FLORIDA SUNDAY EDITORIAL ROUNDUP
Starting as always here at home, the Lakeland Ledger concentrates on what seems to be a sweetheart deal between the Bush administration and the well connected Collier family of South Florida, who the Interior Department's inspector general says was offered about $50 million too much for the oil and gas drilling rights on about 400,000 acres in Big Cypress Natrual Preserve three years ago. Congress refused to approve the deal. The Ledger editorial calls on the Senate Finance Committee to find out who was misleading who in this deal.
With Tropical Storm Arlene already brining an early start to the 2005 hurricane season, the Winter Haven News Chief reminds readers to prepare, and that today is the last day of the state tax holiday on storm supplies.
Arlene is also on the mind of the Pensacola News Journal, who says that her arrival should provide additional reasoning for the state to respond to a request by the Escambia County Commission to help in cleaning up debris --- much of it still left from Ivan --- from along the area's state roads.
Politics is on the mind of the Orlando Sentinel editorial board, asking incumbant U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D - FL) and Republican challenger Congresswoman Katherine Harris (R - Sarasota)(and other possible challengers, I'm sure) to keep their campaigns clean and free of personal attacks.
Today's Tampa Tribune opinion is that Hillsborough County's indigent health care panel needs to seek long term solutions to providing quality care against wildly rising costs instead of a Band-Aid type short term fix when it presents it's recomendations to the county commission in four months.
Back on the east coast, the enviroment is the subject of today's editorial in the Daytona Beach News-Journal. It calls for concerted efforts at all levels of government and increased international cooperation to protect coral reefs which are critical to most marine life.
The St. Petersburg Times slams Philip A. Cooney, the Chief of Staff to the White House Council on Enviromental Quality as a revisionist who --- as the first to view scientific reports relating to climate change before being released publicly --- edits the text to the liking of his boss...President Bush...even if that means twisting the truth. Check out this story from Wednesday's New York Times for the details.
Today's Sarasota Herald Tribune opinion piece deals with a House subcommittee vote last Thursday to slash funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting by 25 percent, noting that such a move would strangle public television and radio. One personal note here: At a time when the move to digital broadcasting is imminent within the next few years, it is most interesting that public television has been the real leader in that direction. PBS and NPR do a lot of things right on a fraction of the budget their commercial brethern have.
Naming a new school is the subject of today's editorial in the Ocala Star-Banner, suggesting that the Marion County School Board name it's new elementary school after the only Ocala-area soldier to receive the Medal of Honor, Hammett L. Bowen, Jr.
Just up the road, the Gainesville Sun opinion laments that 13 schools in Alachua County saw their FCAT scores go down this year, while only four saw theirs go up.
The Miami Herald focuses it's editorial on the South American nation of Bolivia, noting that the ouster of it's president and his predecessor by violent street demonstrations is a setback to democracy on the continent. It also suggests that the nation's new leaders should resist the temptation to nationalize it's energy resources.
Today's South Florida Sun-Sentinel asks those who are calling for the closing of the prison camp for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba...what's the alternative? It's opinion is that the suspects are potentially a grave threat to America, and closing the camp would achieve little or nothing.
The Naples Daily News is no fan of taxes, so it opposes an proposal for a one penny tax on tourism to be used for tourism advertising. It says if the hotels want it, they should collect it themselves and do their own advertising instead of relying on government.
This morning's Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville agrees with local officials who are planning cuts in the amount of city grants given to a variety of non-profit and other groups. A key change would limit the percentage of a group's overall budget can come from the city grant.
Florida Today supports the reopening by Attorney General Charlie Crist's office of the investigation into the Christmas 1951 murders of Mims residents and civil rights workers Harry T. Moore and his wife Harriette.
And the Palm Beach Post editorial tries to put down the claim of school voucher supporters that those who are against the idea are guilty of religious bigotry, noting that the modern Florida Constitution which was drafted in 1968 kept the state version of seperation of church and state to prevent a governor or legislature from using the state's treasury to advance or support one religion.