Monday, June 18, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Shuttering the make-work No. 2's office

Until he settles on a replacement to succeed Jennifer Carroll, Gov. Rick Scott has done the right thing in temporarily shutting down the vaguely defined office of lieutenant governor. While she was in office, Carroll had little or nothing to do. Since Carroll's resignation earlier this month, in the wake of disclosures of her ties to an Internet sweepstakes cafe under federal investigation, her four-person staff has had even less to do — at a cost to the state of $510,000 a year. Although Scott has a constitutional obligation to eventually appoint a lieutenant governor, his time could be best spent working with the Legislature to craft a constitutional amendment to abolish the office.

Carroll submitted her resignation March 12 after law enforcement officials interviewed her in connection with a federal investigation into an Internet sweepstakes cafe operation. She was questioned about her business relationship with Allied Veterans of the World & Affiliates, which operated the cafes and is accused by prosecutors of masquerading as a charity whose owners kept nearly all of the profits. As an indication of just how inconsequential the lieutenant governor's office can be, Scott says he won't think about Carroll's successor until after the legislative session ends in May.

In the meantime, Scott wisely has closed the lieutenant governor's office doors and furloughed its four employees, including chief of staff John Konkus, who was making an $100,000 a year. From 1858 until 1968, Florida managed to function without a make-work lieutenant governor padding the payroll. Few lieutenant governors since the post was reinstated in 1968 have distinguished themselves, although Democrat Buddy MacKay and Republicans Frank Brogan and Toni Jennings are notable exceptions. Carroll all but disappeared from view the moment she was sworn in, and she will be remembered most for minor office scandals and for resigning.

Florida already has in place a clearly defined succession system, beginning with an elected Cabinet. Now Scott has time to demonstrate Florida can get along just fine without an unnecessary No. 2 wasting time, money and space down the hall.

Comments
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
Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

This fall voters will have 13 constitutional amendments to wade through on the ballot, but Amendment 4 should get special focus. It represents a rare opportunity to rectify a grievous provision in the Florida Constitution, which permanently revokes t...
Published: 06/13/18
Updated: 06/14/18
Editorial: How Florida and the Trump administration are tampering with your health care

Editorial: How Florida and the Trump administration are tampering with your health care

The Trump administration just can’t stop sabotaging Americans’ access to health care. Instead of giving up after it failed to persuade Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it continues to quietly undermine the law in ways that would reduce acc...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Editorial: Parkland students set example for advocacy

Music is healing. Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas Senior High School put that theory on display Sunday night in New York with their stirring performance at the Tony Awards — beautifully.The students, all from the school’s drama department, bro...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/13/18