Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Lives depend on updated jail records

Kelly Harding was a career criminal who was neither a model citizen nor a model inmate. That does not excuse Harding's death in the Pinellas County Jail because of a paperwork error. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has been candid about the circumstances that led to Harding's being wrongly housed in a cell with a murder suspect who choked him. Now the sheriff needs to take additional steps to prevent such a fatal mistake.

Harding pleaded guilty in January to a misdemeanor charge of trespassing. Yet because of a disciplinary infraction, he was placed in the jail's Delta 6 pod for felons under protective custody. Harding never should have wound up in the same cell with Scott Greenberg, who was awaiting trial on a felony charge of second-degree murder in connection with the death of his girlfriend. While Harding originally had been charged with burglary, a felony, he had pleaded guilty to the reduced misdemeanor charge. Gualtieri said that change never made its way into the sheriff's inmate records section. If it had, Harding would not have been placed in the pod and would not have shared a cell with the man who killed him.

Gualtieri is investigating how the records mistake was made but told the Times editorial board Tuesday, "We own it, we accept responsibility." A good place to better ensure that prisoners are housed where they belong would be to more vigorously check whether an inmate faces misdemeanor or felony charges immediately upon his return to jail from a court appearance when a plea bargain might have been negotiated.

Two weeks ago, Gualtieri moved quickly to disclose details surrounding the life-threatening beating of a prisoner by another prisoner inside a transport van. The sheriff also deserves credit for posting all completed internal affairs reports online. Accepting responsibility when bad things happen and embracing transparency are positive attributes. The next challenge is to make cost-effective changes to increase the safety of inmates and reduce the possibility for another error that could be deadly.

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Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Legislation that waters down the 2010 Dodd-Frank law and was sent to President Donald Trump this week is a mixed bag at best. Some provisions recognize that Congress may have gone too far in some areas in the wake of the Great Recession to place new ...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Another voice: The chutzpah of these men

A new phase of the #MeToo movement may be upon us. Call it the "not so fast" era: Powerful men who plotted career comebacks mere months after being taken down by accusations of sexual misconduct now face even more alarming claims.Mario Batali, the ce...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has begun the important work of rebuilding trust with its patients and the community following revelations of medical errors and other problems at its Heart Institute. CEO Dr. Jonathan Ellen candidly acknowledges...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
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