SUNDAY CENTRAL FLORIDA EDITORIAL ROUNDUP
Let's look at what the editorial pages around the I-4 Corridor have to say today...
We'll begin in Sarasota --- a little out of the way, I admit --- where the Sarasota Herald Tribune opinion says that the United States would have a better chance securing it's borders if it would only ease the pressures on the borders. It notes that while a new or improved guest worker programme as suggested by President Bush in his State of the Union address would not provide the resolution he hopes, it would allow law enforcement agents and the Border Patrol to focus more on terrorists and criminals seeking to enter our country.
Higher education is a major issue being discussed in several Central Florida editorial pages this morning, thanks to the recently released, brutally honest assessment of Florida's system by the Pappas Consulting Group and commissioned by the state's Board of Governors. The Daytona Beach News Journal takes note that while there has in the past been a disconnect between the five colleges and universities based in Volusia and Flagler counties and the communities where they are located, the situation is improving. And it takes note of the Volusia/Flagler Higher Education Consortium, which was founded six years ago and through which the DBNJ says community leaders should use to begin a dialogue.
The Tampa Tribune correctly calls the assessment "a call to action", and calls on Governor Charlie Crist to 1) convene a higher-education summit to confront the issues raised in the Pappas assessment, and 2) appont a second commission which would address the financial challenges posed by the Bright Futures scholarship programme and the Stanley G. Tate Prepaid College Plan. And across the bay, the St. Petersburg Times notes that the lack of a master plan has promoted ineffeicency and duplication, not to mention political meddling. While it doesn't give specific recommendations, the Times says that the issue deserves "a dignified and orderly debate".
Politics is the order of the day on the Orlando Sentinel opinion page this morning. The field of announced presidential candidates from both major political parties is already crowded (see the list here), not to mention those who are considering a run and the third party and independent candidates. The Sentinel has published the type of speech they would like to hear from a candidate, regardless of party.
Here at home, the Lakeland Ledger editorial takes note of the recently released first annual report by the 15-member Century Commission for a Sustainable Florida, established two years ago to look 50 years into the future and predict the long term consequences of decisions made today. It encourages the governor and legislators to seriously consider the recomendations from the report, chief among them a need to begin a process to reduce the state's dependence on imported oil.
And the Melbourne-based Florida Today is using it's editorial space today to invite readers to a forum being held Tuesday to explore the growing affordable housing crisis in Brevard County and throughout the Space Coast region. It notes that within the past six years, Brevard's median home price has skyrocketed from about $93,000 to more than $200,000 while salaries have failed to keep pace.
I've got to work today, so everyone take care, and keep warm...it's gonna be chilly for the next few days.