Sunday, April 16, 2006


We begin our electronic travels here at home, where the Lakeland Ledger is supportive of Senate Bill 282, sponsored by State Senator Paula Dockery (R - Lakeland), which would give comsumers open choices on purchasing wines from out of state while requiring proof of age at time of purchase and time of delivery. Although the courts have struck down protectionist laws such as the one here banning shipments of wine from out-of-state wineries to individual Floridians, this proposed bill flies in the face of efforts to limit consumer choices.

Today's editorial in the Miami Herald encourages the Legislature to use it's record budget surplus to help the Broward and Dade County school districts overcome their funding shortfall. Although it notes that the Senate proposal is better, it asks the South Florida delegation to work toward picking the best features of both the House and Senate proposals for the benefit of their constitutents.

Meanwhile, the Tallahassee Democrat offers it's own idea on dealing with the budget surplus: conservative investment, which it says would acknowledge the importance of fiscal discipline and the consequence of not investing enough.

Up in Jacksonville, the Florida Times Union says there should be a better way to conduct our operation in Iraq than either "cut and run" or occupy for the long term. It supports the idea presented by Dr. Andrew Krepinevich in a Foreign Affairs article, known as an "oil spot strategy" focusing not on killing insurgents, but on protecting the Iraqi people by carefully choosing areas for security, the rewarding the people for cooperation by focusing reconstruction there.

More development in an enviromentally sensitive area is the concern expressed in today's Orlando Sentinel editorial. This time, it's a plan to build homes on a key part of a wildlife corridor in Lake County connecting the Wekiva River basin to the Ocala National Forest. It opines that commissioners would be "crazy" to approve such a plan, especially with no infastructure in place.

The Palm Beach Post is asking legislators to scrap a second "Save Our Homes" type constitutional amendment, using the words of Governor Jeb Bush --- no fan of government to begin with --- who said that the extreme property tax unfairness needs to be dealt with but added, "You also need to make sure that we don't create the unintended consequence of starving local governments."

Today's editorial in the Gainesville Sun supports the idea brought forth by 39 U.S. Senators who signed a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee calling on them to put up $234 million for the Head Start programme as a "down payment" for undo cuts last year.

And while on the subject of Head Start, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune notes that five years after officials threatened to take control of the programme in Manatee County from the Manatee Opportunity Council, there are problems once again. The editorial calls on leaders in the public and private sector there to work toward resolving the issues and provide temporary help or arrange for another organization to take control.

Children are also on the mind of today's Tampa Tribune editorial as controveresy continues to rage over proposed elementary school boundary changes, especially in northwest Hillsborough County. It asks the Hillsborough school board to defeat the proposal at it's scheduled meeting Tuesday and to make parents a viable part of the process to releive overcrowding.

Redrawing attendance zones is always a touchy subject, as the case in Hillsborough County makes clear. A countywide redistricting was recently brought up as an option by Chairwoman Sue Mosely of the Marion County School Board to help it's overcrowding problem, even as a half dozen new schools are planned there over the next five years. The Ocala Star Banner salutes Ms. Mosely for showing "courage and conviction" to even approach such an explosive subject without prompting.

The Fort Myers News-Press editorial page addresses the immigration debate issue. Fitting, since Fort Myers was host to one of the largest protests across Florida last week. It's opinion is that as much of the country is hardening into polar opposites on this issue, it is up to reasonable people inside and outside of Congress to save the day and united behind sensible compromise.

Closer to home, the St. Petersburg Times is concerned about our growing inability for people to seek out compromise and reasonable solutions because our growing "culture of meanness" hinders such a search.

Florida Today reminds us on this morning when Christians are celebrating Easter and days after Jews celebrated the Passover that it is they are not only religious holidays, but reminders that new life can begin with every sunrise. So what better time to drop old hatreds, seek common ground, and follow the lessons of the God we say we follow?

Up in the Panhandle, the Pensacola News Journal calls on local officials, who know that growth is coming, to begin looking at new ways to handle it besides building new roads and tweaking the zoning and development processes so that instead of growing suburban sprawl, new development --- or redevelopment --- can occur closer in.

A completely different type of concern in today's South Florida Sun Sentinel opinion page. As Florida continues to become more multilingual, the need for statewide standards for court interpreters is growing...and overdue. The newspaper is supportive of two bills which would provide that, sponsored by State Senator Alex Villalobos (R - Miami / Proposed Bill Text, SB 1128) and State Representative Anitere Flores (R - Miami / Proposed Bill Text, HB 849).

And we end with editorials on a positive note.

The Daytona Beach News Journal boasts that Volusia County could catapult to a leading role in multiuse recreational trails with the County Council decision two years ago dedicating $1 million a year for 20 years toward the plan. It asks for continued support in this effort for the health and welfare of residents and the protection of historical and enviromental resources. This reminder comes as the first leg of the planned Spring to Spring trail will be dedicated next month.

And the Naples Daily News reminds us that it's community support system is alive and well in the aftermath of a tragedy in January where the home of a couple and their six children was burned down, destroying everything they had. Churches, schools, and a variety of people from throughout the area have been overwhelmingly supportive of the family, and they are extremely appreciative.

The parents "...are supervising the children as they compile notebooks with the name of every single person who has come through with an act of kindness.

"That could be a donation. Or a sympathetic word.

Mother Mercedes wants the donors, and her children, to know how each act of kindness made a difference, and she wants each supporter --- someday, somehow --- to be thanked."

We should all learn from Ms. Davis' effort.

Make it a great Sunday!


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