Friday, September 21, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Moving past Hillsborough's Confederate statue debate

One of the most divisive fights in Hillsborough County in years edged toward a quiet resolution last week as workers took down a Confederate memorial outside the old county courthouse. The debate over whether to move the monument brought out the best and worst in the community, but in the end, the public made itself heard and set a new bar for race relations in the public square.

With little fanfare Tuesday, a crew carefully separated and removed the two Confederate soldiers on either side of the 106-year-old marble monument. The move followed a contentious public debate that played out over months as supporters and opponents argued over whether the memorial should be removed from public land. Hillsborough County commissioners seesawed between retaining the memorial and removing it, only to create a window last month by agreeing to move the monument if private sponsors would pay for the work, which donors agreed to do in a single day. It was a classic case of good coming from a bad experience.

This was a painful, dishonest and unnecessary public debate for many reasons, chief among them the commission's failure to provide clear leadership. At the end of the day, however, all sides had their voices heard, the right decision was reached, the memorial was preserved for public viewing on private property and an ugly episode came to an orderly end. This should not, especially in the South, be taken for granted.

It stands to reason that some on the losing end cannot come to terms with the outcome. A group presenting itself as a defender of Southern heritage is suing the county to stop the monument's removal, an act one of its leaders Tuesday blamed on "a bunch of jackals." An administrative judge on Tuesday denied the group's request for an injunction halting the monument's removal while the lawsuit played out. This was another positive step that was in line with the law and the moral standards of the times.

The county intends to repair and store the memorial until its new home is ready at a Brandon cemetery. This should bring a dignified end to a public battle over race and history that has led to flashpoints in other cities. It also should be a reminder that Southern history did not end on the battlefield. The nation came together to form a strong republic. The principles of reconciliation endured through generations because Americans both North and South found ways to celebrate regional pride without extending it as cover for bigotry. It's time to put this episode in the past and focus on the challenges in moving the entire community forward.

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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
Editorial: Focus on Hurricane Florence, not defending poor response in Puerto Rico

Editorial: Focus on Hurricane Florence, not defending poor response in Puerto Rico

Hurricane Florence began lashing down on the Carolinas Thursday and was expected to make landfall early Friday, washing over dunes, downing trees and power lines and putting some 10 million people in the path of a potentially catastrophic storm. Flor...
Published: 09/13/18
Editorial: Scott sends positive signal on Supreme Court appointments

Editorial: Scott sends positive signal on Supreme Court appointments

Gov. Rick Scott has headed down a dangerous path by announcing he has started the process to fill three upcoming vacancies on the Florida Supreme Court as he heads out the door. But to his credit, the governor indicated his "expectation’’ is that he ...
Published: 09/12/18
Updated: 09/14/18