Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Don't discount importance of sidewalks

Building sidewalks in an impoverished area is neither wasteful nor inessential. The state Department of Transportation's construction of new sidewalks along 5 miles of U.S. 301 in northeastern Pasco is an appreciated investment in an area seeking long-term redevelopment.

Regardless, as Times staff writer Rich Shopes reported, the sidewalks are viewed in some circles as unnecessary and likely to be under-utilized. And in other locales, the logic is even more far-fetched. Anything remotely connected to sidewalks, mass transit or sustainability is considered part of a global conspiracy to undermine American freedoms. Remember out-of-county residents protesting Pasco's mobility fees because they wrongly believed it would force people to give up rural living? The same crowd also finds walkable communities objectionable.

Safety statistics should diffuse the opposition. Nationally, approximately 4,500 pedestrians are killed in traffic accidents annually with 360 (8 percent) involving people walking alongside a road, according to the Federal Highway Administration. It explains why the state Legislature requires the DOT to include sidewalks and/or bicycle trails in state road construction projects. That is the case in Lacoochee, where DOT is spending $6.9 million to repave and add sidewalks to U.S. 301.

The Highway Administration also can point to a case study on Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa which found people eagerly using new sidewalks before construction was done. Granted, Lacoochee lacks Northdale's population and traffic, but the need for pedestrian safety shouldn't be construed as an unnecessary luxury in northeast Pasco.

Just as important, the sidewalks are a tangible sign of the redevelopment effort to improve the twin hamlets of Lacoochee and Trilby. The goal goes beyond refurbished residential neighborhoods and includes efforts to lure an employment center to Lacoochee, an area of 1,300 residents where half the adults lack a high school education and the median income is 55 percent lower than the countywide average. The redevelopment's centerpiece — a new community center in Stanley Park that will house the Lewis Abraham Boys & Girls Club, Premier Community Health Clinic, a sheriff's substation, kitchen and other facilities — is under construction and could open by year's end. Meanwhile, sidewalks on Cummer Road, to ease pedestrian travel from U.S. 301 to Lacoochee Elementary School, Stanley Park and the community center are to be built using the renewed Penny for Pasco sales tax approved by voters in 2012.

It means children will have a new, safe place to play and a safe way to get there because of the state and local investment in sidewalks. Who could find fault with that?

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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...
Updated: 6 hours ago
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