Friday, July 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: Scott should order investigation of concealed weapons permitting

Editorial: Scott should order investigation of concealed weapons permitting

To his credit, Gov. Rick Scott says he is considering requests to order an independent investigation of how Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s office screens applications for concealed weapon permits. It’s a reasonable request, and the governor h...
Published: 07/18/18
Editorial: Algae blooms, toll woes and beach battles -- Florida’s fouled up summer

Editorial: Algae blooms, toll woes and beach battles -- Florida’s fouled up summer

July in Florida. The height of summer tourist season. Rental cars clog the highways and tourists crowd the beaches, motels and all-you-can-eat shrimp joints. Many of our neighbors are off to North Carolina or somewhere cooler. So it’s an awfully inco...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Editorial: Sacrificing two kayaks and a Toyota for free speech

Editorial: Sacrificing two kayaks and a Toyota for free speech

Maggy Hurchalla joked this spring that all she could offer a billionaire who won a $4.4 million judgment against her after she exercised her free speech rights were "two kayaks and an aging Toyota.’’ The billionaire didn’t laugh. This week, Martin Co...
Published: 07/17/18
Updated: 07/18/18
Editorial: Trump sides with Putin over America

Editorial: Trump sides with Putin over America

In one of the most surreal news conferences of our time, President Donald Trump actually stood next to Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday and called the federal investigation into Russia’s meddling into the 2016 election "a disaster for our coun...
Published: 07/16/18
Editorial: A vote for preserving waterfront parks by St. Petersburg City Council

Editorial: A vote for preserving waterfront parks by St. Petersburg City Council

The St. Petersburg City Council made the appropriate but difficult decision to reject a contract with renowned artist Janet Echelman for one of her aerial sculptures. It would be wonderful for the city to have one of her signature works, but Spa Beac...
Published: 07/13/18

‘Everybody needed to know what happened’

The brutal murder of Emmett Till, a black Chicago youth, in Mississippi nearly 63 years ago went unpunished, but not forgotten. A decision by his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, to allow an open casket at Emmett’s Chicago funeral represented an act of def...
Published: 07/13/18
Editorial: Personal bias taints Florida’s clemency system

Editorial: Personal bias taints Florida’s clemency system

A recent exchange between the governor and Cabinet and a felon seeking to have his civil rights restored underscores the arbitrary unfairness of Florida’s clemency system. A long waiting period, a ridiculous backlog of cases and elected officials who...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/13/18

Trump should work with Congress on immigration

Donald Trump’s resounding victory in the 2016 presidential election came at least in part because the New York businessman grasped the disconnect between how millions of Americans and the political establishments of both parties felt about immigratio...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/13/18
Editorial: Trump’s trade war hurts American consumers

Editorial: Trump’s trade war hurts American consumers

Voters who looked to Donald Trump to make America great might want to look at their wallets. The president escalated his global trade war this week, threatening new tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports — everything from seafood, beef and ...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/12/18
Editorial: Rays stadium cost should be fairly shared

Editorial: Rays stadium cost should be fairly shared

The imaginative Ybor City ballpark proposed by the Tampa Bay Rays fits nicely into the 21st century vision of a sophisticated city and would secure major league baseball’s future for the entire region. It also carries an eye-catching cost that will h...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/12/18