Sunday, May 07, 2006


We begin our tour of the Sunshine State's editorial pages here at home. The Lakeland Ledger has focused on our mentally ill residents who, in many cases, struggle to cope in the real world. Unfortnately, a number of them end up in the justice system, which is ill-equipped to provide the treatment or attention they need. The Ledger editorial mentions the idea of a mental-health court for the 10th Judicial Circuit, but there is much work to be done there, and says that it's time for the Legislature to begin paying more attention to the growing problem.

With hurricane season fast approaching, the Miami Herald says that the lessons from Katrina and New Orleans' severe flooding apply to areas of South Florida. It calls on Florida's congressional delegation to put an overhaul of Lake Okeechobee's Herbert Hoover Dike, called for by a state-commissioned engineering report, on the front burner, and commends Governor Bush's calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains the dike, to shore up it's weak spots before the June 1 start of hurricane season.

Nearly 800 miles away, the Pensacola News Journal editorial lauds the successes made by Escambia County third graders in the latest FCAT test, but reminds us that there is still lots of work to be done as 30 percent did not meet the minimum standards in math skills, while 28 percent did not meet the standards in the reading portion.

Back down south, the Fort Lauderdale-based South Florida Sun Sentinel says that the Broward County Commission is being too cautious in establishing a policy on affordable housing, and suggests that they find the political will to use impact fees and restrictive covenants, which control resale prices for 30 years so that houses would remain affordable and prevent sellers from taking advantage of the county's investment, and study the experiences of other communities where they have been used.

Affordable housing is also the subject of the editorial in today's Naples Daily News. It calls on all sides --- government, builders, civic organizations, and others --- to begin planning together to fill in the severe gap, starting by "selecting development sites suitable for the additional density that will in turn allow a fair profit, keeping roads up to the added stress, and standing back".

And, while on the subject of affordable housing, the Sarasota Herald Tribune notes that the Legislature's $516 million package for affordable housing programmes passed last week in the rush before the session's end was overdue and still underfunded. And the opinion laments that not only have lawmakers raided the fund set aside for such purposes, they also passed a $243 million cap in the amount that can be put into the fund beginning next year.

Today's Orlando Sentinel editorial calls the commission formed to study merging Orlando and Orange County governments "a big disappointment" for failing to present any substantive recommendations on improving services or saving money by consilidating agencies. It does mention a few small steps noted in the reports that can still be done toward that eventual goal.

The opinion page in the Tallahassee Democrat lauds Capital Health Plan, an HMO serving four Panhandle counties, for launching a new programme offering low cost health insurance to uninsured workers in small businesses and noting that this new effort is one to watch.

The Melbourne-based Florida Today asks Congressman Dr. Dave Weldon (R - Indialantic) to reverse his decision in refusing to answer questions about money he "earmarked". Weldon is a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, and his decision is troubling especially that he was lobbied to get $1.55 million to establish a small business programme at Florida Tech by a firm owned by Edwin Buckham, who has been investigated for his ties to felonious briber Jack Abramoff.

Up the coast, the Daytona Beach News-Journal lauds representatives of eight counties for coming together and discussing how to plan regionally for it's continuing growth. The editorial reminds us that preserving open space and protecting enviromential quality is imperative if Central Florida is to remain an area that people want to live, and mentions similar efforts which have been successful in Portland, OR and Salt Lake City, UT as examples of how it can be done.

Growth and development also are the concern of today's Tampa Tribune opinion page, noting that the state's heritage is quickly vanishing as the ranches which had long been wild areas, grazing land, or groves are being replaced by new housing. The Trib lamented the loss of Two Rivers Ranch, located on the Hillsborough-Pasco border, as another example of the history being lost.

West Palm Beach is earning a growing reputation as a dangerous city following a recent series of shootings and the deaths of at least 21 black males during the past two years. The Palm Beach Post says that as Mayor Lois Frankel spends much of her time touting downtown redevelopment, she and Police Chief Delsa Bush have a higher priority in filling the police department's 21 open positions to help reverse the growing number of violent acts.

With gas prices near or above $3.00 a gallon, and politicians giving lip service to the idea of other alternatives, the Gainesville Sun notes that it's time for Congress to increase subsidies for mass transit.

The St. Petersburg Times editorial agrees with the sentence given to Zacarias Moussaoui last week, life in prison with no chance for parole, as it says the terrorist will live his remaining days in virtual isolation and be denied of the martydom he obviously sought. It also notes that the sentence proves that "average citizens can be called upon to dispassionately consider a highly charged emotional case and rise to that duty".

Big-box stores tend to look much the same, but cities and counties are beginning to demand better design and other concessions from the Wal-Marts, Targets, and Lowe's as they andItalic similar businesses enter their communities. Today's opinion in the Fort Myers News-Press encourages local governments in the region to require commercial big-box developers to consider local traditions and good taste in planning such projects.

The Ocala Star Banner editorial space this morning is used by new publisher Allen Parsons as a means of introducing himself to the readership. Parsons comes from the Florence (AL) Times Daily, where he also served as publisher.

And ending our tour in Jacksonville, the Florida Times Union notes that the Springfield area of Jacksonville, once a run-down area, has experienced a renaissance during the past few years with new and renovated homes. But it advised that the streets in the area "look like they belong in some Third World backwater", and asks the city to work on improving the situation.

I'm ready for a little nap. Make it a great Sunday.


Blogger James Fletcher Baxter said...

The missing element in every human 'solution' is
an accurate definition of the creature.

The way we define 'human' determines our view
of self, others, relationships, institutions, life, and
future. Important? Only the Creator who made us
in His own image is qualified to define us accurately.
Choose wisely...there are results.

Many problems in human experience are the result of
false and inaccurate definitions of humankind premised
in man-made religions and humanistic philosophies.

Each individual human being possesses a unique, highly
developed, and sensitive perception of diversity. Thus
aware, man is endowed with a natural capability for enact-
ing internal mental and external physical selectivity.
Quantitative and qualitative choice-making thus lends
itself as the superior basis of an active intelligence.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. His title describes
his definitive and typifying characteristic. Recall
that his other features are but vehicles of experi-
ence intent on the development of perceptive
awareness and the following acts of decision and
choice. Note that the products of man cannot define
him for they are the fruit of the discerning choice-
making process and include the cognition of self,
the utility of experience, the development of value-
measuring systems and language, and the accultur-
ation of civilization.

The arts and the sciences of man, as with his habits,
customs, and traditions, are the creative harvest of
his perceptive and selective powers. Creativity, the
creative process, is a choice-making process. His
articles, constructs, and commodities, however
marvelous to behold, deserve neither awe nor idol-
atry, for man, not his contrivance, is earth's own
highest expression of the creative process.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. The sublime and
significant act of choosing is, itself, the Archimedean
fulcrum upon which man levers and redirects the
forces of cause and effect to an elected level of qual-
ity and diversity. Further, it orients him toward a
natural environmental opportunity, freedom, and
bestows earth's title, The Choicemaker, on his
singular and plural brow.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. Psalm 25:12 He is by
nature and nature's God a creature of Choice - and of
Criteria. Psalm 119:30,173 His unique and definitive
characteristic is, and of Right ought to be, the natural
foundation of his environments, institutions, and re-
spectful relations to his fellow-man. Thus, he is orien-
ted to a Freedom whose roots are in the Order of the

Let us proclaim it. Behold!
The Season of Generation-Choicemaker Joel 3:14 KJV


12:25 AM  

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