Thursday, May 24, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Bringing dignity to Dozier boys' deaths

The boys that Florida took away are a step closer to coming home. On Tuesday, Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet are expected to permit the University of South Florida to continue its effort to find and exhume bodies at the state's old reform school, the Dozier School for Boys. The state has a legal duty to account for these deaths and a moral obligation to help families recover and bury their long-lost loved ones.

USF researchers have been using ground-penetrating radar to map the school's unmarked burial grounds. While many of the graves have been lost, USF has identified nearly 50 grave shafts, 19 more than the Florida Department of Law Enforcement found. These boys died in state custody, on state land and — given the long history of beatings and other abuses at Dozier — under the most suspect circumstances. The state has a responsibility to account for who is buried there, to protect the integrity of the remains and to return them to their families.

Attorney General Pam Bondi, who has championed the case, served the cause of justice and the historical record by helping to craft a dignified framework for moving ahead. On Tuesday, the governor and Cabinet, sitting as the state's trustees over public land, will consider USF's request for one-year access to the site. That would give researchers the time to unearth and identify any remains and return them to their families.

The proposal would end a prolonged and unnecessary legal battle about how — or even whether — to move ahead. The agreement would ensure that professionals handled the excavations in a timely, orderly manner. The record of what happened would be both expanded and preserved. And after decades of fading hopes, the families would have the relief of having their loved ones back where they belong. The measure also would overcome Secretary of State Ken Detzner's refusal to allow USF to excavate the site, a classic display of bureaucracy run amok. The important thing now is to move ahead.

Bondi's determination and clear grasp of the legal and moral issues involved were pivotal in helping USF find an alternate route to accomplish its mission. The attorney general was right to put the weight of her office behind a soul-searching look at a shameful Florida legacy. Now it's up to the governor and Cabinet to clear the way for these boys to receive the dignity in death that eluded them in life while in the state's care. The governor and Cabinet should approve the request and let USF get back to work.

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: 5 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...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
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