Wednesday, June 20, 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.

Comments
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. ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
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
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but it’s also suppression

The Supreme Court’s ruling last Monday to allow Ohio’s purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they haven’t voted, Ohio’s purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Editorial: Free rides will serve as a test of whether the streetcar is serious transportation

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to ride for free?This fall, the TECO Streetcar Line eliminates its $2.50-a-ride-fare, providing the best opportunity yet to see whether the system’s vintage streetcar replicas can serve as a legitimate transportation a...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

AT&T and the case for digital innovation

A good way to guarantee you’ll be wrong about something is to predict the future of technology. As in, "One day, we’ll all …" Experts can hazard guesses about artificial intelligence, driverless cars or the death of cable television, but technologica...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

The Florida Department of Children and Families has correctly set a quick deadline for Hillsborough County’s main child welfare provider to correct its foster care program. For too long the same story has played out, where troubled teens who need fos...
Published: 06/14/18