Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Red-light ruse is waste of time

The Hernando County Commission plans to ask voters to put a stop to red-light cameras in the county. There is just one catch. The only cameras in Hernando are under the jurisdiction of the city of Brooksville, and they won't be affected by the referendum.

This waste of time — the county legal staff must draft the ballot language and commissioners must take public comment before placing the referendum on the November 2014 ballot — is nothing more than a public relations move by commissioners frustrated by Brooksville's red-light cameras. Commission chairman David Russell pushed the referendum and proclaimed confidence that voters will approve it overwhelmingly. So what? The county will be left with nonbinding election results that aren't applicable to Brooksville, where red-light cameras generated $1.1 million in fines over a seven-month period.

The ploy is ineffective, but the commissioners' angst is understandable and it is shared across the region. Voting against red-light cameras has become a matter of routine for three St. Petersburg City Council members, and the deputy mayor of New Port Richey recently wondered aloud about the value of the cameras in that city. The public questions the timing of yellow lights and the inability of motorists to make rolling right-hand turns without stopping at a red light.

The criticism continues because local officials have been unable to offer persuasive arguments that red-light cameras are imperative public safety tools rather than an easy cash cow for state and local governments. Attempts at reform didn't go entirely as planned. State legislators complicated the appeals process by forcing local governments to set up an appeals process or hire special magistrates to hear cases, while putting additional costs on drivers challenging their tickets.

The ultimate fix for the red-light camera craze must come from Tallahassee. Hernando commissioners think an outraged local electorate can send a strong signal to legislators. Don't hold your breath. The state and local governments have become addicted to the millions of dollars red-light cameras generate, and real change isn't likely to occur without an alternative source of revenue.

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Editorial: As USFSP consolidation task force meets, openness and collaboration are key

Editorial: As USFSP consolidation task force meets, openness and collaboration are key

Writing a new law that phases out separate accreditation for the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and folds it back into the major research university was the easy part. The hard work starts today when a new consolidation task force holds i...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/24/18

Correction

CorrectionCircuit Judge John Stargel of Lakeland is a member of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission who voted against a proposed amendment that would have stopped write-in candidates from closing primary elections. An editorial Saturday inco...
Published: 04/23/18
Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Not too many people took then-candidate Donald Trump seriously when he famously campaigned to "drain the swamp" as president. But that shouldn’t give this administration a free pass to excuse the behavior of Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Env...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Allegiant Air’s safety record remains troubling, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s reluctance to talk about it is no more encouraging. Those are the key takeaways from a 60 Minutes report on the low-cost carrier’s high rate of mid-flight brea...
Published: 04/21/18

Editorial: Women’s work undervalued in bay area

Even a strong economy and low unemployment cannot overcome the persistent pay gap affecting full-time working women in Florida. A new report shows women in Florida earned 12.5 percent less on average than their male counterparts, and the disparities ...
Published: 04/21/18
Editorial: Florida’s death penalty fading away on its own

Editorial: Florida’s death penalty fading away on its own

Florida lawmakers may never take the death penalty off the books, but stronger forces are steadily eroding this inhumane, outdated tool of injustice. Court rulings, subsequent changes to law and waning public support have significantly suppressed the...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

Editorial: A missed chance for open primary elections

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission did a lot of things wrong this week by combining unrelated or unpalatable provisions into single amendments that will appear on the November ballot. It also wasted an opportunity to do one thing right. The...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

For all the symbolism, Raul Castro’s handoff of the Cuban presidency this week amounts to less than meets the eye even if his handpicked successor, the Communist Party functionary Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, is the first person not named Castro to le...
Published: 04/20/18
Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

The Hillsborough school district planted a fruitful seed with the opening of Nature’s Classroom five decades ago on the cypress-lined banks of the Hillsborough River northeast of Tampa. • The lessons taught there to some 17,000 sixth graders each yea...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: Equality pays off on Southwest Flight 1380

The passengers of Southwest Flight 1380 can be thankful that, 33 years ago, the U.S. Navy took the lead on equal opportunity.Capt. Tammie Jo Shults was piloting the flight from New York to Dallas on Tuesday when an engine exploded, blowing out a wind...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18