Friday, April 20, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: The real algae bloom crisis

Gov. Rick Scott took another cheap shot at the White House this week for a crisis he and his party had a big hand in creating. The governor declared a state of emergency for Martin and St. Lucie counties after a massive algae bloom in the St. Lucie River prompted beach closings on the Atlantic Coast. Scott, predictably, blamed President Barack Obama for not investing enough in flood control in southeast Florida. This from a governor who for years fought the federal government over water cleanup efforts and who collects huge sums from big polluters in the Everglades to push his political agenda.

Scott's order Wednesday calls on state agencies to take several steps to redirect and manage the flow of water in and out of Lake Okeechobee. The unseasonably heavy rains this winter forced the Army Corps of Engineers to dump billions of gallons of dirty water down the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers, causing environmental damage on both coasts as nutrient-rich water from the lake flowed to coastal estuaries.

To stem the spread of the algae, Scott directed the South Florida Water Management District to store additional water north and south of the lake. Algae blooms cause health problems and harm the local ecosystem and water-related businesses. With Scott's order, the state will expand the monitoring for toxins and open a hotline for complaints.

This is all well and fine, but Scott is only reacting to a crisis long in the making. And worse, he is using other people's misery to score political points. Obama is not the culprit. This governor fought the federal government for years over the state's clean-water standards. He decimated the water management districts, cut environmental enforcement, rejected a plan by former Gov. Charlie Crist to buy sugar land for water storage and signed into law a bloated water resources bill that will encourage sprawl. Scott has not called on Congress to eliminate U.S. price supports for sugar, which force taxpayers to both subsidize the industry's dirty practices and then pay for the cleanup of the Everglades. No wonder U.S. Sugar Corp. has become one of the governor's biggest financial supporters with another $100,000 donation to his political committee in June.

If Scott wants to fix the problem, he should work with Congress to stop contributing to it.

Comments
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...
Updated: 9 hours ago

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...
Updated: 10 hours ago
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...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Anyone looking to make Hillsborough County government bigger, costlier, more dysfunctional and less of a regional force should love the idea that Commissioner Sandy Murman rolled out this week. She proposes enlarging the seven-member board to nine, e...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

A new foster care provider in Hillsborough County is poised to take over operations in May, only months after its predecessor was fired for what was alleged to be a pattern of failing to supervise at-risk children in its care. Many of the case manage...
Published: 04/18/18

Another voice: Back to postal reform

President Donald Trump is angry at Amazon for, in his tweeted words, "costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy." Yet in more recent days, Trump has at least channeled his feelings in what could prove...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

A bipartisan Senate bill clarifying that only the attorney general or a high-ranking designee could remove a special prosecutor would send an important message amid President Donald Trump’s attacks on the investigation into Russia’s inter...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18
Editorial: Don’t fall for Constitution Revision Commission’s tricks

Editorial: Don’t fall for Constitution Revision Commission’s tricks

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission has wasted months as a politically motivated scam masquerading as a high-minded effort to ask voters to improve the state’s fundamental document. The commission on Monday added amendments to the Nove...
Published: 04/16/18
Editorial: Redner’s court win on medical marijuana sends message

Editorial: Redner’s court win on medical marijuana sends message

Florida regulators have done far too little to make voter-approved medical marijuana widely available for patients suffering from chronic illnesses. A circuit court judge in Tallahassee ruled last week there is a price for that obstruction, finding t...
Published: 04/15/18
Updated: 04/16/18