Friday, September 21, 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: Putnam hire stinks of patronage, secrecy

Editorial: Putnam hire stinks of patronage, secrecy

In addition to a lesson on political patronage, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam needs a refresher on the particulars of state public records law.In January 2017, Putnam hired the 27-year-old son of a former Publix executive to a high-pay...
Published: 09/20/18
Editorial: Investigate first, then hold Kavanaugh confirmation vote

Editorial: Investigate first, then hold Kavanaugh confirmation vote

There should be a timely investigation of the allegation of sexual assault against Judge Brett Kavanaugh before senators hear from him and his accuser, let alone vote on whether they should confirm his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. The proces...
Published: 09/20/18
Editorial: Immigrants help to make America great

Editorial: Immigrants help to make America great

The heated debate on immigration could benefit from some more facts, which the U.S. Census has helpfully provided. And the facts show that rather than building walls, the United States would do far better to keep opening doors to legal immigrants. Th...
Published: 09/19/18
Updated: 09/20/18
Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

The federal Food and Drug Administration is bringing important scrutiny to the increasing use of e-cigarettes, requiring companies that make and sell them to show they are keeping their products away from minors. Vaping is the new front in the nation...
Published: 09/18/18

Tuesday’s letters: Honor Flight restored my faith in America

Dogs are the best | Letter, Sept. 15Honor Flight restored my faith in AmericaJust as I was about to give up on our country due to divisiveness and and the divisions among its people and politicians, my pride was restored. As a member of the recen...
Published: 09/17/18
Updated: 09/19/18

Editorial cartoons for Sept. 18

From Times wires
Published: 09/17/18
Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

The Senate and the nation needs to hear more about the sexual assault allegation against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Setting aside Kavanaugh's judicial record, his political past and the hyper-partisan divide over his nomination, a no...
Published: 09/17/18
Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

The Tampa City Council has yet to hear a compelling reason to allow a private social club in a residential neighborhood off Bayshore Boulevard, and a final meeting on the matter scheduled for Thursday offers the council a chance to show the diligence...
Published: 09/14/18
Editorial: Focus on Hurricane Florence, not defending poor response in Puerto Rico

Editorial: Focus on Hurricane Florence, not defending poor response in Puerto Rico

Hurricane Florence began lashing down on the Carolinas Thursday and was expected to make landfall early Friday, washing over dunes, downing trees and power lines and putting some 10 million people in the path of a potentially catastrophic storm. Flor...
Published: 09/13/18
Editorial: Scott sends positive signal on Supreme Court appointments

Editorial: Scott sends positive signal on Supreme Court appointments

Gov. Rick Scott has headed down a dangerous path by announcing he has started the process to fill three upcoming vacancies on the Florida Supreme Court as he heads out the door. But to his credit, the governor indicated his "expectation’’ is that he ...
Published: 09/12/18
Updated: 09/14/18