Sunday, September 23, 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: Florida needs uniform standards for voting by mail

Editorial: Florida needs uniform standards for voting by mail

Vote by mail has been a stunning success in Florida, increasing turnout and making it easy and convenient to cast a ballot with time to research and reflect. But a new study shows that mail ballots cast by African-American, Hispanic or younger voters...
Published: 09/21/18
Editorial: Borrowers need protection from Marlin Financial

Editorial: Borrowers need protection from Marlin Financial

State and federal lending regulations exist to protect consumers from being surprised — and overwhelmed — by ballooning debt. Marlin Financial, a shadowy auto lender doing business around Florida, seems to be skirting those protections ...
Published: 09/21/18
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