Monday, April 23, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Detroit down, but maybe not out

Once regarded as the cradle of the American automobile industry, Detroit has become a municipal basket case. The decision this week to seek bankruptcy protection under the crushing weight of more than $18 billion in debt distinguishes Detroit as the biggest American city to ever declare insolvency. It took decades for the city to mismanage its way to fiscal ruin. Now a federal bankruptcy receiver will have the opportunity steer Detroit on the very long and painful road back to recovery.

The ingredients that led to Detroit's financial implosion include city hall corruption, incompetence, overly generous government pension benefits and a failure on the part of the Big Three automakers to realize and respond to the shifting dynamics of the world's vehicle market until it was too late. The numbers recounting Detroit's downfall are staggering. Since 1950, the population has declined from 1.7 million, which made Detroit the fourth largest city in the nation, to 700,000 residents today, crippling Detroit's tax base. Retired city workers outnumber current employees by a 2-1 ratio. About 40 percent of the city's streetlights do not work. It can take almost an hour for police and fire units to respond to an emergency. Thousands of residential and commercial properties have been abandoned. The average cost of a home in Detroit today is $17,000. Motown has become Ghost Town.

Though Detroit's woes are far deeper and systemic, other financially stressed cities, most notably Cleveland, New York and Philadelphia, all at one time teetered on the brink of bankruptcy and all of them eventually recovered. The stigma of bankruptcy at least allows Detroit a chance to jump-start its future. It also is a reminder to local governments nationwide that the wheels really can fall off if public officials do not act responsibly.

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Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Not too many people took then-candidate Donald Trump seriously when he famously campaigned to "drain the swamp" as president. But that shouldn’t give this administration a free pass to excuse the behavior of Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Env...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Allegiant Air’s safety record remains troubling, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s reluctance to talk about it is no more encouraging. Those are the key takeaways from a 60 Minutes report on the low-cost carrier’s high rate of mid-flight brea...
Published: 04/21/18

Editorial: Women’s work undervalued in bay area

Even a strong economy and low unemployment cannot overcome the persistent pay gap affecting full-time working women in Florida. A new report shows women in Florida earned 12.5 percent less on average than their male counterparts, and the disparities ...
Published: 04/21/18
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...
Published: 04/20/18

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...
Published: 04/20/18
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...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
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