St. Petersburg Times -Don’t make youthful mistakes into felonies
The Florida House on Friday voted to lessen the criminal consequences for teens caught transmitting nude photos of themselves. The Senate should concur. Such poor youthful decisions should be teachable moments about privacy and restraint, not life-altering felonies.
Bradenton Herald -Redevelopment agencies standing at a crossroads
Both the City of Bradenton and Manatee County put community redevelopment agencies under the microscope last week as concern mounts over the impact of falling revenue on projects and the future direction of the CRAs.
While now is an opportune time to stimulate neighborhood revitalization with improvement projects designed to fight blight and attract private investment, CRAs are losing their ability to fund projects due to the collapse of the real estate market.
Daytona Beach News-Journal -Foundation should pay off debt to college
It’s unfortunate that Daytona Beach Mayor Glenn Ritchey finds himself in a lonely leadership role on two vexing issues facing the community. The mayor is trying to figure out how to bring the London Symphony Orchestra back to the city. And he wants to use LSO events to pay off a $1.5 million debt a prominent local nonprofit group owes to Daytona State College.
Florida Times-Union -Endorsement: Brown for Mayor, best choice to lead city
For supporters of Audrey Moran for mayor, the question in the election of May 17 is simple: Which candidate best fits her qualities of leadership, compassion and the ability to rally the city in difficult times?And in a city that has often been described as “two Jacksonvilles,” Brown is best suited to pull the city together.
Florida Today -More tough choices
By any measure, Brevard County commissioners have taken painful steps the past few years to cut the budget as tax revenue has plunged because of the recession.
When the proposed budget for fiscal year 2012 is rolled out in a few weeks, commissioners expect property tax revenue to have fallen as much as another 17 percent as the depressed real estate market and shuttle program? end wreak more trouble.That could mean they?l have to cut $50 million more from the county? $1 billion budget, bringing the prospect of steep program reductions.
Fort Myers News-Press -Tie Congress down on spending
The politicians in Washington need a game-changer when it comes to the bloated federal budget.
Bitter partisanship seems to prevent the kinds of deals that Congress and the president used to be able to work out when numbers were the issue, and splitting the difference the natural way out.
The Gainesville Sun -Deadly winds
This week’s death toll from tornadoes topped 300 as of Friday. Coming on top of at least 55 tornado-related fatalities earlier this spring, the destruction is almost incomprehensible.
Floridians know how deadly weather can be. But even in the 2004 freak hurricane season the number of lives lost in our state was less than a fourth of those taken by one day’s worth of tornadoes in Alabama and other Southern states this week.
Lakeland Ledger -Citizens Property Insurance: Scott’s Careless Plan
Citizens Property Insurance was created by the state government in response to a crisis. It is operating today in response to subsequent crises.
So, Floridians don’t need the advice of actuaries to reasonably fear that closing Citizens ?as Gov. Rick Scott and his staff have proposed to insurance-industry insiders ?would lead to another crisis.
Miami Herald -Florida? shameful failure
Society? most important obligation is to protect the most vulnerable among us ?the elderly, infirm and children. Reasonable people may disagree on how best to meet that duty, but Floridians resoundingly look to their government for a minimum of protection.Yet our state government is failing miserably on that front ?failing to protect our poorest of seniors and the mentally ill from abuse and neglect.And it was failing long before Florida faced an economic tumble. Worse yet, these are folks living in homes that taxpayers finance through Medicaid, the federal-state partnership that puts Florida in charge of caring for the poorest sick residents.
Naples Daily News -Collier Board of Commissioners: Self-imposed ban on accepting gifts
The commission? self-imposed ban on accepting gifts and paying to attend special events now includes a provision for skipping publicly funded donations to sponsors.In the wake of the Stadium Naples scandal, when a culture of giving and getting gifts was exposed, commissioners at the time responded by outlawing freebie lunches and dinners. Instead, they decided to seek reimbursement for events that they considered important ?part of their line of work ?and posting those events and prices on commission agendas for the public to inspect and judge for themselves.
Orlando Sentinel -Salvage the session
Watching legislators try closing the state’s $3.8 billion shortfall while pushing their extreme agenda hasn’t been easy.Funding for education’s sure to take a hit. Developers are getting what they want: a repeal of state growth laws that’ll give them the run of the place. And groups of Floridians are about to lose their freedoms, ironically, to lawmakers who say they’re all about expanding them: Several bills appear certain to chip away at a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion; and NRA-blessed legislation threatens to fine local officials who dare to pass gun-regulating ordinances. A proposed vivisection of the state Supreme Court also threatens to throw the state’s checks and balances out of whack.
Palm Beach Post -No ethics problems for Gov. Scott?
Rick Scott? many critics say he hasn? done enough to separate his personal finances from his decisions as governor, but the Florida Commission on Ethics staff has issued a preliminary report that clears the governor of any violations.
Pensacola News Journal -Landfilling for dollars
Why is Escambia County planning to spend millions of dollars to “clean up” the Saufley Landfill, when one likely result is that it will simply spread polluted material to two equally unsuitable, and similarly unlined, landfills?
Sarasota Herald-Tribune -Stop the bondsmen’s relief act
The Bail Bondsmen’s Support and Relief Act is moving ?faster than a fleeing felon ?toward approval in the Florida Legislature.
The progress of this special-interest legislation should be arrested ?quickly, before Floridians pay unnecessary costs.The legislation is officially and innocuously identified as Senate Bill 1398 and House Bill 1379. Yet it is overtly and shamelessly intended to protect the turf ?and increase the revenues ?of multimillion-dollar bail-bond industry and its benefactors in banking and insurance.
The emails of public officials can be quite revealing.Case in point? An April 2, email Vero Beach Vice Mayor Pilar Turner sent to Indian River County School Board member Carol Johnson.
Sun-Sentinel -No sacred cows in school budget-cutting
The budget-cutting pain in Broward schools has to be shared. And that means it has to start at the top.There can be no sacred cows when you have to cut almost $150 million from next year’s budget. That’s not the kind of money you can make up by simply setting the thermostat up a degree or two. And there are no additional stimulus millions available this year to help make up the deficit.
Tampa Tribune -Showdown on debt
Congress has been raising the debt ceiling at regular intervals for decades, but this year there is a difference. The debt is now growing so fast that raising it presents an irresistible opportunity for a partisan fight.
Without the authorization to continue borrowing up to some new limit that Congress will set, the federal government would have to trim expenses down to $180 billion a month, and do it fast. That’s just not possible.