Thursday, November 23, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Remaining patient after Irma

RECOMMENDED READING


There is no getting around it. Returning to normal after Hurricane Irma, even in very fortunate Tampa Bay, is going to take a while. Hundreds of thousands of Tampa Bay households on Tuesday remained without power, traffic signals were still out at hundreds of intersections and public schools throughout the region will be closed until Monday. We need to continue to be resourceful, helpful to our neighbors — and patient.

Nearly 6 million households statewide were without electricity Tuesday as Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy and Tampa Electric brought in thousands of workers to help restore power. That sense of urgency will have to stay elevated for days, and the utilities should keep their customers as well-informed as possible about the progress without raising false hopes. Being without lights and air conditioning is an inconvenience for anyone, but it also can be a public health and safety issue for many. The utilities are properly prioritizing repairs that can get power to the most people, but state and local officials should keep watch on their performance.

Sanitation crews on both sides of the bay are working diligently. In Tampa, crews began before dawn Tuesday collecting trash, and beginning Thursday will collect storm debris for the next month. Garbage trucks are rolling in St. Petersburg and brush sites are open. Hillsborough County extended its state of emergency an additional week over concerns about river flooding that was expected Tuesday.

With so many traffic signals still out, accidents at intersections remain a key concern. Motorists blowing through these intersections are endangering themselves and others, and everyone should treat these intersections as four-way stops. The driver on the widest, busiest street does not have the automatic right-of-way.

In other ways, the bay area is getting back on its feet. Groceries reopened Tuesday. So did the area airports and ports. At least three vessels carrying petroleum were expected at Port Tampa Bay late Tuesday, which will help get gas across the bay area and all of Central Florida.

The coming days will also expose the breadth of Irma's destruction. Some 400 shelters are still open in Florida, housing 94,000 people, including 17,000 with special needs. Search and rescue teams began operating in the Keys on Tuesday, and crews across Florida are assessing the strength of roads, bridges, water and sewer systems and other vital public infrastructure. The state has created helpful new online assistance for residents to access disaster aid and apply for insurance claims. With other parts of the state experiencing more serious damage and more difficult challenges, the bay area needs to be patient. It could easily have been worse here.

This is a time for everyone to do what they can. If you don't need those two cases of water, give them to someone who does. Help a neighbor clean up. Make a donation of time or money to charity. It has been incredible to see the outpouring of people in this community helping others. That sense of community spirit, coming second nature, has kept people fed and housed, helped to clear the roads, provided care for pets and brought some order to the chaos. If the pattern continues, every day will get better.

Comments

Another voice: Wall isnít a lifesaver, itís a boondoggle

The first stage of President Donald Trumpís controversial border wall project ended last week, while the prospects for any more construction ó and even what type of wall ó remain uncertain.A Border Patrol agent was killed and his partner seriously wo...
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/22/17

Another voice: Time for Republicans to denounce this tax nonsense

Mick Mulvaney, the phony deficit hawk President Donald Trump tapped to oversee the nationís budget, all but admitted on Sunday that the GOP tax plan currently before the Senate is built on fiction. Senators from whom the public should expect more ó s...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17
Editorial: Florida should restore online access to nursing home inspections

Editorial: Florida should restore online access to nursing home inspections

In a state with the nationís highest portion of residents over 65 years old and more than 80,000 nursing home beds, public records about those facilities should be as accessible as possible. Yet once again, Florida is turning back the clock to the da...
Published: 11/20/17

Another voice: A time of reckoning on sexual misconduct

Stories about powerful men engaging in sexual misconduct are becoming so common that, as with mass shootings, the country is in danger of growing inured to them. But unlike the tragic news about that latest deranged, murderous gunman, the massive out...
Published: 11/20/17

Another voice: Trump does the right thing for elephants; he shouldnít back down now

There is bad timing, and then there is this. Last week, an apparent military coup placed Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in custody, ushering in a new period of political uncertainty. A few days later, the Trump administration announced that Zimba...
Published: 11/19/17
Updated: 11/22/17
Editorial: Fighting the opioid crisis on many fronts

Editorial: Fighting the opioid crisis on many fronts

From birth to death, opioid addiction is ravaging the lives of thousands of Floridians. Drugmakers, doctors, state lawmakers and insurance companies all have a role to play in slowing the epidemic. Lately some more responsible answers, including mill...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/21/17

Editorial: Good for Tampa council member Frank Reddick to appeal for community help to solve Seminole Heights killings

As the sole black member of the Tampa City Council, Frank Reddick was moved Thursday to make a special appeal for help in solving four recent murders in the racially mixed neighborhood of Southeast Seminole Heights. "Iím pleading to my brothers. You ...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: Itís time to renew communityís commitment to Tampa Theatre

Editorial: Itís time to renew communityís commitment to Tampa Theatre

New attention to downtown Tampa as a place to live, work and play is transforming the area at a dizzying pace. Credit goes to recent projects, both public and private, such as the Tampa River Walk, new residential towers, a University of South Florid...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: A time for real thanksgiving

Editorial: A time for real thanksgiving

By now the guest list if not the table is all set, and the house will be warmed with the noise of loved ones and the smell of that dish with cream of mushroom soup. Tucked between the sugar rush of Halloween and the sparkle of Christmas, Thanksgiving...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/22/17
Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

The Rays definitely like Ybor City, and Ybor City seems to like the Rays. So what could possibly come between this match made in baseball stadium heaven? Hundreds (and hundreds and hundreds) of millions of dollars. Rays owner Stu Sternberg told Times...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17