Friday, February 16, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Florida remains the land of hope and dreams

It's a breathtaking number: 20 million residents. The announcement by the U.S. Census Bureau that Florida has passed that milestone reflects the state's lure for new beginnings. The Sunshine State has long been a coveted destination for its weather, beaches and low cost of living. But now it is attracting younger residents looking to make a mark, foreign emigres looking to take a chance, and professionals and retirees drawn to booming downtowns, top medical care and world-class cultural venues. That allure presents challenges — and remarkable potential.

The climb to become the third-largest state is not surprising. In the 1980s and '90s, more than 800 people moved to Florida every day, according to census figures. While that pace slowed over the past decade as the recession took hold, the state had already laid a groundwork with its large tourism industry, expanding suburbs and growing retirement villages. The census estimates Tuesday show that Florida is adding more than 1,000 people a day, a pace faster than last year, and is up nearly a half-million people on New York. The half-century migration from the Snow Belt continues. And it presents more than bragging rights.

The first step in ensuring Florida grows in a more responsible way is for leaders to recognize why people are moving here in the first place. The state has long attracted tourists and retirees for its climate and natural beauty, and businesses and transplants for the favorable tax climate and affordable living. But the large metropolitan regions, from South Florida to the Tampa Bay area, from Jacksonville to Orlando, also have revitalized their downtowns and diversified their employment bases.

Florida no longer has a one-dimensional identity, whether it was citrus or theme parks, tract housing or sun-soaked beaches. The state is still filled with many picturesque towns — from Mount Dora to Cocoa Beach — fresh out of travel brochures from the past. But it is growing next-generation industries in space exploration, biomedicine and other advanced fields. And those dynamics are bringing new growth and energy to the urban areas, as Miami, St. Petersburg, Tampa and other cities enjoy a downtown building boom.

Nothing is free, though, and the distinction of growing at such a notable clip brings with it an obligation. State and local leaders have made key investments in protecting the environment, ensuring adequate water supplies and preparing the workforce for a global economy. But the state has not adequately modernized its transportation system, prepared for the effects of climate change or addressed racial and income disparities in housing and education. Progress won't happen on its own. It starts with a governor who will lead, a Legislature that is responsive and local leaders who will follow through.

Still, it's nice to be liked. Population growth beats the declines seen in the old Rust Belt. It brings added political clout in Washington, a higher profile worldwide and a sense of pride for Floridians. Within a few hours' drive, Florida offers it all — the international flavor of Miami, the Midwestern sensibilities of Tampa Bay, the fantasy of the theme parks in Orlando. Let's celebrate the 20 million mark, preserve our assets, unleash our potential — and remain the land of hope and dreams.

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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...
Updated: 10 hours ago
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...
Updated: 10 hours ago
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
Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Gov. Rick Scott always has been grudging and imperious about restoring the voting rights of felons, requiring them to wait for years before begging the governor and Cabinet to be recognized again as citizens. That arrogance is on full display in a le...
Published: 02/13/18
Another voice: ĎDreamersí donít know whom to trust on immigration

Another voice: ĎDreamersí donít know whom to trust on immigration

Immigrants brought into this country illegally as children by their parents may be wondering whom to trust. The political theater being played out in Washington hasnít settled the status of either the "Dreamers" or the estimated 11 million other undo...
Published: 02/13/18
Editorial: Promising Tampa stadium site for Rays

Editorial: Promising Tampa stadium site for Rays

While it came as little surprise, the Tampa Bay Raysí selection of an Ybor City site near Tampaís Channel District as the best spot for a new stadium is an important milestone in the effort to keep Major League Baseball. Now comes the hard work of de...
Published: 02/09/18
Editorial: Senate should reject Houseís attack on public schools

Editorial: Senate should reject Houseís attack on public schools

After pummeling public education so soundly last year, itís little surprise Republican state legislators are mounting another attack on public schools, teachers and local districts. The mammoth education bill passed by the House last week is loaded w...
Published: 02/08/18
Updated: 02/13/18
Editorial: TIA expansion a reminder to aim high

Editorial: TIA expansion a reminder to aim high

Thereís nothing particularly exciting about a tram, much less a rental car facility. But the new projects at Tampa International Airport set to open Wednesday are a sign of confidence in the bay area ó and a challenge to improve regional transportati...
Published: 02/08/18
Updated: 02/09/18