Saturday, June 23, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: A $20,000 Geico outrage

Let's get this straight. Ricky Melendez is on his way to work before dawn and gets hit by kids speeding in a stolen car. He suffers serious injuries and his car is totaled. And Geico says it's protecting him by paying out his $20,000 policy to families of the teens who hit him?

That's as believable as the Geico gecko and not nearly as funny.

There's something fundamentally wrong with this picture. Melendez was on his way to his job at a grocery about 4 a.m. on Aug. 6 when he was hit by a speeding stolen Ford Explorer at Tampa Road and U.S. 19 in Palm Harbor. Authorities say the Explorer's lights were out and it went through the intersection at 112 mph. Three of the four kids inside were killed, including the driver.

And Geico is paying $20,000 to the families of the kids from Melendez's insurance?

No wonder Melendez is upset. Geico claims it is protecting its policyholder by reducing the chance he could be sued by the families. That seems like an awfully remote chance, given the facts. What the insurer is doing is protecting itself, and its promise that Melendez's premiums won't be raised rings hollow.

This is the problem with insurance and the legal system. Insurance payments are too often seen as the cost of doing business rather than as legitimate compensation for harm caused by the insured. That makes rates for everyone go up. And in this situation, there hasn't even been a lawsuit filed.

If state legislators believe Geico is right, this is the perfect argument for tort reform. Otherwise, perhaps some new car insurance regulations are in order.

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Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Itís hard to pick the biggest outrage in the financial and ethical swamp that has swallowed Tampa Bayís two primary job placement agencies, CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay. Is it the boiler room atmosphere where CareerSource recruite...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Family separation crisis is not over

The family-separation crisis that President Donald Trump created is not over. The executive order Trump signed Wednesday purporting to end the routine tearing of children from their undocumented parents stands on uncertain legal ground. U.S. border a...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Veterans can help veterans deal with trauma resulting from military service in a way no one else can. Thatís the theory behind a special hotline set up in the Tampa Bay area that proponents are hoping to take statewide.The expansion would cost some $...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney generalís misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect ó prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18