Friday, January 19, 2018
Editorials

Hillsborough's positive steps on homeless problem

Hillsborough County is finally tackling homelessness with the seriousness it deserves.

The Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County is leading a broad effort to fundamentally retool how local governments and private agencies serve the homeless population. The goal is to break down the silo mentality so that providers can address the problem in a comprehensive way — from better directing the scarce pot of housing funds to figuring out how to provide wraparound services to enable many without a permanent home to function more normally in society.

This collaborative approach is a sharp departure from the past. Then-Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio tried to put homelessness on the radar nearly a decade ago, but county conservatives blocked any attempt to find a dedicated revenue stream for local housing programs. Hillsborough County commissioners killed a tent city plan by Catholic Charities in 2009 and never got serious again until last year. But there is a new spirit of cooperation between the city and county. And the effort has expanded its involvement to include representatives from the School Board, the University of South Florida and leading local businesses, such as Tampa Bay Lightning boss Tod Leiweke.

The project is still in the early stages, and the coalition is in flux itself as it searches for a new chief executive. But this is the first serious effort to replace a piecemeal approach with a more effective strategy. The group is exploring ways to serve the chronically homeless as well as looking longer-term to help people navigate around life-changing circumstances that could leave a family on the street. This is a much-overdue civic effort for a county with the largest homeless population in the state. At nearly 8,000, Hillsborough has more than twice the number of large counties, such as Miami-Dade, Broward or Pinellas. The Diocese of St. Petersburg, which oversees the Roman Catholic Church in Hillsborough, moved the ball by proposing the tent city. It should remain open to playing a role in this promising environment for real and lasting solutions.

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Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

The Florida Legislature’s abrupt move to strip the University of South Florida St. Petersburg of its hard-earned separate accreditation and transform it back into a satellite of the major research university lacks detail and an appreciation for histo...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Another voice: Self-dealing by nursing home owners threatens patient care

The outsourcing of logistical support services, which became commonplace in the U.S. military in the 1990s and later was adopted by state prison systems, has now come to dominate the nursing home industry. And while nursing homes, unlike the military...
Published: 01/17/18
Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Three years into a crisis with its sewer system, St. Petersburg has a dandy new idea for dealing with the environmental fallout of dumping dirty water into the aquifer. Instead of committing to banning the outlawed practice, a consultant suggested th...
Published: 01/16/18
Updated: 01/17/18
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...
Published: 01/16/18
Updated: 01/17/18
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...
Published: 01/14/18
Updated: 01/16/18
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