Sunday, June 24, 2018
Editorials

Lease approval a good move for Hernando County, regional airport

Hernando County figured out it needs to do a better job of rolling out the welcome mat at its publicly owned airport if it wants to grow the local economy. Last week, both the appointed Airport Authority and the elected County Commission agreed to lease a county-owned site that formerly housed the failed Brooksville Air Center. The tenant will be Corporate Jet Solutions, a Clearwater company that wants to move its operations and 20 employees to the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport.

It is the correct decision and the only reasonable alternative that both boards could have considered. The lease approval came despite a late pitch from a current airport tenant, American Aviation, to purchase the property for just slightly more than the $1.25 million the county paid for it in April.

Commissioners also wisely recognized competitive bias when they saw it and killed an attempt by America Aviation's consultant to denigrate the terms of the lease and the county's due diligence. The consultant's report had been presented a day earlier to the Aviation Authority and came across as little more than a poorly disguised attempt to bump the rent for Corporate Jet Solutions, which, like American Aviation, will be competing for fuel sale business at the airport.

Besides the purchase offer, American Aviation also promised to file a complaint with the Federal Aviation Administration over what it believes to be a too-generous lease to its new competitor. The company's attempts to preserve its fuel-sale monopoly are understandable, but the commission had no legal alternative except to ignore the gamesmanship.

The offer to buy the land, however, highlights flawed procurement rules at the airport. Even though lease terms must pass federal muster, the public and the competing businesses alike would be better served by a standard request for proposal, or RFP, in which a government advertises for services. Under that procedure, all interested companies must respond by the same deadline, eliminating accusations of favoritism, personal bias and behind-the-scene politicking.

It will be easier for Hernando County to bolster its employment outlook if existing businesses and newly recruited industries both believe they're being treated fairly by their local government.

Comments
Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Itís hard to pick the biggest outrage in the financial and ethical swamp that has swallowed Tampa Bayís two primary job placement agencies, CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay. Is it the boiler room atmosphere where CareerSource recruite...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Family separation crisis is not over

The family-separation crisis that President Donald Trump created is not over. The executive order Trump signed Wednesday purporting to end the routine tearing of children from their undocumented parents stands on uncertain legal ground. U.S. border a...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Veterans can help veterans deal with trauma resulting from military service in a way no one else can. Thatís the theory behind a special hotline set up in the Tampa Bay area that proponents are hoping to take statewide.The expansion would cost some $...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney generalís misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect ó prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18