Saturday, February 24, 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: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Gov. Rick Scott and key members of the Florida Legislature offered ambitious proposals Friday that would plug some holes in the state’s safety net, strengthen school security and spend up to a half-billion dollars in response to last week’s massacre ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Enough is enough. The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has renewed conversations about gun control in Washington and Tallahassee. Young people are demanding action, and there are cracks in the National Rifle Association’s solid w...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

The nation’s conversation on guns took an encouraging step this week in three essential places — South Florida, Tallahassee and Washington — as survivors, victims’ families and elected leaders searched painfully and sincerely for common ground after ...
Published: 02/22/18

Editorial: FDLE probe of state fair fiasco falls short

It should go without saying that Florida law frowns upon public officials who take freebies from vendors and whose agency throws business to their family. But that wasn’t enough to move the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to find that the ex-di...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Editorial: They value guns, not kids

Editorial: They value guns, not kids

They value guns over kidsSix days after 17 were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High by a teen-ager firing an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, the Florida House refused to even debate a bill banning the sale of assault weapons. The vote, 71 to 36, wasn...
Published: 02/21/18

Editorial: Nursing home rule should be stronger

It shouldn’t take months or another tragedy for Florida — which is hot and full of seniors — to protect its elderly population from heat stroke in the event of an emergency. That’s why Gov. Rick Scott had the right idea last year in calling for nursi...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are traveling to the state capital today and declaring "never again.’’ A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he won’t raise another nickel until his party approves new gun controls. Across F...
Published: 02/19/18

Editorial: No more doubt about Russian meddling in election

The latest indictment by the Justice Department special counsel, Robert Mueller, refutes President Donald Trump’s claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a Democratic hoax. The indictment details the lengths Russian conspirators too...
Published: 02/19/18

Another voice: Tips should belong to workers, not their bosses

The Trump administration is under fire for proposing a Labor Department regulation that could result in hotel and restaurant employers dipping into the tips customers leave for their employees, depriving the nation’s 14 million hard-working restauran...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/20/18
Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

It’s not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18