Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Capitol sit-in shows way forward

When the group of student activists known as the Dream Defenders entered the Florida Capitol last month to demand a special session on the controversial "stand your ground" law, they couldn't have predicted how they would leave. They left Thursday with tangible accomplishments and the seeds of a promising, progressive organization. They did not force a special session of the Legislature or a repeal of the indefensible law, but they did capture the attention of the public, the ear of Tallahassee lawmakers and a promise of a legislative hearing this fall. Not bad for a bunch of young people with passion for what is right and no political connections or campaign cash.

The activists could not have timed it better. Their sit-in demonstration — the longest at the Capitol in recent memory — was launched on July 16, three days after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin and in the midst of the summer doldrums in the state capital when the spotlight was there for the taking. The group promised to stay until a special legislative session was called, but that demand always was a long shot. The governor and fellow Republicans in the Legislature have repeatedly expressed solid support for "stand your ground" and ignored objective measures of the law's considerable flaws.

By keeping their protest organized and peaceful, the Dream Defenders kept the focus on their list of criminal justice critiques. This earned them a number of small victories. The governor met with them as did the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Juvenile Justice Secretary Wansley Walters held a long session with the group discussing what her agency is doing to end the school-to-prison pipeline — a key concern of the protesters. House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, promised to hold a hearing on the "stand your ground" law in the fall. Now Weatherford should ensure that it's not a charade but a fair public airing of the law's flaws.

The Dream Defenders are an authentic student movement. They can solidify this new influence by registering 61,550 voters by 2014, as they have committed to doing. The number chosen is both a warning and clever public relations — Scott's margin of victory in the 2010 election. The governor deserves credit for allowing the protest to peacefully play out, and the students have learned about the power of a united voice and the importance of not giving up.

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Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s 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
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but it’s also suppression

The Supreme Court’s ruling last Monday to allow Ohio’s purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they haven’t voted, Ohio’s purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Editorial: Free rides will serve as a test of whether the streetcar is serious transportation

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to ride for free?This fall, the TECO Streetcar Line eliminates its $2.50-a-ride-fare, providing the best opportunity yet to see whether the system’s vintage streetcar replicas can serve as a legitimate transportation a...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

AT&T and the case for digital innovation

A good way to guarantee you’ll be wrong about something is to predict the future of technology. As in, "One day, we’ll all …" Experts can hazard guesses about artificial intelligence, driverless cars or the death of cable television, but technologica...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

The Florida Department of Children and Families has correctly set a quick deadline for Hillsborough County’s main child welfare provider to correct its foster care program. For too long the same story has played out, where troubled teens who need fos...
Published: 06/14/18