Thursday, February 22, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Forget term limits, focus campaign on vital issues

Former state legislator Ken Littlefield tossed his hat into the ring for a County Commission seat and immediately tossed out an odd idea as the first plank of his platform: Term limits for commissioners.

Littlefield, who spent seven years in Tallahassee as a legislator and four more as head of the Statewide Advocacy Council for Florida's health and social service clients, suggested that Pasco's commissioners overstay their welcome. "Seemingly, once they get in there, they stay there," he told Times staff writer Rich Shopes.

Currently, Henry Wilson and Kathryn Starkey are first-term commissioners. Commissioner Ted Schrader is serving his fourth four-year term and Commissioner Jack Mariano, his third, but both survived bruising electoral challenges from fellow Republicans in 2012. Littlefield is seeking the seat of Commissioner Pat Mulieri who is not seeking re-election after 20 years on the board. She won her final term, incidentally, by defeating Littlefield in the 2010 Republican primary.

This is not a new suggestion. One of Littlefield's former electoral opponents, Pat Burke, raised the same issue in the late 1990s through a citizens group called Publicats, but there was little public support then. Statewide, voters approved term limits for the Legislature two decades ago.

The sentiment was understandable. Voters, fed up with career legislators who'd grown too chummy with special interests, wanted to churn office-holders, believing fresh blood would be beneficial. Unfortunately, the detrimental results increased the power of unelected lobbyists and fostered a perverted legislative process in which freshman legislators try to round up chits for leadership roles six years away before even filing their first bills.

Littlefield promised his policy plans would be forthcoming as the campaign advances. He has a lot from which to choose. Commissioners are confronting near- and long-term responses to the pending Urban Land Institute report; redeveloping the U.S. 19 corridor; code enforcement; jail crowding; long-range transportation; economic development, tourism promotion, homelessness, and never-ending land-use decisions. Littlefield would do well to focus on more substantive issues rather than trying to sweep effective commissioners out of office through an artificial deadline. That authority correctly rests with voters each Election Day.

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Editorial: They value guns, not kids

Editorial: They value guns, not kids

They value guns over kidsSix days after 17 were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High by a teen-ager firing an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, the Florida House refused to even debate a bill banning the sale of assault weapons. The vote, 71 to 36, wasn...
Published: 02/21/18
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...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/20/18
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