SUNDAY FLORIDA EDITORIAL ROUNDUP
Good morning! I hope that everyone is enjoying their weekend. As for me, it's allright; a bit more sunburned after a couple of hours with my beloved granddaughter in the pool Saturday, but it was worth the pain.
Let's see what the Florida newspaper editorial writers are concerned about this morning:The Miami Herald opines
that the Sunshine State's congressional delegation, once unified against oil and gas drilling closer to our beaches, has become splintered, with Congressmen Mario Diaz-Balart
(R - Miami) and Jeff Miller
(R - Pensacola) supporting HR 4761
which passed committee last week and would allow drilling 50 miles or even less offshore. The editorial calls on them to vote with the rest of the delegation against the bill, and it favours the idea of Florida U.S. Senators Bill Nelson
(D) and Mel Martinez
(R) to create a no-drill buffer of 260 miles from Tampa and Naples. The Pensacola News Journal also makes note of the issue
, saying that it would be ironic if Floridians had to depend on President Bush to veto a bill on offshore drilling off our coast, but that's unlikely. The PNJ
has supported a 100 mile buffer, but admits that at some point the Florida delegation will have to cut the best deal it can, considering that a number of Republican members are weakening on the issue.
In Fort Lauderdale, the South Florida Sun Sentinel mentions
the good news that the Florida Department of Children and Families
recieved recently as the Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability
took note that foster children are obtaining permanent placements more quickly, case managers have lower caseloads and more foster homes are available. However, there is a higher percentage of children who experience repeated abuse and return to foster care, starting salaries for caseworkers are lower than before DCF turned over its operations to local agencies, and staff turnover rates have gone up. Foster parents don't receive enough money from the state to help raise foster children, and the local agencies that currently oversee foster care aren't much better at working with foster parents than the state bureaucracy that once ran foster care. The editorial says that DCF must step up if the idea of community-based care is to succeed.Babcock Ranch
is on the minds of the opinion writers at the Naples Daily News
once again, as developer Syd Kitson is seeking $2 million in federal money for enviromential projects on the 91,000 acre property. The editorial reminds us that Kitson spoke of partnerships when seeking approval for the project, which also included state and county taxpayer money to set aside 74,000 acres of the land. The Daily News
is wondering when Kitson plans to put some of his own money on the table.Today's Fort Myers News-Press editorial
is concerned about what it sees as a myriad of problems with Lee County's 22 seperate fire departments, saying spending and accounting abuses are out of control, and proposing consolidating them into one countywide fire service. After a study on the effects of consolidation, such a move would require approval by the Lee County Commission
, the state legislature, and eventually Lee County voters.West Palm Beach
's reputation as a increasingly violent place has grown, with murders and violent crime rates going up. Some residents on the north side of WPB say it has been happening since Mayor Lois Franken
took office, with her telling the residents that police are doing all they can. But Police Chief Delsa Bush
said she would bring in consultants to evaluate her department, has created a special unit to investigate the murder cases, and has asked for help in several area, including ordinances to crack down on panhandlers, a ban on handguns, and a requirement for 24-hour convenience stores to install survellience equipment. The Palm Beach Post calls
on commissioners to provide Chief Bush the support she needs, and also notes Mayor Franken needs to change her approach toward residents.
Americans have always been ready to help, but many nonprofits feared a case of "compassion fatigue" because of the many pleas for financial assistance. However, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune editorial page
mentions a report from the Giving USA Foundation
that showed Americans gave $260 billion last year, including a record amount in disaster relief due to Hurricane Katrina. It reminds us that the need for help will always be there, and may actually rise with the new hurricane season.
With the gubernatorial primaries ten weeks away, the St. Petersburg Times complains today
that the four main candidates are not giving Floridians many positions which are either interesting or innovative, calling what they have presented as unrealistic or simplistic or both and that they can all do better. It says that the candidates should start thinking as big as the office they are running for.
