Friday, April 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: 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: 10 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: 10 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