Sunday, May 20, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Help for Oklahoma in hour of need

Residents of the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore are only beginning to come to terms with the devastating loss of life and property from Monday's massive tornado. In only 40 minutes, the twister's 210 mph winds killed at least 24 people, including nine children, and destroyed or damaged 2,800 homes, leveling block after block and showering debris across a corridor 22 miles long. This is a national tragedy, and the nation has a collective responsibility to move quickly in helping victims get back on their feet.

The extent of the crisis became clearer Wednesday as authorities grew more certain of the number of casualties, and as survivors and officials began to face the magnitude of recovering from a storm that according to initial estimates caused more than $2 billion in damage. President Barack Obama set the right tone of urgency by declaring flatly that this town of 56,000 would get whatever disaster assistance it needs. The Federal Emergency Management Agency quickly responded, and Gov. Rick Scott and other governors offered to help. Scott's gesture was appropriate and timely for a state that knows all too well the risks and anxiety that come with next week's start of the annual hurricane season.

Washington should provide Oklahoma with the relief money it needs without a distracting political debate over whether to offset the spending by cutting elsewhere in the federal budget. This is no time to play with people's lives and livelihoods as Congress did last year after Hurricane Sandy, when Republican objections to federal spending stalled an aid package for the Northeast states hit hard by the storm. The White House and Congress also need to spare the National Weather Service from any fallout over the budget impasse. The agency had a warning in effect 16 minutes before the tornado hit — valuable time when minutes mean lives. The nation needs to retain that forecasting ability for all areas vulnerable to natural disaster.

Americans should be comforted by having a government with the competence and resources to respond effectively in times of crisis. Floridians, who have been on the giving and receiving ends, should join the nation in sending their public and private resources — and their warmest thoughts — to Oklahoma in its time of need. That's what citizenship means.

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Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Big Sugar remains king in Florida. Just three of the state’s 27 House members voted for an amendment to the farm bill late Thursday that would have started unwinding the needless government supports for sugar that gouge taxpayers. Predictably, the am...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

In barely six weeks, President Donald Trump has gone from threatening to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to extending a lifeline to ZTE, a Chinese cell phone company that violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran and North K...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Lots of teenagers are walking together this week in Hillsborough County, a practice they’ve grown accustomed to during this remarkable school year.We can only hope they keep walking for the rest of their lives.Tens of thousands of them this week are ...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

A state investigation raises even more concern about medical errors at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and the venerable St. Petersburg institution’s lack of candor to the community. Regulators have determined the hospital broke Florida law by ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18
Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

St. Petersburg’s 3-year-old recycling program has reached an undesirable tipping point, with operating costs exceeding the income from selling the recyclable materials. The shift is driven by falling commodity prices and new policies in China that cu...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: HUD’s flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Editorial: HUD’s flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Housing Secretary Ben Carson has a surefire way to reduce the waiting lists for public housing: Charge more to people who already live there. Hitting a family living in poverty with rent increases of $100 or more a month would force more people onto ...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Voters should decide whether legal sports betting comes to Florida

Editorial: Voters should decide whether legal sports betting comes to Florida

It’s a safe bet Florida will get caught up in the frenzy to legalize wagering on sports following the U.S. Supreme Court opinion this week that lifted a federal ban. Struggling horse and dog tracks would love a new line of business, and state l...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/16/18