Across the Bay, today's Tampa Tribune editorial
calls for Governor Jeb Bush
to take off the gloves in the battle with federal officials after a recent report card contridicted the state's record gains in education
. The governor has serious doubts about the federal No Child Left Behind programme
, and the Tribune
suggests that he should lead a coalition of governors to demand change.
Here at home, the Lakeland Ledger is concerned
about funding for the Florida Forever programme
to acquire, manage, and restore natrual lands which has not changed in 15 years while land prices have skyrocketed. It notes that "This year, it has received 30 percent more applications than last year; the dollar amount is four times more than available funding."
It also notes that 28 counties, including Polk, have made those Florida Forever funds go further by enacting locally funded programmes. The Ledger
calls on legislators to commit to a mammoth funding increase.
"Failure all around". That's what the headline of today's Orlando Sentinel editorial
, which blames Orange County School Board member Kathleen "Kat" Gordon
and Superintendent Ron Blocker
for poor showings for several high schools on the FCAT, including two in Ms. Gordon's district. It calls on the district to OK Mr. Blocker's idea to add a seventh period to the day at the high schools in question but include a demand of Education Commissioner John Winn
to require failing students to attend one-on-one tutoring during that time.
With housing prices continuing to head upward and keep many out of the market, the Daytona Beach News Journal presents several suggestions
on how business and government to work together to prevent a collapse of the American dream for many families.The opinion in Melbourne-based Florida Today is concerned
with the decision to launch the space shuttle Discovery
, scheduled for takeoff Saturday, one which it says will make or break the shuttle programme. It mentions that NASA
has admitted that it has not fixed the problem that caused the 2003 Columbia tragedy, and notes that while Administrator Michael Griffin
said this past week that Discovery was ready to fly, NASA's top safety official and chief engineer voted against it...a rare case of public dissent among agency leadership.The Ocala Star Banner editorial
makes note today that the local effort to save Silver Springs
has grown into a statewide movement, and that the outside attention to save it from development into an 11,000 home city is welcome. The Florida Forever programme is reportedly about the finalize it's appraisal of much of the 5,200 acres owned by developer Avatar...which had rejected a previous offer as too low. The Star Banner
says that "Getting the deal done between DEP and Avatar is not an option, it's a necessity. The 500 million gallons of water a day that flows from Silver Springs is not just a beautiful natural wonder for the enjoyment of tourists and boaters. It is a huge and real sample of what we here in Ocala/Marion County drink every day.
Didn't know about spoofing caller ID? The Gainesville Sun deals with the issue
today. It is when "a spoofer uses a Web site to make a telephone call; the Web site changes the spoofer's caller ID number so it becomes any other telephone number the spoofer desires when it pops up at the other end of the line
." Businesses and emergency responders rely on caller ID to be dependable and accurate, and with the backing of Agricultrual and Consumer Services Secretary Charles Bronson
spoofing caller ID became illegal in Florida after Governor Bush
signed a bill which passed the Legislature unanimously this session, and the Sun
calls on Congress to catch up with Tallahassee.Today's Florida Times-Union
, based in Jacksonville, looks at proposed changes to neighbouring Clay County's government charter
which may go to the electorate at the November general election. It calls three of the four proposals --- a beefed up ethics clause, a stronger non-interference clause, and a proposal to add two at-large council members --- desperately needed. It says the fourth, which would make it slightly more difficult to place citizen inititave amendments on the ballot, not urgent.The Tallahassee Democrat
ran a three day series that began last Sunday dealing with the pristine past, polluted present, and the uncertain future of Wakulla Springs
. Today, the editorial deals with the issue, and says that we have dropped ball on responsible stewardship of the waters, and that it's time to recover the fumble. The editorial has several suggestions on how to improve what it calls a crisis on the verge of a calamity.
Friends, make it a good Sunday, and take some time to read some of the posts from the past few days...and visit often, OK?