Sunday, December 10, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Frank Artiles should resign from Florida Senate for racial slurs

Miami state Sen. Frank Artiles should resign from office for his racist tirade to a pair of his African-American colleagues. The Republican's public apology on the Senate floor Wednesday morning was insufficient, and there should be no tolerance in the Florida Legislature for such bigotry.

Artiles used a racial slur and other profanities Monday night at the members-only Governors Club in Tallahassee in a conversation with two black Democrats, Sens. Audrey Gibson of Jacksonville and Perry Thurston of Fort Lauderdale. The Miami Herald's Patricia Mazzei reported that Artiles used the word "n- - -as" in describing white Republicans who supported Senate President Joe Negron's campaign to lead the chamber. Gibson said Artiles also referred to her as "this f- - - - - - a- -h- - -" and "this b- - - -.'' There is no excuse for using such language anywhere, and it makes no difference that this was in a private conversation in a private club that was overheard by others.

In full damage control, Artiles took a rare moment of personal privilege when the Senate convened Wednesday morning and apologized to Gibson, Thurston and Negron. He called his language "crass and juvenile,'' but it was worse than that. His feeble attempt to explain his use of the "n- - -as" as vernacular from his hometown of Hialeah where "we share each other's customs'' reflects a stunning lack of sensitivity and understanding of the pain and denigration that word packs. News reports also indicate Artiles did not take the initiative to apologize and had to be steered in the direction.

Artiles, 43, is no stranger to using racist language or ethnic slurs. In 2014, he was secretly recorded at a Miami-Dade polling place using the word "hajis," a derogatory term directed at Muslims, Arabs and Middle Easterners.

Negron took away Artiles' committee chairmanship, but that is not enough. The Florida Senate is better than this, and no senator should tolerate such behavior. Yet Artiles said after his apology he intends to run for re-election in two years. That is the ultimate insult to the institution, and he should resign now.

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Editorial: U.S. House sides with NRA over stateís rights on concealed weapons permits

With the horror of the mass shootings at a Las Vegas country music concert and a small Texas church still fresh, the U.S. House finally has taken action on guns. But the bill it passed last week wonít make Americans safer from gun violence. It is an ...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

There is no satisfaction for anyone in the standoff over pay raises between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers. Most teachers across the nation already are underpaid, but this district simply cannot afford the raises teachers ex...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

With a buildout of $3 billion encompassing entire city blocks, itís obvious that Jeff Vinikís plans will change the look and feel of downtown Tampa. But the Tampa Bay Lightning owner unveiled a broader vision last week that reflects how far the impac...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17
Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

It is dangerous and illegal to text while driving in Florida, and police should be able to pull over and ticket those lawbreakers without witnessing another violation first. House Speaker Richard Corcoran has lent his powerful voice to legislation th...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Editorial: Outsourcing common sense on St. Petersburg Pier naming rights

St. Petersburg officials predict that selling the naming rights to parts of the new Pier could generate $100,000 in annual revenue. But first the city wants to pay a consultant to tell it how and to whom to sell the rights. Why do city officials need...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Another voice: Trumpís risky move

President Donald Trumpís decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israelís capital has a certain amount of common sense on its side. As a practical matter, West Jerusalem has been the seat of Israeli government since 1949, and no conceivable formula for Pa...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

A tactical retreat and regrouping seems to be paying off for Hillsborough Countyís Museum of Science and Industry. After paring back its operations, the museum posted a small profit over the past year, enabling the attraction to keep its doors open a...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Times recommends: McClure for Florida House District 58

Times recommends: McClure for Florida House District 58

Voters in Temple Terrace, Plant City and Thonotosassa have an easy choice in the Dec. 19 special election to replace state Rep. Dan Raulerson, who resigned for health reasons. Republican Lawrence McClure is the only credible candidate.McClure, 30, ow...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Editorial: Still waiting for flood insurance fix

Editorial: Still waiting for flood insurance fix

It has been 1,979 days since all heck broke loose in the flood insurance industry. Apparently, that just wasnít enough time for Washington to react. So with the National Flood Insurance Program set to expire on Friday, itís looking increasingly likel...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17

Editorial: St. Petersburg should raise rates for reclaimed water

Raising rates on reclaimed water in St. Petersburg is an equitable way to spread the pain of paying for millions in fixes to the cityís dilapidated sewer system. The city has no choice but to start charging utility customers more as the sewer bills c...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17