s tricks

Editorial: Don’t fall for Constitution Revision Commission’s tricks

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission has wasted months as a politically motivated scam masquerading as a high-minded effort to ask voters to improve the state’s fundamental document. The commission on Monday added amendments to the Nove...
Published: 04/16/18
Editorial: Redner’s court win on medical marijuana sends message

Editorial: Redner’s court win on medical marijuana sends message

Florida regulators have done far too little to make voter-approved medical marijuana widely available for patients suffering from chronic illnesses. A circuit court judge in Tallahassee ruled last week there is a price for that obstruction, finding t...
Published: 04/15/18
Updated: 04/16/18