Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Welcome of migrants sends good message

Catholic Bishop Robert Lynch made powerful use of his moral voice by calling for Tampa Bay residents to assist the migrant children pouring across the U.S. border. Lynch's appeal captured the humanitarian issues at play and the urgency of the moment, and his leadership stands in stark contrast to the actions by communities elsewhere and members of Congress who have ignored the plight of these children or exploited it for political gain.

Lynch announced last week that he had directed the church's social services arm, Catholic Charities, to work with the U.S. bishops conference on a plan to host some of the nearly 60,000 children who have crossed the southern border. In a blog post titled "Shame, Shame," Lynch explained his thinking, pointing out that most of these children — from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador — were fleeing death, abuse and gang violence back home. "The media has done a very good job of portraying the evil at home and critics of U.S. immigration policy have done a very bad job of painting a true picture of the situation," Lynch wrote.

The bishop has used his blog effectively in the past to reach beyond the 425,000 Catholics in the Diocese of St. Petersburg, which extends over five counties, including Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco. Lynch noted that the church has a history over decades of responding to refugee crises. Resettling some of these children in the bay area while they wind through the immigration process, he said, is "something which we know how to do and something which we should be doing." The diocese said it could help at least 100 children with temporary housing, clothing and food. Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services has already taken in boys at its 16-bed shelter in Pasco County through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement program. The Children's Home in Hillsborough County will begin accepting unaccompanied children through the same program this fall,

The bigger question is whether the Obama administration will look to deport the children quickly or treat them as refugees, which would give them temporary legal protection and clear the way for an interim resettling process.

Lynch's compassionate stance and willingness to take on this humanitarian crisis is a welcome antidote to the ugly displays by anti-immigration protesters in the border states. And it comes as Congress bolted for summer vacation without providing new money to deal with the migrant surge — and, of course, without tackling comprehensive immigration reform. Lynch is right; members of Congress are using "political gamesmanship" and a coming election to "turn a deaf ear to the cries of these kids." The situation is dire, sad and needless, and the bishop served Tampa Bay well by speaking up and offering a hand.

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Editorial: Tighten substitute teacher rules in Hillsborough

Editorial: Tighten substitute teacher rules in Hillsborough

A substitute teacher at a Plant City elementary school berated a class of fourth graders — and then the school principal. Another compared a student to a stripper. Others were caught napping, hitting children, making sexual remarks, giving students b...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Editorial: Balancing the playing field for workers’ compensation

Editorial: Balancing the playing field for workers’ compensation

For the longest time, injured workers in Florida were basically at the mercy of the whims of employers to treat them fairly. A 2003 law aimed at reducing the cost of workers’ compensation coverage for businesses had the desired impact, but it also di...
Published: 01/16/18

Another voice: Why just Florida?

Cynicism has always been a part of politics, but rarely are politicians so brazen and self-serving as President Donald Trump and his interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, have been over the past week. First they announced a new offshore drilling plan that ...
Published: 01/16/18
Editorial: King’s legacy still relevant in digital age

Editorial: King’s legacy still relevant in digital age

Today’s holiday honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. couldn’t be more timely. At a moment when the nation’s civic dialogue is choking on personal and political division, it is hard to remember an earlier time when role models were role m...
Published: 01/15/18

Another voice: 38 minutes of fear in Hawaii

In 1938, Orson Welles panicked the nation with a false alarm about a Martian invasion in the radio broadcast The War of the Worlds. That was farfetched, of course. But what happened on Saturday, sadly, was not so hard to imagine — or believe.Authorit...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Editorial: Florida’s chance to make it easier to restore civil rights

Editorial: Florida’s chance to make it easier to restore civil rights

As it has for decades, Florida stubbornly clings to an inhumane, inefficient and indefensible system of justice that permanently sentences more than 1.5 million residents to second-class citizenship. This state automatically revokes the right to vote...
Published: 01/13/18
Editorial: Speak out against Trump’s vulgar remarks

Editorial: Speak out against Trump’s vulgar remarks

President Donald Trump’s vulgar outbursts during a White House meeting on immigration are racist and indefensible no matter how he parses them. They are not presidential, they undermine U.S. foreign relations and they do not reflect America’s values....
Published: 01/12/18

Editorial: Pinellas commission stands up for accountability

The Pinellas County Commission has gotten the message that it should not be a rubber stamp. Commissioners sent a clear signal this week they will demand more accountability of local agencies by refusing to approve nominees for the board for CareerSou...
Published: 01/11/18
Updated: 01/12/18

Editorial: Progress on Tampa Bay graduation rates

Tampa Bay’s four school districts all reached a significant milestone last school year: achieving graduation rates over 80 percent. It’s believed to be the first time Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties all surpassed that threshold, a...
Published: 01/11/18
Updated: 01/12/18

Take deal; build wall

President Donald Trump says he is optimistic a deal can be struck to shield "Dreamers," the young undocumented immigrants whose lives he put in jeopardy by stripping them of work permits and deportation protection, beginning March 5. His price, and t...
Published: 01/10/18
Updated: 01/11/18