FLORIDA SUNDAY EDITORIAL ROUNDUP
The Lakeland Ledger this morning considers Governor Bush's contridictary feelings on redrawing legislative and congressional district boundries. He supported an inititive in California, but opposes a similar proposal here in Florida. He has much the same contridictary belief about the non-profit group Common Cause, who supported both measures. Here in Florida he calls Common Cause activists "a group of Secret Squirrel liberals", but were friends on the West Coast. The editorial calls the governor's support for the redistricting proposal in California --- which failed --- the best endorsement for doing the same here.
Eastbound on I-4, the Orlando Sentinel editorial page endorses the idea of a medical school at the University of Central Florida. No surprise the Sentinel favours the hometown school over placing the med school at Florida State University, as the opinion is that it would aid in relieving the state's current physician shortage and that doing nothing would potentially do great harm to the state's economic future.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal comes out opposing President Bush's plan to sell off 300,000 acres from the national forest system --- including the Ocala National Forest --- as well as 500,000 acres within the Bureau of Land Management, even saying that "from some vantage points, it looks like an outright scam". It says the administration's excuse doesn't hold water, either, as the rural school programme that it says money from the sales would temporairly fund is actually being phased out.
Over on the other side of the state, the Tampa Tribune is endorsing a petition drive which should begin within the next few days to allow Hillsborough County voters the opportunity to decide it's current appointed county administrator system with an elected county mayor as is done in Orange, Miami-Dade, and Duval (Jacksonville) counties. It says that while Hillsborough County has a capable manager now in Pat Bean, the County Commission limits her latitude to solve major problems, something that would be eliminated with a county mayor.
Across Tampa Bay, the St. Petersburg Times remembers the six month mark following Hurricane Katrina. After President Bush rejected what it called a "sensible idea" by Congressman Richard Baker (R - LA) to create a Louisiana Recovery Corporation, it says the plan by Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D - LA) is "filling the void" and is worth consideration.
The lessons of Katrina are also on the minds of those on the Sarasota Herald Tribune editorial board, which has several specific reforms that it says should be seriously explored. Among those are making the Federal Emergency Management Agency a seperate office again and giving the military a more prominant role in domestic disaster response.
The Pensacola News Journal says that the local option sales tax needs to remain, but property tax relief is needed as well. So it says that higher impact fees on new construction and development is one way to bring such relief to Escambia Countians, and should be considered.
Today's editorial in the Miami Herald deals with the prison camp at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The opinion is that the administation should be called to answer how long and under what circumstances the prison will remain open, and that overall a better detention policy is needed for our war on terror.
Paved greenways are not allowed in Gainesville, and the Gainesville Sun calls the charter initiative banning them not only ill-conceived but sloppily written. A "glitch amendment" will be brought before the voters there March 7 which would allow paved parking lots, basketball and tennis courts and other park improvements but still not allowing greenways along Hogtown Creek. While the Sun would like to see the anti-greenway ban reversed, it supports the amendment before the voters.
What happens if your school board forms a Construction Advisory Council and noone comes forward to serve? That's the case in Marion County now with only two applications being received. The school district there has had great success with getting new schools built on time and often under budget, so the Ocala Star Banner says those supporting the idea of a CAC should consider the lack of interest as a compliment and let the idea die.
The Melbourne-based Space Coast newspaper Florida Today notes that Brevard County's growth put the area on the Milken Institute's Top 10 list for job gains among 200 metro areas nationwide. The opinion is that while that it is certainly commendable, growth is a double-edged sword demanding more investment in rising private needs and reminding us that many others are falling behind...and that cannot be allowed to be forgotten. BTW: Lakeland ranked 33rd, up from 67th last year.
In the state capitol, the Tallahassee Democrat salutes State Senator Rod Smith (D - Alachua) and State Representative David Simmons (R - Altamonte Springs) for their efforts to clarify statutes regarding the idea of "false light" when it comes to damaging a person's reputation and noting that truth must remain a defense in such cases.
The Palm Beach Post uses it's editorial space this morning to criticize Mayor Lois Frankel for using private gatherings with business and community leaders to announce her wish to overturn a referendum from ten years ago setting a five story limit on new construction east of Olive Avenue along the downtown waterfront. The mayor wants to approve a 15-20 story condo tower in the area where City Hall currently is, using the proceeds to build a new administration building at Clematis Street and Dixie Highway.
The Florida Times Union of Jacksonville calls on more attention to be given on the area's high suicide rate, citing that during the past three years there were more suicides in Duval County than murders.
And the South Florida Sun Suntinel, while saying that the Bush Administration did the right thing in extending temporary residencey status for Central Americans, suggests that it should extend the same courtesy to Hatians. The editorial says that Hatians qualify for TPS, and that offering it sends a message of good will and support.
Make it a great Sunday.