Friday, September 21, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Get ready now for Irma

Keep an eye on Hurricane Irma. The storm grew quickly into a Category 5 hurricane on Tuesday, and forecast models show it could make landfall in Florida this weekend. While the exact track is uncertain, this is a big, powerful storm that could impact the entire state and mandatory evacuations start today in the Florida Keys. Around Tampa Bay, now is the time to get supplies, finalize plans and prepare for the worst while hoping for the best.

Irma continued its westward track Tuesday, approaching the Caribbean with 185 mph winds. A hurricane warning is in effect for Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and other locations, and Irma is expected to move over the northern Leeward Islands by early today. This is a major, dangerous storm that must be taken seriously.

The question for Florida is when Irma will turn northward. Several models show the storm making a sharp right turn south of Key West, heading north through the middle of the state. That track could change in the coming days as Irma crosses the Caribbean. It's important that Floridians use the next several days to prepare for whatever comes.

Gov. Rick Scott made the right move by acting pre-emptively Monday to declare an emergency in all 67 counties. That declaration, and the governor's order deploying 100 members of the Florida National Guard to areas across the state, will speed the delivery of aid and technical resources. The governor's office said all 7,000 Guard members will report to duty by Friday.

But now is the time for all Floridians to prepare. With tropical storm-force winds extending 160 miles from Irma's center, the impact could be felt across the breadth of the Sunshine State. Residents should use these days to stock up on water, nonperishable food, pet supplies, medicines, gasoline and cash. Learn your evacuation zones, and have a plan in place before the storm arrives. Models showing the hurricane moving up the spine of Florida make the decision whether to evacuate all the more confusing, as the storm could span the middle of the peninsula. Monroe County ordered a mandatory evacuation of the Florida Keys beginning today.

Floridians should not forget to secure their yards and to collect their insurance papers and other valuable documents. Residents may need to have these contacts at the ready. Most importantly, stay up on the latest news with Irma, have a plan for keeping in contact with family and friends and plan for being self-sufficient. Listen to the authorities and be responsible if the storm comes. These are the obligations we face living in Florida, and if Irma tests our state, the best defense we have is to be prepared.

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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...
Updated: 10 hours ago
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