Friday, June 22, 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.

Comments
Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

It’s hard to pick the biggest outrage in the financial and ethical swamp that has swallowed Tampa Bay’s two primary job placement agencies, CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay. Is it the boiler room atmosphere where CareerSource recruite...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Family separation crisis is not over

The family-separation crisis that President Donald Trump created is not over. The executive order Trump signed Wednesday purporting to end the routine tearing of children from their undocumented parents stands on uncertain legal ground. U.S. border a...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Veterans can help veterans deal with trauma resulting from military service in a way no one else can. That’s the theory behind a special hotline set up in the Tampa Bay area that proponents are hoping to take statewide.The expansion would cost some $...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney general’s misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect — prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18