Tuesday, June 19, 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: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but it’s also suppression

The Supreme Court’s ruling last Monday to allow Ohio’s purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they haven’t voted, Ohio’s purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Editorial: Free rides will serve as a test of whether the streetcar is serious transportation

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to ride for free?This fall, the TECO Streetcar Line eliminates its $2.50-a-ride-fare, providing the best opportunity yet to see whether the system’s vintage streetcar replicas can serve as a legitimate transportation a...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

AT&T and the case for digital innovation

A good way to guarantee you’ll be wrong about something is to predict the future of technology. As in, "One day, we’ll all …" Experts can hazard guesses about artificial intelligence, driverless cars or the death of cable television, but technologica...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

The Florida Department of Children and Families has correctly set a quick deadline for Hillsborough County’s main child welfare provider to correct its foster care program. For too long the same story has played out, where troubled teens who need fos...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

This fall voters will have 13 constitutional amendments to wade through on the ballot, but Amendment 4 should get special focus. It represents a rare opportunity to rectify a grievous provision in the Florida Constitution, which permanently revokes t...
Published: 06/13/18
Updated: 06/14/18