Sunday, February 25, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program is worth the green

Regional water managers say the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program promoting conservation, environmental protection and lower monthly water bills for homeowners is a worthwhile effort that should be continued — as long as somebody else pays for it. That is shirking responsibility.

The Southwest Florida Water Management District should put a higher value on this initiative. County governments facing their own tight budgets should not have to find the money to save a valuable program. If the landscaping program can save 25 million gallons of water annually in Pasco County, for instance, that amounts to $100,000 worth of water.

The district said it has reimbursed 11 counties about $4.4 million over the past decade to maintain program coordinators employed by the local governments. Those coordinators formerly worked with neighborhood associations to educate residents about drought-tolerant plants, rain barrel construction and other conservation tips. The focus changed this year, at the direction of the water district, to what it dubbed measurable water savings — one-on-one visits to heavy water users.

The water district now plans to allocate the coordinators' salaries to a separate water conservation program aimed at new home construction. Targeting home builders to save water via selection of appliances, plumbing, construction materials and outdoor landscaping should be encouraged. But it is unacceptable to largely ignore the existing audience — homeowners already paying property taxes to the district — just because the current program is time consuming.

The water management district's governing board meets next week to set its preliminary tax rate for its $169 million budget for the coming fiscal year. The board should ensure that the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program remains intact.

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Editorial: Learning from St. Petersburg’s Sunshine Law violation

Editorial: Learning from St. Petersburg’s Sunshine Law violation

A recent state appeals court opinion strikes a victory for open government in finding St. Petersburg city officials violated the state’s Sunshine Law. City councils and other government panels in Florida are allowed to meet in secret only in very lim...
Published: 02/25/18
Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Gov. Rick Scott and key members of the Florida Legislature offered ambitious proposals Friday that would plug some holes in the state’s safety net, strengthen school security and spend up to a half-billion dollars in response to last week’s massacre ...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Enough is enough. The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has renewed conversations about gun control in Washington and Tallahassee. Young people are demanding action, and there are cracks in the National Rifle Association’s solid w...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

The nation’s conversation on guns took an encouraging step this week in three essential places — South Florida, Tallahassee and Washington — as survivors, victims’ families and elected leaders searched painfully and sincerely for common ground after ...
Published: 02/22/18

Editorial: FDLE probe of state fair fiasco falls short

It should go without saying that Florida law frowns upon public officials who take freebies from vendors and whose agency throws business to their family. But that wasn’t enough to move the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to find that the ex-di...
Published: 02/21/18
Updated: 02/23/18
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: Nursing home rule should be stronger

It shouldn’t take months or another tragedy for Florida — which is hot and full of seniors — to protect its elderly population from heat stroke in the event of an emergency. That’s why Gov. Rick Scott had the right idea last year in calling for nursi...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/23/18
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.’’ A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he won’t 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 Trump’s 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 nation’s 14 million hard-working restauran...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/20/18