Monday, April 23, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: End nonsensical public records ploy

They need a history lesson at New Port Richey City Hall. Twenty-five years ago, the city wasted $50,000 fighting an indefensible public records lawsuit from two residents objecting to a bridge construction project. Later, the city had to pay $220,000 to settle a federal civil rights claim after bullying and intimidating Terence Brennan and Erin Sullivan, who had tried to preserve their neighborhood from increased traffic.

The faces have changed since 1988, but the shameful tactics haven't. The city is now facing a 2013 public records lawsuit after slapping an exorbitant charge on a request to review veterinary records by a critic of the city's Animal Protection Unit.

Instead of handing over the documents, the city sent Jessica Caplette a demand for $2,300 so the city's legal staff could read the paperwork before releasing it. The excuse? The veterinary records might contain information protected by federal patient privacy laws. What nonsense. Even if the address of Fido's owner is protected — a stretch by any reasonable standard — exactly why would the Animal Protection Unit be providing veterinary care to pets with identified owners? The focus is supposed to be on stray animals. And Caplette excluded from her request information about animals surrendered by owners or involved in quarantine cases — instances where personal information about the owners may be available.

Certainly somebody needs to check the records for an animal control operation that has dodged public accountability since its inception last year. The demand for an expensive deposit is an outrageous abuse of authority by a city trying to discourage public scrutiny. New Port Richey should turn over the records to Caplette immediately to end this avoidable litigation, the cost of which will be borne by city taxpayers. Then city leaders should go read the case file on Sullivan and Brennan vs. the city of New Port Richey.

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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