Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Another embarrassing hiccup on way to curbside recycling in St. Pete

It's a mystery why St. Petersburg is finding it so difficult to create a universal curbside recycling program. The latest stumble: The city put out a request for bids from companies that process recyclables, but not a single company was willing to submit a bid. Mayor Rick Kriseman needs to find out what went wrong and how to fix it, even if that means taking his staff on a field trip to other cities to study long-successful programs.

For years St. Petersburg residents have asked for universal curbside recycling, but two former mayors' hostility to the idea kept it from happening. St. Petersburg residents who wanted to recycle had to stash their recyclables in their cars and drive them to a dropoff center or use a subscription-based service from a private company. Meanwhile, the Florida Legislature, foreseeing a time when landfills would be full, approved a call for local communities to recycle at least 75 percent of their waste stream by 2020. That will be difficult to reach without dedicated effort by local governments and residents throughout Florida to recycle far more than they do now.

According to City Council members, former Mayor Bill Foster had told them the city sanitation department wasn't up to handling curbside pickup of recyclables — a charge that workers in that department have since disputed. Many other cities use their own sanitation employees for that job, finding it cheaper than contracting with private companies and easier to control the quality of the service. Kriseman recently determined that pickup could be done by city workers with the addition of a few more trucks and drivers, but the city still needed to hire a company to process the recyclables once they were collected. The city staff prepared the request for bids that got zero response.

Why would local companies that process recyclables not want the business of Pinellas' largest city? A couple of the companies wrote letters to explain. It was clear they found the city's bid specifications atypical and unworkable. Kriseman says he will meet with the companies to see what can be done to make the city's invitation more attractive. He could also ask administrators of other cities' recycling programs to review St. Petersburg's bid documents to see what could be dropped or streamlined without risk to the city.

Recycling is a proven way to reduce waste, preserve landfill space and protect the environment. Kriseman should move the city quickly past this latest obstacle.

Comments
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: 6 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...
Updated: 7 hours ago
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
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