Monday, January 22, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Knives, bats don't belong on planes

When a growing chorus of front-line professionals in the airline industry protest new rules permitting the reintroduction of potentially dangerous items, including knives, on board commercial aircraft, the Transportation Security Administration should take notice. The agency should reverse its decision that poses a needless safety risk for both flight crews and the traveling public. Even before the 9/11 terrorist attacks in which hijackers used box cutters to overcome flight crews, there was never any good reason for passengers to board a plane with a knife in their possession. It makes even less sense now.

Under the new TSA plan, effective April 25, passengers could board their flights with such items as small novelty baseball bats, billiard cues, ski poles, hockey and lacrosse sticks and up to two golf clubs. But even more jarring, passengers could also keep in their possession fold-up knives that are no more than 2.36 inches long and a half-inch wide. Corkscrews and screwdrivers would also be allowed. It is no small comfort that box cutters are still prohibited. And in cabins already packed with carry-on luggage as passengers try to avoid checked baggage fees, harried travelers would also have to contend with overhead storage bins packed with sports equipment.

In a rare display of labor-management unity, Delta CEO Richard Anderson has joined forces with flight attendant and pilot unions decrying the new TSA rules. Federal air marshals and insurance carriers also have implored the TSA to reconsider allowing items that could be used to violently disrupt flights. This not simply a matter of preventing an in-flight terrorist attack. Flight attendants who must often confront unruly or intoxicated passengers should not also have to worry they might be assaulted with a knife, or a mini-baseball bat, or a niblick.

The TSA action even managed to elicit bipartisan agreement in Washington. Republican Rep. Peter King of New York, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, and New York's senior Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer have both called on the TSA to rescind the new rules.

TSA has defended the decision as part of the agency's "risk-based approach" to security and to align with international standards. But a knife, no matter how short, and items such as hockey sticks, still hold the potential to be used as weapons at 35,000 feet. Flight attendants know that and the TSA should too.

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Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Ignoring all available evidence that screen time and social media exposure can be harmful to kids, Facebook recently unveiled a new messaging app targeting children under 13. It’s yet another battlefront for parents who have to constantly combat the ...
Published: 01/21/18
Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

The good news on the transportation front is that Tampa Bay’s government and business leaders are working together like never before to connect the region’s largest cities, attractions and employment centers with a more robust mass transit system. Th...
Published: 01/20/18
Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

The smiles, applause and at least one hug belied the grim impetus for a gathering last week at a neighborhood center in Tampa — the Seminole Heights killings.The Tampa Police Department held a ceremony to thank those who helped in the investigation t...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/21/18
Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

The death last fall of a 20-year-old Florida State University fraternity pledge revealed pervasive dangerous behavior within the school’s Greek system. Andrew Coffey, a Pi Kappa Phi pledge, died from alcohol poisoning after an off-campus party, and a...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: Confronting racial distrust in St. Petersburg, one conversation at a time

The St. Petersburg Police Department’s heavy presence in Midtown on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the community animosity it stirred have raised a familiar, troubling question: Can St. Petersburg’s racial divisions ever be reconciled?That big ideal ...
Published: 01/19/18
William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

A surge of Democrats seeking local legislative offices and hoping for a "blue wave" in the 2018 election continued last week, led by Bob Buesing filing to run again versus state Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa.In addition:• Heather Kenyon Stahl of Tampa has...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: State’s warning shot should get attention of Hillsborough schools

The state Board of Education hopefully sent the message this week with its warning shot about the slow pace of the turnaround at Hillsborough County’s low-performing schools.The board criticized the school system for failing to replace administrators...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18
Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

The Florida Legislature’s abrupt move to strip the University of South Florida St. Petersburg of its hard-earned separate accreditation and transform it back into a satellite of the major research university lacks detail and an appreciation for histo...
Published: 01/18/18

Another voice: Self-dealing by nursing home owners threatens patient care

The outsourcing of logistical support services, which became commonplace in the U.S. military in the 1990s and later was adopted by state prison systems, has now come to dominate the nursing home industry. And while nursing homes, unlike the military...
Published: 01/17/18
Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Three years into a crisis with its sewer system, St. Petersburg has a dandy new idea for dealing with the environmental fallout of dumping dirty water into the aquifer. Instead of committing to banning the outlawed practice, a consultant suggested th...
Published: 01/16/18
Updated: 01/17/18