Round-up of Sunday newspaper editorials

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St. Petersburg Times – Cut to Tampa streetcar hurts business
The Tampa Port Authority made a shortsighted decision to abruptly end its $150,000 annual subsidy to the cash-strapped streetcar. The streetcar may be tangential to the port’s primary business, but it brings people to the waterfront, and it is an affordable marketing tool to develop the port over the long term. The board should revisit its decision, and then the community should have a broader discussion about saving the trolley.
St. Petersburg Times – Threatening Florida’s water
JEOPARDIZING FLORIDA’S DRINKING WATER, scrapping purchases of sensitive lands, and rubber-stamping permits for agricultural and industrial water hogs puts the state’s future at risk. Yet for Gov. Rick Scott’s administration, that is reason to celebrate. And for all the damage he and the Legislature already have caused, the governor is just getting started.
In this day and age when employers expect greater productivity of workers but don’t offer additional compensation, employees are happy to oblige just to take home a paycheck and avoid the long unemployment lines. What is left unspoken is usually the only solution to the dilemma of “doing more with less.” And that is working overtime or nights and weekends — off the clock.
To his credit, Manatee County Sheriff’s Lt. John Murrell put in long hours but did not put in for overtime — the new normal for Americans everywhere. But Murrell ran afoul of department policy, earning the ire of superiors and a three-week suspension without pay.
Daytona Beach News-Journal – Police should push harder on pill mills
A serious crackdown on the illicit use of prescription drugs now under way in Florida should change the Sunshine State’s disgraceful reputation as a pill-mill state.
It’s a new type of drug war that law enforcement officials believe will save lives.
Federal and state officials announced results last week from a three-year investigation known as Operation Oxy Alley in which 32 people were arrested, mostly in South Florida. The charges ranged from intent to distribute controlled substances to racketeering conspiracy — the latter charge being a relatively new strategy in the fight against the abuse of prescription drugs. It will likely not be the last time federal and state officials pursue operators of pill mills as organized crime participants and racketeers.
Florida Times-Union – Tolls in Duval break a solemn promise
Duval County residents should not be charged tolls for widening a state road they already paid for.
Residents here already pay a half-cent sales tax to replace the tolls. And they pay a half-cent sales tax to build new roads as part of the Better Jacksonville Plan.
The Gainesville Sun – Ready or not
Ready or not, the Obama administration has announced plans to hold the first sale of offshore oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico since last year’s BP disaster.
Environmentalists voiced legitimate concerns after last week’s announcement, pointing out that the full impacts of the BP spill are still unknown.
Fortunately, it takes years of preparation between the leasing of an offshore site and the extraction of oil.
Seat 1 is one of three contested for the five-member City Commission in the Sept. 6 Winter Haven election.
Debra “Debbie O” Ogzewalla is challenging James H. “J.P.” Powell, a first-term commissioner. Ogzewalla is co-owner of the U Sold It Shop, and formerly worked in real estate sales and marketing, specializing in tourism in Orlando.
The Miami Herald – The spark of disobedience
An extraordinary event occurred in Havana last week. Four women staged a brief protest against the Castro regime on the steps of the Capitol building — unusual in itself — and a host of onlookers quickly gathered. The surprise came when police showed up to arrest the protesters, members of the Rosa Parks Feminist Movement for Civil Rights, and the crowd suddenly erupted with taunts and jeers against the security agents.
Suéltalas, carajo! (Let them go, damn it!), yelled an angry bystander. Others called the police shameless ( descarados) and hurled epithets. The crowd did not try to stop the detentions, but they had no qualms about calling Castro’s thugs by the names they richly deserved — bullies and abusers.

It takes a village to raise a child, the saying goes.
To get a major component of that raising done properly, teachers need to help parents and guardians, and vice versa.
Schools and households need to reinforce each other, rather than be in conflict or regard each other with contempt.
Parkside Elementary School, in the East Naples neighborhood of Naples Manor, is off to a head start working in that direction.
In a single day this week, we joined you in noticing more headlines showing that reduced property values and retail sales are translating into less income for public-sector services and personnel. In turn, some of the corresponding cuts could add to our unemployment rate and curtail services for those who, at this time, need help the most.
Florida’s gonna make some folks think they’re livin’ in Tombstone, Dodge or Deadwood. That’s ’cause Groveland just made it possible for pardners there to shoot their guns into the air. Boca Raton took down its “no guns allowed” sign at City Hall. And yonder in Pinellas Countyand Jacksonville, they’re gettin’ rid of laws that plum say you can’t fire yer weapon within county and city lines.
Pensacola News Journal – Empty buildings require action

As our series beginning today on the front page illustrates, an unfortunate fact of Pensacola real estate is the number of interesting, even significant, buildings that are vacant, and have been for some time.
For any community, empty buildings are a problem — especially if they reflect a slow economy. But they also can create problems for neighborhoods, downtowns and other areas. They can draw crime, illegally shelter homeless people, become magnets for drug use and litter, and devalue surrounding homes and businesses.
What’s the answer?
It is a monument worthy of the man’s dominating place in American history.
When the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is dedicated on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., it will be the first such honor for someone who was not a president. It will also be the first such honor for an African American.
It would have been fitting to have the unveiling on the 48th anniversary of King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Gov. Rick Scott are considering ditching personal injury protection insurance in Florida.
They know, as the Tribune’s Catherine Whittenburg pointed out last week, that even as the number of car crashes in the Sunshine State has dropped, auto insurers are nevertheless paying more every year on personal injury claims — all told $940 million more in 2008. PIP, required by Florida law, has become a cottage industry for con artists.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.