Friday, June 22, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: For springs restoration, a small step forward

The $10 million for restoration that state lawmakers provided in the budget and Gov. Rick Scott signed into law won't go far toward repairing Florida's natural springs. But the money can help launch a long-term approach for reviving this vital ecosystem.

Lawmakers did nothing this legislative session to address the broad degradation of the springs, once crystal-clear waters that drew millionaires, movie stars and hordes of tourists and new residents to Florida. Most of the state's springs have lost flow, some have stopped flowing at all, and some have reversed course. Saltwater is intruding on some water bodies, and many are so choked with pollution that they are wastelands of toxic algae, endangering human health, harming tourism and lowering property values.

The state's water management districts compiled a list recently of starter projects to repair the springs; the $10 million in the budget amounts to a blip toward meeting that $122 million price tag. But it is a start. The money could be directed toward cleaning up the most impacted water bodies. It could be handed to the five water management districts and used as seed money as matching grants to leverage other public and private dollars for local cleanup efforts. It could help revive a broad springs effort that then-Gov. Jeb Bush launched in 2000 and that Scott disbanded. Or it could fund septic tank inspections and the first round of a program to replace leaky sewage systems.

There is no shortage of need for the money. The real challenge for this governor and Legislature is to get serious about restoring the health of the springs. That means reinstituting septic tank inspections, cracking down on wasteful fertilizer use, creating a priority list of rehab projects and committing to a long-term plan for funding and managing the restoration work.

The Department of Environmental Protection needs to get serious about policy changes, too, if Florida's springs are going to return to a fraction of the role they played as a sustaining force in the state's natural beauty, growth, economy and quality of life.

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Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

It’s hard to pick the biggest outrage in the financial and ethical swamp that has swallowed Tampa Bay’s two primary job placement agencies, CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay. Is it the boiler room atmosphere where CareerSource recruite...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Family separation crisis is not over

The family-separation crisis that President Donald Trump created is not over. The executive order Trump signed Wednesday purporting to end the routine tearing of children from their undocumented parents stands on uncertain legal ground. U.S. border a...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Veterans can help veterans deal with trauma resulting from military service in a way no one else can. That’s the theory behind a special hotline set up in the Tampa Bay area that proponents are hoping to take statewide.The expansion would cost some $...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney general’s misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect — prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
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...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

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