Thursday, February 22, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Don't allow minority to quash neighborhood improvements

Hernando County Commissioner Jim Adkins is afraid of democracy; He wants the minority to rule when it comes to property owners deciding what's best for their neighborhoods.

In this case, what's best is a commission-approved effort to pave miles of lime rock roads in parts of the Royal Highlands area in northwest Hernando. A majority of the property owners like the idea. Fifty-four percent of the 266 lot owners agreed to the nearly $1.1 million project, two-thirds of which will be paid by property owners via a $3,361 assessment. The county picks up the other third.

The neighborhood enthusiasm didn't matter to Adkins. He was the lone dissenting vote against the paving assessment, and during the commission's Nov. 19 meeting, he went one step further. He said the county needs to revisit its recent policy change that made the paving possible — a requirement that 51 percent of the property owners must agree to a project.

The commission previously required two-thirds of the property owners to approve a paving assessment, but lowered the threshold to 60 percent in 2009. It was a margin that still doomed many projects because homeowners living amid the lime rock dust could be out-voted by the vacant-parcel owners living elsewhere.

The commission was correct to change the cockeyed formula earlier this year and Adkins should abandon his ambition to return to it. He would be wise to recall exactly why commissioners altered it in the first place. Just two years ago, some Royal Highlands residents petitioned to pave a half-dozen lime rock roads and garnered approval from 93 percent (44 of 46 homeowners) but failed to get sufficient support from the absentee property owners to improve all six routes. Allowing a dissenting minority to determine the completion of valid public works projects is simply poor governing and grants an unfair financial protection to real estate investors and owners of vacant lots. Their interests shouldn't supersede the quality of life concerns of the neighborhood's habitants.

The county has an inventory of more than 420 miles of lime rock roads and it is attempting to whittle the network by paving three miles of collector roads annually. Residents, some of whom have complained for years about flying dust and pulmonary health concerns, are now finding it easier to pave their own neighborhoods because of the 51 percent threshold. Just in November, commissioners approved paving 46 lime rock roads in the sprawling Royal Highlands neighborhood. That development is the poster child for the paving assessment program because the county long ago permitted houses to be built there along dirt roads.

Residents should be encouraged to upgrade their own neighborhoods and property values and they shouldn't be discouraged from doing so by a commissioner attuned to a vocal minority.

Comments
Editorial: They value guns, not kids

Editorial: They value guns, not kids

They value guns over kidsSix days after 17 were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High by a teen-ager firing an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, the Florida House refused to even debate a bill banning the sale of assault weapons. The vote, 71 to 36, wasn...
Published: 02/21/18
Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are traveling to the state capital today and declaring "never again.íí A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he wonít raise another nickel until his party approves new gun controls. Across F...
Published: 02/19/18

Editorial: No more doubt about Russian meddling in election

The latest indictment by the Justice Department special counsel, Robert Mueller, refutes President Donald Trumpís claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a Democratic hoax. The indictment details the lengths Russian conspirators too...
Published: 02/19/18

Another voice: Tips should belong to workers, not their bosses

The Trump administration is under fire for proposing a Labor Department regulation that could result in hotel and restaurant employers dipping into the tips customers leave for their employees, depriving the nationís 14 million hard-working restauran...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/20/18
Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Itís not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18
Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

The city of Tampa should have taken Tanja Vidovic seriously from the start when the Tampa firefighter complained about her treatment in the workplace. Now that a jury and judge have spoken, itís time for City Hall to cut its losses, learn from its mi...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

The dark cloud enveloping Tampa Bayís job placement centers keeps growing. There are accusations of forged documents, evidence of nepotism and concerns about grossly inflated performance numbers that could be tied to receiving more public money and b...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Even before the victims of another mass shooting at another public school were identified, Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, state legislators and members of Congress rushed to South Florida or to social media to offer their thoughts and p...
Published: 02/15/18
Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

The Florida Department of Children and Families is right to call for a timely and "comprehensive" review of Hillsborough Countyís foster care system. Though the probe is a reaction to a recent case involving a child who was left unattended, the revie...
Published: 02/14/18

A Washington Post editorial: Modernize 911 calling before it becomes an emergency

This Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the first 911 emergency call placed in the United States. Since then, uncounted lives have been saved and people helped. It has been a great accomplishment of government.But even as an estimated 240 million 9...
Published: 02/13/18
Updated: 02/14/18