Sunday, January 29, 2006


Beginning our weekly tour here at home, the Lakeland Ledger opinion this morning calls for the Legislature to approve Governor Bush's request for $70 million to be used for strengthening emergency operations centres in 22 counties (including Polk) which do not meet national standards.

The Tampa Tribune is concerned about possible disaster issues, as well. But the main concern is communication, and says that Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and Hillsborough County Administrator Pam Bean should be able to talk directly to each other, something currently prohibited by the County Commission unless a commissioner is present.

Across the Bay, the St. Petersburg Times salutes the first open encyclical letter of Pope Benedict XVI's pontificate as "a unifying message". The letter serves as a timely rebuke to the cultural warriers by calling for the need to seperate religion and politics and speak of love, charity, and humility.

On the other side of the state along Interstate 4, the Orlando Sentinel calls Mayor Rich Crotty's Innovation Way as a dream concept of forward thinking growth management, but says that four of the seven Orange County commissioners are ready to succumb to developers ready to build before services are ready to handle the expected growth.

In seeking answers to plug the gap between health and income levels, the Daytona Beach News-Journal suggests that Florida look north to West Virginia, whose House of Delegates last week took the first step toward universal health care, as well as other ideas in Michigan and Maryland.

Today's editorial in Florida Today asks state officials to launch an investigation of possible prosecutorial misconduct in the case of Wilton Dedge, who spent 22 years in prison for a rape he did not commit before DNA testing proved his innocence. The probe should look at how prosecutors in the Brevard County State Attorney's office used what turned out to be the dubious testimony of a jailhouse snitch and convicted child rapist to keep Dedge behind bars.

The Sarasota Herald Tribune likes the proposal endorsed recently by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission which would require companies to provide more detailed reports on how much they compensate their top executives, partially responding to calls for greater accountability in corporate boardrooms.

Quick action to pass legislation which would improve miner safety in West Virginia is the subject of the editorial in today's Gainesville Sun. The opinion questions what is taking Congress so long to follow suit, especially considering an investigation by Knight-Ridder newspapers which found shocking lack of consideration for miner safety and lenient/almost nonexistant enforcement of safety rules.

Not far away, the Ocala Star Banner notes that the water supply crisis has reached Marion County, and that Florida can no longer afford to live "cheap and easy" on water as it has for decades, especially with the continued development boom.

Up in the Panhandle, the Pensacola News Journal calls Governor Bush's idea for a school voucher amendment to the state's constitution not only a daydream, but also a fundamentally ill-conceived solution to what's wrong with Florida's public schools. Such an amendment would allow parents to pull their children out of "failing" schools and send them to private schools at taxpayer expense.

The Tallahassee Democrat editorial this morning opines that provisions to reform Medicaid that will be up for debate in the House of Representatives Tuesday could potentially do more harm than good, especially in the case of middle income elderly people in need of long term care for certain conditions.

Moving along Interstate 10 in North Florida, the Florida Times-Union reminds us that Duval County has a high suicide rate among it's young people ages 10-24, about 15 per year. Only Pinellas County had a higher rate based on figures from 2004. Mental illness screening is one idea which is being considered to help bring down the rates, a problem that many don't want to discuss.

Affordable housing is on the mind of the Fort Myers News-Press editorial writers today, reminding city regulators not to let developers of the Eastwood Village off the hook when it comes to requiring them to build a number of the 1,000 residential units at a price that many working class residents can afford.

A "pipe dream" is the subject of the opinion in today's South Florida Sun Sentinel. By that, we mean Venezuelan President Hugh Chavez's support of a proposal for a 5,000 mile natrual gas pipeline that would cut through the Amazon in a north/south path. The editorial notes that the leftest leader's efforts toward dividing the Western Hemisphere is counterproductive, and such a pipeline would further damage one of the world's most enviromentally sensitive areas.

Just down I-95, the Miami Herald editorial today notes that the state's tough new laws regarding siphoning water from the Everglades set the right priority and reminds officials across South Florida that the days of "business as usual" are over. The new rules will basically require cities and counties throughout the region to find alternative sources of drinking water to support it's continued growth.

My apologies for this not being as complete as usually, but I am working today. Got as much as possible before I have to leave.


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