Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: St. Petersburg should lead on recycling

The St. Petersburg City Council today should reject a plan to ask voters a loaded question about universal curbside recycling. Then the council should vote to add the service, because it's past time for the City Beautiful to move into the 21st century when it comes to waste disposal.

St. Petersburg remains the only major Florida city not to offer routine curbside recycling and has debated the issue for years. Last week, city attorney John Wolfe proposed placing a straw poll on the Aug. 27 ballot asking voters if they want universal curbside recycling. But the wording appears designed for the question to fail. The proposed ballot language twice notes the cost of adding universal curbside recycling would be about $3 per household per month — a figure provided by city staff that is based on adding the service a la carte, not a systemic re-examination of how recycling might be better integrated into the city's entire waste management system.

A recent analysis underwritten by the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area shows just how significant City Hall's recalcitrance has been. Cities in Pinellas County that have universal curbside recycling saw an average 260 pounds of waste per household diverted from disposal in 2011. But St. Petersburg and Dunedin, which had only subscription-based curbside recycling and city drop-off sites, diverted just 145 pounds per household. (Dunedin has since implemented universal recycling.) The clear message: Make recycling easier, and participation increases.

St. Petersburg has long boasted that it was the first in Florida to be designated a "Green City" by the Florida Green Building Coalition for its embrace of environmental initiatives such as reclaimed water and land preservation. But such a label means little amid such a glaring omission. Recycling is a proven method to collect valued commodities for a higher use, prolong the life of landfills and protect natural resources. It's also the policy of a state where the Republican-led Legislature has voted twice since 2008 to call for communities to recycle at least 75 percent of their solid waste by 2020. St. Petersburg has wasted enough time. The City Council should lead, not hide behind a straw poll.

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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...
Updated: 1 hour ago

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