Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: For PTC, let this be beginning of the end

Cesar Padilla finally did something right this week by announcing his retirement as executive director of the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission. The moonlighting Padilla had become an embarrassment in an already controversial agency. But his departure should only be the first of many changes at the PTC. Created by the 1976 Florida Legislature, the unique standalone regulator of taxis, limos and tow trucks outlived its usefulness long ago.

Padilla resigned amid a wave of disclosures by PTC chairman and Hillsborough County Commissioner Victor Crist. In addition to receiving a $107,000-a-year salary as the commission's executive director, Padilla was moonlighting as a reserve Hillsborough deputy sheriff, earning an additional $10,400 over the past 20 months performing private security services. Particularly concerning was that some of the security work occurred while Padilla was also supposed to be on the clock performing his PTC duties.

Much like the PTC itself, which has never had a clearly defined mission statement or rules governing its management, Padilla had no formal job description. But that didn't prevent him from writing his own glowing performance review in Crist's name earlier this year.

The PTC has long been known for cronyism and corruption. Former County Commissioner Kevin White is serving a federal prison term for bribery during his term as PTC chairman. The agency also has been accused of playing favorites in approving taxi, limo and towing licenses to the detriment of consumers.

Two Tampa Bay legislators — Rep. Jamie Grant of Tampa and Sen. Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg — say they anticipate filing legislation during the 2014 session in response to what has happened. They should move to abolish the PTC. Until that can be done, the agency's board should reach outside the commission to choose an interim executive director. The agency needs a pair of fresh eyes to oversee its work and Crist needs a partner in reform, not another moonlighting hustler.

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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.íí A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he wonít 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 Trumpís 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 nationís 14 million hard-working restauran...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Itís not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18
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...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
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...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
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