Sunday, October 01, 2006


We begin this weekly tour of the Sunshine State's newspaper editorials in South Florida, which we missed last week. Today's opinion in the Miami Herald reminds us that human rights remain under siege in Cuba, confirmed once again by the latest report of French attorney Christine Chanet, the United Nations Human Rights Council observer.

Just up I-95 in Fort Lauderdale, the South Florida Sun Sentinel editorial doesn't like the idea of naming parks for politicians who are still alive, especially when they have been divisive. That was the case with the a local civic association's request to name a park for longtime Hollywood city commissioner Sal Olivari who was actively involved in the battle to get an Orthodox Jewish synagogue out of their neighbourhood. The commission voted against the request, and the Sun Sentinel suggests that the park be named Veterans Park...simple, non-political, respectful.

Affordable housing is an issue in Collier County as well as everywhere else across Florida, and the Naples Daily News editorial page wonders if impact fee deferrals for new homes in the upper-lower and middle price ranges would help. With the median home price in Collier at $470,000, the idea the newspaper brings forth is that the current value cap of $250,000 which qualifies a home for deferral could be adjusted.

It's unusual when an editorial is done in first person form, but Palm Beach Post editorial page editor Randy Schultz does so today in writing that while the case of now-former congressman Mark Foley is tragic, "Only he knows why he was so stupid and reckless". Schultz reminds us that the pages with whom Foley communicated with in those sexually explicit e-mails and IMs are the real victims.

Most of us were amazed last week watching the pictures of the Asa Lamb mansion being shipped --- literally --- underneath the Sunshine Skyway bridge from it's former home in Palmetto to it's new location in Ruskin. But the Sarasota Herald Tribune says there is an ugly side to the move, that not only was it had to be moved as a developer wanted the site to build condominiums, but that yet another piece of Manatee County's history is now gone forever.

The Melbourne-based Florida Today uses it's editorial space today to remind readers of two election-related events: A forum this week to meet and ask questions of the candidates for the Brevard County Commission, and that early voting begins along the Space Coast --- and elsewhere across Florida --- on October 23 and ends November 4.

Today's St. Petersburg Times opinion deals with the fact that in order to get at those we suspect of terrorism, Congress has weakened the protections that have defined us as a nation for more than two centuries by giving the Bush Administration powers it once usurped and that, once again, it will be up to our judiciary to protect those fundamentals of our system of justice.

Nemours, one of the nation's largest children's health systems, wants to spend $350 of it's own money to build a children's hospital in Orlando. The idea is strongly opposed by the existing hospital systems in the area, with whom Nemours would compete. While local leaders have expressed support for the project, it has been in whispers, for which the Orlando Sentinel laments in it's editorial today. It urges the political leaders to "show some backbone" and bring the sides together.

The Tampa Tribune seems to have little confidence in Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson in the wake of a myriad of problems and other issues coming from his office, and it's opinion today is that he's got to prove that he's up to the job by focusing on the fundamentals as we approach the November general election.

Another SOE whose competence is being called into question is Duval County's Jerry Holland. The Florida Times Union, noting that Holland has said he is open to suggestions, does just that today and reminds him that it is not acceptable to reference the errors of predecessors when he has a chance to do it right.

When the Legislature amended the state's Growth Management Act two years ago, it required that cities and counties consider school capacity before approving new housing construction and that interlocal plans between local governments and school districts must be ready by December 1, 2008. Today's Daytona Beach News Journal editorial endorses a school planning amendment to Volusia County's charter on the November 7 ballot which it says would make it one of the first counties to comply with that requirment.

The Gainesville Sun makes note of a recent quote from federal Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, who said "I talk about No Child Left Behind like Ivory Soap. It's 99.9 percent pure". The Sun reminds us that even strongly Republican states such as Utah complain about the law's punitive nature and seemingly impossable mandates, while urging Congress to revisit NCLB with an eye to making it's goals more achievable.

The state's plan to purchase from developer Avatar more than 4,000 acres of it's enviromentally sensitive Ocala Springs property fell through when the money --- between reportedly $75-80 million --- couldn't be put together quickly enough as it was coming from a number of sources. While the deal is by no means dead, the Ocala Star Banner urges all parties to make it happen.

Today's Tallahassee Democrat editorial looks as the failure of the city's Civic Center Authority and it's failures in building a convention hotel on the west side of the facility due to a number of issues with the developers. The newspaper urges the Authority, after ten years of negotiations, to settle with the Palm Beach-based group and reclaim it's options on the public land.

And the Pensacola News Journal opinion piece is hoping that a new residential development will be a positive step in revitalizing the city's downtown area. While many new downtown residential projects are aimed toward upper-income residents, the Hawkshaw Eastside developers have said that at least a quarter of it's units will be below $200,000 with estimated starting prices of $124,900 for a one bedroom residence.

The Fort Myers News Press and Lakeland Ledger Websites were not updated as of mid-morning, so were not included.

Make it a great Sunday...looks like it will be a wonderful day to enjoy Florida's outdoor life!


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