Sunday, April 30, 2006


Beginning our tour of the Sunshine State by looking at the St. Petersburg Times' editorial page, where it laments that while most of us are struggling to affort the ever-increasing price of gasoline, Congress comes to the their eight cylinder gas guzzlers. It notes several cases of leaders of both parties talking about the need for fuel efficiency, then getting into their SUV/minivans which get in many cases less than 20 miles per gallon.

The Miami Herald also opines on energy issues, saying that the current gas crisis calls on the federal government to have a long-term strategy as well as encouraging the use of mass transit and development of reliable alternatives to fossil fuels. It also reminds us that a credible policy must include a significant increase in fuel efficiency standards for all vehicles.

Florida Today on the Space Coast makes many of the same points and ideas made in the Herald editorial while slamming record oil company profits and calling much of the posturing being made by Washington types as simple gas price hypocrisy.

Taking a slightly different angle, the Fort Myers News-Press says that $3 a gallon gas "is the best thing to happen to America's energy situation since the oil price shocks of the 1970s. Gas at $3.50 or $4 would be even better. And if you are complaining about it you're wasting your time." The opinion is that our dependence on fossil fuels is the real problem, and that our leaders should make a serious commitment to energy independence.

Meanwhile, the Tampa Tribune reminds us that legislators have some chores to finish such as working out the details on a $70 billion budget, passing an ethics reform package, reform the homeowners insurance industry by repairing Citizens Property Insurance Corporation while seeking ways to bring private carriers back to Florida, and devising a sensible but affordable way for school districts to meet the mandate of the class-size amendment.

The Palm Beach Post opinion this morning notes that Congresswoman Katherine Harris (R - Longboat Key) has uncorked yet another problem in her campaign for the U.S. Senate, thanks to the dinner at a Washington restaurant she had with defense contractor Mitchell Wade, who later admitted bribing a California congressman and who gave Harris illegal campaign contributions two years ago.

Down the road in Broward County, the Fort Lauderdale-based South Florida Sun Sentinel says that while there is little reason to doubt the qualifications of temporary workers charged with grading Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test essay questions, skeptics such as the two legislators who have filed a lawsuit to force disclosure of the workers' names have a right to the information as such secrecy violates at least the spirit of the state's Government-In-the-Sunshine Law.

Today's editorial in the Orlando Sentinel is opposing a strike Monday by immigrants and supporters of immigration reform, noting that it would be ironic that as the Senate is seemingly close to a breakthrough on the issue a nationwide strike called on behalf of that cause ended up hurting the effort.

Heading back up I-95 to Jacksonville, the Florida Times Union is concerned about the contract over naming rights to Alltel Stadium, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars. It believes the amount being paid is much too low (the city splits the amount with the Jags), and calls on Mayor John Peyton to deliver on his campaign promise to run the city more like a business and seek a significantly better deal when Alltel's contract expires next July.

In the state capitol, it's not legislative matters that take up today's editorial space in the Tallahassee Democrat: It's the effort to revitalize Gaines Street, making it a welcoming destination and link between Florida State and Florida A&M universities. The opinion is that the city and FSU should team up in the effort.

The Gainesville Sun reminds us that NASA recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the space shuttle programme, and as the three remaining shuttles are heading toward retirement, it is other retirements that are of greater concern as we wonder about the next generation of space vehicle to replace them: The space agency is having difficulty recruiting young, skilled engineers and scientists to replace the estimated 40 percent of the workforce now over the age of 50.

Vision is the subject of today's editorial in the Daytona Beach News-Journal. Restoring vision to the future of Daytona Beach. Many were shocked and did not like the scenario favoured by a consulting firm hired by the city commission which did not include sufficient public comment, and now the city's Executive Visioning Committee is being called on whether to accept the plan. The editorial calls on the panel to reject parts of the idea while considering others.

Following the death in the Escambia County Jail last August of a prisoner described by the local coroner as a "paranoid schizophrenic", today's Pensacola News Journal takes the opinion that county officials should take a serious look at creating a programme to deal with mentally unstable crime suspects.

A couple of newspapers are not featured here this morning. I have to work today, so I began this earlier than normal.

Make it a great Sunday!


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